Friday, January 24, 2020

Why Keep a Journal? #artiststoolbox

"Get Lost in Your Art"
For Sale: 30X40 on canvas. Mixed Media.  Contact me for shipping and pricing.

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Journaling is a great way to unlock your passions, dreams, authenticity, and soul.  I began journaling as a kid. I remember sharing stories of frustrating experiences and highlights of my life. My journal was a way for me to express my experiences.

What I am learning is that journaling is more than just a place to park our experiences. It is a place to learn to grow, to listen to your heart, to make lists, to challenge yourself, to become better, to address challenges, to feel safe, to define your future, to think big.

Ultimately, a journal is a place for you to be whole. A journal should be a safe place for you to unlock what drives you, holds your attention, and defines your passion. A key to your future greatness.

I find time each day to write in my journal. I write when I can. Ideally, the morning is best, but let's be real, I have kids and a morning filled with rushing and running. I don't let this keep me from my goal of daily journal writing. I keep my journal with me. I pull it out waiting to pick kids up after school, in the grocery store, getting coffee, parked at the beach, or waiting. I spend a lot of time waiting for my family.

Writing is addictive. Journaling is binding to our souls because writing in our journals allows our voices to be heard, shared, and expressed in ways that are creative, raw, authentic, and fluid. No one can argue with your words. No one can change your mind. No one can interrupt you. It's YOU time.

Journaling is YOUR TIME.  A time to be real. It's YOU time.

Writing is an opportunity to release what is inside your heart, soul, and mind. It is fundamental to well-being. When we release our desires we release tension. We release burdens. We release energy. We invite change, results, passions, and dreams to come to fruition.

Writing in our journals allows us to be heard, for us to focus on goals, to challenge our own words, to put into writing things we don't have the heart to speak out loud. A journal allows us to honor our truth.

Journaling gives you a chance to be real with yourself. To be honest with the strains of life.

I encourage you to pick up a pencil/pen and start writing. I try to write for 20 minutes a day. I use small journals because I feel accomplished when I fill one up. I no longer write in those thick fancy journals. I buy journals that are in packages of 4-6, have maybe 70 pages, are light enough to carry in my purse, and which feel like a small part of my soul. I usually write 3-4 pages a day. Sometimes it is just a paragraph. Life happens and I get busy, but my goal is to write every day, and I do.

Challenge yourself to write for a week. See if you feel better, feel inspired, feel less burdened, feel more insightful, and feel authentic.  Do you feel better? Is your head more clear? Are you hearing any new inspirations trickle out through your writing?

If you're not sure where to start or how,  HERE is a link to guide you through the process.

Let's get started.

1.    Find a journal.  I like something simple and with a limited number of pages.
2.    Set aside time each day. 
3.    Set a timer. (Only if your time is limited, otherwise, write until you stop.)
4.    Let your mind roam, wander, explore, and then write it ALL down. 
5.    Writer's block? Keep going!
6.    Write sentences or just words, write fast or write slow...just write!  Let it out.
7.    Don't worry. Don't feel guilty. Don't erase your words.
8.    Be authentic. 
9.    Be truthful.
10.  Return each day.

Have fun with journaling. Let your mind explore the inner thoughts of your soul. I promise this one thing will expand your artistic world if you use it every day. Every night I ask the universe to unfold a new key to my success. To channel my soul into the words for my journal. You will be amazed at what you will uncover, discover, and learn.


My Book List for 2020

The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

A Weekend to Change Your Life by Joan Anderson
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
All About Love by Bell Hooks
Walking in this World by Julia Cameron 
The Millionth Circle by Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD 
Living, Loving, and Learning by Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D (New Book added this week)

*This is not an ad. I do not make any money off of the links above.

Friday, January 17, 2020

How do we Change the Rules of our Lives?

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Have you ever just thrown a wish or a thought out to the Universe to see what happens?

