July 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.
– ♥ –
There are moments ~ sometimes big and unmistakable, sometimes just pinpoints in time ~ where we step through a portal from one world into another; from old to new, from shadow to light, from closed to open, from veiled to aware, from childhood to maturity.
Passages are inevitable. Still, we sometimes have the choice to walk through or stay behind, and we have minds and hearts to guide us towards those that are good and right and to turn away from those that are not.
And so, whether figuratively or literally, for the better or even the temporarily or seemingly worse, we find keys, turn knobs, open doors, step through. With little outward fanfare, and often imperceptibly, we learn, we grow, and are forever changed. And our experience here becomes all the richer.
(see our ongoing Plethora of P’s here)
July 13, 2014 § 6 Comments
It’s been days. I can’t get this song out of my head. Granted, I haven’t given it a big shove, but thought that by now it’d at least be quieter. But no. Not so. So I’m going with it.
The point could be, after all, that if you want some fun, say o bla di bla da. The point is that life goes on. The point is that when things feel too heavy, you just might need to lighten up. Maybe even veer towards the silly. Maybe, just maybe, head towards outrageous happiness. And there you have it.
But there could even be a little more to it.
I went for a bike ride this morning. It’s been a few years, I will admit – the reason being that each year I found that my tires were flat, and with the best of intentions I’d get the bike a tune-up, but then I’d opt for a swim or a run or a game of tennis. I don’t know why; I used to bike all day long when I was a kid. And sure, I’m not a kid anymore, but the truth is I probably wasn’t as interested as I once was. But this year, I was determined.
You see, I’d fractured my spine last November (right, not fun) and it took several months before I even felt ready to get back to my lap swims. Now that it’s summer, I want to run. I see others running and I think, “I’ll go for a run, too!” But something tells me that would be a huge mistake… same for tennis. So (mini lightbulb moment) I brought out the bike, got a tune-up and rode it. And I’ll ride again. You can’t keep a good girl down, or something like that.
So I’m pedaling along, enjoying the sun, the summer breeze, feeling the burn (having not ridden in a while!), when all of a sudden, I’m aware of the song playing merrily in my head – yet again. “Happy ever after in the market place, Desmond lets the children lend a hand…” Seriously? You’re still here?
But I thought, you know, this is good. It’s reminding me that you do what you can. I can’t run but I can bike. I can do that swervy thing with the handle bars and wheels, and I can coast down a hill, and go off road. I could even sing at the top of my lungs if I wanted to, all at the same time….la la how the life goes on.
Outrageous? Not quite. But sometimes we all need a little ob-la-di ob-la-da. Some simple. Some silly. A little bit of hey I can do this, so I will! That’s all I’m saying. (And I hope you enjoy some for yourself!)
How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?
July 10, 2014 § 2 Comments
Distractions abound. Pictures. Ads. Videos. A constant hum of information. Noise.
Everywhere you go. Millions of people glued to their phones, checking messages, emails, texts, loading pictures to their social media favorites. Where is the luxury of time to ponder private thoughts or digest what’s being delivered virtually non-stop, 24/7/365?
And it’s not just our kids. Granted, they seem more obsessed, but it’s us, too. The adults. How many times when we’re with someone are we put in second place to an incoming call or text? How many nuances are missed, how many moments?
As a breed, we’re plugged in. But are we tuned in, or tuned out?
I, too, love the access. I love knowing I can reach loved ones at any time. I love the ability to seamlessly promote a business, to reacquaint with old friends, to make new ones around the world, to write this blog so that anyone on the planet might read it. I like the ease and unobtrusiveness of a text message. I like that I can shop without fighting crowds. I like finding information quickly. There’s some really cool, inspiring stuff out there. It’s a marvel. It’s a blessing and a curse. All of that.
But what starches my shorts about all this is not just that as a people we are “being distracted” and seemingly succumbing to it quite happily, but that “being present” is being threatened. The art of listening. The richness of conversation. The act of undivided attention.
