Get Back to the bar, (Barre)

The stresses of life can make me feel out of balance. Owning my own business, 2 aging parents with dementia, etc. are just a few of my examples. You have your own.

My daughter was a dancer all throughout her growing years and became very good through talent and hard work. I can remember her Russian dance teacher telling the students - after a rough practice session - “Back to the barre!” And they would immediately go back to the barre, regain their focus, strength and confidence that they needed in order to try again.

What is your “Back to the barre”? It is a good question to ponder. Mine is plants. I need a regular session of digging in the dirt and noticing a plant’s miraculous beauty and ability to grow to get back to myself. 

I read Richard Rohr daily and this week the subject has been about our walk with nature. I will quote him quoting someone else. I hope that is allowed.

“Psychologist and wilderness guide, Bill Plotkin, believes—and I agree—that to “save our souls” we need to reconnect with nature. To rediscover who we truly are—and who our brothers and sisters are—we must become intimate with our natural surroundings. The wisdom of nature can’t be understood with our thinking mind. We have to experience it with our being and let it speak to us through all our senses.

Plotkin's own mindful walks support his insights:

“Wandering in nature is perhaps the most essential soulcraft practice for contemporary Westerners who have wandered so far from nature. . . .

The Wanderer allows plenty of time to roam in wild nature, and roam alone. Maybe you start out on a trail, but if the landscape allows, it won't be long before you wander off the beaten track. Because you are stalking a surprise, you attend to the world of hunches and feelings and images as much as you do to the landscape. 

. . . You will get good at wandering, good at allowing your initial agenda to fall away as you pick up new tracks, scents, and possibilities. You will smile softly to yourself over the months and years of wanderings as you notice how you have changed, how you have slowed down inside. 

Through your wanderings, you cultivate a sensibility of wonder and surprise, rekindling the innocence that got buried in your adolescent rush to become somebody in particular. Now you seek to become nobody for a while, to disappear into the woods so that the person you really are might find you. [1]”l

1] Bill Plotkin, “Stalking a Surprise,” “Wandering in Wild Places, Part 2,” Friday, September 8, 2017. Pronouns edited by CAC; see for original text.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring Within Us: Daily Meditations (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2016), 6

This reminds me of one of my favorite novels. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert who also wrote Eat Pray Love, one of my favorite biographies and who wrote Big Magic, one of my favorite self-help books. 

So my encouragement to you all and to myself is to get back to the barre. I need to find myself some dirt to play in today.

Lorrie Hastings (Lulu)

Earth to Lulu, “HELP”.

It's amazing how much more respect I received when I started calling - what some might call a mild hoarding problem - into an “I collect vintage" hobby. After years of doing nothing but displaying my collection, I started planting flowers in them, which gained praise from my dear friends and guests. But the sweet and skeptical husband I have lived with for 37 years was still not convinced. And honestly, the plants were multiplying and I was running out of room for him. So instead of pushing him out of the house, I started putting price tags on my creations, just to see what might happen. Lulu's House was born.

Now, one year later, my vintage collection is being shared with you all, and to my surprise and excitement I realized that I have been upcycling and recycling all these thrift store, estate sale, garage sale, etc. items for many years. I am thrilled to be part of the movement that recognizes the threat of climate change and yet still hopes to make an impact in our local communities to stop and reverse the harm that we have done to our beautiful planet. We have enough junk in this world. I am proud to say that Lulu's House recycles or upcycles 95% of her product, including packaging.

I am no expert in the recycling community, only Fairy Gardening (see credentials in my last blog). But I am doing my little part in the larger picture, and I hope to inspire others to do the same.

I do, however, have a friend that is an expert on recycling. Richard has started a company called Green Rank, which aides us as restaurant-goers to support businesses that make efforts to create less waste and recycle. He says “Continue to recycle. Continue to reduce your consumption of natural resources and fossil fuels. Continue to learn, share, and act. But as you’re doing these things, remember that we are in a period of transition. A destructive, unsustainable system is passing away and we have the power to shape what will replace it. Start now. Be the change you want to see.”

Love the planet you’re on.

Love, Lulu

My start with Fairies

A year in on my adventure with Lulu's House, and it’s time to start a blog. I really didn’t think anyone would be interested, but by the amount of questions I receive during markets, it is apparent that they are! Typically, I refer to Lulu in the third person but I want this to be a personal rambling from me, Lorrie, so I am coming out as Lulu, and I’ll write in the first person being Lorrie/Lulu. Technically, second and third person. Which reminds me, I will also send these posts to my daughter, an English major, to proof for me in order to make them bearable to you: the curious reader.

Let us go back a year and a half ago to when I was still working as a full-time away nanny with two, two-year olds. Now, I thought to myself, if I can do this, I can do anything. And honestly, the kids were killing me. I was getting slower while they were picking up speed at a scary speed-of-light rate. So what next? What do I love to do? Can I pull it off? Can I make a living? I have answered all those questions this past year - except the last one. But, I’m still having fun and that is what it’s all about. Right, supportive husband of mine? So persevere I will.

First question I get asked a lot is, “How long have you been fairy gardening?” Which I find odd, like it was an accredited career, like when I went to "Bow Making College," more on that later. But here is the short answer. My Grandmother was an amazing gardener who gave me her love of plants and flowers. We would go for walks and she would identify species and talk about them like they were old friends. Occasionally, we would sit down in the field, garden, yard, back alley, etc. and get up close to the micro happenings in the dirt. Of course, before we knew it we were building tiny houses, furniture, gardens, etc. out of sticks and rocks, plants, etc. for the tiny things that happened to live there. Honestly, we never saw one, but the fairies were always present or presumed to be enjoying our miniature oasis. 

It never left me. 

Future topics, such as why I will never grow up, plant care, creative play, etc. If you have any ideas for me, please comment.  

Love, Lulu