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Posts Tagged ‘FOCUS’

Last week, I decided to do my research for the Silent Skies project and find some pictures of the selected birds to give me ideas I will rework. In the afternoon, I went to the studio with the intention of playing with my brushes which must feel abandoned since Christmas …

Strange how this New Year’s theme is gradually emerging and moving towards birds with the mural project and the children’s book that I started that will be about a woodpecker family …

But entering the studio and after putting my music on, it is not my brushes that caught my attention but the room where I store my half – finished and new canvases, my working and packaging material, etc. I should have taken a picture before, it was a disaster. It is also the room where I varnish when it is too windy or cold or rainy outside. I need a good central space on the floor to do this especially if the artwork is large. Since the move of the studio, I had not yet managed to tidy up and make this space functional.

After an afternoon of work, everything is now organized and clean, a great way to start the year. Here are a few photos :

While doing this cleaning, I found a list of projects dating from 2012. It gave me the idea to remake one for 2018. I don’t know why I lost the habit of making my list of art projects at the beginning of the year since the move of the studio. I often complicate my life by entering my ideas in different notebooks when a simple list strategically placed is so much more effective.

There are many benefits to keeping a list of projects in the studio. I like to put it on a prominent wall where I can consult it regularly and everything on my list usually get done during the following months.

A list of projects is very stimulating and helps to keep focus on priorities in the studio where you can easily lose your attention. My problem is that I want to do everything at the same time, everything attracts me, colors, new techniques, my paintings that are started and need finishing, new ones to start, so a list of projects brings me where I am more productive.

A paper, a pen and a few minutes are enough to create a list of projects. It’s a wonderful tool to keep control of your day and your attention and it only takes 5 to 10 minutes.

No electronic tool for me when it comes to making a list of projects because I want to have it in front of me at all times especially when I start checking what is done. It definitely works for me, it gives me an overview and a impulse of optimism.

I also use it to set my priorities, including deadlines for exhibitions, symposiums, orders.

It also allows you to optimize your time, such as preparing several canvases with gesso at the same time depending on what is planned.

It helps to stay calm because you feel more in control and it eliminates the stress of thinking you have forgotten a project or a date.

You can easily guess what I’m doing as soon as I am finished writing this post!

I hope this short article will motivate you to make your list of projects for 2018!

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Don’t I love this activity of going through the agenda of the year ending and preparing for the new year!!

It is a ritual that I adore and if I can’t find time to do it before Jan 1st, I feel I am late somehow and cannot start the year properly.

Today I took 2 hours to please myself and go through last year’s entries and record thoughts and events from 2017.

Our trip to Australia, to be detailed later in my travel journal, my new incursion into the FODMAP way of eating because of years of problems, several notes and details about our little grandchild growing and becoming a little person with his brilliance, his quirks, his sense of humour and mannerism, his own take on the world already! Only two he is but so much to give to the world already, I hope he never doubts it, I wish happiness for him forever!

So I am ready for 2018, copied important thoughts and entries, got all the important birthdays in and am already planning the exhibitions, vacations, painting projects, challenges and explorations.

I wish everyone an inspired and artistic new year. Art is not only about painting, writing or performing arts; we are all artists that create our lives from day to day. We need to follow our instinct and intuition. We need to be open to the world, to ideas! We create our reality and we must decide to be the Main act in what is happening to us while respecting our loved ones as well as others.

For many years, I felt I was going with the flow and we must be able to do so because of what life is throwing at us, but we must also make up our minds about who we want to be, who we want to become, what we want to create in the physical world and in our spiritual world.

Be kind to yourself

Love yourself

Love your neighbour

Happy new year 2018 !

Hopefully by being the best we can be, the world will be the best it can be!!

With Love

Suzanne

 

 

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Here are a few thoughts as we near the end of the year

 

A couple days ago, a search for someone’s coordinates took me deep into my journals from last year. I did not find what I was looking for but I did find some gems I would like to share with you here.

 

For those who don’t know me that much I want to say that I LOVE self-help books. Some are good, some less so, but I enjoy exploring these different takes on life. I usually write down what strikes me and it always seems so clear when I record the thought.

 

Lately, I have been struggling with the sense of time, how little we have, how fast days go by and what I manage to accomplish or not accomplish in a day…I’m sure most of us struggle with this at one point or another. The thing is, time is the same and the only constant for everybody and while some of our time is spent on necessary physical needs like sleeping and eating and some at making a living, we still have control over a large chunk of our time.

 

This is the portion I am concerned with; this is what we need to make decisions about. While the possibilities seem endless, one of these decisions is how we choose to perceive our lives.

