In the throws of Hurricane Harvey, with catastrophic flooding causing many to lose their homes and their belongings, I observed the difficulties and challenges laid before so many.
Without their own space, running water, and just having what they brought with them, if anything, in the face of such a daunting storm, my heart broke for these folks.
So what does JOY have to do with such heart ache and loss? Is that even possible?
As I considered their circumstances and prayed for their recovery, I realize a-new the importance of seeing what I have Right in Front of Me with renewed gratitude and appreciation.
Like water in my kitchen sink.
My own restroom.
A comfortable bed.
All of my clothes dry and ready to wear.
Electricity where needed.
I began to see these Basic Necessities as Gifts. Because, in essence, that's what they are.
And as I looked at these basics and experienced this deep gratitude for what I have, JOY made its presence known.
When we see what we enJOY daily a-new, it can change how we see and experience life completely.
Just paying attention to that running water in whatever capacity we are using it for. Or those lights that illumine our space.
The comforts of home can bring us New JOY as we take a moment to appreciate what we have.
It's really about being mindful. That word Mindful has become so popular, as I read recent headlines on magazine covers.
But mindfulness can be a true source of JOY.
Just taking that moment to say Thank YOU to the Universe for giving what is needed.
Here at Refresh with Dawn Herring, Finding JOY Takes Center Stage.
And as the evacuees exited the Houston area as well as Floridians leaving in the face of Hurricane Irma, the Basics have taken center stage.
May we never see them in quite the same way again.
Take a moment in your journal to really pay attention to one thing you have that makes you really happy, realizing gratitude a-new. What would it be like if you lost that one thing? If it was no longer available to you? Detail how you feel in your journal.
Art Journal Prompt:
Create a spread that invokes gratitude for the simple things you use every day. You can use images of these simple things collage style to be focal points of appreciation.
Using a writing implement you truly value for its performance, color or comfort in your hand, create a doodle that initiates an attitude of Joy and Gratitude, keeping the design as simple as possible showing that just basic design can also be meaningful.
To get more JOY in your inbox, subscribe to The JOY Finder to stay abreast of happenings here at Refresh with Dawn Herring plus get quality content to help initiate more JOY in your daily experience.
Follow this link to listen to my first Refresh Daily podcast episode titled, Observation is a Key to JOY.
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring
Copyright 2017 Header Art by Dawn Herring
I am sitting across a restaurant table from my grandson. He is deeply in the midst of JOY with his meal which consists of white rice, chicken, and pico in a bowl. I watch him in between my own bites of JOY as he exercises coordination with his plastic black fork to grab another piece of chicken to enjoy. I notice how intent he is and how singular his focus on the meal in front of him. I almost let out a chuckle as I observe this Zen moment in a restaurant.
Isn't it lovely when you can Observe one you love and care about enjoying the simple things in life?
Or how about just taking in the present moment and realize how blessed you are?
Or savoring the morsels of your favorite meal, almost like a cat does when sipping real milk or salmon?
We can experience more JOY when we take the moments one at a time, ones that truly resonate, satiate our palette and just make us feel good because we appreciate all there is right in front of us.
Remember, these moments are just a moment...meaning they won't last forever.
So capture it...in your mind, in your heart, in your soul. And EnJOY.
In detail, recall a moment in your day that you would like to savor with all of your senses, one at a time, of course. Does it take you back right to where you first relished this experience?
Write a list of other moments you can detail that truly resonated with you, especially on an emotional level. Think FUN and JOY as you consider this opportunity.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Plan a spread that honors your favorite moment of the past week, one that made you laugh, appreciate, or just plain surprised you. You can use images or simply detail with fun fonts and embellishments using the colors that bring this memory to life!
Use your favorite writing implement and the word Observe and draw little simple pictures of subject matter that you encountered in your moments of JOY as a momento.
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring
As we start a new month, the month of August, I have a new acronym to share with you to help initiate more JOY in your life.
I share with you in the video what this essentially means to me: Knowing that the Universe has our back, when we start with gratitude, we can open ourselves to greater trust in what the days will hold.
How can you make gratitude a regular underlying vibe and mindset in your daily life? What does self trust and trust in the Universe look and feel like to you?
Art Journal Prompt:
Use your art journal spread as a gratitude initiator through image, color and make making to express your deepest thanks for what you have right now.
Use Trust as your doodle prompt and see what marks you can make that feel good to you right now.
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring
When you look at something in your immediate surroundings that you put there, what comes to mind? Does it just become a back ground visual or does it stir you in some way? Is there a reason why it's there?
It can be anything.
From a piece of clothing to your laptop or the car in your driveway. It could be paint supplies, a toolbox or a memento from a loved one.
It really doesn't matter what it is. It's a matter of what it means to you.
How does it benefit you?
I think when we take a closer look at what we have chosen to have around us, it can teach us something about ourselves. And perhaps having a new appreciation for what it is, what it does and why we chose it can activate a higher awareness of what matters to us.
And, in essence, it can invoke gratitude.
But what is the essence of gratitude? Is it just an attitude? An idea? Or just an expected reference to the Thanksgiving Holiday?
