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Expansion of Gratitude



Today marks 30 days of writing in my gratitude journal. I’ve never been able to finish a whole month before, so this day is special to me. So I thought I’d share some of my pages with you ❀ ! As you will see I don’t really limit myself in any way of how I’m supposed to write the things I am grateful for. I just kind of go with how I feel in that moment:


Little Surprises

I touched on some of the effects of focusing on this practice in the last post “Self Care”, but I thought I’d elaborate on it more in this post.

  • I’ve been witnessing myself thinking about things that I am grateful for as they arise throughout the day.
  • I’ve been telling friends and loved ones how much I am truly grateful to have them in my life.
  • I’ve noticed I feel, hear and see the gratitude’s that people have of myself and they are so much easier to accept.
  • Life just seems fuller and more true, if that makes any sense…

This experience has been quite profound for me, and I’m glad I take the time each day and night to write 5 things that I am grateful for. I think I’ll continue it another month πŸ˜‰ . Oh! And I’ve even started seeing hearts in nature again. ❀ I’ll leave you with this last picture and then see you again next week! ❀ (((Hugs)))!

Can you see the love? ❀

 

 

 

 

Self Care

Burned down by my own flames, a Phoenix rises….

Transforming

A couple of months ago I mysteriously disappeared from the blog without warning. The day after my last post I had lost all control of myself and where I was going. I needed a break, one that would force me to slow down completely, change aspects inside and out that weren’t working, and to rebuild the way I talked to myself. After 3 months, I finally feel like myself again and I am grateful I’ve done the work to get here. The majority of tools that I’ve used were from my psychologist and from self exploration of TEDx talks on YouTube. If life ever gets you down in the future, I hope these daily tasks can help you as much as they have me. ❀

 

 

Gratitude Journals

 

 

This past month I’ve paid more attention to my own self care. I colored and designed the gratitude book above to write in every day and have kept it up since November 6th. I like to write about the things I’m grateful for with colorful gel pens, my inner child likes it that way and the more colors mixed in the better, lol. I even get creative and draw pictures or doodle in spots. I write 5 things I am grateful for before bed and in the morning.

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This daily practice has ignited spontaneous gratitudes throughout the day, which is a pretty interesting shift. If I forget to write the extra ones down, I remind myself that I said them earlier in the day and that is okay too. I’ve heard of the positive effects of writing down gratitude’s before, but now I whole heartedly understand it’s benefits.

 

 

Morning Pick Me Ups

 

I have this saying taped to the first lamp I turn on each morning. Instead of “It’s gonna be a great day,” I edited BJ Fogg’s Maui Habit to better suite my personality by saying wonderful.Β  I even throw my arms up in the air with enthusiasm! This has had a good effect on how I wake up for work each day, lol. Not gonna lie, some days just don’t turn out, but I have noticed a change in my waking up routine being more positive. Which I still see as a gain πŸ˜‰ .

 

 

Mirror Reminders

***Written with a dry erase marker***

 

This talk really inspired me πŸ™‚ ❀ . I find myself saying this phrase whenever I feel self conscious about myself throughout the day and I say it in a way like I’d talk to a child (with excitement and a high pitched voice, lol).

 

 

YOU ARE ENOUGH

This is also written on my mirror with a dry erase marker. I got this idea of reminding myself “I am enough” fromΒ Marisa Peer’s talk. Over the years I’ve struggled with the thought of not being enough, having enough, or living enough, so this one really hit home for me. I haven’t added a daily reminder to my phone yet, but plan to try it out this week πŸ™‚ .

 

 

Knowing Your Wants and Needs

I didn’t know what I wanted or what my needs were when I was lost in my stresses a few months back, but when I stopped and really thought about what was important to me, they started to emerge. One other Mirror reminder that I say to myself is to honor my own self love and care so I made it personal. I break down my needs of massages, exercise, and creative outlets into a more playful phrase:

 

“I need touch, movement, attention, and play from myself. These are my needs and I intend to seduce myself with them.”

 

Lol. I got the seduce myself part from a different talk, that I can’t seem to find but, it felt right because it sounds more interesting to fall in love with yourself through seduction. I’m consciously enticing myself to be more attentive to my needs and accomplishing them. I have briefly loved myself before but it was kind of an ego approach of wanting to “Be good.”Β  I want to create such a strong and solid foundation so that the next time I build a glass castle, I will still remember a love for myself that is concrete and constant.

 

“Setting the Heart Free”

Loving Myself So I Can Love The World

I no longer wish to give my heart and self love away to others, instead I am creating a love so strong in myself that it overflows my own needs and helps heal others, even the world. It may be a tall order, but lately I feel anything is possible as long as I stay true to who I really am. ❀ (((HUGS))) Thank you for listening my friends, I am ever so grateful of you. See you next Thursday! You Are Enough πŸ˜‰ !

