The Power of Mandala

Do you feel confused, is your mind full of thoughts, ideas and you can’t form a plan of action or a way to put these ideas into practice?

Grab a paper and a pencil and start drawing some lines, adding some dots and unite them to form a circle, then another, some more lines and you will have a pattern that you can use to let your creativity guide you.

You can create a spiral, a flower or nothing precise. Just follow the point where the circle and the line meet and keep going round, from the center each step up until the outer line of the circle. Then you pick all the colors of the rainbow and slowly choose one at random, the one that you feel for the most and place it wherever you want. Slowly filling all the emptiness. In silence and in peace.mandalarainbow1 (800x766)

 

Thoughts will try to distract you, ignore them, just follow the lines. If you follow your thoughts you can end up on another line or miss a spot, at the end something will be out of harmony. Every little mistake is a point of distraction. A space in the flow. But if you continue. Every day little by little, there will be fewer mistakes, fewer distractions.

Sometimes you will receive meaningful insights related to your work. So you stop, write it down and continue, or later it can be lost. Then, when you finish, sit one moment in awareness, and you will find the mind sharper and more focused to carry on with anything else. You know what you have to do now.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means Circle and it represents the Universe, the unity, and harmony of  Creation. It is sacred geometry. A mathematical order where every dot has its place. There is no space for doubts, only a different path to follow with a different outcome, but not less beautiful. There are infinite possibilities.

What the Mandala does, for me, is that it works with our unconscious mind. By following exact lines and thus creating an order, the mind is at rest. Once the decision is made, you just follow through peacefully and completely focused on that one path to follow. Complete mindfulness. Only one thing to do. One at a time. There is no other option. And at the end, you feel rested, because the mind has had to focus on one thing and that one thing has brought an immediate result that reflects beauty. It has given you a space for clarity. When your attention is focused on just one point it can be as powerful as a laser, but when it is scattered in different directions than it will lose intensity and clarity.

Mandalas can teach you many things about life in very subtle ways.  If you create one yourself it acts like a form of meditation, a connection with your inner self and the energies that are moving around you. But sometimes we are attracted to a specific Mandala that we have seen, beyond rational comprehension, that particular geometric form is resonating with you and by looking at it repeatedly in silence or having it near you in the place you work or relax, they heal your mental state. That is the order your being needs at this moment in time to achieve that serenity which allows you to manifest the ideas and visions or overcome circumstances you are now facing.

I have been wanting to create one Mandala with a spiral rainbow for a long time, the first time I have attempted it, something came out but it did not satisfy me completely.

Looking up at the symbolic meaning of the spiral, they represent the revelation of hidden truths, pushing oneself to be flexible and have trust when things change,  (www.sunsigns.org) and the colors of the Rainbow bring the promise that the troubles today will surely come to pass, holding strong in our faith, vision and heart purpose allowing for fresh beginnings and new prosperity. (www.theuniverseofsymbolism.com)

The second time, it happened by chance. I had prepared the circle with lines to venture on a new design I had in mind, but the more I was letting the pencil move forward the more I recognized the Spiral that I envisioned but was not able to express the first time. And when that happened I was stuck as it gave birth to other ideas of how to continue with the drawing, like in a crossroad I needed to choose which path to follow. Undecided I left it there for a while. When I finally picked it up again I realized that unless I tried all the possibilities I could not continue. The first paper became the sketch and a melting pot. Some looked really nice and some not so good. That gave me clarity. So then I prepared the structure for each of the design that came out of that concoction, ready to color at the right time.

One day, thinking I had it all prepared and set up and that it was going to take me little time, I set out to do the first drawing, which I thought was the easiest one. I wanted to finish coloring it by the time the natural light goes out of the room….. bah plenty of time…..

After 8 hours without almost stopping, I was still coloring away getting really anxious and nervous and literally a spiral of different emotions growing within me. On one side the mind set to finish no matter what, my inner being making me feel this was not the way, and instead of being a meditative practice, it was a war between inner and outer self.(?) What was the outcome? You can just imagine it, one second the hand slipped away and spread the ink across the paper, leaving a great black scar. 8 hours of work vanished in no time, leaving me with an empty day, but what a great lesson! When I actually looked at the drawing it reflected everything I was going through, confusion. But that was exactly what I needed to experiment, again the Universe knows his pupils!!

