Painting & Brain Coaching

…I’m going to put my Behavior Psychologist HAT on for this post. Because I’ve just listened to a thrilling Podcast with James Altucher interviewing Jim Kwik, and he’s got some awesome life pointers. If you’re like me you’ve read and heard dozens of self help schemes. I love it when they speak to me and feel fresh and even fun to go deeper with. Feeling blue? Or directionless? Like you’re treading water? Here’s 10 aspects of your life to bone up on. Read through the list, then go back and read each one, taking a moment to close your eyes and imagine the next step toward adding or deepening that practice.

I created this acronym to help recall these later: WISDOM

W~ writing. Carry a small notebook and journal and jot down ideas, creative insights, observations, goals, gratitudes. 120 geniuses were studied for commonalities, and journaling was top of the list.

I~Imagining/creating. See if you can make a habit of intentionally creating helpful images in your mind. Create and rehearse those images. What is an important problem to solve in school, work, home or creative life? Get in the habit of creating helpful mental imagines to solve it. Powerful. (Read Shakti Gawain for more training on this).

S~ Self Talk. Your thoughts control your perception. Be sure you’re rehearsing “I can do this” “I love myself” and “its all going to work out” thoughts. Watch your inner voice ALL the time– force it to positivity.

D~ Diet. By now we all know we are what we eat. I’m personally a gluten-free vegie and meat monster. Eat organic. Eat vegetables and grass fed beef. But be a flexitarian, okay? Try not to be rigid about food. Trader Joe’s and Vitacost can supply you with tons of good, organic foods for cheap.

O~ Order/Organization. Clear your house of clutter. It feels so good! Get rid of stuff you don’t use. Your space is like your brain, we need order and space and free room for creating good moods, and being our best creative self.

M~ Meditate. People who meditate for 15 minutes each day are more resilient facing stressful situations. If you want to lead a big, bold, creative life, you need to meditate. Meditation thickens the tissue in the frontal cortex that protects you against stressing out. Try Tara Brach’s podcast for helpful guided meditations.

S~ Stress Reduction. Everyone has some anxiety. Our culture does it to us.  Research says cognitive behavioral skills are as effective, and at times more effective than anti-anxiety medication.

Here’s a basic CBT skill: The Three C’s: calm the body (breathing and relaxing the jaw, muscles, and eyelids); correct the goal (check your thinking, is it causing your own stress? Change the goal. Example: at a party, go from trying to get everyone to like you (not achievable), to taking a deep interest in others. Create a list of questions to ask before a party and seek to make other people feel interesting. (Thats an achievable goal);  confront the situation in a new way.

Remember that socializing, with people who love and understand you, is hugely stress reducing. Who do you need to hang out with more often? I hang out with my friends every Friday night to catch up, listen to each other, let down from the week, laugh and feel love. Oh, and drink wine.

E~ Exercise. Get oxygen to your brain before a creative project. 25 minutes 5 days a week. Join a walking group if you hate exercise. Mountains of research points to exercise for mood stabilizing, health, and enhancing mental capabilities. But marathons are unnecessary.

L~ Learn. Keep those neurotransmitters forming new brain pathway! Learning new information, new music, new art techniques, reading books on new topics, learning to play an instrument and learning a new language will ward-off dementia~ and boredom. The internet and YouTube are great for that.

B~Brain health. Basic brain hygiene: take fish oils and B vitamins, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, get 8 hours of sleep a night, always wear a helmut in adventurous sports, play multi-tasking games, avoid Nyquil, and keep learning new things.

Here’s a painting I’ve been working on and several pics to show the painting process. My obsession with hands continues. Thanks everybody. IMG_3599   IMG_3064   IMG_3065   IMG_3067   IMG_3536   IMG_3601   IMG_3600   IMG_3599


You’re the Average of the 5ive People You Hang Around Most


Before I talk about painting this bluebird girl, here are some other intriguing tidbits from the illuminating James Altucher:

Your Awareness is the average of

*the 5 things that inspire you the most

*the 5 things you eat

*the 5 things you think about most often

*the 5 things you read

….My thoughts need an upgrade. My food, friends, sources of inspiration, reading materials are all great. I’m lucky. And focused. But when it comes to thoughts….ugh my brain goes over the most boring things again and again. “That needs cleaning” “I need to finish that” “I’m late” “Where is Julian, now?” “More dishes” “I have to get something done” “How much time do I have left?” “I’m going to write that down” “Has he done his chores” ~an endless chattering of stupidness

What would I rather be thinking? In order to upgrade my average OVERALL thinking platitude? “That would be awesome to paint” “I’m going to go paint right now” “I love him” “I’m so lucky” “I feel great” “Everyone is so special” “I am a being of light”

I’m trying to bring in more mindfulness these days. A walking meditation of sorts. Here’s a great definition:

“Mindfulness is being present to whatever is happening. Without judgement”

Here’s some recent painting–while staying in Mindfulness. Or at least thinking I am.


Letting black paint and water run down through the piece.



This looks finished, but went through several more changes as all my paintings seem to.