Thursday 29 October 2009

The Artist's Way - Week 10 & check in


This week was all about recognising the toxic patterns we hang on to as a way to avoid moving forward and taking risks with our creativity.

Some of these toxins may present themselves in various ways such as eating habits, alcohol, emotional pain, sex, and work. Sometimes, people hold on to these to the point of abuse and it becomes a toxic situation causing creative blocks.

As with most of the chapters in The Artist's Way, I feel it's all to do with our fear of taking risks so we hang onto the familiar in what we perceive as safe and supposedly secure territory. As we move forward through the healing process, we are able to recognise the toxins/blocks for what they are and we realise that we can put our creative energies to better use.

In one of the tasks this week, Julia asked us to make a list of things we love - Happiness Touchstones. We then post the list somewhere to remind us that these are our own personal touchstones. A reminder that we can take time out to love and nurture ourselves. We ARE deserving creative beings.

My Happiness Touchstones -
(though I know there will be more that come to mind later)

My kids
My parents
My dog, Cody
My friends


Reading books
Just kicking back and relaxing
Scented candles

Small, smooth river stones
Smell of rain
Bottle trees

Animals, in general

Hippy/Bohemian style
Gypsy style skirts
Wrap-around Skirts
Flannelette PJs
Long, dangling earrings
Large hoop earrings
Beaded jewellery
Silver jewellery

Thongs (footwear)

My tattoo

My Canon IXUS 80 camera
My computer

Long country drives
Walking in nature
Walks on the beach
Collecting shells
Eating fish and chips by the sea
Browsing markets for handmade wares
Browsing book shops
Browsing art supply shops

Frangipanis (Plumeria)

Blues, greens, and purple colour combos
I also like orange, pink and red colour combos

Watching DVDs/movies
Listening to music
Blogging and reading other blogs

Green tea
Curry and rice (Indian or Thai)
Fried rice
Mashed potatoes
Fried Mushrooms in garlic cream sauce
Roast vegetables
Salad wraps
Fresh fruit
Fresh baked bread
Home-made apple pie
Devonshire Tea (scones with jam and whipped cream)
Bartlett's sherbet fountains
Peanut brittle
Dark Chocolate
Home-made marshmallow squares coated with toasted coconut
Red Rock Deli sea salt potato chips
Samboy Barbecue potato chips

Miniature boxes
Tiny notebooks
Sun catchers


Did I do my morning pages? I missed a couple of days...was still battling sickness.

Did I go on my artist date? See above.

Did I experience any synchronicity? None.

Any issues significant to my creative recovery? I really need to create a better time management plan. I spend too much time at the computer and also watching DVDs.


WOW! Just two more weeks until the end of The Artist's Way course! I'm proud of myself for hanging in there despite battling sickness for the past four weeks. The good news is that I'm feeling much better as far as my chest infection goes.....the antibiotics finally kicked in. YAY! The bad news is that I've had migraines for the past two days. I just can't seem to win a trick lately. I'm staying positive though and I actually took some steps towards getting back to the studio. I made up fresh stay-wet palettes and refreshed the water jars a couple of days ago....and today, I cut up some blank mantra/affirmation cards as I plan on finishing the deck I started painting earlier this year. I've had an idea for another painting floating around in my head for a few weeks now so I hope to get some rough sketches drawn up for that soon too. Baby steps.........

Love, light and peace

Tuesday 27 October 2009


I've been taking things fairly easy as I'm still not 100%. I'm on my second course of antibiotics and I seem to have reached a plateau where I've stopped improving. Despite taking things easy, I've been feeling quite exhausted and fatigued by mid-afternoon too. I'm off to the doctor again later this morning so I guess I'll see what the next step will be.

For my photos this week, I thought I'd share some pics from the lovely Sunday we had at Michelle and Alex's place. Michelle rang up in the morning and invited us over for a barbecue and we all had a great time.

Michelle organised the table setting.....

....while Alex manned the barbecue and cooked up some home-made hamburger patties. As I don't eat meat, Michelle gave me some mushroom and asparagus quiche which she had made and it was DELICIOUS!!!

