What images do you have in your mind?

Thoughts and options head with arrows on blackboard

During these times of lockdowns and health crisis’s as the world begins to try and return to normal or our new normal as the case may be. Many of us will have been doing some reflection and inner work during this time.

Inner work is something that never ends once you start – while you may heal any surface traumas or reasons for being in crisis there always remains more tools to learn until you can finally one day come to a stage of self mastery.

One such tool that is very useful during these times is guided imagery. Many people will have noticed that we are constanly bombarded with images – we dont notice half of them as we blank out constant advertisements billboards and other messages but this doesnt mean that our mind hasnt “noticed” those images – no they get slipped straight into the back of our mind our subconscious. When we watch tv and news reports during times such as these with the Coronovirus crisis we may be immediately overwhelmed by a series of fearful crisis images – people in scary masks, doctors and fearsome ideas of death and dying being imminant.

So, we may be strong and feel these images have no real effect on us and consciously we may be OK, but subconsciously those images have entered our thought life and begin to do their work in causing a darkened mind filled with fear and worry. The media is so powerful, at least as much as the advertising agencies in influencing our minds through images and nobody is immune. So what do you do during a crisis or a war when the images used by the media and other agencies get even more intense which may realistically threaten to over whelm our mental health

1 We can choose to limit our exposure to these images – maybe choose to watch less tv for instance and instead use to the time to learn something new or practise a calming and enjoyable hobby instead.

2 We can utilise Guided imagery

3 We can create art of our own positive uplifting healing images

I have already covered some benefits of art making in earlier blogs but we have never looked at guided imagery.

According to Martin Rossman who wrote the book Guided Imagery for self healing the brain has 2 parts one thinks in words and logic and the other part thinks mainly in images. So what is guided imagery? – guided imagery utilises the two parts of the brain and unites the conscious and unconscious by describing images and sensory experiences as a guided meditation to take the person on an experience which is beautiful enjoyable and healing.

The video below is an example of guided imagery “the forest awakens”

So in this kind of mediation the person goes on a journey filled with guided images which fill the mind and help cause a physiological response with is the OPPOSITE of fear tension and anxiety. So this is a perfect antidote to the fear based images we may receive in our minds from other sources.

Sometimes we may also find that we may be indoors more often in order to meet the demands of quarantine and to keep ourselves safe – so if we can take a guided imagery walk through the forest – this fills our mind and subconsious with beautiful images and scents and sounds which have a fully transformative and healing effect

Guided imagery can also be used to alleviate all kinds of sufferings like anxiety and pain or can even be uses to prepare for stressful life events such as speaking in public or preparing for an exam.

Guided imagery can also be uses to compost or transform old negative stuck emotions which may appear to be held in the body but are actually in the mind which appears to be non local. So an example would be to imagine all the things which have causes you anxiety over the last month and feel all that heavy material from that leaving your body and being composted into the ground – to be transformed into beautiful crystaline energy

There are wonderful guided imagery meditations found online to help with all sorts of life dillemas and anxieties including the current crisis – there is some great meditations and exercises by a lady called Anahita Joon – transforming fear into wisdom http://www.anahitajoon.com/

Guided imagery is used in Quantum healing accessing the archetypes of the subconscious mind as guided imagery connects both the conscious and the unconscious with great results for healing trauma

It utilises intention, attention and imagination which are great things for positive results in meditation and its free.

You could even record your own guided imagery sessions to use on yourself tailored to a specific issue you want to work on or alleviate.

Another thing that may be worth trying is recording the imagery of your mind in a journal – just taking some time to notice which sort of images dominate your thought life – you always have access to your true self and the Divine so you may have a great deal of positive images – but may notice all the subliminals from advertising, the fearsome media images, bad memories and so on in there again. So once you have made your mental imagery more conscious you can then utilse guided imagery to transform those images – so imagine what it would be like if the images were better and happier. This requires a great deal of vision which can take us out of a narrow fearful state and into a more expansive state and then we can note this down in our journal too – or even create some positive images or a vision board of a better outcome as goals to create

Dynamic guided imagery can be utilised in things like chakra dance where you can dance to a guided imagery session – ie you may dance around an imaginary camp fire or a crystal cave or in the ocean. https://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/courses/courseoverview.cgi?cid=928

So in these times its great to have as many tools for positive mental health as possible and guided imagery is a great tool for healing satisfaction happiness and well being no matter the weather in life.

