Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration… The vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart – this you will build your life by, this you will become.

-James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

“Any man may attain self-control if he only will. He must not gain it, however, except by continued payment of price, in small, progressive expenditures of energy. Nature has an installment plan for each individual. No man is so poor that he cannot begin to pay for what he wants from his life. And every small, individual payment that he makes, nature accumulates for him as a reserve fund of strength in his hour of need.”

-William George Jordan, The Kingship of Self-Control

“I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy.”

A simple affirmation from the Master Key System to ward off thoughts of fear, jealousy, anger, and anxiety. We may not always be able to keep ourselves from thinking negative thoughts but we can shut them down with positive affirmations.

Below: Watercolor color play… totally enjoying the process of discovery new shades, tones, and transparencies. I think I am going to expand this color play into final paintings. Hmmm… wheels are turning.

The Alchemist

One of my favorite books of all time… just going over some of my highlights from previous reads… I think I’m going to read it again once I get through my current reading list cause I just miss it… it’s so full of gems about finding your Personal Legend.  Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

“..when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

“It is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that’s where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”

Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist

If you haven’t read it, do… It’s a delight to read and it uplifts the soul.

Mental Housecleaning

“If either of us were building a home for ourselves, how careful we would be in regard to the plans; how we should study every detail; how we should watch the material and select only the best of everything; and yet how careless we are when it comes to building our Mental Home, which is infinitely more important than any physical home, as everything which can possibly enter into our lives depends upon the character of the material which enters into the construction of our Mental Homes.”

“The thing to do is to have a mental housecleaning, and to have this house cleaning every day; and keep the house clean. Mental, moral, and physical cleanliness are absolutely indispensable if we are to make progress of any kind.”

-Master Key System, Chapter 5

What thoughts are going through your mind unchecked? What is the quality of your innermost thoughts? Are you being selective about what you accept as truth? Thought becomes intent; intent breeds action; action begets consequences. If we think negative, cowardly, and fearful thoughts without challenging or chucking them, we will internalize them and they will become part of our self and our circumstances. Let’s be more mindful about what we are thinking about.

Silence is golden when it comes to listening for your own innermost voice. Select positive and good thoughts to internalize and be deliberate in building your mental environment.

Below: a painting from this morning – watercolor

Original Abstract Painting by Sophia Moon

Mastering the Mind

Sharing two short excerpt from Master Key System (what a mind blowing book – only on week 3). I’m chewing on these thoughts today:

The subconscious can and will carry out such plans and ideas as may be suggested to it by the conscious mind. Conscious thought, then, is master of this sun center from which the life and energy of the entire body flows and the quality of the thought which we entertain determines the quality of the thought which this sun will radiate… and consequently will determine the nature of the experience which will result.”

It is our attitude of mind toward life which determines the experiences that we are to meet; If we expect nothing, we shall have nothing; If we demand much, we shall receive the greater portion. The world is harsh only as we fail to assert ourselves. The criticism of the world is bitter only to those who cannot compel room for their ideas. It is fear of this criticism that causes many ideas to fail to see the light of day.

My Takeaways: Our subconscious mind controls the intricate involuntary system within our body that resonates with the universe – it operates on “truths” that our conscious minds teach us. Our conscious mind perceives and rationalizes certain “truths” into our belief system. Whether our conscious mind chooses thoughts that are good and right, or bad and wrong, our subconscious will accept them and act accordingly, ultimately the resulting experiences are in line with our core beliefs, values, and morals. Good and right thoughts beget good experiences; Bad and wrong thoughts beget bad experiences. All experiences begin with thoughts.

Fear is the manifestation of negative “truths” from our conscious mind on our subconscious system that result in bitterness, scarcity, and failure to realize one’s calling.

I have heard much skepticism about the power of thought alone and I agree that it takes more than a passing whim to institute real, tangible change in one’s life circumstances. But, I also believe that there is something powerful about learning to control the seemingly involuntary thoughts that go through our minds – to control what we think about ourselves, what we deserve, and what we are capable of achieving in our lives. That is all inner voice – and mastery of that is something all artists and creatives would do well to achieve so that we can really tune into the universe and all of its abundance.

This is very much in line with my experiment this week to quiet the world around me and really listen to my innermost thoughts. Already in just a day, I feel so much more present and focused.

