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Archive for the ‘Take It to Heart’ Category

An Artist’s Expression of You

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

There’s a certain fascination with what artists do. While the rest of us breathe to live, they create just as naturally and with the same necessity. What is an artist who does not create?

Man Carrying Large PaintingLook in the mirror. Maybe it’s you.

Are you frustrated? Sometimes irritable? Feel like something’s missing in your life? All signs you are looking for creative expression and may not see the need or the opportunity in your daily life.

I don’t have any training.

I don’t own a paintbrush.

I’m not artistic.

Trying to be what you perceive you are not is unsettling. But if you think all artists must know how to paint, let’s turn that notion up side down.

Artists create their vision into outward expression. They release what is inside of them and create the image in tangible form. We celebrate the artist who paints, who writes, who performs. That same artistic opportunity is available to all of us. Our medium for creation is our mind. Our canvas for creation is our life.

All artists begin with an image in their mind of what they want to create. Not knowing every brushstroke, or every word to use, or movement they will make in the creative process, they begin with an intention to manifest in physical form what can no longer stay within them.

You are a creative being, an artist of your own life. Express the image of what’s inside you. Imagine your life. Create your life. Celebrate the artist that you are.


“True artists are almost the only men who do their work for pleasure.” Auguste Rodin

No Resolutions this New Year

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

You’re off the hook. No New Years resolutions are required this year. Resolutions, no matter how well your intention, don’t work. They’re too big, don’t feel natural and sometimes daunting. There is a much more effective way to begin your new year, one that guarantees success.

surprised babyIt’s called a Habit. Now before you run through a litany of excuses, think of all the bad habits developed over your life time that have been impossible to kick.

Biting your nails.

Being late.

Embellishing the truth.

That just shows you that habits, once adopted do not just go away.

What about the good habits? At some point in your life a parent drilled into you the habit of brushing your teeth every day. Now you naturally perform that habit without thinking.

After being embarrassed by a college roommate when I hadn’t shaved my legs in a week, I decided to make shaving my legs every day a habit. That simple action became and still is part of my daily grooming ritual. It makes me feel better about myself.

So back to this New Year. There may be something in your mind. You know, if you did it every day, your life would improve. But how, in your busy day, do you fit in one more thing?

The secret to creating a new, positive habit is to assign it a time slot.

The easiest way to find time is to link the action to a habit you already have.

Say you want to read an inspirational or self help book this year. No time as you rush through your morning- or is there? Prop a book up in your bathroom and read a few lines as you brush your teeth. Totally painless because you’re standing there, thinking about something anyway. Your day will undoubtedly be more pleasant.

You may have thought of resolving this year to be a better conversationalist, or to meet new people. No time to join a club or church. Instead make a habit of speaking to everyone you see, in the elevator or passing on the street. Just a hello or small talk is enough to stretch your social boundaries. It will also make the recipient of your gesture feel better about themselves. No telling where this could lead.

What else would you like to do in the New Year? Be more grateful? Add that to your nighttime ritual, just before you turn out the lights. Jot down a note to someone you appreciate- just a line or two will do. That simple habit will release endorphin into your system and you will sleep peacefully. And imagine the smile on their face when they open the mail box.

Our habits create our life.  Only you create your habits.


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle

You Are the Absence of Darkness

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Burning Candles


Sharing with you this thought of the season to carry with you all year.


"Candle Dipping"

by Clara Bell Thurston


"A candle's but a simple thing;

It starts with just a bit of string.

Yet dipped and dipped with patient hand,

It gathers wax upon the strand.

Until, complete and snowy white,

It gives at last a lovely light.


Life seems so like that bit of string;

Each deed we do a simple thing;

Yet day by day if in life's strand

We work with patient heart and hand,

It gathers joy, makes dark days bright,

And gives at last a lovely light."


May your light be steady. Where you share yourself with the world, no darkness remains.

Merry Christmas!

Sights on the Beach

Friday, November 30th, 2012

What's the difference between judgement and noticing? Walking on the beach today, a cloudy and coolish day, even the brave tourists from the North were missing. The only souls to be found on the sand were a variety of solitary people, sitting cross legged or lying down, dressed simply, unshaven and barefooted.