Lockdown Art – Prayer Flags

In the Uk we are well into our lockdown by a couple of weeks. If you are like me then you may have been using this time to be more creative, do healing soul work, write poetry or take some courses in something you always wanted to learn

If you have a stack of paintings and drawings you have made during this time of crisis then this is beautiful and brilliant memento of being able to stay calm and collected during a world crisis and difficult time for everyone

So this could make a great book for your drawings or paintings OR

another thing we could do with this work once the lock down is over is turn them into coloured prayer flags as a memento of the pandemic of 2020 to hang in your home once all this is over.

So this is some of the art I have been making during this time.

 

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spring1

The idea is to keep collecting these positive uplifting images with the intention of peace and harmony to ALL during this time and beyond and then going to the print shop once this is all over – printing them postcard size and transfering the images onto silky fabric using a product like image maker

If you wanted to make the prayer flags fancy you could even stich into them or add details like beads and then threading them onto a chord to hang as prayer flags from this time in quarantine

A bit like these prayer flags

 

prayer flags 014

You could even add bells or tassels to the bottom and it would make a wonderful memento of this time in history of the pandemic of 2020 as well as showing off the creative work from this time.

Happy creating 🙂

UK LOCKDOWN – Planting seeds of Light

seedsWell its day 4 of the lockdown in the UK for the Coronovirus Crisis

I am living in a shared building with our own rooms and shared kitchens and thankfully so far nobody here has got the virus

I have been busy keeping my gratitude journal during this time noting three things every day that Im grateful for to counteract the often anxiety making news

Today I am grateful for the financial security not just for myself but for most people I know with the government paying sick pay and 80% of the wages for both the employed and the self employed. I am so grateful for having somewhere safe to live during this time with plenty to do, courses internet and art and even gardening. I live within walking distance of the sea so when I go for my permitted walk per day i can walk on the sea front within safe social distance of everyone else.

thankyou

 

I am hoping that others are finding the crisis equally as comfortable and if your only issue is anxiety and fearing for the future I can help with that

A lot of this battle is not physical but is literally in our hearts and minds . Mindfulness helps with this to be fully present during this time is not putting anyone in danger but is ensuring that we can have the best life and best response to danger and adversity

There are also little tricks and activities which can be done not to pretend that there is no concern but to remain positive during even a lockdown.

One of which is try and nurture life – so much of our world is about buying and consuming which is essentially eating and taking constantly in a hungry basis – but some of what we do should also be about nurturing and giving life and joy to someone else, difficult when your on a social distance – you may do this in your work if your service based but it can be good to cultivate this life in your own sphere and environment as well.

One simple way to do this can be to plant some seeds – so while there is a focus on illness fear death dying and calamity in the media and on the news you can have a plant or two growing on your windowsill that you grew and cultivated and brought to life yourself

This plant or even tree can be symbolic of the light life and joy that you bring forth into your own life and into the world as opposed to just consuming and taking. The seeds you plant of harmony in the world as opposed to the turmoil.

In the UK M and S are even giving away free seeds with plenty of ideas on how to plant them and repot the plants and herbs https://www.marksandspencer.com/c/food-to-order/little-garden

There is also a wonderful meditation of hebrew chanting which is perfect to plant more love and joy into the world by Rabbi Shefa Gold

Or zarua laTzadik, u’l’yishray lev simcha
Planting Seeds of Joy and Light Hebrew text
Plant the seeds of Joy and Light; Tend them carefully day and night,
In this soil so dark and deep, I plant the dreams that Love will reap

Planting Seeds of Joy and Light: Or zarua

The singing or chanting is a beautiful intention to sooth any worries and fears and to begin planting a good fruit to harvest later in the year both physically and spiritually once this lockdown and crisis is over.

