It’s a really fun journaling exercise, creating these week-in-pictures collages. Every week, a distinct theme emerges, one that I wasn’t really aware of while it was happening. This week was buddhas and flowers and celebration – an especially beautiful theme for my birthday week! Try this, you’ll see what I mean. Use your phone to take pictures of highlights throughout the week. On Sunday, download them all to your computer and have a look. Pick 12-16 of the most resonant moments and put them together in a collage. I use Photoshop, but I know there are other fun simple (and probably free) programs out there to help you make photo collages. Try this for a few weeks. I think it will help you to see the beauty that’s already there in your life. If you blog your week-in-pictures, drop a link in the comments so we can come visit!
So anyway, my buddha and flower filled birthday week included
- a dear friend giving me some much needed help in my veggie garden
- an awesome Sunday brunch with my sweetie
- enjoying the beauty in my own garden
- my crazy clematis blooming profusely
- champagne birthday breakfast on the beach, including a VERY COLD ocean plunge! (May 14 above the 49tth BRRRRRRR)
- being warmed after the plunge by fire and friendship
- amazing birthday sushi
- a stroll around my favourite garden shop (pics 8-11)
- did I mention my crazy clematis?
- Saturday morning at the salvage yard… so fun! We are putting in a GIANT (10′ x 10′) glass door in our main room opening to what will be a patio between the house and studio. My sweetie is going to build it from salvaged glass. These windows definitely didn’t make the cut, but they are so cute!
- Saturday morning at my favourite thrift shop. Scored these vintage maps.
- Road trip planning over sushi. More on this SOON!!!
- I was a very happy birthday girl this week. This is what 49 looks like!
OK so about my upcoming retreat… I am pouring my heart into creating this event. The schedule is full of wonderful new movement/dance classes, including Reclaiming our Sensuality, and Awakening the Energy Body Through Movement. We’ll have an enchanted forest photo walk, and art journaling focused on self care. And more… I’m just spilling over with ideas, excitement, and love for this event! SO here’s the thing… you only have until JUNE 14 to register. We need to fill the retreat in order for it to happen!! So if you are feeling called to this event… let me know now. Let’s co-create this beautiful retreat!
3 spots left in my July Artful Island Retreat! Five days of blissful self-nurturing, creative exploration, and renewal for body, mind, and soul. July 18 – 22nd, 2013, on beautiful Denman Island, near Vancouver, BC, Canada. The perfect self-care, yoga, dance, and creativity retreat for women! No art or movement skills required – just a desire to relax deeply, play, and explore. My retreats are about self-love, and are welcoming for women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and levels of ability. Learn more here.
Just a little eye candy for you this Art Journal Friday. These are pages from one of my vintage book art journals, from 2011. I got lucky and found a set of these books at my favourite thrift store; they have beautiful marbled paper and leather bindings, nice heavy linen paper, and charming pen and ink illustrations in the margins. What language do you think they are written in? I have three or four of them, and have only dared to work with one so far!
I have a big dreamy project in the works, and it involves a LOT of art and illustration, so I’ve been going through my collection of old art journals for inspiration. I had a lot of fun with these pages and I hope you find them inspiring too! Do you have time for some art journaling this weekend?
Why yes we are going to do lots of art journaling at the July Artful Island Retreat! I know you want to be there! Five days of blissful self-nurturing, creative exploration, and renewal for body, mind, and soul. July 18 – 22nd, 2013, on beautiful Denman Island, near Vancouver, BC, Canada. The perfect self-care, yoga, dance, and creativity retreat for women! No art or movement skills required – just a desire to relax deeply, play, and explore. My retreats are about self-love, and are welcoming for women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and levels of ability. Learn more here.
Today I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek into my world. These details from my home reveal my love of flowers, birds, goddesses, colour, and pattern. Most of the objects in my home are gifted, thrifted, or handmade, and each has a story, a memory, a meaning, a special energy.
You can see that I love fresh flowers and exotic pattern. You can see that I love all things earthy and sensual.
