Thursday 28 February 2013

You Can Always Bring Your Own Sunshine by Ginny Lennox

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine with you. -    Anthony J. D'Angelo

I love this quote. It is has been rainy and dreary all week. I was hoping for snow but it didn't come and so we were all disappointed. Friday the sun came out and people started to come out of their houses. I heard people in the coffee shop talking about how different they felt now that the sun was back and I understood what they were saying. And then today I decided to find a quote about sunshine and “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine with you” made so much sense to me.

I can bring my own sunshine with me no matter where I go or what I am doing. I don't have to let the weather affect how I feel. I don’t have to let the weather, or anything else for that matter, affect how I feel or react to things. On rainy days I can remember how much I love to curl up with a good book and read with a cup of tea or coffee. I can also remember how much I used to love to jump and play in the puddles when I was little. Just the memory may be enough to make me smile or I might need to take a walk in the rain and if not jump in at least stomp in a few puddles along the way.

Bringing our own sunshine with us can take on so many different meanings. Think about how a sunny smile can go a long way to cheer up a grumpy person or how a sunny personality makes others feel just a little bit happier even though they may not know exactly why. When I look at the sculpture above it reminds me of so many things that make me feel like I am experiencing the warmth of sunshine. Friendship, sharing, creating, teaching all make my world sunny.

Someone just told me it is supposed to rain again Thursday. But this week I won't let it bother me because today I was reminded that no matter what I can always bring my own sunshine into any situation. I hope you have a sunny month filled with lots and lots of special moments.

What brings sunshine to your world no matter what the weather?

Ginny, a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. On her blog, Special Moments in Time, she encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day.

Monday 25 February 2013

The Feeling of Freedom by Aimee Cavenecia

A few days ago I watched the documentary about artist & activist Ai Weiwei. It's called, Never Sorry. Midway in the film there is a quote that really stood out for me. Ai Weiwei was answering a journalist's question, he said, "Freedom is a pretty strange thing. Once you've experienced it, it remains in your heart, and no one can take it away. Then, as an individual, you can be more powerful than a country." Upon hearing that, it made me think of so many types/levels of freedom I have experienced. After experiencing them, there really is no turning back.

There is one experience that stands out the most. It was the experience of 'no thought'. Or what felt like 'no thought'. It's very difficult to determine, or to put into words. There really is no successful way to do it, but I will try. (A little challenging to put a 'no thought' or 'no words' experience into thought & words. Crazy of me to even try.)

As I think about this 'no thought' experience, the question does come to mind, "How did I know I had no thoughts unless there was a thought about having no thought?" But regardless of this question, I will explain the experience, because that is what is was. Or maybe it wasn't an experience. I don't know what it was. I just know what happened & how it felt in the moment.

I entered a New York city subway train, as I usually do for transportation from Brooklyn to Manhattan. I sat down. My eyes were seeing, & my ears were hearing, & my body was feeling, but there was no internal dialogue about it. There was a full train, full of people & noise, plenty of things to mentally comment on & judge critically -- but there was no judgement, no commentary. I literally sat there for a period of time with absolutely no desires, or thoughts on anything. No judgements, no preferences. Not even an identification as a separate self. There was seeing & listening & feeling, but no one to take a personal interest in it.

As I sat there, there was nothing. Just a profound feeling of peace & balance. I'm not even sure I could call it a feeling. I was nothing more than openness or emptiness. And as a result of that, I could say that I (or the moment itself, I'm not sure how to identify it) was what I would imagine absolute peace to be. It was perfect. Everything was. Not a single thing was good or bad, nothing needed to change, or stay the same. There was no preference or attachment at all. No investment, no interest, nothing to gain or lose, nothing to protect, no one to pretend.

After some time, I snapped out of it. The internal dialogue, the preferences & requests, the likes & dislikes, the need for security & meaning -- it all came flooding in. The thinking & processing, the obsessing & focusing, the mental babble & commentary -- it was all back. But for the previous moments it was gone (I'm not sure for how long it was, because it felt timeless).

It was bliss. Not a bliss based on joy or happiness, but a bliss of absolute clarity & emptiness -- which felt like prefect wholeness & balance. I will never forget it. And I can't help but imagine what it would be like to experience it all the time, ...or at least more often. But then again, there goes my mind; full of desires, creeping in constantly with a personal interest -- determined to make the moment as it is, just not good enough. Having the awareness to see it do that though, is kind of charming. Like the ego-mind is an active character in a play. A very sweet & endearing character, that the viewer can easily sympathize with & be entertained by.

