This Refresh Daily Rewind video focuses on dealing with False Starts and what we can learn about our creative process with the decision on where to go from a place of uncertainty and finding the value in every courageous step we take in our creative lives.
Here is a new installation from my Refresh Daily Rewind video Series with the topic, Inner Expectations, where I share what mine are and how we can appreciate our current creative output and still challenge ourselves at the same time, all with the goal of Getting Back to the Basics of Activating Our Creative Centers!
I'm excited to share with you an interesting story that took place right in my neighborhood. I was on my way back home on my walk, when I noticed several birds on the sidewalk and lots of bird noise. Note the use of the word NOISE. Mocking birds don't just sing; they also have a warning sound they use when they are defending their territory; and that's the kind of noise I heard. So I was thinking I was running into a bird fight of sorts. But as I approached the area very slowly and started taking the photos you see below, I realized this wasn't a bird fight at all. As I saw the birds up close, I noticed how TINY they were; they were BABIES! I was absolutely delighted to realize that what I had the honor, really, to see, was a Mama Mocking Bird teaching her babies to fly! What a thrill!
I've never seen baby bird flying lessons before and to see them up-close and in person was a sight to see. The babies were so adorable with their short, fluffy wings and their chirps as they answered their Mom who was flying about, restless, and yet purposeful, landing on one side of the house where they were located and then on the other side, as you can see in the photos above.
And you know what? That flying lesson was very short in duration, thus, when I took the video below, the babies were no longer visible and I just caught the Mama bird as she was flying above, perhaps looking for them to see where they went.
What I learned from this experience, dear readers, is that what you think might be a danger or trouble up ahead, like what I thought was a possible bird fight, may not be that at all; it may be disguised as a Life Opportunity to learn and grow right where you are so you can become Who You Are Meant To Be. Life can sometimes look intimidating, even a little scary, like stepping outside our comfort zone. And it does take courage to step into something that has, perhaps, a lot of variables you're not too sure about; but once you start, things will start falling into place as they are meant to. And you can learn so much about yourself when you enter new territory, being gentle with yourself as you go, not pushing so hard, that you become overwhelmed. Always remember to pace yourself. And as you do, you will be amazed as to how far you come and find the whole process rewarding.
I was so delighted to have seen these unexpected Flying Lessons as I learn a few of my own along the way.
Is there a circumstance or opportunity you are hesitant to step into because it looks too intimidating? Record what you are afraid of; it's important to know for sure whether it's an actual danger or if it's simply so new, that you're feeling unsure. See what intuitive nudges might present themselves and do a pro and con with it to see what shows up. If you feel better from this fresh perspective, perhaps it's a Flying Lesson you can really learn from as you grow creatively.
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the word prompt, Flying Lesson, express yourself visually to honor a time when you felt like you were flying after feeling unsure of something new you were delving into; or simply explore your feelings from the journaling prompt above. Perhaps use an image of your favorite bird as a starting off point.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Image Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
This Refresh Daily Rewind video is about Going Slow and how that can make a difference in your creative flow as well as in other areas of your life.
I had the pure pleasure of reading Gretchen Rubin's latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I found this book to be informative, thought provoking and humorous.
I love Gretchen's voice, her style and her sharing of her thoughts and examples from her own life as well as from other family members, friends and fans of her blog and other books. Her whole process of determining to write about habits and how they are connected to happiness as well as the questions she had and the conclusions she came to are simply fascinating. It showed her brilliance as a researcher, writer, and expert in the areas of happiness and how what we do daily affects our lives for the better--or for the worse.
She gives a structured framework starting with our Tendencies, which include Upholders, Obligers, Questioners and Rebels and then proceeds to talk strategy and how each one would work for those tendencies, giving lots of informative and relevant examples, and many of them humorous, especially from her own life.
I had so much FUN reading this book; you might expect a book about habits to be a bit dry or just full of boring statistics, but I already knew how much I loved Gretchen's previous books, Happier at Home and The Happiness Project, so I wasn't disappointed with this read at all.
She takes the understanding of habits and how they are formed and how we can take better control of making or breaking habits based on our Tendencies and following the strategies that really work with our temperaments and preferences. This approach makes the whole process easier and even fun, which you wouldn't think possible, especially when it comes to those tougher habits we find hard to break or those Life Practices we really want to Instill but don't know how to.
