Friday, January 17, 2014

There are a million shades of grace

I love to think about emotions in terms of colors. Sometimes we feel love and it’s red other times we feel love and it pale blue. I began to think about how everything we experience has color and that colors change through time. They change through how we change as well. One day I began to cut up some piece of artwork that I didn’t like. “Cut them up, let them go, and see what new things you can find”, I told myself. It was freeing to do that. To look at each piece simply for it’s color and not for how it fit into the whole image. As I cut I began to see connections of color, and then I began to hear words that would represent parts of myself, parts I am constantly struggling with. I found that the pieces fit in so many arrangements and they all seemed OK. There was a rhythm to it in a way, a rhythm that made it all work fine. This act of arranging and re arranging reminded me that sometimes we need to take the “remaining pieces” of ourselves, and find a new ways to make them fit. It’s the act of moving the pieces around where we discover a million shades of grace.
*I would recommend this exercise for anyone. Take a number of pieces of your old artwork, the ones you don’t care for. Chop them up into shapes and put it back to together in a new arrangement. See how you can redefine things. Where does it lead you? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


(To create what's in your minds eye is like chasing a dream. Let go of the vision and embrace what spills out onto the page)
I was listening to a great interview on NPR with the author Ann Patchet. She said something to this extent "I have an amazing book in my head but as soon go to to write it, I kill it". This idea really resonated with me. I began to consider, how do we get so attached to that vision we see? I realized that most of the time what comes out is NOT the vision we had but something else. I guess I know that "something" needs to come out, regardless of wether it's great or not. It's taking the chance, rolling the dice to see what it will be. This idea seems to apply to life too. We get so attached to the dream we have for our lives that we spend so much energy chasing the life we envision. What we really need to do is embrace what we are, all of it, everything that spills out into the world.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dreams start with a seed

I always seem to come back to the image of a tree when I think about the idea of having dreams and having hope. I am in awe of trees, for many reasons. First, I love how the roots of the tree are so similar to the design of  the branches and leaves as well. The leaf's center branches out from the main center vein, the trunk to smaller limbs. The roots dig deeper into the earth the same way the branches reach toward the sky. Seeing these connections reminds me that our dreams make their way in the same manner. We build our center strong, then we can begin to reach out, edging day by day, closer to hope.


I love to swim and I always think I feel so good after I swim because I am able to get back to more of a rhythmic kind of breath. When we experiment with our breathing then we can see that there is space to play there. There is space to extend, space to condense, space to exhale, space to inhale. We see that it's possible to use our breath to create whatever kind of breath we desire. Once we see that breath is just a tool to a deeper place within, then we're really on to something, then we can really listen to what the breath is trying to say.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rainbows are fragments of hope, pieced together.

I started playing with the idea of broken rainbows recently. I had a sketch sitting in a folder for months, waiting for me to paint it. Then I began thinking about the "the perfect rainbow". It seemed to me that we always see rainbows the same way, Roy-g-biv stripes with cloud on each side. Why don't we look at rainbows differently? Maybe it's the broken rainbows that are the most unique? Maybe rainbows are not even curved? Maybe rainbows come in all different color combinations and so on. I began to realize that the same is true for the lives we envision for ourselves. We have to find ways to make our lives look colorful and stunning, using what we have, even if we have to put it together with duct tape and crazy glue.

Take time to play everyday. It's good for your soul.

How often do we forget this? Play is all about lightening our load, letting go of of what were supposed to be doing and just being in the moment. As adults, we don't "plan" play, we usually have to be forced to do play. We take the world so seriously then we forget how important play is. It's like laughing, we know physiologically that it makes us healthier but it feels just too extravagant. It's self nurturing, so how can that be bad? Playing leads to learning. Playing leads to lower stress. Playing reminds us of how we used to perceive our world when we were young. All good stuff, right? So then why do we resist? Here's what I noticed.
I started teaching at a day camp this summer. The "playing" really kicked my butt. I'm not talking about physically, (even though it was hard in that respect!) but more in the sense that I had to find a way to be in the same zone as the 7 year old. We were playing legos and I noticed how distracted I was. It reminded me that playing is a muscle you have to keep fluid and active. But to play as an adult is a whole other story. I can see when I resist. Usually, it's when all the adult world crap like bills and emails overload me and I push the play aside. Having a 9 year old does help, since she always wants to play something and when I really allow myself to go there with her, it makes me feel good, I have to admit. I do think the world would be a much cooler, calmer and nicer place if we all valued it a little more too. That's my 2 cents. Now I'm going find those legos. :)

Change happens one day at a time.

Doing children's books has been a daily reminder of what it takes to see things through to the end. Kids often ask me how long it takes to do a book and they are shocked when I tell them for me, it usually takes a few years for each book (at least!). So many things can side track me and take me off course too, it really challenges my ability to do a little each day. But in time things always change, it's the way nature works, wether we want it to or not. The trick is keeping the steps on the path, staying on course. You've got to know how to keep your self on course, being honest with yourself about your all your  decisions. One step. One day. One hour. One minute. One second. Small increments mean everything. It's all precious.