Welcome back to The Way I See It! I’m excited to share with you a new art demo featuring my illustration, Saying Goodbye! You can see the finished illustration below. After the initial sketch, I used colored pencil as my medium. This is one of 8 illustrations in the series I created for my podcast, The Way I See It. Saying Goodbye is for episode 6 where I talk about Saying Goodbye to a life cycle that has ended and Saying Hello to what is new! Thus the Life Cycle symbol is shown on the sign my figure is holding as she waves goodbye.
Included in the demo video is the entire illustration process behind the scenes with my voice over explaining the steps. You will also hear a piano rendition of my spiritual song, My Way Home.
I hope you enjoy watching this peek into my creative process; if so, please give it a thumbs up on YouTube. I greatly appreciate your support!
All content in the Art Demo for Saying Goodbye, including art and music is Copyrighted to Dawn Herring, 2022.
Welcome back to The Way I See It, where I share with you from my Life Lenses. For this post, I will focus on my art and illustration and share a art demo video so you can actually view the process of my illustration that I created for the 5th episode of The Way I See It Podcast titled, Music Mind.
I decided to create a colored pencil cartoon illustration to make visible the concepts that I discuss on my podcast. It’s been very fun to come up with a composition, determining what my cartoon will show to tell the story visually, as well as placement of lettering, objects, signs, color of garments on the figure, and the facial expressions that convey emotion.
So I decided to share a demo video (sped up for quick viewing!) of the process, so you could see the step by step of this particular illustration. I don’t necessarily do it the same way every time. It’s a rather intuitive process which is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much! From choice of color to concept made visible, it’s all the interesting experience, from start to finish.
I trust watching the demo will inspire you in your own creative pursuits or at the least, pique your curiosity! It’s a pleasure to share it with you.
I also included background music, a piano rendition of my song, My Way Home, along with my chatting about the process. I hope you enjoy! If so, please give the video a thumbs up, and if you would like to see more, do subscribe to my channel; and your comments are welcome.
I’ve included an image of the illustration so you can see what it looks like finished.
Music Copyright 2022 by Dawn Herring
Welcome back to The Way I See It where we focus on Awareness, Attitude and Intuition, which I see as keys to more confident decision making and aligned living.
For today’s post/episode 8, which I have titled, Respect is the Golden Rule, I would like to touch on the topic of Respect, especially Self Respect, what that can look and feel like, and why it’s such an important element in our every day relationships and interactions with others.
I’ll start this conversation with a definition of respect that truly aligns with what I’m talking about: It’s defined as due regard for the feelings, wishes and rights or traditions of others.
And the definition of self respect is pride and confidence in oneself and a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.
With those definitions laid out, I wanted to share with you ways I show myself respect, why I think it’s important, if not imperative to do so, and how that directly impacts how we can communicate with others with an underlying mutual respect in place.
Beyond taking care of myself physically, such as eating good food, moving my body in a way that feels right and good to me, and getting enough sleep, I also see my attitude toward myself as vitally important as a way to show myself respect.
Appreciating myself for Who I Am is the significant foundation toward self respect, in all my foibles, as well as my skill sets, and everything in between.
Here are some examples:
I respect my skill as an artist, in varying mediums, from pencil to watercolor to pen and marker, no matter the subject matter.
I respect my acquiring skill in music, from song writing to composing on piano. I make time for it because I respect my desire to express myself that way.
I respect all I’ve learned and implement as I work in our electrical contracting office and fulfill the duties necessary to running a business.
I also respect my limitations, of what I can or cannot do in a day. I respect the times when I need to take a break and not guilt myself for it.
I respect myself when I look in the mirror and see how I’m aging, gracefully and with full acknowledgment of what is.
I am hyper aware of when I’m being too hard on myself for my “mistakes” or perceived “errors” when I’m not satisfied with what I’ve accomplished.
I’m learning to be more gentle with myself and create as much ease in my daily tasks as possible.
I also respect my need to fill my creative well, whether it’s reading a good memoir, watching a good movie, or getting inspired by the art I see online as I scroll social media.
I respect my unique way of expressing myself through the way I dress, how I use music to communicate in conversation (which I talk about in ep 2 of The Way I See It Podcast), and The Way I See It from my many Life Lenses as wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend.
Coming from that place of self respect, after having recognized the value of Who I am inside and out, mutual respect is an extremely important element of thriving relationships with others.
Recognizing the value of each one who I am in contact with and seeing that reciprocated through word, action, and response to our mutual ongoing communication is what makes those relationships meaningful and satisfying.