 

Overcoming Fear

I was going to fill out my application for the “Fall into the Arts” art walk,(for Novembers showing), but I had this strong anxiety from the past two stop me. I know that if I apply now I can just focus on the work as I go. But I feel kinda scared to move.

I got great reactions from my photography work during the first one and good reactions towards my nature crafted art from the second. So what’s holding me back?

FEAR

Everytime I apply for something that has to do with showing my art, I think I will fail in some way. That no one will see it as art or see it as good enough art to be shown. The other thing that scares me is that I just don’t want to look unprofessional. I have my photography, digital art/drawings, nature heart pictures, and my nature crafted characters. If I show all of these mediums at once it looks kind of cluttered.

The Seed of Doubt

During the last art show, someone asked me “is this all yours?” When I replied proudly “yes” they seemed shocked, yet disinterested, then they quickly moved onto the next artist. I actually haven’t felt quite the same about my art sense because of it… I agree that I don’t really have one artistic focus and that my display seemed a bit overwhelmingly different from each piece. But it felt like I was finally showing all of me.

So What Do I?

First, I need to change the way I have been thinking about my art and its worth. Second, I’m filling out my application by the end of this week! I think I’ll only bring six pictures of my best photography and display my other art differently. My main focus this time will be my nature crafts. I have one large picture I’d like to create πŸ˜‰. So I’ll just have to get started!

Simple Beauty Day 16

Whenever I feel like bursting from seams from “what am I doing and where do I go next,” I always find myself at the base of an old tree. As if to seek guidance from a grandparent far older than my own, I sit and contemplate about life. The reason for it all and the direction of where its going.

For some reason these giant plants calm me down, slow my wild thoughts and remind me to take things slow.

“Be at ease, let the wind through my leaves help you breathe. Everything’s going to be okay.”

I almost didn’t post today. Its was a hard day at work and the gloominess of the day made me want to sleep it away. But something in me desperately needed to clear my heart and soul. Then, a thought of my favorite nearby tree came to mind. So I took off my shoes and walked to my release.

I have been coming to this tree ever since I moved here. In fact, any place I have moved to I have found a special tree to share my thoughts about life with. These gentle beings are the best listeners. After about an hour of inner rambling I finally felt like I could breathe again. I still don’t know what step to take in my life, but at least now I feel like myself again. ❀

I am so grateful to have been able to live near nature all my life. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without someplace to go in nature. It has been my greatest mentor and therapist. πŸ‘£πŸƒπŸ’ž

Postponed Post

So, I recently got a subscription with adobe premiere pro’s video editor. I was planning on posting a video that I’ve been making on my spare time today (of me dancing with my hula-hoop….) but as I was putting it together I ran into a lot of technical problems.

One was that the song I chose was too long(so I had to shorten it.) Two, was a problem with the loaded clips being extremely choppy, which made it hard to edit. And lastly, my lack of current knowledge of Premiere Pro slowed down the progress. I’ve pretty much spent 13+ hours working and researching this project…. All for 30 seconds of video…lol!

I will be working on it more this week but plan on posting the finished video in two weeks. I have to work a lot of overtime at my main job this week so this will give me more time to fine tune this little piece before posting it.

I thought I knew enough about this video editor but then again the last time I used it was back in 2013 and lets just say I’ve either forgotten a lot, lol, or they have drastically changed. I also don’t have the best laptop which is probably part of the problem too, but I will continue on because its fun to learn new things and be able to tell a story through dance πŸ˜ŠπŸ’ž.

See you again soon!

High Expectations

I recently got a subscription to adobe premiere pro’s video editor. but I think I have a ton to learn first before scheduling this particular post.

Sleeping Bear Dunes 2012

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I like to think of this past adventure as being a trip of many firsts… In 2012 I learned about Sleeping Bear Dunes from one of my friends at college. When I heard it was located in my home state, Michigan, I knew it was a spot I’d have to check out and planned the trip during my Summer break. I was originally going to volunteer at the national park all summer then some things didn’t turn out, but in the end I think I got what I was really looking for. Though my time there became a 5 day vacation instead, I am really glad I went. Its amazing what a few days by myself did for my mind, body and soul.

 

The first day I was there I set up my camp, locked it, and went out to paint.Β  My painting didn’t turn out well but I still had fun on my first acrylic Plein-Air project.

When I got back to my site I realized that I was alone and had no one else to keep me from wandering within my mind. I have always struggled with being alone, but this time I really felt it. I decided I’d turn in before dark to avoid my fears when my neighbor, a woman around my mother’s age, called out and invited me over. I was really happy to have someone to interact with that night.