Artist Date

The Artist’s Way is a book dedicated to unblocking the creative within you by overcoming your deepest fears and doubts so that you can do what you are meant to do. The “program” is outlined into weekly readings/tasks, morning pages, and a weekly artist date. “An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.” It needn’t cost much and you can do anything so long as you are having fun and doing it alone.

If you’re anything like me, the artist date is the hardest part of the program, which is odd because it’s arguably the easiest part. But, there is a deep feeling of guilt around spending two perfectly good waking hours alone, not working, not spending quality time with my family, and not getting precious sleep.  I’m three weeks into the 12-week program, and so far, no artist date. There is always a “good” reason to not do it, skip it, reschedule it – the resistance is real, folks.

Why do we feel so guilty about making time for ourselves? We are worth it. We deserve it. And, we need it. So, tonight, it’s going down for me – my first artist date. Tell you about it tomorrow! 😉

When was the last time you did something alone that was fun and stimulating for your inner creative?

Collect inspiration.

I love Austin Kleon’s perspective in Stealing Like An Artist.  Nothing is original and “all creative work builds on what came before.” The good artists embraces influences but not indiscriminately – she carefully chooses to consume the work of those predecessors that resonate with her soul. The good artist is selective about what she consumes with eyes, ears, mind and heart because she will consciously and unconsciously leverage those influences as inspiration for her own art and personal style. It is the unique collection and manifestation of each individual’s life experiences, tastes, interests, influences, and inspirations that gives each artist the opportunity to be “original.”

Let’s stop obsessing about originality and invest in the cultivation of our individual tastes. Let’s feed our eyes, ears, minds, and souls with the things that inspire us.

What art needs from us…

I’m reflecting on the pages I read from Art & Fear today and gleaning some thoughts on what art needs from us, the creatives.

The thought that art needs something from us assigns living qualities to our art. With the first stroke of the brush that we boldly lay down, we breathe the life of our imagination into a once inanimate sheet of paper. Every subsequent contribution forms and feeds this infant art. When it’s at its infancy, our art requires us to build it up, but at some point, the art starts to tell us, the artist, what it needs, and where it wants to go and our job is to listen. Making art is a fluid conversation of sorts between our self, the medium of our choice, and the art as it comes into being, not a monologue.

Art needs us to start with a broad concept and permit it the flexibility to become what it needs to become.

Art needs us to be vulnerable, to embrace mistakes and uncertainty and to let go of the need to control the process and the result.

Art needs us to consider our role in the work as the uncovering of the potential in our medium – whether it is ink, paint, clay, or fabric.

Excerpts from Art & Fear:

“In making art you need to give yourself room to respond authentically, both to your subject matter and to your materials. Art happens between you and some thing – a subject, an idea, a technique – and both you and that something need to be free to move.”

“What’s really needed [to make art] is nothing more than a broad sense of what you are looking for, some strategy for how to find it, and an overriding willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way.”

” Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art.”

[Sharing two mini watercolors from a couple mornings ago – I didn’t know I was in the mood to paint florals, but that’s kinda what they make me think of. I used a variety of round foam brushes and they were so much fun to make.]

 

Making & Mistakes

Staring at a blank canvas, a pile of raw materials, or a lump of clay waiting to be sculpted into something magnificent, can feel as daunting as staring down the barrel of a gun. To make a new thing requires that we take a risk – the risk that we will make a mistake, feel foolish, and have to start over again (and again, and again). The alternatives to making a mistake are: to choose to only make the things we already know how to make, or to give up altogether. Giving up gets us nowhere, and the risk averse strategy of sticking only to what we know, may, with the exception of human error, get us nearer perfection. But, perfection of this kind would come at a heavy cost. Invention and creation would exist at the sole mercy of happy chance. Life/Work would be repetitive. And, humanity would suffer the loss of human ingenuity.

As creatives, our calling is to make something new, to try a new thing, and if we’re brave enough, we will have made progress through failures. Let’s submit to the inevitability that we will make mistakes (in life and in our work) and adopt a healthier, more compassionate perspective on making mistakes. Let’s regard our mistakes as opportunities to learn and get closer to materializing that which our imagination is fixated on.

This small excerpt out of Paul Arden’s, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, inspired me to write today so I thought I’d share it… it’s a great book, if you are looking for an easy and inspiring read.

(The author claims that the misspelling in the title is a fortuitous coincidence, but I’m going to give him credit for ingenuity and humor.)