I just love that word. It's something you feel on the inside that makes you want to do a happy dance, but only if you make space for it.
It's easy to allow the distractions of this life to fill up the space where joy can be felt and experienced.
What kind of distractions?
Well, let's see.
"Obligations" that aren't really the obligations that you think they are.
Conversations that are completely irrelevant to you.
Getting stuck in a rut that you've created for yourself.
Feeling boxed in by responsibility that you think you have to attend to at a certain time when you really don't have to. (This can feel heavy which is the opposite of JOY.)
Unnecessary activity that doesn't add to you or enhance your daily life experience.
So, what do you do with all this distraction?
I think the first step is recognizing what is a distraction in your life and how much space it's taking up. You may be surprised with how much room you can make in your life for the JOY you really want just by eliminating what isn't necessary and just focusing on what really matters to you.
You know what question I often ask myself when I want more JOY?
"What do you really want to do right now?"
You see, we often think we want things that we don't want when we really stop to think about it. If we're truly honest with ourselves, life can be much simpler and satisfying when we listen to our hearts.
And that makes sense since it's our heart that feels the JOY when we create it or when it happens spontaneously. Keeping our "ears" open for what is distracting us and taking action to remove or greatly reduce it can help us be more open to the JOY that awaits us with greater awareness and mindfulness of how we are spending our days.
I love it when I experience JOY in my heart when I choose to eliminate what is unnecessary and focus on what really matters. Then I know I'm truly aligned with Who I Am and I'm more able to leave my meaningful mark in the world.
List any and all distractions you currently have going on in your life. Determine the first one you will look to eliminate or greatly reduce to make more space for JOY. Take note of how you feel once that distraction has been dealt with and the space it makes for you to feel more JOY.
Art Journal Prompt:
Use the word JOY as an art journal prompt, showing and telling what brings you JOY. You can also create a spread expressing how you feel when you reduce the distractions in your life, honoring this positive change you have chosen for yourself.
I have some exciting news to share! But first, a little background. I have always loved dress forms. Whether I see them in magazines, in boutiques, in fashion in general locations, or in books where creativity is focused. And I've always wanted one of my own. (I think they inspire the designer in me.) They've always been on the pricey side so I've always put off the purchase, wondering if it would be worth it...and what would I do with it?
I recently started taking a fashion design and illustration course with Laura Volpintesta, founder of Fashion Illustration Tribe, and teacher at Parson's School of Design in NYC. Part of what we are learning is drawing fashion flats. So I decided to use some of my own wardrobe pieces to learn how the fashion I am wearing is constructed. That's where the dress form would be useful!
So I did some shopping around and Joann's was having a half price sale on dress forms! Woot! So I shimmied my way over and got me one, in leopard print, my favorite animal print. Soooo excited!
But, of course, once I did my flats for my fashion course, I decided I would use my dress form as my very own mannequin and dress it up with my daily wardrobe choices! I've even used it to see how well things would look layered, including the jewelry choices. I've been having a lot of fun dressing up my dress form! (I've called her Angela, just for the fun of it.)
So I decided, since I'm on Snapchat, to take some OOTD snaps and post them on IG and then I figured I'd share them here at Refresh Daily. Now these are not 8 days in a row choices, but close enough. There were a few days I didn't have time to dress up Angela to show them, so there are a few I left out. But I had fun doing these!
If you'd like to see my regular OOTDs on social media, you're welcome to follow me on Instagram at @RefreshwithDawnHerring and on Snapchat at @DawnHerring.
I'm so thrilled that I finally found my dress form after all these years. It makes me smile when I look at it since it's been something I've been drawn to creatively and now I've got it! Sometimes when you follow your creative curiosity, it takes time to fulfill a passion or dream you have. But persist and don't give up. You never know when an opportunity will come along to make it possible.
Is there something that has inspired you creatively from a distance and now you have it in your possession? What was it like to finally have it in hand? What dream does it fulfill in your life? Do you have ideas for its use? What do you hope for the most with it creatively?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using an image of something you desire, create a spread showing why you love it so much and why it would have great meaning for you if you were to acquire it. If you have the item already, share what makes it so special. And have a special enjoyment for it right now as if you just purchased or acquired it!
