Friday, August 29, 2008

still on my theme. . . .

that thoughts create reality.
Did you know that the phrase abracadabra is
actually an Aramaic phrase “abraq ad habra” and it
literally translates to “I will create as I speak”.
To create as we speak -- that really can change how we go through a day.
Say it,
and it just is.
I am going to be so much more aware of my words, and set the intention each day with more awareness of the power of what comes out of my mouth.
I'll let you know how it goes!

"Those people who recognize that the imagination is reality's master we call sages, and those who act upon it we call artists or lunatics." --Tom Robbins

Thursday, August 28, 2008

the power of words

I have been thinking (and learning) about how language creates our truth. How words affect how we think, and how we think creates our life.
There is such a huge gap between a powerful dragon and a harmless dragonfly, yet it is only three letters change between those two things.
The way we think about things affects our interaction with the world, and the way we think about things is often in words.
I think one reason art is so powerful is that images can transcend the meaning we give to everything and get right to the heart of the matter.
I know that if I am learning something and I take notes and add images the meaning stays much clearer to me, than if I were to just use words alone.
It is too easy to hide behind the label of things to not really get the meaning - if we think of the whole mass of grinding poverty in the world, we aren't as likely to want to help than if we think of the one individual whose life would be made hugely better by a small act of kindness on our part.
Propagandists have known how to manipulate words to get us to be on their side, just look at the "war on terror" which really was a war on a small middle eastern country with no direct threat to us in any way.
but I digress and I am focusing on things I don't want to think about right now -- words, keep the right ones in your head and the right ideas and right patterns will emerge in your day . . . .

"One who is caught in thought loses one's original nature. All he knows are words and descriptions. When he sees the actual thing, he fails to perceive it." --Dalai Lama

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

being outside, not IN

These pages were based on some art I did at the workshop. I am learning how much healing the earth gives, and I am making a point each day to make sure I go outside and feel that energy.
I spent the day yesterday in the city, and in the crowds and heat and noise, I just really longed for a green garden or a body of water. I did manage to sit in a few strategic spots as the day went on to rest and refuel, so I did find some park-like places with a few spartan trees who bravely carry the weight of green for the whole city.
I also ducked into Bloomingdales just to look, and, UGH, I just can't deal with the loud overbearing push of the consumer world to buy, buy, buy. I found all the ridiculously expensive makeup and perfume and accessories so redundant, like the last cry of materialism trying to be relevant.
but I know for many people (most?) THINGS are what bring happiness, they have bought into the advertisers myth that you are not good enough unless you have this outfit/jewelry/bag/car/cellphone. . . .
I am just so outside that way of thinking that the whole big store seemed like wasted space and energy.
I'll take a walk in the woods any day!
and creative doing, rather than consuming.

"We began as mineral. We emerged into plant life, and into the animal state, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again." --Rumi

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

an idea for today!

imagine if when you woke up, you looked in a mirror and said to your own sweet self:
"Today will be a work of art. What will I create today?"

Got that from the movie, Man on Wire - very inspiring story of Phillip Petit's goal to string a wire and walk between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974. Go see it if you can.

"There is a boundary to men's passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination." --Edmund Burke

Monday, August 25, 2008

still walking in gratitude. . . .

I am using my journal a bit differently, now. I guess because I am still riding the enlightenment wave just a bit from my blissful experience at my retreat. A wonderful native American expression is, "I walk in beauty" and as you think this, your path is influenced. It is hard to be irritable and angry if you are thinking that you walk in beauty.
Spreading love really is what it's about, and if our work spreads love, we are adding something so valuable to humanity.
Sometimes it takes a long time for this to grow and become our authentic voice, and I am learning to be patient with myself as I figure it all out.
It doesn't come right away, and the world might not understand our gifts as well as we would like, in fact, if we are doing something new and our own, the world probably won't understand our gifts.
All the more reason to follow the heart, and know that we are on the right path.

"Little seedlings never flourish in the soil they have been given, be it ever so excellent, if they are continually pulled up to see if the roots are grateful yet." --Bertha Damon

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Two weeks off from this blog - thank you for coming back after my absence! I need get away time so much, time to regroup, rethink, reset those neural pathways! I am actually reading a book about brain plasticity called "The Brain That Changes Itself," by Norman Doidge, and it is wonderful -- I am learning to replace negative thoughts with thoughts of gratitude, and it is such a good thing.
My journal, although not a gratitude journal, helps me with this, too -- just the act of tearing and gluing and coloring really helps move my thoughts into a positive place.
Creativity work wonders, in many ways.
Creativity connects me to the universal flow that gives life.
My art is my worship. . . . . it heals me and keeps me going.
I know this clearly after my time away. I went to a workshop on Shamanism, but it healed me in many areas of my life, and I am looking forward to where I am headed, into the flow of making art my life work. . . .
and my connection to the Earth is key to this energy, touching the "mother", with bare feet and hands is something we all need to do every day.
Try it -- it really does heal.
Being cooped up inside just might be causing lots of the problems in our culture today, so I am vowing to get outside everyday, to connect with that life force, and bring it into my art and my voice here. Feeling the energy in the trees, the sky, the grass, the flowers, flowing bodies of water. . . .
and to be grateful for all the blessings of earth and family . . . .

"Art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life, generating and degenerating itself. In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God." Ingmar Bergman

Saturday, August 9, 2008

while I am away:

Here is an overview of some pages in my latest journal -- the music is Zappo Mamma - I love them!
Now off for some play time!

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." --Kahlil Gibran


Today I have to pack.
YuCk -- I always forget something, and I find it so stressful the day before leaving.
But the leaving is coming shortly, so I must get ready.
I am trying to let go of all ego, and just be -- do what I need to do and not be always living in the next moment.
So right now I will go get a cup of hot wonderful coffee, and start some laundry, and not even think about anything but what is right in front of me.
Eliminate clutter in my brain!
and just breathe. . . . .

