Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The truck arrived yesterday with furniture from my childhood.  The pieces are being handed down to my daughter who turns 14 next week.   One simple piece holds special memories - a vanity that was my great grandmother's, Marina Benzoni.

I spent many afternoons in front of the vanity staring in the mirror wondering what I would look like at age 21, 30, and 40.   Each of those birthdays have long passed.   I look in the mirror now and see the woman I am today.

Before the vanity moves into my daughter's room, it must be refinished.   As was the trend in the early 1970's, my mother painted it antique white and gold.   Growing up, I always wondered what the wood looked like beneath the layers of paint.   I have been stunned in amazement by the process these past 2 days.

As I apply the stripper, I marvel how quickly the paint lifts.   I have refinished furniture before and this is the fastest reaction I have ever seen.   The paint literally lifts up as a sheet as soon as I apply the chemical.

I've seen this reaction in myself and my students, too.   When there's a catalyst for change we will quickly shed off the adorned layers revealing a rough, dried and stained surface underneath.  The next step is to neutralize the situation then sand smooth the remaining rough spots with a very delicate hand & super fine grit.   This refinishing process is much like our therapeutic movement work.   The natural beauty shines out at this stage - and is accentuated with stain and a clear coat.

Underneath all those layers of 40-year old paint, the vanity revealed a spectacular zebra wood.

What's been hiding beneath the surface is quite special.

We are too.

My each of us continue to re-finish.