Category Archives: Life As Art

What’s happening in Darlene’s life.

The Power of Play

The Power of Play

The benefits of play are so far-reaching. In childhood, play allows us to learn how to be creative, helps to nurture critical thinking, personality development and creates adaptive neural pathways.

In our stress-inducing lives, play for adults is absolutely essential. Play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, as well as boost creativity. According to recent studies, play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex by triggering the release of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.

According to psychiatrist Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, in Carmel Valley, CA, “Play is a basic human need—as essential to our well-being as sleep. So when we are low on play, our minds and bodies notice… Play deprivation can reveal itself in certain patterns of behavior: we might feel cranky, rigid, feel stuck in a rut or feel victimized by life. To benefit most from the rejuvenating benefits of play, we need to incorporate it into our everyday lives.”

A lot of research backs up the theory that play is therapeutic. At work, play speeds up learning, enhances productivity, and increases job satisfaction; at home, playing together enhances bonding and communication.

Above is an excerpt from something in the works I’m writing.

 

Dancing The Enneagram

I’m very excited to announce our PlayBook,* Dancing the Enneagram, by Kate Finlayson and yours truly is now being printed for a June 1st launch.

Last August (2018), I was at my friend, Kate Finlayson’s “Dancing The Enneagram’s” PlayShop in Charlotte. The experience with Kate’s effervescent energy was inspiring. I was so stunned and impressed with its power, on my drive back home, a vision to have her material developed in written form appeared to me.

That night, I furiously wrote. Within a short time, I created an outline for her book. I telephoned Kate and relayed to her my excitement. She asked me to present her with a sample chapter, which I did in short order. It seemed to me the book REALLY wanted to be birthed. And here it is: nine months later our baby is born.

The premise for “Dancing the Enneagram” is unique and ground-breaking. Kate, who is Nia-trained and certified, moves through each of the nine personality types. Her idea is to add a somatic component to an intellectual process, grounding one’s knowing into embodiment. Kate’s work is powerful and integrative.

Originally, I intended to present only Kate’s material, but an idea popped into my head to include the component of “coloring” into the mix because each of the nine personality types is also associated with a color. I’ve been working for a couple of years creating coloring books with positive images of maidens in their power to inspire “girls of all ages.” It seemed only natural to include what I know about coloring as a further means of integration, especially for those who have not experienced Kate’s energy in person.

I’m at my first “Dancing The Enneagram” PlayShop, August 2018.

Thus, in “Dancing The Enneagram,” I present the symbology of color, explain the difference between Light (RGB) and Pigment-based (CYMK) color models, and also offer a “Conscious Coloring” technique.

So the nine full-page illustrations I created for our PlayBook can be colored in or enjoyed as is. I’m also really happy to use one of my own font designs in the PlayBook. The design of the book exemplifies Beauty as is one of my best efforts.  It’s epic!

Dancing The Enneagram

*PlayBook and Playshop are Kate’s preferred terms over Workbook and Workshop. Learning shouldn’t be work.

Energy is the Key to Internet Marketing

The ability to succeed at INTERNET MARKETING is about energy, the type of energy you put into your life. When you put zero energy into something you’ll get zero results. If you put focused and pleasant energy into your projects, they cannot help but reflect this state of being. I conclude, that in everything you do, you need to be very conscious about energy and how you are using it.

It’s all about energy …

Pessimistic people are always pessimistic. Have you ever known a pessimistic person to suddenly decide to have an optimistic viewpoint for once? Their outlook on life is reflected in their pattern of behavior. Like a broken record, they retell the same stories, over and over again. They define themselves through the lens of failure: “It’s other people’s fault … well, if it hadn’t been for their betrayal, everything would be different today…” It’s not true, but that is what they tell themselves. Perhaps, it is to make them feel better about a situation they are applying zero energy to change.

