Weekend ~ 3/7/14 ~ Building Masterpieces Out of Sand Castles

AKA Joining Heaven and Earth


Yesterday and today David Nichtern’s class Creativity, Spirituality and Making a Buck is the soundtrack to my workday. This beats the crap out of Reuters and MSNBC if you ask me. I know! It’s an odd response for someone whose day job is in finance.

And though I love the relationships I’ve developed with my clients and firmly believe in the necessity of financial wellbeing this is not where my passion lives. As witnessed daily on my blog, my creative canvas voiced.The calling of my siren’s song rising; my intuitive mind longing for self-expression.

Last October I participated in David’s meditation workshop on CreativeLive (my favorite guilty pleasure). I’ve meditated for 15 plus years. Honoring my consciousness is a regular part of my daily routine and foundational spiritual practice. David describes Shamatha or mindfulness meditation as “an organic practice…based on noticing the moment when our awareness connects with our present situation, and actually deliberately cultivating that kind of simple awareness. The benefit is we become more synchronized in body and mind and begin to relate to our world in a less distracted and more wakeful way.”

Now David himself is inspiring. His laugh is joyously infectious. He invites me to yearn for more, to dream bigger in fact then I dared to myself. Seems kismet being this week’s Dungeon Writing Prompt is Dreaming Big. Something I’ve been hesitant to do as of late. A dear friend expressed her surprise at my reticence to jump without a safety net. I seem paralyzed, so contrary to the fire she sees inside my soul’s expression. I’ve noticed this too lately.

But here is a class combining my passions- meditation, spirituality and creativity. ”how we cultivate and integrate our creative energy, our sense of personal strength and well-being, and actually manifest our vision in the world.” David tells us the drive to create is personal- the part of you seeking expression. The trick is balancing Heaven and Earth- Our vision to current reality. 

Creativity is my pulse. It is my susurrus soul yearning to be birthed into the world. It is the part of me that knows its “connection with everything around us and particularly with the magic, sparkly quality of imagination”. It is my beloved and sometimes dreaded muse, my hallow heart.

Inside creativity, connection, and community I have the honor to reflect self with another and receive beauty in return. And to think my roommate doesn’t believe you can be an introvert and a people person. Oh Contraire! I am indeed both.

As I said I have a strong meditation practice. And recently through my illness have come to know further the depths of my own inner strength. I am tapped into my spirituality and creativity. But now, what to do with them?

This is where David pushes further. He asks is your art a hobby or a profession? Right now it is my hobby. One I want to bloom into a profession. But for an idea to become a business we must have a vision statement, a strategic overview and an operating plan. It must make sense on paper. As David reminds us “paper is a great mirror” (perhaps why I love writing as much as I do).

Do the numbers add up? For me the idea of making a buck from my art, the Offering is where I get challenged. My Oy to the Vey!

Our offering requires we serve a market or audience. As artists we must be aware of the needs of others. What do you want to design and project to the world? He asks.

I was reminded today that my name is a Pali term meaning spontaneous generosity of the heart. It is the offering/donation made to teachers. Perhaps I should focus on that when determining my worth, making the ask.

I recently told a friend “what do I have to write that is worth telling, that people haven’t heard a million times already, that a thousand better artists haven’t already expressed?” I thought she was going to lop my head off. This insidious thought runs along with what will my legacy be? What can I give towards the betterment of humanity? These deeper questions accompany cancer (at least it did mine).

I am not alone in knowing what it feels like to simply survive. Life’s challenges thrust us into a process undeniably bound for growth. It serves as the base of who we have become, a faint shadow of our past self, and the essence of our new being. Our transformation is not visible on the outside it is internal….eternal.

The Kabbalah states that not only can man transform, but he must in order to fulfill the purpose of creation. The butterfly must fight its way out of the cocoon. Break its way into the light, come to find its own strength or it will never be able to fly.

Over coffee with a friend he confessed his desire to have his midlife crisis crowd funded. The second half of his life spent creating and expressing his voice, his platform, raging against the dying of the light. My Punk Rock Pornstar Activist friend has a legacy far more established then mine that he wishes to imprint on the world. Not sure the world is ready for it, but that intense passion is glorious to behold.

