Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Gift of Practice ♥ An Autumn Offering

Real knowledge does not come from books. It is gleaned through the experiences of life: through personal encounter, through the body, the senses, and through the heart. It is through practice – regular attention and engagement with the multitude of details and treasures that make up daily life -  that I evolve and grow.



How do we translate daily actions into soul-full living? How can I make that my practice? 

That is the intention underlying all the practices that I seek to cultivate to through creative actions, through meditation, and through spiritual study. 

I've always had some form of a practice.  Over the years, the nature of my practice changes but the motivation remains the same: to live my life wide awake and present, committed to the evolutionary growth of my soul, and seeking to realize my fullest creative, human, and spiritual potential.

How do we slow down and pay attention to what really matters?  With so many demands upon our time and attention, carving out space for what is vital for our well-being can be challenging and overwhelming.  Attending to the nurturance and care of our inner life – creative, spiritual, soulful, magical, whatever brings juice and joy into our very core – is something we hunger for yet all too often relegate to the bottom of an endless to-do list.

Showing up for one self, for one’s life, is a practice.  It is the ultimate practice.  Practice is both a discipline and a means to freedom.  It establishes regular attendance to the things that matter and in doing so, nourishes the parts of ourselves that feed meaning, purpose, curiosity, creativity, gratitude and joy. Through practice, structures and habits of support are strengthened; our gifts then grow and thrive upon that framework.  

The Gift of Practice: Nurturing & Nourishing Self is my offering in support of inner nurturance and care.  It is an exploration of the structures, the habits, and the obstacles inherent to establishing and maintaining a regular practice whether it be a meditation practice, daily self care, creative work or mindfulness amid the flow of the everyday. 

What is this program about?

A supportive space to experiment with the structure and experience of regular practice in whatever form currently meets your needs and interests.   

There will be practical wisdom on how to structure and create support for a fruitful and regular habit of practice gleaned from my years of study and practice as a Kripalu Yoga instructor and student. We will examine the obstacles and inherent dips and plateaus in one’s progress, learning how to cultivate new attitudes and a flexible mindset as we come to understand better the purpose and flow of any practice.  Knowing when to apply discipline and when to adjust and adapt practice to meet evolving needs is an essential skill vital to unlocking the power and potential of practice.  You may wish to utilize the gathering as an opportunity to commit to a practice or you wish to gather information, tools and insights to better prepare the foundation for a future endeavor. 

Each week there will be interviews with Creative luminaries sharing their experiences with a variety of creative practices: writing, drawing, painting, poetry, art journaling, and photography.  All practice offer the opportunity to deepen presence and engagement, with the rich details of life experienced with open eyes, mind, heart and soul.  Through dialogue with the group and the insights of our guest presenters, we can gain valuable perspective and understanding into the vast array of possible forms practice can take and we deepen our commitment to crafting our unique and personal expression of practice that sustains our evolutionary urge.

Who is this program for? 
You have struggled to start or maintain any kind of regular practice
You have never maintained any regularity in creative expression, self care, or supportive health care practices (but aspire to do so!)
You are curious about what a more disciplined practice can offer you
You have a practice but want to deepen it or infuse it with new energy and vitality
You feel stuck or unable to move forward in some aspect of your life
You yearn for deeper connection with yourself or wish to create space to hear and honor the whisperings of your heart and soul

This offering is for you. 


Important details and information:

Dates: offering runs live September 22 through October 31, 2014 (6 weeks) with content remaining available through the end of 2014.

-Material will be posted in a private online classroom space where questions and discussion threads will be monitored during the live segment of the offering.

-A gallery of participant's offerings/insights/inspirations will be available for you to use as a form of accountability or to share your growth and development.

-Required tools: curiosity, acceptance, suspension of self judgment, tenacity, commitment to showing up for yourself and/or the group.

-Suggested (but not required): any toys and props (journal, paints, crayons, pencils, camera, etc.) that you may wish to explore during our time together.

I first offered this program in the Fall of 2013 and it has been my favorite program to run and to participate in.  I am excited to be including new interviews in addition to archived interviews for added inspiration and support.

I am deeply grateful to the teachers and kindred spirits who have inspired and supported me as I craft my unique expression of practice.  I am eternally curious to see how others incorporate and adapt the discipline of practice to experience and express spontaneous action, insights, and spiritual/creative growth.  

