“We all have two lives to live. The second one begins as soon as we realize we only have one.” -Confucius . . Do you agree? I most definitely do. . . It’s time to dive into The Life Feast. It starts on 2/20/2020 (tomorrow). If you have a suspicion that you’d rather not delay this second life of yours and you’d love to tap back into curiosity, awe, mindfulness, adventure, appreciation, creativity and play. Then join me. It’s easy (I promise), it’s fun, each module is less about 15 min long, you’ll love the weekly life lens prompts and the growing community of over 61 feasters is phenomenal. Don’t wait until the doors close and it’s too late. . . Give me a hell yeah if you’re ready to turn this second life into something even more interesting than the first. . . Can’t wait to see you in The Life Feast!
As Dorothea Lange says, the camera teaches you how to see (the world) without using a camera. We can choose to see the chaos or stress, or we can train ourselves to look for some beauty. The camera helps us to not miss moments, to be more present, to savor what’s wonderful, to change a stuck perspective and to find beauty basically anywhere. . . A creative habit doesn’t need to be a big involved process. AND WE’RE ALL TAKING PICTURES, ANYWAY! We carry around these powerful cameras that we make phone calls on, obsessively check texts/emails on, or play Candy Crush on. If you wanted to add in more creativity into your life, you can’t just bust out an easel and paints in the carpool line at school, or do ceramics at the park while playing with your kids. Or lug a sewing machine on your next business trip (that’ll cost you a fortune in TSA fees!). iPhone photography is a creative habit that’s portable, accessible and EASY to learn. I. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Because it’s easy for anyone to learn, and it’s creative, iPhone photography is the gateway drug to all kinds of life possibilities. . . It makes a crummy, rainy day a canvas for creativity, shows Life Feast mama, Shea Cochran. As Katy Martin said, it’s a creative practice she can do on the fly to not only capture the antics of her little people, but also to give her a little creative reprieve, while spending time at the playground. Susan Geeslin said it made a long car ride to her son’s sporting event a much more interesting creative opportunity. . . A camera not only helps you recall the wrinkles of your favorite grandparent or relive a celebration, it also helps you notice the gorgeous shadow on a sidewalk on a less than stellar day. . . It captures the moments that might have been otherwise forgotten when kids were little and you were sleep-deprived. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And learning to use your phones for creativity rather than just consumption means that we notice our surroundings more than we get seduced by our screens. . Life Feast starts 2/20/2020. Join!
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, Don’t Stop, Don’t Worry that it isn’t good enough or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing. DO IT. - Neil Gaiman . . Your pencil prophecy is here (mine too). Full permission to go out there and make some big beautiful mistakes. Open up to serendipity, bust out of your comfort zone, embrace the AFGOS*, and go for your big hairy audacious everythings. Then rest, rinse & repeat. . . Don't forget to quiet your inner critic AND your inner insurance underwriter (the little voice that scares you into analysis paralysis). And guess what, Ill do the same. . . Did you know that creative habits help us build confidence? We embrace our mistakes, we're engaged in getting the reward, and we fall in love with the process. We see that we actually LIVE THROUGH our mistakes. The world doesn't fall apart because we aren't perfect. And so we develop that courage to go for it, again. . . The Life Feast is that sandbox in which to do something different, break the script, tiptoe out of your comfort zone. It's also a way to get curious and to not take ourselves oh so seriously. It's a way to build that creative confidence AND to just slow down and savor all that you've already created in your big beautiful life. . . Does Neil's quote resonate or bother you? How do you feel about mistakes? . . PS Sign up link to The Life Feast is in my bio. DM me for details. I’d love to have you!