Yet ~ I see glimmers of hope in the rise of things like meditation and yoga practices. It tells me that people don’t want to lose touch with their core. They want to slow down the “go go go”. They don’t necessarily want to be tethered to an electronic source, as much as it’s become almost essential.
I also find hope in the fact that there are still people who read books; and based on the sheer number of blogs out there, the realization that people still want to write. There’s a hunger to be heard, a desire to share.
And I think ~ I think ~ that within all the technological wonder, despite distractions, the “quick fix” and the instant everything, and even as some seem to be more awake and others falling asleep ~ there’s a real thirst for what’s genuine. For the organic. For the painting done with hand and brush. For the acoustic. For the face to face. The touch and feel. The messy. The unscheduled. The engaged. The spontaneous. The uninterrupted. For the very humanness of being human.
Let’s not forget! (What was that? Oh, sorry, just kidding…)
June 12, 2014 § 2 Comments
Thank heavens there are people like my really smart nephew with a passion for math and statistics; for people who strive to climb Mt. Everest and people who want to be dentists or race-car drivers. I’d be awful at these things (among others) and quite frankly, am grateful someone else has these bases covered.
When you get right down to it, we’re all creative beings. We’re in a constant state of creation, our atoms and molecules and who knows what other sub-this-or-that particles in perpetual motion. What we do with all that varies, of course, from person to person, just as it varies from flower to flower, bird to bird, bug to little bug. Even a winter tree, barren and cold, is feverishly feeding its roots, growing beneath the ground; each tree uniquely carrying out its creative urge. So there’s all this activity going on, a momentum of endless, ever-evolving, ingenious energy, all the time, day and night, year after year.
Okay, I’ve tired myself out thinking about all that! But, hold on, the good news is I don’t need to go any deeper with it; even if I could, I don’t need to fathom the inner workings of this amazing swirl of life we’re part of. All I have to do is my part. And you, yours.
And more good news – we can choose what we want that part to be. And within those options ~ a whole giant vat of them ~ there’s a leaning, a desire, a knack for certain things more than others. And I would venture that those leanings show up unbidden, no matter where we live or under what circumstances ~ our inner callings will find a way to emerge, and they usually show up when we’re little kids. We arrive in this world pre-packaged with a personal set of affinities. And they never leave.
But then we travel life’s twisting roads, and for one reason or another, may un-do some of those natural tendencies. Some are fortunate to retain the connection, some get lost. Maybe it’s strife, maybe it’s what we think others think we should do; a million detours and distractions, a million at-the-time good reasons that lead one away from that core, that essence. But it’s still there ~ I’m certain of it ~ and it’s never too late (or too soon) to revitalize.
If you’re wondering what that calling is, or if you even have one, ask “what lights you up?” Then tap in and get on with it!
June 8, 2014 § 7 Comments
When invited by the gracious and gifted Sue Ann Gleason to participate in a “blog-hop” about writing, I jumped in with a “yes”. What could be more fun than writing about writing? (Some of you groan, but you others, you’ll know what I mean. There’s a certain satisfaction involved.)
In my enthusiasm, however, I neglected to see ~ right there in the first line of the invitation ~ that I’d also need to solicit other writers-with-blogs to do the same. (Thus the “hopping” aspect. Right!) But that got done, too, and I’m so pleased to welcome my fellow hoppers (and beautiful souls all, I have to say) at the end of this post ~ and I encourage you to check out their contributions in about a week!
Now, without further ado, my response to the four questions each of us have been asked to answer. Hope you enjoy.
What am I working on/writing?
I’m thinking this question ought to be what am I not working on/writing? But I’ll try not to break the rules right off the bat here, and answer the question as is. So here I go.
Having recently finished writing and illustrating my third children’s book, I assumed I’d re-engage with one of several unfinished pieces that got usurped by the onslaught of dragons inhabiting my world for a while ~ among them, in various stages of completion, a murder novel, a young adult novel, and a love story. But the truth is, I’ve been feeling a stronger pull back to my poetic roots. While I adore a good story, and it pains the Virgo in me to leave things undone, I truly must go where the spirit leads. That’s usually how it works for me. We’ll see then which takes the cake.
