Check out my awesome interview the Lisa Granshaw of Minghut.

mindhut

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Dreaming of Blue Lagoons

expectations can feed failure, so how do we cope?

Gurus and life coach moguls talk about failure being not only a inevitable part of being entrepreneur, but something that ought be embraced. But who talks about the moments when you find yourself in the midst of failure and it’s not nearly as romantic as was ascribed. The disillusionment can either lead to self-loathing or distrust, perhaps even blame of others in some situations.

For me, it was struggling with blaming myself.

I thought I handled failure effortlessly as any one person could in my position and experience. I was a fearless tiger that bounded from one point to another and eagerly diving into every opportunity. But somewhere during the leaping, I found myself landing in a mud puddle and not the azure lagoon I had envisioned.

I had recently set myself an ambitious goal for an event and did everything I felt necessary to achieve this. I took out loans to help cover product expenses (which caused some mild anxiety and nail biting. Okay, I’ll be honest. It resulted in a melt down that was soothed with an ice cream, a friend and a long walk). I eventually settled in and began my mental ritual of preparation for the event.

Sometimes we can create disappointment when we expect to find lagoons in the middle of a dry season and only find mud puddles. It is good and essential to dream, but we must temper our expectations. Know that even if we do, failure can occur and we have a choice to either honor that moment or ignore it.

I was confident that my gamble would pay off and I could reach what I had convinced myself as a reasonable goal. I knew it was going to be a difficult event and on the most part I had to dig very deep to give the performance required by myself and of the event. At the end, I made money, but I failed to even come within spitting distance of my goal.

I felt uneasy, exhausted and kinda ill. While I felt others were basking in the afterglow of the event, I was left trying to be zen about what I did accomplish, and yet be on damage control.

Everyone will experience failure differently and the intensity of those feelings will depend on the risk and the consequences of the failure. Allowing myself to sit with those feelings helped me understand some critical concepts and in that process I found resilience.

 

Check Your Goals

I had set myself up for failure from the start and that was the main mistake. My goal was based on someone else’s situation that was not my own. Comparisons like, “If X can earn that much, why can’t I?” can the death or a foundation of a dream. But it is a precarious road when not followed with a certain amount of awareness as you can easily find yourself at a dead end. I tried so hard to stay off that road of comparison, but ended up there anyways. I had neglected the reality of my own journey that may or may not have the same benefits of X. And when I didn’t get that immediate satisfaction, I was disappointed.

Improved Approach
If X can earn that much, then I could stand do well! Do not expect to earn what X does. If you do, amazing! If not, only compare to your performance.

Moral
Be Kind

 

Asking The Right Questions

It’s important to ask questions. It is imperative to ask the right questions. And when I mean right, I am meaning in the sense what is authentic to you personally. This goes back to our own journey and staying true to that. And how do we know what that is when I we don’t ask the pertinent questions?

Improved Approach
Instead of asking where I am, I need to ask where I want to go. Why do I want to earn what X is earning? Is earning what X earns the answer to success? If no, then what is my next plan of action to achieve my success. If I am wanting to achieve my success, what does that mean? So on and so forth.

Moral
Be Kind and Listen

 

Feel the Failure

From personal experience, it was far easier to be stoic and disconnect from everyone and the world. It was easier to disconnect from the pain.

Some risks have different affects. I can accept the failure of not being juried into an event because I know that I have a 50/50 chance and if I don’t make it in, its a bummer, but I then move on. But what if the goal was so lofty and you felt like you could achieve it and you fall flat on your face with the hurdle yards away? Perhaps it is best to honor yourself and that experience by allowing yourself the time to process those feelings instead of brushing them aside or placing blame either on ourselves or others.

By putting on “a brave face” despite what we may feel, we are missing out on an opportunity to connect with those around us. Within a proper place and circumstances, share the entirety of the experience.

