What Are You Good At?

Be careful what you're good at --you could be doing it for years.  - Danielle LaPorte

Just this week I read the quote above in a book called The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte and I had an Oprah "ah ha" moment.  I suddenly realized how many things I am good at, but don't really enjoy doing.  Then I started thinking back and here is what I realized.

In the late 70's I was going through a divorce and was desperately looking for a job.  A friend of mine worked at a Rape Crisis Center and told me they were looking for a secretary.  I had no experience as a secretary and told her I wasn't qualified, but she insisted I come in, fill out an app and talk to the Director.  I did, and I got the job.  Since it was a non-profit, the pay was low ($600 month, imagine!) but I would have flexibility and being a single Mom, I needed flexibility.  Then an amazing thing happened - I was good at it.  I was organized, efficient, had pretty good typing skills and was great on the phone.  I kept the office running and the staff supported.  It felt pretty good.

Over the next 23 years and two non-profits later I continued to do what I was "good at", in positions with more and more responsibility, with better titles, and not so much money.  The benefits and flexibility were the extra compensation.  But what I was doing was virtually the same as the job I started with, organizing, supporting staff, tech management, human resources, fundraising -- stuff I was good at.  It never occurred to me that being good at my job was killing my spirit!

The truth is, I never really chose that job.  It fell into my lap and I never stopped to question my own happiness until 23 years later.  In 2001 I resigned my position and chose to follow my heart. And I have been following it through a maze toward finding my true path ever since.  Having the freedom to investigate the maze is the choice I made. And I don't regret it for one moment. 

Being "good" at something isn't enough to build a life or a career around.  Being good at something doesn't make it your life purpose.  We are all good at so many things.  That's not the question.  The question is what do you feel passionate about - what makes your heart soar?  What fills you with excitement and makes time stand still.  That's what you could be doing!

Building your life around what you're good at, and not passionate about slowly kills your spirit. And the sad thing is our friends, family, community and the world at large encourage us to keep doing what we're good at.  It is a standard that was set in decades past.  It's time to expect more.

We are now in a new age, a time of elevating our consciousness, seeking to live with a since of purpose and fulfillment.  It is a gift of our time--this time in history.  It is time to let go of what we're "good at" and embrace what INSPIRES us.  Choose the path with heart, the one that excites you and makes you happy to get up in the morning!  Feeling right, knowing you're doing what you love!  Or, just making a choice, like I did, to stop doing what doesn't fit and giving yourself a chance to explore the possibilities!

Are you doing something right now that you're good at, but doesn't fulfill you?  Are you living a life that's just okay? What are you gonna do about?

Polymer Clay Inspiration - Donna Kato

Fun with Clay!

Donna Kato, Poly Clay Diva
A couple of days ago I was visiting my Mom and  she showed me a website she had found - it was called CraftArtEdu.com.  It is a site of online classes on several different types of art.  One is polymer clay. It's been years since I made anything with polymer clay - but back then I was totally into it and still have all my supplies. I came home and watched a few of the free Donna Kato videos - amazing colors and technique.  After seeing some of the new stuff, especially stuff made by her, I decided to get out my clay and play.   The one thing I remember about clay is what a great escape it is!  Time seems to fly by as I knead and roll and combine colors to make canes.  It is mesmerizing. Plus the colors are so vivid - I love it!

So I thought I would show some beads I made.  I started with some black clay and a few canes I made.

Next I took the lump of black clay and rolled it into a log, and measured it with a special tool (so I can cut the log into equal parts).

Next I cut it into four parts.
Then rolled each part into a ball.
Next, I made a hole through each bead.
Now comes the fun part.  I start adding slices of the colorful "canes".
They still look a little plain, so I added more embellishments.
Here are the finished beads.

These are still a little rough, but I think they turned out pretty good for my first clay play in years!  After that success I made another piece - a heart pendant  . . . .
 and another "cane", that I think turned out pretty cool!

Looks like I'm hooked again!!  Be looking for my new clay creations to show up in my Etsy Shop soon!

In the spirit of creative play,  Cindy

P.S. Thanks Martie for the great step-by-step blogging idea!

All Things AQUA~ A Trip to the Flea Market

Pasadena Rose Bowl 

Crazy, huge, amazing, crowded, fascinating, funky, inspiring.  All words to describe the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena.  It happens once a month and has been for over 40 years.  It has been over 20 years since I was there, until yesterday!  My friend Kat and I went there on a photography adventure.  My goal, to search out all things AQUA.  And there were many!