My home has become more beautiful and more like a personal sanctuary since I started trusting my own instincts and my own loves and pleasures – instead of wanting things to be fashionable, or wanting them to look like something I saw on Pinterest or in a magazine.
Home is the smell of lavender and sandalwood, candles and fresh flowers, worn wool rugs under my feet. It’s paper piles on the dining table and dog hair on the pretty cushions too. Like my life, it has parts that are beautifully finished and parts that need a lot of work. Parts that I show off and parts I keep private. Parts that frustrate me and parts I sink into with joy. But I keep the candles burning, I keep on with the work of making things more beautiful, more real.
Do you love your home? Does your home open its arms to receive you at the end of the day? What can you do today to create sanctuary in your surroundings?
Only 4 spots left in my July Artful Island Retreat! Five days of blissful self-nurturing, creative exploration, and renewal for body, mind, and soul. July 18 – 22nd, 2013, on beautiful Denman Island, near Vancouver, BC, Canada. The perfect self-care, yoga, dance, and creativity retreat for women! No art or movement skills required – just a desire to relax deeply, play, and explore. My retreats are about self-love, and are welcoming for women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and levels of ability. Learn more here.
Our lives as women are so rich and complex. Every day, we give our energy freely to our work in the world, our homes, and to the people, communities, and causes that we love.
It’s amazing what we can accomplish in a day, yet at the end of many days we are left feeling depleted or somehow unfinished.
Sometimes even guilty, rushed, or unsettled.
There is always more that we feel we could have and should have done.
I think, just maybe, this feeling of incompleteness or dissatisfaction with which we often finish our day doesn’t really come from work left undone.
I think this feeling can come from deep unmet needs.
This feeling is, perhaps, a call from the deep self, for attention, connection, and respite.
In the course of my work, I have talked to hundreds of women about their secret, unmet needs.
What you tell me is something like this:
You love your life. You really do. You are so grateful for what you have. A good partner/home/community/family, work you like, a thriving family or business or career, friends, interests. The ordinariness of your day to day brings you comfort. You’ve done inner work and lots of healing, you’ve lived through a lot and learned a lot. You like where you are in your life. And yet… and yet.
You are tired, and you are busy.You are responsible, and sometimes that responsibility feels heavy. You have a craving, a nostalgia or homesickness deepdown. What you really would love is to experience a sense of ease and lightness in your life, a sense of clarity, spaciousness, and purification. A stronger connection to your creativity and your sensuality.
What you really would love is the time and space to breathe in the essence of yourself, to see your own beauty reflected back to you, time to let your body find it’s own rhythm and pleasure, time to see what could unfold in your imagination. You’d love to have time and freedom to allow your artist to play, your explorer to roam, your dancer to dance, and your deep creative, sensual self to wake up, stretch and shine.
I want you to have that time, that space, that mirror of your own beauty. I want you to have a special time to feel all of that beauty fully, and I want you to have the ability to bring that beauty, that sense of purification and connection, back into your daily life, to illuminate your life with your own creative truth, your own shining self.
I created Artful Island Retreats to be that time for you. You can read all about them here.
There are still a few spots left in July, and I’ll be adding some September dates soon!
Today is the last day to save $100 on the the July retreat, so if you’ve been contemplating, go ahead, take the plunge today!!
You can do this for yourself. I want your life to be beautiful.
Today is my forty-ninth birthday. I know, crazy, right?
I’m amazed and so grateful for this beautiful life. At forty-nine, I feel incredibly vibrant and creative, and I feel so at home in my body, I feel balanced, I feel both wise and youthful. I thought this would be a great time to share with you some ideas for bringing that same feeling into your own life, so each birthday truly feels like a celebration. In honor of that, I’m sharing some of my favorite little ways of infusing each area of my life with beauty, wellness, and creative joy. See if you can sneak a few of these into your life soon. I originally wrote and published this post in September of 2012, and it quickly became one of my most popular posts. I’ve just updated it to include two new keys, and ten new tips. Enjoy!
