Taking ” The Artist’s Way ” Out – The Date


Think of yourself as an incandescent power, illuminated and perhaps forever talked to by God and his messengers.

~Brenda Ueland

Last week in my post Taking The Artist’s Way Out. I promised I would discuss my journey through the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I must admit the first week was a bit low-key, however, I managed my morning pages, writing out my thoughts and worries, first thing in the morning 5 out of 7 times.  I am proud of this, as sometimes writing that early in the morning feels like pulling at a hangnail, however, what I enjoyed about was I didn’t have to edit or think about what I was writing all I had and have to do write what is on my mind as I wake up.

This week, I want to talk about my artist date. What is an Artist Date you ask? Julia Cameron describes it as:

“a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.  In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.  You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child…” p. 18

Planning for me is quite difficult.  I am still practicing making commitments and sticking with them especially when it comes to myself.  Also, in my defence, I would like to state that on this journey of self-recovery I give myself permission to change my mind. The key here for me is balance, so I am adapting my dates.. allowing myself to change it on a dime,  if it feels right for me.

This week I had planned to go by the Rivière des Milles Iles with a sketchbook and spend time contemplating the ducks, the free flow of the water, and the enjoying the sweet sound of the waves.  I never made it on that date since the weather was way too hot.  I had to come up with another plan and quick!! Sunday (the end of the Artist week for me) was coming fast!

As I woke up Sunday morning, I grabbed my usual cup of coffee and sat on the balcony to watch the birds find their morning worm (yes I do that).  As I was observing a black bird digging into the ground, a voice came into my head.  “Go to church!” I quickly dismissed the thought and continued watching the show below.  Then it kept coming “Go to the church, GO TO THE CHURCH”.  I was like:  “Shut up! I don’t go to church!” The the voice continued “but you’ve gone to the french church years ago, go to the english church!”

Going to church? Ya right!!

I quickly washed my face, grabbed a decent blue tee, threw on a matching skirt, and ran to out the door. I had 20 minutes to get to the 10 o’oclock mass.  Now mind you, my Sunday mornings have always been, get up, have coffee, watch birds, sit down, go on the computer and play, write or read.  Never, in a million years do I get up and go anywhere, mind you a church, so this was new for me!

As I walked in the church, I was greeted by the priest and the welcoming committee. They all said “Good morning” as I found myself a spot at the far back-end near the pillar and the candles, oh ya and the door (ahem).  A couple up front, a nice looking man with a guitar and his wife I presume,  were singing this song about “welcome, belonging and worthyness” and immediately I started to cry.  I hadn’t even taken a seat, and I realized I forgot to kneel and make the sign of the cross before I actually sat down.  I was desperately seeking Kleenex (which of course I didn’t have), trying to hide the warm flow of tears steaming down my face.

I made it through the service, however, I did experience a huge anxiety attack and almost left.  As I was trying to “keep it together” I kept on focusing on the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who looked like she wanted to give me a hug with her open arms..  I prayed for calm to get through the service. As part of me was enjoying the art, the energy, and the music around me. It was, after all,  MY artist date.

When it was time for “communion” I decided (even though I did have my first communion) to get a blessing, which again, brought tears to my eyes.  I walked back, lit two candles, one for me and one for my brother.  Then I left.

I am so grateful I listened to my inner voice because although I am spiritual and do not practice in the Catholic faith anymore.  I received the message I needed to hear.  You are worthy and you are welcome.  My art is worthy and it is welcome.  My purple hair is worthy and it is welcome.  My children are worthy and they are welcome.  You get the picture?

We are all worthy!

Worthy enough to take myself out for coffee and a muffin afterwards.  I sat for a while with this experience before going home… and I know I will do it again.  Maybe not this church, but there are 3 or 4 other churches to explore.  Not really for their particular “faith” but for what messages of love and acceptance that come with almost any faith.

God is love, and God is creation.

This is what Julia Cameron speaks about in this book.  God could be anything or anyone to you, I call him God because I am comfortable with it.  She explains that through God we find our creativity.  She states to repeat:

“The Great Creator has gifted us with creativity.  Our gift back is our use of it.”  p. 44 week 2

So, this week I will remind myself of these “Rules of The Road”

  • Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream to try;
  • Remember that it is harder and more painful to be a blocked artist than it is to do the work;
  • Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work on why I am not doing the work;
  • Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work;
  • Remind myself “Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity.  You take care of the quality.

