Dive In. Fill Up. Repeat

The muse and I have been dancing in the field of possibility, creating more quotes and paintings for my #ShePersisted Series.

I love the dance. I love how the muse flows with such ease and grace, encouraging me to cast caution to the wind and let my whole body immerse itself in the songs of my heart. it is a dance of love and joy.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been focused on ‘getting things done’. In particular, the uploading of the last 20 paintings and quotes onto my website.

It didn’t leave much time for dancing (it was a big job!) but it did deliver a lot of satisfaction.

It also gave me the current final painting in the series, No. 69 –

They said, we've always done it this way. It works.  
She said, your way has never worked for me.

I say ‘current’ because the muse and I love to dance together, and she loves to whisper sweet somethings into my ears. Often, those sweet somethings are new quote ideas for the series.

As well, in looking through the entire body of work, I think I may go back and update some of the visuals. If, and the if is actually an ‘I do’, want to get the series out into the bigger world out there, I need to ensure that each painting reflects my work appropriately in both the message and the art.

And, some of the earlier paintings, especially as I was first stepping into this creative field, are done in a style different than the later works. It makes sense. Given that this series now spans four years, my voice and artistry have evolved as I’ve grown more confident and courageous in its expressions.

Which also makes sense. Do something often enough, with consistency and heart, and your talent/expertise/expression will expand.

It’s like any activity. Shooting hoops. Javelin throwing. Skiing. Writing. Singing.

Do it with consistency and heart, your expertise naturally grows as well as your heart’s capacity to breathe deeper and infuse your physical and emotional efforts with more grace, energy and love.

Ultimately, one of the most vital and exciting things creating the #ShePersisted Series has taught me is… it’s all about heart.

When we put ourselves ‘out there’, when we give our heartfelt and heartful attention to something, our heart grows in its delight of our efforts to dance with wild abandon in the field of our creative expression.

And here’s the thing about ‘heart’. When those who witness whatever it is you’re putting your heart into applaud, cheer you on, encourage you, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of the dance living on and on and on. With every swoop of your body, wave of your paintbrush, throwing of a ball, swoosh down a mountainside, the encouragement of others helps to continuously draw you out of the fear ‘you can’t do it’ into that courageous space where you know deep within your heart, not doing it is the greatest risk of all.

It’s an eternal gift of reciprocity. Dive into what pleases your heart and fill your heart up with what brings you alive. In that space joy flows freely between the giver and the receiver.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Which is at the core of my mantra today… Dive in. Fill up. Dive in. Fill up. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

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I have been exceptionally blessed by the encouragement and support of everyone as this Series has evolved. Thank you. Your comments, high-fives, shares make a world of difference and keep my well of joy overflowing. I am grateful.

To take a look at the entire body of work of the #ShePersisted Series – click HERE.

Life is Full of Rainbow Colours

No. 66 – #ShePersisted Series. They said, the facts are black and white. What you want is just not possible. She said, Life is full of rainbows of possibilities. She explored them all and found new ways to make the impossible possible.

I hadn’t planned on a #ShePersisted painting when I entered my studio. I’m working on a collaborative project with another artist and yesterday, my goal was to complete our current section of the project.

And then, the muse whispered and I listened and #RainbowWoman was born. No. 66 in the series.

It started with the background. I had some excess black paint on my GelliPad (a rubber pad used for monoprinting). It looked too inviting to waste so I randomly imprinted some leaves onto it and took a print.

The black and white leaves looked inviting, so I kept going.

“Between black and white there is a rainbow of colour,” the muse whispered.

Earlier, I’d found a cocktail napkin in a drawer. Its flowers were bright and colourful. Perfect for the painting.

I separated the layers of the napkin, cut out some of the flowers and collaged them to the black and white background.

And that’s when the real magic happened.

The muse kept whispering. Kept flowing,

And I kept listening and flowing with her. That’s when #66 of the #ShePersisted series whispered, “Bring me into being.”

And so, with the muse as my co-conspirator, I danced with creative abandon she she came into being.

