Friday, January 14, 2011

Full Circle - Transforming Agent Orange into Abundance

When I was very young, I had my tonsils removed. Perhaps ordinary in 1967, but the stay in the hospital was extraordinary for me. My roommate for 3 days was an older Vietnamese girl named Ping who was in the hospital for reconstructive surgery from the damage from Agent orange. These 3 days have haunted me and been on the "I don't know what to do with this experience" list all these years until a few weeks ago.

I confess I felt hugely awkward and guilty at the age of 5. This girl had everything taken from her -- her country, her family and her face. I had everything. My family came to visit me and brought me a huge bag of gifts, made lots of noise and left. I did not know what to make of this awkward cavern in circumstances. Oddness has surrounded that memory for the past 40-something years.

And then something shifted. At a holiday gift exchange a few weeks ago, I received this gorgeous embroidered Vietnamese image of beautiful abundance. This image (above) gives me the feeling that there is plenty for us all. Enough food. Enough beauty. Enough Love. We are all blessed.

And ... then I learned that the giver of this lovely Vietnamese art had bought it over there from a shop run by victims of Agent Orange. At that instant, I saw her face and I felt her love. We are all blessed. Now share our blessings.

There are times in all of our lives that feel odd. Perhaps something happened that was unfair or very unfortunate. We all have some of those stories. For me, it is the act of exploring my creative soul and sharing my blessings that shifts those awkward moments into a feeling of dreams come true.

May 2011 bring you all your dreams come true.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creative Journaling

Many years ago at an art class, the facilitator gave us a large blank sketch book as part of the class supplies. In an Artist Way fashion, she gave us ideas of how to use the journal and suggested we had artist's dates with ourselves in our "journals." Now many years later, I would like to share with you that this can be a POWERFULLY HEALING process. For me, this is a foundation corner stone to cultivating my creative self.

I am sharing this NOW because a week ago I met a young artist at a show and we stumbled into a conversation about this process. So I promised to blog about it. This entry is dedicated to this young mother in Denver who is a fabulous jewelry designer and a walking canvas of creativity; may it bless her creative path.

A small but potent book, "Write It Down and Make It Happen," by Henriette Anne Klauser, Ph.D., gave me the validation that what I was finding was not just a random fluke. Dr. Klauser is one of America's leading authorities on communications and writing productivity; she documents stories of folks from all walks of life who have changed their lives simply by engaging in the act of writing down what they wanted.

I have been using a creative journal with intention for many years. Carefully, positively and gratefully writing, drawing, cutting and pasting images, I am affirming my creative self. I am captivated by the power of my Creative Journal in creating my wonderful life. Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. Here are some of my Creative Journaling ideas:

- I use it to capture creative ideas that excite me, but I do not yet have time to do anything about (but I now feel confident I will find the time when I capture the inspiration in my creative journal...:)).

- I use it to keep notes of my creative projects (like a recipe) as it is unfolding (eg. pictures I down load from the internet, drawings of an image I am working on to stitch into a quilt, ideas I am gleaning from a magazine article or instructional video).

- I use it to express my gratitude. Focusing on those things that are working well in my life, those people who are blessing me, and all the small everyday things that keep me nourished and smiling have been magically helpful to my creative process.

- I also use it to work through those places of resistance, moments of self reflection and opportunities for growth...

- I write down websites I plan to go back to, scribbles while talking to a dear friend on the phone, random words that grab me but have no other place to be at that time. It is a sacred vessel for all those nourishing tidbits of my life until it finds a place to bloom.

- I work out my class outlines in my journal. I keep copies of poems. I paste in images and articles from my dear friends.

- My creative journal holds the last card my grandmother "Gaga" sent me before she past away. This reminds me that Gaga was my number one fan and always encouraged my artworks. My creative journal is a safe place to hold all these tender feelings.

- Once a month I write a list of what new I would like to create in my life. AND I write it down as if it has already happened.

- My Creative Journal also holds space for me during those times when I have little to share or capture ... and it is OK with me being creatively quiet.

- I paste my coloring pages in them (yes, I still "color" at times, just because it FEELS GOOD!!).

- I draw sketches of our house remodel or other family projects in them.

- Sometimes I write stories of my day in them... not often as I am not really a "Dear Diary" type of person ... but sometimes I do...

