Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Creative Energy Optimizer

One of the pillars of my plan to embody Ageless Beauty for the rest of my life is to be a Creative Energy Optimizer. I want to optimize my own creativity-of course- and I especially want to inspire others to not only appreciate beauty everyday but to begin to create beauty themselves.
This weekend I had a lovely Sunday afternoon playing with making fabric flower costume jewelry with my sister. We were chatting about how being  creative and playful makes us feel more energized. Too many chores ,work, basic cooking, laundry, housekeeping,etc. are exhausting.This week I want to inspire you to take some time out to be creative.
 What sparks creativity in you?  What did you like to do as a child? There are so many crafts, sewing, knitting, crocheting, painting, coloring some of the beautiful designs available now in books or online, drawing, baking, cooking something new- learning a new dance routine- learning a new piece of music- whatever is fun and perhaps just a bit challenging that will result in something that gives you pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. The operative words here are FUN and CREATIVE.  What would you like to create?
When I started making costume jewelry, I began with a book for children-Jazzy Jewelry- part of a series of craft books called Kids Can!.  I figured if an 8 year old could manage some of the projects, I surely could . Here are some of my projects
Here is the book and a page of instructions
Here is a close-up of what I made from those pages
I am a slow right brain learner- so seeing pictures and beginning with really simple directions helps me to develop skills - and makes the learning curve less steep! Ever since I was a tiny child I have loved dressing up in elegant clothes with unique or antique jewelry. Now after a few years practice I can make almost anything I want. And most important- I enjoy playing with the materials and I have fun!
There are so many really good instructions available now in books, on blogs, on Youtube for almost any project you would like to create! If you need to ease in to this suggestion - just begin by making a wish list of what you would like to try and/or what you loved to do as a child.
My sister and I were reminiscing about Sunday afternoons at our stepmother's house. Our stepmother was a very busy working mom, but at heart she was a creative genius. She had so many different materials available in cupboards and closets neatly packed in boxes. Anything we wanted to learn was possible! Over the years she taught us to cook, to sew, to make toys , to paint... so many things! Best of all she gave us the gift of knowing that we could learn how to do whatever we were inspired to do.
Here is the work in progress from Sunday afternoon- red petals ready now to be assembled and my first-not perfect!- finished flower barrette.
I would love to read your comments. What are you dreaming of creating? Something new in an art or  craft that you already know how to do - or  learn a new skill? Are you willing for your first efforts to perhaps be less than perfect? Please leave me a comment below or email me colleen412@gmail.com or send me a message on Facebook. You can also see my pins on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/colleen2322/

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Mode

The full moon/summer solstice seems to be influencing me. I have begun to spend more time in my garden-not just actively gardening! I do love to work in my garden, but this week I have begun spending more time luxuriating in the beauty of it.  Unless it is raining, I enjoy my meals while  sitting on the edge of the waterlily pool. At some point in the day I have begun placing a lovely clean sheet on the grass in the sun and lying there listening to music or reading. Meanwhile I am being kissed by the sun , soaking up vitamin D. I am enjoying the fragrance of the grass and flowers. The wood thrushes are singing. There are so many butterflies, dragon flies, bees and hummingbirds flying around. I am inspired to spend more time outdoors and way less time on my computer!
A perfect place to dance in the moonlight! Or enjoy the sun by day.

Another fun aspect of summer is being in summer mode by dressing for the lovely sunny weather. A few weeks ago I read a  blog by Barbara Fisher about Vintage patterns :  http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=+vintage+patterns
I was so  thrilled to discover a kindred spirit who shares my love of vintage clothes. I was also moved to encourage her to sew the patterns and wear the clothes.  So this week, in light of the full moon/summer solstice, I am starting to take out and repair and wear some of my lovely vintage clothes. Today I am wearing my favorite hat. I bought it from Biba in my youth in the last century! Whenever I was in London I spent as much time and money as I could afford in at Biba. It was enchanting! Alas, it ended all too soon- I arrived at the end of the era! I  still have my hat and some jewellry... I have always loved antique and/or unique things, and I have always been a "Dressy Bessy". I also love the old fashioned look that Laura Ashley designed way back then. I haunted the antique and second hand shops to find just the things I wanted. I still do. I am so glad I learned to sew as a teen. I can make anything I want now- as long as I can find the fabrics.
This summer I encourage you to express yourself and indulge in what you really love! Especially if it makes you feel unique, beautiful, alive...!
  Maybe I am suffering from Summer Solstice/ Moon Madness????

