Friday, December 26, 2008

what it feels like to live an inspired life...

I feel refreshed today. As long as I don't think too hard about the long to-do list that grows each time I give my attention to it, I feel like I've entered yet another new beginning. I am bringing my very first year of the creation of Stray Dog Arts to a close...and I am looking forward to all that the next year will bring.

This morning I feel like anything is possible. I feel hopeful, expectant. I believe that, in my own way, I am capable of changing the world for the better. For me, that change comes through helping dogs in need. It comes through my art--both painting and writing. It comes from following my heart and, in turn, sharing that journey with others who are trying to find their way to their own heart's path.

What if we really, truly believed in ourselves? What if we actually did all the things that we are pulled to do? What if we let inspiration lead us in whatever direction it might take us--however unexpected?

Today I can feel my heart. And, even better, I can feel what it wants from me.

It has been a successful year of finding myself. It contained the full range of highs and lows and, in the process, I came to know myself better than I ever have before. I feel a sense of confidence that has deepened and expanded the possibilities in my life. The terrain has been treacherous in getting to this place, but I'm loving the view from where I now stand. I'll probably be tested over and over again--even so, I'm beginning to understand that taking those lessons in stride will always bring me to an even better place than the one I leave behind.

Today I am thankful for this space--this blog--and all of the powerful, empowered women that it connects me to. It is good to be reminded that everything we do does matter. What we are capable of matters. We matter. Our hearts' desires matter. Our passion, our inspiration, our dreams--they matter because they are capable of changing everything.

And a beautiful example lives through Maggie Doyne. I found this video over at Superhero Journal.
Watch. Enjoy. Dream.
And most importantly: Do.

That's me in the middle. In the Himalayas of Ladahk (northern India). Circa 1997.
My heart feels pulled.

May I return someday soon.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

if my life were a painting...

Recently completed portrait:

"Mr. Pete"
12"x 12" Oil on Canvas

Notes from the studio: It's easy to fall in love with a dog named "Mr. Pete." Oh, those deep brown eyes, that snuggle-bum paw and kissable nose. I admit: I fell for him. ;)


These days I have been busy painting and planning and reading and dreaming. My world is covered in a deep blanket of snow. It is a soft phthalo blue in the shadows and a dazzling burst of sunrise in places where morning brushes another layer to its surface.

Last night I drove through downtown Minneapolis in a blizzard. After several days of losing myself to the last minute influx of holiday commissions, it felt surreal to be out in the world for the pleasure of dinner. Cars occasionally skidded on a patch of ice or crust of accumulated snow. I was but one slow moving car in a stream of many.

To my left I saw several dozen individuals huddled together inside a bus stop shelter. They all had funny looking winter hats on. They all had dark colored jackets. They all stood stiffly, close to each other but with invisible thresholds holding them in solitude. In the cold, waiting for the bus, they stood in unison and worlds apart. A yellow light from the top of the shelter shined down on all of them. I wanted to paint that scene--desperately--because it was so strangely beautiful in its normalcy.

To my right, there was a young woman, perhaps in her early 20s. She trudged down the neon light-filled sidewalk with determination. She had a strong, but petite body and a wonderful red and white winter hat with long tassles, one flying in the wind and the other caught in the folds of her heavy jacket. There was something about her that made me smile. Her movement, her energy (she seemed more alive than most), her reflection in the glass windows along the 900 block of Hennepin Ave. I wanted to paint her also--in motion, if that could be possible. In motion with lights that look real.

I drove and I wanted to paint everything. And I wanted to transplant a dog into every scene.

That's what happens when I paint a lot. Everything becomes a painting. I find myself living in a world where everything is a potential creation. Once, I went out for lunch with another painter and the silver tray they served our food on became a painting.

I get lost like this sometimes. And, I must admit, I do love the way it feels.

I woke up this morning wanting to be more. I want to capture everything. I want to give myself completely to every waking second of my life. And yet, I know this isn't completely possible....but there is a freedom inside this thought that I am attracted to.

These days, I am attracted to the feeling of freedom. The best part of it is that I am invited to experience it over and over and over and over... We all are. And all we have to do is give ourselves to it.

I like imagining what my life and the world around me would look like if it were a painting. The desire to know self and place from the inside out? The desire to put words or brush strokes to every last beating second--if only to catch a glimpse of myself...


Sunday, December 14, 2008

rooting and blooming.

I woke up to December rain this morning. This is Minnesota and it's not supposed to rain in December. But, alas, it is--and I am enjoying the softness of its sound on the roof and snow. Rain has a different sound when its not met by leaves and green.

I've been wanting to write for days. I turned 34 this week and it feels important that I somehow record this journey. 34 is going to be an important year. 33 was also. It was the year I walked smack dab into the middle of my heart and started living from my center. 33 was a new beginning in my life. It was also a year of tremendous growth and change. A lot of the time it was really painful. And yet, in the passed year, I have also experienced more love and passion than I have known what to do with. This was the year I planted roots. I watered, tended, and nourished them. I planted myself in vibrant soil and have felt the deliciousness of growing myself into its depths. 33 required faith of the most profound kind. 33 was about merely establishing myself. And 34?

34 is my year to bloom.

I came to this analogy of rooting and blooming during a recent coaching call with Jamie. During a particularly intense session, she told me the story about planting clematis two years ago and how she lovingly tended to it...and, still, it did not bloom. Worried and frustrated, she asked her mom what she was doing wrong. Her mom (oh, I just love her mom) wisely told her not to worry. She explained that the clematis was growing deep and strong. It was taking root, taking hold. The clematis was putting all of its growing energy into its roots and foliage so that it could be strong and big and beautiful and could weather anything. The next year, sure enough...

It bloomed (BIG TIME)!!

(Thank you, Jamie, for sharing this photo with me!)

During this past month I have been doing one-on-one coaching with Jamie of Jamie Ridler Studios. Let me just say: she amazes me. Last year was my first experience of coaching with her when I joined Circe's Circle. Holy profound! That group got me started. They were the ones that nudged me off of my big duff and supported me in taking bigger leaps than I might have taken otherwise. The result: Stray Dog Arts. Although I was already personally motivated to bring change into my life, I have to give Circe's Circle (Jamie, along with Melba, and Mardougrrl) a lot of credit for helping me make it happen at such lightening speeds. Needless to say, a year later, I was in need of another dose of Jamie's extraordinary coaching talents--and, of course, she did not let me down.

This year I am ready to stop beating the drum of struggle. Lately I've been asking myself: "What are my old stories? And what are the new stories I now want to tell?"

This is my new year. This is the year that I get to turn another page, begin a new chapter. I am grateful for every beating second of the past year. But now I am ready to take a step forward into the new story of my life.

34 is capable. 34 is financially stable. 34 is confident. 34 has space to be. 34 is open to possibilities. 34 walks tall. 34 is beautiful. 34 loves deeply. 34 travels. 34 is filled with true friends. 34 surprises herself. 34 knows what she wants. 34 is a creator. 34 shines.

34 is in WILD BLOOM!!!!

Want to get inspired by Jamie?
Check out her video here.
Consider trying out Circe's Circle for yourself.
Or maybe join her upcoming book group (I am)!
Jamie is intelligent, sensitive, intuitive. She is magic. She is a gift.