Color Outside The Lines

Color Outside The Lines

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”  Eleanor Roosevelt 

Challenge your boundaries, allow them to stretch your status quo, courageously step out of bounds at times even if not within your comfort zone and expand your creative horizons.  Protecting what we have always been, doing what we have always done will bring us the results we have already received.

Perhaps our past experiences, fears and expectations of others and ourselves have darkened the outlines of our potential, holding us back.  Sadly, we may hide behind walls containing our gifts neglecting the work that defines our unique contribution to this world.

Follow the lead of a child where lines don’t seem to exist, only possibilities.  Flawless work is not the ultimate goal and individual expression comes naturally as they move freely and fluidly through their creative process.

Through years of setting up borders and boundaries for ourselves, we unknowingly create an outline of our envisioned lives hardened with continuous and tedious strokes keeping us functioning safely within the lines.  Over time, after producing generic pictures colored within the lines of our own making with repetitive skill, it’s no wonder that creative inspiration often fades away.

Don’t let your self-imposed limitations close you in.  Allow your creative imagination the expanse of an entire coloring page of life, rendering your authentic self in your artistic expression, as you relearn to color outside the lines.

© Erika K Rothwell

P.S. I love you all.

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Hope in Harmony

Hope in Harmony

After a cleansing rain, the sun sparkles in water drops on blades of grass capturing a reflective thought.  The well-balanced cycle in nature reminds me of a consistent and harmonious dance of life.  

Often we aspire to lead with our steps; however, think of the possibilities if we chose to follow the lead of nature more often.  Discovering the tempo and the necessary footing of the day’s activities with a “go with the flow” attitude rather than a white knuckle grip of control as we force events deepens our opportunities for inspiration.

Take a moment to recognize how you are feeling right now.  Are your shoulders tense?  Are you taking short breaths?  Does the heaviness of the to-do list staring at you or incessant thoughts spinning in your brain suffocate your joy?

Look out your window.  What do you see?  Notice the harmony in the flow of life.  The breeze gently moves the trees.  The squirrel scampers along the fence line with perfect balance.  The sun warms the ground as the daffodils poke out cheerfully.  Let it lead you to a place of appreciation where you can slow your breath to match the gentle breeze and allow your thoughts to float lightly like the clouds above.  

Awakened to a new relaxed state of mind, you can make sense of the tasks ahead. 

Following the pattern and harmony of nature, we discover our true natures.  Speaking our truths like the flowers of the field, showing our colors, helps us dance in the wind. There is no judgment in harmony.  The existence is borderless and overlapping.  We find our balance and deepest roots in nature.  

When we fight against the waves, rather than allow them to carry us forward riding the power of the force and flow, we fight a helpless fight that may eventually knock us down to our knees, possibly even forcing us to swallow the salt water from our own tears.

Harnessing the power of the wind creates energy.  Working against such power slows and wears us down.  How much better to invite this energy to infuse our dreams rather than work against it and slowly drain our strength.  

Support is available physically, emotionally and spiritually for us. If we acquiesce and release our need for control, we accept what is and thus choose to follow the path of harmony.  Hope exists in harmony.

Working as an instrument of nature, we find strength knowing we are part of the flow of inspiration. Our creative work provides the connection as we complete the cycle.

© Erika K Rothwell

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Hope – In Nature’s Kiss

Hope – In Nature’s Kiss

After a powerful pause, I answered him, “I’m not sure, let me give it some thought.”.  “Novel idea.”, he responded.  And I believe it was.

So many times in life, we are called to give a quick response and we fail to think and feel deeply through the process.  Our swift knee-jerk reactions often lack discernment and an authentic pathway from our intuition.

To engage our hearts in our writing, a deep reflective pause may also be needed. So today, I “gave it some thought”. 

I gazed out at the rain as nature’s portrait beckoned my melancholic spirit.  Imagination cycled at an all-time high, yet connection to the simple became increasingly difficult until in the stillness of a moment I paused to examine the raindrop.