When we see something anew and ask ourselves, why do I have this? What does it do for me? And we answer those questions, we can discover a fresh vision of Who We Are right now.
Especially since what we say today may not have been true a year ago or even a month ago.
How we perceive what we own or what we choose for ourselves can speak volumes about what is inside our hearts. And when we get that fresh perspective on what we may not think about very often, we can find ourselves smiling and saying, Wow. I think I should consider how benefited I am more often.
We can lose sight of the 'why' of what we possess, which can sometimes cover the essence of what we value.
It can be as simple as appreciating the towel we dry our hands off with or the necklace we wear that was a gift from a loved one. Or even the calculator we use in the office.
Seeing anew what we value and saying, I am glad I have this, it makes life easier and more pleasurable, can instigate the essence of appreciation and gratitude that can especially carry us when we feel heavy with burden.
Carry that essence of what you appreciate with you every day. You may find yourself smiling when you least expect to.
Write a list of three things in your immediate environment. Detail where they came from, who gave them to you if applicable or why you purchased it. How does it benefit you most? Would you buy it again if given the chance? Capture the essence of your appreciation for these things.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Use images of some of your favorite things and doodle your appreciation for their value in your life, what they remind you of, and what meaning they have for you.
Isn't it fun to dress up in a costume and take on a persona for a day or evening? With Halloween coming up, I was thinking about folks who dress up in costume for either a party gathering or dressing up with the kids as we take them out into the neighborhood for some Trick or Treat activity.
I have many memories of my costumes over the years from my childhood and adolescence. From a China Girl to a monster to a rock star with microphone in hand. Fun times!
Pretending to be something other than what we are on this dress-up day can be interesting and lively.
But when we take that pretense into our everyday, that takes on more of a Trick vibe than a Treat.
We may have dreams and goals we aspire to fulfill, yet we find ourselves falling short simply because what we have in our imagination doesn't really align with what's in our heart.
We may get side tracked or distracted by what others are doing and want to align with their direction even when it doesn't quite feel right inside.
That's when we need to really get honest with ourselves and take a closer look at what we perceive is "missing" in our personality and in the roles we play in life and see what we are already doing that we may not be giving ourselves credit for.
We don't need to pretend to be something or someone we aren't in order to "fit in" or to make ourselves feel better about how we think we don't measure up. This is just a mean ole trick we play on ourselves that throws us out of our center and leaves us feeling less than.
Instead we need to FULLY EMBRACE EXACTLY WHO WE ARE. Relish the specifics of our personality, our preferences and our purpose in life. This is the greatest TREAT we can give ourselves, loving ourselves from the inside out, seeing ourselves honestly and with gratitude for what we have to offer the world.
It's okay to pretend once in a while...use your imagination and have some fun. But don't allow that to create discontentment with who you are and where you are right now.
Now, this doesn't mean you can't create positive change. It simply means you start from that honest, raw place of truth to get you started and then take one small step at a time toward what you know is right for you.
No tricks. Just joyful, deliciousness to treat yourself with that fills your heart to the full.
Write a letter to the self you may sometimes pretend to be and tell that persona why you are attracted to it. Then share why you love yourself just as you are. Then determine what one small step you can take toward loving yourself more and bring about essential positive change that you want to make in your heart of hearts.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Using images of people in costume, create a spread honoring that persona you think is the most fun and doodle words around the spread sharing why you like it so much. Then Honor Who You Are right now in color, image or doodle.
Copyright 2016 Dawn Herring
Copryight 2016 Header Image by Dawn Herring
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!
I am excited to share with you my contribution to our January/February #JournalChat Live OPEN HOUSE (see link for details!) with our focused topic, Your Journaling: The Greatest Investment.
I will share with you why journaling and art journaling have been 2 of the greatest investments in my life and what these practices have led me to as one of the Greatest Investments in my life, especially in the past five years.
As an avid written journal keeper, I have found numerous benefits in my daily entries as I've discovered more about myself, my life, my world.
But one of the biggest Investments my journaling practice has been for me is in direct connection with my creativity: It has been directly influential in giving me creative clarity and direction (combined with prayer/meditation) toward building my creative practice, which is essentially regularly engaging in journaling, art journaling, doodling, intuitive watercolor painting and other creativity-based activities that keep me connected with my creative flow and light.
Journaling has enabled me to hash out what works for me creatively and what doesn't. I can be honest with myself and determine what I love and what doesn't float my boat.
One of the Greatest Investments I have discovered as a RESULT of my journaling practice has been my Intuitive Watercolor Painting. I decided to start using watercolor 5 years ago when I first began working in a sketchbook/mixed media book to create visuals with paint, image and text, what I now call my Art Journaling practice.
Watercolor and Art Journaling came into my life at the same time and both of those practices have become essential in my creative life. With both activities, I can listen carefully to my intuition and to my heart, which enables me to understand myself better, on a deeper subconscious level, which is incredibly powerful. I have been amazed with what comes out sometimes.