Bradley enjoying a cold lemonade

It was a bright, sunny day but the large umbrella provided the perfect canopy for shade

Alex's bonsai trees are thriving in the sun

It was a perfect Sunday!


Expect to see a lot more posting from me in November because it's that time again! I have, once again, signed up for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) where participating bloggers will post daily for the month of November. I had so much fun participating last year and I'm seeing this as the perfect opportunity to get myself motivated and out of the slump I've been in lately. It has been mostly due to sickness but I refuse to wallow forever. If you're interested in signing up too just click on the badge above.

love, light and peace

Saturday 24 October 2009

My book traits

I snagged this Meme over on Jennifer's blog and, being a bookaholic, I couldn't resist. Feel free to snag it yourself if you're interested.

Do you snack while you read? For the most part no but I will occasionally snack on lollies (candy).

Do you tend to mark your books as you read them, or does the idea of writing on your books horrify you? I never used to but, in recent years, I have found it helpful to highlight passages from a book that 'speak' to me. Of course, I usually only do this with non-fiction books.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog ears? Leaving the book open flat? Usually a bookmark but, if I don't have a bookmark readily available, I will use scrap paper, gift cards, business cards.....most anything as I'm definitely not one for dog-earing a book.

Fiction, Non-Fiction or both? I like both. I adore non-fiction books on metaphysics, esoteric, self-help, quantum theory, history, in particular Native American history. I also like fiction along the lines of supernatural and horror so it would be no surprise that Dean Koontz is one of my favourite authors. I also like Barbara Erskine for her historical/supernatural themed books. In recent years, Dan Brown is another author whose books I enjoy reading. I find fantasy books, such as Lord of the Rings, difficult to get into though I loved the movie series.

my bedside table/shelf

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point? I definitely prefer to read to the end of chapters.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
No. I generally get the meaning of the word from the context of the words around it.

What are you currently reading? I recently finished The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. In progress are - The Artist's Way (again), A New Earth (again), The Astonishing Power of Emotions and The Legend of Edgar Sawtelle.

What is the last book you bought? The Artist's Guide to Perspective by Janet Shearer.

Are you the type of person who can only read one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time? I usually have at least three books on the go.

Do you prefer series or stand alone books? I don't mind either though I probably lean more towards stand alone books.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? Not really. I find that people have different tastes when it comes to books though I may mention a book I've enjoyed to someone. It's no secret that I'm a Dean Koontz fan.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
It depends.....I guess if I have numerous fiction books by one author, I will keep them together. For non-fiction, I tend to organise them by subject.


Love, light and peace

Thursday 22 October 2009

The Artist's Way - Week 9 & check in


I had a terrible Artist's Way week health-wise and, while I did read the chapter and do some of the tasks, I didn't get to process the information as much as I would have liked. For week 9, Julia gave us permission to READ the morning pages we have been writing since the beginning of the course. We were to highlight any insights, note areas where action is needed, and note any repetition. I am yet to explore my morning pages but I'll report on my findings next week.

This past week, we were to delve into our inner blocks, not external ones.
  • Fear of putting ourselves out there.

  • Being too hard on ourselves to the point where we lose our enthusiasm.

  • Making up excuses not to progress further on our creative journey because we experience a hurdle. Julia calls them Creative U-turns.

Then Julia discusses how to break through the blocks that are stopping us from moving forward.

One of the tasks was to visualise and write about our goal already being accomplished but to write about it in the present tense. My dilemma is that I don't think I have a goal. I can't decide which direction or style of art I truly want to pursue. I'm reminded of that saying - Jack of all trades, Master of none. Is not having a set goal really such a bad thing at my age? I feel content and happy to just paint for my own joy and not necessarily because I want to sell my art. Of course, the latter would be nice as it would supplement my meagre income but then....I'm back at square one.....what to paint? Realistic animals, motivational/spiritual, Goddess art, mixed media abstract????? I just can't make up my confused, little mind!!! Geez, I can get so frustrated with myself at times! It's not like I'm setting off to climb Mount Everest. Somebody....ANYBODY....please do my a favour and just hit me upside the head, will you?!