Putting your intentions into motion to see what manifests in our lives might sound scary. Some days it is, but on other days, your intentions are heard, seen, and you get answers. This is how I find peace in my world. I accept that there is an energy that exists to help and guide us when we ask for it. I am always surprised at what I find, at what I didn't know I needed, and how the words written by others have shaped the person I am today. Ask for what you need. Ask your spiritual "guides or God" for the things you need. Put what you want out into the Universe and see what happens. This is the first step in changing the rules of your life.

I was scrolling through a few Instagram accounts and stumbled upon Jackie Cantwells. She had a long post about the decision she has made to live an authentic life and to be herself. She describes how freeing it feels. She describes how she changed the rules of her life to fit her authentic self.

One area of focus she discusses is challenging the rules. This really made me stop and think for a day or two. We are surrounded by rules. The key is knowing which ones to follow and which ones to pass. There are rules for safety, crowd control, political movements, financial situations, parenting, our places of employment, partnerships of marriage and relationships, etc... In her message, she is discussing the rules we make for our life or life plan. 

We are over-loaded with rules and shoulds and musts which were mostly instilled upon us at an early age by parents, teachers, church clergy, and employers. Rules can consume us if we are not careful.

Rules are necessary, but some rules can be changed or revised. Getting to a certain age (like myself) I became over-burden with my earlier life plan rules. I made a change. I consciously had to rewrite how I was going to live my life. I wanted it to include happiness, adventure, travel, my family, employment on my terms, and a sense of purpose. I personally was tired of going through the motions of my life, but not on my own terms.

I am not one to often say that rules need to be broken. I don't make a habit of breaking rules. But the rules for my life plan? That is different. My life today looks much different than it did when I lived with my parents, from when I was newly married, from when I had my first child and my first job. I will challenge life path rules because they are usually rules I didn't always get to choose. Some things I chose but changed my mind or left behind. Religion and politics come to mind. My views today are different from my 20-year-old self. I rebooted and started new. I rewrote the rules for my life.

Life rules are some of the heaviest and hardest to break and rewrite. Often, the way we live our lives is because someone we loved influenced us at an earlier age.  Changing a view, thought, or action may feel like a betrayal. It may cause others to cringe. It is hard. Change is hard.

Below are a few suggestions I have chosen to do in my own life. Of course, we are all unique and come from a variety of backgrounds and environments. What would you add to this conversation? What changes are helping you to live a more authentic life? Have you been met with resistance from others? Are you happier? 

Please leave comments and let's start a discussion about living our most authentic life.

Become comfortable with being misunderstood.  Change is hardest when it involves other people, especially those we love the most. To be your authentic self requires a person to be willing to put themselves first.  I read this in Walking in this World by Julia Cameron.  It is so true. To be authentic and the rule-maker of your life, you have to be willing to be misunderstood. Why? Because people will challenge you and your goals, values, and self. You have to be okay with being okay with having thoughts, ideas, values, and goals that don't meet the needs of those around you.

Reset boundaries. We have walls and boundaries from early in our youth. It is how we protected ourselves from getting hurt and becoming vulnerable. Being vulnerable with our authenticity as we get older doesn't get easier, but it does become necessary. The older I get the more I believe this to be true. In my 50's I have attracted the right people into my life because I chose to put myself and my needs first. What has this approach done for me? It allowed me to feel fulfilled, to feel heard, to balance my life better, and to be a better mom, friend, and wife. It forced me to stop projecting my wants onto other people. When I decided to listen to my desires and wants, I became less codependent on others. I stopped projecting my happiness onto others. I became more independent.

Set goals. Keep a journal. I write three pages every morning. Write out your goals. Make a vision board. Tell a friend. Practice positive affirmations to allow yourself to be open to new goals and visions of your life. Start small. Work towards those goals to create the life you want with the rules you made.

