Mindful, creative, colourful living.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Mandala Mania

The kids were off school this week, so I didn’t have as much time to give to art or to blogging as I usually do. But I did manage to put a few pieces together. I’ve been working on larger paper (A3), and I find it does take significantly longer to draw each mandala. I enjoy working on these bigger mandalas, however, and I feel that this size is becoming my preference. 

I hope you like this week’s drawings.

Have a great weekend. 

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This post is linked to Paint Part Friday.  

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

What Is Mindful, Creative, Colourful Living?

You may have noticed that the description of this blog is ‘mindful, creative, colourful living.’ I’ve been thinking about that description for some time, and while I consider it a fitting narrative of this site and its contents, I also feel that the phrase could mean a great many things to lots of different people.  So, I’ve decided to write this post to explain what the phrase the means to me.   

For me, mindful living is being aware of how the choices I make in my everyday life affect other people, the environment and myself.  

I believe that in today’s world we are often forced into making decisions and buying stuff we don’t need or may not even want just so we can appear acceptable to modern society. Being mindful puts me in a position of power, where I can make choices based on my personal needs, likes and dislikes - choices which empower me, and which put me in control of my own destiny.  

One of my mindful decisions was to become vegetarian. I am now almost vegan. This decision was not forced on me, it was something I decided to do because it is healthier for me and it helps protect the environment that I am so passionate about. 

I'm also a minimalist, another mindful decision because I found having too much stuff was weighing me down. I spent more time accumulating stuff and worrying that I didn't have enough 'items' than I did doing the things which really matter to me –  spending time with my family, spending time in nature, writing, drawing and taking photographs.  

I do speak about these topics on this blog, but in doing so, I am in no way trying to press anyone to become vegetarian, vegan or minimalist. I believe it is up to each person to make whatever decisions are right for him or her.

For me, being mindful of my choices opens up a world of opportunity. Being free from the pressures of having to look a certain way, dress in a particular manner, or buy stuff because it's what I’m ‘supposed’ to do gives me more space to breathe, to be creative and share whatever knowledge I have – to live a creative, colourful life.

This is my version of mindful, creative, colourful living. 

You may have a different description. But that's Okay.

Everyone has a right to an opinion. 

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Sunday, 17 February 2019

Is Procrastination A Symptom Of Choice?

I read an interesting article a few days ago. In the piece, the writer suggested that more choice was a primary reason for procrastination. While I certainly give the writer's  thoughts some credence, I don't entirely agree with her stance. 

It’s true we do have more choice today than in times past, but I feel that indecision, due to the of the amount of choice, is a more likely cause of the inability to get things done.

As a child, I had no choice. I wore whatever clothes my mother chose and ate my meals at a set time.  If I didn’t eat what was in front of me, I went hungry. On the one and only occasion, I refused to eat my evening meal, it was served up for me at breakfast. Imagine how today’s children would react if placed in a similar situation.  

They would probably demand this or that, only to change their mind just as you’re about to crack the egg they decided on into the pan. Yes, too much choice can cause indecision, and the time you’ve wasted is probably time you could have spent doing something you've already kicked into touch. 

But it’s not just children who have difficulty deciding what they want. Take a walk around any supermarket, and you’ll come across people who can’t make up their mind. They’ll spend inordinate amounts of time trying to decide what brand of cola to choose. As a result, they waste valuable time and put off doing things that would add value to their lives.  Personally, I don’t have time and can’t be bothered to take half an hour deciding what tin of baked beans to buy. I usually go for the cheapest, and while that indecisive person is still deciding I’ll have had my dinner, and I'll be starting my next piece of work.

Clothing causes some people a similar dilemma. I went out shopping with a friend once. (Once was enough; never again.) He needed a new coat. We spent six hours going from shop to shop, and in the end, he went back to the first shop we visited and bought the first coat he tried on. Not only did his indecision mean he had to put off a business meeting, it meant I had to put my plans on hold, too.

