Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Of Dreams and Magic

Do you dream at night? I do. A lot! I always have. It's my own personal movie theater. Mostly it's just entertaining, but sometimes my dreams have special meaning to me and a few times they've been predictive about people I know.
I've been feeling the need to get away from making "serious" art for a bit to revive the fun factor. And  so I've been rather playful with my art and having such a good time!
Last night I had a wonderful dream where I was in a boat on the ocean and was accompanied by hundreds of dolphins. I felt such joy! To me, dolphins are a strong metaphor for play and it reaffirmed to just continue on the path I'm on with my art.
acrylic and charcoal on 5 x 7" clay board
Available in my Etsy Shop.

This was a really fun piece. I just played with shapes and colors and suddenly I saw that beautiful tall figure with the half moon. It felt magical to me and I decided to leave it as is.

With lots of love and magic,


Tuesday, April 29, 2014


This morning I had all kinds of fun appointments and some errands to run, but when I got out to the car to leave the battery had died. Well!
That opened up a several hours for me and I quickly went into my studio. got out the acrylic paint and just started playing. I painted and doodled and suddenly it was two hours later.
I was totally absorbed in happy colors, shapes, eyes suddenly looking back at me, lots of paint on my hands, funny little drawings and just the sheer playfulness of it all.
Pure Play
mixed media on 5 x 7 inch clay board
Available in my Etsy Shop

There's one more day to enter my giveaway (click on the picture on my sidebar). I'll draw the winner on May 1. How exciting!!

I hope you are having a fun day! I love when I just get to play and take a break from being serious. It's so important.

With love and giggles!


Monday, April 28, 2014


Dear friends, I so love all of your comments on my last posts - there is such wisdom, kindness and support in this community. It amazes me again and again! And if fills my heart with gratitude! 
Yesterday, after asking myself how I would be different if I didn't care what others thought, a funny thing happened. I was suddenly ready to let go of my two oil paintings. That was unexpected.
Why would I want to hang on to them in the first place? Well, I do love them and I won't be sorry at all if they don't sell and stay here with me. But often I think I hang on to my paintings because I don't want to put them "out there" where they might get scrutinized and criticized.
Right now, that doesn't seem to matter to me. What matters is that I have a gift and I'm ready to share it! That's a very nice feeling indeed!!

Both are available in my Etsy Shop.

Yesterday, I started another oil painting and for some reason I found it frustrating. Part of the fun of  working with oils is that they dry so slowly and you can rework your painting for a long time. And part of the utter frustration I have with oil paints is that they dry so slowly and it's hard to paint over an area I don't like. Yesterday I really wanted the painting to dry fast...

So, today I think I'll get out my acrylics to just play with color and see what happens. It's a light-hearted play sort of day! I hope for you, too!!

With lots of love and appreciation,


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Questions and more questions...