How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
True confession: When I was in high school, I realized I had a marketable skill. I could pretty much copy anybody’s handwriting. I’m not saying any more than that… except how it relates to my answer of this question, which is that I’ve always taken pride in my ability to cross borders, so to speak.
I don’t really have one genre, but different voices for different purposes. Maybe it’s a kind of artistic cross-training. In my design work, for example, I don’t care if it’s dog food, swiss bank accounts or skateboards, I’ll “get it”; I aim to pull out the expressive essence of each. With painting and illustration, I have a few different styles. If we’re talking about writing, I guess I’d like to think I write with a kind of colorful intelligence (that phrase just came to me – what do you think?), whether it’s a marketing piece, a short story, a poem.
So I don’t know that this makes me different from others, but it’s the best answer I can think of for now ~ simply being able to play different parts.
Why do I write what I do?
I write because to write is to breathe. To write is to untangle my thoughts, weave them into something more lovely and meaningful. And then there are all those fabulous words, and the countless, magnificent ways to arrange them! Writing is endless possibility, and thoughtful communication, and I probably write because I’m genetically wired to adore the play and value of the written word.
There are few things I “have” to do, but along with art, writing is one of them. Bottom line, there’s really no choice in the matter. : )
On a less fanciful note, I also write some things because I get paid to do so. The more busines-oriented pieces might not be suitably prone to prose or heart-speak, but I enjoy them nonetheless because of that DNA thing, and because they still have to do with the magic of combining all sorts of marvelous words.
How does my writing process work?
Get comfortable. Pause. Let it rip. Stare at page. Re-read. Let it rip some more. Flow, flow, flow. Try not to do too much self-correction; just get it out. Then……….. edit, edit, edit. (Note: the entire process is usually infused with much tea-drinking).
Sometimes I write with a pen, more often with a keyboard. I also tend to use whatever’s handy when ideas strike ~ could be a paper towel, a page in my daytimer, the inside of matchbook, a grocery receipt or yes, even the palm of my hand. (Of course, when the hand-scribbling happens people usually look at me with a ‘what, are you still, like, 3-years-old?’ kind of look. Some actually say it out loud.)
Probably the most important part of the process, though, is loving it. Enjoying it. And going with it.
And now, my talented blog mates:
Sue Ann Gleason, creator of Chocolate for Breakfast, the Well-Nourished Woman, and the Luscious Legacy Project, is a lover of words, a strong believer in the power of imagination, and a champion for women who want to lead a more delicious, fully expressed life. Sue Ann has been featured in Oprah and Runner’s World magazines and numerous online publications. When not working with private clients or delivering online programs, she can be found sampling exotic chocolates, building broccoli forests in her mashed potatoes, or crawling into bed with freshly sharpened pencils and pages that turn.
Bernadette Smith is the resident muse of MuseFusions. A writer and artist, she makes marks on paper with words and paint. Strives to be messy and playful. Casts all “shoulds” to the wind. Surrounds herself with artful and literary eye candy. Finds courage in embracing her vulnerability publicly. And, when she makes a real mess, she upcycles, repurposes and takes recreation in her re-creation.Her fidgety fascination with the power of words to heal birthed Enlightened Ink and published “Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad,” a book that journeys through the “I do but he doesn’t” time in her marriage. (Because life’s messy moments are invitations to love.) Bernadette also spends time in people’s homes and closets. (No, she’s not a voyeur or stalker.) She offers a holistic blend of Feng Shui, de-cluttering and organizing through her company, Enlightened Interiors.
My name is Ella and I am an artist, a single mom of 2 amazing kids, and a survivor of domestic violence. I started the Rebel Thriver Blog as a way to connect to others and share my story. Being labeled a survivor wasn’t comfortable for me; I needed more. And I desperately wanted others to see that they could have it too…that you can choose to thrive in spite of your situation. Facebook followed and has allowed Rebel Thriver to grow into an online community. The support, love, honesty, and inspiration is alive in abundance on our page.
