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Monthly archive for October 2012

Pinning Life Down

I am back from the Paint Mojo Texas Retreat with Tracy Verdugo.  I have so much to process.  I love learning and love it even more if I can stretch what a teacher offers enough to bring it over into my own life so that it takes on a new energy.  That is what is going on with me for now.  The process is rather contemplative. I feel like several themes in my life are being touched by the art retreat.   And I want to share some of that with you soon.

 

In the meantime, life keeps moving. As a blogger, I have enjoyed having things to talk about that relate to my art and my life. My head wants to explore issues with you that my heart feels are important, but sometimes things like holidays get in the way.  How could I let Halloween pass us by without visiting about it?  It is my fave-o-fave time of year!  I can’t!

So this is a Pinning Life Down post. Ding! I pin down a bit about the retreat. Ding! Pin down a bit about Halloween. Ding! Pin down a few other thoughts that are floating past me as life spins on.

Ding! Halloween. I am having a party tonight with family and a few friends.  The theme is a Witches’ Ball.  My roommate and I are hostessing it, both dressed as witches, of course.  Our invite warns that anyone not sufficiently dressed in costume will be turned into a toad.  Honestly, I hope I get to toss a few frogs into the lily pond in the back yard!

Okay, so this isn’t really MY lily pond. I took this at one of the ponds on The Lotus Ranch where the retreat was located.  What a sweet place to sit and wind down.  I know I will be visiting it during creative visualizations and meditation for years to come.  I made a video at this pond for you that I will be sharing later in the week. Ding! Retreat pinned down a bit.

Some of you may recall that in August, I offered my first e-course, Touch the Moon. I can’t believe it, but the course is coming to a close in the next couple of days. It has been such a great journey.  We did a number of art-ivities together, shared our moon stories with each other, made new friends, and learned about how to bring the Moon’s Wisdom into our own lives.  I have learned so much just guiding the class.  I will be offering the class again in the New Year. So if you didn’t get a chance to take it, no worries. Ding! Touch the Moon pinned down.

The Full Moon at The Lotus Ranch

As I wrap up Touch the Moon, I am looking forward to the next phase of growth for Creativity Tribe, offering Life Coaching.  This is really what I have move towards for my entire adult life.  I took a few different routes to find my way to this spot, but the training I am doing now with Brandi Graves of You Grow, Girl is what has me glowing.  Certainly, the other paths (earning my masters in counseling and working for two years as a counselor in a domestic violence shelter, teaching art and drama for 20 years, and building a business as a massage therapist) will all lend themselves to the work I do with others, but going to coach school seems to help frame it all up in a way that make sense.  I am eager to finish so that I can jump in and start doing what I love, helping others help themselves make their dreams come true!  Ding! Life Coaching pinned down.

That is kind of how life is….hard to pin down. It keeps growing and evolving….changing.  I often forget that, but when I can remember, I am better off for it.

Now your turn….What do you have to pin down today?  What is happening in your life that is so exciting you just want to share it with someone?  What do you WANT to be exciting?  What is going on in your creative life?  Some shift?  Some bit of movement calling to you?  What bit of fun are you conjuring up for Halloween?  Help build this tribe by letting us know.  We want to support you…and who knows maybe someone needs to hear what YOU have to say today.  I am listening for your Ding!

Textures {Long Way Home Series}

 

I am on the road this weekend, tackling three bucket list items.  First, attend an art retreat.  Second….visit the Texas Hill Country.  Three….study with an artist that inspires me.  In this case, Australian artist Tracy Verdugo.  I promise to tell you all about it!

To celebrate this adventure of my gypsy spirit, I have a few pictures for the Long Way Home Series with a focus on textures. I picked texture because Tracy’s art reminds me of the textures I imagine our spirits or souls to have.  Fun, huh?

The brick walkway along the water’s edge near the bay a mile from my home has begun to decay from exposure to the elements.  To my eyes it creates an elegant abstract.

The surface of my studio table is covered with a plain brown paper. Over time, color builds up to create a visual texture that encourages my mind to make images out of them. Often the doodles take on inspirational messages which invite me into a better way of thinking or acting. They encourage me to grow, and in this case, to have faith.

Even light can create texture where we might think there is none. This bridge which has been fitted with lights that put on nightly shows has become a beacon.  It leads me home after a long travel.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Tell me, what is something that is on YOUR bucket list?

Big Dreams in Action Challenge

I am headed out on an adventure today.  I made a video to tell you all about it, and by the end, I turned my excitement about my big dreams around and set out a challenge for YOU.  What action will you take towards making your dreams come true this week?  Use the comments below to claim what you will do, then head back here and let us know how you did. Let’s start supporting one another as we put our Big Dreams in Action!

