Happy New Year’s Week!
The start of a New Year always holds such great promise … being a completely blank slate — there are 366 days (leap year) to bring your dreams to life. Simply following through on your promises means becoming the best version of yourself. I have a great way to help you do this.
My contribution to 2020 is to live up to my full potential as a visionary artist who makes spiritual energy tangible.
I’m glad I realized I don’t need to keep my spiritual life assets and my artistic life separated in my head or in practice. (Although they’ve always worked together), I am honoring my gift by recognizing what a waste it would be if I don’t offer the fullness of who I am to those who can benefit!
Through my art, I offer to you—not only my heart—but the strength of who I am. Let the best version of me allow you to see and embody the best version of you.
That’s what I do. I shamelessly declare it.
Through my visionary art, I can help you remember who you are at a soul level. By using the images and symbols surrounding your higher self, I create an image of the best version of you. The resulting image is not something you strive for. It’s who you are already! Sometimes, when life gets in the way and you accept limiting definitions of yourself, you tend to forget your true essence.
The art is there as a reminder. You are greater than you know. It’s time for you to expand into your bigger role. As surely as it is time for me to expand in mine. I’m calling my art “sacred” as a way to differentiate it from the usual creative process.
When does art become sacred? Is it when the artist creates it with love and reverence? …or when the energy radiating from the art can be felt? …or when the colors, symbology, and geometry reinforce the potency of its meaning? …or when the intent of the artist is sacred? It’s all of them.
I’ve decided to devote my abilities to create Power Art for people on a path of personal and spiritual transformation. Folks involved with self-improvement seem to be the most open to the idea that art can also be a powerful means to connect in deeper ways to oneself.
My desire is to create life-affirming, uplifting and renewing art which draws its power from the archetypes and symbols being depicted. But the full energy remains passive until it is called forth. Then it acts like a portal into the energy of your soul’s power. You can tap into this undepletable energy anytime and give yourself a psychic energy boost.
If you are interested in having me create art of personal significance for you that resonates with your psyche, let me know of your interest. Add yourself to my new mailing list where I intend to share deeper insights about how art and spirituality meet.
When I finally get things set up (the logistics of taking payments without risk to the customer) and working, I will let you know.
The language of the unconscious uses symbols and colors as a part of its lexicon. The unconscious mind responds to colors emotionally. When you use color to consciously bridge communication with aspects of your self, it starts a conversation. Mindfulness coloring is being aware of your intent during the process while keeping your focus squarely within the moment.
There are no rights or wrongs. There are only feelings and experience. Whatever the outcome, in the simple process of coloring, different states-of-mind become accessed. [Tip: Simply switching the pencil to the less dominant hand in the coloring process will assure interesting adjustments.]
If I wanted to:
Bring more joy into my life, I would choose a yellow coloring pencil. I would either color my own Enneagram Type’s coloring page from “Dancing The Enneagram” with yellows and oranges, or I could color Type 7’s coloring page. I could also choose another page that has animals associated with happiness and joy, like the dolphins from the Peacemaker coloring page 18, shown above.
Here is a narrative demonstrating my mindfulness coloring.
To alleviate feelings of sadness, I would choose a palette of several colors and approach the coloring in stages, using the darkest first (dark blue, medium blue, turquoise, pink, yellow–with a surprise at the end). It’s important to develop a technique of using the side of a sharpened pencil to color a broad area and to lay down color with a light touch. The idea is to broadly go over the general area with the color, tracing the contours over and over again. The page gets darker with each subsequent pass as the color’s saturation builds up.
While your pencil is finding it’s path, it is imparting and picking up energy. Move your strokes to encompass more of the page. Give yourself permission to feel when you need to move on. Don’t get caught up in any desire to “finish” coloring any certain area. Leave it be for later, in a different coloring session. We are always a work in progress.
The point is, by first using light feathering strokes, you are able to layer two different colors together. Another reason you are using light strokes is because of the rhythm you create with the pencil strokes puts you in touch somatically with your deeper parts.
The beauty of the system I’m developing is that it by-passes the intellect. Having more to do with the intuition, there’s no need to process why, when, who, how–the only need is to watch the healing parts of yourself take over as you allow it. The healing works because we respond to symbols and colors on a deep, foundational level.
Acknowledge your sadness by choosing a dark blue color pencil (like navy or even indigo). Find the Peacemaker coloring page (18) and just color bits of the background, because sadness is always in the background. Do not color the dark blue all over unless you are treading very lightly. There are many color blues in the ocean.
The waters of the ocean you are coloring represent your emotions. Consider the ocean as different shades of blue and in using different blues, you are honoring the depth and complexity of your feelings.
