Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blessings of the Season

Yesterday in Whole Foods, the cashier asked me how my holidays were going.
I told her of the chaos of packing a house and moving across the country in our sort of difficult circumstances.
She shared with me deeply from her own life - a husband leaving her, losing her job, her Mom dying, followed by two months of deep depression where the only thing that kept her alive was a friend coming to check on her every day.
I teared up at her story, and she came around the aisle to hug me. (shoppers behind me in line looked on with great curiosity!)
She said something that has actually been a huge Christmas Gift to me, because it is so true, and she felt it so deeply:
"The most important thing is that you have a loving family and loving friends to stand by you - nothing else really matters."
I have been thinking of her words often.
I have such a wonderful family - my Mom has helped us beyond words these last few months, one brother is having us house sit for him, another is helping us load the truck and is always on the look out for jobs for my husband, and another brother helped arrange an art show of my Mushroom Collages at his intentional community. Our kids have been great - rallying and helping whenever they can, rubbing my neck and hugging me when I need hugs.
Friends call to check on me and make sure I am okay.
It turns out that difficulty in life lets our loved ones care for us - our struggles become chances for others to shine for us and on us.
I truly am hugely blessed.
Twenty Ten begins a new life for us.
I will miss loved ones we leave behind here in New Jersey tremendously, but their light will still shine on me, on us.
I am so grateful for the truth that Love, really, is all there is.
Have a blessed holiday - I will be back here after we move and get a bit settled.



"If a thing loves, it is infinite." --William Blake

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

another RUNE journal entry - Berkana

Berkana stands for growth and rebirth and is symbolized by the birch tree.
This is a perfect Rune to have pulled one week before we load the truck and head into our new lives.
The house is about half packed, so the next few weeks I will not be here much, but here we come, Twenty Ten, new decade, new home in a new state, a new life.
Here we come, Rocky Mountains.
The goodbyes are very sad, and the distance we will now have to family and friends is actually overwhelming me a bit, but I know with technology like Skype and texting, I will have loved ones a few clicks away, if not in person.
Growth and rebirth is something that hurts a bit while it is happening, but after the process is complete, a new plateau (hopefully) is reached; new beginnings are not easy, but they are what life is all about - the strong birth tree each year sheds it leaves, and dies a little death, only to start over again in the Spring.
Last night, Solstice, the longest night of the year came and went. We lit candles and hit drums in a wonderful circle at our Unitarian Congregation, and now we welcome longer days and more light as we start a new decade in a week.
Even as the snow and cold holds us for a few more months, even as a long journey is ahead for us, I know that new beginnings will take time to work themselves out, the Rune, Berkana calls for a time of blossoming and ripening . . . .
Welcome, change.



"Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried." --Frank Tyger

busy packing my life, but here are some thoughts:

The act of moving requires you to go through each thing in your life and see if
it is worth keeping. I am realizing how good this is to clean out and have this
purge, but also how devastating it is to look back, and think work you did is only
worthy of going out with the trash.
As an artist, I spent years perfecting my drawing and painting ability - and
right now outside with our overflowing trash cans, is a huge pile of drawings
and paintings which I just could not justify lugging across the country one more
time. (many went from Bethesda to Indiana to New Jersey and now to cross the
country to Colorado again is just too much to ask . . . . )
Part of me feels defeated, and like my time spent in these creative acts was
worthless and now just trash.
But I know this isn't really true.
I know that any of us who contribute creatively are adding something huge and
important to the world.
and, forgive sounding a bit "braggy", but it is a brave act to spend one's life
force in the act of creating something new that maybe no one will ever pay for,
that no museum or gallery will ever hang on the wall, that no e-bay site will
ever send into the world in exchange for a paypal payment.
So many artists that made huge contributions to our human evolution of thinking
and enlightenment and sharing deeply their human experience in a brilliant and
talented way, never got money or recognition for their powerful work.
I am not putting myself in that group, but I am trying to move forward knowing
something that I spent my life force making was worthwhile for someone . . . .
even if just for Spirit.
Working creatively and earning money doing it are such different forces, and I
have always had profound conflict about how to balance the two pressures -
follow your bliss vs. earn a living.
So here, on the thresh hold of giving away/throwing away lots of my creative
work, with paintings and drawings out in the trash heap, I vow to breath in the
suffering I feel from my own non-recognition, and breath out compassion and
acceptance of the reality that to work creatively is to ADD something to the
world, even if it does not result in money or fame.

Giving your gift to the world sometimes has a cost.
A long as Spirit allows me to make my art, and have my voice, I will share
creative work.
I can't do anything else.

