• 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.)

  • Seek Out What Magnifies Your Spirit

    Hello and welcome to my new blog!
    Hi, my name is Bren and I create design under the name Bren Michelle. I’ve had a big break from creating while focusing on my young family, but now it is time to get back to it! ‘Inspired’ is a project I’ve initiated to keep myself learning, creating, and growing – as an artist and as a person. It’s a commitment I’ve made to live more mindfully and meaningfully. It’s a way to keep interesting snippets I’ve found in one place for reference, and to share them with friends or anyone who may enjoy them. Most importantly though it’s my way of getting inspired; I hope you will find something here to inspire you too. Posts will be sporadic no doubt, as life is busy and unpredictable, so please follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Bloglovin for notification of updates. So, here goes…

    Blackbird by Bren Michelle. Copyright Brenda Michelle Sutton 2016.

    Seek out what magnifies your spirit. Patti Smith, in discussing William Blake and her creative influences, talks about writers and artists who magnified her spirit — it’s a beautiful phrase and a beautiful notion. Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance

    Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)

    Maria Popova has created one helluva good blog over at Brain Pickings. I recently rediscovered it and wondered how such an incredible resource managed to slip out of my consciousness for so many years. But what a beautiful reunion, and it is there to dive into whenever time presents itself. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
    The excerpt above was taken from a post detailing Maria’s greatest ten learnings from ten years of Brain Pickings. It’s a must-read in my opinion and as a bonus Maria links to the things she most loved reading and writing about in her first decade of Brain Pickings. Brain Pickings was included in the Library of Congress’ permanent web archive in 2012, so, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one who thinks the site is something special. I can guarantee you’ll find something of interest in the ten years of Brain Pickings post. Enjoy!
    Bren XXX