Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March Sea Life day 24 "Race to the Finish Line"

"Race to the Finish Line"

Some days it feels like an all day race to the finish line. The "gotta do" list starts off long and gets progressively longer throughout the day. I read somewhere, the Universe doesn't like a vacuum, so when we create space, the clearing provides an opportunity for something new to come along and take the place of what was formerly there. That includes items on the list.

I love to see a little kid taking a walk with an adult...the kid meanders, stops often, looks all around and takes everything in...noticing the tiniest of tiny things like an ant crossing the sidewalk or a button on the ground.  As adults, we are often so busy with doing, that we miss out on noticing little things that can make a big difference in the way our day goes and how we feel.

Lately, I've gone the direction of slowing my pace, just for a while to see how it goes. It's actually been more enjoyable as I've been able to notice more things that I formerly had overlooked simply by rushing from one thing to the next in attempts to "get it all done." It's like being on autopilot.

Yesterday, while crossing the classroom I was subbing in, I accidentally kicked a small object that was lying on the floor. It went shooting across the rainbow colored carpet, and spun in a tight circle like a compass needle gone crazy. When it stopped, the boy sitting near it told me it was a girl's pen cap and handed it to her. She grabbed it and then held up the tiny 2" purple pen that went with it.

"Sniff," she said, holding up the pen, "it's grape."
"Smell this one," the girl next to her said, offering me a yellow mini pen, this one banana. They each held their pens and inhaled deeply, smiling and savoring the scent.  I was fortunate I had just been able to witness this enjoyment they were experiencing all because I was willing to slow down.

What might you notice if you change your pace and dare to go a bit slower? Maybe it will be something that adds some magic to your day.

Monday, March 23, 2015

March Sea Life day 23 "Coffee and Laughs with Friends"

"Coffee and Laughs with Friends"

At a weekend outdoor market, I saw a flyer announcing an upcoming Laughter Yoga class.

Laughter Yoga? Seriously?

It was too weird to imagine, so I continued reading the text which touted some of the many benefits of laughter:

-It relaxes the entire body
-It triggers the release of endorphins, causing the sensation of well-being
-It boosts the immune system and protects the heart
-Increases creativity
-Reduces stress
-Enhances memory
-Elevates moods

Not for me, I decided at the time. Yoga is quiet, peaceful, meditative, not full of big, loud laughter.  Later that day, a friend emailed INVITING me to a laugh yoga class the following morning (a Sunday). What bizarre timing! What are the odds? I reluctantly agreed out of sheer curiosity.

The class met at a community center in a nearby village and we all gathered in a large room of about a dozen people, ranging in age from 6 to about mid seventies. The cost?......$2.

The next hour was spent participating in laughter-inducing activities. We fake laughed at first as suggested by the instructor (how awkward) and some time later, it turned into the real thing. The group leader suggested silly scenarios and everyone raced around the room, abandoning their worries about looking ridiculous, too caught up in the moment having fun.

The main idea was to recapture the essence of childlike abandon and dive fully into pure silliness and fun.  Everyone raced around the room, pretending to walk invisible dogs, chase runaway lawnmowers, and  sip tea from tiny Thumbelina-sized tea cups, each action accompanied by chuckles, giggles or roaring laughter.

At the conclusion, we were led through a short meditation and then let loose to have a great day. I was buzzing with a vibrant energy, feeling quite energized and uplifted. In celebration, my friend and I ran to a cafe in the village and sipped cuppas, reveling in all the fun we'd just had. 

It became a weekly ritual for us that lasted about a year. The idea of Laughter Yoga quickly spread and the class grew in size, often having around 35 participants. More classes sprang up all over the city...more people wanting in on the fun.

How can you add some laughter to your day? Give your internal organs a good massage with some big belly laughs. Where do you see the opportunity for a good laugh?

"Coffee and Laughs with Friends,"  8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March Sea Life day 22 "Stop and Breathe"

"Stop and Breathe"
I walked into my kitchen this morning and found that my teenage lovelies had left a stack of dirty dishes on the bench top. So, instead of enjoying the lovely bird songs I heard or reveling in the pleasant dreams I had just awakened from, I suddenly felt a growling in my gut  and as I stared unhappily at the large pile, the thoughts started coming...what a way to start the day....who do they think will clean this up? inconsiderate....grumble, grumble......