I guess my main focus is about living joyfully in each moment of each day rather than pressuring myself to make choices or achieve goals. I much prefer the relaxed attitude of - I'll get there when I get there. I'm truly happy to just plod along and see where I end up so it's hard for me when books talk about choosing goals and aiming for them.

Since doing The Artist's Way twice before, I can see that I've changed my whole mind-set. Back then, my goal had been to teach art and I achieved that, though it wasn't what I expected. I found myself feeling totally drained of creative energy after giving my all to my students and wound up with no time for my own art. I quit teaching numerous students and now, I continue to teach one student, once a week, which seems to fit in much better with my more relaxed approach. Maybe my goal in processing The Artist's Way this time around is more about enjoying my creative life without pressure. I like the sound of that!


Did I do my morning pages? For the first time, I missed days of doing my morning pages....FIVE days, in fact. No excuse except to say I felt miserable and totally drained.

Did I go on my artist date? See above.

Did I experience any synchronicity? None.

Any issues significant to my creative recovery? Perhaps the realisation that I'm happy where I'm at.

Next week, we discuss recovering a sense of self-protection.

I'll get the boxing gloves ready.


photo courtesy of jamie ridler

After a few weeks of ill health due to asthma and subsequent chest infection, I've decided to lighten some of my load and, sadly, The Joy Diet will be one of the casualties. I must admit that the Creativity week did bring me to the realisation that the book was not for me as it was beginning to touch on areas I have already dealt with and released via help from other books I've read over the past couple of years. I certainly don't want to re-hash it all again so, while I'm no longer following the Joy Diet process, I do wish all my fellow Joy Dieters a joyful journey as they continue on their way without me.


On another note, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling a lot better today after being on the antibiotics for the past two days. I'm no longer feeling miserable....a little drained and weak but that will get better too. YAY! Hopefully, I'll get into the studio over the coming days.

love, light and peace

Wednesday 21 October 2009


Hi everyone,

Sorry I'm late with my Monday photos but I wasn't getting any better after taking my asthma medications for a week so went back to the doctor. I'm now battling a chest infection but, with antibiotics, I should hopefully notice a marked improvement very soon. Again, thanks so much for all your well wishes and concern.

As I haven't been well, I didn't get out to take pics but I grabbed an opportunity this morning when I noticed my frangipani (plumeria) starting to bloom. Not the best time of day to take pics as the sun was pretty darned bright but it will have to do.

then I noticed this little guy crawling around so went in for a closer pic

click on any image to enlarge

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of
infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.
--- John Ruskin

I hope to post about my Artist's Way week tomorrow.

Love, light, good health, and peace to you all ~

Thursday 15 October 2009

the artist's way - week eight & check-in

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and was diagnosed with bronchial asthma.....not good for me but that would explain why it felt like I was carrying a brick around inside my chest for the past week. That dust storm three weeks ago was the cause and now I have a stronger preventer inhaler to use twice a day, as well as, a reliever puffer to use at four hourly intervals. As yet, I'm not feeling too much relief but we did have another dust storm yesterday which didn't help matters. I'll go back to the doctor if I'm not noticing a huge improvement by the weekend. Thank you all so much for the well wishes!



Recovering a sense of Strength

As I've been pretty sick with the bronchial asthma, I didn't do too much on the physical side of the tasks but I did focus on the theory.

In this chapter, Julia talks of how artists can be deeply wounded by harsh criticism. Constructive criticism is fine because it helps our creative growth but criticism that is harsh and has no real foundation can be crippling. Teachers and mentors can often be the main culprits as they will put a blanket judgement over our creative efforts without bothering to acknowledge the creative potential that is there. We must learn to move through this painful time by acknowledging it. The trick is to convert the emotional pain into energy. We must reach for and focus on what we want. When hit by loss, we must ask "What next?" not "Why me?".

Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown ~
Claude Bernard

When one avenue of creativity is blocked, find another. The key to recovery is to take action.

Saying we are too old to attempt something creative is a cop out. It's an evasive tactic to avoid facing our fear. This also occurs at the other end of the scale....young people will say that they will do something creative when they retire. Again, it is a fear-based excuse.

Julia makes a good point that creativity occurs in the moment and that, in that moment, we are timeless. Our fear, not time, is what truly holds us back. The journey of a thousand miles begins with with just one step. By focusing on the doing in each 'now' moment, we live the adventure, whereas focusing only on the end result can often feel like it is out of our reach.

It can help to break a goal down into smaller steps and just focus on doing those steps one at a time and eventually we will reach the goal. Even the simplest of actions is taking a step in the right direction.

I didn't realise I was creatively talented until I was well into my late thirties and that realisation came by total accident. I must say that, since I took up art, I have had nothing but support and encouragement from my family and friends so I don't think I can blame criticism for any creative blocks I may be dealing with.

I turned 50 this year and, while I am happy with my achievements to date, there is so much I want to try artistically. As I've noted in previous posts, my desire to try out different art forms often leaves me feeling confused about which one to focus on, thereby, never taking that first step forward. From this chapter, I have re-learned that, instead of procrastinating over what direction I want to take, I should just do something in line with my art...anything, even something small! It's a whole lot better than wasting time procrastinating which only leads to me doing nothing anyway....such a waste of time!

I can take the small steps first.....I can refill the dirty water jars with fresh water, I can prepare some fresh stay-wet palettes, I can put a coat of gesso on a canvas, I can tidy up my art space, I can do some sketching or doodling, etc.....all those small actions are part of the bigger picture. I can make a committment to take one small creative action daily and live the adventure instead of just thinking about it.

One of the exercises was to choose a colour and describe ourselves as that colour -
I am blue! Cool, calming, peaceful and spiritual though, like the ocean, I have many moods. I can be soft like a dawn sky or vibrant and strong like a stormy sea. My deepest blue is my portal to the spiritual realms where I connect with my soul.


Did I do my morning pages? Every day except one due to being so sick.

Did I go on my artist date? I'm counting our country drive as an artist date because, even though others were with me, I did go exploring on my own and it was fun and refreshing.

Did I experience any synchronicity? I found it interesting that The Joy Diet topic for this same week was about taking one creative action daily. This is where I should hit myself over the head and the signs, girl! Read the signs!

Any issues significant to my creative recovery? The realisation that I need to just do.....take the small steps instead of procrastinating and wasting time.

Silly me - In this post, I mistakingly thanked one of our Artist Way members for sending me an unsigned postcard as one of our assignments from week six of The Artist's Way. I didn't realise at the time that the postcard, in fact, came from Ricë Freeman-Zachary advertising her latest book - Creative Time and Space - which looks like a fabulous book I might add. The neat timing of receiving a postcard on creating time and space didn't escape my attention. Yet another sign that perhaps I am on the right track?

Anywhoo, my apologies and sincerest thanks goes out to debra as I DID receive your lovely postcard in the mail today! It was a lovely surprise!

love, light and peace

Monday 12 October 2009


yesterday (sunday), i woke early to do my morning pages despite the fact that i wasn't feeling well due to the asthmatic cough getting a good grip on me. it had seemed to improve last week but now it has relapsed. anywhoo, i was tickled to see this shadow heart on the dining room floor. i have no idea how the play of shadows formed it but it made me smile.

later in the morning, beau suggested we go for a drive despite the look of rain setting in. i wasn't feeling great but i thought a nice country drive would get me out of the house and take my mind off my ailment. it was raining when we arrived in beaudesert and i suggested we turn back and head for home but beau was confident the rain would subside by the time we reached our favourite destination - burgess park, lamington - and sure enough, it did.

the pics are a little on the dull side due to the rainy, overcast day but you can click on any of them to enlarge for a closer look.

