What’s In a Metaphor?

Twyla Tharp writes in her book, The Creative Habit, about metaphor. “Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we’re experiencing now with what we have experienced before. It’s not only how we express what we remember, it’s how we interpret it – for ourselves and others.” Up to this point in my life, I would have been inclined to say that I don’t use metaphors often but, upon reflection, I’m finding they run rampant in my conversations. Just recently, I was confiding to a friend about my sense of being “out of control”…how I felt like I was “caught in a whirlpool in the Bermuda Triangle.”  Metaphor! It gave me pause. My chest was constricted, I was feeling scared and small. When I thought about the emotion tied up in that metaphor, I was taken back to a forgotten memory of being on an inflatable raft in the waters outside of Leme Beach and being pulled out by an undertow current when I was a child. What a powerful connection.

I’m paying attention these days to my words. To discover the hidden gems hidden in my metaphors. The memories that drive my reactions. The voices of authority that stop me in my tracks. The list goes on. The pIMG_1823oint is to bring the emotions behind the metaphor into the light and choose whether I want to keep carrying them forward. Instead of harboring the fear of drowning, I’m focusing on the relief and joy of getting my feet firmly planted in the sand. I did survive. Instead of stopping what I’m doing like a guilty child, I’m choosing to stand in my own power. What are your metaphors telling you? What will you keep and what will you let go? That’s the amazing thing, we have a choice. Choose what is best for you.

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Deconstructing a Piano

IMG_6416While living in England during the 1980s, I fell in love with an antique piano. The front was a beautiful inlayed wood design with candle sconces. Every time I looked at it, it stirred my imagination and carried me back to bygone eras. It didn’t matter that it was slightly out of tune and weighed over 500 pounds. It was beautiful.

Thirty five years later, it still sat in my living room. Still beautiful, still unable to carry a tune, and still too heavy to move far. What was I holding on to? It turns out that I was holding out for the moment when I would realize that I could take it apart and create new life with it. With a screwdriver and hammer in hand, I am in the midst of the puzzle of deconstructing…pausing every now and then to pay homage to the men who built it.

I don’t know yet what I will do with the pieces. I’m drawn to making the front panel with the sconces a mantel piece and the inner workings into wall art…or perhaps a sculpture. What I do know is that the piano will live on and I will shed myself of the weight and space that the old form took up. I also realize that it’s a metaphor for my life right now. There are times to appreciate, times to let go, times to create, times to allow space for new things to grow. What are you holding on to that no longer serves you and what might you create if you let it go? It’s something to think about this week.

In Anticipation

I’ve started spending my mornings once again settled in the chair in front of the hummingbird feeder. It is filled and ready for their return to me. blog - 1 (2)And, I don’t think that it is a coincidence that a friend just sent me a vignette of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Happiness Jar – a daily ritual to record your happiest moment of the day. I suspect that on the day they return it will be the “happiest moment of the day” that I place in the Happiness Jar. When you stop to think about it, it’s the littlest things that bring such joy.

What are your littlest things? Talking a walk in the park? Snuggling in your favorite chair with a good book? Coffee with an old friend? If those things which bring a happy feeling of anticipation are not a regular habit, consider reintroducing some of them back into your routine. As Winnie-the-Pooh, one of my favorite teachers, noted:

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 

Anticipation is a wonderful thing…

I Am Human

IMG_3144Years ago, I read a quote by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – “Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an unuprooted small corner of evil.” This quote came to mind as I was reading Debbie Ford’s book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. In it, she talks about the importance of accepting our dark sides and finding the good in those aspects of ourselves that we hate. This has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned as a coach.

What are the “don’t be(s)” that you tell yourself? Don’t be mean? Don’t be selfish? Don’t be unkind? That’s just the beginning of my list, it can go on for pages. The fact is, there are times that I am mean, I am selfish, and I am unkind. And, there are times those behaviors serve me and/or serve those around me. When we begin to accept the fact that everyone, myself included, have both good and bad within us, we can begin to see that there is less that divides us than unites us. When you find yourself locking in on a judgment about someone else, take a moment to think about what circumstances could have caused you to take the same action or stance. Give yourself the same gift and see how it changes how you view the world and yourself. In the end, we are all too human.

