Sweeping and a Sense of Well-Being

As your world or your government, or individuals within your government, make decisions about what is better for you, and as they try to protect you from every possible potential experience, your lives become rather cumbersome, don’t they? All you ever need is a vibration of Well-being.





This article is about sweeping and well-being; the old fashioned kind of sweeping, with a straw broom. It seems like such a simple task, sweeping. I love the satisfaction of sweeping a surface that is covered in dust, sand and debris. The zen-like mindfulness of ridding a surface of tiny particles and creating a clean spot on which to walk with bare feet is so satisfying. An ancient feeling of thousands of years of being human and clearing a space.


I discovered by love for sweeping so many years ago. When we had tile floors at a summer cabin that we went to each summer, I loved the old brooms that were hanging on the walls there. They were made of straw and most likely made by hand. They seemed to do the best job of whisking away the natural elements that accumulated in corners and entryways. I would wake up, grab one of those brooms and begin to sweep away the sand that had gathered. I would repeat this act several times a day. I felt like I was creating a sacred space for bare feet at this cabin for my family.

I am not a neat-freak by any means-actually far from it. (While I appreciate others joy in cleaning and have the greatest respect for those who can keep a home clean daily!) I actually love living in clutter and messes. But there comes a time when cleaning and organizing space rises to the surface to be a task for the hours.


Sweeping is that task for me. I flow into the swoosh of the broom…the flying particles that leave a clean surface. It’s almost like reverse painting. Erasing the artwork of the day to begin again…new and fresh.


And of course within hours of the sweeping, the sand and debris begin to accumulate again, finding their way back to the grit under my feet.


However, those moments with the broom give me pause to the thoughts and creative ideas that are waiting just beyond the cobwebs. They sweep my mind clean bringing me into the ‘now’ of the moment. This is like creating my own blank surface to begin again.


What daily tasks bring a sense of satisfaction and creative thinking to you?

Painting Snapshots: Painting My Daily Emotions

photo (1)

Painting Snapshots Painting My Daily Emotions
By Susan Loughrin 2015

I have been taking the month of May to paint “snapshots” of my emotions/feelings during different times of the day in watercolor.  Noticing how color/line/shape work to get my feelings onto the page, much like writing, yet the interpretation is much less literal (stating the obvious here!)

I keep attempting to write each day, yet have been struggling with this.  Painting my feelings is freer to me these days.  I am using watercolor for this activity.  I like how it all bleeds together.  I like how water itself is emotion.  In my mind’s eye, the emotions can appear separate, yet they overlap, overlay, repeat shift change alter.

The captured lines/shapes/color in watercolor act in a similar way to emotions.  I may sense that there is only one emotions flowing through at any given time, but it turns out there are most often others.  They act separately, or they interact, or they override one another.  Painting these emotions/feelings allows me to capture a glimpse of what is happening inside of me.

Let me explain.  I have 3X3 squares of watercolor paper.  Tiny snapshot shaped paper to capture my feelings emotions for that moment.  At any point in the day, when I have a few minutes, I walk over to my studio and paint the feelings/emotions I am having for that moment.

I let my hand hover over the paint, choose a color that speaks to me with that emotion.  I paint.  Pulling the color along the paper with my brush.  The brush motion also reflects the feeling or emotions I want to get onto the paper; a kinesthetic connection to my emotions through the actual act of moving the brush.  Sometimes it’s just one color, sometimes I add various lines/shapes in another color.  I also look at the different brush sizes to capture an overlap of what each emotion feels like at that particular moment.

Here is what I notice as I paint.

I have to allow the colors and brushes to choose themselves. I enter the process with the emotions front and center.  No analyzing.  Just using intuition to choose and go.  Since the paper is small, it invites only a tiny part of the whole picture in.  Like a snapshot or a pinhole of the emotion to move through me and onto the page.

I am noticing that there is not a direct connection of emotions to color/line/shape.  I simply am working on communicating something.

Next, after I created several snapshots,  I have reflected back on the completed paintings (separate from the actual act of painting) and see if I notice a pattern.