The viewpoint of “oh woe is me…” has a particular energy signature, as do they all. This type of energy signature dissipates, or cancels out the energy of benevolent abundance. This is also true for the energy of depression, which is always depleting and feeds on itself. Woe-is-me, depressing moody people have a way of sucking the life’s energy from all around them. Nobody wants to be around needy people too often because its all so exhausting. When people are moody or depressed, they are high maintenance and need to be constantly fed.

Getting back to the subject …

The exhilarating and uplifting feeling of joy, of being in the moment, happy and one with the universe is an expansive energy. This energy is magnanimous. It is inclusive. Joy is the state of being required for manifestation.

This concept can best be understood through energy. It makes sense that a massive, outwardly flowing energy would be conducive to touching many people, connecting them in untold ways. This is opposite an inward-turning, small, “please don’t notice me,” black-hole type of energy.

Me? My bane is in just being lazy and unmotivated. I didn’t really want to do what was necessary for success. So I found ways to do everything, but… Occasionally, I’d take a day or two out from the month and update my web-site or blog and do other social things. I admit, my attempts to get myself out there were so half-heartedly introverted.

When I finally understood how energy works, I awoke to what I must do to be successful.

That’s why people with great passions do so well on the internet. Their enormous energy is infectious and they inspire true change. Anthony Morrison is one such person. The energy surrounding his passion to de-mystify Internet Marketing for students is simply astounding!  That’s only one of the reasons I decided to partner with him, but it’s a good one.

I finally declared I am worth the energy it takes to succeed!

At least I know now why I cannot manage alone, by myself. What I don’t have in “oomph” or the confident energy of know-how Anthony makes up. The Partner with Anthony program is my chosen tool for change. It can be yours too. Anthony’s upbeat messages alone are worth the $7.00 investment. 

Check out Anthony’s inspiring Lectures!

Changing Relationship to Money

What I learned recently is that, in order to succeed, I needed to totally change the way I relate to money as an artist.
I bought into the “poor artist” concept, where money is tainted and to accumulate money and wealth is to become tainted yourself. Poor artists indulging this paradigm judge people who are wealthy harshly — as being morally corrupt, greedy, egoistic, self-indulgent ass-holes. Many of them are, it’s true, but not all of them. There are also poor people with those traits.
Psychologically, we would “tell ourselves” we want success, but at the same time, would always sabotage our chances of success if deep down, we thought it would corrupt us, or automatically lead us down a perilous moral path.
I came upon this idea a while back when I realized, I looked down on wealthy people. I have since reframed things. There is nothing wrong with accumulating green survival tickets, especially if having these would enhance my art (as time would no longer be divided between art and finding a means to pay the bills).
I don’t think I had a devils chance of succeeding when I harbored virtuous (untainted) prejudice. It’s like I had to give myself permission to succeed. And I did. To prove it, I can believe the following statements:
There is nothing wrong with having wealth. As one of the wealthy, I will have the means to address wrongs. Time will open up because the tasks I was not good at and so did myself because I didn’t have the means–like accounting and taxes–would be delegated to those with expertise in those areas.
Then, I could better focus on things that I love and are important to me. It is thus, I give myself permission to not only succeed, but to lavishly exceed all expectations.

Darlene Marketing (?!)

I’m an artist. When I was younger and more adventurous, it was exciting to be dancing on the lip of poverty. The uncertainty of being able to stay alive by making ends meet was like a game; literally, it was “The Game of Life.” Now that I’m getting older, I realize I have to change. I no longer have the same resiliency and health I once enjoyed.

So I’ve been thinking. Being a “poor” artist does not have to be an automatic given. About 2 years ago, I realized that I sorely needed to supplement my meager income. Although it’s exciting to be teetering on the knife’s edge, I’m now longing for some stability. I wonder if you can relate?

So, instead of finding a soul-crushing part-time job (which would take me away from my art studio), I decided to invest my time in INTERNET MARKETING.

I’m happy to report, I’ve finally found a great and easy pathway to accomplish internet marketing without it costing too much or being too exasperating. For an investment of $7.00 (!) you can have, at your fingertips, the information, which took me a couple years to discover. The program is called “Partner with Anthony” and he shares his internet expertise to leverage success.

