"Trust is the basis of any nurturing and evolutionary relationship" - Deepak Chopra
A couple of years ago when I was on the brink of taking the leap, making the transition from being an employee in London to becoming self employed, I came across on line art courses. It was a new concept for me and I wish I knew now what had made me search for such courses.
.........probably the unhappiness of my work environmnent where brain washing, bullying, lying and manipulation seemed to take place most days.
I am a firm believer that there are no such things as pure coincidences. So I do believe that I had to go through those traumatic moments, to reach the lowest emotional wellbeing levels .......in order to find the first intuitive painting e-course, one taught by an inspiring artist Connie Hozvicka. Little did I guess then that two and a bit years later I would still be in touch with the amazing souls that witnessed my first shaky steps in the world of intuitive art......and little did I know that together with 39 amazing souls I was going to create and share with the world a project we call "The awakening to your divine self" oracle cards.
But, first things first ... "Calling for like minded people" is one of my first paintings created intuitively, late at night, in the last weeks before I took the leap to "freedom". After years of surviving in a dry environment, where "grey" was the norm, there is perhaps no surprise that I was searching for a tribe where I felt at home, where I felt that I belonged.
It was a suprise to me to find so many kindred spirits among the women taking Connie's course "Painting BIG"; it was a surprise to me to notice the warmth, compassion and support that I felt, the nurturing bubble we were all in - and that lovely state continued even after the course ended. Why? - one of the main reasons was and is , I really believe, the TRUST we had in each other.
Two years later TRUST became the 40th member of our group. Two years later, the tribe, the sisterhood is as strong as it was on the first day. Everything started with intuitive painting, sharing our emotions, sharing our vulnerability, being open with each other, believing in kindness, compassion, believing in meaningful lives ..... ....... and remember, we've never seen each other, we live on different continents and yet ... we are always there for each other .........
If you are human you are definitely prone to mood changes ..... highs and lows ... it's the way life works. How you deal with such moments is very much connected to what you saw in your family, how they dealt with challenging situations, with stress. Of course you add your personal touch :) but ... a lot it is learned behaviour.
When we hit rock bottom and our old "how to deal with stress" techniques don't seem to work anymore, we start to look for alternative ...........ways to cope when life gets tough.
I'm sure you :
- talk to a friend
- write in a journal
- go for a drink and maybe more
- go shopping
- shout .....
What I'm proposing today is ... to "wash away the blues" with a brush and a few paints.
So, let's suppose you've had a hard day, a day with things really seem dark and gloomy. Pick up a glass of red wine ... or maybe white ... or maybe a cup of tea ... or two, a piece of paper (it can be white or it can be one of those old paintings you are fed up with), a tube of black paint and maybe dark blue as well, a few juicy pens ... and .... that's about it ..... you can start .... the process of washing away your dark feelings ...
Step one - take an old painting you don't need anymore (see my image above) or a piece of paper .. size is not important but not smaller than an A4 size
Step 2 - take a juicy pen and start writing down your emotions, the ones you want to let go off and just scribble ... in big, big letter, turning the page upside down many times.
Step 3 - time to use your brush and the black paint .. and cover the whole page with black ...
Step 4 - fold the paper (see images above) and paint the white side and fold again ... and paint the white side again ... keep folding and painting until you end up with a tiny piece of folded paper .......... all black and dark and small now ... now ... you have a few options :
1. burn it
2. chuck it away in the bin
3. wrap the paper around a stone and throw it away in a river, sea ....
Time and time again I meet people who go through life doing a lot of what they think they should do in spite of the negative impact it has on their lives. I came across such a thing in Romania while I was studying but not at all for the next 16 years of my career. I wonder why is that? I do not remember wanting to do things and not carrying it through. I do not remember postponing ... because my darlings ... life does not wait! It really doesn't.
