Keep it Simple!



It can take time for a dream to unfold. We can have a vision for something that is still a little ways ahead of us. An idea that can be pretty clear and powerful at certain times. And then it can get all muddled with the stuff in between that takes us in so many different directions. It’s like we know where we want to arrive but getting there can be like sifting through a swamp. Sometimes we hit the thick mud that slows us way down and puts a big damper on our “clear vision” of where we are going. And then usually, after the sticky parts, we find ourselves picking up again and moving quickly towards our destination..everything just flows and makes sense. We find ourselves in a sweet spot of inspiration.

This seems true for me with a lot of things in my life…Running, motherhood, and even writing. Running. In the past, I’ve always made it harder than it needs to be. I put the pressure on myself to perform instead of just letting myself enjoy the process and landing where I land. It is when I take the pressure off that I am able to truly perform well as an athlete. Motherhood. Instead of seeing it all as a balance of what went right and what didn’t, I am way too critical of the things I’m failing at. I berate myself for the yelling, wanting to rip my hair out, not being present with my kids, letting them watch too much t.v because I’m tired and needing a break… I lose sight of the big picture. I forget to focus on the books I read to them that day, the art we created, the many “I Love Yous” that were whispered into tiny ears, the healthy meals I’ve prepared and all of the things that have moved me in the right direction of the big picture of motherhood.

Reminding ourselves of the things that are working and flowing, usually helps to get our feet out of the mud and back to that free flowing inspiration. If I tell myself to keep things simple and stop making them more complicated than they need to be, everything comes together wonderfully! The pressure comes off and the pieces come together on their own.

This is kind of how my mom and I have been feeling with this new site and direction with our art…her paintings and my writing. It started with me asking my mom to come up with some Runner Art. I wanted her to create some art for the running community. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked for a card to send to one of my friends to congratulate them or wish them good luck and been unable to find the “just right card”. After my mom came up with her first Sticklete art, it evolved into more of personalized art as opposed to sets of cards. She started experimenting with a new style that was different from her norm and the Sticklets starting taking on a life of their own…yogis, surfers, mommies, bikers, and more. We thought a good name for our site would be The Art of Runninghood, then we changed the name a few times and a few times more. We still kept playing around with what our focus would be and how to get started with everything. And here we are today still feeling the Big Idea right at the tip of finger tips without really feeling like we have a complete grasp on where exactly we are heading with it all!

Just like that dream or big idea at the end of the swamp, we both know where we want to be with this but it is the “getting there” that has been feeling complicated. Too many ideas and directions all at once. Sharing a site and melding our artist voices has been tricky. And truthfully, we have felt like we are just trying too hard to make something come together. Something that will come on its own time if we remember to

Slow Down,
Keep it Simple,
And
BE REAL.

I’m sure some of you reading this, who also read Runninghood, have probably noticed that my voice is different when I write on here. My words seem guarded or distant as opposed to the candid, raw, and personal feel of them when I post on Runninghood. My words feel forced, formal or rushed. I don’t like this. And we both agree that things just don’t feel like they are
F
L
O
W
I
N
G
as they should.

Last night we agreed to take a step back, reevaluate, and let things unfold as they are supposed to. In due time. We decided to just keep things simple. Let things simmer.

And that is when she came out with my favorite of all her sketches for the Sticklete Runner that can be on a set of cards as we had envisioned, on a quality Runninghood t-shirt, or a hat. Keeping it simple!

I’m certain that we might change our direction again. Perhaps this blog will turn into one that is only for Cher to write and share her art..when she is ready. We might even have another name or two for things before the end of the week. Ha! Such is the joy of trying out new things! Thanks for sticking around to be part of the process. Whatever happens, we are excited to watch it unfold, keep things simple, slow down and “Be” with things as they are.

Let the unfolding begin! Just by letting things happen when they are ready to happen.

What is something in your life that you are working on unfolding? Something you can make more complicated than it needs to be? Or an area of your life that you are too critical about or trying too hard to make happen before it is ready to happen?

Which of these images do you like the best? Which ones do you think would look best on a t-shirt, hat, or card?