We only get one chance at this sweet life, so I encourage everyone to wake up and live. You may have been knocked down, but that story does not have to define you, for you hold the pen to the story of your life. Raise your eyes to the sky, throw your shoulders back, put on your imaginary crown and say, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life”. Make it count.
Irish born, but with South Africa in her heart and soul, Fiona Dunphy has recently returned to Ireland from her beloved South Africa where she now lives with her two daughters. Already a Reiki Master Practitioner, Reflexologist and Crystal Healer, she’s heading back to college to add counselling and psychotherapy to her ever growing holistic health offerings.
She has always written – both for herself and for corporate clients. Recently her writing took a very personal turn following the breakdown of her marriage. Fiona writes from the heart; filled with love, with pain, with honesty, plenty of tears, and a good sprinkling of humour. Follow her Talking Healing Blog or her Facebook page, The Healing Room, or even encourage her very reluctant attempts at Twitter.
Writing is an art form, a practical tool, a verbal dance, a necessity. It’s something we interact with daily ~ and something some of us delve into deeply and with gusto, where others may struggle. I’d love to hear your comments on how writing fits into your world! ~ Patricia
June 5, 2014 § 2 Comments
Breakthroughs. Aren’t they great? Like clouds parting, the sun bursting through, we see with refreshing clarity, we understand what had been elusive, we discover something previously hidden, we step forward with renewed vision and vigor. The mire behind us. The mountain climbed! Ideas tumble crisp and clean. Insight sharp and heightened. Pieces fit with remarkable satisfaction.
Defined as “an act or instance of removing or surpassing an obstruction or restriction; the overcoming of a stalemate”, breakthroughs are typically associated with things like science and engineering, technology, negotiations and diplomacy, war and peace.
Einstein comes to mind. Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Galileo Galilei, Alexander Flemming, Leonardo DaVinci, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Ghandi, Margaret Mead, … the list goes on. They’re all pioneers, masters of discovery and exploration who achieved life-changing breakthroughs.
But what of us mere mortals who haven’t found our way into the history books? Our “instances of surpassing an obstruction” are just as valid, even though on a personal level (which, of course, is where they all begin…). Our breakthroughs may not change the world; just ourselves ~ our way of thinking, our way of producing, our direction, our relationships, our world.
Yet as we break our barriers, we affect the world immediately around us, whether we know it or not!
That said, I can recall several breakthroughs in my artistic life, and it never occurred to me that anyone might be impacted but me, myself and I. And for the most part, I still hold onto that belief.
But, as any of us become more confident, or satisfied, or spiritually or skillfully elevated, it changes us ~ and that change is bound to show, in some way, in our outward demeanor, in our actions and behaviors, impacting those around us if only by sheer interaction. How much or little, we may never know, but it’s there.
In any event … my own first memorable breakthrough came in first grade when swarmed by classmates asking me to draw pictures for them. Most requested, next to a clown, was a drawing I did of a girl’s face whose main attraction seemed to be her swirly-whirly hair-do. This was very neat stuff.
Later, at the ripe old age of 9, I entered a national poster contest. I remember working very hard on my drawing of a fawn, which I’d chosen to represent the prescribed theme of protecting our environment, and I remember my total surprise at winning, and I remember feeling really proud.
After that, while going about the business of regular growing up stuff, I basically honed my craft for a long time, enjoying the steps of refinement along the way.
It wasn’t until my early twenties when perhaps my biggest artistic breakthrough arrived ~ in the form of a self-portrait. This one caused great alarm among family members who were used to my straight-forward, more realistic pieces. They didn’t like it. At all. But I was ecstatic! It was a huge moment. Unforced, un-fussed over, and oh-so-liberating. It was no longer just skill, it was skill + expression; for me, a wide river crossed. And without a conscious intent beyond “doing a self-portrait because that’s what artists do”, the result was a near perfect expression of all that pent-up creativity rising colorfully to the surface.
