Category Archives: life

Your dream is real

Your dream is real, yet we do everything BUT listen to and acknowledge our dream.

Everyone has a longing for something. For me, it was art, making art in many forms. I have made a lot of art over the years, but there have been many detours along the way.

The problem is DOING, and major lack of listening.

To really get beyond all the conditioning we carry from as far back as our childhood, we have to stop everything and listen within.

The dream might be a small flicker of light or a great big monster trying to get your attention.

Our conditioning is based on doing, of accomplishing, of getting ahead, of making money, of being practical. Listen to the voice of reason.

Problem is, life becomes an uphill struggle, a chore, an anti-dream. We push through, we are super women or men, and we hate getting up in the morning (if we allow ourselves to think about it.) Maybe all doors to thinking and feeling are closed. Easier that way.

But it isn’t. If we don’t listen within, there comes a crisis where we’re faced with our blocks and short-comings. Then there is no way forward except for letting go and facing the uncomfortable voice of truth.

Why do we allow the crisis to happen? It’s the illusion of all is fine, “I’ve got this,” “I’m okay,” while quietly suffering inside or not acknowledging our feelings. Sticking the head in the sand is not the answer.

I have come to a cross-roads and I’m willing to look at it. It’s not the first time in my life that change has come knocking on my door.

There has been a time of major blah in my life lately. I go through the motions but the mojo isn’t there.

Well okay, I recognize the signs of change.

Instead of stubbornly pushing through, which is my most common way of performing, I have learned to drop it all and really look into the gaping maw of the unknown.

Either I can be excited or full of fear.

Why hang on to the old? It’s like having a favorite sweater you don’t want to let go of even if it’s full of holes and paint spatters.

I might not know what is next, but so far, life has worked out just fine, so why would I need to fear the future?

I’m not afraid but I don’t like change. It’s so much easier to stay in my comfort zone than to take a look at my inner far-from-perfect patterns. It can be outright disgusting. But I have to acknowledge the truth if I’m to free myself from conditioning.

Self love, self-compassion are important as we change. They help when we’re facing the “beast” that does NOT want to examine anything. It says, “I don’t want any inner growth.”

But do you want to stay in the stale sameness? I know I don’t, so I bite the bullet. Allowing the inner to come out is a new way of living.

Let’s live from the inside out! Facing the “beast” can become a healthy habit, just like exercising and eating right. I’d rather support my path to renewal than support the same ole, same ole.

Behind all of the stuff we carry, there is LIGHT and it’s always available. 🙂

Yet, listen up. Your dream wants to manifest in 3D so let’s make room for it.

I did have some fun. I made a how-to art journal video this week. Check it out.

mermaid

Have a great weekend! Let that creativity flow.

xo

Maria

Mortifying memories

Mortifying memories remain very vivid in my mind. Isn’t it funny how we remember the “bad” things more than the good?

It’s about 90 degrees here today and I’m sitting at my computer sweating. It brought me back to some memories of snow. Let me tell you a funny story.

I grew up in Sweden and it was plenty cold, dark, and snowy for maaany months of the year. Think same latitude as Alaska.

Skiing was something everyone did in the winter. Sometimes the snow glistened like diamonds with a soft layer over packed snow. Perfect skiing surface, and gorgeous to boot.

Around age of sixteen I got interested in slalom. I was never into taking classes at the time, but I went with a friend’s family to ski a mountain.

It started out with my dad buying mountain skis that were too long for effective use. The downhill boots hurt my ankles, but being young and strong, I endured.

The first time I went up a ski lift I fell off as I tried to get on it. My pants ripped in the ass and filled with snow. A totally mortifying experience as everyone watched. My memory is a bit hazy, but I think I fell off three times before I got the hang of it.

Not only did that happen but I had to spend the whole DAY with my undies showing through the rip and being cold from wet snow.

It took a long time to get down the mountain and I fell plenty, replenishing the snow in my pants. I realized I would have to learn how to slalom if I was ever going to enjoy the downhill experience. My ass was close to frost bite that evening. To my delight, I did get the hang of the ski lift…

Needless to say, it was a trip of mixed joys…

My folks didn’t have a lot of money, so classes were out of the question, but during dark winter evenings, after school, I used to hoist my skis on my shoulder and stagger down to the local slalom hill (converted sand pits.)

There I started low to the bottom and practiced my slalom skills. No one ever showed me how, but by watching others, I got some kind of hang of it and ventured up steeper hills.

Chicken as I was, I never dared to try the highest ones but I got courageous some evenings and went down the medium hills. It was a thrill.

The ski lift there was rough. You had to hang on to a handle and the handle pulled you up on a thick wire. You needed to have your skis aligned or you’d fall off and then you had to move sideways on skis up the hill, which was tedious beyond belief.

