Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011

What a year 2011 has been. I got a sizable tattoo, I woke up early to see my first ever lunar eclipse. I attended not one, not two ~ but three amazing retreats. I started making jewelry. I acquired an embarrassing amount of vintage cameras. I even took a pole dancing class! I laughed, I cried and I grew...tremendously.

A few of my favorite shots this year:

Make a wish...

Shells

Canon Beach Sunset

Standing tall in my path

Here's wishing you a 2012 filled with self love, powerful awakenings, a nurturing community and much much more!
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Letting Go


For Today's Relish11 Prompt.

Last night a friend joined my daughter and I to partake in The Mother of All Releasing Ceremonies. Pixie shared this ceremony on her space this month in hopes that women all over the world would come together, huddled by fires to welcome back the light this Solstice. This was my first time ever celebrating a solstice but surely will not be my last. I feel many new traditions have been birthed in our household this year and I look forward to honoring them in the future.

All month I consciously thought about what I was going to release in my bundle. Slowly the words formed on tiny slips of paper and were set aside until I was ready. The bundle was hefty as many of the burdens we carry are. This was a perfect opportunitly for me to look at my shadows and sort though what needed to go. I let go of fear, anger, judgement. I let go of the expectations around what my stomach should look like as a woman. I let go of the nagging fear of not being a good enough parent. I let go of anxiety about my relationships and my expectations surrounding them. I let go of the sleepless nights I have been experiencing.

This all makes room for some pretty incredible things. I now have room for courage, joy and acceptance. I have made room for self love and self care. I have made room for being gentle with myself about how I choose to raise my child. I can open up space for beautiful new friendships. I have made room for rest.

I am not so naive to think all these things will magically whoosh into my being but knowing that I am making space to receive them is the perfect way to start 2012. It will be a practice and a process that is perfectly imperfect I am sure.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Solstice Releasing


Mother of All Releasings Ceremony: Winter Solstice, 2012 from Pixie Campbell on Vimeo

Here is a beautiful glimpse into what hundreds of woman around the world (dare I say thousands?) will be doing this Thursday on Solstice. Its time to let go and move forward, collectively as a human race. Sending you all the space to embrace joy in 2012.

Namaste

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finding Stillness

Lone Cyprus

For today's Relish11 prompt (by me!)

Today I sit in a coffee shop, writing out this post long hand. I've carved out some breathing room in my schedule to sit and enjoy the treat of a chai tea amidst the hustle and bustle of last minute shopping. 

Alone time is something of high priority for me. I've learned that in order for me to recharge, solitude is best. These days I consider lighting a candle and sitting on the cushion for five minutes of stillness to be enough when my day is full. Taking five minutes to come back into my body and breathe is a pretty great thing when every inch of you is wound up. When I'm really feeling pushed, pulled and teetering on the dangerous edge of an emotional meltdown I draw a hot bath, fire up Pandora radio and soak in the stillness. Finding stillness, even in the smallest increments of time, on days when life is most chaotic is key for me. I'm never sorry I did.

What about you? How do you find stillness in your life?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Transformation

The Tatt
Before
New Ink
Now
On December 10, the night of the full moon and the day of the eclipse this transformation took place upon my skin. Sometimes I still glance at my back and think, "holy cow that is big!" Sometimes I brush aside worry about receiving judgement the next time I wear a backless dress. Sometimes I forget it is there.

There is beauty in transformation and there is pain, mixed in with a lot of deep breathing. That is how I got through it anyway. This goddess symbolizes the significance of the moon to me, both as a Cancer and the Greek origin of my name. I love how she came to be and will wear her with honor and pride.

Someday I may feel ready to release the rest of the story into the Universe with a more in-depth blog post but for now I will leave you with this.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

In Words

A connection

 For today's Relish 11 Prompt.

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.”     ~Starhawk

These words called to me deeply when I first saw them not long ago. This paragraph pretty much summarizes the year of 2011 for me. While my word for the year was laughter, the word that led me there was tribe. Finding circles of women locally and globally I can connect with has helped me to grow in so many ways and is continuing to support me on my journey. To find community is the ultimate blessing. I am so honored to be a part of such a supportive and genuine blogging community, thank you all for being here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Surprise

 
For today's Relish 11 Prompt.