It always makes me sad to hear clients feeling utterly depressed and saying ... oh if only i were younger, if only i had .. this, that and the other, if only ... i could change my life. But they talk about it already from a defeated position. Somehow it is as if they gave up before starting. Why? Because of layers and layers of limiting beliefs, layers and layers of stories they told themselves, because of a lack of trying to understand who they really are, what they really want to BE, DO, HAVE......
And I'm not talking about big things really ... let's go to something that we all struggle with ... what do we do to relax? Honestly .. what do you do?
Many people succumb on the coach, in front of the TV, flipping aimlessly from one channel to another .. evening after evening, month after month, year after year. You meet them in coffee shops at the weekend, or queuing to buy some flowers on Saturday afternoon, or pushing big shopping trolleys on Friday evening in supermarkets and hypermarkets. They have a holiday or two per year and dream about retirement when ... they will start to do something wonderful....... start to really live and relax. But this is when many are faced with a big dilemma ..... they do not know how to really live and relax because this is just like a muscle ... if you don't practice it .. it will not appear out of the blue.
But what if you ask yourself now ... what is right for me? What is right for my soul now? What works in my life? What needs to change? And i wonder how would you life be if you would start asking yourself more often this question .............. Is this (put your own word here) right for me? Does it serve me right? Does it nurture my soul, body and mind? What else do i need? How can I get it now? What are the steps? Life is a journey not a destination my darlings and enjoying the journey is key!
"We are many people" - available as a print in my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/Searching4happiness
Labels ..... every day we are labelled by other people .. he or she is middle class, or working class, he or she is "stupid" or smart, he is bohemian, she is brilliant, he is a marketing person, she is an actor, he is a cleaner, she is an engineer, he is a doctor, she is an artist.
From the moment we are born people try to put each and everyone of us into a classified drawer, "nicely and neatly", with a pretty label so that they will know exactly what to expect from you.
But when 2 labels are applied ... that you are a marketer AND an artist it becomes confusing ...... because you don't quite fit into a typical box with one "neat and pretty label" . And if a third label is added it's chaos in terms of what sort of person you are perceived to be... how can this be ... so many labels on just one person?
Hmmm no no no ... you can only be one type of person... so please let us have just one label for you so that we can find you a pretty little drawer with a pretty little label.
But the reality is that most of us are like Russian dolls ..... we are many people ... we do many things ... we have multiple skills ... we behave differently in different situations .... we are trained "to be" in a variety of fields. This is an asset, not a liability. It should be ok and normal to see people as being multiple characters (each one of whom is fascinating, each one of whom has many stories to tell).
The other day I came across a charming You tube concert with Dudley Moore - at Hollywood bowl "Jazz & Gershwin" from 1984.
I was absolutely mesmerized to see him performing with so much ease, pleasure and passion. Of course my mind was trying to say ... but, but, but .. Dudley More is .. the fantastic Arthur that makes me laugh every time I see him. He can't also be this gifted pianist! But he is .. and how brilliant is that!
We definitely are ... many people ... aren't we! I hope you will enjoy the concert as much as I did!
Competitions are very much part of our lives. We like to watch them, we like to take part in them. It brings quite a lot of excitement to our lives.......... it really does.
8 weeks ago I took the decision to enter a competition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, a yearly event, and very popular among the Brits ....and not only. Just imagine .... 13,000 people submit their paintings to a committee and only 1000 are lucky enough to be selected for the June exibition.
5 weeks ago I took one of my paintings, The Silk Road, up to London ... and then ... the waiting game started.
At the beginning of the Bank Holiday I learned that .. my painting was not selected. Not this time. Hmmm, of course I was disappointed, but ... next year there will be another competition and I'll take part again that's for sure. And the experience has convinced me to enter into more competitions like this one because .... it's quite exciting and who knows ... I might be lucky!
But rejection has made me revisit the concept of worthiness ... many of us have our sense of worthiness tied up with what we do, how we look, what we've accomplished, what we win.
It takes a while to realise that our sense of worthiness doesn't come from what we do in life, what we own, where we go on holiday ..... but from our qualities as a human being.