 

Making Snow Angels

For those on the East Coast, you are either digging out or wondering where the mountains of snow are in your world. We made the requisite run to the grocery store for milk and toilet paper…although I really think the run is really for a chance to share stories in the IMG_5141 copygrocery line about our ability to overcome obstacles brought on by nature. Rarely, do I hear stories about playing in the snow and making snow angels anymore. Where did the anticipation of a snowfall go? Do you remember dragging your sled to the nearest hill and flying down it? Sinking into snowdrifts as you walked across the yard? Falling back on the fresh snow, spreading your arms and making snow angels? Where did the fun go?

Let’s take back the “wonder” in winter wonderland! Look at the snow with the eyes of a child. Bundle up in layers and go outside. Tromp through the drifts. Borrow a cafeteria tray and slide down a hill. Fall back and create a snow angel! Have some fun…shoveling the driveway can wait.

Exercise Sixty-One

Most folks know that I’m a fan of vision boards. I love to use the process to dream big and to set intentions. blog - 1If you came to my studio, you would see three boxes of torn out photos and words that I keep ready for my next creation. Today, we are going to take the essence of the vision board process and reduce it into smaller project that will be a companion to Looking For Fun in All the Right Places. First step is to stop and think about all the things that are or would be fun. Like to swim? Take a walk? Create jewelry? People watch? Learn to skydive? Make a list of at least 10. Now, find a small image of each item on your list and print it out (Google Search on images works well). When you are done, create a one page collage that you can place at the front of your calendar. Ready for the hard part? At the beginning of each week, look at that page and schedule some time during the week to do at least one of your fun activities and actually do it. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr said, “Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”  Play on!

Looking for Fun in All the Right Places

I’ve rediscovered a guilty pleasure….posing in the cutouts that are appearing everywhere img_5764these  days. It doesn’t cost anything, there are no calories to count, and inevitably it brings a smile to my face. When was the last time you dropped your adult mask and played with what appeared randomly in front of you? We are so caught up in doing the responsible thing, addressing the “shoulds”, “woulds” and “coulds” in our heads, losing the joy in the moment. Take a break. Have some spontaneous fun. Let go of what others think. Let go about what you think. Stay in the moment and laugh. The world can use more laughter.

After a long hiatus where I immersed myself in moving, unpacking, classes and more, it’s great to be back writing. I can’t wait to share what I’ve found with you all.

Exercise Sixty

ME5Given the time span between Exercise Fifty Nine and Sixty, I thought I’d reorient us again to our creative sides. In that vein, I’m going to ask you to create your ideal imaginary friend. This is the friend with who you can do no wrong, who loves all your ideas, knows that you are one of the most creative people on the planet. They are always available for a play date with you. This is your creative companion going forward.

What is your imaginary friend’s name?

What does your imaginary friend look like?

What are your imaginary friend’s favorite adjectives?

What excites your imaginary friend?

What does your imaginary friend love most about you?

Have the answers? Perfect. Next week we begin the journey again and I can’t wait to be with both of you.

In Between the Pages

It struck me the other day that it had been too long since I picked up a book for fun. As a child, I would most often be found sitting in my room immersed in an adventure with my imagination putting me smack dab in the middle of the action. I dreamed of riding horses, childrensbooks-1living in far off lands, having magical powers…almost everything that happened in between the pages. Looking back, I realize that I have done many of the things I dreamed about doing while reading. Is there a connection? You bet. The books expanded my dreams of what was possible, opened me to  new ideas, took me to places that I’d never been and now longed to see. What did they do for you?

When I watch a movie or tv show or listen to an audible book, I am separate from the action. I don’t imagine that I am part of the story. While I may have empathy for the characters, when the screen fades, its done. There is no space for dreaming. I’ve become Alice from Alice in Wonderland:

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

I want to be back in the space of believing six impossible things before breakfast. It’s time to pick up a book again and immerse myself in between the pages. Want to join me?

 

 

Exercise Thirty Seven

PeleIt’s still Wednesday in Hawaii, so I haven’t missed my deadline. I delayed writing today so I could include one of my photos from the volcano which we visited last night. Standing at the top of the caldera and looking at the molten lava jumping into the air and flowing across the crater floor was awe-inspiring. If you ever doubted that the earth is a living, breathing entity, this would change your mind. The Island of Hawai’i is the only place I’ve been where I have felt the power of the earth — it is an ever-changing landscape. Where many only see the stark lava fields, I see the lava turning to dirt, shoots of plants pushing their way up to the sky, flowers blooming, birds and butterflies gracefully winging from leaf to branch. Every day is about creation and, sometimes, erasing what exists to make way for new life. How’s that for a metaphor for our lives?