From my description are you seeing a picture in your mind? When you visualize these people, are you noticing or making a judgement? Outward appearances dictate the impressions we have about people. Our mind tends to embellish observations by adding details we presume to be true.

As a story comes together in our mind, we rely on past experiences or what we've been told by others to pre-judge the sight we see. Of course that's where prejudice is born, from ignorance of the truth and presumptions.

How simple to presume the souls on the sand are the homeless, the down-on-their-luck, too lazy to work, drains on society types. But doesn't that statement go past noticing and lead you down the path into judgement?

The birds on the beach, we notice.

The texture of the sand, we notice.

A dog running through the waves, we notice.

A person, a human form just like we are, we are compelled to judge.

It has been said that what we judge in others is what we do not like about ourselves. Instead of judging, notice the truth about who they are- a living, loving soul, following their path on this earth, just like you.

And these souls are fortunate to greet the day sitting on the sand of a beach in paradise.


"When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."
Wayne Dyer


Thank You for Your Service

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

A holiday for remembrance, Veteran's Day is one of only a few yearly occasions on the calendar that is not marked by celebration. Seems each month there is a day to display colorful decorations, send a "happy" this or that card, prepare a special meal or give us reason to go out to celebrate.

The commemoration on this day involved a parade, a solemn tribute and show of pride for a group of people who ask for nothing in return, after giving everything on behalf of the rest of us, so we can all enjoy our daily freedoms.

Don't let this day go unnoticed, or pretend it's just another Monday holiday without mail delivery. If leprechauns and bunnies deserve a celebration, why not celebrate today by taking a veteran to lunch? Wear the solitary red poppy to proudly decorate your lapel and honor those who left us too soon.

And remember to say "Thank You for Your Service."


"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was a joy."
Rabindranath Tagore

Doesn’t It Feel Good?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

If you wanted to make someone feel good, how would you accomplish that? Instead of trying to imagine what another person would enjoy, think first about what makes you feel good.

Everyone has their peculiarities. They like mustard on pretzels. Or prefer the color green instead of red. Wine tops beer every time. But consider the similarities we share. What makes you feel good?

      Being called by your name.

      Getting a sincere compliment.

      Receiving an unexpected gift.

All simple gestures that feel wonderful and boost you self esteem. What everyone likes is to be noticed and appreciated. How many times in your day could you make the effort to remember someone's name and repeat it back to them? When you notice that a person looks great wearing a particular color, why not tell them? Next time you see a little something in the store and think to yourself, "she would love that," add it to your purchases and make her day.

What do you like?

To feel good. Pass it on.


"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around"

Leo Buscaglia

Unintended Drama

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Don't we love to be entertained? Sometimes scared? Shaken out of our daily doldrums? That's why we line up to see the latest movie thriller. And that's why we are frantic if we aren't in front of our big screen TV for the newest episode of our favorite weekly drama series.

But we never imagined the ferocity of the unintended reality show that has just occurred. The broadcast is surreal. We are so accustomed to be shocked and appalled by the eccentricities of our fellow humans, yet this debacle is not human made. The storm of the century.

All the forces of nature combined with the perfect celestial timing to create this scene of devastation. Floating vehicles, boats marooned on sidewalks, unforgiving water depths engulfing streets, and freakish fires obliterating entire neighborhoods. This panorama rivals any Hollywood production.

Yet soon you'll change the channel.

The water will recede.

The vehicles will be scrapped.

And most of us, miles away, will resume our daily doldrums.

The thing about being entertained, or frightened, or shocked is that we get accustomed to the high of it. We crave it. And then it's over till the next time.

As you're fascinated by the telling and retelling of the stories and your eyes are glued to the images of destruction and despair, remember what is human about those stories and the haunting scenes.

Can you put yourself for a moment into a feeling of compassion?

Can you feel gratitude for all that you have?

Can you appreciate the common bond that you share with all people?

Loss of property, extreme discomfort, prolonged inconvenience, these are all, by the grace of God, bearable. But not abandonment.

