Friday Five – Nepotism & New Hairs

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my weekly newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks, including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

This morning, a Facebook friend sent me a poem that reminded her of me, but she didn’t tell me who wrote it. I loved the poem, so I plugged the words into Google and found the poet. Finding the poet led to an on line magazine that I am now complete in love with.

Rabbit holes.

Love them. They happen to me all the time, too, and I think its because I consider myself a co-conspirator with the Universe. We’re in cahoots, the universe and I, and as a result, the coolest things happen. I’m always happy to play Alice to the rabbit hole of the universe.

Like this:

Two weeks or so ago, I had a really intense conversation with someone I love during which I was trying to understand something really important and fundamental. I was reaching for understanding, and just *not getting it*. I am a girl who can’t reach a place of acceptance until I *understand*, so you can imagine how frustrating it is for me when I *can’t*.

The conversation, and the desire for understanding was so intense that it wound its way into my dreamscapes and I had a series of very bad nights full of very bad dreams. On the last in the series of bad nights, I remember waking up multiple times feeling ragey and super frustrated with my subconscious. I said, out loud at 4 a.m., “Please let me have some peace!” It was a kind of prayer, I guess, though that wasn’t my intention. I was just pissed off and frustrated that, even in sleep, I couldn’t escape the sense of frustration.

The next day, exhausted from days of sleep deprivation, I was working on cleaning up the studio, and as usual, I queued up my a podcast. Boom. The answer came through my speakers from an unknown voice. It was like being hit by lightening. And not only was that one niggling question answered, but multiple answers that I hadn’t even formulated the questions for came flying out at me from the speakers. The relief was palpable. I felt a rush of gratitude. I said, out loud, “Ohhhhhhh KAY! NOW I get it!” And I’ve slept like a baby since.

Thanks, universe! You rock.

Thing Two

I’m working on this in my large sized Dylusions journal. It’s about confusion, about being ‘tangled up in blue’. It’s taking forever (that hair is out of my comfort zone), but it feels like a meditation every time I come to the page.

Thing Three

My step-daughter started a YouTube channel called TheNewGirl MUA in which she is going to be sharing make up looks, tricks, & tips. I know, I know…I don’t even really wear make-up, but watching her shade and highlight her face made me think about shading portraits in a new way! She’s also funny as hell, so I thought I’d share her channel with you. Since I ‘know the artist’, I get to make requests, so look for a ‘very, very pared down day face for lazy moms’ coming to her channel very soon. :D

Here’s her bio:

Hey! I am Leah aka TheNewGirl MUA on YouTube! I have been doing make up for about 3 or 4 years, and decided to share what I’ve learned with aspiring make up artists, or people who would like to learn a thing or two about make up! Subscribe for tutorials, tips, tricks, and looks, and of course, fun!  Find my channel here. Find me on instagram here. @thenewgirl_mua

Thing Four

Yesterday morning, I was preparing my Pan Pastels for a live video gathering I’m hosting this coming Sunday. (Get on my e-list for details, loves!) I haven’t *touched* my Pan Pastels since some time back in 2014, so I was checking my inventory, putting together a kit to use during the live gather, and just generally getting them ready. Well, some of my Pan Pastels are screwed together in a stack, and I was opening that up to see what colours I had.

This poor stack of pastels has been through the ringer over the last three years. I’ve moved three times, so it’s been tossed in boxes, and pretty much mistreated. So, you know what’s coming next, right?

Pan Pastel everywhere.

First thing.

Before coffee.

All over my rug.

So, it was morning and I had a list to slay. I brushed up as much of the Pan Pastel as I could and then put a towel over top of the remains (rest in peace, Pan Pastel!) to be dealt with later.

Then this happened:

Whaddya think, mama? Is it my colour?

Look at my pretty hairs!!

So then, this happened. :D

SORRY NOT SORRY MAMA!

Thing Five

Ikea delivers, thank the gods, and this is now on its way to my house.

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Friday Five! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what’s delighting & inspiring me this week. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon. <3

My Newsletter | Journal52 | My Blog | Find my classes here. | Find my tip jar here.

