Lately I’ve been working a lot. I’ve been standing long hours on my feet. Cherish those feet of yours. Wear good shoes.

What do my feet have to do with anything having to do with March? And why is March “magnificent” you ask? Well, while rubbing my feet one night after one of those long days I was reminiscing about the wonderful massage I received at the spa at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua last weekend during my birthday celebration with my husband of 26 plus years. The lasting memories of the weekend include snorkeling among the coral, fish, and sea turtles while learning about them and photographing them underwater with our wildlife expert and guide. Other memories include the many ways I was made to feel special, such as the bouquet of balloons, chocolate covered strawberries on a platter drizzled with the message “Happy 50th Birthday”, a bottle of champagne on ice, and a hand-written card from our bellman. The spa eucalyptus steam room, sauna, hot tub and massage were, of course, a highlight, as well as the pool-side service while lounging on one of those king-sized beds with a foo foo drink. We hiked out to Kapalua Point on some rocks which made for a slippery adventure on a labyrinth and balancing act with camera in hand. Suffice it to say, I had a GREAT time!

Okay, now that I’ve made you all jealous what’s my point? My point is life is not all good all the time. Nor is it all bad all the time. There is a happy medium. As wonderful as that weekend was, if every day was that great, they would no longer be special. Learning how to relax can be as simple as utilizing the early morning to sit quietly with a cup of coffee and set your intentions for the day. It could be listening to music, going for a walk during your lunch break, or meditating for 10 – 20 minutes before bed.

The true gifts are the ones from the heart. They are the people in our lives who matter because they stand beside us, support, cheer us on, lift us up when we’re down, call, write, send cards, and keep in touch. The true gifts are the choices that lay before us and being responsible for those choices. The possibilities are endless. Give yourself the power to create your day the way you want it to unfold one moment, one choice at a time.

Up until recently I had the benefit of working from home for myself as an artist and teacher while raising my boys. Shortly after moving to Maui I was offered a part-time job at Maui Hands, the best art gallery on the island, selling artwork for about 300 local artists including myself. Then, last fall, my husband lost his job after working for a large corporation for nearly 30 years. After saving and dreaming for 25 years about living in Maui where it’s warm the question became, “What now?” I’ll tell you what now – you dig in. All those dreams are not going to vanish. In fact, it’s an opportunity to dream bigger.

Word travels fast on an island and my framer invited me to get on board with them and work part time with customers designing custom frames and learning all the steps of assembling them. Hmmm, I can also frame my own pieces and save on framing costs. In addition to Maui Hands, I also work part time at Picture It Framed, the largest and best framing business on Maui. It’s nice to be surrounded by so many creative, talented, smart, inspiring, and successful people. Again, I’m stretching and learning.

Most artists only know how to create the art. I’m in a unique position to create art, know how to present it and frame it, position the art in a gallery setting, and sell it to people from all over the world. From start to finish I’m conceiving an idea and sharing it with someone else. I get to see it all happen. It’s unique because I am not only able to create a piece of what is inside of me; I am behind the curtain putting it all together as well as out front selling it. It’s a lot like raising children, only this time the “babies” are my art creations. How cool is that!? I meet all kinds of people every day. For me, connection is important.

However, I need my quiet time. I need time to paint, work in my yard, go to yoga or take a bike ride or walk on the beach. Finding the balance is challenging – especially now because I consider myself a full time artist who works 7 days/week with two part-time jobs.

My husband has since launched his own business as a software/information technology consultant. He is working 7 days/week also. While funds may be tight for a while we are not starving. We will be okay. In fact, we are more than okay. We are healthy, happy, and just had the best weekend money can buy at the Ritz!

While we were there, we realized something. We are familiar with hard work and responsibility, normally on the side of serving the customers/clients. That weekend we were on the receiving end, allowing ourselves to be pampered. While we enjoyed every second of being on the receiving end, a weekend was adequate for that level of pampering. It was a huge pendulum swing to the other side. We were like the hamster on the wheel – we are so used to moving that once the wheel stopped and we were able to stop and catch our breath, we were ready to go again. We do know how to relax, but it doesn’t have to be to the extent of a lavish weekend at the Ritz.

I’m calling March “magnificent” because it is what I want it to be. My focus is on finding the balance between work and pleasure. Last month I went from one extreme to the other. This month I’ll once again connect with the plants in my yard, utilize the early morning hours to draw before work, go to bed earlier so that I can wake feeling rested, go to yoga on the days I have more flexibility in my schedule, and make time for those walks and bike rides. It all boils down to choices. We are all allotted the same 24 hours each day. How will we spend them? In front of the television? Listening to music? Reading? Watching the birds? Meditating? Worrying? Complaining? Blaming? Taking responsibility? Dreaming? The possibilities are endless. So are we.

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