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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Total Alignment

I finished up my online painting class with AROUSE. And, honestly, I'm sad to let it go. I will definitely be a part of other classes offered by LilyWheel Slide Studio, because I had such a fabulous experience! In the meantime, I've begun a FREE on-line class offered by Dirty Footprints Studio, called Total Alignment. I'm just beginning by doing the first exercise/invitation, today. I'm very excited about it!
Somehow, somewhere along the lines of my life, I lost the understanding of my own need for creativity and creative expression. With AROUSE, I found it again. I actually found AROUSE, through a Facebook group called Art of Prayer, where I met the facilitator for AROUSE. There, I found a wonderful group of women who were on their own paths to discovery. Some were already professional artists, others were just finding their way (like me). I love my job as adjunct faculty at the local community college and have absolutely no desire to give it up; however, I find my artistic endeavors to be freeing and therapeutic in a deep, self-aware, self-discovery fashion.
I finally have an outlet for all of those horrible feelings of fear and anger and depression that have dogged me for decades. I have a way to get them out of my body and onto paper, to share them with others who are compassionate and understanding, and to be free of them. During the process of initial experimentation with the exercises in AROUSE, I noticed that I felt real physical discomfort in certain areas of my body when I attempted to tap into my creativity. It was almost as if my body had become so closed off that I had to power my way through the process. That hasn't gone away for me....I sometimes continue to feel stiffness in my head and neck and shoulders, or a fullness in my throat. The true benefit of this line of self-education is that I'm AWARE of them, now. I KNOW what it means when my body reacts that way. And, more important, I know how to RELIEVE it.
For me, that relief comes through painting and blogging about it. That's what works for me. The painting alleviates the pressure and the blogging allows me to explore it. It doesn't matter if anyone actually reads the blogs (although, I certainly enjoy comments when they do). Its more about getting it OUT of me. Since I'm trained as a traditional, talk therapist, I recognize the need to purge harsh feelings and thoughts and the benefits that come from doing so. Interesting that, while I spent decades taking on the miseries and secrets of others, I didn't bother to care for my own.
I wish I could articulate the improvement in my day-to-day feeling of serenity, but I'm not that skilled in explanation. Suffice it to say: I am at peace in my own skin and with those around me. Its not constant, but its enduring. I know what to do to bring myself back to balance when I allow situations and circumstances to take me out.
Today's exercise gave me some difficulty. Not the actual breathing exercise, but the painting itself. I became frustrated with the process, several times. I found myself desperately wanting to make the heart at the center of the painting larger, but knowing that I shouldn't.
At the same time I became frustrated, the colors began getting darker and darker, until I had several sections of black. When I realized what was happening, I put my brushes down. At first, I tried to fight through it. That didn't help.
My lesson for today: Sometimes, you have to put it down and walk away. Its not always the right time.
I paint on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because I've carved out time in my schedule to do so. That's when my schedule allows. I spend other time, as I'm able, creating throughout the week and weekend, but its those days that are reserved for stretching myself, so to speak, through paint and brushes. Today, I painted, but found that it was time to stop. Normally, I can spend all day working on a piece.



I wasn't "working on a piece." I was working on me. The process is about fearlessness in creation, about total self-expression, about joy in the journey. Sometimes, my travels are dark. I desperately want to be more loving. I don't know if the painting is "done" or not, but it definitely taught me what I needed to learn, today.
Creative muse -- thanks!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I lost someone, today.
He wasn't family.
He wasn't even kin.
Yet, tears fall, anyway.

He handed me some silly, aluminum coins.
But, those moments are etched deep in my mind.

They are shared celebration.
I hugged him without fear. I felt his concern.
I couldn't do that, before then.

Today, we lost an ally.
And, gained an angel.
I didn't believe in angels before now.

I feel pain.

May the swiftest of winds carry your soul to the glory of the Summerland, where you can dance and sing, restored and animated. Blessed Be your journey Mr. W.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Part Two: Activation: Finding Your Passion

In many ways, I've always known the truth about freedom -- how to gain it, where to pursue it, who I need to be to chase it, where the answers are. I learned many lessons about my self over the course of working the exercises in AROUSE and painting and writing through the process. Perhaps, the most important lesson I learned -- I knew the answers all along. Those answers about who I am, what I need, how I crave to express myself, how I yearn for true, wild freedom. I could've found those answers, at any time, just by listening to the whispers in my mind -- the ones who are so faint that you miss them when otherwise occupied. The ones that dance through my unconscious in dreams and symbols. The ones that sing their wisdom to me in one voice.
But, despite all this inner knowledge, there was a lack of trust, until the prompts and exercises of AROUSE asked me to look within, to reconnect, to act as if I were the person I wanted to be. And, most important of all, encouraged me to listen to my inner voice. To find my muse. To find my passion. And, I had a surprise -- I have PASSION in spades!
I find that I'm in a place of evolution, or metamorphosis, or whatever term you wish to use. I've learned both who I'm not, and who I don't want to be. Now, I move toward becoming who I am, and who I DO want to be. Today, I know what that woman looks like -- she is genuine and natural. She is beautiful and feminine. She is flawed and damaged. She is bright and energetic. She is strong and she is vulnerable. She is passionate. She is wild. And, she is FREE.
I'm always a little sad at endings. In my mind, its best to take the time to grieve any loss -- to reflect on lessons learned, experiences gathered. But, also to remember that a door closing brings your attention to the one that opens. What doors are opening for you?
Blessed be!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Part Two: Activation: Learning to Ground

