A Grateful Perspective on Creativity by Wendy C. Hassel aka Weaver

 

Renewal

Renewal

In the midst of overwhelm, I sat. I moved gently to and fro upon my porch swing, gifted to me many years ago.  Closing my eyes heightened my hearing.  The drone of the insects singing their summer songs, and the calling and bantering of the birds, as they trumpeted the approaching evening, back and forth across the meadow, captivated me.  Opening my eyes after awhile, I was  greeted with the golden glow of the setting sun, bathing all it touched with warmth and promise.  The very air seemed to pause as the magical dusting of dancing pollen ignited everything, as well as the child within me, and the artist that was straining to capture this moment. I remember smiling…I remember the feel of the curving of my lips…my breath moving easier.  I turned back around in my swing, and caught my reflection in the window, startling me. The reflected woman looking back at me was serene, wearing a small smile, that promised whimsy, along with croning wisdom.

Tuning in to our inner realm reveals perhaps what we knew all along…

I find it so very interesting that perspective will shift and morph, depending on what lens we move with it.  When I find myself suddenly in a place of fatigue, orneriness and/or doubt, I believe it’s heightened by viewing what I am dealing with, when looking thru the lens of my inner critic. This critic often delights in shaking me up, thus skewing my perspective, and subsequently, interfering in my desire to create! She croons to me at times, insidiously lulling me into despair…and I find myself starting to “play cards” with her.  You know the card game “War”…that can go on and on and on and on…and it eventually becomes apparent that this is simply not fun?  So, after grappling with said despair for awhile, and sitting on that sun drenched porch swing, and sinking into that birdsong, and soaking in the joyous cacophony of the insects, hawk announced itself, screaming defiance.  Reminding me that hawk encourages change, and upon opening my eyes, and locking gazes with my reflection, the change needed, and soul felt desire…was gratitude.

Storyboard

Storyboard

“Look to this day for it is life,

in its brief course lie all

the realities and truths of existence,

the joy of growth, the glory of action,

the splendor of beauty…

today well lived makes every

yesterday a memory of happiness

and every tomorrow a vision of hope,

look well, therefore, to this day…”

(ancient Sanskrit proverb)

When looking and living through the lens of gratitude, it allows an opening of our hearts and an opening of our souls. This gentling perspective allows our creative self to rise up, and wield that pen or paintbrush, or that camera, or in the preparing and blessing of our meals, our gardens, or for those that garden for us…that guitar, flute or drum that has been silent can now burst into joyful  expression…the care in how we touch our children, family, friends and lovers….the new uncovered well of patience for our co-workers, the cashiers we interact with, the drivers on the roads, even the red lights that allow us to slow down.  Most especially, the patience we can have with ourselves.  Embracing gratitude and expressing our inherent creativity, can help us move, with grace and ease, as we experience life in its myriad twisting turning pathways.

 

Close up of 'Changes'

Close up of ‘Changes’

When we bring into form through creativity that which arises from the song of our inner voice is nothing short of magic…

Our individual muses long to be heard, acknowledged and applauded.  Sometimes it can take time, which  may be needed to tempt, cajole, coax and woo that brilliant being forth.  When we do, and gaze through our muses eyes, and dance our pens or paintbrushes with gratitude and joy, our previously skewed perspective on life erupts in laughter, or even a quiet sigh, and we can feel whole, and holy, as we then become a conduit for the Divine to move through us and imprint love, or beauty, or peace…healing us.  As we heal and continue to create in whatever we are drawn to do, a light is released, drawing others to ourselves, or our creations…thus stirring curiosity, or an “aha” moment.  How grateful then, and thankful can we be, to be given the privilege of sharing on such a personal level? Behold this intense earth journey we all share, and again be thankful for the opportunity to witness one another as we grow into our creative selves.

As creatives, we are given, by the Divine, the ability to transcend, experience and express form.  Form in whatever matter we are moving through or within.  Form rising from our creative imagination,  form rising through emotional release, or form, very simply rising from the joy in the process of creating.  When we are in that place and space of creating, we become vulnerable, like a child, and through this vulnerability, we dance with the very Creator.

Allow gratitude to infuse your being.  Listen to and honor your muse, your own divine spark. Release the CREATIVE within you, that we may touch others on a soul level.  For we too, are the Makers. So I invite you to please: MAKE express, RELEASE, share and DELIGHT . Growing further into your unique creative self.

Possibilities

Possibilities

In closing I wish to breathe a heart filled prayer for you and yours:

“May the blessing of light be on you-

light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you

and warm your heart

till it glows like a great peat fire”

(an old Celtic blessing)

Wendy Hassel

Wendy C. Hassel, aka Weaver, is a joyful weaver of words, images, life experiences & observations. Graduating from the inaugural class of the  Color of Woman Teacher Training taught by Shiloh Sophia McCloud has sparked her desire to share…

The seasons of my life have all offered up deep learnings along with creative yearnings. The maiden and mother seasons of my life brought forth creation, birthing and nurturing my four glorious children.  Even then, amongst the sticky kisses and exuberant hugs, below the surface of utter exhaustion, my dreams were still there…quietly simmering and shimmering patiently, as I was doing important work, mothering my babes…occasionally stealing time for some sort of stitching; needle and thread, crochet hooks and knitting needles…or creating small alters of the treasures that the children found outside.

I know now, that there was beauty and creativity bestowed in the meals prepared and shared, in the harvested foods that I washed for freezing, or cooked for canning.  My energy, my essence was given in the making.

Embracing the crone season of my life, I become reflective.  I look back and sift thru memories, recognizing the karmic value in each rich experience.  Even through the most excruciating pain of loss, I eventually rose again to joy…with the deep knowing that I can move forward.  From this wealth of experience, I have been given the gift of empathy and thru this well of empathy, can connect with others on a deeper level…that place beneath the surface that we wear in this world.

