Tag Archives: focus

In an ideal world………..

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The following are excerpts from a talk I gave twenty years ago.

Much of what I said then is relevant today.    However, it is important to note that during these past twenty years our world has changed radically…with  iPhones, social medial etc.     The genie is out of the bottle bringing with it all sorts of new challenges and opportunities to inspire creative energy.

Madame Nottale sketching me – At the time she was 94. P1030379

‘In an ideal world, everyone would spend a period of time during each day doing something creative.      It could be painting, playing a musical instrument, dancing reading, writing, singing, cooking, gardening, sewing, etc……

However, as we begin the 21st century, it seems that we are living our lives in boxes -boxes that constrain and seem to move us further away from creative living.

Milly visiting my studio….she loves to paint, P1110644Whether living in a large house or a one room bedsit, it is still a box.   We use metal box cars, trains, buses and planes to get around.     We tend to work in a box and then stay glued to the computer box.     At the end of our work day we get back into the metal boxes to return home to our original box, where many watch the TV box or continue to view the computer box……and so it goes.

This treadmill life can lead to frustration, anger, stress, anxiety and being desensitised to what is actually going on within ourselves and in the real world.

And yet we wonder why we have so many individual and societal problems.

Observe the focus of a child when creating. Young boy painting at an easel

At the end of such days, with little tangible evidence to show for our efforts, we feel a sense of anxiety about the prospect of repeating the cycle over again.    We feel trapped.

Recently the mother of a bright young man, with seemingly everything to live for, told me how concerned and upset she was because her son was very depressed.       (Since writing this talk twenty years ago, I would say that levels of depression among the young have risen dramatically!)

It is said that 70% of our children are suffering with emotional problems.   All of this at a time in history when we have never had so much material stuff, and in many ways our lives have never been easier.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

Friends playing music at a local pub…..wonderful 20-11-15 - 1 (1411)

As we leave childhood and adolescence and move into the ‘real world….there is a natural need to conform.        I cannot tell you how many people I have met in later life who have regretted not doing what it was that they really wanted to do.        Instead of following their own desire they did what was expected of them. 

Using red and green apples as symbolic imagery…..I see the shiny red apple as a societal goal.     Looking good on the outside – despite what may or may not be going on within the core of the apple.1915661_200776310395_1768147_n

Green apples are often perceived as being different, and separate from the mainstream.     Artists and creatives fall into this category, fuelling the perception that the creative life is only for a certain mad few!


I believe everyone is a creative being, which making it imperative that creativity be incorporated into our daily lives.      Just as we need to breath we also need to create.


Perhaps the answer to these questions has to do with our thought process.      The way we think influences everything in our lives.      How many times do I hear people say…..Ah but I am not an artist, cook, gardener, singer, photographer, dancer etc………..I could never do that……

Yes I was definitely that child hanging upside down:)12314060_10153693416745396_9179756764978779361_n

Everything ever accomplished was initially a thought.     We often meet people who are subject to the same set of circumstances, but who experience those circumstances in entirely different ways.

An ‘I can’t’ thought for one person can be a ‘I’ll find a way’ thought for another.    What some see as a set back, others see as opportunity.

Like all new habits we begin with baby steps….slowly but surely turning the ‘I can’ts’ into ‘I cans’………..

This is definitely an ‘I Can’ attitude 🙂 1524406_10201848550228748_892621687_o

A Bientot

















Self-Discipline equals freedom

Through personal experience it has become my belief that the creative process in all its many forms, is the answer to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.  


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So how do we tap into the creative process so that we may benefit from and experience the fulfilment it can offer on a daily basis? 


For the first forty years of my life, although I considered myself to be a creative,  hindsight tells me that my wings were clipped, preventing me from enjoying the freedom to fully express myself.


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This blog is about how I achieved personal freedom  through self-discipline.

Self-discipline is often construed as boring and limiting.   Old definitions of discipline are about using punishment to control or correct disobedience,  however, I have found that it is just the opposite….it can equal freedom –  a sense of well being, and an ability to cope  on a day to day basis in our complex world.


The new buzz word, ‘mindfulness’ – as I see it,  is  just another word for self-discipline.        Being mindful allows us to learn new and positive habits which in turn help us to focus and bring consistency into our daily lives.


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Prior to a turning point at the age of forty, I was scattered – I lacked consistency and clear boundaries.         I had children to raise and like most people with young families a lot going on, but when it came to my painting, I lacked any real routine which caused me to feel unhappy and  frustrated.

When I made the decision to change this way of being, I began by learning new habits….one at a time.       I gave myself boundaries and routines which in turn began to bring a sense of balance to my life and work.    As each new habit was formed, my confidence and sense of wellbeing  grew.


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Thirty years on from having made that decision, I relish the rhythms, rituals and routines I have established.

It is important to say that nothing in life is ‘fixed’.      Depending on changing circumstances, sometimes we need to establish new habits and routines.    The key is that they work for us.

I plan to write more on this subject in my next blogs.

Tomorrow, I will be re-blogging one of David Roger’s posts, entitled ‘Writing Routines and Rituals’  which speaks so eloquently about this subject.



A Bientôt