"When we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen... Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose." --Steven Pressfield

Sunday, December 6, 2009

1001 Journals

I am honored to have been asked to be interviewed for the Journal Project 1001 Journals, a place where we can all share our journaling work with each other and with the world. It is a very inspiring place to visit.
Here are the very beautifully intentional questions, and the answers I provided for the website, and I will post a link when the interview is added there:

1. Your background is in architecture and art. When working on an art piece do you use the same thinking method as in when you do architecture work or do you use a totally different thinking method: I got into architecture because I wanted to creatively affect the environment - making art really is the same impulse. In creating anything, I try to make something meaningful and beautiful that will also be functional. My early work as an architect also gave me some powerful tools I still use in my work: strong graphics to communicate clearly, and an ability to follow through on projects that I might not have had without that vigorous architecture training.

2. On your website there is an article about your work in the group Jfive ; a group of artist you did collaborative painting with; as a group did you all decide to take the piece in one direction? Or did everyone add onto it and let the piece go in it’s own direction? j5, later j4, was a very powerful experiment in collaboration for me - we were from three different countries (American, Japan and Germany) and we all painted simultaneously on very large canvases. We never planned, we never directed, we never decided anything before taking up our brushes, squirting out some colors, and going for it together. Sometimes we got paint on each other! This act of collaborative creation together was very joyful. Sadly, as our work progressed into the marketplace, that's where our communication suffered, and we couldn't sustain that level of joy when dollars and galleries came into the picture. The few years we worked together, and the resulting canvases were quite wonderful.

3. I love your journal entries posted on your journal blog and the stories and process you go through in creating them. Can you share with us the kind of process in creating your journal pieces? Funny to even think of them as "pieces." Journaling for me has always been about powerful self expression, about the process of getting it out, and not about what it will look like. I find if I even consider what the page will look like, this interferes with the freedom to make a mess, and make a mistake, and find the hidden inner voice that I am trying to free. I do have a sort of method, though - I start with color, add some images, add some words, and see what happens. I teach this method, then encourage students to take the work to their own place. Mostly we need to learn to let go of our carefulness, messy is always better in my mind, because that touches the intuitive pre-verbal place in our brains, which I believe is more connected to our authentic voice.

4. When you create a journal entry is it for self-expression or communicating with others? See above - 99 percent self expression. but I admit that when others connect to my work, it feels quite validating as an artist. But I try not to have this affect my process.

5. When did you begin your artistic relationship with shamanic influences in your artwork? The Shamanism sort of found me. In my first studio, another tenant in the building asked me if I wanted to drum together in the morning. I would drum for twenty minutes with him, then go to my studio and start work. Without me even understanding what was happening, the voice of the drum found it's way into my art. I ended up studying Shamanism for the last 20 years, and now it is an essential part of what I do. They say the drumbeat is the heartbeat of the Earth, and I have certainly been drawn into a desire to help heal the environment and protect Mother Earth as part of my art consciousnesss.

6. When working on your journal entries do you allow the physical pages to limit your expression? if you are wondering if the ink and paper and glue ends up plastered on my work surface - ha! Yes! But I also have some canvases around, and some postcards around, and mail art around, and they all receive the blessings of my messes. I could never work on just one thing at a time.

7. Many of your journal entries are made mixed media. Where do you look for your materials? Do you store materials before you use them or do you work with whatever you have at the moment you begin? Piles and piles of books and magazines and papers surround me. I love buying old books and tearing them apart. I am a paper-holic. I just have bags and bags of stuff at hand, and grab what I grab. One reason I love travel, is I save all the lovely scraps and bits of ephemera. All these bits and pieces end up in the collages.

8. Being that your journals are a personal project do you set deadlines for yourself? Or do you continue and to add on to it as you feel like. I heard one artist say in an interview that "if she doesn't get to do her art, someone will get hurt." I find that if I don't work in my journal, after a few days, I turn into a very grouchy unhappy person. For me this is an essential spiritual practice, so there is no question that I work as much as I can. Sometimes other work gets in the way, but I prefer to start every day with journaling, then let the other work flow from that.

9. What is next for your career as an artist? Where are you planning to show next? I am planning on launching a practise doing environmental Shamanism - using drumming and connection with spirit helpers to heal place and space and answer questions for clients. This will be in conjunction with my journaling work, and my magazine, "Creativity Cafe" which helps hold all these different interests in one place where I can share them. And as a shameless plug -- you can find out more about my magazine here: http://creativitycafejournal.blogspot.com/

10. Is there anything new that you want to learn as an artist to explore more possibilities in your work? Healing the planet is a priority for me, as I see so much environmental devastation in our food, in our air, in our ridiculous levels of consumption which have been normalized by big business. and for me, I have learned that healing the Self is the first step in healing the World. Since my journaling is the first step of self healing I know I will always be firmly committed to continuing and sharing this essential practice. Although it seems so personal, it really is part of the wholeness of all life that needs our nurturing.



