Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


Leave a comment

A Year of Mindfulness: Study Suffering

The Half-Way Point and a Give-Away

Here we are at mindfulness practice #26. We are officially at the half-way mark in our year of mindfulness. Pat yourself on the back for sticking with it this far. In honor of your perseverance, I’m going to have a small give-away.

Sweet.

Leave a comment about today’s post, share your favorite mindfulness practice or an a-ha moment, and you will be entered into a drawing to win one of my Love Soulful Sprites. One winner will be chosen from all comments received. Comments must be posted by midnight EST on Monday, July 2, 2012.

Love Soulful Sprite

A Review

Here are links to some of the most popular posts on mindfulness practices we’ve discussed since January.

Using your non-dominant hand

Leave no trace

Eliminate filler words

Become aware of your posture

Listen

Pause before answering the phone

Waiting

Loving Eyes

Entering new spaces

Rest your hands

Saying Yes

Last Week’s Practice: Endless Desire

How did you do last week increasing your awareness of endless desire? I became quite aware of my desire to eat sweets last week. Chocolate, cookies, ice cream. The desire for these sweets felt like a bad habit. It was like I didn’t even think about it, I just wanted it.

Then I started asking myself why I wanted to pop that cookie in my mouth. And I couldn’t come up with a very good answer. But I hope that just becoming aware will help me tame that desire for sweets.

What desires popped up for you?

This Week’s Practice: Study Suffering

I grimaced when I saw the title of this week’s mindfulness practice. Suffering. Why would I want to study suffering? Isn’t this mindfulness stuff about feeling happy?

In this week’s practice, we are asked to become aware of the phenomenon of suffering. Not just the extreme forms of suffering-death, abuse, war, but the spectrum of suffering, from mild irritation and impatience to rage and overwhelming grief. We are asked to become aware of how we detect suffering in ourselves and in others. Where is it most obvious?

Dr. Bays points out that there is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is the physical sensation or discomfort. Suffering is the mental and emotional distress that is added to the physical sensations.

By becoming aware of suffering, the mental and emotional distress, we can restrain the mind from running amok, speculating, disaster-mongering, and blaming someone else for our misery. When we stop resisting pain, we slowly begin to stop adding mental and emotional distress to physical discomfort.

As we become aware of the many forms of suffering, we also become aware of its opposite, the simple sources of happiness.

Reflection:
May I feel safe, may I feel content, may I feel strong, may I live with ease.
May you feel safe, may you be content, may you live with ease, may you be strong
.
May we feel safe, may we be content, may we be strong, may we live with ease.

-Lovingkindness (Metta) meditation

Remember the Give-away

Remember to leave a comment in the comment box below and you’ll be entered to win one of my Love Soulful Sprites. All comments must be posted by midnight (EST), Monday, July 2, 2012. One winner will be chosen from all comments received.

Love Soulful Sprite

Love Soulful Sprite on meditation altar

 

NOTE: The Soulful Sprite give-away has ended.


4 Comments

A New Direction-Wall Art

Along with creating my Spirit Messengers and other sculptural artwork, I’ve been experimenting with other ideas to expand my body of work. The reality in today’s art world is that one line, one size, does not fit all. Most artists need to expand their line of work, leverage their skills, and create artwork for a broader audience.

Some options in this area might include cards, small prints, wall art, and jewelry. Offering polymer clay classes is another way for me to leverage my skills as an artist, reach a new audience, share my knowledge and help others ignite their creative muses.

Underwater Studies

Several weeks ago, sometime after the BP oil spill, I was sitting at my work table puttering around with leftover bits of clay. Normally I’d ball up the leftover clay scraps and deposit them into my scrap clay bucket. These bits are often reconditioned into a muddy sheets of clay and used as interior armatures for my Spirit Messengers and other sculptural pieces.

But on this day I followed my intuition. I rolled the various bits into different shapes, poked them, textured them, put one color inside another, and applied them to random sheets of leftover clay. Next thing I knew, I had three miniature underwater studies on my worktable.

Underwater Study #1

Underwater Study #2

Underwater Study #3

Each underwater study measures approximately 1.25″ wide by 2.25″ long, except for study #3 which is closer to 1″ wide by 2″ long.

Of course, as often happens when creating new art, I’m now asking myself what to do next with these pieces. I bought several sheets of luscious cardstock to use as backgrounds. However, these tiny studies need something else to complete them. I’m thinking about another layer of polymer clay, slightly larger than the central piece, placed underneath. And maybe some type of border to frame the central piece.

This is when a bit of experimenting happens. I’ll try one idea. Toss it. Try something else. Toss that one. Maybe go back to the first idea. Eventually I’ll set the whole thing aside until I can look at it again with fresh eyes. That is the current situation with these underwater studies.

