Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Mama's Gotta Do What a Mama's Gotta Do

Here's what I worked on today for Creative Every Day.  I'm having fun playing with my new iMovie program.  Check out my brother, Jeff Kinney's, new site.  He's an amazing singer/songwriter and the one playing this awesome tune.

Friday, January 22, 2010


These gorgeous flowers are gifts from my husband and mom to celebrate the start of my first 4-week e-course.

My sweet husband wrote this in his handmade card:

"There is nothing more wonderful than to watch u grow."

Today marks the end of our first week and what a gift it has been.  The final count is 67 participants from all over the US and the world, including Canada, UK, Sweden, India, Australia and the Netherlands!  In just 5 days these explorers are making some incredible connections, insights, reflections, artwork, journal entries and personal growths that are truly inspiring to me.  I told the group that I am not the teacher of the course, but simply the person holding the space.  I know from years of teaching yoga that it's truly my yoga students who teach me, and that continues to hold true in this course.

Each day I get the privilege to participate in kind and vulnerable discussions posed on our private group page. The compassion towards one another, and the support that each person shows, is truly powerful.  There is such a longing for personal meaning and making space for what matters most in our lives.  I think there is also a deep need to be connected to a like-minded community.  For those who like to ask the deeper life questions, contemplate the meaning of things, and peel away layers from past experiences so that we can live more full, vibrant lives, having the support and community from others is vital to our spiritual awakening.  I am grateful so many beautiful beings have come together to share this self-discovery journey.

My heart is SO full right now.  My years of perfectionism that kept me from taking big creative leaps is dissipating.  My fear of failure stuck its ugly head out this week as I thought, "Dear God, I have 60 plus people looking for me to provide them with a class that has meaning for them.  What happens if I fail them?"  Well, luckily I won't allow myself to wallow in this place for very long.  This is a thought I do not need to think.  Instead, I trust that we are all here at the right time, at the right place, sharing our journey together for a reason.  I will not diminish the essence of this experience by giving my inner critic and fears much face time.

Instead, I take a deep breath.  I honor the light in myself, the light in the kind souls that have joined together, and the light that is guiding our way.

The next Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery starts April 5, 2010.  Registration for the spring session starts February 22.  Mark your calendars as the first session sold out!  A big thanks to Hip Mountain Mama, Shivaya Naturals and Artsyville, (along with so many others!) for your great help in getting the word out about our first class.

Your Personal Reflection:  Do you have a supportive person in your life, or a community of like-minded people that you belong to?  If not, what small steps could you take, starting today, to find others you can share your journey with?  Remember, you are not alone.  We are all in this together.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reduce Clutter; Create Space Spotlight #1

My quest to Reduce Clutter & Create Space for what matters most in my life has struck a chord with so many people, that I thought it would be appropriate and fun to spotlight the explorers joining me for this 2010 challenge.

Anne, writer of her blog, Frayed at the Edge, has already conquered some amazing clutter and it's only mid-January!  Enjoy her reflections and suggestions for getting started.
Why have you chosen to join the "Reduce Clutter; Create Space" challenge this year?
I had already posted my resolutions for this year, which included clearing out things which I was unlikely to use, and making the effort to use what I have, instead of buying more.  So this challenge reinforces my intentions.

  (Photo provided by Anne.)
What does "clutter" mean to you?
My immeditate answer to that would be too many ornaments. But, of course, there are different kinds of clutter.  There is the clutter on my worktables in my studio, where I haven't put things from one project away before starting on a new one.  There is the clutter in my head...thinking about what I have done (or could have, or should have done).  I think about what I should be doing - all those things that I ought to be doing - like boring housework!  I have to learn  how to let go of what I've done and can't change, and stop fretting over what I have still to do. 

What kinds of reducing have you started?
I have made a start in my studio.  I have sorted out all my card making supplies, and I'm recycling a lot of things out of unnecessary packaging, so that I need less storage space for it.  I have also started to sort through magazines and yarns, to remind me of what I have, so that I'm not tempted to buy more.

