Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Who Am I? Who Are You?

One assignment in Blogging 101 is to create or update your “About” page. You know that page. The one where you either write a succinct little synopsis that reads like Business 101:

“Hi, I’m so and so from such and such place.

I like pink ponies, purple butterflies, and strawberries.

I make –fill in the blank-.

My blog is about this, that, and the other thing.

I. I. I.”

Or maybe you write a little ditty that is quite poetic. Or funny. Or all visuals.

Sadly, mine is currently more like Business 101. A potential snooze fest. Poetry doesn’t quite roll off my fingertips. If I try to write “funny” it can feel forced. Suffice to say I’m having a hard time re-writing my “About” page.

But this whole concept of “Who Am I?” and “What Am I About?” has got me thinking. Are we simply those rote answers we easily spit out? Or are we more than that?

Labels As Identity

You go to a social event. Inevitably someone asks “What do you do?” Do you immediately

A: go into your standard speech:

“Hi, I’m Amy. I’m an artist and a Reiki practitioner.”

-Or- B offer more about yourself?

“Hi, I’m Amy. I paint pictures inspired by spirit, guided by an inner voice that encourages me to add various colors and shapes and multiple layers. Most times I have no idea where the painting will take me. I’ve learned to listen and allow it to lead me on the adventure. I also practice Reiki which allows me to be of service to people in need; in need of relaxation, stress-reduction, and healing. Sometimes, I combine Reiki with my paintings.”

Certainly labels are easier to produce. They’re usually short, simple, and to the point. They may be more relatable to the listener. Then, if the listener is interested, he or she may ask additional questions. Or not. (Come on. We’ve all been there. You exchange pleasantries and then…crickets.)

I, personally, don’t like that question, “What do you do?” The best response I heard to this question was from someone during an interview who said she liked to reply: “Do about what?” Because, come on people, we ARE more than those labels.

I prefer the question, “Tell me/us about yourself.” It sounds more inviting. More interesting. And wa-a-ay more open ended. Granted, you may still roll out your rote introduction. But it also invites you to open up and elaborate.

There are the typical labels that we identify with: Mother. Daughter. Artist. Painter. Engineer. Speech-Language Pathologist. Geek. Animal lover. Reiki Practitioner. Father. Son. Aunt. Uncle. Grandparent. Sister. Brother. Real Estate Agent. Builder. Administrative Assistant. Graphic Designer. Teacher. Priest. Professor. Store Clerk. Etc, etc. etc.

And then there are other labels that we give to people. But that’s not what this post is about.

I’m not sure when we became so connected to labels as our identity. Certainly there is more to each person than a job title or a job description. Perhaps it had something to do with prestige, as one may perceive certain job titles as better than others.

Perhaps it had something to do with tribal behavior. It’s easier to identify someone with a label than an elaborate description.

Perhaps it had something to do with compartmentalization. Our brains can only hold so much information in a sound bite. So give that person a label and be done with it.

Sadly, I think labels can reduce us to monotonous identifiers that may contribute to separation and polarization. If we don’t get beyond the label, we may miss some really cool stuff about that person.

I know labels aren’t going away. They can be necessary and serve a purpose. But I think the next time I meet someone, instead of asking them “What do you do?” I’m going to ask them to tell me about themselves. And I’ll listen with open ears.

So, “Who are you? Tell me about yourself.”

P.S: This has helped me rethink my “About” page. Now I have a better idea of what I want to write.

Hanging Around in Sedona

Hanging Around in Sedona

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“Free Painting”-The Spirit Dance Series

I don’t know what happens when I free paint. I don’t know what moves me-the music playing in the background, the silly dance moves I make in the studio, the meditation, the Hara breathing or the Reiki. Sometimes it just flows and there it is.

I step back and I’m looking, looking, looking at the canvas. “What do I see?” “What should go there?” And then an image might appear. Or a color. Or shape comes to mind and I paint it. I don’t always trust it but I go with it. I’ve learned over the years that if I try to control where a piece wants to go, it comes out crappy. If I just follow its lead, then we might get something interesting. I try not to let the negative voice invade my space. If and when it does, I move on to something else. Come back later. It has no place here.

The Series

These paintings are inspired by a trip to the Peche Merle caves, near Cabrerets, France. I had the opportunity to visit these glorious caves in June as part of an art workshop. Inside the caves are paintings; horses, bison, mammoth. Some of the paintings are more than 25,000 years old. When we returned from this field trip, we began to paint. Mark making really. And out of the marks emerge images. And as is typical of my paintings lately, spirit figures emerge. Hence the name “Spirit Dance.” Below are the first two pieces.

Spirit Dance 1

Spirit Dance 1

Spirit Dance 2

Spirit Dance 2


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Rising From The Ashes

I can’t remember when I last wrote a post for this blog. (Okay, I just looked. It was May 7, 2014. More than a year ago.)

I’ve pondered, on and off, the idea of restarting this blog. Or perhaps starting a brand new blog. Though I didn’t feel highly motivated by either prospect. But this blog, and the fact that I just let it die, continued to pop up in my head every now and again.

A week or so ago, WordPress sent out an announcement for their upcoming summer online workshops, “Blogging 101” and “Blogging 102  201″ I decided that maybe, with WP’s prompts and incentives to write again, I could revive this blog. So, here I am.

Why The Disappearing Act?

I’ve also been thinking about why I let my blog drift off into the Internet ethers. Yes, there is the proverbial life stuff. But I think it was more the fact that all the life stuff over the past 3+ years changed me. Changed what was important to me. Changed my interests. Maybe not changed per say, but brought more of my true self to the forefront.

Since my last post in May 2014, I ended my remaining consignment contracts at local art galleries, I began volunteer work, I travelled to Ireland to discover my roots, I spent more time painting, and I suffered a traumatic hand injury that resulted in the partial amputation of a finger on my right hand.

We downsized our house. We started over in a new community. I became certified as a Reiki Master practitioner. I spent 12 days in France. I’ve jumped into new opportunities in the art community. I haven’t worked with polymer clay on a regular basis since winter 2014. And I don’t really miss it.

Behind all these changes, and what I think is closer to the real reason I stopped blogging, is that part of me feels different and new. And I don’t know if my old readers are interested in this new and different person. This person who is more likely to blog about painting and Reiki and spiritual stuff and how they all fit together in my life now.

I guess I’m about to find out.