How Playing Polo has Forever Altered How I Conduct Business and Life.

May 25, 2013 at 9:36 pm (Excellence in Business, Health, Polo, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

It all started innocent enough a sincere desire to learn a new skill or sport each and every year and become competent in said new discovery.

One year it was learning to speak French well enough that French people could understand me even in the Camargue.

Another year or three it was learning to cab and freeform gemstones and rocks for use in jewelry.


This year was going to be flying…somewhere along the road to flight school I was waylayed while looking up the opening day for Polo season. There it was a notice for polo school. I have always loved watching polo as it is about a skilled rider and horse team as well as being a team sport which is fast paced, challenges your personal best and involves picnics and fashion! This had me written all over it. It was love at first glance.

I have western style cowboy boots…made in Texas of course and stretchy blue jeans but no helmet, mallet or breeches. They provided the helmet, mallet, and polo pony as well as a highly skilled pro coach. All I needed was bravery and a signed waiver releasing my life and cause of death and I was good to go. Life is a fatal sport, that I accept and embrace whole heartedly. I have faced death a few times in my life on short notice and it allows you the freedom to fully live knowing that this moment is all we have. It truly is not just what your yoga teacher told you. My most recent brush with death was in January outside my gym…not a pretty way to go after a great workout.

I prefer green sports which have little or no carbon footprint as earth ethics are forefront in my business and life. Sailing is my other passion. I like speed, skill and luck in my sports. Excitement and adrenaline pave the way to my deeper relaxation and it is a bonding experience with your teammates including the four legged ones. It is a game of polite aggression.  Winning is always important but scoring goals and not committing fouls is as important. One skill is called “riding off” which is where you come in and match your opponent’s speed and bring the angle in to meet and push them off the ball. Done properly it is very effective and a skill all its own.

20130525_111013Last week I played against a young woman who was a level two player but having been off a season was playing with us so the coach could place her for the summer. She was a great hooker and by that I don’t mean what your naughty little mind is thinking! It is a technique to keep your opponent from hitting the ball. She stopped my ball more than once so I continued to watch her and this week got in quite a bit of hooking on my own and once used it to capture the ball and play back my direction! Whoo hoo!

Today we had an old grass player with us who hadn’t played for six seasons and again was playing with us for placement. He taught me a lot about riding off and hooking too. It makes the game more competitive having some variation in skill level on the teams and you quickly know who is your one, two or three player. I tend to play second or third and enjoy defense as well as offence. Which is how I play in real life too.

We are always learning from our competitors and our colleagues and in business you can let your ego get in the way of that lesson…or at least I know I can. In polo you don’t have the luxury of a bruised ego as the game is too fast paced not to learn, incorporate the lesson and keep riding toward your next goal. Business is the same and remember there is always another match to play if you didn’t win this one. I scored one goal and my team lost this week but I am always a winner having played and learning to change my weaknesses into strengths.


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Art is Love Personified

March 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm (Art, Freedom, Letting go, LoVe) (, , , , , , , )

I know that is a big statement…but think about it for a minute. Art is the culmination of an artist’s lifework in the form of an expression of love for all things. Even the difficulties in an artist’s life become an important part of the work. The pain the broken heart, the joy, the growth, the disappointments all live in our work. If they don’t then it probably isn’t art but craft.

The greatest of greats have had difficult lives and at the very least challenges that would have broken people of lesser commitment to their love of their art and the driving need to communicate. people used to feel sorry for me marrying and having my first child at 17. Would I recommend this path to anyone? Never. Did it work to make me who I am today? Without a doubt many of my skills at hustle and knowing failure is not an option are directly related to knowing I had to be successful to provide for growing family. I had a loving husband who was a true partner for most of our marriage but I had bigger dreams and more courage than he had and I wasn’t about to live the life he would have settled for if he were the sole breadwinner. I put all of my sorrow, my yearnings and my love into my jewelry at every stage of my career.  I think the pure heart and soul I put into my work is what drove me to continue on as it was an outlet for all my goals, frustrations and desires as well as my expression of beauty for its own sake.

IMG_8326These earrings are rubellite and green tourmalines with citrine briolettes in 14k gold. I choose the tourmalines as these remind me of hot pink snapdragons on their green stalks and the citrines are droplets of rainwater. They make me smile and I have recreated them several times and in other color combinations reminiscent of flower colors. Hot pink rhodolite garnets with deep purple amethysts are pansies and peridot green with lemon citrines are fresh scented daffodils in early Spring.

