Motivation


Artist’s Date

For my recent artist’s date, I visited CAFAM (Craft and Folk Art Museum) in Los Angeles. Although the museum has been in my backyard, I’d never visited. I hadn’t looked for special exhibits. I expected to typical crafts—painting, needlepoint, hand-made wooden items—nothing remarkable. Yet I thought colorful crafts would inspire me. And if not inspired, at least the technological cobwebs would clear.

“There’s a special exhibit on the third floor,” Ruby told me when I checked in.

“What’s it about?”

“Books. It’s called ‘Chapters’—all about books, printing, and how artists have used books other than to read them! Check it out!”

Books as art?

I hadn’t thought of that concept before. I headed up to the third floor to start the adventure.

Wow! What creative ideas!

  • A multi-colored tunnel book
  • One artist had used surgical scalpels to transform an entire book into a paper cut
  • Newspapers used as the “canvas” for colorful prints
  • Books made out of cloth and other media

Pièce de Résistance

Or the piece that I couldn’t resist! I found three hands-on editing activities on the first floor!

  1. Altered Book: Tear a small piece from the book and save it. Previous patrons had made circular tears, ripped out corner pieces, and removed sections with jagged-edged tears. alter-the-book-instructions-cafam-022017altered-book-cafam-022017I tore a small corner.
  2. Book Board: Add a phrase; remove a phrase; use any color index card, or even draw a picture. Edit as you please! Freedom from style guides!book-board-instructions-cafam-022017 I inserted one of my favorite sayings on a bright pink card.book-board-cafam-022017
  3. Book to Edit: Cross out a word, phrase, a paragraph—whatever didn’t resonate with me. Whoa…no guidelines? W hat will the author think? Doesn’t matter—edit away! I felt uneasy at first. How could I edit someone’s work who hadn’t asked for my feedback? I read a few sentences on different pages. I settled on one long descriptive paragraph…and slashed away! Energizing!book-to-edit-instructions-cafam-022017 book-to-edit-cafam-022017

 

Editors, looking for a way to re-energize?

Writers, searching for inspiration? Check out @CraftAndFolk! (But soon–exhibit changes in May 2017.)

**

Photos (c) Sherri Leah Henkin 2017

Painting Lesson #1

I wanted to paint without focusing on a specific subject or even color scheme. Glenna Rosansky thought I’d enjoy experimenting. First I learned leaf printing. I painted watercolor on the back of a leaf. Then pressed that side of the leaf on the cold press watercolor paper. I chose soft colors and contrasted with vibrant colors. To add some depth, I used an ink pen. I loved experimenting with the media, combining nature and man-made paint. I relaxed during the process, placing the leaves gently on the page. I enjoy looking at the colors, shapes, lines, and design.

 dec-2016-leaf-printing

Painting Lesson #2

In the following session, I learned two new techniques: Wet-on-wet and crinkled plastic wrap. For wet-on-wet, I sprayed water on the cold press paper and then dropped color on the water. Then waited and watched where the color went. I turned the page, and the water flowed down or sometimes to the side. The water didn’t always go in the direction I thought it would, or wanted it to.

Next I painted thick color on the paper. Of course I chose some of my favorite shades—purple, green, blue—and added some yellow for contrast. I crumpled a piece of plastic wrap and pressed the wrap on swabs of wet color. I discovered that I got different designs if I pressed with my fingers than when I pressed with my knuckles or side of my fist. And then I could use the remaining paint on the plastic wrap to print a light design on the paper. There’s not a right way or a wrong way; there’s not one way to do this technique.

jan-2017-wetonwet-plastic-wrap

What I Learned from Painting

My day sometimes turns out like my paintings. I have a schedule that I plan to follow. But something comes up that I don’t expect and I change direction. The day may not turn out like I expected, with all my action items checked off. Yet I can still look back and see that I was productive and the day was beautiful.

There’s not a right way or wrong way to create the action plan for the day. Try one process to create an action plan. Relax with the process. Be open to opportunities of learning new techniques.

How do you create your action plan or schedule? Share your process in the comments!

**

Paintings (c) Sherri Leah Henkin 2016, 2017

 

 

Sometimes I don’t know whether or not I can complete a project. At times, I doubt my ability to write a new article. There are times when the mountain of action items just appears plain overwhelming.

And I want to give up. Why even start?

I worked hard to hear my higher voice encourage me: “You CAN do it. Take one small action!”

As I’d start the action, the lower voices (Why are lower voices in the plural? There seem to be so many of them!) clamored for attention: “Oh really? What’s one small action going to do? Just give up! You know you won’t finish.”

Most times I’d plod methodically through the tasks. Eventually, I finish the project. Sometimes, I put the project on hold.

Recently I heard Eli’s* father describe his young son’s attitude. Eli battled cancer valiantly for four years. No matter how hard the treatments were, how he felt, how many times he had to stay in the hospital, Eli never gave up. He implored others to also never give up. When someone many times his age asked for advice, Eli told this to person to have a never-give-up attitude.

I now envision Eli with his bright smile telling me, “NEVER GIVE UP!”

**

*L’ilui nishmas (for the elevation of the soul of) Elimelech ben (son of) Menachem Mendel Malkiel Gradon.

