Entries Tagged as: body

Loving Your Body

January 26th, 2011, Comments (35)

I saw Jamie Riidler's post on Roots of She asking about how your relationship with your body has changed over time and I wanted to respond because I've noticed (and the hubster has noticed too) that since becoming pregnant, I've been more comfortable with my body than ever. I feel strong and powerful. I'm growing and it's a good thing. I'm taking care of myself with regular exercise, and eating well (while still eating chocolate.) I'm wearing clothes that make me feel good. I rub my body with yummy smelling lotions every night. I'm treating myself like the precious being I am.

I have to say that I didn't just start treating myself well because I'm pregnant (although that helped a lot.) I had some good practice in taking good care of myself in the months prior to getting pregnant, when I was deep in grief. Last spring I got pregnant for the first time and had an early miscarriage. I don't know that I've ever felt so heartbroken.

In the days I was going through it, the hubster (who was amazing) said to me, "Please take all the time you need to grieve. Feel sad when you feel sad, don't hold it back." And I really needed to hear that because I can be the type to try to brush things off and/or stuff things down. But this time, with the help of the permission I felt, I grieved and felt sad when I was sad. I also greatly simplified my life and felt intuitively that what I needed to do was to focus on self-care.

One of the things I did for myself was to get up early (because of the summer heat) 4-5 days a week and run. I'd been jogging off and on previously, nothing consistent, but during the summer, it became like medicine to me. Now this may not sound like self-care to some folks, but for me, it was. It helped to be out in nature, moving, breathing, and putting one foot in front of the other. So simple. I could manage this putting one foot in front of the other. I'd come home red-faced and sweaty, feeling strong and connected to my body. I didn't do much that summer, but I did what I needed to do.

By the time I became pregnant again, I felt more connected to my body than I ever had and so ready to embark on this new adventure I'm on now. I've also learned a few things from being pregnant that I want to carry with me.

  • *Your body is an amazing creation. Treat it as such.
  • *Regular movement helps you feel more connected and your body will thank you for it.
  • *Buy and wear clothes that make you feel good. Yes, sometimes cheap stuff will do the trick, but don't be afraid to buy quality pieces.
  • *Know that you're beautiful. If you feel that way, it radiates off you and others will feel it too.

Now I just have to remember these things postpartum. I'm going to take inspiration from beauties, like this woman, as I do so.

Head over to Roots of She to share your own story about how your relationship with your body has changed over time.

p.s. I took this self-portrait yesterday at 25 weeks.

Coming Home to Yourself

February 26th, 2010, Comments (15)

Chairs in a Row, mixed-media on panel, available here.

As we move swiftly towards the end of the month of home at the Creative Every Day Challenge, I notice that I've been thinking about and working on feeling at home with myself quite a bit.

Part of my working on this has involved regular movement. I mentioned last month that in the past, I was super strict and harsh with myself around exercise and food. I realized recently that my movement practice has very little to do with how I look and is now all about how I feel. What a difference that makes! I started out the winter with a practice of at least 20 minutes of movement 3 days a week. As the winter went on, I realized that to keep my mood up, I really needed more than that, so I stepped it up to 4 or 5 days a week. Much better.

And I've found as I stay more in touch with what helps me feel good, I feel so much more in touch with my body and my whole self. I feel like a work in progress (I suppose we are always a work in progress), but I like the connection I've been developing and this returning to myself.

Making art is another way I connect with those deeper parts of myself that are not always right on the surface of things. Creating art intuitively, helps me to get in touch with the ideas and feelings that may not have words yet. Along those lines, I'm excited to be teaching a workshop about creating art from the heart in Mindy's Wish*full virtual art retreat this spring!

How do you move towards feeling at home with yourself? What are the things you do that lead to feeling this way? How can you bring more of those things into your life?

Some of the things that help me re-connect are:

  • * Creating art intuitively, just letting it flow out.
  • * Getting regular movement.
  • * Returning to the present moment.
  • * Laughter.
  • * Being in nature.
  • * Taking a look at what I'm avoiding/procrastinating about and making a step forward. (Recently, that meant making a dentist appointment after a 2 year hiatus. Super scary to make the appointment, but it was totally fine and I had no cavities! Phew!)
  • * Writing in a stream of consciousness style (Morning pages style as suggested in The Artist's Way.)
  • * Getting support from friends and loved ones.

I'm curious about how you come home to yourself, so feel free to share in the comments!

I'm going to be out of town next week, but the check-in post will be there on Monday as usual and I've lined up some fabulous guest posts to keep you thinking about March's theme of Stories! Wishing you all a fabulously creative week!

