Art is My Medicine ~ Pre Libra Full Moon Post Mercury Retrograde Edition

Hey litebeings!

As I continue to struggle to process a myriad of emotions within me during a difficult challenge, I yearn to express myself in words. I have done some journaling and have found it cathartic. I also meditated today with the new Oprah/Deepak Chopra series entitled Hope in Uncertain Times. As we integrate this powerful full moon and begin yet another Mercury retrograde cycle, self-care is more essential than ever. While this is a good start, I am too overwhelmed to create a coherent blog today.

But that does not mean I cannot share some art therapy that is guaranteed to lift spirits and lighten one’s burdens. My inspiration today came via a painting that appeared in my Facebook news feed. I invite you to take in the magic of Odilon Redon. I have featured his work here a few times before and the more I discover, the more joy inhabits my being. Let’s honor Libra’s ruler Venus with boundless beauty.

Enjoy the view :

all Odilon Redon via wikiart.org public domain

Wishing you a spectacular Libra Full Moon!

image credits ~ wikiart.org, public domain
wikipedia.org public domain

Staycation Wind-up

wikimedia free domain

Howdy litebeings! Happy New Aquarius Moon, Happy Mars in Aries, and Happy Chinese New Year ( Rooster Year) ! There is so much energy unleashed and most of it is in fire and air. Currently I have many planets in my 12th house ( including the new moon) so I embarked on a stay-cation. Many of my recent vacations over the past few years have been of this variety, simply because I did not have the funds to travel. But as an INFJ, it is imperative that I have periodic escapes from people, places, and stimulus overload. So I allow myself time to disconnect from obligations and stressful activities. Be aware this is a LONG entry, even though I left some material chronicling my activities out,

Thanks in advance to those who choose to read the entire post!

Pre-staycation:

Pent-up emotions, fire and more: Thursday January 12th, the day before my last day of work, I noticed a vehicle with the word fire on it. The visual stuck with me. This happens often, where a word or phrase will leap out to me and make an impression. That evening I was preparing some loose herbal tea and I filled the kettle practically to the top. It boiled over and all the pilots on the stove went off. When I was unable to re-light them and smelled gas, I called maintenance. I was told I had to call 911. They sent over a fire engine and a team of firemen! I felt so foolish, but it was protocol. I link this with seeing the fire vehicle in the morning and also with an intensification of emotion.

Friday the 13th madness: Moving into my new position at work and relocating my office was more challenging than I imagined. I found myself to be very hyped and agitated. The day before vacation ( Friday January 13th) was when I decided to change offices and I was incredibly anxious. There is a circular path on the campus on which my office is located and after lunch I took a brisk walk around the track. It helped me clear my head, but I still managed to drop a box I was carrying in the hallway. The energy was so intense and I was about to short-circuit.

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Astro-nuggets: The current transits have been brutal for me personally: Chiron square my moon , Saturn opposing my moon, and Pluto opposing my Mars have done quite a number on my emotional body and personal will. I have been feeling very aggressive and quite alienated, as if there is a wall between myself and other people.  I have engaged in some nasty road rage when provoked and distanced myself from a few people on Facebook. This nastiness and brashness is a blast from the past. I have not felt so moody in many, many years. I feel like I am held hostage in a state of perpetual PMS!

Knowing the astrology does help, but I think there is more to it. I have felt bombarded by the post-Election world where there is a clash between our highest nature and our darkest instincts. My old wounds around jealousy, righteous indignation, and competition have risen to the surface. I want to clarify that even at my least conscious, I only act out if provoked ( Mars in Cancer). I had hoped the stay-cation would give me the break I needed to administer self-care and address the flood of negativity.

So how did I spend my time? Well, thanks for asking! Here are the highlights of a week that was punctuated by grey skies, cold rain, and a power outage at my home. I envisioned this time as a 12th house hibernation where I would simply read, write, watch movies, and draw. It turned out to be less me-time than I had desired, but I did get to decompress a little.

