abstract art LLGriffin

When does practice become easier?

abstract art by LL Griffin

When practice becomes easier is the practice then boring?

over and over we try and try. And then we “fail” then, at some point we learn to go deeper Shunryu Suzuki

When we do something that’s challenging or something that we don’t feel like doing, because the task makes us feel awkward, nervous, inadequate, clumsy or maybe even anxious. It will take a lot of effort just to show up and to keep trying. (many have written about this)

practice is everything – Periander

The definition of practice used as a noun is, training, rehearsal, repetition, preparation and if you use practice as a verb it seems similar but it means rehearse, work on, and go through.

With difficult situations in life, such as, illness, death, divorce or loss of income, which are all challenging things. Facing these difficult things in life is a type of practice. It may not get easier but if we become familiar with the ebb and flow of life, the hope is that we may be able to handle the stresses of our lives with a little less resistance. It takes willingness, practice and presence.

For me, going to my studio is my practice, sometimes I fail and sometimes I am willing to go deeper.

The practice of holding hope and heartbreak – truly is my practice. 

abstract art by LL Griffin

threads in my life

abstract art by LL Griffin

Threads in my life.

I braid the threads together like a weaver creates a blanket.

Each strand represents a different aspect of life. Each color is represents a feeling. Some colors show up more than others.

The practice is using the threads of hope and heartbreak to create my own way of being, and expressed in my art.

abstract art by LL Griffin
Life and death are one thread,the same line viewed from different sides Lao Tzu
Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go. Fred Rodgers

time to rest

mixed media by LL Griffin

Knowing when it’s time to rest takes practice. Letting the storm clouds pass takes practice. Taking a moment to sit takes practice. Allowing yourself to take in a long slow breath takes practice. Now I’m following the rhythm of my life.

It’s time to rest a bit just before spring

practice, staying motived to keep showing up

brush work by LLGriffin
work in progress by LLGriffin
work in progress by LLGriffin
I try to practice even when I don’t feel like it. Putting myself in the my studio, even if, I just sit. I’m thinking about what I’ll draw, paint, or photograph next.

How do I stay motived and interested in showing up? Sometimes a plan works, sometimes a list works. But maybe it’s easier to start with cleaning your space, cooking a meal or walking the dog, that is also showing up even if it feels like a distraction.

Most of life is showing up. You do the best you can, which varies from day to day. Regina Brett

Lost in Translation – my dyslexic journey

I’ve always said, if I ever have a boat, I will call it Lost in Translation. Because, even when we speak the same language, words and meanings get misinterpreted. As an funny example, look at this he scene from the movie Lost in Translation, where Bill Murray plays the star in a whiskey ad in Japan. The scene is with a Japanese director and interrupter and Bill Murray.

I and my family have hosted kids from Japan and Germany.  Even when they felt like their English was very good, they all understood less than they thought because your  language is all about nuance.  

brush image by LLGriffin

As a young working adult, I decided to study the Italian language. But as I progressed, my teacher thought I might be dyslexic. At the time, the teacher’s comment kind of made sense.  As a kid they labeled me a slow-reader, therefore learner.  But I was never formally diagnosed.   I stopped taking Italian because I had just gone to Italy and soon after that trip my mom died.  

Anyway, I didn’t look in to my teacher’s suggestion that I could be dyslexic.  That is, until years later when I returned to study of Italian  because I started the quest of getting my dual-citizenship and wanted to look into spending part of my time in Italy.

To begin my renewed study, I found a local ten – week course in which the teacher used a traditional textbook.  The small group of other students seemed a bit perfectionistic, which was intimidating.  I made it up to the 7thlesson and I then I just didn’t want to go anymore.  While trying to focus on the next lesson, a dread came over me  because this very structured approach made me feel like I’m never going to “get it” Remembering what my former Italian teacher said, I wondered if I really was dyslexic. 

So, like a train shifting tracks, I started researching dyslexia instead of practicing Italian.  I learned I had many of the benchmarks of the learning disorder. 

brush image by LLGriffin

It turns out that 15% of the world’s population has dyslexia and many kids and adults aren’t identified.  But more research has been done since I was a kid.  The result?  We’ve learned that for centuries, dyslexics have invented strategies and workarounds to navigate school, work, ands life in general.  And now, many resources are available to help. 

I still want to learn Italian, but I’ve realized that my approach has to be different than the traditional class room.  Scouring the internet, and I’m in a DIY dual-citizen group they also have a subgroup for language learners.  I’ve found a lot of interesting apps for mobile devices and computers, all of which take new approaches to language instruction.  I like Duolingo, Clozemaster, Busuu, and  Fluent Forever – each for different reasons.  The Linkword Languages app is specifically for dyslexics but anyone could benefit.  There’s even an object-spotting game called June’s Journey which you can play in several languages including Italian and German.  What a great vocabulary builder!  Of course, all have plusses and minuses, and some flow better than others.  But I practice with at least one of them every day.  I began to like learning again – so much so that I recently signed up for another class – but this time, it’s a literature class with a different teacher and a different group of students that know I’m dyslexic.

So, my strategies are now a bit eclectic.   I use passive listening, such as podcasts and music playlists on Spotify, and the app lyric training as well as short videos that have the Italian subtitles on youtube and the language learning apps I use listed above. I also need to practice speaking, and so I met an Italian teacher on the web via an app called iTalki   where you can meet on Skype and have a lesson.  After my first lesson, she said that I knew a lot and I needed to have courage – or maybe she meant confidence – to speak and share what I know.  

snapshot cuore by LLGriffin

A few lessons later, I was explaining in Italian about my quest for Italian dual-citizenship, and how success depends on accurate genealogy through my maternal grandmother.  Which is a 1948 case. It seemed like I was talking forever.  But when I finished my story, and asked the teacher (in English) if she had understood me, she said, Yes!! 

I was understood!

This journal is a journey

Let it help you on your path.

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