Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reflecting on the Past, looking ahead

This week I have scheduled a meeting with the Activity director at the Veteran's Home of California.My plan is to do a presentation and demonstration of how I make hand-painted gift rocks. I will provide each observer/participant a syllabus and a step by step guide as to how to find a decorate a rock of their very own.

This venture will be a first for me.I have never demonstrated or have revealed my craft to anyone.I have chosen to show veterans how to do this for one simple reason.I want to give away what has been so freely given to me, so that I may keep what I have.

What I have, is a gift that has been given to me.

I will tell the story about how I lost a job that I loved and ended up out at the beach, feeling hopeless.It was there that I asked God for help to know what to do next with my life.I began to pick up rocks along the beach and discovered that they just felt good as I held them in my hand.They seem to help me focus as I meditated,asking for guidance and direction.

Art has been a theme in my life, but it hasn't always been on the front burner... so to speak.Having graduated with a degree in Art in 1974,my skills were not in demand and no one was knocking at my door.I found work in the Hospitality business as this was the type of employment available to me.Although I also eventually found work in the field as a production artist,this got repetitious and really was not really my calling.

Being a people person, I was certain that service positions in the Hotel or restaurant industry were what I was best suited for; working usually up to two or so years as a bellman,server,host,valet etc. After many years and set-backs,I finally landed a great job as a Concierge at the Culinary Institute of America.

It was there that I was able to step up my game.I held this position for a much longer period than any job prior (and) after seven years,felt like a seasoned professional.This was my career...or so I thought.

Politics exist in any corporate environment where people want to move ahead.This was very true at the CIA and the careers of some great people were being formed around me.One day,after having watched several episodes of the T.V. show "Survivor", I became aware of the importance of forming alliances.It hadn't occurred to me to rely on the approval or disapproval of anyone to do a good job.Ultimately, this attitude did not serve me as one of my co-workers misrepresented me to my supervisor,and when my word was challenged I was shown the door.Or, put another way, I was voted "Off the island."

That hurt

Well back to the beach.I brought few rocks home and began to paint them and was surprised at how stunning they appeared to be.I then explored ways to decorate them that would really make them shine.The biggest revelation was when I found some glow in the dark paint that transformed these simple rocks into something beautiful.

I gave a few to some friends,and more people began asking me about them.I did not want to sell them initially, because they were like jewels.I knew which ones were the real dazzlers.Two summers ago, I began to sell them at the Farmers Market in Calistoga.Since that time I have been able to keep my car payments up and a roof over my head.The good lord has provided well for me.

But the story does not end there.In fact, my creativity has blossomed and I am continually thinking of ways to showcase these rocks. Last year I had an Art show featuring posters of my work at the St. Helena Public Library! For almost three years I have been building a business that is becoming my life's work, and the opportunities continue to unfold.

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