It is from here, that the artist arises, that I come forth, at first so tentatively and hesitating…and  I gaze and dream ahead. How nice to look forward and within, instead of backwards and within. It is from this place again, that my muse, my legendary weaver and my spirit guides come together, singing songs of celebration every time I write, every time I paint, every time I look upon my creations with delight.

I’ll be painting, writing and sharing from this heartsong, instilling all I do with my own unique energy and essence.  I offer classes, exploring intentional creative expression, and delight in the sharing of this heart/soul enriching practice.

All Artwork 2012-2013 by Wendy C. Hassel

www.indigomusings.com and http://wendy-hassel.fineartamerica.com

 

Embodiment: Honoring Ourselves as the Living Expression of Our Work by Marie Howell

Ancient Wisdom

Ancient Wisdom by Marie Howell

 “We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon

 We as artists, writers, dancers, musicians, and creatives of every description open more fully to our innate potential through our chosen art forms. Our paintings, poems, and songs become physical embodiments of our ideas and inspirations. And since the dictionary also defines embodiment as “one who embodies something,” so too we embrace and celebrate ourselves as the embodiment of the creative work that manifests through us. We learn to love ourselves more fully as we evolve in expressing ourselves more fully.

Divine Magic

Divine Magic

The word “embodiment” implies and necessitates the experience of having physical bodies to transform things from spirit to form. My clay mosaic “Divine Magic” personifies for me my embodiment as a creative being. On her chest is a tree of life that sends the roots and branches of healing into the world. Her hands are roses that allow ideas to bloom into form. She is bejeweled with crystals, jewelry, and an ornate crown, signifying the royalty of her gifts. A butterfly of transformation whispers in her ear and the keyhole next to her opens the door to all that is possible. On her skirt are the words “receive” and “joy.” She is my reminder of who and how I aspire to be.

Our bodies allow and empower us to create. I invite you to bring awareness to their miraculous abilities that make our miraculous work possible. I propose that we consciously choose to honor the bodies that bring our ideas into tangible expression. Tune into the voice of your body as you create.

You might hear things like:

“I see the whiteness of the canvas and feel its textured surface.”

“I listen to my fingers strumming the guitar strings.”

“I smell the cookies as the taste of the chocolate chips warms my tongue.”

“I stroke the computer keys and my poem appears on the screen.”

“I swirl to the pulsating beat of the drums.”

I believe our inherent creative nature rejoices when we’re consciously tuned into our bodies in the processes of painting, writing, singing, dancing, cooking, gardening, etc. We embody our work and our body makes our work possible.

She Who Knows

She Who Knows

How might we honor the bodies that afford us the privilege of creating?

In my own life, as I self-identify as “artist,” I’ve noticed my life choices and even my physical surroundings changing. My family room now has a teal and orange wall that compliments my painting hanging there. The items in my closet are juicier, bolder, more fun, and more me. Gone are the “safe” clothing choices of the past. In their place are dramatic styles and animal prints. There are outrageous jewelry items, worn simultaneously, even though I am told “one statement piece is enough.” My artist self has her own statements to make! She adorns her body with cool belts and funky hats that illustrate her uniqueness. Her new favorite treasure is a stunning long black trench coat, courtesy of Goodwill. It will be paired with vintage scarves with op-art designs. Comfy sexy boots are a must and her new purse is a large hippie satchel featuring a plethora of brass buckles and deeply pebbled texture. Even the exercise, eating, and resting habits of my artist self differ from those of my pre-artist self. These shifts are the direct result of my inner and outer connection with. and embodiment as, my art. It happened almost without me noticing and my gratitude is interspersed with wonder.

Your artist/writer/dancer/musician/poet embodiment is as unique as your work. What does her body crave? What clothing or accessories would help you portray yourself as who you know yourself to be or even as who you aspire to be as a creative being? Can your environment or routine be tweaked to further support your embodiment as the creator and the creation?

Being grateful for and listening to our bodies as instruments through which we gift the world amplifies our own “Divine Magic,” our connection to our sacred and real selves, our embodiment as the work we do and the lives we lead. “Anne Sexton tells us to “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” It is then that we are fully open and ready to create.

Held in Her Heart

Held in Her Heart by Marie Howell

As a visual artist who paints and creates assemblage art of sacred women, I’ve come to recognize the images that come through me as bridges between spirit and form. “Ancient Wisdom” represents the shaman in me who is connected to her guides and shares her gifts with others. “She Who Knows” is my Earth Mother self who grows from a tree and has a door that opens to her soul. “Held in Her Heart” is my connection to the sacred feminine with her knowing eyes and serene gaze. “Our Lady of Expectation” is created on an African fertility mask that is a life-size representation of a pregnant mother’s body, carved from wood. She is ready to birth her grace into the world.

When we create through any discipline or media by first tuning in to our inner spirit and then bringing our creations into form, we ourselves become a bridge and our entire lives become infused with this connection. How can and do you connect to the deeper place within as you create? When you dance, journal, draw, sing, write, cook, or paint yourself into being as and through your work, how can you honor your embodiment as the bridge between spirit and form?

Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” Spirit and form live within us. The “open-hearted vision of people who embrace life” that John Lennon spoke of, lives within us. Our embodiment as a creative is within us. And so is our Divine Magic, blessing and beautifying the world with the wand of our being.

Marie Howell

Marie Howell

 About Marie:

Marie Howell is a lifelong art maker, exploring both 2 D and 3D media. She integrates traditional and non-traditional techniques and materials that invite viewers into a personal encounter with the feminine image and its ability to nurture, transform, and empower. Marie is currently focusing her creative energies on acrylic painting and “assembled” sculptural collage, adding the decorative element of embellishment and adornment to both.

