Friday, March 30, 2012

quote of the week

via pinterest
Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. Sometimes when I think about what I would change if I could do it over again, I find myself brought back to this thought. I only am who I am now, because of the mistakes and choices that I made in the past.

My Mom has always told me not to regret, that every choice I made at the time, reflects a wealth of thought and analysis that was the best decision I could make based on who I was then and the information I had at the time. If I were in the same place, with the same information, I would make the same choice all over again. Hindsight is clearer but the decisions we make don't have the benefit of hindsight, so we need to accept them for what they are: the best decisions we could make then.

I've grown up with that idea. And in many ways I'm very grateful that my Mom chose to impart that pearl of wisdom to me at a very young age, based on her own life experiences. And I'm grateful that I was in the space to hear it when she offered it up!

If I hadn't let someone sway me into that computer programming course, I'd never be tech savvy enough for blogging and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I would not be married to an amazing husband now if I hadn't gaffed a bit (or a lot) with a few of the men in my past. Hell, I probably wouldn't have given Mr Faye the time of day if I hadn't been in the exact head space I was in at the time we met. If I hadn't been a bit jaded enough to just throw all the cards on the table on the first date and do all the things that you're not supposed to do, I probably wouldn't have caught his attention and reached that part of him that was looking to break out of the conservative Catholic world he grew up in.And my life would have been so different and I wouldn't be here now, reveling in the beauty and joy that surrounds me.

I don't know... I think that instead of regretting some of our past decisions, we should be grateful for the lessons and the experiences they've brought into our lives in the long run. Even if they seem awful. Oh, I'm not trying to say that the mistakes weren't mistakes, just that they were a part of our growing process and even in the smallest way, they've shaped who we've become in some positive ways.

After all, to err is human, but to accept this gracefully and make the most of those mistakes, now that is divine!


Photobucket

Thursday, March 29, 2012

meditation is hard work!

This is a little bit of what my morning meditation looks like every day that I haul my butt to my meditation chair. That's right, I said chair. I meditate in a chair, not on the floor, not on a mat, on a chair.

I use this chair (cause it fits me and my wee little black beastie perfectly).

me and the wee  little beastie, this morning just moments post meditation
Why?

Well, first and foremost comfort. I'm not going to lie to you. Sitting on the floor, all still and so on and so forth, makes my flat Dutch butt hurt (I don't make this shit up, I swear...).

And it keeps me awake and willing to do the practice. Cause let's face it, if I knew that I was in for 20 minutes of a sore butt and back... I'd be less inclined to do the work! I'm kind of lazy that way.

Plus, I'm a sloucher. Using the chair back helps keep my posture good (but apparently doesn't do much for my grammar). Whatever. Posture is important.

Why? Because it helps with your breathing and if yoga and meditation have taught me anything, breathing is important, especially when you're trying to do something that you struggle with!

I use my breath in asana (yoga poses) that I struggle with (hello boat pose, plank pose, how I love to hate thee) to help me relax and ease into a position just as much as I do in meditation when my mind gets distracted and chaotic.

In fact, my meditation routine often looks a little like this:

Breathe in, Hold, Breathe out, Hold... Repeat. Repeat. Oh, I wonder if I should do this at work today.

Damn it, Faye, Breathe in, Hold, Breathe out, Hold. Repeat, Repeat.

Huh, that swirl in the wood looks like a mushroom. Hmmm, and that one looks like an elf. I wonder if fairies live in my floor. Is that even possible?

Damn it Faye, Breathe in, Hold, Breathe out, Hold. Repeat, Repeat.

this is exactly what we look like, glowing lights & all! yup, that's right. we glow!
Is that even possible? I mean, could they be in another dimension? I wonder what that would mean? I mean, if this is all a dream...

Damn it Faye, Breathe in, Hold, Breathe out, Hold. Repeat, Repeat. 

I have to remember to blog about this. I wonder if I talked about this, would people be interested about that? Ok, wait a second, what are your intentions behind sharing that? Are the selfish or not? Are you convincing yourself that they're not selfish just cause you want to get attention?

Damn it Faye, Breathe in, Hold, Breathe out, Hold. Repeat, Repeat. 

Look, that swirl looks like an old man. Huh

Damn it Faye, Breathe in, Hold, Breathe out, Hold. Repeat, Repeat. 

Ok cat, your claws hurt. Hey, I should take a picture of the wee beastie and blog about it. Oh, and I need to write so and so about this program. I wonder if tutoring worked for this student, I should check in. Oh, I keep meaning to call..