Let Others In

January 30th, 2010, Comments (33)


Yesterday I finished this art for a project that's due shortly, but I thought it made a fitting image for the end of the body theme and beginning of the home theme. The theme for this piece is: "Let others in."

I think in many cases we use our body, either through body language or weight or attitude to keep others out. It's a safety mechanism meant to protect us from getting hurt. But these same safety mechanisms can also hurt us by not allowing us to get close to or get support from others. Have you ever experienced that? I know I have.

Doing this image has had me musing on the idea of letting others in, whether through an open embrace, sharing what's in our hearts, or welcoming others into our homes.

What are some of the ways you practice letting others in?

Update: A bit last minute, but this morning at 10am CST I'm going to be on Liv Lane's radio program, Get Real, in St. Paul/Minneapolis for about 15 minutes. The station is 107.1

*You can now listen to the podcast of the radio show here! I'm at the very beginning of hour 2. Enjoy!

Tree Bodies

January 23rd, 2010, Comments (30)

Trees always strike me as figure-like, especially in winter when they're stripped of their leaves. Perhaps that's why I love drawing and painting them so much!

I've been super sick over the past few days. I felt it coming on early in the week and tried my best to listen to my body and take it easy, but this cold/flu-thing still hit me like a ton of bricks and knocked me out for a few days. I'm still in recovery mode, living in pajamas and surviving on soup and tissues, but I started to get itchy to draw something this afternoon (a good sign!) and drew this tree image I've had in my head for awhile. I kept it simple, playing with watercolor pencils in my sketchbook. I like it though. Perhaps I'll do something else with the idea when I'm feeling better. Or this may be enough.

Being sick is so boring sometimes. I have no energy, but I'm restless from being still for so long. But I appreciate being doted on by the hubster who made me yummy soup and picked up medicine for me at the pharmacy. What a guy. :-)

I hope you're all staying healthy! Stay tuned, early this week, I'll be announcing February's totally optional theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge!

Featuring Creations by Amazing CED Participants

January 21st, 2010, Comments (20)

Every so often, I love to feature some of the fabulous work that Creative Every Day Challenge participants are up to. I could seriously fill every day with this sort of post, as you all are up to such amazing work and I'm utterly blown away by your talent, creativity, and deep-down beauty. You all inspire me!

I've been head over heels with your responses to the body theme. It's been a really juicy topic to explore and I've laughed, cried, and been inspired along with many of your posts. Here are just a few of the amazing, creative works I've seen this month with some more to come:

Aimee from artsyville recently created a super cute drawing of her outfit (love her style!) and I was going to share that, but I was so tickled by her ode to her addled brain in this piece below that I had to share that one instead.

I was so touched with this poem by Patty of Waking Up that I asked her if I could share it here.

The Body Principle
What if I looked at my body in a different way?

What if I appreciated it for what it can do, not for what it can’t?
Instead of grumbling about my dyed-over-gray hair,
what if I thanked my hair for keeping my head warm,
and for smelling like coconuts when it is freshly washed?

What if I thanked my brain for imagining stories and poems,
for coming up with clever puns and figuring the tip for lunch,
instead of berating it for not remembering some actor’s name
at the instant I wanted it to remember?

What if I walked more, and danced and hugged more, and
Used more expressive hand gestures when I talked,
instead of holding myself so tightly within myself
that sometimes I can hardly breathe?

Wouldn’t my body and I smile with sheer joy?
Wouldn’t that be something to see?

Evelyn from Enjoying the Good Life created this gorgeous drawing of a yoga twist. Love it!

Christy from Sweet Tidings joined the challenge with adorable spool and peg dolls like this one. Too cute!

Melissa aka Dandelionlady of Dandelion Seed on the Updraft created the beautiful sketch of hands that I'm just loving.

Hege of Cloudberry made this fantabulous body flip book with her kids. So cool!

Susan of of The Nest created this lovely torso tile. Love the colors!

Lastly, new CED participant, Angie Fletchall of Thalo Blue Sky, shared this book she created about loving your body with me.  While not created for this month, it fits so well with this month's theme and is such a lovely story, that I had to share it with you here. You can preview the book and its sweet illustrations here.

Listening to the Body

January 20th, 2010, Comments (19)

Normally I'll interview just one, maybe two folks per month, but I hope you've enjoyed my chats with creative folks on the topic of body this month!

It's so funny, usually I'm this ultra introverted girl who gets nervous on the phone, but this topic of body has had me wanting to talk to loads of people for the blog! There were many more people I thought about talking to as well, but there's only so much time in the day. Certainly a different kind of creativity than I usually partake in, but it's been so fun!

One thing that's been coming up in my conversations with these fabulous, creative women has been the concept of listening to your body. I think this is a big key to developing a healthy, happy relationship with body and yourself.