So, in an attempt to nurture my feeling of self-worth this weekend ........ I've decided to cook something new! I really like to experiment with new recipes ... and today .. it was the time for some raw cinnamon rolls based on a recipe from my dear friend Anna.
Just like the truffles I wrote about a few days ago, this recipe is just the beginning of endless variations.
100g ground almonds or hazelnuts or walnuts (actually you can combine them as well)
Mix together and form a doughy lump. Roll out on ground cinnamon to an elongated rectangle, about 0.5cm thick. Spread the agave cacao mix on top of the flattened dough and roll up from the long side like a Swiss roll. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours.
I have to admit that living in a small community is a completely different kettle of fish from living in a large town or city. For most of my life I lived in a capital city far away where I learned to adapt to, and embrace, what life had to offer there. Now, after seven years and happily settled in Eastbourne, I realise that it takes a long time to understand the way things work in your new community. Obvious to most I suppose.
I would listen to stories about village flower shows, where proud members of the local community would display their best flowers, mile long runner beans, huge turnips and home made cakes, always with a smile and a steely determination to beat the person who won last year!
It seemed fascinating, but another world to me...until I experienced them and came to recognise another important aspect of what it means to be a member of a community.
So here I was this weekend, taking part in two local events, promoting........ The Awareness Spa Mini Retreats, a monthly event organised by me, in my town, with two other lovely wellbeing practitioners .... Anna Hoffmann and Elke Pollard.
What I have come to realise is that such events attract like minded people ....in terms of exhibitors and visitors. But what is also clear to me is the real challenge that all organisers have in attracting visitors who have other interests, in advertising such events in places that matter -without the support of the local media.
Maybe one day I will understand why local community media seems to be so indifferent to supporting such community events. The events may be boring to them, the tenth year of that event, the sixth month in a row for this event, the way out on the fringe of that gathering - but to the organisers and to the visitors the events are about connecting people and building a stronger community. I now buy into that and feel qualified to stand up for it.
Anyway, I hope that you enjoy a selection of photos from our two events ......and we also hope to see some of you in our mini retreats and workshops in the future. Everyone who has come so far has said that they enjoy the experience. And happiness and human contact is what we all love.
Books, music, nature, life ... millions of sources of inspiration. I never know which one will be the trigger to my new painting and this is always exciting for me. Yesterday, late at night, I planned(!!!!!!!) to experiment a bit with mono printing, trying new techniques. A part of me was so attracted by my new tube of green acrylic paint and wanted to "let rip", just to move paint all around the page...but another part just wanted to study a bit more, to learn.
For once I decided to use a beautiful 300g watercolour paper, an absolute dream of a paper, a gift from another dear, dear artist friend, a paper that I was keeping for very special projects.
I do not know why ... things were really not going well with my mono printing ... was it because I was intimidated by the beautiful paper? Was it because I was just not listening to myself and what my intuition was gently inviting me to do? Who knows! An hour into the whole process, with my beautiful paper sort of ruined (I will paint of top of it I'm sure as I do not like to throw away anything) ..... so I took a break and opened The Tao of Women, randomly .....and I started to read the words below ...
Strength and joy!
"A wise woman is happy to be a model - but she will not to try to control others. She is direct but with humility. She shines brightly, but does not blind others."
These words, were the trigger for a few hours of joy and passion among my paints and brushes. These words reminded me of the sisterhood of the creative souls that I'm in touch with thanks to inspiring on line courses, it reminded me of the strength of the collective human spirit , the inspiration, the support.
So my darlings, listen to you intuition, use poems, movies, music, nature, connect with other people who share you passion and they will all be amazing sources of inspiration and support. They will open wide the doors to your creative soul.
Do you have a dream? Are you used to dreaming, planning, having goals? For a Westerner this comes naturally. I'm tempted to generalise and say that for us Eastern Europeans, having dreams is not common at all .. but I might be wrong. It could very well be that my family was different ... and the families of my friends were different and everybody else did have dreams ... gave themselves permission to just imagine how would life be when ....and if .....
