Category Archives: Radical Wholeness

Nothing In Nature Is Ever Wasted

It is inevitable. Somewhere between sitting down at my studio table to begin, and deciding I’d reached the end of the process for whatever I’m working on, I decide I must quit.

Not because I’ve reached a place where the natural harmony of the creation feels complete. Oh no. Never then.

It’s always somewhere in between the beginning and the ‘ending’. That place where I am thinking about the value of the ‘end product’ instead of being present to the value of being in the creative process. That’s when the critter wants me to believe that whatever I’m creating isn’t being organized enough to have value, make sense, look ‘good’. I may as well just chuck it and begin again.

Yesterday, I decided to collage three of the leaves I’d used to imprint with the day before, as the focal point of my painting. The message being — ‘nothing in nature is ever wasted’.

Good message. Yuck application.

Or at least that’s what my critter mind (who does not care about proper usage of English) kept hissing about midway through the creative exploration of what was seeking to emerge.

I didn’t. Quit.

I kept exploring.

Which also means, I kept breathing. Deeply. I kept breathing into the present moment bringing my entire body into attunement with the mystery that arises in the art of creating.

Nature is your inspiration”, the voice of wisdom whispered within my body. “Let your curiosity and your natural desire to explore open you up to what is possible when you allow the muse to have her way with you without your thinking getting in her way.”

“Nothing in nature is ever wasted.”

I let curiosity guide me.

I am grateful. I did not give up.

Spring blossoms are in full bloom here at the eastern foot of the Canadian Rockies. The undergrowth in the forest separating our lawn from the forest that lines the riverbank is growing thicker. Dead autumn leaves are decaying, becoming fertilizer for new growth.

A robin takes up residence in an abandoned nest tucked into the branches of a tree. I watch it carry offerings from Mother Earth, twigs and grasses and dead leaves. She is busy making it a safe home for her new family. Waste not. Want not.

I affix three leaves to a piece of watercolour paper and halfway through worry I have made a mistake. Ugh, the critter hisses. This painting is going nowhere’.

Frustration with the whole creativity process mounts. I want to give up.

“There is nowhere to be but within the wholeness of everything”, the voice of wisdom whispers. “Keep diving into wholeness. Let your entire being be present within the process.

I breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Deeply. Slowly. My thinking mind stills. My body attunes to the wonder and awe of the moment.

Criticical thinking of what I’m creating falls away. Appreciation of being in the creative moment rises up to greet me and welcome me home.

All things that were once alive become part of creating new life in nature. Nothing is ever wasted.

Like creativity.

Nothing is wasted. Every layer becomes part of the whole. Every idea energy to ignite what is possible into becoming visible.

I wanted to give up yesterday. And then, Nature called me back into the moment and I found myself, once again, in the sacred space of creating with Nature as my guide. Allowing all that was yearning to be called forth into awareness to become visible.

Nature. Wonder. Awe.

Curiosity. Imagination. Inspiration.

Harmony. Gratitude. Grace.

A perfectly whole trifecta of three. The embodiment of my creative expression.

Nothing is ever wasted when I am immersed in creative expression.

I whisper a prayer of gratitude to Mother Nature.

Thank you Mother for your gifts. For this exquisite moment. Thank you for your wholeness. I am complete in your expression of life, of mystery, of endings and beginnings. I am whole when I allow your creative Nature to flow freely through all that I create, all that I am. Thank you Mother for this life.

Harmony and peace wash over and up and throughout my body.

Nothing is wasted in nature. This moment, right now, is perfect. And it flows with nature’s perfect symmetry into the next.

Namaste.

Art, Like Life, Happens In The Messy Places

“Magnifico” – 2-page spread for Sheltered Wonder Art Journal – acrylic and acrylic ink on watercolour paper – Pgs 22 – 23

I painted outside yesterday. I moved two tables, chairs and some supplies out of my studio and onto the lawn and set myself up for a day of magic.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Tamara, friend, fellow artist and one of the other three founding members of the Basement Bombshells Art Collective, joined me for an appropriately socially-distanced paint-in on the lawn. We laughed and chatted and threw ideas around as easily as the squirrels leaping through the Poplars that every so often kept dropping little stickies onto Tamara’s canvas. They all added to the texture of her work while our conversation, the magic that happens when two artists come together to create and the environment offered up the perfect space to delve deep into soulful expression.