How do I feel connected to the earth? This is the lesson I learned in completing my painting for today. How am I grounded? What keeps my feet rooted and planted?
And, even deeper questions: What is my core? Who am I, really?
This music really called to me. I spent more than a few times, dancing through the video, above -- eyes closed, feeling the weight of my feet, the power of the connection to the earth, the ancient mystery of her existence. I have always felt a powerful affiliation with the soil beneath me. Cliche as it may sound, I really do feel the earth bleed. Cruel actions which tear up her crust, demolish her meadows, and rape her resources are painful to witness.
She calls to me and grounds me. Whenever my head gets too far out of whack, I focus on what I can see NOW. That is almost always a facet of Mother Earth. It reminds me of my place. It reminds me of the need for humility -- I am no more important than the dragonfly I was watching this morning. I am no less valuable to the system of creatures upon our planet.
What is inside my core? Slime and sensuality. Greed and compassion. Strength and suffering. Solitude and friend. Light and dark. Angel and demon. Yin and yang. Life and death. Cruelty and kindness. The dichotomy of duality. I am all things and nothing. Just as you are.
Who am I, really? I am a work in progress. I am alive. I am blessed. I am flawed. Who are you?



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Part Two: Activation: Learning to Feel

Starting today for my twice weekly time spent doing my online painting class, AROUSE, I met with the same stiffness and soreness as previous in this second part of the class. The soreness is particularly around my head, neck, and shoulders. It came as no surprise to me, today, as I worked with the concept of emotion.
I call this section of the painting Water. Emotion has never been my most comfortable element. I spent years of addictive behavior trying to remove all emotion from my being, mostly because of my inability to effectively deal with them. I earned the reputation of being "not a touchy person," "cold...icy..." I could take the list on and on. In truth, I revelled in that lack of feeling. I was safe and isolated, there. If I never exposed myself to anyone, they did not have the ability to hurt me. Unfortunately, I spent decades of my life, that way. It is one of the most profound ways that I've held myself back.

What I'd forgotten, was that emotions can be pleasurable as well as painful. Today, I'm willing to take the trade. In fact, there's amazing beauty in pain...something poignant and raw and elemental that is freeing. And, that is true whether its personal or shared. I would not ever be willing to part with the moments of pain in the last few years. Not the ones I talked about, nor the ones I've kept in my heart. And, certainly not those ones where I had the true gift of sitting with someone else through their pain. There is just no comparison to those experiences. They are mystical.  

And, in essence, what is life, if not experience? It is, in the end, all that we have. I work to stay in the moment, so that I improve my awareness and notice those things that I might otherwise miss. I can feel my emotions, acknowledge them, experience them. I don't need to interpret them. I needn't rip them up, exposing the root, forever damaging the energy by analyzing them to their death. I prefer to think of emotions as a warm, summer breeze....floating by. Sometimes, swiftly. Sometimes, slowly. Sometimes, pungent. Sometimes, sweet. All precious.
What do you feel? Recognition doesn't require action. Sometimes, just noticing is all that matters. What do you notice?
Blessed be!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012



As I continued to reflect on the ways in which I hold myself back, I realized that one of the main ways is in the pursuit of abundance. People who know me will frequently hear me say that I'm "getting by" or have enough. I don't really cultivate more than I need at any given time. Its true that my garden sometimes produces an abundance of something (currently, its rosemary!), but in other parts of my life its almost as if I'm careful to NOT create more than needed.

I tend to be easily overwhelmed by too much. And, to be quite honest, I have quite a prejudice against wealthy people. Growing up blue-collar, and living most of my life as working-class, there was always a distrust and genuine dislike of those who were perceived as "well-off." I've never lived in a new home of my own. I have had new vehicles, but they were not what would be considered "luxury models." I have nice things, but materialistic belongings have a way of becoming separated from me, in a fairly short time, not due to my own actions. Expensive jewelry is often lost or stolen. Pricey furniture is ruined by a beloved pet. It just happens. Over and over and over again.

I know there are those among you who would argue that I manifest those types of occurrences, because I don't believe in my own right to own such things. Maybe you're right. But, to be perfectly honest, I don't really WANT those things. While it would be lovely to have a little savings and to not worry about retirement, I don't really stress over those things, anyway. Truthfully, I do trust that my life will unfurl the way it should; and that I will have what I need.

For those things non-monetary, there are many things that I would love to have in abundance -- love, friendships, compassion. I could take that list on and on. But, again, I have what I need in those places, too. I have the absolute immeasurable pleasure of being with my soul mate for more than 20 years. And, without a doubt, I can say that I love him more, now, than I ever have. I have 2 grown children. I have a beautiful granddaughter. I have work that I like. There are people with whom I have reciprocal friendships. I have a wide array of acquaintances that I find interesting and challenging and fun. What more could I need?
A grateful heart is always full, someone once told me. I can't fathom anything truer. My heart is full. Count your blessings today. And, every day.

