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How a Simple Kindergarten Tip Could Change Your Life

girl scout I wrote this post years ago for my freelance writing site. But the basic concept is so universal, I figured it was worth adapting. Hope you enjoy! 

The doorbell rang.

On the porch were two little waifs, not much more than three feet tall.

“Do you want to give us some money?” the smaller of them peeped.

Uh, no.

“What for?” I asked.

“For our class,” said the other one, a pink-cheeked boy in a red checked scarf.

Isn’t that why I pay property taxes?

“So your class is raising money for something?” I ventured.

“Uh huh.” “Yeah.”

I looked around for the parents. Nowhere to be seen.

“Um…what is your class going to use the money for?”

They looked at each other. Clearly they had no idea.

Back in the kitchen, something sizzled on the stove. I didn’t have time for this.

“You can write a check,” suggested the smaller one. Little wisps of blonde hair floated angelically above her impossibly large, round eyes.

“To Franklin school,” added her brother helpfully.

Sigh. They had me.

“Wait here, ” I said.

I found my purse, made out a check for $10, and handed it to the boy.

“Thank you!” they chimed in unison, then tripped off to hit up the next door neighbors.

What just went on there??? I’d never seen these kids before in my life. Heck, they didn’t even have a good idea why they were there. Yet they got me to fork over a chunk of hard-earned dough.

It didn’t hurt that they were adorable.

But I’ve turned away kids selling candy bars and such many a time. What did these kids do to get me to make out a check and hand it to them?

Simple.

THEY ASKED FOR IT!

It’s so incredibly basic, a couple of snot-nosed elementary school kids did it without even thinking.

But it’s amazing how many times we adult women forget to ask for what we need or want.

It’s so easy to forget – after all, we’ve been trained to be polite, and asking just seems so… well… unsophisticated. Maybe even crass.

Then there’s that nagging feeling that maybe we don’t deserve it.

Hmm. Let’s think about this.

We all know there are times we want what we don’t really need. And there are some things we might want that really won’t make us happy when we get them. (Like, probably, that $1,200 Louis Vuitton bag.)

But then there are those things we do need. Like the time and space to nurture ourselves, or to follow our heart’s paths. Like a little appreciation once in a while (flowers will do nicely, thank you!) Like having some beauty in our lives.

Money counts, too. Oh yes, it does.

I mention this because a lot of us have a hard time with asking for money in return for our work. This may be because we look around us and see such wanton, destructive greed in the world. Or because we’ve grown up hearing that “money is the root of all evil.”

But if you think about it, money is just abstracted energy. And every endeavor needs energy to make it happen – including your soul work.

Yes, you may be able to follow your life’s purpose without it. But probably, you’ll have an easier time with some cash in hand.

So, bottom line:

Always, always, always ask for what you need. You DO deserve it. How else are you going to give your all to the world? (And chances are, when your needs are met, you’ll give twice as much in return and the whole world will be a better place! Right?)

And one more thing: don’t be shy. Did you notice what the little kids did for me above? They told me exactly what to do.  ”Write a check out to Franklin School.” Give people directions and they’re WAY more likely to follow them.

Whether you’re writing a sales letter for your business or asking your significant other for a backrub, tell them exactly what to do. Don’t leave anything to chance. “Call 123-4567 for your free estimate today.” Or, “Here’s the massage oil – can you please get that knot on the right hand side right next to the spine just below my neck?” Or, “I’m really going to need some quality time in the studio this evening. Could you please take the kids out to a movie or something tonight?”

It might not get you what you need 100% of the time, but you may be surprised how often a simple request does the trick. (Especially if you’re willing to help others when they need it, too.)

So, next time you’re feeling frustrated because your needs aren’t being met, just ask for what you need.

And if you need coaching, go down to your local elementary school and hang out with the kids at lunchtime.

By the way… can I have a bite of your cookie?

 

How has asking for what you need changed your life? 

