Life Book 2015 Blog Hop and Giveaway

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

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I am so very honored to be part of a this very special creative journey with the wildly popular LifeBook that is beginning in 2015.

 

For those of you that don’t know about LifeBook, it was created by Tamara LaPorte, who is an incredible artist and a simply lovely and big hearted human being. And is a year long art journal and mixed media art process for women to explore the many different aspects of their outer lives and inner worlds through the power of creative self expression.

 

 

Which is of course right up my alley. And she generously invited me to be one of many amazing guest teachers for the Life Book process.

 

There are so many things about LifeBook that resonate with MY core values such as the power of being part of a creative community, the emphasis on art as a path to healing and wholeness and the opportunity to use art to learn more about who you really are in a really fun and playful way.

 

Sign up for LifeBook 2015 here.

 

I’m really thrilled to be teaching side by side with many creative folks that I already know and love, like Andrea Schroeder, Effy Wild and Flora Bowley. And of course, I’m greatly looking forward to getting to know the other juicy artists that are on the LifeBook team this year. 

 

During my teaching segment I will be taking you on a deep creative journey, giving you a taste of a genuine intuitive painting process, where you will learn how to trust in your OWN creative voice and discovering what it means to paint like YOU and no one else!

 

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There will also be a blog hop over the next couple of weeks where all of the teachers in the LifeBook community will be posting about themselves and their relationship to LifeBook. Which is a great way to get introduced to these many extraordinary artists. 

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LIFEBOOK BLOG HOP 

8th September 2014 – Tamara Laporte – http://www.willowing.org/
9th September 2014 – Jane Davenport – http://janedavenport.com/
10th September 2014 – Joanne Sharpe – http://joannezsharpe.blogspot.co.uk/
11th September 2014 – Jenny Lee Wentworth – http://jennyleewentworth.blogspot.co.uk/
12th September 2014 – Violette Clark – http://www.violette.ca/
13th September 2014 – Chris Zydel – http://creativejuicesarts.com/
14th September 2014 – Danielle Donaldson – http://danielledonaldson.com/
15th September 2014 – Effy Wild – http://effywild.com/
16th September 2014 – Flora Bowley – http://braveintuitiveyou.com/
17th September 2014 – Alisa Burke – http://alisaburke.blogspot.co.uk/
18th September 2014 – Rachael Rice – http://rachaelrice.com/
19th September 2014 – Jeanne Oliver – http://www.jeanneoliverdesigns.com/
20th September 2014 – Andrea Gomoll – http://andrea-gomoll.de/
21st September 2014 – Kristin van Valkenburgh – http://www.kristinvanvalkenburgh.com/
22nd September 2014 – Jill K. Berry – http://jillberrydesign.com/
23rd September 2014 – Alena Hennessy – http://www.alenahennessy.com/
24th September 2014 – Juliette Crane – http://www.juliettecrane.com/
25th September 2014 – Jenny Doh – http://blog.crescendoh.com/crescendoh/
26th September 2014 – Mati Rose McDonough – http://www.matirose.com/
27th September 2014 – Patti Ballard – http://www.pbsartstudio.com
28th September 2014 – Lynzee Lynx – http://lynzeelynx.com/
29th September 2014 – Roben Marie Smith – http://www.robenmarie.com/
30th September 2014 – Andrea Schroeder – http://www.creativedreamincubator.com/
1st October 2014 – Lynn Whipple – http://www.lynnwhipple.com/
2nd October 2014 – Donna Downey – http://www.donnadowney.com/

 

 

Sign up for LifeBook 2015 here. 

 

 

COURSE GIVEAWAY

 

And finally, I have one spot in the course to give away for free to some lucky person!

 

All you need to do to be eligible for the Giveaway is to post in the comments below why you would like to be part of LifeBook 2015. I will be pulling names out of my magic hat next Friday, September 19th which also happens to be my birthday. So it’s doubly special to me to be giving YOU a gift on my special day.

 

Can’t wait to see you all there, creating your wild hearts out in 2015!

 

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.
 

The Everyday Path Of Surrender

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Surrender Path

 

As I try and articulate more deeply what I’m here to teach , I keep coming back to the same thing over and over again. Which is that this work of opening to the creative process is an ongoing exercise in trust.

 
It’s trusting in yourself as a being who is filled with imagery and color and song and dance and beauty and ideas and magic and inspiration. It’s trusting that you have an internal guidance system of intuitive wisdom and healing that is always available to you. It’s trusting in the ultimate benevolence of the life force and all the ways it carries you and flows through you.

