Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer of Self Love, Authenticity, and Fearlessness

What a summer.  Talk about breaking wide open.  If you remember, it was the fire that started me on this journey to living wholeheartedly.  The universe seems to always challenge my commitment to these things and this time was no different.  Stephen's drowning has challenged me in ways I never want to experience again, but I surely will because I will lose others that I love deeply.  The universe also brings me the people I need to help me on my journey-I have been blessed with a tribe of women who are giving me exactly what I need right now.

My biggest lessons this summer  have been about self-love, self acceptance, and self compassion.  Self love isn't about getting a pedi every week or treating yourself to ice cream (ok, maybe it is a little bit).  It is about a deep understanding of yourself, recognizing your beauty and being compassionate with all the parts of yourself.  For me, it was the realization that I am not flawed or damaged...I just am.  I make mistakes, I do dumb stuff, I am not always nice, I have a belly and lopsided boobs and I am still pretty cool and worthy of love.  Being able to accept that I am not ok right now has been huge for me...six months ago I would have still tried to be superwoman through my grief...not happening now.  I am actively engaged in self care and being very tender with myself as I heal.
As part of my self care I started a painting class a few weeks ago called BIG. I wasn't looking for another class, but I knew I needed to take this as part of my journey.   It is a class in a series of FEARLESS Painting classes taught by Connie Hozvicka at Dirty Footprints Studio .  In this class, we paint BIG..poster size.  I have never done that before and I love it.  But here is the learning to paint FEARLES  I have learned to let go of the gremlins that talk crap to me.  The ones who tell me I am not good enough, not worthy, fat, ugly, a bitch, not really an know the gremlins I am talking about.  Posting my paintings on FB, flickr, etc, isn't about me wanting everyone to see my work, it's about squashing the gremlins.  I don't really care if anyone likes my artwork.....I don't always like it either.  It isn't about what I's about THAT I create.   Putting my art out there is telling the gremlins to "bite me".  Being able to release the perfectionist gremlin and the attachment to the outcome of the art piece has only fortified my self love and acceptance.  I no longer allow the gremlins to speak to me in such unkind ways or decide if I am worthy.  I don't have to do or be anything to be loveable...I just am.  Who knew?

The class has also allowed me to practice being present.  I am famous for having my energy 10 miles ahead of me, already thinking about the next 16 projects I want to do..six that I will start and  one that I might actually follow through on.  When I paint on these big pieces of paper, I stay fully present in what I am doing.  I want to experience the process of it-how the paint feels, the colors, the emotions, the texture of the paper and the brush in my hand.  I don't worry about how it looks or if the technique is correct.  I am trying to use the same process for LIFE.  I don't want to miss a minute of the good stuff worrying about whether I got it right or not.  I have also been able to focus on what really makes my heart sing and use that as my compass for what/who I want to give my energy to.  Yep all that from a painting class (if you haven't guessed its about way more than the paint-AWESOME class).

So, these paintings are from this weeks assignment. Self portrait and a blind self portrait... I actually identify more with the blind self portrait.  I love her because she is imperfect, a little sideways, and a little silly...just like me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Being Real

My favorite passage from the book  
"The Velveteen Rabbit" .............
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real, you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Beautiful Fields of Alpine Valley
People who don't live in Alpine are always asking me what its like here now that the fire is out.  I am sure they are refering to how it looks but I want to tell you what its like.  Most people don't understand that the crisis is not over.  We are in monsoon season and the rain that falls almost everyday is terrifying.  Everytime it rains we all wonder who's turn it is to get flooded.  The stress and anxiety is unrelenting.  They tell us it is going to be like this for several years. 
New Alpine Signage
That being said, we are amazing, strong, and resilient people in this little town.  We have been brought to our knees and have a black eye but we're still here.  We are taking care of our community, each other and still  just living.  Yesterday our town celebrated a wedding that got postponed because of the evacuation and a baby shower for someone awaiting a new son.  We laughed, we loved on each other and then it started raining, and we worried together. 
Wildflowers of Alpine

This morning I snapped these photos.  I was amazed at how much beauty I found in the burnout areas that were black just a few weeks ago.  There is green everywhere and beautiful wildflowers coming up out of the blackened soil.  Rising from the ashes so to speak, just like all of us who live here. 

