Many years ago my mother made a sign to hang outside her front door. "Welcome to The Institute of Arts, Letters & Eternal Optimism," it read. This sign is a perfect, playful declaration of my mother's approach to life and the spirit that pervaded the house in which I grew up.
My parents began writing and self-publishing books in the 1980s. My mom's ink doodles decorated their words and our dining room table served as a gallery for endpaper selection. In our kitchen, olive oil and silverware shared space with acrylic paint and brushes. We made paper mache bracelets and beaded necklaces, wrote essays, read poetry, painted walls and floors and canvases, all of it fueled by a steady stream of optimism. This was my mother's influence.
My mom is an eternal optimist. Not the sort who pushes negative feelings away or ignores the cynical aspects of life. As a girl I was allowed to cry, yell, bemoan, express my distress. But I was not allowed to remain stuck there. This was the one area where my mother was strict. We were expected to feel fully, think deeply, but ~ most importantly ~ to move forward, to look for possibility and go toward that. These were her lessons about attitude, perspective and right-mindedness.
Art and optimism were the tools we used to navigate our everyday lives, to celebrate the ups and make sense of the downs. It was with art and optimism that we infused the mundane with meaning and came to understand ourselves.
Today my studio turns one year old. And what a year! I have learned much about the body and about the spirit. Daily I witness as people cross through my doorway and commit themselves with childlike optimism to the process of moving, learning, healing, growing, becoming softer, stronger and more agile and graceful in their bodies and spirits. I could write a compelling story about each of my clients. We have grow into this space together, infused it with our commitment and courage.
In honor of our one year studio birthday, I finally give a name to our space: The Institute of Moves, Muscles & Eternal Optimism.
I didn’t choose the name so much as it emerged one day as I was staring out the window to the lake wondering, “What shall I call this place?”
The Institute of Moves, Muscles & Eternal Optimism.
Yes. This feels right. It’s exactly what we do here.
I look forward to what this next year will bring.