Damn it Faye, Breathe in, Hold, Breathe out, Hold. Repeat, Repeat. 

You get the idea. Right? Yeah, I know you do. When I tell you that I think everyone should meditate and rave on and on about how great it is, please remember that it isn't easy. But it's still worthwhile because somewhere in between the self-flagellation that comes from my wandering mind and my focused breathing, comes little moments of insight about my nature, my path, my intentions. Like for example, what are my motives behind something, really honestly. And then the fact that coming back to my breath is a reminder on some level to let go of the agenda, of the attachment, and to act from the heart.

And that makes it worth it!

Photobucket

blogging better? getting rid of blogger navbars

Ok, I love it when a site looks crisp and clean. So with that in mind I decided to visit some of the coding on this little ol' blog of mine and get rid of the navbar header that blogger gives us by default. If you're interested in removing this yourself, venture on into your edit html section of the template tab. Don't worry, it won't explode, click yes and proceed...

And then add this wee bit of code:

#navbar-iframe { display: none !important;}

Right about here in the coding (follow the arrow):

Don't ask me about wordpress. I don't know!

Photobucket

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

pagan art journal project: a colourful world

Ok, I'm ready to commit to another art journaling project. Won't you join me? This time around I'm going to explore colour. What it means, represents, and how it makes me feel (all of course at least somewhat related to my spirituality).

No 52 weeks this time around. We're keeping it simpler.

Starting with the first full moon of the northern spring, we're going to look at (in no particular order):

  • red & pink
  • purple
  • green
  • blue
  • white, grey & black
  • brown
  • yellow
  • orange


So 8 weeks total, 2 months.  I feel like this is a more manageable chunk of time. For myself and others. And if you're interested in joining in for the ride or spreading the word (much love and gratitude if you do), leave a comment and I'll link you up!

Oh, and here's a colourful blog button for you to add to your site, should you feel so inclined.

aradiascauldron

Recap: Pagan Art Journaling project: 8 weeks of Colours! Starting Friday, April 6th, 2012.


Photobucket

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

moments of doubt

What do you remind yourself of when you're going through those moments of doubt?


I really wanted to capture a feeling of serenity in this page, you know, in contrast to the feelings of chaos that doubt stirs up. Do you see my symbolic thinking at work? Ocean: waves, emotions, stirring up shit AND the idea of timelessness, flow, ebb, meditation. Ok, well ... those are the things that I think of when I think of the ocean. Maybe you have different associations!

I liked the blues, greys, whites because they just felt very Zen to me. The butterfly made me think of transformation, travel. And the flowers growth, fertility.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. You get the point, I think ...

Overall, I just wanted this page to reflect my belief that those moments of doubt can be windows of opportunity. They can open doors into insights that change who we are and how we view our world. And this has been a hard journey for me to arrive at because I have struggled with doubt even in the face of knowing and experiencing the divine in my life.

It has been easy for me to stray into the the zone of the cynical academic, losing sight of the awe and wonder of the magical. Finding my way back to the place of knowing the divine again has been a journey that has challenged me repeatedly. And frankly, sometimes still does because I don't always just know. Sometimes it is just faith and faith alone that sustains me in those darker moments. And sometimes faith fails.

Ironic isn't it? That in some ways I feel the need to see, know, touch, feel the divine in my world: to have the miracle manifest and yet, the miracle only ever seems to manifest when we trust that it is there. We can only know something to be true when we let faith in long enough for it make us ready for knowledge. It's like we have to leave the door open in order for the gods to enter instead of demanding that they come in and prove themselves. And it can be so easy to lose sight of that.

Well, for me at least. Maybe you're totally different. Maybe you process doubt in a completely different way?

Photobucket

Monday, March 26, 2012

1 day child vacation

I remember my mom once saying, years ago, that I should enjoy my childhood more. You see, being the typical Capricorn that I am,  I was in such a rush to grow up. I wanted to be free of parental restriction and be able to participate in all the fun things that I saw in the adult world around me.

Alas, mom was right (shhh, don't tell her though, kay?)

image source
If I could go back and live just one more day as a child, on a sunny summer day of course, I would:


ó  blow bubbles
ó  climb a tree
ó  wake up at my grandparents
ó  play with the all the amazing sea discoveries on the beach
ó  swing
ó  wear striped socks
ó  play dress up
ó  eat jello
ó  climb onto my mom’s lap
ó  play make believe in the forest behind our house
ó  draw pictures for my family



Wouldn't it just be lovely to have one more day to see the world full of childlike wonder?

