Flow is the secret ingredient

Roaring Fork Falls, Burnsville, NC, pastel by Stephanie Thomas BerryAfter years of focusing on my productivity in the studio—trying all manner of time management and goal setting techniques—I decided to value flow above everything.

The shift wasn’t an a-ha moment. It was born out of utter frustration with myself. I was making myself miserable doing what I love. I would set a goal with a piece and time myself. When I got restless or struggled, instead of listening to my body, I would force myself to continue. I was spending less time in Nature, more time on the computer. And I could see a wall looming in front of me, one that I was going to run into if I didn’t slow down. It was a wall between me and my natural state of happiness.

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Good-bye, business as usual

horsenettle

I took a bunch of business courses and they made me crazy.

“What is the emotional need that your product fulfills? Markets are conversations—how are you participating in the conversation? What are you Key Performance Indicators? How will you track them?”

And I tried. I made notes and thought deeply about the questions—legitimate business questions—that were being asked of me. I thought about how to refine my focus and how to present myself on social media in a cohesive way.

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Stealing the Sun

Stealing the Sun, pastel by Stephanie Thomas Berry

Are you tired of the status quo?
There is an old Haida tale that tells how Raven brought light to the world.
Basically Raven was tired of bumping into things in the dark, and so he devised a method of going into another world and stealing the sun. It involved some pretty fantastic shapeshifting and a lot of patience, but in the end he was successful in bringing light to the dark world where he—and the humans— lived.

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Trout Lilies Emerging

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The Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) is a diminutive spring ephemeral in the Lily family. Trout Lilies have a very poor sexual reproduction rate —only about 10% of flowers produce seed—and so they spread mostly by corms, developing a dropper, or fleshy stem, that stretches deep into the soil away from the parent before  growing its own corm at the end of the stem. Once this happens, the dropper connecting the parent and daughter plant dies off.  Colonies of trout lilies have plants of varying ages, and in undisturbed forests some colonies are reputed to be over 300 years old!

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Grandmother Catalpa

Fallen Catalpa Flower, micron pen and watercolor by Stephanie Thomas BerryMy Catalpa tree is in full bloom.
The tree herself is huge—everyone who knows trees and has seen her professes she is the biggest Catalpa they have ever seen, which of course this means that she’s pretty much the oldest, too.. Her branches are thick and curvaceous; her leaves are giant green hearts.  And right now she’s covered in buoyant clusters of white flowers.

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