There are other times that I have felt an unforgettable feeling of freedom. They are pretty simple, & they might be fairly easy to duplicate: Rejecting society's constant push to pimp people into becoming brainless consumer machines. // Ending my former career without a new career in mind. Totally taking a leap of faith. // No longer keeping photographs or keepsakes of my past. Releasing them & their significance. // Saying 'No' or 'Yes' when it's considered unorthodox or a huge risk by most standards. // Staying clear of the media's constant need to bombard people with drama & bad news. // Fully accepting that one may never know why, or how, but trusting life regardless. // Being 'moved' or effortless, allowing life-force or Universal Will to dictate every step or path.// Putting my needs second to someone else's, that might need attention or extra care in the moment. // Donating, selling, or disposing of, almost all of my creature comforts & possessions. // Embracing life & loving unconditionally, without a second thought.

The last line is freedom to me: "Embracing life & loving unconditionally, without a second thought." Never mind no-thoughts, or even the opposite: feeling like one has a personal sense of freedom based on anything physical (even one's own life). Loving unconditionally, embracing all fully -- to me this is freedom. In that, why would there ever be a need for an apology? Who would be sorry, or not sorry -- what significance or importance would it have? There would only be love. There would only be life! As it is. In the moment. Without apologies.

That being said, continue to explore what freedom means to you. Continue to explore the depths of love. (I will continue to explore freedom & love as well. I consider it my life's work.) See the film about Ai Weiwei by Alison Klayman. Be an artist & an activist in your own life (treating your life as your greatest statement, your greatest creative work). Share what lights you up. Share what you are passionate about. Enjoy being alive. Relish it. See it as a gift. Be grateful for all of it. Regardless of what is understood or not understood. Put unconditional love to the test. Be vulnerable. Be open. Be empty. Be the space for something great to happen. Allow spontaneity & inspiration to take over. Don't be afraid to begin again. And again.

 Aimee Cavenecia (also known as AimeeLovesYou) is an author & activist who is currently igniting a Bliss & Self-Mastery revolution through her weekly blog Sunday Is For Lovers. Aimee's life-work is to share her insights on Seeing, Loving & Being (SLB), as well teaching meditation to people globally via the internet.

Friday 22 February 2013

Creative Dream Success by Andrea Schroeder

With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Nine Ways of Thinking about Love and Creativity by Kelly Besecke

1. Falling in love with a creative project. I fall in love with all my creative projects. I'm not one of these people who looks at my work and never thinks it's good enough. That's not because I think my work is so great—it's because I don't have an evaluative relationship to my own work. To me, creating anything—a book, a painting, a song—is like having a child. When people have children, they don't look at them and think, "Is this baby good enough? How well does she match my idea of a perfect child?" At least, I hope they don't. I think people just love their children because they're theirs, and because babies are good. Falling in love with a creative project is like that—you're infatuated with this idea because it's just so cool, or delighted by this painting because it used to be a blank canvas and now it's got your colors on it, and you love it because creative projects are just good in and of themselves.

2. Loving support. Books' acknowledgments sections are filled with gratitude for "the one who always believed in me" and "the ones who supported me in down times and celebrated my triumphs." Some of your greatest supporters might not care about your project at all if it weren't yours. But in an extension of number 1, they care about your project because they care about you.

3. Supportive love. Some people don't love you—don't even know you—but love your project. They really want to see a book about that or a novel that tells this kind of story or a song whose harmonies carry them to their own soul. These people are your audience, but they're also your early supporters. They will do what they can to forward your project, to help it along, to help it reach other interested people. They'll recommend it to others, they'll tell you they can't wait to read it, and they'll tell you what it means to them.

4. Miracle people. People who are both 2 and 3—people who love both you and the work that you're creating—these people are miracles. A true adviser who cares about you and believes in the work you're creating; a best friend who's fascinated by the things you're writing about; a lover who can't believe how beautiful your music is.

5. Love as a creative project. When we think of creativity, we often think of the arts. More and more people are also approaching careers as creative projects, and life in general as a creative project. Loving relationships, too, are an act of creativity—an ongoing creative project for both people or everyone involved. That's the trick about relationships, too. I can sit down and say, "Today, I will write a blog post or begin a painting or take some photographs." But I can't sit down and say "Today I will create a loving relationship." Relationships are cooperative creativity, collaborative creativity, maybe more like making a movie or a play. You have to find someone who wants to create the relationship with you, and you have to want to create it with them.

