Wellness Monday: Owning Your Emotions

more magnets

Let’s discuss owning our personal emotions.  There is a common yet destructive habit of blaming personal emotions on others and circumstances, especially when it would be best to simply own personal emotions. Admittedly, I catch myself doing this also. For instance, I noticed myself reporting how, “some driver cut me off, and that made me so upset”, and mentioned that “so-and-so neglected to return my phone call, and that made me sad”.  These types of phrases, while ubiquitous in everyday speech, are faulty. So, I decided to set an intention to change the way I talk about my emotions.

The intention is to begin owning my emotions. I intend to quit blaming others for my emotions, because it is I who am responsible for managing my own emotions.

Simply put, blaming personal emotions on other people actions and situations is faulty for a number of reasons.

  • it negates the fact that your emotions are your own
  • it sets an expectation that people and circumstances are responsible for correcting your mood, rather than yourself
  • others, not you become the source of correcting your emotions
  • it is an example of poor maintenance of personal boundaries
  • it breeds resentment from others, and holds others emotionally hostage for your problem

To accompany my intention, I plan to practice personal responsibility of my emotions and share my true feelings while reserving expectations concerning others’ reactions or shows of support.

Here is another source on ways to manage and control your emotions.

Does this resonate with you? What intention will you set for yourself?


Wellness Monday: Remembering to Listen


Here’s a broad question. What does communication mean to you?

While this is a question worth answering for yourself, to me, a huge part of effective communication has to do with listening. Often, I remind myself of the value of listening well, and it seems to be a popular topic in media too. Effective listening adds value to all interactions with others, whether it be a professional or personal relationship.

The big benefit is this, listening helps you truly hear another person’s perspective, and creates an opportunity where understanding another will likely help you get what you want as well. Here is an article that points to the benefit of listening with intention, although I think the author’s conclusion that listening to others’ will ultimately help you be “like-able” is simplistic (and not the end goal), yet the author does have a point that listening is important in every setting.

If you are the image of perfection in the listening arena, stop reading. Meanwhile, the rest of us will refer to the following pointers for listening well. One of the best ways to receive someone else’s message is to practice active listening. This is:

  • listening, without forming a response
  • eye contact and nodding, etc. to demonstrate listening
  • give feedback, by repeating what you hear to confirm you understand the speaker
  • limit distractions, try to remain focused on the speaker

This active listening behavior will encourage others to identify you as a safe person to speak with, a solutions oriented individual, and one who seeks to understand and clarify when others speak. (Editorial alert, who wouldn’t like to be perceived as this sort of person and listened to in this way?!) There is certainly an appropriate time to speak, to be sure, yet listening is a best practices skill that defuses or resolves emotionally charged situations, while promoting more meaningful relationships overall.

At this point, I hope you have a renewed intention to listen. Remember to listen, as it is a key aspect of communication.


Photo Source: http://theyec.org/business-leaders-are-you-listening-or-talking/

Buon Voyage!


This week…

We are not going any place special, but are simply enjoying a little relaxation. It will be quiet at the blog for this week and next. I will post next week, although not 100% on time for the usual Monday and Wednesday schedule. For now, be well, relax, and enjoy life.

Visual Day: Scale and Review of August’s First Thursday

On the subject of my experience at First Thursday this August I have a confession. I didn’t go! Don’t fret, I did visit a number of galleries that participate in the event, just not on First Thursday.

Yes, yes, but Elya how could you write a proper review when I didn’t attend the event? Well, a few things are certain. The event still happened without my attendance, and I also had a different viewing experience by going on another day.

In terms of the First Thursday event, I can guarantee that many galleries were open later than normal, that some offered wine, snacks, or hosted musicians to play live music. Also,the open market on 13th street was filled with the booths of jewelry makers, wood crafters, painters, photographers, and so on. Lastly, there were a lot of people.

Sometimes viewing art shows in this environment is helpful to my viewing experience. I may notice certain art more than I may have when people congregate around it, or I glean an interesting perspective through a nearby conversation for example. This isn’t always the case.

Other times, I am swept up by the movement and general mood of other viewers. I find myself lingering for less time, than if I were in a room filled with fewer people and a more serene environment. Or hunger pangs make the snacks and drinks very appealing. I am distracted.

My two highlights for shows this month are from galleries that live on the same block together. The two spaces are PDX Contemporary Art and the Elizabeth Leach Gallery.

Through August 31st, the work of Kristen Miller, in the show Passing Through, will be on view at PDX contemporary art. Each composition stands alone with an intricate and balanced design. Yet together each piece serves as part of the whole in Kristen Miller larger oeuvre (or the works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively, as in, “the complete oeuvre of Mozart”, from dictionary.com). There are framed pieces as well as a paper and beadwork installation mounted on the ceiling.

In an expansive white-walled space, Miller’s relatively small-scale art acts as well placed punctuation in a sparse poem.  The compositions are balanced using a zen-like pallet of black, white, and grey.  The titles of the art seem to recall the physics of our world with names such as “Gravity”, and “Rising and Settling”. The materials include glassine paper, tiny glass beads, thread, and found objects such as fruit wrappers. More information on the show and extra images from the show are here

On view, until September 21st, is Funeral: Photographic Constructions by Isaac Layman at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. These photographic constructions are a combination of large-scale, hyper real images as well as Layman’s selections of everyday materials. The subject matter is everyday objects such as an empty cabinet or empty sink, and the curated pieces are foam board in a white-framed support. Each curated piece or photographic construction is empty and in a state of disuse.

