Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Balance In Our Rush Hour Lives

In today's world, we want our food fast and our internet faster. We want more and are doing more. We rush through our days multitasking, exhausted and numb as our thoughts speed through our minds like an express train full of commuters. Just like these passengers, our thoughts come and go. The thoughts  that come and stay solidify and become our beliefs, beliefs about ourselves and about the world around us. Our thoughts and beliefs give rise to our actions, our choices and our words and shape us into an identity we begin to believe. So often, our beliefs are picked up early on in life, before we have a chance to really examine if they resonate with our hearts. 

Why do we stay stuck in our swirling thoughts? Is it out of habit? In my experience of quieting my own thoughts and bringing more mindfulness to my life, I have experienced that habitual mindlessness tells only half the story. I have found that we distract, we react and we numb ourselves to keep our minds from connecting to its partner, the heart. From the one sided perspective of the unchallenged mind, the heart seems to hold all the pain we are running from. The soulful truth is the heart wants to be heard and felt and has the powerful ability to then release, to let go, to create space. The unquestioned mind wants to hold on, keep busy and be right. In observing the thoughts that pop in and out of our minds, we can decide which ones no longer serve us, for example, "I will never be enough" can be traded in for "I am enough."

To begin to find balance in our rush hour lives, we can make a choice to "go with the slow" and put ourselves on simmer.  Even a few minutes a day of mindfulness while brushing your teeth or standing on line at Starbucks for your morning coffee, can bring you into the witness perspective and start a process of you returning to you. In intentionally slowing down, we invite the mind to calm just enough to begin to build a bridge to connect to the heart. The mind can then be the knowledgeable conductor steering us on our heartfelt path.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Be here now. Be at your computer, at your desk, in your studio. Be all there and you begin to notice the present moment.  Being an artist means being willing to be an explorer of the moment, an observer of what is. You can begin by noticing how the ground supports your feet, the chair supports your body. You are invited to observe that your body breathes without any direction from you. Be present as you gather your supplies, the paper, the glue, the twine, the buttons. You may notice your inner dialogue pulling you away from the moment, perhaps trying to convince you that art is a waste of your time or you should be doing one more load of laundry or writing your shopping list. Perhaps it whispers to you that you're not good enough or why bother? We all experience this from time to time and have even made room for this inner critical voice in our lives like a guest that came to dinner and never left.  Be patient with your resistance and in time it will fade.  It is no match to the vibrant paint colors waiting on the palette or the smell of new handmade paper waiting to be torn and layered and glued. Just the act of noticing offers your passive resistance a permission slip to take some time off. Even a short reprieve of obeying the inner critical voice can be enough to let the creativity begin to flow. In my experience I have found that in time, the need to create becomes louder than any negative made-up thoughts swirling in my mind.

Are you willing to experiment with new ideas? Are you open to getting messy? In the present moment there are no rules, no right or wrong. Making art with an intention of being present invites the Self to explore, to be curious, to create, which I believe are innate qualities to all of us. Get messy, take risks, put paint on paper. Thread the needle, mold the clay, knead the dough, type your story. Start somewhere and do something that calls to your soul. Then, in the end, we are left to reflect the beauty back to ourselves that was there all along, in the present moment, waiting patiently for us to return to ourselves. Be brave. Explore. Follow your heart. Follow your art.