Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It occured to me that a year is like a bowl - circular, complete, repeating from one year to the next, with an arbitrary beginning / ending point. And yet each year, unique.
What has filled your 2009 bowl? What did you ask for? What came to your bowl unbidden? Perhaps your bowl was filled with ease, perhaps challenge or hardship, certainly it was filled with change.
No matter what your year bowl contains, I imagine it is rich and savory. Yet you may want to spice it up a bit, or perhaps add an accompaniment to cool it down.
Bring your year bowl into your heart space and feel deep appreciation for a year of nourishment, for the gift and blessings of the year. Feel gratitude as well for the challenges, which may take some time to reveal their lessons or blessings.
Lastly, carefully cleanse your bowl and prepare it for a new year of offerings.
May your new year bring you peace.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
There are jewels everywhere in the cosmos - -
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Those of you who are artists, you know who you are. Claim the name artist! You've been making stuff since you were, what, three?? Yes, that makes you an artist!
You don't have to be selling anything or showing stuff or having your creations in a museum somewhere, YOU JUST HAVE TO LOVE MAKING STUFF!
That's it! So go call yourself an artist 500 times till you can say it, dance it, write it, sing it, joke it, giggle it, and shout it right out loud - I AM AN ARTIST!
Wouldn't it be fun to sky write it? Guess What? I Am An Artist!
What fun ways can you think of to announce yourself to the world? I'd love to hear them.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
LIVING IN QUESTIONS
I used to be an answer machine.
Toss in the problem.....
out came an answer.
The mind got A's
while the heart languished.
So I came here and you asked me to
live in questions like:
Is it kind?
Can I meet myself here?
What is the flavor of my wall?
And the mind went....
ching, ching, ching, ching, ching.
Yes? No? Vanilla?????
my heart answered,
without a word.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When I got home I saw Robert Genn's twice weekly newsletter on Artists with Low Self Esteem. You can find this letter here. I count myself as one of the 10 percent or more of artists with low self esteem, due to childhood experiences.
I learned two things from Susan and Robert tonight that have helped me immensely. First, Susan pointed out that one of the recurring images in her quilts is the stinkpot. Stinkpots are like compost bins or piles. You put your garbage thoughts in them and they decay and through a magical energy exchange turn into the most wonderful fertile muck that helps you grow strong. I love that idea of a stinkpot filled with all my stinky negative self doubt, where I can imagine it changing into a mud mask that will comfort, support and encourage me!
Second, Robert wrote that a 'patient methodical approach' is needed to overcome low self esteem. As I reflected on this, I recognized a problem area for me. Because this process of dealing with low self esteem takes sooooooo much time, and I want to be over it like last YEAR, I often look at slow progress and interpret it as NO progress!
Does this happen to you? If so, stop this moment, think back 5 or 10 or 20 years, and see how far you've come. Right? The fact that there's still more work to do does not negate how much work you've ALREADY DONE!
So get your stinkpot ready and next time you catch yourself saying something mean and nasty to yourself, write it down and stick it in the stinkpot. The more garbage you put in there, and the worse it smells, the more lovely will be your flower beds and the juicier will be your tomatoes!
Here's my stinkpot. What's yours look like?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I have enjoyed living with this idea this week. As I shared in my previous post this week, I spent some time by the St. Vrain Creek playing with paint. The process was messy and I had no idea what the outcome would be. And just being in it was glorious.
At the same time, I had to let go of outcome, of my desire to make something pretty or meaningful, and just BE. I had to let go of my fear that I would make something that could not be classified as "art."
I chose to enter that space between known and unknown, spirit and matter, idea and substance and give way to that mystic process that stitches, melds, paints them together in the most unpredictable and magical way.
I agree with Hubbell that the artist is herself or himself the bridge between opposites. My take is that artists are the bridge between spirit and matter. When the artist is willing to enter the flow between the two, not just cross above, the object that he or she creates has magic. This art has the power to take the viewer beyond into that messy place in between shores where the unknown comes into being - to meet the troll beneath the bridge.
When you wade through the muck and vegetation and out over the slippery rocks into the capricious flow of the current, you find yourself in an exhilarating space, wild and untamable, scary but full of life. You meet the troll and learn his secrets.
And isn't that the art that shakes you out of your shoes?
For more inspiration from Robin, check out my interview with her HERE on my website.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Jennifer Louden, the Comfort Queen, has declared this week the freedom from self improvement week, and I've signed up!
This does NOT mean that we get to let ourselves go hog wild and do everything we normally do to keep our urges under control (Ice cream!!!!!) but that we give ourselves the grace of accepting ourselves as we are. Knowing that we are already good and wonderful and amazing. Our job is to let ourselves see this. Beyond see, experience!