I imagined a collective of artists. Like a giant creative think tank living on the beach in California spending days on end or nights as would be my case in the pursuit of creative genius, the freedom of self-expression. Oh that I were a millionaire to fund such a glorious endeavor. We would edit one another’s works, collaborate on lyrics for musical notes, create dialogue over dinner, shoot movies, and inspiration for art and dance. Are there any art collectives that incorporate meditation and spiritual practice encouraging collaboration and community? I think that would be the big dream for me.

David’s teacher told him “the first thought is the best thought”. Well my first project was my magnetic croquis drawing tool, croquis book and iPad drawing app. But David makes me want to be the muse. A creative coach perhaps! That friend who randomly reminds you to write, demands a love letter, in calligraphy of course, and stokes your creative fire. That pushes your whims to their edges, coaxing the caterpillar from its cocoon.

“Muse for Hire”. Collaborator. Co-conspirator. Confidante and Companion.


Blast from This Blogs Past


The Weekend Reading List


Something Extra

Stay the Night  ~ Zedd ft Hayley Williams

Weekend ~ 2/28/14 ~ Honesty, Creative Community and Bling

NIBS-The Tomboy

 The Tomboy– Capital City Motorcycle Club, California c. 1950


When I originally began writing my weekend post I had this commercial break in the center. Foolish. I realize now that it needs to be up front center stage lest you try to ignore it.

I want to promote a crazily talented friend, my dearest Dilettante. She is doing a kickstarter campaign. Please head on over and support her. I know you have $5 (preferable more-says me) to lend to her cause. Go ahead and buy her a coffee will ya! Forgo one latte for drip this week in support of the arts.

I’m a huge proponent of supporting artists. We are a community that needs to hold one another up. I compile my own personal library based on the books of people I’ve read and met online. And my walls are covered with the images (photography and artwork) of those that touch me. For me it is really in the connection with others more than anything else. That’s simply how I’m wired.

And Helena is generous beyond measure. She was kind enough to lend words to me this week when tongue tied on a personal matter. I was far too close to the situation to remain objective, have any wit at all. And she critically reviewed my short story with her red pen.

Honesty is my crack cocaine (no I am not condoning drug usage). I believe it only brings me closer to the person with whom I’m connecting. And honest critique makes me strive to be better.

Okay now back to the program……………

I was up late Wednesday night. 2 am PST when the prompt for FF came through my reader. I stared at the screen. Nothing……..still nothing. I tried to click clack the keys hoping for some free association. Or divine inspiration that would awaken the dragons’ genius in my mind.

All I could visualize was two women discussing the nature of the champagne coupe being designed around a woman’s breast- Marie’s, Josephine’s, Helen’s, didn’t matter who’s (Note: this isn’t actually fact). To boot in my mind it was a period piece. The castle in the background obviously played tricks with me. One would think my own corset strings were laced too tight. (I don’t really wear one. This is just creative license). So I knew unequivocally it was time to turn off the computer and get some shut eye. Come on admit it, that’s just craziness.

If you read my FF entry this week you know things went better the following morning. At least I think so. My new storyline has more weight-imagination, mythology blended with mystery, fantasy and love. But you judge for yourself.

DT² formerly referred to on the blog as Shidduch, following Yente which was preceded by DT² (for double trouble). Well DT² and I decided to begin a joint writing venture in order to get our juices flowing. Yet another supportive creative friend in my corner.

Our idea was we’d volley back and forth. Naturally we flipped a coin. The winner of the toss would get us rolling. Which for us both actually meant the winner was the looser. Because neither wanted to go first.

Seriously, firsts freak me out. I panic. This manifested most succinctly when I was on stage, terrified I’d forget my lines or miss the song’s first note. But without fail once I got past the first….. I sailed along.