Do you get energized by the summer solstice? Are you feeling in the mood to express yourself more? Is summer a time for you to be more playful and  be outside more of the time?
Please leave me a comment- I really appreciate them. Or email me or send a pm on Face Book. I love getting replies! Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer is a coming in!

At long last we have sunshine and hot afternoons.  I was beginning to think I had no hope of my own organic Italian tomatoes and basil this year. My first crop of seedlings failed to thrive. The summer veggies are now finally planted. Some summer flowers are beginning to bloom. The creek view is now appropriately jungle like.

I knew summer would arrive sooner or later -  but this year I was beginning to be a bit impatient about the timing. It has been so cloudy and dark here  since last autumn with very brief sunny intervals. The temperatures were not unusually cold - but the dark days were dispiriting. And so many things did not want to bloom ( even the winter blooming plants in my greenhouse).  There was not enough sunlight.
  Is your life like this sometimes? So many dark, cloudy days with only brief sunny intervals? Mine certainly does. There are things that I wish to accomplish that seem to be taking forever. There are things that I wish would show up in my life that are a long time coming. I keep plugging away in expectation...

I am beginning to feel that I am learning how to wait and see what happens. Especially in situations when I have little no control ( most of them to a degree!). I can always make an effort to control how I respond to these situations. I am certainly capable of making myself more miserable by focusing on the downside. Been there, done that so many times! I am beginning to learn to see what the gift is when what I want is delayed. Sometimes I learn that I want something even better -and it usually arrives in its own good time. Most often I experience a lesson that helps me to grow.
 The dark, cloudy, rainy autumn, winter, and spring has resulted in an astonishing increase in the wildflowers this year. Everything has been late, but the flowering season for so many things has been much longer thanks to the brief sunny intervals which I have learned to really appreciate. I am still cutting small bouquets of rhododendrons!

Here is a Chinese dogwood in my secret garden.This year it is really lovely. It may be my imagination, but the flowers seem larger.

The pink honeysuckle has been a real treat for the hummingbirds (who also arrived late this year!). Maybe the hummingbirds understand patience and timing better than I do.

Last but not at all least, the radicchio Treviso  is 6 ft.tall and loaded with buds just beginning to become a lovely blue accent in the vegetable garden. The long, rainy, cold -but not too frozen- seasons were ideal for it to thrive. From autumn until early spring I had many, many salads from the baby leaves and then many more beautiful red and white striped mature heads which are delicious baked or steamed and then dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It usually blooms until time to sow next year's crop in August or September. I hope to have a whole summer of its lovely blue flowers.
How about you? Have you had some dispiriting days this year? Have there been any silver linings in the clouds for you yet?
 I would love to see your reflections and comments either here or send me an e-mail : colleen412@gmail.com  if you are shy about commenting here.
 Also please see my Pinterest boards https://www.pinterest.com/colleen2322/
I look forward to your thoughts. Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dance with Life!

This week I want to expand on embodiment - energy in motion with the intention to be aware of your body and how you feel. It is so healing/healthy to be aware of the state of our body/feeling.
A year or two ago I participated in a soul mapping exercise with LaĆ¼ra Hollick. One of my compass points is "Appreciate Beauty Everyday"(the name of this blog). Another compass point is "Dance with Life".
 For me dance = music  + movement to the rhythm (not necessarily structured or choreographed). Music + movement are my keys to unlock how I feel in my body. As I dance intentionally I am energy in motion and feeling my e-motion. I notice any tension in my body, how it feels, where I am holding it. Sometimes I can just smile and shake it out.  Physical and/or emotional aches and pains take a bit longer.
I love to dance intentionally in my secret garden.  No one can see me.I feel safe and loved with the bees, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, the occasional rabbits and deer, and the garden around me. I can safely feel and process feelings that do not feel good (sadness/ anger/disappointment/ distress) and move through them.
Ultimately, we can always choose how we want to feel. The first step is to be fully present to what we are feeling in our bodies right now (not the story in our head!). If it is a feeling that we would like to work through then we can choose our favourite way of expressing it through embodied action. We can dance through our feelings, walk through them, cycle through them, swim through them,etc. So many choices! I want to try the hula hoop and get back to serious roller skating! We can truly change the state of our feeling  by the way we move our bodies (even just changing our facial expression and our posture makes a difference ). If the feeling is very strong it may be a slow process. We may need to take more time and gradually move through the feeling with more than one embodiment session. As I have practiced, I have found it easier to tune in to my body and move through feelings that do not feel good.
What are your reflections? Do you  move through your feelings with a favourite embodiment practice? Have you discovered that it is easier to be in your body most of the time? I am not advocating being totally "out of our heads"- just letting go of the stories we create and rather feeling emotion with our bodies.
Please comment . I love the reflections you are sharing. You can comment here or send me an email  colleen412@gmail.com  or pm me on Facebook. Also you might enjoy some of my Pinterest boards  https://www.pinterest.com/colleen2322/
Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Intention and Embodiment