With each thought, I grew increasingly irritated and then super grumpy that my initially good mood was disappearing at lightening speed. I fixed myself a cuppa coffee and took a quick look at the little sign I had taped to my fridge. Following the advice I had painted on my sign changed everything. The idea for it came from something I had seen days ago.

Last week as I walked through through the hallways of an elementary school where I was subbing for the day, the class I walked with came to an abrupt halt. Wondering why they'd stop mid step, I looked over and saw a laminated paper version of a STOP sign posted to the wall. The class stood still and no one spoke.

After a few seconds, we proceeded until we reached a second  sign, where again, they all stopped and stood quietly. What a brilliant idea! I promptly stole it (the idea, that is).

As we go through our days, many of us get so busy and are moving so quickly, that the word "stop" would be the last thing on our minds. Stopping might mean:

1. Not finishing something that needs to be done
2. Creating more stress for ourselves
3. The beginning of panic and an increase in the frantic pace

I swiped the idea and created several small signs for myself and posted them in various places. They look like this:

During the day, they remind me to stop and breathe. It is incredibly calming and feels like a super-mini meditation. I'm guessing just about everyone can find time to slow down a bit and take those 3 deep breaths. It can really change how things look and feel.

"Stop and Breathe," 8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March Sea Life day 21 "Circling" and the New Moon


It is the New Moon once again and time to set intentions for the coming month. I like to keep my list simple, focusing on things that matter most to me.  Brainstorming all over a page is usually the easiest way to begin...allowing anything and everything to surface...things such as places I'd like to visit, experiences I'd like to have, and topping it all off with curious, delightful and fun surprises.

Next, I allow myself to choose my top ten favorites....then I whittle those down to my top 3 to 5, highlighting them in a bright color. These get scribbled on a paper and set aside for safekeeping..often they go into my daily planner so I can reacquaint myself with the short list throughout the month.

Today's fish embody the process I go through listing and refining my ideas..circling, choosing, circling again, choosing again...

Keeping this list small allows me to really focus on a few things and take micro movements in the direction of seeing the wishes manifest. For me, it's all about making it fun and doable. 

What is on your wish list? What micro movements can you make today that bring you a tiny bit closer to creating more fun and delight for yourself?

"Circling," 8 x 10" watercolor and ink

New Moon Brainstorming List

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Sea Life day 19 "Over the Top"

"Over the Top"

I recently overheard someone tell another that what he saw was "over the top."  Did that mean over the top in a good way or in a not-so-good way? For me, that phrase brings to mind things like excellence, an element of surprise, delight and creativity....pushing the boundaries, thinking and doing outside the box. It is something I see kids do all the time, in the way they dress, write stories, or make art in some form. 

One of my favorite over-the-toppers would be Pee Wee Herman, with his very expressive facial contortions, exaggerated body movements and wildly over the top fantastic ideas in the imagination department. 

For me, it helps to look at writers and artists who push the boundaries and create something magical, fun and memorable by going outside the realm of "safety." This acts as inspiration to take more risks, let go of creative fears and forge ahead, knowing the work will lead the way.

How can you push your creative work over the top today?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March Fish day 18 "Above and Below"

"Above and Below"

Fish and chirps....

"Above and Below," 8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March Fish day 17 "Downstream"


Just seems like the way to, easy and with a sense of curiosity and adventure.

"Downstream,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Monday, March 16, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 16 "Crabby til I get my Java"

"Crabby til I get my java"

This is not really the case for me, but I know that for some people, that first cuppa is an essential element in getting a new day off to a great start. I just like the taste.

"Crabby til I get my java," 8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 15 "Coffee Break"

"Coffee break"

Coffee break during the day...great time to gather with friends and sip a cuppa while getting caught up on the latest...

"Coffee Break,"  8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 14 "Coffee Ignites my Wanderlust"

"Coffee ignites my Wanderlust"

Years ago, I ran across a picture of a walking catfish. That was something to see! A fish out of water slowly making its way somewhere...maybe for a change of scenery? 

 Coffee might be just what that fish needed to ignite his Wanderlust. I know it works for me.

"Coffee ignites my Wanderlust,"  4 x 8" Watercolor and ink

Friday, March 13, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 13 "Coffee First"

This little painting will look familiar as I have posted it once before.  The time change has thrown me and I am not yet on the new schedule. Will create a new coffee painting later today. In the meantime, first.

What kind of coffee gets you started on your day?