Also this coming week,  I do plan to go to the river, and draw.  Lets hope the weather permits.  Also, if you wish to follow Leslee’s journey (my Artist Way partner) you can find her latest blog post here.

BE AWARE!  Go to THE BUTTERFLY LAUNCH PARTY for details on the UNVEILING of my New Website on June 29th 2012!   My peeps are giving gifts to those you enter!  Details on how to enter click HERE!

 

 

Love and Light

Today – A Short Poem


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j“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”  Dr. Seuss

Today, when  tears begin to fall, release is near..


Release is near when you feel your heart ache and it is difficult to breathe…

Breathe in the  freshness and let the  staleness expire…

Staleness expires, and opens up your soul for love, and reception..

Reception of all that is coming to you…

All that is coming to you is the greatness we all deserve…

We all deserve to be recognized, valued and cherished…

Cherish what you have right in front of you…

In front of you lies the secret of your happiness…

Your happiness is not dependant on others…

Others do not define you, choose wisely those in which you accompany..

Accompany yourself on this journey and enjoy the adventure…

Because it is in the adventure which passion lies..

Lies are not to be told on this road, but the road of truth awakens…

Awaken to you heart and what it is telling you…

Tell yourself to release those tears which bind you today..

Today is that day!

Counting my blessings one at a time ❤

Finding Creativity in Nature’s Details


I learned that the real creator was my inner Self, the Shakti. …. That desire to do something is God inside talking through us”  ~Michele Shea

This morning as I sat looking at the blank screen, I asked my Goddesses above to inspire me to write something, ANYTHING.   The word which keeps popping in my head is creativity, and I thought out loud:

“Creativity! You want me to write about creativity?”

So, now, I must get creative… let the magical brain waves flow..

…and then I got to thinking of the walks I’ve been having with my mom this week, this led me to think about Spring!

It is true, those who know me, know I LOVE winter. Winter allows me to cocoon, to seek comfort, to find joy in the little things, however, it is the season of spring which inspires me most. Nature’s awakening never ceases to amaze me.  There is something quite creative about spring which makes me feel alive and empowered. Plus, this year, I am paying extra attention to this magical season by documenting the buds and birthing of the leaves, flowers and blossoms, by capturing the awakening on digital film.

(You can get access to my FB photos here, here and here. I hope the links work, let me know if they don’t)

Yet, spring, is not in all you see… it is about what you hear (the bird’s laughter), what you sense (like a cool breeze) and what you smell (those lilacs rock the aroma world!).  It is really paying attention to what is going on around you because it is moving at a very quick rate.  God (or whatever spirit you believe in) has put together this dance during spring, where birds, bees, buds, flowers and trees gently Waltz together to create this marvelous scene which captures my senses and brings out the need to create in myself.

For the past few days, every morning and every evening, I inhale the sweet smell of blossoms and lilacs, this event (and yes it is an event) lasts merely two weeks, but how wonderful to walk each dusky evening and breathe in the aroma God has created  which admittedly,  I wish I could put in a bottle for future use.  To me, this is creativity ..natural unfolding creativity…

Imagine if earth had its own form of “writer’s block”?  or decided it wasn’t producing sunsets for 6 months because it was depressed?  The world would be in shambles!!!

I just pulled out The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, looking for her take on creativity.. She writes:

“Creativity is God energy flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism. When we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely and we experience no strain.  When we resist what that energy might show us or where it might take us, we often experience a shaky, out-of-control feeling.  We want to shut down the flow and regain our sense of control.  We slam on the psychic brakes”

So imagine all the years spent stifling my creativity.. I was numb, restless and so hard to live with.  It was the death of me, inside, thus my depression roared even louder.

As I allow my creativity to flow, to be unleashed by the spring of life, I find myself feeling so alive, really, like a flower blossoming under May’s purple sky.  What surprised me during this process is how easy everything I need to create is already available. Camera, markers, magazines to cut, journals, blog, pens, paper and string.. ribbons, paint and buttons.. It is all THERE!  This is why spring amuses me so, it does not  need money or coaching to become or to grow..  Spring happens, it just is.  Spring.. is my muse.

How magical is that?

Julia writes:

“One reason we are miserly with our selves is scarcity thinking.  We don’t want our luck to run out.  We don’t want to overspend by anthropomorphizing God into a capricious parent figure.  Remembering that God is our source, and energy flow that likes to extend itself, we become more able to tap our creative power effectively.”