Friday Five – Micki Wilde, Mood Journaling, and my WOOSAHMEESAHSOOKIE

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my weekly newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

Look at this face. Just LOOK AT IT! She is my very favourite person in all the world, and I am hopelessly devoted to her for life. My relationship with her has been the most solid, the most consistent, the most healing relationship I’ve ever had.

She has many names, including Sookie (her ‘official’ name), Sook, Sookaroo, MeesahSookie, Meesah, and lately WOOSAHMEESAHSOOKIE. She answers to all of them.

This is a video featuring my lovely friends, Sarah & Jamey (manflesh of Sarah love bombing Sookie.

You’re welcome. :)

Thing Two

One of the things I struggle with in my journaling practice is making faces *that don’t take two or three hours* to complete. What this means is that when I just want to be in my journal for a little bit, and I want to express something that would best be expressed with a face, I end up frustrated. I just can’t do a ‘quick face’.

In an effort to change that a bit, I’ve been taking classes with Micki Wilde. Her faces are *quick* and adorable, and I love her teaching style.

One of my favourite ways to take classes is to sit down with a notebook, read the PDF content, watch the videos, take notes, and then art on my own. This allows me to integrate what I’ve learned in a way that lets my own style shine through.

Here’s an example of what happens when I do classes this way:

I did this after watching a few of the videos in A Love Of Nature, and a few in Paint It Out.

While you can definitely see Micki’s influence in this face, you can also see *my own voice*

What I loved about creating this little face was that it took me about a half an hour (instead of two hours or more). It was *fun*. I didn’t stress while creating it. I loved the quirkiness and imperfection of it. I love how much her face *says* to me as I gaze at it.

Micki’s teaching style is lovely, too. She does an intro, and a includes some basic face painting walk throughs, and then the instructional videos are *captioned* so you can turn off the sound altogether and listen to your own tunes (or as in my case, listen to an audiobook or podcast while working). I love this because I’m visual learner. Audio instruction is great, but I tend to get bored very easily if I’m focusing on one thing. With Micki’s classes, I can turn the audio off altogether, watch and take notes while listening to something else, and get a lot out of the learning experience.

Micki is wonderful. You can find her classes listed here on Etsy. You won’t regret it.

Thing Three

This mini-collab is coming soon! It’s three weird girls, music + art journaling and will open with the creation of a journal pamphlet to go along with a pre-recorded tutorial in how to create a large traveler’s notebook style art journal pamphlet binder I call The Effydori. Once we’ve created or chosen our journals, we will spend EIGHT GLORIOUS WEEKS exploring art journaling with music as our inspiration and portal. There will be six Effy lessons, one Cristin lesson and one Sarah lesson with the inevitable bonuses.

 

The Effydori Journal Pamphlet Binder

A brand new elastic bound journal pamphlet for Mixed Tape II

Registration will open SOON so if you’re not already subscribed to my newsletter, you might want to get on that so you can get notified! Hint: Subscribers also get discounts, so duuuuuuuuuuuude. Sign up today!

Thing Four

In Book Of Days this week, I taught my peeps how to begin a spread with all your feels, throwing paint and other mediums at the page in an effort to ‘discharge’ whatever is overwhelming you, and then calm it down with a series of glazes that unifies the hot, holy messes we make in our journals. One of my favourite journaling techniques, “Mood Journaling” starts out looking like this:

And ends up looking like this:

The interesting thing about this process for me is how often the symbols I find myself impulsively adding to the resulting spreads (in this case, the flowering wands you see on the right hand side) have relevance to my present state of mind. I work with tarot quite extensively, so when I looked at these five flowering wands, I knew I was dealing with the Five of Wands – Hassles, petty annoyances, the tyranny of details, trivialities, and irritations.

The spread started with an outpouring of frustration at having too much to do and not enough time to do it. The appearance of the wands was like a medicine for me – eyes front, Effy. Look *past* all of the trivialities. Do the work. Keep your eye on the prize. The next step is the Six of Wands, which is a card of victory. The only way out here is *through*.

We do stuff like this a lot in BOD – work with our deeper voices, our inner wisdom. Meet ourselves on the page, and then listen to what the page has to tell us about where we’re at. I love this part of the work I do *so so* much, and I love how well these practices serve me and my peeps.