 Marie is also passionate about exploring spiritual and personal growth. When she paints a canvas, it becomes an altar on which she rediscovers her Divine connection, her muse, and herself, all at once. She considers it a privilege to support others as they unearth their own sacred creativity through art, writing, and other means of expression.

Marie’s journey to the destination called Visionary Artist has unfolded over a lifetime. She currently lives in Phoenix, a place named for a powerful legend about resurrection and transformation which is what her life and her art are about.

Marie’s work has been exhibited at four Phoenix-area art galleries and a local church. Her website is www.mariehowellart.com. She can be contacted at marie@mariehowellart.com

Gifted with Visionarieness by Leslie Nolan

Lola

Lola

Visionarieness

Who knew there was a noun for what we naturally have?

What I love knowing about this definition of the word ‘Visionarieness’ is that this is something that we all share in common… ‘Having been marked by foresight and imagination’. We of visionarieness share an enthusiasm, a pure idealism and power of vision.

Definition of Vi·sion·ar·y

1. Given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes: a visionary enthusiast. Of the nature of a vision: illusory, incapable of being realized or achieved: utopian, existing only in imagination.

2. Given to likely see or are concerned with seeing visions.

3. Belonging to or seen in a visions. Relating to, or characterized by visions or the power of vision. Having or marked by foresight and imagination <visionary leader> <a visionary invention>

4. Unreal; imaginary: disposed to reverie or imaginings: dreamy

5. Purely idealistic or speculative; impractical; unrealizable: a visionary scheme.

Synonym- impractical, impracticable, fancied, illusory, chimerical,  unrealistic.

Antonyms-practical. 

— vi·sion·ar·i·ness noun Origin: 1640–50; vision + ary

Vision

Vision

We are the ones who have Vision
There is something disconcerting about parts of the definition of ‘visionary’. Especially when it is relates to, ‘impractical, fancied, illusory, chimerical, unrealistic.’ The definition bothers me. As a trained designer, I have been taught that everything that we see… including people and nature has been created by one who has VISION. The idea first thought of seen in our mind, then toiled over to be brought out into the world.

Starting with the Divine Creator and the process of creativity, a birth-rite, handed down to and through us as humans on our spiritual journey.

 Being schooled was the place for practicing the expression of turning our visions from the inside-out. While in school it seems that visualizing forming a mental image of an idea or picture is the on-going practice of teaching our hands to catch up with our head.

After honing this skill for years, many methods are raised to help in this process: Meditation; yoga; body movement/sports; dreaming; sketching and painting all help us to visualize. Manifesting the vision into our artworks, our lives, and the shape of our creative practice.

So the synonym implies that a visionary is ‘impractical,” saying we are ‘incapable of being realized’, is simply untrue.

Perhaps the definition should SHIFT:

New Definition of Vi·sion·ar·y

1.  A visionary enthusiast given to or characterized by fanciful, ideas, views, or schemes:. Of the nature of a vision: capable of being realized or achieved: utopian, existing first in imagination then manifesting out into reality

2. Given to able or likely to see or be concerned with seeing visions.

3. Belonging to or seen in a visions. Relating to, or characterized by visions or the power of vision. Having or marked by foresight and imagination <visionary leader> <a visionary invention>

4. Real; imaginary: disposed to reverie or imaginings: sacred and dreamy

5. Intentional Creator, pure, idealistic, practical; realizable: a visionary.
Manifestor, making vision into reality

Antonyms- impractical.

Leslie NolanWhen we vision, we enter our own inner world. Sometimes we are in new spaces, entering territory unknown to our conscious mind. It is a path leading to understanding, tapping into a place deep within, that opens up cosmologies and worlds that are both uninhibited and free, and where there is some uncharted territory.

I noticed in these definitions that the origin of the word ‘visions + ary’ was dated in 1640. Women Visionaries had ecstatic prophecy in Seventeenth-century England. More than two-thirds of the visionary women were Quakers. Feminist scholarship infused with their view of modern religion gave a fresh perspective to the visions. Fertile ideological and spirituality blossomed everywhere in the wreckage of long-established belief systems during this time of political turmoil.

Some visionaries are considered modern day prophets as the visionaries of Medjugorje, who have been seeing and prophesying the ‘secrets’ given by The Divine Mother. And likewise earlier visionary medieval woman of mystical theology: Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg and Julian of Norwich, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Teresa of Avila, Angela of Foligno, Marguerite Porete played a role in their historical, cultural and political context. The role of physicality and the senses in mysticism are entwined with the theological content of their writings and methodologies.

Earlier still throughout history and across cultures, shamans were the visionary wounded healers. First, they used their visionary ability to heal their own sickness and deal with their own near-death experiences. The individual’s energies were outwardly oriented and directed toward the community so that the trance and visionary journey served as a medium of communication between the supernatural or non-ordinary reality and the community. The shaman and the audience were integral parts of the visionary journey, and the ‘ecstasy’ ended if the connection was severed.

Similarly, as Color of Woman School graduates, we are interested in serving our community with our innate ‘Visionarieness’… offering our gifts out into the world.

The Third Eye as Visionary Center

The gateway to intuition and psychic sensitivity is the sixth Chakra is located in the center of your forehead. Learning to look at the world through your third eye and tuning into your psychic potential opens you to a deeper level of mystical, and intuitive wisdom. This literally expands your vision, helping you to see the many-layered meaning of everything in your world.

Hindus believe that this area, known as the ‘Agna’, is the very portal through which all experience is channeled.  Some forms of Tantric meditation focus on diverting the life force or kundalini energy that starts at the base of the spine and flows up through the body to the top of the head towards this area.  The third eye is believed to be such a powerful and potent area that it is traditionally adorned as part of religious celebrations with small dots of color, called Bindhis.  Red is often used, as this is the color of Shakti, or feminine power, and symbolizes love. Sometimes a yellow mark is added alongside as yellow is linked to mental activity.

