Tuesday, May 27, 2014

art journaling in gemini

I'm on fire lately. I don't know what it is but lately I've been uber assertive and active in calling bullshit where I see it. In some ways this is characteristic but in others it's not.

What makes it characteristic is the fact that I am known for being a bit self-righteous. Yeah, I admit it. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes not.  What makes it uncharacteristic is how confrontational and pro-active I've been about it lately.

In two of my communities, I have bordered on bitchy in calling out bullshit where I see it. I am both proud and disappointed in myself because of this as I know that I have hurt others in the process, which I hate. But on the other hand, I have called out those I've hurt on behaviour that has hurt many others and brought about change, which is somewhat of a good thing.

It's a tricky thing, playing surgeon, cutting and harming in order to heal, and it's not a role I'm comfortable with even though I believe in the necessity of it from time to time. Ironically, it's a role that I think I tend to play a lot as I'm known for stirring the cauldron and playing devil's advocate. This time however, I played my hand far more aggressively and overtly than is the norm for me, which leaves me struggling with ego and balance. I feel self-righteous enough to believe that what I did was right and for the better good, yet this also makes me uncomfortable because I was very decisive and heavy handed about it.

Which leaves me to wonder, where do we find a balance between action and empathy; silence and assertiveness; tolerance and passivity?

I think it's important to act with integrity and that sometimes a lack of action signals a lack of integrity just as much as an action does. So that leaves me in a bit of conundrum, because while I am proud of my actions, I am surprised by them and cautious about the need to balance such assertion with kindness.


Monday, May 26, 2014

#paganlists : East

Welcome to Gemini.

Since we're entering an Air sign, I decided to make today's list all about the East, which I associate with Air.

What are some of the things you associate with East?


Thursday, May 22, 2014

spring: art journal

What is it about Spring?


I can't imagine living in a place where there was no Spring. I think if I moved to a place with no Spring, even if the weather was warm all the time, I'd desperately miss the season. There's just something about the newness and the energy; the Spring Fever of it all.

Especially where I live.

After the long winters and the even longer feeling thaw of said winter, Spring hits like tsunami, dragging everyone and everything in it's wake and dousing them with energy, lust, and vigor.

Or at least, it feels like it.

And I love it.

I love walking out and seeing people smile again. I love watching Nature wake and the Earth come back to life.

It's truly a beautiful thing.

But even more importantly, I love the light and the way it permeates everything, casting a soft glow in all the dark foggy corners of my home and my mind, suddenly making everything seem and feel brighter, more hopeful and just plain better.

Spring. I love you. I really do.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

it doesn't have to be perfect

What are you holding yourself back from because you think it has to be perfect? Or what you've done or are capable of doing is not good enough?

Why is it that we do this? What is this mythical "good enough?" Who determines what is good enough? More often than not, the good enough we aspire to is something that is completely distorted by our flawed perceptions of self. Or tainted by comparison instead of being based on our own individual journey. After all, if we never start somewhere, we'll never have the opportunity to ever gain skills.

At the end of the day, I'm no great artist. I know this. And I decided to ignore it and just start sharing my art journaling journey anyways. Because I wanted to share. Because I wanted to build community. Because I just felt like it. There are tons of art journalers out there who are way more creative than I am. But that's not the point. I'm working on my own journey here and I've learned a lot along the way. That should be the measure of my "good enough". Or, so I think anyways.

It's more important that we actually do the work, put it out there, than sit on it and do nothing out of fear that it isn't good enough.

For that it means sharing imperfect pages even though they aren't great masterpieces because they're an honest reflection of my hurried dabblings, my daily process, and the evolution of my journaling/spirituality over time. If I waited to any of those things were "perfect" then I'd never do any of them!   :)


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Cleaning with White Fir Essential Oil

It's that time of the year again. Time to clean the house and get ready for the warmer days.

What? So late, you ask.

Why yes. It's been a long winter here. And let's face it, I don't know about you but I'm not so inclined to scrub my windows when it's still snowing outside or I'm staring out at a grey rainy day.

But the warmer weather is finally here to stay and with it comes that time of the year when you start scrubbing all the nooks and crannies (if you're so inclined).

This year I decided to tackle the light mildew build up that we get around our windows (no matter how much I attempt to avoid it, there's always a little that sneaks in). So I thought that I'd take some of the oils I have on hand (lemon, tea tree and most specifically, white fir)

I decided to make a toilet bowl/shower cleaner using:

1 cup borax
1/2 cup vinegar
20 drops White Fir essential oil
Water to top off the bottle

I chose White Fir for a couple reasons:

  1. I had it in stock and wasn't sure what else I'd use it for
  2. It's antiseptic/antibacterial
  3. I'd read that it was good for mold/mildew

The mix will settle, so it'll need to be shaken before each use. The borax is really to give the mix a bit of grit and make scrubbing easier. It'll help take off soap scum and any water build up more quickly.

Next up, a mix minus the borax for cleaning window and sliding door bases.


Monday, May 19, 2014

#paganlists : things to love about lists

Since I'm clearly on a listing kick:

Are you a lister? Why and what do you list?