Now, choose a medium blue pencil and begin coloring next to the dark blue, gradating it out. Using a light touch, feather out the edges. Use the same technique with a turquoise pencil and continue coloring lightly where the medium blue left off and beyond.
Whatever recent issue prompted your coloring session, the blues represent your acknowledgment of your sadness. You have every right to feel what you feel. You honor the Truth of your feelings. The blues, quite literally, lighten up. Turquoise, with its bluish-green cast, introduces a hint of healing into the image as you color with the pure hue. Know that you won’t be blue forever.
Still using the turquoise, work your way up to the horizon. Using the lightest of strokes, concentrate on the sky closest to the water. Ascend your strokes, ever so subtly out of the water, out of the emotions, and up, into the horizon. Your pencil is till close to the water, (probably still wet 😉 However, now you have more perspective. Before you lies the expanse of the ocean, representing the innate wisdom of your Emotional Intelligence.
Now, you are free to pick up a non-blue color. Choose pink. Pink is white added to red. As a warm, active color, you are introducing quiet action. Continue to feather the pink over and quite beyond the boundary of the turquoise. Continue filling the sky with pink. Notice, what happens when the pink gets merged with the turquoise. Your eye blends the two to create another color. Behold–the result is a shade of purple. It’s magic! By yourself, you have introduced purple, the spiritual color of transformation!
Look! What a sunny day it is. Like you did with the pink color, take out a yellow pencil (confidence) and feather over the pink, making sure to preserve some of the pure pink hue (for the sake of aesthetics).
Notice a beautiful shade of peachy orange becomes created when the yellow rolls over the pink. Orange is known for its gentle, warming effect. Totally opposite Blue on the color wheel, orange is considered to be an antidepressant color, which exudes confidence and joy etc… FIN
Only when and if you feel confident enough, you can end the session by taking a purple colored pencil and going over some areas within the dark blue of the water. Symbolically, you’re adding the power of transformation into the waters of your deep emotions, making it easier to get out of a funk. The purple is an echo of the sky-color you created, literally adding a little bit of sky into the deepest parts of your sadness.
I hope this technique gives you a better idea about how to approach the act of coloring as a tool for transformation. The approach may be gentle and forgiving, but it’s surprisingly effective.
It happened again last night. I shared an artistic idea that was just in it’s beginning stages, still delicate and budding. I was hoping for a grand “go for it!” kind of response—something juicy and supportive that would inspire me to dive deeper into the project.
Well, that backfired. Instead, I received a critique of what was wrong with the idea. Instantly, my energy deflated. Now, it will take a concerted effort for me to muster enough “oomph” to just get to the headspace I was in before I opened my big mouth.
I recognize it as my fault. I broke my own first cardinal rule to NEVER reveal or talk about a project before it is completed. It’s far too likely to get the result I just mentioned. Do people think artists are unaware of our own artistic challenges? When an uninvited critic takes a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process, it seldom results in the artist becoming more inspired.
The second thing I’m wondering is why, oh why, do people feel the need to be critical when an artist freshly shares their work. We usually want kudos for our artistic effort, at least initially (btw–I’m not referring to gallery shows where this behavior is expected).
Also, in the case of delivering commissioned art, some business people must be under the impression that it is unprofessional to tell an artist you really like the result. Are they afraid the artist will charge more if compliments are freely given? I’m reminded of something my mother always said, “If you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” To receive no response to delivered artwork is also very disheartening for a sensitive artist. What they are not saying can be construed as the receiver’s disappointment
Well, last night, I was ornery enough to stop the conversation long enough to inquire of my friend if there was anything he liked about my share. He seemed puzzled until I explained that I only heard negative things … were there not also positive things to balance out the negative? There was, but the positive stuff didn’t seem to require mentioning. What? Then he became embarrassed that I called him out and he back-petalled, trying to defend his reaction.
Anyway… I want people to realize the etiquette: unless specifically asked to provide an artistic critique, keep your mouth shut. However well-meaning, it is just as rude to give unsolicited criticism as it is to give unsolicited advice. When artists are ready, they will ask for honest feedback, but until then, assume they want some feel-good energy for their efforts. Often, for me, this energy is just as important as money.
Yes, I recognize my true motive in sharing was to receive emotional and energetic support so I could continue my artistic exploration with a renewed sense of vigor. But even a simple request like this can also backfire. In the past, when I expressed wanting to receive only positive feedback about some artwork I had in progress, my husband would often say, “What? You don’t want me to be honest?”
Sigh. That disempowering response always stopped me in my tracks, leaving in its wake many unfinished artistic starts, abandoned as unworthy.