Art by Andrea Shine “I have been drawing and making pictures since I could hold a pencil,” says multimedia artist and illustrator Andrea Shine. “As an artist, I am privileged to be able to dream with my eyes open. My works of art are emotionally dense layered visual hieroglyphics, and my pieces strive to honor the infinite beauty, dignity, mystery and, frequently,  joy to be found in our world.” 

How does one dream with one’s eyes open? Andrea was kind enough to share with us, in her own words, the journey she takes in the creation of one of her beautiful works of art.

Andrea Shine ART_e-invit.eggs for saleOut of chaos…

There’s a lot of noise in my head. This has always been so, and apparently its discordance is my default setting. It is wondrous how said ‘noise’ can metamorphose into pleasing  & orderly landscapes, beach scenes, illustrations and portraits.  How messy inner, and sometimes dark, rumbling can be transfigured into Light & Peace on paper.

Focusing the mind’s eye…

How much self-disclosure feels safe? I wait, listen, turn my mind’s eye inward to ‘see’ a new picture presenting itself. It’s a journey in which I am the follower, not the conductor. Is the guiding spirit within or without? I do not quite know; the edges blur; creation is a circle, no beginning and no end.

A scene catches my attention – - a stretch of rural landscape, or wild beach, or small flowers in the garden – - and I begin photographing, looking for the right light, right angle, right ‘feel’ that fits the message I now yearn to convey.

Tuning in to the message…Andrea Shine summer scene

I print photographs which best visually communicate what I want to say. Brushed on top of that image are touches of watercolor/gouache, sometimes quite a bit, sometimes very little, depending on how much needs to be altered, a first-step fine-tuning of my mind’s impression.

The music has begun. Progress, up to and after this, working intermittently as I do, can take anywhere from a week to several months.

Soul’s expression…

Andrea Shine carousel horseThe final phase makes me happiest: tiny pieces of hand-cut paper painstakingly glued onto the picture, the turning point at which I begin to truly ‘speak’, expressed in hieroglyphic layers, miniature bits of words, images, slivers of dissonant colors. Each time I find a new constellation of dreams, memories, echoes of fascinating childhood years in long-ago European countries, my own children, my life now, a small feather, a minuscule seashell barely visible . . .

My spirit contentedly hums its gentle tune until, when everything has been rightly said, it Sings, and the work-on-paper is done.

Andrea Shine has been a professional artist for more than thirty-five years, and is the illustrator of seventeen children’s books, including the multiple-award-winning The Summer My Father Was Ten,
which also received the prestigious Christopher Award. Her commissioned artwork and portraits hang in collections across the US as well as overseas.

What about you? How is your creative process similar to Andrea’s? How is it different? I’d love to hear your comments – please do post them below. 

 

So what if your soul work sucks?

“Whatever you do may be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

potters wheel oops

Photo thanks to http;//inkwellinspirations.com

- Gandhi

Since my day job is freelance copywriting and graphic design, I subscribe to a number of e-newsletters on marketing. A lot of the info is technical, but every once in a while I read something that’s relevant to soul work.

This morning I got just such an email.

It was a blog post by Corbett Barr, founder of ThinkTraffic, called What Publishing 500 Posts Taught Me About Rocket Science.

Most of the post was about blogging, but there was one section that caught my attention. Because I think it, and a video by Ira Glass that Barr links to in the post, touch on the heart of why so many creative people give up on their passion. Barr says:

(At the beginning,) your work will suck, and you have to fight through it…

He says the only way to get through it is to just keep producing more.

Cinderella

photo credit: sofi01 via photopin cc

What’s holding you back?

Nearly all of us at one time or another struggle with feeling that  our work isn’t living up to our expectations. But I don’t think that’s the end of it. Even when we know we’re good, sometimes we let our self-doubts get in the way of our dreams and goals.

If it’s not “my work sucks,” it’s “no one is watching/listening/paying attention anyway so why bother?” or “will I reveal myself as a crazy woman/pathetic person/fraud by creating this?” or “My work is useless, futile, not important.”

Sound familiar?

And so we go on shoving our soul work into the corner to sit in the ashes. We turn our backs and go back to balancing our checkbooks and farting around on Facebook.

