Here's to wishing you a happy "Love Day."
I actually prefer the title, 'Love Day" over that of 'Valentines.'
For that name conjures up the heavily commercialized, gift-wrapped declarations of romantic love tend to run roughshod over the richer, broader, enduring potential of the day.
After all, what is L-O-V-E,
What is LOVE if it isn't born from such grittier ancient timeless qualities as patient and kindness. In describing what love is, it helps to also describe what it is not. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Whole new vistas
This opens up whole new vistas of potential for this day we call 'Valentines'. It ennobles it with a much higher purpose.
Happy LOVE Day
So, in this vein, I sincerely wish you a splendid 'Love' day.
Another little sermon on the benefits of creative activities.
Today's food for thought: The power of doodling!The simple spontaneous act of making marks, often in the margins of whatever one is really supposed to be working on — is more than a humble distraction. It has the ability to deliver some pretty awesome benefits. Here's just a few:
1.) Helps Big-Picture Thinking
When you’re too focused on something you tend to overthink. This can lead you to focus on details that aren’t particularly important and cause you to miss the big picture. Jesse Prinz, a professor at City University of New York, suggests next time you feel yourself drowning in details, stop for a moment and create a doodle that represents whatever it is that you’re working on. It’s highly likely that you’ll find yourself regaining perspective.
2.) Doodling Alleviates Stress.Doodling
The rhythmic and repetitive motion of drawing helps synchronize hand and eye, body and mind, and can be used to elicit what Harvard cardiologist, Herbert Benson, has identified as the relaxation response.Yep. Studies show doodling induces a physical state of deep rest and an alternative to stress’s fight-or-flight response. It can actually decrease our blood pressure, diminished respiratory rate, and lower our pulse rate!
Hosting art-based parties has become more than a small business for me,
It has become a calling. My life mission is coaxing out the tentative 'creative' that bashfully lurks within. Having taught kindergarten through middle school, I've always been struck by the incremental decline of children's creative confidence. Entering into art class as young five year olds, they believe they are invincible. As the years progress, many label themselves as inept and lock up that spark and throw away the key. I help them find their key again!
How it began
Six years ago I stepped out of my position as an art instructor at a nearby private school in order to help my expectant daughter navigate the turbulant waters of young and single motherhood. It was a challenging leap of faith. But the life that came, the memories that formed, the love that was strengthened has made us richer in love and compassion.
An ardor for art
Art Parties were begun as a means of sharing my ador for art as well as for creating a more flexible schedule for earning income. I jumped into the ‘paint and sip’ arena through a friend’s insistance on using her new employer, ‘Living Social.’ Like a good friend, I trusted her and was not disappointed. Over the next two months over 200 guests filled the seats of my small studio. There were lots of laughs, great reviews, and a second ‘campaign’was set up to follow on the heels of the first.
The next few years sprinted by at warp speed. Our daughter found footing in a niche career perfectly suited for her talents. Our grandson crawled, spoke, trained in potty finesse and began preschool. Art Parties have remained at constant weekend variable, with my list of participants growing to over 900!
Scratching the itch
I have no idea WHO originally came up with the idea of painting in a guided group session as a means of entertainment, but,WOW! They sure stumbled onto a way to scratch an itch. We humans enjoy the company of our friends, families ( even co-workers sometimes! ) and painting with them forges enduring memories.
I confess. I derive a lion’s share of joy in hosting Art Parties. I adore the personal connection I form with those who come. And keeping these connections alive through my e-news campaigns has facilitated a steady stream of returning ‘party friends.’ Routinely observing happy faces, proud displays and contented enjoyment all combine to reassure me I’m in my ‘sweet spot.’ So many have commented that my home studio creates a cozy space where they feel more like family than participants. To that, I always say, “YES!!’
The joy it brings
Most of those who plan a party have little experience in painting. Some are tentative. But upon being assured that I have taught art to KIDS for years, they quickly relax and enjoy the ride. In fact, my goal is to lower obsticles in such a way as to give as many people as possible, the opportunity to experience the peaceful delight that’s derived by utilizing the right side of the brain!
Day 4 in my #100dayproject, illustrating the work of Brene Brown.
Today's little thought is about our sense of belonging. 'Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self accepting.' Brene Brown
As a child, I was nearly swallowed by insecurities. It was an ever present boa constrictor that shadowed me. Born with some bone abnormalities which lead to the amputation of my right thumb at age 5 distorted my fledgling sense of self. The timing of the amputation, a month before starting kindergarten, was unfortunate, for it set the stage of my school experience with awkwardness, embarrassment and shame. I always wanted to belong. I wanted to be ‘normal.’ The belly of my soul rumbled with hunger and longing.
That thirst for acceptance kept me parched internally for years. There were pockets of people scattered through high school and collage that I’d try to crawl into only to notice our contours didn’t fit. It was only after realizing the gaps I felt were reflections of my own distorted view of myself. As I began to push and bend those
interior images, and see past the perceptions of lack, I began to taste peace. Brene Through the corridor of my experience, Brene Brown’s words ring so very true to me
'Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self accepting.'
Day 3 in my 100 Day Project illustrating the work of Brene Brown.
Today’s sketch depicts Brown’s insight, ‘Fear, a sense of shame and the dread of vulnerability are tripple choke holds.’
Fearing what people think causes paralysis. Internalizing that fear causes it to germinate into shame. Then, as we struggle to get free, we gasp for fresh air through vulnerability. But in facing the cold reality of vulnerability, we choke. We lose our power.
But, perhaps things might be different if we took care to surround ourselves with just afew ( read VERY few) close confidants. It’s when we open our gate. unrestricted, that causes most difficulties.
We have friends. But it’s the wise person who knows how to carefully pluck out the one or two ‘tried and true’ that would move heaven and earth to be with you, sit with you, cry with you and believe in you when all life is imploding. They have the grit to be comfortable in the midst of messy. They have the insight to know when to listen, when to speak, and when to kick us in the butt to get us back on the right track.
I had to learn this lesson the hard way. There’s few pains as piercing as that of a friend’s betrayal of a confidance. But, it was a good teacher. I saw the importance of keeping a vigilant limit on those that I brought back to my ‘messiest back closet.’
As one who values quality relationships, I now know that that inner sanctum should be extreemly limited. I love Brene Brown’s habit of keeping the names of the ‘few chosen ones’ on a small piece of paper in her purse. It reminds her to be thankful for them. It keeps her boundaries defined. It prompts her to recognize THOSE are the voices that matter most, because you know they have your back. THOSE are the opinions that matter. THOSE are the ones with the feed-back that can leterally ‘feed’you.
I am blessed to have 3 of these special people in my life. I know that at any time, they’s catch me when I was falling. They’s let me scream and kick without judgement. They’d listen quietly. They’s give sound advice when I was ready to hear.
What about you? Do you have one or two…or three of these people? What was the process through which you ‘knew’ they were to be in your circle of safety?
Welcome! Glad you're here! This little spot is where I share thoughts, writings and verses that fuel my life, my marriage, and my art. My desire is to offer up hope and grace and help make your life feel a bit lighter.