Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If you moved a little closer....

I make dolls, jewelry...etc and I work from I don't get out much. I worked for years as a teacher and then in retail .....or I directed the workings of hell on earth if your prefer.

I'm used to being alone now.... so shopping or being in large groups of unruly people tends to get on my nerves. I was feeling a bit, well ....random when MJ and I were at Sam's Club a few days before Christmas.

I guess I forgot that I was wearing one of my eye pendants and as I was perusing the choices in the candy section because this older chick kept looming at me. She swooped in for the 3rd time and I noted..."You know if you came a little closer I could lick your eyelid." She took off rather quickly. She barreled past MJ...."What was wrong with her? he grumbled. "Probably having a hot flash or something." I replied.

We were picking out a bag of oranges, when some SC chick announced that everyone present was going to receive a free Christmas gift from "Sam"..... a paring knife.

"What a fucking brilliant thing to hand out to grumpy stressed out holiday shoppers! A sharp knife!" I exclaimed. MJ busted out laughing and just had to get in line for his free holiday pig sticker....which now lives in his lunch box.

I think maybe I need to get out more.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SpaghettiOs and Turkey Noodle Soup- Thanksgiving Out Behind the Local Thrift Store

I worked as a store manager for a local thrift store for 8 yrs. Around this time of year I always worried about the homeless guys and the few women that hung around out back. Most of them did the shelter thing or got help from the VA, so they were relatively looked after.

But there were 2, Eddie and Liz, who hated to be indoors. Both were older folks....Liz got tossed from a hospital in the 80's(thank you for the monetary savings, Mr. Reagan) and Edie had head injuries from his last tour in Nam. Their various advocates ie the VA tried to get them to give up their outdoors only existence, but they'd continue to sneak off . If anything really bad happened I had their advocate's phone numbers.

They tended to be targets of the local teens who thought it was funny to beat them up, burn their sleeping bags and steal what cooking/food supplies they had.

I used to keep a change jar in my office and they became my own personal charity. I'd buy the occasional pot or pan or sleeping bag and stash it in my office. Every few weeks, Eddie or Liz would wobble in all black and blue and I'd go raid my stash.

One November afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving, they both showed up and I went to my office to drag out the pots, sleeping bags and a coat I had just bought. I slipped out the loading dock door and bought them a can each of Spaghettios and Turkey noodle soup with the last of my change.

"Oh look, Eddie!, Liz yelled as she inspected the bag. "We're going to have turkey and Italian for Thanksgiving tomorrow!"

They hugged me and toddled off back to their camp.....happy with their holiday feast.

We should all be so grateful.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween- Happy Anniversary

I got married on Halloween in 1987. So today I wanted to share a wedding picture....yes I wore black.

When we lived in Ohio we had a fabulous bunch of friends that we had great Halloween parties with every year. The USS Lagrange...a local star trek club was filled with great people with fun and crazy ideas.

Mike and I and Lynn Miller...The Skipper, Casper and Joan "no wire hangers Crawford...

We were Mortitia and Gomez one year and Steve Stein, (the guy with Mike when he went as The Skipper )was probably an astronaut.

Oh and one of the shots for us for our infamous "We're the staff of LagrangeCon! How May we help You" photo shoot.

Our anniversary will be pretty quiet this year. Just a dinner out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Season of the Ghost- A White Ball of Fluff

In one of my Earlier stories I told you about Great Grandpa Albert. He wasn't the only ghost in MJ's Grandmother's house.

His Grandmother kept several cats and I'd see their ghosts on occasion. A cat ghost is just a delicate wisp and just flutters by you like a cool breeze.

One little wisp used to hang around with me when I was sharing MJ's studio in one of the upstairs bedrooms. She was a quick little ball of fluff and my impression of her was that she had been a little white cat with dark patches. I'd often catch a glimpse of her zipping ahead of me on the stairs as I headed for the studio.

Quite often I'd feel a cool patch next to my paint palette. She liked sitting on the work table next to me and watching me work.