Wow! I love your responses to my last post, both here as comments and in e-mails. Of course, the question has been swirling around in my mind. What if the best is still to come?
(Photo credits go to my sister for the animal photos and to me for the flower pictures.)
Now, I want to clarify how this works for me. These questions I pose I don’t really ask of myself. In a small way, of course, my mind gets engaged (it’s very active that way), but more than that, I ask the question of the universe so to speak and then I try to sit back and just feel and notice.
I think what happens when we ask these open-ended questions that are in seeming opposition to a belief we hold, we allow a small opening for the universe to show us how things could be different if we allowed them to be.
My most notable experience of that was about five years ago, when a colleague of Daniel’s asked me if I was an artist, too. My very quick response was: “Oh, no. I’m not an artist. I’m not creative at all.” But somewhere within me, at the same time and for the first time ever, I asked myself: “Are you sure?” It turns out I wasn’t. I was told in school that I wasn’t artistic. I was musical, but not artistic. I was told by my teachers that I couldn’t write. I was told that I was good at math and sciences (which I love to this day). And I took those remarks at face value without questioning them. Until that day five years ago.
Once I made that tiny opening for the possibility that I could maybe be creative, everything happened really fast. A month later, I had started this blog and began making art. Today I feel creative in every part of my life and I am stunned that for more than 40 years I had thought the opposite to be true.
I find that most of the limiting beliefs I have embraced as part of me seem to have grown from small seeds that have been planted throughout my life, like the off-handed comments by my teachers. Many of them are not even in my conscious mind, but they seem to have been developing into a sort of very personal interference pattern that undermines what I want to do and who I want to be.
Since I started painting, in my conscious mind I think I’ve progressed amazingly and I really, truly love my art. Every piece I create. Every portrait I paint feels like a piece of me and I feel connected to them all. I never look at my art and become critical. However, I can sense the interference pattern when I offer my art to the world to see and to possibly buy. That’s when that I still feel somewhere deep inside that I am not an artist and not worthy and I feel great hesitation and want to hide what I make. I am really determined to access these patterns and disburse them or reorganize them into something more useful as I long to express myself fully.
When I sit with last post’s question of “What if the best was still to come?” I am flooded with little seeds again that were planted by family, teachers, and just the environment we grow up in. I remember my mother routinely making statements of how everything was going to change for me (and not for the better) when I would hit 30. I remember going to birthday parties of people turning 40 (when I was much younger) and all the decoration talked about being “over the hill.” Funny, yes, but also not really. As a woman, I started having mammograms and other routine checks after 40, we are told by doctors and the pharmaceutical industry to be on the lookout for all kinds of scary things as we age, and have you seen all the ads for anti-aging beauty products?
Now, I don’t consciously subscribe to any of this, but I am certain that some of these little tiny seeds have taken hold over the years just by us being bombarded by to so many of them.  And now, while I do believe that things can get better and better all the time, there are some niggling doubts that maybe this isn’t true. And that interference I am so ready to let go of.
Ok, as you can notice I don’t have a “real” answer to the question I had posed and I didn’t really expect to get one.
Usually, once I put a question like that into the ethers as it were, I start paying attention to what I get back, little signs I notice. Here’s what happened today: five times I heard or read something (none of it was related) about having to be fearless of what others think if you want to truly become who you are. Wow - did that ever strike a chord? I am so not there. I definitely care what others think. Even your comments!
You know that phrase we all grow up with: “What will people think?” I have internalize that to a crazy degree and I’m ready to let it go. This is a biggie for me. No matter what anyone has ever said to me to try to help me overcome that, I have not been able to change the pattern of it. It’s not anything I can solve intellectually, this is deeply embedded in the belief that others know me better than I know myself. And whatever they say goes. Crazy, right!? I’m so ready to be done with that! Truly!! And from that comes another question, one I am sure is firmly connected to the first one.
What if I could allow other people’s opinions to be just that - other people’s opinions? How would my life be different? How would I be different? How would I approach my days differently? My art? What I write? What if I could just be who I am? Openly? Honestly? Without fear of rejection? Without fear of criticism? (Ok, I know that was more than one question...)
Just asking gives me goosebumps and that tells me that this is important in my life.

Maybe these blog posts are the first step in being more fearless. Maybe...

