Friday, February 28, 2014

Week 9 - Year-Long Hand-Lettering Project - Carl Sagan "Somewhere, Something Incredible..."

Hand Lettering, Art, Dreams, Pay Attention To Your Dreams, Science, Deep Space, Carl Sagan, Inspiration, Quotes
Hello and welcome to Week 9 of this year-long, weekly hand-lettering series!

A couple of notes about this week's piece:

The imagery is inspired by a photo from deep space that you may have seen in the last week or so. Scientists saw a black spot on a photo they had of space. When they magnified it, they essentially found even DEEPER space filled with millions upon millions of stars and galaxies - things they had no idea existed before. This really expands one's idea of infinite space, doesn't it? I hope the imagery here gives the feeling of looking at bazillions of heavenly entities out there in our infinite space universe.

And a little about Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996.) He was an American, 20th century cosmologist - that is, someone who studies the cosmos. He wrote 20 books, (including "Contact," upon which the movie was based,) published over 600 scientific papers and popularized science through his many television appearances. He had his own 1980's TV series called "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage," which still holds the record for being the most widely watched series in the history of American public television.

Carl Sagan was a pretty cool guy! And this quote by him, which was based on his excitement and reverence for our incredible and infinite PHYSICAL universe, can, like so many truisms, also be applied to anything.

And that includes each of us and our lives.

This statement inspires me in so many ways:

1. It is a call to remain aware that while focus is always good, it is also important to acknowledge all the wonders that we may not even be aware of yet. This is extremely helpful when facing a challenge. It can help to relax us if a solution is not directly at hand; reminding us to keep our mind in a receptive state, which allows for creative solutions to arise.

2. This phrase is also a wonderful way to generate gratitude. It implies how truly abundant our world is. So much so, that we can't even really be aware of it all at once.

3. And one more way this phrase inspires me: It can apply to discovery within one's own SELF. Think about that. There are so many incredible things yet to discover IN yourself and ABOUT yourself, such as: qualities that you may have not given yourself credit for, areas you have yet to grow into, strengths you did not realize you possessed, talents you haven't tried out yet.

It's exciting! It is more evidence that you can achieve any dream you have, even if you don't know how yet. Please leave a comment below and tell us how you are inspired by this quote.

NOTE: If you would like to see previous pieces from this series, you can view them here

Friday, February 21, 2014

Week 8 Of Year-Long Hand-Lettering Project - Langston Hughes - "Hold Fast To Dreams...."

This quote by Langston Hughes, like so much of his writing, has the deep and sad timbre of his subject; the experience of racism in his life and in our culture.  How sad to think of not holding to our dreams, which is something we may be tempted into, particularly in the face of what may seem like insurmountable odds, or forces that are so large we cannot imagine being strong enough to take them on.  If we give up on our dreams, they become a life lost, like an injured bird, without hope of ever getting off the ground again.  And yet, inside of this sad aspect, is the idea of staying true to ourselves and the importance of our lives through our ability to dream and the power of our imaginations.  While some dreams may fall to the ground, much like an injured bird, there is always another dream that each one of us may take in and nurture – for ourselves, our loved ones, groups we care deeply about or for critical social causes.  There are new dreams. There are new incarnations of lost dreams.  The important thing is to keep dreaming.  Keep dreaming and let your dreams soar.

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form “jazz poetry.” Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance.  He was born on February 1, 1902, which was interesting to me because February 1 is my birthday too.

He was the voice for his race during his life and was, in his later years, deemed the “Poet Laureate of the Negro Race,” a title he encouraged. Hughes meant to represent the race in his writing and he was, perhaps, the most original of all African American poets.  He died on May 22, 1967, after complications from surgery.  At his funeral, very little was said by way of eulogy, but the jazz and the blues musicians who played for him, created a very fitting final tribute to this writer who had been a creative maverick, for his race and for his generation.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Week 7 - Year Long Weekly Hand Lettering Project - Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day?

Happy Valentine's Day!

I had contemplated basing this week's piece of hand lettering on one of many quotes I found, in various sources, about self love. Because it is TRUE, that to have almost anything, including a wonderful romatic relationship, you really do need to love yourself; at least enough to let yourself have what you are dreaming about.

I also came across this - Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare. I had never read it fully, although like almost everyone I know, I had heard the first two lines many, many times. I became curious, and so, this week, I read the entire sonnet. And you know, there is a reason that Shakespeare's works have lasted through the ages. The man has a way with words.

This sonnet made me swoon. Even when I had to reread certain lines to understand what the heck he was saying. Swoon. Seriously. Take some time to read this through. Even if you don't have a special sweetheart this Valentine's Day, so what? You can read this. Imagine it has been written to you by someone who likes you very, very much. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the most TOP SECRET secrets of manifesting your dreams is to FEEL your way into it. If you are looking to find yourself in a wonderful, swoon-worthy, flowers-and-chocolate type of romance, try on the feelings you would have if that dream came true. Reading this sonnet will definitely jump start that for you!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Week 6 ~ A Snowball To The Face Is Surely The Perfect Beginning To A Lasting Friendship

I found this phrase standing alone, outside the context of the book, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, from which it is taken.  "A Snowball To The Face Is Surely The Perfect Beginning To A Lasting Friendship" is a very funny and evocative sentence. When we normally think about approaching someone in a friendly  way, especially with the intent to start up a friendship, we don't normally think of doing it by throwing a snowball at that person's face. That twist in "logic" is what makes this so funny and it illustrates what would be called a "pattern interrupt." 

A "pattern interrupt" is a way to change a person's state or behavior using unexpected actions or words. It actually can be used to interrupt anything; for example, did you ever ask someone a question when they were in the middle of a story and they can't remember where they left off? Or you start to do something and after being interrupted, can't remember what it was? These are all pattern interrupts and can cause momentary confusion, but can also create an open state in which the shift in your attention can interrupt your own or someone else's non-resourceful state, whether we are caught in a negative spiral of thought or, perhaps, if we are stuck in habitual behavior that we'd like to change.

Examples of "pattern interrupts" are:
~ Humor, such as the example in this week's hand-lettered project
~ Clapping your hands in the middle of an argument, to allow people some time to take a deep breath or take a walk to let off steam.
~ Taking a different route to work or school
~ Stepping away from a creative problem that may be frustrating you, by taking a walk or doing the dishes

This phrase about snowballs seems to address a particular type of stuckness to me. It says to me, first and foremost, that it is OKAY to let yourself want something, even if you have a habit of telling yourself "no" about it. And, then, whether it is a person you want to approach, or a dream you want to go after, give yourself a PATTERN INTERRUPT. There may be confusion or discomfort that come with trying a new approach, perhaps with even THINKING about it. Be with those feelings. Use this phrase to keep a positive slant on the discomfort. And when you are ready to put those fears aside, even for a minute or two at a time, then, know that, eventually, you too will be able to throw a snowball right at that dream's face and make friends with it.