Books I am reading: The Red Book Liber Novus by Jung, The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and What if This is Heaven ? By Anita Moorjani.

I have just skimmed over the Red Book, savoring its majesty. I can tell I am in for a treat. I also glossed over What if This is Heaven by Anita Moorjani, not feeling it as much as Dying to Be Me, her initial book about her NDE. Most of my reading time was devoted to Dyer’s The Power of Intention. I will explain why later on in this post.

 Women mentors: I had two meetings that week, one with my Spiritual Director and the other with my new clinical supervisor. I was able to address my feelings of isolation and disconnection with my Spiritual Director, who I have been working with for several years. My initial meeting with my new supervisor was a bit awkward, particularly because of the intense cold rain and the clamor inside the diner, but I sense we will form a solid relationship. I just have to take it easy and adjust to a different personality while navigating a new routine. We shall see how this plays out.

Animals on the Other Side, part II : It turns out that the live webinar with Danielle MacKinnon that I registered for was happening in the afternoon during one of my vacation days. I was not home for  the live streaming of Part I of Animals on the Other Side so I was glad the Part II coincided with my free-time. She encouraged us to email her questions prior to the program so I asked her about how our former pets guide us to pick new ones. She actually chose my question as one of the few selected, but it did not comfort me. What I really wanted was a reading and she chose other participant for those. The webinar confirmed that my grief over Dexter is far from complete and that I am stunned to realize he has been gone for about 18 months. It seems like only a few months, but it is moving towards 2 years this July. I still miss him so very much.

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Tinkering with art: I started this piece from an adult coloring book weeks ago but finished it up right at the end of stay-cation. Using colored pencils was a somewhat novel endeavor for me, but I enjoyed the departure from pencil and crayons.

Films : Dream is Destiny, 20th Century Women . I viewed  Dream is Destiny at home. It is a documentary about Richard Linklater and it was not shown locally. He is my favorite filmmaker and this piece commented on his passion of playing with the concept of time. This is one of the reasons I find his work so compelling. I was going to see 20th Century Women, a film about a single mother during the 1970s,  after a sushi lunch with a friend on Inauguration Day. But the rain was relentless and I just wanted to get home. I plan to see it hopefully before it leaves the theaters. Arrival is another must-see when it “arrives” on On-Demand. The main objective is to not watch the inauguration. Mission Accomplished!

New 2017 practice: I had to do something about the anger, hopelessness and loneliness I have been experiencing. Nothing was getting through. The death of Paul, the drama at work, and the change in the US government was taking its toll on me. The acting out behaviors were a sign that I was out of balance.  It occurred to me that I needed to move the energy around. So I re-dedicated myself to the Create My Day ritual invented by Dr. Joe Dispenza. I first discovered him on the What the Bleep Do We Know? film around 2005. His work on using the Quantum Field is also featured in Wayne Dyer’s book The Power of Intention so I am reading Dyer’s book while watching this video each morning. The emphasis is on focusing on what you want and aligning yourself with higher vibrations in the process. One of my favorite Dyer quotes is ” If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Indeed!

My 12th house wounds have been controlling me and I am through with shadow-work. I have cleared enough for an eternity of lifetimes. This exciting approach combines science with spirituality in a way that research has shown to be effective. Sometimes you have to change it up. The week flew by and this lightning pace is the new normal. Practicing observer consciousness is my way through for now.

and finally….

High-tech self-discovery: Since all the planets are now direct, I decided to embark on an adventure that has interested me for over ten years. Around 2006-07, genealogy had begun to increase in popularity. In addition, DNA tests were made available to the public. While I was quite curious about unraveling more about my lineage, the price was quite high so I put it on hold. Now the tests are very affordable and the technology is more advanced. So I ordered a test from Ancestry.com and it arrived yesterday! I am very excited to learn more about my origins. I will keep you updated as I discover more about my heritage. It is high time that I immerse myself in my passions and dreams.

If not now, when?