Nature’s beauty is ever-present. It lies deep within the soil giving birth to plants and trees, flowers and weeds. It fills the air. With birdsong and distant traffic humming, whispering leaves rustling in the trees and rushing waters gushing towards a far-away sea.

It is beauty. It is the beast. It is light. It is dark. It is softness. It is the hard edges of humanity colliding into life in the messy. In those places where we have forgotten the magnificence of our birthright and fight to find our place, make our mark, make ourselves be known, make peace, make love, make war.

Yet, no matter how far we slip into the dark side of fighting for our lives, we cannot avoid that which is true for every single human on this earth.

We are all born magnificent.

Our lives all began in one single act. I like to think of it as an act of divine love. And, no matter how it is initiated in human form, it is this same act that creates every single being on this earth.

And then, life happens with all its beauty and all its messy, inexplicably painful, frightening part. Immersed in trying to understand the messy, we lose sight of what is true as we struggle to make sense of a world that often defies logic. In our sense-making quest to commandeer life into some sort of order, we forget our magnificence and fall beneath the burden of living ‘our purpose’., finding success, making our life work.

Like life, art happens in the messy places. Pags 23 – 24 — work in progress

Until, one day, we come upon a time when the brevity of our life journey appears to be drawing closer and closer upon the horizon. “Where have the years gone?” we ask as we turn inward towards the glimmering shimmers of light illuminating the sacredness of our being here, on this planet we call home. Slowly, we begin to remember. Magnificence is our birthright. It is at the heart of our human essence. And the cracks appear in our memory as we remember to let go of mediocrity and live our magnificent selves alive in a world of other magnificent selves.

Yesterday, I painted outside amidst Nature’s splendour and I remembered.

Ah yes. This is life. This is joy. This is calm. This is what it feels like to feel, really, really feel, what it means to ‘be alive’ embodied in the present moment. To feel at one with all of nature, sentient and non-sentient beings, in this moment, right now. To know my inherent humanity in all its magnificent colours and to experience the magnificence of others.

Leaves used for imprinting.

Inspired by nature, I collected a few leaves and imprinted their delicate nature onto the page. I splashed and swirled, drew and etched as the page came alive with colour, texture, form, depth.

I’ve titled this 2 page spread, “Magnifico”. It is my reflection of nature’s reminder to never forget the magnificent nature of all things.

To honour always, our humanity and our impact upon this planet we call ‘ours’. It is fragile, this ecosystem that sustains us. It is intertwined amidst and in and of each breath we take in and each breath we exhale. It is a delicate, sacred dance. A gift of life that gives each of us air to breathe, water to drink, gravity to hold us in place and land upon which to stand and sit, walk and run. It is our home. It deserves our loving attention.

Namaste

______________________________________

You can see the work Tamara created in THIS CONVERSATION on my FB page.

Magic. Mystery. Miracles.

“The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery.”-Fred Alan Wolf

It is overcast this morning. Grey clouds hang low. Pregnant. Electrically charged ions full-bodied. Suspended. Yearning for release.

A search for ‘how clouds form’ reveals, science does not have all the answers. Each suspended droplet is imbued with mystery.

The river runs high this morning. Jade green flowing into gun metal grey. There is no mystery to its swollen flow. Spring run-off has begun in the mountains spanning the western horizon their ridges separating earth from sky like the back of a monolithic dragon sleeping. Snow melts along its spine. Rivulets race down its sides to meet up with a multitude of brooks and streams coursing down mountainsides, leaping and frothing at the chance to join the river flowing eastward in the valleys far below.

Plump green leaves shiver in the morning breeze stirring the branches of the trees lining the river. A squirrel traverses through the ever-thickening canopy. No flying this morning. Just thoughtful navigation from limb to limb.

It is raining now. The clouds release their bounty in a gentle patter. The leaves dance.

I stand on the deck, beneath the portico above the door. The air smells fresh. Alive.

I breathe deeply. Bring my awareness into the mystery of this moment. Feel the air against my skin.

I smile.

I had planned on writing about baking and creating food art with foccacia. About friends visiting on the wine deck. An afternoon spent sipping chilled wine in the warm sunlight. Savouring friendship. New and old.

