Archive | January, 2006


Need a little fun? You’ll love this … Box Doodle Tool.

You’re provided with a photo of a cardboard box, opened flat in various sizes and shapes, with flaps and all.

Use their online markers and pens of various widths, and a bright color palette.
Click and paint.
Colors can cover each other, so you can change your mind, if you like.
The trick is to utilize the shape that’s provided (they offer you a selection)…a fun challenge.

It only takes a few minutes to do and your Inner Child will thank you.


Are You Taking Care of Your Soul?

Here’s a great questionnaire to keep your creative flow going … with a reminder to take care of ourselves. It’s from Blast O’Joy.

Are You Taking Care of Your Soul?

by Suzanne Falter-Barnes
January 13, 2006

It’s all too easy in the mad swirl we live in to forget the obvious — that living, breathing heart that beats within us. It’s where important things dwell, like your larger purpose in life, your creativity, and your passion. And it single handedly determines whether you will live with joy or not.

Here is a questionnaire that will help you gage whether you’re giving that all-critical nerve center, your soul, the space and care it needs.

Answer the following as honestly as you can:

1. When throwing a dinner party, I tend to do all the work myself. I insist guests leave the dishes, and do not grumble when my spouse disappears at clean-up time. This happens:

a) every single time
b) some of the time
c) occasionally
d) never. (I accept all kinds of help quite happily!)

2. My spouse is dependent on me to help him/her manage day-to-day affairs like remembering names, writing business letters, running errands, making wardrobe choices, and figuring out how to handle certain situations.

This is true:
a) all of the time; it occupies much of my day
b) some of the time; it happens frequently during the week
c) it happens from time to time during the week
d) it happens a few times per month, rarely, or never

3. Exercise in my life occurs

a) whenever I can squeeze it in … which is rarely or never
b) when I make time for it, but somehow that’s never quite enough
c) pretty frequently. I have less guilt about this than other things
d) as often as I need it

4. Exercise seems

a) Less important than finishing my work (I know I work too hard)
b) Like a basic luxury I can’t quite afford
c) A little painful, but usually worth it when I can make myself go
d) Critical to my well being, so I make time for it

5. My children

a) Are simply the number one, most important thing in my life (I’ll get to my dreams later, when they grow up)
b) Are very important to me, but they are also the source of a lot of frustration and angst
c) Have prodded me to at least begin my dream — but then they keep distracting me from it
d) Make me balance the work of my dreams with home/family time, so we all get what we need

6. The idea of taking a Saturday or a Sunday just for me seems

a) wildly selfish
b) wonderful, but totally unrealistic
c) Great … but where would I begin? There is just so much I need at this time
d) Something I actually do for myself and love

7. If I were to take an entire vacation entirely by and for myself, I would

a) not. Period.
b) Have to talk my spouse or child(ren) into supporting this, which would probably kill it right there
c) Have too many responsibilities to take care of in advance — but when I think about it … it’s actually sort of/maybe possible
d) Know just where I’d go and what I’d do … in fact, it sounds like a plan

8. I make some time for myself

a) only when I’m sick. Then I get to lounge around in bed.
b) When there is a rare, unexpected hole in my busy schedule
c) When I see my therapist twice a month, and the occasional lunch or dinner date with a friend
d) Pretty much every day

9. When I make time for myself, I

a) sleep
b) veg out in front of old movies with something fattening and delicious
c) try to get outside, or exercise, or call a friend, or whatever I think of first and can grab enough time for
d) rely on old, tested rituals I love like the candlelit baths, meditation, soothing reading, or journaling

10. The idea of scheduling in some nurturing time for myself seems

a) impossible
b) a little unrealistic, given all my responsibilities
c) possible — but I’d have to hire help and I’m not sure how or if I could do that
d) doable… I’m doing it now!


To determine just how much you do or don’t nurture your soul, tally up. (Keep in mind this is a questionnaire for general use; it’s obviously unable to account for individual circumstances. So judge your own situation and score accordingly.)
Give yourself 4 points for every a); 6 points for every b); 8 points for every c); and 10 points for every d).

If your score falls between:

40-60: You need to seriously reevaluate your relationship with yourself. Something’s gotta give here or you’re looking at a mega burn-out situation and all the nastiness that brings with it. While this quiz is only a rough indicator of how much nurturing you need to create, it seems like you need a lot. Consider making that a priority for the year, and consider working with a therapist or life coach to provide support.

60-80: Your self nurture index is still set pretty low; how about upping it some? Seems like some downloading of responsibilities is in order, whether that’s through simply saying ‘no’ or finding reliable help of some kind.

80-100: You’re in pretty good shape when it comes to self-nurturing. You’ve gotten the message that you need to make time for it AND you actually do it! Furthermore, you understand the inherent value in being a little selfish with your time and energy once in a while.

