Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Power of Intention


I've been thinking a lot about confidence lately, and how to get it when you don't have it. It seems to come in ebbs and flows, but lately I've been feeling a lack of it. We talked about it in the In the Fish Bowl e-course I'm taking. My fellow students and Marisa had some great suggestions:
Remember a time when you did feel confident and embrace that feeling in the here and now.
Decide that you are going to be confident. Just make the decision that you are going to be, and with practice, you will be.

I took the suggestions to heart and at the beginning of a Yoga Today class taught by one of my favorite yoga teachers, I set the intention to have confidence in whatever it is I do:
Confidence in my teaching, confidence in my art-making and confidence in who I am.
Neesha (the yoga today teacher) said that we can magnetize the power of our intentions into our lives by creating strength and space in the body. Strength to draw our intentions to us and cleared space to allow them room in our bodies and lives. I practiced this by doing poses that created strength in the arms and shoulders and made space in the hips through a series of hip-opening standing poses. Then Neesha led the sequence into a handstands at the wall where she challenged us to stay up in handstand for a whole minute. Bring the power of your intention into your determination to do handstand for a minute, she instructed. I'd never done handstand for a whole minute, but I wanted to bring my intention into being through the determination and strength of my body, so I did it.
And so, even though I will have to remind myself again and again to practice confidence, I am determined to live within this intention.
I choose confidence.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most....And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Used by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural speech


Monday, March 22, 2010

Creativity Meditation Monday


At my week of teacher training, I felt so expansive. I was expanding to allow in the people around me, expanding to new knowledge, expanding out of my own fears in order to practice teaching the new things I’d learned. I expanded out so much that my immediate reaction when I arrived home was to contract. To sink down into myself and retreat. I’ve wanted to stay home, stay quiet, and burrow down into myself, absorb myself in fiction. To some extent, I think that I needed this, I needed to contract after a week of wild expansion. And now, I’m working on making space for both contraction and expansion. “As much as you contract in,” I hear my yoga teachers say, “expand out.” So I am working at making space to allow this full spectrum of experience.

The creative process pulses with this contraction and expansion too. Some days creativity is quiet, reflective, contractive, like it wants to draw itself into little tiny whispers of circles. Some days its loud and bold and screaming, “I AM HERE!” We need both of those kind of days. One helps us tune into our selves, helps us to draw in to the quiet part of our nature and the other helps us to expand our hearts outward and into the world. Today’s creativity meditation is about taking stock of where you are today, of whether your creativity feels contractive or expansive and then finding the space to embrace both. Enjoy the ride!

Gather your materials, you can work in paints, pencils, pens. You can use brushes or your fingertips, anything that will make a mark.Tune in to what is calling you and respond by collecting those materials around you. Find a quiet space to listen and create!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Back to Blooming


I'm home again after a week of yoga teacher training. I had these lofty goals of blogging about my adventures while I was there, but in the reality of it, at the end of each day of the training, I had barely enough left to call my husband for a quick hello. The week was intensely and emotionally exhausting and at the same time absolutely magnificent. I came up to the very edge of my comfort zone, to the very boundaries of my self-imposed limitations and then I pushed past them. I am growing not only as a teacher, but as a person. I stood up in front of the whole group for the first time. I let go of my guard and let my peers in (which is usually something I struggle with letting happen). My teacher, Ann, told me at the end of the class that this experience of becoming more myself, is like being a flower bud, pushing against it's own contraction to be able to unfurl into the flower it blooms into. And that experience can be uncomfortable and strange.
So, I am beginning to bloom, but I am feeling a little shy in this new form. A little unlike myself and there is a part of me that wants to go back to old ways. I am resistant to change. Because with the brighter light of blooming, also comes a bigger awareness of the darker shadow that I no longer can ignore, that I have no choice but to embrace.
Here is this shadow:
I am sometimes very closed off. Shy. Quiet. Withdrawn. Unconfident. Nervous. I'm not good at reaching out and embracing people who've been in my life before or are about to enter it. I feel fear of holding space for others, afraid that my holding will be weak and false: 'who am I to be strong for someone else', I think, 'when I am not being strong myself'. So I retreat. I feel uncomfortable being myself. It takes me forever to open up. And then sometimes once I do, I pulse in and out of connection and disconnect.
I am learning,
that the more I open my heart to others,
the more I choose to hold space for others,
the stronger, the braver
the more courageous,
that makes me.
In holding more space for others,
I actually end up holding more space for myself as well.

So as I step more into the space of light, I allow more holding space for the dark. I'll do my best to appreciate the budding as much as the bloom.


Monday, March 8, 2010

A Two Week Break from Creativity Meditation Monday


Due to some busy craziness: a beautiful sunshine day with my brother visiting (that I could simply not pass up to be inside at the computer), writing papers for graduate school, teaching and getting ready for teacher training (and then being at the teacher training)....I don't have a Creativity Meditation Podcast for this week or next, but I will be back with Creativity Meditation Podcasts in two weeks! 
Until then, I will be pondering this: 
"how to seek what is simple: Look for the basic truth in every situation" 
I'm not exactly sure where I found this quote, but I think that when everything ramps up and gets really busy,
sometimes the best thing I can do is to remember to seek what is simple, look for what's really true for me right now and continue to work on being my most authentic self (even if that means I have to let a few things go temporarily).


