Sounds icky, but it feels so good.

Hey, how ARE you?

You know that feeling when you see a friend that you haven't seen in a while, and they ask, "How's it been going?" and so much has happened since last time that you don't know where to start? That's how I feel right now.

But first... How are YOU? How's the family? Have you been making time for yourself? Had any creative fun lately? Gotten out in nature? Read a good book? Staying healthy? Have you caught the Coloring for Adults fever? (If so, I hope you'll check out my video below.)

Even castles need a good cleaning now and then.
Even castles need a good cleaning now and then.

Time for another Life Cleanse.

So, what's going on with me? I'm doing another whole-life deep clean. It's not as icky as it sounds, but there's some grayness involved. Last month I sort of went into hibernation: very reclusive, much introspection, some angst, but mostly healthy soul searching and re-evaluating. Do you ever do that, or am I the only one? I'm emerging from it eager for a thorough house-clearing. We're talking from the basement to the rafters here, inside and out.

My physical home needs decluttering, especially my studio space (and you'll hear more soon about how we can both benefit from it). But that's indicative of the larger life-slash-business overhaul that I'm gearing up for.

It's been ten years.

Now that I think about it, it's been a decade since my last Major Life Cleanse. Here's what I did to shake things up between late 2005 and early 2007:

  1.  got divorced
  2. began martial arts training
  3. set up a new home filled with artwork
  4. started taking hiphop dance classes
  5. changed my name
  6. had some melanomas diagnosed and surgically removed from my body
  7. joined a neighborhood book club
  8. got braces on my teeth
  9. installed my first bit of public art.

Yes, all of that happened in an 18-month period. Then the next year I quit my secure teaching job to start a business, and I got a tattoo.

The amazing thing is that all of those changes stuck—not just the tattoo! Well, the braces eventually came off. :)

This one's more internal.

Compared to that flurry-of-turning-40, this life-cleanse-at-50 feels mild. The past decade has been about aligning my schedule and priorities with my values, and taking better care of myself. I started new routines, and stopped some unhealthy patterns. Corny as it sounds, I've worked hard at listening to myself. It's astonishing how difficult that is for me sometimes. Does it come easily to you? Kudos if you said yes.

Still lots to work on, but as I've made these self-centered-and-healthy changes—some tiny, some huge— my kids have thrived, my love life got a re-boot, and my business has become more fun and... ease-y. (And profitable, too.) I think it's just my studio space that got weighed down!

I'm excited to share what's in store for me AND ESPECIALLY FOR YOU, as I shift the work of All Hands Art ever closer to my heart. You may not know it from my silence, but I'm always thinking about you, my tribe of readers/friends/colleagues/clients/students.

Relief for the Creatively Nervous

All Hands Art is about getting regular 'ole people to pick up a paintbrush (or trowel, or pencil, or glob of clay) and discover the joy of making stuff. If you're "creatively nervous," or what I'll call an Artistic Underdog, then YOU are my absolute favorite type of person to encounter. (Mwaa-ha-ha!) You are also clearly focused in my mind as I create my next set of goodies. Stay tuned for more...

Maybe you, like me, always wanted to be a doodler, but it just didn't flow. You wondered, 'How do people come up with those ideas and images??' as your mind was a big blank. Well, at age 49 I finally learned how to open the doodling floodgates, so to speak, and I love sharing it. Are you insecure about your painting skills? Feel weird showing your work to anyone because it doesn't seem right or look how you think it's supposed to? That was me, too. But now, a thousand small steps later, I'm splashing my designs across large walls, in paint and mosaic, all over Oakland and beyond.

Making and teaching art has become my full-time gig, and I might just shrivel up and die if I couldn't do it. Not to get dramatic or anything. ;)

Maybe you don't dream of becoming a professional artist—you just don't want to suck at art. Believe me when I say I can help nudge you forward on your creative journey, whenever you're ready to move. I'm incubating programs, projects and products right now that will do just that, and I can't wait to bring them to light. You'll be the first to know about them, so don't go anywhere. (But if you really don't care about anything I've said so far, probably best to unsubscribe.)

Doodle Video to Help you Daydream

To have child-like fun pondering your own life's journey, I can't underestimate the power of doodling. Yes, you read that right. I love it so much that I've filled several blank books with doodled thoughts and images and designs, and I've even made some videos about it. Here's one to get you started.

Please share this post with a friend who could use some fun and encouragement.