As I have practiced self respect over the years, I have come to recognize when a communication with another disappoints because of that lack of mutual respect, whether overt or subtle.
Sometimes it’s hard to detect at first, but wisdom grows over time with life experience as I engage with others, and I find myself most appreciative of that mutual respect that we all expect and rightfully so since it’s not necessarily easy to come by.
That’s why it’s so important to start with self respect; when you respect yourself and make the effort to appreciate Who You Are from the inside out, it helps us to gain more confidence when it comes to communicating with others with the expectation that we will receive the respect we deserve. And when that doesn’t happen, we can then, with confidence, draw a line in the sand and say, this isn’t working for me. We need to give ourselves space, creating a safe boundary from unnecessary conflict, no matter where it’s coming from. And we need not apologize for it.
If another wants to communicate, it must be in the bounds of mutual respect; otherwise, they are not recognizing the value of The Way You See It.
Just remember that The Way You See It Matters.
Allow the gift of your intuition to feel into whether or not you are respecting yourself and in turn, whether you are experiencing the mutual respect of others. And Act Accordingly.
A Journaling prompt for you:
List off the ways you currently express self respect. Get as specific as possible. No item is too small because sometimes the smallest of ways build that important foundation of respect that is vital to our well being.
When you’re ready, you can record one way that you would like to start respecting yourself more, whatever the area of life it entails. Perhaps give yourself permission to express yourself creatively or setting boundaries where needed. Whatever comes to mind intuitively in this entry, allow it to flow.
Remember not to beat yourself up when you don’t show yourself respect. Just becoming more aware of when this happens and why can go a long way to helping you align with Who You Are from the inside out.
The Way You See It Matters. Honor and Value that from the heart. Because your heart won’t steer you wrong.
Copyright 2022 Dawn Herring
Welcome back to The Way I See It, where we focus on Awareness, Attitude and Intuition for more confident decision making and aligned living!
In this post/episode (7), My aim is to give you strategies to Give Yourself a Voice, especially when you feel unheard.
We all know that it’s perfectly normal to talk to ourselves in our daily lives. Picture arriving in your kitchen and forgetting why you went there! So you say to yourself, “What was I in here for?” as you stand there puzzling for the momentary forgetfulness. Yes, we’ve all been there, done that!
Technically speaking, you were giving yourself a voice even if it was not in the best of circumstances, since you were probably feeling frustrated with your loss of purpose.
But we can be much more intentional with the way we talk to ourselves, which is actually a very important element of personal empowerment.
We all have situations where we have shared our point of view, the way we see it, to another, whether in conversation with a friend or loved one, with a colleague or a boss, or with our kids or grandkids. And in some situations, we feel like we keep repeating ourselves, because no one seems to be listening. And that can be frustrating. No one likes to feel unheard.
But I would like to share an important practice that we can all engage in that can enable us to have a voice and in the process, validate and affirm ourselves from the inside out, even when no one seems to be listening.
I believe it is imperative that we listen to ourselves, our higher voice that speaks to us, that voice of intuition. And one of the ways we can do that is to give that voice our attention. How?
Well, I’m here to share with you my tried and true approaches to doing just that.
First, My absolute go-to is keeping a journal. My journal is the perfect place to give myself a voice, even if it’s only written. My thoughts are important and when I write them down, it gives them presence more so in my life because I have honored those thoughts in word form. Now I can see and read what I am thinking, and even vocalize them if I choose to. In this way, I am honoring The Way I See It. It gives me a chance to share my point of view from my varying life lenses that give meaning and purpose to my every day existence.
Along with sharing my thoughts in word form, I also choose to draw an illustration that reflects my emotional response to something from my day that I choose to highlight. It’s sort of like a visual diary that I can look back on and see what I have experienced, no matter what emotion is represented, whether it be frustration, anger, elation, joy, happiness, humor. It is all equally represented. You could choose to simply draw a smiley face or a frown face or whatever intuitively works for you if you don’t want to draw how you feel in an illustrative approach.
Another way I choose to give myself a voice is through verbal affirmations. I have reminders that come up on my phone on a daily basis, and when I see them, I often read them aloud. It brings me into the present moment and inspires me to remind myself of what I am. Whether it be strong, resilient, creative, present, etc. Pick words that have relevant meaning for you and read them aloud.
The mirror can be our best friend; we can simply look into our own eyes and say, “I love you!” This is a tremendously empowering action to give yourself a voice and to validate and affirm yourself, both visually and audibly.
Music is one of my favorite ways to give myself a voice; and this one is especially meaningful because I express my appreciation for my Connection with Spirit when I write songs inspired by my study of sacred text and reflect on what it means to me. From lyrics to melody and then composing my songs on piano, and then singing as I play, I give my Spirit a voice as well. This is one of the most satisfying experiences I have on a daily basis.