Photobucket

Thursday, March 22, 2012

blog love: intuition & meditation

I came across this post on intuition and just felt that I needed to share it.

In it, the writer talks about 5 ways to boost your intuition (read to the end... you'll see what I mean). Here's a sneak peak of what she wrote:


from Daily Cup of Yoga
Obviously I like this post, why? Well, you know, why, other than the fact that I'm sharing it? Well because it makes yet another case for meditation. I know, I know... you're sick of me blathering on about meditation already. But I can't help it. In the past 1.5 years of regularly meditating, I have just seen such a drastic shift in my sense of well being that I just want everyone to do it!

Don't get me wrong.

I still find meditation challenging and getting my mind to shut up.. well that's not so easy for me and I don't know when or if I'll ever really accomplish that. But I do get it to tone down. And I call that success!

And the beautiful thing about meditation for me, is that because I do it alone, I don't compare myself to others. I don't compete. I don't fill myself with negative self-talk about how I measure up next to others. It is one of the few times when I manage to bring loving kindness into my practice more fully, which brings more peace and grace into my day.

And that is why I think meditation is so important to me. And potentially to others.

Well that, and the fact that every now and again, when I finish meditation I feel like the answer to the problem I've been struggling with just comes to me. And that's a pretty dang fan-fricken-tastic feeling!


Photobucket

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

cuteness

I bought this new stamp and just had to create a journal page with it:


Isn't it too cute? Especially the stripped socks? Seriously, who doesn't love stripped socks? And doesn't it make you feel like it's spring and a time for fun and playfulness?

Happy Spring!


Photobucket

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ostara 2012

Happy Ostara!


May the next turn of the wheel be kind, joyous, and filled with love (a little spring fever goes a long way)!

Photobucket

Monday, March 19, 2012

sustainable revamp: cosmetics

In keeping with my sustainability revamp, here’s what my make-up collection currently looks like:

I tried, a while back, to make the move to healthy, non toxic beauty products. I finished up the stuff I really used (waste not, after all…) and then replaced things with healthier choices.

I tended to go with Lavera, Weleda, and Dr Hauschka, although I did try others too. The main attraction to the 3 listed was that they seemed to offer a good selection, be easily available, and of good quality. Overall, they seemed like solid choices, albeit fairly pricey. But hey, given my new make-up minimalism, I figured I could afford to splurge on a few high quality items. So I did. And in general, I was quite pleased with the goods (though I find non toxic mascara sorely disappointing). The textures and colour choices are different and take a bit of getting used to, but that’s ok. I’m good with that. After all, it’s the toxins that make some of those colours and textures possible…

For a while I was great about it. Then I relapsed. All the pretty colours. I couldn’t help myself. I like sparkly things. How can you blame me when the drugstore cosmetics are just so dang convenient and flashy? There are so many choices and the lighting just draws you into the plethora of colours, textures, brands, etc. 
Added to that are make-up fiend friends. Yes, I’m girly, I have girly friends. I like purple eye shadow and blush (not purple though).  I like lotions that make my skin glow and nail polish in fun colours. I like sparkle shimmer gloss and so on and so forth. So now I have an interesting hodge podge of toxic, semi-toxic, and non-toxic cosmetics.

But I want to go back to my original resolution. I know I may lapse again, but I give myself permission to forgive future lapses and accept that it’s part of the journey. 3 steps forward, 1 step back is still progress! I’ll get there. It takes time to unlearn consumerist tendencies and I am a consumer’s consumer. I know this about myself so it’s not going to be an easy transition past the average, every day, eco plateau.

Beauty Goals:  Move towards more sustainable, non-toxic beauty products


Cosmetics
  • Purge the make-up collection of all the products I really don’t use often
  • Finish up the products I do use
  • Research alternative choices
  • Replace cosmetics with non toxic, enviro friendly products
  • Enjoy

Ok, so wanna see the dirt? Of course you do. This is what my cosmetic choices currently look like (you'll see some good and bad choices mixed in together):


I seriously didn't realize that I had SO MANY lipsticks and glosses. And the irony of it is, I don't really wear them that often! But they are in every purse, coat pocket, etc, that I could find. Yeah. It's a problem. I'm pleased with my eyeliner and eye shadow collections because they're not as bad as I thought they'd be!

