Thursday, October 25, 2012

Green Is A Happy Thing

Tonight I’m sharing the fourth and final SoulCollage® card created during last month’s healing art retreat.  This card symbolizes the heart chakra represented by the color green and connected to love and compassion.  I’m not well versed on the topic of chakras, and my limited knowledge is only from brief references during past yoga classes, so I sought a little more information at the library and online.  I learned that the heart chakra is also connected to following one’s heart and one’s unique direction in life, freedom and growth.  The color green represents harmony, health, abundance and of course, nature.  I included a path on my card without initially realizing its significance, allowing my heart to lead me along this new path of mindfulness and creativity. 
(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.) 


I am reminded of a silly saying composed with a dear friend while hiking at Point Lobos many years ago - ”Green is a happy thing!”  Indeed, happiness can be found in love, following one’s heart, growth, health, abundance and nature.
May your heart guide you…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exhilaration

My creative spirit was subdued for a very long time, but now that I am finally liberated, I’m feeling creative passion and vibrancy!  When I encounter a patch of stress, frustration, exhaustion or sadness, tapping into my creative flow is calming, soothing, healing, uplifting, rejuvenating, energizing….exhilarating!
(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.) 
I hope you are experiencing wonderful moments of exhilaration in your life! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Looking Inward


(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.) 

"Looking Inward" is another one of my SoulCollage® cards from last month’s healing art retreat.
As I look inward, I’m…
Uncovering layers
Gaining new perspectives
Tending to what is helpful and trying to weed out what hinders 
Learning how to let go of what drains my spirit
Embracing what fuels my passion for life
Focusing on creative energy and positivity 
Reinventing parts of myself
Healing
Growing


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stirring The Inner Pot

Continuing to share my new exploration into SoulCollage® by backtracking to the very first card I created at last month’s healing art retreat. 
(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.)

I’m “Stirring The Inner Pot” by…

Assessing my internal ingredients and determining those that flavor life with what's sweet or savory vs. what's bland or sour.
Adjusting my personal recipe to achieve a tastier life with more balance, peace, happiness and fulfillment.
Concocting a healing potion of mindfulness, creativity and patience, and keeping a watchful eye while I stir and tend to my evolving potion. 
Would you like to share an essential ingredient in your own inner recipe?


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thrive

(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.)


“Thrive” is the fourth and final SoulCollage® card I created at last week’s healing art retreat.  This collage reminds me that we are capable of thriving even in less than desirable conditions, that we can thrive by believing in ourselves, connecting with others, drawing strength from the loving support of family and friends, feeling gratitude, tapping into the energy of creativity, focusing on mindfulness and wellness, being open to learning, setting our sights on opportunities and possibilities, communing with nature and savoring playful and sweet moments.      
May you thrive (and sparkle!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Franki


(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.) 

The third of my four SoulCollage® cards created at Friday’s healing art retreat is “Franki," (he's in the lower right corner.)  We were encouraged to bring photographs of significant people or pets in our lives to incorporate into “Community” cards.  Mary, the RN/MFT who leads our retreat, explained the process of considering characteristics of the person or pet on our “Community” card and how their characteristics might apply to us.
As I thought about our cat Franki (his name comes “frankincense” because he was an abandoned stray who chose us as his new family just a few days before Christmas years ago), the following qualities came to mind.
Franki is…
*   Clear about what he wants (actually, to a fault, meowing and pawing at me relentlessly when he wants his food or wants some attention!)
*   An older cat who often still behaves like a kitten - playful, energetic and light on his paws!
*   Drawn to the sunny spot...as the sun shines through the window, he can always be found languidly lounging in a warm patch of sunshine on the carpet or furniture.
The quality that resonates with me the most is Franki’s youthful spirit.  I love how he often still behaves just as rambunctious as a kitten despite his veterinarian placing him in the geriatric category!  The lesson I can learn from his kittenish quality is the importance of remaining youthful and playful.  As we grow older, I think the best way to maintain a young spirit is with an open mind and heart, a receptiveness to connecting with interesting people of all ages, a curiosity to learn new things, an eagerness to pursue new experiences and enjoy new adventures and a commitment to honor our child within.
Remember to prioritize some play time this week, just like Franki! 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sweetness

(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.) 
 
Tonight, I'm sharing the second in four SoulCollage® cards I created at yesterday’s healing art retreat.  This one is “Sweetness,” and as I was pulling these images together, I contemplated the pleasures and rewards of tasting life’s sweet moments.  I’ve always appreciated and savored such moments, and now even more intently and fully so.    

I included a couple parts of Wayne Thiebaud's "Bakery Counter" in my collage which, when found as I was clipping images from magazines yesterday, I promptly thought of as perfect for my collage!  I happened to see the original in a retrospective of the artist's paintings at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco back in 2000, a perfect example of a sweet moment.  Coincidentally, while my husband and I were in the city earlier this week to belatedly celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, we visited the Legion of Honor (my first return in the twelve years since the Wayne Thiebaud retrospective) where we were captivated by the Rodin sculptures in the permanent collection and engrossed in the current Man Ray and Lee Miller exhibit.  Visiting the Legion of Honor was part of the "icing on the cake" of a wonderful trip to the city filled with many enjoyable and sweet moments!
Wishing you sweetness!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sparkle

