Entries Tagged as: guest post

Guest Post by Luna Jaffe

February 22nd, 2013, Comments (2)

 

Lightening up around money

 

The color drained out of Lori’s face when I asked her to describe her relationship with money by drawing it. She looked at me like I was crazy-- then looked at the art supplies, then glanced out the window. 

I focused on making a pot of peppermint tea for us, and when I returned she was working intently on her image, purple, red and black flying across the page. When finished she looked up and smiled at me, shaking her head. “Oh, my god!” she said, laughing, “I had no idea I felt this way!” She had drawn a hot air balloon full of money rising into the air, and a tiny little stick figure running after it. 

I asked her to give the image a title. “That’s easy! It’s called ‘Beyond my reach’”. She flopped back in her chair and laughed—“Yup, that’s the story of my life! I can see money, almost taste it, but just as I’m about to FINALLY have some financial stability or solid cash flow something happens and puff! It’s gone.”

Using creativity to discover and heal your relationship with money is powerful, insightful and transformative. Ultimately it helps you step outside of your money story so that you can gain perspective, have a good laugh, and begin the process of choosing a new healthier way of being.

Here are five ways you can leverage your creativity to lighten up around money so that joy and possibility can begin to seep in:

1. Draw or find an image that reflects your current relationship with money. Write about what you notice, what surprises you, where you are in the picture. Then draw a new image representing how you want your money relationship to feel. Remember to make sure that you AND money are in the picture!

2. Get an egg—a real egg—and decorate it, give it a name and personality. This represents your nest egg, that which provides financial stability and protection from catastrophe. Carry this with you for a week, being careful not to drop or break it. What if you treated your money with this same level of love and respect?

3. Send money and love notes to people that inspire you—the very act of doing this generates positive energy around money. To read more about this concept, click here

4. Money-In Calendar: post a wall calendar for the sole purpose of noticing when money comes into your life—salary, bonuses, alimony, interest, gifts, refunds—all of it. You can even get more playful and use different colored post-it notes to mark increments of money-- $50, $100+, $250+, etc. (shameless self-promotion: just a dollar contribution to our Kickstarter campaign gets you a beautiful Wild Money calendar that is perfect for this activity!)

5. Create a sacred space for doing your money – make an altar, use a special candle, light incense, surround yourself with money positive images—and give thanks for what you have and how you show respect for the money in your life. Create a little ritual for loving yourself up after paying your bills—a nice glass of wine, some dark, yummy chocolate or a bubble bath.

My wish for you is that you learn to see your creativity as a gift that needs training wheels for new terrain. There is nothing wrong with you. You aren’t missing the money gene. It is possible to lighten up while taking your money more seriously. You are worth it.

To pre-order your books and help with Luna’s Kickstarter campaign, click here. Bonuses at all reward levels! Ends March 2nd.

Luna Jaffe, visual artist and Certified Financial Planner™ is the CEO of Luna Jaffe International, a company dedicated to inspiring creatives to transform and heal their relationship with money. She is the author of the forthcoming books Wild Money: A Creative Journey to Financial Wisdom and Wild Money Financial Field Guide and Journal. More at www.lunajaffe.com

Mother Holle, Guest Post by Joel Le Blanc

February 8th, 2012, Comments (9)

Mother Holle



Sometimes it is really difficult to remember what ever bewitched me to begin on the creative road. Most people who attempt to turn their creative pursuits into their career know the feeling -- when maximum effort yields minimum rewards, and the numbers just don't ever seem to add up to more than a handful of small beans.

It's at these junctures that I slow down my troubled mind and return to the things that move and inspire me and make my spirit dance. Ever since childhood, that thing for me has been fairy-tales. Stories of myth and magic and dark forests and witches. Like a bramble of blackberries, fairy-tales wrap their way around my heart and mind, thorns and all, and perform the most important task -- they remind me about the things I care about.

One such story that has recently helped to inspire me to keeping going on my creative endeavors is the Grimm's brothers story of  "Mother Holle." This is a lesser known fairy-tale, but it is based on ancient Germanic folklore about a crone goddess known as Hulda -- a sort of patron spirit of children, the art of weaving, and the seasons.



