Monday, April 25, 2016

How to Get in the Zen or the Zone

Starting the day at the breakfast table with remnants of my birthday flowers helps.
Practicing mindfulness seems to be a big business. Some believe you have to do meditation. ARG! meditation. NO THANKS!  

How to Meditate at Any Time without Meditating

"If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh Flour. Salt. Water. Yeast. As I push the warm, soft dough against my palm, I feel the cold stone countertop underneath. I feel my hips leaning up against the cabinets.

"I met people who really enjoyed their lives on a daily basis. Spending time with friends. Savoring delicious lunches. Continuing their artistic pursuits ....  hiking in the mountains on weekends and reconnecting with nature" Amanda Cook

Another really good article I found called 13 Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day. I am working on the "not checking the phone" bit but I am skipping the sitting and meditating part. Sitting in the studio lost in the process of painting, sewing, doodling, or photographing puts me right in the zone
Right now I am working on craft felt
craft felt art
for my yarn/craft tata trees, and integrating two pieces Nancy made with felt pieces stitched together.
It was a gorgeous sunny day on Sunday and I finally got another tree done.
yarnbombing in yellow springs, Ohio

No mountains around here, but beautiful state parks, bike trails, a friendly town, pals to lunch with, and plenty of art to do.
Hope you enjoyed the links and found them helpful. Until Next Time Cheerio

Friday, April 22, 2016

How Zen Photography Can Save Your Life

I have no clue if there's such a term as "zen photography" per se but it's what I do. 
sunset, yellow springs, pond, reflections
About the closest I've found online relating to zen photography is a post by Eric Kim.

Zen in the Art of Street Photography

My good friend Nicholas Susatyo recently recommended a book to me: " Zen in the Art of Archery." In-fact, it was the book that Henri Cartier-Bresson said had the deepest influence in his photography. I have been meaning to read it for a while, so on my flight to Philly I decided to give it a go.

You might be wondering how taking photograph can your life. Two years ago I faced the most painful loss in my life and I thought the grief of it was going to do me in. My health was beginning to suffer and I knew I had to do something.  So I started taking photographs and just as Eric talks, "losing ... self and getting lost in the flow". With camera in hand I started to explore the
world around me, the things that often go unseen as we hurry about our lives, or things too small to notice. Being in the moment and fully absorbed gave me time away from the torments of grief. I enjoyed the challenge of seeing if I could take something mundane and show the beauty that exists in it, from a crack in the sidewalk, to a shadow on a wall, all was fair game. 
  Photography also became a way to tell my story, like a crazy quilt, stitched together, frayed in some places, threadbare in others, and sometimes hanging by a thread, but each patch adds to this beautiful quilt we call life.  

And just to add a note about what some believe is the  true meaning of zen here is an article by Sandra Pawula from 2010.

“When you are practicing zazen, do not try to stop your thinking. Let it stop by itself. If something comes into your mind, let it come in, and let it go out. It will not stay long. When you try to stop your thinking, it means you are bothered by it. Do not be bothered by anything. It appears as if something comes from outside your mind, but actually it is only the waves of your mind, and if you are not bothered by the waves, gradually they will become calmer and calmer.”

I would say photography has definitely helped the waves become calmer.
shadows, sea, whitley bay

and my health improved, well that is until I got breast cancer, but that is a whole other story. So if you are having a tough time,  get out there and take pictures of the world around you, put them in a daily journal for a year, and see if it can help you. 

ps. I am not a trained professional photographer, and you don't have to be either. Just have FUN with it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Birthday and Practicing Gratitude

I'm not sure I need to practice being grateful, I AM grateful every single day.  It's my birthday today and I celebrate not just my birthday but a birthday free of fear, a birthday with hope and a birthday filled with the loving joy of family and friends. 

The Science Behind Gratitude (and How It Can Change Your Life)

The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who take time to reflect upon the things they're thankful for are happier, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Here's how you can make gratitude part of your life.
 Today my dear friends and I will be putting up a free little art gallery (bog art) in the cafe where I will be buying coffee for everyone. For those family and friends (online and offline) who can't be here, just know I am thinking of you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Exposing the Inner Cavewoman

fire photography
This is the hypothesis by an Anthropologist at the University of Alabama of what happens when we stare at a flickering light.

Perhaps I should sit by the firepit every night and feel that call. Perhaps it will help me get back into my art cave and do some work.

Did you Know?
Women Artists maybe be Responsible for Most Cave Art

#flame #fire #cavewomanart

Friday, April 08, 2016

I am tit-anium

Sorry I just couldn't resist hyphenating titanium, but I see boobs everywhere nowadays. I saw these tree stumps while walking with a friend and we just laughed so much. A fellow Breast Cancer warrior sent me this video and it hit the nail on the head. 

Cut me down
But it's you who'll have further to fall
Ghost town and haunted love
Raise your voice,
 sticks and stones may break my bones
I'm talking loud not saying much
you shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium

One thing I learned from getting cancer is just how loved I am. It melted the slings and indifference by some to an inconsequential puddle.  You get cancer and some things are just not that important anymore. For those dear people who have been sending me gifts and textile boobs for my tata trees I am sending big HUGS to you. People have been enjoying your beautiful tata's. Still working on getting others
done as weather and time permits
Singing off 
Tit Warrior aka Jafatit

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Love Lies Bleeding at Artists & Makers Studio for National Crime Victim's Rights Week

In art, Chandra Levy's mother expresses her grief and endurance

"This is a fractured mother," Susan Levy says. She points, then her art speaks for itself. In a gallery outside Washington, D.C., far from her Modesto, California, home, Levy has framed her pain on the walls. Her 24-year-old daughter, Chandra, died violently nearly 15 years ago.
embroidery, abuse

Office for Victims of Crime
National Center for Crime Victims and Directory

Healing and Coping through the Arts either by doing or viewing.