How do you tune in to your body and hear what it has to say? And when you do hear it, do you listen?

This is something that can be a challenge for me. At times my body is easy to hear. And sometimes I'm not a good listener. But I think so much of life is about practicing, not beating yourself up when things don't go the way we plan, and continuing to grow.

Some of the ways I listen to my body is through:

  • *Movement: Yoga, dance, long walks, and such are one of my favorite ways to connect with my body. Noticing where and how my body wants to move as I move, is a great way to connect and tune in to my individual body parts and my body as a whole. Plus, when I take good care of my body by moving it regularly, it's more likely to share information with me.
  • *Fabulous body-centered self-care: Getting a massage or taking a long soak in a tub is a wonderful way to connect to my body. Sometimes when I take a bath, I bring books or magazines to read, but I rarely touch them. Once I'm in the water, I just let go and feel so peaceful.
  • *Deep breath: One of the simplest ways to connect to your body is to breathe. We do it all day without thinking about it, but if we stop and notice one breath in and one breath out, something relaxes.
  • *Body Scan: When I was little, my mom taught me a simple way of relaxing, a visualization where, starting with your toes and going up to your head, you notice each part of your body, notice it relaxing, notice it tingling. And then you imagine yourself in a peaceful place, hearing, smelling, and feeling the space around you. There are all sorts of visualizations I've learned in the meantime, much like this one, and they're all a great way to let go of the inner chatter and get re-connected.

What about you? What are your favorite ways of tuning in to your body?

p.s. The little figure above is something I did up in a program called Illustrator. A lot of my creative output lately has been on some behind the scenes projects, including a project in Illustrator, so I was inspired to create this quick drawing with it. But more on that later!

Connecting to Your Body with Briana Aldrich

January 17th, 2010, Comments (7)

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the brilliant Blisscovery expert, Briana Aldrich. Briana is a coach who helps folks find their thing and also with helps people heal their relationship with their bodies. I loved talking with Briana about her work and ways to creatively connect with the body. You can listen to it here by clicking the link below or right-click (ctrl-click on a Mac) to download and listen to later. Enjoy!

Click here to listen.

You can find Briana's at Blisscovery and Blisscovery Wellness. Briana has a (diet-free) weight loss teleclass starting up on Tuesday the 19th, which you can find out more about here. You can also find Briana on twitter: @brianaaldrich.

Thank you for the great chat, Briana!

How to Be Gentle with Your Body and Your Art

January 15th, 2010, Comments (25)

This piece is coming along verrrry slowly, but it's been an interesting process using body shadows as the starting point for a piece of art. One thing I'm loving is the little heart that showed up in the bird's body. And within the piece, in the soaring bird, the blue hand and the layers below, I think there's a message from my body. What is this message exactly? I'm not sure yet, but I feel like it has something to do with gentleness.

The inner drill sergeant

I have an inner drill sergeant that barks orders in my ears about everything from my body to my artwork. Thankfully, it's so much quieter than it used to be.

In my early 20's, I became obsessed with my body. Like many in their first years in college, with the larger than normal consumption of pizza and mac & cheese, I gained a few pounds. And along with the pressures of being in school and trying to figure out what my future held, I became unhealthily obsessed with exercise and food and fat. Oh, it was not a fun time. I worked out 6 days a week, weighed my food, was crazy restrictive, and very cranky. I dreamed about the foods I longed to eat, but I did not eat them.. After a couple years of this madness, I was thin, yes, (people thought I was ill), but I was also miserable. And worse, I still felt "fat."

It's so easy to get sucked into the image of what women look like in the movies and television and think you're supposed to look like that. So much misery stems from trying to be some unattainable image. And then if you add in a strict drill sergeant voice, ouch.

Eventually, an inner rebellion began to build and warred against my inner sergeant and won. It was bound to happen eventually, but eating endless forbidden foods was not making me happy either. I had to find a balance again, I had to re-learn how to listen to my body, what it needed, and trust that it knew what was best. And that was hard.

A Gentle Approach

Over time, I've developed a relationship that is infinitely kinder and works a million times better for me. What does gentle look like? For me, it's about adding movement to my day because it makes me feel good (instead of out of fear of what will happen if I don't) and about allowing myself to eat what I want, while also noticing when I'm full and stopping. It's about adding self-care and noticing what my body is craving.

Have I banished that inner drill sergeant and healed my relationship with my body completely? No. It's a path I'm on. It's a path so many people are on. Sometimes, I still struggle with feeling like if I'm not beating myself up or guilting myself into action, I won't do anything at all. Just last spring, I signed up for a bootcamp exercise class. (What was I thinking?) And after the trial class, I quit. I remembered that route doesn't work for me. For me, the drill sergeant approach always leads to an eventual rebellion and that's a cycle I don't want to be caught up in anymore.