Have you noticed any new space being created as you let things physically, mentally and emotionally go?  
I have been able to make space in my storage units and have eliminated piles of things that were cluttering the floor - which is a great help to me mentally.  I like things to be neat and tidy...A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place could have been written for me!

(Photo provided by Anne.)
What's been the easiest part? The hardest?  Any surprises?
The easiest part has been tidying and organizing.  The hardest part is getting rid of things.  I have lots (and lots) of magazines, and I just don't want to part with them.  But I know that I will never make all the things that I would like to, so I will be brave and give them away.

My biggest surprise has been 'Oh, I forgot I had that fabric or yarn or kit!'

What are your intentions for joining other 'explorers' on this journey?
I think it helps to know there are other people who are trying to achieve the same goals, and they will understand and forgive any stumbles along the way!

Any tips, thoughts, or suggestions you might want to share with others who are interested in starting to conquer the clutter in their lives?
You have to ask yourself, 'Do I really, really need this clutter in my life, and will I feel better without it?'

I think as the year goes on,  and I make progress with giving things away and using things up (no more saying 'That fabric is to beautiful to use!') then I will feel better.  I won't have that feeling of too much to do, too little time to do it!

A BIG thank you, Anne, for giving us a glimpse into your reducing clutter adventure.  You have inspired me to continue my quest, because as you simply stated, I know I just "feel better" when I do.

Your Personal Reflection:  What kind of physical, mental and emotional clutter are you holding on to?  Need support?  Let me know in the comments if you want to join the Reduce Clutter; Create Space 2010 explorers.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I Love Happy

Two years ago today, this sweet angel entered the world.  He took his first breath at the exact time of this post, 10:27 p.m., after 36 intense hours of labor.  My life has never been the same.

Dear Kestan,
As we celebrate you on your birthday, I am flooded with memories of those first few weeks of getting to know each other.  Like when I looked into your eyes for the first time, when you nursed every 40 minutes all day and night, when you fell asleep warmed by the blue lights, and when you had your first bath at home.  I remember all those sleepy, dark, winter nights, feeling a sense of not knowing what to do when you cried, and yet, trusting it would all be ok.  I remember when your dad and I would stare at your sweet face and breathe in your sweet scent, and cry with complete joy and wonderment.

I remember when you lived inside me, we would sing "Happy Birthday" to you every Thursday as you turned a week older.  Now that you are two, you are the one singing "Happy Birthday".  (Although, since going to Hallmark's 100th year celebration this past week you insist on singing "Happy Birthday, Hallmark" instead!)

I knew that becoming a mother was something I was ready for, but I had no idea how natural it would feel.  It’s as though I’ve had this mothering instinct inside me all along, just waiting for the day you came into the world.  And, now, whenever I need it, I can tap into the wisdom that has been passed on from generations of mothers before me.

The other night, as you were drifting to sleep you sat up in the dark and whispered, "Mommy, happy.  Baby, happy.  Milk, happy.  Bed, happy."  I will never forget how precious it was to hear you share all the things in that moment that made you feel happy.  Well, baby Kestan - my sweet, tender, funny, powerful, loving soul who is now a big two-year-old boy - I feel blessed to know you, I am grateful to be your mommy, and yes, I am very, VERY happy.

Your Personal Reflection: What makes you feel happy?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This Adventure Called Life

"I am an artist."  It took me years before I could say that without cringing or laughing, or feeling just plain weird about it.  I can now say it with confidence.  I can also say that I am actually living, for the first time, the life I've imagined.

It's taken me years to get to this place.  I'm the happiest I've ever been.  But believe me, it hasn't come without struggle. Over 10 years ago, I was living in Boulder, Colorado, surrounded by the most amazing nature.  To this day, I still get so much of my inspiration from the mountains.  I can smell a ponderosa pine and feel like I've just gone to heaven.  When I was living there, I was struggling to find my place in the world. I didn't really know what to do with myself and my mantra was, "I'm not good at anything."  Then, a beautiful soul entered my life and she introduced me to The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron.