So the next time creativity urges you.  Next time you feel restless and insecure, or do not know which outlet to use.. Take a walk, in Spring, Summer, Fall or even Winter, and look at the details the Universe has created for you to take inspiration from.

“Look and you will find it — what is unsought will go undetected.” ~ Sophocles

As I walk to the water this evening with my mother, I will pray for all of us to find inspiration this Spring, and reclaim who we are meant to be..

AND lets figure out how to bottle the Lilac/Blossom scent!  I think we could make millions!

Nightly Encounters of the Divine Kind – by Sherrie Dillard


Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back: a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.

– Anais Nin

Dear readers,  today’s DreamFriday post is written by Sherrie Dillard / psychic and medium and a New Thought pastoral counselor, and author.  Please welcome her with loving arms, as I am honored and excited to have her write for Muse In The Valley.

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Nightly Encounters of the Divine Kind

I love a good dream. I feel myself blessed when my dreams have yielded important insights, comfort, exciting adventure or wise and kind company. My dreams seem to be born from different parts of me. Some of them I easily identify as stress and worry dreams. These often involve losing my car keys, giving away my dogs, being lost in a strange place and my teeth falling out. Although they alert me to areas in my life that I need to work on, these are not my most favorite type of dreams.

I often dream about the people in my life. Sometimes they are clients of mine and we are still working on issues. Frequently I dream of my family and friends. When I am able to decipher the accompanying strange, interesting or funny imagery, I understand myself, others and situations so much better.  Sometimes my dreams have no discernible characters or events and I cannot comprehend what they might be trying to tell me. When this happens I let the dream take its time to soak into my heart and mind without rushing to dissect it.

My favorite kind of dream is what I like to think of as a spiritual encounter. In these dreams I am in the presence of wise and loving beings that often come to me with a message or gift of love, guidance or direction. These dreams can be transformative. I feel an influx of new energy, awareness and a sense of renewal.

I recently had one such dream. In it a woman came to me and told me to follow her. We got onto an elevator and it shot upward at breakneck speed. Suddenly the doors opened and an Asian man who I intuitively knew to be a Buddhist handed me a yellow hat. The doors to the elevator then abruptly shut and we started to descend. As it did I admired the hat’s beauty. It was made of woven material and had jeweled designs embroidered all through it. It was a beautiful gift. Then, I woke up.

I knew the dream was significant, but I did not know why. The next day as I was walking my dog I thought about the dream. I intuitively knew that the dream was important, but I did not know why.  I did however hear an inner voice telling me to go home and goggle Buddhist and yellow hat. I thought this was silly, but I did it. As I was typing in Buddhist and yellow hat onto my search button, several sites quickly appeared.  I clicked on one and saw a picture of a yellow hat, surprisingly similar to the one in my dream. Reading the information on the site, I learned that there is a Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhists and that this is the sect that the Dali Lama belongs to. There is a long history and tradition which explains the Yellow Hat sect that I will not go into, but to be given this hat in my dream was clearly an honor.  Not one that I completely understood. But, this is how these dream encounters often are. They inspire and wake you to new perspectives and possibilities. Not simply mental activity, they are more like a passage through which we transform.

In my book The Miracle Workers Handbook: Seven Levels of Power and Manifestation of the Virgin Mary, that has just been released, I talk about the importance of these nightly encounters. One of the ways that we are spiritually guided, receive direction and help is through our dreams. Angels, Mary, and other spiritual beings and teachers come to us while we sleep. When the curtain of consciousness slips away at night, we are more able to allow and receive visits from the spiritual realm. It is interesting that I had this dream at the time that my book about the Virgin Mary was being released. My unconscious clearly was not dwelling on Buddhist thoughts. In this way the dream was a special treat to me because it spoke to the oneness of all religions and spiritual traditions. Although I know some of the basics of Buddhist philosophy, I do not know much of their practices and traditions. This dream transcended the parameters of my spiritual preferences and offered me a drop of pure spiritual juice.

Most spiritual traditions, the Bible included are full of instances and examples of holy visitations taking place through dreams. Battles have been fought. People have left their homes, wed unlikely partners, journeyed to distant places and changed the course of their lives because of the guidance that they received through their dreams.

Whatever you believe in, whatever is powerful, loving and wise, invite it into your dreams. It might change your life.

