On a Personal Note: My L(attitudes)

Once you’ve lived in paradise, why would you consider living anywhere else? While I have traveled to awesome places in this world, I have only lived in Florida. I’ve considered a few places for the adventure and there are beautiful landscapes of all kinds, so it is still a possibility, but my heart is still in that sweet spot on the aqua waters where the dolphins play between mangrove tidal islands, where the white sands are between my toes and the pelicans look at me recognizing my soul as one of their own.

Aerial view of the road bridge between Captiva Island and Sanibel Island in Lee County, Florida, United States

My Connection to Ft. Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva

Born in Jacksonville, it was all I knew until the day I learned we would be moving for a boat sales job for my stepfather. Moves are always scary for young kids but when we drove over the big bridge for the first time and saw the crystal blue waters, all my worries melted away. And when we went on our first boat ride to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, I thought I might be in heaven. Despite the occasional turmoil at home, the place and people made for a great childhood.

But eventually we would move back to Jacksonville. While Jacksonville has many things going for it, it felt like a concrete jungle in comparison and the culture I was surrounded by was far from the Midwesterners of Ft. Myers that I shared values with. But my extended family is in Jacksonville, so that made up for it.

In 2011, a road trip back to Lee County reawakened my connection to its tropical flora. In previous trips to the tropical paradise my focus was on the aqua water, dolphins, pelicans, tidal islands, and landmarks from my youth. However, this time the seagrape leaves ignited and inspired a painting that turned into a green series full of big tropical leaves. Yes, it took about ten years to complete four paintings, that was because I was also working on my masterpiece…my son. He is now a Senior in High School and as a sweet friend once said, “I’m less of the CEO now and more of the advisory board.”

The paintings of lush tropical flora became a spiritual journey, teaching me and showing me the way to a higher connection preceding and preparing me for difficult loss of loved ones. My second painting in the series is called “Mickler’s Welcome” because the subject was located at the entrance to Mickler’s Landing (beach access). Now I wish I had called it ‘Receptivity’, because during the act of painting its victory stance of leaves reaching towards the sun, I made it my intention to also open to a higher source of learning and spiritual growth.

Pivoting Dreams: Hurricane Ian

I put my business sense hat on while I was wrapping-up the final painting in the series, and thought, “when I’m done, I’ll try to have a showing at my community culture center.” The pandemic would enter, shut down the center as if to say, “nope!”

I love where I live in Nocatee, with a vibrant town center and easy access to the beach. It’s close to Jacksonville. Still, I’ve also always wanted to spend my golden years in my childhood town. Just like the aging Midwesterners that made up most of the area’s population. I loved the idea of the thriving art community, beautiful views and laid-back lifestyle. I even told my husband a week before the hurricane that I wanted to move to Sanibel. But again, the Universe, had other plans. Enter, Hurricane Ian. Ian destroyed all the places I loved.

Do we look at these events as signs to change coarse or push through on the same path? Usually, I change course. I don’t see it fitting for me to force my way through things. I know I could do anything I set my mind to. In this instance I chose the third option, to turn it into a giving opportunity to help the environment that gave so much to me.

Art for a Cause

When there was an oil spill in The Gulf of Mexico a few years back, I could barely believe it. How could we be so careless? I was beyond consolable and so upset.

Today, seeing the increase in catastrophic events and hurricanes that are more powerful and doing more damage than ever before it is confirming global warming. Feel free to correct me with facts and evidence, I want to believe I have it wrong. I want to believe that noticing the change in wave strength in the Atlantic Ocean and The Gulf of Mexico is all in my head. Maybe I only want to remember the awesome calm days at the beach of my childhood. Maybe windy wavy days don’t make for good memories. Maybe the millions of dollars tax payers are paying on reconstructing and conserving the beaches along our coast are how it was always done. Maybe the houses falling into the ocean simply don’t have the same political/financial pull as the millionaires up near my beach that can afford the endless construction. But sadly, I think things are changing.

In times where I start to feel hopeless, I must remember I can do something even if it is small in comparison to the need. It only seems fitting that I can take the paintings that were inspired by the natural world and give back to the natural world. I don’t know if my tropical paradise of Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva will ever recover. Most of those homes were at the bottom of The Gulf for a while. That has never happened before when hurricanes passed through the area. But I will find a cause for the environment in that area and donate a portion of the proceeds of my painting sales to that cause. I’m considering these: https://www.givinggreen.earth/recommendations but looking for Hurricane Ian specific causes. If you have a recommendation, please reach out to me.

If you or an art collector you know is interested in learning more about my art,

Tapping into your Creative Flow

Types of Creative Blocks

We’ve heard of writer’s block, when an author of a book can’t come up with the next thing that they want to write.

We’ve heard of actors that have to take several takes in a scene when they just can’t get the moment captured correctly. We’ve even heard of musicians that take sabbaticals from music because the music just isn’t happening.

For me and art, I blame my lapses in creation on the many roles I must fill and the lack of time that leaves. I can see how those that don’t have my roles struggle to understand why I’m not painting all the time – some chalk it up to lack of motivation, fear of failure or something else. All I know is people understand it through what they have experienced themselves and not necessarily what I’m going through and that’s OK.

The truth of my reality is that my creative juices are flowing! I feel like a slingshot that has been pulled back for years and I’m nearing the release. What does this mean you ask? It means that some of my current roles are relaxing and more space and time is opening up for my art work.

Lack of HIGHER Connection

It’s easy to see that our society in ‘Merica is tapped into politics and so much anger associated with it. We are easily out of alignment from our natural state of being. If we don’t step back from it and see the bigger picture – we might all drown in our current negative fear and angry constipated state.