So…back to Barr’s point.

Basically, what he’s implying is, the antidote to giving in to our doubts is a good, healthy, “So What?” and do it anyway.

So what if your work has a few flaws?

Each piece you do – each painting you paint, or song you sing, or sales call you make, or post you write – will have aspects that could use improvement. But each one will also have positive qualities. Focus on what you did well, and look forward to the next time.

Even if you hate everything about it, don’t think of it as a failure. Even the most gifted person will come out with crappy stuff once in a while. I have a theory that if you keep working, you’ll let the crappy stuff out so the awesome stuff behind it has room to break free.

So what if no one is listening right now?

So you don’t have an audience. Try this: go watch a good busker. The good ones don’t give a crap if there’s anyone watching. They walk out and set up on the street and just start going at it. They lose themselves in the performance. And before long a person pauses to watch, and then another, and before long there’s a whole crowd grooving on what the person is doing.

Don’t worry about not having an audience yet. Just do two things:

  • Do your soul work with the passion it deserves, and
  • Don’t be shy about letting it show.

The audience will happen.

So what if people think you’re weird?

It’s true, our soul work often requires us to be vulnerable. Which is scary and difficult. But you might be surprised how much empathy and support may come your way once you throw caution to the winds and just do it.

So what if…

OK, then there’s the last one. The big bugger. “My work isn’t important.”

This one is really the mother of all the rest.

Because what’s it’s really saying is, “I’m not important. I couldn’t possibly have anything worth sharing.”

Ho.

Do you realize what that implies?

Think about it. Why are you here? What got you here in the first place?

You are the child, and grandchild, and great-grandchild, and so on, of hundreds of generations of human mothers and fathers going far back into the mists of time, each loving and fighting and sacrificing to ultimately bring you into the world.

You are the result of billions of generations of living things, striving to reproduce and evolve into beings of ever greater consciousness.

You are the result of trillions of cells all cooperating and coming together to enable you to think, to feel, to move, to change the world.

Nightingale watercolor

Illustration ©2006 by Anne Michelsen

You are the end result of what happened when gazillions of molecules and atoms burst into being at the beginning of the universe, and then discovered that they could dance and swirl together to become ever more complex and ever more miraculous creations.

All these things happened to bring you here, right here and now, and able to act.

And lo! You have the impulse to create! To create something positive. Something beautiful. Something healing.

Whether it’s relevant just to you or to the whole world doesn’t matter. That little voice you hear, the one prompting you to pick up that brush, or write down that thought, or start that business – it’s important.

The entire universe conspired to get you here. And something tells me it’s not so you can do your taxes.

All creation is waiting for your soul to sing.  

Why disappoint it? ;-)

Have you struggled with self doubts in your creative journey?

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“Mom, you really need to read this book.”

“Oh?” I looked up at my 14 year old daughter. She was holding a slender hardcover titled The Nibble Theory and the Kernel of Power: a book about leadership, self-empowerment and personal growth.

This was very strange. Clara generally shows little interest in any book that does not feature a mythical creature on the cover.

“Yeah. Papa needs to read it, too. So does Isaac,” she said, referring to her brother who just started his freshman year at Michigan Tech.

“Everyone in the world should read this book!”

That got my attention. I took a look.

On the inside front cover was a note to my husband from his father, who had passed away in 1991, the year before we met: “Daniel, happy holidays! Christmas 1985 Love, Dad.” Clearly, I’d been living with this book at my fingertips for over 20 years. Probably I’d even stuffed it into various boxes during several of our family’s moves over the years. Why didn’t I even recognize it?

I flipped through the slim red volume. 74 pages long. Most of it filled with cartoon-like illustrations. This was going to be an easy read.

I flopped onto the bed and dug in.

“This book is about growth…” it began. “It is about how all of us can grow – to be the very best and most powerful persons we can imagine, as we were meant to be.”

So far, it could be ok…

Or it could be a bunch of trite drivel…

But knowing my daughter, I was willing to give it a shot…

And I’m very pleased to say, she was absolutely right. Everybody in the world should read this book.

