What I did in March
Angels Among Us
I am so excited that I have a date for the exhibition for my Hundred Thank you paintings! June 16, 2012. YAY! I have been working on this grateful project for over one year and I am so excited and over-joyed to give them all away. This month I am working hard to get the exhibition together and I am creating a Hundred Thank Yous Gratitude Kit- My gratitude story, an e-book with lessons learned in gratitude, doing your own thank you project and inspirations, downloadable prints and cards, how to call in your creative angels, Skype interviews + more! LOTS of good things are in the works…more soon!!!
After a Brief Hiatus…
“When you are praising, when you are appreciating, when you are acknowledging value, when you are looking for positive aspects, when you are laughing, when you are applauding, when you are joyous, when you are feeling that feeling of appreciation pulsing through you, in those times, there IS NO RESISTANCE within you. You are, in those moments, vibrationally up to speed with who you really are.”
I saw this quote in Hannah Marcotti’s gorgeous course called Making Space (I super-duper highly recommend this course from the bottom of my heart.) The quote made me think immediately of my gratitude project, A Hundred Thank Yous.
This is why gratitude feels so right, so good.
Announcement…after a brief hiatus over the holidays, I am back to my Hundred Thank Yous Project! Yay! I am two-thirds of the way through the project and I am working to schedule an exhibition of all 100 paintings that will happen in June. (June!) Everyone who gets a painting is invited and it will be open to any of my people who want to come! I literally want to jump up and down with excitement about the event! Of course, not everyone will be able to pick up their painting in person, so I am busy collecting addresses and putting little love letters to go with each painting that will be mailed to those who can’t make it.
I decide that February is THE month. The month to work my heart out on the paintings and get them organized and finished so I can feel peace and bliss in the months leading up to the exhibition.
This project is the most JOYFUL thing I have ever done. I have come to realize that once my grateful project is finished, I may keep making paintings for people. Maybe I will. And give them away one at a time. Or, I might do a different gratitude project. Who knows. But, I am very open to keeping this light of gratitude glowing in my heart.
It has deeply changed me.
My project so far!
Wow. I stacked all of my paintings that I have finished so far on my table and I was so overwhelmed and excited about it! It is a stack of love! I wrote about it in a guest post on 365 Grateful.
For Christmas in 1985, I bought my dad a blue sweatshirt that said “Best Dad on Earth.” He opened the package that morning slowly, looking unthinkably weak and much too thin and pale. “Thank you, honey. I guess I can’t get any better than that.” And he smiled.
It was the first thing I had heard him say in weeks. It was the last thing I heard him say. He never wore the sweatshirt. He died two days later.
I remember the sound of the machine flat lining when the paramedics were in our living room. I remember the sound of the zipper going up the bag they put him in. I remember listening to the truck pulling out of the driveway, carrying my dad’s lifeless body away.
My catastrophic teenage mind couldn’t see how we could live without him. I decided there wasn’t a God. How could there be one that could let this happen? I dipped deeper into worry, fear, isolation, depression, anger and disbelief.
Then one night I had a dream. I walked out into the hallway and there was my dad. I was so happy to see him! He looked healthy and strong and happy. He told me he was doing great and that I could move on now. He told me he was with me still, even though I couldn’t see him. He told me that everything was okay, just as it was.
When I woke up the next morning, the heavy weight crushing my heart was lifted. I knew with absolute certainty that he was still around, just in a different form. It suddenly seemed like everything was okay and I was allowed to be happy again. It would take me several years to actually act on this knowingly, but the stage was set; the healing had begun.
Many of you know I am doing a project called A Hundred Thank Yous. I am making 100 paintings for 100 people I adore. I will have an exhibition and then will happily give them all away. I got to thinking about how my dad would have been one of the first people on my list.
So I am dedicating this project to him.
Thank you for lighting up whenever I walked into the room.
Thank you for listening to me when I talked, for looking at me in that moment as if nothing else mattered.
Thank you for having a calm reaction to my terrible teenage meltdowns, for accepting me and loving me through that awful stage in my development.
Thank you for letting me paint my room purple when I was obsessed with Donny Osmond.
Thank you for not flipping out when I took the car out for a spin with my girlfriends before I had my license.
Thank you for your sweetness, for your cheerful disposition in the morning, for making me laugh so often, for bringing light heartedness and joy to our house.
Thank you for the day when I was in middle school and you went downstairs to get your camera because you said I looked so pretty.
Thank you for wanting us to wave in pictures- it was so silly and funny and now the pictures make me laugh.
Thank you for protecting me from seeing violent and scary movies.
Thank you for being a consistent, stable and safe presence in my life.
Thank you for taking us on a beautiful vacation to Lancaster County right before you got sick.
Most of all, thank you for creating a relationship with me where I knew, without any doubt, that I was truly loved beyond measure.
Hugs and kisses,
My Spirit is Lifted
You Helped Me Grow
Therapy Thank You
A Mom to Cats
You Make the World Brighter
You Listen With Your Whole Heart
You Are Love
Only Love is Real
I Celebrate You!
You are Delightful Like Heart Rocks and Sunsets
A True Healer
Thank you for Being Someone I can Trust
Your Calm presence Fills Me With Peace
Thank You for Adding so Much Beauty to the World!
Thank You for Writing a Book that Changed the Course of My Life.
Your Friendship Meant the World to Me When I Needed it Most of All
You Spread Love Far and Wide
She is Surrounded by Angels
A Friend Who Truly Understands
People Who Change the World
Love is All Around You
It is 3 degrees outside and the sun is shining so brightly. It is pouring through the windows of my studio as I type this. I am incredibly grateful for the sun. That is the sweet thing about living where it is gray much of the winter. The sun bring with it such happiness and appreciation and comfort. As I am doing this project, I am noticing that it is the little things, the every day things that I usually do not think much about that are making me feel so thankful.