I only saw little Fluff completely motionless once. I entered the studio and there she was sitting on the table waiting for me. The house was converted into offices when it was sold and I often wonder if anyone there has a little wisp of a companion who sits beside them and watches them work.

This photo is one MJ took of one of our rescues, Kirby. Unfortunately Kirby became ill and couldn't be saved. I haven't seen him around the house yet, but who knows? :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Season of the Ghost- Ghosts of Infinite Sweetness

The gentlest ghosts I've ever run into have to be the animal spirits I've dealt with over the years.

The woods behind the house I lived in as a little girl was magical. In the summer it was densely green with moss, fat old leafy trees, may flowers and lush patches of purple violets. I used to go and pick bunches of violets almost every day.

On these little forays, I would often see these tiny little white wisps of something. When they'd zip past me barely touching my skin, I'd think of running up a tree and the roughness of bark; digging in the earth or curling up with a bunch of other tiny warm bodies and going to sleep. Sometimes I'd be a hunter stalking my food and eating it. Those violent images scared me at first, but I did know not everything could live by just eating berries and I came to understand the hunter spirits.

When I was around 7, I felt I was going to be so much braver than last summer start going further into the woods than the area just behind our house. Well, I picked my usual bunch of violets and started back in the direction I thought would take me back home. I was so wrong.

The trees and plants got more tangled and dense and the sun was barely visible through the canopy of trees. I panicked and started to cry. Suddenly I felt a light touch on my arm. I turned and saw one of my little wisps. It was one of my hunter sprits. I followed it over a fallen tree trunk, through a dense area of tall grass and May flowers. The trees started to thin and I could see the sun again. Looking carefully I could see a few wisps floating near an opening that lead to the edge of the wood. I had come out on the opposite side of the woods near my friend Vicky's house. I just had to go up the street in front of her house, cut through the high school's football practice field and I was just a short ways from a road that would take me to my street.

I ran all the way thanking my little wispy friends as I headed home.

The photos are ones MJ took of 2 of my rescue cats. Spats is the black cat and the other is Max Perkins.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Season of the Ghost- The Man in the Window

When I started dating MJ way back in 1983, he was living in his Grandma's house. She had died recently, so he and his brother were acting as caretakers.

This was an interesting old place. Albert, MJ's Great Grandfather, had built this house and the one next to it. It was 2 stories and huge. It had a big kitchen that opened up to a room with a fire place and from there, that room led to a short breezeway with small paned windows that looked
out onto the front yard. At the end of this breezeway was a shop where MJ's Grandfather had had his saw saw sharpening business.

One late afternoon MJ and I arrived at the house and parked in front of the breezeway windows. As we got out I looked up and saw an elderly man peering out at me. Since I knew MJ and his brother were the only ones living there, I was a bit startled for a second. I paused and MJ asked me what was wrong. I replied that I was fine...we'd only been dating a week or 2 and wasn't ready to have the I see ghosts regularly talk yet.

Well, I kept my eyes open, got closer to MJ and as we were getting more serious I told him about some of my ghostly encounters. I decided to wait on discussing the elderly ghost until I had done a little more investigating. In the old saw shop area, all kinds of family papers and pictures had been stored. There was a beautiful old velvet covered photo album with a lovely photo of MJ's Paternal Great Grandma and a bunch of pictures no one in the family could identify. So, my quiet search for the id of the man in the window continued.

One night we parked in our usual spot and the elderly man appeared in his window. He started like fog and solidified. I casually asked MJ if there was a white haired man that worked with his Grandfather in the saw shop. MJ replied that his Granddad worked alone. "Well then who is the old white haired guy peering out the middle window?" Before I could tell him that I was just seeing a ghost, MJ rushed in through the breezeway door and found no one.

We had a long talk and I described the ghost's white hair, large nose and red and brown plaid flannel shirt. MJ went upstairs and rummaged around forever. Finally he came down with a small stretched canvas. "I painted this when I was a kid, " he said and turned the canvas so I could see it.... a Jr high art style portrait of a white haired man with a large nose wearing a brown and red plaid flannel shirt. "He was my Great Grandfather Albert. He's the guy who built this house. When he was alive, what is now the old saw shop was his apartment."

