Hey, sweet tater! I have missed you. I’ve been super hunkered down feeling my feels and working and journaling and making art for the classes I’m teaching and editing and…you know…hanging in there. :) I have a lot to share with you today, so let me just dive on in.

Grief and Art

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“I love myself because” – Painted for BOD – Mixed media in my art journal

If you’re new here, you might not know that my ten year marriage ended in February and I moved out in the early part of June. This has been devastating and confusing and a bit of a wild ride with lots of uncertainty and the prerequisite cryptic vaguebooking and the waffling between fierce compassion and rage. All my triggers are activated. All my old wounds are wide open and oozing.

But I’m okay.

I’m not standing on my head spitting rainbows like a fountain of joy, but I’m holding my own. I catch a wave of omgdoom and I ride it out until I’m a salty, sodden mess of goo but back on solid ground. It feels pretty awful, but I know it won’t kill me and I also know that once I move through this process, I will be better for it.

The thing about grief is that when it has you, you can feel a lot like your drowning and I know that a paintbrush doesn’t look a whole lot like a lifesaver, but it is. It really is. Think of it as a magic raft. That one stick of wood can keep you afloat if you hang on for dear life and refuse to let go.

The habit those of us who have been doing Book Of Days for years now have developed is so powerful that when things are painful or chaotic or scary, we know we’ve got this amazing skill set, this best friend in the form of a bound book that we can go to. We don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike. We don’t even have to *feel* like making art. We know that if we do, we’ll feel better. Full stop. We will learn things about ourselves that will stand us in good stead. We will grow as people. We will also create a body of work that we can feel good about.

I’d be lost without art.

If I didn’t have my studio, if I didn’t have a way to sit in my present moment, to open up and spill out all over the page, I would be a lot more batcrackers than I currently am. It has become one of those good addictions – the kind that doesn’t give you liver failure or a heart attack, the kind that doesn’t lie to you about the relief you’ll feel or leave you empty and ashamed. It’s the kind that gives and gives and soothes and eases and cracks open and sheds light.

I am so glad I have it, because honest to BOG I do not know where I’d be without it.

I have fears that you’ll get sick of me.

"Sunna" - Painted for Moonshine - mixed media on paper

“Sunna” – Painted for Moonshine – mixed media on paper

I have fears that you secretly wish I’d be all unicorns and glitter and that my realness is just a little too real for you. I fear that I am damaging my business by sharing so intimately, by letting you see behind the curtain to this degree.

It’s okay, though, if I’m too much for you right now. I honour that. My process might be triggering for you, or boring for you. It might even anger you, might make you want to grab me and shake me and tell me to snap out of it. That’s all perfect. I get it, and I can hold space for that, even though it scares me.

Thing is, grief touches us all. If I were nothing but rainbows and unicorns, how could you possibly trust me when I tell you that art and art journaling can really get you through the rough spots? If I don’t show you my tattered, worn out, painful bits, how are you ever going to believe me when I tell you that soul repair is possible through the power of creativity?

I have to walk my talk. My talk goes something like: do art. It might save your bacon.

And I walk that. I walk it and it does, indeed, save my everloving bacon.

It is the best friend I never had.

Ning Network News

Grief has caused me to be a bit flaky and absent in my online spaces, including my Ning. I know that the majority of you will tell me not to worry about it, that I should take care of myself first, and I agree, but keeping up with these things is a part of self-care for me, so I’m picking up all the loose threads and weaving them back into my cloak of togetherness. :)

The June challenge is still open because I never a) promoted it or b) closed it and created a new one. I decided, in the interest of self-care to just let it stay open until the end of July because there are only a few entries. You can win a print and an envelope full of ephemera! You should totally check it out.

Wildly Inspired will reopen on the first Wednesday in August – not July, as I’d hoped because I’m having a bit of trouble adjusting to the new  ‘getting up and going to work’ part of my life that used to be the ‘sit at my studio table in my PJs’ part of my life. It will go monthly because of all the other offerings we will be hosting in the network. It’s going to be grand.

The Rumi Project, which some of you will remember from days of yore will return under the gentle guiding hand of our own Cary Cutler Scholes. The new challenge will be posted on the last Wednesday of every month. There’s no group up for it yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as it’s open.

UPCOMING CLASSES

Book Of Days 2014 – Session Three starts on July 28th

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12 weeks of sovereignty themed art journal spread – $69

Muse Merriment starts on August 27th

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10 lessons, ten teachers – $78

Radiant Starts on October 1st

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9 teachers, 18 lessons – $89

Look for a giveaway and interviews with the guest teachers in Radiant coming very soon!

See you soon, loves!

xo

Effy

 

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