Perhaps you may choose to write a lyric, a poem, a paragraph of something meaningful to you; then read it aloud. Relish each word as you speak it; knowing that it came from your heart and soul. Or choose your favorite song and sing with enthusiasm! You might want to dance as you sing, giving your body a voice as well.
I think one of the things that is so vitally important and linked to giving yourself a voice is recognizing your innate value; appreciating yourself for who you are.
Listening to yourself, giving yourself a voice, is a powerful way to recognize the value of what you have to offer, of The Way You See It. When you listen to yourself first with appreciation, honor and love, this will give you a strong foundation, and a more distinct confidence when you relate and communicate with others. Because you are already listening. Your ears are open and aware of what you are feeling, and how you want to express yourself.
Always remember that when you feel unheard, to give yourself a voice immediately by listening to your own thoughts and expression in whatever way feels right and natural to you in the moment. When you regularly practice giving yourself a voice, you will always be heard; this will impact the way you communicate with others. Because The Way You See It Matters.
A Journaling prompt for you:
Write a list of all the ways you could give yourself a voice, whether by word, or audibly, or in whatever way comes you to intuitively. Don’t dismiss any as silly or irrelevant. Just write them down as they come to you. Think of it as a brainstorm of affirming activity. Then choose one of those ways and do one right now! The more you engage with your own voice, the more you will appreciate it!
Now record an entry about the last time you felt unheard. What were the circumstances and what were you trying to convey? Express appreciation for The Way You See It in that situation and read your entry aloud. You may want to speak an affirmation aloud to yourself, such as The Way I See It Matters! My opinion and point of view have value.
Always Give Yourself a Voice; because you deserve to be heard.
Welcome back to The Way I See It, where I share my Life Lenses with a focus on Awareness, Attitude and Intuition. In this post, I plan to share a facet of my journaling practice that you may find intriguing. If you’re interested in journaling, or more specifically, bullet journaling, then you’re welcome to continue reading. In conjunction with my bullet journal practice, I will be touching on the Awareness Aspect to it, why it’s important, and why it matters to me.
Note: I decided to make this information available in the form of Episode 5 of The Way I See It Podcast titled, Music Mind, which you can listen to below! Please note that the text in this blog post doesn’t completely match with the audio version since the audio is a bit more spontaneous. :)
First, a bit of history. I have kept a longform written journal for 30+ years. Several years back after reading the book The Bullet Journal Method, I thought I would try my hand at using a bullet journal in addition to my longform written journal.
One of the benefits to keeping a bullet journal is keeping track of things that matter to you. In addition to the rapid log (basically daily list making) that you can create with each day's entry, there are also Collections that you can keep, which is basically a page in your bullet journal where you collect information that is relevant to you in one way or another.
One of the collections that I have been keeping in my bullet journal I have titled, Music Mind. In recent years I have become aware of the occurrence of music arising in my mind on a regular basis. I’m not referring to the situations where you hear a song in the car or in a store somewhere, and it gets stuck in your head and then plays on repeat. That sometimes happens to me but there are many other scenarios that trigger music arising in my mind outside of this particular example.
The fact that music arises in my mind on a regular basis was an instigator of great curiosity on my part, so I decided to start recording in my bullet journal the songs that would arise in my mind at any time. In so doing, I thought that it might help me to determine where the music was coming from, because I really wanted to know.
I find that when I wake up in the morning, music arises in my mind immediately. I find that music arises throughout the day. Some songs arise in my mind and stay there all day long. Some songs arise and then leave and another song arises and leaves. Every day is different. And I don’t think it’s an issue of what I’m exposed to necessarily. Although sometimes if I hear a song in a movie, especially during closing credits, or if I hear it in a store, it will arise at a later time or immediately afterwards.
So when I started this collection in my bullet journal, any time a song would arise in my mind, I would try to remember to write it down. When I would write the song down, I would try to remember if anything initiated the music to begin with. And if something did, I would write it down in parentheses.
I found the entire process of becoming more aware of when music arises in my mind, to writing it down in my bullet journal, to determining what might have triggered this music occurring, really started to give me a clearer picture of how my mind works .
There are various triggers that take place in my mind with some of the music that I notice. Sometimes a word or a phrase or a musical note might trigger a song arising. Sometimes a conversation I’m having with another person triggers a song. (And I often sing it aloud when that happens which can sometimes spark amusement, especially on my part, creating levity in that spontaneous moment!)
