spirit angel

I believe that there are angels around us all the time

I believe that there are angels around us all the time. Guides. I have often wished that I could see my own angels. Though I’m unable to see them physically, I like to believe that they are always guiding me. I often pray that I can be attuned to their guidance and able to receive whatever gifts or messages they have to offer, whether it’s encouragement to stay the course or get off at the nearest exit. I hope that I can grow increasingly attuned to their presence. I’ve sketched a couple of different angels in the past, and this is yet another. Not super happy with her eyes, but still very much experimenting and practicing. I think maybe I’ll start an angel series…Hope it gives you inspiration to tune in to your spirit angels!

Cheers!

soul art

there is nothing wrong with discomfort. Pay attention to how it feels…

I was listening to The Power of Sacred Business, Lead from the Heart Series by Shereen Sun this morning. LMFT and founder of DharmaBridge, Kelly Blaser, was the guest. She talked about growing your sacred business and most interestingly to me, about cultural conditioning. Under the larger umbrella of cultural conditioning exists the conditioned mind. Our conditioned minds live inside a conversation about ourselves. I understood this to be how we perceive the messages society throws at us and how we interpret and apply those messages to ourselves. We’re in this space of “conditioned mind” a lot of the time – Kelly explained that we’re hypnotized by it; however, it’s just a conversation in our minds – We’re hallucinated into thinking it’s the truth, and we behave based upon that collective hallucination. Kelly further explained that in our society, there is a conditioning that’s agreed upon. For example, we happen to agree that we are more worthy if we have more degrees…More education and credentials equal more worthiness, which is actually just a construct. This is an example of a culturally agreed upon conditioned belief. Holy cow, I’ve totally bought into this agreement! Furthermore, I believe that I have this overachiever construct due to my own issues related to adoption, which manifests as perfectionism. I thought about how much time and energy I spend on negative self-talk,  trying to achieve more, and avoid the pain that comes with others disliking me. Kelly believes that there is a way to flip this or reframe this conditioned mindset. We have an opportunity to liberate ourselves from anything that goes against our conditioning. The moment you begin to walk through the discomfort, e.g., anxiety, being liked, conflict, self-hatred, etc., you’re in the process of burning away your conditioned patterns. I hate discomfort. I want things to be easy, for pete’s sake. Well, if you can burn away your conditioned patterns, then you begin to return yourself to the truth of who you are, which is infinite possibility. Okay, so it’s a process, maybe a long, uncomfortable process with a lot of heat. Moving through the discomfort helps you find liberation. It’s in the walking…If you can experience the heat of the discomfort and think of it as a kharmic seed that’s being burned away, and if it didn’t burn away it would just take root and create the same conditions you’ve been accustomed to, then you can eventually experience liberation.

I like that Kelly said there is nothing wrong with discomfort. Pay attention to how it feels. The more you can unhook from what you think the discomfort means and actually be with the discomfort, realizing that it’s fine, it’s not a problem, the more you begin to burn away separate self patterns, or the parts of the conditioned mind that perhaps weren’t benefitting you. Drop what was, and step into what’s new.

All of this made a lot of sense to me, as I’ve been in a lot of discomfort lately, and it has been pretty awful. The piece above came out of this discomfort. It was intuitive (as most of my sketches are at this point), and I wasn’t quite sure what would emerge. Soul art, soul practice. At first, I wasn’t happy with how it turned out, but I thought that was perhaps a metaphor for how I felt about myself at the moment. Today, as I finished the piece, I felt a little better about just sitting with the discomfort I feel until it doesn’t feel uncomfortable anymore. I added pink into the background. Pink is a color I associate with warmth, cheer, peace and cotton candy – the good feelies. Maybe that’s my intuition telling me, I’m walking through the heat and doing my best to patiently transform my conditioned mind. I think it’s gonna be awhile. If you’re feeling discomfort today, you’re definitely not alone. It’s a soul journey, and I’m happy to share it with you.