This powerful chakra can switch from ordinary vision to being able to see the whole dance of creation in an instant. Cultivating these centers in, and outside of our body as a way to express ourselves and align with our highest vision, is a way to access something that is invisible and give it form. When we see through this chakra and are divinely inspired, it opens up a oneness with the cosmos, empowering our lives as creative person.

Our highest level of creativity is to align ourselves and express it.

Accessing something that is invisible and giving it form, connect with our energy centers, so that we can align everything to our highest vision.  Visionarieness helps us wake up and see the work and how we can take our wisdom to overcome any difficulties in life, outside of the cycles that trap us. Transcending the experience with our power to emanate and manifest universal thoughts through our vision, creating our realities through our thoughts and inner visions.

Insight occurs when you go into the unknown.

You can learn how to navigate it intuitively.  Flowing with the energy of this intuition, you begin to trust life more. Trusting that the people that you meet, and trusting that you can move into the direction of where you need to move into for growth.

A new paradigm

New experience of the future can be created where humankind will claim his own existence in harmony with nature and human kind. The access is possible, to experience something new, through the subtle power of our focused thought. It is necessary to desire it, to believe in it and to begin creating the visualization within ourselves.

This must be cared for and nourished with the deep sense of gratitude and joy of the dream as already fulfilled. Subtle powerful channels of communication that work in harmony with universal laws, we receive important messages are reaching us from within. This treasure is something personal that also reaches a universal level. It is a joy of something you have worked for your whole life, now is the time of our fulfillment. At this point of evolution on this planet, mentally physically and spiritual create our lives in the flow of creation. Those that are leading will be going into the new paradigm, the time of fulfillment and create something that is totally new.

Here are some things for you to consider regarding your own visionarieness

How can relating to myself as visionary enable my process?

How can I align and shift my vision to my true creative purpose?

How can your intentional creative practice inspire a shared vision of the heart?

About Leslie Nolan

Leslie Nolan is an artist by heart, designer by trade and teacher by design. As a entrepreneur and leader, Leslie’s has created “The Venus Transits Creativity Workshops for Woman.©” Teaching Intentional Creativity for individuals, groups and businesses devoted to guiding and shining a light for those traveling on the path of creativity, creating a life and business that is fully expressed. Leslie’s paintings are a visual diary; they articulate her emotions, concepts, and perceptions, using color as a source of vision and form as point of reference. Using complementary colors, creating vibrating intensities that evoke vitality. This color expression, reinforced by her graphics foundation, creates a potent marriage where color, symbol and design are vehicles for her wild internal visions. These visions contain imagery of a spiritual, allegorical nature, expressing a creative and controlling force of energy, either by means of a symbolic figure, The Divine Mother or a focal action, revealing truth on human existence.

LeslieLumi

Leslie lives with her husband Ken in Renee in Wall Township. A talented household, they plan to build a pole barn studio near the vegetable garden to continue to nurture creativity in themselves and their community. She serves as a Big Sister with Big Brother’s Big Sister’s of Monmouth and Middlesex counties since 2008. She is available for corporate and educational brain-storming, team-building, and private art coaching and workshops

For more information, about Leslie Nolan’s art or workshops-leslie@leslienolandesign.com or thevenustransits.com

References
1. Visionary Women: Ecstatic Prophecy in Seventeenth-century England by Phyllis Mack

2. Shamanism: A Cross-Cultural Study of Beliefs and Practices   By Gary Edson

3. Third Eye Chakra:   by Michele Knight

Re-Engaging with Passion by Annette Wagner

Queen of My Heart

Queen of My Heart by Annette Wagner

In the not-so-distant past, I saw the passionate side of me as something that got me into trouble. My zest, passion, and enthusiasm for life is one of my core strengths – it is an essential piece of my being. And yet, I haven’t always embraced it in my life.

Why? You may ask…

Well, this swirling, dancing woman who lives in my heart has wanted to come out and be fully part of my life for years but I couldn’t let her because, you see, it wasn’t safe. 

The messages I received as a child about being a “good” girl made my dancing woman-self into the “bad” side of me. Whenever I got excited and passionate, I was immediately shut down as being too loud, too intense, too much. Little girls were never allowed to be loud or excited or rambunctious. There never seemed to be a space for me to be me so I decided the passionate part of me was wrong somehow.

I hid essential parts of myself in order to feel safe and fit in.

Passion

Passion by Annette Wagner

It took a long time to realize my enthusiasm and excitement scared the hell out of people – sadly it was almost always the men in my life. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I chose partners who couldn’t handle what I had to offer. This pattern of choosing men who are scared of my passion is a pattern that grew out of the childhood message – being passionate is NOT ok. My father repeatedly made this clear.

So I closed the door on the dancing woman in my heart and hid my passionate, fiery self and only let her out on rare occasions. Instead I learned to draw on the fire inside to help me to survive in the male and ego dominated world I worked in. I used my fire to push and drive and organize and GET THINGS DONE. I let this driving energy become the central way I interacted with the world.

This way of interacting with the world became a form of protection and a way to use my energy that was acceptable for a woman, though only barely. If I inadvertently got too excited or intense in a meeting, I was still told to “tone it down”. Perhaps a message you have received in your life?

Today, the dancing, passionate woman inside of me is alive and present and becoming more and more visible every day.

Some years ago I took a left turn and walked away from the technology world I had lived in. Reaching a place in my life where I felt my creativity dying, I made a decision to leave and pursue my heart’s desire – to live and work as an artist. Little did I know that taking this left turn would open the door to my heart and let someone else out to dance her dance of passion!