But, the times that are the most interesting to me are when the music that arises comes from my past, sometimes from childhood, sometimes from youth, and other times from later years. Especially with songs that really left a meaningful impact on me.
One of the things that I hope to do with this Music Mind Collection each month is that it will eventually reveal to me a pattern of music coming and going.
Sometimes I do notice when a song repeats itself on more than one day. Sometimes that can happen when the music comes from a movie I’ve been watching on repeat (especially when grandson keeps watching the same movie over and over again); but I also notice this without there being a contextual source to associate with that music, which is an ongoing curiosity for me. It begs me to ask the question, Where is it coming from, and why does it happen to begin with?
I think one of the greatest benefits to keeping this Music Mind Collection is that it automatically puts me in a state of Awareness when I hear the music arising. That state of Awareness immediately makes me more Present and slows me down. And, with the act of writing down the song, it naturally puts me in a state of pause for a moment. This pause can only benefit me because it forces me, as I slow down, to think very specifically about what is going on in my mind.
It gives me the opportunity to ask questions about where this music is coming from. In a sense, it helps me to honor the way my mind works, knowing that music is an essential part of who I am.
In some ways, the whole process I’ve described here is a mystery. It shows the many layers, if not worlds, that exist, not just in my mind, but in my heart and soul.
In other ways, it shows me what matters to me, how I think and how I communicate. I realize that some folks think in words, some in pictures, some in numbers. I think in music!
I have shared several images from three different months from my Music Mind Collections so that you can see what it actually looks like. Sometimes there’s a question mark (?) In the place of a title because all I hear is a melody or a few words, and I don’t recall the title of the song. I just know that there is a song arising and I’m not able to identify it right away or at all.
Sometimes I record the movie or place I heard it. Sometimes I’ll mark down the vocalist or group that sings it.
And if the song arises repeatedly, I sometimes look up the lyrics to the full song to see what meaning it may have for me right now.
Music will always have a special place in my life, and my Music Mind Collection is the perfect place to honor my Music Mind!
Here’s a journaling prompt for you:
How does your mind think? Are you pictorial or like a movie playing, or do words take center stage? Are numbers your game?
Give some thought (no pun intended!) with the primary way your mind works. Take a few days or a week or more and write down what arises in your mind naturally. See if any patterns emerge. Reflect on what those patterns may be speaking to you. By slowing down enough to experience this process, you honor how your mind works. Prepare to be fascinated!
Welcome back to The Way I See It with a focus on Awareness, Attitude and Intuition through my many Life Lenses. In this post, I’m sharing a new music video! As many of you know, I am an aspiring musician, learning to play my spiritual songs on the piano by ear, just over a year ago. I’ve been writing spiritual songs for about 4 years now, inspired by my Connection with Spirit, my meditative studies of sacred text, and journaling lyrics in my bullet journal. This process never fails to inspire me and put me in a creative flow. I then record a vocal to preserve the melody of the song. I, then, later choose a song to compose on the piano.
The following song is the one featured in the video clip on my YouTube Channel. It is titled, The Evidence. The general essence of the song focuses on how Trustworthy Spirit is because I’m always taken of, no matter my circumstances or challenges. The lyrics to this song are below, so when you listen, you can sing along if you’d like. My aim with sharing this spiritual song is to inspire you so your spirit may be lifted. Our world is in such a challenging time on so many fronts; perhaps remembering where we come from, The Source of Love, will encourage you.
My heart goes out to the many people suffering from the ravages of war, trauma and acute illness and other situations entirely out of their control. May you have strength, presence and love to carry you through the hardest of times. Peace to all!
by Dawn Herring
I see Your Light; It opens my heart
It assures me of my steps from the start
A true place of encouragement
A Place of Peace
A rest to my soul and a great release
You will provide for my soul
You will give all to me
I hear your voice in my heart
It rings true as Truth indeed
I never need to question your faithfulness to me
The evidence bears the verdict
I know I can trust
And believe without regret
My arms are open wide
For the love you give inside
I see your light; it open my heart
It assures me of my steps from the start
Music and Lyrics Copyright 2022 by Dawn Herring
Before I leave you today, I will would like to offer a journaling prompt for further reflection:
When you are in a difficult life situation, what is your first go to ground yourself and bring yourself back to center, back to HOME? Now, Make a list of the activities that revitalize you consistently. Describe the entire process from start to finish. Now, take note of how this process makes you feel and describe that in detail. Does it lift your spirit? Does it raise your body vibration? How does it benefit you in the short and long term? Now take action and do one of those activities Today. Taking care of yourself is KEY to aligned living. YOU deserve to feel good today!