Here are some things I have noticed:

  • Color-I choose a color that expresses my emotion at the time. I notice that I also add in colors that I am seeing through my eyes as I paint; the actual colors in the world around me show up
  • Images-I notice that dreams and thoughts have shapes and (sort of) defined edges that create what we all would recognize and perhaps label in a similar way. These show up as I paint in the morning just after I have been dreaming.  The shapes and lines of the dreams show up as emotions and find their way into the snapshots.
  • Lines-the movement of my body as I paint, the sizes and shapes of the brushes I choose and the allowance for letting the emotions move through me help me to share specific aspects of emotions and get those onto the paper (interesting, I notice that the curved lines meaning something different to me emotionally than jerky, zigzag lines)

Continuing to let go of preconceived ideas of what it means to communicate.  I still am writing in words the feelings and emotions that show up each day on the back of each painting.  This is part of the process for me.  Stepping back to see the snapshots all together is showing me how fleeting our emotions can be.  I go from one to the next to the next without much thought.  Sometimes I hook into that emotion, sometimes it is allowed to flow through.  Fascinating to see this play out through painting.

A bigger, life-long pattern that is emerging for me as I work through this process is that I have used painting or visual art to capture and express what I have difficulty communicating in works and writing.

If you are interested in discovering other ways to notice the daily wonder that surrounds you, my Creative Captures E-Course begins on June 1!  I would love to see you there and learn about what you are seeing all around you each day as we work together.  Below is my recent video that includes the images from my new pursuit that I have written about in this article!   Click here for more information on Creative Captures and to register.

Knowing When It’s Time to Fill the Well

2015-05-08 16.02.04


Taking the time to create every day takes effort. When you are in the flow and creating daily you need to have a “full tank” so to speak. Working with the energy needed to create an effortless flow means creating intentional time to “fill the well”.
What does it mean to “fill the well”? Creating time in your schedule to do something that is just for you fills the well. Going through your list of what is important to you and picking something that brings you pure joy and energizes you fills the well.

Here are some “clues” below to watch for as you go through your day to notice when it may be time to “fill the well”:

Clue #1-Difficulty receiving
Clue#2-Talking more than Listening
Clue #3-Snapping at others-especially those closest to you
Clue #4- Complaining about tasks instead of mindfully completing them
Clue #5-Taking a small risk is hugely difficult

Notice when these “clues” appear in your day. What is going on for you at these times? Are there other clues that you notice that have not been mentioned here?

These clues usually show up when “filling the well” is past due. These are really clues that the well is DRY! And it is time to put blocks of time into your schedule that are just for you. Time to observe, breathe, notice nature, move…anything that brings you joy and fills your soul. Do that.

Then, be sure to keep those times in your schedule every day. Filling the well takes conscious effort. Intentionally scheduling in time for yourself is the most important thing you can do to be filled with the energy you need to create daily.
How do you take time to “fill the well”?

That Voice Inside Your Head

Do you know that voice?  The one that attempts to take you off your path?  That voice that speaks to you in mean tones?  The one that you wish would quiet down so that you can create?

I have come up against this voice many times.  Have you?  The current Sunday Check-in Group I am facilitating has brought this up.  The voice is showing up in a variety of ways as the members of the group continue to create.  We have been discussing different strategies that each of us uses to rid ourselves of the voice so that we can get back on track.

A few years back, I worked with a wonderful creativity coach.  She invited me to “draw” the voice that was constantly chattering as I worked on new creative projects.

Below is a post I wrote from that session:

I took some time in my morning pages writing to get started on the exercise of drawing the gremlin/nasty voice from my head.

What I discovered, is that the initial drawings I created were images from my dreams.  Those visions I saw after giving birth to my children that were scary, but fascinating.  The more recent dreams I wrote about all had male figures, shape-shifters, disappearing and re-appearing images, black and white, shadows, angels/devils/gargoyles, half-formed creatures.  These images, I have discovered, are actually here to help me somehow.

Even though these images were a bit frightening, they were not the “nasty” voice in my head.