I wish I had access to the information and methodology he provides in baby steps. When I first began, many things were simply not apparent to me. (My brain must be old as it takes me longer to process the technical aspects, which make internet marketing successful). Plus, I had to really concentrate to implement everything (which tended to tire me out).

So if you are at all curious about the path I’ve chosen to take to be successful at Internet Marketing, CLICK HERE.

It’s the best $7.00 you will ever spend … because it’s the best $7.00 I spent!

THANX, Darlene

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PS – I hope to see you with me on the sunny side of success.

Tips For Artists: To Freelance or Find a Job?

My Maya

My inside cat looked out the window this morning and spotted a large shadowy figure sleeking through the open area between some bushes. Maya’s tail switches; she’s rapt, excited, attentive, and follows its every move. The outside cat stops to sense the air.  He’s a very large, beautiful calico cat. He feels eyes on him.

He knows he’s been spotted, but cannot detect the source. So he nonchalantly turns in another direction and trapezes off. He does not run, in complete confidence, he just picks up his pace and slips away into the distance.

I wonder if my Maya wishes to be an outside cat, free to roam wherever she wants; or if the dark male wishes to have steady meals and be loved. There are trade offs to both. For the privilege of freedom, a stray lives on the edge. Life is uncertain, often violent and short.

For the privilege of being kept, there are many trade-offs. Rules must be obeyed. There’s neutering and worse, de-clawing. There are borders never to be crossed, and sometimes imprisonment within a small space. Some suffer the indignity of the play of little children. Everything depends on the luck of getting the right human master.

There are many stories where an outside kitty “chooses” their human. And if the cat chooses well, the result is happy for all concerned.

What does this have to do with art? The outside cat is a metaphor for making a living solely on your art. Be prepared to live on the edge. There will be times of feast and meager times of famine. Everything teeters on uncertainty. Society preys on artists. They are easy pickings. With little bargaining power, it’s difficult for freelance artists to get a fair price for their talents.

The inside cat represents those artists who have agreed to be at the disposal of an employer. For the sake of steady income, they often give up their rights and their original works. Or they are squeezed and wrung until they can produce no more. Thus, burnt out, they are then discarded in favor of the eager young college graduate, who will work at entry level pay scales. Or they may land into happier circumstances — everything depends upon finding the right master.

This is the dilemma for those cats thinking about freelancing their artistic talents. It’s possible for some alley cats to find steady work in the right situation. A lot of this depends upon luck. Often, being talented is not the deciding factor, but how well you begged. To get fed, the alley cat has to show it is friendly and deserving enough to receive food.

This shakes out as being flexible (with illogical changes), being able to read minds, always meeting deadlines, always being available on demand, able to work for cheap and (believe it or not) grateful for the work. This describes an employer’s dream freelancer.

Of course, the very same criteria can equally be applied to the pet on the inside. Linear thinkers in management positions cannot fathom the process of creative thinking. They wonder: why can’t the artist conform to a schedule like everyone else? It’s sad, but chances are, the employed artist will always be misunderstood and marginalized by those who did the hiring.

There are other cats who are employed in other sectors but choose to do their art solely on their own time. With so little time left at the end of their day, hobbyists risk the energy needed to create. Being able to make a living is the freelancer’s motivation. What is the hobbyist’s motivation when money is not a factor? The hobbyist has to have the discipline to be self-motivated.

That’s pretty much the territory. Me? I’ve run the gamut from being an alley cat to being kept cat. A corporate reorganization pushed me back out on the street. So this li’l ole cat is back to freelancing again.

What kind of cat do you want to be?

More Snippets!

OMG! I unexpectedly found a bunch more notes for “The Story of Jasmine” in a hanging file folder. . . and they seem to be an alternate version of events.