And then, I visited David Kanigan at Live & Learn. Listened to the morning meditation he offered up. Alison Balsom playing Satie’s Gymnopédie on the trumpet. As Lori, one of his commenters described it, “Lovely limpid, languid tune….”

In the plaintiff call of the trumpet, in the echoing eeriness of Satie’s resonances, I fell into grace. Effortless. Enveloping. Grace.

It is there I find myself now. Listening to the sound of rain falling gently. The honking of two geese flying overhead. Notes of a piano softly thrumming in the background.

My plans undone. I come undone in this moment.

Yesterday is past. Today holds promise. Tomorrow is a mystery.

I release yesterday with a silent prayer of gratitude. It falls softly, gently into memory’s welcoming bed, a wildflower garden of tranquil respite.

I breathe into the promise of today and whisper a prayer of gratitude for this moment. Each second imbued with possibility. Its gifts still a mystery.

I sense tomorrow’s mystery flowing deep beneath the surface of this moment in which I sit watching the river flow.

Time enough for tomorrow.

Today, right now, the music of life stirs me.

I rise up and begin to move. Slowly. Gently. My body flows, stretches, undulates. In and out and all around, captive to the waves of sound, ebbing and flowing, pushing and pulling, plumping up the molecules of air dancing all around me with the melodious notes of Satie. Arvo Pärt. Laurence Ipsum.

Mystery dances in the air around me.

Magic shimmers on the leaves unfolding on the branches outside my window.

Miracles glitter on the raindrops falling. Lightly. Gently. Softly.

Life is a mystery calling me to rise up and dance. In the sunlight and shadows. Beneath rain clouds hanging low, and raindrops falling all around. In golden times and darkened moments.

In it all.

Life is a mystery calling me to dance. With Love. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Grace.

And so, I dance.

I invite you to dance with me. I invite you to savour the mystery, cherish the memories and let them go in this moment so that you can rise up and dance, free and untethered, twirling and spinning about, weaving and dipping and jiving with your body unbounded in the joy erupting within the beauty of this moment right now.

Namaste.

_________________________

Thank you David for the Morning Meditation and the link to Rob at The Hammock Papers. Thank you Rob for that quote. It is sublime.

And thank you to those who create music and words and images and ideas that stir the senses and free the mind to dance amidst the beauty of the mystery of life.

The Poetry Of Life

I am sitting outside on the deck. Early morning. The air is cool and crisp. I am wrapped up in a blanket. A shawl around my shoulders.

I feel the slight coolness of the air against the skin of my face, my fingers.

Morning sounds greet me. Two geese honking as they fly over. A chickadee chirping. The hiss of the river flowing.

I am feeling content. Satisfied. Peaceful.

I take a sip of my latte, the liquid warm as it crosses my lips, enters my mouth and flows down my throat.

A car crosses the bridge moving from west to east. Its tires hiss on the road’s surface and then it is gone.

Overhead, the sound of a jet plane breaks the quiet of the morning. In this time of Covid, the skies have been so quiet for so long now, it sounds out of place, unusual.

And then it too is gone.

Morning stillness returns.

There is no music playing softly in the background this morning. Only the poetry of nature filling the morning with its songs.

Poetry is everywhere. From the sounds of the river flowing, geese flying overhead, cars travelling across the bridge.

Poetry is everywhere.

“Go sit outside and savour the poetry of the morning,” the wisdom of my heart whispered when I first sat down at my desk to write.

The critter was having none of my heart’s desire. With a plumped up sense of importance, it jumped into the fray. “Don’t be ridiculous,” it hissed. “It’s cold out there.”

At first, I let the critter’s voice dictate my actions. He’s right, I thought. It is still a bit too chilly out there.

My heart is wise. It knows best what I need.

“It’s only ridiculous if you decide it’s ridiculous,” my heart murmured gently. “There is poetry in the morning air. Go and savour its song. Go immerse yourself in its beauty.”

The critter is not one to give up easily. “You’ll catch a cold,” it stated emphatically.

“Now that’s ridiculous,” I replied.

And I came outside.

I am sitting on the deck in the cool morning air wrapped up in a blanket. My laptop is propped up in front of me. My fingers move across the keyboard. The still cool air of morning caresses my skin.

