Saturday, December 29, 2007

Healing Art Dolls (and other inspirations)

Over at our 14 secrets group a few of us are falling victim to the ice and really hurting ourselves! So Lore got the idea for a healing doll swap! Excellent idea.

So here are some links and ideas to consider when you create your healing art doll:

Pamela Hastings does transformative art doll workshops and has a great book on the subject. I really liked this book and not just because I have a chapter in it.

Barb Kobe has a lot of information on her website for healing art dolls. Lots of inspiration.

Want to read more? Please visit the 14 Secrets Blogspot.

And now for some other inspiration:

Hungryghosts*r*us always has some interesting links and ideas.

Have you visited Inspire Me Thursday lately? A new challenge every Thursday and check out their links page. Fantastic links!

And Illustration Friday has an illustration challenge ever Friday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Prospero's Guide to a Happy Life

I hope we are all having fun! I know the season can be difficult for all kinds of reasons, so I like to watch Prospero, one of the Bergamasco Boys. He teaches me so much about living in this moment and having fun every day, even when there are holiday pressures and expectations.

Every morning he gets up and throws him self on the ground, greeting mother earth as best he can. Then we all pile into the car and drive up to the Prospect High Head trail starts. Lately we've had snow and ice on the trail and that adds such delight to Prospero's greeting the ground. He loves to get the sparkles worked right into his dreadlocks. While Bruzzi (the other Bergamasco Boy) worries about whether I brought enough treats and whether the ice might not be too cold for his feet, Prospero races around, grabbing sticks to distract Bruzzi with, always trying to engage him to play and be happy. What a delight! So this is my Holiday Wish for you, that you might find some very simple joys like Prospero's this season and in the new year, and that you might share them with others!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Links and Inspiration

Collage by Lani

As the days in December seem to speed up, and as all the advertising on the radio, tv, newspaper, and even my inbox becomes more intense(buy this now, right away, quick, your last chance, are you sure you have gotten everything for everyone on your list, why not get this just for you, you deserve it), and of course as we all become more tense and as blood pressure rises - I feel the need to oppose, to say whoa, stop, let's just light a candle and breathe. I'm going to dig out "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens and read it next to our wood burning stove, with the candles lit. Maybe I'll bake cookies, maybe plumb pudding, meanwhile I have some links and inspiration here for all of us!

14 Secrets Blogspot has some delightful material, stress reducing ideas from Gioia and poetry from Carol.

Hungryghosts*r*us also has some lovely treasure.

Do you want to inspire your daily drawing habit? Try these links:

Inspiring daily drawings by Elizabeth Perry.

Danny Gregory says "All I Really Need To Know I Learned From Drawing." He has a lot of great articles on his website, another one being "book binding 101" and he has a great links list.

Inspiring travel art journaling. Beautiful things here.

Do you know Krisoferstrom's drawings? What fun!

Then for a shot of simplicity and frugality don't forget:
You will find an article on de-cluttering the mind and gift suggestions from readers that will help us improve our lives, that don't cost a whole lot ($20-under gifts would be good, but $10-under is even better).

Is time management an issue for you this season? Here's a free eBook:

Binaural sounds can help you focus, help you reduce stress, help you live a happier life, and much more. And Holosync has a free demo for you.

Do you like story telling? Here are two NPR links for you. Delightful!
NPR's Story Corps

And NPR's This I believe:

And finally, do you know Learning Strategies? They are offering a very sweet package of guided meditations live, a kind of Tele-class with six different teachers on six different days, and a brand new book from Marci Shimoff, Happy For No Reason, all for $28. I know this sounds like an advertisement but you know I would have bought the book by itself and now there's all these guided meditations to go with it! Care to join me?
* * *

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Creative Commons

Collage by Lani
Do you know the Creative Commons? Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved." Personally I really like the whole creative commons approach, taking into account that ideas are like living things that can and should grow and change and be improved on.

It's like the old common land in the center of a village where you could take your sheep to feed them on the common grass. I like that image. I would love to be a part of such sharing, so from now on any material here will be part of the village grazing land, the Creative Commons. If you want to borrow some sheep or ideas or images, just give me credit AND let me know what these ideas do for you, where they take you.

So here's an example. Gioia sent the 14 Secrets folks an email full of great relaxation techniques. I take them and add images for a zine or slide show on our blog. You look at it, get some ideas and try them out too, perhaps with a group of people. You might put them on index cards, add images to the other side, making sure that images make you smile, and create a little endorphin activity in your brain!
Like art seeds being spread, ideas can be shared generously.

Edward's poppies.

Relaxation Techniques and Ideas from Gioia Chilton, MA, ATR-BC
Take a Pause: (about ten seconds)

* Identify anything that is presently annoying you.

