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New Art: Joy To The World

I wanted to create a new piece for the holidays; something simple and happy that spoke to the heart of the season.  I really feel like joy is the underlying reason for most of the things we do.  And this is especially true around the holidays–all of the parties, gatherings + celebrations are about joy.  How can we get more?  How can we feel that unbridled joy?

But I’ve been trying to look at it differently this year: How can I give more joy?

How can I be more present and emotionally available to those I love?  Feeling joyful gets me there.  How can I truly feel the essence of this peaceful + holy time of year and share it with others?  Wishing joy for others is a good start.

I always find myself in a deep, reflective mood during this season, and it helps me focus on what is important–sharing moments, being still + feeling the love around me.  Along with the holidays comes the winter solstice, which I love too.  It reminds me it’s a time of deep renewal for my heart + mind.  It reminds me to keep seeking my true path.

Joy to the world

(new art available here)

“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.”
– Aristotle

And even though happiness + joy are a major part of the season, I notice the feeling of experiencing different levels of joy at different times.   I’m trying not to give in to the expectations of hitting that ecstatic crescendo everyone seeks during this time, but I try to enjoy more of the little moments; stringing these moments together are what add up to a special overall feeling for me. Remembering that the everyday joy has a magical quality.  And cherishing those quiet moments of inner peace and solitude that fill my heart.

I’m wishing you + your beloveds joy this holiday season.

Joy to the world, truly.

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New Art: Joy To The World2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

Let Your Feelings Guide You.

Do you let your feelings guide you? Click through to learn how you can incorporate this intuitive practice more in your everyday life.

There has been a lot going on in my neck of the woods these days.  Mostly, it’s really wonderful stuff, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy just because it’s wonderful.  There are so many fantastic things we can experience in life that can totally stress us out, right?

Planning a wedding, settling into a new house and mapping out a future with Chris is causing me some high anxiety, so I’m trying to wrap my brain around all of the changes in a gentle way.   I know it’s normal to feel some fear with major change, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.  I realized that in order for me to function in a healthy way, I need to pay very close attention to my feelings.

Our feelings are a barometer of what we’re experiencing.  They can be an amazing signal as to whether we are being true to ourselves; a proverbial steering wheel in life.

And because we’re all naturally a little narcissistic, it can often feel like our feelings are SO intense and SO unique.  Because in a way, they are– we only know ourselves from the inside, so we feel what we feel, and can’t compare it to anything else.

As a result, when the waves of life come up, I try to remember to go easy on myself and take a moment to check in.  I take a quick inventory of what’s really going on with me–because how could I expect anyone else to understand how I feel, if I don’t figure it out for myself first?

Here are 3 things that help me tune into my feelings (maybe they’ll help you, too):

  1. Tune in to your physical responses to different situations.  Does your breathing quicken? Do you get a pit in your stomach?  Do you get cold or sweaty?  All of these are a physical response to an emotional trigger.  Only you can know what your body is telling you, so stop ignoring the signs and start listening up.
  2. Suspend the obligatory gestures.  Forget about the rules and what you’re supposed to be doing to make others happy, tune into what YOU want and focus on how that feels.  Once you figure out what you want + how you want to feel, you can navigate your actions and emotions in a healthier way.
  3. Ask yourself: does it feel good?  Sometimes we get so caught up in getting to the end result that we forget to tune in along the way.  The journey is the gift, so making sure you enjoy each moment, no matter how small, will only make the destination that much sweeter.

I know when I am trying to be helpful or agreeable, I tend to put other people’s feelings above my own.  Perhaps it’s me seeking for approval or just wanting to make others happy, but I have recently realized something simple yet epic: I can follow my feelings and still be loving + lovable.  Following our feelings means letting others see them, too.

As I navigate this fascinating journey of getting to know myself better,  I am tuning in to my feelings more and letting them show.  And you know what?  That feels pretty good.

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Let Your Feelings Guide You.2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00

How Are You Stoking Your Creative Fire? {Feelings Are The Fuel.}

We're all artists creating our life. Click through to read about the key to creating more of what you want--it's a lot easier than you think.

As I sat down to paint this weekend, a mixture of calm and excitement washed over me.  I had been chomping at the bit all week for time to relax alone with my canvas and supplies;  I just love my painting sessions because it gives me space to wander and dream in my own artistic haven.  My everyday job requires me to be analytical and practical so I cherish my no-rules-let-it-roll-creative time to stoke my creative fire.

I would love to say that because I enjoy painting, it’s easy; that the movement of my brush comes readily and ideas come fast, but the reality is there are a lot of times it just doesn’t flow.  And forcing progress only results in squelching my creative fire;  I have to periodically remind myself to trust the process and see how it unfolds.   It’s only during these times of frustration that I realize I’m getting stuck because I’m not being clear about the feelings I’m trying to convey.

Through my painting, I’ve come to learn that creativity is about expressing a feeling; being creative is a process of getting what’s on the inside to show up on the outside, no matter what the medium.

The same goes with life–we’re all artists in our own way.  

The process of painting is a lot like how we create in our everyday lives: each day we start with a new canvas and our emotions that create our thoughts are the paint.  Those thoughts create actions that get strung together to look like a unique work of art, which happens to be our life.

But sometimes we forget that we’re actually creating.

We get bogged down by everyday tasks and we don’t tap into our unique process; we forget that we have the ability to change course +create what we really want in our lives.   The more intentional we are about our feelings, the stronger they will work for us to create what we want. Identifying the what will help create it faster.  

When I want to create (in life OR art), I try to think more about what excites me and gives me butterflies, rather than what gives me belly aches.   For example: when I paint, I think about color combinations, symbols to include and themes I like because that gets me into the abundant, fun flow of my painting process; It lightens me up and makes me giddy.

