Books by Michaele Alexander
A Revolutionary Wimsey
Recently I was asked how I came to write “Be Kind to Yourself and Others”. I suppose I could say that as our daughter was growing I embraced the opportunity as many parents do to revisit my life through the eyes of new discovery. With that re-visitation came remembrance and along with remembrance tempered by time walked Wisdom. In a way that is how it happened.
But really I had been given that Wisdom all my life. It was just that now I needed to respond to an everlasting series of learning events through which I was highly compelled to use it. Demons were faced, battles fought and won, mountains climbed, new vistas sought. Choices were reviewed, knees were scraped, slides were conquered, friends were made and lost and discovered anew. Every moment we faced challenges. Would we appreciate them and their gifts?
I used to tell my daughter “Every new day holds a Treasure just for you. Your job is to find it!” By sharing with her what came to mind in the instant of each moment I often surprised myself. As time went on I observed other children in a new and appreciative way. I witnessed that the structures imposed upon them sometimes did, and more often did not, serve to give them a foundation in life. I began to ponder upon the many teachings and blessings received over decades of my exposure to the ideas of so many cultures and indigenous peoples, present and past.
As a child I had watched without words the ways of plants and animals. The movements of the natural world fascinated me with seeming randomness, and yet contained an implicit dancing structure. It all made sense. Everything had its place. Every little space teemed with life and yet nothing was crowded. Infinite variety. Infinite texture. Infinite choice.
In being with my own young family I realized how social measurements had depleted most people of the riches we have for one another. The elderly and young, referred to almost like possessions, had become things to be managed. The vital middle years were to be gotten through. The exciting discovery of coming of age fraught with indecision and even terror. Decisions themselves narrowed to a myopic tunnel. Almost no one had time. Yet Time is our most valuable commodity. How we spend it and where we put our attention and Intention is what gives us the power to be who we actually are rather than just satisfy the expectations of others.
I wanted to refine the little ideas that were the tools and building blocks for this creative balance which lead to a life foundation. If no Elders were there to teach them, how could a small person new to this world learn them? How could they, as they grew and had children of their own, pass down the Ways of Being that suits us all in harmony?
I began to write the sayings down on index cards. Then the elaborations on the back. Before I knew it the book was ready to illustrate and as we traveled the Southwest in places like Albuquerque to visit the balloon festival, Santa Fe to experience the culture and visit friends and Sedona to steep in the beauty and play within the rocks, I searched valiantly for the right artist to no avail. I came home with many business cards and no clue as to how I wanted to portray this book visually.
I just wanted to have someone else step in and get the job done so to speak. I had so much to say as an author and was impatient to get at the next books. But as an artist myself I had to accept the fact that it was up to me. So for the next few weeks I struggled with attempts at portraying the concepts. With my artwork it can take me moments or months to achieve a satisfying result depending on the piece, or which way the wind blows, or how may other obligations I have. Nothing really suited the whimsy I had envisioned.
Often it is a wondrous thing to take a night’s rest questioning a thing unresolved only to wake the next day with an obvious answer. However that is not exactly what happened. Whimsy had to sneak in through the back door…
Sometimes when I want to escape and relax I like to “doodle”. I have since I was a small child. My school notebooks used to be covered in them. Nowadays the doodling can be on a t-shirt or pants, sometimes in glass beads or glitter glue or what ever is at hand. The important thing about doodling is not to have any preconceived notion of where one is heading. An artistic meandering. A brain quieting walk-about.
I was sitting on the couch snugged up in a comforter doodling with felt pens listening to some documentary with my family and before I knew it my solution was there!
My wish for you is that you embrace your Whimsy. You may find that it is just what you need in life. We all need to be pleased in the moment with what we are doing. As this expands it can have a wonderful effect on those around us. A Revolutionary Whimsy. A slice of Life explored for no other reason than to be present in the moment with lasting effects. I suspect this is the real reason I wrote “Be Kind to Yourself and Others” and it is my pleasure to share it with you.
~ Michaele Alexander