MJ never saw Grandpa Albert, but felt cold spots in the shop when I would see him looking out of the window. He never responded to me when I tried to speak to him and no one else ever saw him. Even after Mike's Dad sold the house, sometimes I'd see Albert looking out his window when we'd drive by the house. To this day, I wonder if he's still watching and who he's waiting for.

Here's another spooky MJ illustration to dress up my post.:)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Season of the Ghost- Dead Babies in a Burning Car

Yeah, I know weird, nasty title. The phrase is one I learned from an old boyfriend who was a photojournalist. He had a professor who felt this was one of the ultimate photo ops for a photojournalist. I use the phrase when I see something really horrific happen. And sometimes I can just be a w/bitch.

Well, today I have a sad little story. And yes, this one deals with another Ouija board. MJ and I were at a friend's house for pizza and a video. Maggie, Bob and their roommate, Alex were all telling gruesome stories. Bob always seemed to like to try to upset me or gross me out the point of nausea. Maggie seemed to like to pick at me and make feel less than human. But I put up with the crap cause MJ was friends with Alex and Bob. The negativity of the house's energy didn't help either. Negative people seem to collect negative spirits.

We got talking about ghosts, psychics etc and I related the Flaming Gary story. Maggie insisted on us trying out her Ouija board. I was in no mood, but I was annoyed enough with the whole miserable evening to agree....the environment had some bad vibes and the idea of scaring Bob and Maggie was appealing. .....Hey, I'm human, okay?

So the board came out and we started off. It wouldn't work unless I had a fingertip on the planchette. We had a few spirits that answered a few yes or no questions, but one kept showing up and it had a message for Shelly.

Maggie wanted to stop then, but the ghost or whatever was determined. It wanted to talk to Bob...well Bob was not happy and Maggie was pissed. Apparently Bob had had a relationship with this chick, Shelly, before he met Maggie and fathered a kid. Supposedly this ghost was the baby. Bob and Maggie were the only 2 people present who knew bout the abortion. Needless to say I got what I wanted.... Neither of them picked at me for quite sometime.

As to the entity being an aborted baby, I don't believe it, but entities/energies already in the house playing with 2 nasty people....yes. I think one of them took pity on me or I just finally used my own psychic abilities to protect myself.

Yep, this is another of MJ's illustrations. After this incident, Witchy Woman was my nickname. :)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Season of the Ghost- The Ouija Board and Flaming Gary

When I was around 11, one of the neighbor kids, Susan, showed up with a Ouija board instead of the Monopoly game she said she was getting. She explained how we all needed to put a finger on the planchette and ask questions.

Well, you could tell Sue was moving the planchette. So we weren't impressed. Everybody took a turn and the planchette never moved a millimeter.

Now, I had been seeing ghosts since my Grandma Bartlett died when I was 7, so this doodad board wasn't impressing me too much. It couldn't compare with getting a last hug from Grandma or the little white floating spirits I saw in the woods behind our house.

I took my turn and wouldn't you know that planchette zipped around like it was electrified. The man who wanted to talk to me was named Gary and he was really excited to talk to me and wanted me to do him a favor. I was supposed to go get some matches and bring them out to the yard where we were all sitting.

He explained that he and his brother were killed in a house fire in a house that once stood near we were playing .....

Suddenly the planchette jumped and slid violently off the board. We all freaked and got up off the blanket we'd been sitting on. Everybody dared me to try the board again. I figured a ghost couldn't really hurt me and I did get dared.... so I plopped back down.

The planchette started moving again and this time I was talking to Ian. According to him, Gary started the fire that killed just him. I got this uneasy feeling that someone was behind me and jumped up. After that I lost interest in the ouija board, but Gary still seemed to be following me around. I thought I saw him a few times in the woods behind our house. I had a couple of dreams where I saw a man running from a burning house and through the windows.....saw a man fall into the fire.

