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"I Take You As My Life": Vows for Feeling Alive Every Second of the Day
I recently finished the book, Specimen Days , by Michael Cunningham, the author of The Hours. It's a set of three novellas that have interesting, abstract, connections among them, one of them being the presence of Walt Whitman. The title comes the title of a work of Whitman's of the same name, a collection of journal entries in which three key characters express the energy of life across a spectrum of events, but banal and extraordinary, glorious and horrific.Whitman encourages us to see that every single moment is a specimen of life.
In everyday life, washing dishes is no less sacred than giving birth. Painting a single stroke is no less magnificent than completing a grand-scale masterpiece. A sigh is as meaningful as an embrace. It is all life, and one moment is not more "lifely" than the other.
The hard part, of course, is to remember this sense of grace, of constancy, of unity, in our day-to-day lives. How do we remain plugged in to Life on a daily basis? Here are a few things to help bring us back to the sense of oneness of all that we are, all the time.
- Acts of service are a wonderful way to remind us that we are all connected. The book, A Difference A Day Makes; 365 Ways to Change Your World in 24 Hours or Less is brilliant in presenting us with easy, doable ways to make a difference. The author, Karen M. Jones, shows us that our acts of service don't have to be grand in order to be significant. With all the research done for you, this book is a handbook for living in grace. I'll also mention Karen’s Web site, www.BenevolentPlanet.com, which is one of my very favorite places to visit on the Web. Her Web site has recently undergone some changes and it is now easier than ever to visit BenevolentPlanet.com and find a treasure chest of ways to connect with compassionate spirit for our world.
- A regular practice of gratitude is a golden key to feeling plugged into life, even in the most mundane moments. However you practice gratitude – through a journal, talks with friends, or through one of the Artella ecourses, Accounting Your Blessings or The Gratitude Garland – if the practice is regular, there is no way that significant changes in your life will not occur.
- Talking about things that matter with other people – friends, family, even strangers – is a way to add meaning to life. When we express ourselves, when we morph experiences into narratives, we ground those experiences into our minds and memories. When we talk about things that matter, we start to notice more things that matter. In addition to in-person connections, there are also countless ways to connect with other people online, including our own Artella communities, where significant sharing and expression is welcome and encouraged.
- Adding humor to your moments is a great way to feel alive. I’ve learned a lot about this from my friend Jill Badonsky, author of The Nine Modern Day Muses (And a Bodyguard). Jill has a sense of humor and playfulness that seeps into everything she does, and I just love it. It is often subtle, but it is always there, and I find my humor coming out in more ways, just from working and playing with her. Laughter is not only infectious and fun, it also has the physiological benefits of strengthening our immune systems and triggering endorphins. And if you'd like to connect with Jill's wacky, insightful humor yourself, visit her Web site, www.themuseisin.com. Of special note are her "Muse Trainings",including upcoming locations of Kansas City and Arlington, VA.
- Find the little things that plug you in. What small, easy things can you do in just a few moments to remind you of your life-ness? What can be done in 5 minutes? Quick meditations, a short walk, laughing, finding a new book calling a friend, stepping out into nature, dipping into inspiring Web sites. Find YOUR five minute reminders to bring your soul into the present...truly a specimen of days.
THIS WEEK'S ART-SPLASH!
This week's ArtSplash is called "A Vow For Feeling Alive", and you can view it at www.ArtellaWordsAndArt.com/artic98.html.
It's for everyone who is ready to renew their vows with LIFE!!
- 1. Our wildest subscription sale ever is still here! The Dreamworld Reverie sale gives you a massive discount on your subscription price AND offers you a selection of 4 Gift Sets, with an intuitive art quiz to help you figure out which set is for you. About our quiz, Austen Waters said
"I thought this quiz was just going to be silly and fun, but it actually ended up really informing me about some crucial aspects of myself that I had never recognized! Leave it to Artella to disperse enormously significant wisdom in the strangest of places. Thanks for including this quiz, and thank you for the savings in this sale. I’m buying several subscriptions as gifts, but I'm insisting that all the recipients come look at this quiz!"
