Thursday, June 17, 2010

Week Reflection (week 23) & Painting with a Purpose Update

we are hard at work!

I know, I know ... it is the end of the week and you are asking "Where is the Weekly Reflection?" In all the excitement of Painting with a Purpose, I decided to save my reflection for the end of the week. But first, a little update on our project!

Cowgirl and I are busy at work planning and perfecting our collaborative process. We did a few practice pieces (one of which is further down in this post)

And dear Mr. Dick Blick sent me a coupon for a discount off of my entire purchase, so we gathered up some new supplies including 8 by 10 inch canvas boards for the give away paintings/prizes. I do have a question: I was thinking it would be nice to add a small wire hanger accented with beads to match each piece. Something along the lines of this:

What do you think? Too much? Nice touch? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

I want to thank everyone who has left such inspiring comments regarding Painting with a Purpose. And some people have already donated! That is fantastic and we are super energized to make each painting as vibrant, inspiring, and joy-filled as we possibly can. If I didn't get back to you (some people do not have blogs listed) please know that each and every comment lifts our spirits and carries us forward. Thank you! Also, please know you can donate by check/mail if online isn't your thing. There is a link on the pledge page to download a form to mail in with your donation.

Keep posted for more sneak previews!

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This week I found myself wondering:

Who am I?

I just ordered my business cards from and I'm very excited. I also find it a bit humorous as I have yet to create a business for which to hand out said cards. But new cards has been on my "to do" list since January when I was down to my final hand full of yoga biz cards.

My biggest dilemma and the reason I've put off ordering cards for so long is I had no idea what to put on them. My previous card simply read "Kripalu certified Yoga Instructor." But teaching yoga is just one of the many things I want to do in the coming months and years. I recently discovered via a fellow Flying Lessons classmate that I am what she calls a "Scanner." She gives beautiful description of a scanner: someone who likes to experience and try new things, moving fluidly between worlds, extremely curious (sounds like a typical Vata to me!) Um, yes, all true ... but I like to think I am more than just skimming the surface of things which is how scanner sounds to me. (This is not to knock what is a wonderfully helpful post with ideas on how to structure a scanner's list of interests/identities. Do check it out!)

Years ago I was in a weekend yoga workshop when the facilitator asked us all to write on a piece of paper the answer to this question: Who am I? I wrote my response and sat back, a bit baffled to see everyone bent over their papers still writing away. What were they writing on and on about? Seriously, I was confused. And then came the time for people to volunteer to read out loud what they had written down: mother, teacher, social worker, data specialist, wife, yoga teacher ... the lists went on and on. I looked down at my paper, a bit shocked to read what I wrote: I am whoever I choose to be.

Of course the rest of the time was spent making collages around all those personae people had written down. I slinked off for a coffee as I felt like I had no connection to this exercise. I did feel a little superior, like I had seen the trick in the question; all those years in graduate school taught me something about the construction of identity, self and gender!

another collaborative piece with Cowgirl

But now I am back to thinking about that paper and what my response really means to me. In all honesty, I still struggle with disengaging notions of worth from work and concepts about self generated by authentic questioning versus those imposed by outside forces. Deep down inside, there is still a little bit of that little girl who needs an daddy figure to tell her she did a good job and validate her worth.

There is a delicious moment when I am in deep relaxation practice and I go into this zone where everything slips away. The heaviness of me - my expectations, contradictions, anxieties and ambitions - is gone and I am just there: simply being, simply presence. It is like waking up from a long, deep dream; and for a brief moment as I come out of it, I have no earthly idea of who I am. And I love it.

I used to know a woman in town who kept changing her first name. It drove me crazy that as soon as I was used to one name, she would select another based upon the new path she was embracing in that moment. I was always thinking about her by her former incarnation. And it is true: what pushes your buttons touches upon a truth deeply buried or denied. Yes, I have to confess, I have 3 names I can lay claim to: my given name, a Buddhist name (although, I do not feel I have followed that path very well), and a Sanskrit/yoga name which is how I am listed on the schedule for the yoga center where I teach. Oops, add a fourth - my online name Lis to distinguish me from all the other Lisas out there. (I was still surprised to learn that Lisa was the most popular name for a girl in the 1960s.)

But I am also aware of a strain from being so "all over the place" as I wrote out my list of scanner personalities and realized all my various names. I want to be open, fluid, changeable but I also want some sense of an internal compass, a direction for all my energy. Thanks to my new list, I realized I was ready to make up a business card, to put it - or rather ME - out there.

