The Hart Family

The Hart Family
Living In Color.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The LOVE project

ok it's Thursday...

I just got done with a quick yoga session and ended it on a prayer and meditation.  After which I jumped into the steamer to process the jumbled ideas that were racing through my head.  Thoughts came flooding in so fast and furious I am writing this post in a robe and towel wrapped around my dripping hair.  I was worried I would lose the insight I gained during this meditation. This project has been streaming in and out of my consciousness for years and its elusiveness has kept me from acting.  It's time to break it down and start the process.

First.... I'm feeling this project will last a year.  We are just finishing up 2014 and the new year is approaching quickly.  If I don't get my act together another year will come and go and the gentle nudges seemingly from the heavens will go unanswered.

Ok...so I am a mother of 4 boys and they are my life blood, my energy, my soul.  I am so grateful for them and what they teach me every day.... usually it's PATIENCE.  I pray for it always as I listen to long drawn out stories of something funny that another kid said at school (funny for the kids not so much me), watching another kendama move mastered, reading with my child who is dyslexic, asking them repeatedly to do their chores, do their homework, practice soccer, attend their scouting meetings and follow through with whats been asked of them by all their teachers, leaders, and coaches.  All these things are important to them so they are important to me.

 I hand my children over to their school teachers for 6 hours a day, then I hand them over to church leaders (sometimes reluctantly....I'm unsure about the whole organized religion thing), sports coaches, and tutors (for my child with dyslexia).  They come home..... we eat dinner..... do homework and they go to bed.  How much really am I teaching them?  Do my children know how to love without boundaries and borders? Because that is what I would teach them...... Do my children know how to serve?  Because those you serve you love.  Do my children know how very special their little voices can be?  How much of a difference they personally can make in other peoples lives?  I'm not sure..... I don't have very many hours in the day to show them that.  I'm running like a mad woman just as they are...

2015 will be a year where I follow through with these gentle nudges, these abstract Ideas, this unorthodox way of teaching my children what I want them to be prepared with as they go out into the shining world and start their own lives.  I know it sounds cliche but "Our children are our future, teach them well and let THEM lead the way." as Whitney Houston so brilliantly taught us in the early 90's.

I will be taking on social issues with love.  Serving others, and finding ways to show my kids that with love in your heart ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  So, I will bring my children along (and any of you who would like to join.)  We will document our journey and see how this social LOVE experiment goes.  My intention is to see this project in the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. ( keep in mind....I have no idea how long it takes to film and edit a documentary, or how much it costs.)  This hurdle has kept me from doing anything for years so....I'm going to TRUST it will and can work it's self out.

Now let me be totally transparent here.  I have no idea how I'm going to make this happen. All I know is the direction I'm going.  I will throw caution and LOVE at the wind and we'll see where this takes us.


My intention with this love project isn't just to teach my kids.... I'd also like shine a spotlight on organizations and people who are already on the ground making a difference.
  
January:

We will be taking on learning disabilities.  I would like to interview several local schools and see what their needs are and what resources they have access to for our children.  What measures do they have in place for these students?  1 in 4 students has a learning disability and MOST go un-diagnosed. Children learn to hide, act, and fumble through school when in actuality they could thrive with a little assistance and awareness.  I want to spread the word to these kids that there is hope, and assistance. Obviously this issue is close to my heart.  I have a child that was just diagnosed with dyslexia.  Last night he told me he'd rather be a worm than go to school.  He cried and cried to have to do his nightly reading and told me he was the dumbest kid in his class. It broke my heart.   It is urgent to me as a parent knowing that there are THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of kids in similar situations through out the world and they don't know their worth.  It's being measured a certain way in schools and their strengths are being forgotten or unnoticed.  (Opportunities for service will be available).

February:

Child obesity and nutrition.  This is a huge gigantic topic.  It's an important one and one we should handle with so much gentleness and care.  We will be shining a spotlight on healthcare organizations, and programs that teach children how to become healthy eaters and active adults.  (Opportunities for service will be available).

