Monday, November 30, 2009

Creative Every Day...Finally

A little over a month ago I signed up to participate in the creative every day challenge for November and while I truly thought about being creative every day, the action itself never quite manifested for me. My time was spent at work, traveling to Arizona to support my sister who was participating in the breast cancer walk, and unfortunately visiting and worrying about family members who were in the hospital. Just six months ago I would have considered this to be a failure, but today I’m simply happy to be aware of the creativity living inside of me. I feel more alive and vital than I have in a very long time and I think that is what the creative process is all about. I enjoyed visiting the blogs of other participants and learned a lot in the process! Lots of fun!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Art Every Day

I hesitated to post this drawing, but according to the Bliss Chick (who by the way is my new hero), in order to live a full life you have to take a risk every now and again. So here I go-- jumping in with both feet! I'll let you know when I can breathe again!

I'm taking a drawing class and this week our homework was a self-portrait in charcoal studying light and shadow. I look a bit wonky and my choice of paper was wrong, but I think there is some resemblance--hey, my family knows it's me! At any rate, I'm learning and growing and I can't ask for more than that!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My attempts at art continue...LOL, but I love it and so I move forward no matter how slowly. In my drawing class this week we worked on angles and planes, which I found easier than negative spaces, but that isn't saying much! In all honesty the class is so much fun that my classmates and I are already upset that there are only 4 classes left in this session! We are learning a lot and our teacher is very, very encouraging. She will find something positive to say about each and every drawing even if she has to search through gobs of charcoal! She's a saint!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Nearly every morning as I get myself ready to face my day I do two things: 1) I listen to some sort of recording—my areas of interest range anywhere from talks on yoga, meditation, Buddhist thought, and most recently, art--as I apply my makeup and 2) I jot down notes on a pad of paper. My notes range anywhere from a simple list of things I need to do to some gem that peeks my interest as I listen to that day’s talk. By the way, whoever invented the podcast has my full gratitude and appreciation! At any rate, the morning before I started to read chapter 3 of “The Joy Diet” I jotted this down, “what do you want your day to be?” and “protect your time.” In other words, I really wanted to get to the heart of what a meaningful day in my life would look like and how to treat it as sacred. A few hours later I began to read Martha Beck’s chapter on desire. Interesting, as I actually had not looked ahead to this week’s chapter.
So far I have been working on getting quiet, learning how to rework the stories I tell myself, and now examining what it is I really, really want--what sparks a “quickening” in my belly and a longing in my heart. I know I want to make things with my hands. I want to blend colors and shapes into something beautiful and for that to happen I think a bit of my soul must be embedded in the paint, gel medium, charcoal, or paper. I’m only just beginning, but I long from somewhere deep, deep within to translate that longing, that emotion, into something tangible. It is my deepest desire.
My thanks to Kelly Rae Roberts for her book, "Taking Flight" where I am learning techniques such as the one which I have posted. I smile every time I look at her work and then mine...what a long way I have to go--and that's OK!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


As I read and reread "The Joy Diet" I find I am allowing myself to pause more often throughout the day. I'm feeling nervous about an upcoming trip--I'm a terrible traveler--but now that I am armed with the "inner story reworking game," as I affectionately call it, I can keep myself in the here and now and not off in some future "what if" scenario. It's helping, but it's baby steps all the way!

Catching Up...

The Joy Diet’s Chapter One: Nothing and Chapter Two: Truth

I’m home, enjoying a bit of vacation time, and finally able to post! For the last few weeks I have been part of a group that is working through “The Joy Diet” and while I have been carving out the time necessary for the book, my posts have been non-existent! Time to remedy that…

When you begin to actually let yourself do it, there’s something magical about carving out a bit of time that is yours and yours alone. In fact, I think there’s something that borders on miraculous about doing nothing if only for a few moments every day even if it is the hardest thing ever! This week has really shown me the importance of doing nothing which is funny because I have been practicing yoga for just about eleven years now and teaching for about 18 months. I know all about the benefits of meditation so there should be no excuses. So why, I wonder, has there been so much resistance? Frankly, confronting that “final frontier” of the mind is just plain old scary. There’s a lot of rumbling going on—a storm of a magnitude that is difficult to confront and sit comfortably with. Doing nothing puts you fully in touch with the shadow side of yourself and that can be a bit unsettling!