on the way, i spotted these xanthorrhoea - a native grass tree of australia. these grass trees are very slow growing and it can take 100 years for them to reach only one metre in height. that would mean that some of the ones in this photo would be around 150 years old. if left in their natural habitat, these trees can live up to 600 years old. you can read more about xanthorrhoea here.

growing some distance in front of the xanthorrhoea were clumps of scottish thistle. you can read about how the scottish thistle became the emblem for scotland here.

further along the route, we came across this lovely little catholic church at christmas creek. it was established back in 1902.

at burgess park, we had a great time exploring the creek bed and banks. aaron loved wading in the water and didn't want to leave. lol we noticed the water had gone down a lot since our last visit. i'm not sure if it has been due to farmers tapping into it to irrigate crops or if it's due to the fact we've had very little rain.

a large group of fungi was growing on one of the trees near the creek bed

we had a lovely day and it felt so good to be out in nature.


today (monday), i'm feeling absolutely miserable! my asthmatic cough is worse and my inhaler has not been helping. i had a terrible night.....couldn't sleep, tossed and turned, and ended up on the verge of a migraine from the constant dry coughing. can ya tell i'm feeling very sorry for myself right now? i've booked in to see my doctor first thing in the morning as i'm thinking i may need a different prescription for my inhaler. i just want to feel better!

love, light and peace

Saturday 10 October 2009

THE JOY DIET - item three - DESIRE


photo courtesy of jamie ridler

human beings are the only beasts on the planet who seem to have problems following their true desires. this is probably due to the fact that we can think and reason, and thereby, do a great job at confusing ourselves to the point of losing our way. we often end up living lives that don't fulfil our deepest needs....our true desires.

those true desires are hidden deep within and, to find them, we need to enter the stillness, seek the truth, and ask ourselves - what do i want most right now? then wait for the desire to reveal itself to us. as we wade through the desires that surface, we must pay heed to how each makes us feel. if a desire fills you with great passion and yearning....if it speaks to you of freeing and expressing yourself in your own uniqueness, then it is highly likely to be a true desire and well worth giving your attention to. you will feel a shift within, a knowing that this is the right choice for you. don't let your ego throw negatives into the mix on why the desire is a waste of time. don't let your ego tell you how you are going to reach the desire either. just trust and believe that this desire will manifest into your life in a way of least resistance. as you focus more and more on your chosen desire, you will feel more whole and you will feel that you are moving toward to a fresh, new and joyful life. believe it!

it may take time to recognise your true desires but daily practise will get you closer and closer.

for me, i desire to be a better artist. i desire to lean more towards intuitive, spiritual art but i'm not sure if i'm on the right track to my true desire. i have come up against some creative hurdles over the past couple of weeks and this has left my confidence severely lacking. i'm actually feeling quite lost. have i taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way? as i continue the daily practise of stillness, truth and searching for my true desire, i'm hoping the answer will reveal itself.

the next item on the joy menu is - CREATIVITY - so hopefully, that will shed some light on my confusion.

love, light and peace

Wednesday 7 October 2009

the artist's way - week seven & check-in


this week was all about recovering a sense of connection

julia talks of having the right attitude for creativity and how our receptive skills are just as important as our active skills.


the universe is helping us but we need to be receptive. a lot of accomplished artists will comment about how a successful idea just came to them in a dream or a thought on the wind. intuitive art is a great example of listening to the voice within and going with the flow.
i'm learning to listen to the voice within.


perfectionism can be a huge block because, quite often, a perfectionist is so focused on 'getting it right' that they lose the spontenaity and passion required to truly give life to a piece. i really need to sit up and take notice of this one because one of my biggest faults is being a perfectionist. i think this is part of the reason i have found myself drawn to mixed media, free-style, and abstract type art's an inner attempt to release the ball and chain of perfectionism that has been holding me back. last week, i went through a period of frustration relating to my creativity until i stopped trying to force the painting to happen. i took a step back and got a totally different image in my mind and i went for it....funnily enough, the painting is now flowing much better and i'm enjoying the process.