"One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being." --Mas Kodani

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sacred Alchemy

I just read somewhere that one thing a Shaman does is to make sacred healing objects.
I realize that my journal is a healing object for me.
And that the self-expression found in an art journal transforms it into a sacred healing object.
Alchemy.
The conversion of one element into another.
See if your journal can make some alchemy for you - see if making collages, writing, or just playing with some fun paper and bright colors can turn this journaling work into a sacred act for you.
I know it does for me.

and today's RUNE - Hagalaz, the great disrupter. . . .



"Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent." --Rumi

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

EHWAZ - transition and movement

Today for my Rune journal, I pulled the rune Ehwaz - which stands for transition and movement.
Ehwaz comes from the sign for Horse pulling the sun across the sky -- traditionally associated with moral steadfastness and staying the course.
The course of this month for me is packing a household and a studio, and getting two of my three children settled on their own - so I relate strongly to the need for steadfastness.
This rune is also associated with new dwelling places - no surprise there!
New exciting paths await, and I am learning that the journey itself is the goal . . .

Pull a rune, make a collage - it really is an amazing process.



"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."
--Deepak Chopra

Monday, November 30, 2009

URUZ -- strength in change

This next month, as I pack and get ready to move across the country, I am going to pull a Rune now and then and journal on it's meaning to me.
Today - I got URUZ, which stands for strength in change.
How perfect is that?
The Runes are so wise.



"Am I going to change the world, or am I going to change me? Or maybe change the world a little bit, just by changing me?" --Sadie Delany

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What do you wish for?

Here's what I know: that if I grab some cool paper, cut it up and tear it a bit; then if I grab some cool inks and colors, and a handful of juicy, colorful markers;
then if I make a mess and play with all these things in my journal, letting my mind float into a playful, imaginative place. . . . if I let my consciousness settle on how things could and should be, rather than how they are, the world will be a better place.
and I will be a better person in that world.
The colorful papers and inks and markers and collage frees my mind from the rigid structure of this world, from the rigid structure of thinking that life is limited and narrow and hard.
Let your journal help you get to a better place.
Let your journal be the playground your mind needs to release all the troubles of this life.
Let your journal be that medicine that you need, that vacation that you long for, the transcendent meditation that helps your mind go where you would rather it go.
Let your journal help show you what your wishes and dreams are, what your true voice says, and what your true life looks like.
Don't accept what you don't want - dream what you can and should have in this life.
Color and collage it, write it and draw it, then BE it.



"Reality is when you pay the rent. Get caught in traffic or your car breaks down. Really it's an AM/FM sort of thing. You've got reality and then there's the miraculous and the transcendent. And once you start, time stops." --Carolyn See

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gratitude

Joy. What gives you joy? Do that. That is your gift back to the Universe.



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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the spiral of life

I added a few more photos from my Oregon Mushroom trip to my journal.
I had a time in the woods in the rain alone, and I made a little collage from moss, lichen and a pine cone on a fallen tree.
I hope someone found it and wondered at the beauty in the natural world.
I know I do.




“What is art but life upon the larger scale, the higher. When, graduating up in a spiral line of still expanding and ascending gyres, it pushes toward the intense significance of all things, hungry for the infinite?” --Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Saturday, November 21, 2009

down, down, down the rabbit hole.

So what does all this 2012 brouhaha mean? Is the world coming to an end as we know it? Will the banks and economy totally collapse, and will we all have to re-engineer our Mad Max vehicles to work on biofuel and all run around wearing fur and patchwork capes?
One thing I do notice, is many of us are wanting to get ourselves situated in a place we really are called to be -- it is a time of readjusting priorities and making what truly is important the emphasis in our lives.
For me, my Shamanic work and my art are key to my sense of doing work that is meaningful.
Taking care of my family has been my number one priority for 25 years, and that chapter is slowly morphing into a time of more independence and autonomy.
This is hard for me. It feels like loss.
I weep for the time of no more cooking for a family, helping with homework, driving someone to somewhere, or many somewheres each day.
At the same time, it is so amazing to have this time to myself, time to really focus on the art, the healing work, the connection to wonder and growth and Spirit.
I firmly believe that as we heal ourselves, we heal the planet.
and that as we learn to take our own suffering and transmute it into compassion, the whole world benefits.

That's why I work in an art journal and share it here.
This work feels like my calling.

So today I was called to do this wild layout.
We got a little handout in the movie theater advertising this new Tim Burton Movie Alice in Wonderland.
You better believe I am excited about that one.

So I just tore that puppy up, cut and glued, added some ink and words.
and VOILA -- crazy fun pages that make me happy.
Let your journal make you happy today!

and never mind about 2012 - it will be a wild rabbit hole of wonder, and fun, too.



Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 5)

Friday, November 20, 2009

some photos, some ink, some markers . . . .