I am positively sure I am a constant source of wonderment mixed with a little bit of confusion for those around me. But the person I surprised the most this year was myself. It is hard to choose one pivotal moment that stands out above the rest. Only a ladder of evolving steps in time. One step then another. One small shift in thinking then another. Some days I look back and think: "wow, if only I could visit my past self and show them what is to become." The look of disbelief on my face would be quite priceless.


So what is one moment that I look back upon with surprise about myself? That just last week I received my Reiki 1 attunement to start on the path of possibly becoming a Reiki practitioner. A healer? Me? That is quite a big one! Here I am though, doing it anyway. Even though my often dominant skeptical self still pipes up I am taking it all one day at a time. New thought patterns are emerging to fill the spaces of those that are fading away. Evolution and change are a beautiful thing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Time Invested

Tea time

For today's Relish 11 Prompt.

The past year has been one of tremendous inner searching for me. Digging deep. Rooting out the good and the not so good. Letting go of things and people that no longer serve me. Opening up to new possibilities. Oh there has been a fair amount of travel this year. Some of it even solo as I ventured to and from glorious women's retreats. But the biggest investment of my time this year has been on myself. Piles of books read. Journals filled. Dreams voiced. Hands stained with paint. The truth is that it takes nothing but time to invest in yourself. There is always time for self care, self love and self reflection. There is always a choice to be made on where to invest that time. It may seem selfish to direct a chunk of that to myself this year, but what good am I to others if I cannot take care of me?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Relishing December Views


Two of my lovely friends are hosting some great blogging events all this month. I'm trying very hard to participate in both but so far as of day 2 all I have to show for either of them is this iPhone shot.

Things have been busy around here. With the holidays coming I am sure that they will only get even busier. Which is why it is good to take some time out for reflection this month.

Rebecca is hosting Relish 11 this month. All month she is providing prompts to help keep the blog juices flowing as well as a way to reflect on our very busy lives. Visit her Relish Life site to learn more.

Darlene is hosting December Views on her site this month. Its a no rules kind of thing I love. A way to share a little glimpse into your life through pictures. Visit her December Views info page to learn more.

Wishing you all a stress-free and joyful December.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When women gather...

Medicine Wheel

Magic Happens
Love Happens
Understanding Happens
Stories Happen
Friendship Happens

I am finishing out my second session of Pixie Campbell's Soulodge virtual gathering and I'm really not sure at what point I will stop participating in these. There is that much goodness here. Truly. I want to leave the mystery of what happens in lodge there but do want to encourage you if you are least bit curious to click on over and learn more about the Winter session. I will be there participating once again, quietly holding space for others, learning to create my own wild woman medicine and diving deep into the intricate parts of what make me, "me."

Also next month I hope you will join me along with other women across the globe (and hopefully some men too) in The Mother of All Releasings Ceremonies. This will be my first year actively celebrating and embracing the wonder of Winter Solstice and I cannot think of a better way to honor that time then with a special ceremony in my backyard over a blazing fire. When I think about how many others will be participating in their own backyards on this night as well it sprinkles that much more mystery and enchantment into the event.

This year has been one big huge spiritual leap for me and I plan on continuing to walk this path, wherever it leads. I hope to greet you along with way with a bow and a smile as we cross paths on our own journies.

Namaste~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Million Little Pictures

16200005

Last Spring, armed only with a disposable camera I set out to capture a full roll of photos centered around the theme: Simplicity. The project was hosted by the Art House Coop (who is also the brains behind the Sketchbook Project I am currently working on). Signing up for the project I picked the theme simplicity with the grand idea it would be a breeze to find subjects to shoot. In actuality, attempting to portray a feeling of simplicity through a disposable camera was quite a challenge. Not every single photo turned out stellar but I was able to submit 20 photos to the project.

Photo complements of Jojo Blondal
The photo tour began this Fall in the back of a small tractor trailer traveling around the United States. I was not able to visit the photos but my trooper of a friend, Jojo, visited for me when they made their last stop in Los Angeles this past weekend. I was so happy to see 2 of my shots pinned up on the wall, knowing that they made the journey for others to enjoy too.