We gathered 5 amazing women, and for twelve weeks, we dove deeply into the book.  Every week we took turns leading each other in creative experiences.  Sometimes we felt vulnerable.  Sometimes our fears and worries were exposed. Many times we discovered new things about ourselves.  Things we liked. Things we didn't. And the community we built together changed ALL of us.

It took a lot of practice, but soon, my "not good at anything" mantra changed.  I started believing in myself, and discovered a whole new world of expansion and endless possibilities.  Ultimately, I learned to open my heart and TRUST my intuition.

This trust led me down a new path.  I moved back to the Midwest.  A 5-year relationship came to an end.  I dove deeply into all forms of creative expression.  I journaled like crazy.  I discovered yoga and meditation.

I've been teaching yoga for over 9-years and have embraced it as part of my lifestyle.  For me, yoga is about celebrating the present moment, connecting more deeply to my heart center, and living life with compassion.

Practicing yoga has taught be that I am the creator of my own life.  I now know that everything in my external world is a reflection of my internal world.  So the more I take time to journey within, the more peaceful and happier I feel.  Believing this has led me to some bigger, more recent changes, like leaving a job with a consistent paycheck, to run my own business, and stay home with my son.

I truly believe that we ALL deserve happiness.  We ALL are creative beings.  We ALL have the potential to live more fully, boldly and freely.  And, the more I learn and grow, the more I want to share with others.

The e-course I've created, Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery is a culmination of my life's searching, reflecting, exploring and discovering.  I've combined my love and appreciation for the creative process, art, writing, journaling, yoga and meditation, into this course as tools for self-awakening.  I know from experience that only so much can change when we start externally. The real change, the deep change, the ever-lasting change - the kind that breaks cycles, and thought patterns, and self-sabotaging behaviors - happens when we start from the INSIDE, and work OUT.

I am an artist.  I am a yoga teacher.  I am a creativity coach.  I am a mom.  I am an explorer.  But mostly, I just AM.  I am a student of life, and I'm so excited to share my journey with you.

I have extreme enthusiasm to meet you and to learn about your journey...

Your Personal Reflection: 
Are you ready to create the life you love, from the Inside Out?
(psst...My course starts Monday, January 18th!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Reduce Clutter; Create Space Update

My quest to reduce clutter this year kicked off with a big bang as we took several loads like this one to our neighborhood goodwill.  It felt amazing to let go of books, frames, furniture, and all those other kinds of "things" we store in our basement for whatever reason.  Although we made some great strides, our basement still feels "heavy".  I just don't want to hold on to anything that we don't use regularly.  So I'm now asking myself, "does this serve a happy purpose in my life?"  If the answer is no, then why keep it?  I want the things in my life to bring me great joy.  So does keeping a stack of plates, that we might use once a year, really do that for me?  These are the questions I'll continue to ask.

This is the last week before my e-course begins, which means I have a lot of work to do.  I'm taking a break from reducing physical clutter, and paying special attention to releasing my mental clutter.  As I find many things on my "to do" list this week, I'm needing to practice present-moment awareness, and not get caught up in multi-tasking craziness.  I must stay grounded.  I must find stillness.  I must release the tension in my shoulders.  I must breathe.  I must be quiet with my journal.  I must play.  Doing these things helps me flush out the mental clutter that can easily drain my vital energy.

This morning, I've decided that the best way to release some mental clutter is to turn off the computer, finish our "pamcakes", and go out on a spontaneous adventure with this little dude. (If you saw my last post you'll know we are ready to get out of the house!)

Before I go, I'd like to share a fun idea with you.  We created a family chalkboard for our kitchen, and it has helped me when planning meals and activities for the week. 

We took an old piece of wood, painted it with chalkboard paint and drew a monthly calendar with chalk.  This hangs near our kitchen so we can easily see what the week entails.  My husband still wants me to get my digital calendar synched with his, and I know one day I'll get there.  However, in the meantime, I love this solution as I can draw fun pictures and cross off the days!  

