Gratitude: The Bridge connecting my past to my present
Hello New Year, Hello Dear friends!
Another new year is upon us and if you’re thinking what I am thinking – you’re probably wondering where the time has gone. As busy as life is and how hectic the end of the year always seems to be – I still wind it down and take some time for just me and practice gratitude. This year, my “self-time,” didn’t happen until after the New Year celebrations. It took a couple of days to get my house back in order and another night and day to…(as the medical intuitive teacher Caroline Mysse would say, ) “call my energy back.”
I found myself thinking “I have so much work to catch up on now that the holidays are over. How am I ever going to get it all done?” I did the things that needed to be done around Christmas while fighting the nasty cold I picked up on my recent trip abroad. Yet, somehow I still felt as if I didn’t do enough. If I didn’t get my cards out, or get the right gift for someone, or put up my Christmas lights this year…then I thought I must not be up to par. It’s no wonder I woke up grumpy on Sunday morning January 3rd looking for things to blame my mood on. What a self defeating pattern I was allowing myself to run. So, I called my energy back!
I decided to get back into my own groove, return to myself and give myself the gift of time. I started my new year day off with a gentle prayer and meditation. Fortunately, I received some new meditations as a gift from from my professor’s at the University of Santa Monica. Each year the professors and staff at USM invite all the volunteers to a holiday luncheon and our professor’s, Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, give us something special in gratitude for the time we give them in service to the university. This year they recorded a beautiful series of prayers and meditations. The one I chose to listen to on this day was the meditation on gratitude.
Mary, in her soft, nurturing voice, guides us to take a moment and give thanks for the obvious things in life. Gratitude for the gift of life itself, thanks for the awareness of her open heart, for the opportunity to be of service, to share her blessings with others, and for the knowledge that we are all divine, knowing that we always have a choice on how we want to be in our lives. During this meditation I allow the things Mary offers in gratitude to resonate inside of me – then Mary leaves open space in the meditation so I may identify the things I am grateful for too. Mary reminds me that this practice helps pull me up and out of the doldrums, the bad mood, and negative voices in my head. It’s a time to re-member myself to my-Self. In other words, to put myself back together as a whole. I am so grateful – if only for that little piece of it, and I want to write it down.
I take my little “gratitude book” with the Zebra print cover that Dr. Bonnie Paul, (co-founder of the non-profit organization “Freedom to Choose”) gave me one day out of the blue. “I saw this book cover and it reminded me of you,” said Bonnie. Freedom to Choose is the team I’ve traveled to the Valley State Prison and California Correction Facility for Women with four times a year for the past 8 years. We serve to help heal the inmates who are serving life sentences for mistakes they have made, or circumstances they found themselves in that may have been out of their control. As I write the things I am grateful for – I add this little book, the woman who gave it to me, and all the inmates I have connected with to my gratitude list. Each time I do this practice I find more things to be grateful for. When I am done – as Mary predicted – I feel SO much better because my heart opens up again and there’s room to see the beauty of life. It’s like pulling back the curtains and letting the sun shine in.
As most of you who have been following my blogs and posts already know, I am embarking on some exciting and challenging career projects. Once again I am following my dreams, this time I have called myself forward using all my skills, talents and life experiences in the world of fashion as a designer in my own right. I’m getting ready to launch my own brand fashion apparel line, and also as a producer, creating a “fashion film” slated to have its “world premier” at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival in July 2016. There are crucial deadlines to meet as well as the funds I need to raise to bring this all into fruition. So you can imagine the work I have on my desk right now as my illustrious Siren Star team of lovely, earth angels help me create an Indie-Go-Go fundraiser that will be launched in mid January. My hat is off to these ladies, Cindy, Laura, Virginia and Noe, who’ve been working on this for the past two months! I am so grateful for earth angels.
Meanwhile, my dream is an 18 hour a day – 7 day-a-week dream, including time I spend on all the other responsibilities I have to take care of – one of which has become carrying on the legacy of my former fiancé, our dearly beloved Steve Clark.
This Friday, July 8th marks the 25th year of his passing and of course I could not let this significant passage of time just go by without a special treat.
In December – after shooting scenes for the fashion film Skin On Skin – Peau sur Peay in Paris I returned to visit Steve’s grave at Wisewood cemetery in Sheffield, England. It was my intention to have a gathering and film at least something on my iPhone with Steve’s loyal friends and fans to share with those of you who could not travel the distance. However, as English weather would have it, it poured rain while the winds whipped and howled over the Yorkshire dales. It was impossible to hold the umbrella, much less keep my camera steady. Even so, we braved the moist and misty weather and held hands around his grave in prayer sending all of our love and yours to his memory. I took what film I could and then we all went over to the Admiral Rodney Pub (where Steve and I used to go) and raise a pint for Steve. However, we were all so cold and wet we decided on hot apple cider and coca –colas for the “tea totallers’.” Times have changed and not one of us had a proper drink! It made me wonder if Steve would have been a tea totaller by this time too?
