An Inky Mess: Th(Ink) Positive Cards

 

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This past weekend I tackled a messy, inky, terrific project. The best part of it was that my teenage daughter joined me.

As a bonus Lifebook 2017 lesson hosted by Andrea Gomoll, we created our very own Th(ink)Positive Affirmation Cards. The scope of this assignment was to continue working on our 2017 affirmations, making this year (and hopefully many to come) a catalyst for positive change. So we sat down with pencil and paper, and thought about the way we dialogue with our inner selves. What could we use more of? What do we need to turn from negative to positive?

img_4203For me, it was easy. I am on a journey to renew myself and purse my passion in arts. The stumbling blocks have been self-doubt, fear of failure, and the overwhelming weight of the unknown. I knew that what I needed to hear were words of encouragement, an inner cheerleader telling me that I’m good enough, that I have a bright future ahead, that I should trust my instincts and give my soul what it craves.

Armed with our brand new art supplies, we started our project. We used Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Inks, something I’d never worked with before. It was a blast….messy, but that was part of the fun. My daughter was surprised at my laid back approach to the chaos, the splatter, and the splotchy ink layering all over us. But that’s what art does. As someone who is continually seeking perfection, needs to have everything in order, and not a crumb can be out of place, I’ve let art take over my life. It is a magical and shocking change, but this artistic outlet has a way to calm down my inner critic, the urge to control everything, and lets me have fun.

fullsizerender-2-copy-2The process of making this card deck was lengthy but well worth it. There’s nothing like creating your very own cards, each message carved by your and only for you. We marveled at our creations, knowing that it’s something we will cherish for the rest of our lives—especially the time we spent together creating these beautiful cards.

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As a final note, I am thrilled to share that I have been taking mixed media art classes by the wonderful Jane Davenport.   She is such an inspiring artist and I hope to learn as much as I can from her.

I am currently working on week 3 of Lifebook, an overwhelming self portrait that is pushing me way past my boundaries. Subscribe to my main website to read about my next art adventure.

Until then…..I wish you lots of love and art messes. XO

The Hummingbird: Positive Affirmations Through Art

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The second week of January comes to an end and as promised I’m journaling my experience with Lifebook. Last week I introduced you to Lifebook, a new journey of mine, a yearlong workshop hosted by Tamara Laporte, that teaches about mixed media and guides you through a self-exploration voyage.

This week was the beginning of a breakthrough for me on so many levels. I began the week diving into the first bonus lesson, “Taking Flight-The Song of the Hummingbird”. The main theme for the week was positive affirmations. The hummingbird flies into 2017 with personal confirmations of love, self-care, belief and determination. Each artist was asked to take some time and think about his or her inner needs, focusing on positive affirmations needed to nourish the soul.

When creating my hummingbird, I chose a bright and pinky color scheme. As many artists do, I pick my colors in a certain way as to relay the emotions and message housed in my work. I’ve always found that pink, turquoise, and purple express a sense of peace and restoration. My hummingbird flies into 2017 with a purpose of renewal, hope, and positive expectations.

The feathers hold a message, a visual reminder of those positive affirmations. As I begin a new year, I’m determined to reconnect with my soul, to draw inspiration from within, to seek the inner peace that will develop into my purpose in life.

As I log onto my Facebook account, my feed has been swamped with other Lifebook participants posting their own artwork, experiences, and emotions as they embark on the same journey. I can’t tell you how touching and inspiring it is to see what others are going through as they create not only art, but their lives around a sense of renewal.

There is also a lot of hurt, the one hidden in deeper levels that you have to poke at to break through. Sometimes in order to renew yourself and rebuild your life in a positive direction, you have to touch on emotions that aren’t pleasant. Some participants have shared their own emotional rollercoaster, an important step in healing. It is through connecting with others, persevering through those tough emotions, and continuing to let art guide our souls that we can heal and grow into who we need to be.