That’s the thing about creativity. It isn’t that its just for the ‘few’. It’s for and in all of us. Creativity is in constant flow-state. All of life is a creative dance with nature. How we express our knowing of it, our awareness and expression of its delights is as colourful as a rainbow full of possibilities.

Whether or not there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow doesn’t change the rainbow’s beauty.

Creative expression isn’t about the beauty of the output either. It’s about diving into the pot of life’s colourful possibilities bubbling up, seeking expression.

When we stop judging whether we’re creative, or not, and allow ourselves to express ourselves in our own unique voice, nothing can dim the beauty of our creative expressions – not even our self-criticisms.

The world is filled with black and white. You can say you’re creative, or not. It doesn’t really matter whether you accept you’re creative, or not. Fact is, the world is filled with over 7 billion unique expressions of life. We are each a creative expression in action. Each a creative force of nature. Living this one beautiful, precious life awakened to our inherent creativity frees us to express ourselves in all the colours of the rainbow and, it allows us to seek answers, solutions ways of solving big and small problems beyond the black and white of what other’s see as the limits of possibility.

Because, in between the black and white, there are a rainbow of colours waiting to be explored.

Namaste

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Wolf Moon Dancing and other delights

It is early morning. Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I are indulging in our first saunter of the day. Night has slipped into the envelope of eternity that waits at the edge of the far horizon. The sky is pale blue streaked with rose.

The Wolf Moon is high, still visible in night’s lingering caress.

As I walk and Beau sniffs, my mind drifts full of images and thoughts floating. They feel light and buoyant, like the chunks of ice that clog the slow-moving waters of the river below the bridge where I stand to gaze at the moon.

When I come home, I sit down at my computer to write and the words and images that lingered in my mind pour out.

 Wolf moon dancing in day's light streaking naked across the sky 
 Darkness slips silently away, its caress as soft as a lover kissing her beloved adieu.
Love sighs a glorious prayer of gratitude as earth turns her cheek to welcome the sun's passionate kiss.
 

A dear friend asked me the other day how creativity seemingly just keeps flowing out of me.

I laughed and replied, “I have no idea…” And then after a moment’s reflection replied, “I just accept its presence. I listen to its flow. I don’t question it or criticize its outpourings. I allow them.”

Which is how yesterday’s #ShePersisted painting happened. By allowing it to appear.

I didn’t know what I was going to paint when I began to create a background in my art journal yesterday. I thought I might paint some botanicals and write about the longing for spring that seems to have arrived early in my heart this year. It’s only the end of January and I’m already dreaming of frost-free mornings and buds popping up under the warmth of the sun’s encouragement.

And that ain’t happenin’ yet!

I live at the edge of Rockies, in the land where the plains meet the undulating foothills. Where sky soars forever, and sometimes, so does winter.

We still have 3 months of indeterminate weather. Cold snaps. Polar Vortices. Arctic chills. They’re all in the wind. All a possibility between now and the May 24th weekend when ‘they’ say it’s safe to once again plant gardens.

Painting botanicals seemed like an antidote to the grey on brown world outside.

The muse has other ideas. My creative flow has its own rhythm.

When the inspiration for the #ShePersisted Series of quotes and images began, I thought it would last… just a little while. 1. 2. Maybe 3 paintings. 12 at the most.

Yesterday’s was No. 65. Somewhere between creating the background and writing out what was on my heart, letting myself fall into the flow of creativity rising up from deep within my belly.

No. 65 – #ShePersisted

They said, why must you keep fighting for more. This is all we can give you right now.

She said, I will never stop fighting for my rights until you stop holding onto the rights that are rightfully mind.

This morning, the quote for No. 66 appeared. I wasn’t expecting it or looking for it, but there it was, streaming out of the thoughts that appeared from the words I felt rising up while I stood on the bridge. I almost did a happy dance when the quote wrote itself out.

And…. here’s a ‘teaser’ – “They said, stop shining so bright. She said, I am made of stardust. I am Star Woman shining bright so you can see in the dark.

