Thursday, October 19, 2017

Painting Class Complete

     Last night I completed my 6-week painting class. I closed it off with much gratitude expressed to the instructor, Will, who patiently nurtured this complete rookie artist and taught me so much.
     One of the techniques he taught us was sgraffito, defined as "a technique used in painting, pottery, and glass, which consists of putting down a preliminary surface, covering it with another, and then scratching the superficial layer in such a way that the pattern or shape that emerges is of the lower color." My execution of this delightfully messy process went like this: I painted a piece of hardboard, then applied a mixture of Kilz and salt (yes, you read that correctly), then carved lines through it, let it dry, then painted it. Here it is (I'm going to put a shiny gloss on it, I think...see below):

     I am in a state of wavering between "I like it" and "it's butt-ugly." For what it's worth, Will, my instructor says it is not butt-ugly. Anyway, the jury is still out.
     Geez, who knew that painting was such a mental/emotional/spiritual challenge, besides having to learn all the technical stuff?!?! Anyway, I'm digging it!
     In living color,
          Leta

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Our Amazing Bodies

     Here is a 5-minute video by Baxter Bell, M.D. and yoga teacher, describing the anatomy of the knee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEvqGbLkAUU
     I've been sharing this with my yoga classes this week. I do this obviously for education, but I am always stressing the amazing awesomeness of the human body and encouraging us to appreciate our bodies. It is interesting to me how the knee is designed to bend and extend, of course, but it is also specifically designed to not do other things.
     We tend to take our bodies for granted unless they fail us in some way, then we get irritated with them. This is generally not a path to improvement. Our bodies listen to our self-talk, so appreciation is a much better way to be be comfortable in our own skin.
     Loving my knees,
           Leta

Friday, October 6, 2017

The first one is finished...

     Because I have written about my acrylic painting class, and continue to (mostly) enjoy getting "outside my box," here's my first completed project from class:


Have an excellent day!
        Leta

Friday, September 29, 2017

Success

From Maya Angelou: "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it."
     I say, "Amen to that!" because I have been in the opposite place of not liking me, and therefore, I did not like what I did or how I did it. I did countless creative projects, but because I was not comfortable with myself, I didn't like what I created. Let's look at this from the end result and work backward... if you are never satisfied with what you do, it's not good enough or perfect enough or whatever enough, let that be a trigger to look into your relationship with yourself.
     I am reminded of my former self by my painting class adventures. I am tempted to feel dissatisfaction with my budding artist efforts, being a total rookie at painting. This is exasperated by another person in the class who paints beautifully, and has done so for many years, but she is never satisfied with what she does, always criticizing her own work, quite vocally. She's a profound example of where I do not want to go, as it would surely kill my joyful desire to paint.
     Ms. Angelou's words point to success as being quite simple, though not necessarily easy.
     Happy with me,
            Leta

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rich and Learning

     Today's Note from the Universe by Mike Dooley included this:
If you're reading this right now on a phone or computer, you're rich.
If you have somewhere to go today, you're connected.
And if there is anyone, anywhere, who for any reason knows where you are at this moment, you’re loved.
How's that for a feel-good reminder?

     I would also offer today the list of "life lessons" we come here to Playground Earth to learn over various lifetimes, as listed in The Twelve Layers of DNA by Lee Carroll:
Learn to love
Learn to listen
Learn to receive
Learn to love yourself
Learn to speak your truth
Learn how not to be a victim
Learn not to let anyone define you
Learn how to feel your own mastery
Learn how to live with other Humans
Learn how to get out of blaming others
Learn how to move out of duality (drop your karma)
Learn how to take care of yourself more than others
Learn that you deserve to be here, and are not dirty when you are born
Accomplishing all these things would certainly make for an extraordinary life. I still have plenty of learning to do, and I'm loving it!
        Leta

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trying Something New

     In the author bio in my soon-to-be-released book, one of the roles I listed for myself is "budding artist." This is because the book includes artwork for coloring created by yours truly. Referring to myself as any sort of artist, budding or otherwise, is a stretch for me about as wide as the Grand Canyon.
     Last night was my first in a series of six classes on acrylic painting at City Arts in Wichita. Other than the mandatory art classes in high school, I have never done anything like this, ever. I went into it with joyful expectations of fun and learning, and my expectations were met over-the-top. Of the five students in the class, I am the only one who is a complete and total rookie. It is so fun on a soul level to be so wide open to learning something so new. I confessed that I am powerfully moved and intrigued by color and light the way some folks respond to music. I also confessed that the idea of having to paint anything that is supposed to actually look like something real is terrifying. I learned that the painting I love, and hope to create, is called "non-objective." I'm on it!
     The instructor spent half the class talking about the materials we would be using. He's a man after my own heart, suggesting always to take the thrifty/bargain route. Big relief there. Then we actually had time to do some play with paints, and even doing the simple color chart as a starter--well, I got lost in it, and would have spent the rest of the evening there had we not had a class ending time. What fun!
     Maybe there's some new thing you'd like to explore????
     Learning and loving it,
            Leta

Friday, September 8, 2017

This Brave Broad says, "Getting older requires great bravery!"