From that experience, I learned not all spirits were good and that needed to not listen to the bad ones. Also, being dead doesn't always give the ghost any more knowledge than when he or she was alive.

As an adult I've thought about when this fire could have taken place, what were Gary's motives in wanting me to get matches and if he affected any other kids? I probably still wonder about this ghost because during that year a couple of kids I knew died in house fires.

The house had tiny little paned windows and seemed to be in wooded area. The men seemed to be in old fashioned shirts and suspenders with knee high boots.
My guess is that the fire took place during the 19th century because the area seemed so undeveloped and the style of house and the tiny panes of glass reminded me of windows I'd seen in the historic homes at Hale Farm and Village. I've always thought about contacting the Tallmadge Historical Society to see if there were any records that might tell me about those 2 brothers.

Here's Andy Corn to make you laugh after my creepy story.:)

These illustrations are also done by my husband, MJBivouac

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Season of the Ghost- Ghost Manager Walking

My oddest ghost story is from when I worked as the store manager of the Simi Valley Salvation Army thrift store.

The store was made up of 2 sections. One was the main floor with a back room and loading dock. The main floor connected with a small room we used for the used books, records and vintage clothing. This room originally had 3 steps down from the main floor.

Just before I took over the floor of this little specialty room was raised to match the level of the main floor. It was interesting that the new floor had an odd bounce to it.

Anyway, one night after closing I was doing a walk through on the main floor. I was making a to do list for the next day and as I approached the middle of the main floor I could hear hangers being slid in the specialty room.
I thought...oops a record guy or a retro chick didn't hear me call closing. I called out,"Excuse me, but we're closed." As I watched,a woman in a floral dress with her dark hair pulled back in a bun started walking towards me through the doorway.

The only thing was...she was walking knee deep in the floor. As she got closer to me she faded away. Obviously she only knew the original floor with the 3 steps down in that back room.

Now, I've seen ghosts since I was little so I wasn't scared, but I was curious to find out who this lady was.

My asst. manager at the time was a long time Simi resident and was a regular shopper at the thrift store even before she got hired to work in the store. So I went to Betty the next day and asked her.

I found out the ghost was probably a previous manager named Juanita who worked there 10-12 yrs before I became manager. I described her right down to the flowered dresses she always wore.

After that first meeting, I never saw her again, but if I heard hangers moving around on the racks when I was alone in the store, I just called out a greeting to Juanita and the noise would stop.

The beautiful Halloween illustrations were created by my husband MJ Bivouac. Thanks, Mike.:)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween is coming...

Halloween is my favorite holiday. This year we're adding a line of custom aceos to our shop . Whether you want a cute little alien or maybe a sexy bride of Frankenstein or a mummy or even old Franky himself.... just stop on by Le Chat Noir and order a card and MJ will create a wonderful little work of Halloween art just for you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Everything is 20% off this weekend at Le Chat Noir Studios! Jewelry, Art Dolls, Pin-up art, Illustrations......Please stop by and take a peek.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cat Women Elementals Pendants

I started these

pendants ages ago and had a horrible time trying to decide how to paint them.

I'm happy with the effect of dry brushing colors over the black. Now that the Earth and Water cat women are turning out the way I want, I need to get molds on the Air and Fire cats.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

OOOH! I love that masked man! My Fixation with Masked, or Disfigured Men

When I was a little girl, all the little boys wanted to be Speed Racer. Me.... I wanted to marry Racer X.

I mean really... a brave man who saves the tall and mysterious...what could be better?

My fascination with the idea of the masked or disfigured man was continued when I started reading the comic strip Brenda Starr. Basil St. John always showed at the right time to save Brenda.

As Vincent Parry in Dark Passage Bogart spends a good part of the movie with his face covered in bandages. He has his face altered so he can find who really killed his wife.