Thank you so much for stopping by The Way I See It!
I so appreciate your interest in my musical journey and trust it has inspired you to tap into your own creative flow!
Let me know what you think of the video; because The Way YOU See It Matters…to me!
Welcome back to The Way I See It, where we focus on Awareness, Attitude and Intuition, and how these Keys to Aligned Living help us make more confident decisions that lead to a calmer, centered and connected life.
I wanted to address something that has come to my attention both recently as well as over time. I have had many people tell me that they admire and are impressed with the way I am consistent with my practices and that I take time every day to engage my creativity in one form or another.
Yes, it’s true that I have an extensive, comprehensive creative, spiritual practice that is layered with many ways of expression and the desire to connect deeply with Spirit. But it has taken many years of time and exposure to varying types of creativity.
I have always been an artist, from a young age, but the media used has changed over time. I didn’t discover watercolor painting until much later in life, back in 2011, which was the same time I discovered the art form of art journaling, sending me down an engaging rabbit hole of visual and hands-on delights.
I’ve always had an interest in music, from playing the recorder as an adolescent, to playing guitar (very briefly) with Dad teaching me, to writing songs and singing solos and duets in church, to later in life, writing songs, playing tambourine and now piano.
Of course, journaling became a practice in my 20s and now that I’m in my 50s (yes I just aged myself), I’m still going strong, including adding daily illustrated cartoon doodles into the mix, which is super fun.
With all that being said, I wanted to express and clarify the WHY behind all these practices that really are not necessarily separate from each other, but work entirely in tandem. Such as Prayer/Meditation and spiritual study leading to song writing, leading to piano playing. Which leads to Inspiring art journal spreads and drawings in my journal. In other words, one thing leads to another. They are special to me.
But none of these practices to me are just some “nice” thing to do. No. They go much deeper than that.
THEY ARE A LIFELINE. Yes, you read that right. A Lifeline.
The definition of a lifeline: something one depends on which provides a means of escape from a difficult situation; or a rope or line used for life-saving, typically one thrown to rescue someone in difficulties in water or one used by sailors to secure themselves to a boat.
You see, life is a daily challenge. With many responsibilities. Without my Lifelines, I would not be in a centered, aligned place, with my faith intact and my heart full. NO.
That’s what they are there for. To give me strength, to teach me things, to give me clarity, to bring my subconscious to the fore, to Give Me A Voice to creatively express myself.
In other words, they are a necessity, not a nice-i-ty.
I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the process of creatively expressing myself, because I certainly do, deeply and with great satisfaction. But they are a gift, a present to help me stay more Present.
The More Present I Stay, the Calmer I will be. I do not want to be overtly cranky (which I get to be when I don’t take enough time!), I want to be patient, kind, understanding, wise, gentle and the like. Unless I dip into those energies of creativity that connects me to Spirit, my vibrational frequency suffers. I feel more fatigued and want space to be alone.
I much prefer to be on top of my creative and spiritual “game” so to speak. I’d rather be prepared, inspired, open, aware, tapped into my intuition, and ready to take on what comes my way.
Not saying I don’t have bad days; doesn’t anyone, right?
But I just wanted to clarify; I do appreciate folks sharing their Point of View concerning what I do. I always want to know The Way You See It, always!
But I also wanted you to understand where the rubber meets the road for me; the Why behind my consistency. The Why behind the reason doing so many creative things daily is not an option, but a requirement—for my spirit and soul.
We all have necessities. Things we must have to stay sane. What are yours? What can’t you do without? What lifts you up and gets you in a the best place you can be?
Here’s a journaling prompt for you: Write a list of all the ways you enjoy creatively expressing yourself. Put a star next to the ones that you can do daily without too much ado, ones that don’t take long periods of time to engage in. Now, put at least one of those things into your routine so you can do it and feel great afterwards. Don’t see your creative expression as something to do once in a while that doesn’t really matter. Because it does. It matters because you matter.
We all need a lifeline, something that helps us keep our head above water, with so much chaos and negative energy in our world. We need to create positive energy for ourselves every day; and then it makes a difference in the way we feel, which ripples out to those around us. Ultimately, engaging in our creative practice, whatever it may be, makes the world a better place. And we thank you for it.
Copyright 2022 Dawn Herring
Welcome back to The Way I See It where we focus on Awareness, Attitude and Intuition, and how those three keys can lead to more aligned living.
For this post, I am sharing the transcript to Ep 2 of The Way I See It Podcast. Our topic is Sensory Power and how we can use our awareness of our senses to awaken us to a more lucid experience in the day, tapping into divine wisdom.