When I started with Mandalas it really happened by chance, a great book attracted me in a public library I used to go to for checking my emails. After studying it for more than a month and realizing the great healing that was occurring in me, I decided to concentrate my art on them so to help others through this work. And it was very important before starting a new Mandala, to have a moment of silence to quiet the mind and become more attuned to the spiritual energies that would guide me through it. As that was specifically for someone that I was going to meet and would want to have it. It was a very beautiful and meaningful practice.

The latest experiences have brought me back to that past that I had left behind and forgotten for many years, and through these lessons, the path that puts in harmony my inner and outer world is being found again.

I know nothing is left to chance in this beautiful Universe, there is always a meaning and a reason behind everything, it is just our unconsciousness that do not allow us to see it, but that’s when we bang our head so hard that we have no choice than to open our eyes.

After those practices now I have been able to calmly finish the first Mandala and fulfill one of the visions. The happiness with the result is a consequence of the healing that has occurred while drawing it.rainbowspiral1 (800x745)

 

The online world now offers everything you need at any time,  but the sacredness of Mandala remains. Whether you create it yourself, color one already made or buy a design, for you to unlock its great potential, you need to allow a moment of silence in front of it and let it heal you.

These are some links with easy steps to learn to draw a Mandala. I like to use a compass to do the circles but if you do not have one it is not necessary. There are also many already made Mandalas you can download for coloring from Pixabay, Shutterstock, and many others.

ww.art-is-fun.com
www.craftsy.com

Happy creating and would love to know your experience.

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That Philosopher’s Stone called Marketing.

What do you do with the fruits of your creativity?

In the beginning, everything is focused on finding the strength and courage to actually sit down and manifest ideas, visions, and inspirations that are occupying the mind. The series of factors involved in allowing our creativity to fly, as per previous posts.

Once we are in that Flow again, we finally see some of those visions manifested onto products, they are alive and real. And we are overflowed with enthusiasm.

Now, the next step is to present them to the world and wish that someone will like them as much as you do to take them home with them.

At this point, you enter into the vast and scary world of marketing, without even realizing. Quite a delicate subject for many. Confusing me for the past weeks, so much that I missed my appointment of writing this post on my scheduled day. Not because I was not there in front of the computer writing, but there were just too many thoughts, too many doubts, and nothing really made sense.  The whole purpose of writing is not only to share with you what I am going through but also to give some kind of solution that may help if you are experiencing the same. Adding more confusion is not really great advice.

100_2970 (800x766)Simply, this is just another stage of this long process called Achieving our goal/dream. And like everything it needs to be understood, comprehended throughout and then applied. Like drawing or learning how to create this blog, for example. The beginning is scary and confusing. There is a lot of information to take in and IT IS overwhelming, so much that you could decide to give it all up and find a cave in the middle of a mountain and become a hermit. (if only it could be so easy!)

But we have not got that choice, pushing forward is the only way. And everything can be done with patience (LOTS) and a little bit of organization.

What I have done so far.

Sharing through Social Media. If you are an introvert like me and have not bothered about it up to now, well it takes a while to break the ice, but you can find some really nice people out there that really like to help and lots of inspirational quotes to learn how to overcome our usual fears!!

My first experience with any Social Media was Pinterest, at the time I did not even know it was considered as such. I was looking for special recipes for food intolerances, and this kept coming in my Google searches. I decided to give it a try, and from there I realized I could look for everything, started creating boards of my main interests, DIY ideas, Artwork, life hacks and much more. I re-discovered my old comics love for Garfield!!!

It became really easy to find what I needed and slowly also a source of inspiration and a push to start doing something myself too. At the moment Pinterest is also the place where I mostly share my products from Zazzle. There is still a lot to learn and hope one day I will write a full post on it.

