For some of us, filling a space with things, with colors, or with openness, can help us achieve an inner peace. It can give us a wrinkle-free forehead or a tiny Mona Lisa smile. Some days it is looking in a mirror and realizing that, despite it all, your inner Jackie O is showing through. For some of us, the creation is in collecting and arranging and for others it is in the act of making something. 

My hope is that with this site, I will be able to help others find their inner artist, their secret smile, their Zen.

Full disclosure - this pic isn't me. It was one from a photo shoot we did for the site. I included it here because she has an awesome Mona Lisa smile. In this picture, she looks exactly how I hope each of you will feel as you work on Finding Your Inner Artizen

Finding My Zen on Instagram - Honest!

There are so many people that are into unplugging and minimalism. I have a cousin who wrote a great editorial for her local paper about how we should all put down our phones. For her, that may be the answer. For some of you, that may be the answer. For me, not so much. For me, I've been finding a surprising amount of peace on Instagram. Honest.

I'm one of those people that is simply incapable of doing only one thing at a time. It baffles my husband how I can be typing an email, talking to him about something else, and still catch more of what is on the TV than he does. It is just how my brain works. I firmly believe God had me live in this time in history so that I didn't go all Lizzy Borden out of sheer boredom. So the idea of putting down my phone, my iPad, my laptop(s) and just...what? Sitting? Certainly I will be knitting, but if I don't have something for the other tracks of my brain, they circle on things. Not on good, peaceful, zen things.

My usual default mode, if I don't have something specific to think about, is circling in my head with worry about my anxiety du-jour. Lately that has been along the lines of whether the business will succeed, will it fail, is my product good enough, what will I do when it goes out of style, what will I do if I have a giant rush of orders, basically "Oh no! What if I fail? But wait, oh no! What if I succeed?". It can go on this way for hours in the back of my head while I go about my day. The end result is a lot of negativity in my thoughts that bleeds into my actions, my words, my tone of voice.

When I started the @ArtizenHome Insta (not subtle plug - go follow us! Do it now - we will be here when you make it back) I found myself mesmerized by the different connections. I would start with my best friend, my sister, my favorite magazine, and then look at who they were following. When I found something I liked, I followed, but then I looked at who that person followed. On and on it went until I had circled the globe several times.

This is where my cousin might say, see, you could have been doing something productive, being with your family, or something along those lines. However, as I did all of this Insta-surfing, I found myself living the Butterfly Effect. One wing of a butterfly - a picture or a phrase on someone's profile, would start a flurry of thoughts and ideas for me. I could follow these ideas through the paths of Instagram.

These ideas would percolate in my mind as I went through my day. They would come up in conversation with family, friends, co-workers, and the occasional innocent barista who is just trying to get through his stack of cups (Marshall at @starbucks_columbia). I may have affected those people, I don't know. But I am sure they affected me.

First, it gave me positive thoughts as I saw the beauty being shared and all of the positive pick-me-up messages on peoples' feeds. Second, it showed me others who certainly are not as blessed as I am and yet find joy in their lives. Third, it gave me the opportunity to reach out to others and send them positive messages. Supporting others in their time of need, even with just a kind word or two, is one of the most rewarding action you can take.

So, in short, (a little late for that, I know), using Instagram as a way to focus on positive imagery and messaging and truly focusing on those positives while I am doing so, has become a little meditation for me. I challenge you all. Whether it is through prayer, yoga, structured meditation, or like me, by finding positive people on a social platform and supporting those who need it, I challenge you to spend 15 minutes a day this week being completely positive. Find your inner Zen.