Practicing Random Acts of Kindess this Christmas

What this world needs is a new kind of army - the army of the kind. ~Cleveland Amory

We can get so busy running around at Christmas that we may forget to stop and enjoy the process. I want to invite you today, to find time to stop and start to become aware of the ways that love is shared in the world around us. With the way that we are bombarded by all the news on TV, we can forget that each day love is all around us if we take time to listen and watch.

It's in a hand that is held, it's in a call from a loved one, in the wag of a dog's tail, when someone offers to push the shopping trolley for us. It's when a neighbour gives you a thank you card, when someone smiles at you for no reason. All those thoughtful, kindful moments, are forms of love and gosh we all so need it in our lives.

The truth is that we can get drained if we aren't doing things from love and become a human doing, instead of a human being. On an airplane, if there is trouble, the oxygen masks come down. You are instructed to put on your own first, before helping another. It's a great metaphor for life. We need to take care of ourselves before we can truly be there for another. Otherwise most of the time our attention is focussed on other things, sometimes simply how worn out we are.

I want to invite you to join me in caring for yourself first. As you wake up to the day - and this can be anytime of day - think about yourself, and what you need. What about doing something for yourself today, and I don't mean buying yourself something - I mean, going for a walk on the beach, or getting up at sunrise and watching the beauty as the day starts. What about stopping for 5 minutes and just being, focussing on your breath, and just being, in the present moment.

How often do you do something that you love to do, so that you feel fulfilled? What is it that you love, that would make you feel more loved, that you can do today for you? With Christmas so close now, there will be many stressors that start to impact on your wellbeing.... so I encourage you to join me in checking in with yourself, and asking yourself what you need.

One of my favourite things is to go to an ocean pool early before anyone else and swim, while watching the sunrise. Then go home and have breakfast. It's so important to look after ourselves, it's not a selfish thing... it will help you to cope so much better with all the little everyday stress that happens in your life, and it's a wonderful skill to teach your children or grandchildren if you have them.

When our self care levels are high, we are in a much better position, to be able to help other beings...


Can you believe it's Christmas again? Scary really how quickly these years are going by. Or is that just a sign of me being older now? Either way, I thought I'd have all my shopping done by now... not the case... and be all organised... not the case either. However, I've been having a bit of fun with some Christmas art - got to get the priorities right - here's a little fun canvas under way using some art journaling techniques.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. Norman Vincent Peale

Gratitude journal page

Do not take anything for granted — not one smile or one person or one rainbow or one breath, or one night in your cozy bed. - Terri Guillemets

I often wish we had Thanksgiving here in Australia, it seems like such a lovely practice to have with your family and friends. I think we really are the lucky country, still, no matter what we grumble and moan about and we have so much to be grateful for.

We have so much freedom and beauty here. Where we live, the kangaroos play, feed, and rest, at our back fence and the koalas climb the trees. At present we have a couple of nesting crows who are visiting our house. They fly in to our back deck, and take the marbles that I have on the top of one of my pot plants and fly off again. I'd love to be able to see their nest, I imagine it looks beautiful with all the colours mixed in with the bits of branches.

I'm grateful for so many of the everyday things around our home, the gardens, the animals and the cup of coffee shared at our garden table. What about you... what are some of the things that you notice everyday that you are grateful for? I recently did a gratitude journal page even though I wasn't feeling all that grateful at the time, just practicing gratitude had me back in a grateful spirit again... I guess that is the beauty of gratitude.

First flower of the season

Day of the Dead 2013

Day of the Dead - images from left Catrinas from Wikipedia - headstone I found in Macquarie Park recently - marigolds photo from Anony Mouse's photobucket

I think that one of the things I love most about our society is the traditions that I learn from other cultures. I've only become aware of Day of the Dead over the last couple of years. I find myself so drawn to how people honour their dead, while connecting with family and friends on this day to remember those gone before.

From Wikipedia... "People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages, as well as photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed."

This painting by Mel Rudgley grabbed my attention when we visited The Deck Cafe in Dee Why a few weeks ago.

I'm about to attempt a painting based on Day of The Dead - one that each year can be a focus for honouring those that have gone before. Death is never an easy topic to talk about, yet it will happen to each of us one day, and along the way we will have to say a final goodbye to those we care about. Creating an artwork or having someone along side you to help you to create your honouring artwork is one way to help with the grieving process.

On this day of the dead 2013... remembering and sending my love to all those who have gone before.

not because the art work is important...

