Give yourself the opportunity to discover your own imagery

Dreams of my art being attached to some kind of imaginary romantic self-sustaining monetary outcome no longer serve me.  If my creative process is to continue to be my sacred practice, continue to develop, if my creative process is where I let go of attachment, let go of comparing myself to others, let go of control, then I also let go of those dreams.

Let

Them

Go.

And instead embrace the simple and healing journey of process.  Of self-discovery.

img_4351

From Revolution From Within- a book of self-esteem, by Gloria Steinem (1992, Little Brown and Company, New York, NY):

… But the point of the journey is not just the healing.  It’s also recovering the truest, most spontaneous, joyful, and creative core of ourselves.  If any of the stories you have just read strikes an emotional chord, that’s a possible signal from your inner self.  If anything in the present brings you unreasonable pleasure or sadness, that’s a clue, too.  The important thing is to make the connections between past and present.  And, of course, not everything is in our power to know.  We need faith in a future that will redeem the past…

… Any one of our human capacities, if unused out of fear or shame, leaves a small hole in the fabric of our self-esteem.  Think of the times you have said: “I can’t write,” “I can’t paint,” “I can’t run,” “I can’t shout,” “I can’t dance,” “I can’t sing.”  Since this was not literally true, you were really saying: “I can’t meet some outside standard. I’m not acceptable as I am.

… Give yourself the opportunity to discover your own imagery… your true self made visible.

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 8.48.04 PM

What if memories are allies?

Researching a seemingly unrelated subject tonight, I was thrown down into a pit of dark memory of betrayal and attack to my heart.  How strange to be reminded of that time, of that sickening anger.

p1030660

How strange to have to grab my own hand and pull myself out of the pit– real quick– for it is not a place I should to spend time in.

I can revisit it for use in my creative expression, in my understanding of the human condition.  But I cannot spend a lot of time in that pit, for I know the anger that wells up is not towards the other but is actually directed at myself– for I am heart broken about how much energy I spent trying to save an illusion.

drawing

But wait— maybe I need to spend a bit of time in that pit.

For perhaps, just perhaps, what the memory is telling me to do is to address any unfinished acts of self-forgiveness, to step fully into self-love and CONFIDENCE.

I am about to commit fully to a new stage of my passion project that will test me and empower me in ways I can’t even imagine yet.  IF I AM READY.

What if my vision board needs to be added to?

img_6526

What if not only others are allies… what if memories are allies?

img_6519

If I am to fly, I must first love myself.

kfktxbacj.jpeg

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 11: Fear of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

1. Journal exercise:

WRITE FOR 10 MINUTES ON LETTING GO AND STARTING FRESH.  YOU OWE NO ONE ANYTHING.  YOU CAN START TOTALLY FRESH TODAY.  

Allowing myself to start fresh.  To go into the cave.  To be in solitude.

Loving less interaction.  Loving not trying.  Happy to be doing less.

Healing the sick body and the exhausted mind.

Let it go.

Let it all go. 

Hey! Not feeling valued these days?  Let it go.

Need to feel  more assured?  Let it go.

Figure out next steps?  Let it go.

Should be should be— let it go.

Simplify? Yes.


2. Capture chapter highlights:

Our fear of death is our fear of the uncontrollable unknown.  It is the same old fear.  It lies in wait behind our eyelids as we awake each morning.  It is the fear of fears.  It needs space to breathe.

When attempts at control become a prison only letting go of control will result in freedom.

– Stephen Levine 

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

What is that hair ball of old energy you have been choking on?
… Let go of the need to heal old emotional wounds.The Power Path

4. Today’s angel card(s):

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 9: A Commitment to Life

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

1. Journal exercise:

What are you committed to today?  I am staying committed to yesterday’s energy of not rushing.  I am getting things done, yes, but not rushing each item.  Staying present and staying innocent.  Staying with the energy of starting fresh.  I can’t solve anything today.  I can only stay aware and present.

Draw/doodle/write life renewal.  What comes to mind?

Photo 2017-06-05, 10 21 21 AM

2. Capture chapter highlights:

Awareness is itself a healing quality.  Where awareness is focused the deepest potentials for clarity and balance present themselves.  Though what we are aware of may be incessantly changing, awareness itself remains a constant, a luminous spaciousness without beginning or end, without birth or death.  It is the essence of life itself.  It is what remains when all that is impermanent falls away.  It is the deathless…

We must integrate our insights and encourage the weary mind to settle into the expansive heart…

Photo 2017-06-05, 10 27 15 AM
Chinamarker, acrylic and coffee on newsprint

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.
― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

img_4533

4. Today’s angel card(s):

Photo 2017-06-05, 10 45 07 AM
The bite marks are from my parrot!

