The Listening Heart: a look inside

Each time I sit in front of a big, white canvas, I am struck by the silence that proceeds the flurry of creativity that is about to transpire.

In the silence I hear my heart beat, and the thoughts floating through my awareness... my grand ideas, expectations and fears. I hear my emotions as they arise and transform and dissolve and arise again.... doubt, excitement and peace. I hear my body... its needs and desire to move, to be fed, to be of service.

This silence is anything but silent.

In a split second, as I acknowledge my thoughts, emotions and body, I am released of them all. Back to my heartbeat my awareness moves... beyond my heartbeat to a place within my heart. A place from which creativity is born. I am listening closely, and yet not 'trying' to listen at all. I am spiritually limber, non-attached, available, ready and waiting for the pulse from within which compels my first strokes.

I have a vision, a sense of the shape of the image beginning to develop, and yet I continue to create from that place that is limber, non-attached, and available. Tuned to the ever changing pulse within, the creative force expresses and transforms one thousands times on my once white canvas... so sure of its own labyrinth walk to completion.

I release my expectations and attachments again and again and again, until my heart has told its own authentic and entirely unexpected story through my brush. Only then do I finally see what my heart was teaching me all along.

 

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Finding Your Authentic Voice

As a mantra singer, and art facilitator I have been performing and speaking in front of people for many years. And yet, working with soulful singer and vocal coach, Arley Hughes, for the past several months, I have been amazed at the process of releasing a whole new dimension of my voice, both metaphorically and as it relates to song.

I recently sat down with Arley, to have a conversation around what it means to find our authentic voice. I invite you to listen in...

Below is a wee clip of Arley and I making music in her gorgeous studio.... Om nano bhagavate vasudevaya is a sanskrit mantra known as the Mukti (liberation) mantra. Often chanted at the beginning of a practice or endeavour to dedicate all efforts toward attaining spiritual freedom.... we sang it to set our intention for our conversation here...

Interested in working with Arley? She does private vocal coaching sessions, as well as hosting a women's song circle if you feel more comfortable singing among many many brave voices.

The next women's song circle in this Friday, September 25th. Come and sing your heart out with us!

For more information about Arley, and how you can work with her, go to www.arleyhughes.com

 

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Stepping Into Discomfort... A practice of courageous intuitive listening

Stepping Into Discomfort... A practice of courageous intuitive listening

In line today at one of my favourite coffee shops, I spotted a woman that I know in line not far behind me.  We exchange friendly hellos and how-are-yous and went about our coffee-shop business.  But I felt a knot in the centre of my stomach beginning to form that informs me that all is not well.  

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Healing for Women is Healing for All

'Fearless' painted by Angela Gollat

'Fearless' painted by Angela Gollat

Like many Canadian women over the past week, I have spanned moments filled with tears, vulnerable and revelatory conversations, deep personal contemplation, and triumphant resolve.  

The story of the 9 courageous women who have come forward to expose the abusive behaviour of a national celebrity and cultural impresario, has sparked a conversation of such importance and influence that I find I can hardly sleep at night.  My heart is overflowing with personal longing for healing, and a desire to enable the greater cosmic healing taking place before our very eyes.  Women everywhere are singing this song with me tonight, and it sounds like revolution.

A conscious cultural conversation about Violence Against Women is on the menu, and I am delighted at the richness, the passion, the consideration, and the courage demonstrated by both women and men, strangers and loved ones, all engaging in delicate new territory in an effort to affect the quality of our shared cultural reality.  I know there are many layers of conversations occurring in the public domain, some distasteful and disrespectful.  Let us remember that ALL SHADOWS MUST COME INTO THE LIGHT TO FIND HEALING.  This does not mean that we need to engage here.  Instead, let us seize the opportunity at hand to exercise CONSCIOUSNESS and CREATIVITY in our efforts to influence.... to turn lead into gold by reaching out a hand in favour of greater understanding.

My own personal healing process, in addition to my passionate work in the VAW field, has compelled me to lend my voice to this issue, which as a woman personally impacted by VAW, is both scary and liberating.  Which leads me to inviting you to listen in to CILU Radio this Tuesday, November 4th from 3-4pm, where host Jen Metcalfe, and I will be discussing the emergent issue of violence against women, social silencing, and the evolution of our shared social responsibility… in the process sharing my own experience of silencing and healing.  Please do tune in if you are so inclined…. or imagine me in white light.... I will feel it!  

Finally, many of you reading have disclosed your own experiences with gendered abuse in the safety of our painting circles, as this is often one of the blocks we face as women trying to access our creativity.  I want you to know that our circle, and I am still with you.  And now millions of Canadians, once strangers, are cheering for your bravery and the safety of every woman henceforth.  

The time has come.

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The Courage to Show Oneself

I've been secretly blogging for years now.  Putting ideas, wonderings and midnight revelations to paper that have never seen the light of day.  Until today.

At a traditional post-swim latte 'meeting' a couple weeks ago, my friend Lindsey and I got talking about the ways in which we each feel called and best equipped to do our work in the world.  Writing has always been a particularly enjoyable and comfortable vehicle for me, as it indulges an aspect of my-self that yearns to see itself in languaged metaphor.  And yet, I rarely share my writings.  

"Why?" she asked.  Lindsey's simple question, thoughtful holding of space, and the contemplations that flowed for me were enough to find me here now.  Deciding to do it differently today.

As a spiritual artist, I have had much practice in moving through personal blocks in the process of making art.  I have made regular acquaintance with self judgement, disappointment, fear and doubt.  Biggies, that show up now and again to give me opportunity to refine, refine, refine my soul.  And refine I do, every day recommitting by simply showing up at the canvas in a dedicated effort to see myself in both the process of creating, and the creation itself.  The human me and the cosmic me in paint and brush strokes.  

But as I contemplated sharing my writing, I noticed that the blocks that stop me in my tracks here are different than those I have come to be comfortable facing in my studio.  Sharing my writing evokes a unique kind of fear, nuanced in ways that feel historical and worthy of re-evaluation.  My essential fears are/were...

  • Feeling obligated to feed something (i.e., a blog) my ongoing energy with no guarantee I'll be dedicated to it forever.  I love my transient nature... starting is inspiring... maintaining, less so.  I don't want to disappoint, nor feel pressure to produce.  
  • Exposing myself to a degree that I have never before.  Like many artists, so much of my inner creative and mystical world lives in personal direct experience only, with a small few invited to see behind the curtain.
  • Enough-ness.  Is what I am sharing insightful enough?  Interesting enough?  Well-written enough?  Inspiring enough? 
  • Declaring myself a leader.  This is two part.  The first is around increasing the expectation of me as a teacher, as I dearly appreciate the space and compassion to be the in-progress human that I am.  The second part is related my desire to see people personally empowered, not dependant on external wisdom.  It is my intention for people to take, leave or build upon any of my ideas and sharings at will.  
  • Taking the time to commit the abstract to density.  The leap between insight and image has been easier for me, given that image is more easily left abstract.  Words are a step further into the physical, and I have feared that my capacity to accurately render insight into shareable language is limited, or at the very least, rusty.

And so in sharing here, I have decided on a new and more liberating agreement with myself and my friends reading this, with the intention of enabling me to come out of the spiritual closet....

I commit to sharing personal writings oriented towards humility, honesty, courage, and Spirit.  I promise to practice self-compassion and release self imposed expectation and judgement.  I will joyfully give myself the space and time required to be an artist of words, just as I do in my studio.  Devotion is not required by readers.  Love and kindness are.   And finally, I trust that the simple act of choosing to share... to reveal... to offer... changes everything.  

This post is already enough. 

 

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