Monday, April 20, 2009
This planet and the beauty of her nature have left me with feelings of awe again and again. Nature has also been a place for me to turn when life has been difficult and painful. Sometimes rooting myself in nature has been the best kind of encouragement. Even in the middle of turmoil I find that my problems will fade for a spell when I work in the garden, dirt embedding itself underneath my fingernails. Working the soil and planting seeds or bulbs always holds the promise of new growth, new life and beauty yet to come.
In my neighborhood there is this one bush that is ablaze with yellow blooms for a short time frame every spring. Every year I admire it's beauty and this year I was struck by a deeper meaning to it all, which was recognizing the eternal optimism of nature. Every year the flowers bloom again. No matter what has come to pass throughout the year we can always count on there to be new sprouts and new blooms. It reminds me that even though there are ups and downs to life that we just have to remember that spring will always show up and the flowers will always bloom. We can count on it.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
How ironic that I am writing to you just a couple days away from your 40th birthday. Just imagine - in 40 years you'll be my age - a whopping 80 years-old.
I am writing to share some thoughts with you. This isn't advice - because really advice isn't always worth much. You really just need to trust yourself and your inner intuition. Follow your heart and listen to your gut.
What I want to share first is to take care of your self, so that you can experience the joy of good health for as long as possible. Trust me, you want to be able to still be active and doing things forty years from now. So if you want to be active in your future you need to be active NOW.
I am also going to tell you something you already know, which is that you are in touch with something greater, that something that connects us all. It is a web of magic that permeates the universe. Stay open to new experiences, to magic and special connections. Synchronicity happens because you draw those experiences to you. You are indeed powerful.
Don't be afraid. Don't let fear control you. Just stare it down, hop over it, walk by it or smack it out of your way. And failure. Ha! Laugh at that one. It is an illusion. There really is no such thing as failing. In fact what people often discover is the old cliche that when one door closes another does indeed open and what is through that next door is so much better than what you left behind.
What about all your creativity? So what if someone doesn't like what you write or paint. Ask yourself what it does for you and your spirit. If it brings you joy, a sense of fulfillment or completion, then keep on doing it. Odds are someone else will probably like it too anyways.
Dance more. Don't be so serious. Laugh, laugh, laugh and then laugh some more. Be happy. Enjoy the ride of life. Always stay in touch with your inner child because she is still in there. Play!!!!!
Trust in this great big amazing swirling spiraling universe and always be open to loving and being loved in return.
If you were to write a letter from your future self at the age of 80 to your current self, what would you write?
Monday, March 30, 2009
Do you think you can wriggle free of your un-winnable obsessions? Wouldn't it be empowering and liberating to just enjoy ourselves how we are right now? Why can't we? What is really standing in our way?
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I attended a workshop/talk with author Susan G. Wooldridge this week. She wrote the books Poem Crazy and Foolsgold (which I posted an excerpt from just a few days ago. It was a wonderful workshop, though much, much too short. I could have spent a much longer time hearing more from Susan about writing and it would have been delightful to have had more time to play more with words and learn more about the other attendees.
The Lords Prayer in Aramaic
d'bwashmaya aph b'arha
daph khnan shboqan l ' khayyabayn
Aramaic to English Translation
you create all that moves in light.
of the Shimmering Sound that touches us.
breathing - in and out - in silence.
breeze and the whirlwind, we hear your name.
- even darkness shines - when we remember.
in your, you give it back as a lesson.
ears and eyes awaken - there heaven comes.
O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos!
What do you think?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
In the emptiness we might get an inkling---as if something lights up and twinkles---of how we'll begin to form and open to who we're becoming, who we most truly are. We need to leave space both for what we'll discover and what will emerge to discover us."
At the end of this particular chapter she shares a thoughtful poem by Rumi.
The human being is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as
an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who sweep
your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you our for some new delight.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I have let this one sit for awhile.
It doesn't feel quite finished to me yet
so I am awaiting that final inspiration.
The swirls and the flowers just don't seem quite right to me.
which I began painting just last night.
Turiya is the elusive fourth level of human consciousness.
It is supposed to be a state of pure consciousness.
This too is a mandala painting.
called Ahimsa, which is a Sanskrit term that means "do no harm."