We sat by the fireplace for a couple of hours as Mick and Andrew shared their personal memories of Steve and how much they loved him. Andrew worked as a lathe operator alongside Steve, and Mick lived around the corner. Shannon, Lorraine Clark’s eight-year-old daughter, gave me a handmade paper snowflake on behalf of Steve – and sat snuggled up in my arms. Her mum Lorraine is a big fan of the band and Steve – and her daddy Paul, had driven them over an hour and a half in the rain from Doncaster to Sheffield supporting them in their love for Steve.
Later a new friend named Rob dropped in to share his story about being at the very first Def Leppard gig ever at a high school in Sheffield! His wife Ann told me her husband (of 20+ years)“claim to fame” has always been that story. Thank goodness he showed up because at that point I could feel a sore throat coming on from the lousy weather and I needed to get some fresh ginger and cayenne pepper to ward off the first tingly signs of a cold. Rob drove me around Sheffield City center in search of the ingredients for my witch’s brew and then back to the Novotel where I swallowed the hot tea potion and put myself immediately to bed. Once there, I wrapped my throat up with the Clark Clan tartan cashmere scarf from Beverly Knight sent (via Andrew) from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Gratitude Bridging my past to my present
One more tid bit…
While I was in Paris I was retracing the footsteps of a young girl who had a dream to be a model and walk the runways of the world. The director Robert E. Ball Jr. decided we should go and film that young girl as she was back then going to work in the “cabine” at the House of Chanel where she got her first break from designer Karl Lagerfeld as his muse…While we were shooting the scene I kept asking God to use me as a channel in this film to inspire people to follow their dreams too…I said “show me what to do father-mother God, let me be a channel for you…” Then the rain began to fall on our film set – right there on the street outside Chanel – but we kept shooting anyway. Poor Mr. Ball with his skinny brim hat on top of his camera to shield it from the rain…me wrapped up in my 80’s fashions and who comes walking down the street but Marianne Williamson!
If you read my book Runway RunAway, you’ll remember Marianne and I met in 1988 in her early days speaking about “A Course in Miracles.” We found ourselves sharing an apartment of a mutual friend of ours in NCY during a trying time for me. Marianne invited me to see her speak that night at a nearby church on Central Park West. I was captivated at the abundance of enlightening information coming out of her mouth. Marianne spoke for over two hours – non-stop – inspiring people to recognize the miracles in their lives, and to shift our perceptions from fear to love. I was riveted, delighted, enthused, and wondering how did she do that?
The next morning in the kitchen I said… “Marianne, you were amazing, how do you memorize all that stuff?” Marianne chuckled at my naivety and innocence and said, “Honey, I don’t memorize anything. I meditate, I ask God to be his channel and use me as her voice. I am just a messenger and I say whatever comes through me.” I was stunned…this was one of the biggest “aha” moments of my life. I never forgot that lesson in the kitchen from Marianne.
That day in December on the Rue Cambon I recognized the metaphor- I looked up at the CHANEL sign above our heads and thought, “really God, so this how you do it!” I felt God chuckle …this very moment in time represented the bridge from where I was to where I am now – still learning – still creating – still following my dreams …
I am grateful for you. Grateful for your support in my ventures, my wild and wonderful dreams. You give me energy and inspiration and I intend to give it back to you. My art is my way of gifting you with beauty, fashion, and the inspiration to continue to follow your dreams too. Whatever they may be, they are yours and yours alone. When we follow our dreams our hearts expand, because it is in the pursuit of our our dreams that we stretch ourselves and learn who we are… Magnificent! As the gifted author and speaker Marianne Williamson would say, “we are powerful beyond measure.”
Chanel – Channel…Chuckle…life is but a dream.
Love and Gratitude 2016
PS: Steve Clark Friends and Fans: Please download the Periscope App to join the Live Tribute Q & A on January 8th 2016 – 3 PM Pacific Time- 5 PM Central Time – 6 PM Eastern Time -EUROPE 10 PM Paris time and 11 PM UK time. I will be doing a Q & A sent over to me by Beverly Knight – creator and moderator of the http://www.steveclarkguitar.com website.