a bit of this and that, finding inspiration (and joy!) everywhere

I’ve been feeling so inspired lately.

Deep Red Peony Flower Watercolor Painting by Anne Butera

My garden is providing me with abundant painting ideas*, but more than that, it seems everywhere I look I see beauty and find encouragement from people who are living authentic, creative lives. We can learn so much from one another. And our confidence is bolstered by others’ stories.

The very act of crafting a life around creativity and beauty and joy is an affirmation.

This week I’ve been working on finalizing the links I want to share in my JoyLetter next week (you can sign up here if you’re not already subscribed). There’s so much I want to share. Ruby’s words (from her newsletter) were fresh in my head as I worked on this and I realized how valuable it is to seek out (and to share) things that bring us joy.

I guess it goes along the lines of what I was talking about last week. When we change our focus we can change our lives.

And so today I thought I’d share a bit of what wouldn’t fit in next week’s JoyLetter here on my blog today.

My word for this year is GROW (and FLOURISH was my word a few years ago), so this page from the Flow Tear Off Calendar was a delight to discover.

Grow and Flourish Typewriter Illustration by Franziska Meiners for the Flow  2019 Tear Off Calendar

The illustration is by Franziska Meiners and the page is now hanging in my studio beside my desk. A good reminder and a bit of colorful, joyful imagery, too.

A year ago in May Angie Noll interviewed me on her podcast. She’s interviewed many inspiring people these last couple years and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over email. She’s thoughtful and energetic and creative in so many ways. Earlier this year she published two doodle journals and gifted me with one of them.

Angie Noll's Doodle Journal

The book is truly beautiful, filled with many colorfully painted pages. Almost too pretty to write in, it sat on a shelf in my studio because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to use it. And then I started to think about something Dana had linked to on her blog. A commonplace book is a central place to keep all the ideas and quotes you come across. Jordan Clark created a beautiful video about them. The idea really resonated with me, but I was still a little nervous about “messing up” Angie’s beautiful pages.

Using Angie Noll's Doodle Journal as a Commonplace Book to collect inspiration and quotes

I finally convinced myself to just begin. I copied down a quote I’d written on a post-it. And I wrote the wrong word! I guess I don’t have to worry about “messing up” any more as it’s already happened.

Sometimes you just need to begin; making mistakes along the way is part of the process. Let’s go easy on ourselves, ok?

I know I’ve mentioned using oracle decks in my journaling. I own two of them. The Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle Deck from Lisa Estabrook and also the Animal Allies Oracle Cards from Jessica Swift. They are both beautifully illustrated and both thoughtfully encourage introspection. When I use them together, pulling cards from both decks I am often surprised by the synchronicity of the messages I receive.

This week I was searching for the Self Heal card from Lisa’s deck because it’s just started blooming in my yard. I couldn’t remember its name and wanted to see what its meaning was.

Finding Inspiration and Insights from Oracle Cards

The meaning is obvious when you consider the name. The wording on the card reads: “Self Heal addresses the special connection between your soul and your body, and encourages you to take responsibility for your own personal journey.”

Then I pulled a card from the animal deck. I chose Badger. Part of Jessica’s description of Badger: “Self reliance. Self-confidence and being comfortable with oneself… to burrow down into your own personal healing and self-betterment.”

See what I mean? I’ve been sitting with these ideas all week.

When we’re feeling uncertain on how to proceed it’s important to listen to what our hearts are telling us.

Dana recently wrote it’s “okay to be you” on her blog when contemplating her many, sometimes seemingly conflicting interests. I completely agree. It’s not a bad thing to have many interests. It’s not a bad thing to pursue something different from what you might be known for. In her most recent newsletter Amy Butler wrote that a “variety of creative outlets is key to me for balance”. She’s been studying Reiki in addition to her art.

Don’t limit yourself with what others expect from you and don’t feel like you need to follow anyone’s prescription for how to live your life.

For me I’ve been trying to unplug as much as possible. I’ve been keeping off my computer and away from social media until the afternoons. I start my days in my garden or by making art. I’m trying to keep things simple. It’s hard to unplug. I know it’s true for many of us. Yesterday I listened to Abby Glassenberg’s podcast interview with Denise Schmidt and both of them commented on how much time emails and social media take from their days.

I think it’s worth finding ways to combat the drive to always stay connected.

What about you? What’s been inspiring to you lately? What ideas have you been nurturing?


*I’ve been painting prolifically these last few weeks and am planning a shop update next week, both for originals and prints.