Blessed Be!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Part Two: Activation: Learning to Let Go

As I embark upon the second part of my online painting class, AROUSE, I reflect upon all the ways that I hold myself back -- to comply with the 'rules' of bosses and employers; to obey the laws of the jurisdictions in which I live. Most concerning, however, is really the ways in which I hold myself back from being my genuine, creative self in order to fit in with acceptability to society. What is acceptable, anyway?

How many messages did we receive as children: "Sit like a young lady...Remember your place...Mind your own business...Girls don't play rough..." Not to mention, the ones we continue to get as adults: "Pretty people are better liked...Keep yourself up...Its better not to stand out in a crowd...A good woman is always BEHIND her man...Put your own needs aside, because others' are more important...You must learn to multi-task...Be sure to consider every viewpoint..." It goes on and on. The messages' intents are clear:
1. Women are less important than men.
2. Women must be strong enough to take on the larger bulk of responsibility in the family.
3. Women are expected to not worry about themselves, except in matters of appearance, where they should always put their 'best foot forward.'
4. Women are expected to take a back seat.
5. Women are not good enough.

Like most women, I learned to live within the confines of those messages. I learned to stunt myself and who I was in order to fit in. Of course, I also feared myself and the strength of my personality. I dealt with that via a variety of activities that blunted and hid those emotions and characteristics. Neither approach was positive or enduring. One day, I woke up. And, I continue to become more aware, day by day, moment by moment. Potential is limitless. I need only open up to it.

I don't need to do things perfectly. What is perfect, anyway? Perfection is the majority's perspective of how something should be done. Sometimes, I'm in the majority. Sometimes, I'm not. Today, I will worry about my own perspective, my own JOY, and move forward accordingly.

Don't get me wrong, I know that my penchant for nudity is illegal in the outside world. And, to be honest, I'm not sure that I'd want to share that with anyone outside my own home. Its a raw, intimate way of interacting with the world. While I enjoy it in a natural setting, with loved and trusted ones (although, mostly, its a pure pleasure when I'm just all alone), I won't be wandering around town naked. I recognize, abide, and honor the laws in my town. To those that I disagree, I will address through my representatives, in the appropriate fashion. But, within the confines of my house, I will behave accordingly. It has long been my fantasy to have enough property that I can be unencumbered among nature.

Probably, the most important thing I discovered doing the exercises for today: when I initially attempted to release those self-imposed limitations, it HURT. My body was stiff and sore and physically in pain. I had to work through it, push past it, and keep going. That is my lesson for today:
Sometimes, learning hurts.

What painful lessons have you learned? How are you becoming free?

Bright Blessings!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Writing the witchy way Give-away!

I'm like a small child with give-aways! For whatever reason, they are very exciting to me, despite the fact that I rarely win (really). But, even so, I'm always going to enter! (Yes, I am that person who faithfully fills out the complicated and annoying PCH entry each time!)

Here's the link:
Writing the Witchy Way over at Deborah Blake's blog

Share it, then leave her a comment saying you did!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Paint Sé

I have completed Part One of AROUSE, the online process painting class that I've been working on, in my attempt to become more aware and familiar with my own sensory processes. What have I learned, you ask? Well, several things; but, perhaps, the most important is this:

I am intuitive. I believe that I have a destiny, complete with a path to follow, determined by my higher power, who I choose to call Goddess. Please do not confuse this with delusions of grandeur. I don't know what my particular future is, nor what (if any) recognition will arise for me. It matters not. As has always been, people will enter and exit my life in order to teach and learn from me. I will always be thankful for the lesson, although not necessarily thankful for the interaction with the person. Lessons sometimes hurt. That doesn't negate their necessity, nor their power. For me, often, the most painful learning is the most permanent. Some experiences leave us with a glow, some with a scar. They all have great import.


I have trust issues galore. That lack of trust prevents me from following my path due to fear. In order to become who I am meant to be, I must release my fear. As this seems to be such a core struggle for me, I've often thought that it is the largest lesson that I must learn in this lifetime. I hope I get it. Worry creeps in, because I'm likely midway through my life, this time. I want to grow in understanding and conquer this fear. When my desire to WIN surfaces, I have to remind myself that I do not vanquish any part of myself. Instead, I must acknowledge it and release those things that do not serve me, with no ill will. So difficult. But, perfection is not possible, only progress.

As I reflect on my experiences and that information gleamed so far, I'm sometimes overwhelmed by feelings that are wound together so tight as to eliminate the process of untangling.

I float upon a sea of life,
Glory, glory, glorious life.

I sail upon a sea of strength,
Glory, glory, glorious strength.

I fly upon a strand of air,
Glory, glory, glorious air.

I am the everlasting heir,
Glory, glory, glorious heir.

A Goddess rising, rising.

Blessed Be!