Also beyond, simple things you can do is notice the beauty of the sky or the trees or the sunshine – share your bread with the birds, bake or cook something delicious and cultivate light joy beauty into present awareness to grow like seeds.

 

 

DURING THESE TIMES…….shamanic archetype emerging

celtic treeI haven’t written anything for some time and now I find that I am forced to pause and reflect since we are in the middle of a Coronovirus pandemic which means everyone must stay indoors as much as possible and away from crowds.

What have I been doing during this time – well I have been healing myself mentally and emotionally from whatever ails me, my wounds and shadows. Learning about Jungian psychology and the shamanic archetype which emerges during times like these to guide us through a crisis

Whats the shamanic archetype I hear you ask – well, its an archetype with clusters of facets which aid people in difficult times and comes to the fore building character when times get tough.

It has many facets which include the sacred clown (humor during tough times) the artist (art and creativity and colour to brighten difficult times) sacred musician (the musician) but also things like the witch, the priest, the magician, the trickster, the hero and so many others

If you feel any of these facets relate to you and your expression for getting through a crisis such as an ill health or an economic depression, or anything really, difficult relationships abuse, trauma then you may want to look at a course called the SHAMANIC WORKBOOK hosted by somebody called Andrew Carmago who runs the School of Modern Soul Science who can help people to navigate what happens psychologically during tough times and when this shamanic archetype emerges and can cause issues if not dealt with properly. https://theschoolofmodernsoulscience.teachable.com/

I have discovered my own expression of the shamanic archeype which emerged for me when I went through a health crisis and a difficult relationship and other real life traumas – include the artist, the sacred singer, the poet and the trickster, the technican of dream time and the dancer – there more and these facets overlap – but these are some  the facets of the shamanic archetype that emerged for me to guide me through crisis or just life in general.

You have to be careful that the shadow self doesn’t emerge and cause more of an issue or you get stuck in survival modes but there has been a great emergence of the shamanic archetype during these times and I guess its only going to get more prevalent as there appear to always be plenty of crisis for people to navigate and overcome.

For me my shamanic archetype has appeared as a tree of life as I meditate on life and the seed of life when everything seems to be going to death and decay. Spring time is a wonderful time for this mediation and Im going to embrace my shamanic calling and plant some seeds now during this crisis to honour life and I can watch something grow while everything is in turmoil.

For the last few years with a crisis in my health I have been training for times like these – if you want some ideas on how to navigate these personal crisis while we are all stuck at home then heres a list I came up with.

GET CREATIVE – find a positive healing expression you can spend your time doing instead of constantly staring at screens and panicking.  You can still check the news but it doesn’t have to be constant. It could be art making, card making, water colours (there are many free classes online and in books) My personal favouritie is Tamara laporte and she does a a Life book lessons with some free classes to get started to see if you get on with her style https://www.willowing.org/

GET THE BODY MOVING – during times like these its easy for the body to go into lock down sofa surfing and apathy but this isn’t really desirable – there is loads of great exercise videos you can do from home now during the crisis. Or you could do something called Chakradance meditation which is my personal favourite – basically you have the benefits of free dance and guided meditation as you visualise dancing through forests or crystal caves or round the campfire all in the comfort of your home = perfect for quarantine times. You can find chakradance for the minimum of 10 pounds for some basic dance meditations on daily OM https://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/courses/courseoverview.cgi?cid=928  Chakradances main page is here: http://www.chakradance.com/

WORK FROM HOME – theres currently loads of ways to earn a living from home provided you have a phone line and a decent internet connection. Some great ideas to get you started are teaching english as a foreign language – a basic website for this is cambly where you can get paid just to converse in english to people around the world https://www.cambly.com/english?lang=en but there are MANY english language sites. Other ideas could include proofreading, copywriting, data entry and so on Also ARISE does customer service from home https://www.ariseworkfromhome.co.uk/

