Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

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Just a Quickie

We’re taking a few days off for some mid-week skiing at Sunday River in Newry, Maine.  Whenever we travel one activity I enjoy is reading store marquees, announcement boards, street signs, and just general observation of the surroundings are we drive through towns.  Here are some of my favorites from our drive to Maine.

  • “Hip Hop Hootenanny” (hip hop meets square dancing?)
  • “Buy a home with no money down; ask us how” (question: isn’t that what contributed to the financial meltdown?)
  • “Spiro Avenue”
  • “Bulk crickets in stock now” (local feed store)
  • “Live Bait-Hot Soup” (general purpose store)
  • “Piste-off Ski Shop”
  • “Clean Phill Wanted” (yep, nuff said)
  • Pleasant Valley Cemetery…just down the road from the Hungry Hollow School (Remember Stephen King is from Maine)

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Monday Reflection

The secret of making something work in your lives is, first of all,
the deep desire to make it work;
then the faith and belief that it can work;
then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness
and see it working out step by step, without one doubt or disbelief.

—Eileen Caddy

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There’s a Word for It Wednesday

Last month we had the family room painted which meant removing almost every bit of furniture and doo-dad in the room.  As we put the room back together we decided to thin our ever growing book collection.  One book I came across was Charles Harrington Elster’s There’s a Word For It: A Grandiloquent Guide to Life. I was amused with the content of Elster’s book and am designating Wednesdays “There’s a Word for It Wednesday” for the near future.

There are no spelling tests and you do not have to use the word in a sentence…unless you really want to.

Pygalgia (py-GAL-jee-uh): a pain in the butt


Tuesday’s Business: Smorgasboard

Happy New Year!  I wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2009.  Today’s post is a smorgasbord of business related goodies collected over the last few weeks.

The Art of a RecessionJanelle Fendall Baglien wrote this post on artists and the recession.  It is a little long but a good and important read on how a recession can actually be beneficial for artists and art related businesses. In a nutshell: keep marketing and networking.

Working to Strengths as a Survival Strategy: This article by Robert Weisman appeared in the Sunday Boston Globe (12/7/08).  Though the content was directed at large companies, several points are applicable to small businesses. Know your strengths!

  • What is your company/business good at?  Can you ask yourself this question and answer it successfully?  Does your art or product fit a niche market?
  • Focus on your strengths and get rid of extraneous stuff.  Determine where to scale back.  Is it time to thin out your product line? What are your best selling products and how can you capitalize or expand on that?
  • Manage finances and cash flow
  • Respond to customer needs
  • Use technology to be more efficient
  • Be alert and open to new opportunities
  • Be alert to market trends
  • Have confidence that you have what it takes even on those days when life doesn’t smell like a bouquet of roses

Get Your New Year in Gear: This audio tele-seminar featuring Christine Kloser was shared by Claudine Hellmuth on Twitter.  Christine shares five strategies for planning your new year.  These strategies can be applied to your business or your life (or perhaps both.)  Listen here (the teleseminar lasts about an hour.)

I love Christine’s suggestions for a year-at-a-glance calendar (got mine hanging on a studio wall), thinking about what you want to bring with you from 2008 and what you want to leave behind, and writing a gratitude letter NOW as if it were the END of 2009. ( I wrote my 2009 year in review letter and sealed it in an envelope…hopefully I’ll remember where I put it!)

Clear the Clutter: I’m learning that clearing the clutter really does open positive channels of energy.  I recently subscribed to Jennifer Hofmann’s Inspired Home Office e-newsletter Juicy Gems, that offers wonderful tips on reducing clutter and keeping your office space clear.  Sign up for Jennifer’s e-newsletter and you’ll receive a free PDF titled: Putting the Fun in Functional: 3 Steps to a Home Office You’ll Love.  In this document, Jennifer offers great insight via simple questions on how to start clearing your home office.

Reason versus Excuse: Tara Reid offers an insightful blog post on “Reason vs Excuse” and how we apply these two terms to our view of the economy and our businesses.  Very good food for thought.  Thanks Tara.

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Monday Reflection

10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert in anything.

10,000 hours is equivalent to
3 hours of practice a day
20 hours of practice a week
over 10 years.

The more experiences we have with something, the stronger the memory or learning trace for that experience becomes.

-Daniel J. Levitin
This is your Brain on Music


Word of the Year 2009: Renaissance

Renaissance (noun): A rebirth, revival.  A period of revived intellectual or artistic achievement or enthusiasm.

I’ve chosen the word Renaissance as my word for 2009.  Perhaps it is because I started reading Diane Dreher’s Your Personal Renaissance: 12 Steps to Finding Your True Calling on Christmas.  However, that isn’t completely true.  The word renaissance has been bouncing around in my head for more than a week.

When I hear the word renaissance I think of dedication to one’s chosen vocation or avocation; to approach one’s work with passion.  During the past year I’ve found my interest in some aspects of my art work waning.  Periods of boredom and monotony are nothing new.  It can come with the territory.  Yet the last few weeks of 2008 I felt some sort of urging, a desire creeping up inside of me; a voice telling me, encouraging me to pursue the art that comes from my soul, my spirit.

Stepping out of a comfort zone is never easy.  It can be downright scary.  But stepping out of that comfort zone is something we all must do at one time or another.  Eckhart Tolle (and others) have said if we are comfortable living with and accepting change, then we are truly being and living.  And so with those words in my head I look forward to creating some change in the direction of my art and business.

The following are some renaissance principles as outlined in Diane Dreher’s book:

  • Your daily choices shape your life and inform the world
  • Detach from the noisy world around you to follow the deepest values of your heart
  • You are here to discover your gifts and use them to fulfill your destiny
  • Discernment means following what inspires you and releasing what diminishes you
  • You excel by focusing on your strengths, not dwelling on your weaknesses
  • Small actions over time produce monumental results
  • When you reach out to follow your calling, the universe supports you with a world of possibilities

Along with choosing the word renaissance, I’m also focusing on another word: discipline.  In some ways, to me at least, renaissance and discipline compliment each other.  In 2009 I intend to be better disciplined about my studio time, goal setting, marketing, and networking.

To that end I am starting a Mastermind group with a few local friends, artists and those in other businesses, during which time we’ll share our goals, accomplishments, and road blocks encountered as small business owners.  We’ll offer each other support and brainstorm solutions.

This first day of 2009 is beautiful in MA.  It is sunny and windy, with clear blue skies and a fresh coating of snow on the ground.  I opened and hung my new calendars, which I love to do in January because fresh, new calendars seem to hold so much promise for the coming year.  I feel enthusiastic about the coming year.  Perhaps the wind is blowing a renaissance my way.