do what makes you feel alive {printable}…

Over the weekend, I was tackling a tiny bit of much-needed decluttering, and I came across a couple of printouts I had totally forgotten about making. Both were printables I made a few years ago, one from one of my watercolor paintings, the other from part of one of my acrylic paintings.

Both paintings are abstract, intuitive paintings, not paintings of anything in particular (“paint play” is what I often call what I’m doing)… and I took photos of the paintings, digitally added words, and turned them into printables.

Tracking down the digital files took some time, but track them down I did. Turns out I made the printables back in 2017. I think (but I’m not positive) I shared them on my old blog but they got lost in the shuffle somewhere along the way.

The first of these printables-from-original-paintings is below. I’ll be putting up a post with the other one in a few days.

This one is from one of my watercolor paintings, with the words: do what makes you feel alive

I think we often need that reminder. As long as it’s not something that hurts someone else, it’s a good thing to keep in mind: do what makes you feel alive.

Do you know what that is? If not, take some time to get quiet and feel into the question. What lights you up? What sparks your inner fire and stirs your soul? What makes you feel alive?

This reminder – and putting it into practice – is something that helps us connect with joy. And, I believe, helps us connect with our purpose.

The printable is yours if you’d like to print it out. As with the other printables on the blog (you can find those here – be sure to go back to all the “older posts” to see them all) there’s no charge, nothing to sign up for, no strings attached. Just download and print as you wish. The file is in .pdf format, and you should be able to resize the image to suit your needs.

The link to get it is here.

Or just click on the printable’s photo below to get the file.

Do what makes you feel alive.

 

grace, again – and still…

My 2020 word-of-the year is grace.

Since 2012, I’ve had a guiding word for each year, a word that sort of “comes” to me, not something I choose logically or analytically. My words have included nourish, clarity, integration, replenish, sovereign, joy… and in 2017 instead of a single word, I was given a phrase-for-the-year of “embrace grace.”  Then the next year, 2018, I was guided to keep on with that same phrase.

Two years in a row of embrace grace – a phrase that continues to be hugely important in my life.

So sometime in November, when I started sensing that grace was to be my guiding word for 2020, I hesitated at first. Shouldn’t I have a different word, something new I hadn’t had before as part of my word-of-the-year journeys?

But the prompting for this word stayed and strengthened, and I stopped resisting.

Grace it is.

Already, less than a week into this new year, I’m being challenged by this word. Hard, difficult stuff is already coming up for me and my husband, and I’ve been struggling to approach it all with grace.

At the same time, though, I’m finding strength because of grace. Grace is helping me through, moment by moment.

That’s how these words-of-the-year seem to go for me (and for many others I know). They present the positive aspects of the word, as well as the challenging bits. Almost as though the word is saying: You really want me in your life, you really want to KNOW me and experience me this year? Well, here you go, I’ll SHOW you life with me, the light and the dark of me, I’ll help you learn every side of me, so hold on for the ride!

So – grace.

Again. And still.

 

remembering how much it helps to write…

Although I’ve gone through periods of time when I didn’t write much, writing (especially writing fiction) has been a through-line of my life.

Writing mini-novels as soon as I could form words and sentences with whatever writing utensils were on hand. (And I do mean “mini” – as in 3 or 4 pages of large, fat font.) Scribbling longer stories and short poems as I went through elementary, junior high, and high school. Pouring out my heart in diary entries and journals. Writing stories and novels over the decades. Writing papers and reports, and freelance greeting card work and nonfiction projects and blog posts.

Although I enjoy a variety of writing, fiction has been my big love. Having characters and dialogue in my head, and taking stories on the journey from vague thoughts in my mind to words on paper, and creating something from nothing.

When I’m writing fiction regularly, it does something to me. It does something for me.

Simply the process of working on fiction helps me.

It gives me energy, and a sense of purpose, and a feeling of being alive.

It helps me deal with day-to-day life because…well, I don’t even know how or why that happens, it just does.

Writing fiction helps me stay sane when it might seem like things are far from okay.

I KNOW all of this.

I’ve known it for a very long time. Decades.

But when I get away from writing fiction for a while, it’s as though I forget these things, at least in some way. I don’t actually forget, because I can repeat all the above to myself or to others, remembering and knowing that all of it is true. But I sort of forget – or maybe it’s that I forget on some level. Whatever it is, though, some part of me (even though I know and remember) will lose sight of the reality for me of all of the above.

And then…

I’ll get back to writing fiction regularly again.

And I’ll be reminded of the truth all over again. About how writing fiction is healing for me. How it helps me with living life. How it helps me get through.

There’s just something fiction writing gives to me that goes missing when I’m not writing fiction.

For a while this year, I got away from my fiction writing but now I’m back to it consistently. Getting out of the house to write in a different location has helped me get back into a fiction-writing routine. I grab my smallest tablet – and I recently got a small, lightweight, foldable bluetooth keyboard that I LOVE and I grab that too – toss them into my purse (because that’s how small and light they are, but they do what I need!) and I head out for an hour or two.

And I write.

For the past couple of months I’ve been leaving home to write at least a couple of days each week (usually more often). This isn’t new for me – I’ve gone in cycles of writing somewhere other than home, and now I’m in another cycle of doing it…and as with writing itself, it can feel a bit surprising to be reminded, to remember how much it helps me to go somewhere else to write.

I’m not sure why we sometimes forget what we know, but I’ve talked with enough people about this to realize it’s not uncommon. We know what we love, what makes us feel alive, what helps us…and yet, on some level, we forget or we lose track or we don’t put it into action.

Then when we do it again, it’s as though we’re reminded all over again of what a difference it makes.

I’m going to do my best to hold onto remembering for good this time.