 

grit

if you are feeling shame, blame, or down on yourself this morning for whatever reason, you have strength, courage, and beauty that you never imagined inside you

Have you ever just had such an awful week that you felt tired to your bones? I mean, felt as though you’re cloaked in weight, a weight that just presses you down and in on all sides? I had one of those kinds of weeks. I’m sure I’m not alone. We all suffer through valleys, and though it can be excruciatingly painful at the time, sometimes we come up on the other side having gained greater insight, wisdom, and compassion for ourselves and others. This morning, I’m still processing through one of the most difficult circumstances I’ve ever encountered in my professional work. I felt that I was being unfairly blamed for things by others who were oblivious to their own part in the unfortunate situation. Okay, I know that everyone probably experiences similar situations at some point in their lives, but this was very personal. When there is an attack on your person, it just goes a little deeper. I was hoping someone would take to my defense; alas, that is not what transpired until after everything boiled over.

So, as I processed what I could have done differently in the situation, I drew the piece above. Yeah, her dimensions are a little off, but you know what, I’m letting go of perfection this morning. As I sketched and erased, sketched and erased over and over, I thought about grit. Not the southern fried comfort food (which I also happen to love), but a characteristic that is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. I have been tempted to be down on myself, to turn inward and believe that I was wrongful. However, I have begun to realize that I also need to trust my intuition and my own clinical insight. It takes grit, I think, to take responsibility, to take a hit and then get back up. To accept the blame when really, you aren’t to blame, and to stand strong, despite feeling crippled. I am confident that as I continue to learn and grow, fall and get up, grit will keep me going.

If you are feeling shamed, blamed, or down on yourself this morning for whatever reason, trust that you have strength, courage, and beauty that you never imagined inside you. Dig in and know that you are worthy of all things good, bright, and lovely. Dream big and wide, and don’t let other’s *&%#$@! get you down. Set strong boundaries on what’s someone else’s stuff apart from your own. Sending lots of love out to the universe and to those who need an extra dose of courage and strength.

Cheers…

innocence

there’s something about being a kid and living life as though it were an adventure

I love kids. When our daughter was a very young child, I was fascinated by her sense of wonder when she discovered something new or was exploring. I loved watching her eat ice cream because the look of pure joy emanating from her face and her tiny, wrinkled up nose were priceless. I loved that she saw and perceived the world through untainted eyes. Everything was like a new adventure. Unfortunately, as we mature, we get exposed to the unkindness in the world; we get hurt by others as well as by our own selves. We learn and grow through positive and negative experiences. That’s just life. But, there’s something about being a kid and living life as though it were an adventure. There’s something special about engaging with kids and capturing that sense of wonder and innocence – That time in life when you have absolutely no responsibility but to live and grow and be nurtured. I was inspired by that sense as I created the piece above.

May we keep on seeking adventure and wonder in our own lives and continually open ourselves up to new possibilities!

Cheers…

 

fierce

I’m inspired by women who are confident, strong, of any body shape, entrepreneurs, yet compassionate and humble. Women who aren’t afraid to break the “mold…”

I’ve been drawing again now for about a month. I was telling a friend recently that it’s been such a surprise to see what materializes on the canvas after I start a sketch. I continue to explore what speaks to me. When I was in middle school, I started sketching and enjoyed drawing, but I never took it any further, as piano was always my first priority. It seems that now, art has taken center stage. I’ve kinda fallin’ in love with it! I have always loved the whimsical, magical, fairy tale, and fantasy, so I think that’s becoming my style.

