I’ve been thinking about our most satisfying, loving relationships and how they are made — how every piece, every element, every feature moves into place to create an experience of friendship, say, or being in love.
Which made me think about Haute Couture. How freely a beautiful garment is imagined. How a sketch on paper comes alive step by step.
Have you ever watched an artisan seamstress at work? The way she holds a needle, slips it through a sequin, and attaches it to a cloud of white fabric? It’s truly a thing of beauty. Her hands are beautiful, the way they move is beautiful.
Her hands are precise — yet free.
Until recently, I had not considered the roots of Haute Couture, that it comes from history and culture. It’s about creating something beautiful and timeless — through touch.
Think about the touch aspect with me for a moment. Haute Couture is about measuring, drawing, cutting, folding, tucking, and stitching pieces into place to create wearable art, something of timeless beauty.
Garments are created over many hours by many hands working together. To complete a handmade gown, it takes a team of hands somewhere between one hundred and seven hundred hours.
Human relationships are about touch, too. Many hands over many hours created beautiful you. And the influence of your hands has created beautiful others….
Think of the hours we spend holding the baby, stroking the baby’s head. How we place the fork next to the plate of food offered. Or how our hand moves to the shoulder of our loved one as we offer reassurance.
Think about the amount of time we spend creating love with others. Think of the conversation you imagine in your mind, the scissors you use to edit it, the way you fold new ideas into relating to your partner over time.
Are we aware of the beauty we’re creating every day with those we love? Do we pay attention to our relationships in conscious and attentive ways as artisans do?
In Haute Couture videos, notice the relaxed way hundreds of garment details are added one by one, layer by layer. Nobody seems to be rushing. Every detail is chosen, touched, placed, and secured as if there is plenty of time for it.
I think of the conversation I had yesterday with my landlord or with a friend on the phone. Did I do that, too?
At least once a year, I take time to watch a five-minute video of someone draping a garment. If you watch this one by Dior https://youtu.be/sGULpcJKbmc it will give you a new appreciation for your upcoming day or week, I promise.
The Creative Director of Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, says fashion is about the moment, beauty is about eternity. That a beautiful creation is… “close to the inner grace of people.”
Today, my simple wish for all of us is to notice our inner grace. Our hands. Our scissors. Our measuring tape. How we personally build colors and textures into relationships of those we love.
I recommend approaching this observation with appreciation only. Nothing needs to change, everything is just right, you’re simply noticing how you imagine, how you create.
Maybe you’ll become more aware of your personal version of building a light-filled gown covered with butterflies on a breezy day.
Or you’ll notice how and when you add the deepest colors to your relationships. How you add love layers or word sequins. How you gently weave streams of silver-ribboned compassion into an intimate moment with someone you love.
You’re writing me texts and emails saying the dearest things about 100 WORDS: SMALL SERVINGS OF WHIMSY AND WISDOM TO CALM THE MIND AND NOURISH THE HEART.
What I love about what you’re saying is that the words move you in some way — they speak to you, they matter. Because you took to heart the message from “As Above, So Below” you’re now “spilling shakers of light over stray concerns of the day.”
You mention how the little black sandals on page seventeen make you smile and give you hope for getting through a monumental change. Or that you appreciate the conciseness and brevity of each piece, or how a photograph took you by the hand into a poem.
One person said the last two lines of “On Love” became her mantra one day when she needed it most. “Love breathes you, moves you. It’s what built your heart.”
One person let me know she kept 100 WORDS on her nightstand to read a small sampling each night because, as she put it, “These are poems to be savored.” She appreciated the small bites.
One of my editor’s favorite poems is “How To Realize Your Beauty.” She tucked 100 WORDS into her traveling bag and read it aloud to a couple of groups she belongs to, and the sharing was well-received. The poem even prompted a discussion with her son. My daughter especially loved “Pearls in the Morning,” a poem about creativity.
My mother (who is 92) called me shortly after receiving her copy. She was smiling over the phone and said with a lilt in her voice, “I read your book last night. I noticed there’s a mention of a 92-year-old.”
