First within, then without.

“Make the world within beautiful and opulent and the world without will express and manifest the conditions which you have made within. You will come into a realization of your power to create ideals and these ideals will be projected into the world of effect.”

-Master Key System, Week Seven

Collect inspiration.

I love Austin Kleon’s perspective in Stealing Like An Artist.  Nothing is original and “all creative work builds on what came before.” The good artists embraces influences but not indiscriminately – she carefully chooses to consume the work of those predecessors that resonate with her soul. The good artist is selective about what she consumes with eyes, ears, mind and heart because she will consciously and unconsciously leverage those influences as inspiration for her own art and personal style. It is the unique collection and manifestation of each individual’s life experiences, tastes, interests, influences, and inspirations that gives each artist the opportunity to be “original.”

Let’s stop obsessing about originality and invest in the cultivation of our individual tastes. Let’s feed our eyes, ears, minds, and souls with the things that inspire us.

Happiness and Choice

The sage phrase, Happiness is a Choice, refers to much more than simply choosing a “happy” state of mind. It is a call to action. It begs us to make choices and to follow through, to secure our present and future happiness.

Happiness starts with a Choice.

Choose the noble path. You may not always get the desired results but there is happiness in knowing that you did the best you could do, with what you had, and what you knew, at the time. 

Choose to listen to, and honor your self – to follow your dreams and passions means living a fulfilled life doing what you arecalled” to do.

Choose to love and embrace others instead of harboring hate and contempt for the world.

Choose the fellowship of kindred spirits. Toxic and negative people are happiness killers. Surround yourself with positive energy.

Happiness starts with a choice, but it is achieved through actions. What will you do to secure your happiness today?

Don’t press the panic button…

It’s one of those days – a huge list of things to do and a highly structured day to make sure it all gets done. As a work-from-home mom, I know too well how fragile it all is… that feeling that if a call goes 10 minutes over or I spend an extra 15 minutes on one project, my work simply won’t get done and I’ll feel unaccomplished. What happens when, like it so often will, a wrench gets caught in our plans? Whether you tailspin into despair or roll with the punches is a matter of choice.

Today I had to remind myself to take a deep breath and not press the panic button. And it all worked out in the end.

Joyful Purge

Following the sage advice of Marie Kondo, the life/space organizer guru, I purged my work area of books, supplies and magazines that don’t spark joy. I have never been able to work in chaos so my desk and art area have always been tidy, but I realized that I was surrounded by a neat pile of clutter and things I didn’t love, or need for that matter – pens, notebooks, books, decor – things that just did not spark joy in my work life/ work space.

Why was I holding on to these things that I never use? Because I am afraid of being wasteful? Cause I might need it one day?

Sometimes the things that hold us back are the seemingly innocuous clutter of material things we hold on to. Lift the weight of things, and you’ll feel free to soar… and the things that remain and make the cut, will actually be the things you enjoy and love.

What are you holding on to that just doesn’t spark joy? Is it time to let go?

Learn to rest, not to quit.

My body is exhausted, though my mind is aglow. I’ve been so excited to write and make art in the mornings that I’ve been beating my alarm every day and staying up much later than I should be. So, tonight, I am going to just share this little nugget of wisdom to remind myself (and you) to listen to your body… if you’re tired, rest… but do not quit!

Good night! 😴

Attitude of Gratitude 🙏🏼

I am a firm believer that an attitude of gratitude begets more blessings in life. This works inwardly and outwardly.

When we are grateful for the people and things in our lives instead of focusing on what we don’t have, we feel full, complete, and favored by the universe. It’s the very acknowledgement of the big and small blessings in our lives that make us feel so incredibly blessed… but an attitude of gratitude is an active and inward choice.

We have to choose to see and acknowledge our blessings – that’s our mindset. 

I also believe that the universe simply grants more blessings to those who are grateful because well, wouldn’t you be compelled to give more to someone who appreciated what you gave them? I think of the universe as operating much like we do on a cosmically larger scale, and the laws of attraction are at work. If we are poised to receive blessings, we are quicker to notice when we get them, and the more we feel that we are blessed, the more we attract blessings to our selves.

One small practice I have been doing every evening to stay more mindful of my blessings is to keeping a Gratitude Journal. You can also do this with minimal effort and maximum impact.  Every night, on your phone, your computer, or a small notebook by your bed stand (I am using my reMarkable writing tablet) write down something you are grateful for – it should be something specific and can be big or small. When you start this practice, you start to recount all the blessings around you. It’s really been a wonderful way to end the day and I wake up refreshed to embrace new blessings.

Try it and see. ♥

Living as Art

Currently consuming Emerson’s essay on Art… here’s my favorite little morsel from today:

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not. The best of beauty is a finer charm than skill in surfaces, in outlines, or rules of art can ever teach, namely, a radiation from the work of art of human character…”

My greatest work of art should be the life I lead.