I can already envision the imagery and energy of the piece. I feel the essence of the Star Woman shining.

And that’s the thing about the muse. When we listen, she flows freely. When we allow the force of her flow to draw us out of our comfort zones, we fall with abandon into the waters of creative expression flowing wild and free.

Namaste

Now’s The Time (#ShePersisted No. 64)

How many times have you heard yourself say, or someone else tell you, “It’s all in the timing and now is not the time.”

Or, “When it’s the right time, you’ll know.”

The question is, who determines the timing or whether it’s ‘the right time’ or not.

Fact is, if I want something to change and you don’t, you’ll find a way to tell me my timing is off. It’s a much easier let-down than, “No”.

Years ago, when I started an art studio in the homeless shelter where I worked, there was a man who every day sat in the large day area on the second floor of the shelter and painted.

As the only shelter open 24/7, it was a busy place. Full of people and noise, comings and goings that would sometimes erupt into loud arguments or angry slamming of fists against walls or people too.

The windows on the second floor were 20ft above the floor. They let in light but no view.

Everyday I would stop by the table where he sat and invite him to come up to the 6th floor studio space. It’s quieter there, I’d tell him. The view is fabulous (which it was. Floor to ceiling windows looking out over the river valley and the hillside beyond). And we’ve got coffee, I’d tell him and lots of space to spread out.

And everyday he would say, “Not today. It’s not time yet.”

One day, I asked him, “Have you picked a date yet?”

“A date for what?” he asked.

“To start coming to the studio,” I replied.

“Not yet,” he said.

“Then why not make today the day. Why not make time now?”

On that day he decided to do it.

He never looked back. And though he was still living in a homeless shelter, sleeping with 1,000 roommates every night, his creative expressions began to blossom and bloom and flourish. As did his sense of self, his pride, and his connections to others.

From selling his work in our various art shows, to painting, writing music and poetry and acting in plays and playing his music on stage as part of the various productions as a member of The Possibilities Project, he made time for creative expression. One year, he even went to New York to participate in an Off-Broadway production of Requiem for a Lost Girl that was germinated in that space by the amazing Onalea Gilbertson, His gifts are many. His contributions, significant. (He’s also the man who gave me the gift of music for two of my poems (The Gift).

I like to think it all began with making the decision to change where he sat.

As humans, we like to find reasons to resist change. We like status quo, even when it limits our freedom, our self-expression, our hearts.

Is there something in your life calling out to be changed, but you keep waiting for ‘the right time’ to make it happen?

Is there something you dream of creating that you are resisting expressing because you tell yourself the timing’s not quite right?

Decide now. Decide right where you’re sitting, right now… Now’s the time.

Now, take a step and then another. Make it happen.

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None of us is forbidden to pursue our own good.

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

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Standing Out – #ShePersisted No. 63

#ShePersisted #63 – They said, you need to be more like us to fit in. She said, why would I want to fit in when I stand out just the way I am?

It is one of life’s challenges. To be our authentic selves in a world that wants us to fit in.

Finding a balance between satisfying the inherent human need for belonging and our individual desire to be unique is not easy. It is, however, imperative. To not be authentic drains you of lifeforce. It puts a ‘cramp on your style’ and can leave you feeling dissatisfied, disappointed and disillusioned.

Years ago, when I became a stockbroker, (I know. Unbelievable right?) I thought I had to dress the part. Conservative blue suit. White blouse. You know. Transform myself into the image of what I thought a female broker should look like, á la Anne Hathaway’s character Andy in The Devil Wears Prada who dresses up fashionista style only to get all the attention she wanted while losing her self-respect.

Fortunately, I figured out tailored suits are not my style and left the sector. Ok. There was more to why I left the sector but I like the poetic imperative of that statement so I’m sticking with it!

