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It's not too late to sign up for my Mixed Media class. Hope to see you there :)


An Update on Listening

As we approach the end of the year at neck breaking speed, and I’m being embraced by my new word for 2015, I’ve been thinking about my word and all that it’s brought me this year.

In January, Ali had us all write down our intentions for the year and with our word. Here are some of the highlights from mine:

  • Health: I want to go back to being stronger and making healthier choices.  I also want to experiment with different exercise and eating options.
  • Health: I really want to prioritize sleep.
  • Health: I want to prioritize self-care and set rituals for morning and night.
  • Serene: I want to explore what it means for me to be serene (also in public.)
  • Serene: I want to spend a lot of time in nature.
  • Grace: I will be in photos more.
  • Grace: I want to volunteer more.
  • Grace: I want to declutter.
  • Grace: I want to send emails to people who mean so much to me.
  • Engaged: I want to explore what it would mean for me to be fully engaged in my life.
  • Engaged: I want to show up.
  • Engaged: I don’t want to count the days, I want to live them.
  • Whole: Reach out to others.
  • Whole: I want to participate and speak up more.
  • I want to listen to the things that matter and listen with presence.
  • I want to choose to spend my attention, time, and energy on the things that feed my soul, mind and heart.

In February we set some actions for the year. here were mine:

  • Create a morning and evening ritual.
  • Spend time in nature every week.
  • Get in the photos regularly.
  • Show up (I want to be more engaged, choose to participate.)
  • Choose Nourished over Full
  • Heal (Choose to let go. Release and embrace the light.)
  • Declutter (Clean up one corner each week.)
  • Reach out (and connect with the people I care about.)
In June, I wrote down that I’d like to do some specific practices related to my word like journaling on voices/sounds i heard that day, 5-minute meditation to hear all the sounds around me, and doing one brave thing daily (listening to the sounds of my yearnings.)
So now, here we are halfway through October.
When I look at these lists. Some things strike me as interesting:
  1. Health: I’ve had on and off times but at this moment, I’m actively working on my health. I am doing the whole life challenge. I am eating very healthy daily. I am exercising, stretching, drinking water, sleeping about 8 hours a night, and doing at least some self care. I have yet to establish a morning or evening routine. When I wake up, I go right to exercise. I guess that’s my routine. In the evenings, I tend to lie in bed for a little bit and read or listen to a book. Neither of these are what I had in mind, but they are working for now. This is one I would still like to think about some more.
  2. Serene:  Now that the weather is getting colder and the kids are back in school, I am not sitting outside daily anymore. I am definitely not taking trips to the trees or water. I would like to do more of this. Some kind of recurring routine here would really help me. Serene is one that’s really speaking to me at the moment, maybe because I am feeling impatient inside at the moment. I’d like to embrace being more serene. I want to think about what this means to me.
  3. Grace: I’ve been in photos more this year. Though not taking many lately, I still am doing a better job jumping in. I will do it even more. I am volunteering a lot at the kids’ school but I would like to find another volunteer opportunity for David and me. I miss that. Decluttering daily this week. Feels wonderful. And, I definitely should send emails more. I think I will put scheduled time and reminders on my calendar to do that.
  4. Engaged: Getting better at showing up. But I want to explore what it would mean for me to be fully engaged in my life. This is a big one and I really would like to not ignore it. I’m working on making the changes needed to live my days more.
  5. Whole: I could reach out even more. I feel like the days are passing by too quickly. But I am participating. I am speaking up and being myself. I am getting there.

I haven’t done any of the three things I listed in June. They sound lovely but they are not interesting enough to me in October. So, those, I am going to let go.

Here are some other interesting ways listening has manifested in my life:

  • Audiobooks: I’ve listened to more audiobooks this year than ever before. Probably over 25 of them, which I find to be absolutely amazing. Never really did it with this much regularity before. 
  • Listen and Act: For the last few months especially, I’ve been acting very quickly on thoughts/yearnings/excitement I hear inside myself. I find myself excited by an idea and then I just do it. I start the process of putting it into action. It’s scary but also exhilarating.
  • Listen and Believe: This one is tough for me but I’ve been working hard at believing when people compliment me. When people offer me wonderful things. I’ve been working at saying thank you and letting gratitude wash over me. I don’t get it right each time but I am working on it.

Listen is a tough word for me; I talk a lot. It’s also tough because it’s not something I can do and check off my list. It’s something I have to do every moment of every day. Just like eating healthy, feeling serene, graceful, engaged, and whole. I have to work on these every day. But I’ve decided that these are the ways I want to feel and so this work is worth it.

More than anything, I still wholeheartedly believe in these two statements:

  • I want to listen to the things that matter and listen with presence.
  • I want to choose to spend my attention, time, and energy on the things that feed my soul, mind and heart.

Onward.

