Last Friday, my older sister, Diana, challenged me to draw from memory the layout of the house we grew up in. She wants to compare our recollections. I believe she is writing an account of her life. Recreating a blueprint from memory was an interesting exercise. There are rooms whose details I remember quite well but others I’m totally vague on.
When she saw my version, she provided more specific details. As I concentrated on the spaces, I started to remember things that happened in them.
I shared one of my stories with my sister and she insisted that I write down my memories of childhood. Then came the idea that we all recreate the layout of the house we grew up in as we remember it. Then I suggested we all write down our recollections. Perhaps this will be a powerful means to make a solid family connection.
My family is separated in different states. The house we grew up in together unites us in deep ways. My sister plans to offer this idea to the rest of my brothers and sister soon.
In the meanwhile, I believe this idea has many merits for others to consider implementing.
As a means to connect with your family during this epidemic, I challenge you, as my sister challenged me, to recreate the floor plan of the place y’all grew up in. Compare notes and swap memories and be respectful. Who knows where that may lead?
This moment in time brings with it a change in all aspects of life as we have known it — from how we shop, to how we raise children, operate our businesses, teach and learn, nurture relationships, and more…
When you look back at how you navigated the challenges and uncertainties of this time, ask yourself…
Did you rise to become the best possible version of yourself? Were you acting in ways that contributed to the common good of your family, neighbors, colleagues, or community?
Did you make choices about how to creatively respond to the crisis and how to help others do the same?
Navigating the challenges brings with it a golden opportunity to make a shift in your lifestyle. It’s also an opportunity to become fully conscious of who we are, how we are living, and how we are all interconnected.
You can intentionally change the status quo by choosing to empower each other so that our communities and our world are flourishing long after this crisis has receded.
But in order to create this vision of our future, we need to accept that the solution will not arrive from the outside, but from our choosing to stand for what we know is right and good — compassion, altruism, social responsibility, Oneness, and love.
We need to make a change that will allow us to look back a year from now and say we chose humanity and our planet instead of operating in old, habitual ways (that have embraced greed, violence, and abuse) long negating our Oneness.
I have a tool to help you make the shift to consciously create a new version of our world by consciously stepping into becoming the best version of yourself and empowering others.
I have a coloring book that is more than a coloring book. Using the meaning of symbols, it’s a self-exploratory tool to comb through the issues in your life that have prevented you from showing up as your best self.
Much of the unconscious world is collapsing under its own weight.
Many forms of commerce are hitting full stop. Ships are idle. Planes are empty. Even automobiles are parked without riders.
As old establishments fail, this is making room for new institutions and ways of living that are more fruitful and productive.
There will be some rebuilding of the old norm but, in many cases, new organizations will offer something fresh, something new, something conscious.
Those of us on the conscious journey have been calling forth a new humanity and a new earth.
Could it be that we’ve found our moment in the midst of so much challenge and hardship?
How about you? What are you being called to at this time?
Those on the conscious journey are in touch with their soul’s calling. The calling is often tangible and persistent.
What are things you can do full-time or part-time to contribute to an awakened world?
We are in a season of sequestering. This is a perfect time to feel deeply into our personal calling.
We will only create a new humanity and a new earth if we each decide to play a role. A small percentage of the population can’t possibly shoulder this load. No leader on high is going to take us there.
Conversations with God says our invitation in life is to announce and declare, express and fulfill, become and experience Who You Really Are.
Could it be that we are at such a moment?
It depends on the decision you are making right now. Our individual decisions are a microcosm of what we are deciding collectively.
We are stretched but we are stretched in a good way.
So as we talk about rebuilding…
Let’s rebuild consciously and let’s create flourishing on every level: in our own lives, in our homes, in our communities, and in the world.
We can do this. So, let’s do this now and let’s do this together!
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 colorpencil (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.
As a spiritual being, I have always wanted to make a positive difference in the world, as an artist. For my art to speak meaningfully to those that behold it would be a pretty good legacy.
I started out my career doing fantasy art, design, and calligraphy for RPG (Role-Playing Games) in the 1980s. Thirty-five years later, when I started attending RPG conventions, I was shocked to learn how many people have been deeply touched by my work. At first, I thought it was nostalgia, my art symbolic of a time remembered fondly. But I’ve come to accept and embrace the fact that my art also speaks to some people in a deeper, heartfelt way.