BOD is still open for registration if you’d like to join us. You can have the entire year of journaling inspiration and instruction for $99 if you use this link.

Thing Five

Spot the studio dog!

My babies. Need I say more?

These faces!

Need I say more?? <3

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Friday Five! I hope you enjoyed this peek into what’s delighting & inspiring me this week. Have a beautiful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon. <3 Frida

My Newsletter | Journal52 | My Blog | Find my classes here. | Find my tip jar here.

Friday Five – Tweaking Things, Watercolour Meditations, New Tarot Resource

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get my blog in your inbox, click here. If you’d rather just get my weekly newsletter (with a round up of my blog posts included in link form + subscriber perks including discounts), click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted with an asterisk*.

Thing One

As you may remember, earlier this year I made a decision to dispense with the whole ‘newsletter’ thing. Instead of a formal newsletter, you had the option to get only certain kinds of posts, or all my posts in the form of ‘RSS to email’ sent directly from my blog. I’ve heard from enough of you now on this change to know that this *isn’t working*. What you want, you tell me, is to know what I’m writing about before you open the letter. You want one letter a week (instead of all the posts throughout the week). You want to know when a class is opening for registration, and when a class is going on sale. You want a clear delineation between my personal writing, and my business news.

I hear you, loves!

This was a good experiment. I learned a lot. I learned that you actually want to hear about my classes and other offerings. I learned that you need clearer headers in the mail I send you so you can choose to open it or not according to your interests. I also learned that knowing that these missives would land in your inbox whenever I wrote them gave me a bit of writer’s block.

So, a shift.

I am no longer using the RSS feature of my newsletter service. If you want to get my blog posts in your inbox as soon as I write them, you can sign up for that here. If you want my newsletter, you can sign up for that here. The newsletter will contain a round up of whatever posts I created here that week as well, so you don’t need to worry about missing out.

I also plan to have a subscriber’s perk page, and I am presently working on that. Along with the usual ‘beloveds discounts’ that you have all grown familiar with over the years, I want to give you access to free stuff, like mini workshops, resources, and printables. I will be letting you all know (via the newsletter) when that is ready for you. I expect it will take me a week or so to get that put together.

Thanks for your patience while I grapple with the whole ‘marketing’ thing, and the whole ‘personal writing vs. business writing’ thing. It’s hard y’all! I’m still finding my way.

Thing Two

There is a giveaway on my blog right now for a seat in Ever After 2017* Click through to find out more about the course, and to enter if you’d like to win a free seat!

Thing Three

A couple of Friday’s ago, I did a live video class with my peeps, and in it, I demonstrated how to make a simple vintage tin travel palette. The idea originates with Sarah Trumpp, who gave me one of these beauties for my birthday last year. This tutorial is quick & easy! You can find mint tins of all sorts of styles via Etsy & Amazon, or just buy yourself a tin of Altoids and use that! I found mine at Curry’s Art Supply, which I’m lucky to have here in my town.

This juicy little palette is full of Daniel Smiths, but you could easily do this with tubes of any watercolour paint you have on hand. Koi Sakura are a nice brand for the beginner. QoR & Daniel Smiths are pricey, but gorgeous, and I’ve fallen in love with using them to do watercolour meditations on a regular basis.

Speaking of live video classes, I do these once a month for my students in Book Of Days, but all my tribe are welcome to join me. I will be sending out announcements regarding when those are via my newsletter from now on.

Thing Four

Last week, I discovered that there is a ‘Bierhalle’ within walking distance from my house. Descendants Beer & Beverage Company is a lovely venue with communal seating, and regular events. I just like that I can walk there, plunk myself down on a bench at a long scarred old wooden table, and sit and sketch or paint while I wile away the hours.

Spread out like an artsy river all over the table. That brew upper left is called “Rose Fortune” and it is delicious. The palette, lower left is the one Sarah made for me last year.

This is the watercolour meditation I did while sipping my beer and nibbling on a cheese board. It was a few lovely hours away from the house and out among other humans. I began doing these meditations after I took Creative Revolution with Flora Bowley. She even include one of my paintings in her student gallery! Check it out!

