The Power of Surrender

I received some unexpected news a few days ago, like really out of the blue news and it threw me for a loop. In the quest to figure out my severe anemia, I was sent to a gynecologist, an ultrasound revealing a non-fibroid thickening in my uterus. This doctor casually told me that I needed to have a biopsy to check for cancer, and most likely a hysterectomy to quell the anemia. Hysterectomy I saw coming, but cancer? WHAT? I got caught up in the whirlwind of it all for a couple days, feeling desperately out of control, suddenly robbed of my peace of mind and the illusion that I have any control over anything ever. I immediately tried to take control of my circumstances, obsessively troubleshooting, planning and figuring out every eventuality. My immediate thoughts were of my family, and how to keep all of the wheels rolling and plates spinning no matter what.

I was terrified. I was afraid of being dependent, weakened, and compromised, unable to care for myself for even a little while. The more I tried to figure everything out, the worse it got. Then, two days later an epiphany- my power lies not in control of the situation but in control of how I react to it. I chose to view the situation as a gift, an opportunity to let go of physical and emotional pain that has built up in my body. I was able to let go of trying to figure it all out right now, and trust that it will all work out in divine right order. I have a feeling that when the biopsy is done, all will be fine. I will have the hysterectomy and let go of all the sad memories along with my scarred uterus. The happy memories I will keep- my beautiful living children. My power will be in starting over, freshly.

The world is an overwhelmingly crazy place lately for many of us. It is easy to feel powerless. Remember to breathe, pulling your attention into your heart and into gratitude. Our power lies there, in the light of love. Keep loving no matter what, for the Earth and her inhabitants need it now more than ever.

Loving you all, powerfully,
Ann

 

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Light in the Darkness

I haven’t felt like writing lately. I never know what to write when I am mentally, physically or emotionally down. In those times, annoyed and berating my lack of ability to just ‘get over’ whatever has me down, it is difficult to see how I could possibly make a difference. Was this something I was taught or absorbed as a child? Or as an adult, studying consciousness and transformation? It doesn’t help that healers are often held to a higher, unrealistic standard to display positivity, light and love even when we humanly hit rough patches.

As a reserved introvert, this sort of thinking sends me deeper within myself until I eventually turn the tide. This time, however, I am determined to take a different approach; writing anyway, creating anyway. Isn’t that what art is all about? Only having been taught to hide all of the negatives, it is difficult to think of splashing them about for all to see.

I am reminded of a lesson in authenticity I learned when I participated in a theatre workshop a few years ago. We five women each drew from our lives to create sketches which we then performed together. My portion dealt with the struggle to balance all of my responsibilities as a mother and wife before making my way to the symbolic cup of paint brushes, which I never actually made it to. At one point, the other women, portraying my children, climbed all over me, their voices escalating and bringing an all too familiar feeling up from my own life. I looked pleadingly at the teacher and said, “Help! They aren’t listening to me!” His response was, “Well make them!” I proceeded to subdue them with frustrated screaming. It felt horrible, exposing my dark side like that, but also human, authentic and real. When we performed the piece in front of an audience it was liberating to share humanity that they could relate to.

I am writing today and it is making me feel better. I will go home and do some crafting. Perhaps soon I will find the courage to make some real art that exposes more of my humanity, grief and pain, loss, love, passion, magic, mystery, and the eternal light of the spirit. Next time you are down, I hope you will have the courage to keep creating, for all of the darkness and light of your being is beautiful, precious and irreplaceable. 

In love and light,
Ann
 

We Told You So! Doing a Craft or Art IS Stress Relief

Stress-related hormone cortisol lowers significantly after just 45 minutes of art creation

This is the title of a great new article we are featuring that discussed a study dome by Drexel University.  Here's the beginning of the article.  You can follow the link above or below for the entire article. Now go schedule your 45 minutes a week. :-)

Whether you’re Van Gogh or a stick-figure sketcher, a new Drexel University study found that making art can significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body.

Although the researchers from Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions believed that past experience in creating art might amplify the activity’s stress-reducing effects, their study found that everyone seems to benefit equally.