This photo on the left page of my journal is one of the most favorite ever I have taken - it is a shadow cast down on Breitenbush River by my husband and I as we stood above on a footbridge.
Sometimes, just being able to print out a photo like this and put it in my journal is enough . . . . but I did add some more - a photo of the hand burned wooden sign into the conference center, and some words.
Then a few squiggly lines.
oh yeah, some stamps of bees, they just seemed like they belonged.
Being in nature, being in beauty, is so essential to my mental health.
I am so thrilled we are moving to a place where we can be outdoors more, with the mountains right there every day, awaiting our boots.
Yesterday we hiked a bit on Green Mountain, and mud, snow, slush, and ice, it didn't matter. The dogs were so happy and so were we.
Being outside = happiness.
And to cap it off with some photographs and journaling about it all = even more happiness.



"What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?" --E. M. Forster

Sunday, November 15, 2009

hello from Colorado

My journal is getting a bit lonely, and the Muse is a bit mad at me for my neglect.
I have promised her lots of attention very very soon - because she likes glitter and messy paint and tearing up paper and making outrageous fun collages. . . . luckily she knows walks in the mountains will soon be a part of our daily life here in the Rockies! I heard someone on a great radio show about art say if they don't do their art daily, someone will get hurt. That they just tell their family, "don't knock on this door unless someone is bleeding or the house is on fire." Because we all have interruptions, and there just are no excuses for not making art . . . . so forgive me, Muse, I promise to spend some time this week with my journal.

I am in Colorado for a week of reconnoitering before our move next month, and I will fit in some journal time, and get some images posted at some point this week.
But for right now, I need to get outside and get the foot of snow off the car, so I can go pick up my daughter, who has been at a Unitarian Retreat for 9th graders - we are getting her plugged in here. Why did the snow come just now? I guess this is Colorado. . . . I better get used to it.

Happy Journaling!

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." --Helen Keller

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I might just read this every morning. . . .

"Once you start to awaken, no one can ever claim you again for the old patterns. Now you realize how precious your time is here. You are no longer willing to squander your essence on undertakings that do not nourish your true self; your patience grows thin with tired talk and dead language. You see through the rosters of expectation which promise you safety and the confirmation of outer identity. Now you are impatient for growth, willing to put yourself in the direction of change. You want your work to become an expression of your gift. You want your relationship to voyage beyond the pallid fontiers to where the danger of transforatmion dwells. You want your God to be wild and to call you to where your destiny awaits.

You have come out of Platos's cave of Images into the sunlight and mystery of color and imagination."

--John O'Donohue

Thursday, October 29, 2009

not much journaling time

I have not had much time with my journal lately - I was in Portland, then Breitenbush, Oregon for a mushroom festival where I showed my mushroom collage paintings and enjoyed some beautiful hikes in the woods learning about mushroom foraging, and some lovely hot springs soaks.
Lots of photos are here at my Facebook page:
Photos of Mushrooms and More

I am starting to organize and pack for our move to Denver, so please bear with me as I get my life moved across the country. I promise there will be much journaling to come! And I hear there is lots of snow there already, to greet us as we head West.

My mom celebrates her 80th birthday next week, so to honor her just a bit, enjoy this photo collage of the two of us:



"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." --Lucille Ball

Friday, October 16, 2009

Starting a new journal, and a new chapter in our lives.

My current journal is now full, the pages bursting with collage, ink, scribbles, and words. It will join about 40 others on the journal shelf, and I will very soon start a new book.
This book went to Iceland, California, and Oregon, and now, it will move with us and all our stuff to Denver in two months.
We are starting a new life, and my journaling work will certainly help me figure it all out.
Since I have a household of 6 (with dog), and a studio to pack, and a decade of living here in New Jersey to tie up, clients, groups, friends, yada yada yada; I won't be here quite as much - please know once we are settled in Denver, I will be back full force.
and do keep on journaling!



"The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs." --James Allen

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shamanic Circle in Central Park, NYC

Sunday, the annual NYC Shamanic Circle met. There were Aztecs from an ancient line of Shamanic dancers who did a demo and it was magnificent - journal pages to come, but here are some photos in the meantime:





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Monday, October 12, 2009

Being led by intution

Go chase your dreams.
Ignore the data, and then . . . . SCORE!!!!!!
Brain - 0
Intuition - 100

So my life goes on in this pattern, it might not make any sense, but it sure is turning out to be a wild ride.
Details to come very soon.



"I'd like to write the way I do my paintings, that is, as fantasy takes me, as the moon dictates." --Paul Gauguin

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Red Book of C.G. Jung

I saw it.
Carl Jung kept an "art" journal where he visited his subconscious in a series of experiments and journeys, then he wrote and drew of the experiences and entities he visited in one large leather bound volume. He said much of his psychological theories were drawn on these early years of connecting with his own inner creativity and "madness."
His family suppressed the book's publication for many years (90!) because they thought it belittled his academic achievements.