As week two draws to an end, I’ve also been meditating a lot more, on my own and through Soul Driven Summit, a series led by Devorah Spilman. This course is designed to let your soul drive your life’s direction, listening closely to the inner purpose. So far, it resonates with me in many ways. I plan on writing a separate blog on my experience with this course, so subscribe and stay tuned if you’re interested in learning more.

989e5fb46b363fd5677cae430c7bc482It has been an emotional, inspirational, and uplifting week. I will dedicate this weekend to the second bonus lesson given by Lifebook: creating a positive affirmation card deck. My teenage daughter and I are tackling this project together and I can’t wait to share our experience with you.

I ‘ll catch up with you all next week. Until then…love, believe, and create.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my main website to receive notifications and updates ❤

2017: Hopes, Dreams, and Art

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2017 is here and like many of you I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. What did 2016 bring me and what am I happy to leave behind? There hasn’t been an awful lot of chaos in my 2016, but many things came to surface in regards to my health, spiritual, and self care needs. Although some of those factors were incredibly challenging, they also opened a door for healing and improvement.

I’ve never been a fan of new year resolutions. They always added pressure and stress, not to mention a fear of failing even before starting. Instead, I’ve always preferred to leave behind the hurt and the difficulties of the year before, keeping an open mind and a hopeful attitude for the year to come.

This year, I’ve done the same, except I went the extra mile and signed up for something so amazing, so inspiring, and so stinkin’ colorful that I giggle when thinking about it.

LifeBook is something I stumbled on by accident. I’ve always been a fan of mixed media and whimsical art, dabbling with my own versions of it here and there. I happened to watch a video from one of my favorite mixed media artists, Leilani Joy . She shared some exciting news about Lifebook 2017, another year long program starting in 2017. Lifebook’s aim was to heal hurts, grow in may areas of your life, explore and honor yourself, while finding harmony and peace within the world. The program would be hosted by its creator, Tamara Laporte  on Willowing , with a mix of guest instructors, each bringing you different mixed media lessons to enrich your skills and take you on a personal journey.

Because this seemed like a sign from above, I decided to check out Lifebook and realized that this awesome idea has been enriching artists for quite a few years. I signed up immediately and could barely wait for the year to end so I could begin the program. And here we are, on January 4th, and I’ve already completed my first art assignment.

“Star Girl: A Journey with Light”, represents my hopes and dreams for 2017. I have left behind anything from 2016 that doesn’t serve me anymore, yet honoring each and everyone of them, as it taught me something valuable. My star girl is the first attempt at Lifebook, which by the end of the year will be bound in a journal. The process of creating her was extremely therapeutic and endearing. Most lessons are accompanied by a meditation exercise, in which Tamara gently guides you into your subconscious. It is uplifting and insightful to look into myself and wonder what exactly I am looking for this year.

img_4117So here she is, my star girl, leaving behind fears, anxiety, judgment, over thinking, and self doubt. In her basket she carries her hopes and dreams for the year ahead. She wants to create, take care of her self, believe in the magic of living in the moment.

As the year progresses and I continue to embark on an artistic and self discovery journey through Lifebook, I will update you on my progress and discoveries.

I won’t ask you to make a new year resolution, but I do ask you this:

Are you ready to embark on your own journey, aiming to discover your inner worth, the best version of yourself, and the beauty and talent you can offer the world?

What are your hopes and dreams for 2017?

To subscribe to my blog, please follow this link and subscribe to my main website.  http://tamararokicki.com/2017/01/2017-hopes-dreams-art/

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 2-The Dreaded Outline

 

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Those who have followed my writing journey for a while know my extreme LOATHING for story outlines. Yes, they’re incredibly helpful, but my brain just isn’t wired to write following an outline. That’s good because it lets me write what inspires me in the moment without restraints. It can be liberating, inspiring, and less rigid.

But it’s also bad. Very, very bad.