In the Mother Holle story, we are introduced to a woman with one daughter and one step-daughter. As fairy-tale fate would have it, the daughter is lazy and selfish while the step daughter is hard working and kind. After a brief but painful encounter with a sharp spindle, the industrious step-daughter falls down a well by accident and finds herself in a strange meadow she does not recognize. While exploring the meadow she encounters a talking loaf of bread and a talking tree, and completes tasks for them both.

Lastly, she encounters a old house and an old woman with large, fearsome teeth. This is Mother Holle. The old woman puts the girl to work in her house -- but unlike many other stories of witches, this old woman treats the girl kindly, feeds her well, and asks the girl to shake out the feathers from her blanket each day. Whenever the feathers from the blanket are shaken out onto the breeze, it snows in the real world.

Finally the girl requests to go home, and Mother Holle guides her back -- but not before rewarding the girl's industrious efforts with piles of gold.

After the girl returns to her family, her step-mother sends the step-sister down the well to repeat the adventure, hoping to get even more money from Mother Holle. However, the lazy daughter is idle once she arrives, and refuses to do many of the tasks given to her by Mother Holle. In return, Mother Holle covers the girl with black soot and sends her back home.

Often stories and books come to me when I need them most; speaking in silent whispers, "Open and read me!" when there is something relevant in the pages within. That is what happened with the Mother Holle story just recently.

For the first time I am realizing, this story is more than just a moralistic tale about working hard. It's about being authentic and honest about who you are, and what are your reasons for doing what you do. Sometimes work is difficult. Sometimes being a creative professional is hard. Sometimes it really does feel like you are shaking out the feathers of a freaking heavy blanket.

But if I am just being a creative person (a writer and a poet and sometimes painter), for the money, then maybe my motivation is too shallow to carry me through the bad times. If I am writing and making art just because I love to write and make art, I will continue to do just that -- and whatever financial rewards come to me will be a wonderful and welcomed bonus; the icing on the cake to a flavorful and happy life.

And if I am steadfast and hardworking and honest with myself each step of the way, who knows what small beans might turn into?


References

1. Surlalune Fairytales; Frau Holle (Mother Holle) A German Tale; 2003

Joel Le Blanc is a freelance writer, poet and medical herbalist. He has published articles on health, alternative medicine, literature, art and food, and is currently completing a BA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Canterbury. Joel runs a blog for creative people wanting to learn more about natural and alternative medicine at The Wormwood Files.

Guest Post by Whitney Ferré

January 25th, 2012, Comments (9)

“The Creativity PORTAL”

By Whitney Ferré of Creatively Fit

What if the true intention behind your creative practice was to be a PORTAL for change on this planet? Would this be NEW to you?

For me, the most exciting part of my creative journey has been the corresponding emotional and spiritual journey. I have inspired “non-artists” to embrace their creative power since 1996, but I confess that I did not do so in order that they might create “quality” art or marketable product. What has always inspired excited energy within me and a passionate drive to share paints, colored pencils and watercolors with as many people as possible is my belief that it is our creative energy that is going to save the world—literally! As the world prepared for 2012 I was further inspired as some of my most respected spiritual philosophers and leaders started sharing their own beliefs surrounding our creative spirits. This following quote is from Andrew Cohen.

“In the way that I use the term, God is the energy and intelligence that created the universe and is driving the process forward in every moment. And that energy and intelligence cares desperately about change and innovation and the release of potentials that have not existed before. So it is constantly looking for portals through which it can enter into the world and consciously engage with creating its next step. As conscious human beings who have been blessed with self-awareness and free agency, we are those portals.” ~Andrew Cohen

Can you go there? Can you imagine the infinite universe scanning kitchen tables and art studios around the globe, searching for PORTALS through which to channel its infinite, creative energy? Why not? As human beings we created art before we created a monetary system OR a written language. We can look at tribal art and we know the sculptures, paintings, and symbols were created to access other dimensions and powers. We can still do that today.

The image below hangs above the door to my art studio. The “double croc” is an ancient symbol of protection. My painting it was a meditation on protecting the good, positive energy and my own “inner croc” that needed a boost to “own my power” and protect my own inner landscape. (Read more in my blog post here….)

This Creative Goddess is my most recent painting, still in process, and has already provided hours of colorful, sparkly meditations on all that is possible. As I layered and layered the colors, scratched through to bottom layers, and made her glow with my white & yellow painted fingers, I felt as though I was really accessing this goddess, encouraging me to think bigger, to expand my awareness about my own creative power and really let go!