After several years of twists and turns, my life is very different. I fully engage my heart and spirit in my art and teaching.  And I love it – she is my pink rhinestone, sexy self who creates amazing paintings in her pajamas!

However, her regular appearance on the scene is forcing a radical change in my relationship with all that driving energy. In this creative, spiritual world I live and work in now, getting things done is not central. It is no longer my default modus operandi and my driving side doesn’t quite know what to do with that.

When we learn to lead from the heart, our path is often an easier flow rather than a forceful push to get where we are going

Tapping into my driving energy without conscious awareness can interfere and derail my work. It can result in jumping too fast into the practical side of things before ideas and process have been allowed to manifest all the way. I learned the lesson early that allowing my head to engage when I am painting from my heart turns into a frustrating disaster.

Woman Transforming Sword

Woman Transforming Sword by Annette Wagner

My painting, Woman Transforming Sword, is wonderful example. It is one of my early paintings and when I began to paint her I had a vision of what to paint, but let my mind distract me with questions of how to make something look like its transforming. I even checked books out of the library on technique. It took me several days to realize my mind had taken over and that what I needed to do was step away from the canvas and reengage from my heart. I chucked the first canvas into the far reaches of my studio and went out and bought an new one. This time I stayed in my heart and the vision painted itself on my canvas.

 Allowing something to fully manifest is key to bringing creations into resonance and clarity. It is very important to stay with my Muse until the process of manifestation is complete. This requires trust and patience and is damn hard to do sometimes.

 Trusting in Spirit to guide me is something my practical driving side cannot comprehend yet it is crucial to allowing my heart to lead and my work to manifest. My practical side gets frustrated and wants to scream at the world.

What do I do? Retrain myself. It’s a bit like a cross between a spiritual practice and dealing with a 3 year old having a temper tantrum. Conscious awareness meet screaming frustration. So what am I actually doing?

Well, sometimes you have to reweave these patterns by taking one step to the side, so to speak.

One of my steps to the side is to keep my pendulum with me so I remember to stop and ask: do I need to be doing this right now? Pendulum have been with humanity for centuries. A simple stone on a chain or string that can swing freely in any direction is the most common form. People use them to ask simple yes/no questions. It is similar to how dousers work to find water.

The other day I was going through email attempting to clear things out and got distracted by a sales notice from a clothing site. The next thing I knew my practical brain had reminded me I had a trip coming up and before I knew it I was loading up my shopping cart. Before I hit the Buy button, I stopped and asked my pendulum. Can I, may I, should I buy these items? A resounding no was my response. I took a deep breath and closed the computer and walked away.

A key act is to step back and ask 

The pause gives me time to recognize if I have engaged my driving side. Sometimes, it’s ok that I have done so because sometimes things do need to get done. If that is the case, then I step back into the driving energy with conscious awareness.

Sometimes it is not ok that I’ve engaged my driving energy and I need walk away entirely from what I am spending my time on. This is much harder to do and is crazy-making. The reward is that each time I do this, I get noticeably better at recognizing whether I have engaged the driving energy. I don’t like making myself crazy or frustrated so consequently am highly motivated to move away from behaviors that induce those states!

I have a few questions for you – just notice what comes up when you ask them of yourself or perhaps write a few of your answers in a journal.

 How do you engage with your passion in your life?

Do you have a driving side?

Is there a pattern like this that you want to change in your life?

What came up for you?

~ Annette Wagner

As you can see, I am very passionate about this work and about sharing it with others. If my work and words provoke you – consider joining me in person, for this upcoming August workshop on Pattern Walking.

Annette.Wagner.closeup

Annette Wagner is a visionary artist and spirit guide who walks the patterns of connection with you to bring you into a closer connection to source. Her work is devoted to sharing the tools of Pattern Walking, Visioning, and Intentional Creativity to help you live the life your spirit is calling you to live!

Her paintings are portals into visionary realms asking the viewer to shift the way they connect to this world. She paints in the Contemporary Symbolism style and works extensively with symbol and color.

Annette is a certified instructor of the Color of Woman Method developed by Shiloh Sophia McCloud. She has a Masters degree in Women’s Spirituality with a certificate in Creative Expression from Sofia University. Her background includes over 25 years of hi-tech experience including 21 patents.

She invites you to visit her at: www.annettewagnerart.com

Pattern Walking with Annette WagnerPattern Walking Plan

Saturday August 24, 2013  1pm to 5pm
Cost: $125
Mountain View Studio

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What happen when you bring disparate threads of your life into closer connection?
Pull others further apart?

Do sparks of passion and inspiration fly?
Does it shift your whole perspective on life?

Change is scary for most of us, especially when you have to do it by yourself. I know this intimately from personal experience. I’ve learned that when I approach change with awareness, the process of transformation becomes a dance with the universe in which I participate – instead of being dragged along kicking and screaming. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m not big on the kicking and screaming part!

What is Pattern Walking? – Learn more here

Perfection’s Illusion by Kate Langlois

Perfection's Illusion

Perfection’s Illusion

Brush in one hand, pen in another I wield

My tools forging image and word to shine

Out in the world in full light of sun

No quiet content in the folds of slumber deep

But in the billboards of broken hearts and cities

Where stores rewritten, re-imagined

Fill the empty vacuums of wilted hearts

and tongues

Excerpt No Quiet Content 2012 Kate Langlois

A show-down with my own behavior? Yes, I had one.

Have you ever caught yourself stuck in a moment, in a pattern you seem to have cycled through before?  Sometimes we barely witness it in a conscious manner and instead trudge along unaware of a way to move out of it in an intentional way. Imagine this time though; what if you were awakened with a heightened awareness of this pattern’s existence.

Then what?