Polymer Clay on Canvas

For this next piece I drew inspiration from the artwork of Serena Wilson Stubson that appeared in the May/June issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. What drew me to Stubson’s work as it appeared in CPS was her use of circles. I love circles. Round. No beginning. No end. Circle of Life; all that.

However, when I looked at Stubson’s work, I thought, hmm, I’d like to give that a go and incorporate polymer clay into the finished piece.

For my piece, I worked on a 5″x7″ canvas. I applied a page from an old book to the canvas as my base layer. I chose three words from the book page as my inspiration for the title of this piece.

Bewildered Garden Angel

This piece incorporates layers of paper, paint, oil pastels, text on vellum, polymer clay and wire.

I’m not sure if this will go anywhere, as far as becoming a new line in my body of work. But experimenting and playing are important parts in the creative process. Maybe this will morph into something else. Or maybe it will just be a groovy little artwork on canvas.


Leave a comment

An Earth Day Meditation

The following meditation was recently posted on Daily Om and it seemed appropriate for this Earth Day. Enjoy.

Thank you, home, for allowing me to live within your walls. Thank you for giving me shelter, warmth, and security. Thank you for allowing me to live my life in your womb, for staying strong and sturdy, for supporting me, and for your beauty.

Thank you, earth, for the land that I live on and for allowing me to steward life with you. Thank you for allowing me to walk upon your soil, cultivate you, and live in partnership with you. Thank you for supporting my home and my family.

Thank you, plants, minerals, and animals that dwell on the land that I steward. Thank you for allowing me to experience your beauty, share in your wonderment of life, and for the honor of living with all of you on this earth. Thank you for the wisdom and joy you bring to humanity.

I honor you.

held-waterfall


Leave a comment

Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?

One of our first assignments in the Great Big Dreams e-Seminar is to think about why we decided to take the course.  I admit to hating these types of questions.  It reminds me of being asked why you chose your particular career (Because it sounded interesting on the skills assessement?) , why you want a certain job position (Because I always wanted to be a …), why you like chocolate ice cream (Because I don’t like rocky road?) or why you want to join a certain organization (I don’t know; it sounds cool? I just like it?). 

I saw the question and my gut response was “I have no idea.  I don’t know.”  And after some thought, I realized that my “I have no idea. I don’t know” response was an easy, default, avoidance response.  It keeps me from having to delve deeper and think about why I’m doing this.

Now realistically I know there is some reason for why I’m taking this workshop.  I don’t believe it would have appeared on my radar if I wasn’t looking for this type of challenge; this type of self-discovery.

Yet it made me think about how easy it is to say “I don’t know” in response to many questions or how easy it is to just give an answer without really thinking about it. 

And it made me think about why I do or want to do some things and not do other things.

I admit to being the type of person who has just moved through life.  I never considered myself to have lofty goals (e.g. becoming CEO) and feel I’ve often done what was expected of me (e.g. going to college.)  I consider myself an introvert.  In new settings it can take me a while to warm up to people.  I’m often more of a listener than a speaker.

And now I’m being asked (again) why I want to do something.  And therein lies the rub: easy and don’t think.

Easy
It is easier to go through life doing what is expected of you or doing what pleases other people, or saying what you think someone wants to hear.  You avoid conflict.  You avoid confrontation.  And then what?  Do you lose a little bit of yourself each time?  Do you talk yourself down for not standing up?

Compromise is a good place to start; however, you have to think about why you feel a certain way or want to take a certain approach.

Don’t Think
It seems that don’t think is the mate to easy.  If you choose the easy response, you don’t have to think about justifying yourself (usually).  You don’t have to put any effort into your response.  You move merrily along.  However, sometime later (perhaps sooner than later) you start to wonder why you did that.

So why are you doing what you’re doing?

Now I’m not saying that you have to give thought and justification for every single thing you do in your life.  And yes, there are things we do because they are expected of us (such as obeying laws.)  Yet when you are pursuing aspects of your life, especially those involving change on some level, it really does require thought.  And thinking about that change can be hard because it requires some amount of self-evaluation.

And then there are those times when you want to do things a certain way and it requires compromise.  Simply state why you feel a certain way, state the facts (just the facts, try not to get emotional) and put the proverbial ball into the other person’s court.  If the situation doesn’t work out in the end at least you know you didn’t just do what was expected or say what someone wanted to hear.

And then there are times when you “just know” you have to do something and you truly don’t know why.  You just have to act now and ask permission later, as they say.  Sometimes things just feel right.

So why am I taking this seminar?  To find clarity and direction.  I have many ideas in my head about which direction I want to move next in regards to my business and other life interests.  Christine is providing many exercises to help us through our intentions; lots of great ideas and words of wisdom.

So now I know why I’m doing this.  Journaling and meditation have helped me reach this conclusion.

For now.

I think.