Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beauty is soul-deep

I am so excited to be "playing" starting on April fool's day in the 21 Secrets-an art journal playground e-course where 21 superbly creative women will be sharing mixed media techniques, including my most favourited artists momma of all time- Tamora Lapote who blogs here. She is soulful, artistic, authentic, and just plain beautiful, in heart, mind and spirit. This is my second e-course to date since Kelly Rae's Taking Flight e-course and I'm so looking forward to it I wish I could fast forward time. If only I have superpowers...

Above are Tam's artwork and I love how she advocates the notion and importance of using art for healing ourselves. I myself believe so much in the inherent power for self-expression and self-discovery in art and I am deeply attracted to her art. I love her because not only does she advocate art for healing heart, her Willowing art network provides a space for creative souls like myself to showcase my works, connect with other women and getting in touch with them.

If you're an artist and you are interested do check out Willowing's art network at the top right corner of my sidebar.

I was contemplating about the intrinsic definition and value of beauty and what beauty means to me since eons ago. How women like myself is forever struggling to achieve some very elusive ideals standard of beauty to fit in, or to gain approval from this society. How I need to lose 10 more pounds, dye my hair this colour, wear dress with cuts that flatter my curves. It's great to accentuate your assets, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful because it's a very natural impulse of being human. Yet when physical beauty becomes the only obsession is when things get boring.

There are those pretty women who people steal looks when she enters into the walkway, of a restaurant, a pub, a party. But when she starts a conversation all she talks is about herself, and in being so Big she becomes small in her self-absorption. And her beauty is just skin deep, or actually, skin shallow.

And then there are women who are beautiful, women who love the way they look and make sure they give positive impression, women who are in touch with themselves and who takes care of themselves. Women who are pretty yet humble about it, who are not particularly self-conscious, who doesn't fret about looks so much, who doesn't think about themselves all the time, but who cares about people, who reaches out to touch hearts, and who serves. Instead of wanting and needing to be served or worshipped because they're born beautiful. They extend their hands out to connect authentically.

Their beauty has nothing much to do about having a to-die-for gorgeous face and figure, their beauty has everything to do with grace, and the capacity of love they are able to receive and return. I am lucky to know some beautiful women who are this genuine in heart and soul, some of them friends, some of them mentors, many of them just plain inspiration.

I will be lying to you if you think I am not trying hard to lose my excess weight in order to look good. I am always on some kind of diet. I am still not very happy about my body. I love being feminine and girly, I love trying out new shades of make up that flatters my skin and makes my eyes look larger. I want to be beautiful and feel beautiful. Yet I want to define beauty on my own terms. Beauty that is rooted in compassion, kindness, wisdom, humility, love.

I know some very beautiful women in real life. But in blogland and within the women artists' circle online, I see profound beauty in so many because you share your wisdom, your stories, your doubts and vulnerabilities. And I have so much gratitude for all of you because not only do you share your art, you also share your heart and you reach out to comfort and encourage kindred spirit like myself!So this is a real and heartfelt Thank You to all you beautiful souls out there!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Prayer for Natural Disasters

(3 rd piece of owl women of the series of 4)

I have been overwhelmed by the tragedy of tsunami that hit Japan last friday. My heart is very heavy when I think of the loss of loved ones and the simple comfort of having a bed to sleep in and the familiar walls of a house has been taken away with the waves. I cried when I read the news and when I think about it. And feel very helpless at how little I can do. And upset that I'm feeling so powerless.

So I can just pray. and invite God to come in to comfort the people who are affected, and the land which is deeply wounded, and my troubled mind and heart.

There are so many talks about the end of the world. Prophesies. Prediction of the year 2012. And everytime I hear about this I just keep quiet because I don't want to add on to the fear. People talk about how this is God's vengeance and punishment, but I secretly think it is we who are punishing ourselves with the image of a vengeful God. I believe in a loving God, a divine presence who witness our suffering and who wish for us to remember him and come home to him. By asking for his help, by surrendering to him and praying for a miracle.

