#100daysofritual

I’ll admit, I love a good hashtag (yes, back in the day it was a pound sign!). There’s something humorous about squishing words and statements together to make a point… if to humor no one else but yourself!

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon, where day and night are equal, the sign of the Second Harvest, and we reap what we have sown. We hear so much about balance and gratitude during this season, and for good reason: it’s an invitation to acknowledge and honor what we truly have.

At Mabon I take time to journal about gratitude, taking a full page (or more) to just be present with my bounty. Today I took time to sit with the Earth, barefoot upon the ground, which had an interesting rhythm of dry and lush grass. We are so desperate for rain in New England. I chanted upon the ground, allowing the soles of my feet to flow the energy I was generating into Mother Earth and my offering for Her bounty. I spoke to Her of gratitude and was present with another turn of the Wheel. Here we are again, approaching my favorite time of year. While the Sun felt in opposition to the crispness of what this season brings, I know it won’t be long until apple cider makes its way into my fridge, mmm!

I wanted to honor this season as well as generate shift for what I am working towards in the coming year. And because I love hashtags, I thought it would be fun to work through a visual hashtagging of documenting 100 Days of Ritual. What does this look like?

  • Being present in the every day.
  • Looking for magick in the every day.
  • Recognize that ritual consists of more than casting circles and sitting before your altar: it’s in the magick you create daily. This isn’t to take away value from circles, because they are phenomenal. This is a shift in perspective to create a dynamic shift.
  • Taking pictures of these moments, shifting mental perspective by introducing more visual stimulation of what you want to see. (We’ll be flooded with plenty of memes about everyone’s political opinions well into the election — why not create what you want to see?)
  • Honoring that your definition of “ritual” is what is magickal, heart-warming, and spiritually medicinal to you.

I’m choosing today, the Equinox, to start as 100 days from now it will be December 30th. It gives me the next day to proceed with reflection of what these 100 days brought while allowing me time for my personal New Year’s Eve practice. It will also offer me the opportunity to create, as the artist of my life, how I wish to complete this calendar year, and I want it to be FUN!

What might my 100 days look like? Probably…

  • My Goddess statues that I’m working with.
  • Fun farm foods (seriously, last year I got a potato in the shape of a heart, how cool is that?!)
  • Whatever I’m knitting or crocheting. Yarn is always cast on something in this house.
  • My daughter (aka my Pumpkin ), because she’s awesome.
  • Hopefully adult libations because I do appreciate a great pomegranate martini!
  • And anything that becomes my ritual for that day.

Want to follow along? I’ll be posting on Instagram, my Facebook page, and Twitter. Want to join? Create ritual, get snapping, and then hashtag #100daysofritual! Remember to be present and love the mindfulness of your ritual, however it manifests for you.

Creatively Fit: The Artist Within

I am at the completion of my Creatively Fit Journey with Whitney Freya. It has been such a magickal journey through creative waves that I have longed for. This is truly the embodiment of some of my manifestations: to be in tune and in alignment with my inner creatrix.

While I have always considered myself a creative being, there comes a time where I think we can all note when we slowly start to not listen to that side of ourselves as much. The left brain begins to take over with its reasoning of what we need to do and why we need to do it, while the right brain waves its paintbrush in the air begging for attention and not to be forgotten. What happens when we leave those parts of ourselves forgotten? We begin to abandon the parts of ourselves that discover and forge… we abandon the parts of ourselves that make and design our lives… we abandon ourselves, essentially.

This journey of becoming a Creatively Fit Coach meant that I was reclaiming, reuniting, and reinforcing all of my soul parts. (All of these great RE words in perfect time for the retrograde we are in!) It was like a Shamanic journey — I was singing myself home.

It’s not about becoming an artist — again, it’s about becoming the artist of your life. Tapping into our right brain, welcoming it home, bringing into Contrast, Unity, Balance, Proportion, Harmony, Repetition, Rhythm, & Emphasis… if you follow my work then you know that I am a lover of acronym’s and creating shifts in language to best serve my higher purpose. The acronym we used to remember all of these Principles of Design was:

Can U Be Prepared (to) Harness Really Radical Energy

It was a wonderful question we were gifted from the right brain to spiral us into creation and movement.

In this final layer we worked through Whitney’s book The Artist Within: A Guide to Becoming Creatively FitThere are some fabulously easy to work with creative exercises to get you creatively fit. We worked as a team of coaches in this final layer, to know that we could each hold a piece of the mantle to make the whole.