Encouraged by the positive reactions I’ve received at gaming conventions, I decided to “give back” to fans within the RPG community by creating something for their progeny—coloring books! My first coloring book provides positive, empowered images of fantasy maidens for my fans’ daughters and sons.
Then, in 2017, at a Feminine Wisdom Intensive, I discovered that women on the empowerment path were equally attracted to my fantasy art coloring books. My next coloring book became broader in scope to appeal to “girls of all ages.” I included a Mindfulness Coloring Meditation where it’s possible to awaken the archetypes within you by focusing on the chosen image and claiming its power through the act of coloring it. Each successive year, I’ve done more and more to make the coloring experience a transformative one.
The next advancement of the coloring book concept is its appearance in “Dancing The Enneagram” PlayBook by Kate Finlayson and myself, recently published in June. Kate’s innovative idea was to apply different movement modalities to each of the nine enneagram types.
In addition to applying the power of dance to the template of the Enneagram, I was inspired to make the illustrations into coloring book pages. I also included written information about colors and their meanings and created a meditation for “Conscious Coloring.”
“Dancing The Enneagram” is a useful tool for people already familiar with The Enneagram to use for focusing. It’s a visual meditation. To be the best you, as long as you know the direction you need to move, you can color in the appropriate aspects of the images.
Now, I’m still receiving inspirational thoughts about more specific ways the physical act of coloring can heal. And I’m in the process of exploring those possibilities.
I’m hoping that what I’m inspired to create will make a real difference in the lives of people.
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.
I’m at my first “Dancing The Enneagram” PlayShop, August 2018.
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!
I’m an artist. When I was younger and more adventurous, it was exciting to be dancing on the lip of poverty. The uncertainty of being able to stay alive by making ends meet was like a game; literally, it was “The Game of Life.” Now that I’m getting older, I realize I have to change. I no longer have the same resiliency and health I once enjoyed.
So I’ve been thinking. Being a “poor” artist does not have to be an automatic given. About 2 years ago, I realized that I sorely needed to supplement my meager income. Although it’s exciting to be teetering on the knife’s edge, I’m now longing for some stability. I wonder if you can relate?
So, instead of finding a soul-crushing part-time job (which would take me away from my art studio), I decided to invest my time in marketing myself on the internet, but it’s hard for an introvert like me. It means I have to reach out to people and be engaging.
Why doesn’t my art speak for itself unaided by my persistence in getting my name out there?
If the idea that Advertising / Marketing / Sales can be used as a spiritual metaphor, I must unlearn my tremendous aversion to it. I hate sales with a passion … to the core. The idea of selling makes me cringe.
That’s probably because I associate selling with being dragged as a child, along with my siblings, to fairs, conventions, and flea markets. My father expected us to help make sales of whatever new thing he was offering that year. Of course, for us was an exercise in futility. We just did not have “the touch.” While my father delighted in talking to prospects, our prime summer days were spent languishing in dusty halls, or out in the glaring hot sun or in the ear-numbing cold.
We counted the hours for the day to end, hoping desperately to relieve the boredom. We cringed when anybody came by to inquire about some feature of the product we did not know how to answer. Worse still, if dad saw people walk away from us. He knew we’d lost a sale…
Exhibiting at art fairs is not much fun either. I’d be sitting at the exhibitor’s booth, pretty much bored and noticing all the blank faces of people meandering mindlessly past. I’d be passively available, if anyone noticed me. I was virtuously non-intrusive.
On the other hand, the booths that demanded attention received it. I watched the gimmicks of the successful vendors, witnessed the little tricks they used to engage interest. Most of them did what I could never manage–engaging in banter. I silently observed how they used energy to attract energy.
In e-marketing, I can see how an e-mail’s attention-getting headline would correspond to the competing calls of different merchants offering their wares for sale in the marketplace. If opened, the e-mail succeeded in getting past the bored eyes of their recipient. Whether or not the prospect lingers to look at an image or read the content of an e-mail, or moves on depends upon many factors. It’s very subjective.
The spiritual side of advertising challenges this old hermit by asking if I’m being arrogant in my poverty. Do I compensate for and perpetuate having little by feeling spiritually superior to rich people? Is it really a badge of purity not to make a buck?