I said, “Yes, Mom, I wanted to let you know I’m always thinking of you.”
What a sweet moment with my mother!
This week, a woman sent a text from the waiting room of her doctor’s office. She was reading (and crying about) “No Longer Here,” one hundred words about golf and love. The poem reminded her of her father, who passed years ago. He was a golfer, too, and she was missing the aspects of their relationship she loved most.
Another reader sent an evening email and I happened to see it as I was pulling back the heavenly comforter on my (heavenly) bed. She wrote, “I got my books. Read three pages. Found myself breathless. Just sitting here feeling thankful for the gift of you. And my books.”
I doubt if there’s anything more wonderful for a writer to hear than “your writing left me breathless.”
From your responses it appears that the words are swimming into the warmth of your hearts and resting there. I love that. I’m so thankful for that.
Thank you for your ongoing feedback. Thank you for reaching out to tell me what 100 WORDS means to you.
Pour both kinds of weather into a large bowl. Add jingle bells and anticipation and mix well. The result will be confusing, but proceed with confidence.
10 cups of busy. Any variety will do.
A few leaves of tradition.
1 dusting each of longing for times past and wishing for a brighter, happier now.
A dash of Hope, a heaping tablespoon of Faith, and several large spoonfuls of Love.
Stir well and let flavors mingle.
Add all at once:
Five drops of scent of pine.
A few drops of loneliness… due to those who will not be at your table this year for one reason or another.
1 heaping cup each of red, green, blue, silver and gold.
2 overflowing cups of effervescence.
3 cups of glitteriest-glitter. Throw it everywhere, and whatever makes it into the bowl, good for you.
1 collection of interesting relatives and friends around a large table — eating, drinking and discussing the state of the world (or not).
Three small pinches of obligation. What you’re expected to do, should do, always do, thought you should do, agreed to do, must do, planned to do, don’t want to do, were asked to do.
A toss of fantasy, perhaps the one about escaping to a quiet villa with a handsome, kind chef/real estate magnate/comedian/wise man for three months on short notice.
Mix well over a nearby hearth fire. Then stop everything. Let the mixture rest while you pour a glass of sparkly. Put your feet up. By the fire. Go ahead, drink your sparkly. Feel warm and appreciative. Fantasize about the chef/quiet villa idea.
When you’re good and ready, add:
Prayers. Your kind. For what’s important to you.
Heavenly sleep. As often as possible, yield to the desire to crawl under the covers.
These wise words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “…the best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”
And last but not least. With gusto and reverence add:
A generous splash of Mother Nature while gushing about her beauty.
Five scoops of your strength.
Seven scoops of your flexibility.
Ten scoops of your wisdom.
Your boundless love.
Stir well, add any available candles and poinsettias — and don’t forget the mistletoe! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
May All Good Angels be with you this Holiday season!
P.S. My book of poetry, “100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish The Heart” will be ready soon (in time for Holiday gift-giving) and I’ll let you know the moment it’s available.
Over the Holidays, I’ll be editing my second book about Relationships to be published early next year.
My blog will be back in January! In the meantime, Ho, Ho, Ho!
Today I’m sharing a poem from my upcoming Poetry Book. As soon as everything is confirmed by Balboa Press, I’ll let you know the title of the book and the publication date. The book will be available in softcover and Kindle, mostly through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. (I’ll have copies, too, of course.) Bookstores will buy it through Ingram.
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited! Here is one of the three poems that will be shared on the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP KITCHEN?
My daughter strolled to the kitchen to get a snack and returned crestfallen. “There’s nothing to eat,” she reported. “There are only ingredients.”
A love relationship is a kitchen full of sweet, savory, salty and spicy. I have ingredients (beliefs, personality, habits). You have ingredients, too.
But how will they blend? Are we good cooks? With what you’ve got and what I’ve got, will we create a wonderful sauté?
Will our relationship be sweet? Or will the cake fall? Today, I’ve got anchovies and you — rocky road ice cream. This will be interesting.