Every month, we’ll bring you profiles of women across America whose commitment to health includes their mind, body, spirit, and community. These inspiring women share stories of how they’ve reinvented their lives and careers, embarked on exciting new life journeys, and found ways for themselves and their families to achieve optimal health.
Today’s SoL Sister is Sharon Britton from Tampa, FL.
This artist, yoga enthusiast, wife and mother of two regards her life as a remarkable journey – with painting being the latest and most satisfying chapter. Sharon began her career as an intellectual property lawyer, handling well-known cases on behalf of famous recording artists, record labels and publishing companies. She published influential articles on copyright and education issues. These days, she juggles a busy family schedule while making time to paint as much as possible. She recently launched her own web site, blog, and online gallery to sell her paintings, and is preparing for several upcoming shows of her work in local establishments. Sharon also serves as a creative consultant and instructor with Zirit-Life, a business that offers tools for a lifestyle approach based on breathing deeply, sending love and letting go in the present moment. She soon will add teaching to her packed resume when she begins leading classes titled “Your Life is Art” for Zirit-Life.
What’s your favorite good health habit?
Regular yoga practice, which strengthens the core of my physical body, as well as my mental and spiritual aspects. The breathing and movements create a sense of inner peace and mindfulness that permeates everything I do.
What motivated you to become an artist?
My children, ages nine and five, believe that if they can conceive an idea, they can make it happen. They do not see obstacles or limits. When presented with obstacles, they often simply scoot around them, and just keep on going. They don’t draw inside or outside the lines– they draw their own lines.
This quality in my children made me examine the dialogue in my head that says, “I can’t do that” or “I’m not good at that.” Watching my children create art made me think, “Maybe I can create art, too.”
So I tried it. And what I found is that paintbrushes are like keys that open doors to whole new worlds inside me I never knew existed. Painting is a way for me to express back to the world how I feel about all of the information I have taken in over the course of my life.
What tips can you share for making sure your kids develop healthy diet and exercise habits?
I am a huge believer in balance in all things in life. I teach my children to enjoy everything in moderation. I keep healthy food choices in the house, including snacks and desserts. The key with kids is that they want to eat something delicious, so you have to give them healthy, yet yummy options, like organic yogurt with fruit and nuts instead of ice cream with candy. I give them water instead of sodas or sugared fruit juices. Do they eat a piece of cake when they are at a birthday party? Absolutely. On a daily basis, however, I teach them to make the choices that will make their bodies feel strong.
To develop good exercise habits, my husband and I try to set a good example by regularly exercising and by leading an active family lifestyle. My kids play sports, but we also do many family activities together. We go on family walks and runs. We like to go running on a track because then everyone can jog at their own pace and go their own distance, but we are all together. We love to go swimming and, of course, we break it down in the living room, because I don’t think anything is better for the soul than dancing.
What’s your go-to healthy snack to help you power through a marathon painting session or a long run?
I drink a chai latte or my new favorite, tea flavored with Sol Vanilla, before painting. I also keep almonds on hand to snack on if I need a pick-me-up during a painting session. About an hour before a run, I will usually eat a bowl of hot oatmeal and blueberries. I love to splash SoL in my oatmeal as well to make it extra creamy and delicious.
What music do you rely on to boost your mood and spur your creativity?
I create different playlists depending on the theme I want to explore and meditate on during a painting session. The musical themes vary widely depending on the mood I want to create. I’ve listened to classical music, South American indigenous music, Native American music, music from the 1960s and 1970s that I consider the backbone of the peace movement. Some of my favorites from this genre include the Beatles, Bob Marley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Peter Paul and Mary, Jimi Hendrix and Three Dog Night. Other favorites that inspire me are The Red Hot Chili Peppers, New Order, the Crystal Method, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jeff Buckley and Brett Dennen. I love all types of music, so this list is always increasing!