I traced my left hand as well as each of my daughters left hands.
I am hoping to have some time today while my
daughters nap to begin painting this one.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Emergence, Easter, eggs
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Shiloh Sophia McCloud is an inspirational sacred artist, entrepreneur, publisher and human being. I came across this video she made to inspire others. It showcases her beautiful art and the beautiful messages of encouragement she continually shares with others.
You can learn more about her by visiting the following websites:
The Wisdom House
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The spiral leads
(words taken from a Goddess candle)
Monday, March 16, 2009
- Recruit high quality professional and amateur artists who (a) have a natural rapport with their audiences, and (b) will volunteer their time.
- Provide all performances free of charge to client facilities.
- Garner other volunteer resources, sound and light technicians, photographers, and the like, to reduce production costs.
- Treat volunteers, donors, and clients with grace and gratitude.
Thank you for being here. I want to acknowledge some people.
I'd like to acknowledge my father, who prayed constantly and who spoke in Quaker Meeting to keep Mimi in the light.
Melita Figueroa cooked for us the last week, otherwise we probably all would have been dead. Thank you, Melita.
Paul Liberatore, whose unconditional love for Mimi before, throughout, and after her illness and death humbled us all.
I'd like to acknowledge Final Passages, an organization which led us to many things including home funeral, which I think everybody should know about. It allowed us to, in fact, do everything ourselves. We did everything ourselves, from caring for Mimi, washing Mimi, clothing Mimi afterwards, doing all the things that she had asked us to do, and delivering her body to the mortuary ourselves in Paul's truck.
If at storms end
the sun prances through your heart
then all the catastrophic moments
of this life
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I loved hearing Jessica Abbe, a documentary filmmaker speak last night too. She was raised here in Shasta County. She holds a BFA from New York University and a Master's Degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley. She and her husband, producer-director Christopher (Toby) McLeod, have written and produced a number of documentary films about indigenous cultures around the world. She was funny and interesting and then she read a poem she wrote about growing up in this area. It was amazing, beautiful and so touching.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Yet more books, the top is composed of language books from my days of being a French major. I also have some books from a semester in Spanish and a semester in Arabic. The second shelf holds books about children and parenting and basically some books that could lead one to becoming a parent (books about sex - oh my!)
It is also important to me that the work space at my job also has some inspirational images. Here is a photo of my lone bulletin board that sits above my computer screen. Four favorite artists are featured. Shiloh Sophia McCloud, Melissa Harris, Mara Friedman and Sark.
A friend of mine recently heard Gloria Steinem speak in the bay area here in California. I am so grateful that she took the time to share what Gloria spoke of at her uplifting lecture.
"Gloria will be 75 years old this month. She had an abortion at 22 which she never regretted since she never desired motherhood or marriage but did marry at 66 to her best friend who died 3 years later. She said he was the most in the present person she ever met. He would carry dog/cat food in his car and stop to feed animals and throw spare change in a parking lot so children would find it.
She struggled with public speaking and cancelled several engagements and was sued. She is a conflict avoider and wants harmony as key theme in her life. If she could re-do anything, she would do what she knows much faster and do different things to maintain interest and excitement about life. As a writer, she always worked towards deadlines but at her age, she says she’s her deadline. She wrote a recent book: Revolution from Within about finding your own path in life. Whether you are a feminist or not, she is a remarkable woman."
It was incredibly enlightening to learn the Gloria struggled with public speaking and that she was also a conflict avoider. I wouldn't have imagined that to be the case. I always saw her as this strong, outspoken, and in some ways fearless woman. For years she has taken on writing and speaking about controversial subjects. She has dared to voice her opinions and views even when it was certain that some people would disagree. It is actually encouraging and inspiring to know that even though public speaking and dealing with conflict was difficult for her that she did it anyway. It reminds me of a favorite quote by Maggie Kuhn which states:
Here were some of Gloria's key points from her lecture:
- Care giving in the US accounts for 1/3 of all work but has no economic value e.g. No tax credits or breaks etc.
- Mozart had an older sister who was probably more accomplished than him but never was heard about since she was female. Besides Sally Ride, there were 10 other female astronauts who never received any press.