Post purge. It's not perfect, but getting better:


I didn't get rid of all the lipstick/gloss and kept the Burt's Bees even though it's not the most eco-healthy because it at least is a move in the right direction. On the eye shadow front I kept one not so good shadow, but damn it, that particular benefit shadow cost me a mint. I'm going to use it, even if it kills me! :) The same goes with the bronze blush and well the mascara is down to 2, one that works good and one that is lovely but just doesn't stay on. Let's call them my rainy and sunny day combo!

 Other Products

  • Rethinking shower gels because of their packaging. I’m getting onboard with this action as soon as the current products are finished!
  • Shampoos: I think, not sure yet, but I think I’m going to try going the no shampoo route
  • Deodorants/Antiperspirants. I have the crystal. I don’t use it much. Must start using it more and want to try making my own deodorant stick
  • Perfumes. Oh god, perfumes. I love perfume but its sooooo bad. Like the motherload of bad. Do I finish what I have or do I just start fresh? I mean honestly, I have a lot and it takes me a really long time to actually use them. I literally have enough for probably the rest of my life (and I don’t really have that much)
  • Nail polish. Seriously toxic and I need to let go of the nail polish love. I'm going to start small and just get rid of the old stuff I don't use and finish what I have now (re-assess in 3 months and purge again).

Some of this stuff is ancient. As in I've had it since before I went to India (see some of the GM Collins stuff in the top left photo) and can easily be purged cause obviously I don't use it. Other stuff... I'm going to have a harder time letting go of!

Here's what I got rid of this round (because I don't want to be wasteful, right!? Ok, it's a little of not wanting to be wasteful and a little of not be ready to let go):


The nail polish collection is still big, but it's down by a few... The perfumes, well... I got rid of the Body Shop essential oil perfumes because they are all synthetic, the Aveda perfume for the same reason and well, it reminds me of life just after the ex who messed me up a lot, so it reminds me of heartbreak and drinking and also fun grad school days (see drinking). I got rid of most of the facial cleansing products because I'm either not using them, they don't work, or they're not good for me. I'm hoping to try oil cleansing once I get through what you see leftover. Yeah, that's that for now!

Photobucket

Friday, March 16, 2012

quote of the week

via pinterest

I remember as a teen, people would always talk about how your peer group influences you (the infamous bad influence line) and it would make me so mad because I was above all of that. Whatever. No, I wasn't stupid enough to jump off the bloody bridge and my friends were there for me and understood me, etc, etc, etc...

Can you tell I was a teen with a lot of attitude?

Looking back over my teen years though, I can see a distinct line that redefined my life: the time before and the time after a particular group of friends. And the transition was gradual as I rebuilt my life after a serious of stupid, troubled teen moments/decisions. But the group of friends that I made (or remade) post transition definitely influenced my life for the better and set my course in a different direction (one that led me from being an almost high school drop out to a grad student) all because they redefined what I cared about.

So now I think that the people you surround yourself with absolutely shape your life, sometimes without you even knowing it.

When  I was in India, oh, about 5 years ago now... sigh... must go back soon... I remember sitting in the cafe in my hotel, looking over the Ganges, watching the rain (side note: I love the rain. I love the meditative quality that can come from watching the rain pour down. I know, I'm such a west coaster! End side note). So I was watching the rain in Varanasi thinking about life, an ex, and some of my friendships:

Varanasi & the Ganges: It looked like this, but with pouring rain!
And I realized in that moment that I'd been keeping attachments to people in my life who actually made me very unhappy. I am perpetually challenged by the fact that I have a very hard time letting people go, even when I know that I should.  So I decided to let go. That when I got home, I was going to rebuild my life to look more like what I wanted it to be.

Fast forward 5 years...

Since returning, I have worked on either redefining old friendships or letting them go. It's been a challenging process. Some of the friendships that I had hoped would survive and vice versa. But I get that this is part of the process and it's what has led me to here. And I'll be honest, I wouldn't change for anything. People always say that your 30s are your best years and in many ways I couldn't agree more. Yes, the partying and soul searching of my 20s were great in their own way (and I did it all... ) but my 30s have been all about my post India quest to redefine what and who I share my life with in order to build a better, healthier sense of self.

But when I look at my life: my spirituality, my marriage, my career, my friends, my spiritual community, my creative community, I see how finding the right people (sometimes in the most surprising places) has made a ginormous difference in who I have become today.

Those people, and one amazing, cranktankerous cat:

This is my cat, this morning, sitting on my lap while I type this.
As I take this photo she's probably thinking, seriously? Enough
with the pictures and more with the petting already! 



