|'Courage to Grow Lion' acrylic and glitter, by me|
First of all I want to say a warm hello and send a lot of love to those who still, after all these years, take the time to read, and comment here. It is always so beautiful to feel the kindness, resonance and virtual high-fives coming back at me when I come here to write and share...
I recently read a book called '29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life', by Cami Walker. I was inspired by the author's decision to give a simple gift each day for 29 days, to help remove her focus from her intense suffering from multiple sclerosis, and place more time and intention on the magic that giving can bring, even in just the smallest and simplest of ways.
I immediately felt inspired to take my own 29 day journey of giving, and knew that it had to be in the form of sharing writing and art on Bloomtopia from my ongoing creative journey.
Choosing to let creativity be at the center of my world has yielded many gifts that I would love to write about! I would like to practice more deeply what I teach, which is that we all have a creative contribution to share, and that it is rewarding for us to move past our fears and creative blocks, and to participate in this giving, even in the smallest of ways.
I believe that creating is a path to heart, to meaningful connection when we share it, to healing when we find we have a voice, and to wonder when we stand back and see an imprint of our soul landscape in creative form. It goes without saying that these offerings are given from the heart to be received by the heart. This is outside of a realm of incessant debate on aesthetics, deserving, or grade of natural talent, but rather from the notion that each of us is creative at the core, and has the right to start at the beginning of a creative journey, as a true beginner, no matter what age we find ourselves, or what we've been told about our abilities. We all have the right to walk a creative path that beckons. So, for me, this is not a conversation about what is art, but rather what art could be, when we use it to strengthen our connection to our life-force. I imagine a flame that has had the fuel turned up.
One of the ways I have been living this principle of creating from a heart of deep-soul-listening is to allow myself to paint swirls. I am obsessed by painting or drawing them, but often I have no choice-- they just want to be there. They feel more like a living breathing energy, than just a little swirls. This is the kind of aliveness I wanted to dare to follow. I have to say that following this allowing in my art, has enriched this same kind of subtle connection in my piano teaching and playing. I pay much more attention to sounds I love in a melody, or in a sequencing of notes. All around, I feel more fulfilled and alive in the moment of anything I do, tracking life-energy this way.
So, day 1: My 'Courage to Grow Lion'. The element of courage is very relevant, as I had intended to begin this journey two days ago, but found myself snarled up in a barbed-wire mass of fear. I never cease to be humbled by the fear that can bring us to our knees. I am so thankful to know by now that it is normal, even if it never feels good, and always feels like I will die from it! (I am also thankful I am learning to participate anyway).
This courageous lion appeared on my canvas a while back, when I first began my adult journey with art. It was a time when I had put all of my art supplies out of the closet in messy bins around the kitchen table in hopes that having it right at my finger tips would yield making art. Mostly it just looked like a lot of clutter. For the longest time I just dabbled, but really just looked at the supplies and organized and reorganized them after my daughters used them. Yet, there was enough evidence mounting that art was important for my soul journey, so I made space for them, even as they crowded us out. It took a long time, as in years, to really pay heed to one inside wishing to play with the supplies. I felt like and impostor and childish to prioritize creating.. Sure I could make art with my kids, but for myself, for my soul? That was silly. When I did do a drawing or painting, which was rare, I remember how rusty and tense I felt--how much my mind admonished and criticized every turn of a pencil or a ungraceful sway of a Crayola marker. I am happy to say it doesn't feel this dead anymore. It still isn't always easy to begin, but I feel the greening.
This lion is special to me, as he marks the beginning of a time when art just wasn't going away. I finally found my own very important connection between making art and living connected to my world. It was a time when I cared a whole lot less if I had the right to make art, if I was any good, if my drawings were childish and silly, or repetitive, and let myself do what felt natural and good, like taking a nice walk in the woods. Yes, art could be as benign as a walk in the woods. Who didn't have the right to that? It became this simple.
This lion has the body of a plant, and the head of one of my favorite flowers, the dinner plate Dahlia. He is also wearing warrior paint! I really wanted this little guy to be painted like a warrior, because it took warrior courage to create him, and to follow whims that felt impractical and self-indulgent.
This courageous little lion was my act of defiance to that voice in my head, or perhaps even my act of responding with care to this voice, knowing that what this critical voice needed more than anything was color, softness, vibrance, a dash of playful glitter, and a whole lot of courage, and what better totem animal to offer to this voice than a whimsical little lion, full of courage, perpetually blooming, yet able to bound about this earth, proud, fierce, loyal, playful and humble.
He feels deeply meaningful to be featured here first as I begin 29 days giving my creative gifts, those gifts I believe we are all meant to share.
I've decided to channel my little lion, and give you a message from him. Enjoy!
oh, precious little one, beholding me. yes, feel free to come and pet my wonderful plump green body! firm and silky to the touch with downy little white hairs, just like a flower stem. watch me as I bound and bounce across fields kissing butterflies in flight. experience my deep and delightful wild animal roar, vibrating and reverberating deep in your being, in your soul memory, and shaking you coherent, and into stillness. feel the wildness in you reflected in the wildness of me. come take in the sweet nectar smell of my dahlia mane, and bask in the sunny color of my petals. look at my beautiful warrior markings.
paint yourself anew in your imagination. what would you become? a flower-human hybrid too? what would your warrior markings look like? what would you kiss in flight, feeling that welcome? how much of yourself would you need to cover in glitter? take a body bath in it and run out shining in the field to meet me. hop up on my back and hold my soft petal mane as your reins. tighter now. I just love hugs from you. when you get tired, nuzzle into my cheek and let the soft moonlight glow like a blanket over your heart, and rest well up for our next day of sunny play.