Client work, personal writing, socializing, studying…lots to juggle. My schedule shows back-to-back appointments. Some reminders conflict with appointments. And some tasks don’t even make it to the calendar! Ooops, when can I do laundry?

Which action do I take first?

The true question: What are my priorities today?

I shut off the ringer and close down the email. Breathe. Calmly, I look at my action list and calendar.

  • Let’s get a bit more centered—perhaps some spiritual work. Priority 1.
  • A meeting with Client A that requires prep. How much prep? Determine that and since it’s a meeting, this activity becomes Priority 2.
  • Throw in some socializing or a fun activity. How long? I think I have an hour…at the end of the day. Although I’d like to assign the activity Priority 3, I really need to defer.

And so it goes. I look at the action items and due dates. Have I figured enough time for the activity? I weigh the pros and cons of taking action now or pushing it off. What are the consequences to me if I push off an action? Can I negotiate a due date—even with myself?

action-list

I still haven’t learned to juggle real balls in the air. I have learned to juggle proverbial balls and enjoy the process!

Me: What kind of work you like to do?

Client: I’m not sure.

Me: Do you have any favorite hobbies?

Client: Sure—but how can swimming become a job?

Me: Ahh…that’s a challenge. Have you ever dreamed about what work you’d like?

Client: No. Why dream? Isn’t that unrealistic?

Me: No. Dreaming expands our mind. By letting our mind wander, we can creatively brainstorm ideas.

Client: Really?

**

YES! Long after I wrote Goal Getting, I realized that we need to dream before we identify a goal. Dreams expand our minds; they also spur us to action.

My client might need to make some smaller dreams into goals before she gets to the core goal—what work she wants to do.

Dream

Let your mind go—from the practical “I need a job”—to the exotic “I want to vacation in Hawaii every year.”

Ask yourself, “What do I want?” Jot down whatever comes to mind. Let that list sit a day or so. Then…

Pick a Goal

Review your list. Ask yourself:

  • Does an item jump out and say “Yes, do me first!”
  • What common themes or characteristics show up?
  • Could I make a small dream into reality now?
  • What do I enjoy doing?

Pick one item, perhaps a small dream, and start there.

Action Steps

  • What tasks do you take to make this happen?
  • Do you need someone to help with any of the tasks?
  • Add due dates to each task—that will keep you accountable.
  • Create an action list so you can tick off those tasks.

Visualize Success

Visualize what you will look like when you reach the goal.

One of my mentors used to remind me to “Keep your eye on the prize!”

  • type up the goal in colorful creative fonts OR
  • hand-write the goal using vibrant markers
  • post the page so it’s in front of you—in your workspace, kitchen, den…

Create a Visions Poster visions poster

  • gather magazines
  • cut out pictures that are colorful, match your dreams and goals visions poster section
  • choose a cool colored poster board–or settle for plain white
  • glue the pictures to the poster
  • hang the poster in a prominent place (I use my fridge!)

Celebrate Success!

  • join with friends or family for a festive event

What action steps do you take to create your vision?

**

Photos © Sherri Leah Henkin 2016

We removed this post. See the article on the Content Clarified website.

“Welcome to Kiev.”

Three words I never thought I’d hear in my life. The KLM plane had just touched down at Borispol Airport.

I had flown with a group of women from the US. In Kiev, we met a group from Israel and Europe. Our spiritual journey to the birthplace of Chassidus was about to begin. For me, the trip was a family reunion of sorts, since I met up with my Israeli cousins and friends.

**

Kiev, Berditchev, Mezhibuzh, Breslov, and Uman had not been on my list of places to visit. I’d studied about the former USSR and learned about the roles these cities played in Jewish history. Over the last few decades, I’d heard the first-hand stories of visitors to this part of the world. While the experiences interested me, I never expected to travel to Ukraine.

So what changed?

A suggestion here: “I’m going to Uman in July; why don’t you come with our group?” Debbie had asked. A hint there: “It’s a healing, life-changing trip!” The emotional video on the Holy Journeys website drew me. And Hashem [G-d] created life circumstances that made the trip possible.

I traveled through time and physical space to a mystical—but very real—place. Learning, praying, laughing, crying, dancing, and singing—all the raw emotions rattled my core and catapulted me into a positive direction. With immense gratitude to Hashem [G-d], I share with you some of the photos from this trip.

Tomb of Rav Levi Yitzchok from Berditchev

Tomb of Rav Levi Yitzchok from Berditchev [For historical description, see: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1007604/jewish/A-Brief-Biography.htm.]

Berditchev Cemetery from Sara

Berditchev Cemetery (Photo Credit: Sara Melman)

 

 Baal Shem Tov

Tomb of the Baal Shem Tov and others (Mezhibuzh) [For historical description, see: http://www.chabad.org/generic_cdo/aid/388609/jewish/The-Baal-Shem-Tov.htm.]

Hotel in Mezhibuzh on Left

Hotel building in Mezhibuzh

Night Sky En Route to Mezhibuzh

Painting of Night Sky en route to Mezhibuzh

In Uman, we prayed and learned at the tomb of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. I was drawn to the exquisite beauty of Gan Sofia (Sofia Park).

Fountain near entrance                        Lily Pad                                        Waterfall

**

Photos (except Berditchev Cemetery) and painting (c) Sherri Leah Henkin 2016

Next Page »