SING – now may be a great time to start dancing and singing to your favourite songs at home – we saw this in Italy where they had beautiful neigbourly singing together in the street – this could be done in the UK or whatever country your in during a cris – but a personal practise even of just singing in the shower will be great for stress relief and expressing your voice during this time. If you like mantras and chanting i recommend also chanting either poems or affirmations that are personal to you and you have come up with yourself to encourage yourself (maybe repeat them while your doing the hand washing) A GREAT website for hebrew mantras which I love to sing is http://www.rabbishefagold.com/hebrew_chant/

KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL – sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the things that worry us or seem to be going wrong – but theres nothing wrong with focussing on what is going right today here and now as well and it can be a beautiful thing to look back on – you could start a gratitude journal today and your grand-kids could read about what you were grateful for during the pandemic of 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisdoms root

edited with an update on this project

Scribal SPIDER

white

Inspired by Robert Burns poem the Bards epitaph. I’ve been reflecting on wisdom as a tree of life described in books like the Bible and what it means to be wise. Self control and prudence is her root and shes truly beautiful a white reflection of something glorious and greater than ourselves. I wrote my own poem and made some art(above) in honor of Lady Wisdom. The gnostics believed lady wisdom and the Bride of Christ were one and the same 🙂

Wisdoms root

Silver lady standing tall
whos the fairest of them all
moon maiden bright
white goddess of light
no image is found of the woman renowned
shattered mirror, lost dreams
beauty is not as it seems
but thats how you learn, cause you just cannot earn
a place in the hearafter
fairy bells and laughter
an island of song there to rest.
A serenity of heaven the…

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Ephemeral Art, Impermanence and the meaning of Life

 

There is a lot of art”out there” and most leave the tracks and traces of the artist who made them but what happens when the artist deliberately sets out to leave no trace of their art? When it is an ephemeral piece swept up and destroyed by its creator or by the ravages of time itself – the only trace that may remain perhaps in the form of photographs capturing a temporal fleeting moment of beauty and wonder. Perhaps they exist only in the memories of those who saw it for its brief existence and perhaps it’s there as a history of the landscape in which it was formed. It existed for a time, it was here and then it was gone. There is a unique philosophy to the artists who choose to create such fleeting ephemeral works of art and in this essay we will look at the works of three artists in particular who choose to express their art in this short lived way and that is Andy Goldsworthy, Tibetan monks and Ryan Moule.

What story does the art tell from the artist who deliberately chooses to leave no trace except for photographs and memories. There are actually many forms of art by artists who do this everything from simple sand sculptures and beach art to environmental land art to light painting and the ancient intricate colourful sand mandalas of the Tibetan monks.

Firstly looking at Andy Goldsworthy, he is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist. He produces site specific sculpture and land art in a natural and urban setting. His work is made from leaves sticks stones ice and all sorts of natural material and is often completely transient in nature.

“Anthony Goldsworthy’s work”

He likes to create something from the energy of the landscape, something with rhythm, like a dance “a lot of my work is like picking potatoes you have to get into the rhythm of it” (Goldsworthy 2009). The philosophy behind his work is all about the dance of life which is fleeting and temporary in nature. Time plays a significant role in his work he creates a piece takes a photograph of it in its prime and then leaves it to the elements to decay destroy and “kill” the artwork leaving nothing permanent behind. To Goldsworthy this is important to understand the reality of birth, life and death.

His artwork also emphasises the connectedness of all things and the connectedness of the art and us to nature and the landscape. It and we are part of the natural world. Time is something that connects us all and the environment in which we live which is temporary and not eternal. His ephemeral artwork leaves no legacy except for photographs and memories but this is living the honesty of life on earth and how eventually even the most indelible mark fades to nothing in the end. Its also about treading lightly on the earth as an environmental measure and leaving only a gentle footprint on a delicate planet.