- Be in nature. We know this is healing to the spirit, but it’s also healing to the body. Inhale healthy forest phenols, bask in the mood elevating negative ions released by a waterfall, improve your balance and leg strength by running on soft, uneven forest paths. Soak in healing sea water or hot springs.
- Dance! This is a great time of year to sign up for a class in something new (I’m trying Nia), or you can try an online tutorial or, and I highly recommend this, turn on the music, close the curtains, and dance around your living room until you’re completely out of breath.
- Add an Omega 3 to your supplement regime. This is the one supplement I won’t do without. For my brain, my emotional balance, my skin, my joints – it’s my well-being pill.
- Yoga. You already do yoga, right? No? Then try it! For me, it has been so much more than a work out – it can make your body a laboratory for learning emotional balance, inner strength, and even how to be happy.
- Listen to your body wisdom. Your body knows what you need – and don’t need – to be healthy. Cultivate the ability to be still and hear its messages.
- Start the day with a fresh green juice or smoothie. Treat your body to clean, pure energy!
- Visit – or create – sacred space. Whether it’s a beautiful place in nature, a church, temple, yoga studio, art museum, or your own home altar, try to make regular visits to a place that feeds your spirit, a place you visit with no goal other than engaging with the sacred.
- Cultivate daily ritual. Greet the sunrise with a word of gratitude, meditate for five minutes in the morning, engage in prayer daily, bring love and positive intention to your food preparation, say loving words to yourself in the mirror as you get ready for your day.
- Read sacred or spiritually uplifting texts. There is so much beauty in sacred literature! Try the poems of Hafiz, the Rig Veda, the contemporary Buddhist writings of Pema Chodron. Read or reread the poems of Whitman or Wordsworth, the writings of Thoreau. I could go on and on. Share your suggestions in the comments.
- Give of yourself. Selfless service is an aspect of every great spiritual tradition. It also feels really, really good (so maybe not so selfless?) I don’t believe in “give til it hurts.” I believe in truly giving of your time and talents in a way that doesn’t empty you out. Right now, I’m giving through my 108 Buddhas Project.
- Practice the art of contemplation. Allow contemplative time. That means time when you are not doing, just being. Quiet time. In a quiet place. Open up space for your spirit. Want to try simple mindfulness meditation? Learn how here.
- Remember, art can be in everything or anything you do: an artful display on your bedside table, a gorgeously prepared and plated meal, wildflowers in a clay jug on your mantel, pretty writing on your to do list, adventurous accessorizing… practice art all the time.
- Create a simple on the go creativity kit. Learn how here.
- Don’t censor your wild ideas and crazy schemes. This is key! It doesn’t mean you have to do every wild thing that occurs to you. It just means let your lateral-thinking-wild-brainstorming -often-silly side have the floor once in a while. An artist is someone who knows how to nurture and respect this crazy talking inner creative.
- Start really looking at the world around you. Cultivate an artist’s eye. Admire the shapes, colours, strange visual combinations or gorgeous compositions that surround you all the time. Practice some Iphoneography to capture them!
- Read and do The Artist’s Way. I know so many people who reclaimed their creativity through this book!
- Value your life-energy. Treat it with the same respect you give to the other resources in your life.
- Prioritize health care. Don’t neglect the basics! Schedule necessary tests, get to the dentist regularly, be well-informed about the status of your health.
- Use baby steps to cultivate nurturing habits – slow and steady change is more likely to stick.
- Schedule your self-care just as you do with other commitments. Give real time to the things you do to nurture yourself. Take your commitment seriously.
- Self-care is rest, good health care, and responsible habits, but don’t forget it’s also the fun things that bring you joy and make you feel cared for and worthy – mani-pedi’s, beach days, bed days, art classes, e-courses, long lunches, new perfume.
- Think of all five senses when creating your home sanctuary:
- Fill your home with delicious color and pattern. Fashionable or safe color doesn’t matter. Bring in the visuals that make your heart sing. Pay close attention to lighting – use candles and low light in the evenings, let the sun stream in in the day.