* Tell yourself, "I don't have to become too tense over this."

* Take two easy deep breaths (counting from 1 to 4 as you
inhale and exhale).

* Ease any tense spot quickly, to the best of your ability.

* Stretch and resume your activity.


Maida, B.J. (n.d.) Short Relaxation Exercises handout, McLean, VA:
Family Counseling Center

For more of these exercises please visit 14 Secrets Blogspot.

Adela sent in this Creative Commons search link where you can find Creative Commons-licensed media that you can legally share for free.

And for some sweet creative commons music here's a holiday gift from Creative Commons and Magnatune.

Create a stress free mood with the Magnatune Christmas Compilation, featuring over 60 minutes of the most timeless and classic carols of the season, by ten of Magnatune’s best-selling artists.

Magnatune is a forward-thinking record label and online music store that offers music for sale in every genre. Magnatune is leading the fair trade music movement, splitting profits equally with artists and letting artists retain the copyright to their own work.

Get the free holiday music here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thoughts from my In-box

I got the most thought provoking emails in my in-box the past few days. From Tricycle I got a Joseph Goldstein quote:
It is essential that our understanding be translated into practice, not with an idealistic vision that we suddenly will become totally loving and compassionate, but with a willingness to be just who we are and to start from there. Then our practice is grounded in the reality of our experience, rather than based on some expectation of how we should be.
- Joseph Goldstein
The quote went on a bit but that piece jumped out at me. Don't we usually focus on our idealistic vision and then struggle to get there, never quite making, always a little disappointed in ourselves? I like this idea of starting with what you have and who you are. Sometimes we are so caught up in the idealistic vision we may not even know what we have or who we are.

And then there was this Anne Morrow Lindbergh from Nipun Menta:
A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart's. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement, to check the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand; only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back -- it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it.

The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment. Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined.
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Good image, dancing to Mozart, no clutching or clinging, just lightness of touch and living in the moment. (Good music helps.)

And if you click on a link to learn more about Nipun Menta this is what you find:
A time comes when life's invitation to explode into the stillness of a new dimension becomes irresistable. You close your eyes, jump head-first into the abyss of the unknown and voila! You land safely in the cradle of the inner-net.

My life is an attempt to bring smiles in the world and silence in my heart. I want to live simply, love purely, and give fearlessly. That's me, Nipun Mehta.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Discussion of the 9th Secret

collage by Lani

Over at the 14 Secrets Blogspot, we are discussing the 9th secret. Here's my explanation for the secret plus Danny Gregory's ideas about creating time for drawing, which of course you could use to create time for your own art making of all kinds.

I created this secret "Create Time" based on two ideas. One idea is that we never have enough time. You know the mantra, "oh, I'm so busy, I can't even think..." or "if only I had the time." The pace of life seems to be getting quite overwhelming, and it's much easier to be too busy than it is actually to create time for yourself. The second idea or discovery was that time seems to expand when you are in the artistic moment, when you are in "flow." It can be 20 minutes or an hour and 20 minutes, if you are in that artistic "flow" experience it feels as though you are literally creating time. At the end of the experience you can have a real feeling of having been to a magic, life-giving well, completely restored, and refreshed.

“But I don’t have time to draw...”
Draw lunch as you eat it : 1 drawing
Draw the news as you watch it: 4 drawings
Skip 1 sitcom: 3 drawings
Skip 1 basketball game: 11 drawings
Overtime: 2 drawings
Draw in the locker room at the gym: 2 drawings
Draw the coffeemaker while you wait for the coffee to perk: 1 drawing
Draw in line at the supermarket: 1 drawing
Stay up an extra 10 minutes: 1 drawing
Get up 10 minutes early: 1 drawing
Draw during commercials: 6 drawings per hour
Draw every time you smoke a cigarette: 1 drawing
Draw till the waiter brings dessert: 1 drawing
Draw in the tub: 1-2 (waterproof) drawings
Draw on the phone: 2 drawings
Draw during a pedicure: 2 drawings
Draw in the doctor’s/ dentist’s/ therapist’s waiting room: 1 drawing
Draw at the red light: 1 drawing
Get to work early, stay in the car: 1 drawing
Take the bus: 2 drawings
Draw while waiting for spouse to get ready: 2 drawings
Draw what you’re cooking while it cooks: 1 drawing
Draw on the john: 1 drawing

From a free downloadable PDF found on Danny Gregory's blog.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How I came to believe I was a hungry ghost.

This story is true, and it happened long ago and far away. As a child growing up in Taiwan, being called a ghost or demon was an everyday occurrence, for a kid with blond hair and pale eyes. It was a part of the life, heat, and color of my home. I didn't pay much attention to it until the day I came to believe it. (The rest of the story is here.)