This concept is also found elsewhere in the world with the Tibetan Buddhist monks and their beautiful temporary sand mandalas

In Tibetan Buddhism they have a teaching on impermanence and how everything on earth in this life is temporary. The idea in Buddhism is to become conscious of this fact and live life well and in accordance with what are the known laws of nature. The teaching can be summed up in the phrase “this too shall pass” which is a jewish folktale where a king commissioned a ring to be made that would make him happy when he was sad and sad when he was happy. He was a wealthy man and money was no object to him, the ring that came back was a simple gold ring with the words “this too shall pass” engraved on it. (see story at the end) Which is the essence of impermanence, nothing lasts forever when you have all the riches and wealth in the world, this will pass when you are having the worst experience in your life this too shall pass and so it is with life itself, this too shall pass and whatever life you have carefully crafted for yourself all your achievements and reached goals will one day pass into old age and death. The Tibetan sand mandala reflects this – it is beautifully made and may even incorporate beautiful images of the inner world deities and archetypes but once it is carefully and beautifully created by an expert monk – it is immediately swept up into grey sand and distributed as a blessing to the local people or put into a stream to distribute the blessings to the whole world. This teaches the Buddhists monks and those who see it the lesson of how to live with impermanence in mind – like a beautiful sand mandala life should be a blessing and carefully constructed a beautiful thing for the world to behold, then it is swept away by death and decay. It teaches that although life is temporary it is ideally still worth striving for and a good life is to create a beautiful piece of art from it to bless the world leaving only photographs and memories behind.

These sentiments are also found and echoed in the ephemeral artworks of photographer Ryan Moule in his talk in November 2016 he mentioned how he realised that one day his photographs could end up in a charity shop somewhere after he had died and how he didn’t really want to see this happen so he decided to create a temporary set of photographs in an exhibition called deviated light showing the decay of buildings as a visual and conceptual analogy for the impermanence of photography. It also raises the question of collective memory and whether things are better remembered after they have been photographed. In his talk Moule was quite philosophical about life and he played an ipad air advert which showed his views about how like the Tibetan sand mandala life is an artwork or poem of a greater collective poem of the whole of life in the universe and we have this moment of life short as it is in the scheme of things is to contribute a verse, so he asks the question what would your verse be? His photography will fade to black eventually but that was his contribution to the great story or poem of life as it rolls ever on. The ipad advert was based on a poem found from the dead poets society

O Me! O Life!

BY WALT WHITMAN

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,

Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,

Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

 

  Answer.

That you are here—that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

 

Source:  Poetry Foundation https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/51568

 

The common thread of all these artists are they are approaching and expressing what can be an ugly and uncomfortable truth for us all about the temporary nature of life old age and death, in a beautiful and profound way. It makes us think and reflect on this reality and how to best live our lives without shocking us too much. It also makes us think of those who have passed and the contributions they made before they died.  No matter what we do how wise or rich or skilled we become nobody escapes death and when it comes, our body will return to dust leaving only memories to those we leave behind. It helps us appreciate the transient and beautiful nature of life and perhaps makes us value our loved ones or even our enemies that much more because we know they have their time and they too shall be gone like the colourful artworks which leave no real trace behind them.

The King and His ring – jewish folktale

During the festive Passover meal with his ministers, King Solomon teased Benaiah son of Jehoiada, his arrogant Chief of Army.

– “Benaiah, I was told that there is a special ring that has special power. It can change the mood of a person. A sad person becomes happy when watching it and a happy person becomes sad. I know that you of all people in the kingdom can find the ring. Would you be able to find this ring and bring it to me until the eve of Sukkot eve, that is 6 months from now?”

– “If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,I will find it and bring it to you”replied Benaiah.

King Solomon smiled as he knew that no such ring existed, but he wanted to give his minister a taste of humility.

Time passed and Benaiah sent soldiers and messengers throughout the kingdom, examined records, consult with elders yet he could not find even a hint of the existence of the magic ring. Spring passed so did summer. The last harvest of the year, and with it the Succoth festival, was approaching. Then came eve of Sukkot day. With only a few hours to go before the deadline, Benaiah was wandering in the streets of Jerusalem. The sun was setting casting a golden light on the city which until today all its buildings are made of stone. All the merchants were busy with the last sale and prepared to close their stalls. In desperation he turned to an old silversmith.

