Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Intention Setting Summer Continues

Sustaining one's intentions. That's where the challenge lies.

I've wrapped up my fourth round of intentionally focusing on what I love. This time it was world travel/multiculturalism/love of language. More or less. You can read more about the first three topics: art, wine, all things French here, here and here.

This time felt a little more rushed, less focused, harder to get clear about.

I did my rituals: created an altar on the subject, made a collage, painted an art journal page, and added a new plant in my garden...

Yet somehow I still feel it's all so vague and that I didn't give it my best effort.

Staying present and showing up again and again for the long haul has tripped me up a bit. Good to know this about myself. I love new projects, new plans, new lists. Seeing something through to the end is challenging, but good for me. Stretches me in new ways. (This is hardly a long term project, 10 weeks... but humor me, ok?)

But here's what I know. I love meeting people from other places, other cultures, who speak other languages. I feel like my life becomes infinitely richer every time my brain expands when it sees the world through a different cultural lens. The nuances of language intrigue me. That you can express a feeling, or idea, or sentiment, in one word that takes paragraphs sometimes to explain in another language is fascinating to me. There are so many different ways to see this reality we call life!

I also know that I've renewed my passport. It went through a very long, empty dry spell, and is patiently waiting for me to get my priorities sorted and straightened out so we can embark on some new adventures.  (France is looking good for the end of the year, just saying.)

What else? 

Well, actually. That's about it.

I've even put off this blog post for a couple days because I felt like I had nothing to say.

I still kinda feel that way.

But showing up to the page, as they say, is what I wanted to do. 

So I'm here. 

And that, my friends, is enough.

I'm excited to see how I can make this part of me a bigger part of me in the months and years ahead. I can tell some fabulous travels are going to be part of it. 

Let's go!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Open to Receive

I'm on my third installment of my intention-filled summer. I started with Art (ie: an artist's life/path). Then followed up with Wine (ie: wine geek). The latest one? Delving into my obsession with all things French. Mind you, that does not limit me to France. Though the country and it's religious adherence to a quality of life over quantity definitely has its appeal.

About three or four years ago I suddenly unearthed my inner Francophile. I had no idea she was there. I started teaching myself French, reading everything I could about life in France, following blogs of folks who had transported themselves there (either permanently or temporarily), listening to a French radio station online that played African-French artists, and of course have consumed copious amounts of literature on French wine (ahem...).

It was only with a couple years of this obsession under my belt that I started to reflect on the many times that France/French had bubbled up to the surface of my life, although completely under the radar as far as my being aware of it or having any deeper meaning goes. I've been to France three times. I had a French roommate for a few years when I lived in San Francisco. I got to hang out in Senegal for a month, where they speak French, and there was that mad crush on French-speaking travelers as I back-packed my way through Asia. (And we'll just skip past the not so successful online dating experience of that French chef, mmmkay?) But all of that was totally unconscious. In hindsight, I can see I've had lots of opportunities to pursue a complete geek out about French/France but didn't.

So when I focused in on this subject the past couple weeks I was a little surprised to see that there wasn't the same passion (obsession) with it that existed for Art and Wine. I felt less intense about it I guess you could say. I've been studying French but not really worried if I ever become fluent. I have watched more French language films in the past three years than I've watched movies in general in the past 13. I'd love to go back to France but I'm not skimping on canvases or wine club orders in order to save my money to get there. 

It's been a fun diversion, but not my end all, be all.

So spending the past two weeks intentionally focusing on this French/France aspect of my life, the timing seemed a little, well, coincidental (and lets be honest, freaky), when I suddenly got a message from my former French roommate. I left the Bay Area 16 years ago, and though we've stayed connected through Facebook, we have not really been in touch. She had, unfortunately, very sad news to share, a French friend of hers that I had met and hung out with several times, had experienced a horrific life challenge. Yet through this tragedy, she and I have now reconnected and she'll be coming to visit in a couple weeks.

(By the way, an important aside, I'm a big adherent of synchronicity. Just saying.)

