Saturday, January 31, 2009

appreciating the present

i feel like i'll look back on these days as of romping around san francisco solo with a sigh and a smile. most days i don't actually feel lonely lately at all. some times i wish i had a hand to hold, but generally i am just trusting that everything is happening as it should. that learning to love life alone is part of my journey. that finding contentment, even happiness in being alone is something worth being proud of, and especially trusting that i will find love. it was the last few years of holding my own loneliness in my hands and trying to come to terms with it that is making these days of feeling fulfilled, truly happy, and still solo, all the more beautiful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

views and gratitudes

grateful for:

~the most lovely nia class this weekend. a truly incredible teacher. dancing to kinnie starr music in class. bliss in bare feet.
~walking adventures, taking pictures every block
~how beautiful the rain smells here
~big kid art time with my fave 5 year old
~today's forest walk. saw a heron, hummingbird and a lil' turtle.
~the view's from the berkeley hills
~quiet moments
~seeing one of my favourite musicians after about 10 years of musical appreciation.
~going solo to two concerts and feeling really strong about it. except that i forgot my new motto of 'less shy more sass' in reference to the handsome guest mando/violin player. sigh. working on the sass. there will be sass this year i swear!
~a photoshoot with a rad new friend (pictures to follow)
~pretty pretty (and cheap) shoes
~golden hour and the way it looks on flower petals.
~consistently kind smiles
~learning the bus system around these parts
~spring in january
~serendipitously meeting people when i least expect it. unexpectedly running into an old friend from victoria (b.c.) at a concert, running into a lovely person who's blog i've read for ages. i'm won't be surprised at all if such incidents continue!
~taking a one day break from my dairy free life. smoked gouda and goat brie. beyond delicious.
~this adventure i'm on. i'm only 3.5 weeks in and its already shifted me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

abundant inspiration

is it just me or does there seem to be sooo many e~courses offered right now! perhaps i just never noticed them before or maybe its a new trend (i use the word trend in the best possible, least trendy way) in the creative blogosphere. if only i could take 'em all...but that would be a full time job (though it sounds like a mighty good one).

here's a few that i've come across:
~leonie's creative goddess e-course
~rachel & elsie's online class

there's others who are potentially thinking of creating an online class:
~kelly rae roberts is pondering doing a course...head over to her blog to give imput on what you'd like to learn from her...collage, how to run a creative business, a workshop on her new book and more...
~a certain wonderfully talented photographer that i don't think has officially announced that she's doing the e~course, so i'll wait until she does...but i tell ya...i'm 100% in!

and of course there's always lots of free projects or groups to join in on...365 or 52 weeks on flickr, or here's a few new one's i've been hearing about:
~the portfolio project
~emily's 52Q project
~the 12 secrets of highly creative women

as mentioned, i decided to take goddess leonie's e~course which started a few days ago. when she first announced it a few months ago i signed up as quickly as i could. mainly because of these two reasons:

first, in my heart of hearts, i want to be an artist. i want to make work that is colourful, emotive, sometimes beautiful and maybe even innovative (that word seems to want to be in there, so i'll let it) art. today i spent an hour with a 5 year old pal just playing with crayons, acrylics, watercolours. it was truly heavenly and i felt as equally empowered to make art without self-critique as i was trying to help him be. i don't know what potential i have as an artist in mediums other than photography and i'd like to give myself the opportunity to see! taking a course by someone who has put so much beautiful energy into discovering herself as an artist is really a place that seems perfect to start.

second, i believe in leonie. i first came across her long long ago when we were just wee one's at the online community of Planet SARK (then called Camp SARK). i was rather quiet on the message board and read more than i posted, but over the years I witnessed from afar the lovely leonie discovering her creative self, posting about it, starting her own business. so when she came up with the idea to run this course, there was no second though. i was in. as there had been a decade of growing belief in her.

so far in the course i'm completely blown away. i had high expectations and i must say they are exceeded already! its really sparked a fire in me, as you might have noticed!

i'm adding to my creative goals today the decision to join in on the idea of the portfolio project. surely making 100 works of art will help me find my inner artist and i think the timing is perfect right now to dive into exploring my creative self, as i'm feeling more alive and present than i have in a long time and mighty full of hope. i don't take for granted the work its taken to find happiness again. now time to put that happiness into images and canvases, glued on sequins, self portraits, macro flower images and whatever else my heart desires!

