Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Monthly Check-In: March 2014

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Like many, I rarely blog anymore. I've moved on to quicker, more visual ways of sharing my life. But I don't want to neglect this lively space, so I've decided to do a monthly check in that aggregates the "best of the month" in other social media I use. It's so meta! So please enjoy, and make sure to follow links and connect with me in other spaces as well as here.


March 2014 on Instagram

My magenta hair lives on, into the Spring!

I'm painting up a storm! This is a Sad Clown that appeared in my Circle Painting.

I have a new painting studio and it's been such a joy to sink down into my painting practice again. When I paint every day, I find that my paintings begin to respond back to me. The above began as a painting made only of circles. Eventually, this Sad Clown Face began to reveal herself and as I "pulled her out" by defining the details, I realized that she came in answer to a question I've been sitting with, about my life as a performer and improvisor. The current group I am performing with is fantastic and I love them, but the improv we do together is way too "normal" and it's making me a "Sad Clown." I didn't realize this until this face in my painting showed up to tell me.

Videos I made in March 2014



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Here I am deadlifting 100kg (220 lbs.) for 4 reps.

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SO MANY turkeys at our house!

Books I read in March 2014

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley ~ 1917. Illustrations by Douglas Gorsline

I read a lot of books in March. One of my favorites was Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morely. I received it in Book Riot's 2nd Quarterly Box. I loved this book and it was quite a feminist story (especially considering it was written in 1917)! In this short novella, a woman buys a book caravan and sets out to escape the drudgery of domestic farm life and sell books on the open road. It's really worth a read, if only to inspire you to jump in and try something new.

So far, I've read 19 books in 2014.
 

Music I dug in March 2014


This is a new section I'm going to add to this Monthly Check-In Series. This isn't music that necessarily came out this month - more like music I discovered this month:



Bridge to Hawaii by Tacocat 
First of all, this band's name is Taco Cat. That in itself is fantastic. They are super poppy in the best way and this song is about escaping the cold winter with a bridge to Hawaii. 

"It's dark and it rains all the time
I'm guessing not the destinations that you had in mine
Your brain's unraveling, the endless traveling
And you can't go up, jump into the ocean"


Elemental Finding by Tara Jane O'Neil (set to vintage 1970's baptism footage by David Dean Burkhart on YouTube)
I've been a fan of Tara Jane O'Neil for years, and her new album, Where Shine New Lights does not disappoint. It's dreamy and slow and perfect.

"Lay down, lay down your armor
Your guards have already fled
Take a look at yourself you marauder
And be your soft test"

Thanks for going on this month's ride with me! See you next time.

Don't forget to:
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Follow me on Goodreads.
Become a fan of Create With Spirit on Facebook.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Monthly Check-In: February 2014

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Like many, I rarely blog anymore. I've moved on to quicker, more visual ways of sharing my life. But I don't want to neglect this lively space, so I've decided to do a monthly check in that aggregates the "best of the month" in other social media I use. It's so meta! So please enjoy, and make sure to follow links and connect with me in other spaces as well as here.

February 2014 on Instagram


I started off the month of February with fresh magenta hair!

I moved into my NEW ART STUDIO! Where, for the first time in my life,
I could line up all my paintings and look at them together. Amazing!

I've been drawing one portrait every morning. I improvise with these two funny gentlemen.

I painted a giant, abstract Full Pink Moon on the floor of my new studio.

Playing with the Diana app, to combine self-portraits with my drawings. So fun!

 

Videos I made in February 2014



 Here is me benching 55 kilos (121 lbs) for 5 reps!


Rain in my new studio!

 

Books I read in February 2014


I read three books this month:
Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of a Latin Queen by one of the largest and most notorious street gangs in America." The story was brutal and difficult to get through, but still an important story to be told.

Ariel: The Restored Edition by

And finally, Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart by with a foreword by Dalai Lama XIV. This book completely blew my mind. It's so good. Bennett-Goleman breaks down "ten basic emotional patterns, including fear of abandonment, social exclusion (the feeling that we don't belong), and vulnerability (the feeling that some catastrophe will occur)." She gives great tips on mindfulness and presence and shares wonderful stories to illustrate her suggestions. She's humble, authentic and generous and this is a book I'm keeping on my shelves to refer to when things start to spin out of control and I feel overwhelmed by my own schemas (it's a life-long journey, isn't it?).


So far, I've read 14 books in 2014.

Don't forget to:
Follow me on Instagram.
Follow me on Twitter.
Follow me on Goodreads.
Become a fan of Create With Spirit on Facebook.