This would be Snippet #103:

Although an autumn nip was in the air, the young woman found the shallow water by the ruins of an ancient temple inviting. With a delightful sense of abandon, she rejoiced in a freedom she had never known. Sensing another presence, she quickly hid herself among the reeds. Remaining still for a long while, she concentrated on each sound until one became prevalent among the rest. Slowly, she acknowledged the sound as the calling of her name—but not the name her parents gave her.

No longer afraid, she emerged from her hiding place, her nakedness gleaming in the autumn sun. “Jasmine”—her name before she was born—she embraced it with her entire being.

Strengthened by the revelation, Jasmine heard for the first time the raspy voice of the reeds. With reverence and a certain heaviness, Jasmine uttered the name of the great and legendary wizard who had wandered these parts in the days of old.

“Yes, it is I,” the reeds rustled a wispy reply, “my spirit waited an age for you to be born. Find my staff in the Ruins and use it with the knowledge I will teach you. This land has so little time — you must learn quickly…”

© 2018 DARLENE

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The Problem with Beauty

I just watched “Bombshell,” on Netflix. It’s about the life of Hedy Lamarr, the actress I always maintained was the most beautiful one of all. It turns out that she possessed a discerning, scientific mind. For instance, during WWII, she invented a communications system that today’s WIFI is based on. But always, her breath-taking beauty got in the way of people taking her intellectual mind seriously.

All sorts of judgments and assumptions are made about people who are good looking. In the cinema, beautiful people are usually depicted as conniving and underhanded. With an air of superiority, they manipulate people to gain advantage. The beautiful woman is often shown gazing fondly at herself in a mirror. While admiring herself as she primps, she plans the details of her next conquest. What kind of role-model is this?

Beauty and intellect are accidents of one’s genes. The same doors that opened because of Hedy Lamarr’s beauty, also imprisoned her in a narrower definition of who she was. But she accepted her beauty and all it brought. In my experience, being fair to look at has not opened any doors. That’s probably because, unlike Hedy, I’ve always been ill-at-ease with being attractive.

My looks seemed always to target me for unwanted aggressive advances, often putting me in danger (boundary and abuse issues). I never flaunted my looks and seldom went out in public alone. I took pains to be nice and unassuming, but insecure girl friends or wives still considered me a threat. Jealousy made them regard me with suspicion and they made me feel unwelcome in their company.

I mostly kept to myself, or huddled underneath the protective arm of a boy friend and later, husband. Professionally, I did not fare much better. As an artist, it’s always challenging to find work, but if I landed a good freelance job, it must have been because I had slept around. Untrue stories questioning my morality cropped up that were very hurtful. The meanness of the gossip really got to me. What had I ever done to deserve the treatment I received in my younger, socially awkward days?

As a consequence, I retreated and spent my life hidden away as an introvert. I covered myself in frumpy, oversized clothes, and wore baggy sweaters. I did not embellish. I used no make-up. I covered my body like I was apologizing for my existence. I totally hid my radiance, my beauty, my light.

Never again do I want to be a victim of lust, jealousy or lies by people who cannot take responsibility for their own feelings, who claim it’s my fault for making them feel whatever they feel. The only time I felt safe enough to dress up, look great, be radiant and dance in public was within the company of my husband.

  *   *   *    *   *

Now it’s 2018. I realize I have never owned my beauty.

Now that age has given me wrinkles and whitening hair, with gravity tugging my less-resilient skin, it’s time I take a look in the mirror to have a peek at the truth. What has my all-natural, tattered jeans, baggy sweater, no-make-up style ever done for me (besides saving me an ton in cosmetic and clothing costs)?

I now perceive, the “all natural” hippie persona I chose to embrace has just been another way of remaining invisible. I’ve been using it as a shield, of playing small, and not owning the spotlight.

To achieve my soul’s purpose, Spirit needs me to actively embrace my totality. I’ve always been quite willing to look at the negative aspects of myself, but beauty… not so much. Now, it’s time to take the next step, even if that step means to jump into the fire.

Jumping into the fire — I suddenly know what that means — to have the courage to face something that truly terrifies me! My fear of being seen makes me camera shy and explains my reluctance to video record myself. (My gosh — people will actually see me…) Video pod-casting is my next hurdle.

