Monday, January 25, 2016

What's the key?

The key to happiness is to look at what's right in your life.
~Author unknown

There are two ways to read this quote, as I realized after choosing it and thinking on it for a while.  Then I realized what it was probably meant to express, and I laughed.  I guess this reminds us that the lens through which you receive life is just your perspective at any given moment.

First, I was thinking that this quote's message is:  Look for what's right there in front of you in your life- at this moment- to find happiness.  I was on the bluff watching an overcast sunset when I was thinking about this quote and I noticed these lovely leaves.  I think if the sunset had been more spectacular, or I hadn't been so into drawing botanicals, I might have missed their beauty.

The second meaning I now can take from this quote reads...  Look for what's going right, instead of focusing on all that's wrong.  Another important message- one which keeps coming into my life!

I think it's beneficial to note that the wording here is active.  It could say "watch for" but when you are looking for something, you are seeking it.  This suggests vigilance.  I like the idea of being active in seeking out that which is positive in life, and staying present for the beauty right in front of you at any moment.

Stay vigilant!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Creating A Fulfilling Day

Begin at once to live and count each day as a separate life.
~ Lucius Annacus Seneca

I am working on my procrastination.  In my professional life, this is not a big issue- I have a schedule I keep, I get tons of things done.  I don't like to make things hard for others.  My procrastination is in my personal life- in my "free time", in my creative choices.

This week's quote goes along with a book I am reading, Show Your Work! 10 Ways To Share Your Creativity And Get Discovered, by Austin Kleon.  In it, Austin talks about how near death experiences remind people to use their time, since time is so precious.  This concept is helping me a lot.

This is not to say that I'm there yet, but I am trying to be more mindful of what I choose to use my time for.  So before I pick up the Ipad and surf the web without direction, I think, "If this was my last day, how would have wanted to spend it?"

Giving myself new routines, challenges and plans has been helping me to remember to use my extra time for the things that feel most fulfilling to me.  In The Life-Changing Magic Of Tiding UpMarie Kindo asks you to keep only in your house those things that bring you joy.  I want to use this theme also with how I spend my time.  Does it bring me joy and or lead to my continued joy in life?

Here lies a work in progress.

This painting was made using handmade papers, acrylic paint, pens and ink.  I created an acrylic skin image transfer for the words-my first- and need to keep practicing with these!  I am learning a lot through each piece I create.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Just Begin.

I choose.

Many things in my life have been leading here, and I am excited to start this new project.  2015 was a year of growth in so many ways for me- too many to go into at this moment.  It was a year of introspection, of new pursuits and of learning from new people.  I am looking forward to sharing the continuous unfolding of my journey as a person and an artist here in this blog.

"I choose" has come into my life in three particular ways lately, so I thought it fitting to make this my first post.

Among other life deepening books I read last year, I was struck by two books, Peace Is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh and Living Your Yoga, by Judith Lasater.  Both of these books share stories that remind us that it is our reactions and how we choose to respond to our experiences that make us who we are.  We decide how to respond and we are in control of this choice.  I have often found this concept helpful with my elementary school students, since they can feel so overwhelmed by their emotions and are in the beginning of their journey to understand and embrace themselves in the world.  I remember hearing a student say to his Mum, who had told him he needed to stop playing so that he could take his turn for his special meeting to show her his work, "I am still choosing to be angry at you right now."  His language choice was his first step in realizing and acknowledging the power to decide.  I, myself, am still working on this in the moment especially!

This year I have embraced a few exciting personal and artistic challenges (others soon, in upcoming posts) including 30 Days of Yoga Camp with Adriene and I Am An Artist with Lisa Congdon.

In her intensive and inspirational course for artists wanting to hone their business and creative plans, Lisa Congdon talked about how she reminds herself often, even when things are hard, that she chose to make her life as an artist.  Here, again, was this concept reminding me that I can decide what I want, I can decide to make it so, and I can decide to be appreciative of everything it brings along with it.

I began Yoga With Adriene, this time last year (it's my first yoganniversary!) with her 30 Days of Yoga challenge.  This new year, Adriene added a layer of mantras to her daily yoga camp, and her recent choice was "I choose".  Adriene invited her viewers to finish this to create a meaningful sentence for themselves.  So here it was again, another reminder that I CHOOSE.

So this year...

I choose to collect the quotes that I encounter which resonate with my life in the moment.

I choose to create an illustration or vignette around that quote.

I choose to share one each Monday for the rest of 2016.

(It's never too late to begin a new resolution, right?)

Today's image was fun to create!  The beach down the street had these lovely hot pink weeds washed up today, a pop to add the the photo.  It took a few tries and some wet sneakers and socks, but I was able to capture a peak of the wave that washed away my writing.  This crochet meditation stone is from the same beach!

I hope you enjoy this journey with me and my wish is that these experiences might shed some positive light to start our week with.  If you are interested please comment to add to our shared journey!

With the goal of spreading love in the world, Jennifer