Shifting Consciousness

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I used to be a teacher.  I used to be a painting contractor.  I used to be a glorified factory worker for a large technology company.  I used to be a lot of things.  Lately I’m wondering what I am now.  Things that seemed to be clear cut are no longer clear anymore.  It’s as if I’ve awoken from a long sleep and someone rearranged the furniture while I was unconscious.   Everything looks the same but it’s all in the wrong place.

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Now I usually love rearranging the furniture.  There is something very satisfying about opening up my space and redirecting the traffic patterns throughout my house so that I use my home in a new way.  There’s an energy shift in moving furniture, I love the feng shui-ness of it all.  So the metaphoric rearranging of my brain, my thoughts, my goals and who exactly I might be is giving me the same boost I get from actually moving a couch across the living room.

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Only this time, I’m having a harder time deciding the final pattern… it all seems in flux.  But in the spirit of going with the flow, while still maintaining a concrete grasp on reality,  I’m drawing and journaling my thoughts.  I’ve just completed my second on-line Mandala workshop (check out Julie Gibbons if you’d like to know more… she’s a darling Scottish teacher making magic on the internet) .  It’s been inspiring and very satisfying to draw mandalas but I can’t say I’ve reached any clarity of thought.  Maybe it’s the circular nature of the mandala… or the zen like meditative state I find myself in while coloring tiny intricate patterns.  Maybe it’s digging down into my subconscious and stirring up the silt that’s muddying up the waters of my present.  Maybe it’s mind blowing thought porn that has me watching YouTube videos on math and science, spiritual growth and psychology that’s got me lost in the swirling tornado of ideas.

 

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Regardless of what it is… my blog is for sharing art.  And yes, ideas too.  But until I can focus on those ideas, get a handle on what exactly they are, the art will have to do.  Some of my thoughts are too personal to share on a blog…  there’s a vulnerable quotient to being so transparent, especially since clarity right now is exactly the issue at hand. Until the dust settles and I can see what the hell is going on, these mandalas seem to be serving as my touchstone. Because right now, it’s as if everytime I look away, someone keeps moving the furniture and my only safe zone is drawing.

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Is it possible to be drawing for your life?

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Hamsa for peace of mind

Seems like life had other plans for me lately. The garden called, so did the lawn, the animals needed some attention, then there was the brush pile to burn, the floor to sweep, the kitchen to clean.  On and on and on it goes… it’s always something.  Even the atmosphere was colluding to keep me outside doing all those spring time tasks that needed good weather. Until I was ready to pull out my hair and became completely overwhelmed with chores and my ever growing list of tasks.  Just when I was really getting sick of  it all, a cold rain swept in and I finally headed into the studio.  I really needed to get something out of me and preferably onto a canvas.  But my next painting had yet to be decided.  What to do, what to do?  I put on my favorite album and got lost in a meditative Hamsa.

The Hamsa is a symbol of protection.  It’s an old image, used throughout history to ward off the “evil eye”. Drawing one sends out good vibes and puts those inner demons to rest.  Supposedly. I know I felt better just working on it. Maybe one way to look at the “evil eye” is the “I” inside.  Meaning the ego.  The ego gets wrapped up in feeling important, in feeling good about oneself.  And for me, getting all those chores done does feel good.  Checking things off my list feels like I’ve been productive. But I need to balance that mad dash at productivity with a creative flow that replenishes my sense of self.

You’d think by now in my life I’d have figured out how to stay balanced. But what I have learned is the scales are always tipping one way or the other and one has to adapt and change and constantly seek balance.  That’s just the nature of life.  Having the tools to help you find that balance point again, whatever the tool may be, is a good thing.  Keeping the balance is important.  Maybe even more important than mowing the lawn.

Here’s my Hamsa… colored pencil, sharpie and alcohol markers.

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Be gone evil thoughts!!

 

 

Getting back to work… the lifesaver!

What do you get when you mix one month of intensive novel writing with a “holiday” that requires extensive cooking by moi, (all self imposed slavery, I assure you) another upcoming “holiday” that requires more extensive shopping, cooking, as well as decorating and even some furniture rearranging, and an online workshop, and 10 acres of land with livestock to maintain as well as a new obsession that requires tons of research and gear trial?  You get an artist who can’t get into her studio to save her life.

Last night I realized that working in the studio is a life saver in many, many ways.  Mental health being first and foremost, creating art allows me to unravel and unwind my mind from the things that don’t matter and channel that energy into something productive and beautiful.

So I managed to get lost in the studio for a few hours where I made a mandala to get my brain back on track for creating art.  After finishing that last painting of Hope Pass, I wasn’t sure what I was on to next.  Drawing a mandala helped me focus and voila!  This morning I knew what I wanted to paint.

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Here’s the magic mandala for now; and off I go, back to work!

Phew! Glad that’s over!

Hurrah and Phew!!   Today I reached my NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words in a month. And I am, apparently a winner!  Just like everyone else who made it to 50K words.  My story is not finished, I was bulking up what I thought was the end but wound up adding yet another problem to be solved.  But now that I can actually edit the thing instead of madly writing, looks like it will either be a new cool addition to the novel or axed and I’ll finish the actual story in less than 50K words.

I may post it here in serial form if I get some requests… anyone interested in reading a first attempt sci-fi novel?  The hubby said he liked it, but hey, he is the hubby.  Though I do trust his honesty…. well, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

In addition to my mad writing skills, I took a mandala workshop too.  So, in honor of that, here are the exercises in order as we worked through them:

Day 1, seeing circles and learning about the mystery of the circle!  Medium: twist crayons

20141130_185506 This was a cool exercise in going round and round… I inadvertently made an eye in the middle!  My text above says, once seen, it could not be un-seen.  There I am, on the inside looking out.

Day 1, continued.  The magic of circles… interesting geometrical facts… like how the radius applied to the circumference creates 6 segments that make other interesting shapes when you connect the lines. Medium: Sharpie Markers and colored pencil.

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Day 2, we moved on to lotus shaped mandalas.  Fun!!  Wish you could see the copper colored ink.  Medium: Sharpies and copper ink.

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Day 3 was a self exploration using collage. Never my favorite medium, but the point was to cover up our affirmations that were written below the images.  No thinking allowed…. a good exercise for me!  Sometimes I need to shut it down or shut it up.  My brain, that is.   Medium:  pencil, magazines and matte medium.

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Day 4, just finished.  A Hamsa…. not exactly a mandala, but a wonderful pattern of protection.  Also a fun exercise.  Medium:  Prismacolors, water color pencils, Sharpies.

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Day 5…. well, I think I ‘ll save that for the next post.  Always leave ’em wanting more, said the hubby.  Not that he said it first, but still, a very good idea. 🙂

Blog vacation of sorts

Dear Readers,

I should have told you all sooner, but I am taking a short blog break.  November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo  for short.  Blogger friends of mine take part every year and this year I thought (gulp!) I’d give it a try.  The task is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month which means I have to average 1,667 words a day.  Which I have been doing, so yay!!  But that means, no blogging for now.  I’ll be lucky if I can get back into the studio to paint.

In addition to this craziness, I also signed up for a week long on-line mandala workshop.  I’ll post some of those creations later, we just started the workshop today.

I’m at 28,000+ words right now and on track to finish by the end of the month!  Wowsa!  I’ll be back to the blog in December, thanks to all of you for your support and interest in my work and ideas and verbosity.  Seems like I always have something to say about something, so maybe writing this book was good for me.

Cheers!