Listen.  Turn off the radio and TV. Put your phone down. Find a quiet place and listen. Listen to the young child that wants to be heard, to the person who wants to be active, the inner being who wants to try something new, the individual who wants to change the rules but doesn't know where to begin.

Find your inner voice. Not the voice in your head that holds onto the negative biases, but the voice of you longing to do certain things, the promptings to be a certain way, the authenticity of YOU.

Connect with nature. We hear this a lot and it is true. Fresh air is a clearing process. Walking on a trail, along the shores, up a mountain, or riding your bike, scootering, or swimming are suggestions.

You will need to rise to your best self to live your best life, which means:

You make your own life plan rules. 

I am far from being completely transitioned to my authentic self. I can tell you, though, I am almost there. I feel alive and vivid. I feel full of life and adventure. I see myself as valid, important, and satisfied. I don't feel vacant, left behind, empty, or unsatisfied. My family gets the best of me. I encourage them to be their authentic selves too. Together we are creating a platform in our home of loving each other as unique, diversified, and whole people.

My Book List for 2020

The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

A Weekend to Change Your Life by Joan Anderson
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
All About Love by Bell Hooks
Walking in this World by Julia Cameron 
The Millionth Circle by Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD (New to list)

*This is not an ad. I do not make any money off of the links above.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

It's Okay to be a High-Achiever

After I wrote,  Breathe in 2020  last week, I received some beautiful feedback from friends. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I believe we are here to encourage, motivate, love, and unite each other when we can and to the best of our abilities.

One comment I received was from a friend who mentioned I was a hummingbird, like what Elizabeth Gilbert mentioned in her youtube talk, Don't Chase Your Passion and Maybe You'll Find It. Like a hummingbird, I tend to bounce around from project to project or idea to idea. Watch below:

This got me thinking about something else I read recently, the phrase "high-achieving person". In my mind, a hummingbird, among the bird species, is a very high achieving pollinator.

What does high-achieving mean? I read this term for the first time, last week while perusing one of my favorite Instagram people in the world. Her name is Danielle, and she is an OB/GYN and a mom and so many other things. You can find her HERE at Mamadoctorjones. She gives everyone permission to do hard things, to accomplish your goals, and to multi-task. She encourages non-judgment, stimulates excellent conversations about having babies, and supports the mindset of accomplishing all types of things, while simultaneously, being a mom, working, and existing with hobbies and volunteer work. Did you notice I used the word AND? She considers herself a high-achieving person and wants to share with others, if we feel connected to this phrase, that it's okay to identify this way.

This is not to say that if you can't do all of these are less.
This is not are broken, subpar, or less because you can't do all of these things.

Read those two statements again, if you need to.  Go ahead, I'll wait.

I know many people who are doing the best they can while working and/or staying home, but there are a few you might wonder to yourself if they sleep, eat, or even slow down? "They" being the people on social media, or playgroup, or at the school PTA meeting. Those who seem to do it all, all the time. "They" appear to do everything. But do they? Maybe. Just maybe they do a lot of things because they identify as a high-achieving personality.

People who are high achieving come in all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds and ethnicity. Some do it as a single person, some as a family person, and some are divorced, married, or in between. What I am trying to say is there isn't a formula or a box you can put a person in who feels they are a high-achiever. It is who they are. They exist in a state of high energy, high expectations, and an ability to multi-task at a high level. (I know all about the studies on multitasking and how we as humans don't do this well.)

Again, this doesn't mean these individuals are doing something better, it simply means, and quite possibly, this is who they are as an individual. I know for me personally, I have tried to slow down and do less. You know what? It makes me unhappy. I feel better while busy. I feel better being a hummingbird than a jackhammer.

On the flip side of the activity, we do slow down, we get tired, and we feel exhausted at times. We struggle, like everyone else, to balance and juggle the many hands that we have in the cookie jar (and eat cookies once in a while). We argue with our selves about fitness, eating, education, political strife, and volunteering more. We wrestle with the same issues that other people experience, this does not make us different. We might be unique. We might appear to have all of our shit together. We might be on the verge of exploding. Just like all moms, women, and people. We are not different in our thoughts and motivations when it comes to our family's success, our own success, and our efforts placed at worthy causes.

