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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.

Last week was my birthday. I'm going to say that 46 feels GREAT! I have had an amazing, albeit a bit of a rollercoaster at times, year. It's definitely been a year of growth, perspective and discovery and I learn more every day.  Here's what I learned last week.   After the election I felt like I needed to do something to change the course of my social media feeds. It just wasn't a fun place to hang out. So, I offered a free 30 Day Coloring Out Loud workshop to get people creating, connecting and sharing. If you follow me, you know that my workshops are full of color and creativity, but are more mindful self-discovery than art school. The workshop is going amazingly well and I'm spending a lot more time with my oil pastels and even some paints this month. This week, while coloring, I realized a pattern. I was "making something" with my art supplies and then when it felt done, I jumped in and changed it. I painted over it or I mixed the colors of my oil pastels to make something new. I was "letting go."  When it happened unconsciously several times I was in tune enough to take note and think about it.

Let Go

That was the message that came to me and I connected deeply with. Nothing is "final." You can add, change, and refocus to recreate something completely different out of what you originally started with. You can let go of an idea and let it become something else. Very powerful as we approach the end of the year and I begin to evaluate where I am and where I am going.

Then it snowed. On my birthday.

Yes, it snowed. An odd segue but stay with me.

My Palouse Roadtrip recap is underway on my Instagram page. It's always fun to revisit a trip after I've returned and see the photos and remember the sights, sounds and feelings I experienced along the way. And, I love to indulge in my passion for storytelling with both words and photos that bring people along "with" me. It's a long drive out to the Palouse, 6+ hours to be exact. That's a lot of radio time and focus at the wheel time! As I drove, not really sure what was between home and the "finish line", I waited for just the right place to slow down, take an exit and get out of the car for a few minutes to rest my mind and eyes. I sure found the perfect spot at Wanapum Reservoir (and I'm sure glad I was in the right lane to make a split second exit when I saw the scenery!). Who wouldn't want to stop here in the middle of a long drive and take a stretch? I mean...EYE CANDY!   _mg_8712   There were so many great colors and textures all around and I appreciated the wide open space and chance to "look out" instead of keeping my eyes focused on the road ahead. You know, we always need those moments in life when we can take a look beyond the right here, right now and shift our gaze wider and longer. Life lessons in a roadtrip photo...

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