– “Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy person forget his joy and the broken-hearted person forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah. The silversmith listened carefully and smiled. He took a plain silver ring from his old and dusty box and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face lighted up as he knew he had found the right ring.“This is the ring!” he cried, and gave the poor jeweler all the money in his purse.“Come to the palace and you shall have more,” he added, “for I cannot thank you enough.”

The sun set. The time for the holiday dinner arrived. That night the palace was full of guests ready to celebrate with the king.

– “Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “Have you found a ring that can make a happy man sad and a sad man happy?” Everyone who knew about the search for the impossible ring laughed and Solomon himself smiled.

But to everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty! I found a ring. It has three Hebrew letters engraved on it: Gimel, Zayin, Yud. Then he whispered the meaning of these initials in the king’s ear.

As soon as Solomon heard the meaning of the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. He looked at the guests filling the banquet hall, the tables covered with shining serving pieces, silver goblets, and the finest food one can find. Tears rolled down his eyes. He felt sad. The entire hall was in total silence. A ring that makes the king cry?

Then King Solomon looked at the ring again and started to smile again then laughed so hard infecting the entire palace with giggles and laughter. Everyone wanted to know the meaning of the initials.

The King revealed to his guests what was written on the ring: “The three letters are ג,ז,י represented three words: Gam Zeh Ya’avor”. It means in English: “This too shall pass.”


In life everything is temporary. In fact, life itself is temporary. In between birth to death we all experience the roller-coaster of life.

King Solomon had everything – power, women and wealth then he realized at the end of his life the illusion to hold on to things as they are not the source of happiness. So he turned to a spiritual search and wrote in Ecclesiastes :

” The words of the Teacher,son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” … “What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

 

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141021084324-7280985-the-king-and-the-ring-this-too-shall-pass

 

 

 

Being an authentic human being

As I’ve mentioned earlier I have trained as a counsellor but due to life circumstances I’ve ended up becoming an artist and workshop/teaching assistant. I’m also a chakradancer but that’s another story.

Anyway one of the things that came up for me during training as a counsellor and something in still working on is being authentic or real.

what exactly does that mean? Well it means knowing who you are the good the bad the ugly the vulnerable the brave and being exactly who you are even in front of a wide variety of different people who MIGHT judge you.

simple! Or is it?

We all hide. We all have masks. For women it may be something as superficial as wearing makeup every day. Clothes and accessories. I’m not suggesting go naked but that it’s exactly what it can feel like to just be yourself.

 

stock-photo-16927327-naked-woman-in-a-cardboard-box

 

So what else do we hide behind? Jobs- occupation, our work title or roles mother wife husband son. Religion christian Hindu pagan humanistic none. Lifestle choices and hobbies biker sportsman crafter. Those are all things we do, they are part of who we are but they are not us.

So what happens when we lose connection with who we are and be inauthentic. We lose sponteineity, we may feel and act a bit like robots we may pose instead of just smile. Tears may be swallowed with “I’m fine” the world turns and we let others dictate our role and who we are. In short we never LIVE.

so this I’ve decided is something I don’t want to happen to me I want to be as genuine an honest and real as i can be. I want to fufill all my roles in life but not as a robot as an authentic fresh living breathing human being.

So how to do this? Good start is expression get creative! Figure out your favourite creative hobby art writing poetry and see what comes out of the hidden locked away recessed of your heart be it good or bad the results may suprise you.

then show others…bare that part of yourself to the world and don’t care what people think…

Journal. Spend time alone and with others and observe notice yourself and what you observe of others. Write songs! Dance! Next time I feel angry be angry allow it express it (in a safe way) glory in it all… see your life as a masterpiece in technicolour with all its sucesses fears and failures and at the end id it all know what it is to have lived.