I do believe it will be when more people proudly state, “I am creative!” rather than, “I can’t even draw a straight line…” that our global consciousness will shift and our world will step into a new time of greater peace, compassion and sustainability. YOU getting “Creative Everyday” is building that energy that our world needs. Here is what Ken Wilber has to say about creativity….

“Creativity: in some ways it seems so common, yet in other ways it is actually at the foundation of virtually every important activity and practice in human life—from relationships to play, from work to relaxation, from meditation to transformative practice, from parenting to teaching, from emotional expression to cognitive competence, from recreation to career choice. In many ways, creativity has been thought of as a rare, difficult, hard-to-come-by talent or gift, evidenced only by the few geniuses of each era. But according to the Integral view, creativity is actually a component of each and every moment of existence, and it can be learned and exercised with a few simple practices.” ~Ken Wilber

This is why there is such power in what Leah is doing here at Creative Every Day. Each day that you flex your creative muscles you are opening up as a portal to infinite creativity.

Here is a really fun & easy exercise to create and, should you choose, integrate into your spiritual life. I call them Story Cards.

Grab that stack of magazines and tear out ANY images that catch your attention. If anything, a color, a texture, an image, makes you go, “Oooooh!” tear it out. Don’t judge and don’t wonder what you are going to do with it. Just grab the pages that speak to you.

When you have a nice stack of images, divide them into 3 piles (you can make many sets of these, but each time make 3 piles). How do you divide them? Just let the images that you intuitively feel should be together join the same pile. You do not even have to label them yet, or understand the difference between the piles. One pile may have all bluer images, another pile nature images. The image above is a collage of three of my Story Cards. The far left card is about my spiritual life. When I look back on that card, with the fact that right now I am busy with our new SPIRIT Project 2012, I get the chills! The middle card was all about things I love. The far left card was inspired by nature.

When you are done, you will have exercised your “creative intuitive” muscle and have cards you can go to over and over for insight into the ART that is your LIFE!

I hope this NEW perspective on your daily creative activity inspires some new thoughts and energy into your practice. Namaste. Whitney

Whitney is the author of The Artist Within, A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit and you can learn more about Whitney at www.CreativelyFit.com and join the SPIRIT Project for only $20.12 for the entire year!

Winter Guest Post by Julie Jordan Scott

December 30th, 2011, Comments (10)

What would it be like if Winter never draped her leafless, cold, dreary days on your creative landscape?

Before you rejoice at the thought, hear me out. Let’s look at how Winter is a time of year that sets the tone for the rest of your artfulness simply by ebbing and flowing along with the shorter days and colder weather.

I know how it is to not have a snowy season AND I know how it is to live in a land of snow days, ice storms, gloves and layers of clothes.

Winter feels different in most of California then the way it feels in the colder states.  This difference oftentimes impacts our creative process.

Here in Bakersfield, we are frequently wrapped in cold dampness and thick, unfriendly fog. This morning it was 33 degrees. At some point overnight, frost left its trademark on my windshield.

Would you think it strange if I told you I envy the parts of the world that get sheltered by the cold?

Winter offers many gifts for Creative Souls.

Remember some of them with me: Winter offers the privilege of cocooning. Winter invites snuggles, it requests us to look inward. Winter says, “Gloom and less light are not only permitted, they are an important part of our creative process.”

One of my subjects of art last Winter and throughout the year has been a tulip magnolia tree standing in the corner of my neighbor’s yard. In January, I started nature journaling and she became one of my first practice sketches. By spending time sketching this tree, I got to know her quite well. In April, when I visited Western Massachusetts, I saw Tulip Magnolias just beginning to bloom. What a joy to see this highlight of early Spring twice!

It made me wonder what happens when a Bakersfield Tulip Magnolia experiences winter versus when a Massachusetts Magnolia loses her leaves.

Last week I visited the tree again, to get a closer look.

I was surprised and a bit saddened by what I saw.

The tree is almost bare of last year’s leaves yet while some leaves from last Winter/Spring valiantly hold on, a strange alternative phenomenon is happening as well: buds are beginning for the Winter/Spring bloom.

There is no time to pause between one season and the next.

