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




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.


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



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.


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

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