What Brings YOU Joy?

One of my favorite creative mentors, Natasha Reilly from Creative Nachos recently asked me what may be the most important question ever.  “What brings you joy?”

I spent today contemplating that question and this is what I found.

This one held still long enough to snap a picture
This one held still long enough to snap a picture

Watching birds, bees, and butterflies while lying on my back brings me joy.

What can a tree become in your imagination?
What can a tree become in your imagination?

Imagining unicorns in the branches of trees brings me joy.

My second ever acrylic and shadow
My second ever acrylic and shadow

Painting a bright abstract picture with my new acrylic paints brings me joy.

Sharing my joy with others brings me joy.

Bird enjoying the updraft
Bird enjoying the updraft

What brings YOU joy? Did you find time in your life for joy today?

Sacred Rest

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When I started telling people that I was quitting my job many of them asked me what I was going to do. I told them I was going to rest. And guess what’s been the most challenging thing to do this month…that’s right, resting! Today I went to the park armed with “things to do”, my journal, glitter gel pens, The Secret Garden, a sheet to lie down on.  After I had been there a while I started getting antsy, feeling that it was time to go home, do laundry, go to the bank etc…

Instead I decided to lie down and rest. I looked at the sky. I listened to the birds. I watched leaves fall. I noticed butterflies. I rolled over and rested on my stomach. I felt my heartbeat. I saw tiny feathers that had fallen from the tree where the peacocks had roosted overnight. I rested.  The words stopped.

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This is what Martha Beck is talking about when she urges us to enjoy sacred rest. It’s what I imagine a lot of people think they’ll do when they retire. But it takes conscious effort to actually rest . I hope that you give yourself the opportunity to rest. If you’re working maybe give it a try on the weekend for 10 minutes or even an hour. It’s heaven…right here on earth.

Barefoot walking in the park

I felt the desire to go  for a walk this morning but this time it was a little bit different.  I’ve read several articles lately about earthing or grounding and whenever something seems to come to me from several sources I give it my attention. The general idea is that you are in contact with the earth, either by walking on it or lying down on it.

20150109_Barefoot walk in the park

So this morning when I got to our park I took off my shoes. The ground was still slightly wet from a light rain that fell last night. It was cool but comfortable. Remembering the “directions” I began to walk very, very slowly. Placing each foot carefully on the ground and giving it my full attention. The more slowly I walked the more off balance I felt. I realized that most of the time I’m racing to get somewhere and don’t feel the texture beneath my feet.  And like most people I’m nearly always wearing shoes when I’m outside even though we live in a warm climate.

As I began to feel more balanced I started to notice things. There are lots of different plants on the ground, not just grass. Some had the tiniest flowers you can imagine, so small they were easy to overlook.

20150109_102701[1] Earthworm castings which I remembered playing with when I was a small child and used to lie on my belly on the ground.20150109_103131[1]Purple flowers from the Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow bushes.20150109_102718[1]My heartbeat slowed as my walking slowed. My breath became easy. I relaxed.  A peacock perched on a stone bench and let me get really close to him before he jumped down to the ground.

20150109_PeacockSitting down to put my shoes back on I noticed a little white sphere, a lizard egg. Without slowing down I probably wouldn’t have noticed any of these things.20150109_103755[1]Feeling the earth beneath my feet brought me closer to myself and the present moment. I’m glad I followed my intuition and took a barefoot walk in the park today. If it’s cold where you are and a barefoot walk would lead to frostbite, I hope that seeing these images and reading about it can allow you to slow down and imagine the feel of the earth beneath your feet. If you’re somewhere warm, maybe you’ll feel the same pull that I did.

Enjoy!

Morning Gleanings

I decided to go for a walk this morning to enjoy the cool air and the nearly cloudless sky.  After spending 9 days in New York over the holidays it’s been wonderful to return to Florida and really appreciate all that I have to be grateful for.

Thanks to some minimalism blogs like Courtney Carver’s Be More With Less I’ve been doing a lot of space clearing. I’ve also continued writing morning pages as I enter my 13th week of The Artist’s Way. And I’ve committed to a 100 Day Goal of writing 10 chapters of a children’s book. This has all been a wonderful boost to my creativity but sometimes I need to remember to breathe, relax and take a walk.

20150107_102706This is what I found while walking this morning and I’m so happy I took the break I knew that I needed. The two purple flowers are from a vine that grows up a tree and covers the road. The road is sometimes carpeted in these flowers. The magenta flower is from a tree called the Hong Kong Orchid tree. It’s not a real orchid and it has the most wonderful smell, like fresh laundry. The feather is from a female peacock. They are entering their mating season and the males are in full regalia and practicing lifting their tails. The blue glittery piece is from a broken Christmas ornament spotted on the side of the road and the giant yellow and orange leaf is from the Seagrape tree that is in our neighborhood park.

May your New Year bring joy and unexpected treasures. I hope that you can take the time to go for a walk and be open to whatever there is to see.