Monday, June 28, 2010

What Would you Do If . . .

I didn't have to ponder this question for very long. The words came rushing out through my pen and into my journal. The freedom in the answers felt like I was running through a field of flowers, sun shining, light breeze on my cheeks, not a sound but the birds and the rustling of grasses, wide open space and me, totally and completely present.

If I knew I could not fail I would:

Embrace uncertainty

Enjoy the process rather than attaching to an outcome

Dive in whole heartedly

Try something new every day

Rip, tear and mess up, I can not fail, only move in a new direction

Eagerly embrace all that the creative universe has to offer

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Holding Court With 7 Deadly Toads

I actually moved the refrigerator the other night so that I could clean underneath and behind it. I bought a Swiffer mop and Clorox wipes (wonderful product, no more sponges) for the first time and was wiping the kitchen cupboards just to test them. I even vacuumed! Armed with brand new supplies, cleaning actually took on a Zen like quality for me. (Yeah, the maid used to live here but she apparently walked out some time ago without giving notice . . . not sure what happened there . . . *nervous laugh.*)

Cleaning the dust off the back of the refrigerator? Seriously? The cleaning and even my ramblings about the cleaning are absolutely about masking that underlying discomfort and ignoring those voices that want so desperately to be acknowledged rather than ignored. The ignoring thing still isn’t working for me. I just find more interesting ways of ignoring them but why? So far, I can’t come up with a believable answer to that.

The time has come to put on my big girl pants and shine the light of presence on the fears being shouted by those Toads of mine of which there are about 7. So, right here, right now, I'm holding court. One by one I’ll ask each of them to check in and voice their concerns and I’m going to put it out there for the world to see. Put a clothespin on your nose cause the dirty laundry is gonna get stinky.

The 7 deadly Toads that now sit on the board of directors of my Venomous Toad Committee are as follows along with a few of their more outrageous croaks. Do you recognize yourself in here anywhere? Some of these make me laugh outright and when I write them down I realize just how ridiculous they sound which is helpful in diffusing their power over me.

15 years of creating 3 dimensional paper art forms is still not enough experience to start my e-bay auctions for anything higher than somewhere below minimum wage. (Whaaaat?)

I'm gonna die in my chair working for someone else because I'll never make enough money to support myself with my art. (I'd like to buy myself a clue . . . refer to previous fear)

Cleverly Disguised Excuses
If I start the project, I might mess up and have to start over. (wouldn't be the first time) I’ll think about it while watching a 10- year old re-run of the X-Files and start my project tomorrow. (awareness is the first step)

I’ve got 800 pieces of decorative paper and every craft supply in the known universe but not one of them is suitable for my project. I need more supplies before I can start. (Is the piece of paper I don't have really the hot issue here?)

My idea for a book is too different for the publisher to like it or take it seriously. (I'm only giving them a book proposal, not a terminal disease.)

I’m not qualified enough to publish articles and books. (This might actually be true if I were writing about ice fishing in Antarctica)

Selling Online
I can’t create an online selling website because I have other things I need to do first. (like clean dust from behind the refrigerator?)

Social Networking
I don’t know enough to be able to offer any kind of useful information to others. (and yet somehow I've found the courage to maintain a network of 700+ members hmmm . . . . )

The Time Trap
I’ll be dead in 50 years so why didn’t I start doing this sooner? (50 good reasons to start NOW!)

General Fear
You shouldn’t be writing these fears here. None of them are any good compared to what I’ve read about others. (Did I really write this?)

I encourage you to make a list of your fears. Do not censor, just write. There were actually many, many more fears on my list and not one of them really makes any sense to me. Generally, when it comes right down to it, no fear really does and 90% of what we fear never happens anyway so why waste the energy? If you take me up on the challenge and post your fears, feel free to leave a comment and link to your post.

Images are digitally altered portions of decorative papers created by Brenda Walton for K & Company.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flying Lessons

I have felt like I've been in a sort of funk this week. I made a commitment to my creative self that I would go the distance by taking a 12 month journey into my soul via Creative Awakenings. I even signed up for Kelly Rae Roberts' e-course called Flying Lessons.

