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Peaceful Transitions

altar-for-peaceful-transitions

The results of the election have taken their toll on me.  I really never believed we could find ourselves here, but now that we have, a huge opportunity for transformation, or if you like,  AFGO (as my sister is fond of saying) another fucking growth opportunity has  presented.  This can be an agonizing struggle, OR  a peaceful and easeful transition, the choice, in truth,  is ours.

When I find myself in fear, overwhelm and grief (FOG) as I have been this week, giving it up and over to God/Goddess/All That Is by way of  ceremony really helps.

Starting from left to right, “Guidance Mandala” shows up as a reminder to center, check in with soul, mind and body, consult the inner GPS.  “Let It Bee” is next…grief is natural, but fighting against “what is”, especially with blame, shame or guilt is a terrible waste of precious energy.  “Accepting Grace” helps with opening to the unseen, grace is always waiting to assist, but it can be hard to notice if I am “waving my sword around”.

The center piece is “New Paradigm Portal”, signalling the imminent and inevitable changing of the paradigm.  In spite of appearances, the old power paradigm of the distorted masculine is falling away and will be replaced with a more empowered feminine/balanced masculine combination that is inclusive, cooperation and community based, and sustainable.  The election results seem to point to a different truth, but I know it is temporary, and will result in more chaos, which is the birthing place for all significant new creation.

“Power” for the Throat Chakra Mandala is first to the right of the “New Paradigm Portal”, it is essential now that everyone speak their truth with calm empowerment, and I do mean everyone, so if I am hearing a position I am opposed to, I intend to listen with all the equanimity and compassion I can muster.  When I speak, I seek to do so without need for justification, but simply for clarification, education or inquiry, hoping to dissolve distance and create connection.  The next piece is “Transitions Mandala” which I created shortly before the death of my father in 2014.  This piece holds intentional space for a higher perspective, eagle’s eye view of transitions.  Remembering that Einstein said that every  problem contains within it the seeds of the solution, which cannot be understood from the level of consciousness that created the problem, a higher perspective will enable a productive path forward.

Finally, “Unconditional Abundance Mandala” is included as a reminder that abundance is available in many forms.  Freedom is wonderful abundance and it is always available to us, freedom to choose to react with love instead of fear.

The feathers, stones, charms and crystals were selected to support the energy of Peaceful Transitions.  Use my altar, or even better, create your own, or find any ceremony that supports you. Wishing you presence, love for yourself, deep compassion, radical forgiveness, peace and access to your inner wellspring of joy.  Please remember, you are an essential element in this process.

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Who Loves You Baby?

who-love-you-baby

I managed to get a little mandala done yesterday, even with election day jitters, as luck would have it, I am a new Grammie and of course, my sweet, innocent new grand-daughter is on my mind.

She arrived last Thursday (November 3, 2016) a perfect tiny human bravely birthed by my son’s fiance, she actually made it look easy!

I have had the privilege of holding her, marveling at her perfection in miniature, and I am sad that my thoughts go to fear.  I am already worrying about her and what the future holds.  Memories came rushing back of my son, and how I worried about him, the staggering responsibility of his care.  I can’t bear the thought of anything happening to her.  My heart aches that I cannot protect her, or my son and his family, even though I know that is not up to me.

Mandalas have the power to soothe and heal, at least ME.  I started in the center with a big beautiful eye, God/Goddess is watching over us all.  The eye is surrounded by little Cs, facing each other as initially the words running through my mind were “I SEE you baby”…

Bubbles rise up in front of angles, there will be both smooth and difficult situations in her life, a good life really cannot be had without some challenges to overcome.  The spirals connect the babies, as all life is connected, the continuous flow of generations and time.  Then the sweet babies are rendered, pretty in pink with little rosebud mouths.  The mandala is bordered with hearts and pink drops, I know there will be lots of love and a few tears.

Waking up today, I find that America has elected a new president, someone with whom I vehemently disagree.  For  my grand-daughter, my family, myself and my country, I know I must focus on love.  “Who Loves You Baby?”  Eye do.

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Primary Knowledge

primary-understanding

It has been a tumultuous year and most everything feels to be in a state of constant change (oxymoron!)  Even the mandalas feel less familiar and when I returned to the studio after a long absence, this mandala had already been sectioned neatly 16 ways.  I obscured nearly half of the lines for the central spiral, for a nice balance between the lined and open shape.  I did not have the title initially, it suggested itself due to the color scheme and the current life theme, which is, that everything I thought I knew, all my beliefs, including who and how I believe myself to be, are subject to question.

A serendipitous discovery not long ago led me to a painting class which meets once a week.  It is an entirely different style of painting, and the first night we were given a few guidelines and asked to do a still life, my effort is shown below…”Seeing Through”.seeing-through

I had a difficult time with this and realized that painting without a linear framework was terrifying to me.  I have become completely reliant on the lines to guide my way!