Well here we are in the New Age, finally.
Finally we are in a place where a gifted academic is allowed his magical inner life, his connection to Spirit, his meanderings in and out of what we call sanity.

I have always deeply valued the brave work done when artists, writers, creators, and thinkers delve deep into their inner selves, connect to that universal place of Spirit, and share what they found.
Sometimes, they do find insanity, and the work is too much - Vincent Van Gogh was one of these souls. Sometimes this soul work takes us out of this reality so much, we have a hard time finding our way back.

But if we stay aware of our own needs, if we feel supported and loved, and know how to ask for that support, the inner journey is a rich, rich landscape of this inner connection to the divine.

I get support with my numerous sounding boards - my journal, my Shamanic journeying for others and with others, my Goddess group, my loving and supportive family, and taking plenty of time to process my journeying and journaling work.

So - if you are in NYC the next few months, stop in at the Rubin Museum and see this remarkable book. You can page through a copy of it, and although I was bit surprised at the carefulness of Jung's work (he made rough drafts of the words and drawings before committing them to the book) I know he was a product of his very stilted Victorian time; he also was a pioneer in exploring the inner self.

Thanks, C.G.



"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Jung

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Let the beauty we love be what we do.



"Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
--Rumi

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Red

Red is the color of passion and love.
Red is the color of bright Fall leaves, and the photosynthesis slowing down from doing its work, sending those leaves into the next phase of their lives to be compost on the woods floor.
Red is the color of blood.
The Red moon happens during Harvest moon, when it is very low on the horizon, and because red is the lowest vibration in the spectrum it is reflected more in our view.

I am loving the Fall weather, feeling the coolness in the air, the brightening of the colors, the emergence of forest mushrooms and harvesting of all the fruits of summer labor.
Soon the ground will be fallow, and I, too, tend to slow down in the Winter, in the darkness, absorbing the quiet time of reflection and hibernation.

Thank You Fall/Mabon, for the balance of light to dark in our lives, for the movement of the seasons in our understanding of ourselves, and for the changes that help us know new life emerges after the quiet.



"Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be Revelation." --Eileen Caddy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

creativity as spiritual practice

ToDaY
I vow to spend my precious hours being in grace, and knowing I am in the right place.
I vow to know my contribution to the creative work in the world is valuable and will add meaning somewhere somehow to someone.
I vow to breath in my suffering, and breath out compassion for ALL beings.
I vow to know being in Truth sometimes means doing what others' need before doing what I think I need.
I vow to access my inner magic, to go to this place as a first resort, not as a last resort when I am needy and scared and want something.
I vow to serve Spirit in my work, serve Spirit in how I spend my time, serve Spirit in how I take care of myself.
I vow to work on remembering that I am Loved, by humans, by my dog, by my spirit teachers and power animals, by random beings who connect with my art, and truly, by my self.

I vow to continue to work on sharing these truths with all I meet, with all I send these words to, with all I have chance and planned encounters.
Blessed Be.



"This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess." --Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday monday monday morning

The White sage incense is alit.
I have stretched my body a bit, put it in a few yoga asanas to get the blood and oxygen flowing.
I open my journal, surrounding myself with lovely papers to tear, photos to cut out, inks to spill, juicy markers to put lines and marks on the colorful pages I will make.
I breath in any pain I feel for me, my loved ones, this world.
I breath out compassion, and begin work in my journal.

Welcome, Fall.
Welcome, Creativity.
Welcome, to the inner Wisdom that comes with the suffering of all the years and all the experiences in my life, and even the difficulties.

Blessed Be.



"F--- logic!
Bravo to instincts and sweet intuition!“ --Bj√∂rk

Sunday, October 4, 2009

thankful

Last night the full moon shone on a foggy ground, rain came in bunches then left a clear sky.
This morning our dog gleefully chased some deer, then came running back so proud of his accomplishment.
Today I thank the power animals in my life who help me, I thank my Spirit teachers who guide me, I thank my family who are there, in love, for me.
I thank the water for it's sustaining lubrication, the earth for it's cycle of birth and death, the fire for heat and energy, and air for the breath of life.
Blessed be for all the gifts in this one small world we share.



"Everyone is in the best seat." --John Cage

Saturday, October 3, 2009

opposites

light and dark
smooth and rough
above and below
curly and straight
struggle and rest
success and failure
all are opposite sides of the very same coin

through it all, I breath in suffering, and I breath out compassion.



"The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by obvious realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never were..." --John F. Kennedy

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spirit of Snake

A snake has represented sin in many a world religion, the tree of knowledge was shown to Eve by the snake. Snake Oil is synonymous for a sort of a lie.