     I hurt my right knee, making life difficult and uncomfortable. A couple weeks' time should heal it up nicely, but in the meantime...
     That obnoxious Inner Roommate voice in my head is saying, "You're getting older. Get used to those aches and pains 'cause they are gonna keep on coming." If that doesn't annoy me enough, it goes on, "If you hurt yourself bad enough, you'll be dependent. Then after a long time of being a burden, you'll die." Sometimes I want to rip my own head off!
     Clearly, this is another growth opportunity. An opportunity to focus on what I want in life (total well-being) instead of what I don't want (see preceding paragraph). An opportunity to be compassionate toward my amazing body, rather than irritated with it. And as good timing would have it, I have a weekend workshop later this month wherein I can work deeply on all these growth opportunities.
     Focusing on well-being, yes, yes, I am,
           Leta

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

With Love

     Other than the occasional blog post, I had stopped writing for several years. The details of that hiatus aren't necessary. Q, my nickname for my higher power, kept nudging me to write (i.e., intuition), and I was resistant, to say the least. 
     Last October, at a retreat at Timber Creek Retreat House, during a meditation, Q was finally forceful enough in It's message to get me writing again. Delivered to my psyche then and there were the title, the outline and even an idea of what the book cover would look like.
     Voila!


     This is a proof copy of the book, which will be available on Amazon in October. The title is still growing on me, and the subtitle explains the title: Slow Down and Ponder a Life of Wholeness, Health, Openness and Action. It's a book of short introspective meditations with questions for pondering, space for journaling or doodling and artwork to color. There are a few personal short stories included. I am thrilled with how it turned out. I did it all via Amazon's self-publishing process at createspace.com.  
     For me, writing the book was the easy part. Promotion of the finished product has the potential to be filled with great pressure and drudgery for me. I was reminded by my loving spiritual mentor that all I need to do insure success along those lines is to do the things I love and let the rest go. That in itself is success. In any case, given Q's insistence to get this book into form through me, I know that my invisible support team is hard at work lining up the people. places and circumstances to spread the book around. 
     I'll keep you posted on the official release date. 
     With love,
            Leta


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Opportunity and Respect

     Each week in my yoga classes, I read a segment from the book "Meditations from the Mat" by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kennison. It is a very insightful look at the whole system of yoga, an eight-limb system teaching humans how to live in a state of well-being on every level. Yoga postures (asana) are just one limb of the eight-limb system.
     Yesterday I came upon this sentence in the book: "Give the opportunity you have been given the respect that it is due." In context, it was referring to the opportunity of attending yoga classes. However, I see this as a powerful guiding statement for all of life.
     I let my mind start roaming about in "opportunities" so worthy of respect:

  • being alive in these amazing bodies
  • using our talents
  • loving ourselves and others
  • living on an extraordinary planet
  • having machines (washer, dryer, dishwasher, car, A/C, etc.) that make life so easy
  • supporting oneself (and maybe others) via working
  • voting
  • learning
  • eating good food
  • travelling

     Those are just the ones that "floated to the top" as I was writing this. The sentiment of the above quote adds a reverence to daily life and all the things we get to do, be and have. Please ponder this and feel free to add to the list from your own life experience. It feels good.
     Enjoying opportunities,
              Leta


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Relief for Procrastination

This is a quote from spiritual teacher Abraham via Esther Hicks...
Don't beat up on yourself about procrastination, for this reason. When you are focused upon what you want and you are in a place of really expecting … in other words pure creation … you will be inspired to action and the action comes easily. But if you are not really clear about what you want or if your expectation is not quite yet in alignment, then it takes more action. But even in offering the action it is counter-productive because you are working against yourself. In other words you are splitting the energy. You are following? So procrastination is nothing more than your physical realization that you are acting too soon, that some mental alignment is in order. Or that the fire isn't there yet so don't spray the hose in the house! Procrastination is not a bad thing!! It is the realization that the Universe has not sufficiently aligned. 
It is the same thing as saying, "Abraham, I went out to the garden. I looked at the bush. I saw that great big green hard tomato and I just didn't feel like plucking it and eating it." We would say, "Of course you didn't feel like plucking it and eating it! You'd rather wait a few days until it becomes soft and delicious and ripe and ready for you." And in the same way we say don't try so hard to bang your way forward. Allow, or trust that the laws of the Universe will brings things into the perfect alignment. And you be one who is at the right place at the right time, and you will be when you are looking for reasons to feel good.
Feeling good about feeling good,
        Leta

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reading Fewer Books?