This sweet Tulip Magnolia never gets adequate rest.

It doesn’t get to rest in the hollow hand of winter. She doesn’t get to rest her tree limbs on a frosty shoulder.

She doesn’t get to pause at all. She instantly drop one set of leaves and begins developing  the next set without a break at all.

There was a poignancy I felt, unexpectedly, as I visited the tree the other day. What started as excitement and fascination turned into an inexplicable sadness.

How often do we make the mistake of rushing from one art project to another without waiting for our spirit to reflect, to pause, to wrap ourselves in the wonder of what is, what was and what is coming next. Not now, but soon.

In Winter, we have a tendency to become contemplative. We allow darkness to help us sleep longer and more deeply under heavy quilts while wearing heavy pajamas.

If you have been resisting this profound pleasure of the Winter season, why not try it now?

Why not trade your practical shoes for wooly socks and sit by the fireplace under a blanket.

Stare into it and allow yourself the time to sketch without worrying what project your sketch will become.

Breathe slowly as you jot new ideas, allowing them to take root before you push them to blossom too early.

Enjoy this quiet time of reflection. Allow it to work its way into your work.

You may find Spring comes too soon this year as you come to enjoy the power of rest, the power of quiet, the power of allowing yourself the space to contemplate your art fully.

::::

Julie Jordan Scott is a Creativity Coach, Poet Performer and
Mixed Media Artist who lives in Bakersfield, California.
She is the owner of Writing Camp with Julie Jordan Scott
where she inspires writers (and those who want
to write) to take their creative process to the next level.
http://www.WritingCampwithJJS.com

Winter Guest Post by Mindy Tsonas

December 28th, 2011, Comments (7)

Planner Makeover

one of my favorite things about looking ahead to the beginning of a new year is cracking open a brand new planner! over the years i have tried every digital and paper planner on the planet (i've even tried creating my own planner from scratch) searching for just the right layout and tool. it seemed that whenever i love the pretty cover or the size, the interior pages weren't laid out quite right. either the design was too structured with not enough to play and dream, or the design is just too simple and did not allow for room to compartmentalize all the different areas of my life.

a couple of years ago, i found and fell in love with Planner Pad, and this baby changed my organizational life! it's funnel-down format is perfect for creative projects from idea to implementation, with lots of room to personalize it to fit the structure of your life. go check it out! seriously.

the one thing this planner does not have is a pretty cover. so i wanted to devise a fun and easy way to make it look like Me, and this simple makeover is what i came up with. really you can use this for any planner or journal you want to redesign. it works like magic! you will need: your planner 1 sheet of plain white sticker paper decorative scissors your favorite collaging supplies a glue stick regualar scissors your favorite matte or gloss medium (optional: a corner round punch) the steps are so simple! first, trim the sticker paper to fit 1/4 of an inch within the size of your planner cover. to decorate the left margin i trimmed off another 1/2 inch with decorative scissors (or trim to whatever size you need to cover the ugly writing or whatever is on the cover of your planner). next i used a corner rounder to round the two right side corners just for a better fit and cleaner look.

once your background paper is ready, you can collage away on top of it! use magazine clippings, postcards, vintage paper, or whatever else you have handy to make the cover really reflect you! you could even decorate your cover to reflect the word you chose for your word of the year! have fun with it, and be sure to use plenty of glue! i used little bits from lots of goodies sent to me by wishstudio friends :) finally add a coat or two of finishing medium and let it dry. you may need to add a new coat once or twice throughout the year if things start to peel.

when your cover is all done, all you have to do is peel the backing off the sticker paper and adhere it to the front of your planner like one giant personalized sticker! voilla! so fun and easy. i love having the perfect planner and a beautiful cover. stay tuned to the wishstudio where i will post my new 2012 planner!

my planner from 2011

::::

mindy tsonas is the creative director and hostess of the Wishstudio Co-op, an online and local creativity studio in the Boston area. she is a lifestyle designer, a heart-centered artist and a mother of two boys. a dreamy visionary and contemporary bohemian, she loves to craft unique ideas that bring people together and inspire them to embrace the very best in themselves and in one another. with passion and creativity, she believes in your stories and the everyday magic of how life and love connect us all.