The first part that I worked on was to Cover a Page with Color. It’s as simple as it sounds, and something anyone can do. You just grab a marker (or crayon, pastel, etc) and doodle all over a page, covering it without thinking, just doing. Spend at least five minutes committed to just doodling with one color. Stop, take a momentary break, then observe what you created. Not with a critical eye, but to be in the energy of creation and the color medicine before you. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular, it just has to BE in existence!

cover with color

Next up was Magazine Mosaic — creating repetition and using colorful images to cut out. Don’t have magazines handy? Use a bunch of colors with crayons or markers to cover a page, much like the above, then cut them into strips, then cut those strips into little squares. They don’t have to be precise. In fact, the exercise called for half-inch strips and I couldn’t find a ruler anywhere and decided that I was being called to just be fluid with it. Then, glue the pieces, in random order, in specific order, leaving space or no space, whatever you’re called to do. This is about listening to your intuition.

magazine mosaic

My third aspect was to do a Leaf Rubbing… anyone remember doing this as children? Picking up a leaf found on a walk, putting it underneath a piece of paper, then taking a crayon and coloring over it to find the images of the leaf imprinted onto the paper? I was surprised to find that my husband had never done this as a child. Clearly I had done this as a child enough for the both of us! I opted to do it a little differently where I kept shifting the leaf, using different colors of crayons that called to me, and covering the whole page. I wanted this entire page to be filled with colorful leaf imprints.

leaf drawing

And the final piece was perhaps my most fun. Analog Drawing. I divided my paper into six portions, again it didn’t matter what the size was, just that it was divided into six parts. This is a great reflective piece, another way to divine for yourself as well as creating a vision board of sorts with this exercise. Then, you think about what you want to draw into our life — what energies are you calling forth? For me, I wanted to focus on my work with this exercise. Then I chose one word for each block to describe what I wanted to call in. This can be one word, one energy, one sentence, as long as you are tapping into your intention to create focus. Then? Well, then you draw or doodle, releasing into the energies of what that word or statement draws out from you. It doesn’t have to make sense… are we seeing a theme here? Art isn’t about making sense. It’s about doing, being, embracing the creative energies flowing through you, then putting that energy into action and purpose. It’s why we get so many images from art and so many feelings and descriptions — because it’s personal.

analog

For me, I wanted my work to be Creative; Joyful; Fulfilling; Prosperous; Sustainable; and to tap into my passion of Womyn’s Mysteries. I chose colors that felt like they wanted to speak these parts with and through me, and I took a step back and observed it’s message for me. To me, it ultimately made sense. To another it could be beautiful… to someone else confusing… in the end? It’s all perfect.

To be creatively fit is to be in harmony with your creative self… the parts of you that inherently align with inspiration. It’s there, we each have the immense capability to awaken to our personal muse. It’s just about allowing ourselves, and sometimes that means we receive support from one who has been on the same vision quest we see. I am inspired and excited to share this work.

This is the journey of the Rainbow Warrior

Vision-Quest-Fire-Square

Painting Marathon

My journey through this Creatively Fit Program has been exhilarating to say the least. Whether you are an ‘artist’ or not, this process is more about integrating and embracing that YOU are the artist of your life — you get to CREATE anything you want in your life. Sometimes this starts with simple intention, most often by utilizing your right brain and getting yourself in tune with your inner creator/creatrix to be open to a new way of doing things. After all, don’t we all at some point hit a rut in our lives that we’re eager to shift? Can this be done by simply picking up a paintbrush and going to the canvas?

YES. Yes… it can be that simple, and that complex, all while dipping your paintbrush in a glob of delicious colors and putting it to canvas, even if you don’t know what you’re going to paint, or if you are judging whether or not you can even paint. Resistance will pop up, your inner critic will have likely start yammering, and the trick is to remember that, as we say in the Creatively Fit Program, “Everything is working out perfectly.

And it IS.

In this third layer we were tasked with a painting marathon. I was most excited for this piece. I was foaming at the mouth in anticipation, walking by my blank canvases, my tubes of paint, lovingly touching my paintbrushes in excitement…

And then we found out that we were going to do 10 paintings in a week. TEN. 10.

10 paintings in a week, and… AND… we were going to paint one on top of the other. We were going to face our attachments to things, we were going to look at our willingness to be open and explore, while also tapping into the freedom to let go and surrender. Easy, right?

My most excited task became my most challenging. I have never painted over one of my paintings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to the delicate beauty of detachment. In my Buddhism practice this is something we explore regularly. I was mildly surprised at how much I was finding this challenging in concept, never mind in execution.