In a single raindrop, a world exists. A reflection of an artist of magnificent proportion, a creation of movement and energy in a perfectly designed, yet simple, jewel falling from the heavens feeding my soul with a lifetime of hope. 

Suddenly with the recognition of nature’s kiss, I awoke from my meditative slumber to discover a shift in focus.  My world came alive knit with stories and words of immense proportion that I knew needed to be shared with tenderness and the art of simplicity.  My purpose was reignited and, with that, my next project was born.

With joyful appreciation, my dream was propelled outside of the hazy gloom of indecision and the supporting self-criticism fed by my inability to give an instant response.

In the inspiration of nature and a reflective pause, a “novel” idea and answer were unveiled.

©Erika K Rothwell

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Hope – In Authenticity

Hope – In Authenticity

I wrote something dishonest today.  Not the typical lie you would imagine.  But it came to me, my heart was not connected to what I wrote.  I typed the words, I read the words, but in the end, I did not believe the words.

So, here I am speaking my truth with a question.  Why do we work against ourselves and sometimes stop speaking (or writing) our truth?  

We know how to reach for authenticity but at times life’s unexpected forces drag us down the path of necessity.  Once we learn to surrender that genuine connection, we slowly lose the energy necessary to support our dreams and our creativity.

What if we woke every morning infused with energy to create our dreams?  What if we had trouble closing our eyes at night because we could hardly wait to wake and get back to living.  Living, not existing.  That is authenticity.  Recognize when you are moving away from it.

Because hope does not promise instant gratification, rather than struggle with the words to express positivity, I will wait.  The energy I work against is confusion or simply congestion in my head.  Sharing a joyous heart today may not be the answer.

Perhaps it is the outside environment that weighs me down.  Or possibly the work I did this morning on my memoir.  Recognizing the pain in the process sometimes requires a pause.  And another cup of tea.

-Erika K Rothwell

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Discovering Hope – A Solo Flight – Day 28

Discovering Hope – A Solo Flight – Day 28

As I see a flock of birds fly across the cloud-knit sky, my thoughts follow them.  Once they disappear from sight, one lone bird flies in the opposite direction awakening a story I tell myself and now share with you.

There must be pleasure in following, not having to forge your own way, deciding what you should do or even where to go next, for someone is always in the lead and many others have trusted enough to follow.  It appears to be a safe route.  Hasn’t it been said. “there is safety in numbers.”?

So why does the solitary bird attract my attention?  Perhaps it seeks a unique path. And, as in the similarity of my venture, I sit at my desk alone exacting words as I venture forth, trying to connect through individuation.

Individuation, a call for awareness of our unique nature and an intimate connection with all life.

Hope secures the quest.  I am looking to discover the idea that appears after the first five obvious ones.  The wind of change moves me in unusual directions and variables often upset the consistencies of my work.  Inspiration exists everywhere I turn, sending me to travel indirect routes.  

All the while, my shadow seeks me out with the fear of commercialism.

The message glares at me, “It can’t be necessary to follow the masses to find success.  My work is art.  And my art, a calling.”

At this moment, contentment resembles only a meditation.  Artistic creation, ongoing pursuit of perfection.  As every artist or writer knows, the search for a perfect element, color, or word is a quest into another dimension.  And some days you must keep seeking.

Suddenly the moment arrives when you bring your creation to life.  Yet, you hesitate unready to share.   

So many of us struggle with diametrically opposed feelings.  Do we covet the peace as we set our work on a shelf never to be discovered, or do we risk the comfort of obscurity to become known to others?

Our fear is well-founded.  In a world of mass-production, artistry can be devoured by hungry giants.  What once was birthed as an original work of art, intricately crafted as the first of its kind, can be copied or modified in a fury with only a blurry likeness.

At this point as I encourage myself, I implore you, believe you are an inspiration.  Your solo flight has attracted a following.  Find others that choose to fly alone. Share your gifts with them. 

Most importantly, never give up.  Hope can always be discovered within you.  You cannot be mass-produced and your originals always live in you.

-Erika K Rothwell

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