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 7: Fear of Fear

It’s been a while.  It’s been a lot lately.  But let’s see how this chapter unfolds.  What it reveals.

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Photo 2017-06-03, 9 56 38 AM

I have been struggling between staying in curiosity/trust and floundering in fear.  And lo and behold, I open the book to the next chapter and it is titled:

Part 7: Fear of Fear

1. Journal exercise:

Get out a big piece of paper.  Write out the shit.  I mean really acknowledge what is making you fearful right now.  Really acknowledge what you are sick of.  Fuck affirmations for a bit.  Fuck gratitude. Fuck getting out of the way.  Fuck not allowing negative speak.  Stand up to it.  Face it.   It’s actually OK to acknowledge the pain that stirs within.

Photo 2017-06-03, 9 57 27 AM
I am tired of trying. I am sick of being broke, struggling through each month. I am sick of trusting the universe. I am so sad I had to cancel New York. No, I am mad. I am sick of churning stomach, applying for jobs, fearful of what is next. I am sick of PRAISE. For I am sick of counting coins while planning projects. I am sick of the word OPPORTUNITY. I can’t plan ahead if I can’t buy groceries or pay my bills today. It is never enough. I am wanting to land, but do I? I want to not have to take a giant student loan to get credentials I already have. I am sick of loving my home so much yet always being in fear that I can’t afford it. I am sick of not being rewarded for living frugally so I can afford to live in a place I deserve. I am sick of guilt. I am sick of fear that I do not know how to do this. Fear of failure is a failure, isn’t it? I want a clear calendar so I can start again.

Once you have vomited it all out, see if you dare to share it with someone- or read it out loud to yourself- or post it.  I learn from you.  You learn from me and we hold each other up.

Now alter it.  Any way you like.  You are in charge.

Photo 2017-06-03, 10 00 58 AM

Now throw it out!

Photo 2017-06-03, 10 01 37 AM

And hug yourself with humour and gratitude for YOU.  TODAY  it is ok to be in your own way.  TODAY it is OK not to flip all this vomit into a positive.  Cause we shouldn’t eat our own vomit.  Ideally.

TODAY IS TODAY and THIS MOMENT IS AWESOME.

2. Capture chapter highlights:

All fear has an element of resistance and a leaning away from the moment.  Its dynamic is not unlike that of strong desire except that fear leans backward into the last safe moment while desire leans forward toward the next possibility of satisfaction.  Each lacks presence.

Our unwillingness to enter each moment fully, without judgment or the need to control it, simply produces more fear and resistance to that fear.

“If I have only a year in which to soften my belly where do I begin?”

“In your heart.”

SOFT BELLY MEDITATION

Soft-belly is a trigger for our letting go. Softening melts the armoring over the heart, experienced as hardness in the belly. Each time we remember to be present, to be mindful, we soften into the moment. Softening becomes a call to the heart that it is safe to be alive in the body once again. Soft-belly brings an end to our fear of fear.

Taking a few deep breaths, feel the body you breathe in.
Feel the body expanding and contracting with each breath.
Focus on the rising and falling of the abdomen.
Let awareness receive the beginning, middle, and end
of each inbreath, of each outbreath
expanding and contracting the belly.
Note the constantly changing flow of sensation
in each inhalation, in each exhalation.
And begin to soften all around these sensations.
Let the breath breathe itself in a softening belly.
Soften the belly to receive the breath,
to receive sensation, to experience life in the body.
Soften the muscles that have held the fear for so long.
Soften the tissue, the blood vessels, the flesh.
Letting go of the holding of a lifetime.
Letting go into soft-belly, merciful belly.
Soften the grief, the distrust, the anger
held so hard in the belly.
Levels and levels of softening, levels and levels of letting go.
Moment to moment allow each breath its full expression
in soft-belly.
Let go of the hardness. Let if float
in something softer and kinder.
Let thoughts come and let them go,
floating like bubbles in the spaciousness of soft-belly.
Holding to nothing, softening, softening.
Let the healing in.
Let the pain go.
Have mercy on yourself, soften the belly,
open passageway to the heart.
In soft-belly there is room to be born at last,
and room to die when the moment comes.
In soft-belly the vast spaciousness in which to heal,
in which to discover our unbounded nature.
Letting go into the softness,
fear floats in the gentle vastness we call the heart.
Soft-belly is the practice that accompanies us throughout the day
and finds us at day’s end still alive and well.