 If do we recognize a pattern we want to change, what are the tools to help us do that? Most of us aren’t exactly raised with such specific instruction by our parents or teachers. Mainly we’re just banking on sheer willpower to try and change right?

Recently I found myself in a show-down of sorts with my own behavior and became determined to drop my façade of an old story. My story was about admitting I wasn’t perfect. That no way, no how could I continue to maintain the premise that I could keep all ‘my stuff’ together. Yeah, okay, I knew that I wasn’t perfect. I knew I didn’t have everything all neatly organized and picture-perfect,  but on some level I was still putting on the front that I was.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything,

That’s how the light gets in.

-Leonard Cohen

Honestly it sometimes takes us finally getting pissed off at our patterns big time to break out and make a change. So come on-grab a shovel! There’s weightlessness, spaces that open up when we unload the adhesions that don’t actually resonate with us!

Moths (Hope) on my Mind

Moths (Hope) on my Mind

Aah hold up, first the vehicle!  Intentional Creativity, brought into my toolbox by none other than Shiloh Sophia McCloud, is my transport for roughing this terrain.  So this time, instead of spinning my wheels, I remind myself to delve into this transformative tool.  In this way I’m holding up my imaginary spyglass to both myself and the world around me.

If I don’t like what I see, I ask for what is needed and change the lens, adjust the course.

Seeing and thinking about things (such as being stuck in a pattern),  is only one layer. So we add multi-dimensionality to the spectrum  to start dreaming our ideal outcome into form with paint, personal symbols and words.  Information is revealed to us over time.

Self Care

Self Care

My perspective is then tweaked in how I view these messy parts of my life. The outcome is often nothing less than powerful and life-shifting. One thing I discovered was that refocusing on Self Care was definitely needed!

Consider the process as an extraction of sorts from our inner world to the outer world in form and color. Moving through this life with this awareness that we can steer our way through obstacles where in the past we may have been stuck, empowers and inspires, lifting us up to perspectives previously unimagined.

A few days ago I sat in the garden pulling up some weeds. Gardening, hand (& feet) to earth is one of the most calming acts to me. It allows for the space to invite in new thoughts and ideas; questions too. What came up for me was that I actually wouldn’t enjoy the garden as much without those wild, untamed, ‘messy’ parts.

Self-Portrait-Embracing the Messy

Always leave a corner of the garden overgrown and wild. That’s where the fairies live.

-Maria Doglio (my mama)

How can centerdness and messiness inform eachother?
They do. It is a weave.

Undeniably, those wild parts of the garden are fraught with mystery and creative fire. They provide structure and foundation for the more visibly ‘orderly’ areas which wouldn’t be as such without these intensely fierce and rambling spaces.  Standing in my center peering into the borders of my life, into ‘the messy’, I’m letting my centeredness and the messy inform each other. This back and forth weaving is forging a stronger me.

So yes, I’ve unwittingly found myself back again in my center seeing my same life with renewed vision. It’s true! Right smack dab in the midst of life’s mess, I’m learning to see sparks of luster in the frayed ends of imperfection that is my life. How can this be? We all know, or so we tell ourselves that everything must be in order. Keep up appearances and all that, striving for some semblance of unreachable perfection. Perfection outlined by ‘others’. Well at long last I can say ‘no thank you very much’ and I’m off to dance in the weeds with the fairies!

Lighting the Way

From here I getting to unfurl my wings a bit more and witness a ME that seems to always have been there just waiting for me to return.  And after all, if we don’t keep spinning the giant wheel of perspective to try a new angle on for size, the alternative just might find us stuck in one that doesn’t suit us terribly well.

Okay so the pieces of my life don’t match up quite as seamlessly as I once thought they should. Instead, I’m seeing that the quirky imperfection fits me just fine.  As I Embrace the Messy I’m discovering I truly do like it that way.

And you? Are you ready to see the beauty in the midst of your imperfect life and embrace the messy? What would it mean for you to embrace the messy in your own life right where you are?

.

Kate Langlois 2013

Kate Langlois is a Visionary Artist and Color or Woman Teacher creating paintings in the style of the Contemporary Symbolism Movement. Her JOY is in painting with women and girls to spark their own unique creative paths. Kate’s images give voice to her own journey and to women throughout the world in the shadows, without pathways for such expressions. Her paintings are a celebration of all women, and connection to the mystery beyond the physical world we all play in.

Photo by Gina Fong

All artwork © 2013 Kate Langlois

The Power of Perspective

A Holistic View
Crystal Charlotte Easton

Crystal Easton image

Crystal Charlotte Easton

Life presents challenges. No matter how well we insulate our families and homes from painful events or circumstances, at some point we humans are bound to witness a spectrum of fortune and misfortune in our lives. I think of it as a big cosmic ‘wheel of life’ turning around and ‘keeping it real’ for us. So if we are all bound to face the downers in life, what makes some of us stay down, while others seem to take it and move on anyway? Perspective, I’m told, makes all the difference.

Our perspective, which can also be viewed as our ‘Paradigm’ is the unique way we regard ourselves and our world around us. It is the story that we tell ourselves, and whoever else is asking, to explain our circumstances and it informs our habits and approach to all of our future experiences. With so much potential for transformation and growth, one would think that our parents and our schools would teach us how to work with our perspectives to improve and maintain our quality of life; rather, we’re pretty much left on our own to ‘dig up the dirt’ on creating Paradigm shifts when we need them. Lucky for us, and thanks to the Internet, there are many resources available these days to help work out a new perspective; our first task then, is to realize that we are responsible for our own paradigm, and that it’s up to us to change it.

