Monthly Archives: October 2011

Handprint List Item and an Announcement

I’ve been on fire lately, 2 giant items officially crossed off the Handprint List in two months! I say giant not because they’re crazy or expensive. Obviously, I still have a lot of traveling to do, but these two are completely up to me and my own power. No one else can do them for me. Just a few months ago, I didn’t think either of them were possible.

If you missed my last Handprint List update, catch it here.

So what have I done this time?

  • Sell a piece of artwork

Here it is:

"Rapture" acrylic on canvas, 24"X36"

Sold. Someone actually paid me for something I created, which is a dream come true for any creative soul who longs to turn their passion into a career.

And that’s not even the most exciting part. I real kicker is that I’ve decided  to pursue my dream of being a professional artist, not some time in the future, but right now. I’ve been covered in paint for the last two months and I have a body of work that I’m proud to display.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be launching a new website to showcase and sell my artwork. This site won’t be a replacement for Handprint Soul, but rather an extension of it. You can still read my posts about intuitive eating, passionate living and creative healing here on the main site, but if you interested in viewing my work and reading about my life as an artist, I’d love to see you on this new site. I’ll announce it when it’s ready to be unveiled, but until then you can catch me on Facebook and view works available for purchase on ebay.

Here’s a taste of what I’ve been up to:

"Memory" acrylic on canvas, 24"X30"

Available here.

"A Fire Inside" acrylic on canvas, 24"X30"

Available here.

"Contemplative" acrylic on canvas 24"X24"

"Step by Step" acrylic on canvas, 24"X36"

Available here.

So that’s a taste of what I’ve been up to. I’ll let you know when the new site is ready and I hope to see you there! Until then, I’ll be hanging around here and on Facebook.

McKella

What’s in Your Toolbox?

 

We all get stressed out sometimes. We all get angry, tired, anxious, or plain burnt out. So what do we do when we get there? How do we take care of ourselves? How do we learn from these emotions?

If you can’t  think of the answers to these questions, don’t worry. It’s ok if you don’t know how to handle these emotions yet, because most people don’t. Most of us see these emotions as bad things that should always be avoided, and that something is wrong with us if we experience them. This isn’t always the case.

Uncomfortable emotions aren’t there to get us, they’re often our greatest teachers and road signs. If we’re stressed, anxious, or  depressed all the time, we know that something in our life or attitude needs to change. If we get angry, we might have stumbled over an emotional block that we get to work through and release so we can live better.

But how do we do this?

We use a toolbox. Everyone has one. This toolbox contains the tools we use to handle emotions.

Sometimes these toolboxes are well-stocked so that we can handle any job life throws at us. Some of our toolboxes are rather sparse. Others are full of hammers when what we really need are screwdrivers.

Let’s take a look at our toolboxes. What kind of tool could we find in there? Let’s take a look at my toolbox first. It may not look like your ideal toolbox, but it sure works for me:

  • Journaling
  • Yoga, walking and hiking outside
  • Uplifting reading like my religious texts, blogs, and books like Healing from the Heart by Dr. Judith Moore (this book was key in my recovery)
  • Talking to my husband, Mom, or friend.
  • Cleaning my apartment, artmaking, and cooking. Great activities for when my hands need something to do while I think.
  • iPod: good music, inspiring podcasts and my SoulArt courses.
For me, this is a well-stocked toolbox, and these things work  for a lot of people. This is what I do when I encounter difficult emotions that I need to work through, think about, talk about, or ride out.
My toolbox used to contain a lot of other things that didn’t get the job done, like eating to cope with anxiety. Actually, I think that was the only tool in there for awhile. Here are some other unhelpful tools we might use to distract, numb or release feelings:
  • Dangerous behaviors like using drugs, smoking, self-inflicted injury, having unprotected sex or drinking.
  • Zoning out in front of the TV or computer
  • Blowing up at someone to express anger
  • Shopping
  • Wearing ourselves out by overworking or overexercising
  • Bingeing or restricting food
  • Bottling up emotions until they make us sick.
If you constantly feel stressed, irritable, or worn out, you may want to examine your toolbox to make sure you have the right stuff. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time try to pull out nails with a wrench.
So what’s in your toolbox? Here are some ideas of tools you could use instead of the harmful ones listed above.
  • Supporting rituals like “you-time”
  • Supportive friends, family or a counselor you can talk to
  • Journaling and creative expression
  • Exercise
  • Service to others
  • Good books and other resources to help you work through emotions
  • Activities that help you unwind without tuning out. Yoga, reading, and that old self-care cliche, the hot bubble bath.
  • Anxiety-soothing activities that keep your hand or body busy while your mind is free to think like cleaning, knitting, wire-jewelry making, kneading bread dough, whatever.
What’s in your toolbox? Did I miss anything? Let me know!