With Funeral as a show title, I consider the content and meaning to be part of a contemplation on the end of life, although the subjects also remind me of the tongue in cheek ready-made art by artists like Marcel Duchamp, causing me to wonder whether there is any intentional humor in this otherwise somber theme. If you visit or have visited this show, what were your thoughts? There are extra images and more information here also.


IMG_1817Greetings readers!

I will post my monthly review of First Thursday for August later tonight or tomorrow. Posting later than usual is good, trust me, because I am fine tuning the content to be top-notch! I am excited to share my experience with you soon.

Did you go to First Thursday last week? Please don’t hesitate to share your review and thoughts too. Let’s have a conversation.

For now, enjoy this provoking quote by Pablo Picasso. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Another post coming soon!


Wellness Monday: Acronyms Help

Disney's Human Element - "You Better Think (Think!!!)"
I am here to share that acronyms work. Especially when you could use a little help with effective communication. How is it that acronyms possibly help, you ask?

The acronym that I will elaborate on in this post is T.H.I.N.K. It is mostly a shorthand list that serves as a helpful reminder when you are trying to communicate. (Also, acronyms work as handy memory recall strategies, but that is a topic for another day.) This acronym may not be for everyone, however anyone can use it and decide if it works for their purposes.

It is often accompanied with the phrase “before you speak, THINK…”. The phrase is followed by, “Is it true? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?” as a short questionnaire checklist.


The bottom line is this; all of us must speak. THINK is a useful reminder when communication is an inevitable human behavior. We are social beings. We pass on information, thoughts, ideas, criticisms, and much more using our body language and the power of the spoken word. As humans we communicate with other people using words, and with ourselves via our individual internal dialogue. Whether we communicate in an effective way, or otherwise, depends on our approach.

THINK is a useful approach because it serves as a quick and easy internal checklist before communicating to ourselves with self-talk and other people with our words. Odds are, if you consider whether words prior to speaking satisfy at least one of these questions (Is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind?), can be a measurement of if it should be said at all. You may also want to consider the THINK acronym in terms of your own self-talk.

A “yes” to the questions on the THINK list could mean that it will be worthwhile and solution based, while a “no” may be destructive or problem based. Words that do not meet the THINK criteria are most likely not worth your time and effort as they may not really communicate much. Similarly, your internal self-talk may be worth keeping or changing depending on the sort of language you choose and how it measures up to the THINK acronym.

With time and practice, this may become a habit of your communication strategy to yourself and everyone you interact with. It will be well worth the time and effort to adopt the, “think before speaking” approach that is immensely helpful to yourself and those you interact with from day-to-day.

Does this approach work for you? Are there other acronyms that work well?


Visual Wednesday: After Postmodernism in the “Seven Ages of Buildings” Series

Tower Reflection

What Comes After Post-Modernism?

To discuss current buildings and structures, is to consider architecture in terms of the question, “What comes after post-modernism?” Perhaps, when discussing those structures that are recently built or still in process, is to discuss the now. Comparing contemporary buildings and structures to Shakespeare’s line, “At first, the infant. Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms”, these new buildings are as fresh to the world as newborn infants. Recent and in progress buildings are in a period of architectural beginnings, and their futures are unforeseeable.

As I see it, there are two upfront limitations to talking about such fresh, infancy stage buildings. The first limitation is a lack of perspective.

Jumping into a conversation on current architecture is a good reminder that we are living in current times as well. So, there may not be an adequate perspective yet. Further, architectural discussions in art history typically hinge upon a process of distinguishing the characteristics of a movement (or style) from previous movements and noting new conventions. This could be problematic when attempting to analyze a current architectural style, because we aren’t removed from the present. Neither do we have the perspective allotted us, as we do when discussing older forms of architecture.

The second limitation is based on the trend away from labeling. Simply put, many academics and architects alike don’t care to label or name specific styles in contemporary architecture. It is problematic, so it is avoided.

Contemporary architecture discussion requires little to no labeling, at this point in time. In my experience, post-modernism is one of the last movements discussed in an art historical context. It seems the buildings of today are simply part of contemporary architecture. Surely, current buildings are contemporary architecture, but is a label necessary? I argue that it is too soon to name the current style, and that maybe labels aren’t worthwhile anyway. (I don’t think I am alone in this assertion, so perhaps I am stating more of a consensus than an argument. See this article.)

On to buildings and structures of today.

View a quick slide show of recent stunning buildings completed since 2009.

Current buildings are amalgamations of all architectural forms before them. Many architects try to incorporate newness in terms of materials, building processes, and thoughtful designs. Plus, a lot more, that is too lengthy to cover in a single post.


An interesting example of a contemporary building is the Sky City building that broke ground in China about one week ago. Set to be constructed in 10 months time, it is scheduled to be done in 2014. It will be the tallest building in the world at 838 meters, and an entire 10 stories taller than the current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. See full details.

Adding to the complex conversation about contemporary buildings and structures, the following video highlights a number of architects’ opinions regarding the reason they chose architecture as a profession and the biggest challenge facing architecture today from MOCA tv.

While a contemporary discussion of buildings and structures has some limits concerning perspective and labeling difficulties, there is a lot we are able to consider. Surely, the place in history of today’s buildings and structures is unknowable, but there certainly are a prolific amount of buildings and structures that belong to what I will loosely call contemporary architecture.

Photo Source: 1. Absolute World in Mississauga, Ontario from Flickr 2. Sky City in China from Radio City