You can find the entire set of the photos I submitted here. I really hope they do this project again next year and it continues to grow in publicity and participation. Such a simple concept yet a great opportunity for artistic expression.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shop News

typewriter

New in my Etsy shop is this Typewriter print. I've been acquiring quite a few new "old" typewriters lately but this one happens to be my dad's for now. Attempting to bargain with him because I am in love with this color of blue!

All prints in my shop are now reduced in price. In addition I am offering FREE SHIPPING within the US for the holidays. Use the code: Santababy when you are checking out to apply the discount. I will personally be supporting Etsy artisans this year for a good chunk of my Holiday shopping. I hope you consider supporting your local and handmade artisans this year as well!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here


Here
Is a woman 
who wrestles with doubt, fitting in and being enough

Here
Is where the wispy remains 
of contrails drift through the sky above.

Here
Is the little girl inside 
who feels unrooted, afraid and alone.

Here
Are the tattered, tangled strings
of prayer flags dancing in the wind.

Here
Is her thick crab shell 
that armors her heart and soft yielding insides.

Here
Is the soft scraping 
of bird beaks cracking their humble offerings of seeds.

Here
Is where her journey 
continues on her own path and hers alone.

Here
Are the words 
that whisper from somewhere within, searching, seeking, knowing.

Here
The voice echoes 
with a truth: "this is the only moment that matters."

                                                                                                          ~Celina Wyss

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Musings


5 things that inspired me last week:
  • Having a full moon intention ceremony with my daughter, Hailee, and hearing her read her "Dear Moon" letter out loud.
  • Reading this post and feeling as though it was calling out right to my heart.
Happy Monday all! May you have an inspirational week filled with love and joy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Message


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
                                                                                                                              ~Steve Jobs

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Sketchbook Project


This week I have been plugging along on a project that has been in progress for awhile now. I'm trying to let go of the pressure I tend to put on myself to make it "perfect" and let it unfold how it will. I am collaborating with the wildly talented Jojo Blondel to complete this book for the 2012 Art House Sketchbook project. Our deadline is fast approaching.


Our theme is "Time Travel" so we opted to go for a fun nostalgic route. I took many field trips to thrift shops to pick through the piles of unwanted games, books and magazines to find vintage pieces for our project and Jojo did the same. We each have matching pieces of ephemera so we now are working on incorporating them into pages separately. Even though our pages have a similar element I am sure they are going to look vastly different in design. This is the part I am letting go of. Trying not to worry about how much of an amazing designer and artist Jojo is and let my messy collage-y style come out.

I'm hoping to be finished with my pages by next month so that Jojo and I can assemble our book and send it off to Art House in plenty of time to be a part of next years exhibit. I can't wait to share the completed book with you all. I'm sure there will be some celebrating going on. Until then I will keep playing and practicing letting go.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Return

Brrrr
Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.
Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces
of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.
Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.
If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,
you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.
And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language
to teach them, without a compass
bearing to a forgotten border where
no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies
and granite and bone. They tremble,
hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings
will redeem them, yet they fear
your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished
mouth, they–like you–must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.
                                            ~Geneen Marie Haugen

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Message

Coastal Memories

“What you seek is seeking you.”
                                        ~ Rumi

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Silence really is golden

Zen

Yesterday I spent the majority of my day not speaking. No it wasn't a silent treatment directed at my husband, but a series of exercises in pure blissful stillness. I am rounding out my 8th and final week of a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class based on John Cabit Zinn's curriculum and approach to meditation. The class has been an eye opening experience on how many of us (myself very much included) get skillfully good at going through our days on auto-pilot. Everything from the way we eat to the way we drive can become incredibly zoned out. The exercises I participated in yesterday were something I did not ever envision myself sitting through so peacefully. Which led me to the realization that I am behind in checking off one item on my life list: Learn the Art of Meditation.

Here is what I now know to be true about meditation:

You don't "learn" to meditate. Meditation is not a destination. It is a practice. It is not a skill, it just is what it is.

Meditation is about being gentle with yourself and what you can do in this moment. There are no "shoulds."

Taking a walk through the woods listening to the sound of the wind in the trees and noticing the color of the grass is a meditation.