Week two we were given a few reference photos, along with access to some magazines and the theme “Hair of the Dog”…and the suggestion of a combining collage and painting.  I again felt the fear of the unknown, but emboldened by the amazing instructor, Kathy Taylor, and the energy of a very talented group, I had the most incredible result… i-did-what-last-night

“I Did WHAT Last Night?”

Last week (week three), the assignment was an abstract (or two!) so off I went again, into the enchanted forest without a map, and what to my astonished eyes should appear, but “Whirlwind” and “Romance”, two serviceable, if unremarkable abstracts.

whirlwind-romance

What is happening?  While these different expressions are coming forth,  a book has come into my hands which I shall not name, as so far I would not recommend it, since it has only served to make me feel hopelessly damaged and destined to live a miserable life until I die a lonely death.  It speaks of the fate of children born highly empathic, that learn to read the emotions and energies of others, taking the skills of a chameleon to a new level in a misguided attempt to harmonize the chaos with which they find themselves surrounded.  The end result is an individual so deeply separated from the awareness of their own truth, their own real feelings and emotions, that there is no way to access the invaluable inner GPS, it has been virtually overridden.  This has me questioning everything…what I paint, why I paint, who I am after everything and everyone else is stripped away.

As I read the words, they seem terribly self-indulgent.  This is not a third world crisis which has me fearing for my physical life, I have not lost my home or had to flee bombings, floods, hurricanes or terror.  Still, I find myself wondering in a deeper way who is inhabiting this physical body and how I might really and truly get to know her.

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Whispers of the Goddess

whispers-of-the-goddess

I spent the first weekend in October with the remarkable Annie Bossingham in a “New Paradigm Workshop”.  There was a great deal of discussion about the role of the feminine energy, the current turbulent shift from the distorted masculine energy which has held power to the evolving blend of feminine and (harmonized) masculine energies that will represent the new paradigm.

Certainly this is playing out on the world stage in dramatic ways that are easy to externalize.  But what about internally?  I know from past experience I would not be so triggered if there was not some resonance inside me.

Introspection begins to reveal the ways I have perpetrated a dishonoring of the feminine;  perpetual doing as opposed to being, attempting to control instead of allowing, and of course the time honored platitude, “It is better to give than to receive”.  In addition, there are the attempts to ignore or manipulate my emotions into submission.  I believe most of these patterns and behaviors are instructed by a desire to fit into the world in a certain way, a world which has even more blatantly dis-empowered the feminine.

But the times they are a-changing.

My creative expression is changing too.  I have just begun a painting class which is teaching a style unlike anything I have previous learned.  I struggled so much with it at first, without realizing, I was missing the lines.  I feel I need linear structure as a foundation for creation.  God/Goddess/All That Is has other plans.

This piece which began as a mandala, features a feminine figure in the center.  I added the elements, fire, water, earth, and was looking to add air, and the Goddess whispered.  She is prominently featured, and she is blowing away the lines.  Her presence is beautiful, powerful, loving, compassionate, intentional, inevitable.  Her breath is directed into the left ear, which coincidentally for me has been intermittently popping.

There is a great healing taking place.  The world as we know it is changing.  There will be some chaos as structure falls away, but beauty, resilience, strength and grace will emerge.   Your participation is essential!

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Starry-Eyed

starry-eyed

I’m retreating to the relative anonymity of my blog, after guest writing for Charles and the Storm Wisdom blog, last week and again this week.

I felt pretty confident about last week’s post, “More Questions Than Answers” and admit to having some high hopes for affirmation of my spectacular writing skills, more fans for my blog, your pretty basic delusions of grandeur.  Starry-eyed indeed.

The pressure I feel writing this week’s post (for Storm Wisdom) seems extraordinarily high, I have postulated, pondered and pouted.  The post is written, I have edited it twice, the accompanying mandala has been produced and waits for its cue.  What changes the experience so dramatically for me when I imagine the audience is more vast?  Am I less willing to be authentic?  (No)…Vulnerable?  (Maybe)…More worried about judgment and rejection? (Definitely)!

Oh, the vanity!

So last night I’m sitting in class (Computer Graphics 101) and waiting for the instructor to come my way and explain to me why I can’t make Photoshop obey me with the ease and dexterity he demonstrates.  I can’t move forward so I reach for my notebook and begin to doodle.  Oh, the relief when I see something flow forth from my pen, no matter how humble.  The star is prominent, eye shapes surround, and something like a checkerboard top hat shows up, a visual expression of “Starry-Eyed”.  The instructor reaches my station, swiftly resolves my Photoshop dilemma, and the crisis passes.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to express, through doodles and scribbles, through rambling thoughts and heartfelt rants.  I don’t know how I would make it through without these gifts.  I’m thankful to you, my intimate and tolerant audience, for the privilege of authentic, vulnerable, judgment-free disclosure.  Thank you and goodnight.