From where I sit

I am surrounded by the poetry of morning.

It floats through the air, every sound plumping up each molecule into round full orbs of delight that tickle and tease my senses with their delicious, poetic nature.

The morning air sounds like it feels. Graceful, effortless, like the ducks bobbing along the river’s surface as they pass by in front of me.

I close my eyes and welcome in the poetry of morning. It sweeps through my body, cascading in wave after wave washing over me with its melodic, hypnotic invitation to get present within this moment right now.

I feel myself sinking deeply into the moment. Becoming one with all that is my world right here where I sit wrapped up in a blanket on the deck in the cool morning air.

I breathe in and out. In and out and open my eyes. The world is brighter. Lighter.

I watch a squirrel performing an arabesque in the trees. It turns its body upside down as it clings to a branch before letting go and leaping fearlessly through space, twisting itself right-side up, midair, to grab hold of the next branch. The leaves rustle melodiously as it moves through the forest canopy bursting into fullness with each passing moment.

I hear the song of more birds chirping. A single plaintiff whistle. A magpie squawking.

The poetry of morning surrounds me.

Gratitude fills my body with its song of joy. My heart breaks open with the beauty of this day awakening.

Morning has broken. Day has begun. My heart is full of the poetry of life.

Plant Only Love

Two page spread for Sheltered Wonder Art Journal. Mixed media on watercolour paper.

If your life is like a garden – to cultivate, to tend, to nurture — what seeds have you planted?

How have you tended it well? What have you nurtured in its fertile soils? What have you weeded out? What new plants have you introduced? Which ones have you transplanted? Where is it overgrown? Where is it barren and dry?

What is your garden asking of you today?

I had fun playing with creativity in my garden yesterday. Experimenting. Wondering, what if I… And then, letting the ‘what if’ guide me. Under its spell, I painted without knowing where I was going, trusting always that whatever was appearing was opening the portal to the next, and then the next, and then the next discovery.

In the art of creativity, I found myself immersed in wonder and awe, free-flowing through time, surfing on a jet stream of creativity that held me captive high above the earth, paying no heed to gravity’s pull calling me to come back to earth.

Eventually I did. Come back to earth. But not before something I hadn’t imagined would appear, appeared on the canvas – in this case an 11 1/5″ x 7″ piece of 140lb watercolour paper – filled with watercolour and inks, a bird on a branch, bright, joyful pops of colourful flowers popping up out of the ground.

The use of complementary and analogous colours was unintentional (that’s just a fancy way of saying ‘colours from the opposite sides of the colour wheel’). I had sat down at my studio work table with an idea in my mind of what I was looking to express.

It wasn’t what appeared.

And that is the beauty of the creative process. When I get out of my head brain and become present with my entire body attuned to the moment, magic happens.

For me, there is something chaotically joyful and abandoned about this painting. It stirs both my heart and my curiosity. It makes me wonder, ‘is the bird just alighting?’ or, is it just taking flight? What are the stories the wind is whispering to the leaves of its travels around the globe?

And then, the art-related questions of, ‘What would happen if I painted the bird white? Gave her a red belly? Or yellow one? What if…

And the circle continues. Widens. Broadens out to encompass more and more possibilities.

I’m not sure this painting is finished with me yet. I’m still wondering ‘what if’s’ and that is always a sign.

The choice to heed their intriguing possibilities is mine.

Hmmmm…. Will she or won’t she?

Ahhh. Life is such a beautiful, joyful dance of mystery, mysticism and magic. It is a garden full of all the seeds I’ve planted growing into my life today. No matter what seeds I plant, or what seeds are pollinated by the winds of time, it is my destiny to tend it so that all that grows, all that flourishes, all that becomes known and witnessed and experienced is, Love in all its rainbow colours.

Namaste.

Let Your Heart Run Wild

Mixed media on water colour paper. 2 page spread for “Sheltered Wonder” Art Journal

Worry and being present cannot inhabit the same space. Worry is about future events. It focuses on obsessive thoughts of events that may or may not happen. Being present is exactly that – you are here in the now, free of worry, experiencing this moment.

Worry feeds your head brain with the illusion only it will keep you safe from the worst of what you think might happen.

The heart knows best how to stay present in the moment. The body becomes embodied in the present when your heart beats freely without fear clouding your senses and muddying up your peace of mind.