Here is the transcript:
Hello and welcome to Ep 2 of The Way I See It. Today I want to share my experience with Sensory Power. In Ep 1 We discussed the three keys to aligned living, the first one being Awareness. So today I would like to unpack what that can look like when we focus on our senses and how that can lead to a heightening of our intuition and to more confident decision making.
I began tapping into what I refer to as Sensory Power as I delved into the topic of Consciousness and that spaciousness behind all the noise. Getting quiet and still enough to Pay Attention to what our senses pick up in our surroundings can train us to became more aware of that Divine Presence in all of us.
I want to share with you my most practiced ways of tapping into Sensory Power that work for me, ones that have stayed with me, bringing me into a more aligned, aware state that calms. We sure could use more Calm, now, can’t we?
One of my favorite ways is through my sense of hearing; I find I do this most often at night when my goal is to relax toward sleep. And this is the time when our thoughts can take center stage, most often in a way that can keep us up, wired and stressed from the day’s happenings. Instead, I choose to Listen Very Carefully to the sounds I can hear, like the distance swish of traffic going by, or the hum of a fan blowing. Of course, this is different from hearing a noise that irritates, such as loud music or conversation right outside your bedroom window! But, alas, there are many sounds we can tap into that bring us to a place of Presence, which naturally calms when done for periods of time.
Of course, the challenge of Staying Present is always there, pulling us away from listening, and drawing us back into stressful thinking. But if I just keep bringing my mind back to the sounds each time I get distracted, I can capture more of that calm for myself.
Another way I tap into my senses is though my piano playing. I play by ear as I compose spiritual songs I’ve written on the piano. Yes, it takes energy and focus to determine what sounds align with the melody I’ve created, but it brings me into intense focus and awareness when I do. Between listening to the sounds I make and my sense of touch on the keys, it is truly an immersive experience; whether I’m composing a new song or practicing one already in my piano book, it enables me to tap into that Sensory Power that brings deep awareness to my soul.
Another sensory delight for me is working with my hands in my art journal. I use many mediums to create 2 page spreads in my spiral visual journal. From scraping primer at the start, to using tools to create texture and fun mark making, it’s all very hands on. I love using fabrics, buttons, scraps of paper, cardboard pieces for mark making, and tools like a paintbrush or pastel crayon to apply color, whether wet or dry. The textures I create help me tap into that Sensory power of Awareness and seeing the whole process from start to finish is a true sensory delight as I make marks, cut bits and adhere them in pleasing places, and listen to that intuitive voice that teaches me what I can learn from the whole process.
Is there something in your day that brings you delight with your senses? Perhaps birdsong, or walking in the woods or playing a fun game with your kids or grandkids. Maybe it’s petting your cat’s fur or looking deep into your dog’s eyes. Or dancing to your favorite song or seeing your favorite color in a fun design.
Once you recognize how your senses come alive, make it a point to delight in those places of Sensory Power as often as possible. This can awaken your Awareness, giving you opportunity to practice Presence, bringing you into a place of Peace and Calm naturally. Next time you enjoy a sensory delight, linger a little longer. Make time stand still for just a moment. Or two, or three.
Enjoy the delight of a good belly laugh. Listen more distinctly to the notes from your favorite song. Slow down enough to hear that favorite birdsong. Stop and listen, feel, see, smell, taste. And Know.
A Journaling prompt for you: Jot down a list of your favorite sensory delights. Put a star next the ones you can create yourself so you can include them in your daily experience. Describe one of those most recent experiences in detail and how it makes you feel. Revel in the memory and in your current experience and feel the Power of the Present Moment.
Welcome back to The Way I See It, an honest look at how what I observe transforms what I see depending on what Lens I choose to look through. When I first introduced this new blog, I mentioned the possibility of sharing about my life as full time Grandma with a grandson diagnosed with autism and other neurological differences. So this will be my first foray of that nature.
Let me begin by saying that whatever I share here is meant to be thought provoking but not offensive. Autism has become better understood in recent years, but everyone’s experience with it is different and affect different families in different ways. So, with the hope of being understood and even appreciated for my point of view on this subject, especially with how it affects me on a daily basis, I shall share what’s on my heart.
My grandson loves dragons. He received a stuffy dragon for a gift from his great grandma. He loves looking at dragons in books and he especially enjoys the movie series, How to Train Your Dragon. I highly recommend this series for its humor, family dynamic and what each member learns in the process, as well as the conflict of interest between father and son concerning said dragons.
