To be present is to Live // Love Letter, July 2022

To be present is to Live // Love Letter, July 2022

Happy summer to you all! 

Our dear friend and teacher Norm always told us in his drawing class, "to draw is to see." He loved being outdoors, fascinated with all things in nature, and loved his ancient oak tree, which was a grounding force in his family's beautiful backyard. He was a designer, artist, and friend, and his lesson has stayed with me through all these years. When I pay enough attention to drawing and documenting what is in front of me, I start to notice otherwise easily overlooked details. Whether the "something" is a sign by the road, the way waves crash at the beach, or how the canyons and mountains deeply affect my inner being, to experience life requires me to be present.

I am the first to admit how difficult it feels to navigate competing forces of today's tech culture which, to me, are some of the biggest obstacles to being present. However, their pull has been developed to be incredibly strong "by design." Some documentaries and studies show the kind of impacts that the act of "scrolling" on media does on our brain chemistry. By the nature of how Baum-kuchen operates, my activities for BK evolve a lot around devices and platforms that are productive and also have the potential to become highly addicting. 

I appreciate the story "Time is a Bouquet You Give Yourself" shared by A.C. Their story arrived in my inbox in a timely manner when I was thinking about how incredible it felt to be held by nature. Trina is traveling through Germany right now, and I am certain she will have a lot to share in her story when she returns next month. 

Our girls continue to be my inspiration. Free from being tethered to their smartphones or unlimited access to YouTube videos (by our family choice), their summer break is filled with art-making, handwork, nature days with friends, and reading new books. Coco created three sets of watercolor paintings for her upcoming BK tapes, and Satchi is knitting her 8th pair of socks to share with her friend while devouring books recommended for summer reads. Their relentless creativity and genuine productivity are remarkable to witness, even with parental bias tinting the opinion (just a little:). 

So here I am - working on making intentional choices as often as possible throughout the day. To put my phone down to enjoy the moment and notice the subtle and quieter release of the happy chemicals in my brain instead of scrolling for an instant rush of addictive chemicals that leave me exhausted. I tell myself that the goal is not to aim for perfection but to keep working towards it. 

I do wonder if Norm was actually trying to teach us "to be present is to live" when he used to say, "to draw is to see." I would never know today, but I like the feeling that he is still nudging us with the message through the oak trees canopy that is above us. 


always a work in progress...

Topanga, California // July 6th, 2022

**This is from our BK Love Letter for July 2022. If you would like to see the entire love letter we sent to our community, you can browse it via this link.


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