In order to find our truth (chapter 2) we are to ask ourselves the questions: What am I feeling? What hurts? What is the painful story I’m telling? Can I be sure my painful story is true? Is my painful story working? Can I think of another story that might work better? Just like doing nothing, digging deeper and exploring our “inner self” is uncomfortable work, but if we are going to unearth who we really are at our core we have to sort through the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. It’s hard, but so worth it! Just think of all the unnecessary garbage we can rid ourselves of!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Joy Diet

Today (OK, technically it was yesterday, but I never had the opportunity to post) we begin our exploration of the book “The Joy Diet” and frankly, it couldn’t come at a better time for me. Maybe it’s the seasonal change, I don’t know, but I feel a bit off—discontent without really knowing what it is that’s missing. It’s kind of like staring into the open fridge, hungry yes, but nothing looks appealing. At any rate, as soon as I read the first sentence of the book’s introduction, “Every now and then, when I am feeling even more chubby, listless, and ill than usual, I put myself on a nutritional regimen that I’ve cobbled together over the years.” I was hooked! No, the book is not another exploration into the dos and don’ts of eating. Instead we will be traveling inward, moving toward our “right life.” Tell me your secrets Martha Beck because today my soul is wallowing in the land of the chubby, listless and the ill and it what it needs is a bit of peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Well, I've been busy practicing different techniques and playing with faces--with mixed results--but I have to say that I'm enjoying every moment of it! I can't remember a time when I've had more fun! I have signed up for an art class that starts this Monday. It's called something like, drawing for those who haven't, but I keep calling it drawing for those who can't! I hope I fit in. Oh dear, that comment just screamed of high school, didn't it? I can't wait to see what comes of it!
I'm a bit frustrated that I can't figure out how to spin that one picture, but like my art and my yoga practice, my computer skills are growing--slowly.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More about layers...

So I've been giving the whole layer idea a bit more thought and couldn't help but notice that when I practice yoga or sit for mediation that it's all about peeling the layers back to expose who/what is really there, or in other words, who I am at my core. It comes slowly, but if you practice long enough with the right intention, glimpses of that self are made available. For me (so far since I've just started!) the creating or art process requires the same quiet patience. It's the application of layers rather than the removal, but each layer is meaningful, purposeful and has something to teach me.
My sketch forms the first of many layers to come, I suspect, and my inspiration is the choreographer, Sonya Tayeh, from "So You Think You Can Dance." She is brave, bold and a creative force! We should all move from such a place!

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's all in the layers...

This weekend I had an ah-ha moment that was several months in the making. Funny what a new haircut and a couple of collage techniques can do for you! At any rate, I had been religiously complaining about my hair to whoever would listen, comparing it to—depending on the day and the weather--a brown football helmet or the episode of “Friends” where Monica’s hair keeps growing bigger and frizzier in the humid air. So, Friday night I broke down let my hairdresser put layers in my hair, something I had been avoiding, foolishly thinking that the layers would make my hair look shorter. Instead it seems bouncier, which makes me feel lighter overall—it makes you feel a bit like jumping actually, or at the very least bobbing up and down a bit! As an added bonus, my face doesn’t look like it’s being pulled down by the weight of a big head of hair! Woo-hoo!
Part two of my ah-ha moment knocked on my noggin because I spent some time working with the Kelly Rae Roberts book, “Taking Flight,” and merging her ideas with collage techniques I have been practicing. Between the hair and art practice, I believe that I’m finally getting the concept and the importance of layering. With it you have depth and interest, without it the piece seems kind of flat disjointed, and lacking, like it has no cohesiveness to it. I can see the difference between two pieces I’m posting today…I have a long way to go, but I’m so grateful that I’ve started.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Making A Move...

Half or maybe three-quarters of the battle when starting something new is just summoning up the courage and a little bit of faith to actually take the first step-to dip that brush into a bit of paint, or to draw your legs upward into a headstand. The other portion of the battle lies in not worrying what the final painting looks like or if you take a tumble rather than hold that perfect headstand. My point is that it’s easy to freeze, easy to let your fear or pride soil or stifle the mystery that might unfold from within you if you would just take the leap and explore the many facets of your inner self.

My “move” this week was trying an art journal technique (pictured here) that I watched on You Tube by the lovely Tam at I had my hand at a bit of shading and while I’m pleased as punch to be playing in paint, I’m looking forward to practicing what I’ve learned—the great Yogi, Pattabhi Jois always said, “practice and all is coming.” His words are a life lesson on and off the yoga mat. Practice. Just focus on the practice without worrying about the outcome. Practice, it’s the heart of movement.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Full Sturgeon Moon