The Creativity Police

And what does this all have to do with creativity? Well, you know that drill sergeant? She doesn't just have things to say about our bodies. She also has input about the rest of our lives, including our art. With art, she might say things like, "That's not good enough! Why haven't you done more? You're lazy! Get to work and make good art, on the double!" Ouchie!

What's your art sergeant yelling in your ear?

Gentle Creativity

As I've learned to be more gentle with my approach to my body, I have also learned to be gentler with my approach to my art and creativity. And in both cases, I've found the gentle approach to be far more loving and sustainable. Part of the gentle outlook is what led me to start Creative Every Day. I loved the challenge of creating and posting daily for Art Every Day Month in November, but it wasn't something I could keep up for every day of the year. So I found a way to make creativity a part of my everyday life and it's been such a joyful (guilt-free) process!

Regular risk-taking and bravery are great for stretching yourself and growth. There's room for that kind of leaping too! But for day-to-day life, having space to be gentle, permission to do things smaller, and making things doable, works beautifully for me. I think it's so much easier to build upon our successes. It makes for a lasting relationship, one I can maintain without falling into a strict regimen or a rebellious outburst.

So how can you take a more gentle approach to your art, your body and life in general?

  • Give yourself permission to do it imperfectly
  • Check in with yourself, notice what you your spirit is craving.
  • Have a dialogue with your inner drill sergeant (aka your inner critic)
  • Take your to-do list down a notch and simplify what you plan to do. Make it doable.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments. Make an already done list!
  • List the things you're grateful for.
  • Treat yourself.
  • Notice what delights you and add more of those experiences to your life.
  • Play with being gentle as an experiment, see what happens.

The list goes on. What would you add to it?

Stay tuned for more discussion about the body. In a couple days, I'll have an interview posted with the super smart Blisscovery expert, Briana Aldrich!

Soul Artist, Laura Hollick

January 13th, 2010, Comments (5)

Laura Hollick working in her studio

Last night I had the pleasure of speaking with the lovely Laura Hollick, an artist, workshop leader, and creative dynamo. Do check out her site and her blog, she's up to so many amazing things!! Laura interviewed me about my creative process and artwork, and you can listen to our chat here.

"Unicorn and Pink Dragon"
Soul Artist Laura Hollick enters the magical world of Heartland where she is transformed into a unicorn and frolicks through the meadow with pink dragon.
vision, sculpture, costume, model Laura Hollick
photo by Kevin Thom

Fitting in beautifully with the body theme this month, Laura has some absolutely stunning pieces that utilize her body as part of the creation. Some of the work is photographs of her, such as the image above. Last night, while perusing her work, I also noticed a series of images she calls Body Mapping. These mixed-media pieces began as tracings of her body and were transformed into these stunning images. I absolutely love them! And I love how she uses them as a tool to dive into the language of her inner world.

It reminded me a bit of what I've been doing with my body shadows painting (which I shared here and here.) As I've continued working on that piece, it has been a similar process to what Laura has done with her body mapping work. It has felt like some body wisdom has been coming through the piece which has been very interesting. I'll share where that piece has been going tomorrow.

In the meantime, I wanted to point out that Laura is teaching a free teleclass tonight called Shift the sh*t so you can launch: 3 keys to total transformation. Love the name! :-) You can get all the details and sign up for that here.

Body talk with Goddess Leonie

January 12th, 2010, Comments (12)

Late last week, I had the opportunity to chat with the beautiful Goddess Leonie about the body and some of the fabulous things she's up to in the world. I love how we're able to chat like this from opposite ends of the world (I'm on the east coast of the U.S. and Leonie is in Australia.) And I loved seeing our opposites in the seasons (summer for her, winter for me) and our dark and light hair. Why I get such a kick out of these things, I'm not sure, but I do! It was like a little video yin-yang!

The sound is a little wonky (not matching our lips) in the first part of our chat, but it gets better. And it's worth listening to to hear Leonie's great tips about connecting with the body. Plus, you'll get to see two cat cameos (aka video bombers.) :-)

To drink in more of Leonie's awesomeness, I highly recommend checking out her Creating Your Goddess Year Planner and Workbook. It's 40 beautifully illustrated pages that you can download and print at home and use to bring closure to your 2009 and plan your amazing 2010.

Leonie's also got some courses starting up soon, including the Radiant Goddess e-course (which you can purchase with the Goddess Planner for a discount) and the Creative Goddess e-course (both of which start up on January 17th.) And you can always find Leonie on her beautiful blog, Goddess Guidebook.