My watercolor painting that I do daily has become a way to play with color and apply it in my own artistic approach, both using the stippling method (essentially, dots of color in layers) as well as other paintbrush applications. This process for me is relaxing, refreshing, revitalizing and FUN. I have found my artistic style using the watercolor medium and that makes me very happy.
Journaling, both written and visual, have been conduits of wisdom, deep understanding, insight, and help with making decisions, including investing time in myself every day, even if it's just 5 minutes.
I highly recommend a written journal keeping practice as well as a visual one to invest time in yourself this year. But one of my greatest wishes is for you to discover what makes you happy and practice it every day. YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID.
How has your journaling practice been a wise and beneficial investment in your life? Detail how your life has changed for the better as a result of keeping a written journal.
Also, detail how your journaling practice has led you to the greatest benefit of your life. How did you discover it and how often do you engage in it? How do you feel about it afterwards?
Art Journaling Prompt:
Using the Greatest Investment as a prompt, create an authentic visual that honors what you love about art journaling or another activity that lifts your spirit and leaves you feeling fabulous. What do you love about it so much? Relish the process!
At the tail-end of autumn, I was out for a walk on my usual block in my neighborhood. It was bright sunshine with lots of wind, blowing the leaves from one end of the sidewalk to the other.
As I began my cross over, a thought occurred to me that as the wind drives the leaves away, they will never be seen again in their beauty in the exact same spot. Once they're gone, that's it.
So I became compelled to capture the beauty of leaves exactly as they were At That Moment in Time. I was totally in the moment as a result. I must have taken over 30 pictures in the space of 10 minutes. I felt blown away by the beauty and yet felt the overt transience of the moment, the position of my subject matter, and the great realization that I would not be the same after this moment.
LIFE is Transient. In all of its dimensions. From one moment to another. In our way of life, our day to day existence, our relationships, our routines, our work, our health. Everything changes from one moment to the next, and you can never know quite what to expect.
So I must make the best of each moment. Seize the moment while you have it. Slow down long enough to take it all in. Like I did on this day.
This moment and time really spoke to me. Sometimes it surprises me what comes to me during these times on my walk when I'm truly open to what nature has to share.
As I took one snapshot after another, I became mesmerized by the variety of shapes, the varying colors, the brilliance of sunshine on the leaves in contrast to the sidewalk colors, stone-looks, and background nuances that caused the leaves to really pop out at me. I felt as if I didn't want to pass any up since they all seemed frozen in time just for my camera!
Leaves have truly been a fascinating subject matter for me visually, both as an image taker and as an artist, and that day just put them even more in the spotlight. And when I was finished and satisfied with my time, my adventure, and the gift those leaves gave me, I returned home to view my images and was amazed as to the color and variety of treasure I now contained and planned for future enjoyment.
I would say that Autumn 2015 truly left its mark on me; it had a lot to say and my heart is full.
Have you ever had an experience that truly made you realize how transient life is? How did this experience alert you to this? What impact did it have on you? Did you feel changed by this realization, and if you did, did you change anything about the way you do life as a result?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the word, Transience, create a visual that shows your understanding of how being in the moment can change the way you experience life. Use images that are transient in subject matter. Use colors that remind you of the changeability of every day life.
I am an avid nature observer, and my walks are the perfect place for nature-based adventure. I recently went on a walk, and as I trod the sidewalk, I noticed a vast amount of bird song; it was as if the whole neighborhood had gathered to talk about the delightful weather. It was such a pleasure to notice all the beautiful sound (it was like surround sound at its best!) that practically enveloped me and drew me in.
But it wasn't just the birds I heard that made that day such a delight. I also saw several butterflies along my path. You know, sometimes I honestly feel as if these butterflies come flitting about me to say hello, and that they don't just happen to be there when I arrive. And of course, I always return the greeting with great admiration, thus the photo above in the first image.
And I was lucky enough to get a good shot of my beloved mocking bird amidst all that delightful and joyful bird song, which you can see in the second image.
As I walked about listening and enjoying my surrounds, slowing down to take it all in, I managed to capture one of those birds in flight. As I considered my experience of walking in my neighborhood that day, it literally felt as if I was being invited into this intense energy of Rejoicing, like they simply could not contain themselves for their JOY of this beautiful day.
And dare I say, it felt Sacred to me. I do so love the birds and squirrels and butterflies and all the nature-based delight around me. It's so full of LIFE. And, really, there's nothing better than Life, is there? PURE, GROWING, LIVELY ENERGY that just fills the heart to overflowing with gratitude and appreciation for THIS DAY.
Yes, I found Myself Rejoicing right along with those wonderful birds; and I think that made them happy too somehow.
I also captured some of this delightful sound on video which you can listen to below. So, now, you can rejoice with us!
Have you ever found yourself being drawn into something delightful that just lifted your spirit and brought joy to your heart? If so, detail it in your journal, including the when, where, and who you were with if you weren't alone. Share how that made a difference in your day afterwards. Did it change your perspective?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the word prompt, Rejoicing, create a visual to honor a time when something delightfully surprising crossed your path, using colors that rekindle that delight visually. Use photos/images if you have them to commemorate such an occasion.
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.