How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin?

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Oh Angel! That I never thought I’d paint. I’m not really an angels sort of person– or painter. Talk about stretching my abilities and sensibilities to their full strain.

I saw a piece by Jylian Gustily –and another piece on Instagram that I loved –and had to attempt my own combination. So much fun. Its hard for me to play down bony hands and translucent skin, but I managed.

Here it is in stages. Does anyone love seeing the phases of someone’s painting as much as I do? As I’ve said before, I’m addicted to looking at anything that has a before and after photo.

I’ve included excerpts from a favorite poet–billy collins–to humorously ponder.

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Questions About Angels
BY BILLY COLLINS

“Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

The question is designed to make us think in millions,
billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse
into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:
one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,
a small jazz combo working in the background.

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.”

“Idea Sex”- Mastering the Intersection

I’ve said before how I love James Altucher‘s thought process–even if it is off-grid, cryptic, or unsavory to listen to (his personal stories and insights are painfully hard-earned). He is an Idea Machine. Here’s one that is so super fun I had to write it out:

Making your ideas have sex. “Idea Sex.” Here’s Altucher:

“Stan Weston had an idea that would change the lives of little boys forever. He knew that girls liked to play with dolls. But boys had no dolls to play with. Boys liked guns and action. Dolls + Action == ??He made a doll based on a soldier, gave it a plastic gun, and called it an “action figure”. He named it GI Joe. Stan Weston didn’t come up with the newest newest new thing. All he did was combine the simplest concepts and made something that millions of kids loved. ‘The best way to make a living with your imagination is to develop innovative applications, not imagine completely new concepts.’”

That’s it. Make two lists of what people love. Combine them. Have fun. The best ideas always come from mating. Think of Hollywood. When they pitch an idea its never just “I have this idea”. Its always “It’s “Tarzan” meets “My Dinner With Andre” ”When you says “its like X +Y” then people all lean back and their own elegant imaginations begin to dance with your ideas.

Mating two unlikely bedfellows, for fresh possibilities. Like

Peeping Tom + social platform = Facebook.

Peeping Tom meets Photo Camera App = Snapchat.

 

Here’s some things I’m wanting to innovate new forms or processes for:

acrylic painting

poetry

beatniks

therapy

attachment

writing

portraits

organic building structures

meditation

zumba

teenagers

ageing

playing fiddle

playing mandolin

playing piano

mindfulness

photo books

vacations

homestay students

senior photos

systems for creating

systems for planning

socializing

remodeling

diet

photos

reducing Iphone addiction

gut health

artistic lifestyle

goal setting

getting in the woods

Feel free to apply x+y to these for me, and leave innovations in the comments. I’d love that!

Example: I need someone to shop for a car for me. I have to let this old Beetle go. But you’d have to really know me and care that I got something that makes me happy. In return, I would paint them a picture. Or something else personal. Where is the online business for that? Online friending crossed with meaningful services. 

Here we have a bit of idea sex: how to paint something others like + how to use your photos. This is how I see Ivy Newport’s online class “figurescapes.” She takes printed pictures, makes copies, uses gel medium to adhere, embellishes with drawing, and then paints the pictures. A little unlike “paint by numbers” which was another version of idea sex from the 60’s: maps + paint + numbers= possible okay painting.

Here’s a couple of my paintings. I love seeing process, and so always try to show my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Love as nonviolent activism

“Nonviolent resistance … avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. The nonviolent resister would contend that in the struggle for human dignity, the oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.” MLK

No Clowning Around

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All together now…

Love this piece from Jenny Doh’s website Crescendoh!

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Jenny Doh

Counseling people for the last couple of tumultuous weeks, taking in the turmoil people are feeling, post-election. In particular, jews, people of color, and my gay/lesbian clients. What do we do with all of the anxiety that has been stirred up? Get close to people, listen for ideas, read, write, help…..paint. Your unique voice, your unique angle, your view, from whatever vantage point–each voice carries the unique creative potential to to help this all move forward. Its going to take all of us coming together with those voices , creating real solutions, in solidarity. Let your voice be heard.

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Pensive. 16 x 20 acrylics & charcoal

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”  -Martha Graham

From my office window~get up stand up
From my office window~get up stand up

Seth Godin~ be an artist

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Artists express. Art can illuminate. I feel like there is a lot to express and understand right now. Lend your voice. Be an artist. Or, if you apsolutely cannot attempt that, then appreciate artists.

Here’s a favorite quote from Seth Godin. I love how he stretches the definition of artistry…

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“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

What makes someone an artist? I don’t think is has anything to do with a paintbrush. There are painters who follow the numbers, or paint billboards, or work in a small village in China, painting reproductions. These folks, while swell people, aren’t artists.

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On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin was an artist, beyond a doubt. So is Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod. You can be an artists who works with oil paints or marble, sure. But there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.

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An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artists takes it personally.

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That’s why Bob Dylan is an artist, but an anonymous corporate hack who dreams up Pop 40 hits on the other side of the glass is merely a marketer. That’s why Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, is an artists, while a boiler room of telemarketers is simply a scam.
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Tom Peters, corporate gadfly and writer, is an artists, even though his readers are businesspeople. He’s an artists because he takes a stand, he takes the work personally, and he doesn’t care if someone disagrees. His art is part of him, and he feels compelled to share it with you because it’s important, not because he expects you to pay him for it.