- If you say you are beginning to sound/look like your Mom, don’t live her life, live your own as a tribute to her
- 65 year olds dream more often in black and white than younger people because of black and white TV (shows the impact of TV on us)
- Everyone needs to tell their own story about their life not just the rich and famous. We look to celebrities because we downgrade our own stories which are more important
- You will get in trouble anyway, so do what you want in life
- Stay connected to other women to share stories, memories and keep one another hopeful in life
- While systems are initially developed to help us, they may degrade and destroy some of us e.g. pharmaceutical industry
- Media lives on statistics and generalization and devoid of imagery, stories and narratives which provide encouragement and interest
- US has sorely lacked any viable leadership for past 10 years throwing us into a lost country
- Women are an unused resource to spread peace
- Few women in the corporate world because they lack power to be their own worst enemy and are promoted to put down other women
- Be authentic to your current or potential mate so he can be real too
- Self esteem two types: Core ( from childhood – what you believe about yourself) and situational per circumstances (if you don’t have positive core esteem, the second can be a bottomless pit)
- How to remain hopeful as women ? Talk to one another, listen, be supportive and share. Women don’t own a country, neighborhood or have a common bar. Build your own community
- Women generally listen more than talk, men vice versa
- If girls like Barbie dolls, use them as a teaching tool. Barbie’s feet are smaller than her boobs; point out that she would not be able to stand up without help.
Recommended books by Gloria:
- Color Purple
- Writings by Janice Mirikitani - poet
- Pray the Devil Back to Hell
- Exterminate the Brutes – Sven Norquist
The last two are about the roots of racism which is inseparable from sexism in our society
Monday, March 9, 2009
"Emerging Women Projects (EWP), a non profit organization for teen girls' empowerment, launched this social change initiative in the year 2000. Girls in our program were getting angry about mainstream media's portrayal of women. These unrealistic ideals contribute to the prevalence of negative self-image, eating disorders and other unhealthy behaviors in girls and women. We decided to take some positive action.
What began as a small grassroots project has now grown to include thousands nationally who participate through posting our cards in stores and starting DRP Action Teams to promote the movement.The Dressing Room Project Workshop for teen girls now tours nationally. We are excited to witness the incredible growth of this powerful project and the spread of our positive messages. "
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
In honor of International Women's Day which is today ~ March 8th ~ I have written a letter to the women of the world.
Dear Women of the World,
I have only set foot in a small handful of countries on planet earth, yet I am extremely grateful for these opportunities and experiences, as some people never travel beyond their own country's borders. I have lived in the south of France and studied there and I have been to Paris. I have traveled through Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands. My travels have also included Morocco, as well as Mexico and Canada. What I know for certain is that the best experiences weren't about the museums, monuments or amazing cathedrals. The most memorable moments are about people. My favorite experiences involved interactions with living and breathing people who lived in these countries.
The most important thing I learned from meeting people in other countries is how much alike we all are. There are differences of course and I celebrate these differences. Diversity enriches this world we live in. Yet, while there may be differences in language, religion, customs, clothing, architecture, food, skin color, or the environment, it is so readily apparent that we have much in common. We are made of flesh and bone. We all must eat to survive. We all seek shelter and comforts to make our life more pleasurable. We all seek companionship in one form or another. We all have traditions. We all have some form of art in our culture that enriches our lives. We all appreciate beauty, though our opinions on what is beautiful may vary, for it is true what they say "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
When one realizes and values just how similar we all are it changes the way one looks at the world and feels about what is happening around the world on a global scale. Spending time with families in Morocco, which is a predominantly Muslim country, doesn't just influence how I view Morocco or Moroccans. It makes me realize that the people I met there could just as easily be just like the people I might meet in Afghanistan, Palestine or Iraq.
The book Three Cups of Tea, about American Greg Mortenson's experiences building schools for girls and boys in Pakistan and Afghanistan, is an inspirational story and provides a more intimate glimpse into the lives of the people who inhabit these countries. You get to see through the written word how much these people care and how hard they are willing to work to build schools for their children. You see them encouraging and wanting their daughters to get an education for they know the difference it can make to a village.