     Here's a fine article about the fact that fewer people are reading fewer books, and why. It describes me all too well, I'm bummed to say. Hopefully it will lead me to more discipline and more book-reading time. http://philipyancey.com/reading-wars
     It won't take long to read it! 😉
         Leta

Monday, July 10, 2017

Freedom

"When we become love and cease having anything to prove, we are finally and exquisitely free."
                                  - Rev. Karen Wylie

     The combination of freedom and flexibility is one of my top five core values in life. I love having a flexible schedule so that I can travel when I want. Having that flexibility gives me a great sense of freedom.
     The quote above, however, inspires me to dig deeper into the idea of freedom. I am in the process of releasing some obligations from my schedule. As I look on those things I have let go or plan to let go, I see it's because in those areas, I have ceased having anything to prove. I am letting them go easily and gracefully, not with any angst of incompletion or failure. I am opening the way to be more love, by being able to do more of the things that I love. Yes, it does feel very free and heart-opening.
     Happy Monday!
            Leta

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My Choice for Today?

I ran across this quote from Yoda in my morning roamings:
     Give off light, or darkness. Be a candle, or the night.
It's not easy in our fear-filled, perfectionistic world to be a beacon of light. In fact, with that very statement, I was being "darkness." It is possible, however, to be a candle. It takes a bit of effort, continually reaching for a better-feeling thought. We don't need to light the entire world, either, just our local path. My choice for today is to give off light, smile, be enthusiastic, live a "life is good!" attitude. 
     Shining,
           Leta

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Playing with Art

     This is the year that the artist in me (not sure if it is tiny or big) escapes. I did a group painting experience with friends in January and decided that I want to paint (other than walls in my house). I have purchased all the supplies to get me started, but haven't yet dived in, because...
     I am busy having fun with Zentangles (zentangle.com). I am creating these to use in my forthcoming book for coloring.

 
     I bought the Zentangle starter kit, but you wouldn't need to. Google "zentangle" and you'll find plenty of resources online. I do, however, really like the paper provided in the kit. Doing this is a great form of meditation. I get lost in the creativity of it all.
     Who knew when I agreed to write the book that I would end up putting MY art into it? Had someone told me that when I started writing, I would have scoffed vehemently at the them. I guess I am evolving, even if I don't see it sometimes. Oh, yeah, that's part of being a Brave Broad!
      Getting artsy-fartsy,
            Leta


Friday, June 2, 2017

Eyes, Wonder and Milestones

     I am in awe even more now over the human body, in this instance, the eyes. The ability to heal, an amazing mystery, is very dear to my heart right now, as I had the cataract removed from my right eye just two days ago, Wed. morning, May 31. The general path regarding the lens implant is for folks to have their distance vision corrected, leaving the up-close vision requiring glasses, as most folks near vision has deteriorated significantly with age. I went into it with still excellent up-close vision, which I wanted to keep, and a willingness to keep wearing glasses for distance. Losing my great up-close sight would be traumatic for me. So that was the big question as I came out of surgery.
    First opening of the right eye on Wed. found everything slanted at 45 degrees. Weird and freaky! A quick call to the doctor's office let me know this abnormal vision is normal at first. I've rested the past two days, giving my body time to heal, and I've slept even more than usual. My body is using the rest time well to heal my eye. Scratchiness is gone. Last night I was able to do a drawing, seeing clearly up-close through my newly repaired eye. I am so grateful for all the talent, good care, technology and health insurance (thanks, President Obama) that made all this possible.
     Wait a minute. Did I say "drawing"? Yes, I have taken up drawing. I am doing Zentangles for my forth-coming book, which (happy dance!!) is now in the hands of my editor and friend, Jeanne Smith. Huge milestone accomplished! The drawings will be in the book for coloring. I love exploring my budding talent at this very fun art form. Check it out at https://www.zentangle.com/.
     Life is good!
        Leta

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fall Retreat Info Now Available

Check out the tab at the top of the blog: Leta's Next Retreat.
The theme is "Introspection and Inspiration." Look within and be inspired. Relax and restore your soul.
Guaranteed to be a great weekend!
         Leta

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Where Have I Been?

     It's been a while since I've written on the blog. I was consumed for three months by my annual tax prep job plus my regular yoga teaching schedule. I have also been working on a book... more to come on that later this year.
     I do the tax prep job to earn travel money, so let the traveling begin. Colorado, Minnesota, Pacific Northwest, Chicago (Cubs baseball!!!), upstate New York and parts in between. These travels include working on my bucket list item of seeing a baseball game in every major league city. It's going to be a great year of exploring, both our beautiful country and my vast inner world.
     What adventures do you have planned for this great year?
             Leta

Sunday, February 5, 2017

More on "I can't..."