So I realized this morning that I could NOT spend another day at my computer trying to knock out more writing or other parts of my developing creativity coaching biz. I gathered up some acrylic paint, a big sketchbook, some fabric and my folding chair and headed down route 7 to this lovely spot. Here I planned to free myself from responsibility to work with some freeing no expectation art making.
I sat on a huge flat rock by the St. Vrain Creek. I practiced my qi gong, Cosmic Freedom Qigong, no less :-). I was intrigued by the patterns on the beech tree next to the rock and this made its way into my painting.
And of course, I have a compulsion to use every last bit of paint left on my palette. This is where I work with wild abandon, as I dipped the muslin I brought in the creek to wet it, then made monoprints with the leftover paint.
Topped by an iced chai latte, this was the perfect day for celebrating my self, complete as I am, loving and enjoying what I love to do.
What does your perfect day of celebrating you look like?
Monday, August 31, 2009
We were on the north side of the lake, with the golf course to the north of us. On the golf course was a mixed herd of elk, including a bull, several cows, and some frisky babies, born last May.
All of a sudden I heard a pitiful and frantic mewing from across the lake. I couldn't see anything over there but some people. I thought it might have been a child, but it didn't sound quite like a child crying.
Then I saw it - one of the baby elk, anxiously pacing along the far shore, crying constantly for help. Somehow, he must have missed crossing with the rest of the clan. My heart broke for him. He was obviously missing his momma and friends and was desperately trying to get their attention.
Then he just had to do it - he plunged into the lake and made his way across. Fortunately the water is not too deep, but in the center he had to swim. Brave little guy, he made it across, only to have to cross the rain-swollen Big Thompson. And he made it across that too!
He found his momma very quickly on the golf course and although she seemed not to welcome it, she did let him nurse a bit. His little herdmates scampered over to greet him. I was so happy that all ended well.
It made me think about what we long for, especially related to our artistic expression. What inside you is crying for attention? To what lengths are you willing to go to give it voice? Will you be brave enough to take the plunge? I know I have been inspired by a baby elk and will remember him next time I'm ready to start a project.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I have entered this slideshow in the World's Best Presentation Contest 09, so if you like it, please take a moment to vote for it here. If you cannot view the presentation below, click here to view. I'd love to read any comments. Enjoy the show!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I left my OT job at our local hospital a year ago about this time and that was very painful for me. I jumped into building up my coaching business, but felt very sad about leaving patients and co-workers who had become friends.
I also had packed up my downtown studio and moved it into storage 6 months prior to leaving that job. I brought some supplies, fabrics and beads home, but lots went into storage. This morning I finally unpacked a big box of beads that's been sitting, in the way, on my worktable for a year. I really didn't remember what was in it, and, OH GLORY, LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!
These are some antique glass Mardi Gras beads that I bought on a vacation to New Orleans probably 15 years ago! Obviously they had never been thrown from a float!! They are glass, made in Czechoslovakia, and obviously seconds, but so colorful and bright and fun!These are just of few of my very favorites. Some glass shell beads I bought from Robin Atkins a few years ago, some great old coral, ancient Roman (green) glass beads that had been cleaned, some small clay Central American birds from a great dealer in Hinsdale, IL, a partial strand of ancient glass and striped agate amulets, and a cast polymer clay face.
I feel like the floodgates have opened, creativity can flow again! Like the Japanese goddess Amateratsu, the stone has been removed, I've come out of the dark cave, into the sunlight and my spirit, seeing all that just thrills me, can dance wildly! I didn't realize that my block was my grief at leaving my work pals, and thought I'd gotten over that. Finding my favorite beads was another important step in completing that circle, and allowing me to move forward.
See you later, I'm off to pet my beads!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Two years ago construction of a new house was begun on the lot next to ours. I spent two full evenings digging up cactus plants that would have been scraped away and moving them to my front yard. Now each May they bloom prolificly and their fuschia blossoms fill me with joy.
What can you do now, however challenging, that will give you hours of delight later?
We had to remove this nest from the outside grate of our fireplace. Oh, the tenderness of a nest and small speckled eggs! What is your treasure?
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I am always fascinated with the similar patterns that are created by the movement of wind and water on sand, stone, and materials in water. I snapped these photos this week in Rocky Mountain National Park's Fall River in the Endovalley picnic area.
Energy, whether wind, water, or human, causes incremental change - one wave upon another. Then there is a tiny shift, and the pattern continues, reinforced and guided by the previous step.
This is one way the process of change occurs in our lives. Oh, we long for the dramatic, the single moment of enlightenment, being struck blind and undergoing a total conversion. This happens in nature also, witness the hurricane, the earthquake and the horrific upheaval that is left in its wake. Thankfully this type of change occurs less often.