6. Creative projects as a form of love. Any creation is a gift from you to the world. The book I've written, the blog posts I write, the book I'm planning—I start them for me, because I'm driven to, but in the end, they're always wanting to help people—wanting to share what I've found with people who might wonder about the same kinds of things that I wonder about. The song that you write because it's yours, because it came to you, and that you then hone because you want to hear out loud what you hear in your head—that song brings me life. Your artwork that you make to enrich your days fills my days with beauty.

7. Creative loving. As our loved ones change and go through life, we find new ways of loving them. Sometimes, we might love by listening; other times, by giving practical help. We love by playing, engaging, paying attention, teaching, learning, giving and asking for advice, explaining, offering and asking for help, thinking of fun things to do, sympathizing, touching, smiling, reassuring, challenging, keeping company, leaving alone, asking questions, sharing our worlds, and remaining silent. The creativity comes in learning new ways to love, in figuring out what loved ones want and need, and in discovering your own ways of responding.

8. Self-love. To be your best creative self, you have to respect your own nature and treat yourself with love. What do you need? What do you want? Down time, fun, beauty, adventure, softness, healthy food, unhealthy food, exercise, solitude, companionship, sunshine—whatever it is, give yourself that. And sometimes, creating itself is an act of self-love: I'm looking for a book about this topic, but I can't find it—I'll write it myself. I have a song in my head; by bringing it into the world, I feel like myself. I have a poem inside me; by writing it, I heal.

9. Falling in love sparks creativity; creativity makes you fall in love. I fell in love with the way light played on the water, so I painted it. I loved the texture of her skin, so I drew it. And—in drawing you, writing about him, photographing that flower, I saw your beauty and complexity, and his, and the flower's—I fell in love with what I was looking at. And in seeing that beauty, I saw more beauty everywhere, and I fell in love with life.

 Kelly Besecke writes about spiritual meaning, progressive religion, and authentic living. Her first book, You Can't Put God in a Box: A Thoughtful Spirituality for a Rational Age, will be out later this year. Kelly is a dreamer, a thinker, and an incurable idealist who loves singer-songwriter music, impressionism, and every dog she's ever met.

Saturday 16 February 2013

The Invisible Power of Love by Susan Cadley

“The heart is like a garden, it can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?” Buddha

It was early in the morning and as I was out walking in the cold, I found myself lamenting about “always” having to walk the dog. When I caught myself in this thought pattern I asked myself a question to ponder; why was I walking Zeke? The answer came quickly – because I love him. By this time, Zeke was far ahead of me on his extended leash. When I had the love thought, he stopped, turned around and came at me full force, wanting to connect. This was very unusual for Zeke as he is like any other dog, following his nose. I knew in that instant what the dog trainer told me was truth – our thoughts and feelings travel down the leash.

Last year I attended two separate workshops where the power of sending our thoughts and feelings was demonstrated. Both facilitators used the technique of kinesiology by testing a volunteer’s arm strength as negative and positive thoughts were silently “sent” to them by the audience members through their thoughts. When a negative thought was sent and the facilitator pressed down on the volunteer’s arm, their strength was diminished and with a positive thought, they held strong no matter how hard the facilitator pushed. These volunteers felt our thoughts and feelings. With this knowledge and awareness, we have quite a job to do in keeping up with our thoughts. Love strengthens others and us as well.

Dr. David Hawkins in his book “Power vs. Force” writes about kinesiology and the energetic effect of our thoughts and feelings. He writes this about love; “loving is a state of being. Love emanates from the heart. It has the capacity to lift others and accomplish great feats because of its purity of motive”. No matter where you are on the journey or what your circumstances, you can always emanate love. If you don’t feel love in the moment and want to send it, think about someone you do love, person or animal companion, to get the feelings started. With just one love thought, you’ll positively change your own feeling state, uplift someone else’s energy, and perhaps change the world!