I almost killed myself there when my scarf got rolled into the wire and as I got to the winch at the top I had to quickly untie the scarf or get strangled and mangled. (Another mortifying memory.) The scarf came out at the other end no worse for wear…

The point of this story:

  • I stuck to the routine of learning slalom, almost every night, and I was sad when the snow melted and I had to give it up.
  • I went alone every time. It showed me that I could take initiative and do things without others’ approval.
  • It was frickin’ cold but I did it anyway.
  • One time I did cross-country skiing every day to recover from a severe illness. I was fifteen and took that initiative. Sometimes slushy snow made things difficult but the skiing made me feel stronger every day.
  • Something inside me pushed me to do self-care and to grow my confidence.
  • That something has been with me all my life and urged me on. Learn more, be curious about life, always learn more. Be a student of life.

It’s always about self-care! What do you allow in your life that is not good for you? Can you quit doing it? What can you learn today? Is life an adventure or a drag? Sometimes it’s a drag, but if you have a good foundation, you can rise above and still move forward.

The point is, question your routine and see how you can make it better. Let the years get better, not like some fading lamp of old age.

For artists: Make art every day! Learn something new. Take risks. Be bold. Enjoy the process.

I had a delightful chat with artist Trisch Rosema about art journaling. My little gift to you today. 🙂 You can watch it HERE.

If you want some more motivation, read this blog post: The Dog Ate My Motivation.

Or this post: Trusting Yourself.

What pushes you to improve?

xo

Maria

Masks we wear

Masks we wear are many and varied. One person can wear many masks or personas.  We swear the masks are who we are.

I could call myself an artist, a writer, a reader, a nature lover, a spiritual being, a woman. Some roles are more prominent than others. I could go on with more, but I’m already tired of thinking about all the roles I uphold. 🙂

masks we wear

I did some art journaling around masks and it got me thinking about what is behind everything.

We believe our mind is the sole creator of who we are. We have compartmentalized all that we know, all our experiences and beliefs of who we are and who everyone else is.

masks we wear

So much crap is stored “up there,” but to be honest it all hangs out in our energy. The brain doesn’t store all the images and beliefs. The brain is a glutinous mass that sends out and receives signals. (Simplified version.)

Just to digress a little… a bird is a bird, not wearing any masks, a cat is basically a cat, though I have seen mine wearing masks. However, on a more basic level all animals are what they are; they live by instinct.

The wind blows in the trees, the leaves bend naturally to the wind. They don’t say or think that it’s uncool to bend. They don’t have to wear any designer masks to BE.

After my morning ritual I was lifting my arm to scratch my neck and thought, who is lifting my arm? Is it my brain sending out signals? Yes, but there is more too it.

The impulse that got my brain sending out signals to lift my arm to scratch the itch was automatic as is much action involving my body.  We don’t think about it, just do it.

We take everything for granted until it doesn’t work any more.

To cut to the chase, the life force moves the impulses and also creates my art. It makes the whole world go around, sometimes with terrible force like hurricanes.

We are NOT the roles we play.

Roles can only hinder the latent creativity that lies underneath it all.

It can be scary to remove masks. Vulnerability is something we protect at all cost.

However, creativity is vulnerability. If you don’t dare to show up as yourself and you express an artist persona or only copy art that is the latest “trend,” you miss out.

Sometimes I get stuck in limbo between stepping up and “taking action” (as in forcing something to happen,) versus allowing things to unfold at its own pace. It takes courage to stand vulnerable in front of your art. There can be a lot of creative angst yet the reward is great if you follow through and don’t give in to all the imagined monsters in the mind.

We have a great fear of being judged unfavorably. Seeking approval is one part of the mask we have built up. Truth to tell, who gives a sh*t what others think about your art??

We are the hardest judge. We compare the art to the accepted norm and find it falling short of expectation.

What a buzz killer that is.

You have a choice. Do you keep going or do you give up? Do you forgive yourself and allow the art to be just as it is?

We go through many stages as an artist. There are no shortcuts so we might as well enjoy the journey and revel in the moments that feel perfect as everything falls together without barely an effort.

Those moments become more numerous with time, but there is no guarantee.

Be the explorer of a new continent that does not have boundaries like land. Live in the moment and let the wind sing in your “leaves.” That is true art. 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. If you want to explore art journaling but doesn’t know where to start, sign up for my artist email newsletter and get a free art journal primer. SIGN UP.

A bunch of Mondays

A bunch of Mondays was something I used to say when I had a bad week. Nowadays I love Mondays. I love every day in fact, but Monday is a day full of possibilities for the week. “The world is your oyster” as they say…. or “where there is a will there’s a way.

a bunch of MondaysSquirrels don’t care if it’s Monday or Saturday. They want to eat bird seed and they don’t give up easily when the opportunity is there. They are opportunists, as are most animals when it comes to food. They see the possibilities in life.

People are like caged animals, something we created for ourselves.

Why did we divide the days into weeks in the first place? Cavemen went by the rising and setting of the sun (I surmise.)

People hate Mondays because it heralds the beginning of ANOTHER week, also called the grind.

I used to think Saturday was my favorite day of the week. I could go out shopping and meet up with friends and loved ones. There was always some party or event at night. Those were a bunch of Saturdays…

It got boring fast. I bore easily, but the one thing that never bores me is my art. Art is new every day. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but I would never exchange it for the grind.

When we do more of what we love, the days get filled with possibilities. You get a more positive outlook on life in general. bunch of Mondays

Living life from the perspective of possibilities and joy gives existence a whole new meaning.