 

Breath of Life

Now for the second half of the creative visualization I did last week that helped me turn my trajectory away from a crash course with Death and aim for a life well lived.  Let’s see, where was I?  Oh yes, Death had transformed into a wise elder-woman with the tell-tale signs of many years of joy reading all over her face.  She walked away to join The Fates, leaving me with the woman who had come when I let out a call for help…..this sounds like a metaphysical soap opera.

In the mediation, I felt as if a new story was playing out in front of me.  On one hand I had a sense of what should happen.  I was, after all, working to shift into a story of healing, but I could not see how the story would play out. I was invested in the happily-ever-after but had not been let in on the script.  Every action of my own or another participant was as fresh and new to me as it might be in real life.  In fact, that is how it felt…real, authentic…as if I was living in the moment.

The helper woman stood up and walked behind me. She placed her hands firmly on my shoulders and stood me up. I had been handled like that once before in a healing ceremony I participated in at the Peace Vigil in Washington, D.C. just days after 9-11.  I remember feeling the power of having someone who cared about me support me like that. Some days I can still feel my friend’s hands on my shoulders from that first ceremony, as if they have never left me.  Feeling them again in the creative visualization connected me immediately to a sense of deep, powerful healing.

The helper woman guided my body to turn and face her. She was standing on a small mound so that I could not see behind her.  She looked me in the eyes, with love and intensity and asked me, “Do you want to see your new life?”

I offered an eager, “Yes!”

She stepped to the side.  Before me was a vast valley.  My heart sped up.  “I have been here before,” I told her.  I could feel the same overwhelming beauty in that moment that I had when I visited this place several years ago on my trip to Oregon.  I was standing at the top of Crown Point, a majestic vista which overlooks Columbia River Gorge. I started to cry.

Vista House Sunset – Time lapse from Even Quach on Vimeo.

(This is a video shot by Even Quach. The house you see in the distance is located at Crown Point State Park. That is where I was standing in the meditation. The valley beyond is what I was shown. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.)

“This is how wide open your life is,” the helping woman said.  “This is how full of possibility your life is.  No limits are placed on you. None.  And having no limits feels just…like…. this.”

The wind blew across my face, and I breathed it in as if I were breathing in Life itself.   My body shivered inside.  That place is overwhelming in the best way.  That place is so immense that it felt surreal.  I sat with it…with my new Life.  I drank it in.  I felt as if my body was quenching itself after a long thirst.  I could swear my cells were reforming, as if my DNA was actually restructuring itself.

And you know, maybe it was.

All new….new life….new possibility….new me.

 

 

Choosing this Moment

Most of us say to ourselves, “I want to be more creative. I want to do more art.”

Today is in front of you. This moment is begging for you to choose IT, shouting, “Pick me. Pick me.”

And when you do, you are really picking yourself.

It is just that simple.

Cheating Death

I faced Death today.

It is part of turning my life around. I decided a few days ago that I would change my story to change my life. The main goal: to finally be rid of the nagging feeling that I would die at the age of 45 like my mother and her father both did.  With 45 only 30 months away, I felt if I was going to change my story, this would be the time to do it!

I started by going to the place where the story lives, inside me.  Shall I take you along, as if you were there? Let’s go.

I got very still and focused on the feeling of urgency that has been following me around saying, “Girl! You better start living because you’re about to be dying!”

I asked myself, “Who is saying that!”

And I heard a voice, low and soft, down by my feet say, “Me.”

Suddenly I felt something holding me by the back of my ankles. It occurred to me that it had been there a very long time, so long that it began to feel like it was actually a part of me, but it was not. I looked behind me, and there it was, stretched out prone on the ground like a long shadow, Death.  I heard a part of myself say, “If you are going to face Death, you have to FACE it!”

So I took my hands and pulled the attachments off of my ankles. They stuck like moist tar in my hands. I knew I would never be able to shake it off alone. I got down onmy  knees, then elbows, and finally stretched myself out on my stomach. There it was, the face of Death. Breath, wrank. Eyes, hollow and vast. Suddenly, I began to panic.

Saying, “This feels real. This thing in front of me doesn’t feel like it is in my mind, doesn’t feel like it is a story. It feels real. I am holding the hands of Death….my Death. I need help. I can’t do this by myself.”

At my side, a woman knelt down.  I knew she was there to answer my call for assistance. She reached out and scooped the stick tar hands off of me. I sat back. I checked in with myself. I felt safe. I watched her.

She pulled Death to her. It changed in her hands (as it would several times over the course of our time together). It crawled into her lap and curled up like an ailing elder. “There, there,” she whispered. I felt myself relax a bit. I breathed a sigh. Death seemed less scary, almost wounded. I looked at Death. It was emaciated, drawn in on itself, exhausted.