Of course, the Dreamworld Reverie sale is here to celebrate the arrival of our latest issue, Artella 8, "The Dreamworld: Night Sees the Day", a multimedia issues that combines words, art, AND music! CreativityForLife.com just gave this issue a fantastic review,and people are swooning about this issue all over the world. Are you one of them?
- 2. Come to the BlogJog! The Artella News blog, which posts every single update or addition to our Web site, now has a brand-new incentive that’s going to get you putting on your sneakers! Today, we proudly introduce Artella’s BlogJog ~ jog through to find our "sneaky" specials! Yes, we’ll be "sneaking" in specials, sales, and freebies in the blog every week, and sometimes every DAY! So be sure to check the blog often so you can grab the specials while they are there. (psstt, there's one there right now!!!)
And Special thanks to Dan Gremminger for designing the BlogJog logo. If you haven’t seen Dan’s "Space Craft" Web site, www.zerogdanno.com, do yourself a favor and take a look! It combines crafts and a serialized story for a funky experience unlike anything I've ever seen.
- 3. Let's Get Chatty! Artella new has a brand new Chat Room, and it's open for YOU! Have an idea for a discussion? Want to connect with others to discuss a book, or an art technique, or any other topic? All you have to do is set a date for your chat following the instructions at www.ArtellaWordsAndArt.com/chat.html.You'll also find a link to a calendar so you can see the chats that are planned. There are already some greatChats planned for July, incluing the first gathering for Artella men, a "Fireside Chat" with Artella staff, a discussion aboutoo-la-la French fashion, and a startingly unique interpretation of that famous "dinner guest game" that is a MUST for anyone who's up fora creative experiment. Check out these chat listings, and add some more chats of your own!
- 4. Goalar Energy’s Makeover! Goalar Energy: A Unique Guidance Program for Extrordinary Action, was our very first e-course, and hundreds of people have experienced the energy of looking at goals in a non-linear, self-forgiving, right-brained manner. The program has gone through many changes over the years, as we have listened to feedback about how to make it stronger. The program is now more flexible than ever, with so, so many different ways you can choose to work with the material! We're debuting the new format options today, so be sure to take a look and see if Goalar Energy is right for you. (pppssst! You also may want to refer to #2, above! Ssshhhh!)
- 5. Come swap with us! Deb, our Creative Projects Manager, has initiated Artella’s ATC Swap Land, where you can see beautiful ATCs (artist trading cards) from various Artella swaps. AND she’s listed two new ATC swaps in the Art Project Database: "Roaring 20s" and "I Dream of Architecture". It doesn't matter what your level of art experience is…we WANT you in these swaps! Come sign up!
- 6. Are you earning commissions? The Artella Affiliate Program is in the midst of a makeover of its own! The most significant change is that, in addition to earning 25% commission on referrals to all e-courses, Affiliates now earn 25% of referrals to sales of Artella magazine: subscriptions, individual issues, and wholesale accounts! We've got affiliates earning hundreds of dollars a month, just for telling people about Artella! If you aren't an Affiliate, or if you are an Affiliate and you haven't taken a look at the changes, go to our Affiliate Headquarters to get all the most current information.
- 7. Latest Poetry Winners! Here are the newest winners in our Bi-Weekly Poetry Contest:
Congratulations to our winners! Check the Poetry Gardens, where their poems will soon be posted!
- First Place: Jenni Mills for "Season"
- Second Place: Patricia J. Mosca for "Upon Meeting"
- Third Place: Delora Miyagawa for "Untitled"
- Fourth Place: Monte Harris for "Silent Storm"
Our new featured artist is Teresa Stebbins. Journals, Guest Books, and Baby Memory Books -- just lovely! All made of the nicest materials, ready to receive your most precious writings or photos. You'll want at least one!
In the mood for Summer Shopping? The Shoppes of Artella is the greatest place for original, hand-made, soul-created gifts that you can't find anywhere else! Try out interactive SmartShopper to find the PERFECT gift for absolutely anyone in your life!