We can break out of the cage. First, you have to discover what you really love to do. What comes easily to you? What did you want to do as a kid or teenager?

Do more of it. Sometimes it takes courage to choose a new path, but you get more brave with every step. As you keep on walking you discover that it is the only way to live.

Even if you are part of “the grind” do things that fire you up in your free time. Build dreams, see possibilities.

The inventors of the past were admired because they saw possibilities and took dedicated steps towards realizing their vision.

You don’t have to be an Edison or a Tesla to have an extraordinary life (dream.)

All you have to do is to acknowledge that you have a dream and GO FOR IT!

Monday will become the best day of the week if you do. 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. I have some new and exiting things in my etsy shop. CHECK ‘EM OUT.

 

Your gremlins

Your gremlins will always be around to sneak through the crack in your door. I’m talking about the “I am not good enough,” “I don’t have time,” “I can’t afford,” “I don’t know enough,” “I don’t know how…”  “I’m too old.”

You get the picture. Some of them are stronger and some are cunning. They are all opportunists and freeloaders, and persistent like sales people on commission.  They lie in wait…

crocodiles

You know they are there, so what to do?

They all stem from fear of course.  I wrote a blog post about that: What do you fear?

Every time you set a goal or set an intention to change your lifestyle in any way, the gremlins will show up like clockwork. Let’s look at the “I’m not good enough.”

Unless you have massive experience or a PhD, it’s likely you don’t know enough about something like astrophysics, but maybe you could get excited about a telescope and the stars?

Most people don’t know a huge amount of stuff, but they might know an angle that is unique.

Maybe you came across an artist making these great teapots and you are filled with a burning desire to learn how to make them and perhaps start a ceramic biz.

To start something like that you do need some classes, a lot of them maybe, but if you love it, go for it! At some point YOU WILL BE good enough and have fun in the process.

What if you have life experience? What can you teach people from your own experiences? Lots, I’m sure. People in similar circumstances want to know. People are always looking for solutions to problems.

If you have a passion and you have done nothing about it, why? We will always doubt ourselves, but once we roll up our sleeves and go for it, we find that the gremlin trying to stop us is only hot air.

courage

Once you make the decision to start the journey, the momentum of you applying yourself daily will take you to the heart of your passion. That is the law of nature.

I meet so many wannabe artists, but the first excuse coming out of their mouth is a clear indication the gremlins have a strong hold.  The “I don’t have time” or “I don’t have the right tools” or “I don’t know how,” are the most common. I know that they will never even try!

The status quo has a massive hold on us.

Don’t let the gremlins rule! Whatever your dream, don’t end up old and full of regrets. It’s never too late to start something new. If you’re breathing you can do something today.

Listen to that yearning, the little longing voice that makes you think of THAT thing you never did anything about.

Today is a good day to start! Do it even if the gremlins are screaming bloody murder…

xo

Maria

P.S. I went crazy this week and loaded up my etsy shop with new juicy art journals and a fairy pouch or two. EARTHANDFAERY.

 

Who is looking?

Who is looking through my eyes? Kind of a deep question, and something that could be discussed at length, but to make it simple:

Life itself, filtered through many of my beliefs and preferences, (perhaps unfortunately,) 🙂

Life itself does not judge. When I’m aligned with that and in flow, working, I don’t think much about the art and where it’s going. I just DO.

who is looking?

I add one color or one item that pleases me. It’s an automatic act, pretty much. I lay down one color and then I choose the next and so on. I choose what pleases my eye in the moment.

The process intrigues me and the result usually amazes me because what appears is beyond what I would have painted had I decided to paint a still life motif or some other fixed view.

The process is so intriguing that it becomes the most desired way to express for me.  I’d go as far as saying it’s addictive.

It takes trust to work this way.  Trust grows by DOING.

What the art process reveals is always interesting even if I don’t like the finished art work. That happens quite often, but I respect the process.

Then I move on to the next page or canvas… and the next. After all, art is constant change.  Life is constant change. What we liked yesterday does not work today.

who is looking?

Art reveals life and life reveals art.

We learned to live in 3D by experimentation. Toddlers live in trial and error mode all day long. 🙂 Once we get past that stage, what then? Maybe boredom sets in.

I think it’s incredibly important to keep experimenting with life. No need to go to extremes, but what is your creative power?

It doesn’t have to be art, but for artists there are endless possibilities for experimentation. We are so lucky! We can be catalysts for life itself, our hands and tools extensions of something greater.

All we need to do is get in the flow every day, by DOING. Do art, make stuff, trust your instincts, have faith that all is well, embody the greatness.

Allow life to see through you and use your unique gifts. That’s when life becomes magical.

Have a creative weekend!

Maria

P.S.  The art journaling pages above are part of a new e-course I have set up, titled Life’s Song Art Journaling e-course. You will learn how to make your own papers and ephemera and incorporate them into your art journal pages. It’s a four segment course, and the first segment is available NOW.  The rest will be published once a month for the next three months. Each segment is ONLY $12!!!  Enroll now and get creative. CLICK HERE.