Thursday 20th June 2019

Why I Create Daily. 2018.65.

Why I Create Daily. 2018.65.

The answer to this could be…”to keep me well” or it might be….”to keep me busy” or maybe even….”because I love it”.

I reckon all are appropriate in their own way but the last nails it.

I do love it.

At times I get a bit stuck on ‘what will I create now’ but more often than not, some reflection time spent at my desk helps.

Since 2013 when I embraced the practice of creating an “Index Card a Day” via daisyyellow.com I can rarely have a day spent without something happening for me such as:

  • creating original mandalas
  • pattern making – within defined shapes e.g. square, rectangle, free form
  • painting – freehand or colouring-in my own designs – with watercolours or gouache.
  • cutting and pasting to make cards – thank you cards, best wishes, birthdays and more
  • stamping and printing on home-made cards – to personalise them

A range I did recently.

  • using my art-journalS. Yes plural. I have two sizes on the go. I have one in my bag at all times.
  • A3 books to play and create in – there have been 2 filled since I came home from hospital just over a year ago
  • A4 to do the same – at least 3 filled since hospital last year
  • and now, A5 where I am making 100 mandalas by the end of 2018
  • many of my larger-sized patterns and mandalas are laminated or framed. Member of my family have some in their houses. Others I have made into placemats for our table.

IF I feel slightly blue, a little anxious or a lot worried..it is NOT helpful to ruminate nor over-think. I used to do this a LOT until I found the power of ….the markers, the pencils, the paper and more.

In fact, just last week when I was a wee bit concerned at the drive ahead to Sydney and then a few hours of stillness in the dental prosthetist’s chair….I sat for 15 minutes and created. Instant mindfulness and anxiety dialled down enough to face the day ahead with courage and confidence.

In the past few months where my health has improved to the point of me seeking to do more I have created these for a purpose  and I have  a proposal. This is something I will outline another time, but I have approached my local library to teach a Mindful Colouring and Mandalas class. They are keen and getting back to me soon.

Many of you know how much I enjoy my beach walks and occasionally I bring home some pebbles and shells. I love playing with their textures and shapes and have made a cairn and used them in some flower pots. I also like to decorate them. My grandkids have done this too. It is COOOOOL Grandma! And when there was some greenery around and flowers at our old house, they made a great mandala.

Lastly, and this helps me set the scene sometimes. I am fortunate enough to have made a ‘creative space of my own’. At the last house we rented I had my computer in the shared living room where it was next to my husband’s desk. My art ‘stuff’ was shared in a room where we had two bunk beds for visiting grandkids. In this house, we have not made up a grandkids room in a bedroom, preferring to leave it as storage, and…my second wardrobe.

This space, in an open plan area is where I am located now for both computer and creative activities. Luckily we have lots of portable-type storage, and some on wheels and I have adapted to this space well. It might not have a great view outside as my other one did, but it is good to have everything in one place.

My retirement and then my cancer diagnosis was very much helped by my daily creating. I no longer am concerned about product as I was. I love the process. I did make a commitment as 2018 began to “create daily” and for me this is any kind of venture where I am doing something mindfully for the fun of it.

Do you create anything?
What are your areas of creativity?

Blogging is creative that is for sure!

Denyse.

Joining Kylie for I Blog on Tuesdays here.

Joining Sue and Leanne for MidLife Share The Love Linky here.

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My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

Here we are, one week into the New Year and whilst I do not make them any more, it was clear in the media (who are, let’s face it in the business of selling their stories!) that it’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions.

The reason many of us choose not to any more is the real and perceived lack of willpower or character when we ‘fail’ to live up to them. This link re anxiety which can be heightened by making New Year’s Resolutions. So, it is not good for us it seems to do these!

In becoming more mindful over the past years to enable me to live more in the moment I note that my teachers, from the Buddhism area, talk of setting an intention each day. It is in doing this, and appreciating what we already have, that our present moments are valuable.

Last year my intention WAS to set an intention weekly but I ended up giving myself too much pressure to perform over it!