Women have been called snake-like by men who are scared and don't trust them. The allure of a slithering, graceful creature calls them, and I guess this can be a threat. I like the idea of channeling the better parts of snake nature, and letting the cunning and freedom to sin be positive traits of the snake.
I also love the amazing geometric patterns on snakes - I recently saw a 12 foot Burmese Water Python at the National Zoo - it was decorated with green and brown diamond patterns of such precision and beauty.

but the very best thing about snakes is the way they shed their skin and become new. Not being attached to the old skin, we can reinvent ourselves and start totally fresh.

Thank you Mother Earth for snakes.



"I’m a tiger when I want love, but I’m a snake if we disagree."
--Jethro Tull

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Patterns

May the patterns of my life reflect joy and love for all living things.
May the patterns I create be for the best good of all around me.
May the patterns of my thoughts be uplifting, positive, peaceful and seek the higher way, always.
I vow to radically focus on all that is love, all that is of connection, and to let all else fall away.

If believing life should be this simple is an illusion, then I choose this illusion over the aggressive, plastic-wrapped, consumer driven world I see around me.

Blessed Be.



"Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!" --Pink Floyd

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

my journal helps me honor important words:

I want to thank Spirit for words of wisdom I get when Shamanic journeying.
I want to thank Spirit for words of wisdom others' find for me when they Shamanic journey for me.
I am so honored and blessed to have this channel to Truth.
Namaste - Spirits of Truth.



“Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be... Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live as you've never lived before.” --Erich Fromm

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Janet Lowry

This beautiful person just channeled creativity and inspiration.

**a short film about her studio and work**


She died yesterday.
Her visual journals have been accepted into the Smithsonian, and if you watch this little film about her life, you will see why.
Her work can inspire any visual journaler to stick with it - you will see her shelves with 30 years worth of her wonderful personal and exhuberant books. You can also see some of her work process.
And reading of her passing in her blog is a wonderful affirming account of a very graceful way to go with friends, family and even an angel present:

**Her Passing**




“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.” --Robert Fulghum

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall - a time of coming darkness. . . .

As the dark time of year approaches, I have trust that even in darkness, stillness can give me insight and be a powerful tool for growth.
The cycles of light and dark can make me feel depressed, but I know and trust there is coming light, and new life down the road.
Without death there can't be life, so without the dark, there can be no light.

I am learning to honor the darkness with my own inner stillness, not to just rush around in the dark, bumping into things.

I thank Spirit that this wisdom comes with my aging, that as I approach my own Autumn in life, I will be still and know all shall be well.

Trauma, struggles, effort to meld the world into my own way of being, all the work of twenty years of raising kids, making a house, moving here and there with a family, trying to make some meaningful art; I trust that all these efforts will bear fruit, even if not in my own time of seeing that outcome.
Planting seeds is sometimes like this -- we blindly send forth our best work into the world, then we endure a time of waiting while the fields seem to be fallow.
The waiting can be really hard, the not knowing if our efforts mean anything.

But under it all, in the dark, seeds are germinating, I know for certain my efforts will not have been in vain.
I thank Spirit for the coming time of dark, a coming time of reflection, contemplation, a time of just being and waiting.
Blessed Be.



"In Mabon -- Mother Goddess becomes Crone and her bright Sun consort has lost his fight for supremacy over the night . . . . " -K.D. Spitzer

Saturday, September 19, 2009

moving forward, but not in a straight line

Sometimes it feels like I am way off track, things are strange or going wrong, my rational brain is concerned that all is a mess or falling apart -- I just don't get what is happening.

Then a series of synchronicities, or convolutions happen, and everything seems to snap into place, and usually a much better place than I imagined or even hoped for:
A lost job means a new opportunity, a disrupted relationship means new, more loving communication, a chance off-the-path meeting means a whole new way to get my art into the world. . . .

It's a sort of spiral path that way - seems like things are way off track, but really they are just getting closer and closer to center and wholeness.
Keeping track of things in my journal really helps me see this pattern.
I am so not a linear person, and the straight and narrow is never a way that attracts me or feels right to me.
The beauty of the spiral is it always ends up right where it is supposed to be, and the path is beautiful and elegant.
Just as it should be.

It just takes some faith that all will be well again, all will be well.



“This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upward all the time.” --Frances E. Willard

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jung had an art journal!

Huge news is breaking - and I am just amazed but not really at all surprised. Our old friend, Carl Jung, the man who gave us massive changes in the way we view the psyche with his ideas about archetypes and the collective unconscious, kept a personal art journal. He used a big red leather book to mine his own inner feelings, dreams, inner journeys and fantasies for many many years. He recorded all this in a large, very detailed leather volume, which was kept in a bank vault.
The book was kept secret, and his family has suppressed it's publication because they felt it was all too private and very non-rational. (surprise, surprise.)
Well, guess what, world, this book is about to be unveiled. Early in October, it will be published for us all to read.
Also awesome is that the actual book will be on display, yes, on display for us all to see, and not only on display, but at the very museum where my daughter interned this summer, the Rubin Museum in New York City.
I feel like this is such a personal gift - I will be there at the opening, and hopefully take some photos.
In the meantime, you can read all about this book, and how it came to be published in this very good New York Times magazine article:

The Holy Grail of the Unconscious

and here is a page which shows Jung's style was very detailed and colorful, an inspiration to all of us who work in creative journals:



“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” --Carl Gustav Jung

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We are facets of the creative force in the Universe. . . .

