do it. create. walk and see. cut and paste. scratch and sniff.
do whatever you have to do to feed your soul.
this is my commitment.

Friday, May 13, 2016

growth happens

Personal growth can definitely be uncomfortable.  Sometimes awareness of behaviors we'd like to change can be liberating.  Sometimes this awareness can be overwhelming.  And awareness is only the first part.  The transition from an old habit or behavior to a new one can be extremely difficult.  At times the desire to make this transition can require so much vigilance (on our part).  There can be constant temptation to return to what seems easy and comfortable.

I was thinking about this time of year and new growth.  During this time of year, there are physical manifestations of growth that surround us - *everywhere*.  When I observed this spruce in our backyard a few days ago and noticed THIS (photo reference here), I wondered, "Is this tree experiencing discomfort?  Is it overwhelmed?  Does it have a constant temptation to return to what it was like before THIS?"

And then I remembered the significant difference between our growth and the trees.  It is clear that a tree doesn't resist change (by kicking and screaming).  The tree lets go and lets growth happen.  Growth just IS.

Perhaps we could learn a lot from the trees.

"Imitate the trees.
Learn to lose in order to recover.
And remember that nothing stays the same for long.
not even pain...
Sit it out.
Let it all pass.
Let it go."
-May Sarton

Monday, April 25, 2016

the loud voice vs. the soft one

Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu

I have a stack of books on my end table that I never shelve.  This page (pictured here) is from one of them.  Yesterday, I quickly glanced at that end table to take something outside to read.  Everything felt heavy and hard (we've been struggling with staying healthy in our house the past few weeks).  This book, though? felt light.  Even with the coffee stains and the Stella (our dog for almost 17 years) puppy-chewed corners.  

Once I found my seat outside, I just "happened" to open up to this page.

I used to take the bull by the horns and make things happen.  I used to always be in motion.  And the list of "to do"s I created for myself were always full of drudgery.  To make it worse, when this list was finished, I'd just add more.  It's a shame to admit this, really.  But this is what I thought was the "responsible" approach.  Yes, all work and no play definitely made Kari a dull gal.

It's been really slow going but, little by little, over a period of fifteen years, I have really worked at letting go of this way of living.  And more recently, over the past three years, practicing living a life other than this has really been a conscious daily practice.  

But when I feel under the weather, these subconscious habits (thoughts and behaviors) seem to win.  Because of my physical condition, I am unable to act on these behaviors but the striving and the push to return to these old ways within is relentless.  It does not rest.

The reason I initially added this book to my personal library (over 25 years ago) was because I identified with it, it offered comfort to me and it seemed to put words to feelings I wasn't quite able or ready to articulate.  Exactly one week ago, I was inspired to post these words on facebook and instagram: "Listen to the soft voice that doesn't need to compete with the loud one.  Set an intention everyday to not get distracted by all the challenges that arise.  Keep your eye on the prize (even if you don't know what the prize is...yet).  Be the tortoise in a hare's world.  Invest in learning your truth, practice it everyday and live it (even if you only can for five minutes)."  Isn't this just another way of saying what "Chapter 63" so gently says as well?

How is it possible to forget so easily?  

Here I am, AGAIN, making a conscious decision to rest in the quiet voice.

Monday, April 18, 2016

transitions (draft 1 ideas)

The idea of transitions can be a large topic to tackle. Books have been written on the subject.  These are just initial thoughts I hope to edit and expand upon in the future.  

Most of us who have children or work with children understand that one of our roles as the adult is to assist them with transitions.  We cannot expect children to transition successfully without giving them much time to prepare for a new environment or different expectations before the transition takes place.

But when does this need for assistance in this area stop?  When are we able to set aside enough physical time and emotional space to prepare for transitioning on our own?  I can imagine that just like anything else, the answer to these questions is different for everyone and applies to each individual differently.

For many of us, there comes a time, where we, as adults, forget how to ease ourselves through a transition.We find ourselves running from one place to another, always with a sense or feeling of being "behind".

As a creative person who relies of my creativity as my profession, I have become extremely sensitive to transitions.  There are always transitions I make throughout the course of a work day and, after finding or settling into a groove of my own, these have become more habitual.

But then there are transitions that occur when traveling, time change transitions (when we move in and out of daylight savings time) and seasonal transitions (just to name a few) that are much more difficult to manage.

After four years of a more intentional, conscious decision to live life in a more present state, I am aware that I am consistently being thrown off by these larger transitions (both on the front and back side).  And because there isn't someone else to prepare me for and through these, I need to find ways of doing this myself.  In the past, I haven't prepared myself for these and, in turn, as a result, my creative well has suffered.  Instead of consciously preserving this well through a transition, this energy source has been used by default.