When I started at Zazzle, I opened a Facebook personal account, but then soon learned that for advertising my products, a business page was necessary.

spiralrainbow1 (758x800)At the same time, I signed up with Instagram. Out of the two, I found Instagram easier and really helpful for motivation. I really love Instagram for the fact that I was able to find so many great Artists and admire outstanding work that never in my entire life I was able to do. Obviously going to a Museum or an Art exhibition is a completely different experience. But with this little App, it is accessible all the time and we learn about Artists from all over the world, of different kind of techniques, of different businesses that could help us.

I personally find it really amazing and beautiful that nowadays more people are able to share their work with literally the whole world with a little investment. And this is the other important feature for me about Instagram, the ability to let your creativity be known and appreciated by other people that are not only your family/friends circle. Connect with others that are doing the same or have the same interests, and giving each other courage and motivation to continue. I think it is really important. We all need encouragement and support, because the obstacles are many, and we are all going through them at one stage or another.

Facebook is something I had left on a side for a while, I would share my Instagram posts there, my new products, other artists work or article, but I have been more a spectator up to now.  It is only friends and family that have shown interest so far and for obvious reasons. From Pinterest, I have found some groups that I am following which have sparked my interest and I am slowly grasping what needs to be done, you can check Jackie Muscat from Craft My Success or Jessica Abel

I was always a believer that if someone likes what you are selling, they will buy it and that’s it. There was no need to do anything else. For me the creation was the most important part, it had to be made with extreme care and love, for someone to perceive it through that object, recognize an affinity in it, creating thus a desire to have it. But through experience, I have realized that it was not enough. Sometimes it seemed that way but maybe because without realizing I had had a great conversation with someone and because of that they felt more attracted to what I was selling. In other words, I was telling them the story behind my creations and sparked their interest. But I was never aware of it because I was not trying to sell anything, I was just having a normal conversation.

 

100_2784 (600x800)Online marketing, however, is a big world, not a local market, and the way I understand it then is that social media are the tools by which people learn who one is, who is behind the work, their story, how it is done and what is the message they are trying to express, and most of all to form a connection with the person.

As always the most difficult part is the beginning. The learning and application. But I am so grateful for the amount of information we have out there to help us, and for this, We MUST have patience. We  MUST keep on until we see some results.

Thank you, Cristian Mihai for your post  Why to never give up

Time for Reflections

The inability of connecting to the Internet the last week has been a great opportunity first to create without distractions but also at the same time appreciate the progress of technology that allows all of us to be connected.

As my time here in Portugal has come to an end,   I felt the need to reflect and kind of making a point of where this journey has taken me so far and what has been achieved.

Although my initial intention was to re-connect with my creativity by painting on T-Shirts and learn to sell them online, I did not have a real plan or any throughout knowledge on how anything really worked.  But like the cobweb of the internet works, I would be jumping from Google search to a blog than a podcast and another blog, discovering worlds, experiences, people, learn and most of all take the courage to ACT, APPLY what learned and become a participant, a giver and not only a receiver of knowledge.

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I was going through a lot of stress and deep depression and my inner being kept filling my head with flashbacks of those days when I used to be only busy painting.

Thus a dream formed.

A single idea became the rope lifting me out of the hole. Thanks to the internet that idea became a possibility. I cannot thank enough all the people discovered through their blogs who have given me the courage, the push and the support I needed to transform that idea into ACTION and start the process.

To name a few that have been significant  I would start from Pat Flynn , from where I discovered The Abundant Artist and Cory Huff, thanks to whom I learnt about WordPress and Zazzle and so many other things, Kerry Petsinger , her email would always pop up at the time when I was most fearful or doubtful, Erin Matlock about neuroscience and how to understand the brain and master your mind, Jessica Abel on how to manage your priority project and much more, Ash Ambirge and The Middle Finger Project, she really makes me laugh while giving such truthful and useful tips to build your confidence, so many great articles from James Clear , plus all the ones I follow here on WordPress and keep discovering more. Sometimes I wish I had more time to read, but I have learned to balance the pleasure of reading and learning with the joy of working on the projects which are taking most of the time at the moment. My heart really goes to each one of them, a mention is the least I can do to be grateful for their help, wishing one day I may be able to help them financially too.