- Do you live in a noisy city? Use white noise to create serenity at home: a fountain, recordings of nature sounds, or soft music. Live in the country like I do? Turn off the radio and TV, throw open the windows and let in the sounds of wind, birds, crickets, frogs, ocean, rain.
- Textures are so important. Smooth cool clean countertops, soft natural fibre pillows and upholstery, good sheets, a cup that fits your hand just so, weighty cutlery, fluffy towels; all these little details add up to a house that FEELS good.
- What you serve is a huge part of what makes the experience of your home memorable for guests. Stock your cupboards with simple, lovely things so you can present a little something whenever someone visits your home – good quality, fragrant tea with pungent lemon, organic fruits in season, gluten free herb crackers, a fantastic cheese.
- I love my home to smell good. And to be honest I find commercial air fresheners yucky. If you don’t like incense, room sprays, or scented candles, go natural and simmer some herbs or spices on your stove. My new favorite combo is fresh rosemary, lemon slices, and a vanilla bean. Heavenly!
- When you are with someone you care about, put your phone away. Seriously. Be present when you are with those whose presence you adore.
- Partnerships need tending. Weekly date nights aren’t just fun. They’re like relationship fertilizer. You need to experience new stuff together regularly. It feeds your love. Prioritize that weekly date night, and do new stuff.
- Do community work. Volunteer for something that gets into contact with your community. You’re not too old to make new friends, and your community needs your gifts.
- Remember why you love them. Devote a journal page or two to remembering. It will help you to be more loving.
- Be kind. It’s the greatest gift you can give to those around you. And it’s a great daily challenge to build your spiritual muscle.
- Listen to your body’s needs. When you can, go at your bodies natural pace. Rest when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, create when you’re energized.
- Learn more about natural cycles in the outer world. Keep track of the waxing and waning moon (download my In Tune With the Moon poster here!). Read a good astrology column. Pay attention to how your moods and physical needs change with the seasons.
- Learn more about natural cycles in your inner world. Inform yourself to understand your hormones, your sleep cycle, your health and body at different life stages.
- Eat with the seasons! Know what foods are in season and plan your menus accordingly. Visit your local farmers market, or better yet, grow some of your own food – even if it’s just a windowsill herb garden or patio tomatoes!
- Take time at least once a week to watch the sunrise or sunset.
- Examine and face your fears. It is often our fears that stop us from experiencing the abundance that could be ours.
- Be generous. When we give, we realize our sources of plenty.
- Care for yourself and cultivate strong boundaries. A frail and leaky energy body is not a vessel for abundance.
- Study nature. There really is no lack in nature.
- Take action towards your dreams. Doors will open when you begin to take action. Don’t wait for more.
- Take time to discover your gifts. What are you most passionate about? What do people compliment you on most often?
- It would be wonderful if your livelihood was fully aligned with your gifts, right? What a fantastic thing to work towards. But in the meantime, find as many ways as you can to bring your gifts to your current livelihood, whatever it is.
- Be brave. Offering your beauty to the world feels vulnerable, but the act of offering makes you strong.
- Don’t wait, do what you can now. Instead of “I’m going to write a book,” how about “Today I will share a haiku on Facebook.” Take baby steps, get feedback, build muscle, take more baby steps.
- Be generous. Don’t hold back. Bake a cake, write a poem, do a dance, solve a problem, write a proposal, crunch the numbers, take a photo, do your thing, then get it out there.
- Know that you are loved, and you are worthy.
Only 4 spots left in my July Artful Island Retreat, and only a couple more days to get the early bird pricing! Five days of blissful self-nurturing, creative exploration, and renewal for body, mind, and soul. July 18 – 22nd, 2013, on beautiful Denman Island, near Vancouver, BC, Canada. The perfect self-care, yoga, dance, and creativity retreat for women! No art or movement skills required – just a desire to relax deeply, play, and explore. My retreats are about self-love, and are welcoming for women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and levels of ability. Learn more here.