Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let the wooing begin

Up until last week I had a steady relationship with my local Einstein’s deli. We were pretty tight, saw each other at least once a week and it was a fulfilling relationship. I thought was getting my needs met. But last week changed everything. It was a dreary rainy day. Parking and traffic sucked. I was chastised by the manager on duty because I didn’t give her my order properly. (Who knew that naming your bagel first and meat second was such an offense). And, when I got back to my office discovered my turkey sandwich was missing a key ingredient. Turkey.

Now I understand people make mistakes, it happens and even the best businesses fumble on occasion. For me, it’s not about the mistake; it’s about resolving the issue. So I called and they offered me another sandwich and a cookie. I drove over to get sandwich #2, only find out it was inadvertently given to another customer. *sigh* As sandwich #3 was being prepared, my hopes of a happy lunch dwindled when the stringent shift manager displayed indifference and annoyance over my situation. *grumble*

I came back to the office, went online to complain and found their website wouldn’t accept comments. *snarl* Two days later, I finally called and got a direct email to their company’s customer service department. And lo and behold, within minutes I get a sweet letter apologizing and promising me the local manager would contact me directly within 48 hours. I felt special, valued and happy…until…no one called, no one emailed. No contact, no apologies, nothing.

So today, instead of my usual weekly Einstein’s run, I chose another location and headed out to Jason’s Deli. Upon arrival, I felt courted…wooed…adored. I got a free cookie, a coupon for another free cookie, my lunch exactly as I ordered it…and a mint. Don’t know if I’ll patch it up with Einstein’s, we’ll have to see. All I can say is when you start dating around it makes it a lot harder to stay with the same old relationship, especially one that forgets the heart or ‘meat’ of the matter.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Artists Way, Redux

Last fall I worked my way through the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It's an amazing book at process geared towards finding inspiration and discovering (or rediscovering) your inner artist and creative child. I had heard many people talk about how beneficial the book was to them, so I was naturally curious especially since I had been in a creative rut.

And when I made the decision to start the book, magically I found a group on Meetup.com that was starting the book at the same time I had planned. It was a small, but close-knit group and only a handful of us made it through all twelve weeks, but the experience was well worth it. I haven't blogged much about the process because I'm still processing what occurred. I'm not sure if I was looking for a nudge to move a different direction in my life and the book came along or if the book came along and I started to shift. All I know is the book and the process really were transformational. Not in a fireworks, explosive kind of way but in a deep, grounded reality shifting way.

During the twelve week process I became the ad hoc leader of the group, and of the meetup program. In the midst of the process I didn't think much about what would happen beyond December, and apparently I didn't need to make that decision. The Universe had it all planned out. With urgings from several members of the group, I initiated a monthly Artist's Way support group. From that group, a subdivision of individuals also decided to start the book. And in the middle of it all, I'm still the leader and the facilitator.

Instead of feeling like this is another task or drudgery I have to endure, I am really enjoying the process again. Not only of exploring my creative side more fully, but also helping guide others on the same path. Here's my confession, I love to facilitate...and when people trust me to take the lead, I'm good at it. Actually, scratch that....Damn Good and downright inspirational. Tonight we had a group of eighteen amazing, funny, witty creative individuals and two hours with them didn't seem long enough. I laughed so hard I cried (several times) and several comments and stories took my breath away or left me on the verge of tears.

As part of a group exercise, I had everyone write a positive review of their art and read it to each other. It was illuminating, awkward and amazing to hear what people will reveal about themselves when they are given the opportunity to praise versus criticize their own work. We did this exercise as part of a discussion on affirmations. The author has a list of twenty in her book, some of which I struggle to accept or use. There are a few that resonate with me and I think I'll ponder these for a bit:
  • As I listen to the creator within, I am led.
  • I am willing to be of service through my creativity.
  • I am willing to experience my creative energy.
So, why am I sharing this now? Well, I decided to tonight to do the book again...not so much for me, but for the other in the group and what they give me in return. And if I'm lucky I can pass onto others in my life as well.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Feet confessions

Back in October I was inspired to take a picture of my feet every day for one year and post this on my facebook account. I was out of the gate strong before the holidays, but ever since the new year my feet postings have been erratic. It's an easy process, just snap a picture with my camera phone and email it to myself. The only problem is my lack of recent creative inspiration.

I figured out what was causing the block, it's my lack of shoes. Really, maybe not so much a lack of shoes (you should see my closet) but rather the lack of variety of winter, sensible, warm shoes. And frankly speaking, they are just not that interesting to look at in every picture. So, my option is to either take lots of pictures of bare feet in interesting settings or buy new shoes. I'll let you guess which option I'll be exploring :-)