Life is treating me really good. I have a request to give a talk on art therapy in Clove and Clive and thus also an opportunity to show my art, I have also been supported to facilitate a healing session along with a solo exhibition around May. I feel really loved. I have deep gratitude for all these wonderful miracles that keeps unfold once I decided to live my dream life!
I am deeply aware how lucky I am and seriously hope that things get better & easier for people and that natural disasters could stop happening. I used to get weary of reading newspapers or listening to news because I thought they are messengers of more bad news. I don't want to feed on the fear that media provides, so I read now to get the necessary information and leave the drama out. I wish I could avoid feeling and knowing so much but it is not wise to live in a safety bubble of ignorance and apathy.
As I realized how urgent and desperate circumstances are now, I hope that I could reach out to more people through art therapy and help them get empowered!

Jin wrote this prayer for natural disaster and I decided to share it, in critical times like this we need to lay our burdens on someone's shoulder, and let this someone be God. If you're not comfortable with the word God, you can replace it with Universe or divine love or whichever suits. I love the expression Goddess.

"Beloved Father, Mother, Everything God.

we ask that you enter deep into earth and us,

lift Us Up Dear God

to a level in our minds where healing and understanding is,

send us your angels dear god,

and keep us safe.

where there is suffering dear god,

comfort them,where there is pain,

heal them,

where there is hunger,

may they be fed.

let this prayer bring about deeper, healing,

ultimatelyteach us how to change.

and we know it is never too late,

for there is no time in heaven.

Miracles are instant.

We thank you for the resurrection.

And so it is."

These are difficult times. I really pray for all of you to be well and blessed and immersed in love.
On a much, much happier and brighter and lighter note, Alison who blogs here has asked me to write a guest post while she is holidaying in gorgeous scenic New Zealand. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Conscious Breathing, Conscious Living

(2nd artwork of the series of 4 of Owl Women)

A breathwork session with Jin has made me realized how the way I breathe is so intimately connected to the way I live.

During the session where I was breathing consciously, I noticed how I grasped for air and choke as I inhale. It shows how I tend to grasp at things. It's funny how life patterns are so immediately and apprently obvious just by noticing your breath. Before this, my breath is rather shallow and rush and short. And Jin told me that the breath doesn't go beyond my legs, which perhaps is a telltale sign how I always feel reluctant in taking actions, or is slow in executing my plans and feel like results take forever to arrive.

I am loving this new practice now, breathing consciously. Whenever I am stressed I immediately returns to my breathing, absolutely enjoying the way fresh air rushing into my lungs and enjoying releasing whatever my body holds on to through exhaling; whether it is toxic thoughts or negative emotions.

It is so simple, yet I am sure many people overlook this destressing technique. Of simply coming back to being aware of their breathing. And letting the worries, the anxiety, the bother and chaotic chatter of the mind falls away.

A dear friend shared her wisdom in her blog saying how "Every breath truly counts." Indeed.
Things has been pretty quiet yet busy for me as I hide in the cave of my hermit shell working away on artworks. It was a very good distraction from the routine last saturday when I visited darling art and craft maker Alison who had a booth at the handmade market at Empire Subang.
Can I please state the obvious that her display is very, very chic, clean yet lovely and warm. I love how she painted the branches white and use this gift of nature to hang angels. So so so creative! I love one of her rock painting that says "LOVE ROCKS!" Awesome & clever play of words! and the rock animals are just uber cute! I got an elephant and a "love rocks" rock!

I am looking a little blur because I was decluttering the whole day and woke up from a long late afternoon nap and went straightaway to see Alison. I am so so so proud of her coming out to sell her crafts! It is one thing to paint and create things and an entire different thing altogether to brave the crowd and sell to potential customers! I am kicking my own bum to work things a little quicker. Hopefully, in a month's time I'll set up my Etsy account. I've so much to learn, so much to do, so much to experience and so so much to experiment!

Thank you for being an inspiration Alison!Love to hear that I help lift your spirit in coming to visit you! Your art makes me smile too! They reflect your adorable-ness!