It was smart to focus on a couple of things, because it is so easy to get distracted.  There is so much to see --and so many strange things!  And lots of strange people, well, let me re-phrase - "interesting" looking people.  I could just sit in a chair and watch all the people.  But there are no chairs (to sit in), nor is there room for any!  There are acres and acres of stuff crowded into the parking lot and the perimeter of the Rose Bowl.  It is quite a sight.  You could find anything here.  If you love junking and finding treasures, than you really need to plan a trip here.

Just went thought all my photos and narrowed it down to 16 things I found that were aqua (it was hard to pick).  I made a little collage to share.  It was a fun adventure, and I look forward to doing it again!  Maybe next time I'll choose All Things Vintage OFFICE . . . . (there was lots of it! and it was soooo cool!) or maybe telephones or typewriters, all things PINK, or . . . . .

In the spirit of beautiful aqua,  Cindy

Blogging Meetup - What a Great Group!

Just returned from the High Desert Bloggers Meetup at Starbucks in Victorville.  There were eight of us meeting to discuss blogging, how to blog, and all the different ideas and businesses we all have.  Quite a bunch of interesting people!  Whenever I go, I get excited and motivated about blogging and promise to start blogging more often.

Here is my goal . . . . to blog at least twice a week.  I have so many things going on right now that I have plenty of material to blog about.  So the only thing that is stopping me is making the time to do it.   Angie, who leads the Meetup says we should be blogging everyday.  Nice thought Angie - but I am aiming for twice a week for now.  She is an avid blogger and is very inspiring!

The next High Desert Bloggers Meetup will be March 17th.  To find out more click here.  Also find out about the High Desert Blogging Workshop to be held Saturday, March 31 in Hesperia.    If you have been wanting to blog and would like to find out how, this is the workshop for you!  I'll be teaching a couple of things, and I am exciting about sharing what I know!

More blogs coming your way soon!

In the spirit of fun, Cindy

ArtBeat Studio - Revisiting the 90's

Crazy, Colorful AretBeat Studio!

Yesterday, while looking through some old computer files, I ran across some pictures from the late 90's.  There were pics of an art studio I opened in a weird little space in an apartment building.  I called it ArtBeat Studio.  I even painted an old car I had to match!  (The pic of the car was on the day it went to the scrap yard - some kids had taken a bat to it and broken the front and back windows and ruined the frame.  The week before that I had been re-ended by a drunk driver - so I think it was an end of a era for that little car!)

Anyway . . . . I love these pics because it was a time that I really let my creative spirit loose and went for it.  I really enjoyed that time.  But WOW how about those colors - purple and lime green!

During that time I taught art classes, was into silk painting and fabric dying, polymer clay, doll making, paper creations, paper mache, jewelry and art quilting.  I spent hours and hours in that little studio.  It was well organized and filled with all kinds of supplies.  Take a look at those wild switch plate covers made from polymer clay.  I am so glad I took these pics so I remember that fun time!  Elisha, Chris and Jeff helped me clean and paint - it was quite a job - but we did it!  You wouldn't believe it if you saw what it looked like before!

Lessons from Dogs

If a dog was your teacher you would learn stuff like . . . 

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.
Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
Take naps and stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and rest under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout --
run right back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
Stop when you have had enough.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

                                                                            - Unknown

California Central Coast Treasures

Venture to Morrow Bay

I just returned from a trip to the beautiful Central Coast of California.  A good friend of mine from Ohio (Thea Brigham) just moved to Arroyo Grande and she invited me for a visit.  Thanks for the great time Thea!!

Saturday we explored the beaches at Pismo and Grover.  It was part stormy, part sunny - but beautiful!  At Grover Beach there is a Monarch butterfly grove. The butterflies migrate from the Rockies and even as far away as Canada each year to this same area.  There are thousands of butterflies grouped together in the trees. During cooler weather (which it was when we visited) the butterflies stay huddled in large groups - but when the sun is out and the temp is above 55 they fly around in the woods.  Quite a sight I am sure!  There were telescopes set up so we could see into the clusters - and view all the individual butterflies.  It was pretty amazing!

We then headed to Santa Barbara to explore all the sights, shop and eat at a few of the many, many wonderful restaurants.   It was beautiful, refreshing, and uber cool.  We both decided the pressure to be "cool" would be exhausting if you lived there.  But maybe "cool" comes with a Santa Barbara address? Who knows.  But it was fun and not possible to see it all in a two days.  I would love to go back.

