Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to a Kindred Spirit.

The lady in the middle surrounded by love.

I was the one who shot the photo, it was a beautiful autumn day and I was enjoying the company of these wonderful friends. The man in the shot is my father, the other two are the dogs, Katie the blonde and Duffy, still a growing pup, and the lady was my kindred spirit and dear friend. She also happened to be my mom. So much time has passed but time is a funny thing, measured in years, but we can experience the feeling in a nano second with a single thought.
Happy Birthday you dear sweet spirit and I hope you feel the love and light I feel for you in this moment. Remember everyone who has touched your heart (and some who didn't) are always with us so say hello or think about the beautiful moments you shared (they are like energy hugs of love) because even if you can not see them they really are still there.
Go ahead, try it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Business Using Grounding Techniques.

I found it enlightening, the parallels between business and spirituality grounding techniques, as a way giving your communication skills a heightened edge. Meditation grounding and spirituality has made its way into so many areas. Not so New Age any more but becoming main stream thought.

How to Start Conversations That Make Instant Connections

An article written BY | July 18, 2012 For entrepreneurs, knowing how to communicate clearly and effectively is critical in leading a company -- and selling your business ideas. But the words you speak and hear are only a small part of getting your message across to your employees, customers and investors. It is the way you speak and listen that makes all the difference in the world.

Consider these 12 steps for starting conversations that click and, ultimately, lead to more productive relationships:

Step 1: Relax. Stress generates irritability, which leads to anger, and anger shuts down communication. Studies have shown that a one-minute relaxation exercise will increase activity in the brain that is essential for communication and decision making. So before you enter any conversation, do this:

First notice which parts of your body are tense based on a scale of one to 10 (1 = completely relaxed; 10 = extremely tense). Write it down. For 30 seconds, breathe in slowly to the count of five, and then exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat this three times. Now, yawn a few times and notice if it relaxes you. Assign it a number between one and 10 and write it down. Now stretch your body, beginning with the muscles of your face, scrunching them up, then stretching them out. Then gently move your head from side to side and front to back. Scrunch your shoulders up and then push them down. Next tighten your arms and legs for a count of 10; then relax and shake it out. Take a few more deep breaths. Once more assign a number to your state of relaxation and write it down, noticing any improvement.

Step 2: Stay present. When you focus on your breathing and relaxation, your attention is pulled into the present moment and inner speech stops, at least momentarily. If we bring this "presentness" into a conversation, we hear the subtle tones of voice that give emotional meaning to the speaker’s words. Being in the present moment will allow you to quickly recognize when a conversation begins to go astray.

Step 3: Get quiet. Developing the skill to remain silent helps you give full attention to what other people say. To hone that skill, try an exercise with this online bell. Push the button to "strike" it then focus on the sound. As it fades, listen more closely. Ring the bell several more times, and listen more closely. This is the attentiveness you need when listening to someone.

Step 4: Be positive. Take a mental inventory of your mood. Are you tired or alert, anxious or calm? Then, ask yourself: do I feel optimistic about this conversation? If there's any doubt, anxiety, or frustration—postpone it. If you can’t, then at least mentally rehearse the conversation first, which will help you spot statements you might make that would undermine your goal.

Step 5: Confirm values. To make a conversation balanced and fair, everyone has to be clear and up front, about values, intentions, and goals. If your values are not aligned with those of the person you're trying to do business with, trouble is unavoidable. So learn about the person's values as soon as you can. But beware: some people will mask the nonverbal cues of deceit and just tell you exactly what you hope to hear.

Step 6: Evoke memories. Enter the conversation with an expression that conveys kindness, compassion, and interest. But it cannot be faked. So if you're not feeling it, tap into a pleasant memory of people you love and respect. It will soften the muscles around your eyes and evoke a gentle half smile on your face, which stimulates a feeling of trust in the other person's brain.

Step 7: Watch nonverbal cues. Keep your eyes on the person you're speaking with, but don't stare. And stay focused, making sure you aren’t distracted by inner thoughts. If a person wants to conceal a feeling— out of embarrassment or the desire to deceive— it might only appear for a quarter of second. But remember that micro-expressions can only tell you that a true emotion is hidden, it won’t tell you why or whether the person is purposefully concealing it.

Step 8: Be appreciative. The first words you speak set the tone for the conversation, so begin with a compliment and end it with another compliment that expresses appreciation. Of course they must be genuine. Ask yourself: what do I really value about this person? Then, ask yourself which of those attributes you respect most. Remember this as you talk, too, and listen for an opportunity to share it.