Don't Call the world Dirty Crystal Easton

“If you want to make small improvements in your life, change your behavior; Change your attitude. If you want to make quantum improvements, change your paradigm, your map. In other words, begin to look at life and the world from an entirely different level of thinking.”- Steven Covey
My Story

The saddest story of my personal life is also the greatest story of the ‘power of perspective’ that I can offer…I call it my ‘unsinkable cheerio’ story:

One day, it seems like lifetimes ago, I woke up at a women’s hospital, aching, emptied, and miserable. The despair I was feeling was enough to make me leave my abusive relationship, and to do so I had to appeal to a temporary residential Safehouse for women and children. I could not believe it was me going through these events. I was an educated woman, I came from a fairly healthy family, and at age 31 I had already done much advocating in my lifetime for women and children less fortunate than myself (I even fundraised and served for a short time on the board of directors for a Women’s shelter in my hometown!); but there I was, untangling myself from the traps I had worked so hard to prevent in the lives of other women. “How could I have led myself so far astray?” I asked. For the last 10 years prior, I had worked diligently at preparing myself -through education, hard work, and social connection-  to create a holistic healing and learning center, my ultimate dream that I hoped would be my legacy; my gift to the world. It was tempting to wallow in the cruel irony that rather than coordinating a holistic healing center, I was now a sad and confused client taking refuge inside one. “How did I get here?” I asked again and again, and more important now was “How do I get out of here?”

Crystal Easton

“…She lifted her eyes toward a brighter dawn…” Crystal Charlotte Easton

I had to go back to my internal ‘map’ of my life-story, to get some perspective. The answer appeared in the form of my ‘future Self’…the woman I was working toward becoming. In my mind I could see her standing in front of me, strong, healthy, satisfied that her work was helping people; for her, staying at the shelter was a distant memory. I asked her why this was all happening, and although she could’ve scolded me for my poor choices in Love, (the voice of the critic is always in there somewhere) instead she said I was there to learn something important. “Take a good look around,” she urged, “this experience is GOLD.” My tears dried… she was absolutely right. To experience a healing center from a client’s perspective, one who was actually in need of healing, would eventually provide critical insights for the creation of a compassionate, meaningful and effective practice in healing others; This was also a rare opportunity to observe and learn the inner workings of a client-oriented facility. With that powerful shift in perspective, I transformed my daily experience in the safehouse… I attended to my personal healing through books and counselling sessions, and in between I took notes on how the programs, schedules and chores were administered; I also read their policy and operations manuals and paid attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the staff. Even though my heart felt broken into a million pieces, my spirit had found a way to make it all useful, and even beautiful.

Paradigm Shift

Are you needing a shift in perspective?

There is no ‘life’s checklist’ for determining if your current paradigm is serving you and your loved ones, but paying attention to your emotions from day-to-day should help. Most depressions, anxieties and fatigues can be alleviated with a change in the story we tell about ourselves, to ourselves. This does not replace seeing a doctor or counsellor for severe or long-term afflictions. Shiloh Sophia McCloud, my art teacher and friend who has dedicated her 20-year painting career to healing women’s Self-stories through art, recently stated it this way in an article from the Women News Network.

How our stories live inside of us is how we live our lives. We have found it, as a people, increasingly difficult -in any culture- to change the story that we are telling ourselves…it becomes a loop: what happened, how it feels, whats going on, we find it difficult to even get out of ourselves enough to be a part of recreating what our story might be … When we put it into story, whether its audio, video, written, image, when we bring the concept into form, it changes how the story lives inside of the human being… and from that shift we are able to clear up some space in our mind and our heart to consider another possibility…” (2013 Shiloh Sophia McCloud – Self Expression Is Your Human Right)

So what can you do to change or deepen your own perspective?

Creative Practices

Following are a few suggested exercises for provoking a realization in Perspective…

1. Find yourself

Where are you right now?

Imagine facing a map and dragging your finger across the paper miles, to the point where you are located. How did you get there? The short simple answers come first, like, ‘I live here’ or ‘I rode the bus to work this morning’ let those ones go by for now and ask yourself again, ‘how did I get here?’ In terms of distance, you might answer, ‘I moved here from over there’ or in terms of time, you might realize, I was born here, and my parents were born here’ these answers are getting bigger… lets for a moment, expand them to the widest view, short of ‘going cosmic’… You are (at least, we know your body is) a human organism on planet Earth, alive at a point we count as 2013. Your birth was preceded by the births and livings of your parents, and their births were a result of all predating births and livings of your ancestors. Unless you are indigenous to your current location, your ancestors moved around. (Many Indigenous groups moved about too, but that’s another conversation). Human waves of movement have been flowing over the surface of the Earth for millions of years. One particular red thread of human succession, plucked from the fabric of human expression, can be traced along those millions of people and years and miles, to a point that culminates in you. YOU are the future your ancestors dreamed; Wars were fought for you; Famines were endured for you. “Somewhere in history, your ancestors kicked some ass so that you could be here today” (–Shiloh Sophia McCloud 2012) So if you think you are random or insignificant, think again!

2. “Get Out of Yourself”

Like I had done when I reached my personal ‘rock bottom’, try to imagine your ‘future self’ standing in another place, time and circumstance, and consult with her. What does she say about where you are, and what does she say about what needs to change or follow next? Sometimes when Im feeling a little lost or needing some advice I visualize myself as an old, old woman, laying on my deathbed and remembering everything that happened to me in this lifetime… I ask her, my old wise-woman self, what she did next, and how she sees my current situation.
To get creative with this exercise, experiment with drawing your own headstone, and write your own epitaph. What would you wish your life stood for?

