How do you figure?

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I figured out how I figure things out.  Could be late-night mind-chatter.  Could be choosing the right book to discover the right passage just when I need to find it. Could be talking it out and suddenly hearing something said back to me in a different, unexpected way.  Could be singing loudly and strumming hard on a ukulele for a time. These are my ways of problem-solving. My ways of discovering, devising, sharing, refining, resting, and starting again.

Here are some recent discoveries made.  And, they are beautiful.

1. As I was engrossed in Natalie Goldberg’s book, LIVING COLOR:  A WRITER PAINTERS HER WORLD., I was taken by surprise at her interview with abstract painter Ginger Mongiello.  I had to re-read the description of how Mongiello started new paintings.  “…she quickly, without thought, flew from paper to paper making dark strokes and slashes.  Then she paused a moment, surveyed the papers and more slowly, meditatively, applied a few more brush strokes.  She let them dry and then observed what she had done.”  She was basically doodling with paint and calligraphic brush.  Doodling.  Like me. And then adding color and shapes.

2. Rochel Tombosky’s organization, GIFT (Give It Forward, Together), is the result of her figuring out how to combine some of her lifelong passions: using skilled art professionals; engaging Pittsburgh’s untapped community of mature learners, those over 50 years old, by offering art classes;  contributing the resulting artwork from the various classes to enrich the lives of those in need around Pittsburgh, such as women who make use of the “Dress for Success” program and Ronald McDonald House’s children in treatment and their families.  Find out about the classes and how you can be part of this heartfelt venture.  Go to .

3. Roopa Kosuri and Staci Offutt, as the co-curators of URBAN ENCHANTMENT:  AN ART SHOW FOR KIDS BY ADULTS, realized that they wanted to create an environment where all who enter can be immersed in child-like fun. Please join me at Spinning Plate Gallery (5821 Baum) this Saturday afternoon, June 6th.  Bring your kids.  Or, borrow someone else’s kids!  Whatever works so you can share music with them, make dogs speak in Icelandic,  read books together.  And more!

For the sake of full disclosure, I know this is so because I got a sneak peek when I dropped off my picture for this show.  Actually, I felt kid-like myself while designing my urban dogs (and a chicken) for my picture.   Fun is contagious.  Come catch some!  Details are at .

So, in each example the person was figuring out how to make one’s desires come alive and to share them with others.  The sharing makes sense.  As the influential, 19th century educator Booker T. Washington said, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”