the unlived life is not worth living

our fears often hold us back from living more adventurous and joyful lives but, by taking the small steps of living joyfully in each moment, we open ourselves up to creative energy. instead of judging and comparing our creative attempts, we would delight in the process of doing. i am learning to go with the flow and enjoy each moment.


jealousy can also be another drawback as it takes us away from our own path of creativity. i don't see myself as a jealous person, however, i do wish i could be as good as some of the artists i admire. i definitely don't begrudge them their talents and i am genuinely happy for them and supportive of their success.

all in all, this week was a great reminder that i need to just let things flow and the connection to my creativity will happen more freely. i'm still not 100% health-wise so i didn't get too many of the tasks done but i will definitely re-visit them later.


did i do my morning pages each day? yes and they did reveal some important insights that i had been struggling with creatively.

did i go on an artist date? no but i am definitely going to try and make more of an effort. i think it's a matter of making time.

any synchronicity? not this week.

any other issues significant to my recovery? the realisation that i need to just relax and not force outcomes when it comes to my creative endeavours.

last but not least, i would like to say a huge thank you to the artist way member who sent me a postcard for week six. you didn't sign the card so i don't know who to thank by name but it was a lovely surprise!

love, light and peace

Monday 5 October 2009



i am back to feeling half-human again after a week of being miserable with sinus allergies and asthma congestion in my chest due to that horrible dust storm. the antihistimines helped but they also made me feel quite groggy and out of the loop.

anywhoo, i will be catching up on everyone's blogs over the coming days.....i've missed you all so much.

on friday, michelle, brad, aaron and i went over to visit my mum and dad. it seemed like ages since we'd seen them so it was really nice catching up. we went for a lovely walk around the retirement village they live in and i snapped some pics along the way.

it was a very hot day and these bougainvillea certainly made a spectacular and brilliant display in the sunlight

click on any image to enlarge

i've always loved hippeastrum which bloom here every october

a close up of some geranium flowers

one of the homes boasted a front garden amass with roses and the scent drifting through the air was mesmerising. i couldn't resist snapping a pic of this rose as we passed by

.....and this morning, i snapped this pic on the way home from dropping reece at the bus stop at 6:30AM. why a pic of a school info sign, you ask? because it was the only way i could convince my ten year old son, aaron, that school did indeed start back today after a two week spring holiday break. he was adamant that it was a public holiday today and that school didn't start back until tomorrow. the poor thing was even on the computer trying to google public holidays to back up his case. needless to say, he lost the argument though he was so desperate, i almost wished it was a public holiday for his sake.



photo courtesy of jamie ridler

this week, martha beck asks us to create and absorb one moment of truth each day. after a life of mental overload and being conditioned to fit into society or a set belief system, is it any wonder that so many of us lose the connection we are born with to our true selves? it often feels like we've been moulded into being someone else. i have felt this way many times and it's probably the reason why i've read so many self-help books over the years. i have come to realise that i was on a quest to find me. the teachings of eckhart tolle and abraham-hicks over the past two years have been eye-openers for me and i can honestly say that i finally feel like i'm on the right track.

an excerpt from the joy diet by martha beck -

as you tell fewer fibs and keep fewer secrets in your inner world, you'll find that the energy you once spent on denial turns outward in a kind of creative bloom. fascinating ideas, compassionate actions, un-heard of adventures will bubble up from the inexhaustible well of your unique personality during your moments of truth.

so, this past week, i did my daily 15 minutes of nothing (meditation) and then asked myself the six questions that martha posed for our TRUTH menu item -

what am i feeling?
what hurts?
what is the painful story i'm telling?
can i be sure my painful story is true?
is my painful story working?
can i think of another story that might work better?

i truly feel like i have already let go of past burdens so that wasn't relevant for me. however, lately, i have been feeling blocked, frustrated, and pretty much useless when it's come down to my art. could the congestion i felt from the dust storm last week have been a manifestation of these inner feelings? one thing is for sure, i know that this too shall pass.....i know that my truth is that I AM a creative being.

this friday, i will blog about the next item on the joy menu - DESIRE

love, light and peace