Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour

Mid-life crisis

You don't need to be large or loud to make a significant impact in the world

Fascinating facts, Self Developmentphoenixarttally

You don't need to be large or loud to make a significant impact in the world. The world often feels to me like such a noisy, crowded place.  It seems like you need to have a sizable 'presence' just to be heard. Those that seem to be capable of making a difference appear to be the enormous corporations,  world renowned speakers, or 'celebrities' with gazillions of  social media followers.

But that doesn't mean that the small, quiet ones are not doing important work, without pomp and ceremony. The best symbol of this is the ladybird.

Small, but beautiful. Clear of purpose. Not needing attention to do their good work in the world.

They are quite fascinating little creatures. Did you know...

  • Ladybirds are loved by farmers gardeners because they are nature's pest controllers. They eat aphids and scale insects, managing them more effectively than poisonous chemicals.
  • They can defend themselves by emitting hemolymph from their jointed legs (reflex bleeding). Hemolymph is a bitter-tasting, foul-smelling fluid.  The beautiful red and black markings on the ladybird serve as a warning reminder of this for predators.
  • There are some ladybirds that are able to change colour to blend into the reeds they inhabit. They are beige with black spots until the spring when they turn bright red to warn off those predators.
  • The number of spots of the ladybird varies by species. Some have only two, others seven. You may even come across a ladybird with up to 19 spots.
  • Despite the name, not all ladybirds are girls (obviously...) but it is very hard to tell the males from the females without a microscope (or an entomologist)
  • Ladybirds from Australia were introduced to California in the 1880's to save the citrus trees because of their effectiveness in controlling pests.  This was so successful that more than 100 different species of ladybird were then brought to North America.
  • Ladybirds love cosmos and dill, so if you want to attract more ladybirds to your garden try planting those!

But whatever you do, let every ladybird you see remind you that no matter how small you might feel sometimes, your contribution is important. Like the humble ladybird, persistently doing the work that you were put on earth to do does make a significant impact on the world.

Explore more of the Flower Faces Series here.

Make a little time for yourself

My art journey, Self DevelopmentKerrie Woodhouse

Yesterday I used up all the white space around my flower face with a textured background. Funny - it was only when I covered up the white space that I actually noticed that there was a lot of white space in most of the other pictures in this series.

I like that they don't have to share the page with anything else.  I like the white space.  It reminds me that I have made time in my life to make them, and that in turn has given me a little 'white space' around myself. Each flower face sitting in its clear space seems to be saying, "Make a little time for yourself."

It is so easy to have life take over and for there to be an endless stream of tasks to tick off the to do list. How often do you get to the end of a really busy day and find yourself wondering... what did I really do today?

If I am not careful, the day whizzes by in a flash. Before I know it the things I would like to do  - the things that are important to me, have been squeezed out.  Unless you prioritise them, and  set aside a specific time for them, they will be neglected into oblivion.

We multi task whether we realise it or not - even if we have read many an article telling us that this is not the way to do things anymore.  Our mobile devices beep and flash and vibrate with every little whimper from cyberspace. It is hard to ignore that flashing envelope icon with every new mail, or the persistence of our social media notifications.  In the car at school pick up, we can be planning the evening meal, googling a recipe for it and placing an online order - all while chatting to the mum parked beside us.  Whatever happened to staring calmly into space for a few moments?

No, I seem to have to allocate time to be still. I don't want to say this, but it is like scheduled 'me-time'. No you see... I really want to go back and delete that. It sounds so selfish, doesn't it? But really, if we don't reign in the frenetic pace at some point - find a little white space for ourselves, we become less capable of doing everything else that we need to do.

If you are wondering how to go about incorporating a little time for yourself, this article has some helpful suggestions.  If you are looking for some more in depth information and guidance than an article, you might want to have a look at Cheryl Richardson's books.

Sitting down with my paintbrushes and pencils is my daily white space. What is yours?

Explore the rest of the Flower Faces Series.

So what exactly is a midlife crisis these days?

Self Developmentphoenixarttally
So what exactly is a midlife crisis these days?
Double page art journal spread created in Jane Davenport's online class 'Create Emotion'

It seems to me that a midlife crisis is one of those first world problems (not a bad kind to have...) I'm not sure it's actually a 'crisis', and I don't think you have to be 'midlife' to have one. I came to art courtesy of a midlife crisis. It was something I tossed out in witty (obviously) conversation one day without much thought. Then I got home. OMG, am I actually having a midlife crisis? (Well, I said 'OMG' so I can't be that old.... or is a compulsion to say things like 'OMG' a few steps away from the cliched red sports car?) Apparently, a midlife crisis is more appropriately termed a midlife transformation these days. Yes, I do like that better. And, it turns out you don't need to be mid-life, to find yourself facing a bit of a crisis.  Essentially it is just a transition point. The space between one phase and the next. I'd like to think that means that some longer term goals have been realised, and new longer term goals are ready to be made. In the best light it is a chance to surrender to the fertile void between these life phases and be open to possibility. It is a chance to let go of trying to fulfill the 'shoulds' which probably arise from the expectations of others rather than your own. Time to reassess what is actually important to you. Marcia Reynolds explains in Psychology Today that these transition points often occur in the transition into a new decade, when you turn 30, 40 and 50. At each of these points the questions that arise are different. At 30 it's probably career choices; at 40, life purpose and from 50 it's most likely to be about legacy. There is a lot of truth in that for me, although I reserve the right to another 'crisis' regardless of whether there is a zero in my birthday! Google will turn up countless lists of symptoms of a midlife crisis. Most, if not all of these include some creative compulsion, like the desire to learn a musical instrument, paint, draw or write. This makes perfect sense to me. If you are at one of life's transition points, you are probably asking a lot of questions. What do I really want out of life?  What matters most?  What is the best way to spend my time?  These are really just some new problems to solve. And creativity is our problem solving equipment. Doing something creative gets that 'right brain' going. It's a chance to play, explore, experiment and discover in a low risk environment. We encourage kids to do this all the time. Don't we deserve the same?