“Be” With Confidence

“Remember to “be” with confidence.  Believe you know what you are doing and who you are and you belong right where you are right now.  People sense that self assurance and you will fare well with others negativity or even their uncertainty.  You can inspire with just your presence.”

 

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
–Dr. Seuss

 

Reading these words tonight on Angie’s blog seemed to have brought much needed peace to me tonight.  Her words washed over me, comforting me, and reassuring me that I am just where I am supposed to be.  I am just where I belong at this moment in time.  Her words also made me think of how easy it is  to get wrapped up in what other people think.  I tend to judge myself through the lenses of others instead of  just being true to myself even if it goes against the standards that are not my own.  I’ve done this with religion, raising my kids, how I should and should not act, things I say that might be controversial, etc.  As I get older, I continue to gain confidence in who I am and I am less concerned with the opinions of others.  This is freeing.  To just embrace ME and all that comes with me.  The important people will stick around and those that mind, don’t matter.

 

There will always be those people
That want to see you
          Fit in their box.
Follow their rules.
          Tell you what
Is
   and
Isn’t
“Successful”
or
“The Right Way”
But I do believe
That if we are true to our dreams,
Follow what we feel called to do,
Use our gifts,
Love what we do,
And “BE” with confidence,
Then our story will unfold.
               It will Unfold
Just as it is meant to BE!

 

The Art of Changing Our Space! And the First Few Motherhood Stickletes!

Yesterday
Everyone
I knew
Seemed  to be in a “funk”.  Or perhaps it was just me.  Maybe it was the rain.  Or the grey and cool weather.  The lack of sunshine. Still waiting for summer.  Or just that I needed to shift my perspective.  Change my space.  Clear some things out and make way for new energy!

So clear and change we did!  We cleaned, cleared, filed, and got rid of things that were simply taking up space.  Our space.  Things that were just collecting energy and taking it away from us.

With each item I put in the giveaway pile, I felt a load of “funk” come off my shoulders.  I found joy every time I threw something in the garbage.  Things that have just been hanging out and looking at me for way too long.  Things I wouldn’t miss or ever look for again.  We spent hours tossing, sorting, sweeping, dusting, rearranging and just
Changing
Our
Space!

Gosh, it felt good!  And my energy feels different today even though we still have grey skies and rain.

My mom, Cher, did the same thing… “de-funking” and changing of space when she realized she was feeling an energy block.  She finally moved her desk away from her window so she could get more light.  She rearranged, sorted, and created a new space to get her creative energy flowing.  And it worked!  Today she came out with her first of many Motherhood Stickletes.  Check ‘em out and let us know what ideas you’d like to see for the Motherhood Stickletes to come.  We love (serious here!) your suggestions and special requests….they inspire us!

These Motherhood Stickletes will be available for special order and purchase as original art or as a printed set of cards.

These Motherhood Stickletes will be available for special order and purchase as original art or as a printed set of cards.

These Motherhood Stickletes will be available for special order and purchase as original art or as a printed set of cards.

Do you find that “clearing your space” or changing your environment around helps to change your mood, energy, and overall perspective on life?  

The Art of Filling Our “Balance Buckets”

This is a "Yogini" Sticklete from Cher's newest Sticklete Line that you can see more of in the Sticklete section of our site.

Balance
Inspiration

I’m convinced these two are deeply connected.  When we seek and find balance in our lives, we usually find the sweet spot of inspiration.  The inspiration to create, live deeply, and embrace all that comes our way.  The inspiration to challenge ourselves and dream big!

Another "Yogini" Sticklete

Balance is truly an art.
With the busy lives we live, it is so easy to get sucked into
the “must-dos”, social obligations,  creating order in our homes and relationships, trying to plan “this and that”, and on and on and on ….
Until we get to bed at night and realize that we didn’t find time for A, B, and C.

Whatever our A, B and C is.

I think that before I can truly find balance in my life, I need to write out a list of things that are most important to me.  My “balance buckets”…the parts of my life that need to be filled before I can feel truly balanced and find myself in the sweet spot of inspiration as a writer, artist, runner, etc.

