So, here we are at Back to School Time. Where the school supplies are in abundance (Stocked up on those trusty composition notebooks of course!) and the kids are getting ready to start classes to get them one step closer to graduation, to meeting goals, to establishing what their direction will be and to figure out their purpose.
This time of year can also be a source of inspiration toward life-long learning and activating self-discovery as we choose to go deeper into Who We Are. As we watch the kids gets their school supplies, clothes and gear gathered, we can also be inspired by what motivates us and where our curiosities are bringing us. This can enable us to learn something new about ourselves, which can lead to more self-appreciation as well as motivation to initiate positive change.
As an artist, I am constantly looking for inspiration by taking photographs, looking through magazines, and watching videos, reading inspiring blog posts, articles and reading books and also listening to podcasts.
And I often find it!
And when I do, I get excited and motivated to look more closely at my own motivation, direction and purpose as a creator.
One thing I've already learned in my life-long pursuit of educating myself about Who I Am and What My Purpose Is is to always be willing to make a change when it's needed, with no apology, no second guessing.
When I see what is working, I look to expand on that. When I see what isn't working, I start journaling, connecting with Spirit and determining what my next step is.
Life is constantly changing, just like our kids and grandkids do as we see their growth and feel proud of their accomplishments as they learn about Who They Are, what talents they possess, and how they can leave their meaningful mark in the world.
And because of that flux of change, we need to always be looking for new opportunities to grow, to create, to discover, to go deeper.
That's why I love my creative practice so much. Each activity I choose to engage in, as often as I choose to engage in it, is another way of learning about myself, giving myself space to think, dream, love, discover, follow "rabbit holes" of curiosity, and learning to be more flexible with myself with what I choose to do, what supplies I choose to work with, and with what I choose to express myself.
It's easy to fall into a creative rut, doing the same thing over and over. That's when it's good to change things up, be open to new possibilities and try new things, things that excite your heart and make you want to do a happy dance.
And a happy dance in just the beginning. Who knows where our creative practice can lead us, what new places we have yet to explore and what new inspiration will come across our path and lead us into a new love?
See yourself as a student of your Creativity; see what it has to teach you; listen carefully and relish each moment. No, not everything we do has to be "just so." Stay open to making mistakes (If you perceive them that way) and not being completely satisfied with the job you did. That's okay. It's all a learning process.
I think one of the key issues is being True To Yourself.
Honor Your Preferences. Pay Close Attention to Your Intuitive Nudges. Follow Those Curiosities.
What Life Message can you glean from each creative experience, each creative act, each creative project, each creative journey?
Enjoy each creative moment, whether you're going solo or sharing it with your kids or grandkids. Let Life Teach You and Relish the Learning.
What does your creative practice teach you? What have you learned about yourself, your creative work, your world? What is the most recent creative experience you've had and what did it show you about yourself? What positive change can you initiate based on what you now know? Celebrate in your journal what you've learned!
Art Journal Prompt:
Create a Back to Your Creative Practice spread, using images of creative projects you've completed and what they have taught you about yourself. Or dream on the page about what you want to learn and try that is new for you.
And if you're wanting to go a bit deeper into Activating Your Intuition, Honoring Your Preferences and Listening to Your Life Messages, you're welcome to check out my 21 Day Refresh Intensive Course.
Copyright 2016 Dawn Herring
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!
It can be difficult to recognize your value, can't it? You don't have an objective point of view when it comes to what you put out into the world.
But I think a good place to start is to LOVE YOURSELF just as you are, wherever you are, no matter what your circumstances are or where you've come from.
Start with where you are.
Verbally affirm how you love yourself. Self talk is so vitally important in how you see yourself, and if you're not affirming yourself, you will feel the difference. And when you ARE affirming yourself, you can feel a difference and it can help make you feel fabulous!
Appreciate yourself for who you are right now. With all your perceived "flaws" and quirks that separate you from the rest.
When you start from a place within where you support and love yourself, you will feel greater confidence in your value personally, creatively and even professionally.
Another nurturing way you can recognize your value is by building a creative practice that lifts your spirit and leaves you feeling fabulous and committing to that practice every day.
When you commit to doing something you enjoy (and who doesn't want to do that?) without guilt or obligation (don't do it because someone else suggested it unless you WANT to), you are giving yourself and your Creative Voice space to express what is in your heart, and to spend time doing something that fills your creative well and honors Who You Are and keeps you aligned.
This will only enhance your value even further as you use that creative energy to enhance everything else you do.
