Mindfulness: Attained & Sustained

Mindfulness: Attained & Sustained

I hear this comment a lot, “You are so creative!”

I consider it a HUGE compliment because in part, it’s not completely a natural talent of mine. Yes, I have elements of my “creative identity” that come fairly natural. My creativity behind the camera lens is, in some ways, natural. But the reality is, even our natural talents have to be practiced in order to sustain them. AND, we also have to discover them. What if nobody had ever given me a camera. I would have no idea that a creative eye for photography lives inside.

The same is true for my mindfulness practice and the creative pages that fill my sketchbooks. This is definitely not a natural talent of mine by “traditional” means. I can’t draw. Really, I can’t. Sit me in front of a bowl of fruit and ask me to draw it and it won’t end well. On the page or in my body. I’ll be full of anxiety, doubt and judgement. Feelings I consistently work to remove from my life through mindfulness practices. After spending many years developing a mindful coloring practice, sit me in front of a sketchbook in a quiet, reflective environment and give me something to draw with and a whole different scenario plays out.

My body relaxes and feels soothed.

I effortlessly let color and expression flow onto the page in creative ways.

I end with a feeling of accomplishment, wonder and peace.

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Doodle Messages ~ Creative Meditation

 

Doodle Blog Header - Template (2)

It’s been some time since I shared my Doodles on my blog. I’ll admit I fell out of my regular Doodle habit. I still Doodled, but I stopped Doodling every day. Sometimes life just takes twists and turns and things change. I’ve come to realize that for me, the Doodle isn’t a “quick draw” on a piece of paper. For me, Doodling is a slow down, go within, get quiet, melt into color and touch, and begin to listen to the thoughts and messages that come through in my head activity.

Hey, wait…that sounds kinda familiar doesn’t it?  

Quiet…

Slow down…

Go within…

Listen…

MEDITATION anyone?

Yep, for me Doodling is meditation, creative meditation, and if it doesn’t happen for at 30 minutes I don’t feel like I get the true value from it. I need at least that long to get where I want to go physically and mentally. Based on this new knowledge, I’m working on getting back into the Doodle groove and indulging when I know I have the time, or need to MAKE the time given the energy in my body, to do it in a way that is fulfilling for me.

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Doodle Lesson – Questions

In the journey of life there are lots of questions that arise.

Big ones…

Little ones…

All important in the path we are creating.

When we find the answers to those big questions, the perfect fit that fills the space and feels just right, the questions become works of art.

Question As Art in oil pastels and colored pencil

A treasured lesson.  A reminder of our courage and perseverance.  A trophy of accomplishment.

Something worthy of hanging on our “wall”.

Doodle Lessons – Meet My “Shiny” Inner Critic Buster

Today I kicked off the 2nd “Do The Doodle” 30 Day Challenge.  If you haven’t already, you can sign up here.  It’s going to be great fun and we’ve got a lot of NEW Doodlers joining us.

I have a Doodle routine.  Most days.  I Doodle first thing in the morning.  Before I get my day started.  Opening up to listen from within and coloring out loud with my inner voice’s message.  Some days the Doodle comes late and when it does there is usually a reason for it.  A message that wasn’t ready yet or a day that was sure to need a Doodle sanity break.

This morning I Doodled early.  It wasn’t the usual Doodle experience of relaxation and fun.  I was awash in left brain, “ego” land.

 

My Doodle Superhero in oil pastels.

 

“I don’t like it.”

“The head is the wrong size.  The head is the wrong color.  Why does it even HAVE a head?”

“And, that hair?”  “????????”

“You’re going to post that?  For others to see?  Really?  No, REALLY?”

That led to:

“Why are you doing this?  You can’t do this?  Who do you think you are?”

Then I realized my inner critic has been YELLING at me for days.  I’ve been in this conversation in several areas of my life.

 

WAIT JUST ONE MINUTE, MS. CRITIC. I have something to say to you…“STOP!”

“Stop berating me.  Stop intimidating me.  Just STOP!”

And further…

“I am doing this.  I can do this.  I think I’m a pretty cool and shiny chick.”