My Balance Buckets

  • Quality time with my children--this doesn’t mean just the “managing” of my children but rather the time that I truly sit down with them on their level and play, have a conversation, cuddle, read a book, etc.  This time doesn’t need to be long.  Just quality! A little bit goes a long way!  Even five minutes of this quality connection time with them can fill my bucket up greatly!
  • Alone time with my best friend, my husband.  Time where we just enjoy something together without other distractions (phone, computer, chores, etc.)…this could be sitting down and having a beer, watching a movie together, dreaming together, planning a trip, etc.
  • ME Time!  Time to write, read, answer e-mail, GET AWAY on a girl trip or a night with my mom, write in my journal and just time to do whatever I feel like doing without having to take care of someone else.
  • Running/Exercise.  A must!
  • Reading
  • Creating, Connecting and Sharing my Art.  For me, this usually means writing or working on ideas that I have.  It also means taking time for connecting with other like-minded people and building a community of “thinkers, sharers, motivators, friends”.
  • Spiritual Growth.  This is different for all of us.
  • Time with Friends
  • Order to My World Around Me.  Keeping our house, yard, mail, meals in check…you know, the daily living stuff.  Also, making sure our kids are getting what they need with nutrition, educations, sports, play dates, creative stimulation…the things that come with motherhood!  If this stuff gets neglected then Inspiration and Balance are hard to find for me!

As an artist, Cher Odum realizes that a few of her biggest Balance Buckets that need to be filled before she can truly be inspired to create are :  Protecting personal space/Alone time, Meditation, Yoga, Journaling, Time Spent in Nature, Reading and Learning.My mom, Cher, is always reading something inspirational.  Her bookshelves are FULL and overflowing of books on health, yoga, spiritual exploration, art, journaling, etc.  I always end up borrowing something when I come visit her.  Here are a few books she is sending me home with today:

 

What are your “Balance Buckets” that need to be filled for you to be a more inspired, happier, and balanced YOU?  

The Art of Clearing Your Mind

“Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience. For example, a mindful approach to one’s inner experience is simply viewing “thoughts as thoughts” as opposed to evaluating certain thoughts as positive or negative.”

By Cher Odum

I woke up this morning with sticky notes scattered all over my counter top, three or four to-do lists that needed to be updated, a head spinning with ideas, a house to clean, breakfast to make, three kids to be mommy to, and needing to head out the door to dance classes.  Oh and add to that some spilled pancake batter and green sprinkles that my son had fun decorating the kitchen floor with.

My mind was anything but clear!

I’ve heard my yoga teacher ask us to clear our minds and be present with the moment.  Telling us to spend time just breathing and thinking about our breath….in….out…in….  Challenging us to be fully present with our body and the moment.  The art of clearing our minds of all the busyness and spinning thoughts but also the art of being “MINDFUL” as stated above.

Sounds so nice.  Right?  Sounds easy?  Sure.  But I’ve never for the life of me been able to practice this Zen-like art of shutting my loud and pressing thoughts off to just BE.  The longest I’ve lasted in this state of mindfulness or whatever you might call it is about two minutes.  Maybe three.  Okay, I lie.  Make that twenty seconds.

Today is the day.  The day I challenged myself to spend time practicing this art of clearing my mind and just being fully present in the moment.  Listening to my breath, the birds, the wind, the sound of my feet.  I  was determined to spend time not thinking about the things I need from the store, the bills that need to be opened and filed, the e-mails I have not responded to in weeks, the new website I’m trying to set up, etc.  I was determined to drop the girls off at dance, put my son in the jogging stroller, and hit the road. I would just run and clear my mind. Simple.

This was a great plan and it did help me to experience some pretty peaceful moments but I didn’t last long.  Not with my hyperactive self.  I’d see a bird and it would remind me of a song I knew about a bird and then the marathon I ran because I had listened to that song and then the blog that I was setting up because it was tied into running….. you get the idea.  It wasn’t easy.  Every time I brought myself back to the present moment, I’d last maybe another minute before my mind started working again and I’d lose it.

So, the challenge is on!  I love a challenge.  And I love new goals.  I think this one is important.