There’s nothing worse than aimlessly writing half of your novel just to stop and think “okay, now what? I haven’t planned anything past this point.” Now, it doesn’t mean you’ve wasted a year writing a novel that just won’t go anywhere. A writer will always find a way to push through and continue with his story. Still, this process will waste a lot of time and energy. And let’s be real…wasted time just isn’t ideal when participating in NaNoWriMo.

Some of you may be thinking, “I didn’t outline! Will I suck at NaNoWriMo 2016? It’s already Day 2!”

 You’ll be happy to know that even if you didn’t outline you can still remain on track this year. Many writers think that outlining is an important step taken prior to writing a novel. Sure, that would be best, but as we all know life isn’t always ideal, and neither is the writing process. I will reveal something about outlining that not only makes the whole process of generating one less tedious, but actually worked in creating my very first outline—ever!

The truth about outlines is that [read more here…]

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 1

 

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participantNovember 1st is here and for my first day participating in NaNoWriMo, I have written 1,130 words. I look at my progress chart, which tells me at this rate I will reach my 50K word count on December 15th.

But it doesn’t matter.

This year I embark on this journey worrying less about my daily word count and enjoying every minute of it, in front of the laptop, banging out word after word, letting my imagination run wild. I may end up with 20K words or 80K, who knows, but I am challenging myself one way or the other.

I will finish my first draft by the end of the year.

As the natural detourist I am, I’ve strayed from my initial novel, Blood Ties. I had worked on it for nearly six years, but then realized it was not meant to be. Yet, it didn’t go to waste. I learned so much in those six years. The struggle of outlining, the many revisions, the character profiles, the plot building. All of them provided me with the foundation for my current work in progress, something I wouldn’t be able to tackle without those years of preparation. [continue reading here…]

Cry Them A River: Why It’s Okay To Be Sensitive

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photo credit: shelby sheene photography

Have you been told you’re too sensitive? That you cry too much? That you need to grow thicker skin?  Actually, being sensitive is a gift, not a flaw.

It started like any other morning. I checked my work emails, sipped my coffee, and ended up on social media. Bored, I decided to watch a shared clip of a medium performing a reading. The video only lasted three minutes but by the end of it my face streaked with tears. The person being ‘read’ experienced an array of emotions; from deep sadness to profound relief about her deceased father. Her emotional response affected me on a deep level and for those three minutes, I was the one experiencing the grief and relief.   I thought of my own journey, the people in my life, the concept of life and death, and suddenly a floodgate of emotions washed over me.

I wiped my face and thought “Really? You’re ridiculous. It’s just a video!”

But then it hit me. Why was I scolding myself for crying over something that touched me emotionally? Why is it a weakness to feel and show emotion, to be sensitive, to allow myself to be charged by a random event?

We live in a world where we hear it all the time: Suck it up and deal with it. You’re too sensitive! What are you going to do, cry about it?

Sure, there are people who use their ‘sensitive status’ to obtain what they want. Or maybe they’ve been catered to most of their life and associate crying and being overly sensitive with self-entitlement. But this isn’t true for everyone. Turns out that sensitive people are very complex. They are more intuitive, better sympathizers, and exceptionally in tune with the world around them.

There have been several studies showing that individuals who tend to suppress their tears don’t…[READ MORE HERE]

What Makes People ‘Creative’? A Complex Look Into Creativity

 

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Necessity is the mother of invention.

You’ve heard this proverb before, right?  Basically, when stuck in a situation that requires something to change, the individual will create a new device or method to improve the situation.

But after reading Tim Vernimmen’s article Where Creativity Comes From, published for Scientific American, the proverb gets a new spin. The article focuses on a study done by Carel van Schaik of the University of Zurich, which reports behavioral patterns of orangutans when their food availability becomes insufficient. Instead of getting creative, they fell into energy-saving mode, essentially minimizing their movements and eating whatever unappealing foods they could find.

Fortified by another study by economist Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University, we learn that reminding people of their financial struggles does not lead to innovative solutions. The bottom line is that difficulty doesn’t always lead to creativity, but preoccupation with meeting daily needs such as food and paying bills leave little opportunity to create innovative solutions.