 
Opening to trust also means letting go of the idea that you are in control of anything. And that you have to be in control. That you’re supposed to keep bad things from ever happening. That you must be continually shaping your life. That you have the power to fix anything. And that anything actually needs to be fixed.

 

Trust means being receptive to whatever shows up within you or outside of you and embracing it with curiosity, compassion and acceptance.

 

And finally trust means being willing to surrender.

 

Surrender is one of those things that is given a bad rap because it is sometimes seen as giving up out of hopelessness. Or giving in to a bad situation. And ultimately becoming powerless.

 

From this perspective, surrender is seen as weakness. A form of passivity and impotence. A place of collapse and failure.

 

Surrender is also sometimes glamorized as a swooning maiden in a steamy romance novel. It is portrayed as something that is intense and out of the ordinary. An experience that we have rarely and only in extreme circumstances.

 
But from a spiritual perspective surrender is a very different animal.

 
When a sunflower turns its face to follow the sun, that is surrender. When a seed planted in a rich soil breaks free of its encasement and pushes its way up to the light of day, that is surrender. When a wild mustang gallops wildly and joyfully across a meadow, that is surrender. When a baby tries to grasp a beam of light, laughing delightedly, that is surrender. When you look at a sunset and feel the peace of simply breathing in and out, that is surrender. When you enjoy a delicious meal, letting the flavors tickle your tongue, that is surrender. When you feel drowsy and begin to fall asleep, that is surrender.

 

In all these experiences you, or the horse or the sunflower are completely giving into what’s right there in front of you. You are simply being in the present moment with what you feel drawn to do.

 

So in other words, surrender is something that happens daily, hourly, minute by minute in our lives. It’s so very common and down-to-earth. It’s in the most intimate fabric of our existence. And includes everything from the mundane to the ecstatic.

 
Surrender is also allowing life to be exactly as it is, without trying to change anything. Even if it’s something that you don’t like or that feels painful or difficult.

 
In my painting classes when my students hit a rough patch of discomfort or frustration or strong emotion, the tendency is to want to shrink back from what is showing up. To fight it, or talk themselves out of it or try to distract themselves from it. And I always suggest that they go towards whatever is being presented. To trust that life is giving them this experience for a reason. And that they will get the most out of it if they dive in with a big YES.

 

So if you’re grieving, let yourself wail. If you’re agitated, be as squirmy as possible. If you are angry, allow the fire to burn through you freely without holding anything back.

 
And finally, when you allow yourself to simply be whoever it is you were meant to be, that is another level of surrender.

 

So much of the time we are judging who we are. Or finding fault with what we want. What we like. What we need. What would make us happy. What comes easily and effortlessly to us. Forgetting that all those things are major clues about who we are intended to be in this life.

 

I had a woman come to me for a healing session and she was the bemoaning the fact that she didn’t know who she was. And couldn’t even begin to figure out how to discover herself.

 

So I asked her what she liked. And she said she liked making art. And she liked being outside in nature. And she liked learning about things. And when I asked her if she allowed herself to spend as much time as possible doing the things she liked, she said “Oh no. Of course not.” Because she didn’t think these things were important enough or valuable enough to build a life on. She felt like she needed to prove how good she was, so did a lot of things that did not make her happy, like being on committees to further someone else’s agenda, or spending all of her time keeping her house neat and clean.

 

But once she surrendered to what she liked, the question about who she was became a non-issue. It wasn’t something she thought about anymore. She was just herself, following her natural impulses and desires.

 

So if you were meant to paint, then turn your spare room into your studio. If you were meant to cook, spend as much time as possible in the kitchen. If you were meant to have a herd of children, get busy! If you were meant to meditate 10 hours a day, make your living room your temple.

 

What we are all on this earth to do is to surrender freely to the gifts and the interests and the fascinations that were given to us by Spirit, by Creator, by the Life Force. You wouldn’t be drawn to engage with these things if they weren’t part of your essential nature.

 

It’s how you answer the question of why you are here. And once you unlock the key to that door, everything else falls magically into place.

 

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.
 