There’s quite a lot of dragon fighting amongst the tribe of Vikings in order to save the lives of the people and animals. But Hiccup, the boy in the story, has a sensitive heart and struggles to fulfill his father’s dream for him as a dragon slayer. Instead, Hiccup finds another way to solve the Dragon Dilemma. He trains his dragon to fly and take him everywhere. They end up becoming best friends. Of course, there is a lot more to this story, and I won’t offer any further spoilers.
Of course, over the past several months as I’ve watched this series with grandson and Grandpa, it has given me some serious food for thought.
First of all, Love conquers all.
Secondly, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Not that it doesn’t include consequence, because it does. Sometimes following what you feel is right can end in sorrow. But also victory.
Life is full of true paradox. And there’s such a fine line between letting the child lead the way and knowing when it’s necessary to step in.
This is the struggle the father and son face as they reckon with the dragon issue.
Thus it can be with autism. When you want to step in and try to show them how life is done, they often have their own way of doing it. Their brains work differently and they are sensitive folks. And when they aren’t understood or appreciated for what they do know (which can often be difficult to access if they don’t tell you), this brings on the frustration, on both sides, with both child and grandparent (or parent for those who are).
But like the verse goes, Train up a Child in the way he should go.
Now let’s look more closely at the word Train. It means to teach a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.
We can all be trained to learn new things and to instill good habits over time.
An example from my own pursuits would be learning the piano in the past year as I have played my spiritual songs by ear. First I had to learn where the keys were on the piano; I did this by feel rather than by sight. I found the keys to play the melodies and harmonies of the songs I added to my piano book; and then I practiced every day. Of course, over time, I have built new neuro pathways in my brain, so when I go to play a song I have practiced many times, I often find myself remembering what keys to press to make those melodies, which is deeply satisfying to me. All that practice for me is a delight! It also helps to have a routine to follow so it becomes second nature to include what I want to do in my day.
I try to do this with grandson by instilling a routine of first, then next, then after that we do this. Of course we have to get past the hurdle of resistance when one doesn’t want to follow through with said activity because it’s boring or stupid in their eyes. But there are some things that simply have to be done to make one civilized!
Now there is a difference between learning a new skill that is meaningful to you and simply learning something that needs to be done but is considered mundane. But the same principal applies toward the success of whatever the training is for.
I try to aim low, or as low as is reasonable to not overload the sensory aspect that is involved with mundane tasks when it comes to teaching grandson the way he should go.
Faithfully showing love, affection and even making a game out of as much of it as possible does make it an easier process; I just have to stay consistent without losing my patience. Especially when said child has to be reminded repeatedly.
So, how do you train yourself to learn a new skill, whether it’s pleasurable or mundane?
I think staying present as much as possible can make any thing you choose to do more palatable, not to mention looking at it through a positive lens. This I try to instill in grandson; sometimes he gets it, especially when he learns a new concept and succeeds and understands. And even those verbal gold stars go a long way toward encouraging those habits, such as putting on a seatbelt without a reminder.
Ultimately my goal as a grandma is to bring grandson to a place where he sees himself as intelligent, capable, funny, and creative, so much so that he will learn to fly.
There’s nothing like the exhilarating feeling of flying your own dragon once you’ve made friends with it, like Hiccup did with Toothless.
I’m sure that grandson would love to fly on a dragon too. Maybe he will some day—-in a story he writes and illustrates.
In the meanwhile, he’ll have to learn to do the mundane things, one day at a time, even if it’s boring.
I think he would tell me, I’d rather watch a movie, Grandma. Can you put on How to Train Your Dragon?
Yes, dear grandson, I can do that for you. Just make sure you brush your teeth afterwards, ok?
Hello and welcome to another post in my new blog, The Way I See It, focusing on my Life Lenses in one form or another.
In this post, I will share with you my Music Life Lens with my first year playing the piano, along with a bit of musical history for context. You will also find a video below of my playing my song, Receiving Grace, which I wrote and then composed for the piano.
I am so excited to share with you about my piano journey. But first things first.
I’ve always enjoyed music from a young age, and loved to sing in my adolescence and performed vocally for several years. You can read about that here on my Music Page.
One of my greatest dreams was to be able to write and compose music and then play that music on an instrument as I sang.
When I was a child, I wrote a few songs. When I reached my 30s, I had a spiritual experience and received lyrics and melody for 12 songs that emphasized where I was in my spiritual journey at the time. This was a very exciting breakthrough for me, but it didn’t stay with me, which was disappointing. But I guess I just wasn’t ready for what I had always wanted musically; I was deep into homeschooling my two young daughters at the time.