With Valentine's Day coming up, take the initiative to LOVE YOURSELF no holds barred and build a creative practice that you can't say no to.
BE YOUR OWN VALENTINE. Affirm yourself. Appreciate yourself for Who You Are. And Nurture yourself by building an authentic creative practice.
YOU DESERVE THIS. TODAY. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. WHATEVER THAT LOOKS LIKE TO YOU.
Start today. Now. Get Your Spirit Lifted and Feel Fabulous.
Write a list of all the ways you are loving yourself right now. Keep it simple and intuitive. Pick 3 of those things that really hit the spot for you and circle them. Now record why those things work for you and leave you feeling fabulous. Then pick your top activity and makes plans to go do it! Put it on your schedule. Then follow up with an entry sharing the details of why you loved doing it again.
Art Journal Prompt:
Create a visual showing how you have loved yourself in the past week. Use colors that are authentically aligned with how you feel about this activity. Doodle some words that capture the essence of how you made yourself feel fabulous.
(Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know what you're doing to refresh and love yourself and find joy, and I may share it (with your permission) on a live social media broadcast!
Copyright 2016 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2016 Header by Dawn Herring
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 wanted to share with you, my dear readers and friends, about an experience I had on my walk recently. I go on almost daily walks, weather permitting, for fresh air, exercise and for any adventures that may come my way, which I am always on the look out for.
During this particular morning, I was seeing evidences of the deluge of a rainstorm from the previous night--very windy with downpours. Typical Texas weather, of course.
So as I was journeying down the sidewalk, then crossed over for my way back to my place, I noticed the sidewalk plastered with leaves in a particular area. Apparently the tree on the nearby property took a bit of a beating and lost a bunch of its glory onto the sidewalk.
At first, I just glanced, noticed the textured and layering and then kept walking. But then I realized I could be missing out on something by not taking more careful note of what I was seeing. I believe this was an intuitive impulse I was feeling.
I am a huge proponent of listening to your intuition; it will often guide you into some unexpected places that you would otherwise miss, enriching your daily life experience. And I certainly didn't want to ignore this impulse--I didn't want to miss out on anything I may not be aware of.
So I took a U-turn on foot and retraced my steps. It's not often that I do this, but this time I felt compelled.
So I got my camera ready and started taking up-close shots of various areas where the leaves were congregating. I really enjoyed this process, being careful to really pay close attention to the color, the shapes, the layered effects of the leaves, and the mixed texture of leaves against grass and sidewalk with the colored stones mixed in.
In reality, for me, this was a fun filling-of-my-creative-well since, as an artist, I am always looking for images, textures, color and design for future reference in my creative work, especially with my watercolor paintings. You can never know where that infilling will lead. I really do need to trust this process, so I divulged myself and seized the moment. And I'm so glad I did.
I really saw this as an important lesson of recognizing those important nudges and not ever overlooking the smallest of creative impulses or opportunities to see what something could mean for me in any way possible. I followed my curiosity and enjoyed the process of absorbing the moment of unexpected creativity.
And honestly, I think maybe the leaves were happier because they gave me such pleasure which gave them even more value, off the tree and in places they might not particularly enjoy very much. (Most times I'm sure they just get stepped on and not noticed, especially in such an environment.)
I know it may seem odd to give what would be perceived as dead leaves with no life in them whatsoever personality and good thoughts. But when it comes to appreciating the beauty all around me and what it has to offer my creative expression, I think it's worth the good energy-based thoughts to what I come across to induce gratitude for the unexpected.
What we think really can make a difference in how we feel. And when we act on those intuitive impulses, we can more greatly experience the JOY of Being Alive. And that can give us the fuel to more readily and effectively leave our meaningful mark in the world.
Have you had an experience where your intuition gave you an impulse to do something you might not otherwise do? Did you follow it? If so, you were glad you did? What difference did it make for you? Would you do it again?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the words, Intuitive Impulse, showcase visually a time when you enjoyed something special because you listened to the Voice within and followed your curiosity. Honor that process and the fact that you listened.
Dawn engages in many roles, from Writer and Artist to Creative Visionary and Strategist as well as Social Media Director, basing her Strategies from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and Host of #JournalChat Live for all things journaling on social media, offering encouragement and information to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on journal keeping, artistic expression, positive change, and personal empowerment leading you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a watercolor and collage artist, daily doodler/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 Skip-Generation Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. Have a fab day and may joy find you in the most unexpected places.
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