Here’s an oldie but goodie by the Go-Go’s ~ an all female band:

header, water-bearer and rooster images via wikpedia.org, public domain

Art is My Medicine ~ Winter’s Bones Edition

Hey litebeings,

Winter is incredibly damp and frosty today, chilling me to the bone. It is high time for some art therapy to the rescue. Today’s featured art is by hishida shunso.

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I was inspired by the muted colors and soft imagery, not to mention the hydrangea symbolism that reflects my Gravatar.

image credits ~ wikiart.org, public domain

Returning Home Part VII: – Art Therapy at Philadelphia Museum of Art

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This is the next installment in the Returning Home series where I shine a light on places that accelerate my transcendance and assist in restoring my inner peace. Given the recent news of the Trump upset presidential victory, I go to my love of art as a way to get back to my “happy place”.

I visited the Phila Museum of Art ( aka the Art Museum) for my birthday. I have been there numerous times over the years and it is a gorgeous building that houses extraordinary art. I have not considered it to be one of my “power places” per se, but I have found my visits to be inspiring, soothing, and occasionally transformative.

The current draw is  Paint the Revolution, the Mexican modernism exhibit which features the works of Rivera, Kahlo, and others. While I did enjoy this presentation, I was totally enthralled with the redesign of the South Asian galleries. They did a bang up job of re-envisioning a treasure trove of architecture, jewelry, artifacts, and much, much, more. I was able to take a few shots with my cellphone, which apparently is ” a thing”. I had no idea visitors were allowed to do this.

 Please enjoy:

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While South American and South Asian cultures have little in common, I relished their contrasts and the emotional resonances that were provoked within. I semi-randomly assembled a mix of both collections to display here, including a gorgeous mandala as the header image.  An unexpected delight was this partially hidden Sufi manuscript exhibit that was converted to an animation piece. Entitled Disruption as Rapture, within about five minutes my higher self was dissolving into the ethers. It has been quite some time since I experienced a dissolution of self. Pretty cool. With a name like Disruption as Rapture, this “performance art” certainly depicts how one can thrive during these uncertain times.

Psychic Friends

Howdy litebeings! It is absolutely blazing hot here in Philadelphia and Mars at the end of Scorpio is adding even more rage to the fire. I am absolutely filled to the brim with amazing blog ideas, and yet, am too pooped to turn them into actual posts. Work is quite exhausting and physically I have developed rashes and bites and a foot injury requiring a tetanus shot. Rash is so Mars, isn’t it?

Anyway, I want to share a quick tale and then invite you to revisit this post from last fall. A few days ago I was deeply thinking about the last few visits from my dear friend Arlene. I was visualizing all the places we went and the conversations and laughs we shared. A day or so later I receive an email from Arlene saying she’ll be back in my area in about a week! I did not tell her about my telepathic foray, but she does read the blog so perhaps she’ll discover it here.

Why I was moved to contemplate our renewed friendship, I could not say. But I am fascinated by this synchronicity because it was rather specific. Thinking about someone and then getting a text, call, or email is fine, but focusing on Arlene’s specific visits and then a few days later being notified of her next visit seems like a big deal.

It is comforting to know I am still partially tuned into the ethers, even with so much energy focused on maintaining a new work routine while changing my diet and adjusting to this brutal weather.

I hope to be back writing soon, but in the meantime please enjoy the Magic Gardens….

 

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Here is the latest chapter in my Returning Home series, where I explore the portals towards self-realization. I am reposting this on a Pisces day with a Scorpio moon. While editing, I noticed that this excursion to the Magic Gardens occurred on a Scorpio day with a Pisces moon. Ahh, my friend synchronicity never fails to quicken a heartbeat or prompt a smile… It took me some time to realize that South Street contains some powerful energetic gateways. It certainly did not hurt that this recent visit was spent with a dear childhood friend.

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old, One is Silver and the Other’s Gold ..