Not helpful in my mindful pursuits.

In 2017 I made KINDNESS and being KIND to myself and others a priority and in fact, the lightbox above where I am writing now, held this message for the year. It did help me centre myself more in the times when I became more negative about myself.

I also embraced gratitude as a mental and written practice. I was not consistent every day and there were days (as you can imagine when I first knew I had cancer!) that I did not feel grateful at all.

What is it to be for me in 2018? I was struck and somewhat humbled by various comments to me personally and in writing about how I have been managing the news of cancer, the surgeries and the long recovery times. The word which arose time and time again was BRAVE. I certainly saw myself as someone who usually actually rose to which ever occasion that was a challenge but didn’t quite think of it as being BRAVE.

Neverthless I am continuing to tell myself that perhaps this word IS a message for me to carry into 2018 as more surgery and recovery times await. So, my WORD was to be BRAVE….and then I listened to Brene Brown in her latest publication Braving the Wilderness and considered B R A V I N G. Here’s what Brene writes on page 149:

B     BOUNDARIES

R     RELIABILITY

A     ACCOUNTABILITY

V     VAULT

I      INTEGRITY

N     NON-JUDGMENT

G     GENEROSITY

Yet still, this was no quite what I wanted. For some weeks prior to this post I have had these words on my locked screen on my iphone and I thought they would be the intention for 2018:

BE THE BRAVE OTHERS SEE IN ME.

And that seemed sufficient until 5 days ago when I thought of a WORD..which was both self-contained and an acronym. Here it is:

B.  Be (brave)

O. Optimistic

L.  Loving & Learning

D. Determined (Denyse)

So, that is it. I am content with this and already have it here….and on my wrist! No, not a tatt! But an old-fashioned way: an engraved plate on a sweet little bracelet I will wear 24/7. My eyes can go to it and be reminded when my brain and confidence may be lagging and I can be:

B.O.L.D!

My “message to me” bracelet.

Sign Above Where I Blog.

There it is. An intention and a word with more!

Do you have a word or intention for this year?

Have you found that you forget them as the year goes along? I confess to that in a few years gone by!

Thanks for reading, commenting and hopefully linking up too!

Denyse.

On Mondays I also link up here with Alicia for Open Slather! Do pop over, her blog is always interesting and I learn a lot!

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 3/52 My Favourite Weather. 15/1/18.

 


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Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Yay for Meditation from me.

But, over time meditation has changed (me) for the better and I will outline why.

Before we go there, I want to clear up some misconceptions about meditation.

It is not:

  • where you turn off all your thoughts (impossible)
  • a session where you ‘chant’ or repeat a mantra (unless you choose to)
  • something you need a special time and place for (although you might find that helps you)
  • a magical panacea to life’s stressors ( if only!)
  • something to be done occasionally if you want to gain from it (i.e. missing days/weeks/months) 
  • is not always a cost to you (there are some programs I have used at the end of the post)

My brief history as a meditator.

I began formal (i.e. making myself sit in one place, with my eyes closed for 10 minutes) meditations shortly after enjoying and noting the benefits from a half-day course here at the local Buddhist Centre. I wrote about it here too on the blog back in 2015. I think I confused the two words: mindfulness and meditation as being one. They can be joined for sure but mindfulness can be practised in all kinds of settings whereas meditation tends to be in a quieter space often alone. Some meditations occur in  group setting such as the course I went to and on-line but for me, I have only ever meditated alone. More about what I got up to in the early days here.

I started with headspace via their app and did the first 10 sessions for free. I was IN. I then paid for the next stages and that has gone on now for a continuous time. I pay around $75 USD for annual membership.

This gives me the access to so many different topics all based on coming back to the breath and letting your brain note and let get has been worth it. I often repeat a group of sessions. Some are 30 sessions, others 10. I pick my time I want to meditate from 10mins, 15 mins to 20 mins. Right now, I am doing a work-based session called Productivity and it is 10 sessions for my choice of 10 minutes.

