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Showing Up is the Real Superpower

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in inspire, sketchbook | 3 comments

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Sometimes it can seem like the only thing bright in your life is the paint that you rarely get on your hands. Sometimes you surprise yourself because you thought you were pretty good at finding beauty, but not even the art journal pages are coming out pretty. Sometimes every single thing going on feels ugly and hard, and even your own feelings arrive as barbs you’re a little bit ashamed of. Sometimes you feel ugly and broken.

Those are the times to show up.

When you feel like hiding most, those are the times to speak up and tell who you really are. The world doesn’t need more “strong” superheros. The world needs more of us to recognize the superhero we already are, without the cape, without the mask, before the perfect timing or the dream come true or getting the girl and finding the fans. We need more heros who know who they are deep in their gut without looking for flashy affirmation.

The world needs more of us to recognize our own superpowers even when those around us tell us we’re only sidekicks.

The superhero shit we create on an everyday basis, neck deep in the trenches of real, regular, everyday life, is the most impressive power of all.

Recognize that.

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Recognize the power and bravery in showing up when everything is hard or mundane or exhausting. Recognize the heroism in not leaving real and substantial behind when neat and flashy come along.

We don’t need more “impressive”; we’re impressed enough. We don’t need amazing; we need real. We need reliable. We need someone to have our back. We need to be seen in the dark. We need to be kept when we aren’t the one in the cape, with the cool belt and the secret handshake.

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This world needs people who own up to everything they’re capable of; who carry the bags they have to carry and set down the ones they don’t; who stay in the long race without faltering.

We don’t need more super, we need more  brave.

Those are the real heros.

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Finished Fairy Houses

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in art, blog | 2 comments

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This little treat arrived in my mailbox a few days ago and reminded me of these:

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It’s been a little while since I finished this little series of fairy dwellings, but I never fully shared them.

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I had the most fun painting them, imagining the tiny beings inhabiting each little house, adding little found bits of string, beads, and twigs.

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My favorite part might be the tiny feather…

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Or perhaps these little shell beads.

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And, okay, I do love the festive rainbow flags.

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It was also a lot of fun to find them here, in the latest issue of Somerset Magazine. I hope you’ll check it out!

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How the Littlest Step Can Make the Biggest Difference

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in art, inspire, sketchbook | 3 comments

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True confession: I’ve been struggling.

It’s not really a secret… generally, when I go underground and stop posting it’s because I am buried or overwhelmed (or, just maybe, a little depressed).

Lately, I’ve been all three.

My much-anticipated Goal Drive didn’t happen. I was hit by a big storm and an even bigger flu. That flu/head cold thing made it’s way through all my littles and then had its way with me and left me beat. By the time I dragged myself out of bed again I was depressed, behind, unproductive and sad. I stopped moving.

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I sort of pride myself on having a high productivity rate. Oh, it’s not always measurable; in fact, it’s often not. Alongside a few finished articles and paintings, it’s more often about innumerable storybooks read, questions answered, and laundry folded – but between it all I have myself fairly well committed, and here in inkstitch-land things run pretty close to the wire… so it doesn’t take much of a slip-up for things to sort of, well, fall apart.

And then, sometimes, I fall apart, too.

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This is a truth we’re all familiar with: It takes energy to gain momentum. It takes some serious oomph. Once you’ve got it, momentum is a generous and wonderful being; it can take you all kinds of places. It’s an easy, benevolent force that brings life to the party and water to the well. It’s a friend to laugh with… but sometimes it deserts you. Sometimes it drops you right on your ass just when you need it the most and leaves you dirty and cold and sitting in some dark place covered in snot and tears wondering how you’ll ever get moving again.

Which, I’m sorry to admit, is exactly where I’ve been. Weeks of big-project-burnout-then-holidays-then-illness robbed me of my momentum and left me bereft. I got feeling so barren and behind that I couldn’t possibly fit “Create” onto my To-Do list, let alone shop listings or tidying the studio. The longer it went, the more impossible it seemed, but I hadn’t the energy to do a thing about it.