Using charming illustrations and deceptively simple language, the late Kaleel Jamison cuts to the heart of what keeps so many of us from realizing our full potential as human beings.

Yes, she gives practical advice on finding your life’s purpose. And fighting for it. And helping others do the same.

This would be an excellent book to read aloud with one’s kids, once they reach those wonderful teenage years.

Or with one’s spouse.

Or anyone you care about.

The Nibble Theory and the Kernel of Power has been in print continuously for nearly 30 years, so you can probably find it in your local library. But I think it’s one of those books that’s worth having around. You can get it on Amazon for as little as $4.24.  It’s one I definitely recommend!

 

Guest Post: Knowing the Worth of Your Artwork

Gaia Orion Painting A Meaningful Life

Photo courtesy Gaia Orion

 Do you (or do you want to) make a living from your talents and passions? Do you struggle with the idea of putting a price on your work? You’re not alone. In this week’s guest post, artist Gaia Orion offers words of support along with her own shining example. Whether you are a visual artist as she is, or any other kind of entrepreneur, Gaia’s message is definitely one worth heeding:

Many people are artists but only a portion feel right about selling their art. Out of those that don’t mind selling their artwork only a very few will want to do it professionally (which means that when they paint they have in mind that the painting will be for sale.)

For many artists their paintings are too personal and they simply cannot part with the created piece or even put a price on it, as no amount of money will make up for what it is worth to them.

For those that decide that it is okay to sell their paintings I find that one of the biggest hurdles is to accept the worth of their talent. When I first started I had this problem. I felt very uncomfortable when the subject of money came up. For example I would sound hesitant or even apologetic when I told the prospective buyer the price of a painting. I would give a break to people even though they didn’t ask for it when I felt like I was taking their money unfairly and that it wasn’t worth it.

There is a strong accepted image in our society about “the starving artist”. When we think about making a living as an artist we do not think about success but imagine a life of devotion and passion to one’s art, which will not include the need or the want to make money. And if your work is somewhat “spiritual” –like mine- we now combine the “starving artist” concept with the “starving monk” image. A misconception we have in our society is that we cannot be spiritual, wise, enlightened if we have money. Another hindrance is the idea that the artist should only be painting for the passion of it and that if he/she thinks about making money from it, it will taint the intention and not make the process true art.

All these underlying preconceived ideas make it difficult for the artist to ask for money in exchange of their talent. When I started my career I had to work through all these mixed feelings and conditioned ideas regarding the worth of my artwork.

First of all, art emerges naturally from the life of inquiry whether it is destined to be sold or not, the artistic process is from an entirely different aspect of our being and has absolutely nothing to do with the price tag on the final painting. Is the work of the healer that does transformational bodywork not as pure because we pay for an hour of his/her services on a massage table? How can it be different for art that moves our souls? Of course, one can be doing true transformational artwork with the intention of selling it.

Art Show Gaia Orion

Photo courtesy Gaia Orion

With time and experience I found that people that are interested in purchasing art have a budget for it. They are not looking for a bargain when they ‘shop’ but find that when they are touched by something unique and have a connection with the artist they are actually more than glad to spend their money for what they are getting. They know what each piece of art means to the creator and there is great respect in that exchange. I also found that once I accepted that my work was worth what I was asking and that I presented myself as a professional, I was treated as such by prospective buyers and clients and the money part was never a problem anymore.

By being professional we contribute to breaking down all these pre-conceived notions that impede the artists moving forward in his/her career. We also educate people and inspire other budding artists by showing them that pursuing one’s art is a respectable and viable form of making a living.

To see Gaia Orion’s artwork visit www.artbygaia.com.  For more information & support material for professional artists check out Renee Phillips from Manhattan Arts International http://reneephillips.blogspot.ca/ andhttp://healingpowerofart.blogspot.ca/

 What are your feelings about putting a price on your creative work? Comment below.

