Monday, December 14, 2015

Catching Up With Reverb15...

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,

Today I'm catching up with the previous FOUR prompts for Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for the Reverb prompts, as I am quite behind in my blogging!

Prompt 11: Of Atoms and Stories

For this prompt, Kat gives us this to muse upon:

Muriel Rukeyser once wrote: The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms. And I could not agree more. Our stories are our own but, in sharing them, they become universal. And timeless. 

What stories touched you this year? Which stories of your own are you glad you shared?

An uplifting story that touched me this year was that of ballerina Misty Copeland being promoted to Prima Ballerina at American Ballet Theater. As a woman of color and dancer who began dance studies with a love of ballet, this story was an exciting one to watch unfold...of course, there has always been the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Dance Theatre of Harlem, both of which are African American dance companies, but to have an African American woman achieve the exalted position of Prima Ballerina in a primarily white dance company is truly breaking racial barriers and smashing concepts of what makes a 'perfect ballet body'.

As for stories of my own that I am glad I shared this year, I would have to say that sharing my frustration and exhaustion and burn out with an old friend was instrumental in my taking time away from all of my hard work, and it also helped me take the leap to join Mondo Beyondo, which has been EXTREMELY HELPFUL in regaining my TRUST in MAGIC and helping me gain better CLARITY that has helped me MANIFEST some dreams I've been holding close and dear and I plan to carry this intention well into the new year!

Prompt 12: The Alchemy of Fear

This Reverb15 prompt is a guest post from Alana Lawson, aka Wolf and Word:

Can you think of an instance in the past year where you have been successful at making fear useful? 

What fears do you hold about the year ahead? And how could you use the energy of those fears in a different way?

Where in the past year have I made fear USEFUL to me? I guess it would be in all the work and reaching out I've been doing to locate venues to teach from, only I've now come to the realization that teaching from my own studio might be the best-fit plan of all...

But this taps into my fears for the year ahead - that I will not be able to get my studio into a suitable and tidy state for teaching in, which leads to other fears that I will never be able to earn enough money to pay my bills with ease...

But I think I can use this fear to my advantage and maybe even transmute my fears into a motivated energy aimed at discarding all goods, supplies and items that no longer serve me or bring me joy in the thought of using said items for future creative projects. I am close to completely filling TWO 18 gallon tubs of fabrics, trims, paper, and various supplies to be given away through art groups and I am finally starting to see some pockets of spaciousness and areas of carpeting that had been previously covered with too much stuff...and seeing this clearing begin to really take form is getting me excited to reach the finish line!

Prompt 13: Shake It Off (yes, really!)

What are you going to shake off with fierceness before you enter the new year?

There is something about this prompt that feels so powerful, to be able to shake off that which no longer serves me or, as Ann Miller once sang, to 'shake it away'...

And if there was something to be shaken off, it would be the perpetual resentment I harbor toward people I wrote about here last year, resentment which hasn't quite lost its grip, much to my chagrin...

Interestingly, I received a message in my inbox yesterday, from Mindy Tsonas, who is providing some daily alchemy card wisdom for December (you can sign up here!) to help keep balance during the hectic holiday season and yesterday's card seems to connect to this prompt of 'shaking it off' is the alchemy card Mindy shared with us:

Oh, the work of Envy.
We all feel it and experience it. The feeling of Envy is a compelling one. It's a double edged blade that tells the story of something we deeply desire and also something we fear.... our own not enough-ness. This is a powerful card that can push us into uncomfortable places, but it also can be a great teacher and provide lots of insight should we allow it. The trick is to listen to what your envy is telling you, what work it's bringing up for us as unfinished and present, and to not get consumed by the immediate, visceral response. 
The Envy card allows us to be in our jealous feelings without the fight or flight response. It give s us an extra beat to let the emotion of it move through. Otherwise unchecked, envy can lead to outward hostility and projecting our negative emotions onto other people. It is an emotion we must own and endeavor to understand. It is a root feeling that is much more about what we fear we lack, than it is about what someone else might possess.
Today, delve into working with this feeling with a bit of gentleness and a wide open heart. Take kindness and compassion along as companions, and know we all have imperfections and places that need shoring up. Find the flow in Envy so that it does not shut you down. Don't let it block you from knowing your truest self.