Today, I’m strong enough to have responded with, “No. I only want you to be supportive. My work is in a delicate (or difficult) stage at the moment and I really need some positive energy to get through this. Are you willing to kindly do me this favor?”
It’s all about the energy.
The Power of Play
The benefits of play are so far-reaching. In childhood, play allows us to learn how to be creative, helps to nurture critical thinking, personality development and creates adaptive neural pathways.
In our stress-inducing lives, play for adults is absolutely essential. Play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, as well as boost creativity. According to recent studies, play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex by triggering the release of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.
According to psychiatrist Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, in Carmel Valley, CA, “Play is a basic human need—as essential to our well-being as sleep. So when we are low on play, our minds and bodies notice… Play deprivation can reveal itself in certain patterns of behavior: we might feel cranky, rigid, feel stuck in a rut or feel victimized by life. To benefit most from the rejuvenating benefits of play, we need to incorporate it into our everyday lives.”
A lot of research backs up the theory that play is therapeutic. At work, play speeds up learning, enhances productivity, and increases job satisfaction; at home, playing together enhances bonding and communication.
I’m very excited to announce our PlayBook,* Dancing the Enneagram, by Kate Finlayson and yours truly is now being printed for a June 1st launch.
Last August (2018), I was at my friend, Kate Finlayson’s “Dancing The Enneagram’s” PlayShop in Charlotte. The experience with Kate’s effervescent energy was inspiring. I was so stunned and impressed with its power, on my drive back home, a vision to have her material developed in written form appeared to me.
That night, I furiously wrote. Within a short time, I created an outline for her book. I telephoned Kate and relayed to her my excitement. She asked me to present her with a sample chapter, which I did in short order. It seemed to me the book REALLY wanted to be birthed. And here it is: nine months later our baby is born.
The premise for “Dancing the Enneagram” is unique and ground-breaking. Kate, who is Nia-trained and certified, moves through each of the nine personality types. Her idea is to add a somatic component to an intellectual process, grounding one’s knowing into embodiment. Kate’s work is powerful and integrative.
Originally, I intended to present only Kate’s material, but an idea popped into my head to include the component of “coloring” into the mix because each of the nine personality types is also associated with a color. I’ve been working for a couple of years creating coloring books with positive images of maidens in their power to inspire “girls of all ages.” It seemed only natural to include what I know about coloring as a further means of integration, especially for those who have not experienced Kate’s energy in person.
Thus, in “Dancing The Enneagram,” I present the symbology of color, explain the difference between Light (RGB) and Pigment-based (CYMK) color models, and also offer a “Conscious Coloring” technique.
So the nine full-page illustrations I created for our PlayBook can be colored in or enjoyed as is. I’m also really happy to use one of my own font designs in the PlayBook. The design of the book exemplifies Beauty as is one of my best efforts. It’s epic!
*PlayBook and Playshop are Kate’s preferred terms over Workbook and Workshop. Learning shouldn’t be work.
My inside cat looked out the window this morning and spotted a large shadowy figure sleeking through the open area between some bushes. Maya’s tail switches; she’s rapt, excited, attentive, and follows its every move. The outside cat stops to sense the air. He’s a very large, beautiful calico cat. He feels eyes on him.
He knows he’s been spotted, but cannot detect the source. So he nonchalantly turns in another direction and trapezes off. He does not run, in complete confidence, he just picks up his pace and slips away into the distance.
I wonder if my Maya wishes to be an outside cat, free to roam wherever she wants; or if the dark male wishes to have steady meals and be loved. There are trade offs to both. For the privilege of freedom, a stray lives on the edge. Life is uncertain, often violent and short.
For the privilege of being kept, there are many trade-offs. Rules must be obeyed. There’s neutering and worse, de-clawing. There are borders never to be crossed, and sometimes imprisonment within a small space. Some suffer the indignity of the play of little children. Everything depends on the luck of getting the right human master.
There are many stories where an outside kitty “chooses” their human. And if the cat chooses well, the result is happy for all concerned.
What does this have to do with art? The outside cat is a metaphor for making a living solely on your art. Be prepared to live on the edge. There will be times of feast and meager times of famine. Everything teeters on uncertainty. Society preys on artists. They are easy pickings. With little bargaining power, it’s difficult for freelance artists to get a fair price for their talents.
The inside cat represents those artists who have agreed to be at the disposal of an employer. For the sake of steady income, they often give up their rights and their original works. Or they are squeezed and wrung until they can produce no more. Thus, burnt out, they are then discarded in favor of the eager young college graduate, who will work at entry level pay scales. Or they may land into happier circumstances — everything depends upon finding the right master.