Next week is the one-year anniversary of my Dad's death. A year ago, we started the Lonnie Kliever Artist Scholarship Fund in his memory, to provide financial support to artists to sell their work in our Shoppes. I invite you to read about the Fund at www.ArtellaWordsAndArt.com/shoppes-scholarship.html, and consider making a donation (any amount is helpful!) and/or passing along the information to an artist who could use the Fund's support. And I'd like to extend thanks to everyone in the Artella community who read my father's "philosophical riff" columns and supported me after he passed away.
We can't wait to add more artists and creative sellers to our Shoppes! If you're interested in joining us, get all the information you need at http://www.ArtellaWordsAndArt.com/ShoppeInfo.html.
ART TIP OF THE WEEK!
Has the Altoid Art bug caught you yet? Plug into feeling alive by decorating an Altoid mint tin to serve asa Gratitude Alter, using images that you relate to the experience of gratitude in your life.
Decorated Altoid tins can also be used as jewelry boxes, first aid kits, sewing kits, paper clip organizers, medication containers, and lots more. Decorate with paints, collaged papers, or fabric, and then add three-dimensional pieces to bring it to live.
Another life-affirming project: create a three-dimensional photo album or mini memory book by inserting an accordion-folded book inside the tin, gluing the first and last pages to the tin's insides, so that the book unfolds when you take the top off!
WRITING TIP OF THE WEEK!
Why not try an"ACRONYMIC POEM" using the letters of the word GRATITUDE as the acronym?
Here's an example:
Great abundance is yours
Round about you it lies
Are you lonely or sad?
Then just open your eyes
I cannot but rejoice
To exult in the grace
Under, over, around
Down and up -- everyplace!
Exult! Enjoy! and Say THANKS!
Try it! It's fun.
1. Bill Charlebois, one of Artella’s frequent contributors, created a zine to digitally illustrate stories that Barbara Burchett posted in Artella's EvocativeWords community. They have never met in person, but Barbara's postings moved Bill so much that he wanted to share them with others. This spontaneous collaboration of words and art is so exciting to me! The zine is only $3.50 and you can purchase it at http://wjc-designs.com/barbara_burchett.htm. I hope you will give a gift to yourself and purchase it to explore the extraordinary writing and art of Bill and Barbara.
2. Curry’s Art Community, at http://www.currys.com/knowledge/index.asp, is a massive index of all kinds of art techniques! Visit when you need info about a particular technique, or just browse to get new ideas!
3. Diane Armstrong, a YOU * U Graduate and a good friend of mine, is launching a program called Are You Ready for Plan Be?, created for female entrepreneurs who need to get re-juiced about both life and business.It looks AMAZING, so be sure to take a look!
A WORD OF INTER-DEPENDENT THANKS
Lastly, in the spirit of this being Independence Day Weekend in the States, I'd just like to emphasize that Artella is FAR from being an independent venture! So many people have offered extraordinary assistance to Artella in the past few months. To all of the people who helped assemble Artella 8 in Dallas: Arthiss, Bobby, Bradley, Cedra, Colette, Dan, Fred, Jana, Judy, Katie, Stacey, and Sylvia: Those issues literally would not have been in the mail without you!
Also thanks to Lani and KJoy!: thank you for moderating the Goalar Energy and YOU * U yahoo groups with such spirit and soul. Thanks to Bobby, Dotty, Fred, Katy, Richard, Luke, Jake, Zach, Beth, and Adela for all the recent work on the Web site. And of course to Deb and Zura for keeping so, so many things running smoothly in ArtellaLand.
Celebrating the Inter-dependence of us all,
p.s. Don't forget,...waltz on over to the Dreamworld Reverie Sale and Dreamworld Gift Gallery at www.ArtellaWordsAndArt.com/dreamworld-sale.html so you can save savor the new issue while also saving some dollars and getting some gifts, all to fuel your OWN dreams!
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