Back in the Game

I can’t believe it’s been over 3 1/2 years since I’ve added to this blog!

In a nutshell, looking back, I allowed others to discourage me from my true passion, which is, and always will be, fine art. I never completely stopped, but I gave up on the inside. When so much of our time is devoted to making money, and if what we do to earn money is not our passion, then, oftentimes something gets lost.

Either we feel we are not doing enough to make money, or we’re making money but are unfulfilled inside. Some are lucky or savvy enough to earn all the money they need while doing their passion. The rest of us have to play a balancing game.

We have to devote some time to each. We have to have a career that brings in a stable income and we have to do what our souls yearn to do.

I’m going back through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which was a lifesaver when I first read it, and is proving to be a lifesaver for me again.

In the intervening years, I got married, got a master’s in writing, drove for Lyft, watched my son’s become legal adults, and am now studying for a real estate license.

How is all of this going to come together for me? How will I do the career vs. art balancing act? I don’t know for sure. But what I can say is that I will never let anyone’s opinion about my art keep me from making it ever again. That, I can say for sure.

All the love,

Raven

Untitled Abstract. watercolor on paper

12″ x 16″ Acrylic on canvas. “The Forest Has Secrets”

Staying Creative

Greetings, Light Beings! While my creative efforts have been focused more on writing lately, I have really really missed my art.  I took advantage of the week-long break in my grad school schedule to finish a couple of paintings. I see the mood in both of them as more fantasy-like, less strictly realistic. I’d like to continue that trend and see where it takes me.

The next semester starts tomorrow. I hope I don’t have to wait another 10 weeks to do a painting, but we’ll see!

Thanks for reading and following. You are part of my blessings!

Love and joy,

Raven

Loss And Gain Are All The Same

“Gain and loss are two sides of the same thing.  Through loss, you gain new things….It is the struggling against loss and the preference of gain over loss that causes suffering and retarded growth.  It is the acceptance of both loss and gain as gifts and as fuel for your growth that will propel you to greater heights faster.  In the end, you will see that loss was not really loss.  At the point when you recognize the gains you got from the loss, you will see that the loss was really a blessing, and that loss does not exist.  Every loss has a gain, if only you accept and look into it and have patience” (David Cameron Gikandi, A Happy Pocket Full of Money).

I just finished the above book this week.  Although the subject matter is a spiritual approach to money, it contains all kinds of wisdom.  I found myself reaching for my highlighter many times.  I think artists instinctively sense that money is just an illusion, that it doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things.  However, in the meantime, while we’re citizens of the planet earth, we need to learn how to make and use money wisely.  This primarily means having a healthy attitude towards money and treating it with respect.

Money (like everything temporal) comes and goes, but it is our attitude towards the coming and the going that affects our level of joy.  Losses of all kinds are always devastating in the moment.  But if we’re patient and wait for the blessing, it will come.

Asian Landscape. 12"X16", watercolor and gouache on paper.

Asian Landscape. 12″X16″, watercolor and gouache on paper

Peace and blessings on your path of bliss!

Writing and Research

This week has been all about getting stuff done.  Somehow, someway, I completed 2 short stories and a play in the last few weeks.  I still have a screenplay to finish, and some other random assignments, but I couldn’t be happier over what I’ve accomplished so far!

What I am learning, especially, is the importance of research.  There are a lot of things I want to write about that I have no direct experience with.  I do most of my research on the internet.  However, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to actually listen to people talk and ask them questions about their lives.  If you get in the habit of doing that, you can create characters that really feel authentic.  I just posed some interview questions to a friend today and can’t wait to get the responses back.  I am so excited to see what I learn!

People are infinitely fascinating.  If you tend to get bored with people easily, it may be because you are only skimming the surface layers of life.  Once you peel back those layers, ask the right questions – and listen – it is amazing how interesting people really are.

As far as my art goes, I put the final touches on my Samhain painting and finished a watercolor from last week.  If each day were 48 hours instead of 24, perhaps I could get a ton of writing and a ton of painting done.  But as it stands, each week tends to focus on one or the other!

Have a wonderful week of peace and beauty. And always, always, follow your bliss…

Veteran’s Day

One would think that having an extra day off of school would allow me to get extra things done.  It did, but not the things I was “supposed” to do.  I spent the weekend doing things I wanted to do, which was great.  However, tomorrow I will have to spend the day doing the things I was actually supposed to do.  In other words – 3 days of effort crammed into one.

But in the midst of the hurry I would like to take the time to thank the men and women who serve in our military.  I am grateful that there are people who are motivated to serve  in that way.  If this country were relying on people like me to defend it, we would either have to do a lot better at being peaceful – or get used to speaking some new language because we would be conquered.  But the world needs people like me and the world needs people like our men and women in service.

So rather than simply saying “Thank you for your service”, here is my prayer for our military and their families: May you know the joys and comforts of home as soon as possible.   If you are back home, may you know and experience the natural abundance of the universe and feel, deep down, that all of your needs are met.  May you feel at the core of your being that you are loved and appreciated.  May you accept that the life you have chosen is difficult and complicated but that we need you – whole, safe, and healthy.  May your life experience reflect the honor of the brave soldier that you are.  May your days to come be filled with love and laughter, free from any shadows from the past.  You are loved and appreciated and I am wishing you a wonderful Veteran’s Day. With gratitude and joy…Amen.