March:

Homelessness.  Homeless men, women, and children is an epidemic.  There is one homeless person in particular that is near and dear to my heart....my little brother.  We will be tackling substance abuse this month and the affects that it has on our brains and abilities to function.   I will be interviewing my little brother through out the month. Not all homeless people are alcoholics and drug attics.  I just watched on The TODAY show this morning a segment on children that are homeless.  It both broke my heart and melted it all at once.  There is SO much we could be doing locally to help those in need.  Of coarse there will be several service projects and opportunities to serve this month.  So, be sure to check in with me.

April:

We'll be traveling to Haiti to work at a friends orphanage and home for impoverished Haitian children.  This month we will raise funds and supplies for this organization and spend time serving those in need.

May:

 June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

The rest of the months are open to ideas from those of you who would like to get involved.  I have several friends that have non-profit organizations that they support or have started.  I want to hear from you.  Maybe this can be one big divine collaboration!  I'd love that.

If you find yourselves reading this...and you feel like you have an inner stirring to get involved...help, assist, donate (time, money, resources, knowledge) contact me.  I'd love to hear from you.

Best,

Amy
amyhartdesigns@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happiness Habits

I loved this article:

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed.  I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live - that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
-Dan Millman

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

I want to honor and discuss each of these 9 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.

Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.

Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.

Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.

Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.

Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.

Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn't know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.

Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force.  Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.  When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.  Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.

Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”

Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?  Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

So there's some happy homework for all of us!  I always start out my week reflecting on what I can do to better myself.  Sometimes in that process I get lost in the self doubt.  These 9 steps make life more enjoyable and remove the amount of time we have to get lost inside our minds and self doubt.

Namaste-
Amy

Friday, November 7, 2014

Many many mahalo's

Last month Steve and I were lucky enough to take the boys on a little get away adventure to Maui. Here are some highlights from the trip.

http://vimeo.com/111230786

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Beginnings

It's Monday again and Mondays must be my writing days...
It's that time of year. A new school year has started and the kids are back to school. I'm starting to feel the autumn chill creep into the late evening and early morning hours. Astrologically we are experiencing a new moon. This is a time that signifies new beginnings. New moons symbolically are a blank page on which to speak your dreams out loud, to set intentions for a new phase, and to set goals. It kind of seems like a new school year for me too, and I'm excited to see what this new phase brings for my husband, my littles, and me.
I've silently been feeling the need to transition my efforts away from design and focus on my family. I love to design. It's an outlet like nothing else I've experienced. I love to create and celebrate beauty. I love it when my clients are finally at home in their homes because their vision for it was finally implemented. It's such a good thing for me and that is why for the last two years I've struggled with this underlying nudge to slowly transition away from the tedious hours of my design career. I know I'm supposed to focus my energies elsewhere. I've prayed and meditated on what is next for us. What is my next step?
I created a slideshow of these quiet answers I've received over the last few years. I just needed a way to get these abstract ideas outside of my brain so I can make goals for my family and me in this new moon phase.

LOVE from Amy Hart on Vimeo.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's gonna be all right....