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Adventure Suggestion: Go Barefoot

wading barefoot

Brrr -it’s suddenly chilly! While just a couple of days ago we were sweating in tank tops and shorts here in the upper Midwest, this morning I woke up and glanced out the window to see my neighbors getting into their car all bundled up in sweaters and long jeans. Welcome, fall!

Fortunately, it warmed up a bit later in the day, and  even in the morning there was still enough residual heat to do one of my favorite Wild Woman activities – going barefoot!

Why barefoot? Well, hey, it just feels good! Especially walking through lush, damp grass. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, over sun-warmed sand. (Ever walk through sand that squeaks?) :-)

To be a little more scientific, there’s a good reason going barefoot is so pleasant and relaxing. Reflexologists tell us that our feet contain approximately 7,200 nerve endings, each of which connects to a different area of the body. Stimulating those nerves also stimulates the corresponding body part. So a barefoot walk in the park
is the next best thing to a light all-over body massage.

Other natural health practitioners say that barefoot contact with the earth (also known as “earthing” or “grounding”) helps to reduce stress and inflammation, and balance the immune system. Apparently this is because it allows the body access to the electrical potential of the Earth.

But I like going barefoot because it’s like sharing a hug with Mother Earth.

I read once about a woman who had grown up in an indigenous culture and never wore shoes until she was in her twenties. She referred to shoes as “blindfolds for the feet.”

Once you’ve gotten used to going barefoot, you’ll see what she meant. You’ll start to pick up information through your toes and soles just as you do from your eyes and ears. You’ll truly get a “feel” for what’s growing and how the earth is feeling that day. And it’s a literal reminder to be respectful of the ground we walk upon!

For some of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this year’s days of barefoot rambling are drawing to a close. Take advantage of the last warm weeks while you can. At least once this week, shuck off your shoes and let your feet run wild! :-)

Do you enjoy going barefoot? What’s your favorite thing about it?

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photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc

Guest Post: Kindness and the Flow of the Feminine

Linnette Dooley is an artist and founder of the WellSprings Women’s Program. In this inspiring guest post, she  gently reminds us of the importance of learning to listen to our bodies’ subtle communications.

 

Venus_Andy_Warhol

By Linnette Dooley

I have a confession to make. I have a lifelong habit of being too hard on myself. And gratefully my body is getting tired of this old habit. I can feel it in my heart.

Are you with me? As I write this I am feeling the emotional release of energy as I welcome in kindness and understanding on a deeper level. As I welcome in the feminine.

I am not sure how much is the result of my early home environment and how much is just my nature, but my proactive stance has been getting the best of me. Literally.

Long lists. Too many holiday cookie plates. Do-it-yourself projects. And perfect pictures. The results have been constant motion. I once told a neighbor that I don’t get out of bed until I really need to because once I get going I don’t stop.

A few years back I was working on learning to pay better attention to my body’s signals. The reason that I was asking for this communication was that I had developed a habit of pushing myself physically to the point of exhaustion. I wanted to become aware of when my body was communicating that enough was enough.

So one day I was outside working through a list of projects that I wanted to complete in my yard. I was focused on paying attention to how my body was doing. And then, maybe a little more than half-way through my list I felt/heard my body say, “that’s enough.”

Girl with Red Bike by John Gascot

It was subtle, so I understood why I hadn’t heard this before, but it was there. It was like a switch had been flipped. In order to finish my projects I basically had to shut down emotionally because I was no longer choosing to listen to my body. That was a big lesson for me.

Since then I’ve gotten better at making smaller, more realistic lists. I spend much less time on autopilot as I have worked on learning to be present and honor my body.

But then several weeks ago I re-connected with this same message on a deeper level. I saw how my stress levels and being so goal-oriented were affecting the flow of my feminine energy. There was still a level of pushing.

After just a day of letting go of all expectations and sitting with this realization I noticed that my joy began to return and ideas were starting to flow again.

A memory surfaced from my years of backpacking. On almost every backpacking trip, no matter where I was in my cycle, I would start my period on the trip. The physical exertion would cause my estrogen levels to bottom out.

