Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
He who looks outside, dreams. He who looks inside, awakens. Carl Jung

Monday, December 31, 2012

One Word 2013

This will not be a long blog post could I possibly add to John Lennon?  I found my one word/intention for self and others in Central Park this past week. Would love to hear yours.  For a fun new celebration, see Jill Badonsky's Awemanac facebook page.  For those of you hanging in there for my sporadic posts...a sincere thank you...I have not done well in keeping up with my blog or friends.  I wish you all peace, joy and love in the new year!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happiness is a Choice

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify.  Henry David Thoreau

Much of this past year I have worked hard to do just that...simplify.   So much easier said than done.  I have taken a less demanding job that is more fulfilling @ this time of my life and I am slowly learning the art of delegation in my home life.  I am learning that what I bring to the table in this moment is its own perfection.  And I am clearing out spaces...a little @ a weed out the consumer driven life that controls some of us.  And finally I am beginning to notice sky as canvas, the arch of a tree limb and bell clocks ringing in a glorious day.  What are you doing to slow down your own time? Need help...write a list of what you value most and look for those areas in life that don't match. Start small...leave some extra time to notice your surroundings...journal about the flavor of the day...what sights sounds smells etc called to you?  Love the moment you are in as life is measured in moments:)

(In my attempt to simplify I am trying to learn to blog from my phone...if this post looks a mess.
Well this is a skill I've yet to master:)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thoughts on Creativity


“Basic Principles:
1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life -- including ourselves.
3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us and our lives.
4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
5. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.
6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.
7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.
8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.”
Julia Cameron

So the above are clearly not my thoughts; however, these are the words that resonate for me.  I have been playing with creativity forever but in the last several years I have ventured into many areas that I once said “I can’t” and I’ve used creativity as my path to deeper spirituality.  In doing so, I also just began “Scrappy’s”, an avenue to share my creations with others.  And then a dear friend  asked for a workshop on creativity.  That I have not developed as I don’t think it’s my time yet…and how does it get better than Julia Cameron’s work ~ she has laid this path in The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write.  But I am happy to share what I have learned through my own process:

~ Simplify….shed items, tasks, activities, and commitments that do not add value to your life; this goes for your mind as well…whatever you can get rid of that has negative energy, fear, overwhelm and stress needs to be released to make room for daydreaming

~ Define creativity for yourself ~ creative expression isn’t just found at the MOMA; creating comes from parenting, food preparation and presentation, household organization, crafting, sewing, writing and coloring pages!  I have a writing prompt in my e-guidebook May Queen Musings that might be useful here:

May Queen Musing #3
Write about what in your life you have given birth to, what have you created (children, art, crafts, hobbies, projects, businesses, homes etc.)?

~ Forget perfection and embrace your mistakes…they often take you on a path intended for you

~ Julia Cameron suggests “Artist Dates”…spend time alone in the world, taking it all in…nature, coffee shops, art stores, craft stores, libraries and the list goes on

~ Learn the art of mindfulness, the ability to be in this moment without looking back or forward and find the joy in those moments

~ Play ~ fly kites, stare at the sky, blow bubbles, by your own crayola set, doodle, walk barefoot in the grass, swing at the park

~ Laugh often and enjoy whimsy

~ Just jump in…I find that the more I create, I become more creative…as far as the “how to”, there are tons of blogs and websites full of tutorials and I use writing prompts as “creativity prompts” so the end result instead of a written piece may be an art journal page, an Artist Trading Card or a canvas

~ Finally, for me, I have to give thanks for every blessing and any gifts that God may have allowed to flow through me for the day

Celebrate the Creative Journey:)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Precious Moments

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.  Ralph Waldo Emerson






Thank you Myra and your beautiful little girl for allowing me these glimpses of precious moments.

Sorry I’ve been out of the blogging loop for awhile ~ summer, coupled with some major life decisions has allowed me to slow down a bit and look beyond myself. 

Journal prompts/exercises:

Julia Cameron calls them “artist dates”…take yourself somewhere peaceful/inspiring for no other purpose than to soak up the ambience, observing and feeling all that’s around you through all senses…then write about it.

Describe the last moment that you felt one in beauty with all that was around you…or awed by being allowed to witness it.  Did this moment have a special message?

Using the above pictures, or other pictures that call to you, write a poem or story infused with the emotional temperature of the picture.

Happy Monday:)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Story Circle Network Conference


Thinking of my Story Circle Network sisters as their conference begins this weekend.  If you’ve never been and can go, I encourage you to do so. It’s a wonderful experience, full of learning, sharing, stretching self and bonding.  I wrote the following after the last conference:

Open Mic Night
@ a Story Circle Conference

The air shimmered
with soul-sister stories
Permeating our spirits
Like rain showers on a thirsty day

She-Warrior by She-Warrior
Called to the stage
Sharing and baring her pain and despair
Her humor, Her strength
Her joy, Her wisdom

We become one in
Universal themes of
Individual narrative
Blurring the boundaries
Where one ends and
Another begins

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekend Photos

Each day is a gift, no matter the season.

