Saturday, February 26, 2011

What I learn from E-courses

Well it is the end of February and it has been a very busy creative two months.  I took three E-courses and loved each one in their own way!  First let me begin with taking Misty Mawn's Stretching Within and that is exactly what she accomplished with this course.  There were over 205 participants and yet we seemed like we were a small and intimate group.  There was a private Facebook group where we were able to share our thoughts and ideas with each other, and yes, our very private poetry writings!  There was a Flicker photo group where we were able to post pics of our work if we wanted to and then there was Misty's weekly lessons, which absolutely blew me away!  She had so many lessons, examples, photos, references and stunning examples to learn by.  On top of that, she produced incredible videos with all of her techniques.  She was so willing to share her artistic spirit and knowledge with us, I received so much more than I ever thought.  I especially loved her music mixes she produced that we could create by.  I absolutely can not wait for her book Unfurling to come out soon, it is going to be such a studio reference for all of us who purchase it.  Misty took the time to link us to her favorite stores where she purchases the materials she taught us to use during the entire course.  Thank you Misty for your beautiful spirit, talent and guidance during this course.

I was very excited to hear that Art And Soul Retreat was coming to Hampton, Virginia just forty minutes from my home.  I signed up for a one full day handmade journal class and then last minute decided to take another full day class.   It was Misty's Painted Papers class; there was ONE SPOT LEFT and I got it!!  I love it when things like that happen.  I was intended to spend a whole day with Misty and meet her face to face!!! I also get to catch up with some of my beautiful Squam by the Sea friends, it is going to be an awesome experience, can't wait for April to come!!!!

Okay, second E-course was Mondo Beyondo.  Now how do you describe something that is so life changing in just a blog entry?  You can't.  I was wondering if I had indeed signed up for course overload, but each one was different and I needed each course.  If I had to choose which one I could have left off, well I just couldn't!!!! In Mondo Beyondo each day in my email inbox a daily lesson was sent to me with life challenges, thoughts, stories, audio interviews, affirmations and so much more.  There was a classmate discussion board where we could come together and share our thoughts and feelings.  I can't even put into words the amount of inspiration that came to me each day.  Now I am in Mondo Beyondo withdrawel, I miss my emails each day!  I did gain a pen pal out of the class and we continue to keep in touch with each other.  Please, if you ever get the chance to participate in this, do so, it will be a tremendous gift of self exploration you give to yourself.  It is life changing.

Last and certainly not least, my Life in the Fishbowl with Marisa from Creative Thursday just ended this week.  I already miss Marisa and her beautiful voice and spirit.  She spent five weeks teaching us and sharing everthing about having an online presence.  She first had an audio lesson sent to us and a few days later she visited us by video.  You just have to see her smile when she shares with you.  We learned about blogging, twitter, fb, marketing ourselves, selling and pricing our work, where she gets all of her supplies from mailing to painting! I have taken other courses with Marisa and she welcomes you into her world, lovingly and supporting you all the way.  She has given me the confidence to go forward in my online exploration!

I am in a creative space right now and I am still absorbing all the wonderful things that I have learned these past few months.  I am grateful that I can learn in such a way when I am not able to always travel to these wonderful art workshops around the country and learn in person.  The online world is opening up opportunities for me to learn and grow right in the beauty of my own home and in my jammies!!  I encourage you to explore the many opportunities that are out there!  I have linked my courses for you.

Now I get to learn how to create and paint adorable owls from the gifted Juliette Crane.  I have followed her for quite some time now and I love her art style.  We both shared the Stretching Within E course together.  I know this is going to be so much fun, I truly can't wait to begin.  I am actually looking forward to painting for fun and learning something whimsical.  More to follow . . .

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yoga in my Life

Breathe . . . Intention . . . Rest . . . Focus . . . Peace of Mind

"Sitting with Intention"
My favorite sculpture

I have practiced yoga off and on for years, but seriously developed my yoga practice in 2006.  It has truly changed my life and my perspective on how I see things.  It all happened when I stepped into a beautiful yoga studio called  Hot House Yoga in Virginia Beach, VA and I have been practicing yoga there ever since!  I immediately felt a sense of peace and tranquility when I stepped onto my mat that day.  What a gift I gave to myself,  I didn't even realize the path my life was about to take back then.

I am currently working on the 40 day yoga challenge.  It is a challenge for myself to practice four days out of seven for forty days, easy I thought!  I was going pretty consistently anyway, so this would be a breeze!  It has turned into so much more. I am feeling motivated, stronger and am seeing the results of a disciplined yoga life.  I truly thought I was already committed to my yoga, this has renewed my strength and certainly my love for my yoga practice.

Strength . . . Stability . . . Calm . . . Quiet of Mind . . . Challenge

Yoga calms me, centers me, works with my body, heart and mind.  I am loving every minute of my practice and carry it into every part of my life. When my parents were so very ill, it was stepping onto my mat that gave me a time of quiet for myself.  A time to not think about illness, a time for regeneration of my thoughts and my body.  I was able to leave the cares of what I was living through and know that during that time, I could leave my cares at the door.  Hot House Yoga was a retreat for me, a safe place where I found peace.  I know when I came there, it had a feeling of home and comfort to me.  I am lucky to feel a part of the Yax yoga family!  They rock on so many levels!!!

My yoga practice has taught me to live with intention, to live carefully and to be sensitive to those around me.  It has gotten me through a rough day at work and has certainly taught me to be mindful of all things in my life, including what food enters my body!  My artwork has grown into something deeper.  I practice mindfulness when I am painting and I am expressing myself more freely through my art.  I know and believe that I have grown in strength and wellness.  When I am asked "what is it in your life that is important to you?",  I have to answer my precious family, caring for my home, my faith in God, friendships, being an artist and certainly my yoga practice.  I believe all are interwoven together to create the fabric of my life.  Yoga has shown me the way to living in balance and that is not always easy!  I know this to be true.

I encourage you . . . if you have never gone to a yoga class, please try.  It doesn't have to be hot yoga, just try it.  It is a gift of health and life that you give to yourself.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  There are so many types of yoga,  just experiment and see where you are most comfortable.  Practicing yoga in my life has been fun and certainly challenging;  but I am growing everyday and getting stronger with each and every yoga pose!  You will wonder how you ever lived without it.  If you try it for the first time, please let me know.  Just envision me tapping on your shoulder saying you are welcome here my friend!

Embrace . . . Growth . . . Mindfulness . . . Discipline . . . Practice