Thanks for continuing to visit this space and connect!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice

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One of my Winter Solstice altars

Today is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. We've had a very cold, dry winter so far, and my heart and soul yearn for the rain. I am a true Northern California girl - I need wet, moist earth and green, dripping branches to truly feel at home and to truly feel the magic of the season. The cold, bright landscape of this strange winter we're having leaves me feeling lost and confused. It's too bright. It's too cold. My plants are dead from frost and my lips are constantly chapped.

This is a time for nesting and reflection. When I can, I like to have a big bonfire and invite all my friends to gather round it and let go of the old year by burning various ephemera from the past, but this year, I'm going to celebrate a bit more quietly. No bonfire this year, but there will be lots of candles lit throughout the house. This is a night to stop and breathe - to take in the year that is about to exit out the door and dream about what is to come, when the light returns. I want to nestle in my little nest, curl up with my beloved husband and kitty cats, sip hot cider and LET GO. The solstice is a time of wonder, of ritual, of candles lit under shivering stars.


Painting of Antlered One by Susan Seddon Boulet via Turning Point Gallery

It's important to me to re-claim this holiday season from the corporate, industrial world. Thankfully, every season still celebrated, has a Goddess beneath it - you just have to scratch the surface a bit - and my favorite Goddesses of the season are Beiwe, Beiwe-Neia and Rozhanitsa. All could fall under the archetype of the "Antlered Goddess."
 

The Saami, indigenous people of Finland, Sweden and Norway, worship Beiwe, the sun-goddess of fertility and sanity. She travels through the sky in a structure made of reindeer bones with her daughter, Beiwe-Neia, to herald back the greenery on which the reindeer feed. On the winter solstice, her worshipers would sacrifice white female animals and thread the meat on sticks which they bent into rings and tied with bright ribbons. They also cover their doorposts with butter so Beiwe can eat it and begin her journey once again. 

Sami woman reindeer herder, Berit Logje
with cast antler at round-up near Kautokeino. Northern Norway.
In twelfth century Russia, the eastern Slavs worshiped the winter mother goddess, Rozhanitsa, offering bloodless sacrifices like honey, bread and cheese. Bright colored winter embroideries (usually red on white) depicting the antlered goddess and her children were made to honor the Feast of Rozhanitsa in late December. For her feast, small, white-iced cookies shaped like deer were given as presents or good luck tokens.

The antlered woman is really an iconic figure in art and mythology. I'm actually working on my own antlered crown that I hope to complete before the year is complete (wish me luck)!

More reading about the Antlered Goddess:
In Search of the Antlered Goddess of the Ways by Robert Moss


Amanita Muscaria mushroom

I also really love the old stories about the origin of Santa Claus. It's no coincidence that Christmas colors are red and white. Just look at the mushrooms the old shamans used to take, because really, Santa Claus is just a Bear Shaman on mushrooms anyway!

What about music? I plan on making a mix of all my favorite Winter Solstice music (stay tuned!) but until then, I recommend listening to Beautiful Darkness, Celebrating the Winter Solstice, by Jessica Radcliffe, Lisa Ekström & Martin Simpson. It's a quiet, sweet, powerful album and a great companion for nesting through the winter cold.

I am wishing you all a joyous and delightful new year full of light, love and vigor.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Be Your Own Beloved #28

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Every day, I am taking a self-portrait in conjunction with Vivienne McMaster's Be Your Own Beloved e-course. Sometimes it takes me longer - like a month - but I'm dedicated to finishing this project!

A Message to My Future Self
 TODAY, 3 MONTHS AND 23 DAYS AFTER THE END OF THIS PROJECT, I HAVE FINALLY TAKEN 28 SELF-PORTRAITS. Well actually, I've taken quite a bit more, but as far as this particular project is concerned, I am finally done!

In this last assignment, Vivienne asks us to take a picture to send to our future self. As you can imagine, I ground my gears over this one for weeks. What do I want to tell my future self? This is so BIG. This is so IMPORTANT.

Finally, I realized that more than anything else, my big brain OVERTHINKING all of my creative projects actually stops them from ever getting done, just as it stopped me from taking this very picture. So my message to my future self (and my present self) is to remember to just create. Just make. Don't worry so much. You will make mistakes and often those mistakes will turn into something beautiful. If you stay frozen, you will never make anything at all, so you might as well just go for it. What a relief!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Be Your Own Beloved #27

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Every day, I am taking a self-portrait in conjunction with Vivienne McMaster's Be Your Own Beloved e-course. Sometimes it takes me longer - like a month - but I'm dedicated to finishing this project!