Whenever I hear the drums of war being beaten by one country or another I want to shout - "Enough! Who will suffer? Who will die? Who will experience loss and pain? We will! Women just like you and I! So will our children, our husbands, our brothers, our sisters, our mothers and our fathers."
When more of us women recognize that we are more alike than different, that we women are all made of the same flesh and bone, that we all are seeking enough to eat, safe shelter and some comforts, as well as companionship, then we will also see more clearly that we are one. We will understand that what hurts one, hurts another. We will also hopefully see that the successes of one woman is yet another reason for all women to celebrate.
When we recognize that we are one, this is when I believe we, as women, can make an amazing impact in the world. For example when we stand up together and say "Enough of violence and war!" I believe the world will have no choice but to listen. When we stand together against abuse and violence of any kind against women and children, and men too, we will be heard and change will happen. When we stand up against inequality and refuse to accept that women and children be treated as second class citizens we will be heard and change will happen. When we no longer remain quiet and stand by as our children and our husbands head off to war we will be heard and change will happen.
The same will be true when we stand up together and shout out loud about our joys and celebrate together those things that fill our spirits with happiness and our hearts with love. When we stand up together and in unison pronounce, "Hallelujah, Praise Jesus, Praise Mary, Praise Allah, Praise Buddah, Praise the Dalia Lama, Praise the Goddess, Praise Planet Earth, Praise the Universe" or whatever else makes you want to sing and rejoice and makes you feel connected to something greater than yourself, our voices will join together to create beautiful melodies and choruses and we will be heard by the world.
We will be heard and beautiful changes will happen.
Blessings ~ Michelle
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some countries like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. The first IWD was run in 1911. The IWD Global Centenary is in 2011. There are currently 815 IWD events in 54 countries. Visit the official web site for IWD here.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Above is the cover and an inside look at a new book called Gaia Body and Soul. It offers offers reflections and meditations in honour of Mother Nature and the feminine spirit.
I liked this card from the Ask An Angel deck. Here is the image and the messsage that appears on the back of the card.
Passion, Love, Spiritual Communion
Friday, February 27, 2009
Here is a taste of what you can find on her web site:
Creative Goddesses make art because
The Creative Goddess is inside you.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Clutch! You came to "kick butt," Michelle...
Since that conference I began writing even more. I created this blog to explore topics and share the types of stories that are to fill the pages of Life's Too Short Not to Wear a Red Boa. I also started planning a playshop for friends, a gathering where we would share, be creative, color and paint. I went and got a business license and named my business Red Boa Productions. I designed my own logo and created business cards. Everything fell into place smoothly and easily. It is this feeling of being in synch with something greater than myself that is very empowering and inspiring.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Breathing Exercise ~
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Breathe out. Take another deep breath. Breathe it all out. Again another deep breath. Breathe it all out.
Continue the deep breaths in and out. Slowly as you do this begin to feel that with each breath in you are drawing in wisdom, support, guidance, inner-knowing, serenity and love.
If you are holding onto any anxiety or fears at this time begin to feel that with each breathe out you are releasing your anxiety. You are releasing your fear. Let it go. Let the anxiety and fear drift away. See it become as light as a feather, float up and dissipate.
As you breathe out any anxiety and fear continue to breathe in all the support and love you need and deserve and remind yourself of the strong and powerful woman you are today – right now.
As you continue to breathe in and out I also invite you to conjure up an image of yourself as a little girl. Picture yourself if you can as you were at a favorite age. Think back to a time when you loved to play. Consider what made you happy as a child. Maybe it was riding your bike, running or building things. Perhaps you loved to read and make up your own stories. You might have loved to perform for others or just yourself and you sang or danced or played an instrument. You might have found joy in being a caretaker of animals or you found you loved to color and paint. Think back to what brought your spirit joy.
As you continue to breathe I ask you to remember and hold on to that image today. That little girl is still inside you. She is still very present. She hasn’t ever left you. And as you continue to breathe remember that she is still with you.
As you breathe I invite you to now return to the present you, the adult you. Breathe in and out and know that you are a strong and powerful woman now. You may not always feel powerful but you are. You are a strong and powerful woman. You are the creator of your life. Breathe in all the support and love you need and deserve and remind yourself of the strong and powerful woman you are today, right now.
Let us all take one last breath in and then release.