Saturday, April 26, 2014

Using your journal to find your focus

Today started early, I have a new graphics client, so I organized my work space, neatened up some folders, cleaned up supplies, worked on a talk I will be giving next Saturday, sent out e-mail reminders for another meeting, wrote some checks, blah blah blah.

I think we don't give ourselves enough credit for the complicated lives we live in this Internet Age.
It's so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life.
It's so easy to neglect the inner work that should be the foundation of our days.
Do you meditate?
Do you sit in silence and connect to your higher self?
Do you use your journal to help you find your focus?
It's so important to remember WHY we are here.
Our daily work should not just be to get our desks cleared, then collapse and vegetate in front of the TV.
If we connect to our greater mission statement every day before we power on our computers, it will be way easier to act according to this mission statement with more clear intention.
It's a practice that I have to work on.

You know when you get interrupted by someone who needs you and it is just so easy to feel irritated by that?
I find that if I am connected to my greater mission statement, it is easier to know I need to help that person instead of continuing on the project I had been in the middle of.
What is your higher reason for being?
Have you written it down on a post-it and put it in front of you?  How do you remember it?

and if you don't know it, your journal is a fantastic place to brainstorm on this.
Open to a blank page, start doodling and writing.
Don't just start with your to do list, think of the greater calling, the dream you wish your life was focused on.
Imagine the very most perfect miraculous day; what would you be doing?
Your journal really does help you find this focus.
AND it can help you remember it if you return to it, keep working on it, doodle just a few minutes every day in it.

The hard work of becoming our most authentic selves is to eliminate the clutter of our lives.  Let your journal help you do this.

“Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Waking UP

Yes, it is Monday morning.
Yes, there is snow out there, but also there is bright sun.
Yes, there is a brand new week ahead of us.

I have my bucket of coffee right here in front of me, I have my to-do list, and I even have a pretty good night's sleep under my belt. I have been learning that the most important thing is our lives is to be awake. And by awake, I don't mean zombie-like, in-front-of-the-tv barely getting from day-to-day, caught in the consumerist lifestyle this culture encourages kind of awake. I mean Hugely Supremely Perfectly filled with Gratitude Awake.

I recently met someone who uses the word "AWAKE" as all his pins and passwords, just for the reminder. It's a great idea to post little post-its around with this word to help us remember this. Being awake means remembering your mission statement, remembering why you are here, remembering just what is the essence of your one short incarnation on this planet.

I have so many ideas that I overwhelm myself with ways I need my life to change; using less, reusing more, growing more of our food, walking my dog more, making joyful art, supporting all the amazing causes which come across my desk, making my art generate income for our household, saving the planet, and on and on.

For me, being awake means not getting too tossed about in this sea of good intention.
Being awake means being gentle on myself and my limitations.
Being awake means staying focused on a few core projects which express most strongly what I want to accomplish.
Being awake means remembering that sometimes, dropping what I am doing to help someone who needs me is the higher choice.
Being awake means not getting sucked into facebook memes, conspiracy theories, funny text threads, and the multitude of internet static, which although fun and entertaining, can suck away the hours like a tick you don't see that is attached to your skin.

Being awake means NOTICING.
Noticing that the world is a more light and beautiful place when I take the time to be centered and healthy and filled with gratitude.

I pray that your day today may bring you deep awakening. That we all may continue to practice deep awakening every day with every bit of our beings.
and in this painting of mine, a hummingbird hovers over a calender, a reminder of how fragile time is:

"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the Universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."
-- Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

Monday, April 7, 2014

What fuels me!

So yesterday I posed the question, "what fuels you?"
I had the great opportunity last month to regroup by attending a Medicine for the Earth workshop with Sandra Ingerman, and then have a visit to Hawaii with my husband and daughter to see the U of H campus, and have some down time on the beach.  (They surfed, I watched.)

Taking this time off was an opportunity to refocus and try to find what is my mission statement, what is my theme, what would be the headline or caption of my life and my work.

We moved to Colorado 4 1/2 years ago, and I knew this would be a new phase of my life. 
I actually tried quite a few things as I explored what this next phase would look like.
This last month of renewal has made me even more sure I want to be perfectly clear that I am doing the right thing with the precious time I have.
I've tried about ten different work situations and projects since moving; some felt good, some were obviously not the right gig, but no one single thing jumped out at me as the right work, and that was frustrating me.
I wanted my work to be center stage for me, I wanted to know this was supporting my deepest mission and most heart-felt goals.
The problem wasn't I was doing the wrong work, it was that my mission was not clear enough.