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

If you are older, trust that the world has been educating you all along.  You already know so much more than you think you know.  You are not finished; you are merely ready.  After a certain age, no matter how you’ve been spending your time, you have very likely earned a doctorate in living.  If you’re still here– if you have survived this long– it is because you know things.  We need you to reveal to us what you know, what you have learned, what you have seen and felt.  If you are older, chances are strong that you may already possess absolutely everything  you need to possess in order to live a more creative life– except the confidence to actually do your work.  But we need you to do your work.  – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic- Creative Living Beyond Fear

4. Today’s angel card(s):

Photo 2017-06-03, 10 45 47 AM

From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise: Part 2

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

1. Color an anatomical heart:

Here is a PDF of one of my drawings for you to print out: Heart

img_4770-0

2. Capture chapter highlights:

And it’s never too late to complete our birth.  As Buddha said, “It doesn’t matter how long you have forgotten, only how soon you remember.”

To practice dying.  To be fully alive.  To investigate the dread of, and resistance to life and death.  To complete my birth before it’s over.  To investigate that part of myself that refuses to take birth fully, and hops about as though it still had one foot in the womb.

img_8675

it was the fear of life that needed to be investigated first…

… But when the heart at last acknowledges how much pain there is in the mind, it turns like a mother toward a frightened child.

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged-the same house, the same people- and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

20140220-094010

4. Today’s angel card:

Photo 2017-05-18, 3 18 12 PM

From the Heart- a 15-day journal exercise: Part 1

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Photo 2017-05-15, 4 56 03 PM

I will share my exploration here and I encourage you to join me.  The book has 15 chapters, so I will explore in 15 parts in 15 days.  I will focus on the heart image in each part, share some highlights from the chapter, look at other resources that resonate and pull an angel card.

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

  1. Draw an anatomical heart:

Photo 2017-05-15, 4 35 42 PM

img_0510

Or here is a PDF of one of my drawings for you to print out: Heart

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 4.28.34 PM

2. Capture chapter highlights:

This book is a book of renewal.  It is not simply about dying but about the restoration of the heart.

Part of us seek relief from our fears, while another aspect causes our focus on life to intensify, to push us to look deeper into just who or what took birth and who, indeed, it is that will someday die.

Whatever our situation, the progression– sudden or gradual– if the same: to remember, to let go, and to trust the process. 

Thoughts?

Today I took steps to self-advocate, explore new options, releasing attachment to the outcome- valuing myself without apology.  And though it was hard, I took the steps.

The trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. – Erica Jong

Let go.  Trust the process.

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

The Power Path May 2017 Forecast

The way we look at priorities is changing. We need to learn to prioritize from our hearts instead of from our minds. The way the mind prioritizes is by rationalizing why we should be doing something instead of simply intuiting that it should be done. The challenge during times of instability is that we have too many choices, too many options, too much on our plate, and too many considerations to sort through. We don’t know what to do first, what to end, what to start, what we can ignore, what is done, what is ours and what is not. So, we revert back to what is known and where we feel safe and confident. But this is never a good permanent solution.

The only way to bring focus and stability into our lives now is to learn to prioritize from the heart. This requires trust and intuition, listening to yourself instead of others and connecting in with your own desires. Making choices from the heart may disappoint others and even bring instability into someone else’s life, but that is the challenge this month and the price you pay for resetting your priorities and it will serve you in the long run. When there are too many options, choices and possibilities to process through the mind, the only way to gain clarity is to turn to the heart and allow it to lead.

4. Today’s angel card:

Photo 2017-05-15, 4 56 55 PM

Recalling a declaration from “my future self” on July 25, 2015

img_4718

Working on my graphic novel, I pull out research and reference materials from my files and come across a journal entry from July 25, 2015 created during Peter Breeze’s Be a Star workshop.  This is truly why I keep everything for what an incredible reminder to myself that I am fulfilling my dream by whatever means necessary.

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-10-58-09-am

Dear me,

You now stand fully naked, fully present, fully you.  Gone are the shackles that pulled you downwards into self-doubting, crippling anxiety.  No longer do you hesitate before expressing.  But most importantly, no longer do you collapse in shame and doubt after you expressed yourself.  