With love and gratitude,


Friday, April 25, 2014

The Power of Asking Questions

My sister and her family left yesterday and what a fantastic visit it was. We had so much fun exploring Savannah, the beach, the swamps and going to Florida to Kennedy Space center, where we even got to see a live rocket launch. We played, we talked, we walked, we ate good food, and we played some more. It was wonderful!!
By the way, my sister Caroline took all these gorgeous photos on our recent visit to Okefenokee Swamp!
Last night, they left to return to Germany and I thought I'd need to rest for a while, but instead I was filled with ideas, especially for this blog. I feel on fire with inspiration! Let me explain.
Caroline and I were talking one day about how as we get older, the limiting thoughts we take for granted start defining our lives and determine what we think we can and can't do. We basically become our fears if we don't question them our lives can become small even though we sometimes wish it could be different.
I was watching her boys who in some ways are still their full potential. They are learning some limiting thoughts from their environment, especially school, as we all do and did, but for the most part, in their minds everything is still possible. I love that! And I hated the thought that for me that time could be over. I don't want to accept that.
I remembered a workshop I went to a few years ago that taught transformation based on quantum physics. Basically we learned to connect to "the field" and affect change where everything exists as possibility and pure potential and hasn't become "real" yet. One of the most powerful tools we learned about was the use of open-ended questions.
When you ask a question that can be answered with yes or no, it is usually based in what we think of as fact, but when you ask an open-ended question, anything seems to be possible as the answer.
My favorite open-ended, thought-provoking and change-evoking questions start with "What if." So, last night, feeling incredibly inspired, I started writing down "What if" questions and within probably 15 minutes I had come up with over 80 of them. Eighty! And that was without even trying hard.
Each one of these is connected to a limiting thought I have about myself, about my life, about life in general, about other people, about success, about aging, my health, etc.! What a box I am starting to put myself into and I don't like it. I truly do believe that each of us are unlimited potential and that it is never too late to become all that we want to be.
So, for the next foreseeable future I am going to explore on this blog these questions and their corresponding limiting beliefs I have created in my life. I am determined to reprogram my thinking so to speak and to allow for the future to be as bright and shiny and exciting as I believed it to be when I was my nephews' age. And I'll be eager to hear your take on some of these!
Here's the question I'll ponder in my next blog post: 

What if the best was still to come? 

What if?!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fun, fun, fun!!

Dear Friends,

Just a quick hello to let you know that all is well. I appreciate all your comments on my last posts and as I have time, I will reply to you via e-mail.

Right now, my days are filled with fun, fun, fun with my sister and her family who are visiting from Germany. My nephews are here of the very first time and I am soaking up every minute with them.
Can you tell they love the beach?!?

Sending lots of love your way!


Friday, April 11, 2014

How my thoughts lie to me…or a day pulled from the ditch

Once again, the photos have nothing to do with the blog post. These are again from our latest cruise, arriving into  Cartagena, Colombia and our first sightseeing stop at the La Popa Monastery. 
Yesterday, I spent the morning (almost) finishing our taxes. I have spent many an hour doing them this year, the reason being that last year I somehow missed out on being organized. I say “somehow,” but I know exactly how.
Early last year, a few major things happened to people I love and it threw my world off kilter. Life felt out of my control and I had a hard time just trying to hold on to my calm and happiness. Anxiety ruled most days and nights and organizing paperwork was not high on my priority list. Actually, it wasn’t on it at all. I made sure I collected everything in a pile, but that was it.
And this year I am having to deal with the aftermath of it. Endless hours of organizing, entering data into the computer, etc.  I’ve almost got the beast tamed, but yesterday as I was working on our taxes, I realized how my thoughts were running away with my emotions.
By lunch time, my head was filled with thoughts like:

“You used to be the queen of organized and look at you now. You aren’t even good at that anymore. What are you really good at? Not being a housewife, not building a creative business, not painting. Not anything, really. Why can’t you shine at anything? What’s wrong with you? You are almost 50 and what do you have to show for it? You must be such a disappointment to those you love. Heck, you’re a disappointment to me!”

And so on. You get the idea.
Now that part of me that is separate from my thoughts and was able to stand back and observe them knew that these were lies, but even so I couldn’t stop them. Momentum can be a wonderful and terrible thing. It was like I was being run over by the negative thought train. My ego saw an opening and dove in with relish.
By the time Daniel got home from teaching, I was eating ice cream out of the container, which I have done no more than five times. Ever! I was a mess. I felt a total failure, and I knew I’d have to do something to stop this onslaught of negativity.
And here’s the really ridiculous part of it: nothing bad (nothing!) happened in real life. This whole thing happened only in my head. It amazes me - and I often think about - how powerful our thoughts are, but that’ll be for another blog post.
Often when this happens, I take a nap and that breaks the spell. Or I play with Winslow - pets are such masters at having fun, aren’t they? Yesterday, I turned on Pandora with 50’s Rock ’n’ Roll music. The first song that played? “It’s my party and I cry if I want to.” Really?!
Daniel suggested we go out, run a couple of errands, then see a movie (we go to the movies about once a year, so it was a big deal) and afterwards have some vietnamese food at our favorite little place.
It was perfect. We went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel and it was just what the pity party doctor ordered. It was a poignant story based on the writings of Stefan Zweig, whose novellas I had to read in school and just loved! It was beautifully filmed and it was funny. I laughed out loud throughout the whole movie and felt like seeing it again immediately. Click here to see the trailer.