Art journaling... "not because the art work is important, but because the heart work is important" Brene Brown

Permission Slip

Permission Slip... to paint, to not know how to paint but to give it a try anyway, to buy a colouring book and colour in, to get some chalk and draw little messages on the sidewalk, to paint outside the lines... what can you think of that stops you in your art process? What do you need to give yourself permission to try? Do you need permission to buy some paints and play?

International Day of Peace

I invite you to spend a few moments watching this video... allow your thoughts to stop, and just be...

Lulu goes to Lennox Head

A few years ago, we rented the most beautiful home on the ocean front. A short stoll across the lawn and we could walk down the front stairs, onto a board walk that took us straight onto the beach. It was heaven on earth - for us anyway. We could wander into the heart of town along the beach and go to cafes, our favourite Thai restaurant, to watch the local rugby side play or have a champagne on the pub deck - also overlooking the ocean. We could take our dog for a walk on the beach with us, it was before 'outatowners with money' moved in to complain about the dogs walking there. Many of the local dogs took themselves for walks along the beach, and everyone knew everyone else, and kept an eye out for the dogs, or the kids who were surfing on their own. It was the first real community that we had belonged to, and we loved it.

Ocean view from our yard.

Little Oney on Table One

Table one is where we meditated early in the morning. We would watch the sun peeking out on the horizon and send it's glimmering light trails along the waves to our house... somehow living in this place, it was so easy to meditate there. It was also easy to drink tea and have our breakfast at Table one, or have a glass of wine at sunset.

Early mornings we would get up with the sunrise and take our dogs for a wander down the beach before work. Lately I've been wanting to move back there, so I've been painting my vision and some of my memories of that wonderful home. Here's one underway...

My current painting in process - I found an old photo of myself years ago wearing a bikini that I loved. So I've combined that bikini with the place that I loved to live in, of course with the white dog always at my side... Lulu lives at Lennox Head.

One of the teachers I trained with encouraged students to take photos of our art as we paint, I enjoy flicking back through the folder and watch the process. I've changed my art space while painting this artwork, I've moved downstairs into the room that adjoins the garden. This afternoon there were birds having a great play in the bird bath and splashing about madly. White cockatoos flew and landed on the eucalyptus trees and kangaroos rested at the fence. It was quite lovely.

Lulu goes for walkies on the beach

I've been working on a series of happy artworks.. this one is Lulu Goes for Walkies on the Beach. You can see how much they change over time as I work...

The finished painting.

Abstract, intuitive artwork in process...

Flora Bowley in her studio

Last year I took part in Flora Bowley's 'Brave Intuitive You' art class. I love Flora's style and had been looking for this type of art ever since I discovered an artwork of lotus flowers at Opes in Lennox Head by ? (gosh I wish I could remember her name). Here's a little glimpse of what I mean...

Click here to visit Flora's Site

Flora's art is so full of beautiful colour and shapes - I am hoping that working with her style of art will help me to become freer in my own art.

This is the start of one of my intuitive, abstract artworks. The process relies on collecting your own images, colours that stand out to use at the time, and a lot of playing with shapes, brushes and flowing movements.

The idea is to layer and layer and layer paint without becoming attached to creating an image at first, just allowing yourself to play with paint... it's harder than it sounds, the mind seems to want to 'know' or interpret what is going on.

The next steps after layering quite a few times... are to collect shapes that you find pleasing. Some of the shapes I am using come from nature, shapes that I noticed on my beach walk recently. Feathers, stones, the way water has carved into stones or washed away the sand.

There are quite a few layers to go... here is a close up of what is starting to evolve into ocean, light, bird, flight.

I'll keep on with the process I'm quite inspired by Flora's art as well as many of the other students that emerged from her class.

On this style of art, I really enjoy following Tangerine Dream Gallery and Studio at Cowichan Bay and seeing their latest works. I happened to be at a golfing weekend a while ago and was introduced to someone from Canada. In the course of our chitty chat I happened to mention that I had added a picture of Cowichan Bay to my desktop after seeing a picture online from some artists who had a studio there - he replied 'I live in Cowichan Bay and I know that gallery' - I thought he was pulling my leg... but no he wasn't and after a longer conversation hubby and I ended up with offer of a housesit there next year... I so love these six degrees connections that appear. Talk about follow your dreams - Tangerine Dreams in this case!

Tangerine Dream - Paintings for Food