The Truth About Love

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


You are a prayer

Your presence a blessing

Your body a thing of beauty

The very fact that you even exist

A miracle beyond measure

 

Take a moment

Right here

Right now

To remember that you know how

You have ALWAYS known how

 

To breathe in the light

To exhale the stars

To dance wildly on mountaintops

To stretch your heart around the world

To be a raging river of mercy

 

Let this holy truth

Pump and pulse

Through every vein and artery and capillary

Of your sweet body

 

You are love

Only love

Endless love

Unceasing love

Forever love

 

You

Yes you

Unmistakably

Undeniably 

You

 

 

Are the gorgeous

Blessed

Dazzling

Sacred heart of love

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.
 

The Power Of Practice Or The Hard Work Miracle

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

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Recently I began a food regimen that is designed to wean me off of my addiction to sugar.

 

And this means that I can eat certain foods and not others if I want to achieve this goal of no longer being a sugar slave.

 

The number of tasty nuggets NOT on the allowable foods list is relatively small. There’s certain things that I just can’t eat while I’m going through this exercise. Period. So the whole process is not complicated. It’s really quite simple.

 

But the hard part is actually doing it. Because it’s not just a one shot deal. It’s something that I’ve made a commitment to for 30 days (and hopefully the rest of my life) which means that I need to make the choice to eat in a particular way many times throughout the course of a day. And then do it again the next day. And the next and the next.

 

Which made me realize that the choice to do this is really the choice to take on a practice. And got me thinking about what it means to have a practice of any kind. So I came up with a list of a few qualities and attitudes that are critical to the process of creating a robust and living practice.

 

DEVOTION + CHOICE

 

One aspect of ANY practice is that it involves devotion to something that you value and cherish and want to cultivate. And always invokes the element of active choice.

 

The thing I realized in exploring this idea of practice, is that we are always practicing something. But you need to be clear that you are devoting yourself to something that you really WANT to be practicing.

 

If I come back to the food issue, I have been a devoted sugar and refined carbohydrates disciple for many years now. I worshipped daily at the altar of chocolate and bread and cookies and crackers.

 

I valued and cherished the shadow comfort, as my friend and author Jennifer Louden would call it, that came from eating these types of foods.

 

This was definitely a practice, but one that was also in direct conflict with other values near and dear to my heart like my physical health, genuine self-care and feeding myself with things that TRULY nurtured me.

 

It was also a practice that I did not consciously choose. It was something that I just fell into doing, and in fact it came from a place in me that was kind of numbed out and brain dead. And it did not make me feel good about myself. It was a practice steeped in shame and “day after” remorse.

 

A true practice expands your sense of yourself… not your waistline. It allows you to feel more awake and alive. More connected to what is good and true and beautiful. It is fed by the power of devotion. So you need to take devotion very seriously. And be very clear about where you focus that precious energy of your capacity to devote yourself to something. Making sure that it is the absolutely right-for-you something.

 

 

INTENTION + ACTION + EFFORT

 

A practice always begins with an intention.

 

And then the practice AMPLIFIES that intention through action. A practice isn’t a practice if all you do is think about it. You need to actually DO things to bring it alive.

 

A true practice is something that you decide to do and it usually requires more than a bit of effort to achieve. And there are going to be times when you don’t want to make that effort. But you have to do it anyway. That’s what makes it a practice.

 

There are a million different reasons to not do your practice. The forces of entropy are legion. Quite often, resistance shows it face as things like forgetfulness and busyness.

As the whining “I don’t WANT to’s”.

The pouty and petulant “This is getting to be all HARD and stuff!!”

And of course as the ever popular, uber-rebellious “You can’t MAKE me’s!!”

 

Your practice is always a commitment to you. And a commitment to the highest and best version of you. It’s not a commitment to only doing it when it’s easy or convenient or when you feel like it. It’s something that you do EVERY day… and preferably multiple times a day.

 

For it to work it needs to become your life.

 

THE CONTINUAL CHALLENGE OF STAYING AWAKE

 

The purpose of a practice is for you to become more awake, more aware, more conscious.

 

To fight against the tendency we all have to go to sleep to ourselves and to drift along through our lives on automatic pilot. Because that default pattern of falling asleep is SO strong, we need to make sure that our practice doesn’t just fall into a drowsy habit.

 

A practice is a living thing. Which means our practice needs to grow as we grow.

 

For example, I have a daily practice of compassion and empathy. And I began that practice with my students and clients. Which was actually pretty great because it was like being PAID to do my practice.

 

Over the years, my compassion muscle in those circumstances became very robust. And relatively automatic. And no longer the same sort of challenge that it once was.