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Soul Coach, and SoulCollage® Facilitator and she is sole proprietor of Living From Within. Through counseling, coaching, and creative workshops Susan guides you to hear and live the messages held within your soul.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

A Winter Valentine by Juli Lyons

Dear Winter,
I love you.  I do.
I love your skies - bright blue on the coldest days, silvery and close on snowy ones.
I love the crackle of ice and the crunch of snow under foot, as I, bundled up in favourite coat and hat and mitts and scarf and boots, meet you, on your turf.  Outside.  In the elements.  And, you have a lot of them.  Snow. Sleet. Ice. Wind. Damp. Cold. Frosty. Bright. I take them all. I embrace them and am braced by them.
I like the darkness in you, too, the shortened days. You are a season that turns us inward. To rest and restore. To cozy up to the leaping light of fire, to pull-in close to loved ones. And, to dream dreams of warm days, sweet blossoms and summer skies to come. You allow us to experience longing, for what is missing in you.  To long for the warmth and fullness of sunny seasons.  Yet, I'm am full on your emptiness, dear winter.  Filled up by the beauty and starkness of naked tree against pewter sky.  Filled up by the emptiness of silvery vistas of snow-covered landscapes and ice-filled horizons. Wide open space is not empty, it's full of soul. Winter's soul.
Winter's soul.  Subtle shades of light, a time of inwardness, the closeness of the sky, a  pause, a waiting.  In the darkness of the short days, in the turning inward of the season, there is activity, unseen.  There are blossoms waiting in those snow-covered fields.  There is hope in those silvery skies which hold the key to spring.
You're not always an easy partner, winter.  But, I would never leave you for another.   Please, never leave me.
Juli Lyons lives in Toronto, Canada.
She blogs at

Sunday 10 February 2013

I love myself! A short guide to self care by Angel Young

Today I want to write about love of self. It's a particularly hard topic for many of us. Being creative often means being super sensitive and then it's just sooo easy to be too aware of everyone else and their emotion. And then somehow you do what they want.

But what do you want? And what do you need - as a minimum?

I must confess this is work in progress for me as historically I have dealt with self care by
a, working until I fell over
b, shouting at my nearest and dearest (sorry darling)
c, subsisting on chocolate
d, crying a lot.

Oh dear.

Still I am a lot better. I know my triggers. And I understand that sensitivity so much better. So this is my very basic guide for folk like me who need it spelt out slowly!

What's important?

For the Body....

Eating. Breakfast. Very important. Then there's less temptation to eat sweet things that actually make everything worse. Get breakfast right the rest seems to fall into place.

Regular breaks when you are working. Maybe 10 mins every hour. It gives everything a chance to relax. Give yourself permission to do this. It's especially important for home workers who perhaps don't get the dilution of office banter. For me a cup of tea then later lunch - not too late.

Exercise. Oh yes. Great if you are a natural gym bunny. If not trying walking or swimming. Our local pool has ladies night too which is really nice.

Fresh air. See above re walking but get out into the natural light every day.

Sleep. Get enough. Enough said.

Personally I travel a lot for work, but the same is true. Enough breaks when driving. Hot bath when I get home. Down time.

For the Soul....

Meditation. There are lots of guided meditations online. (Meditation Oasis is good if you are a beginner. Here's the link: You can also find them on I-tunes.) Or just sit and still your mind. Feel each part of your body. Acknowledge each part and really feel any discomfort. If you have emotional discomfort, or have absorbed someone else's, sit with that too. Feel it and it will dissipate. Acknowledge when it isn't yours. Over time this process makes the world much easier to deal with. Also it creates a sense of time and spaciousness in a world that suggests we are always running behind. Take back some of that lovely feeling of having time. Don't rush.

Inspiration. A good blog you like. The satisfaction of making scones. A magazine. The small things which cheer your day. Or the local places that inspire you. I love Charleston Farmhouse. Former home of Vanessa Woolf, sister of Virginia, and several other artists and key thinkers from WW1 onwards. Every surface is hand decorated - the walls, the doors, the lampshades (made of pottery). A hand painted naked lady reclines along the side of the bath! Check it out:

Morning pages. Or for me, evening pages. Never been much good in the morning! So even a paragraph can be helpful. I like to add little sketches into mine of projects I'd like to do. It helps. It's a pleasure.

Space. Do you have a "room of your own"? A corner? A cafe? I'm really missing this since I do my day job at home and it's subsumed my creative space. We're hoping to move house so we have a bit more breathing space. I'm trying to learn to work elsewhere. It's a kind of meditation in focus and patience. Do what you can. Stand outside for a moment and look at the moon. Sometimes a deep breath is all we need.

This isn't the only answer, but it the one I'm working on for myself. See what fits for you, and what you would do differently. Remember to allow time to observe how you behave before you try to change. Change sticks more when you take it slow. Most importantly be gentle with yourself. A bit of forgiveness and self love go a long way.