Flying Lessons is a 5 week course designed to encourage artists to take steps in moving forward to realize their dreams about their art. I signed up nearly 3 weeks after it started. "So you're late, big deal. You can do this, you must do this" said one of the creative whispers of my inner cheering committee. Where has she been this week?

I hear my creative whispers telling me to read, learn, and read some more. The more I do, the louder my Venomous Toad Committee screams as if to drown out those positive voices that tell me “you can do it.” I know I am simply bumping up against a mind created boundary that is not impenetrable and will actually expand the moment I step beyond it. That is a remarkable thing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Am Not Afraid to Take Flight ~ Creative Journaling

I spent this past week being "present" in my body and asking myself what it feels like to be me in this moment. What I discovered were mild feelings of anxiety running through me like an electrical current. How long had this been going on? It's curious. I really have no idea because up until now I realize I have lived my life trapped inside in my own head. I have literally been swinging my way through this jungle of life one thought stream at a time, each one leading to the next but never really taking me anywhere.

Putting this in writing helps me to see and understand the ways in which I choose to ignore what my creative whispers have been so desperately trying to tell me, that I am enough right now. I see the ways in which I mask and try to soothe my own discomfort with TV, busy work, mind created excuses in various forms and yes, sometimes even alcohol so that I don't have to face those demons now. But, until I do, my dreams will remain trapped in a future that can never come.

The anxiety is about my fear of confronting my own inner critic and taking action in spite of her. Or, perhaps it's more about loving her enough to push through the fear, that I might actually set my heart free and lead the life I have always dreamed. In my now, I give my heart the space to release thought and trust my wordless soul to carry me through upon the silent winds of beingness. I send love and light to that fearful girl inside who wants only to feel safe and know she'll be okay. I am not afraid to take flight. I am loved. I am safe.

Weekly Journal Challenge: Be present in your body this week. You can do this by focusing on your breathing for a moment or two. What feelings come up? Do not analyze or judge, just FEEL. Ask yourself, what are you using as your excuse for not taking action today? Create a journal page about what you discovered. I would love to visit any blogs that take me up on this. Just leave your invitation via a comment and link.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blissfully Taking Flight

Do you have an inner voice, a gentle whisper quietly nudging you to listen? What does it say? Does it tell you to begin that creative project you've been putting off? Or does it tell you to dream bigger-perhaps start your own creative business? Maybe it's encouraging you to begin writing that book. Or to travel to exotic places. It may just be a whisper, a small voice tucked deep inside the pockets of your heart, but really it's your life calling you.

This is the first paragraph taken from my latest read, Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts. The book is filled with interviews, techniques, beautiful quotes as well as questions for you to ask yourself to help give you the wings you need to take your own flight. I will end this post with two questions from the book to help get you thinking. You can answer them silently, in a comment or in your journals.

The one thing I never thought I could do is: For me, leave corporate work behind forever and make my living creatively without fear that I am the sole provider in a household of one.

Here's how I can make a plan to do it: I can take one small step every day, just one, no matter how scary, until the many add up to the whole and I find myself living the life I always dreamed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Swimin' With the Fishes ~ TADS Doll No. 5

he Traveling "paper" Art Doll Symposium's (TADS) Doll No. 5 recently visited Susan DuFresne here in Washington sate and got to swim with the magnificent creatures of the sea. She takes with her a plethora of gorgeous memorabilia from her journey. Susan really outdid herself with an array of beautiful art work. I am truly in awe of the colors and style of these pieces. Due to the large number of photos taken, I have put them in a slideshow for your enjoyment. Viewing these will truly take you to a place of Everyday Bliss.

Susan has named the mermaid in this piece Marina and what a perfect name for Doll No. 5 who, up until now, has been nameless. I think Marina is absolutely perfect!