Thing Five

Upon recommendation by one of my BODkins, I picked up this book by Jessa Crispin called “The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to An Inspired Life.”

It is written *for* the creative who uses tarot the way I do – as a mirror to my soul and a way to check in with my own inner wisdom. As I mentioned on Facebook this morning, I’ve been pulling nothing but pentacles for the last two weeks, and this morning I pulled this card:

This image is from the guidebook that comes with the deck I most often use these days, called The Wild Unknown.

I love the guidebook that comes with the deck, but The Creative Tarot took me even deeper with this:

“It’s time to take on a new task. A new project that complements what you’re already doing but is also a diversion. Sometimes we decide we need t hunker down and focus, to pour all of our energy and time into one thing. But then when we actually sit down to do the focusing and the pouring, we stare blankly at the empty page or blank canvas. Sometimes juggling two things at once allows you to give more to each, because one project inspires the other.”

Both guidebooks are relevant and meaningful for me right now. Yes, change is afoot. Yes, tweaking must be done. But I mustn’t forget that I’m a creative, and I need diversion, fun things to do that aren’t all worky so that I keep the pump primed and the work flowing

And that’s it for this week! I hope you’re on board with the changes I’m making with the newsletter vs. blog thing. I know that it’s a true thing that I can’t make everyone happy, but I think if I put myself at the head of the list of people I’m trying to please, I’ll be okay. Keeping a separate newsletter will be helpful for me, and I hope it will be helpful for you, too.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to sign up! I’ll be in touch again soon with a link to the subscriber’s perk page!

My Newsletter | Journal52 | My Blog | Find my classes here. | Find my tip jar here.

 

 

 

Friday Five – Baked Polenta, Blooming Journals, and Facebook

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get Friday Five in your inbox, click here. If you’d like to get all my posts in your inbox, click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted.

Thing One

I adore the conversations I get to have on Facebook. Like, *adore*. I’m not sure how it happened, but I’ve managed to gather the most thoughtful, articulate, compassionate, loveliest people, and when I am grappling with something, or engaging in a deep inquiry, they show up as their best selves. For me, for one another.

I’ve seen a lot of memes floating around out there about how social media isolates us, but I have found the opposite to be true. I find myself feeling more connected than ever before via the instant access I have to some of my favourite people on the planet thanks to Facebook.

Are there issues? Sure there are. What one can and can’t post on Facebook seems bizarre to me. Violence? No problem. Hate speech? Same. Boobs? Not so much. So weird. And the whole arbitrary ‘5000 friend limit’ thing is pretty annoying, too. But the good stuff outweighs the bad stuff enough that I find myself checking in there multiple times a day, every day.

My Facebook profile is set up so that even when I reach my ‘friend limit’ people can follow my public posts. I’ve also just tweaked the settings so that anyone can comment on my public posts as well. It’s not the perfect solution to the friend limit, but it’ll do.

If you’re on Facebook, and you’d like to connect there, I’d love to have you.

Thing Two

I made this for myself yesterday. It started with this recipe, but I tweaked it, as I often tweak recipes, to suit my own personal preferences. In the case of this recipe, I made the polenta, added 3/4 of the asiago, and then poured it into a buttered casserole dish. I small diced the portabellos, sauteed them in butter and garlic, but I also added thyme, oregano & rosemary to the pan before I stirred in the balsamic vinegar. Once they were done, I added them to the sauce, simmered the sauce for a good 30 minutes longer than the recipe called for (because slow food is good food), and then poured the sauce over the polenta. I popped the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes in at 450 degrees. Took it out, sprinkled the rest of the asiago on top, popped it back in for 10 minutes, and voila.

It was delicious. Comforting. Exactly what I was craving.

The recipe says it serves two, but if you serve it with a salad, you could easily serve four.

Thing Three

Book Of Days returns for session two on May 1st, and I’m super stoked. My hiatus was just long enough that I started to get bored, started to feel like I was chomping at the bit to get back at it. I’m in the process of filming our first lesson (which goes live on Monday) – a May Queen in celebration of all the blooming we’re going to do in our journals. It’s still on sale, by the way, and if you purchase today before 2 p.m. EST, you will be invited to a live video class I’m hosting this afternoon at 3 p.m. EST.

