Chasing Down the Muse: Grateful for a life of blessings

October 15, 2013|By Cherril Doty

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.Melody Beattie

Ah, yes, gratitude! In these trickster times, gratitude is sometimes not right in the front of our minds. Worry for ourselves, our families, our friends, our country and even perfect strangers crowds out thoughts of thankfulness. Yet gratitude can help to offset the worries. It can help us to grow and expand, to remind us of the joy and laughter still with us.

And so I turn to gratitude, even as my heart hurts for those suffering through these tough times. As William Arthur Ward said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."


Here is the present:

On this third anniversary of the Sawdust Art Festival's program of studio art classes, I cannot but turn to thoughts of gratitude. In the three years the program has been running, I've witnessed an abundance of moments that were special beyond any expectation. These moments brought gratitude into play.

Just recently, a young couple called asking to book a custom class on the pottery wheel. They wanted to create a special piece of pottery, something both of their hands had a part in creating.

This large piece of pottery would then, as in the old traditions, be broken. Their twist on tradition is that they will give each of their wedding guests a shard to keep.

As I watched them work with their instructor, I marveled at not only her skill in teaching them something they had never before tried, but their immersion in the process and the joy and laughter they brought with them.

How could I not know gratitude in this moment?

There are so many moments filled with laughter in our classrooms as people join together in creating pieces of art. How could I forget the woman who so timidly placed her brush on the canvas, but at the end of the class turned and said with a grin, "You like it?" Or the beaming face of the young man who had just created a truly memorable piece of blown glass.

Our students pound away at metal with gusto. Some of them jump back with a laugh at the sound of the torch coming on in a water casting class. They are intense. They are focused. They are thrilled.

Some come with definite ideas in mind. Some come merely to play with the opportunity. There is freedom for all of it.

For me, the opportunity to experience these students and be in a relationship with wonderful instructors who really know their stuff and engage these minds, well, these things fill me with gratitude.

Three years! Wow! It is only the beginning. In gratitude for the great successes of the three years, a "3-fer" discount is in effect for October through the end of the year. Check out the website for the details.

In gratitude, there is always much to notice, admire and find wonderful and astonishing. For all of it, I am grateful.

Cherril Doty is an artist, writer and director of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes in Laguna Beach. Always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and the ever-changing mysteries — and surprises — of life, she can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.

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