Photo979 (1)Anyone remember this Girl Scout song about friendship? Apparently Hillary Clinton did when she was recently interviewed about surrounding herself with old friends throughout her life. She goes on to explain that she has made many new friends and then referenced the song. She expressed her fondness for Photo973longtime pals, including a friend she made in the 6th grade. I was a girl scout and also remembered the song. Its mention was timely since I would be meeting up shortly with my friend from 8th grade, Arlene. I think it is okay with her that I use her first name here. If not, this will encourage her to learn how to leave a comment here. ( She does read my blog, which makes me smile).

Photo977 (2)We got together yesterday and it is fall at its finest. The leaves are now close to peaking and I savored their beauty on my drive back and forth from my home to South Street. What a rare day it was with a clear blue sky, cool weather, and endless sunshine. The focus of our trip was the Magic Gardens. We both benefited from some magic in our day.

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Yesterday was that rare astro combo I am so fond of: Scorpio Sun, Pisces Moon. Since it was a void of course moon to boot, the day was emotional, creative, free-flowing, and quite mystical. I had not been to the Magic Gardens before, but was eager to visit. I had read about the gardens years ago and was transfixed by its sparkly goodness. It is so much better in person, I can assure you. I took plenty of pictures, but I urge you to see it for yourself.

Photo971The experience was surreal as we lost ourselves in the mystery of the exhibit space, climbing steps up and down and slowly exploring the nuances of beatific wonder, tiny and huge, whimsical and deliberate.  Stained glass, mosaics, paintings on tiles, curious word puzzles, intuitive use of space, the value of  “disposable ” items.

 There are no limits here. 

Our time together was precious as I introduced her to some of my favorite haunts Photo966that still remain, like the amazing South Street Souvlaki. We had a delicious meal and created new memories to accompany the old ones. According to their website, the restaurant has been around since 1977. We have been friends even before then !

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Sharing great food and experiencing fabulous art is especially awesome when it is with someone who loves the same things with equal passion. It is so refreshing and rare to find someone who understands my taste for both the old and the quirky and finds joy where I dwell ( books, travel, creativity, ethnic food, music, etc.)

Photo976We get each other and leave judgments behind. Compromise is not really compromise and laughter comes so easily.These Magic Gardens and this stretch of South Street did morph into another power place for me, a mystical portal where the light is shimmering and all is well.Perhaps this has always been the case. I am not certain.  What I do know is that we all can benefit from following our dreams and inklings, no matter how fragile or subtle they appear to be. The interplay between living and blogging was evident as I scrambled to take pictures and delete old images to free up memory to capture something new.

I wonder: aren’t we always scrambling to stay in the present and deciding which thoughts to erase in exchange for something sparkling with new life?

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http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/

I relish the melding of old and new and blog about this often. I dig the chance to explore new places with an old friend. I also delight that my old friend is engaged with my newer ones through this blog. The added bonus of my “astro-twin” commenting on my Magic Gardens FB post after I mentioned her to Arlene earlier in the day seemed Divinely guided. She is a talented artist that uses recycled items in her work.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

This biblical quote is the theme of the day. While my health has been troubling and I did not even think I could visit my friend, grace prevailed and a heartfelt reunion happened. What I take from the quote is that all is restored when one is in proper relationship to oneself and with others. Maybe the magic garden is within and all we have to do is excavate it with love and trust in its existence. There lies both the silver and the gold.

wikiart.org, pub domain

In Plein Air

Is it just me or is time racing by with a vengeance? We have a second Sag full moon, the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere ( Happy Winter to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere) and Father’s day, all within 24 hours or less of one another.

This brings up plenty of stuff for me. Beginnings and endings, light and dark, knowledge and wisdom, fathers and daughters, presence and uncertainty.

Let’s begin with a touch of grace. Last Sunday I decided to have a brief stroll down Germantown Avenue to take in the Plein Air competition. Plein air is associated with the open air painting style found in French Impressionism. I live very close to the Garden district but rarely feel drawn to aimlessly wander up and down the avenue. But this event has a Parisian feel to it, so I figured why not?