So, as I've done with the past two rounds, I had glued together a collage, created an art journal page and pulled some cards, amongst other things. You can imagine my surprise then when I got this one and learned its message:

"You are receiving a mythic call! This lens call forth your personal vision, evoking the seeded remembrance of your life's purpose. Awaken to your destiny."


Um. Okay then.

No pressure. Lol.

So. Having no idea what that exactly means, I'm going to continue watching my French films, listening to African-French music, and indulging in French wine. Remaining open to whatever and wherever this will all lead. It's fun. There's no doubt about that. 

So I'm good.

Here's to following your bliss and being open to the magic of life, no matter where it takes you!  

Bon courage!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Magic Making

This summer I'm weaving some magic for myself through the act of small and big intentions. Focusing on what I want to be in this world. Or how I want to be... that might be a better description.

Every couple weeks I am changing up the theme based on different interests and identities I have of myself that I'd like to explore and expand further. I started with Artist a few weeks ago and I've created some rituals and fun activities to get intentional for each area of interest.

For the second round? I'm letting my Wine Geek self have center stage. 

Yes, it does involve wine tasting and drinking.

Oh, the sacrifice! I tell you, this self-growth stuff is tough work.

Heh heh...

I'm continuing with similar intention-setting rituals as the first round:
  • Make an altar on the theme.
  • Pull some cards. (Oh, for those of you not familiar with this... think Tarot, but with variations.)
  • Explore and reflect upon the topic by writing about it in my journal.
  • Create a collage from magazine pictures and what not, letting my right-brain have a say.
  • Make an art journal page (ditto, right brain, but even more so).
  • Find a plant to add to my garden to nurture along with my intentions.

For the plant to add to my garden for the Wine Geek theme? I  couldn't believe it when I saw this one. I wasn't even planning on looking at plants today. This is Cosmos - Choca Mocha. LOOK at the color of those petals?! A heavenly red wine right there if there ever was one. And with a name like that? Destiny! She needed to come live in my garden. Pure joy!


This round I also happened to take a much-anticipated field trip to the mecca of wine shops in northern California, if not all of California: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in Berkeley. He specializes in French and Italian imports only. He also wrote the pivotal book Adventures on the Wine Route - a Wine Buyer's Tour of France, that every certified wine geek should have in their library. (If you ask me anyway.)

Walking into the store that first time? (mind you, it's not a huge space) The choices! I was instantly overwhelmed. In the best way of course. The fantastic shop keepers tried to help me, but I just needed to walk around in a dazed state for a while, taking it all in, before I could even think about narrowing down my choices and making purchases.

I ended up being VERY VIRGO about the whole thing in the end, über organized to the core, even on the fly: I chose a white, a rosé, a red and a sparkling wine. And I managed to cover four different regions of France: the Languedoc, Bandol, Rhône Valley, and a new-to-me area, Bugey. How thrilled was I to deepen my knowledge of the wine geography of France? 

It was all over way too fast. I will be going back. No doubt about that.

It's been an interesting couple weeks. Pondering what role wine plays in my life (aside from drinking it, of COURSE). Would I want a job in the wine industry, for example. What would I do? How would my skills at my current job translate to that industry? Would they? There are folks out there that warn you loving something and having a job doing that same thing are two completely different experiences. And working in the area of what you are passionate about may kill the very thing you love.

But you know what? When I walk into a behind-the-scenes moment at a winery? All 5 of my senses fall deeply in love. The musty smell of grapes. The hard work of the many hands involved. Those long racks of barrels towering towards infinity. The connection to agriculture, the land, the earth itself... Even my 6th sense is perking up and taking notice. It is truly a spiritual experience. 

Wine. Geek.


Anyway. No telling where this all might lead. But ya know what? Learning about, drinking, and appreciating wine and the folks who nurture it along from those gnarled and twisting vines will keep holding my interest for a long time coming. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weaving My Future

I'm doing a little experiment this summer. I came up with an intention. A plan. Crafted the bits and pieces that will make it tangible. Wrote up a schedule. You see, this taps into my favorite things: mapping/planning and my creativity. I just love these kind of self-growth projects. I've done this many times in different ways over that past decade or so. It may seem like work to some, but for me it's all play.