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Where’s the Love?

I am hearing more stories these days of people reacting harshly to others, speaking unkindly, and of course, if you are in the habit of watching the news, there is no shortage of evidence that all manner of horrendous behavior is being exhibited.

As I check my interior world, I find anxiety almost constantly running at a low to moderate level, spiking quickly at the slightest provocation.  In addition, I am noticing a lot of self-judgment and scolding.  I’m feeling raw, vulnerable and unsettled.  My snow globe has been shaken once again and everything feels off-balance.

As often happens when distress levels rise, I will not have had (or made) much time to paint, prioritizing instead the demands of the outer world, otherwise known as “real life”.  Retreating to the safety of the studio, I began a little piece to sort things through.  I thought it was to be a more conventional mandala, but the gift of higher wisdom and inspiration made its way through my walls of fear and resistance, and “Where’s the Love” began to take shape.  I was totally confused at first, as arrows were pointing every which way and I felt the now familiar grip of terror when I don’t know what to do, the indicator of my deepest fear, a descent into dementia, which I witnessed for both my mom and dad.

Persistence brought the blessing of the (also familiar) reassurance that once I relax into the creative energy, the magic unfolds before me, in spite of my fear, and gratitude rushes in as I behold a creation that I could not have birthed on my own.

“Where’s the Love” features a heart which is made up of color, black and white checkerboard, and spirals. One of the arrows points to an “X” marking a healing wound on the heart.  The words are actually written out and as I wrote, the arrow on the bottom right was already providing the “v” shape for the word “Love”.

This processes for me what I am witnessing both inside myself and in the world today.  The fear has reached epidemic proportions.  It is imperative that I begin a new relationship with my fear.  Acknowledge it, feel it, honor it and then challenge it. Is it true?  How can I know it’s true?  It is more likely that fear is rising up from deep inside, from a place that has not been given credit for keeping me safe at some point in the past.

I will be doing my best to honor my fear, with the knowledge that as I do, I can open to more love, for myself and in so doing, be the change I hope to see in the world.wheres-the-love-color-web

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Bruised Reed

bruised-reed-color

So less than 48 hours after the post in which I cavalierly proclaimed my willingness to get on the roller coaster and fully experience the ride, a large German Shepherd nearly shredded my right hand with his teeth and I went from complete (okay, relative) calm to total panic in less than 30 seconds.

Pain is a pretty challenging thing with which to stay present and vulnerable, especially when you add the part about not resisting or judging.  The very teachings I have been reading about were being offered up in a real life situation and I can’t say I passed the test.

I was hyperventilating as my son drove me to the emergency room (on which we decided after finding that no urgent care options due to the fact it was Labor Day).  The pain was definitely a 10 on the scale, I would say 11, but that’s just annoying since it is NOT on the scale.  It was a good 3 hours before I got anything for pain (4:30 pm to 7:30 pm) and me without so much as a single Advil in my purse.

Mantras were employed, as well as the eight verses I have learned as part of my Qi Gong practice, along with deep breathing.  All the while my intention was to get as far away from what I was feeling as I could, the polar opposite of the practice I had hoped I was learning.

Accompanying all this was the fear of what had happened structurally to my right hand, my painting hand.  For full effect, I am adding the photo from the emergency room here.

dog-bite-right-hand

After receiving IV antibiotics, morphine, lidocaine injected locally and a saline IV, having the wound x-rayed, cleaned out and bandaged, and paying my $1,300.00 co-pay, I was on my way home to continue the healing process.

9 days later I completed “Bruised Reed”, a mandala to help work through the trauma of the experience.  Yes, I can still paint, thank God.  This mandala is different, lots of teeth, blood and tears.  It is somewhat erratic and fiery, but also contains some cool and calm places of respite, as well as the yin and yang, for harmony and balance.

I’m not terribly interested in getting back on the roller coaster again.

 

 

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Feel Better

I’m about halfway through “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown and feel that the book is providing information I would consider as the “Missing Link” (also the title of the mandala below).

Missing Link - color

The concepts are difficult to verbalize, and writing about them at this point is likely premature, but part of the practice is dropping the “vulnerability armor”, perfectionism being one shield.

For a very long time I have been seeking what will help me to feel better…the shortest most efficient path away from intense emotions I have labeled “bad”, grief, anger, sadness, fear, envy.  I considered pain as a signal that something was wrong.  The desire to avert any future situation that might cause any of the above emotions became almost an obsession.  Different teachings came to my attention that this might not be the true path, “The Presence Process” in 2009, and more recently “Letting Go” .  Both books speak powerfully of the futility of avoiding emotions/feelings and recommend the practice of surrendering deeply to whatever is being felt, promising  true freedom and an increased capacity for joy as rewards.  From “Letting Go”, “We surrender a feeling by allowing it to be there without condemning, judging or resisting it.  We simply look at it, observe it, and allow it to be felt without trying to modify it.  With the willingness to relinquish a feeling, it will run out in due time.”