After a healthy lunch, I begin walking up hill, on the lookout for artists doing their thing. Without notice , it hits me. I feel so different ; it is so pleasant and yet very unfamiliar. I was relaxed. I was at peace. My mind had slowed down on its own and my anxiety had washed away. I was able to be present without effort. My authentic self surfaced as I made conversation with the artists and felt the gentle breeze. It was a slice of heaven on Earth.

I intend to enter this space more often. When I am fully engaged, I am less likely to ruminate or obsess. I can align with whatever arises and be in the flow. Simple pleasures do abound. Sometimes an attitude adjustment is required, other times, Grace is at hand.

I do not have my father on Earth anymore, and I never liked celebrating Father’s Day. At least, I do not have any memories of enjoying it. So many people grow up without fathers or have poor relationships with their dads. Parenting and nurturing are so crucial in our society. I have made much headway in forgiving my father. He was a flawed person who had a troubled life. But he did not leave my mother and  he always put food on the table. I have less anger and resentment in my heart. This is progress.

The song Daughters came to me while thinking about this post. My brother-in-law is a great dad to his two daughters. My nieces are really blessed in this way and it will help them grow into womanhood with confidence and strength.

To all the dads and future dads out there, take a listen and pay attention. You are capable of so much potentially.

Wishing all my readers the brightest of days and the sweetest of dreams.

image credit ~ wikiart.org, public domain
wikiart.org public domain

Monet 1874 ~ A Slice of Time

Hello litebeings!

Welcome to all the new followers and thank you for witnessing my journey. You are now “official” litebeings.  No strings attached. Just breathe and be you.

I am doing well today, the ” I” being my physical body. I have plenty to say, but my drafts need more time for refinement and digestion.  And yet, I want to share something now.  So I considered that Spring is twinkling on my part of the planet and Monet’s art is such a representation of Spring. Here are a few pieces completed in 1874. Why 1874 you ask?

Why not

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Wishing you iridescent goodness wherever you find yourself in this slice of time.

image credits ~ wikiart.org, public domain

Dust to Dust ~ A Mandala Tale

https://www.facebook.com/drepunggomang/

Today was about doing something new in a place filled with ghosts. I like most things circular, you know this. Kaleidoscopes, astrological wheels, globes, mandalas, hex signs, planets, bangles, hoops, etc. So when one of my coworkers took a group to see a sand mandala demonstration, I was intrigued. It sounded fascinating. I really wanted to join them, but it was not possible. When I learned that the monks destroyed the entire project at the end, my curiosity peaked. What is the purpose? How can you obliterate something you meticulously built with such care?

When I heard that a sand mandala was being created this week at Material Culture, I made a mental note to find some time. Material Culture is a wonderful space filled with exotic treasures from around the world. I used to work at the same complex where it is situated. Interestingly enough,  both a satellite office and the corporate office of two former employers are located rather close together. They share the same side of the parking lot. I moved from one agency to the other and spent some time in both offices. I had wanted to explore Material Culture, but never found the opportunity. My new position kept me quite busy. I promised myself I would go back there some day.

Well that was today.

It was strange retracing my steps as I navigated the parking lot. I have mixed emotions about both of these former employers. There are  some other businesses that occupy this unusual warehouse complex, which is certainly off the beaten track. But the striking view of Center City Philadelphia in the distance never disappoints.  As soon as I entered Material Culture and got a whiff of the incense, my energy shifted. I felt so grounded and relaxed. It was as if I had entered a different dimension. The space is vast and museum-like. There was no signage, but eventually I found the section where the monks were selling wares and working on the sand mandala. It was such a sensual feast ~ a mix of vibrant colors, rich deep scents, and striking sounds that sounded almost musical in nature. I took off my clogs, found a cushion, and drank it all in.

Tomorrow is when they deconstruct the mandala. I could not bear to see that happen. But I was able to contemplate the principle at play. No-thing in form is permanent and all consciousness is in a state of flux. Stay in the moment and be the change.