Improved Approach
Nurture emotional experience to enable future connection with loved ones and/or our professional audience. There is strength in both being critical and accentuating the positive. You don’t have to share ALL of your experiences in immediate succession, but feel free to share when you feel you want to make that connection or offer encouragement.

Moral
Be Kind and Love

Final Thoughts

Vulnerability cultivates its power from shared experience. We are all human and behooves us to embrace all parts of our mortality. We make mistakes and we all fall. In our moments in downfall, that is when we can find strength in each other  through emotional connection. Such emotional connections can withstand time and trial, and is vital to living a richer and fuller life.

I challenge you, dear reader, the next time when you find yourself facing a moment of failure to take into accounting how you feel, why you feel and what action you are going to take. And also, avoid being self destructive and be kind to yourself. Even tigers have bad days.

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Becoming a Mindful Artist

The current discussion trends of mindfulness are often in relation to stress management. However, regular meditation practice can help interrupt rigid thinking, or what we often refer to being “stuck in a rut” or ruminating. When we spin our wheels, we have long since lost perspective and locked in our thought patterns. This limits, if not, cut off the flow of creativity entirely.

Much of what makes creativity flow is being able to apply solutions to problems, whether that is how to write more elegant code, stronger buildings or determining the composition of an illustration. When we get caught up in our heads a little too long, it’s hard to get out.

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The problem with wheel ruts in that once you are in one is that you are limited to where the ruts take you. We all have psychological ruts. The important part is learn to when recognize you are in a one and how to get out.

In a series of recent studies, scientists had found that when they assigned problem-solving tasks, those who meditated were able to apply more simplistic solutions without frustration while those who didn’t struggle longer.

Mediation is not the magic bullet to endless production, but it is a way to help keep the pipes clear between projects. By renewing our focus on the present, we can move past the ruts and keep everything limber.

 

Walking Mediation

Take 5-10 minutes to walk barefoot outside or in our home. Focus on the sensations you feel: textures of the floor, how it presses into your feet, or the temperature. The goal is to focus your mind on a task that is separate from your everyday routine.

Seated Mediation

Seated in a chair, on the floor, or on a cushion and focus on: an object, your breath, or location in your mind for 5-20 minutes. You will notice that your attention will drift and that it totally fine. Just bring your attention back to your target and start again.

Drinking Mediation

This can be done with any drink that you enjoy. I generally use tea. When preparing your drink, notice the aroma, texture and how the water or liquid(s) interacts. Are there swirls the steam or in the separation? Does anything come bobbing to the surface, or does anything sink to the bottom?  How do you feel when you inhale the aroma? How does it feel when you drink? Again the goal is to bring your mind’s attention to the present task.

Painting Mediation

This can be with finger paints, watercolors, acrylics, oils, or any other painting medium (if you are digital artist, it is recommended that you do something tactile and not to just paint on your computer). The only purpose is to just move your brush or your fingers. What does it feel like to make different shapes? Are there certain colors you are drawn to? What happens when you mix in other mediums. When you are done, you might be inclined to keep the finished piece, but in the reflection of Tibetan sand art, once you have appreciated your work, destroy it. This is a good exercise in gaining a better understanding of our attachment to our work.

 

These are all exercises I practice on a regular basis as a way to either gear up for the day or to relax before retiring. I feel that for me, embracing mindfulness as a creative as well as in my personal life has brought joy, solace, and focus.

Is there a meditative practice that you are currently doing that wasn’t mention here? Feel free to share in the comments below.

 

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Geek the Halls

Note that is this the only holiday show I will be vending at this month. So while dashing about doing your holiday shopping, do swing by Geek the Halls tomorrow, Sunday December 15 at the Jupiter Hotel from 10-4pm for all sorts of awesome geeky gifts. I will have cards, prints,magnets and ornaments.

Hope to see you all there. And if you can’t make it and live in the PNW, it’s still not too late (domestic shipping by Christmas is December 19) to purchase goodies online.  http://dancingheron.etsy.com

 

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GeekGirlCon

Hello Seattlites! I will be at GeekGirlCon this weekend at table 311 and my buddy Pete will be guesting as my you haven’t attending this event before, you should. This is an inclusive gathering for All geeks.

