Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Monday: Release

Music has the unique power to bring us to an awareness of our feelings in an unfettered way.  Somehow it is acceptable to shed tears while listening to a Mahler symphony, the same tears we suppress when confronted with our own or another's pain.  Music informs us that we are creatures of feeling, that our feelings are valid, that there is nothing wrong about experiencing them.
Joanne Crandall, Self-Transformation through Music

Diffcult feelings that remain locked beneath the surface of our daily actions can increasingly block our true selves.  Even worse, we may begin to so identify with the feelings that we are withholding, that we begin to characterise these feelings as who we are, more than the feelings of our harmonious self.  Music is a potent vehicle for releasing these feelings that we normally filter either out of being polite, maintaining the peace, or even being fearful that by expressing them we might emotionally fall apart.

What is your music for emotional release?  Allow this music to be part of your cleansing process.  Listen to it a little louder than you might normally.  Feel it in your deepest self... and allow it to let your silenced voice speak.

Check out these activities at Sacred Arts Studio:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Sketch: Have a Heart

This sketch is for my nephew, Miles, and all his young classmates who are participating in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart program.  Please help him as he tries to make a difference for children with heart problems by visiting his website.  Any donation of a dollar or two would be so meaningful! Besides, how can your resist this face!

Don't forget to check out the work of other brilliant artists at Sunday Sketches.  And check out these upcoming activities here at Sacred Arts Studio!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


When you have come to the edge of all light that you know
And are about to drop of into the darkness of the unknown;
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on
Or you will be taught to fly.
~Patrick Overton

Ever embarked on on a new adventure?  Gone somewhere new in your life?  Done something that you haven't had a model or a manual for?   It is stresssssssssssssssssssful!  Isn't it?  You feel like you are floundering about and trying to take act thoughtfully.  You are putting in your research, and putting in your effort.  And still there are those people who stand on the sidelines.. not really clear what your mission is, not aware of all the details.. putting their two cents in.. and sometimes not very nicely!  Add to it all that self talk you already have... somewhere along the lines of  "Why the heck are you doing this?  You're not capable!  You don't know enough!  You don't have what it takes!"  How do you keep your motivation going?  How do you keep up the pace despite all those fears from within and those projected on to you?  How do you trust the process?

Surround yourself with those who know and love the real you.

Focus on the feedback of those with experience and expertise.

Make a daily practice of taking in inspiration -- from books, from the internet, from other people.

Accept mistakes as part of the journey.  Life is an experiment!

Trust in your ability to work through the obstacles.. and accept nothing less.

Bon voyage!

Take time to check out these upcoming activities:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Healing Art Challenge: Delight

Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself.
Give yourself peace of mind.
You deserve to be happy.
You deserve delight.
~Hannah Arendt

Oh, man have I been in a winter slump!  Have you?  Exhausted after the holidays, it's so easy for the blahs to set in.  This week I was given the wonderful advice to take the tasks that are most challenging me and do whatever I can to make them fun.. turn on fun music, laugh, dance, whatever I need to do!  So that's, what this challenge is all about.. finding joy!  So get out your paints, crayons, your pencils, your musical instruments.. whatever the tools are for your medium for creation and interpret delight for us!  Please email your pictures, poems, photos, or performances to by Thursday, February 4 at 12 pm CST time.  The gallery will be posted on this site later that day.  If you publish a blog, please give me the link so it can be shared along with your work!

And for a little extra inspiration... please visit this post on Why Adults Need Play, by my very wise older sister and lifetime playmate, Jodi Crane, play therapist.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kaizen Wednesday: Persistent vs. Consistent

This is the highest wisdom that I own; 
freedom and life are earned by those alone
who conquer them each day anew. 
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I'm not sure if you're like me, but when I set out to do something.. I really want to do it, and do it well.  Consistency has always been highly valued.  If I work at something, and can't keep it going, thoughts of failure creep in.  Then I focus more on my lack of success and fear picking up and trying again. Consistency becomes a trap!  Pretty soon when I look around, all I can see are the things I tried to do, and couldn't follow through on.  Yikes!

The problem is.. life really doesn't work that way, does it?  If you use consistency as the value by which you gauge your success in activities, you'll be successful in a a few activities.. but you'll also be successfully consistent in giving up on a great many things as well.  Don't get me wrong, some times we try endeavours that should be abandoned.  But sometimes we need to pick up something we once tried, and try it again.  One step at a time.  Focusing on the future, not on the unchangeable past.