Winter Guest Post by Tammy Garcia

December 27th, 2011, Comments (2)

"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again."
Lewis Carroll

white art journal page, 9x12" cardboard, gesso, fluid acrylics, neocolors, collage

I'm honored to guest post on Creative Every Day! Leah's CED and AEDM are creative anchors for me each year, and I so appreciate all of the energy that Leah puts into these challenges.

The idea behind this loose art journal page is to give the feel of waiting for the bus on a cold, cloudy winter afternoon in Pennsylvania. At the time, I worked as an auditor in a costume of charcoal grey suits, silk scarves tied just so, small gold hoop earrings and a gold brooch. A brown leather briefcase overflowing with audit papers and red + blue pencils and flowcharting stencils. Standing on slushy, sludgy sidewalks with nothing to do but watch the world go by. Before cell phones and angry birds, before twitter, before the ipod. Before I created art. Before I was entranced by a camera lens. Waiting to hop on the over-heated bus, to loosen my scarf and tap my feet in the slushy puddles on the floor. Looking out at department store windows with Christmas displays of miniature trains. It was all so real, so gritty, my normal.

waiting for the bus
white ear muffs
charcoal suit
cloudy streets
silver buildings
store windows
reflect cars
whizzing by
and my bus
trudges up
and the
slushy puddles
under my boots

{you can find me at daisy yellow}

{I'm Tammy Garcia, mom of two; a self-taught artist and photographer living in Texas. I paint in acrylics and watercolors, art journal, make stitched journals and draw mandalas, You'll find quirky inspiration at Daisy Yellow, including Art Journaling 101, Creative Experiments, Kick-Start Journal Prompts and a fiesta of other creative fun.}

Guest Post by Maya Stein

December 23rd, 2011, Comments (6)

On Creativity and Patience

the canvas

 

Enough has been said about that blank space, the pause

of possibility pointing to a still-unnamed story. We don’t need

another poem about potential, or the way we bend at the knees

toward the dark tunnel we hope might lead to greatness. Instead,

I want to celebrate the opening mark of the pen, the infant half-inch of paper

glued to the upper right-hand corner. The inaugural dip of a soaked brush

that lays a line of paint down flat. The “yes” that finally tilts the doer

into doing. This poem is for that plucky charge into the gauntlet, the dogged push

through all those voices arrowing critique. This is for the stroke that bursts the bubble

clinging us to fear. The hand that reaches in not for beauty, but for rubble.

 

I always think art lives in us long before it comes out of us. Things take time to percolate, to take shape, to find their edge and expression. A poem can be inside of me for days, for weeks, before I finally throw my line into that great river of mystery and fish the words out.

Now, for example, a poem by the title of “crooked mouth” is swimming around in there somewhere. I’ve had those two words swirling in my mind, and occasionally when I’m driving or doing laundry or taking care of the grocery list, a little thread of the poem they’re containing reveals itself. I know…that is to say I trust…that at some point, enough threads will appear that it will be time to sit down and sort them out. And what I ALSO know and trust is that to hold myself hostage in front of my laptop before the poem is ready to be birthed is an exercise in futility and self-flagellation.

I have come to understand each poem, each work of art, is a being all its own, gestating for an indeterminate amount of time before it’s ready to materialize. I never know how long it’s going to take, only that time is the decider here, not the urgency of a blog that needs an update or a literary journal that’s bearing down with a deadline or the fact that it’s a quiet house and raining outside and a cup of coffee is to my right and what better setting to make the writing happen?

There are certain kinds of work for which imposed deadlines make me hustle in a good way, intensify my focus and powers of imagination, wrangle my skills expediently. But personal creative work is a different animal altogether, and I’ve learned that what’s required of me to write - more than a dazzling display of linguistic acrobatics or an impressive vocabulary or a large body of knowledge about poetic form - is the simple act of patience.

I say “simple” but patience is often anything but. In a world where quickness is king, it’s uncomfortable and even terrifying to have to wait for anything, and it’s easy to feel pressure when other people around us are birthing a multitude of creative projects, painting and publishing and putting their work out there as if it took no effort at all. The dizzying landscape of creativity that’s floating out there in the world can bring a false sense of immediacy and pressure to producing quickly. And so taking any time whatsoever can give us the feeling that we are falling behind, which in turn creates the worst kind of self-flagellation of all, that we are not enough.