Recently I've been wondering about all the parts of me. The wide variety of things that interest me and how they may or may not intersect. Perhaps they will weave into one complete picture and life path. Or maybe not. But I wanted to explore each of them a little more in depth and in relation to each other.

At the heart of this though? I wanted to be more intentional with the direction I'd like my life to be heading. It's felt a bit random the past 10 or so years. I'm ready to steer this ship a little more.

Who knows what the end result will be or feel like. But I definitely know that I'm ready for something new. I'll be wrapping this all up by my birthday in September. I'm hoping for some fresh insights by then. We'll see!

So here's what it looks like. Five areas that interest me. 10 weeks. A couple weeks delving into each one. Ritual. Cuz I'm ALL about ritual. Pulling cards, writing myself notes, an altar, journaling and art journaling, even new plants for my garden (ie: new growth, blah blah blah) ... you get the idea. 

The first one? Artist. Bien sur.

A collage to get started.

An art journal page.

Pulling some cards, three different decks: Skywalker, Abundance, King of Pentacles. NICE!

My Jar of Hope, for a little love note to my Artist self.

This lovely being, Gaillardia, I just LOVE these flowers.

All sorts of Artist intention and focus for theme #1.

I'll being sharing every couple weeks with each new theme.

And so there you have it. This is how I'll be spending the rest of  my summer. Amongst other things. Oh, and getting ready for the Open Art Studios Tour, also in September. I'll save that for another post though.

Happy creating my friends!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Creative Busy Is Good Busy

Hello Friends!

I jumped back into blogging during Mercury retrograde. I wondered if it would stick.

Here I am a few weeks later and haven't really got back into the habit of posting. But for good reason. Very good reason!

I have a plethora of creative projects at the moment that are competing for my attention. Blogging takes a back seat then, as writing is not usually my go-to creative outlet.

Recently I agreed - also during Mercury retrograde - to help out a local organization with their website. I thought I had sworn off creating websites for folks. I love the design part of it, I do, but maintaining them will never be my forté. In the past I seemed to keep getting pulled back into what I thought were completed projects - long past the design phase - and so I decided: no more. Well, I caved, one more. Just one more. And of course I'm having fun. So it's all good.

But then I also have a project for work that lets me tap into my creative vein. This will be our second summer to have a display window at the county fair. Last year's fair theme was "There's No Place Like Home," we had a great adventure creating a window that tied into that theme as well as to the work we do (children 0-5 and their families). This is last year's window, if you can see it through the glare... we got 3rd place! Not bad for our first entry. 

Then - huzzah! - someone saw my little blue alien in her tardis and wanted an alien for herself. That's called a COMMISSION my friends. YES! A new alien is slowly birthing her way into the world, although this time in purple. This is my blue one here:

AND! At the same time, I was asked to donate an art piece to the annual art auction and fundraiser for our local Hospice agency. This has huge significance (and emotions) because my mom volunteered for Hospice for 10 years, and of course, they went absolutely above and beyond when, ultimately, we needed their services for her when it was her time to say goodbye.

What's incredibly beautiful about this opportunity though? Is that my own personal artistic creativity has amped up the volume and I've been a mad demon with the paint and whatnot for an altered book piece that I will be donating. I had no idea how to create one but the whole thing popped into my viewfinder brain waiting to be made. (Bless the internet for instant access on to how to do things!) 

I have tapped into my artistic zen-zone my friends. I'm in my groove. It's all I want to be doing. Waiting for paint to dry has never been so agonizingly slow! So of course I've started another one, a companion piece to the one I've already started. And now I have a glorious stack of books to repurpose into art. I can't contain all the creative juiciness that is flowing through my head and hands and heart, I definitely need more hours in the day!

