The Heart of It

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I was clearing out my studio space recently, reorganizing and decluttering to make way for new projects. In the process, I came across my seed collection, a variety of pods and seeds that I had gathered along my walks. Noting the fragility of many of them, I asked my sweetie if he would build a display box for me to sort the seeds into. He willingly agreed. After sketching a quick idea of what I wanted in terms of size and shape, I left him to build the box using the remaining walnut wood from the bench he built in memory of our beloved Mina cat. Within a few days, he presented me with the most beautiful handcrafted display box— jointed corners, interlocked slats forming the square and rectangular cubbies, the rich warmth of the wood grain enhanced by a carefully applied beeswax finish. He didn’t have to say anything for me to understand that it was crafted with complete love and care. The essence of his love was evident in the quality of small touches— a part of him infused into each unseen nail hole, smooth edges, carefully aligned notches and slats. It was a striking reminder of what it means to create from the heart.

There is a word in modern Greek called Meraki (may-rah-kee). Though it has many interpretations and is not truly translatable, the concept describes doing something with your whole heart and soul. It is the act of creating from a place of complete love and care— putting a piece of yourself into whatever you’re doing. Whether it is cooking a meal or crafting a wooden box, the quality of our intention becomes a part of whatever we do. It is a way of connecting our heart and soul to others. Meraki describes the way my beloved crafted my box. It is this quality of creating that I value above all else.

When I opened my shop for Oh My Darling Days, it was my third attempt at running a small creative business. The previous attempts were a challenging process of honing in on my way versus following what other creatives were doing. In that process, I learned that my way is about expressing the moments in my life that inspire me. I have to create from a place of truth and meaning.  I learned that my creativity has its own rhythm. It isn’t something I can force and when I try, my creative joy is squelched. I learned and relearned that my way isn’t about the quantity of production but is about quality— slowly and thoughtfully crafted. So much of what I make comes from the context of mindful moments and deeper learning. And I learned what feels most life-giving is when I create what I love rather than what I think will sell. Much of what I create is simply my way of processing what matters to me and expressing that in a tangible way.

I believe we all have our unique way of infusing our love into our work. My beloved's essence is felt in the meals he cooks and in the ways he beautifies our yard. My friend's love is felt in the way she teaches yoga to children and in the way she listens with full attention. At the heart of my creative work is mindfulness. It is my way of integrating the essence of my darling days into offerings crafted with wholehearted care. It is my hope that the love I feel when observing the natural world is infused into the things I make and do. It is my desire that this love and mindful presence will be felt in the work that I offer to the world.