Monthly Archives: January 2013

Grateful Friday

Today is the infamous snow day and living in Wales under the little area the Met office had given a red weather warning for, there was little chance I was going to get away without seeing my fair share of snow.  And I did.  So beautiful, so crisp … so cold.

I made it to work for a whole 2 minutes, before being told to leave as there were rumours that the trains were going to stop any time.  I was home half an hour before they stopped.  I am so incredibly grateful for the member of staff who texted in with the rail update and to the unit manager for sending me home.  I got the best possible outcome, a full days pay as I got in and got sent home, getting home safely, not having to walk home 6 miles down hill in the snow and a unexpected day to me.

A good day.

Noticing

So I got thinking.  The most natural post to write next seemed to be about how to breathe.  Afterall as far as I can tell when you are developing a new set of skills, or reapplying them to your life you need the short term solution, the medium and long term ones.  So discussing a tried and tested method seemed like a great idea.  Also showing off a little and blinding with science seemed fun, if I’m honest.  Making myself look good always seems like a nice option

My journey seems to be taking me on a completely different path.  were I ended up was with noticing.

I mentioned in the last post that my breathing through my mouth I was becoming more aware of not only how I was breathing, but I was becoming more aware of my movements.  Unconsciously slowing and moving in a more deliberate manner.

That sense of awareness has continued.  Probably also aided by a new set of glasses bringing life into new focus.  I live in a valley, surrounded by mountains.  Too often it is so easy to keep your head down, immersed in whatever life is throwing at you.  Lifting my eyes up, I find my breath stolen by the beauty around me.

I am also noticing and valuing friends more.  Suddenly more aware of the small moments of expressed friendship and gratitude. causing me to feel more loved.

Noticing… causing me to open my eyes.. causing me to see what I already have… realising that what I am seeking for is already mine… allowing me to feel alive, at peace and centred in a way I have been seeking for.

The power of simply breathing and being is proving to be amazing.

Dreaming of Spring – Creative Everyday

Dreaming of Spring

This is the piece I have been working on this week.  Some of the earlier pictures are over in the work in progress gallery.

We are due for snow and all I can think is that I want spring.  I want the end to winter… so I guess I’m going to create it in my own space… because I can.

There are now 2 layers of resin.  I’m hoping to finish it with a final level of paint and sanding down the sides and the finishing touches by the end of the week.

Things I’ve learnt when doing this

  • I really enjoy using pallet knives and love creating depth just using paint and paint mediums
  • Putting the leaves on to early before the resin stops moving causes the leaves to move from where I placed them
  • I think I’m beginning to enjoy creating the depth purely from the paint and wonder if long term as my skills develop I will end up with more traditional paintings and not mixed media.  Although I guess the reason I’m drawn to mixed media is that I get to use all sorts of skill sets as I get bored really easily.

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Grateful Friday

T-Thankful
G-Grateful
I-Inspiration
Friday

This week I’m thankful that my new student seems to learn best from my natural teaching style. Such a huge blessing.

I’m grateful to God to have such an amazing husband who increasingly is changing to be the best that he can be.

I am inspired by the idea of becoming who I have been created to be. To be true to who I am regardless of who other people need me to be and giving myself permission to look after myself, not just the world around me.

Breathing

PeaceSurely one of the most natural things that we do it breathe. Unlike dolphins, who I understand from nature programmes consciously control their breathing, we have an autonomic system which regulates our breath. We don’t have to think about each breath in and out to stay alive.

Breathing correctly has amazing benefits to our body, everything from controlling anxiety symptoms, to improving concentration, wanting to eat healthy to the desire to exercise and naturally maintain a good posture. It also gives that sense of being centred and being in control which I know I loose all too easily as I get swept away in the busy life I lead, with the expectations I place on myself.

However it is suggested that up to 90% of us in the western world breath in a way which is not so helpful for us. We breathe only with the top part of our lungs therefore taking in too much oxygen and not getting rid of the carbon dioxide efficiently.

Check out how you are breathing but placing one hand on your chest and one on your stomach at about waist height. Which is the hand which is moving?

If you are engaged with what you are reading I hope you will feel both hands moving. But like most of us it is possible you only feel your top hand moving. This is simply an exercise to help you become aware where you are breathing from and gives you the option to change you breathing patterns as you are aware of them if you choose to.

Interestingly the body doesn’t register the amount of oxygen we have in our lungs but does register the carbon dioxide(CO2). So when there is too much CO2 in our lungs out body tries to compensate by getting in more oxygen. This leads to hyperventilation, where the body has too much oxygen. This leads to symptoms which people often associate with anxiety, stress or panic.