This week, pick up that pencil and paper that have been dormant since the last time I gave you a writing exercise. At the top of the paper, write the following: “I choose to create a life that…” Continue writing for 15 minutes – steady flow, no editing, no judging. Anything special jump out at you? Nurture it. Be like the sprouts that are pushing their way through the lava and go towards the light. The world needs you to let go of that which doesn’t serve you and create that which does. You are as awe-inspiring and powerful as the show I saw last night!

Writer’s Block

I’ve been struggling today with writer’s block. I have pages of topics to write about, quotes I love, but the words aren’t flowing. Instead I want to sit outside on the lanai and just enjoy a cup of coffee and let all the tasks that are piling up be blown away by the wind. A moment in sun. I think we all need that at times. To stop the “busy-ness” of our lives and turn inwards, to ground ourselves in the midst of nature. I’m hoping your indulge me today and be content to reflect this week on one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles:

sunset 2“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

Let your light shine bright this week. You are a magnificent and I am so blessed to have you in my life!

Expand Your World

blog - flowerLord Tennyson wrote in Ulysses, “I am part of all that I have met.” This quote came back to me on Saturday. Every year, the Daughters of Hawai‘i honor Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole at their annual Day at Hulihe‘e Palace. As I watched the hula dancers tell their stories with graceful movements of hands and body, I was transported back to my days on Oahu. Stepping off the plane, I had a sense of arriving home and I was determined to immerse myself in all things Hawaiian – the language, the hula, the people, and the history. Much of it was foreign to my East Coast, Type A, workaholic personality and I often found myself far out of my comfort zone. I grew in ways I couldn’t have imagined and I wouldn’t trade a minute of the journey.

When was the last time you learned about another culture? Tried an ethnic restaurant? Danced a salsa? Without realizing it, we find ourselves in comfortable routines and patterns. We go to the same events and restaurants, mingle with the same people — in fact, we are quite happy in our little worlds. It is good…but it can be better. This week I challenge you to expand your world. Go to an Afghan restaurant, watch a foreign movie, listen to the BBC news, visit an ethnic street fair — anything that rocks your world. Push your borders out and experience something new. Every connection spawns more connections. By the end, you may find yourself someplace you never imagined with new friends that both surprise and delight you. Take a page from Alice in Alice in Wonderland — I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” Celebrate the differences.

Exercise Thirty Two

A friend recently posted on my Facebook page a picture “If you can’t handle me randomly blurting out song lyrics that relate to what you just said, we can’t be friends” with a comment following that she was thinking of me. It’s true. I am one of those people.  My brain appears to be hardwired to link words with songs – and my mouth naturally follows along. That said, I, who would have no problem bursting into song publicly anywhere, am fearful of standing in front of an audience and singing. Given my question to you on Monday, “Will you view fear as a gift to be opened?” — what will I do with that knowledge? Stay tuned for a future blog where I answer that.

For me, part of the problem with facing my fears, is that I’m too busy to take the time to see them. There’s so much to do and so much left undone that it is easy not to be present with myself and to reflect on what “gifts are waiting to be opened.” So, let’s start smaller this week. Let’s take the time, three times a day, to be fully present. If you are driving, concentrate on feeling the steering wheel against your palms. If you are walking, focus on what’s around you. If you are talking, stop and really listen. Breathe. You get the idea. It’s not hard to do. It just takes the will to do it, to be fully present three times a day. I expect that you are going to get  hooked on the feeling of living in the moment.

I suddenly feel a song coming on…join me with Jason Moraz’s song, “Living in the Moment.”

The Gift of Fear

I love books. While both my Kindle and IBooks apps are filled with titles, for me, nothing beats a real book — a book where I can underline, write my thoughts in the margins, draw lines to connect thoughts and record my reaction with stars on those passages that I will someday return to. I’m not one of those readers that sits with one book and completes it from cover to cover. Instead, I have a piles of books stacked around the house, which I pick up on  a whim to read. Which is why I find it fascinating that the four books I picked up to read yesterday, all had passages about viewing fears as gifts to be opened.

Cathy - Pink water lilyWhen the same message appears multiple times to me, I believe that it’s time for me to sit up, take notice and reflect. Fear as a gift to be opened? I needed time to wrap my mind around that – I have always thought of fear as something I had to work through. Viewing it as a gift put it into a whole other perspective. In a commencement speech to Harvard University graduates, J.K. Rowling shared “I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Wow. Is there a better example of the gift of fear?