Sitting quietly in your car focusing on one breath, then another.....and then another before stepping out into your busy day is a meditation. 

Placing your attention on your toes and breathing with that tiny part of your body is a meditation. 

Eating your food one slow bite at a time, tasting, feeling, smelling and seeing is a meditation.

Meditation is not about thinking about absolutely nothing, but instead an opportunity to compassionately reel yourself back in as your mind slips away.

You see, what I've learned over this past year is that I do in fact already have everything inside of me I need to know to practice meditation. Every day life is a meditation if you allow it to be. If you practice noticing, sensing, feeling then you are practicing a form of meditation. Something I was not aware of when I was plunking down wishes on my life list. I realize now it isn't a skill that can be learned but an artful practice that occurs moment to moment to moment every day of our lives. 

Namaste~

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Musings

Frosty Fall Colors

5 things I love about this time of year:
  • Getting to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a movie or a book
  • Hot tea any time of day
  • The bright red color of our Maple tree in the back
  • Sneaking Halloween candy before it is time to hand it out
  • The crispness of the morning frost, weaving its beautiful intricate pattern on the Earth
What about you?

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    A Sunday Walk






    Congratulations to Alison B. for winning the Goddess necklace! It will be on its way to you this week! I do love having giveaways here and am filled with so much gratitude that you all stopped by to visit this week.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    A Goddess Giveaway


    I want to share with you a little story about a day I stepped out of my comfort zone. While attending a local open house art event I was blown away by a certain woman's work. All of her necklaces were beautiful Goddesses. Molded into every which way and all of them unique. Upon seeing me drooling over her Goddesses the artist came and introduced herself to me. I gushed over her talent and took her brochure. I could have walked out happily with my purchase but I didn't. Something was pulling at me, intuitively, to keep in contact with this woman. So I walked back over to her as we were leaving and gave her my card. I had no reason to do this other than I just felt like I needed to. It was completely out of character for me. I did have her contact info but probably would not have been brave enough to reach out after that moment had passed. Thankfully the next day I had a sweet email waiting for me in my inbox. I'm so grateful she got in touch with me because now I have a beautiful and talented new friend to share my passions with.

    Paige has very generously created a Goddess specifically for me to give away here on Altered Muse. She is called the Goddess of Dance and her card reads: This Goddess assists you with your freedom of expression. She is beautiful and I know whoever gives her a new home will adore her knowing she was crafted with love and best of intentions weaved into her little body. Please visit Paige's website, Holding Space, to see more of her work.

    To enter, please leave a comment along with a way to contact you. I will ship worldwide. This weekend I will randomly select a winner and notify you. The last day to enter is Friday, October 21.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Practicing Gentleness

    Embracing Nature

    This past month I have been searching for ways to practice self-love. It isn't easy. I wish I could come here and write a genuinely fluffy post about how I love every inch of my body but quite frankly lately I'm just not feeling it.

    Over one year ago I underwent a surgery for what I hoped would solve some major health issues I was having. One of the side effects from the surgery was weight loss due to me being unable to eat much for quite awhile. It was fantastic! I loved how quickly the pounds flew off. I weighed myself EVERY day to see where I was at and how I was doing. I bought new clothes, then a few weeks later bought some more after dropping yet another size. I think in the end I lost 3o pounds and 3 dress sizes. Fast forward to this month where 20 of those pounds have come back along with 2 whopping dress sizes. It isn't fun and it sure as heck isn't loving. I'm buying clothes in reverse now and weeping as I pack up the ones from last year that absolutely will not fit today.

    I am working little by little on how to care for this body I have and practice gentleness with it. I need to approach this with love and respect. I need to find that space inside where I can be okay. I work out weekly (though probably not as much as I could be). I eat reasonably well (I even gave up soda!). I see my Naturopath doctor every week to hopefully start resolving some of the ongoing health issues I still have. Most importantly I have started on a deep soul-searching journey with the help of a very wise woman here locally. But all of that doesn't make it easy. It doesn't heal the pain I feel when I see my muffin top sneaking out in photos or when I am having an extremely bad health week and my stomach bloats out to the size of early pregnancy.

    So today I can start with the first step. That is accepting where I am right in this very minute and letting that be enough.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    There is a moment

    The Girl

    There is a moment
    when the girl who has it all held together lets go.

