September 25th, 2017
One of my favorite TV shows was "Numbers." The show centered around an FBI agent who recruits his brother - a college math professor and genius - to help him solve crimes.
The show is intriguing to me because of the way everything can be reduced to numbers. The flip side of living in a head filled with numbers is the constant searching for the "real deep meaning of life," and missing "life" while you continue to search for it!
It reminds me of that old saying, "Life happens while you're making plans" - or in this this case, "Life happens while you're pondering the meaning of life!"
I think the real meaning of life is to live life in the present moment - as much as possible. Of course - I have to make plans for tomorrow - but I don't "live my life" in tomorrow or in yesterday for that matter!
On my daily adventure on my bike, I see so many amazing things - all around me - everywhere. This day is no exception! I'm wandering around this beautiful lake - taking it all in - when I see this beautiful woman waving at me - then pointing up to the sky! I thought she was pointing at something in the sky so I look up. I just see sky - so I approach her. As it turns out - she was just pointing up to the sky to show what a beautiful day it was! She was 100% completely in that moment enjoying the very best life has to offer!
I thought to myself, "This is exactly the meaning of life! To be outside, drinking in every moment, and enjoying the beauty that surrounds me! If I'm lucky enough, like today, I might meet a fellow traveler enjoying the best of the best, too!"
I thought to myself, "Why do people insist on making life so hard? Why must everything be so difficult? If I can get up in the morning, that's a good day! If I can go outside, then I'm in heaven! Taking everything and everybody into my experience gives my life real meaning and IS the real meaning of life!
September 21st, 2017
What can colors do for you? Think of the "happy" colors when you enter McDonalds - red, yellow, orange - very bright, uplifting colors! Each color vibrates at its own frequency - so choose the colors that create the mood you want!
Are you having a bad day? Surround yourself with yellow! Yellow is the lightest hue of the spectrum- it's uplifting, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. Yellow resonates to acquired knowledge and with the left side of the brain - stimulating our mental facilities and creating mental agility and perception. Yellow is the best color to create enthusiasm for life and can awaken greater confidence and optimism.
Need more energy? Red is your color! Red means energy, passion, action, strength and excitement. Red is energizing and motivates us to take action. It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination. In Eastern cultures, such as China, red is the color for good luck!
Even if you're having a bad day, connecting to these two colors will raise your vibration, making you happier, and energizing you to take action!
September 19th, 2017
I just saw a great ad for women's fall fashions! The fashions worn on the models - I'm guessing a size 0 - looked great! I remember reading somewhere the average dress size for a woman (in the U.S) is a size 10! So what happens when a size 10 woman tries to fit her size 10 figure into a size 0 look? Frustration! Women, because they're judged so much by their physical appearance, can feel so bad about themselves - just because they don't fit into the fashion norm. But, if you're being judged by the clothes you wear and how you look in those clothes, what's a woman to do?
Be yourself and find your own style! I really think this takes courage because you're not only going against the fashion norm - but the norm itself - by wearing the clothes that really fit your body and your personality! I think - because there are so many more options available online that don't fit into a specific category of clothes - that this is changing - and women are buying what looks and feels right on their body!
If I could go back and talk to myself when I was a teenager - I would tell myself, "Allison, you're an artist. You look at the world a bit differently. It's okay to be different and - I know this is impossible for you to see right now - everything will turn out okay!"
How many teen suicides could be prevented if that message could be taken to heart! When you're a teenager - you really do think it's the end of the world if you don't fit it!
I have to say, the more I embraced the way I was, the happier I became. Somewhere along the way I realized I could only change myself and I needed to think better about myself.
Of course, as I got older and attended college, everyone in college is encouraged to find out who they are and what they believe. I really believe my difficult times actually helped me become the person I am today - but that being said - I would do whatever I could to communicate the idea that the earlier you can embrace and celebrate the person you really are - the happier you'll be!
I love fall! I love fall fashions - and I love the fashions I've found for myself that fit the person I am! So, just be yourself, because everyone else is taken!
September 18th, 2017
It's good to have Hurricane Irma in the rear-view mirror- but with every catastrophe comes lessons! I'm so glad to still have a house to come home to, fresh water and food. Every "little" thing becomes a BIG thing when you don't have them! I've learned that if I focus my life on helping others, my own personal growth and relationships, I experience MUCH more happiness in my life than focusing my attention on money, my image or my status.
These are the things that are 100% within my control and focusing my energy on these things that really matter makes me happier! If my energy is focused on "outer" things, like what people think of me, I've lost control over my life and given that control away to other people.