The header image was taken by me, via my cellphone. Notice that it has more detail than the other image, shot earlier in the day by the Drepung Gomang Buddhist Center. We are forever being recycled, birthed and extinguished, dust to dust.

I highly recommend you attend such a ceremony if you can find one in your area. The skillful intensity of the Tibetan monks is breathtaking and the mandala art, exquisite. I would have stayed longer had I felt more energized. I do feel somewhat better health-wise, but still a bit weak and fatigued. The energy from the physical space and the monks did fuel my spirit and enhance my mood. The charge was positive and the people I encountered seemed peaceful and upbeat.

I found this song after choosing the title for this blog. It is new for me, unlike the complex I visited today. And yet, the message haunts me. It seems to complement the theme of opening up the self to break through any isolation. This resonates for me strongly. I hope it also makes an impact on you.

wikiart.org pub domain

Words and Pictures

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Words and Pictures is a film I have longed to see for a good while. The draw for me is my passion for both writing and the visual arts. It had alluded me at the theater and disappeared from cable and Netflix without warning. It reappeared this week on On Demand fortunately.

Mini-review: This film is about two lonely, wounded artists who find one another and challenge each other to become better versions of themselves. The acting is magnificent. Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen are beautifully matched here. I am a fan of both in such films as Chocolat, Bee Season, Croupier, and Closer. But I would be inclined to say they gave better performances in this piece. I appreciated mostly the nuances in what wasn’t said, the intricacies expressed by their facial expressions were on full display.

The main premise asks the question: Which medium is more moving , pictures or words? While the answer still remains a mystery, the film uses both words and visuals to provide drama, inspiration, and some comic relief. Both main characters struggle with loss, failure, and emotional vulnerability. It seems like they have become reduced to lifeless, half-dead, shells. But life has other plans….

The purpose of this post is to pair images with words and have you, the reader, decide your preference. I am pairing the paintings of J. E. H. MacDonald and the words of  poets from Love Poems from God and quotes by The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo for your enjoyment and comparison.

First pairing:

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I WOULD CEASE TO BE by St. Teresa of Avila

God

dissolved

my mind – my separation.

I cannot describe now my intimacy with Him.

How dependent is your body’s life on water and food and air?

I said to God ” I will always be unless you cease to Be.”

And my Beloved replied, ” And I

would cease to Be

if you

died.”

Second pairing:

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LIKE ROOTS by St. Thomas of Assisi

Our hands imbibe like roots

so I place them on what is beautiful in this world.

And I fold them in prayer, and they

draw from the heavens

light.

Third pairing:

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The stream of life that runs through the world,

runs through my veins.  ~  Rabindranath Tagore

Fourth pairing:

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And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk to bloom.  ~ Anais Nin

Final reflections ~

This is not a contest, just merely an exercise to focus on the wonder of the written word and the dance of color and light. I will admit that blogging has afforded me the luxury of marrying my words with art, a luxury I am unlikely to relinquish without a fight.

The beauty of Words and Pictures is the restoration of the main characters. This is a partial restoration or reset point. While neither one goes back in time, before the damage and wounds set in, they emerge lively and prolific once more. Compromises were made and risks were taken. Through this process, rebirth prevailed.

Happy Spring from litebeing,

May you embrace your inner Easter.

image credits ~ wikiart.org, public domain
Mikalojus Ciurlionis wikiart.org public domain

Art is My Medicine ~ Neptunian Splendour

This is the next installment in the occasional series I call Art is My Medicine ~ highlighting the healing magic of visual art. These past few days we have been graced with both a Neptune Sun conjunction and Pisces Sun trine Scorpio Moon. These energies naturally lead me to revel in the boundless magnificence of all creative endeavors. On this auspicious Leap Day I am featuring the paintings of  Mikalojus Ciurlionis. A couple of his masterpieces can also be found here. Join me as I ride the waves of colour, texture, and interplay of light.

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image credits ~ wikart.org, public domain