It's Monday....
and I just had a few feelings and moments that I wanted to jot down and journal before they escape my heart or my memory.
I had an amazing weekend with a some of my friends. We are a bunch of mom's that escaped our homes and duties for the weekend to run in the Grand Teton Relay #rungtrelay. It's a 12 person relay covering 180 miles of beautiful yet butt kicking terrain. We ran through Ashton Id, Island park, Grand Targhee, and so many darling towns along the way I couldn't commit their names to my memory. We finished the relay race in beautiful Jackson Hole. The race wasn't all beauty and laughs... though there was plenty of that to fill my cup. The hardship and challenge brought me some clarity that I'd like to share.
Races have a way of really taking down your walls quickly. Demolishing them really. There are moments when you dig so deep that you are raw enough to connect with people, the wilderness and heaven a little bit more vividly. I experienced exactly that this weekend.
I went into the race with all sorts of "EXPECTATIONS" as we all often do in life. I "EXPECTED" my first run to be my hardest. On paper it was the most miles I'd have to run that race and a lot of it was up hill gaining a considerable amount of elevation. Much more than I had trained for. I was worried about that run the very most.
I have done over night relay's before and the night runs are always the most feared and usually end up being the favorites. I "EXPECTED" my second run to be my favorite.
My third run I was excited for. I "EXPECTED" it to be easy. down hill but not too down hill. Not too long a run, not too short. It looked like the perfect terrain for me to let go and run at a record pace. As you might be "EXPECTING" not all of my "EXPECTATIONS" of the race were entirely accurate.
My first run was my fastest. My legs were fresh and the uphills didn't hurt that bad. The adrenaline from the race was like diesel fuel in my body. My friends were cheering me on, I had good music blaring in my headphones.....I felt amazing. All that worrying about that leg was energy TOTALLY wasted.
My night run was lovely as I "EXPECTED" but I was cold and had to stop to pee behind the safety of my support vehicle. I didn't "EXPECT" that! I didn't "EXPECT" a 70 year old to pass me. Maybe I wasn't running as fast as I had "EXPECTED"? Ha! :)
My Last Run....The run I was the most excited about was the toughest to get through. It was the run that inspired this post. It was the run that demolished my walls and for a fleeting moment offered me complete clarity. I didn't "EXPECT" that.
My third and final run began at twilight after a sleepless night. The 2 hours rest in my sleeping bag on a high school sofa was a mean tease. I was sick to my stomach from being so tired and my brain didn't allow myself to fall into a deep sleep because I new that I would be running soon. I started the run feeling exhausted but I told my van to go to the next exchange because I "EXPECTED" this run to be no big deal. I "EXPECTED" although exhausted I would be fine and support would be unnecessary. I watched my van disappear down the canyon in front of me. They were headed to wait for me at the next exchange as I had told them to do. I started to run and immediately realized that my "EXPECTATIONS" of this run were entirely inaccurate. Both of my knees started firing immediately. They had experienced more pounding in the last 24 hours then they had in A LONG TIME. The cold icy air was thin because of the elevation and it burned my lungs with every breath. I coughed a couple times....more of a choke really. What had I gotten myself into? Why did I tell my friends to go away and to leave me? I thought I would be fine but I wasn't.
I stared down the canyon road as I tried to break into a clumsy jog. My shoes felt like they were filled with lead and this gorgeous canyon road turned into a 5 mile nightmare. I was exhausted, and scared that I couldn't catch my breath. Unreasonable thoughts began to flood into my mind. "Am I having a heart attack? Really!? My chest is so tight right now." "My team is going to be waiting forever at the finish line for me, they'll be so disappointed" "I'll be so embarrassed" "my friends will think I'm weak" "should I hitch hike to the finish?" "I can't walk, this is down hill....If you walk you're weak." "Crap, why didn't I train harder?" "I hate this road" "I hate running" you get the point. The negative self talk was eating me up and ruining my run. I said a little prayer. It went like this...
HELP ME!!!!!!!
All of a sudden a song rang through my earphones that I really felt like came from above. It might as well been God singing it in my ear. I was that tired, delirious, hurt, and worried. The timing really was divine.
#All Right #Donavon Frankenreiter Album: Glow
Don't worry about a thing. Heaven knows what the day will bring. There's a big old sun lighting up your sky. burning off your blues, let the good light shine. It's gonna be all right. It's gonna be all right.
Don't loose a lick of sleep. In the morning rise to see, There's a silver moon lighting up your night knocking off your blues let the good light shine. It's gonna be all right. I said it's gonna be all right.
You know the bluebird she won't pass you by. No, No. It's gonna be all right. I said it's gonna be all right.
You know it doesn't have to be such a chore to see. Everything the world can be is such a sense of peace. It doesn't have to be such a chore to see. Everything the world can be....
It's gonna be all right. It's gonna be all right.
I saw and felt that big old sun lighting up the sky right before my eyes. It was 6:30 a.m. and the night was transitioning into day. I could feel the sun warming the tiny icicle particles in the air that I was breathing. My chest relaxed and I didn't labor for air as I had just seconds before. I realized I was going to be all right. I realized that the girls didn't care how long that run took me.... in fact it would give them more time to sleep. I realized that I could indeed walk.... and really that wasn't a weak thing to do...in fact is was the best and most kind thing to do for my aching knees and tight I.T. band.
Then the words, "you know it doesn't have to be such a chore to see" rang in my ears. Why was I turning this beautiful run I signed up to do into a chore? This was supposed to be fun. I had decided to walk for a minute at that point and because I wasn't in so much pain I could take in the scenery around me and get grateful for such amazing experiences! I could see the dew on the trees, the wild life around me and I had failed to notice that I was running next to an amazingly gorgeous yet gentle mountain stream. In that moment I remembered one of my favorite quotes by Brenda Peterson
"Like water be gentle and strong. Be gentle enough to follow the natural paths of the earth, and strong enough to rise up and reshape the world"
My "HELP ME" prayer was indeed heard! I felt the heavens open for a sliver of time to inspire me to be strong but not to forget about being gentle. The remembrance of the abundance in my life began to fill my mind crowding out all the negativity. Tears literally burst out of my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I have so much to be grateful for.
Life doesn't HAVE to be "such a chore." We can clumsily stumble into a painful jog when life's hurdles appear or we can slow down and enjoy the journey. It's all about perspective and losing our "EXPECTATIONS"
My last run was indeed my best run but for much different reasons than I had "EXPECTED."