Here’s my May Queen in progress. After multiple layers of Prismacolor pencil, acrylics paint, and clear gesso, I added a layer of gloss medium to protect her from the messy madness that is to come, and WHOOPS! Some of the pencil smeared. At first, I felt panicked, but then I realized that I kind of liked her this way. She looks like she’s been gardening, like she’s been outside, in the dirt.

Margaret Atwood (A Canadian literary treasure) said:

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

This face brought that quote very much to mind.

My plans for her now include floating watercolor all around her, and then doodling in floral shapes to create the May Queen vibe. I’m really looking forward to finishing her up today.

Thing Four

What you’re looking at is a comparison shot between how my Sweet Trash™ Journals look *before* I start to fill them up with all the things, and what they look like once they’re full. These babies BLOOM, and they make me ridiculously happy. I’m in the process of creating one last spread in this one for Life Book (a bonus lesson upcoming in June), and then it’ll be time for a new one.

This is the third volume I’ve filled since 2015, and so far, I’ve used composition notebooks I buy at Staples. They have these great Kraft covers that are ready to decorate. I’m going to switch things up for the next volume, though, and try the Moleskine Cahier. I prefer the line width in the Moleskines to the line width in the composition notebooks. The comp notebooks have very wide lines, whereas the Moleskines lines are a bit more elegant and better suited to my handwriting.

The Moleskines are a bit more expensive than the composition notebooks I’ve been using, but I think the switch will be worth it. The paper is much nicer, I like the fact that they are soft bound rather than hard bound, and I still get the benefit of the Kraft cover.

I’ll be back soon with a newly decorated Sweet Trash™ Journal.

Thing Five

I’ve been practicing faces, which I love to do. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than pencil on paper. 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Friday Five!
I’ll be back next week. Have a fantastic weekend!

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Friday Five – Art For Me, Out Of The Game, Fried Plantains

Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Five! Five things that are rocking my poptarts! Good things. Moving things. Things that restore my faith in humanity, or my faith in myself. Artsy things! Nerdy things! ALL THE LOVELY THINGS!* If you’d like to get Friday Five in your inbox, click here. If you’d like to get all my posts in your inbox, click here.

The links I share in these posts are not affiliate links unless otherwise noted.

Thing One

Last Friday, Sarah Trumpp and her Manflesh arrived for a pajama party, and we did it up right. We played board games, swilled liquid bread (beer), talked & talked, and watched a Louis CK special. So. much. laughter. Sarah and i have been friends for a few years now, but I hadn’t yet met her Manflesh in the flesh, so this visit was especially special.

Coffee + Bedhead post PJ Party

Time in meatspace, with the meat tribe, has become so important to me. The burn out I experienced early in April was utterly healed by the following formula: Less time on line + more time with in-the-flesh people – churning out content all day every day + art just for me. The weekend with my people was at least 80% of my recovery. Love these two *fiercely*.

Thing Two

I have eclectic taste when it comes to music, and I tend to select different genres of music depending on what I’m doing. When I’m doing housework, for example, I’m likely to blast Rage Against The Machine. When I’m exploring spiritual subjects in my journal, I’m likely to listen to Anugama or Afro Celt Sound System. When I’m not sure where my art journal wants to take me, I usually just listen to one of my playlists on Spotify – especially “Swoon”, which is my list of songs that slay me. You can find that here.

When I’m painting on canvas, I’m most likely listening to EDM (Electronic Dance Music). There’s something so motivating about this stuff, which is likely why you’ll find it blasting out of the speakers at most gyms. It gets the heart pumping, the body moving.

One of my favourite EDM artists is Paul Oakenfold, who is a master at taking songs I already know and love, and turning them into EDM. “Dreamstate” just dropped into my Spotify today, and I’m *so excited y’all*!! I’m listening as I type, and it’s *so good*.

Music is *everything* to me, you know? It is such an important part of my life. When an artist I love releases something new, it’s like a reunion and a first date all rolled into one.