Crystal Easton book

Tombstone of an Artist

 

3. Get CREATIVE about it, by any means necessary

There must be a million ways to examine your perspective through Creativity… I have found that the richest and most fun experiences in Self-exploration are available in creative networks like Cosmic Cowgirls (and others) that focus on positive personal empowerment. Below are three main avenues my colleagues and I continue to access our inner stories and create new ways of telling them:

  • Write your own Legend. In the Leading a Legendary Life  course at Cosmic Cowgirls University, an online and in-person school, led by Shiloh Sophia McCloud, women from all walks of life work online together to use intentional creativity to dig up, transform, express and share their lives in legendary ways. Part fact, part fiction, all FOOD for the Soul, there is no doubt that treating your life like a story has deep therapeutic benefits for the teller and for the listener. The next time you experience a thought or concept that tries to pull you down and keep you there, imagine it like a chapter in a book you just read… how did she (you, the heroine of the story) outfox or overcome it?
  • Paint your other -or inner- reality – Sometimes what we see and understand inside just can’t be expressed in words… sometimes all we have to start with is a shape, or a color, or a pattern, or sometimes we just can’t see anything yet and our ‘stuff’ only bubbles forth when we’ve been painting for a while… What we ‘Self-Healers’ have found together is that it doesn’t matter what the end product looks like; searching the soul for perspective through art is not skill-based, but rather it’s the act of listening, and following along with a brush; Need more of a prompt? Consider your view of a five year old from when you were also five… visualize your childhood friend, see that he or she was a similar size as you, liked the same games as you… the messages you wanted to give that person were likely affectionate, silly and very present-day oriented… it was about fun. Consider that person again, only this time, you are a 95 year old grandparent. Do you now see that child differently? Is he or she smaller now? More vulnerable? Do you see vast potential for joy and pain, and is there suddenly a sense of the miraculous and urgency in your messages to that child? A canvas can be a time-capsule for your unique message to reach your future self, or perhaps your children or grandchildren… what would you tell them from your perspective? Alternatively, imagine how you would have your great-grandchildren picture you and your life-story. What colors did their ancestral grandmother (you) love? What plants, what foods and animals were in her life? What was important to her?
  • Create a ceremony that enacts your shift into a healthier paradigm… Acknowledging our life-stages with ceremony makes our milestones REALIZED by retrieving the event from our imaginations and forming it into a physical experience and consequently, a cherished memory. Ceremony helps us lift our eyes to a long-term view, and connects our current perspective to everything else along our life-line. Gathering for ceremony lifted our perspectives enough that we could see the impact we women made; our roles were defined and we became inspired by the realization that we weren’t just creating families; we were planting and nurturing the kind of people we want to live with in this world, starting with ourselves and with our children..
    Crystal Easton and child

    Being Mama

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”- Dr Wayne Dyer

  •  Everything is a story. Whether we subscribe to a Creation story or a Theory of galactic gasses and masses, we humans function with a basic assumption that our lives- and our existence- started at one point, has gone through amazing transformation, and is headed toward a great conclusion. Sharing from our unique perspective is an act of revolutionary love toward yourself and to others. You have pieces of the story that we, the others around you, need; and your story – the way you are telling it, to yourself or to others is impacting the rest of us; Further, expressing your perspective helps others to think about and refine their own. Examining your own perspective and understanding how it came to be can open you to other’s perspectives, creating possibilities you might never have considered, and opportunities for kindness and compassion.
  • Whether your next undertaking is ‘micro’ like doing the dishes or ‘macro’ like designing a building or a dam, having a perspective that is wide enough to connect your work -your story-to the bigger picture is critical to maintaining a sense of purpose and direction. (For example, are you “just” doing the dishes, or are you actually tending to disease prevention in your home?) Here in ‘western society’ our fore-mothers had to fight hard for the right to express and submit their perspectives in the formation of our communities. It wasn’t long ago we could not lawfully gather or vote, we had no women’s magazines or platforms to speak publicly, educating women was thought to be futile and dangerous, and the only work open to us was menial servitude under males. Times have changed. Our Mothers and grandmothers -women all over the world-have revolted enough that the human right to hold an opinion, and to express it, was recently recognized and affirmed by the United Nations, making it an enforceable law worldwide. Do you understand that?Somewhere in our shared history somebody kicked some ass so you would have the right to hold, change and express your perspective… 

Go on now, Use it!

Bushmama-Crystal Easton Crystal Charlotte Easton is a Metis Artist born and raised in Fort St James, BC, a small northern village that provided the ideal country background for a blossoming artist, writer and environmentalist; She received early Art exposure and guidance from her grandmother, and continued to access art as a lasting, visual way to express her dreams, perspectives, and acutely attentive witnessing of her own life’s unfolding. Inspired by her “in-between” experiences as a mixed-blood woman, and hungry for her culture and ancestral teachings, Crystal achieved a bachelor’s degree in First Nations Studies in 2007. It was while studying Canada’s colonial relationship with Indigenous peoples that Crystal’s art emerged as the healing kind, prompted by the depressing and infuriating nature of her studies, and the realization that her family and her people -native and non-native alike- are still living the consequences of the colonial legacy. Today, Crystal’s art and writings braid together the strands of storytelling, activism, technical exploration, and free soul-stirring expression in symbolism, color and emotion. She works at her home studio in Nanoose Bay, BC, raising her large family with the Cree, Metis & Dene cultural teachings she finds along the way.
Find out more  http://www.soulstoriesstudio.com/artist.html

 All artworks in this Article are from the personal portfolio of Crystal Charlotte Easton, unless otherwise stated.

Outcomes of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women – Moving Forward

At the end of this year’s CSW57 there was victory through the outcomes, but there were days and days of conflict and uncertainty that needed our immediate attention and the signatures of our global family. I was so amazed, as were many that there were those present who wanted to the challenge already established international agreements on women’s human rights. Sigh. Really? Isn’t there other work to do that involves water, shelter, safety, and love that is more essential to the work at hand than: condemns the document’s wording on sexual freedoms and the rights of children born out of wedlock.

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