“So if you ask me, opportunity is the mother of invention.” ~Carel van Schaik

 Mullainathan’s article highlights an important question: how complex is creativity and how can we pin down what makes an individual ‘creative’?

The creative mind is not primarily prompted by the need to survive. In fact, several studies state that individuals are ‘creative’ thanks to their mental flow. While the left brain is known to be a more analytical, linear, and disciplined thinker—and the right brain is more artistic, visual, and imaginative—the complexity of creativity goes way beyond that.

 

To read more click here

Kicking Off NaNoWriMo Prep Season

 

CNW_ParticipantSeptember is upon us and I’d like to take a moment to reach out to my fellow writers. Like me, you may be anxiously waiting for November, so that you can begin another NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) challenge. But you may not be aware that September kicks off the NaNoWriMo Prep Season, a time when writers prepare for the upcoming word marathon.

The first few years I participated in NaNoWriMo, I did not plan very much at all. In fact, I simply waited for November 1st and then put everything together in my head—and on paper. I had to sort out through ideas, research, character building, scene breakdowns, and more. It was exhausting and definitely not productive. The entire goal of NaNoWriMo is to dedicate thirty days to writing—just writing! For this reason, preparing for November is imperative.

In his Writer’s Digest guest post, author Kevin Kaiser reminds us that NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing the next great American Novel, but simply to complete the challenge.

Kevin says, “Once you have a skeleton framework, start. Act. Write. Don’t get preparation paralysis. The only way to write a novel is one word at a time. The only way to write each of those words, however unsatisfactory they might be, is to write them. Books don’t write themselves.”

I need a great amount of resources to feel inspired to write. I find it hard to relax and let the words roll, as the impulse to outline, brainstorm ideas, and research are an instrumental part of my writing. For this reason, the couple of months before November should be reserved for those who like me need a little groundwork before the big …[Continue reading here]

Online Relationships That Last

iStock_18257198_XLARGE.jpgWhen it comes to human relations, technology has created a new environment. Remember the days when socializing meant going to the arcade or chatting with friends after Sunday service? School recess, parks, and strolls down the beach forced face-to-face contact. Social media created a world where although more people are connected, they’re also losing the human aspect of relationships. Many feel technology is making us colder, desensitized, and distant. But is that it? Are we just drowning in technological progress and losing out big time?

In his blog “6 Tips for Introverts Who Hate Social Media,” Darrel Girardier shares some advantages to connecting through technology.

He says, “[I’ve] come to realize that social media and introverts are a pretty good match. One of the beauties of the vastness of the Internet is that if you love something weird or offbeat, you can probably find a group of people who are just like you.” That really got me thinking.

I’ve known Amy for about ten years. We stumbled upon each other on a Christian inspirational forum. Amy was humble and friendly and we clicked immediately. We found out we lived in the same state, just opposite coasts. We prayed for each other, encouraged one another, and kept in touch throughout the years, forming an everlasting bond. Read More Here…

Untapped Potential: Finding Your Talent

iStock_92171083_XLARGE.jpgI’m a firm believer that each of us is born with a particular talent. Many of us walk around with untapped potential, but I think it’s still there, hiding somewhere inside of us. For a long time I used to think that it was a treacherous journey to discover our true talent.  What a miracle it’d be to find out what we were meant to do and what our passion really was.

Then I realized it’s not as complicated as I thought.

Throughout my life I’ve experienced several ups and down, and each event has blatantly showed me my talent. It might’ve not presented itself with immense clarity, but it manifested in different forms each time.  The message was always the same: Tamara, use your imagination. Be creative. Go back to writing. Just create. And each time I followed that advice, I healed a painful experience, created opportunities, learned something new, met new people, or discovered a new part of myself.

If you think hard enough, I bet you’ll find a recurring theme in your life. It may be something that helped you through a situation time and time again. Something small and mundane, such as [Read More Here]