Preparing and experiencing transitions takes a lot of time.  Some people may not think allowing this time deserves to be prioritized.  But for me to function properly, I make it a habit as best as I can to understand where I am and what I am experiencing while thinking about where I need to go and what I want to consciously choose to bring with me to the next place.

Some other posts related to this topic:
Take 5
Make Room
How I Managed "the Busys"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

notice this

I recently read an article written by a woman with a plea to let loose and be messy.  With clothing, hair and make up "standards", she referenced these daily rituals with a quest to be noticed for living a more imperfect, more authentic life.

I don't feel compelled to wear "the right" clothing, apply make up or have styled hair.  And, because of my professions, I don't have to dress to a certain standard with every work day.

But reading this article did make me think (which any good article should make me do).  It made me think what I want to be noticed for.

I want to be noticed for the sparkle in my eye.  This is something that was naturally bright as a child.  It was lost somewhere along the way and I have worked like the dickens to uncover it once again. For some reason, if this sparkle isn't as bright on a particular day, I want someone to make me laugh. Laughter cures everything (at least in the moment) for me.

I want to be noticed for my loyalty and dedication.  Not only am I learning to be loyal to myself and dedicated to my passion with every passing day, but I am extremely loyal and dedicated to those who have shared their authentic selves with me.  Share away.  I do not care how messy you are, I just ask that you own it.

I want to be noticed for my enthusiasm.

I want to be noticed for my ideas and inspirations.

And I don't want to have to explain myself.  Please don't question my decisions (unless, of course, I've asked for your help).  I am happy to share anything with an inquisitive person who wants to learn and grow but I am not interested in being critiqued.  Why I choose to do what I do, how I choose to live and what I choose to prioritize shouldn't be questioned.  I put a lot of thought into making decisions and when I finally make one, the last thing I want to do is explain them.  After all, I am the only one who has to live with myself 24 hours a day.  If something isn't working for me, it may take me awhile (maybe even years), but, trust me, I'll eventually make the proper adjustments.  This has already been my process for at least twenty years.  

In other words, I want you to notice that I trust myself.

I want to be noticed for my sensitivity and, simultaneously, the strength that is required to live as a sensitive being in this not-so-sensitive world.

And, although these two characteristics could be grouped with loyalty and dedication, it is important for me to mention these as a part from those: I want to be noticed for my work ethic and integrity.

I am far from perfect. VERY FAR.  In fact, it is very important to me that I be noticed as imperfect. This gives me more permission to work on my strengths rather than spending most of my time (and life) dwelling on my weaknesses.

What do YOU want to be noticed for?  I would LOVE to hear.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

the world according to Agnes Martin

(well, not the world, really - just according to this interview)

LOVE THIS.  I'll break it down for you.  Make it "easy".

1. Figure out what you want.
2. Spend time alone.  Revelations happen.
3. Ask what's next?
4. Empty your mind.
5. Follow the inspiration.
6. Remember process isn't intellectual.
7. Realize it's not about you.

These sound like laws that could be applied to every day life, don't they?

Here's the interview that inspired this today:

Oh, yeah, and it was Agnes Martin's birthday yesterday.
Here is some more Agnes Martin wisdom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

she couldn't have said it any better

Being an introvert/HSP/empath (according to May Sarton)

I cannot remember exactly when I was introduced to May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude.  I do feel drawn to re-reading it, though, at least once a year.  I haven't read a body of work that articulates introversion (HSP, empath) so well.  When I read Sarton's journal,  I am reminded that another living being had feelings that I feel, spent much time continuing to become aware of them as I do and had a strong desire to learn how to navigate through these feelings and ideas.  The life INSIDE an introvert's mind is an extremely stimulating place to be.  And there is always so much sorting out that needs to happen.  These are direct excerpts that continue to speak to me.  As I am re-reading this book again, now, I will continue to add more.

September 15

That is what is strange - that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened.

Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone here and 'the house and I resume old conversations'.

For a long time now, every meeting with another human being has been a collision.  I feel too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation.

I often feel exhausted, but it is not my work that tires (work is rest); it is the effort of pushing away the lives and needs of others before I can come to the work with any freshness and zest.

September 28

I hate small talk with a passionate hatred.  Why?  I suppose because any meeting with another human being is a collision for me now.  It is always expensive, and I will not waste my time.  It is never a waste of time to be outdoors, and never a waste of time to lie down and rest even for a couple of hours.  It is then that images float up and then that I plan my work.  But it is a waste of time to see people who have a social surface to show.  I will make every effort to find out the real person, but if I can't, then I am upset and cross.  Time wasted is poison.

September 29

'How does one grow up?', I asked a friend the other day.  There was a slight pause; then she answered, 'By thinking.'

October 6

Imitate the trees.  Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain.  Sit it out.  Let it all pass.  Let it go.

