In honor of Honey in Your Heart, the latest jewel in mary anne radmacher’s outrageously creative and prolific career, I sat down with mary anne (yes, she’s a lower case girl) and had this delightful conversation. I asked her a few qustions about how life can be sweeter when we feast on the honey that is already there, in the only place it can be–our heart.
Janet: In Honey in Your Heart, you talk about “ways to see” being essential to creating space in the heart for life. And you offer us many ways to do just that. But I’m wondering, now that you’ve written the book, how has this awareness of seeing and creating space continued to expand for you? Have you stumbled upon any new and perhaps slightly surprising ways to see?
mary anne: After recording ( for a solid six months) every time I experienced a little, “Yay,” – that heart lift that occurs when something sweet has happened – I find I mentally note such things. I still DO write them down, but I don’t need the discipline of writing them down in order to see them. The awareness HAS expanded my capacity in a rather unexpected way. In the midst of challenge, or circumstances that feel as if they have gone “sideways” in an undesirable way, I am able to see the potential. The potential for joy, for good, for positive outcomes. Many of the long term YAYs in my life have come out of a short term YUCK. In a practical way, recognizing the truth of this – that goodness often comes out of circumstances that don’t feel or seem good – has given me a higher level of perseverance.
Janet: I love your call to celebrate. Our society has relegated celebrations to a few calendar holidays wrapped in obligation. Most of us forget to celebrate the morning, our kitchen, soft pajamas, hot water, a good book. Can you share a simple sweet celebration that meant a lot to you?
mary anne: I schedule one day, every once in awhile, that is just dedicated to FUN – CREATIVE – Just delightful to me – projects. I asked three of my buddies what their current favorite quote was. And then I incorporated that quote into a set of small notecards, packaged them up and put them in the mail. THAT is a sweet celebration that I love having in my days: being able to create something for someone I love for no other reason than they are worth celebrating.
Janet: My favorite aphorism in Honey in Your Heart is on p 21: “In the freshness of the dawn we see the truth, everything is possible.” I often wake with this excitement and knowing but I can lose it in a few minutes when I face my to-do list. I sense through this book and all your books, that you truly do rise in joy and possibility every morning. How do you do that?
mary anne: The truth of this answer is that I do wake MOST mornings with joy. There are many contributing factors to waking up with joy and anticipation.
Here are most of them:
I do my best to complete my top targeted items each day. I complete.
At the end of the day:
I make a list of targeted completions for the following day. I live with intention.
I forgive myself for any shortcomings, acts of commission or omission and I say good bye to the day. I let go.
I make conscious nutritional food choices. I nurture myself.
I move, or dance or sing. I create. I contribute to my health and vitality.
I do at least one expected thing for someone else. I serve.
I contact one person I love, admire or am friends with. I connect.
On the days that I do not include most of the things on this list … I wake up absent joy.
Janet: The one that made me laugh out loud is “I didn’t know I couldn’t, so I did.” There is such bliss in not knowing that something is “impossible” and then waking up and you’ve done it! What new and “impossible” things are you doing?
mary anne: Due to a host of complexities, I have reinvented my lifetime body of work and have a brand new professional affiliation to make my cards and paper inspirations available in the world. (And that is: http://wp.appliedinsight.net) In addition to creating fresh and unexpected work, I have accepted the role of Art Director. I now work with other artists to bring their best work to the world. It’s like being a creative mid-wife. So, after 28 years of doing a single art element one way in the world, I am blossoming at all kinds of artistic levels. In a lot of ways it feels as if these last years were practice! Ah. Everything is practice, isn’t it? Practice at being the fullest and best of who we are.
Janet: This book is such a call to walk life with a light trusting step and a sweet happy heart. Taking in your words and looking at your pictures, I feel that honey, that sweetness, oozing off the pages and into my heart. And if I’m feeling that way, then you must be soaring. What effect is this book having on you? What honey is continuing to flow?
mary anne: It’s interesting, Janet, that you ask in this way. There has been a most surprising outcome of connecting at such a deep level to the joy and sweetness in my days. It’s an immediate and profound capacity to recognize when NOT to allow the honey to flow. One of my natural gifts is generosity. I’ve demonstrated an innate impulse to give since before I could speak.
And with every gift, there is a downside. Or said another way, there is a spectrum of expression of any quality, skill or gift. I am now more inclined to graciously step away from circumstances, events and people whose priorities do not serve my vision. Notice I don’t say their priorities are incorrect. They are simply theirs, and different from mine. I become increasingly unwilling to compromise my work and vision with actions, activities and people that are counter-productive to what I’m doing. I used to incorporate compromise and accommodation into my daily systems…and now, holding to the sweetness of my days and intention to walk life full of joy and purpose…I am more likely to gratefully acknowledge the role, at one time, that such elements played in my life and learning… and move on. I let go and lean forward!
So – for the sake of the greater outcomes, it’s become important that in some instances the “honey” of my life NOT flow. Or be invited or allowed to flow in a different direction.