The Beauty of Trust

Many times in my life, I have come to a crossroads.  Whether it was with a person, situation, direction or in a moment of creation, I felt I needed to reach out and trust someone other than myself.  There are a lot of folks that would LOVE to tell me what to do!  And, there are sometimes, I do so desperately desire to give up control and let someone else run my life and make the decisions.  But, having lived through a few of these experiences, I have learned a few things.

1.  When you ask someone for their advice, opinion or viewpoint, be ready for the answer.  It may not be the answer you long for or one that you expected.  But, if you have chosen that individual for their insight, be prepared to receive it.  

2.  Check your own agenda, and their motivations.  Not everyone has your best interests in mind; they have theirs.  Whether it is unconscious or not, they are speaking from what they want and desire.  It's human nature.......sort of. Which leads to the next point.......

3.  Ask an expert.  If I need help with a financial situation, I will ask a financial expert.  If I need help with creativity, or relationships, or cooking........I will ask someone who has a much higher level of expertise than I possess.  I want to grow, not have somebody else agree with me.  

4.  Having a few people you trust is priceless.  How many people do you really need to trust?  One, five, twenty?  In my experience, I have a couple of people that I trust with my life.  I also have a few people that I trust with certain areas of my life.  Sometimes trust is only needed per subject area.  I am happy to pay someone for their expertise because it is an even energy exchange.  If you truly want to learn, pay someone for their knowledge.  You will walk away with fresh new insight, and they will walk away being compensated for their brilliance.

5.  Trust your own voice.  If you are in doubt, ask someone for their input.  Listen, acknowledge what they are saying, process it, but if it doesn't fit for you and your life, it doesn't fit.  So many times we KNOW the answer, we are just looking for validation. That's fine, but to constantly rely on other people's input about your own path will lead you to dependency and, one day, you might look back and realize this isn't your beautiful life.  It's everyone's idea of your beautiful life.

6.  Trust that the Universe, God and your higher self "has got your back". This has been the most difficult for me.  I'm a "can do" kind of gal.  I never want to feel indebted to anyone.  But here's the secret.......if your intentions are clear and true, what you are working to bring to life will happen. The higher powers that be - they want you to ask.  Life breeds life.......beauty breeds beauty.  

7.  Get clear........really clear.  By asking for someone else for their viewpoint, you are sometimes getting clear on what you don't want in this world and that's just fine.  Most of time, I have figured out what I do want by figuring out what I don't.  Finding your own voice is sometimes messy with a few failures thrown in for good measure.  But the question is,  What else is worth doing?  Every day is a new chance to figure it out.......

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A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Kiln

As happens with most of my pieces as they are waiting to be fired, I envision what they will turn out to be after the final step.  The building, carving, burnishing, sanding and loving have been completed.  One month of drying has come to an end.  It was now time for the piece to enter the final phase of creation - the slow, low fire of the kiln with a quick exit at 1000 degrees into a pillow of sawdust and smoke.  Unfortunately, for one piece, she never made it that far before tragedy struck. As I carried the piece out to the kiln, I sat her on a side table to prepare the fire brick within the kiln.  As I turned back around, out of nowhere, my two large, rambunctious dogs, came barreling toward me, running into each other and the table.  Before I could reach out and catch the falling piece, the large carved top of the piece hit the table and smashed into many, many clay teardrops.........closely followed by my own.  In the early morning light, I screamed.......and cried........and cursed the dogs, the timing of it all and most importantly myself.  The "should of, could of, would of", inner dialogue began.  I started berating myself for everything and anything, as well as my husband for the way he set the kiln up all the way down to the uneven ground on which it sat.

I walked away from all of the emotional mayhem and drove to yoga.  My sweet friend, Anna, was teaching, and I felt relieved.  After class, I went home, and between some tense words and moments with my husband, he set about building a platform in which to create a level firing surface for the kiln and the table.  Meanwhile, I set about with a Dremel tool along with a whole lot of prayer, magic and cussing, and proceeded to transform the piece into something else.  The piece fired the next day, and to my amazement, I am pretty happy with the results.