So, I took more time to go into my mind and find that “nasty” voice.   It took me a while to get there, as I was very resistant to write about that voice.

When I finally got to the vicious words and thoughts that I call “the nasty voice inside my head”, I wrote and wrote.

This is the voice that tells me I am not good enough, not worthy, not OK…blah, blah, blah.  It is a SHE and very nasty.  She has a forked tongue, fiery, sharp nails, beautiful (she believes), red-haired (not sure why), coiffed, buggy-red bloodshot eyes…I have drawn her, colored her in, and enclosed her in an actual glass bottle and I have sealed the bottle with heavy foil…a rubber band and a lovely golden bow…and put her into the cupboard!  So there!!!!

Stay in there!

I am now starting to see which are the helpful, cautious voices and which are the nasty voices.

Re-reading this past blog post is showing me that the “nasty voice” has changed.  The image I created and placed in the bottle has quieted down.  She is no longer distracting me with her words.  Soon, I will take the old image of the nasty voice out of the bottle.

There is a new “nasty voice” that is in need of being heard and drawn.

Each time I grow and challenge myself creatively, a new “nasty voice” emerges.  I believe this will occur each time I reach a new level of discovery.  As difficult as it may be, I will begin to write the words I hear; those words that are attempting to distract me from my creative path.  Then, I will replace the old image with the new image I create of the “nasty voice”.   I will let you know how that goes!

For now, I am wondering if you have ever drawn the “nasty voice” from inside your head?  Will you try that now?

Creative Captures~An E-Course to Find the Bits of Beauty in Your Day




Creative Captures

An E-course

Seize the day in a new way!

Grab your camera and get out into nature! Capture the beauty that surrounds you in photos. Re-capture what you see by noticing color, line and shape through simple painting techniques. Take time out of each day to truly notice the beauty that surrounds you.  No experience necessary!  Just a joy for noticing…

star lillies

  • How do you “capture” the beauty you see each day?
  • What if you took the time to take a quick photo of something that catches your eye and then re-create those feelings through color, line, texture and shape?
  • Where does your daily travel take you?
  • When was the last time you truly stopped and noticed what is all around you?

Join me starting on June 1, 2015 as I open the Creative Captures E-Course.

Each day from June 1-July 13 (6 weeks) or June 1-August 24 (12 weeks) to see what is out there in this beautiful world and capture it through photos, painting and a supportive group of creatives who wish to join in.

I took some time last year out in nature and took photos of things that caught my eye. I created videos while I re-create those images it in paint.  I learned that it only takes a moment to capture the beauty that is all around us in each moment.  What if you took the time to do the same?


I am committing to capturing the colors, lines and emotions of each day through photos and painting.  This will allow me to deepen my practice of creating one thing each day.  And I would love to have you along for the ride to see where the journey takes you!

Here is how the Creative Capture 6 Week E-course will work:

  • You will be invited to a private Facebook page with others who are interested in finding the beauty each day through Creative Captures.  You can share as much or as little as you like!  I will be there to support the journey with thoughts, tips and questions.
  • Start of each week:
    1. A photo will be posted inviting you to post a photo of your own for that day.  2.  A video will be posted that shows the “how-to” of creating the colors, lines and shapes of that day’s  Creative Capture photo
  • Mid-week: 
    1.  A photo will be posted inviting you to post a photo of your own for that day.
    2.  A video will be posted that shows the “how-to” of creating the colors, lines and shapes of that day’s Creative Capture photo
  • End of the week:
    1.  A photo will be posted inviting you to post a photo of your own for that day.
    2.  A video will be posted that shows the “how-to” of creating the colors, lines and shapes of that day’s  Creative Capture photo
  • Weekend:  You paint!  Then, share with the private Facebook Group
  •  I will list out the supplies I am using so that you can create along with me!
  • If you like to share out through social networking on Instagram our hastag will be #creativecaptures

Your investment?
6 week- of Creative Captures is $47.00

12 weeks of Creative Captures is $87.00

Ready to create?  Sign up below!

Choose a Session