• Brene Brown’s Call to Courage 2018

    I was very moved by some words I found on Brene Brown’s blog just over a week ago. I’m grateful to have the words so beautifully and succinctly put so I can share them with my children. This is Brene Brown’s call to courage 2018:

    Stop walking through the world looking for
    confirmation that you don’t belong.
    You will always find it because you’ve
    made that your mission.

    Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence
    that you are not enough.
    You will always find it because you’ve
    made that your goal.

    True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we
    don’t negotiate their value with the world.
    The truth about who we
    are lives in our hearts.

    Our call to courage is to protect our
    wild heart against constant evaluation,
    especially our own.

    Brene Brown #Bravingthewilderness

    Brene presents these words, on her blog, in a visual way for sharing on pinterest and facebook so please click through to her original post if you wish to pin or share.
    Brene’s work has inspired me for years and really helped me to positively change the way I think and parent. I highly recommend her material, some of which I have listed below.

    Thank you Brene for being such an incredible source of inspiration.


    Brene’s books that I have read and recommend:
    The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
    Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.
    Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution.
    Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.

    Brene has a selection of material on Audible. I recommend reading her books rather than listening to them (except where she has narrated them herself), but there are several speeches that are brilliant and well worth investing in:
    The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage
    The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, and Connection
    Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice
    Men, Women and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough

    Update on my weight loss program: I am posting my progress publicly to keep myself accountable! Good news is that I’m well ahead of target at 53.2kg. I’ve lost 2.3 kg since January 12th, so going well! If you are interested in how I am doing it – using Tony Robbins’ 5 steps to change – click through to the original post. I’m amazed at how easy it’s been so far using this technique.

    I haven’t done any new work lately, so I am sharing some of my older pieces. Hopefully I’ll get back in the groove soon! Licensing options are available for this design; please feel free to contact me with any queries.

  • Goodbye jelly belly!
    Losing weight using Tony Robbins’ 5 steps to change.

    This is my first woodcut using the two blocks that I carved and showed in the previous post. I had a lot of fun making this but I ran into a lot of problems. It was a great learning curve. Hopefully the next one will be more straight forward.

    Idon’t fit my favourite dresses.
    My children slap my wobbly tummy and giggle.
    I yearn for the strength and lightness I felt when I was fitter (when walking felt like restraint because every inch of me wanted to break into a run; and when running felt easy – not heavy and awkward.) More than anything, I don’t want to let go of my belief in myself that I am determined and self disciplined.
    It’s been eight years since I was at my ideal weight (pre-children), but this year I have a plan and no excuses: I am going to use a ‘Neuro Associative Conditioning’ technique taught by Anthony Robbins (often referred to as Tony) in Awaken the Giant Within.

    Below are excerpts from the five steps to change that Tony Robbins recommends. To understand them fully it is necessary to read his book. They are laid out and explained in detail in Chapter 6 and can be applied to any change, not weight loss specifically.

    1. Decide what you really want and what’s preventing you from having it now. The more specific you can be about what you want, the more clarity you will have, and the more power you will command to achieve what you want more rapidly.
    2. Get leverage: Associate massive pain to not changing now and massive pleasure to the experience of changing now. The only way we’re going to make a change now is if we create a sense of urgency that’s so intense that we’re compelled to follow through. To paraphrase the philosopher Nietzsche, he who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how. 20 percent of any change is knowing how; but 80 per cent is knowing why. If we gather a set of strong enough reasons to change, we can change in a minute something we’ve failed to change in years. Ask pain inducing questions: What will this cost me if I don’t change? What is it costing me mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually? Ask pleasure-associating questions: If I do change how will that make me feel about myself? What kind of momentum could I create if I change this in my life? What other things could I accomplish if I really made this change today? How will my family and friends feel? How much happier will I be?
    3. Interrupt the limiting pattern. In order for us to consistently feel a certain way, we develop characteristic patterns of thinking, focused on the same images and ideas, asking ourselves the same questions. The challenge is that most people want a new result, but continue to act in the same way. Think of some of the ways you can interrupt your own patterns. One of the key distinctions to interrupting a pattern is that you must do it in the moment the pattern is recurring.
    4. Create a new, empowering alternative. This fourth step is absolutely critical to establishing long term change. The failure by most people to find an alternative way of getting out of pain and into the feelings of pleasure is the major reason most people’s attempts at change are only temporary.
    5. Condition the new pattern until it is consistent. If you rehearse the new, empowering alternative again and again with tremendous emotional intensity, you’ll carve out a pathway, and with even more repetition and emotion, it will become a part of your habitual behavior. Your brain can’t tell the difference between something you vividly imagine and something you actually experience. Conditioning ensures that you automatically travel along the new route, that if you spot one of the “off ramps” you used to take all the time, now you just speed past them – in fact, they’ll actually become difficult to take. The next step is to set up a schedule to reinforce your new behavior. How can you reward yourself for succeeding? Don’t wait a year,. When you’ve gone a day, give yourself a reward!

    I will also be using advice and tools I have discovered via The Life Coach School. I have listed the specific podcast episodes below. I’ll be logging my progress over the entire year, aiming for a weight of 47 kilos by Christmas 2018 (preferably sooner). I weighed in two days ago at 55.5 kilos. Please get in touch if you’d like to join me in getting slim, strong, and healthy this year!
    Have a great week,
    Bren

    Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins (also known as Tony Robbins)

    The Life Coach School Podcast Episode 197: Urges
    The Life Coach School Podcast Episode 129: Weight Loss and Overeating Tools Part 1
    The Life Coach School Podcast Episode 131: Weight Loss and Overeating Tools Part 2

  • A Little Advice…Or Not!
    Glennon Doyle Melton

    My latest experiment is with woodcutting. I’ve always loved woodcuts but never tried one myself. I designed this as a repeating pattern at a size suitable for homewares and interiors. The finished piece will appear in my next post.


    Irecently listened to the audio version of Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. My favourite excerpt is this small piece about advice. It stands out to me because I know that I need to be more mindful in this area with my friends and family. I think Glennon makes a point beautifully and succinctly about what people really need:

    “I don’t believe in advice. Everybody has the answers right inside her since we are all made up of the same amount of God. So when a friend says, “I need some advice”, I switch it to, “I need some love”, and I try to offer that. Offering love usually looks like being quiet, listening hard, and letting my friend talk until she discovers that she already has the answers. Since I don’t offer advice Craig and I find it funny that people ask me for it every single day. Craig once asked what I make of that and I told him that I think friends ask me for advice because they know I won’t offer any. People need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know, so I just try to hold space and time for folks.”

    Glennon Doyle Melton

    I know I have a tendency to offer advice, but I think Glennon is absolutely right. In our hearts I think we do know the answer, and we just need the place and space to connect with it. What do you think? I welcome your feedback.
    Have a good weekend,
    Bren X

    Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. At the time of writing this does not appear to be available through Audible. I listened to it via the Auckland Library on the Overdrive app.

    Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.
    If you are interested in reading more of Glennon’s writing, she is famous for her blog Momastery and has recently released a memoir called Love Warrior.

    This will form the backdrop of my design, but this is not repeating. I will show the completed piece in my next post.

  • 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.
    www.stevepavlina.com

  • 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