The reason I relay this story is this.........no matter what drama, trauma or invalidation occurs, whether it is given by ourselves to ourselves, from another to us, or witnessed out in the world, there is always a chance to create a new beginning. ALWAYS.  I had to forgive myself for my own invalidations; I did not deserve the treatment that I rendered unto my very own soul. So it is with others in our lives.  If we are being openly criticized, berated or otherwise put down, please, please, please remember this.......You don't DESERVE it.  Don't make excuses for the perpetrator of those words, no matter what they call it - whether it be "feedback", "constructive" criticism or an other shiny, shitty term they want to use.  It's meant to suppress, control and cage your soul.  PERIOD.  If you believe them then you have shot yourself through the heart and the lesson will come up again and again until one day, you finally stand up for yourself and realize that they are speaking of their own fears, regrets and insecurities.  If they can make you believe that it's you that needs fixing, their job is complete.  They can take the spotlight of doubt off of themselves and place it securely on your shoulders and in your universe.

We can all be better than we were yesterday..........the question is, "Better by someone else's standards.......or your own?"  If clay has taught me anything, it is to be kinder to myself and to listen to my own intuition and the soul of the universe.  Everything else will take care of itself...........and with that, we can begin again.......photo

My Love Affair with Clay

Although I have only recently begun creating ceramic art in the past 4 years, I have long since had a love affair with clay.  I remember as a youngin' living in the mountains of West Virginia, sitting by the creek, scooping up mounds of mud in my pie pan and shaping it high until it fell back to the earth.  What a luscious feeling it was; the grit, the consistency, the earthiness of it all. Even now, every time I open up a new bag of clay, I stick my head way inside and breathe deeply the smell of it......and realize that what I am smelling is not just the dirt and earth but the possibilities of what it will become.

All of us have an opportunity, every day, to move into our next greater self.  We have the endless ability to create something new and beautiful to share with the world.  The longer I am in this body, the more I realize that the power to radiate life has been within me all along.  Through all of my trials, struggles and challenges, the constant thread was me.  I get to choose every day how I see my world and the world around me.

Just as it is with clay, it is in the world.  To let go of control enough to allow life to happen and still be present to the possibilities. The choices we all have to create a life we dream of, a life we, as our higher selves deserve to step into. That's a life well lived.Image

The Energy of Art

Every artist that has ever created anything has done so with Energy by their side.  Whether they were aware of it or not makes no difference.  Wherever we are in our own life reflects upon our creations.  However, over and above this, is the true essence of each artist coming through each piece.  It's like with each new creation we are reaching back to our beginning and finding the ethereal thread that holds our life and our purpose together.  Everything we are, that we have ever been, culminates into the next piece that shows up. As a society, we tend to dwell on the bottom third of life.  The drama, the violence, the power of it all.  Since most of the artists I know are incredibly sensitive a lot of art tends to reflect the jagged energy of that environmental turbulence.  Even if we are not experiencing the imminent threat of those heavy energies, we tend to pick up on them and create around them.  There are times when we may think we are creating what's inside of us when in actuality we are simply being influenced by the collective.

To be able to detach from the "agreed upon" reality and to express one's own true essence is the sweet nectar of art and life.  To move through the commotion to our own sense of sanctuary where we can be still, envision and put forth our highest, truest art.........is a testament to life.  Image

The "Do" Factor

Anyone who has known me for any length of time will attest to the fact that I'm a "doer".  I fill my life with all of the things, people and work (for the most part) that bring a smile to my face.  I move through my day and never quite realize or acknowledge my accomplishments.  I am am more of a "what's next" kind of gal. This morning, as I was finding present time from the dreamland of the night before, I had the thought that I had a lot to "do" today.  The list immediately began; walk the dogs, go to yoga, drop off an order of my pendants to a retailer, perform 6 massages and say a final goodbye to one of my favorite people who is moving cross country.  It was then that with the prospect of all of that, I felt a heaviness in my chest.  It seemed like too big of a mountain to climb - and that was just the time from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The rest of the night would be devoted to my art which always seems to come last - when there isn't much of me left.