And isn't that what makes life more interesting?  Which landscape is more interesting?  One with mountains and valleys or plains?  To create the dynamic, we have to accept the lows, and persist in picking ourselves back up.  Again and again and again...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Music Monday: Overcome

Thank you, Dr. King!

My life has benefited by so many people whose skin was different than mine.  Today I celebrate your legacy and all those who have worked for justice.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kaizen Wednesday: A Single Step

Remember this game!  Oh my, starting at the beginning it looks like a daunting task getting up to that blue ribbon, doesn't it?  Not so nice when you hit a chute and go backwards.. but the ladders are quite pleasant!  The amazing thing is that you eventually always get to the top.. as long as you stick around long enough.  But it's the not ladders that get you there.. it's the those single steps.  The spaces between are actually what propel you forward.

All changes, even positive ones, are scary.  Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear.  But the small steps of kaizen disarm the brain's fear response, stiumlating rational though and creative play.
~ Robert Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life

Try to imagine that gameboard without all those ladders and chutes.  It's a lot less daunting isn't it?  When we look to make broad sweeping changes in a big grand way (new year's resolution style)  we're hoping for ladders but we end up getting a lot more chutes than what life already throws us.  Instead, a simple step by step by step... that's how really life- lasting change occurs.

So this month.. as we look at our financial stablity, have you taken a few small steps?  Have you managed to cut back on something?  Have you made a bill right when you've gotten it rather than letting it sit?  Just a little tiny step... it's there waiting in front of you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Prayer for Australia

While I complain about cold feet,
Having to wear a coat to the market,
Windows fogging up...
There are those for whom
 Healing waters sent to quench the land
Have extracted them from
Their ground.

To better understand the areas of flooding devastation, please visit the insightful post ""When Waters Rise..O My Soul" at the blog The Party Never Quits.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Sketch: What's Your Orange Today?

As we become curators of our own contentment on the Simple Abundance path...
we learn to savor the small with a grateful heart.
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Many, many years ago I remember an interview on television of a man who was dying of cancer.  He said that knowing his time was limited, he woke up every morning and slowly, slowly savored his daily orange... savoring the wetness of the juice, the texture of the pulp, the sweetness of such a common thing. 

Is that not the duty of those who live with a grateful heart?  Complex beauty lies all around us.. dressed in simplicity.  What will you taste today?

For more sketches by other artists, please visit the home of Sunday Sketches here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Healing Art Challenge: Commit

The achievement of your goal is assumed the moment you commit yourself to it.
~ Mack R. Douglas

I am a firm believer that our thoughts are the primary factor in what we are able to accomplish.  There are people who begin a task knowing that it will come to fruition because they will do whatever is in their power , no matter what happens, to make it so.  And there are those who begin a task telling themselves they are not capable, that they might not succeed, that the best they can do is try (which usually means they will work towards their goal until the first roadblock manages its way into their path.)

For this challenge, please create pieces based on the idea of committing to a goal.  Paintings, photographs, videos, poems... any form of art is allowed! Please email your pieces to by Thursday, January 13 at 12 pm CST time. Please note that entries that do not reflect the healing nature of the challenge or arrive late, might not be included.

If you are interested in purchasing the above piece for $65+shipping, please email  All proceeds go towards the work of the Friends in Healing community.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Healing Art Gallery: And the Award Goes to...


The challenge this week was to create your own personal "awards show" out of the memories from 2010.  Participants were asked to artistically interpret a list of the year's winners for the following categories:

Best Inspirational Person
Best Moment in Nature
Best Lesson Learned
Best Bellylaugh
Best Song /Movie/Book
Best Playful Moment
Best Self-Achievement
Best Outcome from a Difficult Experience
Best Meal
Best Moment of Kindness Witnessed

It's so easy to focus on the difficult, and negative moments from the year.  This was such a fun way to look at some of the great things!  I'm really excited to show you these pieces, excited to have a few new mediums thrown in the mix.  I hope you'll take the time to jot a kind comment to our participants this week!