So here it is:
Easy, huh?
I learned at Sandra's workshop how this really is the distillation of all our work, all our relationships, all our learning and being here on the earth.
But how to do that?
For me, being creative, painting and drawing is when I feel most in the flow, most connected to Spirit, most in the space of love that we are supposed to be in.
So, the answer?
BE LOVE by doing what I love to do most; make art, and sharing that art with the world.

Glitch - the checkbook.
We do need to support ourselves and responsibly interact with the world with our finances.  There's food, and housing, and tuition for kids, and materials  etc. to buy.  I love sitting in my studio making art, but I also want to help support my household.  So part of my making my art and getting it into the world includes it adding to our family's support.  The Universe has supported me in this, I have a rep showing my work at Surtex, a trade show in NYC, so that box, luckily, is checked.  and I know how tough it is for an artist to figure this out, my advice is to just keep looking and be patient, it's hard to find the right venue to sell your art, but you will find it if you keep looking.  I tried about 5 galleries with no luck, so that was not the right marketplace for me.  There are other ways!

I also love making jewelry with shells, working in my journal and sharing that (hence this blog), designing books or websites for clients now and then when the project is right, and writing books.
Keeping my mission statement in mind with all these things, they do make the cut.

I mostly just needed to know I am doing the right things, and that it's okay to have a career "portfolio" with a few different projects, as long as I keep my mantra in place, BE LOVE.
Now I can run my projects through this mission statement, and anything that does not support it, I can simply prune away.

I feel newly focused, and one of the projects I had on the back burner is going to take over a spot on my desk - it is a children's book I have been thinking about.  I felt like I had too much going on, but with some pruning of non-essential projects, I now have room for this one.  I already have a cover, and a story, I know I'll be sharing the progress as the book grows into something real.

and working in my journal yesterday really did help me figure all this out, here's a few of the notes:

"So find your place to stand - your place of wisdom and peace and strength.  Remake the world in your own image, according to your own definition of success, so that all of us - women and men - can thrive and live our lives with more grace, more joy, more compassion, more gratitude, and yes, more love."
--Ariana Huffington, Thrive

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What fuels you?

What makes you excited to get up in the morning?
No, don't keep reading, actually stop and look up from your computer and answer that question for yourself.
Take a minute, I'll wait.

It's actually not an easy one to answer.

Or there might be so many answers that you freeze in regret and sadness at all the things you don't allow yourself to do.
It's the most important question you can ask yourself.
What are you most passionate about?
What makes you smile with the deepest satisfaction and hope that this Universe is an okay place for you after all?
What, in your wildest dreams and fantastic hallucinations, would be the best possible place for you to be in?
If you could actually dream any (sleep) dream tonight, what would happen in it?
Where would you be?
Who would you be with?
What would you be doing?
looking at?
If you wrote the script for that dream, what would the story be?

In the movie of your life, what would be the climax?  How would it be resolved?

and if you know what that dream is, how are you making efforts to bring it into being?

I have found, in some very small examples in my life, if I can make my vision really truly fleshed out, if I can fantasize about exactly what I want, it is way more likely to happen.  Either because I see it clearly when the thread presents itself to me, or maybe my higher self takes over and lets the circumstances I need for it to actually happen. The vision really does help create the reality.

Life is so mysterious; we work, we play, we love, and then, what is there?  Some of us have projects we are proud of, a marriage that we stuck out, kids we raised, degrees or jobs we worked hard for, yet still there always is that restlessness.
I am quickly headed toward being 53 years old, and even now, when I read in the New York Times Sunday morning edition about an artist who took photos of things, I think I should be trying that.  or I read of a writer who travels and studies Zen and think I actually need to change direction and should be doing that.  The truth is, I don't know what I want to do, I have tons of ideas, but not really a clear vision.

I want to clarify my life dream, and I will be using my journal to help.
I have  couple of decades of work ahead of me (if I am lucky) and I really want to make this section of my life count, I want to do what my truest calling is, not just piddle away these years with small-ish projects; hours of Facebook browsing, making a greeting card or two for a friend, or straightening up the house.

I'll report back with news, when it comes.
(and in the meantime, here is a black swan, an ink sketch from my recent trip to a Buddhist Temple and gardens in Oahu.)
"The great stillness in these landscapes that once made me restless seeps into me day by day, and with it the unreasonable feeling that I have found what I was searching for without ever having discovered what it was."
--Peter Matthiessen