If I focus my energy on just trying to make money, or wearing the nicest clothes or just trying to impress people into thinking how wonderful I am - it's a pretty empty life! Anything that is focused 100% outside of me will pretty much guarantee my unhappiness.
Sowing the seeds of happiness means focusing on what's happening inside of me - not what's outside! If I focus on what's outside of me - it's like living life on a hamster wheel - I'm stuck going round-and-round in circles. Maybe you know someone who wears the "right" clothes, drives the newest car, knows all the "right" people and yet - they're not happy! Maybe you know someone that doesn't have the newest car, doesn't make the big bucks, doesn't live in the nicest house and yet - they ARE happy!
What's the secret? Look inside yourself for your happiness. Be 100% grateful for EVERYTHING you have - including running water, air-conditioning and food!
Spend time doing the things you love, surrounded by the people the people you love. Look for ways you can help other people make their lives easier. Look for ways to improve your own life!
Happiness radiates from within - so I'm challenging you to take inventory of your life today - look at the wonderful things in your life that REALLY matter and be 100% grateful for everything around you - right now!
August 28th, 2017
"Something from Nothing?" What does that mean to you? What comes to mind when you think of those words? In my case - what comes to mind is seeing "something" where there's "nothing!" For example, this image of fencing and ironwork becomes "something" when you look through the ironwork and suddenly you see the interesting playground patterns behind it. Suddenly "nothing" becomes "something!"
I see this every day on my bike ride. I'll be riding along - and suddenly - something unusual catches my eye. It's the way the sun reflects off the water, or - an upcoming image I'm planning - a half-closed gate hidden in a woodland path. The interesting thing is these images are all around us every day, but you have to train your eye to "see" them!
We're so used to "seeing" things in a certain way that we miss other things. Have you ever driven a certain way every time to a destination. Try going one way - then reversing it the next time. I've done that before. Suddenly, I'm forced to get to a destination driving a new route or the same route from the opposite direction - and voila - it looks totally different!
Take a different route to the grocery store. Come back from the store in a different direction. It's all about "mixing it up," because our brains become complacent in seeing the same things the same way every day!
It's just like our minds! Our brain needs new challenges every day! It needs to makes new connections and invent new circuitry to get from point "a" from point "b." That's why crossword puzzles are so popular! They are called "brain teasers" for a good reason!
Getting outside and doing things is always a good idea! Riding a bike or just walking is great because you're going slow enough to really "see" things you wouldn't normally see when you're driving a car. There is always "something" to make out of "nothing" if you just take notice!
August 24th, 2017
Interval training for athletes has been very popular - because it works! It works because you do one type of highly-focused training for a specific time period then switch gears and work on another type of training for a shorter time period.
The sports experts have found that longer periods of intense work-outs, coupled with shorter periods actually complement each other. The shorter periods actually give you some relief from the more focused longer periods of time which equals better workouts!
I've taken that same strategy and applied it to my creative life as an artist. I concentrate on one (or more than one) painting for a specified time, then "break" for some social media updates, then back to painting, then take a short tea break, then back to my blog writing, etc., etc. It does make for a more productive day for me - and at the end of the day - I've still accomplished what I wanted to accomplish - without feeling that I've burned the candle at both ends. I think - for me - it's the gear-switching that works, because I have a tendency to want to sit and finish everything I'm working on at one fell swoop!
Try creative "interval training," and let me know if it works for you!!
August 22nd, 2017
So, how do you re-invent yourself? How do you keep on re-inventing yourself to have an interesting, passionate life?
Sonia Simone, Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger Media states, “The reason an artist’s life is so interesting and rewarding is that you never stop learning. When you master your craft at one level, new levels reveal themselves. The game gets more complex and interesting.”
Washington State 2017 Teacher of the Year Camille Jones states, “When you do something difficult and new, your brain grows. It changes your attitude and your perspective on the rest of your education.”
Camille teaches students, as young as 5 years old about STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. She identifies promising students who would “benefit from spending extra enrichment with time with her, and from that group, a few more students are chosen for even more focused attention.”
The bottom line is, whether you are a 5 or 95 year old, you have to keep challenging yourself and keep learning. Not only does it keep you young it keeps you engaged and communicating with the world!