    There is a time
    when she forgets the restrictions of how she is supposed to act and what she is supposed to say.

    There is a feeling
    of freedom as she smiles and soaks in the melodious sound of joy around her.

    There is a realization
    of the laughter that comes rushing out after being locked away in its secret place.

    There is a glow
    that appears in her eyes when the deepest part of her is summoned outward.

    There is a blissful calm
    that reverberates deep in her soul as she lets it all be so.

    This is the moment
    when the girl who has it all held together lets go.

    Words inspired by prompts from Liz. Polaroid from Vivienne's class at Create Magic. Dedicated to all of you who were there to share in the magic and those of us who want to let go.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    We walk again and again...

    Labyrinth

    As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.   ~Henry David Thoreau

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Pure Magic

    Standing in my path

    I've just returned home from my third retreat this year. Flying home yesterday I felt that familiar feeling of coming away from something incredible. Create Magic hosted by Liz Lamoreux was pure, sweet magic. At every retreat I have attended this year I found myself cracking open just a little more. This time the crack was large. I came home feeling so full of joy and love. There were moments (after the tears) where I would hear myself laughing and think: "wow, I'm really laughing out loud!" Those of you who have been with me awhile know this is my word for the year and I truly feel like I got there this week.

    Sacred Altar

    I find myself easing up just a little more every time I step out into a group and say: "YES!" It is taking these chances on vulnerability and new situations that really pushes me forward to the connection I have been seeking for so long.

    Where the Magic happens

    Thank you to Vivienne McMaster for helping me let go of the expectations from my camera and photos for just a bit and play. Thank you Mindy Lacefield for rekindling my love of painting through your genuine encouragement. Deep, deep down I so want to be that girl who paints and maybe someday I will. Thank you Kelly Barton for keeping us all nourished and taken care of. I wish I could take you home with me! Thank you Liz Lamoreux for creating such a sacred, safe place for connection and community. I will never tire of listening to your voice gently guiding us along. Finally, thank you to all the beautiful ladies who opened your hearts to me and shared your stories. All of you made this retreat magic!

    More photos coming soon!

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    A little something new


    Just a quick Happy Friday note here to let you know that new postcards were added to the shop this week! They are printed by MOO, my all time favorite place to get cards! Which means they are suburb quality and ready to be mailed or framed.

    Also, this is the last week for my super secret blog only sale for 40% off the remaining stock of my necklaces on Etsy. Use the code: SUMMERSALE at checkout to receive the discount.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Re-picturing Women



    I'm visiting and sharing at Sarah's lovely home today on The Re-Picturing Women Project. Sarah's project challenges ways we can re-picture ourselves as women with a strong voice. Plus she asks some pretty tough questions. Click on over and share your thoughts.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Seeking Medicine

    The perfect seat

    I have been sick with a cold the past few days and last week was a challenge with very little self love and kindness. So today I sought out Mother Nature to be my healer. I needed medicine and not the kind you get in the pharmacy. I needed to be away from the confines of my home. To hear the rustle of leaves and to smell the fresh air. So we got in the car and drove. We found a quiet pull off along the creek and I was left alone as my husband and daughter continued on. I steadily made my way to the center of the creek hopping from one rock to another until I came to a perfectly formed square rock. I listened to the water surround me on all sides. I watched a moth flutter around like a hummingbird. I heard a rustle in the trees. I dug my hands in the bed of the creek and pulled out a slimy yellow quartz rock. Most of all I breathed.

    Raindrops

    On the way back to the car it started raining. It felt cleansing and refreshing. I relished it. I stuck my hand out the window on the drive home and felt the cool breeze and the bite of the raindrops on my fingers.

    This was the medicine I needed today.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Pssst...


    I wanted to share a little secret with you here. I'm clearing out the necklaces in my shop in a BIG end of summer sale!

    Use the code: SUMMERSALE to save 40% off on all jewelry in my Etsy shop. I'm posting this here on the blog first and nowhere else.

    My hands and heart adore the metal working part of the jewelry process. The beading however they do not. So I've decided to start making pendants only from here on out. Or until I change my mind again. I am woman you know. Totally my prerogative.