Painter of the mystical, otherworldly, sensual, and whimsical.

I'm a painter living and working in the beautiful finger-lakes region of Western New York State. I am also an avid gardener and nature lover, so the lush green rolling hills, gentle streams, and majestic lakes that surround my home in this world often appear in the fantasy worlds of my paintings.

Many of the pieces draw inspiration from folk tales, myths and legends. These "teaching tales" were what drew us together around our hearth-fires for centuries, and I believe those stories still carry power.

I enjoy looking at these ancient tales, through my eyes, and painting what I see, no matter if it's beautiful or disturbing. But what's more fun is when others can see those same paintings and find something within of value that speaks to their soul directly. I do not plan for this, but am honored when it happens, and, oh, yes, do love hearing about it every time that it happens. It reminds me that maybe we are not so different after all.

Glad to meet you, and please enjoy the paintings!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The importance of Self-Compassion

Above: Gyrfalcon. Stock photo.

Hundreds of self-help books have been written about improving self-esteem.  We're told that it's essential for children to be raised to have it, and that it's what helps adults maintain good mental and emotional health. While there's no denying that self-esteem is important, self-compassion may be even more valuable.   This fascinating article details the results of a new study out of Berkeley.  Self-compassion, much more than self-esteem, can be what really helps us.

From the article:
"A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley's Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key to unlocking your true potential for greatness... Self-compassion is a willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings with kindness and understanding -- it's embracing the fact that to err is indeed human. When you are self-compassionate in the face of difficulty, you neither judge yourself harshly, nor feel the need to defensively focus on all your awesome qualities to protect your ego. It's not surprising that self-compassion leads, as many studies show, to higher levels of personal well-being, optimism and happiness, and to less anxiety and depression..." 

Self-esteem is important, but, it would seem, self-compassion may lead to an improved overall outlook more quickly, resulting in better health, both physical and mental.  After reading this, I've decided to make a real daily practice out of practicing compassion for myself.  This, along with compassion for others, creates what the Dalai Lama has taught for decades:  "Holistic Compassion."

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