The idea of feeling ENVY or JEALOUSY is one that pops into my head often as I continue to rid myself of my resentment and anger toward the 'narcissistic energy suckers' that take up space on the fringe of my world. So if there is an underlying current of envy being felt here let me now share just what I do feel envy and jealous of:

The utter disregard for 'politeness' in getting what they want, and they do get what they want...I have witnessed some stunning displays of entitlement and arrogance, and the lengths of selfishness taken to get what they want has been appalling to witness, to say the least, and there is NEVER ANY APOLOGY for this behavior...EVER.

These 'energy suckers' want what they want and, by god, they will have it...and they will have it WITH NO CONSEQUENCES...

Some days I wonder what it must be like to feel so entitled to be able to act so selfishly for one's own ends, with complete disregard for putting out anyone else. Being able to get what you want when you want it is something I envy, no doubt about it...but I also see how empty these lives truly are and I can begin to see that these lengths of selfishness are but one way to cover the shallowness these people are harboring, the lack of inner self possession, lack of healthy self centered-ness, lack of peace, calm or serenity...

...the kind of peace, calm and serenity that I strive toward with my daily meditation rituals...self care rituals I know the narcissists can not be bothered with doing for themselves, after all, who needs to take of yourself when you can throw tantrums to get others to take care of you?

Maybe with a little more contemplation on my feelings of envy and jealousy, I can get closer to finally shaking off the anger and resentment so I can one day look upon these people and feel absolutely NOTHING in their presence...I hope so.

Prompt 14: Transformation
This is a guest prompt from Lisa Sadikman who gives us the following prompt to ponder:

You wake up and the light through the window seems different, the air carries a chill or maybe a hint of warmer days. 

What has changed? You? The world? 

It can be a change that happened this past year or one you're looking toward in the time ahead. It can be a broad sweep obvious to all or a more subtle shift that only you know about. 

Tell us about transformation.

What changed is that I made a CHOICE to take a leap...

I took a leap to reach out despite my burned out, blocked and broke state of being and I reached out to strangers who would not remain strangers for long...

I took a leap to reclaim the inner magic I lost track of and I set an intention to invite CLARITY, TRUST and MAGIC into life...

And with this change to invite these values into my life, not only did I change myself, but the world shifted to meet my inner change...

And I can feel my 'dreaming big' and 'magic making' muscles begin to grow back. And I am glad I took a leap to make a CHOICE to reach out for HELP =)

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Reverb15 - Radical Acts of Love

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,

Today is Day 10 of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Ten: Radical Acts of Love

We have a guest contributor for today's prompt and her name is Julia Inglis of 'Sacred Familiar', who creates some of the most amazing needle felted medicine dolls I've ever seen!

Here is the prompt given to us from Julia:

When we heal our spirits the ripples are felt from the highest branches to the deepest roots of our family trees. 

What radical act of love or non-conformity did you embrace this year? 

How did performing this alchemy affect your ancestors and what is the gold waiting to be shared with future relations?

Hmmmm, once again I'm feeling a bit stymied with this prompt, as it harks back to ancestors and to family trees...

But I do love the primary question of 'radical acts of love or non-conformity' that I may have embraced this year...

For anyone who has been reading at my blog for sometime now, you will understand that I have been 'committing an act of non-conformity' for over THREE years now, and that is to blaze my own trail, to utilize my skills and forge a creative career as a maker and instructor.

This has not been easy.

And this year in particular has been a difficult one, with some real challenges thrown into the mix in the past two months...

But each day I choose this 'radical act of self love', knowing it is the best choice FOR ME, as I finally begin to truly 'honor doing things in the way that works best for ME'...and 'doing things in the way that work best for ME' might now mean scrapping some things and starting from scratch, and blazing more trails, instead of walking well worn paths that are not bringing the results I wish to see.