What are your fears? What keeps you from living life joyfully and fully? Is it the voices you grew up with? Society’s definition of success? Of responsibility? This week I challenge you to seek out and acknowledge your fears. Bring them into the light. Flip your perspective. Treat fear as a gift and see how it changes your response and, quite possibly, your world.

 

 

Paying It Forward

 

How many of you saw the movie “Pay It Forward?” I was reminded of it when I saw Hannah Brencherblog - love being interviewed on the Meredith Vieira show. To deal with depression and loneliness after moving to New York City,  she began to write and leave letters randomly with the words “If you find this letter, it’s for you” on the front. It has morphed into a wonderful movement with a cadre of volunteers writing caring letters to those in need. Meredith Vieira showed the impact by having one of the recipients come to the show. To learn more go to: The World Needs More Love Letters. I was moved enough to join the cause.

This is an excellent example of how a small act by an individual can have a dramatic impact on the world. She isn’t the only one. There are countless examples of individuals who have done the same – building schools, feeding children, providing hope – in a myriad of ways. Have you ever found yourself starting to do something and stopped because a tiny voice in your head said “It won’t make a difference?” Guess what? That voice is wrong. This week honor the impulse of wanting to do something to make your part of the world a little better. Follow through on the acts that “the voice” says won’t make a difference. You may not see the final result but know that what you put out there will be a seed which will sprout and grow. True or false, I’ve always believed that a butterfly’s wings can indeed effect the winds on the other side of the world. I believe you can too.

Exercise Thirty

I was looking back at some of my former posts and discovered that I reused Elizabeth Gilbert’s quote about saying your wishes out loud.  It reminded me how much her words resonate for me that I return to them time and again. It also got me to thinking about phrases that I now repeat which I learned growing up. “You are buying someone else’s problems” (when looking at a used car). “You can’t ration passion” (WWII vintage). “Public service is important.” As I started typing, I realized just how long this piece would get if I wrote them all down. What phrases popped into your head?

I wrote Monday about honoring our elders. The fact is that we too have practices, lessons, and words to share with those who follow us. This week’s exercise is to stop and think about what you would like to pass on and write it down. Mine include: find what you are passionate about and do it; be kind; be grateful; be generous, there is enough for everyone if we share. It occurs to me that I sound a bit like Robert Fulghum’s list in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. (For those not familiar with the list, I found a YouTube video by Cynthia Mendoza to share.)

The point is that we all have “aha” moments that point us to how we are connected with one another. Share them and see if we can’t evolve just a bit faster.

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”  Robert Fulghum

“Queen of Code”

Yesterday I was listening to “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio and they did a segment on Grace Hopper. How many of you have heard of her? Forget Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The chances are good that I wouldn’t be typing on this computer and you wouldn’t be reading this on your smartphone if she and other women hadn’t been engaged working on the first computers. If you have sixteen minutes, it’s a great history lesson and I’m betting by the end of it you will have a new role model.

One of the many things I love about the Hawaiians is their respect for those who have walked before them (kupuna). Kahikahealani Wight, Professor of Hawaiian Language and Literature, Kapi’olani Community College, explains that the “kupuna is an honored elder who has acquired enough life experience to become a family and community leader…[they] include the many generations before us who by their spiritual wisdom and presence guide us through personal, familial or community difficulties…[and they are] the source, the starting point or the process of growth.”

Let’s take the time this week to recognize our kupuna. Make a phone call or a lunch date. Share life experiences. Ask questions. Suspend judgements.  There are lessons still to be learned if we would but listen. Spend the week in gratitude for those who have cleared the path that we now walk.

Exercise Twenty Nine

While traveling in Italy with my mother, we came across a huge billboard that said (in English): “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust. A photo of her in front of the billboard graced her Christmas card that year. I was reminded of the quote while viewing the lava fields last weekend.  I don’t know about you but I have always loved the little surprises that nature gives us if we just look. I started with cloud watching and graduated, as time went by, up to trees, plants, rocks…you name it. My photos are filled with images of rabbits in bark, faces in flowers, of a myriad of images that were found in unexpected places.