“It was surprising and it also wasn’t,” said Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor of creative arts therapies. “It wasn’t surprising because that’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting. That said, I did expect that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience.”

The results of the study were published in Art Therapy under the title “Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making.” Kendra Ray, a doctoral student under Kaimal, and Juan Muniz, PhD, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, served as co-authors.

“Biomarkers” are biological indicators (like hormones) that can be used to measure conditions in the body, such as stress. Cortisol was one such the hormone measured in the study through saliva samples. The higher a person’s cortisol level, the more stressed a person is likely to be...

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

READ MORE ABOUT THE AFFECT THAT MAKING ART HAS ON STRESS

Being a Light in the World

There are so many ways to be a light for someone else, and we are celebrating this concept this week. A while back, we had a table at a boutique where we invited people to make necklaces to be donated to a local charity, or to make a cash donation if they wanted to make one for themselves. We thought we'd have a few to donate to a good cause, and we ended up with somewhere around 50 necklaces plus a good amount of cash to give to the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita.

We thought they would be a nice thing to give to women who were probably in one of the darkest times of their lives. The center chose to make them part of what each participant receives when they complete a 16 week education course through the center. We had no idea how much these small gifts would mean to these women. They were so liked, that DVC requested we provide more, so we had our first Necklace Night with them, where a group of volunteers, learned about the center, learned how to make necklaces, and had fun. 

We also had no idea when we started this what the process of creating these gifts would mean to the women making the necklaces. It was very emotional for some, and all were carefully planned and assembled with the recipients in mind - women most of us do not even know. As it turns out, these efforts bring light to us all, and strengthen our communities. Know we were all smiling all evening long. This group of light made about 80 necklaces that night!

We encourage you to look for ways to be involved wherever you are, and to remember that no kind gesture is too small.  Pay it forward at the Starbucks drive through, let another driver merge in, thank the grocery bagger for their help. And be sure to absorb the light you get back in return.

Love and Light,
Ann and Karen

P.S. For more information about Domestic Violence Center of SCV or Domestic Violence services, please follow this link.  

Photo by David Pentek on Unsplash

Are You Behind?

We've had several subscribers write to us because they are getting behind in doing their monthly craft kits. NEVER FEAR!  And for sure we don't want you to let your Divine You Crafts subscription become a source of stress. That would be the opposite of our intentions for you and your fabulous life.

So we have some thoughts  for you:

1) You deserve to set aside one small block of time each month for yourself.  When we do our crafting classes monthly for each kit, they typically take three hours or less. Of course you are welcome to spend longer doing these wonderful activities, and we do encourage that. But the point here is that we believe you are entitled to schedule two to three hours a month, preferably with a friend, to do your kit and allow yourself to:

  • unplug from routine
  • connect to your soul
  • relax and enjoy
  • get lost in creating
  • explore an activity and yourself.

Don't you agree? Schedule it now!

2) If you have one (or two or three) of those months where life conspires to derail you, and you find you cannot catch up, you always have the option go into your Cratejoy account and move your renewal date out a month.  This means you will:

  • skip a kit
  • have a break
  • and hopefully, use the month to do some you have been saving.

We'd much rather you skipped a month or two than cancel your subscription. The past kits are usually available in the shop, if there is ever one you skip that you decide you want, or if there is one you want another of for yourself or a gift.  Some do sell out, but we think it's better to skip a month than feel guilty or overwhelmed. So cut that out right now!

3) Invite a couple friends over and have a catch up party.  Catch up on each other's lives, and catch up on your crafting. Everyone can do a kit, you can combine them, you can trade them around, and you can have a ball. The kits will be happy you are using them, and you will be honoring this month's theme of PLAY with your besties.

Remember, It's all about being conscious, crafting, and living well.

Love, Karen

Crafting with Others

Often, in my crazy, busy life, it seems luxurious and impractical to take time out to craft. But much like moments when I feel I must push on to the next task and then the next, when what I really need to do is take a nap, meditate, or otherwise just stop for a few minutes, making the mindful decision to craft and create is a necessary part of my well being.