“It has been a long journey,” she told Death. “You are tired.”  I could see Death’s story, much like I could see my own. It began with my Grandfather. Death had come for him early in life. He was a proud, energetic red-headed man who enjoyed the great outdoors. When he died, my mother picked up his story and with it, Death.  So it stuck around and attached itself to her. When 45 came, Death did not want to take her, but Death was tired. When she passed, I picked up my Mother’s story, and Death attached to me. Now three generations into Death’s journey, it sat in the arms of this compassionate woman, ready to be free of its office. Death had started out wholesome, in the service of nature. Death had become sickly and twisted. It was time to let it go.

Behind the woman, three figures appeared. One was a maiden, one a mother, and one a crone. My energy piqued. The Fates!

The woman told Death that the Fates would help it heal. She told Death to stand up. When it did, it transformed into a young woman, 21 years old. I was shocked. How could Death look so young?! I remembered that I was 21 when I took Death on.

“You can’t be 21!” I told Death angrily. “You are not me!” I looked at Death closer and realized it looked like my 21 year old self. “You can’t be 21,” I said softer. And Death changed again, looking as I do today. “No,” I said. “Older, much older.” Death transformed a third time. This time into a woman wise and peaceful, with enough wrinkles across her smiling face to know she lived a good, long, peaceful life filled with joy.

I smiled.

Death turned and walked towards the Fates, giving a nod of appreciation to the kneeling woman.

Then it was my turn to be transformed by her. But I will save that for my next post.

I want to thank you for your out pouring of support as I change my story. Some of you have left private Facebook messages for me or messaged me as part of groups I am in. I am amazed at how many people hold onto this same story or another story that isn’t in line with their wishes for their lives. I am changing mine, and I invite you to change yours. I will share my path to wholeness as an example. Until next time……

Changing My Story

I grew up with stories. My dad could spin a yarn like nobody’s business. They were often just on the edge of believability in that place where you knew they probably weren’t true but you sure wanted them to be. His mother was a storyteller in her own right. She told me of the past. How she met my grandfather, how she built a house with her own two hands, about the child that died unexpectedly, and how my life changed my family. Because of them, I fell in love with stories.

Not long into my adulthood, I began reading a master storyteller, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Her books and tapes were like sacred literature in my development as a woman. That might sound “far fetched” (as my dad likes to say) but it is the truth. Clarissa taught me to look at story as medicine, as a thing that tells us about ourselves, gives us guidance for healing. I learned along the way that I could use story to change my life.

Change your story; change your life.

I know it is true because I have put it to practice over and over again.  I was the kid that did poorly in school. While my cousins and best friends were hanging out on the Honor Roll, I was struggling through books and trying to wrap my head around equations.  I was in a fog. I struggled through the first years in college too but after learning that I could change my story, I started telling myself I was a good student. I daydreamed on what it would feel like to live that story, and my grades started to improve. I fell in love with learning and even went on to get my Masters in counseling. I walked away with a 4.0 and a national award for influencing the field of counseling. Sometimes, I am amazed at the distance I came.

That is just one example of how changing my story has drastically changed my life.

Today, I am sitting with a different story. This story has been spinning itself for twenty two years now. It is a story that tells me I will die young….in fact my story suggest I will die at the age of 45.  That is not very long from now.  I turn 45 in 30 months.  Exactly two and a half years from now.  Why would this story have so much weight?!

When my mom was a young woman, her father died. He was 45. And as children who have lost their parents often do, they begin to feel their parents’ deaths are a reflection of their own deaths, a kind of inheritance.  She began to believe she would die at 45. And in fact, she did.  Crazy, huh?  I tried not to fall into that rut myself, but some mechanism inside me switch on when she died. It chatters out that story, and my life, my actions follows suit.

No, there are no blatantly obvious signs of my early demise. I have no disease, no life threatening disorder. But sometimes, I feel myself moving so fast and frantic that it seems as if I am running from something. This week I realized I am.  Death is nipping at my heels. So I live life at a sprint’s pace…quickly working to make my big, beautiful dreams come true before the end of it all.

 

Well, today I stopped.

Today I stopped, and I turned around. I stood quietly and looked Death in the face.

This is the beginning of Changing My Story.  I don’t know where it will lead me exactly, but I do know that with my own hand on the pen I will choose life. Life….happy, peaceful….and long.

What story have you changed in your life? What story would you change if you knew you could?

 

Where Wildflowers Bloom

I have had a blast deciding how to share my Long Way Home images with you. Sometimes I want to share the story behind the photos and others let them speak for themselves. I want to pair them according to where they were taken and also group them by a shared theme.