This will not be easy.

But it will be easier knowing that working within 'established systems' is not going to work for me because I really don't like 'established systems'!

And not working within 'established systems' is also an act of 'non-conformity', something that was not really looked upon favorably as I was growing up...but then, who was raised to think as a non-conformist?!?

I really don't know how my radical acts of self love and non-conformity will affect my ancestors or future relations with anyone I may cross paths with in the future, but I'm beginning to see that the 'gold waiting to be shared with future relations' will be a strong sense of resilience, determination and confidence and I can only hope that these qualities I am cultivating by walking my own path will be an inspiration to anyone I may meet in the future.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Reverb15 - Secret Ingredient

Hello my fellow Creative Beasts,
Today is Day Nine of Reverb15, hosted by Kat McNally of "I Saw You Dancing". There is still time to sign up HERE and play along if you are inspired to do so.

And now for today's writing prompt...

Prompt Nine: Secret Ingredient

Here is what Kat proposes for today's writing prompt:

As you may know, the theme of this year's Reverb reflective writing challenge is Alchemy. This was my word for 2015 but it has been so rich and evocative that I may just keep it for life.

Just the idea of Alchemy makes me curious. 

Like, what if you had to give someone a recipe for how to make a YOU?

What major ingredients would be required? What method would you recommend?

How would your je ne sais quoi be recreated?

Hmmm, what an interesting proposition, to figure out a recipe on how to make me, ME...

It brings to mind a conversation I once had with my dear Wise Woman:

ME: We need to have more Wise Women on this planet! (I have said this on more than one occasion!)

Wise Woman: I told my dear husband that you think we need more Wise Women in the world and he said that I should tell you that "if we have more Wise Women, we need to have more Dear Husbands to take care of them"!!

Which is to say that the very first ingredient to make another ME is to create a matching Dear Boyfriend to take care of my doppelganger! ;)

But if someone wanted to know what helps to make a Creative Beast, what would be needed..?

Here is my list of not-so-secret ingredients:

BOOKS, to start - good children's books, followed by some psychology and social studies, historical fiction and the occasional novel that includes vintage fashion or clothing in some way!

Add DANCE classes because a Creative Beast is a restless beast unless she learns various forms of dance to keep her moving when things get a little dull (which is RARELY!)

Throw in lots of ART: drawing, painting, some ceramics, some 3-D Design, some wood sculpture and LOTS of collage and mixed media, not to mention some traditional book binding skills...and some sewing skills...and some knitting skills...

Stir in lots of MUSIC which will do double duty by 1) soothing a savage (Creative!) Beast and 2) give the Creative Beast something to dance to...just about any kind of music will do - except maybe Country Western ;)

Sprinkle in the following FOODS, sparingly: potato chips; french fries; McDonald Big Macs; really good carnitas; AMAZING tamales*; sushi**; really good clam chowder***; tiramisu; chocolate cupcakes with homemade mocha icing; blood orange soda; Pepsi; hazelnut chocolate ice cream or hazelnut chocolate cookies; ANYTHING with lemon flavoring; ANYTHING flavored with pineapple; pepperoni, mushroom and black olive pizza; homemade mac & cheese...dang, now I'm getting hungry ;)

Add dollops of costume drama MOVIES, comedies and historical documentaries...

Toss together with a few NAPS and BIKE RIDES and I believe we would get 'Souffle du Creative Beast'! ****

Would anyone care to try my recipe??!? ;)

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading today!

* - it is not easy to find AMAZING tamales, so I already eat these sparingly - I could actually eat them every day, I love tamales so much!
** - Sushi can be pricey, which is why I already eat this sparingly too - wish I could eat this more often!
*** - really good clam chowder can be surprisingly difficult to find in some restaurants, unless it is a seafood restaurant, like this one, which does, in fact, serve a really good clam chowder
**** - this translated to 'Breath of the Creative Beast', which I thought sounded great for a recipe to create me! ;)