My studio. My happy place. a gift to myself after ending a 14-year restaurant career. I was overdue to get out of restaurant life, I still LOVED gathering spaces. I craved it before it was mine. My kids used to take art classes here. I coveted just spending an afternoon in that studio. I was pretty caught up in my own stress and the grind. Years later, a friend mentioned an empty office next to hers. Low and behold, it was the exact place I had always adored. When I told a friend about my vision for it, she said it sounded like a clubhouse. Yes! For busy people who want an inspiring break from everything. I've hosted art shows, poetry parties, masterminds. Friends have hung out here when they were having a meltdown or needed a break while waiting for their kids. I've coached clients in here. Hosted VIP biz retreats in here. I’ve taught teen photo camps in here. Wrote Gratitude Gravy here. And had Life Feast fests. From the virtual parties for feasters around the world to evening APPy hours (playing with wine, appetizers and different iPhone photo apps). We can’t just have a life focused solely on carpools, work deadlines, dinner dilemmas, bill paying & going to the gym. We can love on our families, be amazing parents and ALSO give ourselves some creative playtime. In fact, it’s really GOOD for us to do so. I’ve taught painters, designers, artists AND lawyers, doctors, realtors & accountants. Left-brained or right, we all need these nudges to slow down & appreciate the beauty of life more. This isn’t creative output to impress anyone else, it doesn’t need to be intimidating. It’s how to notice the world. Take in the moments. Delight in the everyday. ANYONE can learn. The point is to see what you’ve never seen before. Find everyday awe. Tap into curiosity, mindfulness, or savor the #smalljoys. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What's your favorite space. a writing spot, a book nook, a cozy corner, favorite spot to pay your bills (if yes, do tell as I probably need inspiration for THAT in my life).
I saw this tree this other morning when I was driving home from yoga. I was so shocked to see the sun and it was freezing cold, so the hoar frost was in its most photogenic element. . . What I didn’t notice until after I took the picture was this sweet little mudra in the left lower branch. Do you see it? . . It looks like the Gyana mudra. Like this little tree is actually in “tree pose”. . . . I’m quite familiar with the mudra, but had to look up what it’s all about and I was delighted to read that this mudra increases concentration, creativity, and knowledge. My kind of mudra! . . In The Life Feast we have an entire module dedicated to play. Getting off the sidelines, getting into the game. I teach people how to look for these gestures in inanimate objects. These playful moments and little winks from the universe. . . I’ve been in a 40-day yoga challenge for the last few weeks. I was taking it VERYSERIOUSLY at first. And then we had a meeting where we had to crab walk around the room and then leapfrog over each other. It was clumsy, awkward and hilarious. It was permission to play. It was a demonstration of how it feels when we are just lighter and more joyful and present. . . This is what I teach, as well. Except I manage to forget all the damn time. I take myself too seriously. I forget to laugh. I get caught up in my head. . . I love this funny little yoga tree photo. It reminds me to notice these little moments and to loosen up a bit. It also reminds me that the sun shines every once in a while... . . Can you see the mudra or am I just hallucinating from my juice cleanse??? #40daysyessteamboat #mudra #hungry
I broke the script yesterday. You know the one, the script that says, get up, go to work, do work, pick up kids, make dinner, watch some Netflix, go to bed. It's the modern-day Dunkin' Donuts life (remember #timetomakethedonuts)... . 🍩 Yesterday, I broke it. . . I postponed my first meeting of the day, threw on my ski clothes, called my husband, as he was dropping kids at school, to ask if he could do the same, and we hit the slopes on a whim. . ⛷ I don't break my script often. As the Heath brothers point out in their great book, The Power of Moments, variety is the spice of life, but you don't dine exclusively on pepper and oregano. So spicing things up means that I don't do something crazy spontaneous every.single.day because that kind of becomes the new normal. Too much spontaneity is Anti spontaneity. . . But breaking the script, every so often, is good. We love novelty. The same old same old, gets OLD. Genuine surprise elongates time, creates a deeper memory and is something we savor for years to come. So surprise someone. Surprise yourself. Break your own script. . . Right now, I'm launching my creativity infused course, 📷The Life Feast. There are some that are so excited and ready to break the script of their life and dive right in and others who are more curious, but cautious. Not ready to break the script. . . Here's the thing as summed up by Tania Luma in the book, Surprise, we feel safe when things are certain, but we feel the most alive when they're not... . . So how do you want to break your script this week? This month? This year? It doesn't have to be big and scary. Just fun and fulfilling... . . I hope you'll want to break the script to see the world with a creative lens in The Life Feast with me, but however, you decide to add some spontaneity into your life, I'm cheering for you. Let me know your favorite way to break the script in the comments. . . PS Send me a DM if you want to know more about The Life Feast
