Entries Tagged as: energy

Uncovering Bliss When it’s Hard to Find

June 10th, 2010, Comments (42)

I recently experienced a loss in my family. The timing of it coinciding with my choice of theme for this month, bliss, seemed painfully ironic. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to keep up with posting about it. I thought about bringing in guest posters or just taking a break. But I think I chose the theme for a reason. Finding bliss isn't just important when you're feeling great, it's good to find when you're feeling low too.

Here are some ways I uncover bliss in my life when it's a bit hard to see.

Allow yourself to be sad: This might seem counter-productive, but it's not. Allowing yourself to feel sad, when you're sad, makes room for the joy to come in.

Listen in: Take the time to listen in to what you want and need. Move towards those things that make you smile and bring you joy. Be gentle with yourself.

Small steps: Sometimes, many times, it's the little things that make a difference. A walk in the woods, watching birds outside, playing with your pets, or silly knock-knock jokes can be the way in.

Call in support: Spend time with friends or loved ones that make you feel good. I find spending time with little kids is especially helpful. Getting a hug from a 2 year old is the best!

Treat yourself: I'm not much into shopping therapy, but sometimes a pretty purple pen, a new sketchbook, a haircut, a new pair of shoes, or bouquet of your favorite flowers can put some pep back into your step.

Make a list of gratitude: Noticing at least one little thing you're grateful for each day can be a big help in spotting those blissful moments when they seem hard to find.

What are some of the ways you find joy in your life when things are tough?



Releasing Fears

May 19th, 2010, Comments (18)

I think one of the stumbling blocks to creating intuitively is fear. Actually, it's a stumbling block for any kind of creativity. But it's not a road block. Meaning, it might make you stumble, but it doesn't have to make you stop in your tracks. And even more interestingly, you can use these fears as a way in.

What happens when you can get in touch with your fears, notice them, learn from them and then create with what you find? Fear can be powerful, but through looking into it, it can be transformative and a source of power and strength in you.

I was contemplating all this after listening to Goddess Leonie's beautiful Releasing Fears meditation. I just adore Leonie's voice and her gentle way of leading you deeper into yourself. After listening to the meditation, I had a strong urge to paint the piece above. I followed my intuition as it led me to the image and the way to create it. And I felt so much better after I'd completed it.

How can you use your fears as a way in? If you asked your fears what they have to teach you, what might they say? How might it feel to take in that information and then let go of the fear? What might your fears inspire you to create?

Along with the Releasing Fears meditation, I also highly recommend the Divine Dreaming meditation if you have any trouble sleeping or just want a soothing meditation to relax to. And if you're looking for more of the beautiful and amazing Goddess Leonie, check out her Creative Goddess e-course, which begins on the 30th of May. Leonie rocks my socks. You can get all the details for her class here.

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!

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!

Honoring the Dark, Welcoming the Light

December 21st, 2009, Comments (17)

A Happy Solstice to you! Today is our shortest day of the year. And even though we're just starting winter, I always feel a hit of joy knowing that the days are beginning to get longer now. This week I attended a sweet little Solstice celebration with some friends. Gem, who led the festivities, selected some beautiful pieces to read out loud and one to listen to. The one I got to read was so beautiful, I wanted to share a piece of it with you. It's by Chris Heeter:

What if darkness has nothing to do with fear?
Or sadness.
Or all the weight we attach to the night.
What if these dark days...
were seen as precious,
sacred even, for the very lack of light...

This really touched me. How lovely to think of this time as a sacred time to go within. I tend to think of the dark as a negative. Partly because the lack of sun has me dragging a bit and I long for the days when I can be outside more, feeling lighter and more energetic. I have to work a bit harder during this time of year to stay active and creative and joyful. But I like this idea of releasing the darkness from fear and sadness and seeing it as a special time. How can you honor the dark, the unknown, and the unseen in your life? What ideas might you want to let go of? What art could be created from it?

I often feel like art-making is a reaching into the unknown. I didn't know what was going to come of my experiments with art today. With the recycling theme in mind, I used a cardboard shape I found while unpacking some glass bowls this week. I had saved one, not knowing how I'd use it, but knowing it was a cool shape and I could do something with it. I ended up using a scrap piece of mat board, putting the cardboard shape on it, and then using a glimmer spray (which is very sparkly in person) that was given to me by my bff ages ago, to create a stencil.

I then played with ink to create the solstice image above, a winter scene with a woman carrying a lantern in the forest. Another little glimmer.

And speaking of glimmers, I had an incredible light added to my day by the arrival of this spectacular, art-filled thank you card created by a group of Art Every Day Month participants that were brought together by Laura Duldner. Thank you so much, Laura for organizing and creating this beautiful piece. And thank you to everyone who added their sweet words and art to it! It brought tears to my eyes and I'm so very grateful for all the kind words and seeing all the little pictures of people's work. So cool!!! I've propped it up on my easel for now and will be putting it up on the wall soon.

