Me in the Middle on a Virtual Sketchwalk

For the months of December, January and February, I’ve been traveling!  Virtual traveling!

Virtual Reality, Consciousness, Reality

Photo by Pixabay

Virtual Sketchwalk is a Facebook Page with 836 (and growing) members.  At the beginning of each month, the Admin ~ Kate Powell ~ posts around 50 photographs of interesting places, local and foreign.  Sketchwalks involve a group of artists who meet up at a specific location and spend time sketching together at that location.  Virtual Sketchwalk brings together artists who might not be able to travel yet still can enjoy sketching and learning about the area.  It gives us a chance to practice our skills and then share our artwork with each other on Facebook.  Each of us can choose from the photographs and we can sketch as many as we want.  It’s fun to see the different interpretations that evolve from each person.

Here are the sketches I contributed to the group:

2019 February ~ Jantzen Beach Carousel

'Jantzen Beach Carousel ~ Oregon'

Feb 2019 Jantzen Beach Girl #1

(c) Mary Lou

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'Photo (c) MPE Conservation'

Feb 2019 Jantzen Beach Carousel #1

(c) Mary Lou

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'Photo image by MPF Conservation Jantzen Beach Carousel Oregon 'American Beauty Rose''

Jantzen Beach Carousel Feb 2019

(c) Mary Lou

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2019 January ~ Kythira, Greece

Image may contain: plant, tree and outdoor

Photo by Demi Kalfa

Kythera Greece #4

(c) Mary Lou

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Image may contain: plant and outdoor

Photo by Demi Kafka

Kythira Greece Jan 2019 #1

(c) Mary Lou

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2018 December ~ Vista House

Image may contain: tree, sky, mountain, outdoor and nature

Vista House Dec 2018 #2

(c) Mary Lou

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Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor

Vista House Dec 2018 #1

(c) Mary Lou

Where will we go next?

Globe, Hand, Global, Concept, Abstract

Image by Pixabay

 

Me In The Middle of Creating My Life

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 A New Creation

~ A poem about finding expression through art ~

One thing that tough times have taught me is to look to the center of things….. the center of me where I hope to find a way to move forward through whatever is going on in my life. It’s not always easy, especially when there’s a lot going on and things get really overwhelming. What works for others is not always the answer for you.

During one period of my life, it seemed I was searching nonstop for ways to get through the stress, chaos and upheaval that kept coming my way. I walked (a lot!), I exercised (a lot!), I meditated/prayed (a lot…), I wrote and created poems (off and on….) (Sometimes I partied (a lot!), Sometimes I drank (moderately…), Sometimes I totally stressed out! (a lot!) …. And that’s OK too! 🙂

It was during this time when I discovered the power of creating through ART. It’s my go-to escape from life’s tough times and it has never failed me. You don’t have to be perfect …. just express yourself and let go.

So I’m sharing with you a poem I wrote, during that chaotic time, about discovering my life through the joy of creating art.

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 A New Creation

Dormant stirrings of artistic talent
Laying in wait for expression
Smells of turpentine and linseed oil
Stretched into my memory
Carefully laying out the tools
For bringing thoughts to life.

Palette of colors
Arranged in warm and cool sequence
Easel with stretched canvas
Assorted brushes and knives
All symbols of promise
A new creation ~ a new hope.

At last a participant
No longer the spectator
Lost in concentration
Hours pass like minutes
Strong mystical feelings of peace
This was my universe and I felt free!

Maternal love nurtures new life
Returning to touch and nourish
Inner sense of Letting Go
Stepping back to set free
Contemplating the finished product
A genuine part of me.

Mary Lou Q

Sketches © Mary Lou Q

Me in the Middle ~ Grateful for Kindness

-Kindnessis a powerful reminder that behind all the negativity and malice, there lies goodnessthat has the powerto change the world.- (1)

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This quote reminds me that there is always hope.  There’s so much unkindness and hatred in the world ….. and yet I still believe in our innate goodness.  Life is good and I’m grateful for kindness.  We may not always live up to that kindness …. and we keep on trying.  

The poem, “Children Learn What They Live”, always makes a lasting impression on me every time I read it.  Just beginning to change with this one poem would give this old world a jump-start on the road to becoming kinder.  None of us have had a ‘perfect’ childhood, and some have even seen abuse in their lives, yet we can all find threads of kindness along the way that we can be grateful for:

Children Learn What They Live
by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

*From Psychology Today*

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83-Yr-Old Was Too “Terrified” To Ride Escalator, Until A Kind Young Man Took His Arm.

“A little redemption for the suffering human soul.

The older man was paused at the top of an escalator and a few people started gathering waiting to get on. It was clear he was feeling unsure and this young man offered the simplest kindness: an outreached arm and a ‘can I help you on, sir?’