Today I attended my favorite monthly retreat, the healing art retreat at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.  Last month and again this month, we focused on creating SoulCollage® cards.  Although I’ve been an avid collagist for many years, these two recent sessions were my first experiences collaging within the guidelines of SoulCollage®, and I’m enjoying and benefitting from the mindful and insightful aspects of this particular collage process. 
As a warm up this morning, we selected two random words on slips of paper from a basket (I happened to choose “sparkle” and “habits”), then we shared what thoughts came to mind upon seeing our two words.  For “habits,” I immediately thought about those I am trying to change (my tendency toward perfectionism and my inclination toward self-criticism as two examples.)  For “sparkle,” I recalled a remark made by my husband earlier this week.  We enjoyed a brief respite from current stress by belatedly (but gratefully and happily!) celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in San Francisco.  After indulging in an incredibly delectable dinner Sunday evening, my husband commented that I must be starting to relax because there was a sparkle in my eye.  I responded jokingly that my mouthwatering meal probably contributed to the sparkle!  Joking aside, I’ve been reflecting on his comment as this week has progressed.  I admire people who exude a certain sparkle in their personality, but believe I sometimes fall short on this characteristic myself and aspire to infuse more sparkle in my own spirit.  By allowing ourselves opportunities to sparkle, we can experience and express a wonderful sense of lightness and positive energy.  We can shine through any darkness or heaviness.    
With the interesting coincidence of this word coming up twice this week, I decided it would be fitting to create a “Sparkle” card today...

(I removed the photo of my card originally included when I wrote this post.  Although the card is from my personal deck and isn't copied or for sale, I do not wish to infringe upon the copyrights of others' images which were respectfully collaged on my card.  My original writing remains as I believe the information and insight I've shared in this post may still be of interest to you.  I hope to share future cards created with my own photos soon.) 
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just A Little Bit More Buttoned Up

Vintage buttons sorted and waiting to embellish notecards, gift tags, bookmarks and more...


As mentioned in last weekend’s post, I’m on a neverending mission to organize my arts and crafts supplies…well, actually, overall household organization!  In addition to untangling yarn, then winding it into tidy balls, I’ve been corralling my burgeoning paper scraps into bins, sorting my vintage button collection by color and so on.  When life becomes unruly and stressful, I regain some semblance of control and calm by decluttering and reorganizing closets, dressers, cupboards, files or as it so happens this time, my papercrafting and other art supplies.  This burst of unseasonable spring cleaning is helping me restore some order and feel just a little bit more “buttoned up” despite some current stress in our lives.  To find mindfulness and peace in the mundane!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Winding Down By Winding Yarn


My pseudo mini yarn bomb!

One evening this past summer, in a neverending attempt to organize my arts and crafts supplies, I was patiently wrapping a tangled mess of yarn into tidy balls.  Admittedly, this task was sometimes annoying, yet surprisingly, at other times, the repetitive action of winding the yarn was meditative and calming. 
Recently, I unwound one of those balls and rewound the yarn (a colorful favorite purchased at a street fair in New York City numerous years ago) around a long, swirly piece of driftwood, a summer treasure from one of our favorite Big Sur beaches, Garrapata.  Again, the winding action was meditative and calming, and the end result was rewarding, a funky “sculpture” now adding a pop of color, texture and shape to our mantel.  Although merely wrapped, not knitted or crocheted, this simple project was either my very small scale version of pseudo yarn bombing or just a humble attempt at a little fiber "art!" 
What simple task or project have you found to be calming and rewarding recently?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Soothed By S'mores

Sometimes one of the best remedies when weighted down by a troubling situation is to stop, relax and try a dose of lightheartedness, even if only for a brief moment.  Sunday evening after dinner, despite the impractical timing of gearing up for the school and work week, our family enjoyed an impromptu “campfire” in the chimenea on our back patio.  The evening was beautiful, moderately cool after a day of summer-like heat and brightly lit by the full moon.  We roasted marshmallows and assembled s’mores as a frivolous dessert.  The flickering flames of the fire were hypnotic and calming.  Our little respite was soothing, and our hearts were indeed lightened.

Soothing ingredients!
The next time your spirit feels heavy, perhaps try a little bit of lightheartedness...    

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Packing List

She decided to free herself,

dance into the wind,

create a new language.

And birds fluttered around her,

writing "yes" in the sky.

- Monique Duval



A recent post about her growth journal
by my friend and fellow blogger Tina
of Tickled Pink Woman
inspired me to kick off this new journal today.
Thank you, Tina!

One year ago today, I will always remember how my life veered off of its path.  I was caught off guard because the diagnosis I received that day was the same one which had been ruled out just days before - lymphoma (in my case, a form of follicular lymphoma, a blood cancer in the bone marrow.)  It is certainly not an “anniversary” to celebrate, but what I can celebrate a year later is my current health and remission, my life back on its path, albeit a different path, and this new journey of healing, discovery, growth and fulfillment. 

What has been on my essential “packing list” for this journey:
* Love - embracing and appreciating the love I am blessed to receive and freely giving and expressing my love to others
* Compassion – a greater understanding of and support for others who are experiencing their own challenges, while remembering to look inward with compassion as well
* Focus – on healing physically and emotionally, and learning how to move forward with awareness, but without fear
* Patience – looking forward to being liberated from maintenance chemo treatments, but in the meantime, accepting strategies that increase the odds in my favor
* Commitment – to live life more mindfully and more passionately  
* Courage – to pursue new experiences, adventures and dreams…now, not “someday”
* Confidence – in maintaining my health, in turning dreams into reality, in creating a meaningful and worthwhile “second chance”
* Creativity – infused into daily life
* Realization – that life is precious and sometimes precarious, and there are no guarantees; remembering how important it is to live fully in the here and now and to maximize our time in the present
I admittedly feel solemn today, not only in reflecting back on last year, but also in response to very recent disheartening news concerning a loved one.  I’m sending him much love.
For any of you who may have veered off your own path, I wish you love, support and a “packing list” to help you along your journey.