Listen to your heart. Let it run wild. Let it leap over obstacles. Dive deep into unknown waters. Soar high into cloudy skies and limitless blue possibilities.

When you heart runs wild worry falls away, fear subsides and life flows freely.

Let your heart run wild.

_________________________________

Since Covid became a ‘real’ thing in our world, my beloved and I have practiced self-isolation. Always there has been a niggling worry at the back of my mind about what if…?

What if he gets infected? What if he doesn’t survive? What if…

I tell myself, that’s just worry Louise about future events over which you have no control. Breathe and be in the moment. Breathe into your heart, let it run wild with delight in this moment where you are both well and healthy and savouring this secluded time together. Let worry go.

Worry responds, “Go ahead. Try. But you’re gonna fail. I’m stronger than your heart. Remember. I live in your brain. I know everything.”

“Oh no you don’t,” the wisdom that breathes deeply within my belly responds, coursing with energy up through my body, into the far extremities of my arms, my hands, my fingertips that feel the air moving all around me. With effortless grace, the energy flows down into my legs, my ankles, my feet, connecting and grounding me to the earth.

“The heart sends more messages to you every moment of every day than you send to it, my belly informs my brain. “You think your way through life. The heart feels its way into and through every moment. It flows with life-giving blood that nourishes my organs, my cells, my skin. It breathes life into the essence of my being alive.”

My heart knows life, intimately.

My brain only knows what it thinks life is. It cannot feel it. Experience it. Taste it. It takes the whole body – head included — nourished by the heart’s blood-pounding ways, to do that.

The heart feels everything. The body joins it in communion with all of nature. The brain says, “Let me think about that.”

The heart and body respond, “Come, run wild with us through life’s forests. Come, swim with us in its seas of plenty. Let your thoughts rest within the delight of this moment right now. Let worry go.”

I breathe and heed the call of the wild.

My worry serves no purpose than to pull me away from the exquisite nature of this moment right now.

“The purpose of self-isolation is to stem the worry, Louise,” my heart whispers lovingly. “It’s the right thing to do for both of you. It isn’t about divining the future, it’s about building safe, courageous space to live confidently in this moment right now knowing, deep within all your being, that in this moment right now, you are alive within the precious, holy, sacred gift of life.”

In these exceptional times, as in all times, every breath counts. Every breath is precious. Anything that disrupts the flow has the potential to ignite my worry – if I let it.

Breathing deeply into the beauty of this moment, I let my worry drift away upon the river of life that sustains me.

I let worry go. And my heart runs wild.

Namaste.

When Did You Last Play?

Play.

It is good for the soul.

Good for easing inner turmoil. Good for bringing peace of mind into a troubled world.

Yesterday I played.

There was no destination. No agenda.

Just an unstructured space in time. A bunch of paint and inks and collage materials. A messy worktable, brushes strewn across its surface. An old yogurt container filled with fresh water. Music blaring. Fireplace burning. Light streaming in through the french doors that lead from my studio to the outdoors.

And me. Alone, not lonely. Warm inside while outside a north wind blew.

Me. Content. Playing. Unencumbered by the news and its dire forecasts and graphic images.

Me. Immersed in creativity. Exploring colour and light and shape and texture.

I didn’t think about what I was creating. I definitely didn’t burden myself with the thought that I was ‘creating art’.

I wasn’t. Creating art. I was allowing self-expression. I was allowing space for my soul to dance, my spirits to rise and my heart to sing.

It is rare.

This creating with no agenda.

So often I want my ‘outcome’ to be. Something. Beautiful. Pleasing to the eye. Meaning-filled.

Yesterday, I played with paint, just for the pure joy and fun of its release.

It was soul-filling. Restorative. Satisfying.

When’s the last time you played with your creative soul just for the pure fun of it?

______________

And the words written on the painting?  They’re upside down.  I’d love to say it was ‘just for the fun of it’ but it was actually an accident! The painting is more balanced when turned upside down to find its right side up.

Though their meaning is not by accident. It is my heart and soul’s response to what resonates deeply within my entire being.

It is an expression of the ‘what’ I want to create in the world within me and all around me…

When lost in a world of struggle, stop fighting your heart calling you to ‘Give into Love.’

Give into Love. Always.