Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 20 ~ "People Often Say...." ~ Zig Ziglar

For a long time I resisted anything or anyone resembling someone like Zig Ziglar. He was a renowned salesman and a motivational speaker and author, and he and his kind were just too "sales-y" for my tastes. Also, being a New York City-educated artist, all that smiling went against the grain. Not to mention so did the whole idea of sales....I was an artist after all.

As interested as I have been in self-development pretty much my whole life, I still had never so much as picked up a book by Zig Ziglar or read anything by him. Of course, times are a-changing and today, sales is something that lots of people are interested in. Even looking for a job involves knowing that you are indeed, selling something, in this case yourself and your skills. Artists also need to develop skills in selling. (And this would involve dumping those myths about the "starving artist." It is a bunch of hooey.)

I still have not read a thing by Zig Ziglar, but after finding this quote - which I like because it's funny and makes a lot of sense! - I did visit his website. And it didn't look too scary and/or cheesy. Mr. Ziglar, who was born in 1926, passed from this world in November 2012, but there seems to be a lot of very nice people who continue to write helpful and informational articles for his site. One of these days, I may sit and read one or two or twenty of them. This will come in handy because motivation really does need to be a daily practice, and a nice big selection of resources makes that more fun.

Whoever, and whatever, inspires you, I hope you stay motivated to pursue your dreams.

Have a wonderful week!

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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Week 5 - Hand Lettered Homage To Pete Seeger

This week's simple hand-lettered piece is an homage to the late, great Pete Seeger. Pete Seeger, in case you didn't know, was a folk singer who had a great love of humanity, and who wrote and sang songs about justice and peace. He wrote (among many other titles) "If I Had A Hammer" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" (which became a pop hit by The Byrds.) Pete revived many old songs that originated as gospel spirituals or songs of solidarity in early 20th century labor movements.

"Ain't Gonna Study War No More" is a line from an old gospel song that is also known by the title, "Down By The Riverside," as well as "Gonna Lay Down My Burden." Pete Seeger did not write it but he performed it as part of his repertoire.

I have a memory of seeing him on the NYC subway once, years ago. I was the only one who noticed him and what had caught my eye was his guitar case almost completely covered in stickers. I looked around to see if anyone in this fully occupied car saw who was riding the train with us and one. I looked at him and acknowledged that I recognized him and probably somehow communicated that I couldn't believe no one else saw him with my facial expression. He smiled back and seemed to put his hand up a little as if to say it's okay. It was a sweet tender moment and I cherish it!

Pete passed away this week at the age of 94. I feel his energy and love for humanity even more palpably present in the world now, in this aftermath of his leaving us. RIP Pete Seeger. Thank you for living your truth and loving humanity.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Week 4 of Hand Lettering Project - Living Your Dreams!

Discuss?!?! Okay, I'll go first! How does living your dream benefit you and others?....Well, first of all, of course, when you are living your dreams, that will be good thing and all. Also! will be an inspiring example to others around you, which, y'know, people need. And really one more will have created a rippling effect with all your dream-living vibrations of happiness and fulfillment...ripples of Daring and Victorious-ness that all living things will eventually be affected by. Oh will. To live your dreams is to embody your dreams, that is, to think and act with the confidence that they are real, even if all the pieces are not in place yet. And oh, in case you didn't know, this is one of the TOP-SECRET ways to bring them into reality. Live them, embody them, confidently step up and feel your way into them and watch the whole world change!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Story Of The Cat And The Moon

This video is stunning. Sorry I cannot figure out how to get the full width of the video to show up here, but you can double click on it to make it full screen on your monitor. You can also click here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

From The Archive: Some Figure Drawings Of A Full Figured Lady

Now for Part TWO of my art and blogging goals for being the Year Long Weekly Lettering Project, two is creating a post on my blog (possibly) everyday! But instead of putting all that PRESSURE on myself to do something every day and to be somewhat organized about it, and EASE into posting a specific subject on a particular day of the week, I present .....tada!......"From The Archives" Saturdays!!! Here are some drawings of one of my favorite body types to draw. I wish I could remember the name of this model, but she was fantastic, as you can see. Very relaxed, natural and beautiful! Enjoy!!! These are in graphite (one in white colored pencil and graphite, one with white highlights) on a buff colored paper. About 6 x 8 inches.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hand-Lettering Week 2: You Don't Have To Be Tall To See The Moon

Here is my second hand-lettering piece for the year. "You Don't Have To Be Tall To See The Moon" is a sweet and yet profound sentiment that conveys the promise that while everyone may not have the same resources or opportunities, everyone has the same potential. And that means, that really..... anything is possible and any story, including your story, can have any ending! This builds on the first phrase - and the theme for the year - to Pay Attention To Your Dreams. Take your dreams seriously! Remember that no matter how small you may feel, your potential is infinite and you can reach your goals, no matter how far away they seem! On January 1, 2014, there was a new moon; this is the dark moon, when the light from the sun is blocked by the placement of the Earth between Sun and Moon. In various ancient traditions, the new moon marks the time for starting things, for putting things into motion which will come to fruition in two weeks when the moon is full and round and fully reflecting the Sun's light (and more longer term plans as well.) The new moon happening on New Year's Day is a rare occurrence; the last one was 19 years ago. It is said that it can add more power to your plans for the coming year. Whether you believe that literally or not, you can be sure that as humanity awakens, dreams do have more power behind them for coming TRUE! The moon has always been an object of fascination for humans since the dawn of time. I believe that there is power and guidance available through our connection to all of Nature including our dear neighbor the Moon. Sit quietly, gaze out the window at the Moon and ask her what she can help you with. Let her mystery and magic reflect back to you quiet answers. And remember: You Don't Have To Be Tall To See The Moon; you can achieve your dreams.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014's Theme: Pay Attention To Your Dreams

In the past few years, rather than come up with resolutions for the New Year, I have been getting a word or phrase that becomes a theme for the coming twelve months. A couple years ago it was "Have More Fun," and then another year, "Find Joy." Simple ideas, yet they provide a frame for all the experiences to come. This year, during the last two weeks of December, the phrase "Pay Attention To Your Dreams" has floated into my consciousness and has lingered. This phrase has become a catalyst for two things. First, it's the theme for the year, in and of itself. I think we all know how easy it is to not give a lot of weight to some of our dreams. Especially when we can get caught up in the day to day details of living. So this phrase will be my touchstone for 2014, and if you would like to borrow it, it can be yours too. The second thing this phrase catalyzes for me is a particular dream that I have been harboring for a while now. I have always wanted to do a series of hand lettered quotes and phrases......(you see where I'm going with this?) This piece of hand lettering is going to be the first of 52 weekly hand lettering samples that I will do in 2014. Every Friday morning I will post a hand lettered quote or phrase. They might be inspirational....they might be funny. That is one dream that I am taking action on now. Please join me in my journey and see if there is a dream that you can bring into fruition this year. Happy New Year.....and please.....Pay Attention To Your Dreams~!