 It's hard to live here right now, that's what I'll tell you if you ask.  It's hard, it's stressful, it's sad and yet I don't want to be anywhere else right now-this is my home and these are my people. It's also joyful,  peaceful and still beautiful just have to look a little harder to find the beauty.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, grow." -Talmud

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Truth about Truth

Some Things about Speaking Your Truth

What is truth anyway?  If you look it up it says this:
1.  sincerity in action, character, and utterance  (2) the body of real things, events, facts (3) a transendent fundamental or spirituality reality.

So then speaking your truth is speaking your reality, speaking your character. There's the thing...

It doesn’t work when you speak from a place of anger or fear.
It doesn’t work when you fight or demand or criticize.
People shut down when they hear your anger, or feel attacked.

But people hear Truth.
Truth is not angry. It’s not fear-based. It’s not judgmental.
It’s just Truth.

And real Truth comes from a place of love. It comes with compassion and acceptance and gentleness. It doesn’t back down or hide.
And it speaks volumes louder than anger.

We also have to be willing to accept and respect that my truth and yours may not be the same, and not everyone is in a place where they can hear our truth, or even want to.  We also have to remember that our truth isn't always THE truth.

If we want to speak our truth…if we want to promote authenticity, respect and love, compassion and kindness…We have to speak our truth from a place that allows all of those things for ourselves and those who are listening.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Green Tara

Today I have been learning about the Hindu Goddess Green Tara.  She is a goddess of compassion.  She is believed to help her followers overcome dangers, fears and anxieties, and she is especially worshipped for her ability to overcome the most difficult of situations. Green Tara is intensely compassionate and acts quickly to help those who call upon her. She can grant wishes, eliminate suffering of all kinds and bring happiness.

When called upon, she instantaneously saves us from eight specific calamities. 
1) lions and pride
wild elephants and delusions
3) forest
fires and hatred
snakes and envy
5) robbers and fanatical views
6) prisons and avarice
floods and lust
demons and doubt
Below is the Mantra of the Green Tara.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE SOHA.  As I learned this mantra this morning, I noticed how joyful and calm it made me so I thought I would share it. I will be singing it while I am painting for KAIT today.

Alrighty Here's the Plan

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Healing Disguised as a Pedicure

About every two-three weeks I go to Perfection Salon in Springerville to have a "pedicure".  Jennifer does my toes for me, but my time with her is about so much more than my toes.  She ministers to me, she tends to my spirit, she makes having a pedicure something sacred.  She loves what she does, and does it with such love that it fills me with light from my toes up.  Amidst the salt scrub and bubbles, the massage and pretty paint, she soothes my troubles for a little while.  She is amazing.  Thanks Jennifer for your healing touch and the pretty toes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wild SIsters in Training

These are two of my new friends that started kindergarten today.  We were instant friends because I recognized them as Wild Sisters in Training because of their boots, and they knew I was an old Wild Sister because of my tattoos.  I have watched them grow up but today was our first conversation-about their fabulous boots, of course.  Even at 6, they know the power of an awesome pair of boots.  Goddesses in the making.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Choose Joy

This is a new art piece that I just finished.  When I started it, it was going to be something beachy-the background is full of beachy blues.  I was still in beach mode after having just returned from our Mission Beach vacation-Take Two.  The problem was, this painting did not want to be a beachy had something very clear to tell me....starting with big green circles?????  So I let it and it told me that it's time to choose JOY.  The thing with joy is that it is a choice-always. Even in the midst of my aching heart, I can still choose JOY. It is possible to live with both until the healing is done.  In fact the JOY is necessary for the healing, so I will keep looking for it everyday and keep painting it when it needs to be painted.  Eventually, I will be able to think of Steve and feel the JOY of having known him-but not yet.

Turns out I love this painting because it is so joyful, whimsical and big (24 x 36)....kinda how life should be.  Don't ya think?