Fast forward to 4 years ago, I began to write songs with melodies as a result of my spiritual studies from sacred text. I began to be wholly inspired to write lyrics that came to me by Spirit much to my delight. I began to record these songs on audio just to have the melodies at the ready. After about three years of song writing, learning much through that ongoing experience, gaining knowledge and writing more structured songs in the process, I began to consider learning to play an instrument to accompany myself.
Years ago, I attempted guitar, but it didn’t suit me, since I have small hands. So I decided that piano would probably be a better choice for me.
So, with a little research, I found a piano app to put on my iPad and see what I could do.
Yes, I was working with a very small screen, only wide enough for melody, but it was a the perfect place for me to start. Just finding my way on the keyboard was exciting.
So I pulled a song from many I wrote and decided to try my hand at finding the melody by ear. Happily, I was able to play the melody after many sessions (with lots of stops and starts along the way).
This was a super exciting development for me musically; after a couple of months of executing right hand melody of two songs composed for piano, I decided to research getting a digital piano. After many months, I chose one that seemed good, a newer model just having come out: Yamaha PSR 373 with all the bells and whistles I could hope for. And it was on sale.
My piano arrived one year ago on my mother’s birthday! (3/1/21) I was so excited to finally have a real digital piano in my space and was eager to try it out. From the beginning I decided I wanted to learn the keys of the piano without putting stickers on the keys for reference. I wanted to learn intuitively where the keys were located with each octave rather than relying on a visual. It took some time, but I made steady progress. I made it a point to play daily since I was enjoying myself so much. I kept adding new melodies to play by ear. In time, I had 30+ songs in my book!
I chose not to wait til I memorized each melody. I figured I could pick and choose which songs I wanted to practice with and play each day. When I first started out, I often had to restart the song since I would make many errors at first. This was a musical instrument, after all, and it didn’t necessarily come easy; but I knew I was in the right place since I loved it so much.
Over the months, I decided to look up a piano teacher on YouTube who came recommended to me, Lisa from Pianote. She made everything make sense to me from the beginning, and I learned a lot from her, especially concerning chords and the various ways to incorporate them into melodies. I’ve tried varying approaches with several of my songs, whether one note, two note or three note chords in left hand, along with some two and three note chords in the right hand.
Of course, I started out just playing the melody of most of my songs with one and 2 keys; but with watching tutorials, and applying the information with my own music, I began to add more and more to my playing.
Some songs I’ve written are more like spiritual choruses while others have two verses and a chorus and some have two versus with a bridge and chorus. It really is a matter of what comes to me through Spirit as I write. Each song to me is a Gift. And to be able to hear the melodies on an instrument is absolutely thrilling.
Playing the melodies with chords is the foundational practice I have developed at this point. Being able to play the piano and sing my melodies at the same time for me is an accomplishment, since it is quite the challenge! And It’s by no means perfect; I am a true novice, an Aspiring Musician in the making. I have a long way to go. But I am encouraged that I can play by ear, and hear my songs and sing them, often, multiple times per day. It is a delight for me to have this as part of my Spiritual practice on a daily basis.
I also discovered that playing a musical instrument is actually good for the immune system; so when I play, I’m actually benefiting my body; not to mention, using and creating new neural pathways in my brain. Yes! So exciting.
Thank you so much for being a part of my Musical journey and for showing interest in my piano discovery process. I’m having so much fun and am being inspired daily to play my songs, which lifts my Spirit and leaves me feeling vibrationally aligned as I honor the gifts I am given. That’s why I wanted to share my journey with you.
Thanks for celebrating my One Year Anniversary with the piano. I have recorded one of my songs titled, Receiving Grace, which, when you watch/listen, I hope you are inspired and lifted in your Spirit too.
Music is a heavenly experience for me; at least, that’s The Way I see It. How do You See It?
Remember, The Way You See It Matters.
Below are the lyrics to my song, Receiving Grace, originally written in 2019. It's a good example of what I mean by a chorus. Hope you enjoy.
Written and Composed by Dawn Herring
It is possible
To see the light again
Even when in darkness
The way can seems so dim
I pray for light and kindness
As I search for truth once more
And recognizing freedom
Through the open door
Help me see the journey
With each step I take
Knowing I am not alone
Make no mistake
I trust in all provision
As I know to seek your face
Remembering your promise
Copyright 2022 Song Lyrics and Melody by Dawn Herring
I'm Dawn Herring. Here is a space where I share The Way I See It from my many Life Lenses of Art, Music, Journal Keeping, Autism, Mental Health, being Full Time Grandma of Special Needs Grandson, and many other POVs that are relevant and helpful. Prepare for a full spectrum of experience, with an invitation for you to share your POV because The Way You See It Matters too.