I am learning how our perception creates our reality.
If we imagine the worst, we might get the worst.
If we imagine the best, we might get the best.
We may as well look into the world, and see the best.
Our current media does not support looking at the best -- they seem to use fear to attract viewers and thus make more money. Their goal is not to enlighten, but sort of to darken, in order to keep their money flow strong.

Even in school, we got the message that if you shine too bright, you will threaten the structure -- to be where you are supposed to be quiet in your seat cranking out the papers that regurgitate what the teacher told you. That creativity belongs to the few creative geniuses, not to the individual.

We need to counteract this with our vision - we need to add lightness to our perception so we add light to the world.
I am so deeply learning this for myself. If I look for the worst, I will see it. If I look for beauty and light in all things, I will see that.
Yes, there are some toxins out there, but our focus does not need to be on the bad stuff.
Our lives can follow our joy and our bliss and our passion and then we have meaning. Then we have joy.
If you don't have passion or joy in your life, you will end up seeking external help for this - the advertisers really cash in on this, and lure us with all their stuff so we think if we get this new thing, we will feel that passion and joy again.
Instead, we just are in debt and have too much stuff in our closets.

So following our own inner joy and bliss is actually essential to the health of the planet!
So go enjoy yourself today - make some art, sing a song, shine your light and hug someone you love. . . .

Look for joy and you will find it.



"Everything in the universe is a pitcher brimming with wisdom and beauty." --Rumi

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We are all in this together. . . .

and if we really knew this, and acted on it, we would have such infinite acceptance of our selves and our own path toward knowing who we are and how we fit into the world.



"The spirit of rejection finds its support in the consciousness of separateness; the spirit of acceptance finds its base in the consciousness of unity." --Rabindranath Tagore

Monday, September 14, 2009

Today . . . .




"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all." --Emily Dickinson

Thursday, September 10, 2009

You find what you look for.

Once a very wise friend said to me you usually find what you look for. I was complaining about something or other, and he pointed out this simple truth to me in response.
And I have been working with that notion a lot lately -- right now my family life is in transition, and it is a choice to greet these new life circumstances with wonder and trust that a newer greener pasture awaits, or sink into negativity over the job/money/housing stress.

I
Choose
joy.

It really is a choice.
For me, my work in my journal is a chance to affirm this each day:
Creativity Counts.
Making a colorful, meaningful "mess" in collage in my art journal is my way of saying YES to the world.
and I really have learned if I look for love, kindness, connection, and bliss, I will find these things.
The sky is blue.
A pink flower blooms from the cracks.
When I come in the front door, my fluffy dog greets me with more enthusiasm than I can imagine.
Life goes on.

Why would I want to only find the bad parts of this one short adventure?



"When it's over, I want to say: all my life 
I was a bride, married to amazement. 
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms." --Mary Oliver

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What makes you insanely happy?

What makes you insanely happy?
That is your calling.
What makes you insanely happy?
That is your purpose.
What makes you insanely happy?
That is where you need to put your attention.
What makes you insanely happy?
Go there today!
(in health and wisdom . . . . )



"This luminous chaos of divine thoughts and feelings is called enthusiasm." --Friedrich Von Schlegel

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where are you going today?



“Over-preparation is the foe of inspiration” --Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, September 7, 2009

W.W.F.D.

I know I have blogged before on the question "What Would Frida Do?" but it really does bear repeating.
I often go to other artists' work for inspiration -- we saw an amazing documentary about three guitarists: The Edge, Jack White, and Jimmy Page, called "It Might Get Loud." They are talking about guitars mostly, but really, they talk about the creative process. I got so much out of this movie. . . . . but the main thing would be -- do your thing.
You have a voice, a unique voice, and if you follow it to the extreme, if you are sure this is you and that you need to express whatever it is in you, you will succeed.
The trick is that the success you find might be just that you find your voice.
Money, fame, all that other tinsel, can't even be the goal. It might be the by-product, but if it is the goal, the unique calling of your own voice is going to be mightily challenged.
Authenticity does not come when chasing money, for most of us. Some lucky few might hit gold with their art, but if that is the goal, the process will be very compromised.

Jack White, especially, was so inspirational in his story, and the way he just does what he does, and does it to the extreme. I have been listening to White Stripes and really understanding the beautiful simplicity in the music, and the raw power of his self expression.
I am planning on bringing this attitude to my own collage work.

Attitude.
That's a big part of it.