Photos are the perfect mirror of what’s happening in our lives ...not only do they literally reflect the people or places in our lives, but the composition, the lighting, the subject, the angle , the colors all give the viewer a little peek into the photographer’s soul. 📷 This was one of my top 3 favorite photos I took in 2019. All 3 were completely spontaneous captures. All three were iPhone. All three were unexpected moments that caught my eye. 📷 Photography is a spiritual practice for me. It goes way beyond the selfie (not a fan), or my breakfast (ok I do occasionally dork out with pictures of my avocado toast).. 📷 Landscape photographers might plan their subject for days or years. Their study of light also can becomes a spiritual practice. 📷 My version is less traditional. My photographic spiritual side loves to notice light, shadows, reflections, little artistic vignettes stashed in unexpected places. I capture moments. The ones that are moving and I want to hold still a little longer. I don’t plan the lighting or wait for days for perfect conditions. I see the beauty in imperfect conditions. 📷 I’ve shared my methods and approach to both life, light and photography with my Life Feast students. I love knowing that there’s a bunch of over 40 moms out there using their iPhone camera to commune with their life. And not just capture their kids. To also engage with their curiosity, again. To see what lights them up. Follow the creative breadcrumbs. 📷 Divine little serendipitous moments are everywhere in the creative process. We just have forgotten how to find them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But, as #dorothealange said, the camera is the only instrument that teaches you how to see without using a camera. This is where the spiritual side comes in, for me. I see beautiful cracks of light in unexpected places. Little reminders of the extraordinary beauty in ordinary places. 📷 Does this sound like a practice you want me to share more on? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
White space ... I crave more of it when I don’t have it, but when I do have more white space, it’s a little daunting... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s the bitch of the blank canvas. No constraints, where do you even start? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I used to rail against constraints until I realized there’s a sweet spot in the overlapping of the blank page and a creative prompt. Structure is actually helpful. It’s why people love the photo prompts in my The Life Feast course. Permission to create whatever you want, prompts to help give you ideas and structure, if needed. It was interesting to see how much more participation there was when the prompts were really specific rather than open-ended. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Just like in beautiful design, I also need some white space in my life, my commitments can’t fill the whole page. I need some wiggle room in the margins. I also need time when I shut off the noise. Turn off the feed, the podcasts, the conversations and connect my own dots. But I also need deadlines, a schedule, inspiration... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s a tug of war at times, but also helpful when I find that good tension between giving myself constraints and giving myself freedom. Too much of either doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s like following a compass rather than a map. We are overscheduled in the winter which, at times, I resent. But a few weeks into an open-ended summer, I get a little squirrelly. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I equally love the white space of a Sunday and the get it done energy of a Monday. But the combo in maybe a Thursday is my favorite, a little more playful, but still following the plan. Permission to take the scenic route or the express lane. A more balanced day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Is this making sense? Who knows! I probably need to add more structure to my social ;). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I do want to know, how much do you love or loathe white space in your life? If you crave it, How often do you have it? What gets in the way. Do you like creative prompts or the sky’s the limit type of freedom to fill the canvas? Ok tawk amongst yo’selves... and talk to me as I love the conversations in the comments.xo
Picasso was on to something. Being prolific leads to better work. Being precious doesn’t. I’ve been stuck lately. Not being prolific, being perfectionistic. I love how @elizabeth_gilbert_writer calls out that “perfectionism is fear in really good shoes.” Yup. Afraid, but my feet are looking fly. My perfectionism leads to procrastination. Surely whatever I want to work on will be better “tomorrow”. I’ll be who I want to be, tomorrow. And that fantasy thinking kept my best work hidden away for at least 4 years, probably longer. And now I’m noticing I’m falling into this trap, again. Last year, in my life feast workshops, I led a bonus module on how to get out of perfectionism. Because it’s a recurring obstacle in my own life, I teach what I know. Then I go rewatch my own class to remind myself how to get unstuck. This is my first IG post since mid December. I wish I could say it was because I unplugged or digitally detoxed. No, I was still here, just avoiding putting my own work up. My friend, Beth, @thecircleupexperience reminded me I needed more post holiday rest than I realized. So there was that. But I’m rested. I’m ready. And I’m working my way out of stuckness. Time to #feckperfuction as @jamesvictore might say. Anyone else get stuck in this perfectionistic procrastination stuck spin cycle on occasion?
