Category Archives: Coping

Thought for the Day


Here’s a quote from Jeanne Beck’s blog:

“Now we are going to make a new-way path. So you take a shovel, you take a ground-haker, you take a hairpin and you start digging. And you dig in all directions: up and down, in and out, right and left. Not in a straight line. Nothing natural or interesting goes in a straight line. As a matter of fact, it is the quickest way to the wrong place. And don’t pretend you know where you are going. Because if you know where you are going, that means you’ve been there, and you are going to end up exactly where you came from.” —Sherry Ruth Anderson, The Feminine Face of God

And it reminds me of a favorite quote of mine, and unfortunately I do not know the author:

“When you plant a new seed in the soil, the first thing that comes up is not the new shoot.  the first thing that comes up is a little dirt.”

Going forward and embracing change…

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Filed under Coping, Reframe



I believe so strongly that we get more out of every experience if we truly focus on the NOW, putting aside all distractions, that I chose “present” as my word for 2010.  Present as in “being present” not as in “gift” although practicing being present is really a gift to myself.

Recently, the Zen Habits blog had a post about Being Present – 4 simple ideas to help you focus on what is happening in your life right now.  Here’s the link; hope you enjoy it.

Of course, sometimes we need a diversion which takes us “out of the moment”.   Here is a piece on my design wall that is NOT part of the 2 series I’m working on for 2010:

“Whispering Branches” (c)2010 Shelley Brucar

This design came out of reminiscing w/childhood friends about laying on the ground at dusk, looking up at the emerging stars.  That was definitely an “in the moment” experience.  Techniques used: hand-dyeing, discharge dyeing, screening.


Filed under Art Stuff, Coping, discharge dyeing, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing, Relax, thermofax screens



Social Worker, Sharon Weingarten, has a website that serves as an immensely useful tool for anyone who works with kids, has kids, or is a kid.  What I Wish You Knew allows kids and parents to post messages that are often difficult to express, or difficult to hear, face-to-face.  Every parent and child will be able to relate to some of these messages and perhaps begin to understand their own parent-child relationship a little more clearly.  Communications skills are such an important piece of stress management and finding serenity.

Meeting Sharon just happens to coincide with a related fiber art series I am beginning to conceptualize.  While in Italy, I noticed that there was an abundance of graffiti.  Italy’s graffiti however, was mostly not gang-related or, in any way, angry.  Some of the graffiti I saw exhibited the talent of the graffiti artist.


Much of it was about amore. P9181432Even with my very limited Italian, I get the gist of this message written on a train window:  “I need you.  Return to me.  I love you.”

I am also fascinated with Hebrew lettering, although I do not read Hebrew.  So my new series of work is going to be about “Ancient Messages” and “Modern Messages”.   Here are the screened fabrics for the first two pieces of the “Messages” series:

Ancient msg 1 (c) Shelley Brucar 2009

Modern msg 1

(c) Shelley Brucar 2009

I would love to have a great range of messages, old and new.  If you have a photo of your favorite Hebrew text and/or photos of graffiti that you would like to share, please send them to me ( along with your understanding of the message and – important – your consent for me to use your photos in this series of fiber art.  Feel free to forward this post to anyone you know who may be interested in Sharon’s or my messages.  Thanks.

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Filed under Art Stuff, Coping, Fiber Art, thermofax screens, travel



The most often-visited posts on my blog so far are the three on Reframing for Negative Thinking (May 15, May 27 and June 19, 2009).  I have always believed that these tools really work, and I hope they are working for you!  Just wanted to share that the first article in today’s NY Times Latest News was about a new program for the military to teach troops REFRAMING in order to help prevent/cope with Post Traumatic Stress, Depression and Anxiety.

And here are 2 new pieces just finished for “Midwest Meditations”, a Fiber Artists Coalition exhibit which will start at the Bloomingdale Park District Museum, July – August, 2010.  Fabric for both pieces is dyed, over-dyed, screened and discharged.

Turtle Crossing ITurtle Crossing I.  Fiber Art by Shelley Brucar

Turtle Crossing IITurtle Crossing II.  Fiber Art by Shelley Brucar

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Filed under Art Stuff, Coping, discharge dyeing, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing, Reframe, thermofax screens



Did you have some New Year’s resolutions for 2009 way back in January?  Are you working steadily toward those goals or are they long-forgotten?  Whatever your answer, I think July is just as good a time to think about visions and goals.  In fact, it’s a good habit to review and modify your goals on a regular basis.  It’s also good to write down your goals and to talk about your goals.  “Studies” have shown that committing something to paper and talking about it to other people makes you more likely to follow through on it. 

Floating Leaves Revisited“Floating Leaves Revisited”  fiber art by Shelley Brucar

Right now, just start thinking about some of your goals, short-term and long-term, using the following framework:

GOALS that will take you FAR should be:

FLUID:  Allow your goals to be flexible.  As you change, they will also change.  If you get too attached to a specific goal or outcome, you may miss many opportunities, either because you won’t recognize them as opportunities, or you will dismiss anything that does not fit neatly into your plan.