Being an artist can, at times, be a solo journey. Sometimes we are blessed with a friend or two, or a class, that validates our creative selves. Often we are out there on a walkabout. My creative journal gives me faith about myself and my journey as an artist.

I hope these musings inspire your along your creative journey.

Gratefully Yours

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gratitude and Abundance Day

Always a believer in accentuating the positive, I am grateful for this post which came into my in box today by Aine Belton:

Gratitude & Abundance!
By Aine Belton

Certain states of consciousness hold a resonance field that accelerates
the manifestation of your desires.

Gratitude is certainly one of them!
Gratitude is a generating energy that will serve to attract more of
anything you feel grateful for into your life.

In that sense it is a powerful abundance ally!

Gratitude aligns you to, and subsequently attracts, that which is for
your highest good, and opens you to more of the love, joy, gifts and
blessings the universe wishes to bestow.

Along with appreciation, gratitude opens your heart, raises your
energy, and elevates you from even the darkest of states.

In feeling grateful for something or someone, you essentially
'receive' it, as well as give to it from your heart, which effectively
aligns your vibration to it, and directs your focus, attention and
energy towards it, attuning your heart and mind to that which is

Whatever you focus on grows, so when you appreciate someone, see their
value and beauty and feel grateful for it, those qualities will expand
and grow in your life.

When you focus on everything in your life you have to feel grateful
for, and all the wonderful things, experiences and people you
appreciate, the universe hands you more of the same!

It's a wonderful abundance expanding experience!

Gratitude is the sweet song of appreciation. It turns an experience,
person or event into a gift that is received, for when you appreciate
and feel grateful, you literally let the experience/quality in, and
you also give to it. It is a wonderful exchange of positive energies.

When you feel grateful you experience more of your love, which enhances
your state in a beautiful magical way.

You also get to experience all the beautiful qualities of that which
you feel grateful for all over again!

"Gratitude is a powerful tool. If you will allow yourself to feel
grateful, your processing and programming can work immeasurably
better... As you feel grateful for what you have, you start having
more things about which to feel that gratitude."
- Lazaris

Keep a gratitude journal and write down at the end of each day
10 things you feel grateful for over the last 24 hours to assist you in
experiencing more of this wondrous, generative, heart-opening energy.

When you do so, be sure to connect to the heart-felt feelings of
gratitude, i.e. don't just make it a mental box-ticking process - really engage your emotions.

Add to that list a few things you are grateful to YOURSELF for,
positive qualities, actions, traits and demeanours, how you've
handled your day or any situations, how you've taken care of yourself
or been kind to others, etc.

And lastly, be grateful to the FUTURE you're creating. You are a
powerful manifesting being and when you begin to feel grateful for
the dreams you are creating and person you are becoming, you begin
to attract them more powerfully into your life, for you give the
message to your subconscious mind they have already manifested.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Creative Blurrrr

Since I last posted, I have been out and about all over Colorado Springs offering my creations. I've at least turned over my inventory once and have met folks from Monument to Ellicot to Manitou Springs. It has been truly amazing building a sense of creative community.

All that being said, I have not posted one blog since July and have let my etsy site dwindle to almost nothing, even though my inventory is bulging. Organizing and vending takes a lot of focus. Good news, my gems are being well received and my unique style is continuing to flourish.

Here's a peek at my current inventory:

Gratefully wishing you all a season of thankfulness.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stretching Beyond

It's "safe" to stay within our comfort zones. But what happens when we stretch beyond our regular routines? Recently I set up my jewelry display to vend at ... an army base mini-mall. Mall and military base are not my normally hang outs. Art fair, trunk show, rock shop are more my normal display venues. I was in for a three day cultural adventure.

Getting through the front gate is no easy task. Remember to have all your ID ++ and be ready for the super search. That's right. Open all your doors and car hood and relax as they inspect for car bombs.

Once inside and setting up, it was all a very very pleasant surprise. Immediately an older gentleman came over and bought two bracelets for his wife and daughter. Then the more seasoned vendors came over to meet me and my goods.

The highlight for me, and likely for all the regulars, were the traveling vendors. Many move from base to base as they make their circuit across the country. That week a pair of young Israeli gals were selling a high tech hair straightener and curling iron. Leah and Merav became instant friends to all with their relaxed manner and affable style. This was how they were bank rolling their trip around the world -- a three month stint hawking an expensive appliance at the military bases. You might think, "who would by that thing?" I will tell you, "there were few women who turned these charming young women down."