Photobucket

Thursday, March 15, 2012

using quotes in pagan scrapbook pages

I talked about this faithbooking course I'm taking before, but here is a page that I created for it:


My take on it is a bit different, obviously because I'm not using the Bible, but also because I set the project up differently than she did in the course. She prompted us to use verses or quotes (because she's good at including the respect for religious diversity even if the class seems 99% Christian). So of course, I went to pinterest in search of something that spoke to me right now, which is where the above quote comes from (there was no author given, so I left it off)


I'm pleased with the fact that the quote really speaks to where I'm at right now and gave me the opportunity to really talk about what I believe in terms of bringing your attitude into your life and faith. I don't want to be all martyr like, because honestly,

a. I have no cause to think of myself as a martyr in my cushy North American, white middle class life, and
b. I'm not fatalistic in my view of the world and the gods

But what I wanted to convey, and I'm not sure how well I did it, was that I think it's important to remember that the bad stuff, the difficult and sucky stuff, are there for us to learn and grow from. I could sit here and tell you about how my Mother did this and my Father did that, and that's why I am the way I am, but I'd rather tell you about how I grew stronger and braver, and more compassionate because of those experiences. I'd rather tell you about who I am now instead of being a victim of my past.

And I'd rather look for the lesson or realization in the difficult moment than focus in on what is terrible and wrong in my life. (Not that anything is wrong or terrible). And I'd like to be clear, I'm not saying that I believe bad things happen because the gods are punishing us or even necessarily trying to teach us, but rather that we can take those tough times and use them as moments of learning for ourselves. We may not be able to fix them, or heal them, or even always understand them, but difficulties can either turn us away from the divine, or towards it. I'd rather lean into my sense of the gods (and by extension, myself) being there to walk me through it, no matter what happens, than to lose faith altogether.


Photobucket

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

live with love always: more art journaling

So I've been feeling really inspired to art journal again. I'm not crazy about this page, but whatever, it's a journey, right?


Lately, I'm sure you can tell, I've been thinking a lot about living with intention, remembering gratitude, and reflecting on how we manifest both in our daily lives/outlooks. I'm quite sure I'm going to make you all bored with the topic as I make my way through it, but hey... c'est la vie!

Photobucket

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

sustainability revamp

I call myself an environmentalist. And compared to many, I am. But I have plateau’d. I’m stuck in the no man’s land of average, every day, eco actions.

What on earth do I mean by the average, every day land of the eco plateau? Well, to me this looks something like this:

  • I recycle into the city provided recycle box
  • I use recyclable shopping bags
  • I think twice about organic vs local vs cost when making grocery shopping decisions
  • I’m vegetarian
  • I use eco non toxic toothpaste
  • I buy recycled paper
  • I try to upcycle things and buy 2nd hand
  • I use a travel mug and water mug (both from metal, not plastic)
  • All of our soaps are phosphate free, biodegradable, etc (laundry, dish, body)
  • We use sawdust kitty litter
  • We only use compostable garbage bags
  • I generally use the Diva Cup
  • All paper towels and toilet paper in our house come from recycled papers
  • I don’t use toxins to clean (I’m a vinegar, water, baking soda, borax and essential oil house cleaner)
  • We heat to a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius (don’t ask me what that is in Fahrenheit, I really don’t have a clue… when American’s talk about 60 degree weather, I just think holy FRAK that’s hot because I only know Celsius)
  • I try to buy eco clothing, cosmetics, and goods but generally don’t succeed because of instant gratification issues


There are other things that I do and have done, but those are the big ones. But hopefully, in this day and age, doing things like recycling is the norm, not the exception (though I’m sure someone, somewhere, has statistics to prove to me that this isn’t the norm…). So I’ve reached a level of eco activity that is a norm or bare basic for our society. But it’s a comfortable level of action and doesn’t require that I step much outside the complacent comfort levels of middle class living. And that’s not good enough for me.

One of the things that I pride myself on is the fact that I’m not apathetic about the world we live in and the actions I take in it. So why have I let myself become so complacent and comfortable with my consumerism?

It’s as though I spent the last 6 years educating my husband about these issues, only to rest on my laurels now that I’ve got him to the level I was moving beyond when we first met. (Please understand that this is not a criticism of my husband in any way, just an observation that I feel like I do less now that I actually have the means to do more). I keep telling myself that I’ll do this or that once we move into our new home. Compost, paint, furniture: I’ve pledged to upcycle, recycle, or eco-fy it all.  But is that enough?