One of the many benefits of reading Better Than Before was not only for my own habit formations and recognizing the strategies I've used that she offers, but it also helped me recognize the habits and tendencies of others, especially in my own family, which actually helped me appreciate them more for Who They Are and understand what works and doesn't work for them. This prompted me to make some changes in my interactions with them, which promoted positive change on my end!
I'm always looking for great reads that enhance my well being, that are meaningful to me on many levels, and that help me stay Aligned with Who I Am, and Gretchen's book, Better Than Before, does this in such a way that I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for some fresh strategies to get those bad habits undone and instill some new, enhancing life practices that can actually change your life for the better.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Header by Dawn Herring
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Here is another installment of Refresh Daily Rewind video series with a focus on the unexpected and creativity. Journaling and Art Journaling prompts are offered.
I love going for walks in my neighborhood. Although, right now, it is the middle of summer (in Texas), so I do try to get out earlier so I'm not dealing too much with the summer heat. BUT my walks are very important to me for several reasons. For one, it IS exercise! Yay! I enjoy being active, even if it's just a short time to get my legs moving. I also know it's important to get out into nature; it's a refreshment that I know I truly enjoy. But one of the most recent reasons I've wanted to go on my walk is to practice Staying Present.
When I first started walking in this neighborhood (which was just last year after a major move), I was so taken with the tree-lined streets, that I was fully absorbed whenever I would go out. And any nature-based action was just icing on the cake. Such as listening to and recording my local mocking birds with their delightful song, sometimes several of them going at the same time!
I would also be taken with the appearance of any mocking birds, whether directly on homes, on fences, on mailboxes or anywhere else they might be perched. Plus squirrels would often end up in the mix, especially when one would check me out and pose for pictures! Yes, all of these fun nature friends would keep me occupied while getting my footsteps in.
But in the past couple of weeks, I have noticed myself getting lost in thought, staying in my head, instead of being fully present with what was going on around me. So I decided to really pay attention to why I might be getting distracted from my surroundings. I suppose I could just be getting used to where I go, so I'm not paying as much attention.
I often find myself thinking too hard about whatever project I might be working on, or maybe a conversation I had with someone, or what my next blog post would be about! Ha! (In other words, I'm sometimes thinking about YOU, Dear Reader!)
What is one to do about Staying Present?
I'm making it a point to notice when I drift off into my head and Get back to center after I've clarified whatever point I was trying to make or problem I was trying to solve and move on to my surroundings once more.
I think it's all about awareness. Most of us don't even realize when we are lost in thought or when we're not really paying attention to what's going on around us. It's as if we're on auto-pilot. Not exactly fun and certainly not Present!
It also helps to Look Up...into the trees, listening for bird song and being very deliberate about where I put my attention. I also sometimes think about my feet and the process of walking itself (something else we usually do on auto-pilot).
Where we focus can make all the difference in helping us Stay Present.
Describe the last activity you did on auto-pilot. How did you feel about that task afterwards?
Now describe the last activity you did when you were fully present? What do you remember about what you did and how you felt as you engaged in this activity? Would you do it again? Did you find it more enjoyable than the task you did on auto-pilot? Why do you think you focused more on the latter activity as opposed to the first activity? How best do you Stay Present?
Art Journaling Prompt:
What color is helping you stay present right now? Use it in an art journal spread and listen to what that color says to you. What image is helping you stay present right now? Use that image as a focal point in this art journal spread and determine what that image is saying to you right now. Use that message and either cut out letters to spell it out or stamp with with alpha stamps. Or doodle it with markers and pens.
You can also use the words, Stay Present or Staying Present, and use that as your focal point.
Stay Focused and Pay Close Attention to what helps you Stay Present. And Honor it in your life in whatever way keeps you centered and aligned with Who You Are.
@Copyright 2015 By Dawn Herring
@Copyright 2015 Photo Images By Dawn Herring
@Copyright 2015 Doodle Header Image by Dawn Herring
I am an avid journal keeper. I also host #JournalChat Live on Social Media. I love sharing all the benefits journal writing has to offer. I am refreshed when what someone else has shared has resonated with me and then I get to share it with our #JournalChat Live Community.
