Category: A Life of Art Blog

014: Three Books That are Worth Reading or Re-Reading Now

Are you looking for a book  that can help provide comfort and tools for dealing with this Covid-19 time? I am.

I recently decided to re-read some of the pivotal books that have helped me stay calm, centered and manage myself through tough times.  These teachings and books are  a foundation for me.  They help me be creative, curious and basically a better person to everyone around me.  I have read a lot of these kinds of books and because these books are so rich, I have a lot to say about them.  Here are my first three books that are worth reading or re-reading now; The Untethered SoulA New Earth and The Essential Rumi. These books are reflective, life changing and life-affirming and always worth keeping nearby, especially now.  In this episode, I include some additional resources  that can help you deepen your learning too. Take a listen.

Resources in this Episode:

The Untetherd Soul: Michael Singer 

Michael Singer on Sounds True

A New Earth: Eckhart Tolle 

Oprah and Eckhart Tolle Book Club on a New Earth

The Essential Rumi: Coleman Barks

Rumi Oracle: An Invitation Into the Divine: Alana Fairchild

013: Why don’t I feel like painting?

This question popped up on my Facebook feed:  “A few months ago, I started painting. I’ve noticed that since this coronavirus mess started, I haven’t felt like painting. It doesn’t seem like I have the heart or mood to do it. I’m wondering why that might be. I’m finding myself drawn to crafts like sewing. Any ideas or insights as to what might be going on?”

I love this question, it raises so many issues. What is the meaning of art? How is crafting different?  It punches at why art matters and what makes it essential these days. I  have lots to say in response. It revolves around big themes; fear, selfishness, guilt, utility, meaning, storytelling, companionship, healing. In this episode, I share them and seek to make a case for why creating and painting now is important for you and into your future.  Come take a listen and let me know what you think.




012: Living a Brave New Essentials-Only Life

What does it mean to live an essentials-only life?  Inevitably it raises the question, if I’m not essential these days, what am I?  We have had our black days as we learn to settle into this new paradigm.  Many of the things we thought were essential to us, are gone.  I believe in making the most of it,  I do my best like everyone else, but this is also no spiritual retreat and I share why.  Inevitably, and despite this blip in time, we are all needed.  We are all valuable.  And that is why I keep creating even on tough days like this.

resources in this podcast:

Ted Interview: Elizabeth Gilbert, It’s Ok to Feel Overwhelmed 



011: Nostalgia and the Whole-Hearted Lessons of Bali

Nostalgia.  It wasn’t that long ago that I returned from Bali, my head whirling with ideas and lessons in life and art.  There were some good lessons on releasing emotions, giving and receiving, and creating a safe space for creativity to grow.  Plus the music, the art, the culture.  They are all still good lessons, and maybe even more so now.  Take a listen because we all need a good laugh AND scream these days and Bali knows how to do this right.


Flora Bowley Together Apart Live Painting Sessions and Art of Aliveness Retreat

The Language of Drums experience with Aryo

010: Coping and Resilience During Disruption

My daughter and I had a talk this weekend about how much isolation sucks. After some tears, we brainstormed ways to cope; set goals, establish some routines, and envision yourself after the isolation. It all comes back to wellness.  Fitness, meditation and creativity are the center of  hope. Luckily, it appears to be scientifically backed that most of us are built for resilience.  In this episode, I explore theories of grief, loss, resilience and transformation to attempt to start a conversation about meaning making with you. Meaning makes my world go round.  What about you?

Listen, let me know what you think.

References from this episode.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross – Cycle of Grief

George Bonnano – Resilience and the Four Trajectories

Jack Mezirow – Transformational Learning

Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra Free Meditation Experience on Hope


009: Seven Books that Inspire and Transform Art Making

A good book can inspire tidal waves of creativity.

When asked which books have inspired me to be creative, this is my first seven. These books make me smile. They have inspired my art making and creativity as well as moved me to seek out these writer’s workshops and speeches. This episode includes my thoughts and experiences with the heavy hitters and classics; books by Julia Cameron, Steven Pressfeild and Elizabeth Gilbert as well as some lesser known creativity thinkers. I will always keep them on my shelf.

Enjoy!  What would you add to this list?

Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

War of Art by Steven Pressfeild

How Painting Grounds me to this Earth by Leigh Hyams

Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Art-making by David Bayles and Ted Orland


008: Four Radical Shifts that will Change Art and this Crazy Pandemic World

There is a spaciousness in these long days, a relationship of fear to hope, and radical shifts happening to us during this pandemic.  And I think this:  In this crazy and out of control situation, we have our own radical work to do. There are challenges ahead to the way we live and express love, self-love, gratitude, hope and ultimately art.  It’s complicated, packed and isn’t always feel good AND it’s a challenge to the artist to tell this story and let it change our work. When you do, your creativity will help reform and re-form the world, and that is seriously good business.

Take a listen.


Get Green Soothe, Auditory Canvas

007.5: Why You Need to Have a Temper Tantrum

I recorded this episode about a month ago, before everything seemed to crumble.  But upon reflection, I think it is worth posting. I do feel like having a temper tantrum right now.  And it’s totally okay and even healthy to do it. When things are going to sh*t, a good scream can feel so good.   I even mention some fantastic resources in this episode that you may find even more relevant than ever.  And the things I mention about music?  Oh yes – that truly applies here too   Food for thought.

Sometimes I get so fed up with all this creating, I just need to have a temper tantrum.  Do you?  In the past, I felt a little guilty for my sucky attitude.  I tend to complain.  But with the help of some new perspectives and some great reading, I’ve learned to appreciate these moments as turning points in my creative process and my world.  I might actually be on the brink of a breakthrough if ONLY I just stick with the process.  What do you think?

The following references were mentioned in this episode:  Wishcraft: Barbara SherLoving What Is: Byron Katie / Invisible Warfare: Mona Miller

007: Scenario Planning for Isolation with Kids in Seattle

The past three days in Seattle have been an indescribable emotional journey. How can I help myself and my family face the facts of the new life that is rapidly unfolding in front of us?  I seek to enter it with love, trust, an open space to feel everything: loss and grief, love and happiness, closeness, laughter, joy, edginess, and tears.  Yesterday, we made the tough decision to isolate ourselves as much as we can, because it is the only decision that will lead us back to a normal life as quickly as possible. It will hurt everybody, but the quicker we do it, the less we ALL suffer.  Even my kids understand that.

This is how I got to this point, how we looked at the facts of the coronavirus outbreak in the Seattle area and my family made a heart-centered plan.


How Big will Coronavirus Outbreak Get? The Seattle Times

006.5 Living in Seattle, the Unknown and Mental Health

I am living in Seattle during an unprecedented time. It’s a new world; mandated work-from-home, 6 week school shut downs and online learning, social distancing and collective hand washing and disinfecting.  My main question: When will the increasing restrictions stop and we simply be left alone to deal with creating a new normal? I feel disconnected to the “enjoy the day” or “this too shall pass” messages right now and I feel disconnected from the paranoia and panic.  I was asked the other day, “What’s it like being in Seattle right now?” and I found myself overwhelmed, I could barely answer.  So I’m answering the question here.

This is what it’s like living in Seattle right now.  This is what I’m thinking.  And this is how I’m handling my mental health.

Mentioned in this podcast: 

Resources: Byron Katie, Loving What Is

Fantastic gym: The FUELHOUSE in Fremont

Awesome bakery: Byen Bakeri