One of the best things about traveling to teach is meeting new people and seeing new places. After Houston, I spent two days in Conroe, TX teaching some wonderful ladies at the Christ Church Art Ministry. We had an awesome two days eating and collaging together! I really enjoyed spending time with this fun loving group of women. They even had a gallery reception in my honor on my last night there. We had food and wine and a great time viewing the art and hanging out. Sandi even brought some of her home made Limoncello, which was to die for!
The ladies from Conroe made and signed this STUNNING bejeweled apron!
While in Conroe I was able to run the perimeter of an all but abandoned outlet mall right behind my hotel. This was awesome as I did not get a lot accomplished on the treadmill in Houston!
Sedona, AZ always makes me happy. This is my second time teaching with the Sedona Art Center and it was nice to return to a familiar place and be hugged by the director when I popped my head in his office to pickup the keys.
When Was the Last Time
You did Something For the First Time?
This trip I decided to try mountain biking. Let me start by saying that mountain biking totally scares the crap out of me. Why? Because I road bike. Yes, on the road bike, sand, rocks, and holes are not your friend. On a mountain bike, sand, rocks, holes and MOUNTAINS are what it's all about. OMG there are no mountains in FL and I'm used to sea level, we are at 4500 ft. here in Sedona.
Jon Kerschner, my mountain bike guide from Hermosa Tours
But, I am always in for trying something new. Why not? I knew I couldn't go it alone and be safe, so I hooked up with Hermosa Tours and got myself a certified guide. He assured me he had certifications in wilderness first aid and CPR, which made me feel good and bad at the same time.
Every now and then you have to wander down a new path
It took me a while to get over my fears and "let go" on the bike. I wiped out in the first half hour because I was tense and pulling too hard on the front break while cascading downhill and over loose rocks (not gravel, rocks). As my body bounced downhill and over said rocks, taking the skin off my elbows, I wondered, "why am I doing this again?" "To grow, and expand my horizons, and experience new things," I reminded myself. Jon explained to me that I needed to trust the bike, be one with it. He said I had to believe that this bike was equipped for the terrain. I needed to forget all I knew about triathlon road biking and group riding on Sunday mornings. I needed to open my mind to something new. This can be difficult as an adult, can't it? Jon said, "try to think like a kid." he said, "A kid just goes into things full force, never worrying that they may not be able to do it. They have faith and confidence." Sounds like advice I have given you, doesn't it?
So I decided to take my own advice. I trusted Jon, I let go, I had faith. I gained confidence once I let the bike roll faster and faster over rocks and ledges and hills and sand and holes. Guess what? Jon was right, the mountain bike with it's full suspension and big wide tires could handle it. I kept my but back and my center of gravity back as I rolled full speed downhill and pedaled hard and strong up over rocks and hills. I looked 12 feet ahead and not just at what was immediately in front of me. I followed the line that Jon was laying out. I was learning something new and I having a lot of fun doing it!
Jon and I stopped to pose for a photo, with an amazing backdrop
We rode for almost four hours. In the end the uphills were really wiping me out. I had to stop and catch my breath while Jon and Little Kevin seemed like they could go forever. We had backpacks full of water and snacks, clip shoes, sunscreen, and stunning views. I just kept thinking "I can't believe I'm actually doing this."
Eventually even Little Kevin needed a break too, she was pooped
Have faith in yourself, don't be afraid to go down a new path leading you out of your comfort zone. The same goes for your art. Recently I was commissioned to create a tractor. I was happy to have been chosen by the interior designer for the project, and I immediately agreed to provide her with prints of my farm animals and to create an original tractor collage. She sent me a box of brochures from the tractor company to incorporate into the artwork. Lots of straight lines in a tractor. Lots.
The 20x20 tractor commission finished on the easel
My friend and CEO of Growing Bolder, Marc Middleton (creator of my story that is currently running on PBS TV) commented on my post of the finished tractor collage: "Commissions seem to push you, at least slightly, in a direction you might not go otherwise and the results are always fabulous. More commissions!"
I took this comment and mulled it around a bit. He's right, I'd have never thought to collage a subject with such rigidity, even though it is in the barnyard friends and fowl genre. "Push you in a direction you might not go otherwise." Check.
My previous trip to Sedona I rented a road bike, because it was what I knew. This time I tried something outside my comfort zone. And guess what?
It was a lot more fun.
We made it out alive! Packed in and headed to vegan lunch!