Monday, January 19, 2009

creative possibility

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.
~Alan Alda

Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.
~Erich Fromm

The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there.
~Monica Baldwin

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
~Pablo Picasso

Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.
~Rollo May

Friday, January 16, 2009

zebras rock. so does art.

adventures galore have been occuring. seeing live penquins being fed, having butterflies almost land us, seeing t~rex bones, hanging out in beautiful parks, checking out different parts of town and yes, seeing zebras (not real of course, but enough to make a 3 year old squeal). i'm also mighty happy that i went into the city mid week to see a vancouver pal play a beautiful show, with an opening duo of violin and cello which were stunning. i highly recommend checking out rae's music and videos. i have a few concerts next week that i'm incredibly excited about, Kris Delmhorst as well as Coyote Grace, both artists/groups don't tend to tour in Canada so I'm pumped that I can see them here.

tonight was the first night in ages that i've actually sat still long enough to do some photo editing and goodness me it sure does fill me up with creative delight. when i first learned photoshop i was really surprised to find that i really felt as though i could connect with the magic of creating, as i had kind of assumed that the fact that the computer was my creative tool would negate that timeless, intuitive experience. thankfully i was wrong and though the taking of the pictures is my main creative outlet, the processing of them runs a close second.

i've also got a pile of creative supplies: pastels, acrylics, canvases and a new art journal that are patiently waiting for me to stop taking off on adventures and to connect with them! i'm so excited to be taking Leonie's Goddess e~course and can't wait to delve into it. these sunny days are perfect for laying a blanket out on the grass in the backyard and making a beautiful creative mess!

Leonie posted the most wonderful Creative Manifesto on her blog this week that i just love:

Creative Goddesses make art because it fills them up with joy and light.
Creative Goddesses believe mistakes are sacred and add to an artwork's story and perfection.
Creative Goddesses aren't afraid of making art that doesn't Look Good.
Creative Goddesses don't make art for others, they make art for themselves.
Creative Goddesses make art that is true for them.
Creative Goddesses don't need no stinkin' outside approval.
Creative Goddesses make art that doesn't need to look like anyone else's.
Creative Goddesses trust in their intuition and vision to make *their* art as it is needed in this world.
Creative Goddesses listen to their soul's calling.
Creative Goddesses dip their fingers in paint.
Creative Goddesses know the power of soulful creativity.
Creative Goddesses remember that every person on this planet is an artist, a Creative spirit, a soul who needs love, joy, creativity, laughter and connection just as much as water and food.
Creative Goddesses do it messy. And gladly. And reverently.
Creative Goddesses share their art when it is right for them, and hold on to the medicine of their art when it is right for them.

The Creative Goddess is inside you.
She is inside each of us, everywhere, all the time.
We only need a moment to hear our own grace and magnificence.

~Leonie Allan

Sunday, January 11, 2009

magnolia at golden hour (and other things of beauty)

in vancouver my favourite week of the year is the one in which the magnolia trees are blooming. it such a heart opener to see these gorgeous white or pink leaves tight in a bud emerging out of their fuzzy casing to be these decadent big blossoms. during that week i'm almost always to be found under a magnolia tree at golden hour.

it had been a more challenging day than the blissful days of late, as i'd accidently glutenized myself and hadn't been able to pull off the wandering, walking, exploring that i've been doing lately. who knew hummus had a chance of containing wheat (actually it had tamari/soy sauce...which i find to be the most challenging thing to avoid in this gluten free journey as it sneaks its self into so many foods)! so a bit frustrated, i was lying down for a bit of a rest when i saw the golden light coming in my window in that just perfect yellow tone i jumped up without thinking and ran out of the house towards the cemetery nearby and the most beautiful magnolia tree. a great reminder that i don't need to only be a tourist of the grand but also of the little things too.

and this is what i found:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

my heart is healing with every kind smile

I often feel invisible. For most days of my adult life, I have felt that way at some point.

Its a peculiar invisibility. Last year at a gathering of ladies the subject came up of how the more curvaceous we became (also known as fat) it felt like there was a magic number at which we became invisible. Depending on height the number varied, but it was generally around a size 14-16 where we all perceived an invisibility cloak being thrown over our heads and we felt like we disappeared from the sight of men, except those with very creepy energy that seemed to find us to be magnetic.

Up until that point I had thought it was me. Why do we do that....think that in a world of 6 billion people that we could really be the only one to feel a certain way? But I did. Since puberty I've been one curvy girl. When the ladies spoke about this magical number where invisibility took over I felt seen. Of course there were those who could see beyond the invisibility cloak, but it felt like those were few and far between.

For so long I felt like I must just not be sending out the right energy, walking with enough confidence, or maybe there's just something I don't know that other women do. And unfortunately, the way it goes with women and their confidence it all seems to come down to 'something is wrong with me' and embodies itself in us as shame.

But this isn't meant to be a pity post. Because something is different now.