Exhibit Hall Hours

Saturday, October 19
9am- 6pm
Sunday, October 20
9am-5pm

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Sometimes You are a Grasshopper

What I learned from being a regular novice and how that helps my creativity

It was finally explained to me what a pelvic tip was and had someone spotting me while performing said move. For the past six months when doing core warm-ups in my tai-chi class, I guesstimated and I thought it pretty correct, or as correct as it needed to be.

Nope — I was close, but close is for car crashes and cozy couches.

I accepted the correction and the inevitable evaluation that I had a lot further to go than previously conceived. It was a success, but felt like a total bummer.

The feeling of not being in place continued as I went to the gym and acquainted myself with the different machines. I learned that I was a marshmallow with little upper body strength (never mind that I can throw 50 lb + boxes around, but I guess that requires a different set of muscles for that operation) and as a consequence couldn’t haul myself up, and my abdominal muscles are weak and could barely use a crunch machine. Glad I left the two things I could do well for last — at least I ride a bike and use a row machine with some satisfaction.

I have been feeling  inadequate and under-trained, not just at the gym but my experience with joining a dojo. I will be honest, it has been fantastic and devastating all in one breath. I am working with people who have been doing their thing since they were half their height; others lived in another country to learn their skill. What was I even doing there? The best I had was a couple classes cobbled together, some childhood romps with my dad, and a few sparring sessions with a couple of friends. I felt like I had nothing to offer in return. All I could offer up was the desire to learn. Scratch that – hunger to learn. I want to fill my vessel with experience. Perhaps that is all that is needed and required.

It’s a scary and vulnerable place to be in when you are the newbie amongst the trained and the experienced. It’s a struggle to be compassionate and patient with myself. I take my hobby seriously and pour a great deal of time, energy and tears into my practice outside of class. The process is more important then the destination and I know it is intrinsic to my transformation into I am now and who I am to become. I had been hiding in my comfortable blanket for too long and it was time to put it aside.

This is a feeder cricket. My cat use to chase the escapees around my bedroom in high school when they would get loose from the my tarantula cage. What does this have to do with being a novice? Absolutely nothing, just felt like telling you about my cricket hunting cat.

Growing up, learning was sometimes difficult, but was never scary. Scary were the bullies and when I had to leave my friends because I was moving, yet again. But when I grew up, it changed. There are greater risks. Failure feels so profound and absolute. Maybe it has to do with our ancient biology: failure as an adult means the potential of starvation, loss of our mating partner, sickness and even death. Maybe these are still stakes in our lives, but I doubt not being 100% proficient at doing lateral pulls will equate to death by dysentery.

If there were ever an example of being out of my comfort zone, this would be it. But it wouldn’t stop me. In the end, I know I am going to fuck things up, and sometimes epically. But if I learned anything from the church I attended growing up: if I am going to fail, I will fail in glory. If I am going to fall, I am going to make it worth it. I am going to fail because I tried and will continue to try. An open mind and strong body; that is all I could ever ask for in my life. Well, maybe a perfectly moist chocolate cake, but that is another story for another time.

 

So how does this help MY creativity?

Challenges my Perspective
It reminds me that there is room for growth, realigns my goals and establishes my passions and find new ones. It allows me to see the world in a slight different lens than I had before.

It’s Relaxing
Sounds like an oxymoron, but by challenging myself outside my usual sphere of experience, I feel free to try something more daring and/or have a stronger ability and eye to push creative concepts further.

Appreciate Proficiency and the Lack there of
It’s great to be successful, but I can’t excel at everything. I have learned to appreciate where my strengths lay and where I could use the moral support and direction others.

