NEW CLASS! Art for Introverts OR How not to Feel Stupid at the Museum


 

This class is for anyone who ever went to an art museum and felt like they didn’t quite get it but were afraid to admit this. Sign up here!

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Next date: Saturday April 29th from 1-3pm!

  • Do you ever find yourself going to a museum because you think you’re supposed to go look at great art and you want to feel something but then nothing happens?
  • Do you sometimes find yourself standing there in a room full of art and wondering what all the fuss is about and at the same time being a little afraid to confess that to the person standing next to you, even though that’s your friend/partner/spouse, who came to the museum with you in the first place?
  • Do you think, holy crap, these things are here but I’m not sure what to make of them! (HELP!) Very often reading the little cards pinned to the wall next to the pieces of art don’t really help do they?

Perhaps it all makes you feel a bit stupid. I’ve been there. I know how you feel.

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And so you wander out of the museum, unsure of what to say or do, maybe head to a movie or grab a drink, relieved to be off the hook of CULTURE, hoping to silence that little voice in your head which says this would’ve been much more fun and interesting if only I wasn’t such a dope.

By the way, YOU’RE NOT A DOPE. We could all just use a little help on figuring out how to look at all the stuff in a museum or an art gallery. Seriously.

So- If this sounds like you, you’re going to love this class.

We’ll visit a museum and talk about how to see, how to engage with the work in a way that involves all our humanity, our hearts, our minds, even our bodies.

I promise that you’ll have a good time and you’ll realize you can form your own way of making sense of the art that fits rather intuitively with your own experience of life.

We’ll talk about what art does for us.

Like: how coming into contact with art can allow us to feel moved and connected with the divine.

We’ll start to see that art can help us remember what is precious to us, help us establish and cultivate hope, even in very challenging times; deal with our sorrows, and so forth.

You’ll leave this interactive class able to enjoy not only art in the museum but to see differently in your everyday life.

To appreciate the art and divinity in every moment, every breath. To see that each moment of seeing and perceiving, listening, touching and tasting is a moment to respond differently, from a place of an expanded sense of our own potential for the adventure that is our one and only life.

If this interests you please sign up now. I highly recommend this for loners, friends, first dates, non-dates, adventurers of all types. Introverts. Extroverts. Non-dualverts. IT specialists. Humans. I really hope to see you there, and please tell your friends and bring them with you.

We’re gonna have a blast. 

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You will need to pay your admission to the museum. Please check coats, backpacks etc. You may bring a pencil, not a pen, into the museum and a sketchbook. You may bring cameras but no flash. Depending on the size of the group, admission price may vary. Once you register and we get closer to the date, I’ll send complete details about admission fees and other essentials. You may not bring food or drinks into the museum.

  1. Looking at art can make us feel happier and more connected.
  2. Art helps us remember what we love and may have lost or fear to lose.
  3. Connecting with art helps us feel more hopeful.
  4. In challenging times art can help us deal with inevitable sorrows.
  5. Art can help us feel centered and more peaceful.
  6. Art helps us develop compassionate understanding of self and others.
Materials to bring A note book, blank, lined or squared and a pencil to write/sketch with. No pens allowed in the museum. Admission to the museum paid separately. Members enter free. Museum admission variable based on residency.
What will be provided Supporting handouts, before and/or after class.
Location
The Art Institute of Chicago

111 South Michigan Avenue,

Chicago, IL, 60603-6404

QUESTIONS? Ask away!

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What Holds YOU Back? Request for questions


“If we become addicted to the external, our interiority will haunt us. We will become hungry with hunger no image, person, or deed can still. To be wholesome, we must remain truthful to our vulnerable complexity.” (John O’Donahue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

Maybe you’re feeling a little disconnected from your own self. Maybe your own complexity feels terribly overwhelming sometimes. 

It happens. No harm. No foul. 

But now that you’ve seen that about yourself…you can never un-see it. We all know how that is.

So, what’s a person to do? 

There are so many good Ways, so much wisdom to help us back to the whole self. 

And lots of ways to get side tracked or confused.  


I plan on writing a weekly blog that addresses questions and concerns that you all have in addition to my own musings and journey for cultivating ongoing wholeness and health, the fullest integration of my various aspects I can muster. 

So I really want to know, what do you feel gets in YOUR way? 

What holds you back? 

What would YOU like to change, want support in changing? 

What questions do you have about how to proceed on the path to remaining true to your own vulnerable complexity? 

What confuses or perplexes you? 