I've got big strong legs. They carry me through this world.

Today's assignment is to "gift ourselves with Bravery," which is such a perfect way to phrase it, because when we are brave, face our fears and take action, it can feel like the most delicious gift possible. Vivienne asked specifically "What type of photo could you do today that would feel empowering, knowing that we are here to catch that brave act and hold it safely?" One of her suggestions was to take "a photo from an unexpected angle" which really excited me. When I combined that idea with being brave, I knew immediately what I wanted to do... and I was petrified.

I am a big-legged woman. I'm pretty sure I inherited these powerful tree trunk legs from my Mother's Mother, which makes them Scottish-German legs, good for pulling the plow and withstanding strong winds of change. My big legs do great things for me every day - besides just the usual holding me up and carrying me though the world. They are strong for weightlifting. They are strong for dancing. They are strong for jumping. But they are also not conventionally attractive and I have always felt shameful of them. I have hid them most of my life and even now, it is rare that I ever wear shorts - but I do wear skirts and show my bare legs, so I'm getting there.

Another from the Big Legs series.

When I read today's assignment, I knew that it was time to take a picture of my legs. I was so scared to begin, but just as Vivienne said, it was such a gift to give myself. I ended up spending over an hour taking pictures of my legs and playing with the images. I started to delight in the vastness of my thighs and the texture and curves of my big calves. I now have a whole series of leg pictures and I want to take more! If it weren't for this assignment, I probably never would have focused on my legs so intently and discovered a deeper layer to their beauty. Being brave truly is a gift.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Be Your Own Beloved #26

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Every day, I am taking a self-portrait in conjunction with Vivienne McMaster's Be Your Own Beloved e-course. Sometimes it takes me longer - like a month - but I'm dedicated to finishing this project!

Fat Lady Jumping for Joy!

In today's assignment Vivienne asked us to celebrate ourselves. One of the examples she used was to take a jumping photo, which I have always wanted to do, but was a bit scared and intimidated by the idea. Whenever I am this scared about something, I know I need to do it. My main fear stems from the same fear I had when my weightlifting coach asked me to jump rope for the first time. I'm a really big woman and as all people who carry around a lot of adipose tissue know, we jiggle and wiggle so jumping feels especially intense.

Of course now, I jump all the time at the gym - I jump rope, and I do Olympic Weightlifting, which involves hoisting heavy weights over my head while jumping. So why was I so afraid to just jump, while getting my photo taken? I'm not sure I have the answer to that question. My only thought, in this moment, is that it's a different kind of jumping than jumping rope or lifting weights. It's somehow, more intense. I was trying to jump really high and pick up my feet (the perspective in this photo doesn't quite show you how high I jumped!). I wanted to really levitate off the ground. I was reaching for the sky and really giving it my all. It felt powerful and scary and exposed and invigorating.

Close-Up with The Girls almost popping out to say hello!

My husband took lots of pictures of me jumping and this set of images (taken with the QuadCamera - MultiShot app) was the one I finally picked. I'm laughing in this one and having a really good time. Jumping is so invigorating! And it really helps me be in my body after a day of computer work. My body is still vibrating from all the jumping! I definitely think I'm going to jump like this on a more regular basis - just go outside and jump as HIGH as I can!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Full Hare Moon

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Hare and Moon - by Susan Seddon Boulet

Tonight is a Full Hare Moon, also called Milk Moon, Dragon Moon, Planting Moon, Panther Moon, Moon When Leaves are Green, Moon to Plant, Bright Moon, Grass Moon, Flower Moon & Full Corn Planting Moon. It's also a SUPERMOON, which means the moon will be closest it will be to the Earth for the calendar year. AND there's also a partial eclipse! That's some powerful moon magic!

Sometimes folks ask me why I care so much about the moon and its phases. My answer is two-fold. On personal level, I've tracked my menstrual cycle with the Moon for the last 5 years and 100% of the time, my cycle starts when the moon is apogee (farthest from the earth). That's significant! I also have never met another person where this is true, so if it this is true for you, let me know! On a global level, we are all "bags of mostly water" as the old Star Trek episode says and the Moon affects the tides, so why wouldn't it affect us and our moods and energy? Again, this is significant!

There are some great stories about the Moon-Gazing Hare that can be found on the wonderful Celtic Lady website. ENJOY!