This week I challenge you to look around with new eyes — look up to the clouds, down at the earth, across the water — in whatever direction you are eyes are pointed. Release your expectation of what you should see and allow the other images to come forth. When I see the unexpected, like a turtle in a lava field, it reminds me that all things are connected. What does it do for you?

lava turtle

Birth of a Drum

drum

I came across the following statement by Elizabeth Gilbert: “Nearly 800 years ago, the Persian mystic poet Rumi wrote, ‘You must ask for what you really want.’ He saw asking as a sacred duty, and I think he was right — not because your wishes will be granted automatically (they won’t), but because the mere act of saying out loud, ‘This is who I am and what I’ve come for’ seems to awaken a powerful force within. By articulating your wish, you’re making an announcement that you’re serious about bringing forth the next great thing in your life.” I recently set the intention to attend a women’s drum circle and found myself this weekend at a Drum Making Gathering for Healing, Love, Life, and Peace held on the sacred lands of Kalaemano.

Up until this point, I don’t think I ever recognized how close the drum beat is to our heart, how the rhythm of the beat resonates through the body as blood through a vessel. As we traveled our respective drum journeys, I found myself flying, surrounded by blue skies and clouds. It was the first time that I’ve traveled while in a meditative state and it was awe inspiring.

I encourage you this week to start saying your wishes out loud. Not to be heard by others but rather to be heard by your heart. The word is powerful as are you. Stand this week in your place of power and believe in the power of your dreams.

Defining Creativity

 

blog chalk art

On my creative journey, I’ve been searching for a definition of creativity that resonates. I recently found it in an Internet writing course I’m taking called “Writeriffic: Creativity Training for Writers.”  Eva Shaw wrote that “Creativity is the way you translate what you hear or feel or see inside into a format that you share with the reader.”  I love it but would also expand it to fit my thinking. Creativity is the way you translate what you hear, see, smell, taste, and/or touch (or in other words what you think, feel and sense) into a format that you share with others.  The format can be anything – a recipe, a drawing, an invention, a story, a conversation, a problem solved. You get the point. Creativity is integral to who we are and what we do as human beings.

For all those who say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” it is time to recast the statement.  How can you not have a creative bone? From the moment that you wake you are making decisions and taking actions that fit the definition. What I’m suggesting is that you acknowledge that you are indeed creative and consider stepping a bit outside your normal routine. I challenge you this week to look at an Internet learning site – ed2go.com (continuing education), Lynda.com (technology), kelby.com (photography) are just a few – or page through a college catalogue. Browse the subjects. Which ones spark your interest? Any surprises? You don’t have to take a course right now but do note which ones captured your attention.  Write them down. It’s a first step towards finding your inner fire.

 

 

Nature Rules

IMG_2791

I was out weeding this morning at 630 AM and the chorus of a song most of you wouldn’t recognize popped in my head.  It goes:

 “Good living is a habit. Live it while you can.  Soft sable fur not rabbit, and superfast cars on Mercantile credit. And why worry if the money isn’t really real. You’re as rich as you feel.”

It came from an album titled “A Friend of Mine is Going Blind” by Johnathan Dawson Read which will be a subject for another time.  The point is, I was outside with my hands in the earth, cool tradewinds blowing, clear blue skies and ocean in the distance and I felt good.  The only sounds were the birds chattering, an occasional purr from the cats, and dogs randomly barking.  I was connected mind, body, soul with nature.

We seem to have fewer and fewer moments such as these.  It’s much too easy to connect to the world via technology – watching Animal Planet on TV and cute cat and dog videos on Facebook.  What I rediscovered this morning was the importance of connecting with nature to nurture creativity.  The pause, as I sat to take in the view, jumpstarted ideas for writing and painting.  The energy has stayed with me through the day and I resolve to make sure that I continue to find time each day to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature.

I challenge you this week to find ways to reconnect with nature.  Turn off the radio and roll down the windows to hear and feel the wind, watch a sunrise or sunset in silence, hug a tree…the list of possibilities is endless.  See how it makes you feel and if you are so inclined, please share it with me.

You can hear Good Living at http://www.johndawsonread.com/music.php

In Search of Our Creative Selves

I read a story once that went something like this:  “A researcher went into a kindergarten class and asked ‘Who can draw?  Who can paint?  Who can dance?’  Every child raised their hand.  He then went to a college class and asked them the same questions.  Very few hands went up.”  What happens to us as we grow up?  When do we lose our knowledge of how creative and powerful we are?  How do we regain our creative zest and the joy we felt?

These are questions I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of months and just recently I found a quote by Pablo Picasso which points to the same questions.  “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”   I had become a very responsible adult and never noticed that I no longer played my guitar, drew with abandon, or even colored in a coloring book (one of my all-time favorite pastimes as a child…I would use every color in the box).

