Visions from the Heart

It is Vision Board creation time. My mom and sister Linda and I gather over several evenings, in the month of January, to create these visual representations of where we are…and where we are headed. Tonight we began with looking through magazines, and cutting out the pictures and words that captured our interest while also capturing our visions.

Visions of the Heart, Creating Vision Boards

I love these times of companionably sitting together with my mom and sister, discussing life as we look for the perfect images. We laugh…a great deal. We share what’s on our hearts, and the hopes we have for the upcoming year. We discuss our chosen words for the year. Mine, as I have shared, is Inspiration. Linda’s word is Freedom. And my mother chose the word Grace.

Visions of the Heart, Creating Vision Boards

My pictures and words collected so far.

Visions of the Heart, Creating Vision Boards

Linda’s collection.

I realized this evening, amid the animated conversations, that while I believe these fun boards to be important, as they provide daily visual inspiration, there is great power as well in the spoken word. As we chatted, ideas were shared for the first time. The new thoughts took on form and shape and clarity as we talked back and forth about them. Or…they quickly died! Those creative intentions that began to live and breathe took hold, and deepened in our minds and hearts, as we found visual images to represent them, in pictures or words.

Visions of the Heart, Creating Vision Boards

The beginning of Mom’s collection.

Carl Jung says, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” 

Tonight our dreams began the transformative process of becoming visions, as we delved into our hearts. Our conversations helped us to examine the dreams, and then hold them up to our heart-driven desires. They helped us to awaken to who we are and what we can accomplish. I look forward to completing our vision boards over the next week. And I so appreciate having these two companions to journey and create with.

We took several selfies, to accompany my blog post. The one I have chosen to include best captures our evening. We are laughing. I can’t keep my eyes open, in my mirth. Linda can’t keep her head held up as she is consumed by giggles. And my mom is beaming with jovial joy.

Yep, that is the kind of evening we had! I think laughter is not only good medicine for the soul, it also fosters a fertile environment for creativity and visions.

Visions from the Heart, Creating a Vision Board

Journey 228: National Tell a Joke Day

This is not a day I ever thought I would celebrate. Although I enjoy a good joke, I’m not a tell a joke person. I never have been. I have a good sense of humor. Yet whether it was anxiety over getting it right, or fear that no one would laugh, I have refrained from joke telling all my life. 

 

But in the spirit of adventure and embracing firsts, in my continuing quest to move beyond my comfort zone, I’m journeying today into that dangerous area of discomfort…Jokes.  And rejoicing in the ability to use technology to share some funnies. 
 

One enormous result  of joke telling, a practice that has been around for centuries, is laughter. And laughter is good medicine. It relieves stress, releases the feel good hormone oxytocin, and moves energy throughout the body. 
 

Other health benefits of a good belly laugh include relaxing the body, for up to 45 minutes, boosting the immune system, decreasing pain and preventing heart disease. Those side effects of laughter are vital  enough to encourage me to listen to a joke a day or watch a comedy frequently. 
 

And wait, there’s more. Laughter has mental benefits as well including easing fear, increasing resilience, improving mood, and adding joy and zest to life. What a simple remedy with amazing effects. 

 
And there’s even more. Laughter strengthens relationships, promotes group bonding, increases teamwork, and attracts others to us. Especially those who enjoy a good laugh as well. Smiling and laughing are very attractive. Studies have shown that laughter is more contagious than yawning, coughing, sniffling or sneezing. 

 

I do love to laugh. I spent the weekend with family and laughter was an integral part of our time together. Laughter throws a switch in my brain that tells my body, “Prepare to have some fun.” I intend to keep laughing and keep enjoying life, and joke telling just became a part of that intention. 

  
 
And so, here is one of my favorite jokes, perhaps because I have two sisters and I can so see us here in about 40 years! 

There are three sisters, ages 96, 94 and 92 who live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells down the stairs, “Was I getting in the bath or out of it?” The 94 year old yells up, “I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses. She yells, ” Was I going up the stairs or down?” The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea, listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” She knocks on the wooden table for good measure. She then yells, “I’ll come up and help both of you, as soon as I see who’s at the door.”  

I hope you laughed!

  
 
  

Day 241: Fifth Friday Fun

fifth friday fun laughter e

I love when a first comes together, without me planning it out beforehand. These spontaneous firsts are often the most fun. Today was no exception! I had intended to attend the Fourth Friday Artwalk in Carthage MO this evening. However, I realized this morning that that event took place last Friday! With my trip, I lost count of the Fridays. No worries. I had several backup firsts ready to go.

This afternoon, though, I had plans. My grandson, Dayan, got out of school early and I seized the opportunity to pick him up and hang out. I always enjoy being with Dayan. He’s 15 years old and growing up so fast. It won’t be long before he’s off to college. I want to make the most of each moment spent with him. We grabbed a snack and camped out at his house. We chatted and caught up on news and I watched him create a new section of a virtual city in a computer game that he loves. Dayan holds me accountable for daily firsts, and when I explained about my Fourth Friday mistake, we declared today Fifth Friday.

When my phone battery dropped to less than 10% power, I moved out to my car to recharge for a few minutes. Dayan good naturedly joined me in the car. I asked about an art project he’s working on for school and he brought out his Thinkpad Chromebook that his high school has provided for each student this year. After I admired his digital artwork, Dayan showed me the cool camera app on his Chromebook and the filters that can be used to create unique photos. That’s when the fun showed up in Fifth Friday!

We laughed so much as we played with the camera and filters. There were filters that made our eyes huge, created a carnival glass effect and squared off our jaws. We could look alien-like with huge heads and tiny faces, and there was a bunny look that made the mouth really small. Most of these filters only worked on one person at a time. By moving our heads toward each other on the computer screen, the effect would jump to the other person. Any neighbors that looked toward my car had to wonder what was so hilarious!

We discovered at least four effects that we could do together and captured those moments as my first today. Here they are:

fifth friday fun 2e

This colorful filter is called Modern.

fifth friday fun 3e

This one is Ghost and is a very cool effect. When you move on the screen, there is a delayed response, which creates a “ghost” image that appears by the next image. We had way too much fun with this one. Dayan loves it because by turning his head around quickly and then looking back at the screen, he can see what the back of his head looks like.

fifth friday fun 1e

Called Funky, this filter creates a comic book art effect. It really calls for a white conversation bubble above our heads with the word POW in it!

fifth friday fun 4e

This one was my favorite. With our green skin tones, I decided we looked like relatives of the character Elphaba, also known as the wicked witch, from the musical Wicked.

I so appreciate Dayan for sharing new technology with me today. And for entering into the fun. A heartfelt laugh really does do the body good. And when that laughter is shared, it creates more than mirth, it creates joy and in this case, wonderful memories.