Eventually, by the time I started working at an adult homeless shelter, I had become comfortable with being me. I dressed to suit me. Listened to my heart and not everyone else’s opinions. Except, at the shelter, I worried that ‘all of me’ might be hard on those I deemed to have nothing and thought I should ‘tone-down my sunshiney ways and dress-down to fit in’. (I know. Can you spell ‘condescending’?) I quickly realized that being true to myself was more honest and authentic than fitting into what I thought other’s needed me to be, especially when in a place as dark and heavy as a homeless shelter, light and sunshiney ways are vital! As are honesty and authenticity.

Yet still, that little voice in my head (you know, ‘the critter’) sometimes like to sneak in and whisper not-so-sweet-nothings about how I need to tone myself down, or not be so… me. Sometimes, I think the critter is only happy when I do my best to be invisible!

No. 63 of my #ShePersisted Series says, No Way. Uh uh. Not happening.

Because, seriously? Why contort and distort who you are to fit into some uncomfortable-to-you measurement of what works for others when you are born to stand out in whatever way works for you?

Radical Acts of Self-Love

Writing and painting are, for me, radical acts of self-love. It is my way of saying to myself, I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I honour you. And, I accept you in all your beautiful, flawed human ways.

And… because I want to celebrate all my beautiful, flawed human ways, I want my creative expressions be a reflection of all the delight and beauty, wonder and awe I see in the world around me, in its darkness and its light.

Some days, especially if I am spending too much time reading news reports and focusing on ‘the dark’ during these long nights of December where we wait for the light to return (here in the Northern Hemisphere), I risk feelings of apathy and helplessness overshadowing my heart’s desire for harmony and joy.

In those dark waters, I can forget all the Love and light in my life as I flounder on the edges of ‘the darkness’.

The darkness can be oh so beguiling.

But the darkness is not the place for me.

And so, I must consciously choose a radical act of self-love. And that’s where creativity, nature walks, dancing, meditating are so important. They are radical acts of self-love that create cracks in the darkness so the light can illuminate your path home to your heart.

Recently, as Covid news kept getting darker and even more restrictive social-distancing orders were coming into play to stop its spread, I felt myself leaning too far over the edge of darkness into that place where the light falls soundlessly away into an abyss of gloom.

I had to bring myself back into the light.

One of my favourite paths back to the light is through creative expression. In this case, creating ‘many somethings’ of a small nature. Somethings which, through both size and repetition, draws my thinking from my head deep down into my belly. To that place where the expansiveness of life flows freely in the deep, rich roots of my creativity.

The stars have a way of aligning when I need help seeing the light.

Last week, I received a letter telling me that I have been accepted to show at the Vale’s GreenHouse Cultivation of Art Show and Sale next June. I had been accepted this year but Covid dictated I not attend.

Being part of this show has long been on my bucket list so the news felt like a crack where the light could shine through. What a lovely blessing.

With art shows, I like to have something to give away. My favourite – bookmarks.

They’re small. Useful. And, when created with heart, can be beautiful.

Which made them perfect for my ‘get out of the darkness of your head thinking’ activity.

And it worked.

I spent a day painting bookmarks and found myself falling into the vastness of time free of worries of ‘what the future will bring’ or checking news reports in between surfing social media feeds.

In the liminal space of heartfelt creative expression, I found myself once again breathing joyfully into the depths of peace, tranquility and calm that reside at the core of my human nature. I found my way home to my heart.

The nights are long as our planet continues its orbit around the sun. And the news is grim around the world as Covid pushes deeper into the fabric of our lives.

Yet, even in the darkness, there is light. We only have to open our hearts and breathe deeply into the beauty of our human essence to see Love illuminating our path home to our hearts, no matter how dark the world around us or long and winding the road.

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Christmas is fast approaching and if you have been considering a #ShePersisted 2021 desk calendar as a gift, I only have a few left in stock.

Between now and Christmas, with every calendar purchased, I shall be including a hand-painted bookmark.

Calendars available on my DareBoldlyArt Etsy Shop

December Woman – She Does The Right Thing – #ShePersisted

There is a difference between being told, “You can’t do that” and doing it because you want to prove the nay-sayer wrong, and being told, “You can’t do that” and doing it because it’s the right thing to do.