Since then, more new doors have popped open in the ever-evolving landscape of creative expression. More breakthroughs, some minor, some major, sprinkled like fairy dust along a path set in motion long ago, a seemingly natural course of events ~ with its own timing in place, I might add! You can even start to feel them coming after a while ~ in fact, I’m sensing one coming up here real soon…… so stay tuned!
But enough about me ~ you’ve surely experienced some of your own. Maybe after a long, deliberate, concentrated effort. Maybe they seemed to form out of thin air, when you were focused elsewhere. Your breakthroughs might be far and few between, or bunched together, firing away one right after another. But however they show up, come they will. They’re a culmination of your experience, and they help shape your future, your choices, and your way of being.
And when the moment arrives, it’s a notable shift. A mark of progress. Light and bright and “yessssss!”
June 2, 2014 § 1 Comment
Just a quick post to say I fell in love the other day. With another artist. More precisely, with his work. Yes, he was also charming and handsome, but it was his work that first caught my eye.
It happened at a recent “Mansion in May” event ~ where the rooms of old, immensely grand homes (usually no longer occupied) are dressed to the nines by a select slew of interior designers who are no doubt thrilled to have this kind of opportunity to showcase their work.
Andrew’s artwork was the first thing you saw when entering the lavish entranceway ~ and I have to say that after having visited room after room, eventually winding my way to the outdoor gardens and broad, beautiful views, his work had already stolen the show for me.
I adore how he juxtaposed the old and new in his entranceway ceiling mural. Just brilliant. But he really took my heart away when I saw the monkeys in the study.
With all the fuss going on in so many of the rooms (granted, the designers, understandably, want to show off as much as they can during these rare and well-attended events ~ and what an extravagant, rich setting – a designer’s dream! ~ but more often than not it was way over the top for my taste ~ “less is more” was clearly not the overriding theme), his monkey paintings delightfully brightened the space with the right touch of unexpected whimsy.
And that was when I fell in love. It was all over. Hook, line and sinker.
More of Andrew Tedesco’s outstanding work can be seen at http://www.andrewtedesco.com/
For more about the Mansion in May organization, visit http://www.mansioninmay.org
May 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.” ~Wallace Bruce
– ♥ –
This one bears repeating….so, as last year, and the year before, we thank you and we honor you ~ all the fallen ~ for your bravery, your love, your principled, unselfish courage ~ from the wells of our hearts, with a gratitude that knows no bounds.
May 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
I’m reading. Not a surprise, I realize, but isn’t that what holiday weekends were made for? Reading, writing, making some art, getting one’s hands full of garden earth, visits with family or friends. Point is: not working. Connecting with that sometimes elusive concept called relaxation.
So while the sun is trying its best to make a solid show and my daughter has gone off socializing, I’ve got a good book, a cup of tea, a pile of new dirt and plants ready for planting. (And yes, hot fudge on the stove for later.)
It’s a really good book so far ~ Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. Again, this isn’t particularly surprising, but what did strike me was the uninteresting cover. The “ordinary-ness” of it. It feels very safe, very stock-photography-esque. It’s pleasing enough, but nothing that would have grabbed me had I not already been interested in the author.
I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll say it again ~ we do judge books by their covers. It’s our first impression. That first impression may or may not inspire us to read the back matter (what’s it about?). The back matter may or may not spur us on to actually open the book and read the first few lines. At this point, if the first few lines read well, you’re more than halfway there and your cover has done its job. If the first few lines read poorly, the cover may have surpassed its content (one might give it a few pages, even a chapter to decide~ but at least it got you to look.) Reviews, of course, give books some major traction, but if you’re at all picky about how you spend your time, you’ll probably still go through these steps before plunging in. And it all starts with the cover.
Book covers can be fantastic visual candy. And they actually can make or break a sale. As a graphic designer, and as much as I both write and read, creating covers is a natural extension of what I do, but not one many know about. So I thought I’d share some with you below. So you know.
P.S. The sun, by the way, has lost. The clouds have won, the rains have come. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m reading. : )