Respecting the Journey and the Paths that Intertwine
This ties in with perspective, but specifically remembering that my joy and passion comes from the process, not necessarily the end result. In turn, I can then respect and admire other people’s journey. It is really cool to witness people become inspired and watch their passion grow.  And as my friends become inspired, I too, then feel the creativity flow. It is as though we can feed each other. And that in itself is an amazing gift that I treasure.

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RoseCity Comic Con

RCCC13_Floorplan

Click on the image to enlarge for EXTREMELY awesome detail.

Located at the Oregon Convention Center just off the Max or Street Car,  there is a little something for everyone! :)

I am super excited to be joining this show for it’s second year! I am sharing an exhibiting booth with the resplendent Robin Kaplan of The Gorgonist Illustration at booth 811. Just a few tables down from Periscope Studios.

In addition to the traditional convention goodies I offer,  I will be offering 2×3 magnet commissions starting at $10 for black and white and $15 for color. The commission theme is “Put a Tardis on It”.  With your finished art and a receipt slip, you can then walk down to Monkey Minion Press at booth 905 to have it transformed into a magnet, or enjoy the composition as is.

Exhibit Floor Hours

Saturday, Sept 21  10am – 7pm

Sunday, Sept 22     10am – 5pm

Drop by and say hi to me or to my lovely booth assistant who will be helping out all weekend. I am looking forward to seeing you all there.

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Filed under art, ComicCon, conventions, dealers hall, magnets, portland, RoseCity Comic Con

Why Are You So Busy?

Is your lifestyle tied to self-esteem and is it harming your relationships?

I am sure if I went to the Google search field and typed in “busy” I will get endless articles about being busy, how to be more productive, how to make room on your already full plate. It is good to be industrious with our time, and heaven only knows I

It's okay to say no, sometimes. We don't have to accept every invitation,  job or opportunity. Be selective in what you do. Don't worry about choosing to do something good over bad, but focus on choose something better over something pretty good.

It’s okay to say no, sometimes. We don’t have to accept every invitation, job or opportunity. Be selective in what you do. Don’t worry about choosing to do something good over bad, but focus on choose something better over something pretty good.

have with mine, but the problem with me is that it became a twisted competition and gauge on my self-worth.

I did some online dating from time to time and I ended up absorbing something rather toxic during the time spent browsing through profiles. I saw people with their photos of mountain climbing, endless chatter about being what I would call a being “weekend adventurer” (meaning, someone who is off hiking in the mountain, kayaking, snowboarding, skiing, spelunking or any other numberless activities possible here in the Pacific Northwest). Suddenly I felt like a boring homebody with a couple of simple hobbies. (Seriously, I thought exploring parks, buildings, wandering around downtown, camping, casual hikes  were too simple in comparison and I needed to be more. They are perfectly awesome things to do and love doing them by myself and with friends.) I felt like I wasn’t doing enough with my nearly none existent “down time”. Couple with my drive to work long hours and ambition illustrations, I was slowly being crushed by self-imposed unrealistic expectations and I didn’t need to be.

It took a close friend to tell me that she thought it was funny that I was excited about adding archery practice to what I called my “non-existent hobby” list. She told me  that I was one of the most interesting people she knew who was well balanced and had very interesting hobbies. (and perhaps maybe take my hobbies a little seriously, but as long as I was having fun, where’s the harm?) I had to remind myself that I was happy with what I was doing and found deep contentment in my activities and didn’t need to worry about how others felt about it.

Okay, am I really well rounded and interesting without the hobbies Mr. Rockclimber and Mr.CustomBikeFabricator brag about in their profiles?

I know, this is rather dumb, but I can guarrentee you have done it at one point or another.  My answer? Yes, I do the things I like to do, but I rarely take the time to snap pictures of me doing it. What was important to me was doing the activity and not recording it in order to prove it to someone else. I was becoming wrapped up in proving something that I didn’t need to prove. I am enough.

The key things to consider in your life when it comes to being “busy”

  • Are you being busy for the sake of being busy?
  • Are you busy because it is hiding something else lacking in your life or in your spirit? (aka “I’m lonely”, or “I’m afraid of being alone” or “I’m not enough”)
  • Are you bragging about being busy with friends and colleagues to garner attention?