I like being physical. But my tall, slender frame is built more for speed and flexibility than endurance. Ayurvedic medicine recommends that you exercise only up to 50% of capacity. That is pretty much the point at which my body had communicated “enough.” Here in America we overdo everything.

I have been thinking about the history of my relationship with my body. I realize now that my body has been giving me the same message for a long time. This time I am realizing how toxic my habit of over-doing-it is to the flow of my feminine energy.

So once again I am listening more closely. At this time in my life my heart is asking for less of that proactive stance. Instead, joy and flow and peace are moving to the top of the list. And kindness.

How does your body let you know when it’s time to take it easy? Comment below.

Linnette offers a course in Meditation: Cultivating the Divine Feminine, in which she shares tools that you can use to heal the body-being communication space. She can be reached through WellSpringsWomen.com or on Facebook.

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Adventure Suggestion – Write a Thank You Letter

thank you letterThe essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

When was the last time you received a genuine thank-you? If you’re like most of us, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

What a shame!

Think back to the last time it happened to you – when someone really, truly appreciated you. Felt pretty good, didn’t it? I bet it made you smile.

And did you know that your smile changed the entire energy of your being? (For the better, I might add.)

Even just a little shift in energy can result in powerful changes. Those little positive shifts add up.

So..

What would happen if you could somehow AMPLIFY all those little positive happenings and energies?

If there was something you could do that would make them even stronger, maybe even make more of them happen?

Well, there is. And you can. And it’s incredibly easy.

So simple that even a five year old could do it. In fact, your mother probably made you do it when you were five.

It’s called writing a thank-you letter.

Remember those? :-)

This week’s adventure suggestion is to get out a sheet of paper and a pen and scribble out a heartfelt THANK YOU letter to someone (look into your heart – you’ll know who to write it to!), drop it in an envelope, address it to them, and mail it. Don’t forget the stamp.

Bonus points for a hand made card.

If you really want to have fun with it, start writing a list of everyone you can think of who ever did something awesome for you, and start sending out cards.

It will make you feel absolutely awesome, I guarantee it.

I know, because I did it once.

I have to admit, I didn’t make it all the way through my list. But imperfect blessings are blessings all the same. And I am so glad I did.

Because some of the people I thanked are no longer alive today. Like my grandparents. If I hadn’t written those letters I don’t think they ever would have known how important they were to me. I know it brightened their lives because my mom called me up afterwards and told me how thrilled they were, and how delighted she was, as well. It made her day, she said.

See how a little thanks results in a chain reaction?

Your simple thank you makes someone smile – and they in turn smile at someone else…and so on, and so on.

You know what? I think that if enough people did this it could change the energy of the entire planet!

What do you think? Shall we try?

I’m going to make a pledge right here and now to write at least three thank you’s before the end of the week. Will you join me?

Forward this to as many people as you can (or just suggest it to them in your own way if you’d rather). When you’ve sent your letter or letters, let us know below.

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The Primal Artist

Today’s blog features a guest post by artist Silvia Hartmann, who reminds us that every person has within him or her self a primal artist. To find that inner artist, to reconnect with her and dance with her, will make us free…

Primal Artist

Image courtesy Silvia Hartmann

Forget for a moment all you thought you knew about “art”.

Let it all simply slide away, take a deep breath and let your mind fall back, right back through the times of you, the times of your ancestors, the times of men, all the way back and back and back through history until we arrive …

We arrive at a shallow river bed, and here, we see the monkey men, our ancestors and they are here and real, and we are here because this is a special time, a moment where the worlds changed, a moment where everything changed for everyone who came after on this planet, plants and animals and sentients alike …

A monkey being is drinking from the shallow river bed.

Its hand has made a line in the golden mud, quite by accident.

It stares, it looks, and then …

It reaches out and places a second line beneath the first.

This is the moment that art was born.

This is the moment when art becomes; when a sentient being changes the world by the touch of their hand, with will and with intention.