Do what you can with your thoughts, your prayers, your time and attention. And realize what happens to one of us, happens to all of us.

We are all touched by the ripples from a single drop.


"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive."
Dalai Lama

What’s Hiding Behind the Veil?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Over the last few weeks, I have been participating in a group meditation led by a local practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. Over the years, I've experimented with meditation and usually stumbled at the prospect of "emptying my mind" of thoughts. This time it was different.

Instead of trying to force thoughts out of the mind, she described the process as watching your thoughts float in and out of the mind, like clouds moving across the sky. Not judging or criticizing the errant thoughts, but just letting them drift in and pass along. Now that I can do.

The guided meditation for this week was called the Seven Veil Meditation. It did not involve seductive dances with filmy veils, even in our imaginations. The seven veils served as an analogy for the many ways we use to describe ourselves in our earthly life.

One veil represented our identity in relation to other people, our self as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, or lover. Another spoke to our identification with our possessions, my house, my car, my favorite hat. A veil was used to describe the attributes of our physical body, race, gender, height, personality. Another veil represented the mind or the ego that so often is in charge of the mind.

With each successive layer we pictured in our minds, we released the strong identification with that aspect of our self that we use to describe who we are. With the dropping of each veil, I felt freer, not encumbered by the pressure to live up to that identity.

Why disassociate from these aspects, these labels that make us who we are? She explained the exercise quite simply-

"The more these veils define you, the more they may confine you."

In releasing our dependence on labels to define who we are, we are left with the truth that we are not our things, our relationships, our physical bodies or our limited minds. Those labels only trap us into believing in the illusion that we are each different and separate from the universal whole.

Because you see yourself as your reflection in the mirror, are you also judging yourself as being too old, or young, or somehow disadvantaged and thus not capable of pursuing your dreams?

Because you are someone's wife or daughter, to you resist taking self empowering actions that they may not understand?

Because you feel compelled to hoard or protect your possessions, are you not as generous as you could be to others?

Even filmy veils can confine when tightly wrapped around us. Yet when their grasp is released, the colorful, translucent fabrics flow lightly and freely around us to decorate our life on earth. When the veils flow freely, our true self, our loving nature shines through.

"A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil."

Victor Hugo

Thanks for the Celebration

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Touched by all the well wishes on our anniversary yesterday,  I've found another reason to be grateful. I'm grateful for all the people in my life that cheer me on.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in out daily crises, we feel like we are alone and our experiences are somehow separate from everyone else. Yet, our humanness is shared by billions of people on this earth. We shed the same tears and understand the universal language of a smile.

Celebrating another year of marriage is an accomplishment, yet one that is shared by many. Seems we only hear about the relationships that end badly. We sensationalize the bad rather than celebrating the good.

Those well wishes we received made me proud of our accomplishment and fueled my resolve to add another year and more. Same can be true for any occasion you help to celebrate; a promotion, an engagement, an improvement in health, a job well done.

Lifting the spirit of another person is a simple thing for you to do and it makes a tremendous impression on the recipient. Think about how it feels to be remembered. Caring enough from someone else is more than enough to help you through a rough day. Your expression is a powerful way to-

Build confidence.

Inspire to do more.

Give a  feeling of connection.

Today is brighter through the memories of yesterday. Thank you for your contribution to my happiness!


"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. "
Oprah Winfrey


Peace Is a Place

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Today, September 21, is designated as World Peace Day. Plenty of 60's peace symbols are everywhere on the internet. Strains of  "Give Peace a Chance" fill the airways. The memories of that decades old movement make me smile.

When we think of peace as a movement, it necessarily requires moving someone else to change their behavior. Although most people in the world insist that changing other people is possible, the truth is, we cannot change anyone but our self.

Peace in the world begins with peace within each one of us.

"Be the change you want to see" is the simple instruction to create peace.

Breathe deeply and quiet your mind. Feel as calm as you possibly can.

You have begun Peace on Earth.


"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. "
Jimi Hendrix

Tell Me More

Mary Ellen Lapp reveals how the colors we wear, and the colors that surround us, even the color of the car we drive, impact out self image and affects how we are seen by the people around us.

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