To totally embrace my feminine self means to acknowledge my natural beauty and all that entails. That would automatically make it impossible to remain unseen. It’s an odyssey.

“Beauty is an asset, just like physical prowess, charisma, brains or emotional intelligence. The key with any gift is in the way that you use it. It doesn’t define you as a person. Rather, it’s an asset to be used judiciously and with an understanding of how it is just a small part of who you are.” Dale Archer

______________________

As I’m writing, I suddenly realize it’s a little before noon on the summer solstice. Maybe these words have more significance than I thought. Thus, my challenge becomes my gift.

© 2018 DARLENE

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A Message To Me from the Marketing God. 

In my last e-mail newsletter, I introduced the concept of “Spiritual Marketing.” The writing was mostly tongue in cheek, but now I am taking the idea a little more seriously. Let me tell you about a recent visit I had from none other than the Marketing God.

As well as a visual thinker, I’m also a spatial thinker. I’m able to turn images around in my mind and view them from different angles and perspectives. I use this capacity to visualize what a client describes to me and can usually get a close approximate to what is desired (if they are articulate). In addition to seeing different spatial orientations, a time element can get involved for projects more complex than a logo. Those times I have to give considerable thought to visualizing how separate graphic units fit together synergistically and throughout time.

A Spiritual Strategy Session

Just recently, I sat myself down in a quiet spot to mull over some design possibilities on behalf of a new client. In a meditation, I tapped into a huge marketing strategy involving the client, me and our project. It was pretty amazing: a 10-month strategy plan, which involved a brilliant way to re-engage the client’s existing e-list. The answer was to beckon or entice the e-list to become a part of my artistic process. As the project’s artist, I would periodically provide updates on my creative progress.

The plan was fairly brilliant. I wasn’t aware that Spirit knew anything about marketing timelines. My client’s first e-list engagement would involve the use of a survey. The client would solicit the e-list’s opinions about certain matters in an up-coming event (happening in the fall,10 months away) that is somehow related to a project/product, which I am working on (that is timed to be released at the event).

Producing Win-Win-Wins

Using the survey results, the e-list would be given monthly updates on how the art is progressing along. Updates will keep the list’s attention on the subject, generating interest and value. There would be a build-up, so that by the time of the event, people are charged up about acquiring the product. Happy people feel they have had a hand in creating something, or feel more involved in its creation. Everyone is satisfied, a win-win-win for all concerned. Win for e-listers who get the product; Win with client being associated with something positive & creative and finally; a Win for me in that I have work and can increase my presence.

But Gone in an Instant

I mean, I “saw” the whole thing unfold so beautifully in my mind’s eye! This time, I tried my best to explain the plan to my client. Maybe I got into too much detail. I don’t know. This time, I owned the fact that the information was spirit-derived. At other times, when the same spiritual download happened, I kept that fact to myself, thinking it would be best. But just like all the other times, when I divulged the vision, my client gave excuses and scrammed. Poof. Gone.

Amazing, but confounding. What is happening here? What good are these grand revelations if they scare clients away? What are my responsibilities? Do I ever divulge what I see/ feel /experience on their behalf or always keep this inspired information to myself? Or maybe I’m wrong about the entire experience. Maybe it’s simply an idea in my own genius brain, I mistook for a revelation?

Wait a moment – what’s the matter with me? If I was an ad agency, the marketing plan I presented has enormous value and costs gobs of money! Didn’t my client realize it was a tremendous gift that I had bestowed … for free? Is that the problem? I didn’t charge or built up enough anticipation?

Another Possibility

I’ve often wondered if the idea of truly being successful is what actually drives people off. Why do they hesitate? Is it because they already know the status-quo but success seems so elusive and unpredictable…?

Most people prepare themselves for failure. Few people prepare for success. They may think they are prepared, but are they? Just look at how happy the million dollar winners of the lotto end up being in the long run. Most were not emotionally prepared, over indulged their neediness, and faced some hard lessons.