Indecision, causes us to put off doing so many things that we really want to do, and which would, more than likely, be a better use of our valuable time. Think of all the things you could be doing next time you find yourself lingering too long in the bread aisle.

Today, we have more choice than previous generations. Fashion changes weekly, almost daily in some instances, we have an abundance of food to choose from, and the rise of the internet has made shopping more accessible than ever before.

I believe that choice is a good thing. It means we can shop around, get the best value for our money and not be stuck with the same old brand year after year. However,  choice can become a problem if you spend all your time deliberating over your options. 

It’s our inability to choose what we want that causes us to procrastinate, not the choice itself.

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Friday, 15 February 2019

Adding A Splash Of Colour

After last week's storm, the weather these past few days has been surprisingly pleasant, and the forecaster says this weekend we might get temperatures similar to those in Madrid. We’ll wait and see, because I don’t think we’ve seen the end of winter, yet.

I’ve had a busy week; I had a parent/teacher meeting to attend. (Why is it these things, which are supposed to take about an hour, end up stealing most of the day? Just the way it goes, I guess.) The meeting went well, though. My daughter is on target in most of her subjects and in the others, she is above. I can’t ask for more.

I had a hospital appointment, too; another engagement which took longer than it should.

Despite all these distractions, I did, however, manage to complete some artwork. Last week I said I was going to lay off the mandalas for a while, but I couldn’t resist drawing a few more, along with some intuitive drawing. I also added a bit of colour to some of my mandalas.

I hope you like them.

Have a great weekend. 

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This post is linked to Paint Party Friday.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Good Or Bad - Bad Or Good

How we perceive things can have a dramatic effect on our whole outlook of life. In modern society, we are brought up to believe that this is good or that is bad. It’s good to exercise, it’s bad to sit on your backside all day watching television.

While this may or may not be true, depending on your viewpoint, when we take this to a deeper level it can be problematic. If you're continually thinking that when this happens, it is good, but when that happens, it is bad, you're always trying to avoid the bad and embrace the good. This adds to stress, and modern living alreday provides us with enough of that to be going on with. 

The truth is bad stuff happens to good people. There is no avoiding that fact. But what constitutes good and what makes something bad?

Indeed, if you crash your car on your way to work in the morning, it is bad. But if the person you crash into gets out of their car and the two of you instantly fall in love, get married and live happily ever after, it is good.

To quote an old Sunday School verse I heard many years ago, ‘God works in mysterious ways.’

A few years ago, I was going through a particularly rough patch. A lot of ‘bad stuff' was happening, which made my life seem unbearable.

I sat down with an old man I had only met once or twice before, who became one of my closest friends, and he shared a story with me that helped me immensely.

It’s an ancient Chinese proverb, and it goes something like this.

Once there was an old fisherman. He had a son, who the old man relied upon to mend his nets and take his catch to market.

One day the son was out in the countryside when he found a beautiful white horse. The son brought the horse to his father and said, “Look, father, what I have found. This white horse will help us take the fish to market.”

All the people in the village came to the old fisherman and congratulated him on his good fortune.

To their amazement, the old fisherman replied, “Who knows what’s good, or what’s bad?”

A few days later the son was out riding the horse when he fell from his steed and broke his leg.

This time all the people in the village came to the old fisherman to commiserate with him about his misfortune.

Again, to the astonishment of the people, the old fisherman said, “Who knows what’s good, or what’s bad?”

A week passed, and the King's men came to the village to conscript all the young men into the army. There was a great war, and the King needed all the young men he could find to stop the country being invaded by the enemy.

The King’s men came to the old fisherman’s house, but when they saw the son with his broken leg, they said, "This man is no use to the King, ride on." So they left the old fisherman and his son in peace.

Six months passed and word reached the village that although the King had won the war, all the young men conscripted from the village had been killed.

So the moral of the story? Who knows what’s good, or what’s bad?

Never take things on face value. What you think is terrible now, might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened. 

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