"Coffee First,"  5 x 7" watercolor and ink

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March CoffeeSea Life day 12 "I'm glad we see eye to eye over coffee"

"I'm glad we see eye to eye over coffee"

What a great feeling when someone "gets" us...really gets us..knows what we mean, is open to our point of view and sometimes even empathizes with our challenges and ongoing shenanigans. The Chaos and fun that make up daily life. Sometimes, having that other person there helps reflect back to me things I want or need to know to navigate my way through the day. Seeing eye to eye with another allows me to step back and appreciate all that goes into what I create as my own reality every day. Their perspective might help me see things in  a different way....and be more open to fun.  Caffeine makes this encounter even better.

 Who in your life sees you eye to eye?

"I'm glad we see eye to eye over coffee"   4 x 10" watercolor and ink

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March Coffee Seal Life Day 10 "The Lucky 9"

"The Lucky 9"

Occasionally, I have a day where a certain number keeps showing up for the total of my grocery bill at the supermarket, the clock in my car, even in overhearing other people's conversations. Today, it was the 9 that reappeared during my travels throughout the day, so it turned into 9 little fish in today's mini painting.

 Looking through various sites for any info I could find on associations with the number 9, I ran across something that said it represented longevity, happiness and good luck. Definitely one I was glad to see. 

The number that shows up most often for me, though, is 11.  I remember when I realized that 11 was going to be my lucky number for life. While attending a local fair (I was 10 or 11 at the time), I approached a table completely covered in cakes, cookies and brownies. Running around the edge of the table was a long piece of paper, marked into squares and randomly numbered. 

"Quick, pick your lucky number! " a woman behind the table blurted out, the giant roulette-type wheel behind her spinning madly. I looked at the numbers and threw my nickel on number 11. After a few more spins, the wheel came to a stop....on number 11. I was stunned. How could I be so lucky, I thought to myself. 

"You won!" the woman yelled and told me I could pick ANY item off the table I wanted. I chose a giant plate of brownies. Walking away with the ultimate prize, I decided that 11 was the luckiest number of all and I'd be in good shape if I stuck with it. Number 9 comes in a close second.

What is your lucky number and how did you discover that???

"The Lucky 9,"  5 x 7" Watercolor and ink

Sunday, March 8, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 8 "Coffee brings out my inner kitten"

"Coffee Brings out my Inner Kitten"

Somehow, that first cup of coffee in the morning really gets the day off to a great start, beginning with the gentle brewing sound and then that lovely aroma filling the kitchen and making me feel like I am in a cafe waiting on the perfect cup to enjoy. Plus, it puts a smile on my face and brings out my inner kitten, energetic, curious and ready to discover a new day.

"Coffee Brings out my Inner Kitten,"  8 x 10" Watercolor, ink and foil

Friday, March 6, 2015

For the love of books

Woke up this morning to a big snowfall. Just about everything is closed. There is a stillness that comes with the big white blanket. Even the birds are quiet. 

I've loved living in places that get big snowfall. To me, it's Nature's way of slowing things way down. Being unable to travel anywhere changes things. We are where we are, so what can we do? Time is now here to do those things we often don't have time to enjoy due to busy schedules...sitting by the fire on a weekday, taking hikes in deep snow, snuggling up with a good book.

One of my favorite things to do on a snowy day when my kids were little, was to hunker down in a pillow fort with all our favorite books ("One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish," "Swimmy," and others). I see now a lot of them had to do with fish....time well spent.

Why not stop and enjoy some of your favorite things even if there isn't a big snow to keep you from going places. 

the FlipHearts   enjoying the little things

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 4 "Curled up with a cuppa"

"Curled up with a cuppa"

I'm enjoying the dark winter mornings, looking out over the snow as I have my morning cuppa. My fingers all wrapped around the cup remind me of oct0pus tentacles. The warmth of the cup in my hands and the rich coffee smell make for a good start. Now just for the caffeine to kick in and get the ideas flowing...

"Curled up with a cuppa,"  8 x 10" Watercolor and ink

Monday, March 2, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 2 "Coffee Lights up our Mornings"

"Coffee lights up our mornings"

What better way to light up your morning than a cuppa with a buddy and a catch up on the latest. Pass the sugar.....

"Coffee lights up our mornings,"  8 x 10 Watercolor, ink, foil

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Coffee Sea Life day 1 'Espresso Shots"

"Espresso Shots"

Sometimes, an espresso shot is the perfect way to get a jump start on the new day.

"Espresso Shots," 8 x 10 Watercolor and ink
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