What we think about…grows.

Everywhere we look in the world we see things “going to hell in a hand basket” because it gets views, clicks, headlines, sells advertising and makes money.

It’s a bummer that things going well doesn’t generate nearly the BUZZ in our culture as distasteful deeds, disaster and destruction.  It also is a self-fulfilling thought cycle.

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OUR BRAIN SAYS: “I’ve been told things are very bad—so I will vigilantly look for ways to confirm this bias over and over.”

Whatever we choose to give the most attention to is what will grow and grow and dominate our thoughts.

Can you imagine if our news and political discussion every day/all day was filled with stories of remarkable acts of generosity, compromise and courage? 

Of course there are times in our lives when very challenging events and situations require a lot of thought and energy.  However, if we stay in that place when we things have settled down—it will no doubt adversely affect our health and our relationships.

So, why do it?  We all get addicted to ways of thinking…just like any other addiction.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for long practiced patterns of thought. However, if we start to notice we just might be able to self correct this negative pattern of thinking a little tiny bit at a time.  If we all try focusing on the good things in our a lives a tiny bit more—we might just start a thought revolution. 

Hey, it’s worth a shot, huh?

what we think about lisa lillibridge

prairie stories.

My family and I are heading to Burke, South Dakota to see my clan this week for our April break.  My days will be filled with my family, the Ponca Creek Bull Sale, hopefully a new baby, old friends and some meandering drives on the prairie roads I adore.

My camera is being cleaned so this trip will be all heart and memory.  It feels a little weird to me but there’s nothing I can do.  I will have my phone however.  I may need to borrow a camera at the bull sale and if my niece’s baby does arrive while we are home. I’m really trying to be “in the moment” and not as concerned with getting the shot.  It’s a tough habit to break though.

Here are a couple of old photos I layered this morning while my daughter Lucy was packing.

The first image is main street in Burke layered with a prairie sunrise image from my parent’s back porch.  Having coffee on the porch with my Mom is always one of my favorite parts of my time at home.

The second image is a country road layered with a sign I saw in the Las Vegas airport years ago.  I’m not sure what “burke in the box” is, but I thought it was interesting.

I hope you find yourself “at home” within yourself whatever your life demands of you this week.

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different perspectives

I snapped this photo watching “Better Call Saul” the other night.  Our beloved cat, Ms. Karen Lillibridge Govoni is hanging with my husband, Jeff.  When I looked at all of the textures in this image it looked like a renaissance portrait to me.

Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_-_Selfportrait_-_Google_Art_Project    lillibridge karen govoni shot portrait

I liked how it was so layered—Karen’s paw hanging, Jeff’s stripey socks, my crow painting, the $10/10-year-old blanket from the airport in Vegas, the industrial lamp and the stack of books (Willa Cather’s My Antonia is the white jacket in the middle).  I took this on my iphone 5S. My family has new iphones and I don’t.  I’m not too bitter about giving up my upgrade, that’s what Moms do, right?  I think I only have to wait until 2019.

When I started playing with this photo in Adobe illustrator I wished that I could shift perspectives on how I see things in the world as easily as I can manipulate them by using design software.

Here’s to new perspectives, folks. 

However you can manifest them in your world.

This is the original shot.

karen govoni shot portrait lisa lillibridge

karen lillibridge govoni in black and white crayonkaren lillibridge govoni portrait watercolor

karen lillibridge govoni blurry wide brush

karen lillibridge govoni textured image

karen lillibridge govoni note paper treatment

karen lillibridge govoni crosshatch

pay yourself first

I know a lot of people hate Mondays.  I’m sorry.  I’m not one of them.  I’ve always loved Mondays and I like them even more when it’s raining or cold.  I feel really productive and I think, “Well, I have to get my work done, so why have the pull of great weather taking my attention.  Crappy Monday weather simply makes it easier to get at what has to be done.