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." --Hans Hofmann

Thursday, August 7, 2008


each day there seems like so many obstacles and boulders on the path.
I want to just pull off a Georgia O'Keeffe sometimes -- get a cool place in the desert of New Mexico and paint big flowers with no one bothering me.
Her artistic genius was not just the beautiful paintings she made, but that she could create a life where those paintings were her only reality.
In two days I am off for a two week break, two conferences which hopefully will renew me a bit.
Because if you don't fill the tank, you run out of gas.

"As artists, we must learn to be self nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them – to restock the trout pond, so to speak." --Julia Cameron

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

looking at feelings

I read somewhere that most artists and writers are looking at their feelings. That most story-telling involves showing others our human-ness through sharing our feelings about things.
Thinking is all well and good, but the realm of the thinkers does not belong to the poets and artists of the world.
I leave the thinking to the doctors and accountants.
I guess that shows in my work in my journal.
I am examining my own feelings and trying to understand them. Lots of people pay a therapist for this, but I find the process of making art and writing on the collages does it for me much better (and so much cheaper!)
"The unexamined life is not worth living" was a quote that got my attention as a kid, and I guess I have lived with that always in the background of my psyche.
The conflict for me, is that sometimes it feels self-involved, egocentric, or selfish to focus so much on my own feelings.
and that just might be the dilemma of artists and creators through time.
I think people who knew Vincent Van Gogh probably did think he was way too absorbed in his own problems.
But by working out his own issues, look at the paintings the world received.
What a gift.
So I try to remember that having and sharing this struggle is worthwhile.
That our own inner struggles are meaningful and worth spending time on, and that sharing this path will help someone somehow along their own way.
Life is short.
It comes and goes like a breath of mist on the grass.
and I want my one short time here to be lived with intention and meaning (until the next go 'round and I get to come back as something else!)

"I am a greedy, selfish bastard. I want the fact that I existed to mean something." --Harry Chapin

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

be unreasonable

This quote by George Bernard Shaw is one of my favorite quotes of all time; accept no limits, dream it and do it:

"Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country." --Anais Nin

Monday, August 4, 2008

the small things

I used to think the big things in life were the focus -- big trips to somewhere, something new I got that I wanted for a long time, success with a project or job.
Now I know that the small things are where the riches lie.
A lovely home cooked meal.
A large fluffy dog whose eyes look into mine lovingly.
Laughs with a good friend.
and my journal is a great place to remind myself of this.
A heart filled with gratitude is a wonderful thing, and it really just takes reminding of the abundance that we live in.

Got no check books, got no banks.
Still I'd like to express my thanks
I got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night.
--Irving Berlin

Saturday, August 2, 2008

ephemera - and the limits of words

It's no secret that I love papers, stamps, old photos, posters, ink stamps, pattern.
These pages actually use all those elements, and when I cut and paste and tear and glue, something happens to loosen up my brain.
Then when I write, I feel like I am using the right intuitive universe-connected brain to find my truest words. If I were to write first, I would tend to be rational and reasonable because the rational and reasonable is where most words live.
Words are really just containers to hold ideas, and I find they are very very limited.
It feels like the more intuitive and creative I get, the less articulate I become.
That kinda hurts, so I do try to sustain some ability to communicate, but mostly, I know - communication is much more the act of listening than the act of saying what I need or want to say.
Art communicates so much more directly to the feeling level, so that is why I am happy to live in the art creation place, but I do need words. Words plus art seems the best fit for me, hence this blog and my book on journaling.
Also - I think there is something in us that wants to share what we do and what we know, and since my practice has been to make collages in journals, it's what I have the urge to share.
with you!
and I do feel like doing this work is so healthy and expressive, and I really really really want more people to know that. . . .
LA LA LA -- love and acceptance today!

"A life spent chasing other people's approval is a life spent on a pointless roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, without ever knowing yourself." --Rinatta Paries

Friday, August 1, 2008


Affirmations are very powerful things. Advertising sort of functions as the opposite of affirmation. Advertising tells us we are ugly or fat or old or bad so we will feel empty and fill that space with the product they are selling.
I seem to need to build a shield against the advertising that is everywhere I look (and hear.)
I am working at replacing those messages with my own messages of affirmation.
I keep meaning to put little post-its on my mirror, in my car, on the fridge, and all around where I will see them and remember that I CAN.
Another mantra I try to build into my ongoing, all-day thought monologue is:
la la la, love and acceptance, love and acceptance, love and acceptance.
This sounds kooky, but if you put it to your favorite tune, especially the la la la part, it does stay with you all day.
To start my day saying this a few times really affects how the day goes, and how I feel through the day.
and when you feel positive, positive things seem to happen.
Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere in this world we are given messages of how horrible things are, of how horrible we are, that the young beautiful plastic looking people in the ads are happy because of stuff. and that the world is going to pot all around us, wars and famine and a tanking economy -- and while all that might be true, dwelling on it in an unhappy way just to move the machine of money-making forward is not where my mind needs to be.
I want to be aware of the monumental suffering in the world, without adding to it, either in my mind or my actions.

I reject that we need to focus on what is horrible in the world, and choose bliss and joy in exactly the way I am and in what I am doing.
I say we can make the world sacred and beautiful, and that the flowers on my deck and the green grass under my feet and the dragonfly I find on my path all bring me peace and affirmation that the world is a wonderful place.
la la la.
Love and accept yourself today!

"Look at the earth crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kind... each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth... So, artist, you too from the deeps of your soul... let your roots creep forth, gaining strength." --Emily Carr