So can you guess? I bet you can. I lost. I mean won. I had to begin writing. Beads of sweat began to form. We started discussing some ground rules, how we felt about certain movie’s mood and tone, seeking how close to or far from one another we fell in taste. Suddenly inspiration struck. The matchmaker knew where she’d begin. So I gladly handed the torch back to her. Go ahead say it. Baaawkkk bawk bawk…….

Now?     Now I’m worried about going second.   Good God I know…..am I ever satisfied?

Then on top of it all during lunch I had a sudden attack of bling envy. This might be normal for some of you. But I’m the girl that doesn’t wear any makeup except on very special occasions. I’m not into diamonds. Now I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to rock a Harry Winston but it is not a driving urge. But my dear DT² has designed some of the most spectacular pieces. I have coveted a lacy diamond necklace of hers for years. I simply cannot convince her to do jewelry design for a living. Seriously Tiffany’s if you’re reading this, hire her. Her creations will actually make your blue boxes more extravagant.

At lunch she wore a gorgeous Aquamarine diamond ring– classic shape, ornate artistry. Another of her divine inspirations (yes she designed it). She indulged me allowing me to don it for the duration of lunch. I swear it was mesmerizing. To watch me was to see “My Precious” ratcheted up full throttle. I was possessed! So much I barely recognized my reflection in its azure haze. In the end I gave it back. I’m sure she had her doubts I would and sighed in relief. Things never should come between friends.

Okay enough rambling. Go forth and play. I’ll see you Monday on the blog.


Blast from This Blogs Past


The Weekend Reading List


Something Extra

Say Something ~ A Great Big World & Christina Aguillera

The Weekend~ 4/6/12

I was reading a post by guest blogger Catia Michelle on AMSdaily. She spoke about practicing self-care and Sabbath. Jewish Sabbath law says you stay close to home, limit technology, partake in Ritual-filled family meals, visits with friends and neighbors, and theological discussion. Sabbath is about spiritual community, connection,and consciousness. It is the sense of sacred in our lives.

As Catia puts it:

Sabbath gives us time and space for wonder.

Sabbath lets us rest and honor our bodies

Sabbath opens us up to appreciated deep human relationships.

Sabbath gives us time to experience the beauty and transcendence in our world.

Sabbath’s mantra is there is plenty of time for the things that matter most in life. So there is no need to run, run, run as our culture tries to convince us.

As I read her post it occurred to me that Sabbatical was rooted in Sabbath, a day of rest. Recently I quit teaching. Now I am the kind of teacher that gives everything I have to my students. There is both a light and dark aspect to this part of my nature. Giving away more of yourself then you have to give is not good self-care. I love teaching but one morning I realized I was maxed out, exhausted. I was constantly getting sick. For the first time ever I felt dread. This is not the kind of teacher I want to be. In that moment I knew. I needed time. Time to recharge, replenish and renew myself. I needed to stop.

I believe we are responsible for our own well-being and fully capable of influencing our stress levels and health. That said, I still haven’t figured out how to lower my blood pressure without the use of medication but first things first.

A group of my students recently emailed me imploring me to stay, to teach one more class. But the thing about good self-care is it often comes in saying NO. Because in the long run you know what is best for you. You listen to your own hearts whisperings. And if your lucky enough you have a community that understands.

I am grateful to live most of these things out in my daily life, to have the support of community. I have arrived at the doorway to my own crossroads. And I am choosing to dive head first into my own internal soul feeding, mind-body replenishing Sabbath.

So here on the Sabbath and Easter weekend I hope you find time for community, connection and consciousness so you can be relaxed, renewed, and hopefully rejuvenated.

Until Monday!

Weekend Reading List:

  • How to Overcome Fatigue with Socks, Colored Pencils and Your Nose~Joy for Today  (also inspiration for todays photo collage)
  • Why Fashion Bloggers are more like designers than critics ~ Final Fashion
  • Titanic:Fashion From the Doomed Unsinkable Ship ~Huffington Post
  • Anja Rubik Vogue Japan May 2012 ~Fashnberry
  • What Does Luxury Mean to You ~ Vmac & Cheese


Images: Here / Here / Here