🤶There are 4 more shopping day until Christmas. Have you gotten anything for yourself? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📜I used to be last on my list. I thought that becoming a mom meant becoming a monk and renouncing all desire and worldly possessions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🚫 I think I thought it was selfish to think of myself every once in a while. Especially around the holidays. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ❓Why do we buy into the story that motherhood = depleting or forgetting ourselves? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💌One year, a writer whom I admired and adored, sent out an email about a summer writing retreat in Portland, just a few days before Christmas. I bought it for myself without hesitation. Me to me. No stuff to store, and an experience that I will never forget! (fast forward to summer, Portland was the coolest town. I stayed in a hotel that used to be an elementary school. I drew on chalkboards, I met 20 creative women. I wrote for 3 days with Alex Franzen. I ate cronuts. I took photos of food trucks and garbage cans, doodled in coffee shops, had a blast in the rain by myself). #noregrets ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🤔Just something to think about before you hit the buy button for those last minute gifts for everyone else. What if you put yourself on the list? 💡What would you buy? A little bauble? A painting class? 🖼 A writing retreat? A girls’ weekend? A camera? 📷The gift of Adam Levine, 🎤he’s going on tour in 2020 (😜). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ btw if you’re interested in my mindful photo class 🎞, The Life Feast🍽, send me a DM for the January start date 🗓 and all the new bonus details. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉If you bought something for yourself or now you’re going to, 🎁please share what it is in the comments! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Let’s go for mom solidarity rather than mom shame. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It doesn’t have to be extravagant. This year, I’ve delighted myself with a mug that has a camera on it and a caption that says, “mama is going to snap”. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lets inspire each other. Because you matter, we matter and silly mugs, writing retreats, photo classes, and Adam Levine concerts are fun 🤩! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Merry almost Christmas, mamas.
My appliances decided it was a good week to fall apart. Not kidding. In the past 5 days, I’ve had a computer and a refrigerator overheat and an oven underheat. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Yesterday I got the news that my trusty Macbook Pro of 7 years is calling it quits, unplugging for eternity. Two days ago, I woke to a hot fridge, butter melted et al. And, yesterday, I begged two kind oven repair people to overnight a new igniter and squeeze me into their schedule on Christmas Eve. My houseguests arrive the day before. 😬 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Today, I stumbled upon a timely great #gratitudegravy practice that seems appropriate for me to put into play, this week. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✅Here it is --->Ask yourself this question... What if the only things you had tomorrow, were the things you expressed thankfulness for, today? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Would you express gratitude for your pillow, a glass of water, your winter coat, your furnace? Can you imagine life without these everyday luxuries? If the currency of keeping these everyday luxuries was just to say thank you and appreciate them, how do you think your day would go?🌝 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Gratitude and stress can't co-exist. The stress response shuts down as soon as (true) gratitude is felt. So as you hustle and bustle this holiday season, remember that stress relief might just be one heartfelt thank you away. 🙏 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This photo is of the ceiling at the Houston airport. ✈️Photograpjy shows us new perspectives, teaches us how to see without using a camera. 📷Reminds us that what's ordinary can be extraordinary like an oven, a refrigerator, a computer. 🔧Send good repair karma my way. Or send me a Christmas Eve pizza delivery ;-).🍕 I'll be thankful for both!
I was chatting with a friend at our kids' b-ball game. I was complaining that I had tons to “do for Christmas.” And he said, you moms do too much for Christmas.. I didn't even argue. Because you know what. I agreed with him. 100%. We do too much. I do too much. And it just perpetuates the “everyone needs to do too much holiday mentality. What if we didn't do so much? Our kids would still love us, so would our parents and siblings. There would still be holiday magic. Plenty of it! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s funny to note how strong the Christmas cultural pull is to wrap up more stuff, buy more stuff, manage more stuff, pay off debt on the stuff. OOOh look at this shiny stuff. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Every year I swear I’m not going to go crazy at Christmas. I ignore all of the buy now, last chance, time is running out messaging in my inbox from Black Friday on. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And then around this time, I start to panic. Oh I don’t have enough stuff under the tree. We need more stuff. Oh I forgot to buy the dog stuff. What can I get that’s fabulous, last minute and will still arrive in time stuff? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I also pay a sh*load to ship stuff, of course, because I’m still buying stuff in the 11th hour. Last night I was wrapping presents at our UPS store to ship before the last truck went out. I certainly wasn’t alone. The line was out the door. It was not how I intended to do the holidays. Yet, there I was, participating in and perpetuating the madness. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve gotten better over the years. I’ve focused more on gifting experiences. I’ve made much more time to rest and just be. I love making photo presents for family members. Memories of our time together. To me, that’s the stuff worth savoring (and shipping overnight!). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But full disclosure, I still love Christmas morning. I love giving the gifts I’ve bought and made. The hippie in me wants to declare an absolutely no presents, experience only holiday season. The material girl in me loooooves unwrapping a few choice boxes. The paradox of my personality. What about you? Do you have this handled? Or still vacillating like I am?