Friday, March 5, 2010

Five Random Things


At the beginning of this week, I decided to set an intention for myself to open my heart to a bigger energy and allow grace into my day, each day. I'm not sure whether the awareness of grace became more acute as a result of my intention or if my invitation to it, really did bring more of it into my life. But all week, I've been noticing things or experiencing things that made me stop think, "ah, yes, this is the grace that I invited in." I've learned from so many of my teachers, that this light, this grace, is inside of us and all around us. So it was my intention to recognize that grace is holding me, breathing me and beating my heart. In today's Five Random things, I will share with you five moments of recognition from my week:

1. Early one morning this week, my husband and I went for a walk on the beach. It was snowing and windy, but the water was really calm. As we approached the end of the beach (the place where the high tide lapped the rocks and we could no longer go any further), we saw a harbor seal lounging on some of the rocks. I thought he would jump back into the water as soon as he saw us, but instead he just looked at us as we looked back at him.

2. One of my favorite teas is Yogi tea, Throat Comfort. I found a tea tag on a cup this week that said: "the universe is a stage on which you dance, guided by your heart"

3. I discovered new eco-friendly notebooks at Staples! I can't exactly describe how much I love notebooks and journals because I just do. I currently have 6 going (with 6 different purposes). I especially love these empty lined composition books with brown covers and simple sage green designs. The morning page practice (from Julia Cameron's The Artist Way exercise) that I do every morning always gets refreshed and renewed with the excitement of a new notebook!

4. This week, I was approached with the opportunity to teach a practice yoga class at a local studio that would allow me to be put on their sub list. To calm my nerves about teaching the class, I danced around my apartment with my dog to this song (which I played at least three times in a row). It must have helped because the class went smoothly and I start subbing the week after next! I find that each time I teach, I get a little more confident and little more clear. I step forward one little step at a time.

5. I experienced lots of sprinklings of encouragement and support for my artwork this week: By visits to this little space floating around on the internet, by all the amazingly kind comments left here, by being featured in this Etsy treasury and by being inspired by the first class of "In the Fishbowl"e-course. It all added up to be an incredible reminder that I am on the right path, doing the right thing by following this dream of mine. So thank you all for being a part of that bit of grace!

I invite you to reflect back on your week too. Did you experience any moments of grace, of recognition of the universe at work in your life?


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Straight from the Art Asana Studio

It's been a while since I've added anything new to my etsy shop, but I've been working at some new pieces the last couple of weeks and finally have them up to share!
These yogi figure paintings from last week's post, "playing with poses" are the newest ones.


And I've added two Mandala pieces and have several more in the works here in the studio because they are so much fun to work on!

A mandala is a sanskrit word for sacred circle. I spent a good bit of time studying them in college as part of a project on "Tantric Art" during my semester abroad in India. Traditionally, they are created as a meditation and consist of layers of geometric shapes inside of a circle that represent Gods and Goddesses, Buddhas, temple or palace layouts (depending on the tradition). I started creating my own, more abstract mandalas, last fall in an Expressive Arts Therapy class...For a little while, I was creating about two mandalas a week, using sharpies and colored pencils. I was amazed at how powerfully calming and centering it was to make them. I stopped doing them for a while, but I am starting to pick it back up again, this time using my acrylics (and sharpies...always the sharpies!).

If you want to try making one yourself, all you need is a piece of paper and something to draw a circle with (a protractor or trace a kitchen bowl). I usually start in the middle of the circle and start moving outward with whatever material I'm using, allowing my mind to settle and my hand to take control. Try it! It's fun!

Also, I now have prints of two original paintings ("Heart Opening" and "Home") which are also available in my shop!

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

OTG and MC Yogi

MC Yogi - Give Love (Giving4Living Mix) from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

I saw this video by MC Yogi on Lori Portka's blog, Happiness through Art (which is such a bright, cheery place itself! Her artwork is so colorful and fun!) and have suddenly become completely obsessed with MC Yogi.

How come I had not heard any of his music before?

I have been listening to this music video by MC Yogi every morning for the last couple of days. It uplifts me and reminds me to give love to myself and those around me. So, thought I would share it with you here today!

It's the perfect synergy between music and yoga!

I had decided that opening to grace and living fully from my heart would be this week's personal theme (and really my personal intention for the year 2010) and so it seemed so appropriate that I fell upon this song.

The song says,"open up your heart and let it shine the brightest" and when we do that, our love and lives can become limitless!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Creativity Meditation Monday


Happy Monday and welcome to today’s Creativity Meditation! Have you ever noticed that you feel more connected to yourself and your world when you express yourself creatively? I do. I find that when I am feeling off kilter, it’s usually because I haven’t done anything to connect to my inner spirit, to that place inside of me that pulses with something bigger. More and more, I am learning how to tap into that place and cultivate trust in the guidance of that universal power. One of the ways I’ve learned to connect and trust my own insight is through creativity. In today’s Creative Meditation, I’ll share a creative exercise that invites you to tap into that under current of grace, of universal energy and listen to the guidance, and insight available to you there. This exercise is inspired by Betty Edward’s “Problem Analog Drawing Exercise” in Drawing on the Artist Within (1986).

Our meditation today will begin by tapping into the flow of the breath and then we will move into our creative exercise. After you finish the podcast, there are a few last ideas at the bottom of this post to end the meditation. The podcast is approximately 6 minutes long.


“Drawing turns the creative mind to expose its workings. Drawing discloses the heart of visual thought, coalesces spirit and perception, conjures imagination; drawing is an act of meditation.”

–Edward Hill, The Language of Drawing

For materials, gather together some paper and something to draw with: a pencil, a sharpie or other pen, or a thin paintbrush with paints. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit with these materials in front of you. When you are ready to begin, press the play button on the podcast. Enjoy!

Once you have listened to the meditation, hold your drawing out in front of you at arm length. Turn it upside down. Look at it sideways. See if you notice any insights arise. Perhaps they address the issue you brought to mind at the beginning of the exercise….perhaps something entirely different surfaces. On a separate piece of paper, jot down what you see in your pictures and anything else that comes to mind.

Trust whatever comes up.

May you learn to recognize and trust your inner light and your inner wisdom.



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