Coaching focuses on change of the incremental variety. This change has the potential to become a lasting pattern of behavior. It is gentle to the spirit and creates its own momentum, making the process flow along with less effort, and almost no destruction.
After a season, one can notice that a new behavior, regular walking, or painting for a time each evening, has become part of the fabric of one's life. All it took to establish was a small amount of energy, applied regularly, over a season of time.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I am just starting to be receptive to those ideas that come to me and seem bizarre. I used to question them, oftentimes so much so that they never came to fruition. Try as I might, I am just not cut out for conventional work. I admire it, but what comes to me is something else.
This is a gut "doll" I made. I wasn't very pleased with her until I was looking for an image to express my sorrow over the potential extinction of so many species. Then she was perfect.
Another strange idea that came to me during a tapestry class I took at Penland School of Arts and Crafts was to make a bowl using Cheerios™ as beads. I did, and it actually sold in the auction at the end of the session. This is a later vessel, using MultiGrain Cheerios™. I love the rough texture of Cheerios™ and the weight and flexibility of the vessel.I went on to use the MultiGrain Cheerios™ in a beadweaving project. This piece is called "Demeter Celebrating Grain." The colors are the natural color of the cereal. I admit that I questioned all of these pieces. They are all made of materials that cannot be made permanent without destroying their best characteristics. I have since made dolls stuffed with rocks and had other non-traditional ideas that I have not tried. Does this sound familiar?
A year ago, I had another desire come to me and I just finished a sample. I am beginning to accept that, for me, this is art. I have tried to weave and quilt and print fabrics but these quirky things keep coming along and making me oddly joyful as I start to embrace and celebrate them.
What is whispering to you? When you follow the tugs, I bet you'll find yourself grinning inside.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I am having trouble with my slide show that has disappeared for some reason and I'll continue to work on that. I thank my dear friend Robin for her suggestion to add still shots for those not having fast computer connections. So, to catch two birds with one peanut (I love birds and don't want to kill them with stones) I'm going to add some still shots of Death Valley. The image above is from the Furnace Creek Inn, an historic inn, complete with restaurant, spa, and afternoon tea. The setting is surreal, as the Inn grounds are an oasis of palm trees and tropical plants in an area where it looks like almost nothing lives. As I stood on the verandah of the inn, I imagined myself in an exclusive 30's Hollywood setting, looking out over a harbor on the Pacific. However, the "ocean" that is seen in the distance is a dry shimmering salt sea.
The above photo is along the Golden Canyon trail, which is mostly rocks, scant vegetation, even less of it alive, and only one fly that I saw. No birds, no lizards.
Even the rocks are dry and cracked!
The above shot shows the Red Rocks at the end of the trail, beyond the end of the trail, as it turned out.
Golden Canyon trail ends here in a blind hollow called Red Cathedral. This steep climb rewarded me with a surprisingly intimate space in the midst of a vast landscape.
The view outward from the Cathedral is shows the labyrinthine nature of the trail.
During our late afternoon drive through Artists Loop, we were rewarded with the setting sun's illumination of the rocks' almost unbelievable colors, as seen in the above 2 photos.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
It's fun to explore a new and foreign landscape and enjoy the treasures it offers. In this case, amazing colors, beautiful solidified sand dune structures, and a landscape that mimics what I imagine the moon is like.
When I got home I made a slide show on One True Media that I've entered below. This helped me appreciate our day's explorations even more, because now I get to share them.
What have you explored recently? How might you memorialize or share the experience?
Friday, March 6, 2009
I had the photo program "fix" this photo and love the effect. Almost looks like a version of constellations overlying the depths of the solar system. Isn't it amazing that one can walk into the desert in the presence of human imagery from nearly 2,000 years ago and ponder its meaning?
May these petroglyphs inspire wonder and reflection for generations to come.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Cacti on the mountainside above Point of Rocks Springs. The pink barrel cacti were especially plump and beautiful.
There's a blue pupfish in the lower center of this photo. I was mesmerized by these tiny fish chasing each other through the algae in Point of Rocks Springs.
Nearing sunset at Ash Mountain NWR. This was a lovely day. Although we've received quite a bit of rain and mountain snow recently, wildflowers were not yet blooming here, although the ranger told me that some are blooming just up the road in Death Valley National Park. I ran out of time today, but will make it to Death Valley before we head home next month.
I hope you enjoy this brief overview. I also found that in the absolute quietude of a landscape where most of the time all I could hear was my own footsteps, I was able to hear my soul speak. May these lands always be present and even more, may there always be people who love them.