As always, when I travel, I look for bead shops, yarn or fabric stores and off-beat galleries.  This time I found a very cool place in a very unusual location.  On my way to Thea's I stopped off to visit the Santa Inez Mission.  To get there I had to go through the little Danish down of Solvang.  It is totally Danish in every way - from the architecture, the food and the atmosphere.  After visiting the Mission, I took some time to drive around the streets of Solvang.  One store caught my eye - it was filled with extremely bright colors - red, pink, orange, yellow - it was called Knit Fit, A Creative Community.  I parked on Copenhagen Street and walked to the store.  When I opened the door I fell in love!  Fabric, yarn, art supplies, papers, felt and more.  All in the most beautiful bright colors!  It filled my heart with joy!  Take a look for yourself.

There is so much more to tell, but I promised I would keep my posts short(er).  So you can see the rest of the trip in pictures.  It was a full five days!

Thanks again Thea, for showing me such a wonderful time!

In the spirit of adventure and friendship,  Cindy

What do you want?

How can you set an Intention when you don't know what you want?

The past two weeks my Awaken • Emerge • Create Spiritual Discussion Group has been discussing setting Intentions for 2012.  When I asked people to share their intentions, one person volunteered. Others has some idea, but others had no idea.  The concept for this topic was to help people look to the new year and create plans for a meaningful  year.  Not just the tired old "resolutions".  But what I didn't realize, people are not so clear on what they want.  Sure, they can tell you what they don't want, but seeing a clear picture of what they DO want, not so easy.  It has challenged me. 

The truth is, knowing what you don't want is half way to finding what you do want.  But it seems a bit more complex - or so I thought it was.  Then I listened to a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra (the link is below).  In the mediation he guides you to an understanding of the "infinite organizing power of intention".   What I realized from listening to the mediation a couple of times is that intention acts without much effort - we think and intention follows.  

I learned three important things:
  • Ask your heart what you want, not your head.
  • Ego gets in the way of truly understating what you desire.
  • Gratitude eliminates ego.  Ego cannot co-exist when we are in a state of gratefulness.
But, the most important thing is the knowing that we can harness the infinite organizing power of intention because we are part of the bigger infinite field of possibilities!  When we can accept the concept that we are part of everything that is, then an intention becomes a simple process.   The power of  a thought.

Hope you enjoy this meditation! Just click the link below.  Thanks Deepak. Let me know what you think.

In the spirit of infinite possibilities,  Cindy

An Attitude of Gratitude

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

This morning I woke up with a song in my mind.  An old 70's tune by Bill Withers, Lovely Day.  Along with that song in my head, I kept hearing the word gratitude.  It was a lovely way to wake up!

As I stretched and lay cozy in bed I let the song play in my head and contemplated the word gratitude. It is a state of mind.  Gratitude is about seeing what is good in your life, instead of focusing on what's wrong.  It is an instantaneous cure for being down in the dumps - just stop and think of all the things to be grateful for.   It is an attitude adjuster.

It is well known that what we focus on expands.  "Where your attention goes, energy follows", my yoga teacher used to say.  If we completely focus on the problems in our lives, than those problems will grow!  The more attention you give a negative thought the bigger it gets.  Haven't you ever done that!  I especially have this problem when I go to bed, the more I think about it the bigger it gets and I can't sleep and then the next day I am exhausted and usually I have forgotten what it was I was thinking about the night before! Crazy!  Focusing on the negative is exhausting and very draining!

On the other hand, gratitude is fuel for peace, love and compassion.  If you take time to think about what you are grateful for each day, then you feel energized and full of life.  What an amazing difference!  The same rule applies - "were attention goes, energy follows".  Attention to what's good in your life, instead of what's wrong, energies the good and brings you more good!  Now that is life affirming!

And all it takes is changing your thoughts!  We each have the amazing power to change our thoughts and create an entirely different experience.  Change your thoughts, change your life.  It is totally under our control.

Gratitude is a simple, efficient way to do that.  The more grateful you are, the more you will have to be grateful for.  It's true!  Give it try.  How about making a gratitude list each morning or in the evening before you go to bed (or both!) You will be amazed how your life begins to change.  I think I will start making my list today!   A great way to start of 2012!

In the spirt of gratitude, Cindy