High achieving people don't come in one size either. I have friends that are running multiple companies, who are serving on several boards, and who are taking care of grandkids/kids while going to school, working full-time, and rocking the "significant other" hat. The idea of a high-achieving person, to me, is someone who has a little extra energy each day, we can't stand to not be busy most of the time (we still like vacations), and we sense there is a purpose.

I guess what I am saying is if you identify as such-- it's okay. If you don't--it's okay. We need all types of personalities to help this world run and function, for our families to operate, and for creative souls to continue to "pollinate" the world with their gifts and talents.


Are you a jackhammer or a hummingbird? Do you identify as a high-achieving person? What are some of your talents and gifts? How do you share your knowledge? Are you an artist? 

What would you add to this discussion? What do you agree or disagree with? Let's explore this topic together. Leave your comments below.

My Book List for 2020

The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer
A Weekend to Change Your Life by Joan Anderson
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
All About Love by Bell Hooks
Walking in this World by Julia Cameron (NEW TO LIST)

*This is not an ad. I do not make any money off of the links above.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Breathe in 2020

This painting is for sale. It is an original on 30X40 canvas painted with acrylic. I painted this after having an especially challenging week and realizing I needed to breathe more and slow down. Air is an element I like to capture. Please email if interested in purchasing or leave a comment.  

is a word I want to hold onto for 2020. I have spent a lot of time this past year learning to breathe for my soul. What does that mean? Well, to me, it means understanding my internal rhythms and listening to my inner voice, following my desires and passions, and saying yes more.

One of my passions is art. I have dabbled in art for many years and found myself wavering between having a hobby and hustling for a profession. This past year I allowed myself to say yes to hard things, specifically putting myself in front of the public eye. I have always struggled with perfectionism and outside perceptions. This paralyzed my mental state on many occasions.

How did I change this? By saying yes to hard things that made me feel uncomfortable.  Saying YES forced me to step outside my comfort zone. I learned to accept my failings, I accepted a lower standard, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Last January I was given the opportunity to be in a play with my daughter. This is something I thought would be fun (for about 5 minutes) and then I panicked. There was no way I could do this, who did I think I was. I had never acted before. I immediately tried to wiggle myself out of this situation, but the director said no. He needed me, he had faith in me, and it was a small part (non-verbal--which turned into 3 speaking parts).  I went to every rehearsal "faking it". I faked it until I made it. I acted my heart out and I loved every second of the performance. It was fun!

Fast forward to the summer and I get a phone call from the same director. He had a show. (oh, great) but I listened, and to my surprise, I was offered the lead role. WHAT? OH MY GOD! I said yes.

Again, I panicked and called him back. He again said, "no, you can do this." How does this happen? By saying yes and breathing (a lot)!

We have to get outside of our comfort zone to live a life we want. We have to accept our abilities and listen to those around us who SEE our potential. Get outside our heads and into our souls.

Here's the thing, I always wanted to act. I always felt like I could do a good job. I secretly wanted this. It wasn't until I jumped without a safety net and things turned out way better than I could have ever expected. This led me to say yes to my art too. Being a performer is fantastic, but being an artist and expressing myself on canvas was the lucky charm in this whole story. This year I will pattern my life after my desire to be an artist.

So, this year. I am breathing in more YES, more opportunity, and more soulful passion about what I desire and want. I am an actor, I am an artist, and I am enough to be both.

2020 is going to be a great year.

SAY YES to 2020

Books I read in 2019 that helped me to say YES to my desires, passions, and soul:

The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer
A Weekend to Change Your Life by Joan Anderson
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
All About Love by Bell Hooks

*This is not an ad. I do not make any money off of the links above.

Donut Breakfast Casserole

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