This moment is re-lived over and over again in humans and in humanoids; in little children from all races, living under any condition, at any time for a million years or more – a sentient being discovering that they have the power to change the world, to make a mark in the sands of time …

The ability to create art, to make your mark, is in truth, quite indescribable in its power, in its magnificence, in the repercussions it has for them, for us, for all the world, for everything we touch.

It is a birthright of every human being who ever walked the earth, who ever touched, and saw, and felt, and thought.

There is a primal artist inside every one.

Lightning Woman painting by Silvia Hartmann

“Lightning Woman,” detail from a painting by Silvia Hartmann

Long before the fire, we made symbols.

And that is the true heart of art.

 

Fashions and laws, thinking this and that, entrainments and prejudices, all of that is just a disturbance, something that gets between a sentient being – you, and me, and all of them – and that world upon which we leave our marks in the sands of time.

When we reconnect simply and honestly with the primal artist, the first artist who ever was, and whose memorance we carry inside our very structures, we become free.

We become free to step into a true, personal interaction with the Universe itself.

We get to ask our questions, and paint and sculpt and sing and dance the answers.

We enter into a dance that is a life long joy and fascination; a dance which humbles, and a dance which enlightens, lifts us up and lets us touch a fraction of what we really are when all is said and done.

True art can never be confined to museums and galleries.

True art is entirely independent of critics, craft or training; it is always unique, it belongs to the artist absolute.

True art arises from the direct interaction between a sentient human being and the worlds they live in.

To experience true art for yourself is YOUR birthright.

It is mine.

And it is a gift that should never be taken for granted, should never be underestimated, and should be celebrated not just with great works of art, but with the lives the artists lead and which are filled with wonder, joy and gratitude.

SFX

 

Adventure of the Week: Be a Goddess

woman with goddess mask

photo credit: Alaskan Dude via photopin cc

Have you ever heard of a teenager afraid of the telephone?

That was me. I was so painfully shy it was torture just to pick up the phone. And leaving a message? Forget it! The thought that my ugly voice (for so I thought) would be recorded for all posterity was just too much to bear.

Needless to say I didn’t have much of a social life.

But things changed after my freshman year. We moved to a different state, and I decided I’d had enough of being the Invisible Girl. So I developed a technique I called The Mask.

You see, despite my shyness I didn’t mind being on stage. My Jr. high English teacher had encouraged me to join the drama club, and I learned that by taking on a character, I could say and do things with impunity that I’d be terrified to do or say when I was “only” myself.

So at my new school, whenever I was faced with a terrifying social situation, I put on an invisible mask and took on the character of a girl who, if not outgoing, was at least somewhat confident and self-assured.

It worked. While it didn’t turn me into Miss Popularity, I did manage not only to survive high school, but actually have some fun and make a few good friends in the process. (And yes, even annoy my family by monopolizing the phone.) The interesting thing was, after a while I forgot about putting on the mask. I had become what I had set out merely to imitate.

Fast forward thirty years, to Wild Woman meetup a couple of weeks ago in a cafe in Champaign, IL.

We were taking turns introducing ourselves and our current projects. As one woman – I’ll call her Sue – began to speak, I was reminded sharply of that old habit of putting on The Mask. However, her version had a delightful twist.

“I’ve decided I’m a goddess,” she announced.

Some of us must have looked shocked, so she began to explain. “You know how when you pretend to be something, you really start to feel it?”

“Yes! I know just what you mean,” I said, and explained about my experience in high school.

“That’s it, exactly,” she replied. “But one day I thought, why not take on the persona of a goddess? So I’ve been doing that, every day. I wake up and think,’What would a goddess wear today? What would she have for breakfast?’

I looked at Sue. Her eyes were shining. She was truly beautiful! That goddess was indeed shining through.

So that’s my suggested adventure to you this week. Be a goddess. Whatever you do, do it like a goddess would. (Or choose not to do it. If a goddess wouldn’t stoop to it, why should you? At least, not this week!)

Heck, why not create a gaggle of goddesses? Tell your friends to do it, too!

What kind of goddess will you be today?

 

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