But my heart also goes to you who are taking the time to read this post, wishing you enjoy it and maybe receive help in some way, it encourages me to continue to share this experience and become better at it.

So looking at my journey in the overall I have realized that up to now, everything has been working towards setting the pillars that will hold the base of that idea.

ENVIRONMENT,  ORDER, SELF –MOTIVATION, LEARNING, SCHEDULE

First the realization of the importance of the environment as a fundamental part of achieving “the goal”,  the hidden structure supporting the process. I have read recently an interesting article from James Clear through this link. The power of environment

An order is related to the environment but if it does not come naturally then it needs a little bit of effort on our part.

When I was much younger I thought I loved chaos as a way of rebellion. When I left my parents’ home and started living on my own, I was so happy I could do as I pleased and order was not much of a concern except when receiving visits. Eventually, I realized that in my job I was extremely organized and successful but my personal life was, in fact, a complete disaster.

Then you become a free rider and you think freedom to be is all that matters and that harmony and order will come by itself. You plunge in your creativity momentum giving it complete freedom but then when results are not as expected, you decide to leave, without understanding.

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I have learnt about order when I started living in a motorhome. There were many places to keep things but if you did not follow an order and put those things where they belong every time, it could take you days to find it again or sometimes never. So order made life become easier. The mind could then be free to focus on creating than finding the tools with which to create, and unconsciously reflect such order in the work.

I found that just like in Nature, the elements present in such a space had to reflect a certain harmony between each other, sometimes you are not even conscious of what kind of harmony, things have to be like this for no other reason just because the mind works better that way. It is not for beauty but as a mirror for the mind to be reflected upon and follow through. The quality of the work that came out following this practice was completely different than anything I had done before, much easier and stress less.

The real understanding of our true motivation and the connection to our creativity. When we want to run our own business or make a living with our creativity, self-motivation is the only way forward as you do not have anyone else obliging you to do anything. You could just listen to that inner voice telling you to ignore it all and lie in bed or just do nothing because it is easier. But you have been there and you know where it took you. So you have to fight and ride the wave because it makes you feel good about yourself because, without it, your life is meaningless. And that moment of rest that you will eventually take will feel like paradise well earned.

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Each action of creating a new design, every bit of painting is a joy in itself and I would not stop until I am in love with what I see, until what I am looking at produces a positive emotion in me. My wish is that when others see that creation they could also feel that same emotion, and when that has happened sometimes, the joy is expanded even further.

The importance of planning a schedule which works, it is fundamental for me.  I could not at the beginning understand how I could limit my time to the creation of something. There were many projects that needed to be looked at and they were interconnected to each other.

Opening my virtual Zazzle Shop was linked to making the actual design, to take pictures and edit them and eventually make the products. That then needed to be known, so learning about social media and marketing. But each project needed time, and I could not understand how to restrict it. So I just decided to let it be and concentrate on the most important one each day. And a pattern emerged which could then be turned into a timetable.

If the schedule is clear I am much more productive as the mind is focused. If I have not set anything, then I will be working in a chaotic state when at the end of the day I would be exhausted but have really achieved very little.

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The joy when you have followed the schedule to the letter and this has produced the result you wanted is indescribable. Another great lesson learned. It is like creating a path in the brain, that the more you walk through it, the easier and automatic it becomes. And the next time that little voice tells you to give up, that beautiful sensation of achievement is remembered and you want to continue and make it better. So what I have understood is to create the schedule according to one’s own rhythm, it is not imposed, it is a natural occurrence in line with ourselves, it becomes part of us and thus easy to follow because one step at the time, the mind associates it with joy and not with stress. It can tire you physically and that has a quick solution but you are a happy chap.

Wow, this has become a really long post, hope you have not got bored halfway!

The Power of Silence

Since I have come here to Portugal and in particular in this lovely village of Almoçageme near the Sintra Mountains, one thing struck me out of the most.

The moment I sat down, the sound of silence surrounded me with such a powerful presence that it was impossible not to notice.100_2389 (640x480)

As you can see from the pictures the houses are next to each other, the roads are narrow and there is activity. People walking, dogs barking and cars passing by.  But the Silence reigns Master here above all.

