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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fanning the Flame of Creativity

A Flame Azalea


I am experiencing a lovely AM, punctuated with rain showers and bird song. I have the luxury of a quiet house--so delightful!
I took myself out to the screened porch to write a little. Yes, I am finally back on that horse, since yesterday. It takes a series of steps to get me there, namely, having some peace and quiet, watching nature, and reading something uplifting for a bit (actually more than one book is key). Then I can usually come up with something that resembles writing!
This is such a lovely way to start the day. Why can't I do this everyday? Yeah, I know--working for a living. I seem to do best when I start this routine in the morning. The brain is more functional then, I believe.
One of my books I am revisiting is The Woman's Book of Creativity, by C. Diane Ealy, Ph.D. Ealy writes about how the creativity process differs with women; apparently, we create holistically, not in linear form, as do men. I can't wait to read the chapter: Quieting the inner you--that is something I can use!
Finding what it takes to turn on your creativity differs from individual to individual. Trial and error may be one way to get there. Certainly centering oneself and tuning in to your heart and soul are keys to starting your process.
This week try to find some quiet time and tune into your thoughts and feelings. Trying to meditate for a bit each day may help, also.
Have a peaceful and thoughtful week!

Joan


Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Waiting

The Clock Is Ticking! Tick, Tick, Tick!

Today I am waiting for my computer wizard friend to do a little file extraction surgery from our computer's hard drive. It is a little like waiting for news of a baby that is being delivered.
Hopefully, I will be able to recover some documents, and 6 months of photos that I did not have on disc. If not, life goes on! At least I have all of my faculties intact. O.K., don't start with me, mostly intact!
After today, I need to move out of my vegetative state and into a more creative state of mind. I have become complacent, and used to not creating for me.
It's easy to get caught up in the mundane existence of working, cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc. I am not very motivated these days. Solution: I need to kick myself in the butt to move forward!
Note to self--have a heart to heart with you today. Discuss: What is your problem?
Hey all you whirling dervishes out there! Could you send me a little mental energy? Perhaps I need to change the batteries in my brain!
Enough of the self-examination! May everyone have a stunningly fantastic week! Take time to love and encourage yourself. Take time for you!
Ciao!

Joan

P.S. Check out new quotes at:
http://www.waterrunningdownhill.com

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Little Files Gone!


The Author Treading Water!

You are not going to believe this--I have no computer files, no photos, no email addresses, saved emails, documents, etc., etc.! Scary, huh?
My wonderful husband did a complete backup to an external hard drive. Then the hard drive was wiped clean, as there was a DLL(?) file that was corrupt--per Microsoft help. All this to install Windows 7.
Now all my husbands files are restored. We can't find mine. This is an item to be addressed this week with "help" from the external hard drive manufacturer, and probably Microsoft.
Why I had not saved important documents to disc, I cannot say. I thought that backing up the files to the external hard drive meant backing them all up! In my defense, I had backed up my current manuscript in January 2010. I had backed up all of my photos; but, only to last October.
I have lost Christmas NC photos, photos of my little Granddaughter celebrating Christmas with us, and her 4th birthday party photos (I can get a copy from my Stepdaughter-whew!)
I lost a photo shoot for my book cover. I have a copy of an email of the final (tentative) product which I sent to a friend. I'm not sure I can recover it and use it.
Anyway! No use crying over disappeared files! I have recovered most of my good nature--really, I am trying! I will try to salvage what I can; I have not drowned in the sea of hopelessness, yet!
The lesson here is put your files on something where you will not lose them!!!!!!!! I cannot emphasize that enough!
Meanwhile, have a pleasant week. May all your problems be small ones!

Peace!

Joan

Sunday, May 9, 2010

FINDING TIME FOR CREATIVITY

CREATIVE: Any place that makes you say "ooh" and "aah"--an art museum, the ballet--is a good place to get a creativity makeover. And if you feel inspired to try your hand at something creative right after your visit, go for it! (from Stop Doing Start Being, by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, FAMILY CIRCLE, April 2005).

If you are like me, all kinds of distractions come between you and your soul's need for some creative time. That's just life swallowing you whole; throwing tasks and chores at you until you yell "enough"!
We can't have a distraction-free life. What we can do is find a little space in the "now" to get in touch with the left side of our brains.
Taking a time-out can be as simple as finding a quiet corner to deep breath and meditate. Listening to music or singing can bring out your creative soul, as well as writing, drawing, looking at art, or observing nature/gardening.
I find that color inspires emotions for me, particularly the color purple, or a melange of colors. Even vibrant greens evoke feelings of well-being and relaxation--all those spring trees do this for me!
Silence is key for concentrating on the one thing that you love to do. That is why I am typing this now. There is no one in the house at the moment, no TV, no radio. Just me and my breathing.
Julia Cameron, author of the Artist's Way books says that "unleashing your inner artist . . . can allow passion and growth to become a part of your everyday life. People . . . eat better, have vivid dreams, and get the most out of their lives" (from Your Inner Life, Keep it Creative, by Anna Davies, REDBOOK MAGAZINE December 2009).
Cameron is big on journaling. She calls the process "morning pages", as she wants individuals to write before they get out of bed, so that you are aware of what you are thinking.
Another process involves making a date with yourself every week, to go somewhere that interests you where you have not yet been. Apparently you are naturally drawn to things that are "creativity cues".
Thirdly, Cameron recommends walking alone in your neighborhood and observing the world around you. This will connect all three processes together. Interesting. . .
I did read the The Artist's Way A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, several years ago. I found it stimulating. I am just not very good at following other people's advice; although I usually take from a book or speaker a component that I will modify and use as my own.
This week, try to take a little time to do that thing that you love to do! Do not think of it as selfish time, think of it as "self" time. Remember this: we cannot grow in a stagnant medium. We must be immersed in the flow of life!
Enjoy your week!
Happy Mother's Day to all Mother's in the world! May you be blessed!

