Art Is....

Not snooty, snobbish, or exclusive
Not memorization and regurgitation
A collection of thoughts about culture, nature, people, beliefs, shapes, and colors
A way to speak without words
Bringing life to communities
Bringing people together to think differently and connect at the same time
A form of expression
Opening and unlocking the mind

Unresting Creativity

Lately, I have been unable to fall asleep at bedtime. I toss and turn, and when I close my eyes I see ideas for a painting or the next step in a painting I am working on. It is wonderful to have this creative spark, because we all go through periods where it is hard to come up with any ideas. I am a little exhausted, but very excited for all of the ideas I have running through my head.

I have given myself the opportunity to finally concentrate on my passion of painting and photography. I have taken the summer months off to create, but the summer is soon coming to an end. August, to me, is the real start of the fall season. So with the summer coming to an end soon, I will need to find a part-time job to start paying the bills again. But until then, I can keep the creativity flowing, and the paintings are filling up my house. Our house is not that big, and I have been having trouble with being able to work on more than one painting at a time. I don't have enough space to place paintings to dry to free up my easel to start work on new paintings. But this is an amazing "problem" to have.

Unconventional Children

I have two dogs that I just adore. To me, they are my adopted children. They need love and care, but they do not ask for much else. I find myself, on a daily basis, saying out loud, "I love my children," or "I love my kids so much". They bring me so much joy, and fill my heart to overflowing. Each of my kids has their own quirks and personality. There is nothing that I would not do for them. Their lives are so short, but they give our lives a fullness and comfort like no other.
I grew up with dogs, so my love for them runs deep. They are happy to see me when I've been away, sad when I am angry, consoling when I am sad, and they never ask for anything in return. In our busy lives, it can be easy to take them for granted. It is easy to put everything else in our lives first. Our phones and TVs can capture our attention for hours. Thoughts about work can continue to keep our minds occupied. Cleaning our homes or other chores need tending to. It doesn't take much time out of our lives to spend time playing or just cuddling with our four legged children, and we are really the ones who benefit the most from that contact. Love is an amazing feeling; making our lives whole.
I like to spend as much time as I can with my kids because they are the most selfless and loving beings I know.

A Summer Break

After talking with my husband, we came to the decision that I could give notice to my employer and take the summer off. I would need to find a part-time job after the summer is over, and I am continually looking for what part-time jobs are available. I am not at all surprised, nor am I impressed, at what jobs are open. Finding a job that has great leadership and a wonderful working culture is very hard to find. The job market is flush with management and leadership that have no business in the roles they hold. We have a long way to go to start to see a better, healthier work environment.

I see the many faces of employees who are stretched too thin. This work force is constantly being asked to do far more with far little. Work environments are quite unhealthy without a leader that takes their employees growth and satisfaction to heart. We are far too connected to our work with the inclusion of cell phones, laptops, and the internet. It seems we are working 24/7, and that is showing in the poor health and dissatisfaction of masses of employees. This is alarming when you think about all of the advancements technology and time has given us. We should be improving with advancements, but that is not the case.

What is it that is holding us back from leading healthier, more satisfying, and more productive work lives? When you have healthy and satisfied employees, the quality and productivity improves which leads to greater success for organizations. Is it that it takes a little longer to find the right qualified individuals to fill those leadership and management rolls? I can't see an organization ignoring the fact that happier employees leads to higher success for the organization, but they seem to be doing just that. Ignoring the health and happiness/satisfaction of their employees by hiring and continuing to employ leaders and managers that think only of themselves and not what the organization or the employees need. We have more access to education and knowledge that there is no excuse for an organization to hire and continue to employ some of the worst leaders and managers you could imagine.

Leaders and managers should be the first to strive for growth and continued learning among their employees, as well as upholding and continually improving the work/life balance for their employees. Employees are individuals with lives of their own. They are not masses of people that should be viewed as easily replaceable.

If you are a leader or manager within your organization, think about the culture you are creating for your employees. Have a conversation with them, and get to know them, and how you can best serve them and the organization. You should be striving for success, and this attitude is what leads to great success.

Working on Positive Personal Change

My time seems to get away from me in my personal and professional life. Time is not something you can get back, and as you get older years go by faster and faster. It can become really easy to start thinking that you cannot possibly get all of the tasks done that you would like to in a day. Sometimes you can't, but simply changing small things such as self-talk, creating a task list in priority order, and learning to be mindful can help you lead a more enriching life with enough time to accomplish your daily goals.

Make a priority to take care of yourself. Eat a healthy meal and get in a workout. This is what helps you stay energized.

Eliminate the way you talk to yourself. Stop telling yourself that you can't or I am not good enough. Stop telling yourself what is impossible, and tell yourself what is possible. Tell yourself what you can do.

Take small breaks to make yourself clear-headed. Take a 10 minute break to clear your mind of everything, focus on your breathing. Close your eyes, take slow, deep breaths in and out. Let that be your only thought. Slowly think about being alive. Think about the cells in your body being healthy and strong. Then after your 10 minutes, go about your day. Try to get a minute in every hour to clear your mind, and focus on your breath. This will help you manage your time better. We lose time when we are not giving something our full attention. We end up having to repeat a process, or make corrections because we did not give our full attention. It is important to be present in the moment.

Take time each day to read with the intention to learn something new. It can be a blog post, article, or a book. Find resources on areas you would like to improve upon in your life, and take time to read even if it is just for a half hour.

Keep a journal or notebook of your thoughts and ideas. Anything that pops into your head that you find noteworthy. You may never know when you need to remember that thought.

It is hard to change habits, but it is worth it to take back some control over your time.

What would you like to do with your time?