Thing Three

Art Just For Me is a thing I keep forgetting I need. I do a lot of content creation for my classes & other projects – so much so that it is easy to forget that in order to be the very best I can be in the world, I need to maintain *my practice*. That practice can look different every day, because SQUIRREL, but it *has to include* art in some form, or I start go to wonky. I touched base with that over the last couple of weeks, and this is some of what’s been happening.

An exploration in my Sweet Trash Journal (which is, essentially, a composition notebook that I’ve altered an stuffed with writing, photographs, prints of my art, and paintings done directly in the notebook.

I had to resist the urge to turn on the camera, which is a thing that happens when you’re running a creative business. It is very easy to get into the habit of leveraging every damned thing for your business, but then your *personal practice* becomes work, and burn out ensues.

This piece is about how disembodied I feel in certain relationships – like I’m all head, all thinking, and the rest of me is erased. I spent about four hours with her before calling it a day. There are about fifteen layers underneath what you see now – layers that were explorations of what I’m feeling underneath the surface, layers that represent the river beneath the river that runs through my inner landscape.

She’s waiting for text. For the words “MORE THAN THIS”, and some other scribbles that will finish her up.

And this is what I do when I’m watching crap on tv. Doodles. This was a study in circles and all the ways you can embellish them. It was just for fun, just for the sake of having something to do with my hands while I binge-watched The Blacklist. I will probably pull this into Adobe Illustrator and play with it, as I’m learning to do in Patterncamp with Jessica Swift (thank you again for helping me with tuition for that, by the way!), but I didn’t create it for that purpose.

Doodling is something I always wanted to do well, but I let a few things stop me. I had a retinal detachment about ten years ago that means I have serious eye wonk. My left eye can’t be corrected with lenses without making me cross eyed, so my right eye does most of the work. I also take a pretty strong asthma medication that makes me shake – like, a lot – so perfect, clean lines are just not possible for me. I’ve learned to embrace the wonk, though, and now I doodle like nobodies business. I let the lines be what they are – sketchy, messy, shaky – and I let that be a part of my style.

And, my love affair with watercolors continues. This was pure therapy. I was thinking about boundaries, about how important it is that I say ‘yes’ to what is desire-led, easy, and full of energy for me, and ‘no’ to what is draining, expected of me, or causes resentment. It was also very much about how fuzzy my boundaries can be in the face of other people’s disappointment. This could easily be a painting of my etheric body, of my aura, and how leaky it gets when I’m over-doing or trying to please.

I’m *not* an art therapist, but I do use art therapeutically. I tend to do this kind of thing on my couch with a Podcast or audiobook playing in the background. I don’t think. I just do. And bleeding colours together like this, or playing with symbols while I contemplate stuff that I’m grappling with is incredibly useful.

If I turned the camera on during any of these activities, the wisdom, the pleasure, the relaxed state would have immediately evaporated. I *love* teaching, but it is *work*, and all work and no play make Effy a very burned out, miserable, reactive mess. Doing art just for me reminds me, too, that I exist when no one is watching, and I can do a thing without anyone knowing *and it still matters*. It might even matter more than anything else, because these things we do when we’re alone, when no one is watching, feed our souls.

A canvas I’ve been throwing paint at every day for about two weeks. Soul food.

This blue green over this gold on my palette + this space in my little apartment + that frog + these paints + the time to dance with the canvas. Soul food.

Thing Four

I shut down all my online dating profiles. Like, all of them. And I made a vow to myself that I would be with myself and only myself for awhile. I have embraced the idea of being an art monk (or nun) for the time being. I’ve come to grips with some unraveling I have to do around grief & love & what really makes me happy.

This is who I want to be right now. This is where I want to be. I want to paint. I want to indulge myself in ample navel gazing. I want out of the game, because if I’m being honest, my heart isn’t in it.

I’m embracing my inner Frida.

Thanks to Shana for alerting me to this gorgeous painting that could, frankly, be a mirror to my soul right now.