“But Denyse, you don’t work anymore says you”….true but I sure know I am liable to be distracted and wander off to do tasks and then get somewhat overwhelmed if I do not have them more organised. So, it is helping me with gentle guidance in a life skill.

So far here are the stats of my meditations history. I am not sure it is entirely accurate as I did have an account double and my date may not have transferred…but what the heck, it gives me a bit of a boost to see how I am going.

Total time meditated
191 hours

Sessions completed
924 sessions

Current run streak
35 days

Last time meditated
17 hours ago

This is reminding me that I have yet to meditate today (Saturday afternoon as I write, so I will be back!) I am back.

Where I meditate and why.

My default behaviour is rule-keeper. That means for me, starting as a meditator I made a special place within my bedroom where I had some items like a candle I would light, a high backed chair with cushion making sure my feet could touch the ground and of course, no interruptions. I also had a special time for it and reminder via my phone. I relaxed that somewhat this year and just have it as a general reminder. My iphone as the app for Headspace and each day it would be ready with the next session I had chosen.

As time went on, and we moved house, I did not have a set place or space devoted to meditation anymore other than not to be disturbed. I now meditate (often) outside in a comfy chair with my back supported and feet up on a seat. I sometimes meditate lying on a bed in my art room. I have meditated in bed at night if I have not done so in the day and I have meditated in my car (parked!) on some occasions.

It has made no difference to me how or where I meditate even though I did think in 2015 I had to do it ‘right’ to get the benefitsWhat I now know is the only doing it right is to actually do it! I have missed a day here and there (and I did not meditate in hospital because of the constant interruptions) and I feel the difference not doing it. I thought it would cure me of my anxiety and IBS and it hasn’t. But what it has done is made me more aware of not getting too carried away with my thoughts and to bring myself back to the breath. Not only via meditation but anywhere. My husband does a walking meditation too.

My breath is my anchor.

But what about mindfulness? 

For me, mindfulness is something I need to attend to more each day. And generally I do. I am more mindful because I notice things and look around me often. I feel the touch of where I am sitting and when driving the car. I smell the smells and inhale the good and pleasant ones as great memories. Of course I eat mindfully MORE now as I literally have to take great care eating and do not want to choke! I also listen more attentively to nature. The bird song here is just wonderful.

So, mindfulness + meditation is about attending to the session I guess. However, in my case, the founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe really just asks that we pay attention to the breath, and to let passing thoughts come and go..noting them but not getting caught up in them.

I have tried and still check out three other meditation apps/sites. Here is Smiling Mind which is Australian-based and used in schools now too. This one is called Calm. This is one on my phone too and is free. It’s Insight Timer.  Sometimes I do a meditation from my favourites Pema Chodron, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield on their CDs. I have one more to add. Comedian and writer, Ruby Wax has had many episodes of depression and it was only through meditation and mindfulness practices with some of the best Dr Mark Williams at Oxford that her health improved. She has now done a Masters there and produced a great book called Frazzled. I have listened to the audio version and she does a great job helping guide people as first time meditators.

I hope that you have found some of this helpful. Please ask me any questions in the comments. I am always happy to share and help.

How about you, are you for Meditation or not?

Denyse.

I link up here for Open Slather with Alicia and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

Thank you for linking up today.
You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!


 

 

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Mindfulness. #LifeThisWeek 33/52. 2017.101.

Mindfulness. #LifeThisWeek 33/52. 2017.101.

This prompt, along with my daily meditation via Headspace, was developed for ME to become even more mindful than I am.

I thought that it might help me become more focussed as I know I need to be more present-based in my thoughts rather than past oriented or future centred. 

Having the knowledge of what mindfulness is I need to be more practised in it.

Here’s a few knowledgable people’s quotes about what mindfulness is:

  • “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose,
 in the present moment, and 
non-judgmentally.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
  • “Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” (Marlatt & Kristeller)
  • “Awareness of present experience with acceptance.” (Germer, Segal, Fulton)
  • “Mindfulness is a state of being in the present moment openly, flexibility and with curiosity” – (B.J. Whelan)

So, why be mindful?