When it rains it pours. So they say. (If only that were the case for California...but that's another topic... )

So blogging. It will fit in here, and there. But may never be a daily/weekly/regular thing. My focus is otherwise engaged. And hallelujah for that!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Well-Balanced Weekend

Now that I live in Sutter Creek, along a busy-ish road, where tourists meander by to and fro from their lodgings, I feel like I want to be out and about more myself.

It's not new to be in town, I lived in Jackson for three years (a town slightly larger than Sutter Creek), but I was tucked away from the hubbub of daily life and could hunker down for long spells at a time, seeing no one and going nowhere (except for going to the day job, of course).

But now? I feel like it's going to be a challenge to just stay home, putter, go about my life without noticing what's going on and being distracted by what's "out there."

And let's be honest. What I'm really trying to say is, what's going to happen to my artistic path? Staying home and sitting with the creative process? It's not that easy on the best of days. Because that creativity inevitably means blocks, gremlins, and nasty bits that have to be pushed through. (They usually yield the best results, they do have their purpose, those damn gremlins.)

Glancing out my studio window and noticing the chattering group strolling towards main street for a pint and a tasty meal? It's not just about wanting to join them, no, there's also the thoughts like, "well I wonder where they're from?" and "gee, what's the story about that one guy falling behind, not worrying about keeping up with the group?" The stories I could weave, if I give into random mind-wandering.

Oye. I'm in trouble.

Or maybe not.

This past weekend I think I hit a very fine balance. Time spent out and about, but also ample time to be at home. For our nice long three day weekend my son and I kicked it off by taking a five minute walk over to a flea market (where treasures were indeed found) and had lunch. 
Two of these necklaces are new, but I couldn't resist
a pic of all of the ones I've curated over the years.

The next day we headed out early and took a hefty walk along the backroads over to Amador City and back (two miles one way), our goal being delicious pastries, hot chocolate for him, and a chai for me. 

The beginning of the walk back, which ended up
being definitely more uphill in that direction.

And the last day of our long three day weekend was spent having lunch at a new brewery with friends (in Plymouth, more known for being the gateway to wine - change can be good, I'm embracing it, grin)

Such yumminess. And right in our backyard. Lucky!

And yet there were still long hours of going within. My son draws like a fiend. He can go through a ream of paper in no time. Art journaling happened for me. As well as the ongoing, never-ending saga of unpacking (I revisited the 90's, who knew one box could hold so many memories!).

But as summer winds up to it's full-throttled pace, it will be interesting to see how much paint actaully gets thrown. Wish me luck!

Maybe this color will inspire me!
The green hills are being replaced by brown, but the poppies and wildflowers
have loved the extra wee bit of rain we've had this month

Friday, May 22, 2015

What I've Been Doing Lately

If you're following along with my last few posts, you know that after taking a break for over 6 months I've slowly been dipping my toes back into creating. It has seemed too overwhelming to bust out the blank canvases (why is that anyway?), so I've gone 3D.

It's not the first time to dabble in mixed media creations. Way back for a Halloween show I contributed this piece, "Here's Looking at You":

And there was this little gem I created several years ago, "Yin and Yang":

This one I did a month or so ago, and shared already, but will share again, it was the first "officially dipping my toes in" piece:

And now, this one! 

I guess you'd say it's called "The Visitor and her Tardis." And yes, she's wearing a tutu. And yes, her boots are sparkly silver, amongst other sparkly things.

There is something so freeing about creating in this 3D way. For this project I learned all about paperclay, and used it to bring my little alien friend to life. It's so forgiving and easy to work with. I have tons left and can't wait to play with it more. 

And my recent new favorite go-to paint source is fabric paint in a bottle that squirts out a tiny opening up top. I discovered it a few years ago when coming up with an activity for a 6 year old's birthday party (monster/zombie t-shirt painting). This one done by a very grown up little boy, not a 6-year old, but you get the idea:

Here's the kind I've been using:

I suppose regular old acrylic paint could be put into these bottles too. I'll have to try that. But the fabric paint also comes in all these fabulous glitter colors! Even when I'm having a gray-skies kind of day, playing with glitter paint brings me back to my happy place.

So there you have it. Creativity re-launched.

Happy weekend!