 This is not a how-to course - this is a collaborative adventure!  That said, I am all about  balancing willful effort with surrender and will not offer hiding spots for excuses or hanging back.  Any quest worth the time requires stretching oneself beyond the edge of comfort, moving out of ease and into the unknown.  I invite you to join me on a journey to the far reaches of possibility and potential.  Stories, snacks, and other essentials will be provided ♥ 

Registration opening soon for Autumn 2014 session

6 weeks (live; classroom space stays open through March 20, 2015) - $88

Spring session  2015 to be announced (leave me a comment if you wish to be notified about upcoming sessions)

Please be sure the email address you use to register is the one you wish me to use to send course information.  You can email me directly with any questions or to edit your profile: Lishofmann(at)novai(dot)net. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sketch Diary Explorations: An Online Summer Camp

Summertime for my nine-year old is a time of expansive play.  Days of wide open play are punctuated with bursts of discovery, exploration, and creativity harvested from day and week-long summer camps.  I admit to being envious of her adventures.  Then I realized: I can craft my own summer camp!

For myself, summer can be a frustrating mixture of fantasies and hopes dashed upon the rocks of reality.  It can be too busy!  What I have learned is rather than limiting my aspirations, it is best to simplify.  Much depth can be found in the simple.

That is my guiding principle for Sketch Diary Explorations.  Keep it simple, make it adaptable to a chaotic and changeable summer schedule, but make it happen.

For the past six months I have been creating a sketch a-day in my art journal.  I didn't set out to do this practice, it just happened.  The pleasure and ease of my daily sketching had me reaching for my journal day after day.  When I realized it had become a practice, I was inspired to see the possibilities for depth and connection my sketch diary held for me.

It marks the quiet, but important transitions in my life ...

It allows me the space and time to relax into my day ...

Slowing down ...

And notice the tiny but miraculous details that I might otherwise overlook ...

In times when I felt lost or overwhelmed, my sketch diary gave me a finger-hold upon my life ...

As I transition, so too my sketch diary expands to hold that new vision ...

As summer is a time for adventure and play, I am excited to see where my sketch diary will take me!  I want to share this practice and see what discoveries it opens up for others.  Sound like a good plan?

What: Sketch Diary Explorations: an online art camp

When: Go at your own pace. Original camp ran in August of 2014 but I have had requests for the materials and can set up a 6 week delivery plan or send you all the lessons at once. If you are interested, contact me at: Lishofmann88(at)gmail(dot)com. I will then send you a paypal invoice and make arrangements for how you would like to receive the content.

How: Once a week email newsletter with written content and links to videos (so you can go at your own pace, the material is yours to keep!)

So six lesson ideas (delivered to your inbox on Monday) and the rest of the week to practice and play, adapt and change.

Hidden page on my blog to share my daily sketch diary explorations (and any pages you wish to share!)

Content will include practical and technical tips along with support for establishing and maintaining a regular practice.  No fuss, no musts involved.  Make your practice work for you!

Guest sketch-bookers  may make an appearance to share their practices. By no means limited to how I sketch (I make no claims to be an expert drawer; just a passionate one!) 

price: $44 $35 for Summer 2015!

Keep it simple, make it doable, immerse yourself in the details of your life, your dreams.

Frequently asked Questions:  

 I love this idea ... but I can't draw!  How is this for me?
Absolutely this is for you - and everyone! If you can't draw - or rather, you think you can't draw - this is the perfect place to begin fresh and new.  While we will be practicing sketching/drawing, the main focus of this offering is slowing down, turning off the thinking mind, shifting into the creative side of the mind and strengthening our ability to really see what is before us. The action of sketching allows us to engage more intimately with our world while allowing a natural pause in the rhythm of our day.  Consider it to be a form of meditation utilizing vision as a resting place for the always busy mind.

I share a little bit more on this topic HERE.

The dates don't work for me; I will be out of town - I have other obligations at this time - I'm not sure I will be available for all six weeks.  Can I go at my own pace? Or will I miss out?
I will be sending out the content in 6 installments spaced a week apart to allow time to really engage with the material.  How and when you choose to work with the lessons is totally up to you!  You will have the emailed lessons to keep and the video files will be available indefinitely, so you can return to the material again and again.  You may spent six weeks playing with the ideas from lesson one before moving on.  This is a go-at-your-own-pace offering and you can begin at any time.