These aquamarines remind me of a fresh spring bubbling up on the desert floor or a cloudless day in winter. The sweet delicate color allows the wearer to enjoy them with many looks and moods.
Aquamarines in 14k gold
So nothing I make is an accident or without deeper thought. Often it takes me longer to create a new line of jewels because I do reflect long before actually sitting down to the bench to create. The stone I am cutting today may end up in a piece next week or next year or be sold as a finished gemstone to another jeweler. I do what I do because I love the process and the message. Jewelry is a way for me to convey my message of sustainability and local manufacture by giving the consumer a place to begin their own conversation about their own meaning…


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Challenge to buy no clothes or accessories for one year!

June 6, 2012 at 4:56 am (Letting go, simple frugality) (, , , , , , , , , , )

My dear friend has challenged me to a year-long fast from purchasing new or used clothes for one year. I’m agreeing to do it until the end of 2012. She on the other hand will take the 365 challenge.
In my head I’m already worrying about whether things will wear out too soon or if I have enough sweaters for fall. How ridiculous! I have more than enough of everything. I will put more shoes into daily circulation so that my favorites will last longer. I will certainly think longer before I throw things in the toss pile for the remainer of the year and I will free up even more time which previously was spent shopping for the next great running or boating shoe.
I am mentally inventorying my clothes and although I have a near dozen pair of jeans only two pair currently fit and one pair of shorts in three fit. Luckily I have four skirts which fit well and more for a more svelte version of myself waiting in the wings. I can see now that having three sizes of clothes in my closet adds to the clutter and confusion of what to wear each day. After enjoying my daughter’s cooking for a month I have moved up to the top end of my wardrobe size. I am readjusting my eating style and how often now and should be back to my middle ground very shortly as summer always means more swimming and hiking and walking the parks. So in this way I will add to my wardrobe by changing size. One dilemma solved.
I can see here where this may also involve doing more conscious wardrobe rotation as well to maximize the already available choices. Creativity will be put to the test. It is amazing how much time is spent shopping when we all commonly complain we don’t have enough hours in the days to do everything. Cutting out this one thing, depending on how much time one spends shopping now could translate into time for meditation, yoga, a workout at the gym or even more time for a hobby or reading.
It occurs to me that a clothing fast and TV fast could nicely go hand in hand. Cut out the triggers and feel better about yourself just as you are. When Asta suggested this challenge to me I wasn’t sure what it would entail being called a fashion fast…I was imagining wearing things which were from a few seasons ago, contrasting colors and even mixing prints to stay out of the fashion freeway fast lane. Oh wait a minute that’s how I dress now! I wear what I like regardless of what season it is from. We call that style. I never did get a pair of open toed woven fold over ankle boots on a platform heel…oh wait those are so out no one even will admit they were even in! I have classic heels in a few styles from black slingbacks a kitten heel sandal, a stiletto strappy snake skin pair and a pair of platform espadrilles. A flat pair of pointy toe Mary Janes while living in France at a sale and a pair of embroidered black suede Spanish boots. Leather flip flops and a pair of flat white espadrilles as well as my red Sole Rebels and my white leather boat sneakers…gee when you start writing out some of them it sounds like a lot…maybe I already have too many shoes I don’t regularly wear. Maybe it is time to wear everything and cull the herd a bit. I got rid of several pairs last year and the recipients were very happy to get them so it may be time to think about doing it again in time for the Really Really free market. Some of my beautiful heels might result in a sprained ankle if I try to wear them these days while I tote Munchie the 95lb Bulldog around town and try to wear them on a sailboat.

I think this comes down to re-evaluating who I am and my lifestyle rather than thinking of them as memories. This may prove to be an interesting time ahead in this challenge. By getting these items in play I am forced to confront their deeper value in my life. A couple of years ago I got rid of clothes given to me by previous boyfriends as way to free myself of my past and live more in the present. The last tee shirt I gave away a few months ago to a sweet neighbor. It said “Taken” and it seemed like it was time to pass it on and she loves it.  She is a young woman who is single and currently traveling the US with family this summer working state fairs. That shirt just might come in handy…it did for me although I think that with Munchie around I don’t need the shirt to stay single, but look taken. Then we have what I call the trade professional clothes which in my case are for public appearances and special events. These are the silk skirts, fitted and dirndl in fabrics too nice to wear daily. Problem is, my life is more about wiping wet hands on my jeans while stone cutting than circulating at trade shows with buyers in an ankle length washed silk skirt and linen top.  So I can see where an edited usable wardrobe of those finer items needs to be available but maybe in smaller quantities. It had been suggested these could be dating clothes now but, I like adventure dates and often wear just a tee shirt and skirt over my swimsuit in the summer for errands on my way home from the beach.

So it will indeed be an interesting challenge for more reasons than just the obvious….wish me bon chance!

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