One of the Greatest Benefits I have ever experienced with keeping a journal has been to recognize truth versus illusion. What do I mean by that? I'll explain.
On any given day I may experience a frustration, a challenge, a resistance, a conflict. And I want to know why I responded the way I did. It takes a bit of digging to get to the answer, but it's always worth the time invested since it helps me create positive change that is very action oriented.
One of the biggest discoveries I've made through my journal entries is recognizing when I've been thrown off my center, have lost my personal power and feel disoriented, angry or resentful. I get right down to the nitty-gritty in my journal and describe in detail what's going on.
I ask a lot of questions. I sometimes do mind maps on words that come up repeatedly. Sometimes I dialogue and use alternating hands to get answers. And most of the time, I'm surprised by what comes out.
But I always end up in a place of understanding concerning any illusions I might be dealing with whether it's based in fear of the unknown, being uncertain or unsure, or recognizing when I need to shrink something down to size that feels really big and intimidating.
Journaling, with all of its approaches, techniques and tools, really helps me unpeel all those layers to get down to the root of the problem. Once I know what that is, I can determine what decisive action is necessary to stop the pattern of the illusion before it even starts!
You see, when I recognize the illusion for what it is, I can then recognize the TRUTH of the matter and begin living by that truth as much as possible. Journaling truly helps me SEE differently, giving me a fresh perspective!
And when I combine my journaling with other nurturing activity such as prayer/meditation/study/painting, it becomes a power house of energy that gets me going in the right direction.
When you live by the truth that you discover in your journal, you can create positive change in your life that truly aligns you with Who You Are.
Then you'll begin to notice that discovering Who You Are becomes a more natural process, demystifying the answer to that all encompassing question: What Am I Here For?
Yes, with a consistent journal writing practice, you can experience Truth in a nutshell when you take the time to dissect, discern and disable illusion in order to initiate personal empowerment, which enables you to leave your meaningful mark in the world.
Journal Prompt: Note a recent conflict or challenge you have faced and detail it in your journal, including who, what, when, where and why. Be sure to include any emotions or feeling that rose up in that conflict. Then use your favorite journaling technique, such as dialogue or a mind map, and do some dissecting to reveal any illusions you may be reckoning with. Then take the new understanding, which is YOUR TRUTH, and determine what action you can take to live in that truth as much as possible. And always be GENTLE with yourself in this process.
Art Journal Prompt: Create a visual, whether text or image based, choosing colors that resonate and honor how you are feeling about the conflict you detailed. Use this art journal spread as an affirmation of your TRUTH that you have discovered and celebrate this positive change in your life!
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Image Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring Collection
This post, Finding My Truth, is my contribution to our 5 Year Anniversary Celebration of #JournalChat Live for all thing Journaling! You can also contribute with details here and join our #JournalChat Live Facebook Group for journaling camradarie and insight with blog posts, articles and prompts for your journal writing practice. You can also sign up for Refresh Journal which includes the best of what I find and share online in our #JournalChat Live Community.
Hello again! I have really been looking forward to sharing this particular art journal spread with you since the colors just cheer and refresh! I decided to go with a bunch of colors this time; I was thinking, a rainbow of color. So I used orange, green, yellow, some blue and I'm not sure if there's a light wash of red in there! Washy color was the name of the game when I started this spread; lots of water with that watercolor pigment in the mix.
This approach is different for me since I'm used to using darker, bold color, sometimes straight from the tube and scraped on with a palette knife. So lots of water makes for lighter washy color. And yes, I used a palette knife to apply although the watery mix makes it a bit more challenging. But it was also Super FUN!
Once I got the main swaths of color down, then I decided to add some texture with bubble wrap, layering color on top of color which you can see more clearly in the image below. Next, I had an idea that with all this pretty color, it almost looks like a birthday party waiting to happen! So I decided to add some balloons to the mix. I pulled out my magazine stash and found some cool designs that caught my eye that seems to go well with the color scheme. So I cut some balloon-shaped circles out.