This is the dilemma for those cats thinking about freelancing their artistic talents. It’s possible for some alley cats to find steady work in the right situation. A lot of this depends upon luck. Often, being talented is not the deciding factor, but how well you begged. To get fed, the alley cat has to show it is friendly and deserving enough to receive food.
This shakes out as being flexible (with illogical changes), being able to read minds, always meeting deadlines, always being available on demand, able to work for cheap and (believe it or not) grateful for the work. This describes an employer’s dream freelancer.
Of course, the very same criteria can equally be applied to the pet on the inside. Linear thinkers in management positions cannot fathom the process of creative thinking. They wonder: why can’t the artist conform to a schedule like everyone else? It’s sad, but chances are, the employed artist will always be misunderstood and marginalized by those who did the hiring.
There are other cats who are employed in other sectors but choose to do their art solely on their own time. With so little time left at the end of their day, hobbyists risk the energy needed to create. Being able to make a living is the freelancer’s motivation. What is the hobbyist’s motivation when money is not a factor? The hobbyist has to have the discipline to be self-motivated.
That’s pretty much the territory. Me? I’ve run the gamut from being an alley cat to being kept cat. A corporate reorganization pushed me back out on the street. So this li’l ole cat is back to freelancing again.
What kind of cat do you want to be?
This is a continuation of notes for The Story of Jasmine that were written on Italian Stationery in Cortona, Italy:
Rogan hesitated for a moment, then surrendered his weapon to whom he supposed was the Guardian of the Temple. For the first time, he felt the same frustration Thorne described. He felt naked without his sword.
“Come.” Rogan followed the dwarf, and his sword, inside inner sanctum of the temple. He immediately noticed that the light became brighter as they progressed past many columns and down many steps.
Presently, they stood in front of a small, open room. With a nod, the dwarf bid him enter. He kept Rogan’s sword at the ready.
Almost without thinking, he sank to his knees when he first beheld the maiden in white. She stood, trance-like on an elevated platform of stone. There were many white flower petals stuck on her glistening-wet skin. Wet petals also crowned her head, the water flowing down from her head like tears upon her face.
Before her was an oblong trough. Although Rogan could not see its contents, from the diamond-ripple reflections dancing upon the maiden’s ecstatic face and the wall behind her, he knew it contained water. But there was something more.
Submerged in the sparkling waters was the source of a brilliant white light.
© 2018 DARLENE
Note: This is another alternative version of events. The above must be among the first drafts.
These notes for The Story of Jasmine were written in Cortona, Italy because they are written on Italian Stationery:
Rogan judged it to be well after mid-night by the time he reached the temple. On his way, he passed many stone statues of soldiers. Although it occurred to him that these statues seemed too new for an ancient temple, he wasted no more thought as to how this came to be.
The closer he got to the ancient building, the more numerous the statues became until the statuary cover the entire temple grounds. Rogan then noticed the look of surprise, which appeared on each stone face. For the first time, Rogan grew concerned, “Were these statues once men?”
“Heigh Ho! Are you friend or foe?” called a voice from within one of the chambers. Rogan whirled around in the direction of the call.
“Friend!” He answered quickly, then shielded his eyes in anticipation of some dreadful sorcery. He heard some bustle within the chamber and the slow approach of footsteps.
“Nothing will happen to you if you are indeed a friend,” a voice told him.Rogan looked up and noticed the stocky figure of a dwarf approaching him. He was a mature dwarf, with a graying beard and piercingly clear grey eyes. He wore several daggers and a battle-axe hung at his side as was the custom of mercenary dwarf-warriors, the like he had only heard about. Rogan duly noted the proud bearing of this man, not unusual in a warrior-for-hire.
Remembering the stone statues, Rogan thought it most prudent to kneel before him. This was not the doing of an ordinary mortal. The dwarf touched him on the shoulder and said, “it is good you humble yourself to the maker of miracles. But friend, it is not I. Give me your sword and I will guide you to a marvel.”
© 2018 DARLENE
Note: This is another alternative version of events. The above must be among the first drafts.
The note for The Story of Jasmine is from a scrap of paper, which mostly had crossed out words:
“What did you do?” Glynn shouted as he touched the stone statuary of the soldiers, which just a moment before had been men.
“It was not my doing!” Jasmine cried, turning pale, “it just happened — it’s the power of this place!”
The red-haired companion of Glynn’s began a hearty laugh, “And we thought she needed help!”
“But I do.” Jasmine replied softly.
© 2018 DARLENE
Note: This is another alternative version of events. The above must be among the first drafts.