So we need to reduce the amount of oxygen we have in our system and the is done by expelling some of the CO2. Our aim should not be to eliminate CO2 completely either as this is bad for us. My understanding is that in and of itself CO2 is not toxic, but we do require the correct balance of gasses in our lungs.

The myth that CO2 is bad for us stems from when they first started testing CO2 and finding out about the composition of air, there was a suggestion that it was toxic. A few lab mice lost their lives to sealed containers of carbon dioxide, thus in the scientists minds demonstrating that it was toxic, rather than considering the idea of a balance gas composition.

Breathing and meditation techniques can help bring the body back into balance for a period of time. This is why these seemly simple techniques can work so efficiently and effectively even in a space of 30-40 seconds to stabilise mood and reduce uncomfortable feelings. This is because it has been suggested that in our stressed western world, many of us live in a slightly over oxygenated world at the best of times and these techniques balance us effectively.

Our aim, however, needs to be more long term, rather than the quick fix of dealing with symptoms of hyperventilation when we see them. The challenge is to get our breathing rate when we are engaged in a sedentary activity such as reading or sleeping, to be between 8-12 breaths a minute. The main problem is that as soon as we try to monitor our own breathing, it naturally gets deeper. So we need someone else to monitor this for us when we are not expecting it.

So the question is how to we maintain this. Clearly we can control it when we are aware, but there is something about bringing a naturally healthy pace at all times.

The simple answer is to only breath through your nose. Exercising, staying hydrated, not being calcium deficient and consuming less stimulants (e.g. sugar and nicotine) will make a big difference too.

Try it. Consciously keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose.

For me it brought a sense of awareness not only of my breath but of my movement as well. I somehow became more aware of my foot fall rate, the speed at which I was talking. There somehow came a need not to race. Strange I know. I am however aware for me that consciously breathing through my nose at all times is part of a journey to peace.

Creative Everyday Monday

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So wow… this week I managed creative everyday.  I did all the art for the website
Wednesday was hard as it was my date night which started as soon as I got home.. but I knitted whilst watching a film.

I put the first layer of resin on 5 pictures.. I really ought to do as work in progress… hmmm.. will go sort that

turned some of the button images above into little works of art

All in all a good week on the creative front.

Feeling good too

 

Grateful Friday

I was thinking today that there are a number of things I am grateful for.

The first is for my father who through a time of illness has come out the other side changed. And changed for the better. He has always been amazing but his deep understanding of suffering has made him more connected and more aware. By far a better person and I think he was great before.

The second is for my health. I have had a number of health scares in the last year myself. Everything has been caught early, everything has simple lifestyle remedies. If 2012 was a wake up year as a result 2013 is a year to be awake and live.

 

New Years Day Creativity

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Whilst others have been getting out and heading to the beach I was draw to my studio. My new year creativity has been all about developing my website, turning it from a website focused on glass beads to one which focuses on the full range of work I make.

The images above you will probably recognise. They are the little buttons that you will see throughout the site to help you navigate.

I really enjoyed making them, so much that I forgot to eat… ooops. The plan is to turn them into little pieces of resin art. So I guess they are also work in progress.

Stop and Breathe

Winter SkyOne of the reasons for investing time in the website, alongside promoting my art work, is to begin to explore another facet of myself. In everything I do my passion is to see people become who they were created to be. Long term I would like this, along with my artwork, to define how I earn money, how I impact my community, I guess how I live out my life.

In thinking about this I realise there is a journey which I am beginning to undertake. I need to revisit old, well known, well loved lessons and remember to apply them to my life. I also feel like I am heading into a journey of the unknown. No doubt this will be reflected in the images I create.

I am so very aware that in the middle of every day life, in the busyness, in the expectations I have lost part of myself. I think its more lost to my awareness than erased from who I am. How am I supposed to inspire and encourage others when I feel lost in a mighty sea?

I have a recognition that somehow I allow others opinions of me to define who I am and how I behave. I’m also aware that it is in my nature to nurture and to give, and somewhere in encouraging and enabling others to be who they can be, I have moulded myself to help them achieve that, rather than maintaining my own identity.

I need to reconnect with who I have been created to be. I need to be me with intentionality and not just a shadow of who I am capable of being.

I need to breathe.

I need to do what all the good artist manual type books recommend, I need to re-establish my personal quiet space. I need to re-connect with my God, I need to be able to define what it is that I want and need rather than putting everyone else first. I need to selfishly look after me. Something I’m not sure I know how to do, but something I need to learn to do.

It is time to Stop and Breathe

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