As I was wondering around the moroseness of it all, I realized that it wasn't my list that brought a heaviness, it was my frame of reference.  What if I simply woke up and instead of listing all of the "do's" of the day, I said "I have a lot to BE today"?  Instantly upon having the thought, I felt lighter.  Like the day held the promise of adventure and excitement.  To get the opportunity to "BE" a dog lover, an artist, a massage therapist, a friend - well that is the richness of life that "doing" can completely miss.  To simply do and not BE present to the grace of life is a life unloved.

Finding sanctuary with one's self and thoughts is a lifelong endeavor - a kindness given to oneself that can be expressed through our relationships, our art and our life.  Image

Balance and Flow

There have been times in my life that I was absolutely sure that I needed, damn well deserved, balance in my life.  I focused on attaining it everyday.  I willed myself to have time for all of my duties and obligations, my wants and desires, and all of the other things that I was just sure that made up the ever illusive quality of balance.  Guess what?  Not only did I fail miserably at achieving it, I also added on the caveat of reprimanding myself for not being strong enough, smart enough or evolved enough to make it happen.  This cycle started as a struggle and turned into lose-lose on all sides. Before I knew what was happening, I had found myself with a first class ticket to Crazy town! Today, while taking a yoga class from my masterful instructor, Mary Lyn, a light bulb went on in my head between Crow Pose and Leap Frog.  It's not balance that matters to me...... it's the "flow".  As there is a flow in yoga, so there is in life and art.  We all know when we are in a state of grace and flow.  Whether through our chosen profession or the art form that chooses us, we can keenly sense the sweet spot when it appears.  You see, trying to balance work and life just creates a big fat "zero" in the end. We are running so hard between the two extremes that we gain nothing other than a lot of exhaustion and failure.  There really isn't any lasting growth.  However, being in the flow of the moment, the task, the touch, the beauty of creation......well that's the place I want to live.  To give ourselves completely to who or what is in front of us, to "Be Here Now" gives us the opportunity to be fully present.  When we enter this state of grace, time ceases to matter or exist.  Yeah, I want more of that.  So how to get it?  Make conscious choices about who and what we bring into our life.  Everyone and everything can take a little piece of you.  Make sure that it's worth the cost........and then open up, be present and breathe.

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The Soul and Grace of Art

In my day time profession as a Licensed Massage Therapist, I am always working to get spasmed muscles to release, stressed clients to relax and my day to develop an easy flow.  As it is in my living so it is with my art and my life. When I touch clay, after just a few minutes, all the sharp edges of my world start to soften.  I can audibly hear my breath slow, set to the rhythm of my hands.  In this simple rote act of building a piece of pottery I find myself.  Not someone who has an agenda or any earthly idea of what I am doing, being, having, controlling, manipulating or planning.

There comes a time in everyone's life, whether we like to admit or not, where either the masks come off.......or they harden onto our being like concrete.  One can slowly lose themselves to ideas, personalities, groups and rigid ideas that they think is them.  And yet it isn't.  The belief system that we set in place over the years, whether it has manifested through family, religion or friends was put in place to guide us until we could raise ourselves up enough to think for ourselves.

Just think of all of the lovely people, places and experiences we are holding off by wearing all the old stuff that just doesn't serve us or the higher good any longer.  By releasing that which does not work any longer, we can open ourselves up a brand new world of light and creation.  Honestly, this is how I found my art.  I had to release the hurtful past which I allowed to hold me back.  The painful relationships that were continuing to create negativity and darkness in my life and find what my soul needed.  It may sound simple to say that clay did that for me.  You see, clay is a lot like yoga.  You just do the same things over and over again with your physical body, never really noticing that subtle yet profound changes are occurring until, one day, you wake up and everything just seems more..........available and alive.

I once had a friend who said that "you have to take out the garbage before anything new will come in the door."  For everything that we release it leaves room for the fresh air of new growth and opportunity to come a' knockin'. Doing this with soul and grace by your side makes for the most beautiful kind of art.Image