My quick definition of embodiment is "getting out of the head, moving into the body".  For me, the operative word is "MOVING". Tony Robbins  often uses the phrase "e-motion energy in motion". Embodiment for me is getting in touch with our energy in motion -our emotions- which ultimately end up running our lives no matter how hard we try to reason our way out of them using our heads.  I feel it is possible to move into them, feel them, and choose the ones we want to fuel with our energy.

My favorite mode of energy in motion is taking Dance Breaks. This Snoopy cartoon has been sent to me several times from people who know me- but do not know each other!

I love the lyrics  Taylor Swift sings "I'm just gonna shake it off". Exactly what I do with negative emotions! Besides Dance Breaks -which are for fun and pleasure!- I take Shake Breaks. Shake Breaks can begin with feelings of sadness, disappointment, anger, cravings for potato chips, chocolate cake, ice cream,etc. Results vary, but often I end up laughing at myself in a loving way. At the very least I am fully aware of my feelings and in a short time I can release them if I choose. Shake Breaks have taught me that I do not have to wallow in unhappy feelings (unless I choose to!) And sometimes I  have the chocolate!
I wish I had learned this in gym class instead of all those gruelling exercises  and all of those  competitive sports I hated. I wish I had known then how to "shake it off". I do remember one lovely substitute teacher who taught us some graceful, fluid movements and stretching  which felt good-  like dancing in slow motion.  Hers were the only gym classes I ever enjoyed. I do understand that there are many of us who LOVE competitive sports, running, really challenging weight training, challenging cardio ,etc. I actually did learn how to use my Nordic Track  ( a learning curve for me!). I even enjoy it- only with really fun upbeat rock 'n' roll! (I never miss a beat).
What I FINALLY learned from the Nordic Track was to set an intention to move my body in ways that FEEL GOOD! I have taken ballet (ages 4-14), ballroom dancing (briefly), tap dance (at an advanced age), and swing dance(at an even more advanced age!). Once I got the basic steps I really enjoyed tap and swing- but the lessons were too structured for me. I now enjoy being able to incorporate what I have learned from the lessons into my Dance Breaks.
What I have learned from all this is to set an intention to move my body so that she can make me fully aware of how I am really feeling. Moving my body is not about changing its shape, changing my weight,etc. I move to feel my energy in motion. The result is that I am stronger, and I still have good balance and energy. I have a healthy lean body mass. Without suffering. I no longer even look at blog,videos,etc. that even suggest "no pain, no gain"or "boot camp". (Tracy Campoli  has a fun challenge that is a "booty camp"-  her exercises are challenging, fun, and often based on dance moves.) I love Tiekka Tellier's Everyday Ballet, my mini trampoline(really fun to bounce with Bollywood )music, walking up and down steep hills where I live and gardening (not for the faint of heart in my landscape!).
I understand that there are beautiful athletic women who are amazing, as well as beautiful dancers who are rigorously trained and a joy to see, and women who run , weight train, work out at the gym. I can admire them and honor their path. I have learned to choose just another path. My intention is to inspire women to get their energy in motion on whatever path gets them out of their heads and moving into their bodies.
How do you get your energy in motion? Are you an athlete? Do you workout at a gym? Play competitive sports? Dance? Walk? Swim? Cycle?   I would really appreciate comments here, on Face Book or by email colleen412@gmail.com also on my Pinterest boards https://www.pinterest.com/colleen2322/
Thank you for reading! All comments are welcome.