A Settled Mind Sees Clearly

“Allow your mind to settle – like the muddy water churned up by a boat, it will soon become clear when settled” from A Thousand Paths to Happiness by David Baird.

Next time you’re at a lake, notice how the water can become murky when a high powered boat zooms by too close to shore.  All the silt and bits of stuff on the bottom gets churned up and you can no longer see anything clearly.  Wait for a while and everything settles back to the bottom and the water clears once more.

Once you see the bottom clearly again, you may spot a bit of treasure that you never noticed before.  This happens because when things are stirred up they don’t always settle into their old places.

The next time you feel like your thoughts are chasing themselves around in never-ending circles, put on some relaxing music, sit down and focus on the music, allowing your thoughts to settle and your mind to come to rest.

When your thoughts have stopped chasing themselves round and round in circles, problems seem to solve themselves.  The constant chasing of an answer, striving to solve problems only serves to churn up the silt of your mind, obscuring the answer that was right there all the time.

Worry acts as a way to churn up the silt of your mind.  Once you start worrying about one thing, don’t you find that other things spring up to worry about?  This is because worry acts like that power boat zooming in too close to shore over and over again as it races around the lake.  No sooner does the murky water begin to settle when the boat comes racing back through again churning everything up once more in its wake.

Becoming aware of your own thought-circles and how they churn up your mind is the first step in mastering the art of allowing your mind to settle and clear.  When that happens, you’ll be able to see answers to old problems and perhaps those new, creative ideas to share with others.

What are some things you do to help yourself settle your thoughts?

Artist Date Creates Inspiration

Trip down to Lakefront Festival of Arts, Take 2. (Take 1 was aborted due to raindrips)

Around noon, I was going to set out for the Lakefront Festival of Arts.  For those not familiar, the LFA is an annual event in Milwaukee, WI that draws artists from all over the US.  I noted artists from Cali and Florida and numerous states in between.

I took my time on the walk from the house to the Milwaukee Art Museum grounds where the festival was being held.  Along the way I snapped a couple things that gave me ideas for my own art. A corner finial suggests decoration for my tiny top hatsMetal Giraffe Sculpture

At one point, I sat down for a brief rest (I know when to listen to my ankles and give them a rest).  One guy was taking his pet lizard for a walk.  A number of people out walking their dogs strolled past.  Two adorable little Chihuahuas came up to sniff my fingers and get petted while I sat there. After a brief rest, I was ready to finish the walk to the LFA.

Walk up to the gate, pay the entrance fee, get a wristband (rapidly replacing hand stamps in many venues) and a program.  Then it’s into the shade of the large marquis tents housing the exhibitors.

Oil paintings, jewelry, fiber artists, wood artists, ceramics, metal, porcelain, paper and mixed media of every sort.  People from all walks of life browsing, chatting with the artists who created the work.  Trying to stop at every single booth was not on my mind this year.  I only wanted to pause at those artists whose work really inspired or spoke to me in some way.

Sarmite Wearable Art

Taken @ Sarmite Wearable Art. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced.

The first thing I saw as I entered the shade of the tents was Sarmite Wearable Art.  Geometrics and designs in bold colors and combinations.  I saw a few things that would do very nicely for Steampunk.

Vintiage inspired pins & rings

Taken at Mikel Robinson’s booth.All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

As I meandered through the tents, other shops caught my eye.  Mikel Robinson’s vintage style work gave me some ideas for the gears and cogs that I have accumulated from the deconstruction of 3 IBM Selectric typewriters.

David Burton's mixed medai with toys

Taken at David Burton’s booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

David Burton’s 3D Mixed Media used a number of recognizable icons of comics, film and TV to create interesting murals in matte black.  Some pieces have old time kitchen implements worked into them.  One mural had a unique spot of color – the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.  Stood out in a very playful way against the matte black.

Who knew that cut paper could create such ethereal and fanciful images?  I’ve never seen paper art of this sort before, so I stopped for a few minutes to chat with the artist, Carol Menninga, as she knit a sweater while watching her space.  She told me she folds the paper and scissor cuts it to form the intricate shapes shown in her booth.

Carol Menninga's cut paper art

Taken at Carol Menninga’s booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

There are a number of shops where I lingered, admiring the workmanship and creativity displayed.  One of the most impressive was Unzicker Design.  She works in fine chain mail style garments and accessories decorated with beads and other embellishments. Seeing what she had done has inspired me to pick up pliers and start knitting again.

Chain Scarf/Tie

Taken at Elaine Unzicker’s booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced

Elaine Unzicker wearing her creations
Taken at Unzicker Designs booth. All images used with permission and may not be reproduced