SUZANNE FALTER-BARNS is a pioneer in her field of understanding the creative process, and nationally known expert on creativity. She is the author of Living Your Joy: A Practical Guide to Happiness and How Much Joy Can You Stand? (Ballantine Books). Hailed as a creativity classic, her first book has sold more than 60,000 copies, was a Publisher’s Weekly Hot Pick, and a Main Selection of the One Spirit Book Club. More…



10 Principles for Keeping an On-Going Journal

I am the type of person who has been writing ever since I was a young kid. Letters, poems, stories… all came easily to me. And yes, I kept it all. I find it extremely useful, from time to time, to go back and see where I’ve been (physically, mentally, emotionally). It also provides me a grand overview of how I’ve grown.

Recently, I found this article, 10 Principles for Keeping an On-Going Journal by Ruth Folit. I’m not too sure I agree with every point, but it’s still a good guideline.

I’m adding: Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t write every day. In fact, I realize that I don’t write at the same time (or place) every day, as she suggests.

Sometimes, it suffices to just jot a note or two (or a sketch, if you want), as a reminder of what’s going on in your life. You don’t have to write full paragraphs or diatribes.

And you don’t really need any particular software … I still like to use legal pads (all different colors) and different colored inkpens for different moods. Stationery stores and book stores have the most fabulous variety of blank journals from which to choose. You can have different journals for different topics, if you want.

I like journals with spiral binders that lie flat on my table or lap. If you later want to add pages to a ring binder, find pages that are already hole-punched. Don’t let the paper/binder/ink choices get in your way, however. You can stall out just on making those choices alone! (Some people just keep a small note pad in their backpack or purse, for portability.)

Last but not least: you don’t have to share your thoughts with anyone, if you don’t want to. Writing on the computer can work as well, particularly if you save your intimate thoughts in a folder that one else will see. Being assured you have privacy can be a freeing force. (Otherwise, start a blog!)

Most importantly, tell the truth. After all, where else do you get the opportunity to let it all out in such an unvarnished manner?



Ashes and Snow – Photography Exhibition

The exhibition, Ashes and Snow, (just opened) will be displayed through May 14th in the Nomadic Museum , a 56,000 square foot temporary structure designed by renowned architect, Sigeru Ban.

The structure is just North of the Santa Monica Pier (California). Tickets are $15 (cheaper for seniors, kids, etc.).

The exhibition features more than 100 large-scale photographic works accompanying 35mm films by artist Gregory Colbert.

Photos of humans interacting with animals … are all real, no need for special effects. Guaranteed to make you marvel.


Tiffany – Metropolitan Museum

Whether or not you’re geographically close to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, you can still enjoy this site … the Tiffany glass works are simply a marvel to behold.

“… [T]he Deedee Wigmore galleries in The American Wing is devoted to the ?arts of Louis C. Tiffany, one of the most versatile and talented American artists working in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection highlights the Museum’s preeminent collections and features Tiffany’s windows, lamps, furniture, mosaics, blown Favrile glass vases, pottery, enamelwork, and jewelry.”
— from the website.



Feeling a bit low lately?

Some good folks at McGill University (Montreal) are doing research on self-esteem to bring you back up again.

First, take a look at their 3 quick self-esteem games, then dig a bit further into their site for background research to see what they’re up to.

About one of the games:

Inspired by the face-in-the-crowd paradigm, EyeSpy teaches people to look for the smiling/approving person in a crowd of frowning faces. By doing this repeatedly and as quickly as possible, this teaches people to look for acceptance and ignoring rejection. In order to successfully and accurately identify the smiling/approving face, one must get in the mind frame “Look for acceptance, and ignore rejection because it slows me down”.

Naturally, they caution, that if a person has serious self-esteem problems, he/she might see a certified psychotherapist — and there’s a link there for that too.

Otherwise, however, there are times when we feel less than fabulous, less willing to cope, or just plain ‘blah.’ This is a great reminder that it doesn’t take much to pull you out of that temporary slump. For one, stay away from people are who downers! (And you know who they are…)


Good and Bad Procrastination

Here’s one of the best explanations about Procrastination I’ve ever read.

Plus, this article, Good and Bad Procrastination, provides more of an answer to the question…why is it that people who are terrible procrastinators get so much done? Are you one of those?

The writer here, Paul Graham, has other essays on his site too…but start with this one. Or put it off until later … heh heh heh.

0 How to Tune Up Your Brain

I usually don’t refer you to main-stream magazines (I figure you can find those on your own), but do make a point to see the January 16, 2006, issue of TIME magazine with the cover: How to Sharpen Your Mind.


– The Perils of Multi-Tasking
– The Power of the Midlife Brain
– The Magic of Meditation
– Ways to Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay
– How Coffee Perks Up Your IQ

Preview: How to Tune Up Your Brain — Jan. 16, 2006


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