Finding Beauty in the Ordinary
So often we want to know the final outcome and to 'know things for sure' before we risk. There will be times when we will have those 'know for sure' moments and times where we just need to take that first step.  Life is full of magic; the key is to show up and to be open to whatever comes our way. Yes, we can direct our own sails, but there are times when life can throw us a curve ball, and we just need to see the possibilities and not the "oh, sh*t!"

So, as I share the written words on this #ArtWork&Words piece below,  I encourage you to see the magic in the knowing and in your unknowing. You may be surprised...

"There is magic in the there is comfort and assurance of the next step on our path. The knowing of our abilities, of our strengths and our weaknesses can give rise to growth of our essence.
There is magic in the there is excitement and dreams of hope in the unwritten vastness. The knowing of choice, possibilities and summits can give rise to the progression of 'us.'
Allowing the unknown creep into the known and the knowing of the unknowing...there is magic."

Light and Love to you all.  And if you feel inclined, I would love to hear from you about how you deal with the known and unknown!

(Side/post-note: Every now and again, a word reappears in my life. Being an artist, I am always aware of symbols and things/words that catch my eye/heart! The word 'magic' has come in, and out of my life, many times. The above #TBT #ArtWork&Words was created in 2006. This past month, the word 'magic' has made its presence known ,and to coincide with this fact, I am creating a new #ArtWork&Words piece. ***beaming***  Is there a word or 'thing' that keeps popping up in your world?  What do you do with it?). 
PictureNow Be Present by Barbara Burns
This work is a visual reminder. Sometimes life can be busy and we need to remind ourselves to slow down. One moment rushes into another, we drive away from the house and ask ourselves, "Did I close the garage door?," and we find ourselves harried in our movements and emotions. Sound familiar? 

The feeling of strained and flustered moments in our days are the norm for most people. We find ourselves continually connected (via Twitter, texts et al), and our days begin with a list of expectations and things to do.  Every instant is planned for us, through work or people in our lives, or by us. We can feel like we have lost control of our lives.

It may be hard to believe, but we do have the opportunity to regain our power. We have the tendency to live too much in the past or the future, and not enough in the now. All we have is right now...this moment, this instant, this second. (and I thank you for reading this, at this time...***smile***). It is said, that those who have had successful moments/highlights in sports/work/life, have all mentioned the concept of 'being in the zone;' it is where their concentration and presence is so clear, at that moment, that everything else disappears, time moves more slowly, and their sixth sense is so attuned to what their next move should be. When we are singularly focused, great things can happen.

How can we help ourselves to get into "the zone?"  Here are some tools that have helped me:
  1. Take care of yourself: when our bodily needs are in balance, our mind and emotions can handle the stressors of the moment better. So, eat well.... sleep well. 
  2. Find time to relax: by resting our body and mind, we can assimilate new ideas and handle life's ups and downs in a healthier manner. So, take a breather.
  3. Get out and play: play is the most under utilized stress reliever and natural life upper. We make 'life' and living a serious thing; it doesn't have to be this way. Some of the greatest inventions, art and movements in history were created from the act of play. Play has no expectations and only joy in it; it is the seed to 'something wonderful is about to happen.'
  4. Create a mantra: a mantra is a saying we can repeat to ourself, over and over again. If we find yourself feeling harried, say out loud (or, if we are around others, silently say) our mantra. i.e. "Now...Be Present." Have a word, or short saying, that brings you back to this moment.
  5. This too shall pass: sometimes things, people or situations can be overwhelming, and we can forget that this is just a fraction of our life. So, stay calm and carry on.
  6. Listen to yourself: your intuition (also known as your 'gut reaction' or 'sixth sense') knows what it is saying. Most often we get into trouble when we don't follow our hunches and instincts. Trust what you feel and go with that. 
  7. Present your best self: every 'now' we encounter, gives us the opportunity to be our best for ourselves, for the people we are with, for our work and more. This life is full of fractions of time, and yet in each fraction, we can change the direction of our lives. The key is to give our this instant. 

So, what works for you? How do you get 'back to centre,' or find peace in your life?

(Note about above ArtWork & Words: In February 2013, my guide on "How to Create a Wet on Wet Watercolour" was featured in the Snapguide App. This work was the end result. (P.S. Thank you Snapguide executives for choosing to feature this in their Arts and Crafts section).

I'm stepping out of my comfort zone this month. How? My lips will be painted red... a bold, vibrant and passionate colour. I'm doing this because I am participating in a campaign called Red My Lips; I wear red because I support the ideas and actions of respect.

In the month of November, the guys have MOvember to change the face of men's health, now women have Red My Lips to raise awareness about sexual violence and to speak out against victim blaming.

Did you know...?
  • 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
  • In Canada, for every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to police.
  • Sexual assault isn't gender specific, men can be sexually assaulted as well.
(information from Sexual Assault in Canada website)

In December 2012, Danielle Tansino created the Red My Lips campaign. Through her own experience, she saw how victims of sexual assault are often blamed and that damaging myths (i.e. she let her guard down, she wore revealing clothes, she had too much to drink, she was really made up, etc.) perpetuated.

So, I'm doing my small part in raising awareness. I shared with my students the Red My Lips website, and told them that I am wearing red lipstick all this month to show my  support. And tonight, at Parent Teacher Interviews, I will be wearing my red lipstick with a Red My Lips flyer behind me. I believe acts of domination, entitlement and violence over anyone, male or female, is wrong....and so, I wear red.

They say the first step to change is awareness; my lips are red, not out of vanity but for visibility, and I'm sharing that respect is not only important, but a human right.

Can you help spread the word? Maybe red lipstick isn't your thing. How about a photo of you and a sign you created?  A photo of you with red lipstick kisses all over your face? Red painted fingernails and toenails? Heck, why not talk about it? So...what is your plan to help raise awareness? I'm listening...