When you live in a society where things are pretty much planned for you by the Big Brother state, a status that has to be accepted by families, so is sort of written in stone, why dream?
Dreaming means daring to be different ... getting out of the marching line ... taking the road less travelled ... getting out of the comfort zone no matter how uncomfortable that "comfort zone" is.....taking risks......
For three years until the late spring of 2011 I was working in a sort of safe (by Romanian standards) but soul destroying job in London - when I decided to follow my inner voice, to rescue my soul and sanity, to spread my wings and shake the layers of negativity that were dragging me down like very, very heavy chains.
It was the moment when I dared to dream! Yes, I dared to believe that there is a way to "Escape from the cubicle nation". This is actually the title of a book I'm reading now, by Pamela Slim and I find myself saying "yes, yes, yes I know exactly how it feels, I know, I know .. I've been there".
One of my dreams was to exhibit and to sell my paintings .... guess what ... I'm doing this now, an untrained artist who graduated as an engineer. Isn't it amazing?
Another dream was to organise retreats .... and to create circles of women who support each other, sharing experiences, inspiring others and being inspired ......... I also dreamed about giving talks about art, about empowering women .... And guess what again ... it's happening! Slowly, slowly but surely!
Slowly, slowly .... when you dare to dream, when you start to express your dreams in writing, through paints, or through a vision board magic happens .... it's as if you are planting some seeds in the ground. Of course if you do not take care of the seeds nothing will happen, but if you tend to their needs, if you nurture them, they will start to show signs of life, of growth ... one millimetre on top of another millimetre at a time.
I'm at the very beginning .... but boy I'm glad I dared to dream....... I'm happy I'm still dreaming ... that I am dreaming together with many other soul sisters from all around the world. Is it easy! Oh no, no, no but I feel alive and full of energy and ready to chase my dreams - day in and day out.
Today I dreamed again with my partners and friends Anna and Elke. Actually we continued our dreaming session started in August last year .. when we were trying to put together a plan for our "Awareness Spa Mini Retreats", offering women in East Sussex a chance to relax, rejuvenate, reinvent themselves through meditation, art, massage, raw food, raw chocolate, spiritual coaching and so much more. We've already organised four events ... things are happening .... and all because we dared to dream ... months and months ago ...... so today it was a time to celebrate ... and also a time to DREAM BIG ... with confidence, with enthusiasm, with passion!
Eight months ago, at the end of a grey summer, three women gathered around a wooden table ... and started to dream ... dream about organising mini retreats in Eastbourne......dream about putting together their skills and passions and creating a "product" aiming to help women to relax, rejuvenate, reinvent themselves through meditation, art, healthy food, massage and much more.
One could say that our planting season was in August 2012 ... and here we are in March having already organised three events and one pilot event. Having a dream is important, having like minded people around you is inspiring!
And now ... the story in images! We look forward to seeing you in April!
Your team Elke, Corina, Anna
We are really passionate about our activities
It's all about laughter!
It's about the power of sisterhood!
It's about experimentation!
It's about sharing ..
It's about ME time!
It's all about a time to relax and let go!
To find out more about us and book your place for the April event, please click here
A few days ago I browsed through my "Resurgence" magazines and came across a lovely poem by Satish Kumar and felt the need to share it in this blog alongside two of my paintings. So here it is and I really hope that you will enjoy them!
"Whole body Prayer"
May our legs be strong and steady
May our feet tread softly on the earth
May our stomach be small and soft
May our belly be full of fire
May our heart be large and loving
May our soul be simple and serene
May our mind be calm and clear
May our spirit be free of fear
May our mouth mind sweet words and kind kisses
May our eyes see beauty below, beauty above and beauty all around
May our ears hear words of praise and music of the cosmos
May our hands be generous in giving and grateful in receiving