A painter knows how to do this naturally. We work up close in the details on canvas and then step back to make sure it all works together for the painting as a whole. Likewise for any artist that isn’t inspired, at least from my perspective, they can pause and find their connection to a higher source to flow through them.

Back to those actors that can’t perform. Have you seen the trailer for the Helen Mirren Masterclass? I always wondered what makes a great actor and I find her to be an amazing one. She simply says, “never act in front of the mirror, you are doing the exact opposite of what acting is about. Acting is all about what’s happening within you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening on your face.” What this statement did for me, was tell me I need to stop worrying about how I’m perceived (let go of ego) and instead create inside what I want to develop in myself and the world around me (spirituality, flow and connection).

“Never act in front of the mirror, you are doing the exact opposite of what acting is about. Acting is all about what’s happening within you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening on your face.” Helen Mirren

From Loss to Spiritual Gain

In 2019, we lost 4 very special members of our family. The first was one of my favorite people in the world, my grandmother who had just turned 98. And the last in December, was my aunt. My aunt hit me hardest as she was still young. She had spent 2019 reconnecting with me through my business for her business. She was a fine abstract artist and needed a logo, help with her website, business cards and envelopes. We met regularly. This was not typical for my clients but she was my lovely aunt and I loved any chance to spend time with her.

One would think loss would stagnate a person. (I’ve had great loss before when my dad died and depression took hold of me for many, many years until I learned I actually had a chronic health issue that was making it hard to recover from that loss. Once I learned to manage my health condition, I was able to learn from the loss and create tools for faster recovery.) The latest loss of my aunt did stop me in my tracks for a month or two, but in dealing with my grief I found myself more connected to her and a higher source.

My aunt was the epitome of someone aligned with the universe. No matter the challenges in her life, she always exuded that she was on top of the world! And, she was in so many ways. She loved to be known for her fluidity. Her abstract paintings even showed her flow. She and I would have brief conversations about “flow” and I held onto it – better yet, I let it flow through me as a life long lesson from her that she wanted me to have. I notice when I take time to sit and be still – when I’m grateful for what is and I tap into the flow of the universe – creativity flows through me like wildfire!

Side note: the day I wrote the paragraphs above about my beautiful aunt, and using a word “wildfire” that I paused to use because I never use it, I had a very serendipitous moment. I had to venture out to the grocery store which is about a block away, I normally walk but I had just showered and it’s getting hot so I took my car. After getting what I needed, I got in my car and drove home. The radio started a song I hadn’t heard in years:

She comes down from Yellow Mountain
On a dark, flat land she rides
On a pony she named Wildfire
With a whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night

Oh, they say she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named Wildfire

In the short drive, I felt it was a connection to my aunt. And by the time the chorus came I was singing it and bawling like a baby, “She ran calling WILDFIRE.”

Hilarious now when I think of it.

Did I mention she had horses?

How to tap into your Creative Flow:

  • Meditatively Connect with Nature: Sit and be still or do a walking meditation each day, let go of any previous issues and realize the power of now, listen to what the universe is telling you (what patterns is it showing you) and set your intention for the day.
  • Marvel at the Universe, the world, the moment: take the time each day to feel in awe of a piece of creation. Or, likewise, find the serendipity and marvel at how things magically aligned for you. Appreciation for the mystery of life and the universe builds the connection.
  • Turn OFF to Tune IN: We could easily entertain ourselves all day with screens. But a large percentage of it doesn’t make us feel good. With TV most of the news makes us feel sick to our stomachs. With social media, connection is the aim but often “friends” don’t have the same agenda and it can leave you with negativity. Create a small window in your day for unwinding with the positive parts of screen time and leave the rest of your day for all of your other interests.
  • Create Space: Both the time in your schedule and the actual space that you designate as your creative space. (Space enhancers include: all of your tools for creation, candles or aromatherapy misters and music.) Purging your home is a great way to open up mind space. Clutter in the home equals block to creativity in the mind.
  • Collect Inspiration: I created a folder called Artspiration and it is where I put items that inspire me and speak to my specific style.
  • Have FUN!: Dance, tell your friend a joke, play a game, and find in your day what will make you laugh and say it or do it! Do what brings you the joy!
  • Make Someone’s Day: If I ask you to think of one person that made your day, someone will quickly come to mind – even if it was years ago. It’s something we don’t forget, and it’s something we didn’t know we needed. When you see the opportunity, participate in a random act of kindness for someone else. We do this, not because the Universe will reward us (and it will) – we do this because this might be the sole purpose of our lives.
  • Listen to your body: Get enough sleep, get so connected “to the source” that you only eat when you are truly hungry, rest when you need to rest, and push yourself when you need the challenge.
  • Don’t punish yourself: You’re tapping into a high power and it knows more than you, so the goals you may set for yourself might not be inline with the bigger plans – if things keep popping up interfering with your plans go with it – go with the flow – be fluid. Know that something better is awaiting you around the corner.
  • Surprise Yourself: Do something out of the norm. Try something new. Getting stuck in a rut is not in the flow – it means you aren’t tapped in.
  • Have faith: know that the Universe has your back.

From Blockages to Flow

Whether ego, politics, lack, grief or traumas are the culprits to your creative blocks, the solution is letting go. By dropping negativity and connecting to something bigger and smarter than you, you tap into unlimited possibilities and potential. Similar to riding on a horse like wildfire, you learn to throw all caution to the wind with total faith that the universe is your friend in doing all the good creative, beautiful things that life has to offer you.

Final Note

As I write this, I notice nothing flows through me faster than when I tap into saying what is good and right for humanity, mother nature and even what is good for my own soul.

Do you have blockages? How are you connecting to the source? What good things are you going to do? What creative endeavors do you want to explore? Let me know in the comments…