But patience isn’t idleness. It’s not laziness. And it’s not impotence. I see patience as a vital limbo between ideation and fruition, a necessary field of space and energy where a lot gets decided, where the architecture of our work begins to assemble its bones, and where we are subconsciously sifting through our material and locating the heart of what is asking to be expressed.

It’s true that for some people, the time gap between when an idea moves into tangible form is very short. And it’s true that some ideas will take less time to be actualized than others. But I’ve found it vital to listen more closely to what my poems are telling me by giving them more space and time to find their voice. Because when the moment comes – as it inevitably does – for the piece to emerge at last, it’s more like an assembly, a transcription, a threading together. There’s a peace to it. A communion between inner and outer worlds, the fishing line taut and ready to reel the mystery in.

::::

MAYA STEIN is a poet and creative nonfiction writer. She has published two collections of personal essays, "The Overture of an Apple" (2003) and "Spinning the Bottle" (2004) and, most recently, "Enough Water," a collection of poetry and photographs (2006). She has been published in a number of print and online literary journals, including Margins Magazine, Culture Star Reader, and cleansheets.com, as well as the anthology "Lust For Life: Tales of Sex and Love." Most recently, she appeared in Six Word Memoirs' "It All Changed in an Instant" and also won first prize in Alimentum’s inaugural poetry contest. Her weekly "10-line Tuesday" poems reach nearly 900 people around the world. Maya also recently completed "Tour de Word," a two-month traveling poetry project that brought writing workshops to children, teenagers, and adults in 25 states. Maya facilitates writing workshops online at www.feralwriting.com. Her poetry can be found at www.papayamaya.blogspot.com.

Winter Guest Post by Kimberly Wilson

December 22nd, 2011, Comments (2)

Hollyday Tranquility

This is truly the most wonderful time of the year - abundance of tasty treats, festivity, and a sense of gratitude in the air. The white pine garland and balsam fir wreath are hung, silver and white doves cover our living tree, and colorful cabbage have been planted to replace our fall mums. May the month ahead serve as a beautiful bow to tie around 2011.

Hollydaze have a bad reputation for the hustle and bustle and accumulation of unneeded goods. However, as we move into this sacred time, my goal is to infuse it with an ongoing splash of tranquility and I encourage you to try the same. Among the sparkle, scent of pine, and gift giving, it's the perfect time to practice the yoga tenet of svadhyaya (self-study). Here are my top 8 tips for staying tranquil this hollyday:

1. Indulge in yin yoga. This sacred, slow practice is a delight for calming the spirit and opening the body. One of my favorite poses is butterfly and here’s a how to: http://blog.kimberlywilson.com/2010/02/tranquility-butterfly-pose.html.

2. Gift mindfully. Bake cookies for your office. Pack gifts in reusable tote bags. Give experiences - opera tickets, yoga classes, spa treatments, museum tickets, lectures. Go handmade. Shop locally.

3. Indulge in self-care. Get a massage. Take a mental health day. Light a candle. Soak in the tub. Do legs up the wall. Keep up your yoga practice - even if it is one sun salute a day before falling asleep. Oui, it counts!

4. Give back. Donate to favorite causes. Adopt an orangutan. Visit a nursing home. Sponsor an animal. Host a toiletry drive.

5. Savor the simple things. Shop online to avoid crowds. Sip tea. Bake pies. Simmer apple cider. Light a cranberry candle. Give hugs. Savor holiday treats. Smell invigorating peppermint oil. Host an intimate dinner gathering.

6. Just be. Spend a few moments in meditation. Sit still. Observe your breath. Rest in butterfly pose. Nap. Take a savasana just because.

7. Reflect on 2011. Light a candle, pull out your journal, sit with your thoughts, and muse on the lessons and highlights of 2011. Do you recall your New Year's intentions? How did they play out?  What do you want to see unfold in 2012? Life is crafted by all of our daily choices. Watch last year’s end of year review: http://blog.kimberlywilson.com/2010/12/tranquility-du-jour-tv-end-of-year-vlog.html

8. Get crafty. Knit a scarf. Bead a necklace. Create bath salts. Upcycle an old tee. Bake brownies topped with sprinkles. Frame a favorite photograph from recent travels. Paint. Dance.