Goal:  Everyday I will find a time that I just dedicate to clearing my mind and being fully present in the moment.  Being mindful.  If a thought comes in, I will acknowledge it and then let it go without dwelling on it or letting it take charge of my mind.  Eventually I’d like to be able to do this for much longer and much more often than just a few moments but for now I will set the goal for 10 minutes.  This is going to be harder for me than it may sound but I’m not one to set unreasonable goals so I think I can do it.  I envision that I will try to enjoy this time either on a run or sitting outside in the yard stretching.  This makes sense to me.

What helps you to clear your head?  Do you try to spend time where you just stop your thinking and try to be fully present in the moment around you?  

Two things that help us to clear our head……

Yoga

by Cher Odum

and

Running

By Cher Odum

What helps you to clear your head?  Do you try to spend time where you just stop your thinking and try to be fully present in the moment around you?  

Happy Mindfulness!

Amanda

The Art of Runninghood

Welcome toThe Art of Runninghood!  Runninghood was originally a blog that was started by writer Amanda Bowers in an attempt to find sanity and a form of expression as she figured out the “new to her” art of the stay-at-home motherhood gig.  She started Runninghood as a way to write about the parts of her life that move her.  The parts of life that make us want MORE.  The things that make us think, drive us to be STRONGER, and even the moments we struggle with.  She wanted a place to call her own…a place to share her insights, goals, passions, reflections and “life moments” through writing.

The name Runninghood originally came from Amanda’s passion for running and motherhood melded together with her writing about life and matters of the heart.  Runninghood isn’t just a running or motherhood blog. It is a blog written about running, motherhood, the human spirit, and so many things that come with life!  So much of Amanda’s writing on Runninghood is about being REAL, knowing your spirit, reflecting on life, loving others, and striving to be the best YOU…whatever that may be….a runner, a mother, an artist, writer….you decide!   This is what the name “Runninghood” has come to mean…a name that represents The Art of Living with Intention, Passion and Purpose!

At the same time that Amanda has been finding purpose through the writing of her blog, Artist Cher Odum has been doing the same through her visual art.  This mother and daughter team are inspired by each other daily and they finally decided to bring their art together to this place called The Art of Runninghood.   We’d like to think of it as a place to inspire, be inspired, reflect and grow through our “art”…and through the art of living an inspired Life!  The Art of Runninghood is a place where Cher and Amanda put their ideas together to capture the spirit of an athlete, mother, dreamer and embracer of life through the art of writing, painting and other creations.

What you might find here at The Art of Runninghood:

In addition to painting and writing, you will find collage art and other forms of creative expression. As they unfold, you will be able to enjoy Cher’s new works that are inspired by the HeART of Runninghood! We will also include meditations, reflections and pieces of writing inspired by Cher’s older art pieces.

Two features we hope to include regularly on The Art of Runninghood

  • Inspired By You! Featured Art Inspiration! Inspired by you!  We are.  You are part of what inspires us to create.  To write, to paint, to come up with something new.  So many of you are living lives of intention and passion.  You’re doing what you love, setting goals for yourself, making your dreams reality, and sharing your spirit with the world around you. This inspires us.  We want to capture our inspiration from life. The people, places and things that make us feel most fully and wonderfully alive and make us want to be a better We.  Many of you are a part of this life inspiration so we want to dedicate these “Inspired by You!” posts to you.  These posts will include a painting and a written piece for you, about you, inspired by you!   
  • Artful Meditations and Reflections. Almost all of Cher’s work has a story to tell.  Her paintings are usually based on things from her life…her dreams, inspiration from the moment, feelings, current situations, etc.  Her art is a way for her to work through her thoughts, fears, and other feelings and make meaning of her world.  I’ve always been moved by her work and I usually find that they evoke some big feelings and thinking in me!  I often find myself in reflection or meditation based on the inspiration or ideas that were sparked after seeing her work unfold.  These Artful Meditations and Reflectionswill be written by me, Amanda, and “sparked” or inspired by Cher’s art…her new art and older pieces.   
We hope that The Art of Runninghood comes to be a familiar and inspirational place where you can grow and reflect with us as we go.
Amanda and Cher