Updating Old Attitudes
My old attitudes concerning artists and spiritually-oriented people accepting money have resurfaced. For an artist to do very well implies they’ve “sold out” and selling out is considered a bad thing for an artist. With money in the equation, the artist’s work is deemed to be tainted.
I’ve always balked at the practice of placing sales offers at the end of articles in e-mails. To me, it lessens the article. It’s not a true gift if there’s a price tag attached. No, not a gift, a ploy. It’s deceitful. The advertiser pretends they are giving you something for free. Here, take it! But nothing’s free. They are always seeking something in return. They want you to buy something.
The spiritual side of Marketing challenges me to reverse my assumptions. It asks me: how am I different from anybody else? Is my hunger any less? Don’t I deserve to tout my wares unapologetically, at the top of my lungs, if I choose to?
Like every human being, I have value. I am deserving. So in the end, it’s me I’m selling.
OK. Here I am! Notice me!? I’m the introvert in the corner…
If you opt in below, every two weeks, I’ll offer up some cool observations and insights from my hermit’s perspective and let you enjoy some of my seldom seen Darlene Art (I’m getting better at not hiding the links).
It’s my motto. (I made it up the phrase some time ago, but I’m sure someone before me can claim true authorship.)
Life is Art
This means that everything I do is an artistic (as well as a sacred) act — it’s a Magical Dance with Beauty. Thus, I actively search for meaning through synchronicity, symbols and archetypes. As such, it suggests something profound about my relationship to reality as an artist. I tend to be much more fluid than conservative in my World View.
Darlene’s most current business card.
For me, unicorns, dragons, and fairies DO exist. Wouldn’t it be a boring place if they didn’t? That’s where it becomes weird for pragmatists. In their hard-boiled, sensible reality, armed with science and reason, they tell me why mermaids (etc…) can never actually be real. As well as “impossible,” they’ll claim it’s just “fantasy.”
What’s wrong with fantasy? I find myself being sad for them. By choice, sensible people can never travel the paths I have traversed, nor can they understand my rich knowing of the strange and fantastic inner/outer realms. It’s only through my art (which represents the footprints of my experience), that I can offer them a glimpse…
The Power of Fantasy
With more and greater possibilities, fantasy totally encompasses reality. It’s outside the limiting, containing box, an opening of more ways people can relate to their world. Why not perform a cosmic dance on an asteroid? Or swim with the mermaids under the sea? Fantasy is my state of being free. I’m not totally mental. My freedom is tempered by the knowledge of my physical surroundings and the shared reality of the people around me. But because I believe more, I see more.
I’m not stuck in my own little world when it comes to “consensual” reality. Oh, I’m always aware of my surroundings and what is expected. But at the same time, co-existing and super-imposed upon it, is a dream-scape of incredible splendor. That is the state of mind I enter into when I create.
Maybe there’s something to not taking reality so seriously. Gloomy reality doesn’t have as much of a grip, or a pull on my outlook. Of all the cruel happenings in the world today. I choose to shift my focus away from the negative. A wonderful friend once introduced me to the concept that, whenever I view in the media or aired on television, the aftermath of a tragic accident, to scan the scene for the helpers. They are always there. Often, they are behind the announcer.
Look for the Helpers
Notice the helpers behind the scenes. Witness the miracle of their presence. When you do this, you can truly “see” the miracle of them in action, and forgo the disturbing details of the tragedy, the fear and the violence.
Watching such a newscast can be an incredible opportunity to help the helpers help. It’s possible to effect change by offering up your prayers and energy, real time. After a while, you may begin to suspect the helpers may not always be entirely human. And what a privilege it is, to work with angels…
Truly, I believe focusing on the positive, while acknowledging the negative, is the best way to navigate around the invasive, in-your-face evil that parades so openly now-a-days. What if I choose to believe I can effect positive change by energetically adding my healing intent to the scene (and to my art)? As long as I have no attachment to out-come, there is no ego-investment to taint the process. Isn’t keeping open to potential (as opposed to despair) a better use of one’s energy?
Art is Life
Art is my Life. I work through the lens of fantasy, possibility and potential. The art I bring forth integrates the meaning of symbols, psychology, and archetypes with images and words. I dedicate my art towards the empowerment of the feminine, the delight of the imagination, the freed intuition, to heal, and to inspire the young at heart.