These days, travelling in the states, I feel seen. The other day I wrote in my journal

"I feel seen as a woman".

I've felt it every time I've been to the states, that the cloak of invisibility is lifted. I wonder why. Is the 'magic number' just higher? Is it just more fat-friendly here (media wouldn't make you think so)? Or am I just finally exuding confidence?

But every day here, when I walk down the streets near where I'm staying I feel seen. And its not that I feel like I'm getting hit on, or that its even a gendered experience. Every day I feel seen again and again. By kind eyes, connection. I'm 31 and I have felt invisible for 16 years. My heart is healing with every kind smile.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

this beautiful place

though i'm getting used to it, about a half dozen times a day i suddenly have the realization that i am in california. i mean, it is January 6 and to my body/psyche i should either be knee deep in snow or puddles. somewhat unfortunately, that realization usually brings this song into my head. For some reason that song got into my head way back in 1988 and has never really freed me from its clutches. I'm hoping it'll lessen its hold as the excitement of visiting here gets a wee bit less shiny and new!

the weekend brought more exploring of both the east bay and of san francisco. i did a full on tour of san fran...the mission, the castro and my favourite...haight~ashbury. i love the colourful buildings, gorgeous architecture and yes, even the ginormous hills. watching the movie Milk right after visiting the Castro was perfect as I had just seen the setting where all of that history took place.

the next day brought more walking, this time from oakland to berkeley, checking out all the neighbourhoods and popular streets i'd heard about. maybe i was just sore from the massive amount of walking i've been doing, but thus far berkeley hasn't really swept me away. or at least compared to the piedmont and rockridge neighbourhoods in which there are so many kind smiles, cute shops and so much delicious coffee that i think i could be happy ever after there.

but i did have a mission in berkeley, to find the place that i'd heard of so much in SARK's gratitude. now, i didn't really bring the address but remembered the street name so when it came to finding it i was way past hungry and fully tired. but finally in the distance there it was, this sign saying "what are you grateful for". at that moment, all I was honestly grateful for was that i could stop walking! once i got in there, sitting at a big table, brick walls, lush pillows and a fully gluten free menu, my gratitude started to grow. i had a mighty delicious meal and couldn't resist partaking in a lil' desert goodness.

I'm finding that I'm able to shift out of the hibernation state i've been in during this last year and to get that extra push to actually go to out and explore this place every day. i'm still following my intuition of course, like tonight when I was craving a yoga more than a silkscreening class, but i'm glad i'm able to really jump into pretending that I live here during my visit.

perhaps its the sunshine and extra vitamin D people get here, or the beauty of life in the east bay, or just cycle of postive energy that happens when people like their life, but i'm finding folks here to be pretty darn lovely. not a walk down my favourite street goes by that there are not a dozen smiles or nods hello from people passing by.

or maybe its just that i can't stop smiling.

Friday, January 02, 2009

adventures in berkeley

i woke up in california really early this morning, after arriving pretty late last night. i could barely wait for the sun to rise so i could see where it was I had arrived to. once the day was in full force i went for a walk in the rain and was awestruck at what grows here. down the road there is a blossoming magnolia tree which makes me swoon. i can't get over seeing cacti and that there is a lemon bush in the back yard. is this place for real?

i've been determined to get a sense of place today so have walked for hours and hours checking out different parts of oakland/berkeley. my total highlight of the day came on my last walk when I stopped at a place called Bittersweet. As I got my coffee I realized that the 5 gigantic canvas' on the walls were sabrina ward harrison's work. I was mighty starstruck by the paintings (not the above ones, but some rich burgandy/brown gorgeous works of art)...i've seen so much of her work in her books, but it was jaw-drop amazed to see all the textures and see the rawness of her work face to face. they took a long time making my coffee which was perfect 'cause i just wanted to stare at them.

the air here is so beautiful. i haven't quite figured out how to describe it. maybe its that there is so much blooming and my winterized senses had gotten used to the somewhat monotonous smell of vancouver rain that there is so much to take in, my senses are going wild.

my last walk was in the late afternoon and i can't tell you how lovely it felt to be seeing everything in the rich light of golden hour. in montreal it was more like a golden 10 minutes, so i just basked in every minute of it. i really love being in a place for the first time. time feels like it slows down, my senses are so acute and i just generally feel mighty alive!

i think tomorrow i'm going to venture over the bridge to san francisco. if anyone has any recommendations of things to do/see/experience in s.f. or the bay area i'm all for recommendations!

p.s. i'm overjoyed that the ever lovely Caroline (she who makes beautiful videos) has decided to blog! Her blog is already packed through of artful goodness and I hope you pop over there to say hello!