Angel lives in the south of England and loves writing and photography.

Thursday 7 February 2013

One Love One Heart by Lisa DeYoung


Recently my hubby and I watched Marley, the Bob Marley documentary. I was in college when Bob Marley rose to fame, and then died quite young of cancer. I loved his messages and I loved reggae music. Many reggae classics are still favorites. It was amazing to learn more of Marley's story in the movie. His short life was very full - of love, passion, music, people.

After the movie "One love, One heart, Let's get together and feel all right" rang through my mind for days. I'm still humming it.

I love letters and lettering, and recently I have been loving the the lettering of Lisa Congdon. In 2012 she gave herself the challenge of creating a hand lettered piece each day, and her 365 Days of Hand Lettering has ignited a spark in me – to push my lettering further.

I was so intrigued by her white lettering on colored backgrounds, and I did not know how she did this. One day when she tweeted a piece, I summoned the courage to send her a reply asking about her technique. She generously shared (thank you Lisa), and I have wanted to give it a try ever since.

This wee quote by Bob Marley is my first attempt. I had so much fun, and I plan to play some more.

In this month of love, I share with you my love & passion for letters, and playing with the techniques shared with the loving kindness of Lisa Congdon. I hope you enjoy my piece and also the movie of Bob Marley's life.

Wishing you lots of love...

Lisa, aka the mountain mermaid, is a creative, independent spirit who loves to explore and play outdoors. She lives in the Colorado Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Embracing her creative life is an ongoing adventure, and a journey that she loves and trusts more each year – and hopes to inspire others to do the same. She is also a budding entrepreneur with a virtual assistance business.

Monday 4 February 2013

Breathe in Love by Julie Gibbons

The last weeks of 2012 and the first week of 2013 offered me the biggest gift of my life. That time saw me spend every day (and often nights) caring for my dearest mama as she was dying from cancer. It was at the same time exquisitely painful and beautiful.

Healing Light

We were luckier than many people - we'd had time to prepare for the end. You see, she'd been diagnosed just over a year previously. But I'll let you into a secret, you can never really be truly prepared for what it means to see your closest and dearest face the end of their life. So many rich lessons. So many laughs. All those tears. Kisses galore. I can feel my heart expand into my whole chest even as I write this and think of it.

More Filo index cards #aedm2011

It was, quite literally, the darkest of times. Mum became very ill in the weeks approaching winter solstice and it seemed to be relentlessly grey and wet outside, amplifying the already persistent dark we get used to during midwinter in Scotland.

But there was treasure in it, oh so much treasure! The tealights glowed against the darkness and our chakras were balanced beyond measure with repeated plays of our favourite CD. It was a sacred experience. Fecund. Many life changing teachings and illuminations.

One teaching trumped them all. One illumination outshone the rest.

Lighting a candle for you. I  you IG friends :)

That lesson was love.

We - each and every one of us - have access to an infinite wellspring of love. When we need to, we can tap into it anytime. Honest.

Sometimes we need to give it and oft times we need to let go and simply receive ...

I am not a natural nurse. I don't suppose many of us are. Caring for your dying mother, it comes as no surprise, is not all glorious and temple like. It gets messy - and I don't mean just in your mind.

Each day brought us many new challenges, most of which were completely outwith our ken. The sheer relentlessness of it was a surprise. The practicalities of it all, a mystery!

All of this meant that I sometimes found myself sitting outside in the car taking very deep breaths trying to prepare myself for what I was about to face when I walked through her door. There was a constant level of high anxiety, the like of which I'd never before experienced.

But when I did walk through the door, everything changed. I was enveloped in sheer, loving calm. The anxiety vanished and the love took over.

... is all you need #heart #red #gift

But our senses were still on high alert and whenever I left her, I was aware of the anxiety creeping in to overtake, to prevent sleep, to colour every single moment. And that's when I began the mantra
Breathe in love. Breathe out calm.
So even if I wasn't in her presence, I could still wrap myself in the comforting love and calm I felt when I was. Love got us through in the end.

Love helped me deal with what was to come next. When I begin to lose myself in all of the hurt and the loss that hovers, waiting to hijack my senses, I breathe in the love.

Her love. My love. Your love.

We are all love.

Julie Gibbons enjoys art journaling, journal therapy and mixed media. Her passion is self discovery through intuitive, creative practice, to reveal personal patterns, symbolism & archetypes of the true self.