Friday, 29 April 2016

Small things add up

To do something big in the world you may have to take lots of small steps. Don't disregard them.

All things, no matter how large, are made up of atoms - extremely tiny things. So why shouldn't your journey to make a difference be the same? Yes, occasionally we take a giant step, but that isn't the norm. Most journeys are made up of small steps. It isn't until we look back that we can see how large a distance we have covered with those small steps.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The hidden blooming

This flower emerged from the page, but it stayed quite well camouflaged on the background. It made me think about the things that bloom within us, deep down inside, and aren't seen until some time later. Those things that surface when you react differently to a situation and you suddenly realise that something has changed.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Face your fears

Don't you find that, if you really think about it, your fears turn out to be so much bigger in your own head than they are in reality?

I'm thinking about when I have to have a hard conversation, for example. I play the conversation in my head many times before I actually get around to doing the thing. And the reactions I imagine are always stronger than what actually happens. I have the whole adrenalin thing going on, feeling sick, voice shaking etc., ready to be shouted at or argued with or walked away from, and it doesn't happen.

By experience I have found that when I face those hard conversations and go into them with the welfare of the other person uppermost in my mind, with emotion set aside as far as I can do that, then the outcome is so much more favourable than I imagined. Indeed, there was a time when I told someone off and they hugged me!

Experience tells me I should face my fears, because they are so much smaller than what I can conjure up in my imagination.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The girl with the rainbow in her hair

I have been taking those first tentative steps of moving my art out of a journal and on to independent pieces. Those of you who have started on this journey will understand the tentativeness. Really, it is ridiculous - I am doing exactly what I do in my journal, just outside of a book form.

So why does doing a piece of art on a 'canvas' feel different?

Is it that working on a canvas 'makes' you an artist?

Of course, it doesn't. I was an artist before. It's just that my journal work won't hang on a wall where it can be easily seen. Maybe this piece will. And if it does, it is open to scrutiny, to judgement, to opinion.

When we move from journal to canvas, we make ourselves vulnerable.

I shall be sharing this at Paint Party Friday, where lots of us will be making ourselves vulnerable together :)

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

How to be heard

I listened to a great TED talk the other day by Julian Treasure. It was about how to be heard.

To be heard it is best to avoid gossip, judging, lying, dogmatism, negativity, complaining, and excuses.

To be heard we must speak with honesty, authenticity, integrity, and love.

I found it interesting because, as a woman of faith, that is how I try to speak anyway. I don't always succeed, but that is my aim. Speaking honestly, with authenticity, integrity, and love is hard. It puts you in places where you are vulnerable. It means you have to keep a balance - truth with no love can be harsh; love with no truth doesn't help anybody.

Speaking the truth in love - that's a thin line to walk, but worth it in the end.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The beauty of autumn

Although the autumn here in Adelaide doesn't produce the wide-range leaf colour change that happens in the UK, there are pockets of deciduous trees which produce a mini autumn landscape more like the one that I'm used to. Stirling, a small town up in the Adelaide hills, has a large number of maple trees, so the autumn season produces some beautiful red leaves. We were there the other day, calling in to Red Cacao for a hot chocolate and Matilda, the independent book shop.

I picked up a couple of the fallen leaves as they are such a gorgeous colour, and decided to stick them in my journal. I thought about how, when the trees lose their leaves, they let go of any toxins with them.

Who would have thought that letting go of those things that build up and, if not let go of, start to poison, could produce something so beautiful?

Friday, 15 April 2016

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Behind the door

As my daughter comes to the end of her home-schooling it means that I, too, am heading into a new phase. A door is closing. But as the door closes behind me, it means I have walked through it into something new.

But what is the 'new'?

Am I leaving a building and moving outside? Or the other way around? Or am I moving from one room to another? What's on the other side of the door?

At the moment I can't see what's on the other side, but then, I haven't reached the door yet. That happens at the end of the year. I'm hoping that by the time I'm standing on the threshold the fog will have cleared and I'll be able to step through with boldness into the next phase.

A door closing is not a bad thing. Sometimes it means that you've walked through into something new.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Facing things head-on

Yesterday I was sawing up some cuttings from a tree. We had lopped a couple of branches off and  they were sitting in the drive. It needed dealing with. As often happens, I pondered while keeping my hands busy. First I needed to take off all the green clippings and put them in the composting bin. Then the twigs were trimmed off and stacked for the fire. (Yes, I live in Australia, but the house is chilly in winter as there is no central heating.) The rest of the branches were cut into log lengths and set to dry. 

So what were the ponderings? Well, I could have left the branches to rot in the driveway and just ignored them. But they were in the way. The car couldn't get by.

Instead, I dealt with them and turned them into fuel. Yes, it took some hard work with a saw first, but it is worth it. I have a few bits of fuel drying out for the fire which will keep us warm in a couple of months. 

It's far too easy to put things off; ignore what we would rather not do; procrastinate. But really, if we put in the work to face things straight away, we store up fuel for later; fuel that can be put to good use.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

How to tell her?

Sometimes you have to have hard conversations.

Sometimes you need to tell all of it.

Often we hold back from saying everything that needs to be said, especially if we are trying to speak in love. When we lose control and speak in anger, we often say everything, but not in a way that is helpful. It is usually hurtful and goes too far.

So how do we find the best way? The way of speaking truth in love?

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Next steps

It is always good to think about the next steps on a journey. Yes, there are times of rest, but there needs to be thought of forward movement so that we don't become stagnant. So what are the next steps for my journey? 

Do I need to keep on with small steps in the same direction? 

Or is it time for a step to the side; start on a new path; take a risk?

Just pondering...

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Own your work

I recently watched the film Big Eyes, based on the story of Margaret Keane, an artist whose husband took credit for her work and kept her churning out paintings while he stole the limelight. The little girl here is one of her 'big eyes' paintings from a postcard that was promoting the film.

I first put the image on the page because it went well with the background. However, it made me think about how important it is to own our work. And not just work, but our behaviour, words, etc. When Margaret didn't speak up and claim the work as hers, she lost out on the blessing of acclaim and monetary success. 

But we can also let others take blame when really it is ours. We need to own the bad as well as the good. It is only when we confess and seek forgiveness that we can be free of feelings of shame. It can be hard in the moment, but in the long run it's much easier.