Henri de toulouse lautrec... well, he was talented, disabled a
nd successful. What could be better?
I know from experience that being physically different makes me stronger and more unique. I can ....with effort survive just about anything. I like my fantasy and real men to be strong, brave survivors.
I guess I grew up to see the different and the mysterious to be the spice of life.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fear and Loathing of Clowns Revisited

Here's another little gem proving the innate evilness of clowns. This nice little 2 minute French film called Happy Meal is quite horror fest. For me anyway....I'm a baby. See my post about my watching Dead Silence for 4.5 minutes.

It has a better end than the miniseries It anyway....ooh it's a big telepathic spider. That's scarier than Pennywise?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Limited Edition Water Dragon Works in Progress Part 1

In my soft sculpture Pet Shop of the Old Ones magic animals line, I have a water dragon named Siku.

I've been thinking that making hybrid soft and hard sculpt figures in limited editions could lower the cost of some of my pieces. I'm hoping that this will make them more appealing to more customers.

I haven't done much clay sculpture in the past few years so this piece has been a challenge. The head, wings and torso will be cast in resin and hand painted. I plan on inserting an armature in the bottom of the torso and using batting and fabric embellished with beads to create the tail.

I'm looking forward to combining paint, fabric and beads to create these new pieces.

I'm working with an oil based clay called Chevant. It's used in the special effects industry, car and industrial design. It comes in several hardnesses and holds textures and details beautifully. It also smells and feels unpleasant if you love real clay or wax like I do. But I'm getting used to it... I think it might grow on me eventually.

I'm thinking of doing these animals in small editions of 12 to 25 at the most. I was also thinking it might be a fun kit sort of project too.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Skipsy Doodle of Death

My brother David got a red skipsy doodle for Christmas one year.

It was used inside as a teeter totter and a stand-y thing until the snow melted. For about a week it was an outdoor teeter totter. But David who could tear apart a Tonka Toy Jeep with his bare hands, had other plans.

We lived in one of those 60's neighborhoods on a culdesac (I like that word). As the street moved away from our house it sloped down into a pretty decent hill. David and his friends rode various bikes, wagons, big wheels and scooter-type things down this hill a literally breakneck speeds.

I knew something was up one sunny afternoon when David came in in wearing a football helmet, an old bath towel superman cape and wanted to borrow my long pink jump rope. I went out front and there was David tying one end of the rope to the back of Bobby Trauger's purple Spyder bike . He then secured the other end to the handle of "old red".

He threw himself on "old red" face down, grabbed the handhold on and yelled let 'er go! Bobby peeled out of our driveway and "old red" popped over the curb about a foot in the air, smacked the street and scraped away with David holding on for dear life. You could hear the scraping sound all the way down the street and David yelling "Go Go Go!" Amazingly, Dave and his friends never got hurt on the "old red" street runs until they started using him on their bike rides through the woods behind our houses. I think it was Jeff who got catapulted into a tree and got scratched up. But, his real problems started because he landed landed in a poison ivy bush .

Poor "old red" went to the great teeter totter playground in the sky when I was going off to college one year. My Dad was cleaning out the basement and put a bunch of stuff out by the trash cans. Scraped and battered "Old Red" was leaning upright against one of the cans. I was upstairs packing and looked out my bedroom window when I heard an old heap pull into our drive way. David and a few of his friends piled out. They all stood looking at "old red" who was scraped, scarred and still had a length of pink rope tied to one of his handholds. For a few minutes, they each took turns laying on "old red" and dragging each other around in street in front of our house. Eventually , they stopped and were laughing and telling stories looking at "old red" who was resting at their feet.

Dave propped "old red" back up against the can and they all started to walk back up the drive to our house. Everyone of them looked back at least once at that battered old piece of red plastic.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Buddhist Business Owner- Using The Eight-Fold Path to Guide Your Business- Right Meditation

Right Meditation

Right Meditation means using mental exercises, like learning to concentrate on your breathing or on your walking, so as to calm your mind down. A calmer, clearer mind can help you to respond more thoughtfully in everyday situations. Through making you more awake to what is happening all the time, it can help you practice all parts of Noble Eightfold Path.

