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Practice, Practice, Practice

Zendala Dare #30, tangles used: pinwheels, intersection, eke, poke pumpkin, and ennies

For this week's Zendala Dare, the challenge was all about Thanksgiving...PIE! In my opinion, along with the stuffing, cranberry-apple crumble, corn casserole, and bread with real butter, the pie is the best part. I'm getting a little hungry here now. In the name of PIE, the challenge is to use tangles that start with the letters P, I, and E. Plus, a tangle we have never used before.

Easy as... pie!

Well, not so easy, actually. I am not in love with the way my Zendala turned out. I'm not loving the tangle - Intersection, the one on the sides that comprises a bunch of lines intersecting. I tried to embellish it with a swirly tangle, but I don't know, there is just something about straight lines that rarely appeals to me. But, I tried something new and in the process remembered the importance of seeing tangling as a practice. The point is to try new things, to fall into the process, and to practice, practice, practice.

For the last several years, I have practiced gratitude each day for the 30 days of November by posting something I am grateful for on Facebook. When I first started it, in 2009, I was in the midst of a bad news storm. It seemed like all I was hearing from friends and family was bad news. I decided to bring some positivity into my life by focusing on the things that made me happy. I was amazed by the response. Several of my friends joined me by doing the same thing through November. This year, so many of my friends are practicing gratitude on Facebook and I love hearing what people are thankful for each day. It is always a great reminder that no matter what is happening in my life, there are truly so many things for which to be grateful.

For Mandala Monday, let's all reflect on the ways in which we practice gratitude. A real shift in energy occurs when gratitude plays a part in our daily lives. Practicing gratitude is like medicine for the soul. It heals our hearts. And, there are no adverse side effects! If you haven't already begun a daily practice of gratitude, I highly recommend it.

Thank you!

Truth, Dare, Double Dare

Wow! I tried something new today...

I am participating in a blog challenge! From what I understand these challenges are a pretty big deal in the art blog world. This one is really neat. It is called The Zendala Dare, and this week is number 28 in the series. I learned about it from a fellow CZT (Certified Zentangle® Teacher) graduate. I will admit, last night when I saw some of the artwork people posted, I was very intimidated. I started that AWFUL comparing thing and knew my work would never compare. But, as I was so kindly reminded, it's not about that. At all. It is never about that. IT is about the process and the process was really fun!

So here it is...

I'm especially excited about The Zendala Dare in particular because I am really drawn to mandalas. These little works of art pack a lot of power. To actually create one is quite remarkable, and is becoming a bit of an obsession. The meditative aspect of Zentangle in and of itself is so relaxing, but then to be making mandala, which can be used as a meditation tool, is like cruising into DSW and getting two pairs of awesome shoes for the price of one. Euphoria!

And, like most things I love, I want to share! So, I've been thinking that Heart Connected will feature a mandala each week on Mandala Monday! Fancy, huh? I experimented a little bit with the idea last Monday with this fall themed mandala on Facebook...

So, for Mandala Monday, I'd like to invite you to take a moment to really look into the mandala. Think about the seeds you planted throughout the year and ask yourself what growth needs pruning? Maybe, to make room for new growth. And, what needs to be nurtured so that it will continue to grow? And what isn't working at all? What can be pulled and recycled into the earth for the benefit of something or someone else? No judgment, just sit with these questions for a bit...

It is already October 22, 2012. I can't believe it! This year is flying by and I think I might still be tired from last year's holiday season. The stores are ramping up to do it all over again. I'm thinking a lot about what I've done in the past how that will change now that my kids are a little older, I'm a little wiser (and older), and life is a little shorter. I'm leaning toward keeping it all really simple this year. What is going to work for YOU? I wish you all the best as you pursue whatever it is!

If you want to participate in the Zendala Dare, click the Zendala Dare button on the right-hand side of my blog. The button will take you where you need to go. 

Take care! xoxo

I Can See Straight

For about a year now, my left eye has been very sad. It looks like I have pinkeye, but I don't. Not my optometrist, nor my doctor has been able to figure out how to make the redness go away. We've tried a few things. Today I saw a new guy - the opthamologist. He has a hunch and I have some new eyedrops. AND, I can't wear my contact lenses. Until further notice.