I think Frida got that -- look at her self portraits, and the attitude just screams out at you.
Thank you Frida.



"It is a myth that art has to be sold. It is not like stocking a grocery store where people fill a pushcart. Art is a product that has no apparent need. The salesperson builds the need in the mind of the buyer." --Jack White

Sunday, September 6, 2009

why make art?

If Shakespeare had just stayed in Stratford-upon-Avon, worked for his father and been true to his wife and four children, we would not now have Hamlet.
If Van Gogh had stayed in the Hague selling art for his uncle, we would not now have Starry Nights.
If Frida Kahlo had let her back pain stop keep her in bed, we would not now have her amazing self portraits.
If B.B. King had stayed in Mississippi and helped his father farm, we would not now have his transcendent blues guitar riffs.

Art does not make sense, or probably even money.
Do it anyway.
Working in an art journal is a chance to dialog with your art.
You talk to it, it talks back.
It is a gift you give to the world when you work and work and work at this dialog.
What are you going to say in your journal today?
What does your journal want to tell you today?
You might not ever even see the benefits, the legacy you leave.
Do It Anyway.



"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Choose Love

I don't usually post other than journal pages here, but this warrants a nod:
This link will take you to a beautiful affirming song that FairyWebMother shares from her website.
It is about choosing love and joy - a wonderful chant to play when ever you need clarity and support in moving forward in this not-always-easy journey of life.
Click, listen, and be blessed:

http://www.blissfulexpressions.com/IChooseLove.htm

Friday, August 28, 2009

self portrait collage

What are you up to today?



"What is right for one soul may not be right for another. It may mean having to stand on your own and do something strange in the eyes of others." --Eileen Caddy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Enlightenment

What is on your creative agenda today?



"The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts." --Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why would you not choose a life that you love?



"Searching is half the fun: Life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party." --Jimmy Buffett

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

to dread or not to dread. . . .

My beautiful niece came to visit and her lovely blond hair was in dreadlocks. I mention this, and I journal about it, because it is something I have always wanted to do.
If you have very thin frizzy hair, which runs in our family, dreads are a great way to tame the beast.
But it is the sort of thing you can't turn back from - for that bit of hair, it is a bit permanent -- the only way to not have dreads is to grow it out, and cut it all off, so I have not been quite ready for the commitment.
But I am getting very close.
It is time my physical self reflects more what my internal self is -- and that is a person who laughs at convention, and doesn't mind showing the world.
and my niece gets a special bead from each place she visits and puts that in her hair somewhere, and I totally love that idea, too.
Beads in the hair - why the heck not?

We wandered around NYC a bit, and I took some photos and collaged it in my journal:



"The fisherman knows that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reasons for staying ashore." --Vincent van Gogh

Monday, August 24, 2009

memories, creativity, and moving forward

This is the season of back to school shopping, as my 14 year old, who, unbelievably, is starting high school in two weeks, is acutely aware.
I saw this photo of a lunch tray somewhere on the internet, and I had to get it, print it, and play with it in my journal.
The memories associated with that lunch tray are so intense - years of schooling, years that I was struggling with who I was, who I wanted to be, how to fit in as an intuitive creative person in a school structure that didn't reward those kinds of talents.
Seeing my youngest start high school feels like a milestone; one that helps me see my place on the path where I am in wisdom and experience and reflection, and not so much of being any more the in fray of child rearing.
I've done that for 25 years, and it is now time for the next chapter in my life.
My journal helps me see all this with a simple collage about that high school lunch tray.
How do I know all this?
I find a photo, I print it out, cut and tear and glue it down.
I add some color and words and doodles.
Then, I see some truth.
Trusting the process has taken me a long long time of practice, but it sure feels good to know I am getting somewhere; that this Fall when new beginnings are afoot, I can trust all that intuition, I can trust those wanderings to take me somewhere good.



"I'd like to write the way I do my paintings, that is, as fantasy takes me, as the moon dictates." --Paul Gauguin

Friday, August 21, 2009

dreaming of adventerous wanderings . . .

So I am reading a remarkable book called Born to Run, by Christopher Mcdougall, about an ancient hidden tribe of long-distance runners living in isolation in canyons of Mexico.
This sentence really got my attention:
"In 1983, a Tarahumara woman in her swirling native skirts was discovered wandering the streets of a town in Kansas; she spent the next twelve years in an insane asylum before a social worker finally realized she was speaking a lost language, not gibberish."

There is a story there worth telling.
How did she get to Kansas all alone?
Did she run there? (They have been known to run over 400 miles without stopping. . . )
What did she do after being released?
and how crazy is our world when a sane person spends 12 years locked up because no one can understand the words they are saying?

I think we have lots of things back-asswards.

Separation is the problem, connection is the solution. . . .



"All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." --Rumi

Thursday, August 20, 2009

just be.



"Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible." --Thich Nhat Hanh