A regular practice of conscious crafting can help one to let go of stress and step out of analytical left brain into a right brain experience, where time vanishes into presence and intense thought gives way to intuition. Crafting can help us enter a mindful, meditative state and allow us to leave our worries, concerns and cares behind for a few minutes. The practice of taking time out to craft and the experience of crafting is as valuable if not more so than any finished product is. This idea is the cornerstone of our vision. Conscious crafting can change your life.

A regular practice of crafting with others is even more beneficial. We here at Divine You Crafts meet monthly with some of our local subscribers to play with the kit contents plus whatever else we have conjured up from the supply shelves. It’s fascinating to watch the process of people coming together to craft. We hug, we visit, we snack, and then we sit down, dim the lights and do a guided visualization together to set the mood and intention for the evening (recordings of our visualizations are posted on our website for your use). We take a beat, and a breath, and then the participants start looking through their boxes like little children at the holidays.

A quiet comes over the room as we ponder the kit contents, perhaps thinking a bit too hard about what to do with them. We then share some ideas, techniques and tips and let them do their thing. You can almost feel the moment when we slip from left to right brain, from overthinking to letting go and playing. We play, then, together like little children do. We encourage each other, and marvel at the incredible variety that we produce from the same materials. We share ideas, materials, stories, laughter, food and sometimes wine. We share whatever the craft brings up for us. Deeply immersed, it is often hard to come back to reality when it is time to clean up and go home. The memories and experiences we have at these events stay with us, and the personal, meaningful crafts we create, even as we doubted our ability to make them, become cherished keepsakes.

We encourage you to make regular time to craft as often as possible. Subscribing to our kits is a good way to do that. Subscribing with a friend, with a promise to meet regularly and work on them is even better. Subscribing with a group who meets regularly to craft? Priceless. If you and a group of friends would like to do a conscious crafting event together, no matter where you live, please email ann@divineyoucrafts.com and we will help you devise a plan, and offer you group kits at a reduced rate.


 

Do You Have Space for Fun?

What does having the space for fun mean to you? I’ve been thinking about that one a lot, as time seems to speed up more quickly every day and time to relax, rejuvenate, and play becomes harder to find. It may seem odd to say this, but working at finding the time to play and have fun is a worthwhile project.
 
Over the weekend, my natural impulse was to stay put in my air conditioned home, catching up on the never ending housework. My husband, fifteen year old daughter and I opted instead to have a family day at the Natural History Museum and the Americana shopping center on the way home. It was entirely worth the effort, the traffic, and the craziness of crowds to spend family time together in one of our favorite places. We experienced a phenomenal virtual reality underwater adventure, saw an exhibit on extreme mammals, and were awed by the gorgeous winged inhabitants of the butterfly pavilion. We played loud music and our favorite alphabet game on the way there and back. It was a great day and well worth the effort.
 
Sometimes fun happens spontaneously, and sometimes in the craziness of recent times it is an important thing to plan out. I like to sit with my calendar for the next two or three months (because time goes that quickly for me lately!) and plan out some family fun time way in advance. Museum visits, concerts in the park, concerts in arenas as birthday gifts, plays, musicals at the Ahmanson or Pantages, and, of course, very special moments such as when ‘the people’ come to visit. ‘The people’ are my older adult daughter and her three children. My two other adult sons live in town, so when they come I have all of my children and grandchildren in one place, and my heart sings. Planning their visits includes all of the above as well as game nights of Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, and special foods I only make for the occasion.
 
But then I think, isn’t the real objective of a successful life to create it so that joy and fun are always present? We can identify the things that give us joy and move our lives towards that. What would you be doing if you could do anything? What do you perceive as holding you back? What can you do to move that direction? We can also approach day to day life with a heaping dose of gratitude, which shifts everything. Coming from gratitude, life can be joyous and fun. We can actively choose to do the things we are already doing, and shift our relationships with them. Choosing to be happy and joyous and to have fun with life is the greatest gift we can give to the people around us, and it shifts our lives also.  So be sure and make some space for fun.
 
Wishing you a fun summer!
With love,
Ann