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 ~ Kindness Without Expectation

Kindness Canva Diana

 

Diana, Princess of Wales, was one of my kindness role models.  Her life was lived by ‘daring greatly’.  The royal family was forever changed by the way she chose to live her life within the role of princess.  A favorite role model of Diana’s was Mother Teresa.  It was that inspiration that puts the most meaning into the above quote.   Both of them seemed to have mastered the art of making kindness a way of life.  If you read anything about their lives you realize that not always was their kindness returned or appreciated.  They seemed to have developed an ability to shake off these negatives and not let it influence their commitment to act with compassion and let go of expectation.  Not an easy thing to do.  Lessons learned ~ move on.

In my own life, I think sometimes kindness was a mixture of doing kind things in hopes of reaping some of the rewards that comes with the acts along with a desire to be there for others at a time of need.  “One hand washes the other.” ….. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”  …….. “What goes round comes round.”  ….. “One good turn deserves another.”  This, in turn, had me focusing a bit more on what I might be getting out of the encounter instead of ‘random acts of kindness’ and letting go.  

Then I realized I didn’t like what was going on inside me when this happened.  It was taking away the joy and goodwill that I felt when I did something for someone.  I’ve found that through making a decision to act out of kindness and then letting go of whether it was reciprocated or not I’ve gained a sense of freedom.  The freedom to dare greatly and live greatly without being hindered by the tendency to judge others.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

~ Mother Teresa ~

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“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” ~Samuel Johnson

~ 20 ways to give without expectations ~ The Tiny Buddha

buddha pixabay

Images by Pixabay

Me in the Middle ~ Kindness Role Model

 

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

(Albert Schweitzer, 1875 – 1965)

Row_of_candles

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So many down through the years have been kindness role models for me.  It’s hard to single out just one person.  It’s difficult to be the one and only kindness role model for others because, inevitably, we won’t always measure up to that role because we are human.  Sometimes we need to be unkind in order to be kind and sometimes others need to be unkind to us in order to be kind.  (Do I really mean that? 😉 )  

My earliest and forever kindness role model would be my mother.  I am blessed to have had her example.  My father was also a man of kindness and gentleness.  I don’t recall either of them treating anyone in a overtly nasty or unkind way.  They had strong principles and beliefs, and definitely drew the line on others who might think and believe differently yet I never heard them express their disapproval in hurtful and ugly ways.  It was mostly done in thoughtful ways.

One memory of kindness that stands out was when I messed up at my piano recital and couldn’t remember the rest of the song.  I must have been about nine or ten.  When we returned home my father sat down with me and encouraged me to play the song all the way through so I’d know that I could do it.  I felt supported by his kindness.

Down through the years there were many who displayed kindness along the way. There was one time when I was walking home from Brownies when it was beginning to get dark outside.  A dog ran up to me and blocked my way, growling and barking.  I was paralyzed by fear.  A teenage boy rode up to me on his bicycle and chased the dog away.  I didn’t know who he was, and just rushed on home, relieved he was there to help.  A kind act I still remember!

My family ~ my siblings ~ my children ~ my grandchildren …….. so many acts of kindness I couldn’t even begin to list them.  Many, many friends and acquaintances down through the years who offered a kind and supportive hand during good times and bad, offering words of inspiration just at the right time to give me hope.

I’m going to risk treading into an area that’s a hot-button issue right now only because I strive to look for the goodness and kindness during times when these issues rise up.

For the last ten years I’ve had neighbors across the way who have offered me kindness and support.  They are a Muslim family who have reached out to me and I was privileged to get to know.  I was invited to their home when each child was welcomed into the world.  We would share customary foods with each other during our traditional holidays.  When I had surgery the children would bring over offerings of food to cheer me up.  I was truly blessed with knowing them and learning from them.  Recently they’ve returned to Indonesia to live near relatives.  They have dual-citizenship.  They never said an unkind word about what was happening politically here in our country yet the father shared with me their fear of what was developing.  I think of them often now and hope they are happy in their new home.

 

 

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“We could actually soothe our fearful, angry culture if each of us were more mindful of being kind.  Kindness is not easy.  It takes thought and a commitment to watching how we treat each other.”

Always Model Kindness, Especially to Children

 

Kindness ~ Pass It On