Do you try to establish good habits and then feel them fall away and wonder how to maintain them? 

Do you think that meditation is an act of DOING, just one more pesky thing to cross off your already very full to-do list? 

Do you feel a certain tyranny that your cell phone holds over you and sometimes wonder where all your time has gone? 

Have you read every self-improvement book on the shelf and still wonder why things feel kind of fucked up? 

There are no small or stupid questions. The only bad questions are the ones that go un-asked. 

Please send me your questions here in the comments or if you want a more private communication, send me an email or private message. 

Your questions will be the fuels that inspires new articles in my website and for a new weekly project on Medium

Make an amazing week folks! 

I can’t wait to see your questions and hear your thoughts. 

May you all find peace and fully become the artists of your lives you truly are.

 🙏🏽🙏🏾🙏🏼🙏🏿🙏🏻🦄❤🎈

Hillary 

4 Ways Meditation Changed Her Life 


Something that makes me super happy in working with my coaching clients individually or in groups, is when people are able to identify for themselves the many positive influences and benefits that formal meditation and (less formal) mindfulness practices, bring into their lives. 
It’s so exciting when people can see for themselves the many profound changes that they’ve experienced. 


Today one of my wonderful clients was able to identify for keyways and what her life was better: 

1. Able to deal in healthy ways with school and relationship challenges 

2. Able to remain more focused and less distracted by worry or anxiety 

3. Increased overall social engagement and wellness 

4. Emotional intelligence has increased significantly, resulting in much more emotional control and resiliency. 


One of the things that I think is so important to keep in mind, and I feel like it’s a niche that my work really occupies, is that frequently people think mindfulness is another item to check off a to do list. 

It’s not! 

It’s something that can be a seamless part of everything we do enhancing our happiness and appreciation every day of our lives. 

There’s only one thing we can control in life and that is our reaction to what’s going on. Mindfulness can help us to drop the catastrophe brain and be happier no matter what.

Wishing smooth sailing to all.


#Mindfulness #Meditation #Happiness #EmotionalIntelligence #Resiliency #Chicago #HappyChicago #onelife #CalmChicago #metta #eyeoftheheart #everydaygratitude #ChicagoCoaching #ChicagoLifeCoach #ChicagoCreativityCoach #SpringTimeReboot #SelfCare #SelfLove

Chicago Creatives Portraits Project


Are you a Chicago writer or artist? Would you like to have a free portrait made in your own space, studio, creative place? I’m interested in documenting the amazing, rich artistic community that is Chicago. I’m old school. Shooting mostly film and working in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martine Franck etc. I believe the work is improvisational in nature. There is so much happening in our community of writers, artists, musicians, dancers and other makers and the people who support them (gallerists, venue directors etc.) that makes for a truly special time in our history and which needs to be documented. So, if you’re interested or know someone who should be included, please message me and let’s make a plan. Check out some of my images right here at: https://hijcreative.com Many thanks. 

I’m in a show! One Night Only


So, I’m doing this amazing thing and want you all to come.​
 It’s called Fear Experiment℠ (FE) is a unique, fun way to create community, push oneself, learn something new, and laugh. A lot. Strangers come together to learn an art-form, rehearse for two and half months, and then are rockstars for a night, in front of hundreds. For people not looking to be the next Baryshnikov or Tina Fey but looking to challenge themselves, meet others, and have a consistent source of laughter and support. 


And while I wouldn’t mind being Tina Fey, to be honest, I’m not. But still would love you to come and be one of the folks making audience suggestions that will help us creat magic for you in the moment – something beautiful right now- 


here’s the link for tix: 
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fear-experiment-the-show-tickets-27716478734 
The show is open to all ages, so bring the gang. 
Keep calm and be kind on, Hillary 


PS. I need to sell 11 more tickets! Help!

I’m in a show!


So, I’m doing this amazing thing and want you all to come.


 It’s called Fear Experiment℠ (FE) is a unique, fun way to create community, push oneself, learn something new, and laugh. A lot. Strangers come together to learn an art-form, rehearse for two and half months, and then are rockstars for a night, in front of hundreds. For people not looking to be the next Baryshnikov or Tina Fey but looking to challenge themselves, meet others, and have a consistent source of laughter and support. 


And while I wouldn’t mind being Tina Fey, to be honest, I’m not. But still would love you to come and be one of the folks making audience suggestions that will help us creat magic for you in the moment – something beautiful right now- 

here’s the link for tix: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fear-experiment-the-show-tickets-27716478734 

The show is open to all ages, so bring the gang. 