A calmer, clearer mind leads on to another stage in Buddhist meditation when you simply watch what your mind does. This helps you to understand your mind better and notice how your mind sometimes make things up, which you then risk believing are true. This is part of waking up to the true nature of reality.

Concentration exercises on your breathing are the starting point for Buddhist meditation but not the whole thing. Buddha warned against spending too long doing concentration exercises. The latter can make your mind totally still, so that you do not feel bothered by anything. But this is not true Buddhist peacefulness, which comes from using a calm mind to understand things better.

The first example is a meditation method for increasing feelings of kindness and goodwill towards other people. The second meditation method is for increasing wisdom and your understanding of the mind.

Buddhism teaches that you need both these types of meditation. The emblem often found on top of Buddhist stupas, which are monuments to Buddhist teachers. The crescent moon shape stands for loving kindness. The sun stands for wisdom and understanding. It means that if you put these together, you get the little jewel on top of the sun shape, which stands for Enlightenment.

Meditation for increasing goodwill towards other people

This is a short, 10 minute meditation for doing at the start of each day.

You could do this sitting in a quiet place. You could also do this sitting on a bus, if you can be on your own.

Monks and nuns at the Bodhi tree
  • For 5 minutes, you go through in your mind the various things which you and other people want in life – for instance to be happy, to be loved, to be praised for good things you do, to have friends and company from other people, to have things to look forward to. You think about how, in general, we all want the same sort of things. You think about how you and other people affect each other and affect how each can get what they seek.
  • Then for 5 minutes, as you breathe in, each time you wish kindly to yourself that you be happy. Each time you breathe out, you wish the same for various people whom you know - you wish that they have the good things which they seek. You try to extend this to as many people as possible. If you can, try to include some people whom you do not like so much.
  • Afterwards, try to keep this feeling in mind all day towards everyone whom you meet, whether they’re someone you know well or not. Try to keep this feeling in mind, whatever anyone does to you.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has urged that as many people as possible practice this simple meditation. It could make the world a better place, he says. The Dalai Lama is the religious leader of Buddhists from Tibet and nearby parts of Asia.
(For more about the Dalai Lama see:

You do not need to be a Buddhist to do this meditation or to value its results.

Meditation for increasing peacefulness and understanding of how the mind works

You need to do this sitting comfortably in a quiet place. For a beginner, 20 minutes is long enough. With practice, 30 minutes would be suitable.

Start by wishing that any benefits from the meditation will affect not only yourself but other people with whom you come into contact.

Then relax for some minutes.

Then sit a little straighter and put your mind on your breathing at the tip of your nose. Count up to ten your out-breaths at the tip of your nose – if you lose count, start again.

Meditating at the Mahabodhi Temple

After two or three complete sets of ten breaths, just sit calmly watching your mind and let any thoughts and feelings come and go.

If restlessness or worrying thoughts come, just let them come and go. Do not either follow or try to stop them. If moments of calm come, just let these also come and go. The idea is to remain peaceful whatever goes on in your mind. Just sit back and watch what the mind does.

If you get lost in thought and distracted from this, for a little while go back to watching your out-breaths at the tip of your nose.

You need only moderate effort in concentrating on your breathing. Buddhist teachers compare calming the mind to letting muddy water settle in a glass. The water goes clear in its own time and there’s nothing you can do to hurry it up. In fact if you try to hurry it, you’ll only stir up the mud. In meditation, it’s enough just to keep sitting there and watch your mind – without trying to change anything.

Benefits of This Type of Meditation

  • During meditation, a taste of a way of being which is peaceful and different from the irritations and worries of everyday life.
  • After meditation, ability to handle everyday situations in a more thoughtful and generous way and to break free from following your habits.
  • Both during and after meditation, noticing and understanding how your mind works.

The Dalai Lama has compared meditation to recharging your batteries for everyday life.

The Dalai Lama has also described meditation like this:

“We tend to be controlled by our mind, following it along its self-centred path. Meditation is the process whereby we gain control over the mind and guide it in a more virtuous direction. Meditation may be thought of as a technique by which we diminish the force of old thought habits and develop new ones.”