Today I have gathered a bouquet of flowers. They have been collected over the last couple of years, some close to home, others far. I bring them out today to recognize the rain that recently blessed my back yard. The last two Summers, we have suffered through droughts, but this last week it poured. My back yard is over grown, and peeking out between the grass tufts are patches of wildflowers. They remind me that even when something seems to be losing all hope, the ability to thrive is just a rainfall away.

Have a bloom-tastic day!

Life in All Its Fullness

We all have a sacred path we sit in front of, sacred in the sense that it calls to our very soul. It whispers  in the darkness, twinkles around us in the light of day, makes us feel alive as we move down it or encourages us to wish for some place new when you have forgotten it and lost your way.  The path is like this huge magnet that directs our lives or makes us fight hard to move against it.

We travel the road on our own, but if we are lucky, it runs parallel to the roads of others who are on their own shiny path.  Seeing them live out their passions is contagious. We wish the same for ourselves. We are inspired.

If you found your way here today, maybe you feel the call to travel your own sacred path. I am here on my bliss passage encouraging you on. Close your eyes and let its whispers grow louder and more focused, let it tell you exactly how to get there. Let it describe the path to you. Today you will get a few details, tomorrow more. When you can see some portion of it, take one step in the direction of your dream…..and then another. Let the momentum take over and the fears fall to the wayside. Feel that bright spot? Feel that exhilaration?  Feel that zeal….that’s you on the path….that is life in all its fullness.

You’re doing it.  You are doing it!

Creativity Tribe First Month-iversary

Sometimes my head is swirling with ideas that are so intense I think it will surely spin right out of control. I can get dizzy with exhilaration when my imagination is in overdrive like that. I pull together projects in my mind, dream on art concepts, work to solve problems, or toy with how to make life even more beautiful than it already is.

The last couple of months have been a wild ride. Some days I felt high with the dreams I had for my website. Other days it was all I could do to manage the reality of walking through the fear of not know how to create what I wanted. But I persevered and here we are with a brand spanking new website that is much better than I thought I could ever pull off.  (I am still amazed.)

Creating something often takes us into the unknown. Heck, that is half the thrill! We move through each wall that shows up in front of us and do our best to manage the urge to run away screaming when something goes wrong.

Having others to walk you through a project can always help. Having the crew from Startup Training School and amazing support from the U-Design Theme I chose is a big part of me getting through the ONE K in 1 DAY challenge. But, my own willingness to fight through the fear is really how I won the race.

There is a term I like to keep in my back pocket called self-efficacy (ef-uh-kah-see). Basically it refers to a person’s thoughts or feelings about how successful they are in general.  Boosting your belief in your ability to be successful can actually help you be more successful.

Success feeds success. 

Building my website over the course of a few weeks provided a major hike to my ego. I faced an obstacle that had loomed in front of me for over a year. On the other side, I feel like a bonafied bad-ass!  I spent several days stretching my dreams to grow in proportion to my new sense of self-efficacy. That is to say, I can do more in my mind, so why not be more in reality!?

I know, I know, it is not proper to be so confident about our accomplishments. But that thinking really limits us. And I am ready to let go of limits and embrace possibility. It feels so freeing.

Your Turn

Put your successes out in front of you, even if they are small. They all count. Claim some area you were able to conquer, even if it was a thousand years ago. Hunt for something you accomplished in the last 24 hours. last week, month or year, even if no one else would say it was big enough to count, grab it and love that thing. Whatever your success (and we ALL have them) own it, nurture it, be proud of it. It can help you bring more success into your life!

Claim it here with us. Success is contagious. You look at your friend who wins the race and say, If she can do it I can!  What inspirational story will you share with the tribe today to inspire them to raise above their doubts in themselves?  What will you claim? I can’t wait to hear it! I am already so proud of you.

I sent out the first Creativity Tribe Newsletter today. If you would like to receive periodical updates on what is going on with CT, head to the top of the page and subscribe. To subscribe to the blog posts, mouse over the fancy page corner at the top right and it will get you signed up for the RSS feed or join the conversation of the Creativity Tribe Facebook Page.

Looking forward to connecting with you, so let me know you have dropped by.

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Welcome to CT

Hi, I am Rachél.... the quirky, big-hearted soul behind Creativity Tribe, a sanctuary for your creative spirit. As a life coach and artist, I know the importance of community, celebration, and transformation. Creativity Tribe is abuzz with connections to other creative bloggers and offers tips and stories to inspire your creative lifestyle!
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There is a beauty that comes out of sharing a journey with another person....a dream for yourself, a direction for a project, a way out of the muck that holds your Creative Spirit back. Let's talk about working together. creativitytribe@gmail.com