If I were to ask myself, quite honestly, what I’d like to be doing more, the answer is a resounding: much more.  

So I’m going to start working on that project. In order to do so, I’m going to follow the SMART method (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and start by breaking it down into smaller, manageable groups. The first areas I’d like to tackle are: beauty, cleaning, and everyday living.
  • Beauty Goals:  Move towards more sustainable, non-toxic beauty products
  • Cleaning: Reduce my packing intake and pre-make all of the household cleaning goods (when possible)
  • Everyday Living: Paper reduction, sustainable consumerism

 More to follow about my action plans for each of these areas!

Photobucket

Monday, March 12, 2012

this week I am: march 5-18 2012

Thinking: about eco-fying my home and life. And ways to convince my husband to get onboard with my new ideas!!!

Creating: Memories. Kindness. 
This weekend I found out that we are not pregnant (2nd attempt) and while I'm not stressed about it, I can see how the process is a hard one, particularly when you were pretty sure it'd be easy, peasy since you have a good understanding of your fertility and know that there isn't a problem in that regard. But then my meditation illuminated something important to me: I need to be kind to myself on this journey, accept the lesson that arises out of the process (patience and realization that I want it more than I thought I did), relax, and trust that it will work out the way it needs to work out. So instead of wallowing, I dragged out Mr. Faye, and we went out to enjoy the sunshine, dream about our new home (only 3 more months to wait), and make memories of a life, lived together.
Planning: to share all my dirty non-eco secrets in order to go through the process of (re)-greenifying my life.
Reading: I just, finally, finished reading Dion Fortune's The Sea Priestess. Really enjoyed it even though it took me a fair bit of time to get through it. I think it was a timely read because it had a few messages that I needed to think my way through and understand better. I appreciate the beauty behind the fact that it took literature for this feminist lit geek to find a greater understanding & acceptance of the union of male/female polarity within Wicca. It seems fitting, you know!
Listening: Gotye. 
I think I posted a link to this song before, but I just downloaded the album and find some of the songs a hit or miss for me. It's about a 60-40 (hit-miss) ratio for me. I love the song featured in the video above, but some of them I find a bit campy or blah. You know, just to be honest.

Realizing: that sometimes the moments that sad or dark can be the moments that speak the most to your faith/character. We can let them define us positively or negatively. I choose to look for the positive, even when the glass feels half empty. 
Feeling: grateful for the knowledge that I'm not only ready to be a parent, but that I really want it. Grateful for advice given to others that ends up speaking to me. Grateful that I have, yet again, been reminded that I'm not in this alone and that I'm loved and looked out for along the way.


Damn that's pretty fan-fricken-fantastic!

Photobucket

being your own inspiration

Inspiration.  Inspirational.  Inspiring.


The Rocky Mountains
I want to be all of these. Is that too lofty of a goal? Maybe, maybe not. I think sometimes we need to aspire to bigger and better things, in order to get closer to where we really want to go in life.

When I started this blog over a year ago, I wanted it to be a place where I could build an online community of crafty, spiritual people. I wanted to build a place that was a safe haven to explore my spirituality and path, through art. This desire was recently reaffirmed by a recent experience in a spiritual scrapbooking class, in which I was once again reminded of how marginal my path can be. You know, when you hang around people like you, it can create a sense of the world mirroring your beliefs. Life, it would seem, likes to remind me of this lesson by placing me (or having myself place me) in situations where I am the oval peg in a square world. (The expression might call for round, but I purposely chose oval to illustrate how I often feel like I don’t even fit with the clichéd oddity).

But I digress.

What I want to talk about is this idea of inspiration. Not so much in the artistic sense, but in the life sense. As in, what inspires you in life? Who do you find inspirational? How do we learn to inspire ourselves?

I don’t have fixed answers to these questions as of yet, but here’s what I’m thinking about:

I’m inspired by lives lived with intention. I’m inspired by people who look for the positive even while acknowledging the darker challenges in life. I’m inspired by people who follow their dreams and aren’t afraid to be the oval peg in a world full of circles and squares.  I’m inspired by people who don’t feel the need to fit the mould but do this in a way that is about their journey and not about criticizing others. This could mean that they drop everything and travel the world, fill their lives with art, or give inspiration to others in ways that I only dream of being able to give.

And what it boils down to is this: I want to be one of those people. I want to be the change, live the dream, and follow my bliss.