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These are the times it’s important to call up this equal but even more important truth that perhaps you didn’t know: Sometimes it takes momentum to gain energy.

Sometimes when your energy has left you, all you have to do is move, just a little, to bring it back.

You don’t have to do the whole dance; you don’t have to know the ending or perform the whole show. All it takes is a tiny wiggle. Momentum wants to work for you. With even the slightest nudge, it has the awesome ability to spring up and start running right where you left off, bringing with it new life and fresh air and a blessed rush of good energy. A small step can make a big difference.

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This here, this is my wiggle: Today I got paint on my hands. I didn’t create a masterpiece; I didn’t try a new technique or complete a painting. I didn’t set out with any goal at all except “make a little mark.” With school work to be done and mud on the the floor and dinner waiting at the other end of a take-out line, I put paint on a sheet of paper and let it dry. A single step, that’s all.

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But that’s all it took for momentum to pick me up and carry me the rest of the way.

I’m still “behind” (I probably always will be), and if we want to continue with the confessions, I’d have to tell you that the muddy floor got mopped with a wet-wipe and that’s probably all it will get this week. Yes, sometimes I think I don’t have the time or energy to create. But that’s okay; that’s when I need the paint on my hands the most. That’s when the littlest movements can make way for some big, gorgeous energy.

Love that.

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Why a Happy New Year Begins in February

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in art, paint | 2 comments

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I always run a little late for the New Year.

I make it to the celebration alright. I party with friends on New Year’s Eve, or play board games or host charades or whatever the evening brings. I bang pots and pans and shout and whistle and kiss my sweetheart when the ball drops in Times Square… I’m just never quite ready for the beginning.

I spent a lot of years feeling “behind” because of this, hustling my way through that last bit of holiday hubbub, trying to fit everything into the final week of the year, desperately seeking quiet time for reflection and goal-setting despite the overly full house and the family-themed schedule.

{It never worked.}

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The easy answer would have been to let it go — something I need to practice anyway — and become one of those anti-resolutionists; the folks who feel new year goal-setting is a recipe for failure (’cause we just don’t need more failure in our lives, folks). After all, I can see their point.

But I like the new year. I actually really like Mondays. I like turning over a new leaf and starting fresh and trying again. I like new beginnings. Yes, I fail. {Lots.} But that’s why new goals and new starts and new ideas are so awesome.

Then several years ago, my husband and I created a better fit. After weeks of good intentions, we hadn’t managed that crucial space of time for reflection; February was upon us and we still hadn’t cemented any new ideas to fuel and guide our upcoming year. Yet years of experience had taught us that if we didn’t set our intention, the year would slip away in endless busyness and the progress we hoped for, the ideas we had, would not be realized. Something had to be done.

Thus began the annual Goal Drive.

When I say Goal Drive, I mean a literal drive, as in, putting rubber to the road. I mean six hours locked in the car with no playlist, no books-on-tape and no cell phone. I mean six hours in a small space with no one to talk to but each other. Six hours with the sole purpose of talking out what we need and how we can support one another.

Six little hours that power the entire year.

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Our Goal drive always takes place in February. No longer do I beat myself up for letting the holidays be purely holidays, all about good people and good food. No longer do I fuss when January feels cold and slow a little sluggish and stubborn about it’s newness. Because now a pause and some hunkering down feels like the perfect role for that coldest of months, while February becomes a bit of a mid-winter jewel, bright with possibility, sparkling with snow and sun on the same day. When the holidays have faded and the routine has returned, when the cold snaps are fewer and the hope runs a little higher, February becomes the bright beginning.

That’s what I’m doing later this week. The car is all fueled, the fish tacos are waiting, and I’m ready to feel refreshed. It’s my kickoff and I’m excited. I’ll be back next week to share new things and get back to… well, everything.

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Your Future is as Bright as Your Faith, Escape into the Open, and Take a Chance will be available in the shop this weekend.

 

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