I’ve been inspired lately by women who don’t subscribe to the typical American beauty standards – you know what I mean… I’m inspired by women who are confident, strong, of any body shape, entrepreneurs, yet compassionate and humble. Women who aren’t afraid to break the “mold” and speak out against body shaming, who are dispelling diet myths and turning toward intuitive eating. Women who are changing the way the world perceives the female gender. Women who inspire me to do better and be better. I struggled with an eating disorder called orthorexia for years. To this day, I catch myself saying negative things about my body. So much wasted time and energy! Now that I’m older, I still want to care for my body, but in a much different way. Self care and self-kindness has become much more of a focus than looking as thin as possible. I’ve been listening to Christy Harrison’s podcast, Food Psych, which is completely changing how I view food and my body. Harrison is a registered dietician nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counselor. I’m not 100% healthy yet in mind or body. It’s a journey. The road is windy, and there are lots of hills and valleys, but I’m trying.

So, the piece above kinda came out of that inspiration…to not conform, to challenge certain ways of thinking, and furthermore, to continue exploring my own creativity just for the sake of creating and enjoying. This is what speaks to me. I hope that in your own journey, you are also exploring what speaks to you and listening to those whispers!

Cheers!

hope

art and creative expression give me hope when I’m feeling depleted and need to re-connect to my heart and soul

This weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer for an event facilitated by TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) practitioners, Casey Call, PhD and Daren Jones, Training Specialist. The first event was called Trauma-Informed Classroom and the second was a Fost/Adoptive Parent Family Activity Camp. At the camp, fost/adoptive parents learned different interventions based upon the three principles of TBRI (Connecting, Empowering, Correcting). There were sensory bins filled with all kinds of stuff, weighted superhero sock creations, glitter bottle-making, and more in our area, the Empowering Station. I was stationed at the Essential Oils Center, which was awesome because I love essential oils. I talked to fost/adoptive parents and their kids about different essential oils and their properties, e.g., calming, alerting, immune support, etc. Kids got to smell a variety of oils, pick their favorite, and add some drops to a miniature roller ball container (with carrier oil) to take home.

The Trauma-Informed Classroom training was for fost/adoptive parents, teachers, camp counselors, etc., who work with kids from hard places. Attendees learned strategies to help kids who’ve experienced significant trauma in a group/classroom setting and may have difficulties self-regulating or managing emotions. It also provided a brief intro to how trauma affects the brain and neurochemistry, as well as causes gaps in a child’s development, which I won’t get into here. The events gave me hope that fost/adoptive parents can learn an evidence-based approach to help kiddos learn to regulate better and learn to connect with and empower their kids. It gave me hope that there are interventions out there to help fost/adoptive parents, but also that there are parents out there seeking help. The weekend was impacting for all who attended, including the volunteers. It was cool to see parents and kids connecting and having fun together. And the smiles on the kids’ faces were precious.

I created the piece above over the weekend, along with a couple of other sketches, using colored pencils mostly. Although the weekend events were great, I was completely exhausted afterwards. Often in my profession, I feel hopeless that anything I do makes a difference. The work is difficult, but the feeling of reward or gratification is low. Art and creative expression give me hope and fill in the gaps when I’m feeling depleted and need to re-connect to my heart and soul.

lots of inspiration

Over the last week, I’ve been drawing like crazy. It’s become addictive! I’ve been doing lots of experimenting and exploring. In many ways, the pieces reflect my own personal struggles. The piece above is really about being kind. Kind to myself and others. Probably one of my biggest life values.

girl behind barbed wireThe next piece reflects what it feels like to me to be indecisive, like a girl caught behind a barbed wire fence. I struggle with indecision and with often making the wrong decision, in retrospect. I guess another way to to look at my poor decision making is that it’s provided a learning opportunity of some sort. Usually a painful learning experience, but nevertheless, an opportunity to learn and grow. One of the things that I’ve been most indecisive about is my career. I still don’t feel like I’ve found the right one, or if there even is a right one, despite thousands of dollars in student loans I’ve accumulated for a master’s degree. So sad, but true. The things I most love – art, music, writing – do not make for promising or stable careers. I admire those individuals who are able to make a living using their creative talents.

joy

The last piece I think reflects joy because art makes me so happy. I’m planning to buy better art supplies soon so that I can improve shading and adding texture, but for now am happy that I have any supplies at all. So much to explore…Happy drawing!

Cheers…