Sunday, October 29, 2017

No Risk Involved

     The CityArts painting class I recently completed has been quite a learning experience. Certainly I learned a lot about the technicalities of paints and painting, but it has made me explore my spirit and psyche in ways I did not expect.
     On the night of that last class, we did a collage. I loved it. What I proceeded to create turned out to be "me" without me even consciously trying. At one point, I asked the instructor for help in one area of my creation, saying "This part needs something." He looked at me, grinned, and said, "Go for it, there's no risk involved." Well, duh. So I did "go for it," had fun, and created something I'm happy with.

     We (that includes me!) get so caught up in our heads, our stuff, our what-ifs, our worries, etc., and lose sight of the fact that most of the time, there really is no risk involved. Possible risks tend to turn into big hairy monsters that are only in our heads. There are so few really life-or-death situations that we are ever involved in. Sure, we might get embarrassed or criticized or lose some money or feel exceedingly uncomfortable, but we'll pull through. Ponder this... those "big hairy monsters" could be keeping you from a lot of fun and adventure.
     Heading to my painting table...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Mask

Good topic around Halloween, huh?
     I was on retreat this past weekend, and the topic of mask came up. I'd say at least 99% of us have worn or continue to wear one or more masks. Some examples are the "tough" mask, the "perfect" mask, the "I'm in control" mask, the "know it all" mask, the "I'm a victim" mask. Those are good for starters.
     I have been aware that the figurative masks as referenced above hide our true selves from the world. They can help us to feel safe when we aren't quite confident in our true selves, or don't want others to see the real us. However, I got to thinking about this: if we wore an actual mask, and never took it off, our skin underneath would begin to get icky--the body rebelling against something it realizes is not good for it. And the same thing is true for the figurative masks we wear--if we don't ever take them off, our spirit begins to get icky and the soul (and often body, too) begins to rebel. This can be manifest in mental disorders, addictions, and physical diseases, to name a few.
     A retreat is an excellent place to practice removing the masks. [On a side note, it is always interesting to me to see if any women can go the entire weekend without makeup--that's an excellent mask-dropping start.] If retreat is not an option, start with scheduled time alone to explore yourself without masks. There is a beautiful being within that is wanting to shine if only we will let him/her out.
     Lastly, I would offer that removing a mask often involves crying, and that's OK. It is a sign of your body expressing relief, and I refer to that as soul-rinsing.
     Life is good!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Painting Class Complete

     Last night I completed my 6-week painting class. I closed it off with much gratitude expressed to the instructor, Will, who patiently nurtured this complete rookie artist and taught me so much.
     One of the techniques he taught us was sgraffito, defined as "a technique used in painting, pottery, and glass, which consists of putting down a preliminary surface, covering it with another, and then scratching the superficial layer in such a way that the pattern or shape that emerges is of the lower color." My execution of this delightfully messy process went like this: I painted a piece of hardboard, then applied a mixture of Kilz and salt (yes, you read that correctly), then carved lines through it, let it dry, then painted it. Here it is (I'm going to put a shiny gloss on it, I think...see below):

     I am in a state of wavering between "I like it" and "it's butt-ugly." For what it's worth, Will, my instructor says it is not butt-ugly. Anyway, the jury is still out.
     Geez, who knew that painting was such a mental/emotional/spiritual challenge, besides having to learn all the technical stuff?!?! Anyway, I'm digging it!
     In living color,

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Our Amazing Bodies

     Here is a 5-minute video by Baxter Bell, M.D. and yoga teacher, describing the anatomy of the knee:
     I've been sharing this with my yoga classes this week. I do this obviously for education, but I am always stressing the amazing awesomeness of the human body and encouraging us to appreciate our bodies. It is interesting to me how the knee is designed to bend and extend, of course, but it is also specifically designed to not do other things.
     We tend to take our bodies for granted unless they fail us in some way, then we get irritated with them. This is generally not a path to improvement. Our bodies listen to our self-talk, so appreciation is a much better way to be be comfortable in our own skin.
     Loving my knees,

Friday, October 6, 2017

The first one is finished...

     Because I have written about my acrylic painting class, and continue to (mostly) enjoy getting "outside my box," here's my first completed project from class:

Have an excellent day!