I immediately went out and bought a coloring book and the largest box of crayons I could find.  I admit it.  I still love it.  Now, when I’m having a mental block, I sit down and pick up a crayon.  There is something about holding a crayon and applying color to a space that frees my mind from its challenges and allows creative thought to flow.
I challenge you this week to think about your favorite childhood pastimes.  Pick one and revisit it and let me know how it feels.  Also, if anyone can point me to the source of the researcher story, I would love to hear that too.

coloring book2

Exercise Three

So how did the time mantra work out for you? If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot. I’ve received feedback from others that it is working for them.  Today, I’d like you to take some of the time you’ve saved and spend it.  Take out a pen and some paper, find a quiet spot, and write down a list of things you enjoy.  The list may be long or it may be short.  It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you allow the items to flow from your heart onto the paper, again without judgment. How’d it feel?

Now is the time for action. Take one item from your list and plan a play date for yourself.  If others are involved, fine, but don’t let it change what you have chosen to do…and only include those who will whole-heartedly support your enjoyment of what you’ve chosen. This exercise is totally about you and your joy.  In the words of Pablo Coehlo, “One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”  I’ve got to go, I’ve got a date with a sunset but I’d love to hear how this exercise worked for you later.

sunsetsmall

Finding Time

susnet tree

Do you feel like there just isn’t enough time to fit “play” into your life?  The To Do List is overflowing, deadlines loom, and friends and family clamor for attention.  I was feeling that way when I read a quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”  Wow!  What would I do if I had exactly the amount of time I needed?  Then and there I decided to try an experiment.  I switched my language from “I don’t have enough time” to “I have exactly the time I need.”

Living in Hawaii, I also decided to embrace “Hawaiian Time.”  For those unfamiliar with Hawaiian Time, I’ll share my favorite description found in A Little Book of Aloha.  Clifford Nae’ole defined it as “the ability to simply be still and listen to your heartbeat, to stop and observe a beautiful rainbow or to watch the dolphins dance with the ocean.  I would make this a priority over getting to a destination on time – the ability of observation, appreciation, and relaxation.”  It’s true.  I now make a point of watching sunsets, looking for turtles, listening to the birds and I say to myself, “I have exactly the time I need.”

My lesson learned?  When I’m feeling behind, I repeat my time mantra – “I have exactly the time I need” and I find that even with late starts, I arrive on time; projects are completed; friends and family are accounted for; AND, I have time to stop, relax and spend time in ways that engage and re-energize me.  Take the challenge this week to change the way you think about time.  Try out my time mantra and let me know what happens for you.

We Are All Artists

how to be an artist2

My niece recently sent me this photo of “How To Be An Artist” which is making it way around Facebook (I would love to give a shout out to whoever created it but I could only find re-posts with no attribution).  Not only is it true for artists, it is true for life.  Good or bad, beautiful or ugly, tall or short (pick your own adjectives)…we are creating in every moment.  Would we view our actions differently if we thought of them as art?

Out of curiosity, I looked up artistic in the dictionary.  Artistic is defined by Merriam – Webster as “showing imaginative skill in arrangement or execution.”  Personally, just getting out of bed some mornings fits the bill for me.  The challenge for us this week is to silence our inner (and outer critics, if necessary) and “make more art.”  Whatever your artistic talent — painting, cooking, gardening, playing, selling — pick whatever activity calls to your imagination and do more of it.  Do so much of it that you are filled to the brim with the energy that comes from engaging your mind and body to complete the task.  We are all artists and the world calls on us to make more art!

I would love to hear your thoughts and if anyone knows who created “How To Be An Artist,” please let me know.

Welcome to My Creative Life

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        Aloha and welcome to my blog on the creative life.  If you’ve discovered this blog, I hope you will continue the journey with me and share your thoughts as we go along.  At heart, I am a student.  In my transition from a 9 to 5 (on a good day) job to the life of an artist, I found that there were many lessons to learn and habits to break.  Fortunately, I have met many wonderful teachers along the way who have helped me grow and I feel called to do the same for you.  At the beginning of each week, I will write about something that has inspired me, challenged me, or forced an “aha” moment in my creative journey.  If you are interested in going a bit farther and stretching your creative muscles, I will also provide, later in the week,  an exercise to try out.  I hope to see and hear from you in the weeks to come.  As Karen Drucker wrote in one of my favorite songs: “We are all angels -who only have one wing. All angels – searching for each other. All angels who cannot reach the sky cause we need each other to fly.”