Step 9: Speak warmly. If you drop the pitch of your voice and talk more slowly, the listener will respond with greater trust. When we are angry, excited, or frightened, we raise the pitch and intensity of our voices, and it varies a lot in speed and tone. On the other hand, a warm supportive voice is the sign of leadership and will generate more satisfaction, commitment, and cooperation between members of your team.

Step 10: Slow down. Slowing down your speech actually helps people understand what you are saying and deepens their respect for you. It's not as intuitive as it may seem, and as children we automatically speak fast. But you can teach a child to slow down by speaking slowly yourself because they’ll match you. A slow voice has a calming effect on a person who is feeling anxious, whereas a loud, fast voice stimulates excitement, anger, or fear.

Step 11: Be brief. Limit your speaking to 30 seconds or less. Our conscious minds retain only a tiny bit of information. If you need to communicate something essential, share it in even smaller segments— a sentence or two— then wait for the person to acknowledge they’ve understood. If the person remains silent, say another sentence or two, and then pause again. It also helps to write down major points before the conversation.

Step 12: Listen deeply. Stay focused on the person who is speaking: their words, tone, gestures, facial cues— everything. When they pause, you’ll need to respond to what they just said. If they go and on, then just study them and watch how your own inner speech reacts, without worrying about what you may remember or forget. You’ll actually be practicing a form of meditation that is neurologically enhancing and emotionally relaxing— a far cry from what we usually feel when we are bored by someone speaking.

Adapted excerpt from Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman (Hudson Street Press, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2012).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What is your hard work worth?

Original post on

Painted Furniture
Wooden Box by Between The Weeds.
Recently I was cleaning out some old paperwork and discovered an old ledger from my shop in Vermont. I sifted through the pages my mind reminiscing about Whitefield Studio and the painted furniture I had in the shop. How different it was then. The internet had popped its bubble and no one had online shops anymore. What had struck me was how much had been sold. The years seem to muffle the mind and we have a tendency to forget good and bad events. As the pages flipped by in my fingers I noticed how much had been charged for all these sold pieces. I am amazed to discover that more than 12 years ago I sold painted furniture for more money than I do now. Mainly my boxes and trunks sold for $150 to $350 and since they are not around now I somehow forgot this very important fact. So, why did I feel my work was worth less now? Why did I now doubt my abilities? And what do I want to do with this new information?
Roller coaster "Windstorm", Fun Fore...

Life we all know is a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, and sudden stops. Experiences (hate to use the word challenges)molding and teaching us, all make for an awakened spirit, but what about the other side of You. The logical ego which is just as important as the spiritual side, gets left out of the experience. No one wants to acknowledge this side of ourselves, we are to observe the ego as if it was the black sheep in the family. We instead need to balance the two, cherishing and accepting the roles each play as important parts of a whole spiritual being. For myself my ego was working overtime not inflating my self-esteem but with each monstrous experience deflating how I saw myself. OK when you see the truth about your self or ego it looses its power and healing begins. I think it is one of the life battles of most creative people. We are so intuitive and empathetic to the energies around us we end up absorbing it into ourselves through our life experiences. In the last 12 years I around in the roller coaster seat and once almost fell right out. I allowed my adorable ego to get the better of me.

I realize the economy thing is a culprit for many pricing issues. It does not answer the question why am I charging less now than 12 years ago. If you are producing the same or better quality of work, than your price should show your efforts. Competition is fierce online and social media changes rapidly. You work in the studio or shop long hours for less than minimum wage. Really? Why because someone out there you don't even know or worst do know told you they think your work is worth only this amount. So you hang your head and accept it. Wrong. First off if you allow the energy of that statement to grab hold shake it off you, NOW. Give yourself a good shake, like a dog shake down.

Now listen up I am going to let you in on something fabulous. If you believe your work is unique, professional, exceptional, the very best you can do at the moment and you feel it down to your toes and out into your finger tips and your hair stands up on your body, you need to charge a worthy price. Your work, your energy, your creative idea is a valuable asset and no other has it so charge for it. The key is you and only YOU must fully believe it is true. It is the first step and I hope you do. Your thoughts are energy and you need to tend to your thoughts as you do to your work. Keep your passion for your creative purpose alive and the Universe will respond to that energy in kind, with higher prices and great clients.
Wings (Photo credit: PamLink)

"Your wings already exist. All you need to do is FLY." by Christine Mason Miller, amazing artist.


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