 

This morning the Doodle spoke and we KNOW the Doodle doesn’t lie!  Today’s Doodle message from my inner voice was just what I needed.  “Shine Your Light”.

 

Do your thing.

Do it with confidence.

Do it with your unique “color”.

Do it with passion and joy.

That’s what matters!

Shine Your Light….

 

For all you new Doodlers out there who may be struggling with your inner critic (in the Doodle…or in LIFE), just let it go.  Defy it and Doodle.  SHARE your Doodle anyway.  You are coloring out loud and the world wants to hear you!  No matter what!!

 

And truly, do you think any less of me because my Doodle’s head is weird?

I didn’t think so.

 

 

Coloring Out Loud

I was never loud.

 

Quite the opposite actually.  I was quiet, shy, hoping to “fly under the radar”, just fit in and not be noticed.

I rarely raised my hand in class.  I dropped out of choir when I found out I had to sing a solo.  Complete fear set in that I’d be center stage.  All eyes on me.  WHAT?  NO WAY!  I’m OUT!

I battled myself to speak up in meetings as a young adult.  I had things to say…but what if others disagreed, thought I was dumb…

Have you been there?

When I started the “Do The Doodle” 30 Day Challenge a few weeks ago…well, I almost didn’t.  I almost chickened out at the last minute.  It meant I had to put myself out there. I had to “speak out” through my journal drawings. I had to SHARE my personal thoughts and feelings. Dude, really?  That’s SUPER scary! Not just the thoughts and feelings part but my drawings too.

“I SUCK at drawing”.

“My handwriting is so UGLY”!

“People will…[laugh, judge, think I’m strange…]”.

“I’ll share something personal and someone might discover all my secrets”.

But, something pushed me to do it.  To just let go and do it.

 

What You Are Meant To Learn Is What You Are Meant To Teach

 

My voice is important.  It matters.

Speaking up feels good.  It’s empowering.

But most important, I’m learning, is that it makes a difference.  To OTHERS!

When I silence my voice, I silence others too.  When I don’t share my thoughts, I don’t fully show up.  Others don’t benefit from my contribution.  And I, in turn, don’t benefit from theirs.

 

F/A Train Doodle with colored pencils! Doodling on the subway is fun...but challenging!

 

 

It’s JUST A Doodle….

 

I know.  It’s just some colors on a page.  Maybe a few words.  But really, it isn’t.  It’s so much more.

Yesterday I drew 3 Doodles.  I judged each of them.  I didn’t like any of them.  Most of my Doodles weren’t about listening to what that inner voice was saying.  They were about my image and your acceptance of it.  I hesitated about posting anything.  But in the end I did.  I posted the “worst” one (visual judgement again).  The first one.  The one that really carried my message and where I was in my life at that moment.

It resonated.  With several people.  But for one person, it resonated in a big way.  It touched on an emotional level something really challenging that she’s dealing with in her life.  It became a dedication to someone she loves.

Just a simple little Doodle.  Done while sitting on my bed like a teenager.  Expressing a message from inside. Making a difference in someone else’s life.  A message that almost didn’t reach her because of my own self judgement.  How sad that would have been!

I contributed.  She benefited.  I benefited.  Maybe you are benefiting too?

But, it’s JUST a Doodle.  🙂

 

Colored pencils and pastel Doodle inspired by a conversation with a friend about rooting ourselves. When I finally got around to doodling at the end of the day, my first mark looked like a foot!

 

 

Coloring Out Loud

 

However you decide to share your message and use your voice, do it!  Don’t hold back.  Don’t hide.  You are important.  You are here for a reason.

Me, I’m going to continue “coloring out loud” because it works.  For me.  For others.

It’s about to get LOUD in here!

 

Getting DARING! Pastels, colored pencils, AND magazine clipping (GLUE STICK) doodle! I started with the clipping and when I read it the word "color" jumped in there.

 

A BIG thank you to “Team Doodle” for joining me on this adventure!  If you didn’t join the Challenge, no worries!  You can start doodling NOW.  Here’s how I got started.  And, I’ve been asked to do another Challenge when the 30 days are up.  I think the Doodle is here to stay for a while.

 

My favorite Doodle yet. A vision of freedom and joy in pastels.

 

 

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