Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Peaceful Sheep by Ronda Szymanski

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.”
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Hello all,
It is good to be back although I am arriving later rather than soon.  Life gets busy and it happens and it has always been difficult for me to follow through on my ideas.  It is hard for me to make my dreams a reality. That, I presume, is the reason I have started this blog three times prior to this present incarnation. But, please allow me use this humbling experience to enable you to know me better and to introduce you to my art and my ideas I have about the vision I call Zinnia's Way.

Zinnia's Way is a journey, to say the least, one that I am preparing to open up to the world and inviting all to come along.  It is a project of creativity and soul awakening, of art and agriculture and building community, strengthening relationships and opening hearts through service, art and goat yoga.

Have I mentioned that I speak in sweeping statements and over emphatic hyperbole?  Oh, well you might have noticed.

Zinnia's Way, the blog, is an exercise in finding my voice.  It is a platform to test my bravery and open myself to come what may.  I hope you find things interesting.  I hope you get my humor.  I hope I can paint pictures for you that move you to say, "Yes!" and not, oh well, I guess you had to be there. 

Zinnia's Way, our urban homestead, located in Greensboro, NC, is the 4 acre property that my husband Chris and I are working diligently to build, cultivate and grow.  It is currently home to two small gardens, one hard working herb garden, several expanding flower beds, ten curious chickens, one macho rooster, eight entertaining ducks, two feisty goats, two loving cats who love us dearly but only tolerate each other, acceptably, and one nudgy, excitable, friendly, protective, sweetheart of a  puppy dog named Margeaux, who burps. 

I hope one day to feature my art in a studio barn on our homestead.  I envision classes and workshops and shows and community gatherings there. That barn has yet to be built. I am currently working out of a small studio in our basement and exhibit locally, regionally and nationally.  I am working on a project that I call Art and Agriculture: A Creative Placemaking Experiment that will bring together local artists and artisans who share an interest in the rural heritage and value of our North Carolina region, who have an appreciation of agriculture, specifically small farms and locally made, locally grown products.  I hope to be able to facilitate various immersion experiences that will be made available to the urban and suburban residents of Greensboro and surrounding communities.

In the spring of 2018 Zinnia's Way will begin the immersion experiences with a series of Goat Yoga classes and farm receptions for the winners of multiple charity auction packages that were donated to raise funds for several local non-profits, including the Greensboro Opera, the Greensboro Symphony Guild and Family Services of the Piedmont. I am so excited about putting my yoga teacher training to good use and combining it with the ability to share our adorable goats with the auction winners and their friends.  Even more exciting will be the baby goats that we will add to our farm family in the spring. We will most likely have some baby chicks to enhance the "awwww" factor as well.  But the thing that I am above all most excited about is bringing and giving an experience of joy and happiness and laughter and peace to over 50 people in my city.

It is my hope to be able to offer goat yoga sessions to the Greensboro community this spring as well.  Plans are underway to make this a definite possibility. So if you live in the Greensboro area, check back soon to get more information and if it is a go, to register for a wonderfully unique experience in our own backyard!

On one final note for today, I hope you enjoy my "Peaceful Sheep" artwork that is featured at the top of this post.  It was exhibited in Harrisonburg, VA in 2014 at the VMRC Juried Multimedia Art Exhibition.  It was the winner of a Purchase Award and is now residing in the home of a lovely woman from New Mexico.  It is just one part of my art journey story that will continue through the pages of this blog in the days and months to come.

So, now I have made known to you a little bit more known of my unknown.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Share some of your unknown with someone today!  You never know what a difference you might make!

Peace to you all,


Sunday, August 27, 2017


"When all else fails, take a vacation..." Betty Williams

Visiting family in Michigan. Be back soon...


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Choosing Forgiveness

"In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the worst thing you can do is nothing." - Theodore Roosevelt

Choosing Forgiveness

I really want to consider forgiveness today.  What comes to your mind when you hear that word?  Does the idea of forgiving someone seem like an easy thing to do?  Does it feel natural?  Does it feel like you are doing the right thing?  Does it feel like you are doing nothing?

Maybe forgiving someone else is easy.  But what about forgiving yourself?  Can you do it?  If you can, how long does it last?  

I appreciate how Gerald Jampolsky explains the function of forgiveness in Lesson 2 of Love is Letting Go of Fear:

"Forgiveness as defined here, is different from the way most of us have been trained to understand it.  Forgiveness does not mean assuming a position of superiority and putting up with or tolerating behavior in another person that we do not like.  Forgiveness means correcting our misperception that the other person harmed us.