We Met in Boston, Remember?
I had the honor of meeting (quite by accident) one of my favorite authors. I was in Barnes and Nobel in Boston a few years ago and I heard him say his name. My head whipped around and I introduced myself and told him how wonderful he is. He was just as delightful as I imagined. I bought his newest book in B&N and he signed it, “We met in Boston, remember?” His stories, mostly based on his own life, make me laugh and have entertained me for hours. I made this painting for him.
Thank You for Being You
Thank You for Teaching Me Compassion
I have been a vegetarian for 20 years. But really, I was nearly a vegetarian my entire life. I never really wanted to eat meat. I remember when I was growing up, we would go to Ponderosa Steak House on Sundays after my dad’s pay day. My parents would encourage me to eat a steak and I just wanted the baked potato. I came up with a strategy to eat the least amount of meat- I ordered beef tips because I could always hide a few of them under the baked potato skin and leave a few uneaten (too full.) Funny how I remember the details of that so clearly.
This painting is made for the person I asked 20 year ago, “Why are you a vegetarian?” She told me about the meat industry and I was horrified beyond measure. I immediately turned into a sponge and needed to know everything there was about the treatment of animals in factory farms. She became a good friend, someone I looked up to and admired.
The way I choose to eat is something I really like about myself. I will always be grateful for the way this beautiful woman gently and gracefully started me on a path of compassion.
Even More Love and Gratitude
I worked in my studio all day today on this project. I am putting so much love into it. And gratitude. And more LOVE.
All this love is making me emotional. (It is not pms, I swear. At least not today.)
While painting, I listened to a CD that a yogini friend gave to me by Snatam Kaur. I had never really listened to it before today.
She has a song called People of Love.
“We are the people,
the people of love.
Let us people love today.”
Honestly, I can barely write about her music without tearing up. I’m sure you have to hear her voice to get the depth of beauty and sweetness in this song. I called my friend to tell her about how I kept crying every time I heard this song and I started to get choked up just leaving the message. I mean, my heart is on my sleeve, people.
Now I am definitely a sensitive-artist-type for sure. It doesn’t take a lot to bring out real, heartfelt emotion from me. But I have noticed that since I have been doing this project, it is like my heart will burst open.
I continue to learn the simple truth; that focusing on love and gratitude brings about
more love and gratitude.
And that really is sweet.
Each day, I sit at my art table, ready to make a painting for someone. It has been fascinating to watch how the ideas are coming to me. I look at my list of people. I scan it up and down. It is part letting-go and part being-open all at the same time.
Then and idea comes. It flies into my head. It comes in the way of a vision for a painting or words for the painting. I immediately start working, feeling so excited and inspired.
So far, that has been my experience. I think of creating the painting as a meditation. I hold on to love and gratitude as much as I can while I am working. I think about what I love about the person and why I appreciate her/him.
I am beginning to understand that the practice of gratitude brings on more gratitude. It brings on more “seeing” things to be grateful for- often little things that used to go unnoticed. The other day I looked at my hands (that I have thought look so old and neglected) and I almost cried at how thankful I was for my hands. My sweet little hands, thank you for all you do.
Giveaway on Roots of She!
On Roots of She today, I talk about facing my fears every day with this Hundred Thank-Yous project.
I am in the middle of doing a gratitude project called A Hundred Thank-Yous. I am making 100 paintings for 100 people that have touched my life. I plan to have all the paintings finished by mid- July when I will have a gallery show, then spend 100 days of giving them away. There is so much love in this project that just writing about it makes my eyes fill up with water. But, there is also so much fear. Can I really do this? Can I finish all of them? What if the creative ideas disappear and I discover that I cannot paint? Or worse, that I am not an artist at all?
This project is forcing me to meet my fear and say hello, every single day. I notice the fear. I don’t fight it, I just feel it. And, I begin to paint and it goes away.
I send the fear love, I send myself love.
Just what I Needed to Hear
You know how the universe always gives you exactly what you need at exactly the right time? I am feeling so grateful for this video I just watched via Roots of She. I felt like Dyana woke up at 4:44 am to talk to ME. It was exactly what I needed to hear in the face of this Hundred Thank-Yous project. I know on a deep level that this project is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. It is so connected with my heart on so many levels. It feels absolutely right. Yet, some mornings (like today) I wake up in fear that I cannot do it at all. But I can. And I will. And now, with a warm mug of tea, I am going to paint.
taking my project with me
I am traveling this weekend but the project comes with me! I love that I enjoy this work so much that it makes me happy to take it with me on a mini-vacation. I will share more about this project when I get back. I am still learning how to do posts on this page.
first hundred thank-yous post
On the first Monday of this year I started The Hundred Thank-Yous project.
This butterfly is a sneak peek at one of my first paintings. I have 16 of 100 paintings finished. Wow. This project is forcing me to stay in THE NOW because if I think too much about all the paintings that are left to make, I feel so worried and think it is an impossible task.
But, if I keep my attention on one person, one painting at at time, one day at at time, I feel calm and inspired.
I’ll be sharing parts of the paintings and what is happening to me as a result of focusing on gratitude every day. I am amazed and overwhelmed at how powerful this all is.
Maybe I should back up a bit for a minute. This project is inspired by Hailey Bartholomew and her gratitude project, 365 Grateful. She was feeling down and learned from a nun that the secret to happiness was about refection and gratitude. Hailey took a polaroid picture of something she was grateful for every day. She began to see all the little things in life that she was missing the bring so much happiness.
Yes! Cheers to gratitude!