Chasing Down the Muse: Gifts are to be found everywhere

"I hear, and I forget.

I see, and I remember.

I do, and I understand."

—Chinese Proverb

At 4 in the morning I finally arose. There seemed no point in further restless tossing as my mind had been doing back flips, cartwheeling and assuming stellar poses for hours. My thought was there must be some hidden meaning to all this — some gift.

Eight o'clock and I saw part of the gift of early rising opening up to me. I had already meditated, printed up a batch of images that I needed, taken a long walk, gone to Whole Foods, CVS and the market. Morning journaling was long past and now I had time to stretch and prepare for a day at the Sawdust Art Festival. Whew! Gifts galore and I would have plenty of time to write this column as well.

It has long been my practice to look for the gifts in whatever comes my way. Call it Pollyanna-ish if you like, but I find great value in this. What may seem like a burden or a catastrophe often can hold myriad hidden rewards if you look for them.

Artistic partner Suzette Rosenthal and I have another mini-workshop coming up this weekend. While neither onus nor calamity, teaching is one of the areas filled with gifts and rewards. In fact, this was one of the areas my mind chose for its gymnastic endeavors in the morning's wee hours. We both always look forward to the richness of the day's activities.

Even the act of getting together to teach has been gratifying for Suzette and I as we have come to acknowledge the attributes and gifts we each bring to the balance. We have both learned and grown in regard to our individual talents and understanding as we continue to teach with each other in a variety of venues and time frames.

The students, of course, are the greatest of gifts. We come to appreciate them not only as students, but as delightful people with whom to spend a wonderful creative span of time. The camaraderie that develops among our students has been a joy to watch. They share stories, ideas, information, food and more as they work. We laugh together and friendships are born.

It has been said that teaching forces us to learn more. This has certainly borne out as we have found ourselves trying new techniques and ways of using old ones to keep ahead of our seasoned students. And each of them brings a unique style that opens our eyes and prods us to learn as well. While this all takes time, how could any of this be called other than a gift? We are nurtured by each of these experiences.

As we teach, we do seem to understand and clarify our own artistic talents in ways we had not before known. The gifts bestowed upon us long continue to flourish.

So, Pollyanna that I may be, I look forward to the gifts of this next class and the ones that are to follow. My circle grows. My knowledge and skills grow. My world expands and more light comes in. Tired afterwards? Yes, of course. Exhilarated and energized at the same time? Absolutely! No way would I consider rejection of these souvenirs of what will be a glorious day.

To find out more about our fun mixed media playtime classes or to just say hi, visit Suzette and I at the Sawdust Art Festival. There are also a plethora of wonderful classes for all ages on the grounds each day. Check these out at http://www.sawdustartfestival.org.

And if you have something to share, get out there and teach. You will be glad that you did.

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, counselor…always fascinated by the myriad mysteries of life. She can be reached at cherril@cherrildoty.com or (714) 745-9973. And for these summer months, she can be found most days at the Sawdust Art Festival in Booth No. 233.

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