Even the Mind quiets down in awe, almost not wanting to disturb such serenity with too many thoughts.

I am sure that after a while living here one becomes accustomed to it, but people coming from cities, the first thing that they notice is the quietness. That kind of quietness that unconsciously relaxes the body and mind making us feel at ease.100_2396 (640x480)

It is a complete change of rhythm. When you are in a city what takes over is the mind, there are many information around us that need processing, and everything is usually in the fast mode, depending on the clock. Time is ticking away and we have to get there before it closes, we can’t lose that chance, we cannot afford to lose time. The mind is constantly finding the best way to accomplish the list of tasks that we want or are obliged to do.100_2387 (480x640)

Here there are no such inputs. The maximum concern for me would be getting in time to the grocery shop before it closes! There are different aspects, of course, if you are a local you would have different concerns and priorities, but from my point of view what I perceive is that the rhythm is different, there is no rushing, in anything. And of course, that could cause some distress if you are waiting for someone to turn up to fix anything and they are not in time. But like this, you are forced to learn to relax and Take it Easy.

This makes me realize what are the priorities in life. Our bodies are set to respect the natural rhythm of Nature, and that is slow. Have you ever waited for a Flower to bloom, or for a fruit to become ripe naturally? I have, every day waiting and nothing would turn up, for days, for months, and then suddenly the magical moment occurs. So I understand that even our bodies follow the same code, beyond what our minds think or believe. Yes, you can push it, it is unbelievable the amount of stress a body can take, but at what cost? You can also push Nature but we already know what the price for that is.100_2380 (1024x768)

Silence for me is my Medicine. Even by being here, working every day on my projects, between the computer, learning new things and leaving freedom to ideas to occupy most of my thoughts, it can be a little overwhelming. But if I am able to be aware of the body and force myself to stop and sit quietly with a cup of coffee or tea, just enjoying pure silence, the body quickly regenerates.

Sometimes thoughts are too strong and I am unable to hear anything else, so a stronger Medicine is required.100_2313 (1024x768)

I take the camera and walk away to the lonely paths through Nature that lead to the high rocks on the Ocean. When I enter that space, the Silence is so powerful that all thoughts and ideas suddenly disappear. The only sound is the power of the waves crashing on the shore. Thousands of sparkles of light shine on the surface.  I have attuned to Mother Nature again and I can hear the birds singing.

We all need these breaks, they are fundamental for our well-being, and in my opinion absolutely a must during the process of creativity. Many years ago I read somewhere that even in music the most important part of a song is the silence. It is what determines the rhythm.  Without silence between notes, it would be a long uninterrupted sound, not a beautiful harmonious song.

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So this is my advice to you today. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, find a space, in Nature if possible as it is easier,  and allow the Sound of Silence to take over. Nurture it every day, you may notice it for a few moments at first but the more you continue, wider that space will become. Enjoy and  Take it Easy.

Discovering Photography

What a great way to express one’s creativity. Since I was a child, painting has been my medium. Everything around me was a vision to be expressed through paints on canvas. Photography never crossed my mind.

100_1493 (1024x768)But I had not been painting for awhile and this energy, this unknown force within, that each one of us have, was crying to express itself somehow.
There was a little digital compact camera lying around that nobody was using, so one day I started taking pictures of each flower that was appearing around the house. The first reason was that I wanted to show my mom, with whom we had been looking after these plants, and then to keep records of these special moments of flowering that sometimes did not repeat itself, either because the plant after flowering would die, or for whatever reason the next year it would not flower, or not in the same way.

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Therefore the desire to capture that unique moment, that special vision, with that special light, that only my eyes could see. I wanted to frame it there, so I could later relive it over and over again, share it with others and eventually use it for a painting. And with the camera it was so easy. I could take picture after picture until I got it right, or until the image in the camera was what my eyes were focusing on.

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And so little by little I have been learning to use the camera, and picture after picture arrive at the desired result.