The unforgiving mind, contrasted with the forgiving mind, is confused, afraid and full of fear.  It is certain of the interpretation it places on its perceptions of others.  It is certain of the justification of its anger and the correctness of its condemning judgement.  The unforgiving mind rigidly sees the past and future as the same and is resistant to change.  It does not want the future to be different from the past.  The unforgiving mind sees itself as innocent and others as guilty.  It thrives on conflict and on being right, and it sees inner peace as its enemy.  It perceives everything as separate.

Whenever I see someone else as guilty, I am reinforcing my own sense of guilt and unworthiness.  I cannot forgive myself unless I am willing to forgive others.  It does not matter what I think anyone has done to me in the past or what I think I may have done.  Only through forgiveness can my release from guilt and fear be complete."

Current events around the world are a testament to the need for forgiveness and I am skeptical of the reality that others have not harmed others.  Sticks and stones and trucks and bombs, these are behaviors that I do not want to put up with or tolerate.  Yet when it comes down to the person behind the bombs, driving the trucks and throwing the stones, if we had the chance to lunch with them and look them in the eyes, we would see a person, trapped in the chains of an unforgiving mind, trapped in fear. And I cannot achieve happiness unless I can look them in the eyes and forgive them.  "Forgive them for they know not what they do." Peace within me. Peace to offer to my neighbors. Peace to offer to my country. Peace to offer to my world.  And it begins to be a better place. And it begins with ME...and YOU.

Peace be with you,


Friday, August 25, 2017

Prediction vs. Peace

Prediction vs. Peace

"Sometimes we put more value in predicting and controlling than in having peace of mind.  At times, it feels more important for us to predict that we are going to be miserable the next moment, and then find pleasure in being right, than to have true happiness in the present moment.  This can be looked upon as an insane way of trying to protect ourselves.  It produces a short circuit that confuses pleasure with pain.

We often believe that the fears of the past can successfully predict the fears of the future.  The results of this type of thinking are that we spend most of our time worrying about both the past and the future, creating a vicious circle of fear, which leaves little room for Love and joy in the present." -Love is Letting Go of Fear, pg.20


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Love is Letting Go of Fear

Welcome to the birth of a new Blog.  I am so happy you are here!  I invite you to journey with me through a labyrinth of ideas and art, learning and unlearning with some goat yoga and rooster dodging mixed in for fun. The goal of this platform is to inspire peace and joy and community.  We all have gifts to give.  My wish is that through these pages, you may be inspired to find your unrevealed gifts and gain the courage to take them into the world.  If this sounds good to you, let's go!

Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky is one of my favorite inspiration packed little books. It was a life changing, life saving book for me a few years ago for reasons that may or may not find themselves being shared within these pages later on down the blogging road.

     "The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working.  To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of NOW, and dissolve the fear in our minds.  This changed perception leads to the recognition that we are not separate but have always been joined.
     There are many valid pathways that lead to transformation and inner peace.  This small book is written as a personal transformation towards a life of giving and Love, and away from a life of getting and fear.  In brief, this is a book about self-fulfillment through giving.  The words and drawings present practical applications of the steps for transformation to everyday situations that all of us face.  It is intended to help us remove the blocks to the awareness of Love's presence, our true reality, so that we may experience the miracles of Love in our lives." ( Love is Letting Go of Fear, pg. 13)

Starting something new, starting again, starting something new again is a scary prospect. How many times have I started this blog?  I'm not sure, I have kind of lost count.  But here I am and ready to do things differently this time.  Life takes us through many trials and errors if we allow ourselves the risks to take them and make them.  I have been through some difficult times since last attempting to blog.  Since then I have abandoned some hopes, conjured up some new hopes, shattered some dreams and dreamed up some more with a few little successes and a lot of disappointments along the way.  And does this make me special?  No way!  I think it makes me human. I think it makes me alive. It puts me in the category of all those who fall and get back up, who crash and burn and live to drive another day and all of those who try, try and try again.  It is the universal journey to success and if any of these concepts ring true to you, then you are on the same journey.  We are mates.

I desire to bring to you a gift of eccentricity, enjoyment and engagement through a collection of thoughts, activities, images, music, videos and journaling. While much of the content that presents itself here may not be original, it will to the very best of my abiiliity, abbility, ability be authentic.  And perhaps painfully so at times as I struggle to find the best voice to communicate my mental map of a transformed world, person by person, heart by heart.  A map with paths to forgiveness, roads to healing and highways of peace and happiness, contentment and joy.

Wherever you are joining me from, wherever you are on your journey, I welcome you with an open heart and wish you well on your path.  I hope as the days and months and years go by that you will find and continue to find here, things that make you smile, make you laugh, bring you joy and help you take your peace and happiness, your gifts, into your corner of the world!

"Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it, boldness has genius, power and magic in it." -Goethe