Self-Awareness / Attitude

Becoming more self-aware in how we think, feel and behave; and making more conscious choices to live from a positive, empowered, and authentic place from within.

Saying It, Not Just Thinking It…

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die (drawing by Diane Mottl)

When I was sixteen, a good friend of mine died while on an overseas school trip (peanut allergy). I have thought of her often over the years. In my early twenties, when I was struggling and did not know if I believed in a God, I reached out to her instead. I imagined her looking down, hearing my words and giving me comfort. When the turmoil of my twenties settled, there were many other times that I thought of her and wondered what she would have been like at this age and that. When I dig through my box of memorabilia and come […] Read more »

Understanding A Dad’s Expression Of Love…

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it (drawing by Diane Mottl)

I am blessed with a Dad who makes celebrating Father’s Day easy. He was and is there for me. This is not to say there were not bumps along the way. Like many men of his generation, his expression of love (and other feelings) was in a language that was not always easy to pick up on. Relationships with fathers can be complicated. Even the healthiest of Dads may struggle from the aftermath of being bombarded with societal message about what is manly and what is not; how to express themselves and how not to; what their role in the family is and what it is […] Read more »

Do You See Flowers or Weeds?

What we see depends mainly on what we look for (Drawing by Diane Mottl)

When I was a wee-one dressed in my Sunday best, I offered my Mom a bouquet of hand-picked pretty yellow flowers. At least, that is what I saw. My Mom saw something different in my chubby outstretched hands. Lucky for me, she focused on the joyful intent of the giver and not on the dandelion juice dripping down and staining the dress she had just spent hours sewing. Yes, that bouquet I had so lovingly picked was a common weed. The scourge of lawns everywhere. The lowly dandelion. To a child: beauty, magic and fun. To an adult: pesky weed that must be […] Read more »

No Apologies For Being A Toe-Dipper…

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance (drawing by Diane Mottl)

If you read my blog post Taking Off the Training Wheels, you know I was going to start a group art class. The night before, I tossed and turned. By morning, my stomach was in full butterfly-mode (the size of condors). As I got ready, I gave myself a pep-talk and the cheerleader rah-rah-rah’s. But as one side of me you-canned, the other side dug in her heels. The heels won out. And yes, I know. I could have pushed harder and made myself go. Yes, doing it would have felt invigorating and given me a “Yesss! I did it!” moment. Yes, choosing […] Read more »

Taking Off The Training Wheels…

Pencil drawing of a child pedaling with training wheels (by Diane Mottl)

Confession time. My security blanket is to draw from photographs. I find one that stirs an emotion in me, print it then create a grid that turns it into sixteen mini-pictures. I get my drawing paper out, make sixteen boxes, tape the gridded-photograph to my easel and start to draw, looking at the photograph for reference to get the proportions just right. Once the whole photograph is sketched, I go back and do all the shading, smudging and highlighting to get the two to look alike. I know I am getting good at this. I know it takes talent to replicate a photograph, but deep inside I feel like […] Read more »

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go…

It doesn't matter where you go in life it's who you have beside you (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

Which is more important, where you go in life or the person beside you (whether it is a love-partner, family, friends or children)? If you absolutely had to choose, which would it be? When I asked myself that question, my automatic first response was the person beside me. But then I thought about where most of my energy goes. Sadly, it is not towards my loved ones. I would hazard to guess that if we were forced to watch a play-by-play of our day, most of our time would be spent on work, to do’s, commitments and the rest of the […] Read more »

Do You See Me?

Pencil drawing of a homeless man (by Diane Mottl)

Earlier this week, I was pulling to a stop at a busy intersection and a man walked between the lanes holding a cardboard sign asking for change. I am ashamed to say, I avoided looking at him. Hiding behind my sunglasses I watched him in my rear view mirror. All the drivers I could see were staring straight ahead. The man ambled back up the sidewalk, leaned against a building, and waited for the light to turn red for the next lanes of traffic. I drove by him, still hiding behind my sunglasses. All the way home, I thought of […] Read more »

Being Held Up Or Being Held Back?

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl)

There was something in this drawing that struck a chord within me. At first, I saw a tightly wound wire tethering a fence post that was only moments away from tumbling to the ground. But then I looked at the snarled wire again and it began to look more ominous. I saw how its sharp edges were poking this way and that; how it was snaking its way around and around, knotting and tangling itself up as it held fast. That’s when I looked at the fence post differently. Was it being held up? Or was it straining and pulling as it struggled to break free of its […] Read more »

Life Lessons Learned with a Drawing Pencil…

Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up (pencil drawing: Diane Mottl)

The drawing on the left was so close to being crumpled and thrown in the garbage. I look at it now and can proudly see it for what it is and am grateful for what I learned. Let me explain. My drawings follow a predictable pattern. I start out with a light sketch to get the proportions right (I have a very well worn eraser – smile). When I think I have it, I pick one area (i.e. the child’s shorts) and start to fill, shade and smudge until it starts to take shape. Then I move on to another small area. But then I hit the same […] Read more »

Cartwheeling through Life: Letting Go and Trusting

Pencil sketch by Diane Mottl (

Do remember the first time you did a cartwheel? It did not matter if Nadia Comăneci grimaced at your form. In your eyes, cartwheeling was the next best thing to flying: that magical millisecond balanced upside down, before you spun yourself back to the ground. Some went at it full gusto, flinging their legs to the sky trusting that they would land on their feet (or not caring if they did). Others (like me) did the more tentative turtle-cartwheel: back curved, hands and feet barely leaving the safety of the ground. What makes some able to trust and fling themselves into new experiences while others […] Read more »