Pretend I’m the Wish-Fulfilling Jewel and that I could grant to you everything you wanted your business to be — in the form of a logo. Could you immediately accept the gift without your shadow interfering and wondering if there is a catch? Used to the status quo, your shadow would most likely put the brakes on. It’s not sure what changes and challenges success may impose. If you don’t know what success looks like, you will not be prepared to plunge into these waters.

The Fear of Success

So… to extrapolate, if the people I interact with are a reflection of myself, and if they are all afraid of success (even thought they’d swear otherwise), that can only mean that I, myself, am not willing to face my own attainment of prosperity.

The message ultimately means I should actively prepare myself to embrace success. That means I need to consciously open a space in my life for success to thrive. That means I have to become the kind of person who can accept success and everything that comes with it, without reserve.

The Spiritual message for me from the non-existent, but all wise Marketing God thus becomes, “Plan for Success” and plan well.

© 2018 DARLENE

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My Hermit’s Journey into Advertising

If the idea that Advertising / Marketing / Sales can be used as a spiritual metaphor, I must unlearn my tremendous aversion to it. I hate sales with a passion … to the core. The idea of selling makes me cringe.

Boring Sales

That’s probably because I associate selling with being dragged as a child, along with my siblings, to fairs, conventions, and flea markets. My father expected us to help make sales of whatever new thing he was offering that year. Of course, for us was an exercise in futility. We just did not have “the touch.” While my father delighted in talking to prospects, our prime summer days were spent languishing in dusty halls, or out in the glaring hot sun or in the ear-numbing cold.

We counted the hours for the day to end, hoping desperately to relieve the boredom. We cringed when anybody came by to inquire about some feature of the product we did not know how to answer. Worse still, if dad saw people walk away from us. He knew we’d lost a sale…

Exhibiting at art fairs is not much fun either. I’d be sitting at the exhibitor’s booth, pretty much bored and noticing all the blank faces of people meandering mindlessly past. I’d be passively available, if anyone noticed me. I was virtuously non-intrusive.

On the other hand, the booths that demanded attention received it. I watched the gimmicks of the successful vendors, witnessed the little tricks they used to engage interest. Most of them did what I could never manage–engaging in banter. I silently observed how they used energy to attract energy.

E-marketing

In e-marketing, I can see how an e-mail’s attention-getting headline would correspond to the competing calls of different merchants offering their wares for sale in the marketplace. If opened, the e-mail succeeded in getting past the bored eyes of their recipient. Whether or not the prospect lingers to look at an image or read the content of an e-mail, or moves on depends upon many factors. It’s very subjective.

The spiritual side of advertising challenges this old hermit by asking if I’m being arrogant in my poverty. Do I compensate for and perpetuate having little by feeling spiritually superior to rich people? Is it really a badge of purity not to make a buck?

Updating Old Attitudes

My old attitudes concerning artists and spiritually-oriented people accepting money have resurfaced. For an artist to do very well implies they’ve “sold out” and selling out is considered a bad thing for an artist. With money in the equation, the artist’s work is deemed to be tainted.

I’ve always balked at the practice of placing sales offers at the end of articles in e-mails. To me, it lessens the article. It’s not a true gift if there’s a price tag attached. No, not a gift, a ploy. It’s deceitful. The advertiser pretends they are giving you something for free. Here, take it! But nothing’s free. They are always seeking something in return. They want you to buy something.

Reversing Assumptions

The spiritual side of Marketing challenges me to reverse my assumptions. It asks me: how am I different from anybody else? Is my hunger any less? Don’t I deserve to tout my wares unapologetically, at the top of my lungs, if I choose to?

Like every human being, I have value. I am deserving. So in the end, it’s me I’m selling.

OK. Here I am! Notice me!? I’m the introvert in the corner…

If you opt in below, every two weeks, I’ll offer up some cool observations and insights from my hermit’s perspective and let you enjoy some of my seldom seen Darlene Art (I’m getting better at not hiding the links).

 

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