Just a reminder that we will have our online movie club discussion of  "The Music Within" on January 11 at 6pm CST in the Education Room of the Friends in Healing chatroom on this blog.  You can read more about January movie club here.  And we will havr our online book club discussion of  She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb on January 25 at 1 pm CST time in the Education Room.  You can read more about January book club here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kaizen Wednesday: Wait the Worth

Each month of the year we are taking a single life growth area, and encouraging readers to break it down into a simple, attainable goal for the week.  Using the Japanese concept of kaizen 改善, continued improvement, the hope is that trying out small steps will encourage bigger life change.  This month, our kaizen concept is financial stability.  For ideas on steps you can take each week this month please read last week's post here.

This is a ring I have wanted for years.  I abosolutely adore it.  I love nature, I love the artistry, and I love the symbolism of the four seasons.  And although I could think of a number of reasons why I really deserved this ring - I work hard, why I could have this ring - it's moderately priced, and why I should have this ring- the inspiration it could provide,  I did not buy it.  For some reason, I just felt like if I bought it, if I gave it to myself right away, it would get lost in all the other meaningless little things I spend money on.  I really wanted to wait the worth of it out.

Until now.  I was blessed to choose a Christmas gift from my husband, and something told me this is the time!  So now on my right index finger, I have this little ring, as a reminder in all I do...

There is a time for everything
and a season for every purpose under the heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

And right next to that ring, on my middle finger I have a butterfly.. to remind me that true growth and change comes in the right time, and is definitely worth the wait...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Sketch: You May Stack it Neatly

... it's still just baggage.

You can leave it unpacked.
Take it with you on new adventures.
But you won't have room for souvenirs.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January Kaizen: Financial Stability

Kaizen 改善:  Japanese term for continuous improvement and change for the better.

Okay, so here's the idea.  Break our goals for the year up into 12 different areas for life growth.  For each of those months, come up with one action per week.  Some actions will stick, other's won't.  But in the end, we will be continuously improving, and in a much better place that we started.

This month we are looking at finances.  What is one action you can do each week that is a step towards better financial stability.  Here are a few thoughts:

1.  Cut out the daily wallet drains.  Look at the following expenses.  Which one makes a big impact on your pocketbook.  Commit to not spending on it for just one week.
bottled water
car washes
weekday lunches out
vending machine snacks

2.  Check out your local library.  Rather than spending money on books, music, and movies.. check them out!  You'd be suprised at the current releases you will find.  Also, most library systems now have ebooks!

3.  Cancel unused memberships.  Personally, I avoid any kind of recurring membership fee like the plague!  They just dont work for me!  If there is a way for me to get the same service without a membership, I'll do that any day.

4.  Pay your bills as they come.  If money isnt your issue, financial organization may be.  Avoid late fees by paying bills in a timely manner.

5.  Avoid temptation.  This is actually easier than it seems.  You're out shopping, you see something you'd like to purchase.  Rather than buying it in the moment,  test yourself.  If it is something you really really want or need, you'll be willing to come back another day for it.  If not, then you probably didnt need it to begin with.

6.  Substitute.  Rent a video rather than going to a movie.  Bring a bag of snacks rather than purchasing.  Have a game night with friends rather than going out.  Find a way to do what you want without shelling out the cash.

7.  Coupon, coupon, coupon!   Plan your cooking for the week based on what is on sale.  Buy generic.. most are just as good as the name brand.  Avoid buying the extra snacks (not good for you anyway)  And stick to that grocery list! Also, when cooking, look several versions of a recipe up on the internet.  Look for the primary ingredients, those that are common to all the versions.  The less extra ingredients you have to buy, the more you will save. 

8.  Downsize.  Your cable service.  Your cell phone service.  Your cleaning service.  I know you've gotten used to it.. so you feel like it's a necessity.  But take a hard look.  Is it really?  Give your own ability some credit.  You can live in a smaller way!

9.  Use up what you already have.  Food in the pantry or the fridge, art supplies, cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning supplies.  Before you go to buy something new... force yourself to use what you already have.  Train yourself to feel satisfaction in using something up.

10. Track your spending.   Every little penny, write it down.  See exactly what you are doing with your money. All those small amounts add up!

So those are 10 possible options.  None of them are that creative.. nor really that difficult.  Choose one for each week.  You can comment here, or meet up in the forums for support meeting your goal!  We also will have a general  "Goal Gear Up" session every Sunday night in the Education room of the Friends in Healing chatroom.  Help us witness your progress and uplift you!

Share this Post!