I want to do this with my child/friend/partner.  Is sharing okay?
Having a partner is a great way to strengthen commitment to a new practice and a fun way to experience the material as we each bring our own flavor to the practice. My daughter will be joining me in camp this summer!  So yes, I would love to imagine groups gathering to view the videos and spending time together sketching and sharing experiences and insights.  While I welcome community, I do ask that you do not forward the email lessons or video links to others.  It is fine to share together, but I ask that the content stay with the paying participants.  I am a self-employed artist and depend upon this income to support my work.

What if I need support or want feedback?  Will you be available?
I love this work.  Love, love, LOVE it.  However I can support or assist you, I am here and available through email.  I would be happy to arrange a one-time skype session gratis if you would like feedback on your practice or ideas to tailor this practice for you. 

Sorry ... camp is over!  I am hopping to create a single PDF self-study version. If you are interested, please leave me a comment here and I will get back to you!

for more examples from my sketch diary (which by no means is to limit how you will choose to work in yours) visit HERE

Thursday, June 19, 2014

summer sketchbook camp (preview)

Couldn't wait to share ... something fun, easy, and deeply satisfying amid the busyness of summer play time ...

Details coming soon.  But will be simple, easy on the wallet and crafted to give lots of inspiration, ideas, support and encouragement for what is a simple, but profoundly rewarding practice.

Start gathering your pens, pencils and paints!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Mandala Moon Play

As I prepare for The Gift of Practice online offering, I am finding myself inspired to dive deeper into processes that have nourished me in the past.  One practice that I have turned to repeatedly for guidance and insight is the Mandala.

A mandala is a circular format representing the wholeness of existence.  At a basic level the circular template means there is no one area of dominance (top versus bottom) other than a central point : inner flows into outer, top flows around to bottom and back up again. Working within the shape of the mandala, our eye and hand travel around the surface, often spinning the mandala and shifting perspective as we work within it.  

According to psychologist Carl Jung, mandalas are "the psychological expression of the totality of the self." Jung posited that in working with mandalas, we tap into archetypal symbols and messages that constitute the collective unconsciousness.  Jung equated the mandala with the eye, expressing the action of Seeing merging into Consciousness.  To create a mandala is to See the play of our physical and spiritual impulses, urges, desires, struggles and triumphs.  

Given the round format of the mandala, it seems natural to equate it to the fullness of the Moon.  Thinking about the natural cycle of the moon as it transitions from empty (new) to full, and back to empty again, is a beautiful example of our own energy patterns.  Emptying myself of what no longer serves or describes me, opening to fill and receive new insights, new possibilities, transiting into an every expanding understanding of myself and life.  From that new perspective, I begin once again the process of shedding what no longer fits into this new perspective.  And so I roll!

According to different world cultures, each month's full moon offers symbolic teachings attuned to the seasons.  As part of my mandala practice, I will be meditating upon the life lessons of each month, utilizing the energy of the New Moon (new beginnings) to assist me in setting an intention for myself for that moon cycle.  What I hope to create is a monthly "snapshot" of my inner growth tied to the seasons along with a kind of monthly mindfulness practice.  

Knowing that any journey is enriched by like-minded company, I am proffering this handmade invitation to have you join me:

 direct link to video through vimeo here

Mandala Moon Play will be a  once a month email with written prompts and ideas; material suggestions; an audio link to a recorded guided visualization on that month's moon energy; and a private flickr group account where we can upload our images and share through comments or discussion threads.  As I sit here brewing all this up (literally, on the spot!) I am envisioning postcards or a group journal to commemorate a seasonal or yearly cycle of mandalas. 

The first cycle - the Autumn moons - begins October 4.  Each month's email will arrive in time for the New Moon (November 3, December 2, January 1 & 30; March 1).  You can opt to join for Autumn or Winter (3 practices) for $20 or for the entire 6 months (last half of the seasonal year/6 practices) for $30.

For future offerings, please contact me directly at: Lishofmann(at)novia(dot)net.