Other Methods of Meditation

Detailed examples have been given of two common types of Buddhist meditation. There are many other methods:

‘Walking Meditation’ is very common. This means practicing keeping your mind on every footstep you take. It trains you to keep your mind calm and concentrated while you are walking around and doing everyday things.

There are meditation methods for thinking deeply about important Buddhist teachings, like that everything is changing and nothing lasts forever.

There are meditation methods for helping you forgive people whom you feel have wronged you.

Buddhist meditation and Buddhist codes for conduct go hand in hand

For meditation to give most benefit, you need also to follow the Buddhist guidance for conduct in the Noble Eightfold Path – like not telling untruths and not speaking hurtfully to people. These rules also eventually bring peacefulness to your life. For instance, not telling untruths will save you from the strain of living up to a false image and not speaking hurtfully will mean you make fewer enemies. To practice meditation but ignore such guidance is a bit like your left hand undoing what your right hand is doing.

In the Buddhist Wheel symbol, the link between meditation and everyday conduct is likened to the need for a wheel to have both a hub and a rim. It needs both parts to work.

You are what you think you are and you need to learn to guide your thoughts in positive ways. I try to start each day with thoughts on how I want to be happy and how I wish other people will find their happiness.

If I am troubled by someone or an incident during my working day, I stop and close my eyes for a moment and breathe in and out a few times and clear my head of any angry or selfish thoughts before I try to come up with a solution to the problem or answer a difficult question. Sometimes the first idea you give is just that the first idea... not a well thought out idea, a fair idea or even a good idea.
I like the walking meditation technique when I'm especially upset or concerned over a problem. It takes time and effort to learn to control your thoughts and emotions and use them in positive ways. Keep working each day and don't be discouraged.

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.

May all these different articles I've shared with you help you on your journey through life and with your business. I'd love to hear your experiences.
You can find this beautiful book in Petitbijou's shop on etsy .

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Buddhist Business Owner-Using the Eight-Fold Path to Guide Your Business-Right Mindfulness

Right Mindfulness

This means remembering to apply Buddhist teachings in everyday life all day long – keeping Buddhism in mind all the time.

For instance, it means remembering to treat each person you speak to in a kind and pleasant fashion. It means remembering to be truthful.

It also means remembering to apply Buddhist teachings to any difficult situations. In difficult situations, sometimes Buddhists ask themselves, ‘What might Buddha do in this situation?’ so as to help themselves to decide what to do.

Some Buddhists spend some time each day when they think back about how well they have followed Buddhist teachings so far that day. They can praise themselves for things they have done well. Concerning anything they regret doing, they can think through what went wrong and work out how to do better in the future.

Right mindfulness also means training yourself to keep your mind on whatever you are doing and not drifting into daydreams. One such Buddhist training method is ‘Walking Meditation’, when you practicing keeping your mind on each step you take when walking. Buddhism teaches that, when we are daydreaming, we can build up beliefs and feelings, which then can create difficulties for us. This will happen less if our mind is occupied instead with whatever we are doing.

Also, if we are fully paying attention, we will notice more, understand more and be able to handle situations better.

My most important comment about this path is that you have to pay attention to your business. I know that seems obvious, but if you're not watching the types of materials you're buying, treating your vendors and customers with respect, you're not going to be in business for very long.

I'm an obsessive list maker. Not only do I make up daily lists about what supplies I need or what dolls I need to finish, I also try to add personal goals. Like today I want to work on improving my mastery of embroidery stitches because improving my skills makes me more confident as an artist. When you feel good about yourself, it's easier for you to treat others better.

If you did something you regret, like reprimand an employee in front of customers, now is the time to be honest about it and try to come up with a better way to resolve a problem. Remember berating yourself isn't going to solve the problem. Recognize your error, forgive yourself and resolve to do better. And apologize to that employee.

What will you do today to improve yourself and your business?

You can find this beautiful photo in the etsy shop linnphotography.