To find out more about the Traveling "paper" Art Doll Symposium (TADS) project, click the link to go there. To sign up, leave a comment stating so on the TADS Official Sign Up All images appearing as part of this post are coprighted by ©Susan DuFresne and any duplication without her express written consent is prohibited.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Everyday Bliss is Having Fairies in the Garden

My Everyday Bliss time was spent finishing up my first dimensional collage. This time I used stamping techniques, stencils and paints to create my own background rather than relying entirely on decorative papers to do the job for me.

Couldn't you just immerse yourself in this for days? Perhaps I'll mediate on it and see what bubbles to the surface. I may discover a hidden secret that's been waiting in my subconscious mind for the opportunity to tell me all about it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Everyday Bliss: Heartfelt Love and Thanks

To those of you who have left me loving comments after the loss of my kitty, I can't tell you how much I appreciate each and every one. Reading them, I have released sorrow, I have been uplifted and I have shared my grief with those who have lost or are about to loose a critter. My sincerest, heartfelt love and thanks. I have yet to make the rounds but I promise to do something special for you this week. I feel better today, not so many tears. I have come so far in learning to accept the things in life over which I have no control. For today, I am grateful for the peace I have found in this moment and knowing that so many care.

I spent this afternoon and more than 20 minutes of bliss working on my latest dimensional collage with love and appreciation in my heart. Although I have been working on it for awhile, it takes on special meaning now. I don't want to show the whole thing just yet because I don't want to give away the surprise. I hope to post the final photo in the next couple of days if not sooner. It's going to be something. Many hugs to you, dear ladies. Bless you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cleansing the Soul With Tears

It's been over 24 hours since I have become petless. I feel like an orphan in a way and I can't seem to stop crying today. I could think of it as cleansing the soul with tears. Everything will be okay. The grand plan is unfolding exactly as it should and I trust the process of life.

These babies have been my comfort even though are only an image on a screen. I think getting new kitties will have a healing effect on me but I have yet to make the appointment. Still getting used to the idea of my routine changing. No 5 pm feedings right now, no litter box cleanings, no napping furbabies at my feet. Every noise that breaks the silence is one that could be a cat but then I remember.

Today I went through my bookshelves pulling books that no longer serve me. I had not intended at all to take care of that chore today but somehow it just felt right. It's funny how the universe will work magic to make things happen with no effort whatsoever. I've heard that in order to make room for the new in your life you have to get rid of the old. I suppose that goes for cats too.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Everyday Bliss in Times of Loss

Today I said good-bye to my feline companion of nearly 17 years. I am sad but peaceful as I know she is in a better place now. I merely released her spirit from an ailing body for I know she has not departed that far. She was the universe expresing itself in physical form. Because I too am made of that same "stuff" I know she is with me always.

I am thankful for the support of family and friends who understand the connection I have always had and will always have to cats. I will look forward to the renewal of life in the joy of bringing home new kittens. For now, I will just "be" intensely present with this moment for awhile and let myself decompress.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

License to Bloom

This evening I spent my 20 minutes of bliss signing my Creative Awakenings Visa Application. I also gave it a quick collage technique to personalize it a little bit with some extra meaningful imagery. My recent flower collage page really got me thinking as did some of the comments. The one comment that sticks in my mind describes the pots as representing containers awaiting the planting of new dreams. I really like that.

I am committed to my dreams. I am committed to following the messages given to me by my divine higher self which now come to me in the form of inspired thoughts that lovingly encourage me to take action. By signing this Visa Application, I have put my intention out there into the world not only as a thought form but also in a physical form. It cheerfully greets me as the first thing I see when I open up my dream time journal to remind me that I have now given myself a license to bloom.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Creative Collage: Portal to Possibilities

Sheri Gaynor outlines a 3 step process in her book Creative Awakenings called EnVision Dream Time. During the meditation portion, I asked myself how I could release my resistance to what is? My mother once told me that happiness wasn't a person or a place. I truly thought I had understood that message but my Dream Time collage clearly indicates something else. It indicates that I still believe happiness is a future point in time and I have turned over the care of my hopes and dreams to a concept. I must be insane!

