The Present

treewithstarI have gotten so busy with work, life and other stuff I admit I have lost touch with more important things. During this past year I visited someone in hospice on a regular basis. Although I had a long list of things to do, I turned off my phone while visiting and we talked about things that were important in her life. Her “stuff” wasn’t the first thing on her list to discuss, it was about her life experiences, her art and family. She knew she could no longer enjoy the things she worked so hard to get and those things really didn’t matter to her in the end. It was her family and relationships that mattered.

She peacefully passed away last week and I am very grateful to her for giving me an incredible gift. She taught me without knowing, the art of being present. Being present is being mindful and in the moment without any judgement or expectations. Being present is not thinking about what’s next on your calendar or reading emails and Instagram posts while having dinner. Being present is mindfully doing just one thing at a time and although we think we are good at multi tasking, we really aren’t at all!

Being present is the most generous gift you can give, especially to yourself.

How About a Revolution?

startwofaceMy heart is broken once again hearing news of the worse mass shooting in U.S. history. This time, at the hands of one man with no apparent motive. He was able to amass a huge amount of firepower without suspicion and unleashed unthinkable violence into a crowd of country music fans on the Las Vegas strip. In several minutes, this man killed 58 and injured more than 500. Beyond horrific…

 Once again there will be more controversy about gun control but nothing will really change unless our society and the world make a fundamental shift. The problem isn’t really about guns, because we all know that guns don’t kill people, people do. Making more laws will not make people less violent and those who are inclined will figure out a way, they always have. But, making changes to limit availability of assault weapons and huge amounts of ammunition could prevent mass casualties. We’ve got to do something. Prayers and condolences are not enough.

It seems pretty simplistic but what the world really needs now is to express more love. We need to love ourselves, our family and our neighbors. We need to have more compassion and understanding. We need to stop feeling entitled and greedy. We need to stop hating…

Today, as I grieve for the people who lost their lives and who were hurt by the senseless violence in Las Vegas I will spread love with an action. I’ll start right now. I will smile at my neighbor and will help a friend. I’ll give a stranger a compliment and a hug. I will make dinner for someone who’s hungry. I will fold a crane and I will share it with love. I want to start a revolution of love, want to join me?

Spreading Joy and Hope

origamicrane.jpgLast night, I folded twenty five cranes to bring to a nearby hospice, a place I’ve been visiting frequently these last few months. I hand painted and beaded one of them for a friend of mine who has been a patient there for several months. This morning I came into her room with a basketful of colorful cranes and presented her the beaded crane. She asked me to hang it where she could see it and thought it was beautiful. I read her the quote by Sadako Sasaki “I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.” She was visibly touched.

When I told her I brought the basket of cranes for her to give to the other patients and caregivers, her eyes became bright and she pushed the call button for her favorite nurse. When the nurse arrived in the room she asked “what do you need?” My friend told her she wanted her to have first pick of the cranes and that was all. The nurse picked out a pretty red one, smiled and gave me a big hug. She said that was just what she needed.

For a while today I was able to get out of my own stuff and visit a friend who needed to get out of her own stuff. Together we were able spread a little joy and maybe some hope, one paper crane at a time.


Beautiful on the Inside

Sassy.jpgI LOVE the way the internet connects us. Today, I was inspired by a fresh creative spirit who lives across the ocean from me. I’ve been Facebook friends with Tamara Laporte for some time because we are both are in the same industry but we have never had the pleasure to meet. I was so moved by her FB post today , I decided to pay a visit to her website and I was surprised to discover that we are indeed kindred spirits, expressing ourselves creatively in different ways. I signed up for one of her classes and began a self portrait on a journal page with her guidance.

I painted along with her as if we were in the same room and felt a connection through art even though we come from different generations and continents. Through the expression of art, we were on the same page. It was wonderful.

I painted a real image of how I see myself which is sometimes based on negative self talk.  The first thing I wrote down was “I AM” and what followed surprised me. The negative things I say to myself regularly turned into positive statements and became assets instead of liabilities. When I finished writing in the journal I felt content with the portrait I painted on the right. The words written on the page came from my soul and the message was clear. “You are okay, just the way you are.” Today was the first time in a while that I felt what it means to be beautiful on the inside.

If you have a chance, please visit Tamara’s colorful and inspiring website, and check out what she has to offer. I am sure glad I did.

Colorful Art Panels

artpanelswebOne of the great things about my job is having the opportunity to work with amazing art supplies and manufacturers. As a new Brand Ambassador for The Crafters Workshop I was inspired to play with their newest stencils, paints and mediums using Gessobord panels as the foundation. I created each piece individually so they can be displayed alone or in different combinations for a unique statement of color and design.

My tutorial on how to make these can be found on The Crafters Workshop Blog. Go check it out and become inspired by all the other creative projects there as well!

We are all made of stars

For several hours today the people of our country were united in awe of a spectacular moon shadow show. Since I don’t reside in the path of totality, I decided to paint instead. Once I made the main image using a stencil and acrylic paint I thought about the knots tying everything together and how today’s eclipse connected all of us. We probably weren’t thinking about what divides us while the moon covered the sun revealing a magnificent corona of magnificent white light.

While I sanded the layers of paint to reveal the fiery orange underneath I thought of what it means to be human. What came to mind most was how important it is to love one another because we are all made of the same elements and we all have hearts. We are all a celestial family. The same as the sun, the moon and the stars.

Listen to the Roar

dinosaurkWorking hard for something we don’t care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion. ~Simon Sinek

The last few months have been stressful. Not from my job, but from doing things I’m not passionate about and wasting time with people I don’t care about. Time that could have been spent with family and activities I love.  In an attempt to please others I have temporarily lost my way. Helping others is only good if you have your own house in order.

What I do with my “spare time” is just as important as my work week and I need to be more careful on how I spend it. Before saying yes to anything, I need to ask myself a couple of questions. Will doing this compromise my core values? Will this activity affect my closest relationships?

Sometimes we face obstacles that give us time to think before we act. I will consider these last few months a gift as I have learned a valuable lesson. Time is precious and life is short or the other way around. Don’t waste another moment of it.

Listen to the roar deep in your gut. It’s telling you something.