Posts Tagged ‘expression’

This month, my article focused on understanding what we want out of life and why we want it, so I thought I would share one of mine….

Several years ago I knew an important want in my life was to start painting again.  I wanted art, painting, creativity to once again become an integral part of my life.  How did that look?  At first my thoughts were to take classes, buy supplies, have a subject to paint, have a space in my home to paint with all materials at the ready

I knew what I wanted to create and the actions to make it happen.  The anchor to get me moving – was why.

For me the why is value of beauty, capturing nature, colors.  It is the need for expression of emotion and creativity.  It serves as a stress reliever for when in the flow I am calmer, more present, in another space entirely.

Do I paint every day?  No I don’t, but I have everything at the ready when inspiration or need for expression surfaces.

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Several years ago I was completing some exercises as I was embarking on career and life exploration of my own.  One of exercises asked me to write my 20 year vision.  My first reaction?  20 years?? At the time I found it easy to plan my weeks and months, even loosely knowing what I wanted to accomplish that year, but the next 20??

After a brief challenge of wrapping my head around the concept that I could plan that far ahead, I began to imagine what I wanted my life to be like 5 years from then, 10 years, 15 – and I was able to get to 20.  So I sat at the table on my deck and began to write, letting my imagination run free, thinking about my big goals and dreams – especially those that had lain dormant for a while.

It was fun, soon the ideas began to flow so much so that a giddiness took over.  Could this really happen – I asked myself?  Why not I answered.  And that marked the beginning of my life and career transformation.

Now it’s your turn.  Whether you want to focus on 1 year, 5, 10 or 20 – begin to let your imagination run free – remember the dreams of your childhood, uncover those you never dared dream and create a realm of possibility currently beyond your imagination.  Then take it to paper, letting all your thoughts form words and images.

Your vision for the future is limited only by your imagination!

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Most of you know that I love painting – you may have seen some of them in the Journal of Possibility I created.

This creative journaling is something different for me.  You see, when I painted, I would always paint a picture, sometimes watercolor, sometimes acrylic.  I always wondered what to do with all of of the small paintings I made.  There are only so many I can put on the wall and I didn’t want to put them away, I like looking at them.

I had never experimented with creative journaling until a few months ago.  I started as a way to prompt me to write my thoughts and emotions, gain clarity about an issue, and a place to capture beautiful quotes or passages from books that move me.  Writing on white paper is not inspiring to me, so I began using watercolor to paint the pages of a blank journal I bought.   This brought the pages to life and made them inviting to write on.

I then started adding some of my paintings to the journal, adding more creative touches and backgrounds.  Now I am finding images from magazines that move me and adding them as a collage.

Having a journal (or now several) that I am working on inspires me to paint or create almost every day.  Here is a picture of my workspace.  I leave everything out or within arms reach.

How do you journal?

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It has been a while since I have written, painted or read much.  My creative/meditative time lately has been focused on home improvement projects.   We have changed some surfaces, rearranged what we have to breathe new life into it and of course treasure hunted for some great finds!

I realize that while I crave variety in my days/weeks, I am often singly focused when I’m working on a special project and go through cycles where my creative passions shift.

What brings me into each new cycle?  For painting, its when the mood and inspiration strikes, usually when I have a reason to paint and something to paint.    Since I love to learn, my cycle of learning/reading shows up often when I’ve had great conversations with friends or colleagues about a topic I want to learn more about.  That leads to exploring other things I want to learn and just reading for pleasure.   Writing is more challenging for me.  It’s not something I love but something that I love having done.  When I see, hear or experience something interesting and thought provoking is what helps me step into the cycle of writing.

What cycles of  introspection or self expression do you experience?

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I have been blogging for more than a year and writing articles for a several years, so I decided to compile a list of everything I have written.  (I admit it, I love making lists)

A few things came up for me as I was doing this exercise.  I remembered when I used to think (and say out loud) “I can’t write”.   Those words were there before I started writing articles, then came up again in the form of “I won’t know what to blog about” when I contemplated blogging and yet again in the form of “how will I only write one sentence” when I started using Twitter.   The awareness?  Though the thoughts were there, I took action despite the words in my head and mouth and proved them wrong!   Starting was the hardest, but once I made the leap and wrote that first article, that first blog post, I realized I could do it and it built my confidence to stretch even further!

Another awareness as I was compiling this list?  I realized that my ideas for articles and blogs flow much more easily than I anticipated they would.  I actually now enjoy the process of expressing my ideas, ponderings and observations in words.