And just cause I'm loving lists so much these days:


Saturday, May 17, 2014

this week I am

These days I've been working a lot on cleaning things up. From spring cleaning my home bit by bit to cleaning up some of the clutter in my mind/projects. It's slow going but life affirming in a weird way. I've been working at standing up for myself when need be but also calling myself on some of my B.S. that I don't like owning up to. There are some areas in my life where I need to grow up a bit. And I'm working on them. I don't expect to ever really move beyond them necessarily as I see them more as a work in progress, but the work, I think, is important.

On a lighter note, I'm currently trying out my very first custom designed stamp:

What do you think? It was super fun to make and I'm happy with how it turned out. I have a whole line of stamps that I want to create, this was just the trial model to see how I liked working with the company.

Would you like one? I have 2 extras that I'm selling on Etsy.


Friday, May 16, 2014

elemental art journal: east

Every now and then, I try to carve out a bit of time to just sit with an element and meditate on it through art. This is what today's meditation on East inspired:

Today's meditation on the East started off simply, with working with yellow and purple, only to end up in a contemplation of my own reactions towards the teachers who have come before me and who have shaped my practice and spiritual evolution.

The line sun arise is actually part of (mis-remembered) of an Alice Cooper song (yes, I just referenced Alice Cooper) that one of my exes loved. I'm not sure what prompted the memory, but there you have it. Stranger things have been known to happen but today's strangeness comes from a fusion of Eastern bamboo and Alice Cooper.

More significantly I found myself thinking about the ascended masters and teachers who have come before and shed light on the paths we travel towards remembrance. Lately I am feeling them very much with me, which is lovely and sort of rare for me. This is an area in my practice that I have not always connected with, ironically given my teacher status in life and love of education. I tend to forget to think of all my inspirations, teachers, etc as being part of the journey, there to offer wisdom and so forth.


Monday, May 12, 2014

#paganlists : things I associate with Spring!

Well it took a while but it's finally here to stay: Spring!

Spring and Fall are really my favourite seasons. Something about the transitions always fill me with energy and I just love them.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

essential oils for changing habits and reactions

I'm currently reading this book: Releasing Emotional Patterns which I find interesting. The basic premise is that we can use scents to help reprogram our responses and emotions. Since smell is one of our biggest memory triggers, we use the oils to retrain the way we react to carved out stimuli.

I'm interested in giving it a go, with a certain amount of skepticism of course, because the idea of using scents to create a mood or change a reaction sort of makes sense to me as I have found that scent can do that already.

If you think about it, we use scent in ritual to create a ritual state of mind. And certain smells can bring us right back to places/experiences. The smell of Frankincense for me will always be associated with calming meditation. And Nag Champa, with an old roommate. Lilac is a home in Victoria, BC and a stage of live/mind that went with it.

This is of course a much more detailed and conscious way of recreating said patterns, so we'll see. I'm always a little skeptical of Young Living or doTerra claims as the miraculous claims put forth by both companies are fed by in house research and a cult like following (that said, I do have a YL living account for personal use).

This approach requires that we recognize the response and the reasoning behind it before trying to change it (there's a lot more in the book than this, but this is the bit that relates to my goal right now). It requires that we do the inner work and then use the oils to reinforce positive change. I think that for best success, we'd need to start off with something simple that we understand and then build. I'm currently mulling over what I'd like work with. I'm thinking that something simple but ingrained, like my road rage in traffic (don't worry, I'm not crazy road rage, just pissy road rage) might be a good place to start.

I know that part of the reason I react when driving is that I get angry over everyone's need to be number one and not be thoughtful towards others, even while I am guilty of doing the same. We are all fighting for our piece of the pie and the more we fight, the angrier and more selfish we get on the road, each of us triggering the other, if we let it happen. My need to get home is more urgent than yours. My frustration is more pronounced, you're just being selfish for not understanding my needs. And so on and so forth. I understand why I react this way. And sometimes I'm able to sit back and laugh at myself, thus letting go of my pent up frustration and aggression. When I do, I feel calmer and things are just better. I do things that make the ride more enjoyable, like singing or listening to a favourite podcast.

My goal, I think, is to work on remembering to follow through with that reaction more. To practice loving kindness to myself and other drivers while on the road. And by extension, just make the journey more pleasant. Once I find the oil that is conducive to clearing my anger, the idea is then to apply it to points on my body to help release the pattern. I think that for myself, I'm going to approach this slightly differently.

Since part of my response is related to some of my spiritual aspirations (see the divine in everyone, see the reaction before reacting, ego based stuff), I'm going to use Frankincense, which I associate with my practice, to help me remember who I am and my responses.

What do you think? Would you try it? And if so, for what reaction?


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

this week

More like last week, but hey, that works too.

As you can maybe see from the cards below, I was playing around with a new painting/stamping technique I learned in the middle card on my week recap. I don't think it really worked, but that's ok. It was fun to try out on a larger scale.

These are some of the cards I made last week:

And these are shots of a stationery set mock up that I'm trying out for my paper loving etsy shop:

My shop is in desperate need of an overhaul. It's on the list of things to do... it's becoming a long list as maternity leave has not proven to be conducive to getting much done other than mothering. Go figure!


Monday, May 5, 2014

#paganlists : to read

On my list to read these days (ie sitting on my bookshelf, staring at me and filling me with shame over how long I've had them waiting):

What books are staring you down?