There is Only Love

If you’re a creative person (and you are, you just may not know it yet) you probably know what it’s like to be stuck. You might sit down to create something or face a problem, but something seems to block you, and you can’t put you’re finger on it.

If you have a partner, children, coworkers, or if you interact with other humans at all (most of us do) you know what it’s like to be frustrated, hurt or angry with someone else.

If you’ve ever been on a diet, had nasty thoughts about your body, or stayed on the beach because you wouldn’t take off your sarong to get in the water, you know what it’s like to struggle with some degree of self-loathing.

In my last post, I talked about one of my favorite mantras: I Choose. I’ve really gotten into using mantras lately and I can’t believe the change in my attitude and perception. Here”s another powerful mantra I use when I’m frustrated for any reason.

There is only love.

I tend to use this mantra for three things:

  • my own creative work
  • the way I relate to others
  • the way I treat my body and myself.

If I’m in a creative funk, I sit with that feeling and usually realize that I’m afraid of something. Failure, judgement, limitations, whatever. The only way I can get out of that block is to remember how I love to create, and how I love to share my  creations with others. Fear is the opposite of love, and my creativity can only flow when I create from love, not fear.

If I have a disagreement with my husband or a family member, if someone cuts me off in traffic or if a cashier grumps at me, I say to myself “There is only love.” Instead of seeing the other person as a jerk or feeling like someone is out to get me, I try to be compassionate. They probably weren’t trying to hurt me. Maybe they’re having a bad day for whatever reason. It’s ok if Sam doesn’t see everything exactly the way I do, we just haven’t found that common ground yet.

I’ve a proficient intuitive eater, but every once in  awhile I still have a ghost of a bad body thought, or I might feel slightly guilty for eating something that isn’t good for me. Or, I might be stressed out and feel like emptying out my chocolate stash, but I know that isn’t in my best interest. I remember, “There is only love.” No need to guilt trip myself for a treat. I love my body, so I try to treat it well.

I use this Every. Day. I write it in my journal every morning when I wake up so I can start my day thinking this way.

Just write it down every morning. Say it whenever you’re frustrated. I can’t believe how powerful it’s been in my life.

Try it!

I Choose

Well, the past few months have been crazy awesome busy, and hopefully I’ll be able to unveil my secret project later this week!

Also, with this underway I’m planning on posting regularly again,  so stay tuned for regular spouting from McKella’s fountain of wisdom. Ha.

Ok, with housekeeping out of the way, it’s time for me to share with you one of the most important things I’ve learned in this year of tremendous growth. Just two little words, a special mantra I’ve used to keep my head on straight through stress and fear.

I choose

This is actually one of many mantras I’ve used over the past few months, but let me tell you why this one is special.

  • It’s reminds us that we are the masters of our own lives, and that we are powerful. If something isn’t working out for us, if we’re struggling to overcome a harmful habit or if we feel trapped, we can always choose something else. We live in a free country where we always have options, and you can always make a choice to change.
  • Knowing we have a choice changes our mindset. Instead of thinking in terms of “should” and “have to”, we can see our abundance of options. Instead of feeling overpowered to binge or let people walk all over us, we can choose to listen to our bodies, to stand up for ourselves. Having a choice sets us free.
When I feel stressed out or trapped, I repeat “I choose…” in my head until I feel better, or I write it in my journal. If I’m compelled to eat emotionally, give up, or let someone else take charge of my life, I remember “I choose…”
I choose to listen to my body.
I choose to be calm and happy.
I choose to enjoy this time.
I choose to be true to myself and grow my career my way, the way I feel is right.
I choose life and adventure over food.
What do you choose?