October 11

I have time to think.  That is the great, the greatest luxury.  I have time to be.

October 28

The delights of a poet as I jotted them down turned out to be light, solitude, the natural world, love, time and creation itself.

November 10

We do the best we can and hope for the best.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

10 days of SUNBEAMS creative commitment


"If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." - Roald Dahl

Let's intentionally set aside time for good thought.  Just for a few moments and just for 10 days.  My guess is we can create more SUNBEAMS with our efforts!

This 10 day creative commitment will come in the form of a question.  Each day, for ten days, a different question will be posted on my facebook page that can be applied to your life any way you wish. Some may choose to use it as a writing prompt.  Others may find an image that represents an answer. Some may participate in an activity.  Creativity comes in a limitless amount of forms.  Now is your time to strut your stuff (in your own way).

Why creative commitments you ask?
For the past eight years (or more) I have been creating EVERY day.  Sometimes my daily creative endeavor takes on the role of a meditation or a form of expressing gratitude.  Sometimes it's an opportunity to just focus on me for at least 10 minutes a day (while dropping the rest of the day away).  Sometimes it creates a ripple effect and this leads me to the larger picture of life.  AND ALWAYS...yes, ALWAYS it strengthens that creative muscle so showing up becomes less of a novelty and more of a habit.  Why wouldn't you want a stronger muscle?  If you think about it, too, it inspires others to show up.  I think you'd agree: a world full of daily creatives sounds like the place where I want to be.

AND, I have said and will continue to say:
An avalanche of water won't make an impression.
A consistent drop of water will.
Create Everyday.

So, come on and play along.  Grab a friend.  This small, daily action is guaranteed to put a bigger spring in your step.  You'll be more ready than ever for that extra hour of light that awaits on March 13!  Happy March and Happy (new!) Creative Commitment!

See my posts on #10daysofsunbeams here:
DAY 10

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

pelican dreams

I have been painting pelicans.

My first personal experience with a pelican was just a few years ago.  I met this one's gaze back in 2012 and completely fell head over heels.  Did you know that pelicans are known to initiate eye contact with humans? No wonder I was mesmerized...

And then there is THIS: If you consider the pelican your spirit animal, the totem for pelican uses the words buoyancy and unselfishness as descriptors.  Evidently, pelican people are able to rise above their circumstances no matter how weighed down they have become with life's challenges.  I'll take THAT.  It's no wonder I love pelicans.

If you have an interest or are curious about pelicans, I highly recommend 
the documentary, Pelican Dreams.

I have original paintings of pelicans in my etsy shop (full images of the paintings pictured above available in my shop).  Here is one:  11x14 on 140# paper, 95. (sales tax and shipping not included)

I also sell fine art prints of this gal.

Here's to more pelican dreams...

the art of journaling (or not)

I don't consider myself a writer.  I consider myself a list making record keeper who takes notes, draws diagrams and marks time with photographs.  These are the tools I use so I can better remember, reflect, notice patterns, solve problems and make room for new ideas.  As an introvert, it's also a tool I use to quiet my (frequently) overactive mind.

It isn't unusual to have resistance when it comes to "writing".  Most people do.  Some people wait and wait for the perfect journal, finally finding it and then not feeling their handwriting is worthy enough. There isn't anything pretty about my writing methods but this daily process has proven to be extremely helpful for me.  It is always the first place I start when working with other creatives (regardless of their medium of preference).

There is a lot of research regarding the benefits of taking pen to paper as opposed to our fingers to the keyboard.  One of the reasons this research says handwriting can be more beneficial is because the act actually takes longer.  And because it takes us longer to write, this research says we are able to process, sort, and calculate more quickly.

I was talking to a friend yesterday.  She said she was going to start referring to journaling as "illustrative writing".  If you have an aversion to the word journaling, how can you reframe it?  
If you were to take pen to paper, how would you choose to "write"?

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 4 Weekday Workshop

As our art warm up, the children were asked to create line drawings with white charcoal.  I had arranged a different collection of small items on each table.  Using soft pastels, students were asked to fill the positive space in one of their line drawings and the negative space of the other.

Some of the children continued the study of positive/negative space by choosing a page from a magazine, isolating one image from the page and painting on top of the remaining image.

Our walks to and from the MIA are always different and eventful.  There wasn't a hint of snow on our walk there and, after our visit, we walked outside and back to the classroom with beautiful falling snow!

We spent most of our time viewing the Material Worlds textile exhibit at the MIA.  We were also able to identify other textile work we saw on our walk to the Jane Austen Reading Room.

The next WEEKDAY WORKSHOP is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30 and it is the first full day workshop for The Create Everyday Classroom.  For more information, visit this link.

We also had our first class in a series of Solar System art classes yesterday!

Check April class dates for the next class in this series.