Sherrie Dillard M.Div. is a psychic and medium and a New Thought pastoral counselor. She is the author of the best-selling Discover Your Psychic Type, Love and Intuition and her newly released book, The Miracle Workers Handbook: Seven Levels of Power and Manifestation of the Virgin Mary

Spring Of Life


Until you’ve found pain, you won’t reach the cure
Until you’ve given up life, you won’t unite with the supreme soul
Until you’ve found fire inside yourself, like the Friend,
You won’t reach the spring of life.
Rumi ♥

 

When I first wrote about my depression, in Let The Truth Be Known I Suffer from Depression (1st in a series of 4),  I opened the doors to my soul.  Laying out my experience for everyone and out into the Universe, brought me closer to you my friends and my readers, consequently, it also brought me closer to myself.  I discovered I am not alone suffering in the darkness, and happily so, I had hands to hold along the way.  I even made new connections and built new relationships with those who are or were in the dark too.

This was in January.  Today, after almost 5 months in therapy, and 3 months on medication,  I am actually starting to feel my two feet on the ground again, and the feeling is amazing!  I have made many changes and created a life of quiet. YES! I am a hermit (for now) however, think of it this way, I went from a lifetime of self-hate to entering a new life of self-love.  I want to bask in it, smell it, live it and breathe it! 

I spoke last week about, “taking out the garbage” and wanting to create more loving and meaningful relationships.  This task starts with creating a loving relationship with myself.  So, keeping this in mind, I had to separate myself physically from the world (in a sense) in order to commune with me and with God.  I know I am not separate in spirit.  My spirit is connected with all of you and with the source, so technically, at that time I was connected, just not in ways others think I should.  

Forget what everyone else thinks and live your marvelous life!!!

Creating a loving bond with the person I am allows me to feel true love, the love I have been longing for almost ALL my life, because truthfully I am love.  Love isn’t something to long for, love is something inside each and every one of us.

Hate separates!

The self-hate probably started around 12 or 13, when I thought everyone else abandoned me.  

As the years went by, what I did was abandon myself.  I gained and lost weight, I entered into abusive relationships, I even tried drugs (that didn’t work THANK GOD!!) I gave up everything I loved and adored doing.. my dreams went down the drain.  I was literally living according to the expectations of everyone else and I constantly felt OBLIGATED!  I started looking on the outside for things no one could really give to me.  I fell in love with the potential of love, and this left me empty and scared.

When enough is enough!

When I was at the deepest point of my depression, I felt like I was in a deep dark well.  It was cold, its was terrifying, and I felt like I was drowning in gunk. I prayed for someone to come find me and take me away from what I had, in reality, created all by myself.   Then, the water started freezing my skin, and rose up to my neck,  that is when I looked up and saw a tiny little light up above me.  It was not a person shining a flash light, no rescue worker coming my way, it was your light and it was my light.   The light of everyone who cheered me on during that dark time, I finally grasped onto it and up out of the well I went.  Your light and love, became my light and love.  The meds became the bridge which helped my feet stand on the ground.  

I believe!

They say when you heal on the inside, it starts showing up on the outside.  This, I discovered this week to be so true!  My home is less cluttered, my plants are doing GREAT!, and I can finally look at myself in the mirror again and smile.  I went out last week to get purple streaks in my hair, along with a much needed hair cut, and now I cannot stop looking at myself in the mirror.. I feel pretty again.  I bought myself some new clothes, and just yesterday, I refilled my makeup bag!

Playing spring chicken!

The thing is, I didn’t do all this to attract a new mate in my life.. (which in fact is what the old me would have done) I did all this for me.  This is the difference and I feel it.

I feel in the flow, the Universe is providing me with everything I need, and when this happens, I KNOW I am on the right path.  If I was having tons of difficulties right now, I would be asking myself:  How am I creating this?  So.. when doubts arise like yesterday (yep I started doubting my path) I remind myself of the old “self-sabotaging” me who likes to tease like a jester.  

And.. like last week’s garbage, I told it to EFF off too!  

My feet are on the ground.  I’m dancing.. and singing.. and laughing, and enjoying this little heaven right here and right now!

Rocks Rock my World


A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery


I love rocks!  Big rocks, little rocks, pebbles, gems and crystals.  As I was cleaning out my candle holder (it is full of rocks) I started playing with them in my hands.  They felt cold, and smooth to the touch.  I like the clanking sound they make as I let them drop back into the glass bowl.

Then I asked myself.  Where does this love for rocks come from?  Looking back, way back, I used to spend lots of time in Saint-Adolphe d’Howard and Magog.  My grandfather and aunt owned cottages in those towns, and I spent much time on their lakefront beach.