Check out these inspiring posts from fellow "Reduce Clutter; Create Space Explorers" like, True North Arts, Brown Eyed Fox, and Voices in My Big Head.  There's some amazing de-cluttering going on.   To learn more about my Reduce Clutter; Create Space challenge for 2010, click HERE.  Leave me a comment if you'd like to join us.  Let's continue creating space for what we love most!

Your Personal Reflection:  Has the new year inspired you to take a good look at the "things" in your life?  Are you ready to let go of more to make space for all that's important to you?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On Lockdown

We are up to our knees in snow and it feels like the 100th straight day of zero degree temperatures.  My phone isn't working, my husband has the car all day, and Kestan and I find ourselves on the 5th straight day of staying home. Here's how the weekend is shaping out:

Staying home has been great fun, but we're both ready to balance that with an adventure out of the house!

Examples of stir-crazy are starting to present themselves.  HELP!

Your Personal Reflection:  What craziness and fun are you up to this weekend?

Friday, January 8, 2010

With Gratitude, I Paint (ouch!)

So I mentioned that I had a little "spill" the other night.  Well, as my brother puts it, I basically karate-chopped a balloon, and let's just say the balloon won.  These socks are the culprit, I tell you!  Note to self: If you ever feel the urge to jump high off the ground to kick a birthday balloon into oblivion, than please do NOT do it wearing these socks on slippery hardwood floors again.  Ever.  Your butt thanks you.

My crash landing resulted in an extremely bruised tailbone and two sore wrists. And I'm talking really sore.  Like, I couldn't even squeeze out toothpaste, or brush my hair, or change a diaper (although, I didn't miss that as much). I haven't experienced that kind of physical pain since a ski accident several years ago.

The reason I'm telling you this is that I have discovered a whole new respect for my wrists.  These little joints do so much activity in one day, and I've never paid much attention to them. So I find it appropriate that the Creative Every Day theme for January happens to be about the "body."  I couldn't resist doing a quick journal page to pay respect and tribute to my wrists.  I have learned that they pull, twist, turn, hug, lift, love, express, reach, expand, dance, hold and help me move through my day with ease.

I celebrate you, wrists, and thank you for ALL you do for me.  Happy healing.

Your Personal Reflection: When's the last time you really noticed all the amazing, subtle things your body does on a daily basis?  Take some time to be present, to notice, and to deeply look at your body.  Go ahead...no one's watching...give yourself a hug and tell your body "thanks!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Making Small Changes

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend.  I had a great time with my favorite people, eating my way through the day. It started with a slow morning at home.  My husband made me breakfast and I enjoyed coffee time with my new Yoga Journal magazine.  Later in the day we ventured to a quaint vegan cafe where I had the yummiest hot cocoa with whipped cream - perfect on a winter's day with the high of 16 degrees! The night ended playing ping-pong, games and pizza night at my mom's house. (I also had a little "spill" that night that has humbled me.  I'll share about it in my next post.)

I received a very awesome gift that supports my need to reduce clutter; create space in 2010, as well as support my desire to make One Small Change each month.  My husband cut 12, 12x12 pieces of reclaimed wood and cardboard for a series of paintings I want to work on.  I'm so excited about this because just having the pieces ready to go has given me the SPACE needed to paint.  And, using recycled wood is a perfect compliment to my quest to not purchase art materials, but to use what I have in creative ways.

As you can see, Kestan has his own creative idea on how to use the wood.

So the way I'm choosing to reduce clutter this month, and make some earth friendly changes, is to organize what I have, donate what doesn't serve a happy purpose for me anymore, reuse supplies and materials in creative ways, and avoid buying anything new.

Thanks to each of you who are joining me on this reduce clutter journey.  I'm happy to see so many of you dedicated to making more space for what matters most in your life.  I am planning to make a web page dedicated for the reduce clutter; create space explorers, but in the meantime, learn more HERE, and feel free to join us!
I raise my second cup of vegan hot cocoa to you and wonder:

Your Personal Reflection:  What one small change are you willing to make this month to reduce clutter and create space for what matters most?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Turn up Volume, Push Play, & Feel Free to Dance

(I have to add that my brother wrote, produced and sang this song for me!  Isn't he amazing!?)