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Today I Know - Week 9

This page is inspired by these lovely owls. This page uses some gelatos, some watercolor pencils, and some neocolor watersoluble crayons.

prompt says: today i know it feels good when i…

i just wrote down all the things that make me feel good like nathatniel’s baby smell and holding david’s hand, etc.

Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 9

Here we are. Another month, another intent to Listen. I decided that March was the month to start being brave. Paying attention to the quiet voices. Trying new things. Taking leaps big and small. Listening without fear or worry.

I think that sometimes when you’re living life, it gets easy to just do the next thing. Sometimes I don’t even think too hard about what I want and/or whether it’s the Right thing. I’m not saying I make bad choices, but more that I am not engaged when I take action. I do the next thing there is to do. I do what must be done (what I think must be done.)

For me, being brave, is about listening to the voices that are not the loudest. Listening to other ways of doing something. Listening to the quieter voices. Listening to what my soul whispers. Listening to what my body craves. The voices I don’t make time for. The voices I am purposefully avoiding.

Being brave is hard. Being brave requires intent. My plan is to dedicate march to practicing courage with my listening.

Here’s the lettering I used and for my sketches I decided on some arrows. Now sure why. Maybe I was thinking about the Hunger Games when I drew this…

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 8

For my final intent in the month of February I wanted to make sure to remember What Matters Most. This is something that I know I can lose sight of quickly. It’s easy to take things for granted. I don’t think of how lucky I am to be healthy until I feel sick. I don’t think about the wonderful house we live in or our car unless something breaks down. Sometimes I have to lose something to remember how important it is. And I don’t want that to be the case.

I want to always remember what matters most and be deliberate to make sure I listen to those that matter most over the other stuff that can get in the way. If I chose to work at home so I can be there for my kids but then I don’t listen to them when they need me cause I am in the middle of a work issue, am I remembering what I decided matters most? (Obviously there are exceptions but in general, if I made an active choice of family over career, it makes sense that when there’s a family issue, for the most part, it should get my attention first.)

So my intention this week is to be deliberate about what matters most. To pay attention to it. What does matter most? How much am I honoring it? How closely am I choosing to listen to what matters most?

The lettering I used is here and I decided to go with simple little hearts for my sketch this week.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 7

Continuing with the theme of Listening Deliberately, I thought a lot about what I would like to focus on this week. Slow down is what came up. Maybe I should have switched last week’s intent with this one since it feels like slowing down should come before making a choice does, but alas this is how it showed up and I’m sticking with it.

Maybe it’s the universe’s way of telling me that I will have to slow down this week if I want to be deliberate. I am not the kind of person who slows down very often. I don’t mean the lack-of-focus: I can sit still and read a book for four hours straight. But when I am doing a task, I tend to rush through it. I tend to want to “get it done.” It’s not even getting it over with as much as it is being able to check it off my list.

Considering the size of my list, if I want to check things off, I am not slowing down very often.

And yes, when you don’t slow down, you miss things. You miss important things. You are not being deliberate. You’re not even present, how could you be deliberate? So the intent for this week is to slow down. Way, way, way down.

Let’s see how I do.

This week’s lettering is here and I chose the meditating girl for my sketch because meditating is an excellent way to slow down.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 6

Since this month’s goal is to be deliberate, I felt like choose was a very obvious intention to set for this week. One of the crucial parts of being deliberate is exercising choice. If I don’t get to choose what I am listening to, I am using the verb passively, I am listening to what’s louder or more annoying or shinier, or whatever is catching my attention for some reason.

Choosing implies that I am paying attention and making an active decision to listen to something particular (over something else.) I might choose silence. I might choose music. I might choose Nathaniel. I might choose work.

It doesn’t matter as much what the choice is, as the fact that I am doing the choosing.

The power is in the act of choosing.

This week’s lettering is from here and the sketch is supposed to be the corner of a compass. I chose a compass because compasses help tell direction. My intent is for my core desires and “the important” to be this week’s compass.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 5

A new month means a new intention. After January’s intentions to be calm, I thought being Deliberate would be lovely for February. My intention with being deliberate is about taking ownership and control over my life. Even though listen sounds like a passive word, like it’s something that’s happening to me, I think of it as a very active word. When I chose listen for 2014, my intent was to move into the realm of listening actively. I think the word deliberate lines up wonderfully with that overall intention.

My intention this month is to really pay attention to what and who I am listening to and be deliberate about those choices. I think that if I don’t pay attention, I won’t notice, and my hunch is that I am listening to what’s urgent (or what feels urgent) over what’s important.

So time to get deliberate.

In this week’s sketch, I used a little lovely angel for no reason whatsoever except that I liked it. I wanted her to have some shimmer so I added some stickles after I colored it. The lettering I used is from a computer font called Feel Script.

Here’s to a month of listening deliberately.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Today I Know - Week 4

I pinned this doodled dress such a long time ago and I guess its time had finally come. I will say that this page took a long long time both to draw and to color. I did the coloring with watercolor pencils and then added a little water soluble markers.

The prompt says: today I know that I would never be where I am without…
And i wrote about how lucky I am for my parents’ support and generosity. and how it’s thanks to them that i am where i am. i am so very grateful. thank you mom and dad.

Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 4

We’re still continuing with the monthly intention of Listening Calmly. As I thought about what it means to listen calmly, I knew that one of the things I can try is the opposite of what I mentioned two weeks ago. Instead of taking a walk, I can try to be still. I can try not to move, talk, react. I can try to not even make an effort to breathe. Instead, I can just be still. I can get really quiet and be in this moment. I can listen to what my body is feeling, what thoughts are coming up, what feelings are trying to take over. I can pay attention to what’s going on and I can be curious about my “reaction.”

With being still and paying attention, I will also allow my higher thinking to kick back in and instead of judging myself for feeling a certain way, I will just be with it and, hopefully, I might be able to watch it disappear.

Being still, like with calmness in general, has never been my forte. But I know it has tremendous value. I am hoping that setting it as an intent this week will help me intentionally choose to be still more.

Let’s see how it works.

The lettering I used on this page is here somewhere and I chose to use candles because somehow I always associate being still with candlelight. I love going to other people’s houses and seeing lit candles but I never really use them in my house. Maybe it’s something else I can try this week.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Listen with Intent - Week 3

Still continuing on the monthly intention of Listening Calmly, I decided to choose the most basic and useful of intents this week: Breathe.

If only I could learn to breathe.

Like taking a walk, taking a moment to breathe is a simple trick to get your body to pause long enough for your prefrontal cortex to come back online. And breathing is much less conspicuous. It can be done in a meeting. It can be done while on the phone or at a restaurant. It’s hard to walk away when you’re sitting at a coffee shop but it’s easy to take a moment and breathe.

I feel like if I could get better at breathing and choosing to breathe, the words that I say would be much kinder. The actions I take would be much less rushed and the mistakes I make would be much fewer.

All in all, seems like a plus-plus to me.

Like most new habits, breathing will also take time and practice (it seems silly to say that we need practice to learn to breathe since it’s something we do all the time anyway but this is more about deep breathing, or breathing at a particular time. Almost synonymous with pausing.)

So that’s the intent for this week.

I couldn’t find the lettering I used here, I will come back and link to it when I have. The sketch I used is from here. I used the image of a dandelion because it reminds me of letting out your breath to blow on it. Breathing out.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Monthly Projects – January – Birds – Part 1

So here we are. While the meditation isn’t really happening, I’ve begun the bird drawing. So far, I’ve skipped only Sunday due to the fact that I was traveling.

Almost all of the birds come from this pinterest board. The credit belongs to the original artists:

This last one, I did on the plane to CHA so I didn’t have too many supplies. Some of these I love and others, not so much. But I am definitely getting to practice drawing and painting birds which was the whole point.

You can read more about my monthly projects in 2014 here.

Listen with Intent - Week 2

As it worked out with the title page, this month will only have three more weeks. So this week is the monthly intent for January: Listen Calmly.

January is going to be a tough month for work, so I decided that calm would be a good way to start the year, especially since serene is one of my core desires. So this month’s intent is to listen calmly.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what calm means to me. What I’ve learned from a lot of reading and listening to talks is that when we stress, our fight or flight response kicks in and our prefrontal cortex (where we do higher level thinking) shuts down. If I can manage to find a way to calm myself down, it gives my brain some time to come back online and for me to be able to think again.

This means that I am now acting and not reacting. This is where I would like to be.

When I was discussing a situation where I often find myself reacting with my coach last year, one trick I thought of was to walk away (in this case from the computer) and take ten minutes to myself. Go outside if I can, but if not, just walk around the living room, or do whatever it takes to spend the time. Ten minutes can be long when you’re doing nothing. Long enough to have the influx of emotion pass and long enough for my body to stop reacting and for my ability to think to come back.

And while ten minutes is long enough for all that to happen, it’s short enough that the “disaster” can wait. It will not get much worse. I can afford the ten minutes.

So that’s my plan for this week. If I find myself experiencing anxiety, stress, worry, fear, I will take a ten minute break and walk around. Wait for the immediate reaction to pass and for the calmness to come back.

Here’s a before shot of the above page. I used the picture of a tree because trees make me feel calm. The lettering is Octave and the tree is inspired by the wonderful Pam Carriker.

I then colored with watercolor pencils to complete my page.

Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Sketching in 2013 - Looking Back

I’ve now been sketching for a few years and I knew that even if I did it less often, I wanted to continue this project in 2013. Alas I went only about half a year before I needed a change, so I decided it was okay to let myself off the hook. I still ended up with over 90 sketches for this year which isn’t bad.

Here are some of my favorites:

and a few more:

I also did end up making a few zentangles and a bunch of portraits this year so as to not walk away from sketching altogether.

As I thought about 2014, I knew I wasn’t going to continue making these for a while. I ran out of ideas of things that interest me. I know that at some point, I will want to do it again and maybe do something different like landscapes or more involved sketches but for now I knew I needed a break from them but I also felt sad about giving up sketching completely so I decided to keep it around in a less involved way for 2014. We’ll see if it works.

And, if not, I might bring it back anyway. I know these little sketches make me happy.