• Eagle Vision, Mouse Vision
    Keeping on Track to Your Goals: Martha Beck

    A few weeks ago I began listening to, and working through, Martha Beck’s ‘Follow Your North Star‘ via Audible. This audio feels to me like an important discovery. Martha Beck gently guides the listener towards living a life that brings more joy by tuning them in to their own wisdom and intuition. The author delivers the material herself and it allows a wonderfully personal touch – just like having your own life coach on call!

    This week I dug out a pattern of mine from a few years ago and recoloured it. I am about to start working with lino and woodblocks and am feeling very inspired by Japanese-style design once again.

    In ‘Follow Your North Star‘ Martha Beck teaches simple techniques to guide you towards your ‘right life’. She teaches how to access what she describes as the compasses within your mind, body, and spirit that are always turning you towards the life you are meant to have. She details distinct phases of change you will go through, how to gently manoeuvre through the obstacles, and she offers tools to check you are on track. There is much valuable material in ‘Follow Your North Star‘, but my favourite take-home tool is Eagle Vision, Mouse Vision. It’s purpose is to ensure you are on course towards your desired life and goals:

    Eagle Vision, Mouse Vision

    From Follow Your North Star by Martha Beck:

    The eagle is an animal that rises high above the earth and can see things at a great distance, so eagle vision is the ability to look far into the future, far away from the present. A mouse is an animal that can’t see very far but is very sensitive and good at picking up detail about what’s right in front of its nose, so mouse vision is where you look at what’s directly in front of you.

    Go into an eagle vision mode; picture yourself rising up above your life and seeing everything with perfect clarity from a long way up. Answer these two questions:

    • How do you want the world to be different because you have lived? (Nothing can be too small or too big, but something must have changed)
    • How do you want to be different because you have lived in this world; in other words, what experiences do you need to have to feel like you’ve been on all the rides you came for?

    Martha suggests you go back to the eagle questions frequently because you will get different answers on different days, but if you do the questions consistently she says you will find that common elements arise over and over again.
    Now picture yourself dropping from an eagle perspective down to a mouse perspective. A mouse looks at what is right in front of it, so look around you. Where are you? What are you doing?
    Ask yourself :

    • Is this task in front of me moving me in the direction that my eagle vision wants to go?

    Do this several times a day to check that your mouse is headed in the same direction as the eagle.

    Rambling Flower Burnt Orange by Bren Michelle. Licensing options are available; please contact me for more information.

    If you are already very clear about where you want your life to go, and what your goals are, then simply checking your mouse vision several times in a day is so quick and effortless, yet could yield some valuable results. There couldn’t be an easier way of keeping on course! And if you are not yet clear, then the Eagle questions can guide you towards the things that your heart truly desires. I really hope you’ll check out ‘Follow Your North Star‘ by Martha Beck. You never know -it might just change your life!
    Have a great week.
    Bren

    Follow Your North Star by Martha Beck, Available on Audible

  • The Work of Byron Katie:
    An Extraordinary Tool for Wellbeing

    Ihave recently become fascinated by the work of Byron Katie and I am excited to share it here because I think it is the most powerful tool I have discovered to date. I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on it below:

    “Byron Katie has rocked my world and shaken loose my mind more thoroughly than any other spiritual teacher I’ve ever encountered, living or dead.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

    I created this pattern as an experiment in Procreate (iPad app). I found the recolouring options frustrating so I then took it to Illustrator. I’ve not given up on Procreate though – more practice necessary!

    Byron Katie (or Katie as many call her) has an intriguing story. Following almost a decade of severe depression, self-loathing and suicidal thoughts, she suddenly woke up one day and saw things differently – or in her words, “woke up to reality.’ She realised that what had been causing her depression was not the world around her, but the beliefs she’d had about the world. It was an epiphany that was to change her life forever and has seen her go on to helps millions of people.

    I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that.

    Byron Katie

    The following excerpts from Katie’s audio book ‘Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life’ explain how Katie’s process of inquiry she calls ‘The Work’ can help radically shift your perspective, setting you free from suffering:

    Suffering is optional. Whenever we experience a stressful feeling, anything from mild discomfort to intense sorrow, rage or despair, we can be certain that there is a specific thought causing our reaction, whether or not we are conscious of it. The way to end our stress is to investigate the thinking that lies behind it, and anyone can do this by himself with a piece of paper and a pen. Through ‘The Work’ – Katie also calls it ‘Inquiry’ – we discover that all the concepts and judgments we believe, or take for granted, are distortions of things as they really are. When we believe our thoughts, instead of what is really true for us, we experience the kinds of emotional distress we call suffering. Suffering is a natural alarm warning us that we are attaching to a thought. When we don’t listen, we come to accept this suffering as an inevitable part of life. It’s not.

    Fill out the Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet (which you can download on thework.com)
    Write down your thoughts about someone who upsets you – a situation past or present that feels unresolved in your life. (Katie suggests that if you new to inquiry don’t start with yourself. It is easier to do our judgements of others.)

    Ask:
    1. Is it true?
    2. Can you absolutely know that it is true? (Invites people to inquire more deeply.)
    3. How do react when you think that thought?
    4. Who would you be without this thought?
    5. The Turnaround: This is a chance to experience alternatives to the original statement that may be as true or truer.

    Notice when your thoughts argue with reality. The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with ‘what is’. When the mind is perfectly clear ‘what is’ is what we want. If you want reality to be different to what it is you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try and in the end the cat will look up at you and say meow. You can spend the rest of your life trying to make a cat bark, and yet if you pay attention you’ll notice that you think thoughts like that dozens of times a day: – people should be kinder – the queue at the supermarket should be shorter – my husband should agree with me – I should be fatter, thinner, more successful. When you argue with reality you lose 100% of the time.
    The work reveals that what you think shouldn’t have happened should have happened. It should have happened because it did. No thinking in the world can change it. This doesn’t mean that you condone it or approve of it. It just means that you can see things without resistance or the confusion of your inner struggle.


    Judge your neighbour.
    Write it down.
    Ask four questions.
    Turn it around.


    The power in this process cannot be denied if you hear it in action on ‘Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life’ (available on Audible). I think that to really make this process work for you it is necessary to dedicate a significant amount of time to listen to (or read) Katie’s material. I have found that the more books of hers I read the easier it is to understand Katie’s way of looking at the world and how it can be applied to my own. It is time very well spent in my opinion.

    If you want reality to be different to what it is you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try and in the end the cat will look up at you and say meow. When you argue with reality you lose 100% of the time.

    You can learn more about Byron Katie and ‘The Work’ at her website thework.com. There are free resources and videos on her site, and there is a large selection of books available on Audible. I think audio is a great way to be introduced to this process, as much of the content in Katie’s books is dialogue. I suggest starting with ‘Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life‘ and ‘Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life‘ The latter really does offer a lot of insight by letting us hear the process as it is applied to people’s real-life situations. Some of the stories are heartbreaking and yet she is able to help them see through the pain to another perspective. I found it truly compelling and inspirational.
    I hope you find ‘The Work’ as exciting and as helpful as I do. Have a great week,
    Bren X

    Your Inner Awakening: The Work of Byron Katie: Four Questions That Will Transform Your Life
    Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

  • 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