As I sat quietly at my table hoping some one would come admire my wares, those lovely young ladies were roping them in, doing their hair and sending them off with a $100 box. To entertain myself, I would have them do my hair and offer them little gems as a tip.

After three days, I found my sense of comfort and thoroughly enjoyed conversations with many PX visitors. Several more men came to shop for their wives. Many young mothers stopped to enjoy my eclectic style. And one visiting military wife from another base spoiled me as she bought gifts for herself and a friend. I felt rich with genuine social interactions, new perspectives on business ventures (like touring the country by vending at the military bases?!!), and meeting many different types of folks who walk through the doors of the PX.

I'm soooooo glad I took the opportunity to stretch beyond my normal patterns and experience all these wonderful new folks and perspectives.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"10 Little Tips to Feel Happier Right Now" by Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Don't wait to make a big change in the quality of your life. Eight of these
ten little ways to happiness can be done in less than five minutes.

1. Smile. Raise the corners of your mouth. Soon your smile will become genuine. The smile that begins as an effort and a pretense quickly grows to become genuine, and given time, a habit of happiness. In the words of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."

2. Breathe deeply and slowly. Focus your entire attention on each in-breath
and out-breath. Imagine drawing new clean energy in through the top of your head on each in-breath, and expelling old stale energy out the soles of your
feet on each out-breath.

3. Take a quiet walk by yourself. Focus on each step and on your breathing.
As stray thoughts enter your mind, thank each one, and quickly release the thought and return to a focus on your breathing and your steps.

4. Count your blessings. Make a gratitude list. You have thousands of reasons to be thankful. Be thankful for those who serve you. Make a list of those you depend upon. Everyone has many people who help along the way. Don't forget those who grow and deliver your food, keep your electricity and telephone running, provide emergency medical care, and protect the safety of your community and your nation.

5. Forgive someone for something right now. Release the resentment and anger. This practice is for you to become happier. Telling the other person
that you forgive them is completely optional, and is merely a bonus.

6. Stretch your body. Do yoga, do qigong, or just stand and stretch. As a simple stretch, stand and hold your arms out to your sides forming a cross. Gently bend each hand back at the wrist until the fingers point straight
upward. Twist each hand and arm in a wringing motion as if you were operating
a screwdriver.

7. Turn on happy music and dance. Don't stop 'til you're tired. Dance with someone or dance all by yourself. Choose music that makes you want to
move and keep moving such as Latin Fitness Dance music.

8. Spend some time with a furry friend. If you don't have your own, borrow
a cat or dog to love today.

9. Be of service. Find someone who has worse troubles than you and do something nice for them today.

10. Have a conversation with God (or whatever you call your Higher Power). Approach the conversation with an attitude of gratitude rather than neediness.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie writes the popular Daily Inspiration - Daily Quote free email and inspiring website featuring famous inspirational quotes and Jonathan's articles such as "7 Secrets of Happy Couples." He is co-author of Simply An Inspired Life: Consciously Choosing Unbounded Happiness in Good Times and Bad and the community.

** Today is your day to dance lightly with life. It really is. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie **

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Really About The Joy ....

Each day I receive many emails, some of which are inspirational subscriptions. As I sift through the piles, I always look forward to reading the message from Abraham. Today's gives me reason to post:

"The standard of success in life isn't the things. It isn't the money or the stuff. It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel." --- Abraham (Excerpted from the workshop in Lincroft, NJ on Tuesday, October 15th, 1996 #484)

This morning I awoke to the dog nudging me to let her out. 6:30 am... maybe I should get up. Sophie and I talked about walking Williams Canyon this morning early. The thought of a place I had not yet been pushed me up and out the door. This was a walk that takes you from Manitou Springs out into the wilderness in less than one mile. So early, the morning birds were symphonic and the shadows were long. Even thought I am not a "morning" person, the farther back we walked, the better I felt. Little flowers emerged and gave us the full range of purple shooting stars, pink wild roses, bring yellow orange sunflowers, white little stars.

What Joy! With my dearest people I was out connecting with the land and relishing all its sounds and images and vibrant life. So much joy!

May every day give you a lift to that place in your soul..... ahhhh :)