And in everyday life, I keep an eye on my moods + outlook because they are the foundation for kicking me into action.  I am careful about keeping my inner talk positive and hopeful; those small shifts of awareness help get me to where I want to go.

The feelings we foster are directly connected to what shows up in our life.  Those feelings dictate what we put energy towards, and as a result, what we bring into our reality.  And there are unlimited ways to be expressive!  We all have our own method, do you know yours?

Be bold and make mistakes as you follow your feelings; imperfections let the light through.

Nurturing and honoring those feelings will make your inner fire burn strong, and it will always light your way.

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How Are You Stoking Your Creative Fire? {Feelings Are The Fuel.}2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00

How I Handle Overwhelm. {Lessons on Tending the Mental Garden.}

How to handle overwhelm + lessons on tending the mental garden

 

There are some days I wake up and feel completely overwhelmed for no specific reason.  It seems to happen when I have a lot of projects going on, and I don’t feel like I’m making much progress; it feels like I’m stuck in quicksand.

Even though I have a full-time job, this blog, a wonderful relationship, loving family and friends, an active social life and a healthy mind and body, I can still feel like I’m treading water and not getting anywhere.  I’m busy, but sometimes I’m just too far into the woods to see I’m surrounded by beautiful flowering trees.

Overwhelm can often come from living life fully.

The cycle of overwhelm is familiar to all of us; here’s the process I use for digging my way out.  (You have a process too but maybe these tips will help.)

1.)  My path back to solid ground starts by just acknowledging the overwhelm and giving in to it for a bit.  Rather than fighting the feelings, I wallow in it for a bit because the only way out is through; whether it’s sadness, fear, stress or anger, I swim around and let it wash over me.  It’s quite indulgent in a deliciously negative way, but in order to move on from it, I have to know what it is.

2.)  I begin to remember that the heaviness holding me down is not something I want taking root in my life.  I remind myself that overwhelm is happening because even though I feel stuck, there’s a lot of action happening in my life that is causing it.  A lot of action means that I am trying, I am taking risks and staying open.  And that’s a good thing.

3.) I continue digging myself out by mentally regrouping. I make lists and do some deep breathing. I pay attention to the part of me that really wants to grow + learn from my experiences, even when I’m feeling trapped and paralyzed.  I take a step back and have gratitude for what is good; that helps put everything into perspective.

::  I tap into the feelings of what is working in my life and make moves towards growing that area.

::  I begin to peel away the fear.  I don’t dive into things headfirst, I cautiously unwrap myself.  Gentleness and patience are my friends.

:: I look at things as they are rather than how I want them to be.

::  I set aside time to be quiet and listen to my heart.  I feel my way through the process of slowly climbing back up rather than muscling my way out. I trust my gut.

4.)  I make a mental list of how I can use these tricks for next time.  When I feel like myself again sans panic, I can step back and see what I’ve done–how I’ve untangled myself from a web of fears that probably don’t even exist to begin with.

When I take the time to slow down and reevaluate, I see that my overwhelm is usually 1/3  my imagination, 1/3 unorganization and 1/3 dread of tedious, but necessary tasks.  Picking it apart helps me see more clearly–It brings light to the darkness, levity to the heavy.  In the end, I try to appreciate my courage for moving forward and getting over that hump of overwhelm.

This process is a part of becoming more me;  just like soil that needs to be turned, the richness is under the surface.

How do you handle overwhelm when it takes over?

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How I Handle Overwhelm. {Lessons on Tending the Mental Garden.}2018-03-29T20:23:24-04:00

The secret to connecting with others. {It’s why we’re here}

Introvert or extrovert, we all need to connect with others to feel fulfilled. Read more to find out the key to this connection.

Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends. -Hafiz

I went to whole foods for lunch the other day and a woman started a conversation with me at the salad bar.  It was light and breezy–she wanted to tell me about the amazing hummus I was putting in my salad container.  She. was. excited!  She knew I was going to love it! Her sweet and genuine nature was refreshing; It was nice to talk to a random stranger in the supermarket and connect on something as simple as hummus.

It’s natural to connect. And it feels good.

So why does it seem like it happens less as we get older?  What part of maturing means closing off?  The everyday grind can become so isolating even when we have the opportunity to interact with others. Do we get more cautious and standoff-ish as we get older?

Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives.  It’s such a basic notion, but we easily forget it.  Our ties create an understanding of the bigger picture. We relate to each other through even the slightest commonalities–that’s why we cry at TV commercials (I do, anyway) and we cringe when we see tragic accidents.  We can relate.  We are connected by common feelings.

Still, connection is a funny thing.  We all have a deep desire for those bonds, but actually opening up to make them happen can be challenging because the key to connection is vulnerability.

It’s about putting yourself out there and exposing who you are so others can relate to you. As a general rule, humans mostly seek comfort.  So reaching out to others (especially those we don’t know) can be very uncomfortable.  It can be scary to go out on that limb but the payoff to showing who you truly are, is worth it.

Because when we don’t connect, after a while, it causes suffering.

 

No one wants to be alone. We all want to be a part of some kind of tribe; It’s how we’re wired.

Growing up with an outgoing mother and a shy father, I find I can often ping-pong between introvert and extrovert.  Some days I’m bashful and don’t make a lot of eye contact; I just want to be in my own world.  Other days I’m smiling at everyone and striking up conversations with random strangers (hey there hummus lady!)  I’m comfortable with both because I’m honoring my feelings; but I do notice that when I attempt to connect with others (and push myself out the comfort zone), I just feel better.  I feel less alone.

Our purpose is mainly to connect with ourselves + as a result, connect with others.

It’s where the joy lies.

How are you connecting today?

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The secret to connecting with others. {It’s why we’re here}2018-03-29T20:23:26-04:00
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