He quietly started to explain to the young man that he had gotten stuck on an escalator once and was a little scared. The young man gently offered an assurance, they looked at each other eye to eye for just a moment and the older man accepted his arm. Everyone else remained patient.

So, so sweet to witness!

In about an hour, the evening news will air and we’ll be reminded of division, political mud-slinging, shootings and other heartaches. But today, violence, age, politics and other social lines were blurred and one person simply helped another. I wanted to hug both of them.

Whoever this young man is, YOUR FAMILY RAISED YOU RIGHT! THANK YOU!

So, please look for the silver linings – as I was so fortunate to witness this evening.”

 

Thank You Kindness

* Images by Pixabay

Me in the Middle ~ Choose Kindness

 

smilies-1607165__340

Image by Pixabay

Social Media is becoming a real threat to choosing kindness.  Unless you choose wisely we can find ourselves drawn into the nasty ugly side of social media.  I’ve done a pretty good job of steering clear of hot-button issues that draw out the mean-spirited ugly side of human nature.  Just recently I had a lapse of common sense and decided to weigh in on a viral video.  I was immediately reminded of all the reasons why it’s best to choose kindness when it comes to social media.  Next time I see Facebook friends jumping on the bandwagon of a viral video I’ll choose kindness and scroll on by. 

” “I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing,” ..

(Covington Catholic High School Student)  

Best video I’ve seen on this.

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Sometimes when making a commitment to choose kindness, especially during these tense political times, we can be perceived negatively.  Choosing kindness is seen as a cop out from joining the fray in both personal misunderstandings and political misunderstandings…….  Kindness and setting healthy boundaries can be seen as being weak or ‘passive-aggressive’ instead being seen as an attempt to show tact and diplomacy while standing up for your opinions.  I’ve decided not to be swayed from my choice not to join the fray and instead to choose kindness.   Others will choose to see you in a certain way no matter how you present yourself.  Choosing to be kind over needing to be right takes a self-acceptance and an ability to let go of control.  Choosing to be kind over needing to be right recognizes when there’s no longer an openness and respect for differing opinions.  Choosing kindness really requires a maturity and strength.

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“Sometimes I lay under the moon and thank God I’m breathing ~

Then I pray don’t take me soon cause I’m here for a reason.”

Spread Kindness ~ It’s not about win or lose

“i want to be so kind it echoes backwards in time and undoes the things that hurt you.  i want to be so kind it radiates from me.  i want to be so kind that i make someone else find faith in humanity again.   There’s not much i can do,  i’m small and weak and i only know so many words. but i know i can be kind. and sometimes, i believe, that changes the world.”

~ inkskinned ~

Me in the Middle ~ Self-Acceptance

 Kind Balance

 Self-Acceptance

 I’ve accepted the fact that, at times in my life, I’ve loved too much.  While attempting to be the ‘perfect’ daughter’, the ‘perfect’ wife, the ‘perfect’ mother, etc., I’ve given over my power to others who might not deserve that trust.  In accepting this about myself, I’ve made a commitment to trust my intuition and my need to set healthy boundaries and take a stand for myself.

How many times do I second-guess myself?  Let me count the ways!  At those time when I haven’t had confidence in myself and haven’t trusted my own decisions, I’ve contributed to co-dependent relationships by looking to others for affirmation.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”  

~ Anne Lamott ~

Trying to be perfect keeps us from really finding joy in our lives.  Whether it comes from the way we’ve been raised as a child or from our expectations of ourselves now as adults, perfectionism holds us back from spontaneity and being more emotionally responsive to others.  

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never achieve it.”  Salvador Dali

********************Kindness owards ourselves

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I get the ‘do unto others’ part and realize I need to put a little more into the ‘as you would do unto yourself’ part.  Self-Love helps me to realize that I struggle with the awareness that some have too little self worth and are too selfless, while others have too much narcissism and take advantage of the kindness of those who are too nice.  Sometimes you can leave yourself behind when loving others.  It’s about balance.  I’m learning to set healthier boundaries and not give too much power to those who might not deserve it.  Nice place to be!  🙂

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“Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.”

~ Brene Brown ~

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I never thought of Self-Compassion as a letting go of perfectionism.  And yet there it was in my own words ……………..“I was just thinking that when I internally feel self-compassion I’m comforted by those thoughts. It’s when I verbalize them to others that I sometimes feel the person hearing me is thinking I’m making excuses for myself.” ………………It made me realize that part of Self-Compassion is believing you’re worthy of that compassion and it’s not a weakness when you are being kind and gentle with yourself.   It really doesn’t matter what others are thinking or saying.  We’re never going to be ‘perfect’ and we’re never going to be able to avoid the possibility of criticism and judgment from others.

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~ You’re allowed to be both a Masterpiece and a Work in Progress simultaneously ~

Joanne Sharpe's Class 1

© Sketch by Mary Lou

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 ❤