This week may all of us, vets and non-vets alike, live out our callings with our heads held high and follow our bliss…

Managing One’s Spiritual Vibration During The Creative Process

This week has been a whirlwind of creativity for me.  I’ve finished the first draft of my play and of my (not-so) short story.   My short story exceeds the 4000 word maximum by a lot.  Even after editing, I’m still at over 6600.  I’ve got some extensive editing ahead of me.  But, as challenging as the whole process is, I can’t believe how much my energy soars after spending several hours writing.

The same is true with painting.  On Thursday I spent seven straight hours painting, taking breaks only to go to the bathroom.  Afterwards I felt exhilarated rather than exhausted.  In that time I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t tired, and I barely said anything.  It’s crazy.  Red Bull ain’t got nuthin’ on creativity!

This got me to thinking about energy, which is the source of all life.  Energy is everything.  It is God, it is the devil, it is “the mood” in a room, it is the chemistry between two people.  Energy is everything.  So, why does it increase after several hours of what should be draining work?

To me, the answer is a little deeper than “i’m just interested” in it.  I’m interested in a lot of things, but only creating affects me like this.  My belief is that creating things – fine art, writing, acting, woodwork, sewing, etc. – raises our vibration.  Vibration at the personal level is the speed with which one’s spiritual matter is moving.  The faster it’s moving, the closer we are to the roots of our divinity.  We understand that on a physical level,  atoms in gaseous materials vibrate faster than those in solid matter.  On a spiritual level, the speed of our personal vibration at any given time reflects our closeness to or estrangement from our divine nature.

Certain activities – like creativity, prayer, kindness, service, etc.  bring us closer to our Divine nature and raise our vibration.  Other activities – gossip, back-stabbing, greed, hate, violate our humanity and lower our vibration.  This affects us on a physical and psychological as well as on a spiritual level.  In other words, the vibrational level of one’s activities must match one’s personal vibration, otherwise one will tend to self-destruct.

For instance, if someone engages in very low-vibrational thoughts and activities but at the same time attempts very high-vibrational activities such as extended meditation, or extensive creativity in music, art, etc., there will be a severe clash in energies.  The person, in order to relieve their discomfort, may turn to drugs or excessive alcohol or sexual drama in order to cope with the excessive energy.  In other words, it’s like flowing 3500 watts of electrical energy through a system that can only tolerate 500 watts.  Unless a change is made the person will burn out on drugs and alcohol, seem increasingly crazy, or live a shortened life.

So when we feel our levels of creativity peaking, it is important to adapt to the higher energy level.  We must be more diligent in associating with people on the same path.  We must eat foods that will replenish, rather than deplete our energy.  We must allow our bodies to get the exercise they need in order to process the extra energy.  All of this is done in order to preserve the creative life and keep the channels flowing.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with this way of thinking, I would invite you to investigate it and experiment with these concepts before dismissing them out of hand. For those who already know what I’m talking about, I hope this is a reminder  to remain diligent about such matters and respect the creative process.

May this week bring you the blessing of creativity and the responsibility to handle it.  With peace and love I encourage you to follow your bliss.

So mote it be…

No Excuses!

I had an interaction with someone this week who seemed intent on blaming their lack of success in a particular endeavor on other parties.  This person figured that if they just changed their circumstances, they would be better off.  As we talked,  it turned out that they had not done any preparation, didn’t practice, didn’t do any homework,  had missed a few lessons on what they were trying to learn, and really didn’t have much time to change any of this.  They asked me what I thought they should do.

I told this person the same thing I would tell myself – don’t blame other people for your lack of progress.  Unless and until you have done all that you can do, changing your circumstances will only bring you the exact same results you are experiencing now.  Do all that you can do, but be realistic about how much time you have and how important this goal really is.  Making progress in anything is a process.  There are no shortcuts, no miracles, no pills, and no spells that can replace hard work, a good attitude, and persistence.

So, before you embark on any kind of expensive or time-consuming change of circumstances, ask yourself the following questions:

1)      If my circumstances were to never change, what qualities would I have to develop to still be happy?

2)      What can I do now to get as close as possible to the life I want, right here and right now?

3)      If I believed that my discontent/lack of success/etc. were all my fault, what could I do today to turn things around (hint: when YOU change, people’s response to you and, thus, your circumstances, tend to change also).

So, for all of us experiencing challenges of various sorts, let’s avoid the blame game.  It’s important to have certain trusted people to confide in.  But let’s do a 95/5 split – 95% of the time spent in gratitude, affirming the truth about our value, our gifts, and our potential; and 5% of the time spent venting about what frustrates us about our lives – so  we can get it off our chest and move on towards solutions.

Besides – as long as we’re breathing, the game is still on.  There is always something we can do to improve our circumstances – if we believe we can do it and are willing to work for it.

Speaking of work, in my work I have been experimenting with different mediums – mainly pen and ink and watercolor.  I checked out the following books from the library and have gotten a lot out of them so far: Rendering In Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill and Exploring Drawing for Animation by Kevin Hedgpeth & Stephen Missal.  And my watercolor class had a field trip to a live demo by artist Jeanne Hyland.  She did a lovely portrait, live, for us and had many items for sale.  I have really enjoyed indulging the child in me by playing with new mediums!

Have a great week of moving towards the life you want – no excuses!

Peace and love and, as always, go follow your bliss…