ACTION-ORIENTED:  Attach an action plan to each goal.  Map out specific steps necessary to make the goal a reality.  If you wouldn’t plan a road trip without a map, why would you plan your life without one?

RELEVANT:  First identify your core values.  Then be sure your goals are relevant to those values.  You will be much more motivated to work toward goals that reflect what is most important to you.

In the next few posts, I’ll talk about identifying your values and related goals and mapping out strategies to reach your goals.

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Filed under Coping, Fiber Art, goals, Refocus, vision



Here are 5 more tips from my list of “100 Stress Reducers” that are great for summer:

26.  WATCH A SUNRISE OR SUNSET.  Really watch it!  Sit somewhere comfortable and take the time to thoroughly enjoy the sun’s rise or set.  Savor all the colors and the cloud shapes.  If you’re near a body of water, check out the reflections on the surface.

27.  GO FOR A NATURE WALK.  Whether it’s a forest preserve, a botanic garden, a path along a lake or river, nature gounds us.  Walking in a natural setting can be  peaceful and inspirational at the same time.  Be aware of the sights, the sounds, the colors, the breeze and the warmth or coolness against your skin.  I’m convinced that being out in a natural setting enhances health and wellness – both physical and mental.  Allow yourself to be relaxed and refreshed.

Reflections VIII“REFLECTIONS VIII” fiber art by Shelley Brucar

28.  TAKE A BIKE RIDE.  You’re out in nature and getting excercise.  But it’s more than that – feel the wind against your face and rushing through your hair.  Watch the scenery constantly changing.  Ah – exhilarating!

29.  GO TO THE ZOO AND WATCH THE ANIMALS.  This is not just for kids.  Wathcing animals can be relaxing – some of them are completely at peace.  And watching animals is often funny – lions roaring at each other, monkeys flying around from ropes.  At the Racine (WI) Zoo, the peacocks strut around freely, right along with the visitors, and what a treat if one shows your its feathers!

Wayne Racine3aphotography by Wayne Brucar

30.  FEED DUCKS.  Ponds full of hungry ducks can by found almost anywhere.  Bring along some bread and a friend to share the serenity.

If you’re following, you now have 30 of my favorite stress reducers as well as Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Visualization and Reframing from negative to positive.  Please click on “comments” to tell me what you’ve used that is working for you.

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Filed under Art Stuff, Coping, Relax, Stress



In my May 15 post, I explained the concept of REFRAMING.  Then in the May 27 post, I listed and explained some typical “irrational” thought patterns that result in negative thinking.  Today’s post is an exercise to help you: 1. define what causes YOUR negative thinking, and 2. brainstorm ideas for reframing negative thoughts into positive thoughts in order to reduce stress and behave in a more productive manner.

Silver Birchfiber art by Shelley Brucar

First an explanation:  The thoughts floating around in your head are known as SELF TALK.  I’m not implying that your are actually talking to yourself – although some of us do this too!  But we all have automatic thoughts going through our heads all day long, which usually do not even enter our awareness.  These are often old tapes playing from childhood about how we “should” feel and act.  These thoughts may have been useful at one time (or not), but they are probably no longer useful to you, and may be counterproductive in terms of how you “want” to feel and behave.  These thoughts are knee-jerk reactions to daily events which influence your behavior, often negatively.  The good news is, this is where you can intervene.  You can REFRAME your negative self talk into positive self talk, thereby altering your behavior and the consequences of your behavior.

Compare these photos.  CHOOSE YOUR FOCUS IN ANY SITUATION.  Choose what works for you.


Focus2photos by Shelley Brucar

Here is an 8-question exercise to help you identify and change your negative self talk and examples of negative self talk that could occur for a new artist (ask me how I know):

1.  TRIGGERS – Identify what specific events result in negative self talk.  Example:  I did not get juried into a show.

2.  FEELINGS – What are the feelings that occur in response to trigger named above?  Example: Sadness

3.  THOUGHTS/SELF TALK – What are the tapes playing in your head, what are you telling yourself about this event?  Example: My art is not good enough; maybe I should give it up.

4.  BEHAVIOR – What is your behavior, how do you react to this event?  Example: I refuse to enter other shows.

5.  CONSEQUENCES – What are the consequences resulting from your behavior?     Example: My work is not being exhibited and therefore, is not being seen.


6.  NEW SELF TALK – Name some positive ways to think about the same event.    Example: Maybe the pieces I submitted were not right or did not fit in for that show.

7.  NEW BEHAVIOR – How might your behavior change based on this new “self talk?”   Example: I will submit entries to other shows.

8. NEW CONSEQUENCES – What would likely be the consequences of your new behavior?  Example: I will be juried into some shows and exhibits, my work will be seen and will sell.

You can go through these 8 steps for any and all events that typically causes a negative and unproductive response for you.  Identifying your “self talk” is important because this is where you can intervene and make changes; this is where you have control.

Remember the serenity prayer:  TAKE CONTROL where you can and let go when you do not have control.  And by the way, here’s another version of the serenity prayer: 

“Grant me the Serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the Courage to change the one I can, and the Wisdom to know it’s me!”


Filed under Art Stuff, Coping, Reframe, Stress