Monday, August 4, 2014

Balance

My Last post was February 2012. Admittedly I couldn't even remember how to log into my blog or even what my blog name is.
My last post stopped me in my tracks as I read it this morning. STUNNED...really. I was in Costa Rica trying to find balance. Ha! How unbalanced to leave your life behind and swing the pendulum to the other side of what life really is for most of us. I did have an opportunity to slow down, relax, unravel, and remember what is most important in my life. I can't tell you what is most important to you, but to me, my family comes first. I'm still so grateful for that "Pura Vida" experience and will cherish the family moments we shared forever.
Here I am two years later really working on balance still. It's funny really, I can see that for me balance will be a life long journey and something that I may never master. It's just part of my personality to pour myself completely into a project, work, a hobby, family, friendships, exersize etc. The list can go on forever. I purposely do not read a lot because when I open a book, I must finish it sometimes in one sitting......not very balanced. This is a part of me I try to hide...a little ashamed I'm so "unbalanced."
The dictionary states that balance is mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior. state of equilibrium.
....Sounds nice.
Alanis Morissette sings a song called "Empathy" that I love. Part of the Lyrics read "There are so many colors I try to hide while I paint." I've really connected with those lyrics this week and have realized that I shouldn't hide some colors of my personality that make me me! I won't fully be balanced unless I embrace the parts of myself that are intensely content with sometimes not completely being balanced. I love extremes! It's nothing to be ashamed of. I love to work hard and play harder. I love to read a book cover to cover sometimes in one sitting. I love riding my bike until I get so raw I can feel heaven. I love running until I've run out of things to think about, and sometimes that's a long time. I love hiking so high and so far I'm drunk off of the lack of oxygen in the air. I love dancing until I drop. I love throwing all my artistic energy at a design project until I feel totally and completely un-inspired. It's just part of who I am and I never want to admit that. 2 years ago I never would have written these words down. I kind of dared to on my last post. I called it "tunnel vision" and blamed it on my mom. Whatever it is...it's ok. I will embrace it for it makes me me. Whatever your colors are....they're beautiful! All of us came to this life with different colors to paint with, and although I have found things that assist me in staying balanced, (my husband...my kids...yoga....meditation) sometimes I'll read too long, run too far, and work too hard. On those days I'll remember that none of us are perfect and I'll re-center, re-group, remember, and re-boot. We weren't sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to learn and grow and love.
One of my favorite things I've read in a while is this;
“Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty."
I am plenty. You are plenty.