This collage was put together by allowing myself only 20 minutes to gather images and then another 15 to put the collage together. Working fast is something I never do so this was a great exercise. I wanted to trust the process and allow my intuition to guide me as much as possible. Over the next month, I will contemplate the meaning of the images, I'll add paint, rubber stamps and transform it into my art of intention.

From these images I can see that part of the reason my dreams have not yet manifested is because I have held them in a place where it isn't possible for them to do so. The wooden arch is about bridging that gap between tomorrow and the now, opening up the portal to possibilities so to speak. The page with the flowers is about nurturing those dreams and giving them space to grow into something beautiful in the now. Up until this minute I really had no idea what the flower page was trying to tell me but it makes sense now. It will be fun to watch these pages transform during the month of June. It's going to be fun to get in touch with that little child within who has gone neglected for so long.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Somewhere Between Tomorrow and Someday

Yesterday I wrote about the inspiration I found in the latest issue of Where Women Create. While I was busy reading the stories, my creative mind was pouring over the cottage style charm of some of the spaces that were featured there. I have often dreamed of having an airy art studio with distressed white furniture, neatly stacked shelves lined with baskets and apothecary jars that would organize every craft supply I own right down to the last micro mini brad. That dream has always remained just beyond my reach because I managed to place it somewhere between tomorrow and someday.

I realized that tomorrow and someday live only as thoughts in my head that anything that ever happens can only do so right now. Without giving much thought to any decisive action today, I ended up at the Home Depot on my lunch hour where I spent more than 20 minutes of bliss picking out paint colors for my brand new art studio. I purchased three tester colors, 2 in the blue green hues and one very light yellow. After putting the colors on my wall, I find the combination needs a bit of tweaking and that's okay. The important thing here is that I took a step toward my dream and tomorrow I'll take another and the day after that I'll do the same until the day I find myself working on paper dolls from my beautiful new dream studio.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Everyday Bliss is Where Women Create

20 minutes of bliss turned into 45 minutes of being utterly inspired by the lives of creative women. I went into Barnes & Noble with the specific purpose of selecting a magazine I could rip up for my creative collages. What I found was Stampington's latest issue of Where Women Create.

Today I spent my lunch hour reading stories of women with the courage to follow their dreams even under sometimes harsh conditions and economic uncertainty. Those stories also had another effect. They made it crystal clear to me that I'm still gripped by the fear of leaping into the abyss never to return or worse, living out of my car! Oh, I can hear the symphony of my Venomous Toad Committee playing to the tune of "You can't do it because . . . " *sigh*

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Birth of a Le Jardin Fuchsia

Today is day 2 of my Creative Awakenings journey. While in the throws of my 20 minutes of everyday bliss, I received instructions for something new. My delightfully creative mind gave birth to the dimensional fuchsia. Before I go further I must confess a perplexity over the spelling of that particular word - fuchsia. Its elusiveness sends me to the dictionary every time while one question runs through my head like a ticker tape. Why that spelling? Eckhart Tolle would simply say, stop thinking, it's not important. I like that advice.

That zone of creativity where there are no words is truly a blissful state indeed. I find myself putting things together that I may not have otherwise thought of and it makes me feel like the queen of originality, at least for a moment or two. Working small and detailed is the person I have identified with for so long. I wonder to what extent that will change while on this journey. Maybe it won't. What powers do the fine details have over me that make me unwilling to let them go? It might be nice to venture beyond them, to step back and focus on the panorama instead of the bulls eye, if only for a little while right? The answer is yes, just not today.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Everyday Bliss Day 1

Today is day 1 of my Creative Awakenings journey. This chick has taken flight with 38 others from The Artful Paper Doll Ning network and charted a course of discovery into our inner selves through creative collage and journaling.

Everyday bliss is about doing something, anything that brings me total enjoyment for 20 minutes a day. Today was about working on this background for a new dimensional collage that will incorporate one of my fairy dolls. I loose all sense of time when I am creating. In the moment that happens, I know on a level of being that can not be explained by words or thoughts, that I am fully connected to the infinite.