Giveaway for Online Class

I know I am due an update from last week’s posts. I will tell you just a few quick updates and then get down to the giveaway and I promise a longer update later this week:

  • I am still staying on top of the Whole Life Challenge. Thirty days down, 25 more to go.
  • I had my meeting, it went well and I stressed for nothing.
  • Life’s a collection of waiting moments right now. I do not do well with waiting.
  • I am really excited about my class starting soon.

On that great segue, I have one spot to give away in the class.

This class is taught by some of my favorite artists: Carolyn Peeler, CD Muckosky, Céline Navarro, Christy Tomlinson, Donna Downey, Frank Garcia, Rebecca Sower, Susan Weckesser, and me. 

Here’s a bit more about the class:
Got paint? Get inspired! Nine mixed-media experts will help you experiment with a diverse array of artistic techniques in this 9-week online workshop.

Mixed Media Studio is like nine different classes in one! Each week, a different artsy all-star will share an exclusive project, a video that walks you through a featured technique, and step-by-step instructions to help you complete the project. Plus, you’ll get to interact directly with the artists via our private classroom message board and gallery.

Would you like to find your groove in the mixed-media world? Try your hand at nine different art styles, all collected into one affordable workshop.

If you know for sure that you’re interested, you can register by clicking here. I confirmed that if you win and you’ve already registered, they will reimburse you.

If you’d like to win a spot in this class, please leave a comment and tell me what kind of classes you’d like me to teach.

I will post a winner on Monday, October 20, right here.

I really hope to see you in class.

ps: All the links are affiliate links as it’s a big part of how I get paid for the class so I would be really grateful if you signed up by clicking through on one of my links :)

Listen with Intent – Week 41

For this week, I picked beginner. As in beginner’s mind. Approaching everything as if for the first time. As if I have no idea what they mean. Hearing things for the first time. Listening with a new fresh attitude. No preconceived ideas. No premade conclusions. Being open and new. A beginner.

Here’s the pin where I got the lettering..


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

Nathaniel Reads to Mommy – Week 20


Nathaniel Reads to Mommy is a project for 2014 that I am doing with my 4.5-year-old son. You can read more about it here.

Today I Know – Week 40

This week’s inspiration comes from this pin. I used watercolors on this page. I like how quiet it is. but it didn’t turn out exactly as i’d hoped. that’s ok. this is all about experimenting after all.

prompt says: today i know that i am pretty good at…


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

A Book a Week – Instructions for Happiness and Success

I saw Instructions for Happiness and Success: A Step-by-Step Mind Manual for Creating the Life You Choose a few years ago at a store and fell in love with it immediately. I just loved the design, the happy orange cover, etc. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was about happiness.

I wanted to buy it right then and there. But I didn’t. Not sure why, honestly.

I put it in my pinterest board of books I want to buy and then it sat there for like two years. When I finally bought it, I sat down to read it and read the whole thing in one sitting.

It was quite great.

If you like pretty design and some interesting food for thought on happiness, it’s recommended.

Savor Project – 2014 – Spread Thirty-Four

Still catching up from the summer.

so happy.


Savor Project is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Hypocrisy

Yesterday, I got an email from someone asking me to setup a meeting with someone else. The minute I read the email, I felt dejected. This other person (let’s call him Ben) with whom I was asked to setup some time is not someone I am particularly fond of and I disliked the idea of his having anything to do with my day. It impacted me so strongly that it basically ruined my day. As you may remember, I was already grumpy so that didn’t help things much either. I kept looking at the email and pouting.

Not just pouting, but I kept making scenarios in my head about the content of the meeting, the attitude of Ben and I got grouchier and grouchier. By the end of the day, I was already confident I knew how this meeting would go. And I decided it was a lost cause. And then I wasn’t just grumpy. I was mad. And I was really sad.

The meeting is not until tomorrow.

This morning, I woke up and decided I needed to change my attitude around this whole thing. I knew that if I walked into this meeting with the mentality I had about Ben, I wouldn’t hear anything he said. As I learned in a class I took long ago, I would be Already Always Listening which means I would be listening to his words through the filter of my feelings for him. I would interpret his words inside my mind, giving them a negative spin. I would not really be listening to him but my own version of what he’s saying.

Which seemed the opposite of this week’s intent of listening carefully.

The truth is, I’ve only interacted with Ben once. For a very short period. I wanted something from him and he didn’t do what I wanted. He didn’t handle it the way I wanted. One time, two years ago. One time.

One time.

If someone else were judging me on the one interaction we’ve ever had, I’d be really disappointed. I’d want to be given the benefit of the doubt. I’d want them to give me a chance and come to the meeting with an open mind. In fact, if he already has similar feelings about me, I know I want him to be at this meeting with an open mind (even though I clearly don’t have one.)

Hypocrite, much?

Yes, indeed.