The difference is found in your motivation.

Doing it because you want to prove someone wrong often arrives with an attitude of rebellion and defiance. Rebellion and defiance can be great motivators, as long as they are not driven by the ego’s desire to ‘be right’ rather than ‘do right’.

Doing it because it’s the right thing to do, even when people tell you that you can’t, is grounded in the belief that listening to the fears and limiting beliefs that lay at the heart of other’s beliefs on what can or cannot be done to change the world will only create a world of inaction.

Listening to the things that call your heart alive and doing them because they’re the right thing to do, can transform the world into a better place for everyone. Because, at the cornerstone of doing the right thing is complete faith in the principles of integrity. Fairness for all. Dignity. Trust. Kindness and the transformative power of Love.

Of course, if you set your mind to do something, block out all the nay-sayers and put your head down and work hard, you will most likely do it.

But, if you do not ask yourself questions like ‘Why am I doing this?” or “What’s the cost of doing it ‘my way’?” you risk losing your integrity or causing harm to others and/or the planet because you’re ‘doing it’ is grounded in ego.

When you ask yourself the tough questions, like, “Am I doing this to prove other’s wrong or because I believe it’s the right thing to do?” you create space for integrity, fairness, dignity and kindness to grow.

And when you dig even deeper by asking yourself, “Do I believe it is the right thing to do with all my heart?” you create space for your heart’s awakening.

And when the heart awakens, doing the right thing becomes the thing you not only can do, it becomes the thing you must do.

We can all do the right things. For the sake of humanity and lall ife on this planet we call our home, we must. The world depends on us.

Namaste

November Woman – Believe In Yourself – #ShePersisted

November Woman – #ShePersisted 2021 Desk Calendar – to view more paintings and quotes from the #ShePersistedSeries please click HERE

My mother often feared for my safety. Not because I was a thrill-seeker or purposefully did ‘dangerous’ things – though I did love to ski fast and swim deep and climb mountains and… okay, drive fast too — but to me, they never felt dangerous. Okay, well, maybe climbing mountains did while I was on the way up or down, but at the top? All danger vanished in the exhilaration of being atop a mountain seeing the beauty and wonder of the world spread out before me.

My mother wanted me to take the safe path. To keep to the well-known trails and to not deviate from what she knew would keep me out of what she perceived to be ‘harm’s way’.

I didn’t like her path. I wanted to create my own.

I’d love to say that I did it with grace and ease. But, the fact is, there were many, many bumps in the road. There were countless bruises and scrapes from falling down and knocking into things I didn’t see because I was walking around with my eyes closed. And, there were mistakes I made again and again because I kept thinking it was someone else’s fault, instead of seeing I was causing my fall because I kept thinking that if a road had a different name, it would be a different journey.

It took me a long time to realize that no matter what road I was on, the one person who was always there with me was me, myself and I. If I didn’t believe in myself, if I lacked confidence in my ability to choose the right path for me, or if I chose to turn a blind eye to the curves ahead or the potholes in my way, it didn’t matter if the road was well-travelled or well-lit. If my eyes were closed, or my heart shut down, or my senses turned off, I was bound to fall down.

Learning to believe in myself, to walk with my eyes and heart wide-open, has been a life-long journey. Learning to trust that I am my best friend and life coach and guide, still takes practice. Learning to listen to my heart, my gut, my intuition and all my senses, to ‘feel’ the world around me is part of learning to navigate this life in my own creative way.

November Woman is a reminder that no matter what path we’re on, if we’re on it because we think it’s easier to ‘just go with the flow’ of other’s choices and ideas, then we’re bound to feel the disappointments and ennui of not living our life to the fullest. She wants us to remember we are not born to live in the shadows of someone else’s light. We are born to shine. Bright. Fierce. Brilliant.

Life is not a guarantee of easy. It’s an invitation to explore paths unknown, to trust in ourselves and to walk with integrity, humility, kindness and Love as our guiding lights.

My mother always wanted to keep me safe.

