• Steve Pavlina’s Answer to Scarcity – How to Turn Things Around Financially

    When I heard Steve Pavlina’s podcast ‘Overcoming Scarity’ I knew I had to share it here. I’ll make a summary of the critical points below, but you’ll get so much more from listening to the actual podcast episode – you’ll hear evidence of how a counter-intuitive approach to scarcity absolutely turned Steve’s life around.

    This week I had so much fun trying out some photography. I combined a photo I took of a philodendron leaf with some of my printmaking textures. I worked on it in the Procreate app on the iPad and completed it in Photoshop.

    When you are broke or struggling financially, the natural temptation is to focus on your own needs, thinking that you have to get something going for yourself before you can contribute. Instead, Steve says, the answer is to focus on enjoying life more and especially to contributing more.

    Neediness and lack are very uninspiring to people. People won’t naturally want to help you or to make a contribution to your life, but when you reach outside of that and contribute to other people’s lives it makes a huge difference.

    Steve believes it’s much better, mindset-wise, to focus on making a contribution for/to other people and the reason it works is that it invites all sorts of help into your life. He goes on to explain that neediness and lack are very uninspiring to people. People won’t naturally want to help you or to make a contribution to your life, but when you reach outside of that and contribute to other people’s lives it makes a huge difference.
    A massive positive flow came into Steve’s life when he adopted a contributor mindset, and from that came abundance. His advice: “If you are in that mindset right now – that mindset of neediness and focusing too much on trying to get for yourself because you think you’ve got to crawl your way out of this pit – realise that mindset is what’s keeping you in the pit. Realise that is the trap itself, and if you stay in that trap it’s not going to get any better. Maybe it’s time to branch out and find some small way to help other people.”

    Steve Pavlina Podcast Episode 19 Overcoming Scarcity on iTunes
    Or listen to it via video on his site.

  • A Mindfulness Tool for Unwanted Thoughts

    Today I would like to share a tool I learned years ago when I was struggling with anxiety. It can be an extremely effective tool with practice, even though on the surface it seems very simplistic. I think I originally learned it from the spiritual teacher Jack Kornfield.

    My creation this week uses a mix of media. I created the bird by lino-cutting. I then took it into Photoshop and completed the composition using a combination of drawing and photography. Copyright Bren Michelle 2017.

    When you first become aware of a thought that is unwanted or unhelpful, imagine you are on a bus. Ask yourself if you are happy with the direction the thought is going in. The bus is a metaphor for the thought. Is this a bus you want to be on? Is it taking you somewhere you would like to go? The final destination may be somewhere very unpleasant and difficult to get back from.

    Is this a bus you want to be on? Is it taking you somewhere you would like to go? The final destination may be somewhere very unpleasant and difficult to get back from.

    If the thought is unhealthy, make the decision to get off the bus. When I do this I visualise pressing the button, hearing the buzzer it triggers and feeling the bus slow to a halt. I step off the bus and into the warmth of the sun.
    It helps to have a place to go immediately; I like to think of three things that I’m grateful for (new things each time) so that my brain does not default back to the unhelpful thought. If gratitude practice doesn’t appeal to you, choose something that you like to think about. A healthy problem for the brain to work on is an ideal distraction – what your next art piece will be, what to have for dinner, what to do on the weekend etc – anything that can engage the brain long enough to change course.
    It takes quite a lot of practice but can be powerful – especially when adapted to suit yourself. Allow yourself to be curious because some thoughts need to be investigated or explored (and some very important thoughts make us uncomfortable), but become an expert at recognising when it is a good time to get off the bus. With time, just pressing the buzzer may be enough to switch the thought off.
    This tool can be a good one to teach kids too. I hope that is helpful. Good luck!

  • A Quote to Remember in Every Situation
    Charles R. Swindoll

    Attitude is everything! Today I would like to share another wonderful quote, one that can be applied to absolutely every situation. Scroll down to read…

    This is my second lino-cut experiment. It really is a lot harder than I expected. There were a couple of areas where my hand slipped and I accidentally cut out pieces I wanted to keep. Shhh, don’t tell but I might have, well…photoshopped them back in. Linocutting is not a medium for perfectionists!

    Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

    Charles R. Swindoll

    Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ― Viktor E. Frankl

  • Daring Greatly:
    Brene Brown & Theodore Roosevelt

    Most people will be familiar with the work of researcher-storyteller Brene Brown. If I had to name one person whose ideas I most admire and wish to integrate into my everyday life it is Brene’s. Why? Because her ideas come from years of research – thousands upon thousands of pieces of data. She’s also extremely likable, very funny, down to earth, and her findings just make so much sense to me.

    My featured creation this week is a pattern I put together in Photoshop using three separate linocut prints I made recently (see previous post).

    Through reading Brene Brown’s excellent book Daring Greatly I was introduced to a wonderful passage from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt called “Citizenship in a Republic”, sometimes also referred to as “The Man in the Arena”. It evokes powerful imagery and has an inspiring message. I think it’s also a great follow-on from the last post – supporting the idea that it’s the showing up that counts, not the result. Here is the famous passage:

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….

    Theodore Roosevelt

    A lot of Brene’s work examines vulnerability. She took a lot of inspiration from the passage above and teaches that we must dare to show up and let ourselves been seen. Her TED talks are among the most watched, and I guarantee it’s time well spent. If you haven’t already seen them I hope you will enjoy them now. Scroll down to find the famous talks.
    Have a good week everyone,
    Bren xxx

    The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. This is a Sounds True Recording available on Audible.

    The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong – all excellent books by Brene Brown,

    Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

    Brene Brown: Listening to Shame

  • Measure Yourself on Your Effort:
    Brooke Castillo & Stephen Cope

    Istarted this blog and immediately life got busy again. I didn’t get past the first post! It hurts to abandon it though, so I am going to try to find the time going forward even if, at times, the text and visuals will be brief or simple. For today’s post I want to share some ideas that I heard on Brooke Castillo’s brilliant podcast The Life Coach Schoolit is what inspired me to rejuvenate this project.

    The card pictured is one of my first attempts at lino-cutting. It was more challenging than I expected to control the cutter but I loved getting away from the computer and getting my hands on real art equipment.

    In Episode 80 Brooke Castillo discusses the lessons she has learned from Stephen Cope – author of The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling. She says – and she is referring to Stephen and his teachings here:

    “The point of the work of your life is not what you accomplish. It’s not the body of work. It’s not how many people you touch. It’s not the books you write or the product you create. It is the effort that you put into it that matters. It’s the work, it’s the showing up that matters…
    He taught me to measure myself based on my effort, not my struggle, not my resistance, not my angst but my effort, my genuine effort.”

    Brooke claims that the teaching enabled her to shift her focus from what it is she is creating to the effort she is bringing forth to the creative process. In The Great Work of Your Life Stephen teaches that people feel most happy and fulfilled while meeting the challenge of their work or goals, not on completion of them. Courageous action should be measured, not the result.

    Courageous action should be measured, not the result.

    He quotes Krishna ” Success or failure are not your concern… Your task is only to bring as much life force as you can muster to the execution of your dharma”.
    I find this teaching enormously liberating, and a powerful value to teach my children. Removing the pressure to succeed, and the anxiety of possible failure, certainly brings more enjoyment to the creative process. It probably improves the likelihood of success too – the creative juices can flow uninhibited and the added pleasure in the process may fuel a greater commitment. For children it must be hugely reassuring to believe that it is not important how good they are at something so long as they make an honest effort. The way I see it is that sometimes the effort required is our very best, and at other times that will be pushing beyond our fear to try something or to simply show up.
    There are sooooo many gems within Brooke’s Lessons from Stephen Cope podcast, so check out the full episode over at The Life Coach School. The transcript is also available for download.I hope you enjoy.
    Bren xxx

     The Life Coach School Episode 80 Lessons from Stephen Cope by Brooke Castillo

    The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope (I haven’t read this but this is the book that Brooke references in her podcast.)