Also, I just really like saying “I’m Out Of The Game” because this:

Thing Five

This recipe for Cuban Beef Picadillo with Fried Plantains

I’ll see you next week

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A Love Letter In Lieu Of The Usual List

Usually, Friday Five is a list with musings of five things that are rocking my poptarts. This week, I am departing from that format to write you a love letter. Things feel heavy right now, so a lighthearted post feels completely out of my personal reach. My usual format will resume next week, but for this week, let me love on you. 

Maybe you have no idea what’s going on in the world right now, and that’s ok. I have some idea of what’s going on (thanks to a few resources, like WTF Just Happened Today and The NYT Morning Briefing)

It feels heavy, and what’s happened (what’s *been* happening, really) feels way beyond my own personal power to impact in any meaningful way. When I feel this way, when I feel small and helpless and overwhelmed, I spend some time in that feeling of helplessness, but then I shift focus as best as I am able, because staying in helplessness helps *no one*.

When shit gets real, and I can do nothing but despair, I light the candles. I spark up some nag champa. I get quiet, and I hone in on the *here and now* of my life. What can I do *here*? What can I do *now*? Sometimes the answer is clear. Self-care. Be present. Do something for someone close to me. Write a thing. Send money to an organization that has boots on the ground. Sometimes, the answer isn’t so clear, so I default to working on remaining embodied when my instinct is to dissociate.

Whatever I do, it’s The Work. My Work. And whatever you do, that’s your Work, too.

I’ve heard people exclaim that prayers are not enough. I understand where they are coming from, and I know that energetic workings, magic, mojo, meditation, etc. seem like limp responses in times like these, but sometimes, the spiritual work we do to get clear, to get strong means that we can carry on with the work in a more boots on the ground way. The quiet work we do at our altars, in our chapels, with our priesthood, or our oracles means we can get the clarity and calm assertive strength we need to do the tangible things that need doing in times like these.

Whatever we have the capacity and energy for, that’s what we have the capacity and energy for.

Today, I have the capacity and energy for lighting the candles, sparking the incense, taking tender care of my inner wee beastie, praying the prayers and loving my loves fiercely. You might not even have that much today, and that’s okay. You have what you have. You do what you can.

That’s enough.

I repeat: whatever anyone else might tell you, that’s enough.

It has to be, since It’s all any of us have on any given day.

***
You’ve probably seen the ‘choir metaphor’ doing the rounds on social media. While it’s been falsely attributed to Micheal Moore, and even Madonna, it was actually a quote by Aimee Van Ausdall, who wrote it on her Facebook page. There’s a cool story about how this quote when viral, and you can read that here.

This morning I have been pondering a nearly forgotten lesson I learned in high school music. Sometimes in band or choir, music requires players or singers to hold a note longer than they actually can hold a note. A 4-bar low G….. a long aria. In those cases, we were taught to mindfully stagger when we took a breath so the sound appeared uninterrupted. Everyone got to breathe, and the music stayed strong and vibrant. Yesterday, I read an article that suggested the administration’s litany of bad executive orders (more expected on LGBTQ next week) is a way of giving us “protest fatigue” – we will literally lose our will to continue the fight in the face of the onslaught of negative action. Let’s remember MUSIC. Take a breath. The rest of the chorus will sing. The rest of the band will play. Rejoin so others can breathe. Together, we can sustain a very long, beautiful song for a very, very long time. You don’t have to do it all, but you must add your voice to the song. With special love to all the musicians and music teachers in my life…..#Resist

Can I get a YASSSSAH! Because yes. Because we can’t sustain our voices *forever* without taking a breath. Because we need to drop the ball once in a while, to take care of ourselves, to do the laundry, to watch crap on tv, to fling paint. We need to *live* while all of this *wavesatallofthis* is going down.

Otherwise, fear wins.

So, this is my love letter to you on this Friday, April 7, 2017. I see you, out there, doing the best you can with what you’ve got, and I see how much it stings when people thoughtlessly criticize our efforts. I see how easy it is to burn out, to shut down. I see it, and I experience it myself.

So, hello, love. Whatever you have the capacity and energy for on any given day is *enough*. It is enough.

You are enough.

My you find peace in the struggle, and bliss among the ruins.

I’ll see you next week.

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