I've been wearing contact lenses since I was 15 years-old and I received my very first eyeglass prescription. I'm a little disgruntled. I can't see as well with my glasses and I run into things. Okay, so I run into things with or without my glasses, but I do see better wearing contacts. I told my mom I wasn't sure how I could do art wearing glasses (I admit, that was just a little dramatic...). She laughed and said, "I can only do art wearing glasses." Moms are funny.

Me, in glasses.
I know wearing glasses is not a big deal. My dad wore glasses. My in-laws wear glasses. My ten year-old son wears glasses and he doesn't complain. A lot of people wear glasses. I just need to get used to them. Maybe I'll never wear contact lenses again? The thing is, I was already feeling overwhelmed in my life.

I'm taking two amazing on-line classes and learning so much that my head is spinning most of the time. As of last night, I think I spent about 24 hours looking for the "perfect" blog background. It may have been a delay tactic on my part (delay making dinner, delay folding laundry, delay putting the kids to bed...), but I really wanted to spruce up my "kitchen table." That's what we call our blogs in my over the top filled with amazingness Flying Lessons class with Kelly Rae Roberts. I want people to feel welcome here at Heart Connected, so creating the right ambiance is very important to me. I found this one first (the one you see here on the blog), compliments of Shabby Blogs, and liked it right away, but that didn't stop me from continuing the search. It sort-of feels like it was made for me.

Okay, so then I've got my mom gig. I think I just this week finished completing and returning all the back to school paperwork. And, I'm getting ready to start teaching Zentangle®. YAY! It's all good, but it can be a lot sometimes. Simply having to take care of myself seemed to be getting in the way today.

As I left the opthamologist, feeling a little blue, I thought about all the people who receive serious life-changing diagnoses each day. I know life is like that - it can, and it does, change in an instant. I am grateful that for today, I left the opthamologist with just some eyedrops. 

I have also proven to myself that I can do art in glasses! Here is something I've been working on...

I love playing with the funky flower techniques I learned in Brave Girl Art School

Here's a side view:

It's all crackly and cool. I love the way the sides turned out! 

These particular flowers are especially meaningful to me, but I can't quite figure out how to articulate that meaning...Perhaps that will come in a future post.

So, the only real problem I've had with my glasses today is that they fogged up at the bus stop. That's what happens when you sweat while blow drying your hair, then go to the bus stop in 31 degree weather. I'm sure a wearing glasses learning curve can be expected. And, that's what I get for blow drying my hair!

That is all from me today, your Heart Connected, Grateful Artist in Glasses. 

Sending love... xoxo

Too Tangled, the Conclusion

As it turns out, trying to update my blog from my iPad is nowhere near as awesome as it is infuriating. I must keep going though...

So, as you recall, my mom and I were holding hands in a pew in a church dedicated in 1816. I was thanking any Spiritual entity who would listen for every thing and one who came before us. I felt connected to all of it, from the dawn of time to the sweet voices singing on the lawn at that moment. I was feeling heart connected.

Today, in our Certification Seminar, Rick Roberts, former Buddhist monk and co-founder of Zentangle, talked about this connection and the ways in which we feel it when we...tangle. Zentangle is a simple method of creating beautiful, artful images by repeating patterns. Anyone can do it. If you don't believe me, I will teach you. After Wednesday. Rick said that making these patterns, these patterns we are learning here as "tangles" but really are the patterns found everywhere in life, is part of our human heritage.

We are entitled to these patterns...the bricks laid one by one to hold the dreams that built this land, the flowers and trees and blades of grass that were planted long ago and grow here now, the lines that make our fingerprints...all of these are the patterns of our lives. These patterns are both our inheritance and what we will use to build the future. Recognizing and repeating these patterns connects us to all that ever was and all that is yet to come. What I love most about these patterns, though, and what excites me about the opportunity to teach with them, is that these simple, complex, plain, and beautiful patterns help us to build and follow a path right back into our very own hearts. That is what this is all about for me and I just cannot wait to share it with you.