This afternoon, as I was journaling about all this, my hypocrisy hit me in the face. And I almost laughed out loud. At how obvious it is once I write it out. Think it through. At how ridiculous it is. At how horrible I was being.

What’s the point of having the meeting at all if I’ve already decided the outcome?

How is it I am holding him to a different standard than I am holding myself?

wow.

So I made a plan. My goal is to go to this meeting with a beginner’s mind. I will assume I’ve never met Ben before. I will assume he has good intentions (as much as I would assume from any stranger to whom I give the benefit of the doubt.) I will listen to the word that he says. The actual words. I will listen carefully. I will give him my attention.

I will also listen to the universe. And I will listen to my gut.

But I will do this after our conversation. I will sit and process it a bit. And then form my opinions. From information gathered during our talk.

And then if the outcome is not ideal, so be it.

At least it won’t be because I didn’t listen.

Remember This – Week 39

Life Book week 32 was an assignment from Micki Wilde. I had never drawn one of her girls before and I think I need a lot more practice but I still like what I ended up with. She’s giving love out to everyone.

It says: give all of you and ask for nothing in return.

I will say, I believe this wholeheartedly.


Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Grumpiness

I’ve been feeling the blahs for the last four days now. As I sat by my desk tonight, I found myself wondering if it’s a good idea to write when I am grumpy or if I should just avoid the blog at all costs.

The thing is, there are many little and big things where I feel like I am running behind lately. Or just dropping on the floor altogether.

  • I have been terrible about posting family photos here on the blog since around June. I have a lot of photos. They’ve been piling up but I just cannot get myself to do the work to post them. 
  • I’ve dropped the stitching project altogether. I think I’d just had enough of it. I have some ideas for Thursdays now but I haven’t gotten around to writing them.
  • I haven’t been really taking any pictures for months now. I have been using my SLR so little, it actually had a dead battery (from disuse) this has never happened since I bought the camera years ago.
  • I feel uninspired to blog lately.  Or journal. I think about both nonstop and want to do more, but I can’t get myself to do it.
  • I have a month’s worth of shoes I drew back in June and never posted.
  • And 75-days of sketching with only pen.

So hence the question of should I even bother. But sometimes it’s more about the practice of writing then the content. So I am going to keep at it. Here are some thoughts, things on my mind, things in my life, things to share, in no order:

  1. I just finished “I’ll Give You the Sun“ by Jandy Nelson. One of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. Really magical.
  2. My third sketching class is starting (actually i just checked and it looks like it just started!) and I’ve been sketching daily to get in the habit again
  3. I’m completely caught up in Life Book (just have this week’s lesson to do)
  4. My nephew and son have both been excitedly waiting for the latest and last Percy Jackson book. It’s been really fun watching their anticipation. I love that feeling of waiting for a book to come out so you can finally read it.
  5. I’ve already picked my word for 2015. Let’s see if it changes between now and November.
  6. I’ve been thinking about December Daily. I want to do a mixed media one this year, I think. Just not sure how it will be formatted. I need some time to think, plan, imagine.
  7. I’ve also been thinking about my projects for next year. My plan is to have one watercolor notebook and one acrylic one and just do all my projects in one or the other. I think….
  8. My son’s really into music and I love watching him sing and how he’s learning to play guitar. There’s nothing like music that speaks to your soul.
  9. So many people have emailed me to say they love my little one’s smiling face. It’s so sweet to hear.
  10. I miss my parents. My sister. My nephews. I miss my friends at home.
  11. I want to be better at keeping in touch with my friends all over. Another thing I never make proper time for.
  12. I’ve been reading Howard Jacob’s J for a while now and can’t seem to get through it but I also refuse to put it down.
  13. I have some important meetings this week that might determine how the next few years unfold. Please pray for me if that’s your thing. Or just send good wishes my way.
  14. I made a list of 12 nonfiction books and 12 art books and I am thinking of attacking one each month and actually making progress using the books I’ve bought.
  15. I’m 24 days into the Whole Life Challenge. And it’s challenging. I am hungry and tired a bunch. And I have not lost as much weight as I would have liked by now.
  16. I am trying to treat myself with some grace over the latest grumpiness.
  17. But I had told myself I had until the end of September to get organized again. It’s officially October.
  18. I hope you sign up for my class.

That’s it from me for now. I am sorry for the uninspiring posts lately. If you’re still around I’d love to hear from you on how you’re doing.

Listen with Intent – Week 40

For this month, I picked Listen Carefully. I wanted to go deeper this month. Notice what I am missing. What am I not paying attention to? What more could I see? Am I misinterpreting anything? I just wanted to pay attention even further.

Here’s the pin where I got the lettering..


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

Today I Know - Week 39

This week’s inspiration also comes from Sketchbook Skool. Another assignment about drawing fast and slow. I drew with orange paint fast and then went over it with pen. I used watercolors on this page. I am not loving it but here we are.

prompt says: today i know that silence makes me feel…


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