Saturday (about 60 degrees):













Monday morning:




And now it’s back to 60 degrees again:)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mindful Parenting


 I saw an article shared on Facebook the other day comparing the parents in France to those in the United States.  The author went on to describe how well behaved the children of the French parents were and how they had the right idea to allow free time and setting boundaries on expectations and adult time.  I don’t disagree ~ in the U.S. we often overbook ourselves and our children, have too high expectations that don’t match an individual child’s needs or their developmental stage and expose (even inadvertently, you can’t see a commercial or billboard that’s G rated anymore) our children to far more than what’s healthy.  However, the author basically dismisses the benefits that France offers its parents as a major variable in the seemingly effortless way that the French children are raised ~ free universal public nursery school (generally three hours in the morning, with a two hour lunch break for the parent and their children and three hours in the afternoon), universal medical insurance, mandatory paid maternity leave (minimum 16 weeks) and family allowances offered to all with no stigmatizing of a population that doesn’t have the same advantages of others (no, I haven’t been to France – found this information on one of their governmental websites and several other written sources).

Clearly, children and families are valued in France.    There are other countries that offer even more generous benefits to their parents of young children.  In the U.S., we view assistance as though it should only be offered to the “deserving”, offer very little in the way of providing enough to actually move ahead and fear that some families have no incentive to get off “welfare” (because $176 a month with a couple hundred in food stamps certainly indicates taxpayers are providing a lap of luxury for those folks stuck in the system).  Our country fights between political factions about what people should be provided.  But if we could move beyond the politics and consider what’s right in terms of behaving humanely and  consider this country’s crime rates, its dismal score on the UN report card of child well-being and explore the fact that we are only one of FOUR countries that do not mandate PAID maternity and/or paternity leave, perhaps we could find it in ourselves to remember the roots of this country.  Not the roots that were built on oppression and unspeakable acts against others, but the roots that believed that all should be equal (yes, I intentionally use the word ALL and not white men…and I mean no disrespect to white men) with an unalienable right to pursuit of happiness.  And one can not achieve the higher echelons of Maslow’s pyramid without a secure base.  Does it not behoove us to have healthy parents raising secure healthy families?

Let’s dig a little deeper.  When you consider that the primary brain development, the most intense time of development which interrupted can have lifelong devastating impacts is from in utero to age three (and no it doesn’t stop after this point), why would we not, as a nation, want our families of the young to be fully supported in their most important task – that of raising healthy, regulated, creative children that will one day be responsible for the leadership and care of our citizens.  This is not a topic for those parents of only young children.  This is not even a topic just for parents.  This is an issue for all of us.  And to add one more layer ~ more and more research is demonstrating the absolutely toxic effect of cortisol, the stress hormone, both in utero and during the prime development stage.  Children can not only experience stress but are impacted by the parents’ stress as well. 

A life without any stressors is unreasonable and probably only happens to those without a pulse.  But a life overloaded with stressors is not only detrimental to brain development but also exacerbates, and sometimes even causes, mental health and/or medical issues.  As the alleged greatest nation on earth, we can do better.

What can you do?  Educate yourself, make this a topic of focus for the politicians, and practice mindfulness.    Do what you can to create your own world outside the media and the expectations of others.  And journal about how stress impacts you and those you love.  Use springboards in your journal writing about what your stressors are and where can you let go.  I’ve also included a link to Jon Kabat Zinn’s website and some ideas on mindful parenting – learning to be in the moment without a hundred other distractions.  This will give you the opportunity to enjoy and LIVE your moments, model this for others and engage in deeper, more meaningful relationships…including with your children.  Children who feel worthy of your time and undivided attention gain valuable skills in their own sense of self.

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.  ~Pearl S. Buck

 Tip Sheet

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Consumerism vs Creativity

Simplicity is the final achievement.  After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.  Frederic Chopin


I’ve been skipping around in my “ABC’s of Me” and finally got to “C.”  As I’ve posted before, I’ve been attempting to hand make items whenever I can.  In the past couple of years, it has been about exploring creative avenues.  Now it has become more of a necessity.  One reason of course is the economy.  However, I’ve also found that I don’t want or need more “things.”  In fact, those “things” take up too much space and energy and I am trying to weed out and re-purpose as much as possible.  Given a choice between the mall and my writing/art/sewing room, I want my room.  Trying to teach this value to a younger generation though is challenging ~ had I thrown away the televisions and home schooled I might’ve had a chance.  For me, my creative room is magical…akin to Disney World.  My youngest daughter isn’t there yet ~ she’s never seen my art room on any commercial.  Interestingly, I’m not sure that it would have captured my attention either until the last few years.  Before this creative path began, I did not consider myself an artist in any way and I thought it was simpler to buy a gift than to make one.  Exploring creativity truly started once the tv no longer held my interest and I carved out times of solitude; then I was able to find out what I really enjoyed ~ which wasn’t the rush of the world or the glitz of storefronts.  I am thankful for the luxuries of stocked grocery stores and clothing but I do believe that capitalism has its costs…one of which is right brain thinking, the heart of creativity [yes, I know there are many others but this isn’t a political blog:)

Are you experiencing overwhelm?  A lack of time?  A lack of inspiration?  In what ways could you simplify your life so that you can LIVE your life?

(the candle pictured above is based off a project from Gauche Alchemy)