Still, I had hoped for a short cut, a magic pill, an answer that doesn’t lead me directly to the reservoir of intense emotions  I have desperately sought to avoid.  Beginning to practice surrendering and vulnerability, even though I feel deeply raw and wildly uncomfortable, there is a sense that this is the way to a wholehearted (and joyful) life.

The image of a roller coaster keeps showing up today, as a life metaphor.  I bought a ticket and got on, but I’ve been  asking not to have to go up so high, or down so fast and far, when really I came in to do just that, have a thrilling ride, feel my stomach up in my throat, scream and laugh and cry so hard, I can barely breathe.  Fun?

I’m ready, let’s go.

 

 

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Blessings and Betrayal

Blessings and Betrayal

This mandala was painted to help process the recurrence of a lifelong pattern, a sudden, shocking betrayal by someone in whom I have placed my trust.

Sharing this post is challenging, although the lack of readership does provide a safety net, but wait, I am practicing vulnerability, daring greatly, so here goes…

As the youngest child (by six years) in a family with five brilliant, highly achieving siblings, and stellar, loving but very busy parents, at age 5 I was alone quite a lot, and easy prey for a young man in the neighborhood who began to show me lots of attention and made me feel “special”.  When he was, let’s say, sexually inappropriate with me (I’ll spare you the ugly details) I felt warm and cherished one moment, and searing pain, shock, horror and confusion an instant later.  What he told me next did the most damage…”You can’t tell anyone…if you do, they’ll know you are bad.”

Believing it is best to do as I am told, I never DID tell anyone, and even forgot about it, until becoming sexually active in my late teens, when the memory resurfaced and I dismissed it as “no big deal”.

So, as wounds will, this has come up periodically for healing, requesting my attention in various painful ways throughout my life.  Let me be clear that most subsequent incidents were not sexual, but rather, consisted of feeling trusting, vulnerable and safe in the company of a perceived ally one minute, and suddenly becoming aware this was not the case, experiencing a sucker punch to the gut, feeling attacked, judged and ashamed the next.  I’ve had TWO rather dramatic occasions to revisit this pattern in the last month and this time, the blessing of being able to view things differently is apparent.

The mandala is part of my being able to process with a higher perspective.  The little sunflower in the center with the spiral represents soul/spirit generating forth.  The hearts represent the physical and the daggers piercing the hearts with blood spilling out, well, that’s not too mysterious.  There is a circular saw blade, to cut through the illusion.  The drops of blood drip directly into more sunflowers, again representing the soul, this time with yin/yang symbols at the center, representing harmony and balance, the gathering of soul wisdom and healing.

Progress is being made.  I am gaining more clarity on the pattern, and how to respond compassionately when it happens.  In the past, I froze, drew the cloak of shame tightly around myself and disappeared as quickly and effectively as I could manage.  During the most recent event, I was able to speak of what was happening in real time, even if it was  not with the greatest level of coherence, and celebrate movement toward shame resilience as described by Brene Brown in her amazing book “Daring Greatly”.

In this way, the betrayals turn into blessings, helping me heal and live more authentically and wholeheartedly.

 

 

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Wholeheartedly

If you have been following this blog, you know I have been challenged with the “reasons” to continue creating, as off-balance as that sounds.  I have produced a number of abstracts,

Abstracts

just to stay loose, while I wait for guidance on how to complete the “Heart and Soul” mandala.

I decided to return to mandala work, just for grins,  began work on a piece beginning August 21st, and as it progressed, I noticed that all of the hearts in the painting were obscured a little bit.  I started thinking about what I give my whole heart to, and even more so, all the things I don’t.  I titled it “Wholeheartedly”.

wholeheartedly-color

Now let me back track and say a few days earlier, I met with my school counselor about direction on courses and was excited to hear about the possibility of an internship.  I have been very focused on getting a J-O-B, and it has been difficult to invest in my painting work, now that I have surrendered to the reality that it cannot support me financially.  We had a very in-depth discussion, she is a very intuitive person and one of her recommendations was that I seek out the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.  I promised to do so.

A few days AFTER completing the mandala, I went on Amazon (please don’t judge me) to order the book and happened to read some of the reviews while I was there.  I was gobsmacked to read Ms. Brown quoted by E. White, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experience.  Vulnerability is the prerequisite to living what Ms. Brown calls the wholehearted life.”  And reviewer Heather Saffer adds, “Vulnerability leads to happiness or wholeheartedness.”

Herein dwells the magic of the mandalas.  Somehow they are gatekeepers, translators, facilitators, helping me mine and process information from the quantum field in a way that really works.