The present moment, as it is said by Erkhardt Tolle, is actually the NOW and it is the only time we experience. The past has happened and the future is yet to happen.

So, what am I doing to be more mindful?

  • When I am driving I ensure I pay attention to the road…and the conditions of course, but I also sense the wheel in my hands, listen to the music I am playing and sense the fresh air coming through the vents
  • When I am making something creative, I have my materials to keep me centred as I decided what colours, media and designs to make
  • When I am sitting without distraction, in my chair, or looking at a view, I take it all in through the five senses if that is possible
  • I recognise that if I become too past oriented or future centred, I do not notice or take in the present moment and I may indeed miss something of value such as a bird singing outside or the sun moving behind the clouds
  • It also helps me when I am anxious or worried to take some strategies I have learned about being present: see 5 things and name them to myself, hear 4 things and name them, touch 3 things and name them, smell 2 things and name them and finally, if appropriate taste one thing and name it. Once  I have mindfully done this I will often find the anxiety/worry has moved on!

I found this here and it is a great list for the ‘why’ of being mindful.

The Benefits of Mindfulness
Practising mindfulness helps you:
* to be fully present, here and now
* to experience unpleasant thoughts and feelings safely
* to become aware of what you’re avoiding
* to become more connected to yourself, to others and to the world around you
* to become less judgmental
* to increase self-awareness
* to become less disturbed by and less reactive to unpleasant experiences
* to learn the distinction between you and your thoughts
* to have more direct contact with the world, rather than living through your thoughts
* to learn that everything changes; that thoughts and feelings come and go like the weather
* to have more balance, less emotional volatility
* to experience more calm and peacefulness
* to develop self-acceptance and self-compassion

How are you at being mindful?

Do you sometimes find yourself wondering what just happened as you have not been paying attention to whatever you have been doing?

Can you suggest some strategies you use for being more mindful?

Denyse.

Linking with friends Alicia here and Kell here who also blog on Mondays!

Thank you for joining in the link-up this week.


 

 

 

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On Being Grateful. 366/265.

On Being Grateful. 366/265.

For the past year or so I have kept a gratitude journal on and off! On is when I remember and off is when I haven’t! So, in the past few months I’ve made the effort just about every day and I post the contents to a private Facebook group I am in. It helps keep me focussed on the haves rather than the have-nots, the positives instead of the much more forthcoming negatives and it makes me review and think!

I use an app on my iPhone so I can review the gratitude journal easily. It is a paid app called: Gratitude Journal – The Life-changing App. by PPL development company and it has reminders as well as daily quotes. You can add photos to each day should you choose. There are other apps around too but this is the one I find cool. Not sponsored!

In keeping with letting my readers know more about my topics, here are two articles about being grateful and expressing gratitude in ways which work for you.

Here’s one article about writing a gratitude journal. This is akin to what I do but not nearly as much time is expended nor numbers of things to note. That works for me.

And then there is this from a longer source: noted below.

The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.

Indeed, this cuts to very heart of my definition of gratitude, which has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.

The second part of gratitude is figuring out where that goodness comes from. We recognize the sources of this goodness as being outside of ourselves. It didn’t stem from anything we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride. We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others: We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.

from here.

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Here’s some of my entries over the past months. I write 3 things each day. They are many and varied! Some days I just do not want to write but I make myself consider that I am grateful for and I come up with them every time!

I am grateful for:

  • a day spent by myself
  • confidence growing and strengthening my outlook
  • changing some of my thoughts to be able to make a successful trip to see my dad
  • a sunshiney day which beckoned me outside for a walk with my husband
  • supportive blogging friends encouraging me in my new blogging link up
  • using some distractions and thinking skills to keep my mood from changing to a negative one after IBS
  • peanut butter on crunchy toast
  • sense of humour returning
  • my husband’s building skills as he creates furniture for us

So, do you practise feeling grateful?

Do you write anything in a journal that relates to gratitude?

Tell me what you think of gratitude!

Denyse.

health

Linking on with Raychael at Agent Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday.

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