 

So I’ve expanded that original practice into something that I learned from one of my mentors and shamanic teachers Jose Stevens … something that he learned from the Huichol Indians …  recognizing EVERYONE on the planet as another me.

 

When I take my daily hikes out in my local nature park I practice seeing each person I walk past as “another me.” This has opened up my heart in some brand new ways. Because when I see other folks as another version of me I FEEL them not just see them. I find myself saying things as I pass them like “ Oh wow… other me seems really sad today. Or… Other me is AWFULLY cranky… or scared. Or… So cool. Other me is wonderfully filled with joy today.”

 

I get inside of them in a whole new way. And find it difficult to be as annoyed or judgmental as I would normally be when I see these “strangers” as separate from me. It has increased my compassion immensely and given me a greater feeling of connection with a much larger and diverse group of humans than the ones who come through my studio doors.

 

Once this practice becomes more entrenched, I will turn my sites on having that same kind of compassion for other drivers when I’m in my car. Something I’m not particularly looking forward to because I know that one is going to be ESPECIALLY demanding.

 

ENERGY EXPANSION

 

A practice is designed to shift energy. And to also open you up to greater, bigger and more expanded energies.

 

In my workshops and retreats we have a rhythm of daily practices that amp up the energy of creativity. We have a daily dance party. We breathe and move and express ourselves through our bodies. We make playful non verbal connections with each other. We paint for hours a day. We listen to our intuitve promptings and take action based on what they are telling us. We make a point of becoming more mindful of the inner critic and how it’s trying to run the show. We sit in sacred circle and speak our truth into a container of love and trust and compassion.

 

At the end of my retreats folks are often literally BURSTING with energy. With joy. With a deeper connection to the core of their being. With a clearer sense about who they are and what they need to bring into their lives that will allow them to be happy and satisfied and fulfilled.

 

Oftentimes this energy is difficult to tolerate because it feels so unfamiliar.

 

It’s one of the main reasons that folks have a hard time continuing with a practice. We learn to identify with our smallness. Our limitations. Our sense of diminishment. And when that identity gets challenged… when we start to experience ourselves as someone so much BIGGER than we thought we could be… we freak out and STOP doing the very things that support that sense of expansion.

 

So when you start shutting down to your practices it’s important to remember that this means you are choosing to devote yourself to smallness. To habit. To old outmoded stories. And ultimately to fear.

 

THE PRACTICE IS THE PRIZE

 

I was recently asked how to live a life that is based on love instead fear.

 

And I responded by saying that what I do is to CONCENTRATE on love. When it speaks, I listen. I do what it tells me. I don’t argue with it or try to dodge it.

 

I cultivate it. Become devoted to it. Make it a priority. Love is where I FOCUS MY ATTENTION. As much as humanly possible. I don’t waste as much time on fear because it’s NOT VERY MUCH FUN.

 

I emphasize what has energy and juice and aliveness for me (some other names for love). I notice what is calling to me from my heart and my soul. And then I do those things. I follow those threads. Every day. Multiple times a day. No matter what.

 

And the more I take action around what has energy for me, the more it feeds on itself. That’s where the practice comes in. I simply do those things that feed love. I don’t do the things that feed fear… at least most of the time. So the love gets bigger. And the fear gets smaller.

 

It seems like magic. But it’s only the hard work miracle of disciplining yourself to keep your eyes OFF the crap and on the prize.

 

There is a concept that I love that comes from the Sufi tradition where they talk about the dance between what they call self forgetting and self remembering. And self remembering is all about coming back again and again to the truth of the radiance of who you REALLY are. And you do that through the practice of remembering. 

 

Practices develop a momentum, which means that over time the practice becomes easier because it becomes a part of you. You begin to identify with the practice.

 

When it comes right down to it, your practice IS your life. And your practices create who you are.

 

If you practice love, you become love. If you practice courage you become courageous. If you practice wisdom, you become wise.

 

While it’s not at all easy, it really is that simple.

 

So the question is always this. Are you willing to allow yourself to be that big. That amazing. That full of gorgeous magic. That identified with love. That gloriously alive.

 

That full of yourself in the best possible way.

 

If the answer is YES …. Then it may be time to embrace and re-commit to whatever those practices are that will support you in nurturing what is most true and essential in your being and your soul. Time to step into your full power and radiance. And time to live your life from the hugely gorgeous luminosity that you were always meant to be.

Copyright © 2014 Creative Juices Arts.