 

Our reality is a selective act of attention and interpretation. I love this because it says it all “Focus is everything” and focus will change how we see our reality. We need to be aware and don’t lose sight of this fact.

 

Focus is a selective act of attention and what we focus on grows. So if we focus on what is wrong with our lives, we’ll continue to feel bad. If something needs to be changed, the focus should be on visualizing a better outcome and on finding a solution, not on the stressful situation or what we’re upset about.

 

Interpretation of “reality” takes place through internal dialogue, in other words during a conversation between ego and itself.

 

I admit I have often focused on the wrong things, bringing feelings of sadness and discouragement. I have been working on this my whole life and I now try to start each day with the conscious realisation that I can make the choice to focus on something positive.

 

Starting the day with gratitude is one of the keys. Focusing on what we are grateful about instead of what we don’t like is a good way to bring more good things into our life.

 

I found a trick to start my day on the right foot by writing this simple sentence in my journal before going to bed: “I am grateful for….” When I open my journal in the morning and I see these words, there are always immediate things that pop into my mind. I am grateful for a lot of things. And when I run out of things, I keep on writing these few words again, “I am grateful for…” and more things come up.

 

We don’t have to be grateful for major things all the time, even little things, small events will help. It is about cultivating a gratefulness attitude and it creates positive momentum in our internal dialogue. Somehow, this simple act conditions us to stay attentive to see more “gratitude-worthy” experiences to come into our life.

 

Life is all about energy and where attention goes, energy flows.

Sometimes, we need to actively reject negativity, avoid it. I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that our brain suffers from a negativity bias. With everything we read and hear on the news, it is easy to forget that life is still good and miraculous.

 

We all have to go through some trying experiences but it is important to remember that when things are bad, they will improve at some point. We need to hang on and focus on whatever is positive. We must commit to turn away from negativity whenever and as often as we can.

 

Since all negativity cannot be ignored all the time, being aware of this bias when in a negative frame of mind, can help keep away some of the feelings of fear, anger and anxiety and also assist in making the conscious decision to be positive and realize our purpose.

 

So if we want to improve our reality, we need to improve our focus on positive events and things. It is well worth the effort.

 

Let’s start this New Year with hope and make a conscious effort to increase positive energy in our life.

 

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Our six senses are the links between the outside environment and all our inner worlds.

As soon as one of our senses detects a stimuli (smell, sound, taste or other), it sends a message to our brain and a wave of feelings and souvenirs come to the surface of our conscious mind triggering feelings of joy and happiness or sorrow and pain. Almost right away, this takes over our mind as thought this vision from the past was actually what we’re looking at or experiencing right now.

How do we control this and how do we make sure we access files that bring us joy and positive feelings instead of pain, suffering, fear, anger and regret? By using focus and attention. Our immediate environment plays a role in this. It is important to choose to include in our lives people we like and things we enjoy looking at, things that are healthy for our body and mind and for the planet.

Today, let’s start cleaning up our environment physical as well as mental. Let’s start paying  attention to what we want to remember, what we want to retain from our experience here on earth. Let’s focus on the positive and literally transform not only our surroundings but ourselves too in order to move forward building good connections between our senses and our mind.

Let’s choose to create wholesome environments for ourselves, our children and the world.

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6:30AM. The sun is high already, shimmering on the lake. All is quiet except for two crows having a conversation over the trees. Yesterday, I was in Magog and while sitting at on a terrace along the lake enjoying lunch, we started to see the athletes participating in the triathlon appearing along the water. Their paddles hitting the water in unison, the first canoe came into sight. How exciting to see these two athletes so dedicated and focused on keeping their first place in the race. Everyone started clapping their encouragement. It was quite exciting. They were way ahead of everyone else. A little later, a second canoe came into view and went by. Again muscles pumping, heads down, focused, sipping on water through the tube attached to their reserve. The effort looked tremendously hard.

Dedication and focus. Why would anybody want to put themselves through so much work? What pushes people to go beyond themselves while some others just sail through life without wanting to do anything but relax. Is it what we would call an addiction?  This desire to surpass oneself and become better, always the best or the best you can be physically and mentally?

 

I do admire these people tremendously. The ones that don’t question their role in life, the ones that know in the morning they will go and practice for four, five hours in order to maintain their main instrument, their body, in perfect shape to be able to compete in whatever event they want to, the ones that have made the decision to focus and work hard everyday of their lives. I admire the runner that trains for a marathon.