The other challenge? Resistance. Resistance showed up with big teeth, a long robe that swept up my art supplies, and a snarky mood with a limited, but crafty, vocabulary. “Look, that doesn’t look right… just paint over this and start over, no one will know… are you sure you want to use that color?… maybe this wasn’t the right paint brush… don’t you have something ‘better’ to do than paint?” and so on…

Resistance is a creative element we’ve birthed within ourselves. The trick to resistance? Don’t fight it, invite it!

I stopped painting for a moment, looking at this larger-than-life character in my room and invited it to pick up a paintbrush and paint alongside me. Sure, resistance will have plenty to say, and, as Carl Jung says “What you resist persists“. It’s true. So what happens if you invite resistance to join you instead of berate you? It was like inviting the kid who gets picked last for dodge ball… surprise and excitement washes over that element as well. You may not agree with each others points, perhaps not see eye to eye, but can you passionately coexist with each other? I think so. I know so, as that is what I did in this painting marathon.

My first painting was a return to childhood, painting a simple happy face person, all with our non-dominant hand so we could ease ourselves into this marathon.

George

I named him George. He’s a half blueberry, half grape breed. He comes from the land of Happiness and Joy. He thrives off the color green (my favorite color)… isn’t he adorable?! Note to self: naming your painting and creating a backstory, and saying “Hello George” every time you enter the room adds to the challenge of remaining unattached, as I skillfully learned. George stayed with me for several days. I couldn’t bear to paint over him. The entire family found joy in him. I could have simply gotten another canvas, started over, keeping George. However, that wasn’t the lesson, that wasn’t the journey I was being called to take. I enjoyed him, thanked him for the joy he brought (and inspiration from fellow CFC coaches to eventually create a series), and I went onto the next mile:

Mile #2 was about creating Contrast, learning how to harness our radical energy, which was done through a sunflower:

sunflower

Mile #3 was Unity. We chose a shape to repeat over and over again, reflecting on how we create Unity in our lives:

unity

Mile #4 was a meditative journey into Balance. Next to George, this was my next personal favorite. We had to rip paper and paint it onto the canvas, creating another texture and another layer:

Balance

Mile #5 was Proportion, paying attention and getting inspired through the nautilus shell, which ended up being my most self-critical painting. Remember resistance? Oh so chatty with Proportion! However, I did love how the torn paper was beginning to bring new life to the canvas:

nautilus shell

Mile #6 was Harmony — how do we really harness our power? After five miles we were encouraged to just paint. Paint! Let the artist within create. I listened to the colors being mixed on my palette and allowed the symbolism of circles call me forward… no beginning and no ending:

Pattern

Mile #7 was Repetition, and we tapped into our childhood play and did finger painting. Repetitive finger dips into globs of paint, meditatively following the energy of the canvas singing the paint back home, starting in the center and shifting into right brain thinking. This was a tremendously fun mile. I had an immense amount of fun, and resistance didn’t object whatsoever:

finger painting

Mile #8 asked us to use one color, create various shapes, and allow for some of the previous painting to poke through. I wasn’t pleased with the color that came out, and that’s okay. I share this because there are going to be things we create that we love, and others that we may not enjoy as much. Can we remain detached and trust in the process? Can we trust ourselves to know that the act of creating in and of itself is sometimes more valuable that what the final product ends up being? This is because we are moving into our right brain, moving into our Truth, moving into action and creation. That’s huge!

one color

Mile #9 was Rhythm, and here we painted what made us happy. I chose to paint a lotus. Why a lotus? It brings an instant smile to my face. It’s beautiful. It doesn’t deny where it comes from, however it allows itself to be beautiful regardless of how murky its past is. That’s beauty:

lotus

Mile #10… the final mile… a celebratory journey through openness, this last mile reminded us to create the change we seek. We can creatively create change in our lives, and the world. I chose to paint a heart, with emphasis on holding compassion, sharing in my world, spreading it out in the world.

heart

This final piece hangs in my bedroom currently, until it beckons me to paint over it again. For now, it holds the energy of all that was painted, some that were beloved, some that were challenging, ALL that were complete no matter what arose.

The idea is to take it one mile at a time — don’t go forward, don’t go backwards, simply encourage yourself to stay present, you and the painting, one canvas, one imagery, one symbol, one mighty stroke at a time.

You can do this, too! Paint, get messy… CREATE! Remember, YOU ARE THE ARTIST OF YOUR LIFE! Give yourself permission to create the like you seek.