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So, on this cloudy (with a good chance of showers this afternoon) April Monday in Vermont I find myself with one of these such days. However, I’m rested, coffee fueled and hitting the ground running.  These are rainy day images from Brooklyn I shot over the weekend.

I’m trying a new process to get myself organized and I would love to hear how others do this as well.  On Sunday nights I write down a list of my intentions for the week—day by day.  This practice has uniquely organized my “highly disorganized” brain and has allowed me to relax a bit because the week is laid out for me.

I have to get very specific because I’m easily distracted.  I even write down my food intentions for the week because it sets a tone…especially after a rather indulgent weekend with friends eating and drinking beer in Brooklyn.  I pencil in writing, homework, appointments, exercise, breaks, errands, projects, phone calls, tasks, quiet time and family time.  This may sound rigid, but there’s plenty of wiggle room.

I’ve started paying more attention to what I do when and this has been a real game changer for me.  I’m highly creative in the morning and I have a lot of clarity and energy.  So, the tasks that require the most of my brain power I do first thing.

I can complete other things later in the day that require much less of me.  I don’t want to waste my most creative time doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom or paying bills.

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I was reminded when I started this practice that my Grandpa Louis used to say; “Pay yourself first, Lisa”.

He said this in regard to my savings account when I started working my first job at a grocery store when I was eleven.  However, now I realize that Grandpa meant so much more in that simple statement.  Setting my intentions for all aspects of my life; work schedule, social activities, food, exercise, creative and quiet time is paying myself first and it’s been quite effective for me so far. Thank you, Grandpa.

an experiment in leather

I have increasingly become inspired by usable art.  I have a lot of leather scrap at my studio and I’ve made bags, jewelry and clothes, but I’ve never experimented with housewares.  This was basically a sketch of what I would like to create.

A word of caution: if you are going to “bake or cure” your leather you want to do so when no one is around and the windows can be open.  It smelled pretty funky, however by baking it in the oven when it was damp it did somewhat achieve what I hoped it would do.  The piece held the shape I intended.  This leather was too floppy though.  I have to work with leather that has more structure.  I will be doing more of this in the near future. I’m always in favor of some experimentation.

“Learn to fail or fail to learn.” —Tal Ben-Shahar.

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The benefits of novelty.

This weekend I wanted to feel like a visitor in my own city…I sought out some new experiences trying to see Burlington through a fresh lens.  This works anywhere…even in our own homes…change things up a bit for a fresh perspective.  It doesn’t have to be a huge change to make your brain happy.

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Routine has it’s place and it’s convenient, but it doesn’t do much to spark our imagination or increase our problem solving skills.  Here is a great blog I found about this very subject.

Creativity Accelerators: Novelty, Unpredictability and Complexity

Accelerate your creativity by embracing novelty and complexity, and challenging yourself to stay relaxed and focused in the face of risk and unpredictability.

http://www.diygenius.com/creativity-accelerators/  (Sam Brinson DIY Genius blog)

“In order to create something novel and unexpected, we need to break the routine and insert some unpredictability, to look for the unknown and let our curiosity be our guide.”

My daughter, Willa and I went to see a POP ART Print Show  at the Fleming Museum at The University of Vermont—Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol oh my.  What a beautiful museum—it’s only 5 minutes from my home and I don’t go there nearly enough.

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Then we drove to Vergennes Laundry/coffee shop for a latte.  The light was as gorgeous as this french coffee shop is.  I also posted this on my INSTAGRAM profile. Follow me @ DAKOTA1966.

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On Sunday my twin 15-year-old daughters, Lucy and Willa and I went to ONE DAY UNIVERSITY at the Hilton in Burlington.  If you’re unfamiliar with One Day University I highly recommend you check them out in your area.  We spent a chilly Sunday afternoon learning about intuition, the universe, classical music and Vermont politics by well renown professors from around the country.  I listened to George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with a fresh perspective from what I learned before I got out of bed this morning…talk about feeding the brain some novelty.

Your brain is like a hungry child.  It has to be fed…frequently.