If you can anwser “yes” to any of these things. I have one word for you…. stop.

Being too busy is not going to enrich your life; if anything it will suck you dry. It is slowly taking away your friends, your loved ones and stealing your joy one “I’m busy” or “I’m up to my eyeballs in deadlines” at a time.

You are enough

You are interesting

And you have so much more to offer than whatever is supposedly sucking up your time.

Having a more balanced life requires that you are more efficent with your time and how you invest your time. The only way you can refill your plate/jug/cup is if it is empty first. What does it mean to be more efficent?

1  Refocus your Drive
Find the things that are not serving any purpose and cut them out and focus on the things that are enriching and that help you come closer to your goal(s).

2  Schedule and Set Time Limits
Some projects don’t need to take the entire day. I learned since college that my attention span last for about an hour and then I need to take a break and do something else. Increase your self-awarness and adjust accordingly. Set aside time to meditate, to clean, to take a stroll around your neightborhood. Strike a balance between work and liesure.

3  Set your Priorities
Know what is important and critical in your life. This should be a mixture of things: business, personal, religious, civil, ect.  Being a more rounded indiviual creates a foundation for having a more fulfilling experience. It doesn’t mean you have to go outside your comfort zone every time, but it does mean balancing different responsiblities and desires in your life.

It can be fulfilling to have activies and scheduled events in your life. It is well to have a job/career that demends time investment, but we are not robots nor should anyone expect us to be. Being busy should never be an ephemisim for avoidance or superiority. Eventually your reply of “busy” will just be heard as “unavailable” or worse yet “not interested”. Instead, seek to be productive, be a master of efficency and be flexible.

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Life is Like Canned Fruit Salad, Add Whipped Cream and Jello and It’s Kinda Okay

This summer ended up being a challenge, but not in the way it was a challenge last year. I decided to make a huge step to help improve my well being, started up a new personal blog, submitting my manuscript to a couple of agents, added several new art shows, sudden changes within a volunteer position, and a faith crisis. If that wasn’t already a full platter, I lost my baby brother tragically at the end of July to a fatal asthma attack.

Just like that.

My life will never be the same and it has taken everything I have to keep treading water. Thankfully, this is why I am super grateful to have the network of awesomely supportive friends. It’s not quite a boat, but it’s better than trying to float on a pool foam noodle. I am slowly becoming more acquainted with my new life and it’s various facets. Wish I could say that it gets easier, but I would be lying and rather joke around with half-truths. ;)

So without further adieu, let’s chat about Kumoricon, because it’s next weekend!

As in years past, I have some sweet stuff lined up for the Art Show and will have a table full of awesome in the Artists alley (note that Exhibitors, Artists Alley and Registration are located in the Hilton garage this year).

Hours
Saturday     10-6pm
Sunday        10-6pm
Monday       10-2pm

There will be a Daily Drawing for donated prizes from Artists Alley vendors.

It should be pretty awesome and so far the line up for Artists Alley is looking fab.

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San Diego Comic Con

SDCCartshow_sm

The pre-packing layout of the pieces that will be available for sale.

San Diego Comic is now less then a week away!

My two sets of good friends will be vending in the Small Press Area. Go find them! Monkey Minion Press at O-2 and Gorgonist Illustration at N-8.

Alas, I will not be physically there, however, my art will be! I am artist #83 (if that means anything in relation to layout. If they post a map, I will share that) in the show. I will give a special gift to anyone who can snap a picture of my panel and shares it with me.

Art Show Hours
The show will be in the Sail Pavilion at the Convention Center.

Thursday   11am-7pm
Friday           9am-7pm
Saturday       9am-6pm, 6pm   Final Silent Bidding Closeout
Sunday                 9-11am    Art show opens for winning bids art sales
11am-5pm  Unsold art can be sold for the quick sale if marked

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