Speaking your truth used to cause you to feel like you were choking on amniotic fluid.  Felt like it came at a price.  

Now you can breathe in and breathe out with open mouth, open nostrils, open sinuses, open throat, open heart, open eyes, open mind without fear.  

You release your truth, your art, your work onto and into the world and receive back the conversations/communications with an open and fearless heart- a heart that is ready to dialogue.  

Your work used to require boundaries.  Your life used to comprise of self-imposed boundaries to protect your heart from rejection and loss.  But now you are boundless.  And so the work you have built on awakening creative expression in others- a gift you truly were born with and have worked so tirelessly to deliver- takes on a new level on a global scale.  You are not in need of accolades.  You are simply expressing, thereby allowing others to feel the same freedom.  It need no longer be frontline work (in person), it is a new principle and way of living.  

Full presence.  

You have taken all the heartache, all the joy, all the blood and guts of life and built a mission and vision that has created true abundance.  

You will never be anxiety-free and you will never not have heart-shattering challenges, but you now have a giant delicious toolbox with which to meet those challenges and easily process, die into them and rebirth from them.  You are truly living with ease.  

All is as it should be.  

Congratulations.  

Love, me 

Thank you, Peter.

Check out my daughter’s message to her future self:

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-11-03-52-am

Turning point: reflections on triggers. Part 2- (re)discovery

This week I have been exploring triggers in my life– their roles as fodder for creative work, their potential to help in self-development and their ability to create turning points.

Recall:

Part 1- archives

Part 2 (RE)DISCOVERY

As I mentioned in Part 1, a random journal entry may bring me to my knees.

I was organizing my studio the other day and came across a 1998 letter from my father (in the days before email- he always sent faxes)…

But…

Hmmm…

I was going to share it here.  But I am not ready.

It’s about my mother– and my father was reminding me of my responsibility to her for her emotional well-being.  A role I carried most my life.  The pain that this reminder from the past causes me is still too intense.

 And something- perhaps my mom’s spirit- is not letting me share it here.

img_1267_2

It does, however, give me clues as to who I am, who I was as a daughter, who I was in my marriage, why I was this way and that, what I have lost, what I have gained, the beauty of forgiveness and redemption, the intensity of family bonds, my need for alone time, my need for freedom.  Though the letter triggered deep pain that threw me for a loop last week, I am grateful for the reminder, the time spent examining, utilizing the pain, and staying neutral.

And spending sweet time remembering.  Remembering how incredibly beautiful my relationship with my parents became.

No unfinished business.

And I love feeling their presence.

So I suppose I am grateful for that particular trigger…

And the turning point?

It was the (re)discovery of that fax.

Realization.

That I am free.

Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.

― Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika

Turning point- reflections on triggers. Part 1: archives

Last New Year, my brother and I brought home all my journals and artwork from storage.  We recently brought home all the family photo albums and objects.  I love being the family archivist.  I love seeing the heirlooms showcased in my kids’ collections and in the extended family’s homes.  I love that the next generation is able to touch the objects, hear the stories, hold actual photographs.

  
 My studio-bedroom space is a womb-room and for me, being surrounded by relics of the past, feeds my creative work.  I know it’s not normal to surround myself with so much shit  (as some have put it).

But it is essential for me.


My dad was a master scrapbook keeper and his ability to archive, write and reflect formed my own habits and processes.  My mom hated keeping diaries.  She often told me-  I just want to forget.  But she kept things.  So Dad kept the scrapbooks and photos, mom kept the objects- and am I grateful to be surrounded by both.

The investigative side to my personality requires access to images, writings, clues that lead to connecting the dots and understanding.  It’s the background on what makes people (or more accurately me) do what they (I) do- and it helps me both in my work on Molly and in my work with youth.

It’s all about the functional behavioural assessment through clues, if you will.

But there is a price.  Within these relics lie triggers and heartache.   A small pamphlet can bring a flood of memory.  A simple receipt can open wounds.  A journal entry (to be explored tomorrow in Part 2) can bring me to my knees.

 

This week I want to explore triggers in my life– their roles as fodder for creative work, their potential to help in self-development and their ability to create turning points.

There’s something about a roller coaster that triggers strong feelings, maybe because most of us associate them with childhood. They’re inherently cinematic; the very shape of a coaster, all hills and valleys and sickening helices, evokes a human emotional response.

Diablo Cody