But here’s the thing: what does my bliss look like? I’ve spent years asking myself this question; struggling to figure out what calls to me. Some days it looks like a non Catholic version of Mother Teresa. Other days it looks like a nomadic globe trotter and others… well… who knows?!?

I’ve always found this question so big and huge and scary because if I actually knew what my dreams were, I’d have to own and go out into the world and follow them. And let’s face it; I’m more scared of success than I am of failure. For sure.

But if I wasn’t scared of success, what would I do? I would inspire you. I would make art and storytelling meaningful. I would use them to live my spirituality, although not necessarily in overt ways.

I would teach myself inspiration by building a life that reflects these things.

Here’s what I would do:
  • I would write a book about art and crafting as a way to explore spirituality.
  • I would volunteer in an environment for teens to teach them about art journaling and scrapbooking as a way to tell their stories.
  • I would go back to yoga and strive to bring loving kindness into my practice and my life
  • I would buy less, consume less, eco-fy my life even more beyond the surface trappings. And I would share that journey. These days I feel like my green ambitions have gotten to a plateau and I’m no longer moving and changing things. I’m comfortably apathetic, and that’s not good.
  • I would express gratitude and appreciate the journey that I am on and the people who share it with me more.
I have some big dreams. But I read somewhere that if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough. So I'm going to work on chasing the big ones, the ones that scare me a bit (or a lot if I'm honest). There are many other things I would do. But those are the big ones. The ones I think would inspire me if I was reading about your life. In fact, I’d really like to hear about your life and the things that inspire you. In the next little while, I think I’m going to spend time thinking about these things, figuring out game plans for them, and work towards realizing them. 



Photobucket

Friday, March 9, 2012

quote of the week

via pinterest

I just love this quote and have been thinking a lot lately about this. I suspect that you may see some changes on this blog in the future, based on my desire to internalize something of this idea into my reality.

Photobucket

loving kindness: the art journal page

For a long time I have felt a bit burnt out on art journaling. Shocking, I know... 52 weeks is great and all, but all that structure can be exhausting too. But then yesterday I woke up with a burning urge to journal it out:


The iPhone photo I took of it is pretty stylized, but hey, I thought it looked prettier, so I'm going with it. One of the things that I found very challenging about the 52 weeks project, was navigating the balance between public and private contemplation and knowledge. There are some things that I'm just not comfortable talking about and the limits created by that often created blocks for me in the journaling process. This time round, or from now on, I think I'm going to make use of pockets and inserts more to journal out the private stuff. You know, in order to get the best of both worlds!

Bonus: that I get to find good use of all my paper scraps for journal cards or pockets. Woo hoo, colour and a little touch (albeit small, I know) of eco friendly goodness.

And then to make a day better, I was out and about and found those lovely star stickers you see on the page and it was fantastic, like they were meant just for me!

All in all, it was cathartic to come back to the painted page. I've missed it. I love scrapbooking, but art journaling... I adore it. I'm looking forward to plunging back into the fray.

As for the art journal page in question: For those of you who have been reading between the lines the last few months, you'll have noticed that my emotions have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride. This is probably, in large part, due to where my meditations are taking me and the work that I am doing in my practice. Things are opening up, unfolding, and with that comes some amazing highs and some interesting lows. I'm working on finding balance within that process, but it's not so easy some days. So this page is just about remembering that I am loved, to treat myself with loving kindness as I go through this process, and to remember that it's all part of the learning process.


Photobucket

Monday, March 5, 2012

this week I am : Feb 27th - March 4th

Viewing: This video, which is lovely:


Thinking: Of all the things I'm grateful for in my life this past week. That there have been rough patches, but overall, it has been filled with love. 
Creating: 30 days of lists, gratitude journals, stationery for my etsy orders, faith journals

Planning: A writing adventure. And that's all I'm going to say about that! On other fronts though... I'm involved in the Enviro committee in my college and we're organizing a green gathering. And I'm also thinking about whether or not it is feasible to create a scrapbooking/art journaling after school program for troubled teens in a local community center that works with youth who have dropped out of school.

Reading: Still reading the Sea Priestess and really enjoying it.

Listening: The Paper Kites
I'm quite liking the quiet ambiance of their music right now. It's just the right tone for me at the moment.





Realizing: That I'm feeling inspired, productive, and yet all that can change in an instant because of hormones and stress. So we'll see how things adjust themselves and if meditation will help me find more balance.