We ended up talking by the campfire, all night, about life and random things that we were going through at the time. To test our courage, we went out to the lake in the middle of the night and listened to the waves and met a couple that were looking at the stars through the app on their phone, which we thought was so cool. The night ended with us exchanging names and numbers and wishing each other a good night’s sleep.Β  The following morning she took off for more adventures, but to this day we are still Facebook friends πŸ˜‰. Thanks again Stephanie! I’m really grateful she spoke to me that night. Meeting her made me feel stronger about continuing my stay.

The following morning I went to explore the Peirce Stocking Scenic Drive…

 

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I stopped at the first site by the bridge and wrote down a few of my thoughts about light and shadow. Then I went to see Glen Lake from the lookout point.

 

I think I found my love of silhouettes here…

I started to get hungry so I stopped off at the picnic area next.

This was my first experience with “the kissing tree” that I described in the previous post of my recent trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I don’t know if the carvings were there before or after the joined growth, but I still have deep reflections about this tree. Out of all of the attractions at the scenic drive I think this lesser known spot is probably my favorite… I just hope no one else will continue to carve into it.

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I walked around the picnic area and saw these daisies. When I took their picture from above I couldn’t capture their brilliance so I thought I’d try something new and shoot them from below… again this has since sparked my love of taking photography “From Below.” A simple act of play and wonder brings forth new perspectives ❀ !

Just around the corner of the picnic area was the dune lookout.

I unknowingly followed a trail a little ways away.

It led to this spot, another perfect view of Glen Lake and there was even a bench shaded by the trees.

I had passed the “Dune Climb” on my way to the Scenic drive, but was pleasantly surprised that the trail I followed led to the top of the dune. I stayed there for awhile to watch families as they reached the top and felt slightly ashamed for taking a much easier route, lol. But hey, that meant I didn’t have to struggle climbing it later! lol.Β 

Around this time, my camera began to turn off because the batteries were running low. I managed to take a few more pictures by tricking my camera (by swapping the double AAs).

Pressing on I came upon the Lake Michigan overlook. This was my favorite actual site!Β 

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This spot was crowded with people, but I managed to take pictures around them. I really started to notice my loneliness creeping back at this point. Before the last site I stopped and wrote in my art journal.

 

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I think I hit a breakthrough with myself here and continued later, though I may have gotten a bit lost in my thoughts lol:

 

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I was starting to look at my struggles and find a way to work through them.

 

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The last stop was the North Bar Lake lookout. After seeing it from above, I went there the following day and found something interesting:

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When I was walking along the beach, I ran into this piece of driftwood! At first I thought someone had carved it and left it for people to find, but from any other direction it looked like a normal piece of driftwood. This strangely gave me the feeling that nature was guiding or watching over me while I was there.

The rest of my trip then became more about observing and studying the elements of nature.

 

I had a fire every night and became intrigued by the flow of fire.

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Every time I approached the beach, I noticed different patterns…

I even saw my first few stone hearts here.

dscf8984.jpgAnd left my first nature message for someone to find… I should have know the waves would take it lol, but this was when I learned its okay to let my creations go. Plus I turned it around as the lake saying “thank you, I accept your love!” lol.

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I visited lake Michigan many times, I went to: the Glen Haven historical village(top left), North bar lake(top right and middle), and by D.H. Day campground(where I was staying).

 

DSCF8869I made it a habit to get up for every Sunrise and be present for the sunsets.

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Oh and I think I found my love of photographing shadows here too!

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My trip came to a quick end on the fifth day when the weather started to look bad and I wasn’t prepared for stormy weather. I learned a lot about myself during those few days and of the importance of silent moments with nature. Though I had no idea what I was doing throughout the trip, deep down I think… maybe I did. Maybe this trip wasn’t about being a part of something like volunteering. Maybe a part of me knew that this “time” was about returning to myself.

I hope you enjoyed the post this week, it was a lot of fun to look back and write about this experience. It was a little scary to share my inner thoughts and parts of my journal but I’m glad I did! Have a wonderful week, and see you next Thursday!

 

 

 

Some Changes

I’ve been working on adding a professional Portfolio to the main page of unfoldingtheheart.com.Β It will be done by next Friday, the 18th, by 5pm.

That way people can go through my art, contact me for commissions or to purchase my previous art. These are a few of the buttons I’ll have to go into other pages. Which ones do you like or could use improvement? I haven’t done this type of website work before so anything helps, lol! Have a wonderful day and see you all soon, with a new look!

 

This will be similar to the main page. I have a few things to fix or redo.

 

This is just a base of the Art portfolio. These buttons will lead to the actual work.