Artist Jamie Ridler hosts a full moon dreamboard challenge on her website which I excitedly decided to participate in this month. The idea is to create a dreamboard or a mini vision board each month at the full moon in order to focus in on your dreams and take steps to bring those dreams into your life. Jamie’s site is a delight and you should check it out at I really enjoy spending time there!
Anyway…I’m obviously a few days late, according to the full moon, but I really wanted to give some thought to what was important and relevant for me right now and also warranted the effort necessary to create those things/qualities in my life. Also, because I’m just starting to explore art, I thought I would paint something instead of putting together a collage of yoga, art and writing photos. I decided upon the theme of “Try Peace.” I kept it simple, because to me peace is simplicity. I included the moon overhead, used soft colors to represent soft sounds-- like the cooing of the doves--and then added the message to “be silent” so I wouldn’t forget! So, this month I am going to “try peace.” Shhhhhhh!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Full Moon Metamorphosis

It’s that time again! Another moon ripe with possibility glows full in our night sky. Like a new year, a birthday, or any rite of passage really, the cycles of the moon can prime us for growth and change. Lately I have been using the rhythm of the moon to help me organize my life—for lack of a better way to put it—and to focus in on my creative dreams and aspirations. I find it much easier to navigate ideas and goals when they are broken into bite-size pieces, so the fact that each year we are given 13 moons makes it very convenient for me. I have 13 opportunities to reflect and refocus, 13 chances to redirect my energy, and 13 occasions to feel grateful for what I already have! What a lovely gift!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Magic Closet

In their first apartment together, my brother and sister-in-law had what they referred to as a magic closet; it was big, deep and lined with shelves from floor to ceiling. It was magical because inevitably when you put something in it and closed the door that item disappeared and in its place you inexplicably found something you hadn’t seen in, well, years. When they moved, I was in charge of packing up that closet and I was sure that games and appliances were materializing out of nowhere…it seemed as if for every box I filled more things awaited me on those shelves.

That closet always intrigued me, and lately I have been asking myself, when we meditate or simply sit quietly with our thoughts, what is it that we create when we go inside, when we really listen? Our minds are similar to the magic closet in that we often times store away ideas, feelings and memories and pull out things we didn’t know existed within us, which can be both exciting and disconcerting. Whether we recognize it right away or not, the excavation is almost always an opportunity for growth. Take time to sit down with yourself every day. You may be surprised at what you find way back in your internal corners! Explore, experiment, create!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sparking Creative Juices is a site that I visit with regularity. Leah Piken Kolidas hosts a blog that focuses on sparking creative juices and what I find so interesting is that she selects a monthly artistic theme for her readers to ponder and then translate into their own form of art. In July the theme was "self" and the mixed media piece I'm posting (at least I hope I am!) is my first attempt at any kind of art and is my interpretation of "self." It's still a work in progress, but I have been having a REALLY good time with it!

The theme for August, I believe, is "move." I feel some yoga inspired art coming on!
I'm starting a new book today. It's called, "The Life Organizer: A Woman's Guide to a Mindful Year" by Jennifer Louden. It seems like an appropriate place for me to start! I haven't made up my mind on the others for this month (one art focused and one focused on yoga) but will by the end of the day. Stay tuned! I'm also looking forward to taking a class or two this month.
More to come...

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Beginnings

Have you noticed how difficult beginnings are? I often wonder just what is it about a blank page, an empty canvass or a rolled out yoga mat that makes me question myself, that makes me want to run for the safety of my couch, a cup of tea and Law and Order reruns. They say that silencing the inner critic—that little voice that lives inside your head and feeds off of the self-doubt it creates and propagates—is paramount to success, but I don’t know. Yes, “the voice” has been telling me for years that I have no business writing, has assured me repeatedly that I have no creative talent whatsoever, and yes, the same sneaky voice has made wonder if eleven years is long enough to work at any yoga pose, but I still can’t help but wonder if you actually need that little voice in order to care enough to propel yourself forward. If you think about it, isn’t it really the very same voice that whispers your dreams to you, that celebrates that great idea with you before your fear sets in? If you didn’t have the voice would everything just be flat?

So yes, this blog is a beginning, an exploration really—of my path toward 50. There are 483 days (including today) before I mark that particular anniversary of my birth, and I have decided that since, as they say, life is short, that each day really does needs to matter, needs to stand on its own as important and meaningful. I feel the urge to dive more fully into yoga as a practice and a philosophy, to read—OK, devour—books from self-help to “True Blood” and everything in-between, and to stick my toe into the world of art just to test the waters. Oh, and if anyone knows how I can pet an elephant sometime in the next 483 days, please let me know!

I’m going to try to post my first foray into the world of art. We’ll see how that goes for this technologically challenged woman! At any rate, my newly found love of all things creative can be credited first to Dawn from Enchanted Journey (thank you Dawn for your wonderful vision board class!), and then to listening to many a podcast via Kimberly Wilson on her Hip Tranquil Chick website. I found a whole new world out there in the way of mixed media artists and creativity in general. Lots of fun and tons of inspiration!

Until next time…