That followed by vietnamese food and my day that could have completely landed in the ditch, ended on a high note.
I’m sure (I hope!!) I’m not the only one whose thoughts run away in undesirable directions from time to time. What are some of your secrets for turning around your energy?

P.S. Your comments on my last post really touched my heart. I am in the process of responding to each of you by e-mail. If you haven’t yet heard from me yet, you will!

With love and appreciation (and feeling positively positive today), I wish you a wonderful day!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Permission Granted!

The photos have nothing to do with the blog post, but they are pretty! All from our recent cruise and taken in Costa Rica. It rained profusely and it was gorgeous!! A place I'd love to visit again... 

Yesterday I came across this blog post from Leonie Lawson entitled “You have permission.” I started reading it and halfway through I found myself breathing a sigh of relief. And I was stunned. Someone else was giving me permission to be who I am and I felt relief. That really made me think. 
If you know me personally, you know that I am somewhat tightly wound internally. I may seem relaxed on the outside, but I’m rarely relaxed in my mind. Somewhere along my life’s road I have picked up that strange notion that I need to be a certain way for others to approve and for them to know that I am doing well.
I was thinking back to when that started and I think the origin lies in those years after I left Germany to study in the US. I was very young and naive and I know that some among my family and friends were worried and doubtful that I would make it. Nobody said so, but I did get that feeling. Plus, I wasn’t so sure myself.
And because my family was worried and communication then wasn’t what it is now (the occasional phone call and real letters!), it was important to me to stress in those communications how well I was doing all the time. When I’d go back to visit, it was important to me to still be the same old Silke that they knew and to look good and be happy.
If I had problems I would share them with Daniel and friends, but hardly ever with my family as I didn’t want them to worry. I would pick and choose what I’d share. I’d pick and choose which people got to see which part of me. And I still do that today almost 30 years later!
I seem to be a very even person on the outside, but on the inside I am one of the most emotional people I know. I don’t listen to just any music (or much music at all), as I find it powerfully affects my emotions. The same goes for movies I watch, TV shows, books I read and people I spend time with. I am an emotional sponge and I soak it all in if I'm not careful. Even when I watch a TV show, I deeply feel for the characters and often I can’t stand it. And often I can’t help it. The same when I meet a person and I'm not careful - I know instantly how they are feeling. I don't just know it, I feel it. Over the years I have learned that that makes me an empath - and most of the time it’s not fun!
I am a very spiritually oriented person, I have witnessed real magic and I believe in angels - always have! My dreams at night often are amazingly real and at times have been predictive. I am really fascinated by everything invisible to the eye. Yet, those people around me who prefer the practical me don’t ever see that side. I’ve become excellent at compartmentalizing and trying to be the person that everyone is most comfortable with. 

Except of course Daniel - he knows all of me…  And a handful of others in my family and among my friends, who know most of "crazy" me.
I find that living this way is exhausting! Always censoring what I share and with whom I share it gets really old after so many years. It’s a hard habit to break, but I have every intention to do so. And those of you who so openly live who you are, are my inspiration!
I have decided to give myself permission to be who I am - fully and wholly and without apologies.

I give myself permission:

to believe what rings true to me
to share with an open heart
to create only what makes my heart light up
to love, love, love what I create
to be as great as I can be
to be as flawed as I am
to have a body that isn’t the same as it was when I was 20 or 30 or even 40
to celebrate my older and wiser self
to be good at some things and not so good at others
to feel great some days and not so great on other days
to not always look fantastic
to be productive some days and not on others
to be a couch potato when I need to be
to be inspired by many different things
to allow inspiration to take me to different places
to leave those things behind that no longer light me up
to not finish things if they don't need to be finished
to have days when I get nothing done
to be silly when I feel like it
to be an inspiration to others
to live up to my fullest potential
to shine brightly
to love deeply
to feel how I feel
to look how I look
to be who I am! 

With deep love and gratitude,