I remember gathering rocks into piles.  However, before I would choose which rock would go into my pile, I specifically remember inspecting each rock really closely. I would wonder how God made them, because, rocks are hard, and each of them very different.  I loved the see through ones, I thought they were diamonds.

“Mom mom.. Look I found a diamond!!” I would eagerly cry as I ran to show her.

When I found a pink rock magic would fill my soul.  Then some looked like they had gold in them.  Did I find a treasure?

I was attracted to rocks so much as a child that I even tried to sell them.  Yep, when I got home from the cottage one year, I took out my most treasured rocks and set out to sell them door to door.  Making money, around the age of 7 or 8, was such a pleasure.  I set out with my little bag, knock on the door, and believe I had something important I had to share with these people.  MY ROCKS!!  I did sell a few, probably because the people who bought them thought I was cute.. Mostly, though, the adults would laugh and politely say no thank you.

I went home that day with most of my rocks, yet I was so excited that one or two adults saw the love I had for these mysterious creations of God.  With 50 cents in hand, I went out and bought lots of candy!

My love for rocks still exists.  I always keep enough to play with in my home, and use some to decorate my candle holders.  They are a reminder strength, and endurance. I just bought myself a necklace with rocks in it!   Rocks stand the test of time, and most important, that one grain of sand among thousands that makes up one rock, may have lived a million years ago… you never know!

There are many rocks and crystals with healing powers, I know, but these simple rocks and my love for these pebbles, heal me in ways I could have never imagined, and I am grateful for them.

What symbolism do you put on rocks?  What comes to mind when you think of them?

Inhabiting Myself


I wrote this awhile back for another blog, however, due to unforseen circumstances, it never got published.  So today, since I was experiencing technical difficulties, I decided to post this short story.

 

 

 

I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.  ~Shirley MacLaine

I can’t believe I shut her up all this time!  I kept her well hidden, locked downstairs in the soberness of the basement.  I went down only to give her the remnants of food leftover from my fridge, and a slim glass of water… other days I would stuff her with food until she would almost get sick!! She HAD to eat, she HAD to stay fat.  That way no one but no one would want to love her.

There were days I would let her out for short periods of time.. this would enable her to see the light and smell the air, just enough so she could survive.  However, she would begin to enjoy the outdoors and she would start smiling and playing.  Amusement was strictly forbidden in this place… she knew that, she would try to smile while I wasn’t looking but I would always catch her!  When I did… Punishment was in order!

“Hey! You!  Ugly!!!! …You think you are pretty when you smile?” I would yell at her.

She would look at me with her eyes so dark.. they were begging me to let her stay but she belonged back where she came from:  In the darkness.

In recent years,  I decided to keep her downstairs for longer periods of time… I would only let her out when I thought she was about to die.  I couldn’t have her death on my conscience, that would be the end for both of us.  I cannot exist without her… I can’t.

One day, when I came to grab her arm to bring her downstairs, she managed to gather enough strength to push me back!  This woman, who didn’t have much energy, managed to run away from me and disappear around the bend.  I was too tired to run after her…. I let her go.

I sat there crying until nightfall set inside my mind.  I realized how much I needed her.. without her.. I didn’t exist.

A few months later she came to visit me, and this time I had no urge to lock her up.  I must admit she looked beautiful.  Her smile was a mile wide, and her glow!! That glow!  I could not stop looking at her…she was mesmerizing.

This woman, who I locked up for years, started to cry. She looked at me directly in the eyes while huge tears streamed down her face.

“You, my dear” She said  “are an egotistical, narcissistic abuser!!”

I couldn’t deny what she was telling me is true.  I didn’t treat this girl with love, compassion or tenderness.  I often forgot to nurture her, and I never embraced her dreams.   She, was nothing to me.. NOTHING!

She looked at me, after she calmed down and said:  “Forgive me? Please forgive me?”  Forgive me for not loving you… for hating you.. for despising you”

I replied “I should be the one asking for forgiveness”

She said “I am you”

And so she was… and so I am.. We embraced each other….

We are no longer rivals .. we are one!

I inhabited myself!

The dark became light, the world became bright.. My creativity soared… I started seeing things in ways I have never perceived them before.  I drew, I wrote, I sang and danced.  I created, I laughed, I cried.  I listened more, loved more and played more.  I joked more, decorated more and everything I would receive would be AWESOME!  I ate better, walked more, and just accepted that this person does not need to be buried.. she exists.. We both exist in  light and in dark need to combine our hearts and give the world the best that we can give.

And so she changed the world… one dream at a time..