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I never thought photography could fulfilled me so much. Painting for me was something completely different. Nature has always been my inspiration and expressing it on canvas gave it another meaning, another perspective. At least the way I paint, or used to on canvas. I could not make an exact copy, my own personal style would always predominate, willingly or unwillingly, taking me beyond the original vision.
There are of course many example over the history of Art of exceptional artists that have been able to express unique moments on canvas just like a photo, and there are many today too, and that is so remarkable, because it is not easy at all.

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And maybe that is why I am falling in love with photography now, because what I am not able to express through a paint, I am now able to do it with ease and fun through a camera, at least as an amateur. Giving me a chance to learn something completely new.

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The moment I have had this revelation came suddenly. With all the pictures of the flowers I was taking, I decided to use them as a background theme on the desktop computer so my mother could look at them with a big screen one by one, like a movie.
One day I was sitting in front of the computer and these pictures started shuffling through and looking at them in such detail really amazed me. Some pictures were so beautiful, they just made my heart jump, even more than when I had looked upon that same image live for the first time. And that gave me the incentive to do more, and the more I do the more I want to. It is really magical.

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I will eventually continue painting because it is a totally different experience, but for the moment photography is unlocking my creativity, allowing it to express itself freely.

There are so many outstanding pictures around, highlighting every aspect of Nature that I find impossible not to be grateful to all those that work so hard to achieve such beautiful images, allowing each one of us to appreciate this great Planet of ours in all its glory.

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You can see more pictures in Portfolio.

Thank you Mother Nature!

 

SunFreeStar

Today while I was walking I received such a great gift from Nature that it was impossible not to share it with you.

There are many little parrots in the area that live freely. Probably some have escaped, have found their habitat here and continued breeding. You can hear them coming from the strong sound they make, and they are usually in groups. Their shiny green and blue colors are seen almost everywhere. They are so beautiful and had been trying to take pictures of them, but they fly quickly away.

But today while walking I was allowing someone else pass by, and my eyes looked above at a great pink tree and there it was. I dared moving scared it would fly away, but it kept there eating away at the flowers, so I slowly took the camera and was amazed how many shots I could take while it just continued with its own affairs. It was magical.  To be so near without disturbing him or her.

For me it was a great gift and a great opportunity I have been waiting for years. Thank you again Mother Nature.

You can enjoy more pictures of this from here The Parrot.

FEEL ALIVE

fedorfedorit

Welcome Spring!

Finally beautiful spring is back! Birds are singing and celebrating the mating season and warmer shiny days. Flowers are opening up everywhere, decorating the view with a variety of colors. It is impossible not to smile to so much beauty around and I could not but indulge in taking pictures  of every flower I have encountered.

And here I present them to you as a tribute to Mother Nature and to all the immense beauty that is presented to us every day, anywhere.

Rainbow Flower

Some months have gone by since  I have been able to draw and paint on T-Shirts.

During this time I was busy painting my parents’ home which took me quite awhile (…a month!!!). Then it was X-Mas and finally managed to rest in January after the festivities.

Really wanted to keep up with the artwork and updating the site to avoid falling into procrastination, but I hit a blockage. Physically, mentally, spiritually? I do not know but everything seemed like a struggle so I needed something easy.

Transfer one of my designs seemed like a too demanding task(??!!).  So opted for a Stencil, and this one from StencilsLab is so beautiful I really wanted to see how it would look on a Shirt with shining colors. Thanks to them I was able to make something beautiful fairly quickly.

And this is the result.

Have you ever hit a creativity block? You can share your experience in the comments below.

 

Recycling trousers

I had some sport trousers I felt very comfortable with and of course was wearing  most of time, while gardening, painting etc. and eventually some holes appeared, bleach spots….. So I decided to put some patches with some drawings I liked without going to buy them at the shop. Unfortunately I did not have any black cotton material I could use but only white. Ok, I would paint them black then!! The result is nice but much easier if you already have black material.

I had made earlier some small stencils, to not waste any paper while I was trying to make snow flakes with paper, and so tried.

This is the result. I am very happy I have my trousers again but the funny thing is that now I don’t feel like using them for “work”, they are too beautiful!! he, he.