Peace,

Joan

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Replenishing The Soul With Nature




I have just returned from a respite in western North Carolina. What a literal breath of fresh air! The weather was perfect, albeit cold a couple of mornings.
Every morning, with the exception of one rainy one, my trusty Shepherd and I trudged up the hill to the top of the mountain. I have nicknamed this climb the "stair-stepper", as it definitely gives one that workout!
I loved the quiet moments that were spent admiring the newly green leaves and the blossoming shrubs. A particular favorite time of mine was spent languishing on the front porch and listening to the birds trilling. Is there anything more lovely than this?
There is nothing like a bit of nature to replenish the noise weary soul. I feel that I have aired out all my brain's winter cobwebs; although there are some new spring ones starting!
This week, try to take a few minutes every day to reconnect with nature. Try a stroll or walk, or just sit and look at some greenery to soften your eyes to the living world. Oh, yes, and remember to breathe!

April 2010

Spring Again
Colors reload
Then shoot open
The vibrant newly-greened
Oaks, Dogwood, and Sourwood
Tree egos puff up their leaves
Vieing for your attention
Easily outshining the somber
Darker green of the
Mountain pines

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Gilding or Re-building" the Lily?

How lovely these Amaryllis are, proudly holding up their heads. They are like young women, adorned with colorful garments.
I love being the age I am; I do not like the aging part. These days I am spending more time "gilding" the lily. Just holding those wilting "petals" up requires a good diet with supplements, enough sleep (this is often lacking!), lots of exercise, investing in some good skin-care products, and lastly, make-up.
I was very fortunate in my youth, as I had good skin. I tried makeup, however, it just melted off in the Florida heat. So, I rarely used any powder or liquid makeup. I think that alone was an important factor in the clarity of my skin.
Now, past mid-fifty, I am applying makeup more and more often. The complexion seems a bit blotchy no matter what I do. Also, since I wear a mask when I work, this doesn't help. Masks create heat and, yes, I am always sweating!
Reconciling oneself to their aging profile is not easy. These things do happen slowly, and that helps. But, self-esteem is sometimes compromised, as we feel good when we know we look good. Maybe I have to give up magnifying mirrors? They are so NOT our friends!
I guess the face-lift and/or other surgery (AKA "re-building the lily") is a possibility. I think I am too much of a coward to go through with that; knives scare me! Furthermore, I'm not sure I can afford these procedures. Perhaps a laser peel? Hmmmm.
Unfortunately, society is not kind to the aging woman. Men are allowed to age "gracefully", their graying hair is "sexy"etc, etc. Women are reduced to hags. It's the American way, and it is a crock!
Let's band together and give each other the support we need to just love our aging selves. We are beautiful, through and through--we should know this!
Here is a poem from the upcoming book, which I tentatively renamed Embracing Your Inner Hippie! Have an outstanding week!

Fountain of Spoof

First come the little
"Smile" lines by the eyes
After a while, lines deepen
And are followed by brow-furrows
Complemented with "marionette" lines
On each side of the mouth
[I swear that is what those "in the know"
Are calling them!]

Our first defense consists of lotions
And creams that we literally slather
On our skin; most of these products
Don't do much, or live up to our expectations
I personally will attest to this
Still, I continue to try the latest and greatest
(Within budget) hoping for a mini-miracle or
At least some hint of positive progress

I guess I'll settle for maintenance
i.e try to stay where I'm at
Rather than trying to reverse the
Hands of time on the "wrinkle clock"
We certainly need to smile more
Nothing looks better on us!
Let's work on keeping our chins up
Even if we have to pull 'em up and tie them there!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

SOLITUDE AND THE ELUSIVE "NOW"

Love that Magnolia girl!

Good morrow to you all! It is a gloomy, breezy day here. Still, it is green, lush, and lovely! If only the pollen would quit--achoo!
I have finally gotten to my quiet moment. The washing machine has quit; I decided to wait to run the dryer. The dog is sleeping, the spouse is out. It is so calming to hear nothing!
I don't know how we do it? Day out, day in, we have some much noise and distraction. It is no wonder we are running around stressed to the max. We need to tune out the noise and tune in to nature.
I had some moments of "now" this week. I had to force them on myself; then was glad that I had. I will continue to subdue myself on a regular basis--it is for my own good!
I have a quote on my calendar "Peace is a quiet mind", no author noted. That hits home for me. An author I have quoted before, Sue Patton Thoele, writes from her book, Growing Hope, "being still allows the murky waters of our minds to clear and invites the light of heart and soul to shine on and from our inner and outer lives."
Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power Of Now, tells us that "Presence is needed to become aware of the beauty, the majesty, the sacredness of nature." Additionally, a quote by Virginia Woolf says that "In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us". Finally, Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes, "There is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before."
This is great "food for thought", and good inspiration for my addled ADD brain. Here is a poem from my book, Water Running Downhill. Have a wonderful week with moments of solitude!

Joan

COCOON

Creating calm
In your life
Is as essential
To your existence
As oxygen

We have become
Hurried, harried
Hustling husks
We have forgotten
To breathe

Nullify the noise of
Modern Life
Shipwreck yourself
On your island Aerie
Nurture your native side

Unplug the phone
Cut off your cell
Become incommunicado
Turn off the tube
Acquiesce to quiet

Bask as bird song
Blends with the
Beating of your heart
Knowingly choose to be
A universe of one

Then, gratified and grounded
Will your authentic
Sated-self slip
Into your cocoon
Of silence