For me, being safe isn’t about what path I’m on, it’s about trusting myself enough to light every path I’m on with the values she taught be. About the importance of kindness. The goodness of humanity. And above all, the power of Love to transform darkness and light.

Let us all carry belief in ourselves, belief in humanity and belief in the power of Love. Let us all light up the world with loving-kindness and the courage to be ourselves in a world that celebrates our differences and the many paths we take to create a better world for everyone.

October Woman – Be The Change– #ShePersisted

October Woman #ShePersisted 2021 Desk Calendar – to view more of the series, please click HERE

The moon hangs high in the morning sky above the horizon bruised rose and violet by the sun’s awakening rays.

The air is crisp. The river runs past, its surface gunmetal grey tinted with the soft mauve reflection of the morning sky above. The trees sway in a gentle morning breeze as gracefully as Sufi turning round and round to the soft melodic chants of ancient verses wafting in the air around them.

And the earth keeps spinning.

And we keep breathing and taking, breathing and taking as if the largesse of Mother Earth will go one for eternity.

It can’t.

Go on and on and on.

Not if we keep treating Mother Earth’s gifts as ours to take and plunder and abuse.

We need Mother Earth to survive. She is not just our home. She is the home of every organism, every creature, every sentient and insentient being on this planet.

We must take care of her. We must act like guests on the planet. Not like we own her. Because we don’t. No one and no one thing owns Mother Earth. She is our host and hostess. She is our conduit around the sun every year. Our purveyor of all things wonderful and marvellous in our world.

We do not own Mother Earth.

Instead of taking whatever we want, whenever we want, lets sing a song of gratitude. Let’s give thanks for this wondrous planet that supports all of life without discrimination, without judgment.

Instead of abusing her, let’s change our ways and dig deep into our hearts to become the change we want to see in the world – Sustainability. Longevity. In all life. All things. All ways.

Our very breath depends upon it. And the lives of our grandchildren’s children depend on our changing our ways too.

Now. Forever. And Always.

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I have a limited number of #ShePersisted 2021 Desk Calendars left in my Etsy Shop. To order yours, please click HERE, or message me if you have questions or prefer to send an etransfer. Free Shipping in Canada. Get it in time for Christmas!

September Woman – She’s Got Attitude. #ShePersisted

September Woman – #ShePersisted 2021 Desk Calendar – to view more of the series click HERE

When someone states the obvious, and it’s meant to deride or mock, one of the best responses is to acknowledge it’s true, and move on.

Taking umbrage is the pain of the insecure. It reveals discomfort with being who you are, fiercely, fearlessly, authentically.

As the saying goes, “If ya’ got it. Flaunt it!”

And the transformative power of attitude is not to be denied. There is no need to defend your true self or try to tone it down. Celebrate it. Dance with it. Let it show up bright and shiny in the world. Anyway, acting like you’ve just received a compliment when someone says something as ambiguous as the statement, “You’ve got attitude,” is a much better defence than getting all defensive.

Attitude, like weather, is always present. And while it might feel good to get angry at the wind or to tell the snow in July it’s out of season, the weather will always be what the weather is. Itself.

So too with attitude. It is not to be shirked, nor hidden, nor denied. Especially if its purpose is to propel you on your path to changing the world for the better.

Every morning ask yourself, “What attitude fits me best today?”

Warrioress. Priestess. Defender of the people. Peace-maker. Righteous goddess. Quiet acolyte. Gentle heart. Disciple of Truth. Fierce celebrant of life…

Wear that. Wear it with pride, purpose, passion. You won’t wear it out, though you might just wear out those who would bring you down, or want to spoil your day with unbidden comments designed to stop you in your tracks and keep you from doing whatever it takes to bring your best to the world today.

Because, seriously, the statement “You’ve got attitude,” contains a river of passive-aggressiveness meant to drown out your voice and keep you in your place (that place being where ‘they’ think you ought to be.)

Live your attitude. The world needs you, your voice and your attitude to rise above the fray so that together we can create a better world for everyone.

Namaste

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