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Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.

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Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”~SG

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Neurofeedback for Anxiety~fast & comforting

Hey, here’s a really cool idea: NEUROFEEDBACK for anxiety

Do you carry around a lot of tension, stress, and anxious feelings in your body? Does your mind race and recycle certain thoughts? Do you find yourself distracted with worrisome, rigid, stressed-based behavior? You may have anxiety. Most people are on the spectrum of anxiety–but some people suffer daily from these symptoms. Ugh. Being a therapist, I’m always on the lookout for innovation in this area.

In a recent article from The Optimist, Neurofeedback was researched and found to be an efficient tool toward managing those awful, anxious states of mind.

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In a nutshell, like the photo shows, clients are hooked up to wires and scanners, and then watch images on a screen. When you learn to control those images on the screen through deep breathing and willful thoughts, you begin to control your nervous system–and your mood.

In the research study, clients began with an MRI. While the fMRI showed which brain regions were active, the EEG measured the activity in the amygdala. Participants are coached to learn deep breathing, relaxing and very subtle states of mind to control the action in their brain.

Then the neurofeedback process begins…by watching a movie of someone riding a skateboard –and trying to control the speed with their minds! Participants were asked to try and mentally make the skateboard go faster or slower. If they were successful,  it meant they were controlling the activity within their own amygdala. Interestingly, participants are simultaneously watching imagining of their own brain during this activity. Gaining control of the pace of the skater –with immediate visual feedback–increases their overall control of brain activity.

Results from the tests revealed that people who are able to reduce unwanted brain activity–can effect their mood.  One researcher commented, “It’s actually quite amazing that this plasticity takes place after one or two sessions.” ONE OR TWO SESSIONS! Its really worth finding a local neurofeedback provider and seeing what a couple of sessions could do for your own peace of mind.

In many ways, its a mindfulness awareness practice, with a focus on developing the skill set to control  body states, breathing, and brain activity. Fun.

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Being Kinder

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-by Copper Wimmin

I’ve decided to be happy. I’ve decided to be glad

I’ve decided to be grateful for all I ever had

I’ve decided to let go of all this pain tonight

I’ve decided t let go of all these demons inside

 

I know…I am blessed

I know…all I ever wanted was this

I know…I don’t need more

I’ve got…what I came for

 

I’ve decided to be open for that little voice inside

Telling me I’m beautiful, it’s okay to be alive

I’ve decided to be kinder to myself when I am sad

I’ve decided to be grateful for all I ever had

Here is the Youtube musical version of this ABSOLUTELY gorgeous song. I’ll tell you how I learned about this song. I am a therapist and was counseling someone who had just recently been bedside, with 8 other women, while a longtime girlfriend layer on the bed dying from cancer. This is the song they sang to their dear, nearly departed friend. I ache thinking of it.

Practicing Positivity

I found an engaging, uplifting article in UTNE on positivity. Positive emotions can change our brains, says researcher Barbara Fredrickson. She broke it down into doable tasks that help increase positive experiences that in turn enhance overall life happiness. Read the whole article here if you want:

http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/finding-happiness-cultivating-positive-emotions-psychology.aspx

Here’s an excerpt:

What are the specific benefits of positive emotions?

When people increase their daily diets of positive emotions, they find more meaning and purpose in life. They also find that they receive more social support—or perhaps they just notice it more, because they’re more attuned to the give-and-take between people. They report fewer aches and pains, headaches, and other physical symptoms. They show mindful awareness of the present moment and increased positive relations with others. They feel more effective at what they do. They’re better able to savor the good things in life and can see more possible solutions to problems. And they sleep better.

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How can we increase positivity?

One way is to be aware of the present moment, because most moments are positive. We miss many opportunities to experience positive emotions now by thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future, rather than being open to what is. 

Another way is to pay attention to human kindness—not only what others have done for you, which helps unlock feelings of gratitude, but also what you can do for other people, how you can make somebody’s day. We found that even just paying attention to when you are kind—not necessarily increasing how often you’re kind, but just paying attention to the times when you are—can make you more positive.

Another simple technique is going outside in good weather. One of my former students, Matt Keller, who’s now on the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, found that people who spend even just 30 minutes outside when the weather is good show an improvement in their mood.

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There are more-involved ways to increase your positive emotions, such as to practice either mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation. You can also rearrange your life around your strengths. Ask yourself: Am I really doing what I do best? Being employed in a job that uses your skills is a great source of enduring positive emotions.”

 

Here are 2 more that I would add:

Use your morning meditation to conjure warm emotions towards people and pets that you love–creates a way of opening those circuits daily!

 

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Learning to savor. Savoring a positive moment, reflecting on a hug you gave as you walk away, savoring the moments of laughter, savoring the taste of a chocolate cake, savoring a memory of a walk with a friend, etc. Throughout the day, after a sweet moment, close your eyes briefly and savor it.

For more on Positivity, and Fredrickson’s latest book called Love 2.0 go to here website:

http://www.positivityresonance.com

I just ordered her book Love 2.0 and look forward to more inspirations on connections and love!

 

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