Then I decided the balloons should pop a bit, so I cut out some cardboard to back it up and give it some definition instead of laying flat on the page. I adhered it with some matte medium (although I recommend gel medium for heavier stuff so it stays on more securely). I also added a few pieces of collage elements here and there to accentuate the watercolor paint just a bit as well as some colored construction paper bits on orange and green to give it some "confetti."
Once that step was done, I decided I'd use some cut out letters in orange and green, since those colors stand out the most in this spread, to spell out, "It's a Celebration." I used a new alphabet stencil I recently purchased. It does make rather narrow letters but it works! Lots of careful cutting for nice, colorful layout.
As I was playing with this spread (I don't call it work since I'm having so much FUN!), I was thinking about celebrations and how important it is to celebrate the little things in life. Oh, there's place for birthdays and anniversaries and other significant life events.
But how about the idea of celebrating coming out of a long or short illness or breaking down barriers you once struggled with? How about celebrating how you rocked an assignment or how you took time to refresh yourself when you were reluctant or hesitant since you had so many other things you could have been doing (but don't you always, right?)?
I think it's time that we stop putting off the celebrations. What are we waiting for? Perhaps, an invitation?
Well, here's one for you RIGHT NOW. You are officially invited to Celebrate Who You Are right in this moment, no matter how you feel or where you are or what you are doing.
It's time for a happy dance; take a good look around at what makes you smile. Then look within at what gives you JOY. Feels better already, doesn't it? What we focus on grows.
Now I know it's not easy when you're being challenged. I've been there, done that. I think that's one of reasons why I emphasize this celebrating and refreshing so much, because I know experientiallly what a difference it makes to make yourself a priority and make a celebration just for being YOU.
Art Journal/Journaling Prompt:
How can you celebrate YOURSELF today? Take some notes. Think freely about what would make your day a bit brighter. Especially if you're dealing with gloomy weather, cold temps, or a rotten cold you can't shake. (My heart goes out to all those who aren't feeling well right now! <3).
Then dive in and do! Refresh Yourself Fully. Like you never have before. With No Guilt.
Because, it's a Celebration! (You may want to use that as your art journal heading or maybe do a mind map on the word, Celebration. And be sure to record in your journal how you celebrated and what you may do next time. You can also pull some images for your art journal for a collage to celebrate what you love most.)
(And you might want to play one of my favorite songs, Celebration by Kool and the Gang. I have it on my Spotify Play List for when I want to paint and feel like celebrating Who I Am as an Artist, not to mention it was played on my wedding day, so that always makes me smile when I think about it.)
Or play one of your favorite songs that make you want to dance and have your own little life party!
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Images by Dawn Herring Collection
One of the Comfort and Joy Prompts from Jani Franck's Ecourse was What Comforts You using the sense of Touch. I really had to give some thought to this. But as I wrote some things down, like my warm tea mug in the a.m. and p.m., and ways in which I care for myself with skin care and other things I do that involve a sense of touch, I realized that my perspective on each item had not been initially sensed this way...with comfort. Many of them were seen and experienced like more of a task, something that needs to be done, part of my routine.
So, as I considered this disparage, I realized I needed a fresh perspective on how I viewed these things so I could better experience them as they could be if I go about thinking about them differently. This activated a new Awareness of what Could Comfort me that I hadn't considered before.
Once I had this epiphany, the next time I engaged in any of these previously experienced "tasks" but with looking at them as something I could enjoy, relish and find comfort in, I found myself feeling more grateful, more present, more appreciative of what I have and how I can take care of myself and find comfort in these things at the same time.
I believe that when we slow down long enough to understand and appreciate each task or thing we do for ourselves, instead of running on rote thinking and not really noticing each engagement, we can transform much of what we do into something loving, nurturing and meaningful.
It becomes a Comforting Awareness when we take the time to see them and experience them that way.
I have become much more aware of my mug of tea, my journal, my watercolors, and many other things that are a source of comfort to me as I relish them in the moment.
What are you rushing through that could become something you thoroughly enjoy and even find a sense of Comfort in? Jot these things down and then, the next time you engage with them, Be Very Present. Relish the Moment. See what a difference it makes for you.
Life can truly be filled with many good things when we take the time to enJOY them as only we can.
How will you Comfort yourself today?
Copyright 2014 by Dawn Herring
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.