Keep calm and be kind on, Hillary 

PS. I need to sell 11 more tickets! Help!

Daily Practice is Never a Waste of Time


“Daily practice is never a waste of time.” (Sharon Salzberg)

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Even though we might not see the fruits of our practice right away (like, while we are actually DOING our formal practice, while our butts are on the cushion or bench or whatever), we CAN have confidence that the fruits WILL come.

Sometimes the effects might be very subtle or we might not feel it or notice it, but then something HAPPENS! (Cuz you KNOW life is ALWAYS going to give us opportunities) And then – BOOM! We suddenly notice that the way we are reacting is DIFFERENT than it was before.

This weekend at Kripalu, while I was on retreat with Sharon Salzberg and Stephen Cope, Sharon told a funny story about one of the first weeks she ever sat and did Metta practice all alone. She spent the week focusing on her self, using Metta phrases like, May I be happy, may I be safe, may I be strong, may I have ease of well-being. She said the whole week felt sort of dull and boring; nothing interesting happening at all and that she was sort of wondering if she hadn’t wasted a week because she didn’t feel anything special while she was sitting and practicing.

But then life intervened. A friend got sick and a bunch of the folks sitting had to leave the retreat center to go help them. In the rushing around of getting ready to leave the center, she dropped a big glass jar of some kind, sending shards of glass all over the place. A real mess. She noticed that her first thoughts were, God, you’re a clutz but I love you. She realized in that moment, that in the past she would have really been angry at herself and that clearly something had in fact been happening during her week of  Metta practice toward herself.

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Perhaps we are calm when we might’ve flown off the handle. We don’t holler like we would have done just last week or last year. (Like when the cats woke you up at four a.m., hollering for food even though you just got home from an intense weekend. AND, even though you did just feed them a few short hours ago… Don’t they KNOW you need some sleep for God’s sake!) In fact, this did happen to me this morning and I know I handled it totally differently than I have in the past.

In the past, I’ve experienced the rapid heartbeat of being startled awake and muttering under my breath or even actually hollering at the cats. A lot of  God damn it, why can’t they just shut up or be more like a dog and wait for the freaking food to arrive when I get up! A spray bottle of water has been involved many times. In the process, I’ve awakened my sleeping husband, who has the amazing capacity to sleep through absolutely anything! And how does he sleep like that? Why doesn’t he wake up and feed them? I got these cats FOR HIM after all. Shouldn’t he be taking care of them not me! Doesn’t anyone see the terrible injustice which I am now suffering!? ARGH!

I have stormed down the stairs fuming and slammed food into their dishes and wondered in my raging head, how  much longer will the darn beasts actually LIVE! (They are now 18 years old, heading toward 19 with no obvious sense of physical decline.) And in case you think I’m a cat hater, know this: I am not a cat hater. New to living with cats, yes. But I love them and for proof, feel free to check my Facebook or Instagram feeds for copious evidence. Pinky, who adopted me with a fierce and adoring intensity after my dog Tiger, died, has been renamed by me, AKA The Assistant. He actually has his own hashtag. He’s a happy part of my daily writing life. He tells me when it’s time for a break by jumping up and laying across my arm so I can do nothing other than pat him. Put down that pen Mom. And I listen to his furry feline wisdom.

This morning, when they woke me, I was really tired from a day of traveling back from retreat, but I could just empathize with the reality that they were hungry and needed food. They have the communication skills they do (meowing, box and paper shredding Very Loudly for a few examples) and use them well. I was able to have a feeling of tender appreciation of their plight rather than anger. The weekend of Metta practice definitely is already making a HUGE difference. Sharon, my cats thank you deeply for your teachings. 

I tiptoed down the stairs, picked Pinky up and cuddled him and quietly opened the can of food and plopped some into their dish and actually enjoyed the funny sounds they make while eating. It’s like a super yummy sound (think Young Frankenstein) with lots of lip smacking and purring. How wonderful to do something which created so much kitty happiness so easily. Then I crawled back into bed for a little extra R&R. Shortly after, I had two furry cuddle buddies. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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Though our formal practice might have felt kind of boring, or uninteresting, under the surface we were changing and it just took having an opportunity (something life will ALWAYS give us) to see that change become manifest.

So have courage yogis! Have some faith.

Look closely at your thoughts, the things you say and things you do.

I bet if you look with a close attention, you will notice that you’re changing slowly, bit by bit.

Your daily practice is NEVER a waste of time.

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May all be happy. May all be peaceful.