The doodles I feature here at Refresh Daily are ones taken directly from my personal journal that I record in daily. I do a doodle every evening to honor my daily experience. I choose a word or phrase that encapsulates my day and then design a doodle to showcase it with fun, fabulous color and design, which I greatly enjoy doing.
For this doodle, Totally Unexpected, I determined the words themselves based on what came into my path that day. Most of what I experienced I didn't see coming, both negative and positive. I was challenged with some situations and yet pleasantly surprised with others at the same time. You know how life can be truly dichomatic, where on one hand, you're totally excited about one thing and on the other, you feel thrown off your feet due to circumstances not in your control.
That day was one of those days. And you know what's amazing? As I realized how tough and yet successful my day was, I was thankful to be sitting and doodling, having made my way through!
The word, Totally, was drawn with letters compressed together, with arrows aiming toward the center, to emphasize the contraction of experience. The word, unexpected, also has letters that overlap, as if to present one thing after the other, and the sense of responsibility that comes with taking care of business.
The emphasizing marks in yellow and red show the excitement of something good that I didn't see coming at all and was very glad for it.
I filled the letters in with watercolor markers, with base color and several colors for shading to give the letter space dimension.
I really like using arrows for emphasis and often fill them with stippled, colored dots for fun visual interest.
Have you ever had a day that seems totally overwhelming from unexpected responsibility and yet you had a totally surprising experience that you didn't see coming that made you elated at the same time? Describe this dichotomy in detail and perhaps, share anything you would have done differently and what you would do the same. Congratulate yourself for having successfully dealt with the challenges and for your wins too!
Art Journal Prompt:
Using Dichotomy or Totally Unexpected, as word prompts, create a spread that honors how you handle difficulty and showcase your successes at the same time.
I had so much fun with this art journal spread, Bloom. I started the process by putting on my finger cuffs and finger painting with blues (unusual for me), purples and reds. I love doing finger painting because it gives me a very visceral experience with body to art which is highly enjoyable, dare I say, even blissful!
Once I had the finger painting part down, I decided to use some flower stencils to highlight various parts. Some I did removing the paint leaving it white for contrast. Others I used blue and red, sometimes layered over each other in different sizes. It was fun to determine where to put the flowers and where to layer them.
Once I had those down, I added bits of watercolor to add more definition where I felt it would be appropriate. I also highlighted the flowers with white Uniball pen and with red pen as well. I highlighted some of the finger prints with the white pen to give them more pop. I painted in a wash of red for a background color and I drew a red pen line all around the circumference of the fingerprinted area.
I decided to call the spread, BLOOM, since flowers were featured. So I cut out letters from colored construction paper to spell, Bloom, very organically. I did not use a stencil for the letters. I adhered them with matte medium, then I highlighted them with white Uniball pen and some purple oil pastel, and then outlined the letters on the background with white pen.
For the final application, I decided to write my insight from this spread in white pen which reads: Life happens in layers. Sometimes it's hard to see them all. It takes some excavating to discover the beauty within but it's there if you take the time to discover what lies beneath, and when you do, you will see that you're always in bloom.
Sometimes it may be hard to imagine when you don't feel like you're blooming, but I think that's where faith and trust in the process comes in. We are all beautiful inside; we just have to find that beauty, and it may come in ways we least expect. But when it comes, we KNOW. And it's a beautiful thing.
Describe a recent time when you really felt like you were blooming. What was the situation or occasion that prompted you feeling that way? Now describe a time when you felt like you weren't blooming. What did that feel like for you? What was the trigger of not feeling it? Now determine if this trigger came from within and if it's based in truth or a misconception of some kind. See what TRUTH you can reveal about yourself through this new understanding.
Art Journal Prompt:
Using Flowers as an image or using Bloom as a word prompt, do an art journal spread to honor the beauty within you. What makes you feel beautiful? You can commemorate a most recent experience that made you feel fully flowered. Recognize the beauty, whether it's obvious or not.
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.