The Art of Health and Happiness

Last week I attended the Mark My Words opening reception at the Palm Beach Cultural Council. This art exhibit features artists in Palm Beach County that use words as their subject matter and muse, including two collaborations with Kimberly K. Taylor-Pestell and Kristen Alden from my poetry book Sage Words. A gratifying manifestation of the art of health and happiness!

When I first contacted Kristen about the book, she knew just who to call. Kimberly heard us, felt us, and hand-lettered these gorgeous illustrations for my poems “Jade” and “Dimples”.

Having Sage Words in an art exhibit like this is a huge milestone for me since it comes from a place in my heart previously shaken by illness, but is now filled with strength and inspiration.

When I was young I would make cards for friends and family, and then—when I had children and was room mom for their classes at school—I wrote poems about the year’s events for the students to rap and recite to the teachers as holiday or end-of-year gifts. But as the kids got older and day-to-day life responsibilities took over, I found little time for creativity around my illness.

It wasn’t until I understood Celiac and took a positive and realistic approach to healthy eating and lifestyle choices that my desire for poetry and writing came back to me. I learned firsthand that an often overlooked and incredibly important aspect of finding those things that light our creative fire is the need to be well. We can’t schedule inspiration or force it into existence, so we have to create a favorable environment to receive it.

When you nourish your body, you feed your soul. And being strong and healthy will open your world up to desire and inspiration—both which open the door to artful experiences and transform the way we perceive our own capabilities.

My entire life I have felt that people come into our lives and things fall into place through connected chains of events, enlightenments and discoveries.

There are many examples of this in my life—and in the lives of others I know and love—so when I met Kristen I had a feeling we’d work well together. Same goes for when I met Nichole Hickey.

Nichole inspires me because she’s a self-made girl. She packed up and left the Midwest to come to Florida for a great job and has been hustlin’ ever since. She’s a great mix of down-to-earth and sophisticated, and makes you feel at ease. We also have the same work ethic and art vibe. We instantly got each other.

Nichole is also the manager of the Artist Services department at the Cultural Council. She’s the one who curates the exhibitions and works with all the professional artists in the county. I met Nichole a couple of years before I met Kristen when my perspective began to shift, and things became lighter and brighter.

I take notice of these moments of providence and am grateful.

Kristen and I got to celebrate this week with her family, too. Her spring break was perfectly timed with the opening preview of the Mark My Words exhibit, so she was able to drive down to Florida to enjoy the beautiful blooms of our Sage flowers. It was her first trip to my home, and my first introduction to her family. We had great dinners together, a sunset boat ride, and our usual fantastic conversations and creative brainstorming.

Spring is symbolic of new beginnings and opportunity. It’s a time for cultivating our health and well-being, courage and optimism. A time of strengthening the belief in ourselves and our power to achieve and overcome obstacles—the greatest of which is perhaps our own fear, which prevents us from taking risks and stepping into the unknown.

There are both physical and emotional benefits from creating art, expressing yourself in a tangible way, and sharing something with the world.

My goal is to continue to do more of it every week.

Beautiful faces
From all different places
Makes our heart race
Slow down the pace
Have a sip of your favorite drink
Or burgers and tacos… whatcha think?
You could serve me anything
And my heart will still sing
Because the food tastes tremendous
When our friends are among us

It’s magical to connect the dots that lead to what you see before you. It goes to show that you don’t always immediately know why things end up the way that they do, only that sometimes there can be something much deeper to it.