 

Anyhow, yesterday’s race stays in my mind and I am reminded that anybody who chooses to better themselves can do it. It is a matter of choice, a matter of choosing to spend our time working at something or just looking at life go by and feel the frustration of being out of control. This can be applied to anything we want to do. I sometimes wonder about the best way to attain a certain result though. I know that when you want to accomplish anything, the only way is to set your life up in a way that you cannot fail, find a formula for success and stick to it. If you want to better yourself at painting lets say, you must take an hour or two per day to paint. Practice makes perfect like they say. Repetition, repetition is the only way to better our skills. Time is what we need to be able to try different mediums, different techniques, different ideas.

 

As artists, it is also time alone we need every day. I realize now that I love to just get into myself and think about future projects, about different ways of applying colors, about all kinds of things. Reflecting on life and on art.  Even if I often feel as if it is a waste of time, I know it is all part of the art process. This way of viewing thoughtful reflecting as a waste of time is based on society’s expectations that you must do something that can be seen all the time. You must be productive or else.  For us artists, this reflection time is part of our work It is the flexing of our creative muscle. That is why dedication and focus are so important. In order to make our art vibrant and continuous, we need to spend some time thinking and refilling our inspiration cup.

 

I met another artist last Friday and we talked about this. He kept telling me he has not been painting in over a year because he is not getting any inspiration.” Inspiration, he said, is what I am missing”. I tried to tell him that inspiration or not, he should be working because it is often while you work that you get inspired. I think inspiration is overrated. You can feel inspired all you want but if you don’t pick up that paint brush, that pencil or whatever you work with, you won’t achieve anything. Nothing will get done. It is more dedication and focus you need once you make the decision to go in one direction or another. The first step is always to decide. Like the athlete makes the decision one day to send his life in one direction over another, us artist, must decide that our art is more important than certain other ways to spend our time. We must spend time thinking about but also physically working on our art.

 

It is by first by deciding, second by being dedicated, that we can accomplish ANYTHING.

 

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FOCUS IS EVERYTHING

Today, as we approach Christmas, I have to push myself to get into the Christmas spirit. No more young enthusiastic children bouncing around me asking if they are going to get their wishes from Santa. No more of their laughter and smiles, their jumping around asking how many more days, opening this chocolate calendar everyday counting the nights between now and the Big Day.

We are literally buried in snow this year. Unlike previous years, we have had a large amount of snow in 2 storms within the last 10 days and it is beautiful outside: White everywhere, blue sky, the sun shining, at least it was yesterday. Everything looks pure and clean but… wait a minute isn’t it what people dream about? A white Christmas? What’s the problem then? Our focus is the problem. It is sometimes difficult to look around us and appreciate what our eyes can capture. Beauty, nature, the pleasure, the privilege I should say of breathing fresh air. We are so lucky here to have clean water and relatively clean air. Why is it so difficult sometimes to see and appreciate it? All these worries we carry in our head, all these aches and pains we notice in our body?. What about what doesn’t hurt? Why don’t we notice this? I digress but it is important for me this morning to look at what is not wrong instead of what is wrong and needs to be fixed. How many of us spend our lives looking at what is wrong and wanting to fix it? Not that this is wrong since we need people to fix things, right? But we also need balance and you cannot spend your life focusing on what is wrong in your life, your relatives’ and friends’ lives, the world. And in order to make things better, we must find a balance and find a way to feel somewhat at peace and happy. The best way to do this is to take a quick inventory of what is not wrong. Not even necessarily what is right. Focus is everything. There are a lot of things that are NOT wrong in your life. Just the fact that you can breathe without any help, that you can feel your breath enter your lungs and come out, feeding your body with oxygen, this tells you that you are alive and that everything is possible. There is pollution, there is unrest and wars, there are conflicts but there is also beauty, there is nature there is kindness all around us. Focus is everything. In the end, you are responsible only to yourself and your children of course if they are still young and dependent. After all you did choose to bring them into the world and you do have a responsibility to give them the proper tools to become their own persons. But other than that, you are not responsible for anybody else really.This is hard to comprehend and harder still to apply. We have husbands, wives, friends, families that we all feel need us to be a certain way, to act like expected to be what they think we are. This is very draining at the end. Torn between guilty feelings, expectations, obligations, we sometimes created ourselves. But in the end, would our acting any different really change anything in these people’s lives? They would certainly get over it if we did not act according to their expectations. But the biggest disappointment is when we disappoint ourselves because of our own need to be perfect or to fulfill someone’s image of ourselves that often does not correspond to reality.

Focus is everything and Mahatma Gandhi said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”. Look deep inside, reach in and find one thing to do today that is really in harmony with your true self. Make a list of what is not wrong with your life.

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