August 21st, 2017
I'm a big fan of "Numb3rs," an American crime drama broadcast on CBS from 2005 - 2010. The show's premise revolves around a college math professor (Charlie Eppes) a math genius, who assists his brother, who works with the FBI, on solving crimes using math. "We all use math every day - to predict the weather - to tell time - to handle money. Math is more than formulas and equations. It's using your mind to solve the biggest mysteries we know," states the show's intro. Charlie turns every crime into a math formula and looks for the patterns in everything. I can see how patterns are everywhere, including our lives. I think we all would be astounded at the patterns we've already created in our lives, from the way we go to work, to how and what we eat, where we shop, etc. I started noticing the patterns in my life and starting evaluating how they were working for me. First, you have to notice them, pay attention to them, then, change them - if they're not working for you! It helps if you have someone in your life that can gently nudge you in a different direction by saying something like, "You have a tendency to (fill in the blanks)." The great news is by identifying patterns in your life you can make a "better" life! My post today is a pattern on top of a pattern. Interesting? Then, I started to think, "Do I have a pattern that I put another pattern on top of that pattern?" Probably! Let me give that some thought and I'll get back to you!
August 18th, 2017
I recently watched the documentary, "Get Me Roger Stone," on Netflix. What a revelation! One of Roger's golden rules is, "You have to be outrageous to be noticed!" How many really, amazing artists are there out there that lack (or don't want to pursue) the marketing expertise to market themselves? Millions of artists are selling their art online. How do you stand out in the crowd? Stone's number one rule is "Better to be infamous than famous!"
So, many artists have successfully become "performance" or other artists to separate themselves from the masses. What I've noticed is the potential to lose yourself in the process. Case in point, Roger himself, who was just fired (who quit first or got fired is up for discussion) from the Trump campaign, and is now watching the action from the sidelines. One of Roger's rules "morality equals weakness," might have got him in trouble when he denied he was involved in (and later admitted to being involved in) a sex scandal.
So, how far is too far? It seems - the ONLY way to win anymore - with all the sports performance scandals including Lance Armstrong, that "winning at all costs," IS the only way to win!
Looking back, the "morality = weakness" ideology might have backfired on Roger! Maybe there is - even in politics - something to say about character!
I recently read a book by Jim Loehr called "The Only Way to Win." Dr. Jim Loehr, is co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute and his book is based on his work with world-class athletes and global business and political leaders. Dr. Loehr argues that leadership with purpose - with integrity, honesty, humility, optimism and compassion - is the most effective way to create lasting success and fulfillment in life. Jim signed my book by saying, "Character above all else."
Any creatives out there trying to "make a name for themselves," and "get discovered" would be well advised to read Dr. Loehr's book AND another Netflix documentary, "Icarus," about the doping of the Russian athletes.
I think - with everyone clamoring to reach the top at any cost, the "downside" of that thinking has to - and IS being presented. Now it's up to each of us to decide how we proceed!
August 17th, 2017
Mindfulness. What is it? How can I get it? How can I keep it? Mindfulness, to me, is the ability to stay and "be" in the moment 100%. No distractions. Being 100% present wherever you are. Sounds easy, right? Getting to that "mindfulness" state requires the "clutter" of the mind to be silenced. How do I do that? One way I've found to increase my ability to stay in the moment is to meditate.
Meditation to me - quiets my mind and allows - once my mind's cluttering rapid-fire thoughts pass - me to enter into a state of calmness where ideas and thoughts melt together into oneness. Somewhere in that process, my mind becomes bigger than my small thoughts and I start to connect with the oneness of everything. I've found this only happens if I can acknowledge those initial, fleeting passing thoughts, which give way to "larger" universal thoughts of "oneness," and the connectivity of everything.
One sure-fire way for me to access that "mindfulness" dimension is through music. I've found - for me - that using music to access the "oneness" of everything works - every time. I have to quiet my mind - letting all the minutia thoughts go - and access the universal "oneness" - fast. Music - is the key - for me.
My favorite meditation is musician's Jim Commander's "Edgar Cayce Sounds for Meditation." The music is designed to attune your mind with each chakra. I have experienced lasting effects of listening to Jim's meditation music. First, I'm calmer. Listening to the music makes me calmer even after I've finished my mediation. Second, I'm more "intuitive." I've noticed the more I meditate the more intuitive I become. Third, I'm more creative. I notice ideas suddenly are more "available." I'm more able to "see" things in a different way or notice things I hadn't noticed before. Maybe I can describe it best as a "heightened state of awareness."
The bottom line is - mindfulness is - for me - a by-product of meditation and can be reached easier through meditation - meditation can be reached easier through music. Meditation + Music = Mindfulness
I hope this helps you access the state of mindfulness and more importantly access that universal state of mindfulness and oneness with the universe.