My hope is that you can temper the hustle and bustle and bask in mOMents of tranquility. These eight tips are about savoring this special time, staying reflective, and indulging your creative spark. As we move into the darkest day of the year, let this be a time to turn inward and reflect. Tranquility awaits.

Bisous,

Kimberly

:::::::

Kimberly Wilson is an author, activist, and artist currently obsessed with Paris, pigs, and all things sparkly. She is the creative director and founder of Tranquil Space – named among the top 25 yoga studios in the world by Travel + Leisure, author of Hip Tranquil Chick and Tranquilista, and holds a Master’s in Women's Studies. Indulge in musings on tranquilologie through her blog and podcast, Tranquility du Jour.

Facebook.com/tranquilitydujour

Twitter.com/kimberlywilson

Kimberlywilson.com

Winter Guest Post by Teresa Robinson

December 21st, 2011, Comments (9)

Circles of Grace and Dormancy

If one daffodil is worth a thousand pleasures, then one is too few. ~William Wordsworth

Daffodils are the perfect example of nature’s grace and of dormancy. Their growth cycle requires stages of darkness, of unattractiveness and inaction before every Spring bloom. Bloom which is followed by more of the same: dormancy.

A quiet state of inaction is an opportunity to embrace restorative time away from growth, and producing proverbial blooms. However, its reality can be as comforting as being covered with a handmade cotton quilt or as maddening as being bound by a tightly-strapped straightjacket — depending upon one’s perspective.

Personally, I vacillate between those two points of view more than I care to admit.

There are times when I like to believe I have been changed by my adventures with chronic illness, and its various unexpected detours and times of inactivity. That I embrace the seasons of dormancy more wholly; that I have benefited and “bloomed” more fully because of the parting gifts of cancer and chemotherapy, and the slow dances with Multiple Sclerosis that followed.

When in reality, I still don’t like talking {or writing} about it; I want to believe I will wake up one morning and healing will have permeated every cell of my body, eliminating the dis-ease.

You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. ~Anne-Wilson Schaef

Truth is I resist talking about it because I don’t want to sound whiny. But I also don’t consider it relevant. I am basically the same person I was before challenges to my wellness. And … What I do is not that much different from what everyone else does every day.

We all deal with something. Each of us face daily challenges, looming realities that shadow us throughout our routines and entice us to surrender our hopes and dreams. Causing us to doubt our talents — our ability to bloom — when we are in the stages of darkness and unattractiveness. And to question our value as we wonder how much is too much to hope for.

You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. ~James Allen

During dormant seasons, let the image included here be a visual for your thoughts. Resist the urge to “do more” or “try harder” … Abide with the grace of dormancy for regeneration and growth, and for bloom.

Envision divine assistance standing behind you as you face forward in the direction of your dreams, even in the midst of shades of gray.

Color happens. Vibrant color comes. You will bloom again.

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

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Teresa Robinson {aka stargardener} creates in the magic studio of her country home; she is a right brain planner and collaborator-midwife to artists and writers. Even as she dances with {and sometimes curses} the realities of chronic pain and Multiple Sclerosis — she lives her life in ever-widening, sparkly circles of creativity. Learn more about her art-full adventures on Facebook or Twitter; or click over to her blog, Right Brain Planner.

p.s. from Leah: A special thank you to Teresa for her generous offer of help in gathering and coordinating guest posts this month. It was a huge help and so appreciated. Thanks a million, Teresa!!

Winter Guest Post by Rebecca McFarland

December 20th, 2011, Comments (7)

Collage background with a portrait done in acrylic.

The sun setting at five has given me the winter blues, and the question “Why do I paint?” has been bouncing around my brain.  When my mind turns melancholy, I search for the meaning in what I do.   Would I die if I couldn’t paint?  No.  Most of my life I couldn’t draw anything but a stick figure.  Would I stop being happy?  I doubt it.  My life is filled with blessings and joys at every turn.  But then I’m painting…..and there is this moment when time disappears, my mind quiets, and the problems of the day cease to even be a whisper.  Sometimes there is no greater meaning.   Why do I paint?  Because what a shame it would be not to have these moments.

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Rebecca McFarland is a self-taught artist living in Los Angeles.  She began painting in 2001 after an inspiring four month holiday in Europe. You can see more of her work on her blog http://rebeccamcfarland.blogspot.com/.