     I'm a yoga teacher. For years I told myself, "I can't do side plank." One day as I evolved, I said to myself, "Maybe I can." So I tried it. I can do side plank. I had never tried it because for years I told myself I couldn't do it. Big lesson learned! Now I am very wary of those times when I hear myself saying, "I can't..."
     My brother (he's in Ohio, I'm in Kansas) has a medical condition that affects his ability to walk longer distances. It's extremely distressing for him, as he has always been very active. I believe I have some techniques and equipment that can significantly help him, plus he said, unprovoked by me, "I am going to beat this." I sent the equipment to him, and I'm making him videos (posted on youtube) to teach him how to use the techniques and equipment. Right away he started with "this is too complicated for me to learn." That's just another form of "I can't," and I called him on that bullshit immediately, encouraging him to not eliminate something that could vastly improve his condition just because he has to learn something new. I'm not letting him get away with any form of "I can't."
     Listen to yourself. What joy, adventures, empowerment, creativity and learning are you denying yourself with "I can't"???
          Leta

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Highly-Recommended Fun

     Some friends invited me this past week to Paint the Town, a place in Wichita where groups can go and paint a picture, no painting talent needed. Since I have no painting talent (or so I thought), this was perfect for me.
     It was a blast. My friends and I brought snacks and wine and beer for the pre-painting gathering time. Then Mary, our painting instructor extraordinaire and extremely patient person, led us through the steps to create our flower painting. You can choose from many different pictures and all the canvas, paints, brushes, etc. are all laid out ready to go. It's a two-hour process.

The photo on the right is my painting. I'm no Monet, but at least you can tell they are flowers. It was a super-fun learning experience. Even though everyone is painting the same thing, the pictures all turned out quite different. It was great to see and experience how a painting really goes together--all I ever see is the finished product. It was interesting and creative and fun, totally worth the $25 fee. Best of all, it turned a whole lot of "I can't" into "look what I did!" I'm sure this opportunity is not unique to Wichita, google it. Go do it, you'll love it!          Leta

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Two Suggestions for Huge Improvement

This is what I am posting this morning at obama.org, the Obama Foundation, in reply to Mr. & Mrs. Obama's request for suggestions for projects for the Foundation:
      I live in Kansas, where it is often said that the majority would vote for Satan if they put an "R" behind his name. In my opinion, this "joke" was proven 100% true in the 2016 presidential election. These same voters keep electing the same people to Congress. The only hope for change in our congressional delegation is if someone resigns (extremely unlikely) or dies.
      This situation, along with the Electoral College, are extreme disincentives to vote. This disincentive is a tragedy, in my opinion. I am dedicated to our Constitution and exercise my voting rights. However, in the November 2016 election, aside from one state issue, my vote was completely meaningless. No wonder folks say "why bother?" on voting.
      I've heard the suggestion that I can move if I don't like how Kansas is, but we all know moving is no solution.
      My suggestions for projects for the Obama Foundation are two: 1) Eliminate the Electoral College, so that the President is truly chosen by the actual popular vote count; and 2) establish term limits for both houses of Congress, the shorter the better.
      Thank you for asking for input!
           Leta Miller
           Wichita, Kansas

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Huh?!?!

Mark Twain: The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.
     What words of wisdom! Just this week I returned to my 3-month intensive job doing tax preparation. I walked in the door and immediately said to the accountant and my co-worker, “I forgot everything from last year!” My co-worker laughed and agreed. The accountant, however, just started explaining new tax stuff to me. I truly experienced Twain’s quote above in my first year’s tax work last year, and I can feel round two coming up. Fortunately we all have a good sense of humor about it all, and we have a great system of checks and balances to make sure everything comes out right in the end.
     This morning my co-worker and I were reacquainting ourselves with the new electronic phone system. We were using our personal cell phones to call the office phone and practice transferring calls and so on. Being in the same room doing all that makes for great silliness. To our credit, after a multitude of assorted trials, we finally figured out that one function was not working on our office phones. The person taking the fake calls to help us was very patient, but alas, it all deteriorated into more explaining and less understanding. Oh, and lots of laughter.
     I can think of multiple situations in which Twain’s quote is so very applicable, especially in parenting. Ponder his thought for a while and see where it leads you.
     Done explaining,
          Leta

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Be Kind

"Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people." Karen Salmansohn

     I do believe strongly in the goodness of people, but trust me, that belief is tested frequently. I waver constantly between "love is the only solution" and, for example, despising every person who is responsible for electing Trump.
     Realizing I can't do much now about the election, my choice is to practice kindness. Kindness toward myself for ugly thoughts. Smiling and being friendly. Knowing that we are really all doing our best, no matter how I may evaluate that. Knowing that I don't know another's story, so who am I to judge? Doing the next right thing with love. Live and let live. Bless all those whose path I cross.
     Kindness feels a lot better.
            Blessings!
                     Leta