My cards are on order. I used some of my favorite photographic images from the past year for one side. On the information side it will read:

Lisa Hofmann
artist • writer • creative explorer

I like the idea of being a Creative explorer. Right now, I am not claiming any one area as my own but venturing out into new territories, open to new adventures, new roles. I know whatever I become it will be my unique blend of my interests and skills. I'm in no hurry to plant my flag in one spot. I am on a expedition of understanding and connection. My card will be my way of leaving a trail with those I meet on the path.

So, I ask you: Who are you?

(I am thrilled to pass on these links to Milena's thoughtful responses to a couple of recent Weekly Reflections. Thank you for playing with me!

(another message i was receiving loud and clear this week: when things get chaotic, that is when i need to dive deeper within, return to my practice and seek stillness in whatever form i can find it in!)


  1. Lis, I LOVE what you put on your Moo card! Interesting that I touched on this issue tonight when blogging myself. I have so often saw my "scanning" as a bad thing, but frankly, you've put it so beautifully, it gave me a whole new view. Thank you.

  2. Dear Lis-I absolutely loved reading this post! THere is such truth and vulnerability in what you many insights. I also love what you put on your business card-so fantastic!
    "who am I'-well from all my years of yoga practice and meditation I would have to say that I am no mind, no-one but ONE (I know you will get this!) I think that as I get older, I resist the titles and labels somewhat too. The mother, wife, artist...etc. Shedding all of the old layers and skins. Also-sorry about the copy/paste issue. I have been so under the weather lately plus not enough sleep!

  3. I haven't had the time to take it all in (everything you write is always so rich) but I just wanted to drop by to say that "creative explorer" is just perfect for you!

  4. Lis, I adore you. I wish we lived closer- it's funny reading your post, and I immediately get the warm & fuzzy feeling I am never alone. You may change you name, I change blog names( or start new ones to reflect my new direction). I wanted to really change my last name. Long story short, name on my birth certificate wasnt my father, adopted by my mom's 3rd husband, then married an ass and divorced. I had all intentions of changing it to Sandy( cause I dont go by Sandra) and my birth middle name Lee. Sandy Lee. I may just do it for self clarity. I am none of those other names, I am ME! Thank you for pointing that out once again. LOVE you! Love that you are a Creative Explorer- why do we need to box ourselves in to a "title"... Good for you, my dear explorer. And thank you for sharing your journey. xoxoxo

  5. So much to comment on! First I love your business card titles. It seems perfect for you. Also love the practice puppy dog art, so cheerful. I like the idea of the beaded wire too.

    I first encountered the team SCANNER in the mid 90's with Barbara Sher's book I could do anything if I only knew what it was. I guess she coined the phrase then and has done a couple of other books on the subject as well such as Refuse to Choose. She's been a self help guru for more than 30 years. Being a scanner is a pretty amazing thing really if you learn to harness that power because we tend to be flexible, imaginative, passionate people often very good at lots of things. Her books have tons of exercises to help Scanners develop and follow their true dreams. I absolutely love her books! Here's a little excerpt at
    and her website is and has some really great people on her bulletin boards.

    A similar concept I believe is explored in the book Renaissance Souls (though I haven't read it YET). I love that title, Renaissance Soul. Leonardo Da Vinci would fall under the category of a Renaissance Soul and probably be a SCANNER as well, though one who has managed to master all his many passions.

    I'd highly recommend reading that excerpt & if it appeals to you then get Barbara's books. I have them on my bedside table! :)

  6. Hi Lis, I had a comment I wanted to make privately but I don't see your email listed anywhere. Could you email me at mine?

  7. Lis,
    I too like to use a little wire hanger on some of my small collages done on canvass board. I think the beadsmight make it hang out from the wall too much and take the eye away from your sweet, colorful paintings. You can see how simply I do mine on my blog under the art works category. You can e-mail me directly and I'd be happy to tell you just how I do it.

  8. Wow! You are so creative and I love how you share your creativity! I think you and your projects are all magical and have a joy and spirit that are infectious! Thanks for sharing! Cheers, Stephanie (CED)

  9. Lis,
    I love the puppy. It is so full of energy. I also think the hanger would be a wonderful addition to your gifts.
    Your description on your moo cards are perfect. You identify two of your interests and strengths but do not limit yourself in anyway by adding creative explorer. I think it is a perfect way to explain who you are.
    Once again, great post.

  10. Hi Lis,
    Another thought provoking and deep post, which I enjoyed reading very much.
    Your practice puppy and your singing bird are lovely. Love your moo cards too. I don't think I had heard of 'scanners' before but think I may be one too... Must read Barbara Sher's book, and it sounds like The Renaissance Soul suggested by Blue Moon Mama will be useful too.