I wish you all a beautiful Solstice. May you find loads of glimmers in the darkness.

Poppy Rain

November 28th, 2009, Comments (16)

The funny thing is, I didn't feel much like making art when I got home. I was tired from a full day of traveling and from a very long week, but once again, I'm so glad I did sit down to create.

I had so much fun and things were just flowing as I played intuitively with collage, rice paper, ink, colored pencil, and paint on this 6"x6" mixed-media piece. I used a piece of clayboard as my surface (which is great for collage) and began with scraps I had handy. I randomly had the idea to trace a silhouette of a woman from an Anthropologie catalog onto rice paper along with some circles and then collage them over the collage I'd started on the clayboard. I moved things about, creating this image I was pleased with. Then I came back to it later and created the clouds with Inktense water soluble colored pencils.

I love the way it came together and how it fits my mood although I couldn't explain to you why. I think it says it visually and that's enough for me at the moment.

So glad to be home. So much to catch up on!


November 18th, 2009, Comments (30)

This one kind of floated out of me today. Ha! I suppose that makes sense with the image too!

I had started drawing the figure with water-soluble wax pastels and there seemed to be this release coming from the heart, which I drew out into swirls. Later, I came back to it and had the inspiration to add the bird. I think it has to do with releasing negative energy. Having been through a difficult situation recently, I was still feeling some lingering ickiness around it, and this image feels healing to me.

I love how things can just flow out when we give them the space to do so!

Dragonfly Key, Work-In-Progress

November 10th, 2009, Comments (24)

dragonfly key wip

Today was a difficult one, and once again, making art was like therapy for me, helping me feel more grounded. Difficult days are no fun, but having Art Every Day Month to prompt me into doing art even when I'm having a tough day, has been a great lesson in how healing art-making can be.

I started out just playing with paint, laying down layers, drawing, covering things up, turning the paper this way and that. Most of the time I was working on it, it was horizontal, but at the very end, when I thought it was going nowhere and I'd just stop for the day, I turned it on its side and saw a figure. The dragonfly was already there, but it looked like the figure was using the dragonfly like a key. The dragonfly had appeared earlier and I'd almost covered it up because I thought it looked odd, this big dragonfly in the middle of a gold circle, but when the figure appeared, she knew just what do with the dragonfly. I love when things flow together like that.

I say this is a work in progress because it felt like it was time to stop for today, to let it breathe. I like that the figure is ghostly. I'm not sure if this piece will go any further or where it will go or if I'll just put a few finishing touches on it. But I know it was time to stop. (It can be tricky to know when to stop sometimes, but today I knew.) I need some time to reflect on it and sit with it. Do I want to keep the ruffled edge? Do I want a keyhole somewhere? Do I want to bring out the other dragonfly that's already there? Do I leave it alone? But there's no rush. I can let this sit and carry on with other art until I know what the next step is.

Thought Ghost

November 7th, 2009, Comments (12)

thought ghost

This one's a little spooky! Reminds me of a Dementor (from Harry Potter.) Like yesterday, I worked intuitively on this one. The initial paint shapes took the form of a large hand on a woman's chest and a ghost-like figure. I brought them out more in paint and a bit of ink. I think this has to do with waking up with racing thoughts.

It was good to do my art first thing this morning. The hubster was even there for the beginning. He drew me his own version of a bear (a cartoon bear with a bowtie and a jar of honey.) Hehe.

We've got family visiting later today and I'm hosting a baby shower for my bff tomorrow, so I won't be online much, but I'll still be posting my art here and I wish you all a fabulously creative weekend!

Red Bear

November 6th, 2009, Comments (36)

red bear
red bear

Today was frustrating, not because of art, but because of other stuff. And I'm glad it's Art Every Day Month because it gave me a great excuse to get out some of my feelings in paint. I had no clue what I was going to work on when I started. I put some water on watercolor paper and then dropped black ink onto parts which made the ink spread out like dark stars or upset blowfish.

I let that dry, then went forward with red paints, squirting directly onto the paper, moving the paint with a brush and my fingers, then a touch of yellow, turquoise, and purple. Then I let it dry across the room, looking at it occasionally while I did other things. The first thing I saw in it was a bear face at the top. I tried looking for other things, but the bear was so clear, I had to paint it. It was an angry looking bear. I looked up images of bears running to get some inspiration and then I dove back in, adding legs and belly to the bear. And claws. The yellow around the black ink spots looked like dandelions, so I gave them stems.

red bear face

Somewhere along the way, I noticed a figure in the bear, just a face and shoulders, sort of like a bust (see detail above.) I could have brought her out more, but I decided to let her stay there. I like how she resides right in the spot the heart would be.

While the difficult stuff is still there, I feel so much calmer in my body. And I'm grateful to the bear that showed up today to help me out, and to myself for showing up at the page.