Yes, I love reviewing and making lists because they bring organization to my life, but a wonderful byproduct of a review like this is the awareness it brings.

Take a few minutes to review some of your own activities. 

I would love to hear what you discover!

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Taking pictures is one of my favorite things to do, especially when I am able to capture beauty.  Using a digital camera makes that easy since I take hundreds of picutures there are always several that come out wonderful.

How often to I take pictures?  Not often enough for me.  I realized that I tend to wait until I am going somewhere picturesque, like the beach, a park or public garden to take out my camera.

This weekend I decided to see my own backyard from a new perspective.  What prompted me was a nest of baby birds in a tree right next to my deck.  I grabbed my camera and captured this beautiful shot. 


I then decided to “see” my yard through my camera’s eye and started to focus on the details…. a lone flower in bloom, butterflies, a magnolia blossom.   It felt great – peace, presence… and all a few steps outside of my door.


What is in your own “backyard” that you don’t truly “see”?

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The other day I attended a Garden Power party.  What was it?  A gathering of friends to help plant a new garden for Ira Thompson at her house in Cary.  Ira considers herself an “indoor person” but she loves to look at the beauty of nature.  So she knew that to have a beautiful garden she would need to enlist the help of others – and she did just that!

Ira offered what she is known for – amazing food and fun!  She created a spread of breakfast and lunch goodies to feed those who attended and asked that each friend just bring a pair of gardening gloves and be ready to get dirty.  One friend is a landscape designer, Mary Liljequist of Earthly Delights Landscape Design in Raleigh.  She supplied the design and layout for Ira’s garden – lots of beauty and low maintenance for this “indoor girl” and everyone knew just what to do when they arrived. 

What a great time we had, being in nature, helping a good friend, reconnecting with some and making wonderful new connections with all who were there!  Asking for help is something many of us shy away from, but it is something we all need to do more often!

What are you ready to ask for help with?

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Last weekend I visited Washington DC for the first time.  Yes, it took me this long to visit a place that has been only 4-5 hours driving distance from my home in NY and now NC.

We had a great time and what it brought up for me was the idea of expectations and how they effect our perception.  You see, I had very little expectation of what it would be like to visit DC.  Contrary to the “planner” in me, I had a short list of what sites I wanted to see but beyond that I did not do much research or have an itinerary. 

Sure I imagined what The Mall and Arlington would look like and had a map of the area, and of course photos of DC are everywhere, but I did not spend too much time thinking about it.

What was so wonderful about having little expectations?  For me it was being suprised by the beauty of the architecture, gardens we found without looking, delicious food we encountered whenever we were hungry (even the soft pretzels I missed from NYC) and the overall feeling of being in such an historic place! 

Here are some of my favorite photos…


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I came across a great article called Authentic Personal Branding .  This topic is something I talk about in one form or another in many of my workshops especially Getting Noticed, Known and Connected in the Getting Prepared section.

Branding is not just for business, it is the image we present to the world through our relationships, our work, our everyday lives.   It is the unique qualities we portray and how we live out what we value most.   Branding has to be authentic, not only in what we deliver but in how we deliver it. 

When I work with clients that are either building a business or seeking employment, there is a lot of fear and trepidation in “selling” ourselves.  If we think of it as branding instead – showcasing ourselves in a way that helps others see the true essense of who we are as individuals, and we are able to deliver it by consistent action and being true to our word, it could feel more effortless!

A great way to showcase who you are in a way that feels natural is getting involved in an organization you believe in.  That involvement could include volunteering for a project/event, leading a committee, accepting a board position in the organization or any other opportunity to give of yourself.  In this environment, you are “living” your brand by allowing your passion, drive, strengths and value to shine through example.

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I’ve always been fascinated by dreams.  I usually remember most of my dreams, even days afterward especially if they were vivid and emotional – though I never took the time to record them until now.

Inspiration to record my dreams came from two sources, a book I am reading and a friend’s experience.  The book is The Not So Big Life by Sarah Susanka where a chapter is devoted to recording and discovering the meaning in your dreams.   My friend is also reading the book (we are in a book club together with this book as the subject) and she started not only writing her dreams but recording them using collage!  

My method of recording my dreams?  Painting of course!  I cut watercolor paper into quarters and when I remember a vivid dream, I write notes on one side of the paper and on the other I paint a watercolor scene of what I saw in my dream.    My latest dream?  A visit to coastal Italy with visions of the sea.  I can’t wait to paint it!

How do you record your dreams?

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