Feeling: I've been feeling a little awed by all the synchronicity that has been occurring in my life lately.


Photobucket

keeping it real

Do you ever have those moments when you feel so totally like the odd man (woman) out?

Yeah. Having one of those. And that's ok cause I expected it, but you know... it's still a bit unsettling!

What the hell am I talking about you ask? Well I signed up for this course on creating scrapbooks based on your faith (cause well, I was curious and the course outline acknowledged that you didn't need to be Christian to do it). So I figured, whatevs, I'm game, I can do this (maybe I won't share my creations publicly and all that, just for the sake of keeping it simple, but I can take the larger, broader message and go with it).

And well, honestly, the instructor is lovely about keeping it open. But as I troll through the image gallery, damn I tell ya. I am one odd bird in a foreign land! Yeah.

Sometimes I forget that my oh so normal life is still lived on the margins. You know?

Photobucket

Friday, March 2, 2012

quote of the week

via pinterest


Photobucket

gratitude {march 2nd}

why yes, that is a picture of Stonehenge above the journal. thought I'd add a little extra inspiration into the mix!
I started off he day with my meditation and recording my dream, which was amazing because it just inspired me to make my actions reflect my words and work on being the change within my own community instead of turning a blind eye to the things that happen in my own backyard. It was a crazy intense dream about how we watch children being harmed in our own backyard and yet don't seem to see it. We always look at place like India or Mexico, or other, and see the travesties that are done there, feeling sorry for them, without ever seeming to notice the travesties that are happening right here at home.


For a long time I have wanted to volunteer in my community but have always struggled to know where to put my energies. And I still struggle with it because I'm not sure. But I'm setting myself a goal to find one place in my city, to go out and help. It could be in education, which is my field, but it doesn't have to be.

We talk often in paganism about how we are the servants of the divine, and yet, how many of us are out there, doing the work? I know that aside from what I'm paid to do, which is amazing and meaningful, I'm not necessarily getting out there and doing the work. So it's time. No more armchair activism over here! My goal by the end of the month, is to have made a choice and contacted an organization about volunteering.

Current ideas on my brain:


  • Working with children
  • Teaching ESL to immigrants
  • Soup kitchen
  • Teaching adults to read
  • Being open to what you have as suggestions!


So that's what's on my plate for now. What about you?

Photobucket

Thursday, March 1, 2012

gratitude {march 1st}

Something you may have noticed lately, is that I've been making an effort to write down what I'm thankful for in the day.

It all comes back to thoughts that started in this post. Ok, maybe they didn't start there, but they are definitely voiced there! In that discussion I talked about expecting less and appreciating more, this is an idea that is very dear to my heart and one that was really confirmed for me in my trip to India years ago now. When I came back I was almost indignant with North American/1st world Western culture (though I suspect we call it developed world now, not 1st world,which to me sounds just as elitist and condescending, but that's another argument for another time...).

Point being, I want to remember that feeling of being committed to downsizing and remembering to be happier with what I have, so I've decided to start recording it and maybe even, help spread the idea across the interwebs. It's a humble goal, don't worry, but if you feel like joining me and taking time in your day to jot down one or ten things that you're thankful for or are reflecting on during your day, I'd love to hear about it!


So let me tell you a little about the booklet I made for this endeavour! See the dover art? Yup, I know, of course you do... but do you see the clever little witchy thing I've done to it? Yes? No?  Well I have a moon and an owl to remind me of the goddess and the god. Aren't I just so clever? Ok, maybe you don't think so but I'm pretty stoked with my symbolism (yes, I really am a lit geek Virginia). And to add to that, an unintentional stamping muck up ends up looking like my circles underneath are moon phases, as does the cardstock on the left edge... Nice! And dare I say it? Inspired? :P


Next up, the inside cover. I didn't want to be writing today I'm grateful for every day, so I decided to make it part of the inside cover. The numbers mean nothing, I just like the washi tape! But if you want I could find meaning for them.... Let's see. 12 is associated with the student kneeling before the teacher, and can be reduced to 3, which is associated with Jupiter, a planet of spirituality. But also associated with Binah (Qabala) which is understanding. 9 is Yesod, which is the Moon, through which all filters and is made manifest on Earth. Nice, see I told you I could find meaning. Don't ask about 10 or 11... They just look pretty! Sometimes things just look pretty.


Here's my first day and the general layout that I have for each day (using different colours but always dividing the page with washi tape and numbering the pages a similar way).

So that's it for now. We'll see how it goes!

Photobucket