The Final Pieces Of My Collaboration With Ayala Arts

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For the entire playlist of the Ayala Art Collaboration videos, please click here. (Seven videos in total…)

And so–we begin…

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And then–we continue…

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Now–we finish…

Here–we unwrap…

 

 

 

Please visit Ayala’s youtube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/AyalaArt

Check out her website here:

http://ilove2paint.blogspot.com/

Don’t miss her 29 Faces challenge that she runs periodically throughout the year either:

http://29faces.blogspot.com/

Meeting Myself On The Mat

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So, how long have I complained about not having the physical space to do any sort of Yoga while living in this house?
Y-e-a-r-s.
I know.
Until I took the Yoga.Write.Now Yoga and The Art Of Love course. This is not the first course I had seen available from YWN. The first one lit me up, but the fire didn’t stay, so I knew it wasn’t for me. The Art of Love course they offered next—I didn’t even think twice—I just signed up for it.
Writing? And Yoga? Can there be a better combination for me right now? Fine—throw in some paint and maybe some yarn…and I am good to go.
Then funny thing is, other than watching the Yoga videos, I did not do any Yoga with this class. I did the first writing exercises, but then there came to one that required you dredge up the past—and I had to pass on that one. Not because I don’t have a past, or I don’t have issues caused by the past—my problem is—I don’t hold on to that stuff. Ingrained behavior that happens by instinct—yes…but writing a letter to someone who hurt me in the past—and being angry about what they did—I don’t have the capacity to do that…I don’t hang on to it. I am not the type to stalk my exes…because once it is done, it’s over and I move on. I don’t hold on to hurts—but then again, I don’t hold on to anything. I don’t have prized precious happy memories either. I am one of those unique people that when you put me in jail (and yes, for three days, and yes, this bore true then as well, even knowing I was getting out in three days…) I wither and die…no matter what you say. After day 1, I stopped eating all the meals, because I slept through them…and I did not miss them. I see what is right here, right now…I have that unique and dastardly tunnel vision…so when I get stuck in something—I get stuck…so when it came to the exercise where you resurrect your past and have a go at it—I didn’t have anything to have a go with or at…and I was fine with that.
So—for someone who didn’t really do the classwork, or the matwork…why was this class such a positive experience for me?And trust me, it was…
The reason is two-fold. During that very first Yoga video, I was introduced to a concept that even in my three+ hours per day Yoga practice from years ago I hid from…the whole the teacher does not know best for your body—you do…
The teacher does Not know best for me…gasp…shudder…oh, well, duh, yeah, I knew that already.  Now I am allowed to say it, admit it, and actually believe it.
You can do what is best for you, even in a class, not just home alone. If you want to spiral back in triangle pose because that is what your body asks for—do it, whether the teacher leads you in that direction or not.  Wow.
That alone allowed me to reconsider things that I had held sacrosanct for quite awhile. It gave me permission, me, coming from an Iyengar background, where alignment is key, to wiggle, wriggle, shimmy, shake and not have perfect perfect alignment every single time…wow. Thank you, ladies, for that one. It has been a game changer, a life changer.
The other thing that happened is…my brain started to work overtime…if I am able to move into and out of positions without all that other stuff (perfect alignment, etc etc) – then what can I do with the space that I have?
And then…Sun Salutations began to come to mind…now, in the past, I did some serious and extended Sun Salutes, incorporating Warrior series, and all sorts of other things…but…when you look up a simple Sun Salutation…it is very simple, roughly eight or nine positions. It does not require a lot of space.
And then…Mark Whitwell, and his book Yoga of Heart, came to mind. I had seen a Yoga video of his years ago. In this video, which was a recording of a class he taught somewhere, he was teaching breathwork while raising arms over head…and then into dogward dog…and he said, somewhere between these two poses, something along the lines of if this is all you do every day, breath in and raise your arms over your head, breath out and lower your arms…then that is really all you need to do—and please, I am paraphrasing here, probably horribly, but this is what stuck with me…that connecting the breath , the movement and the body with the mind…that is the important part and that is all you need every day…
With my back issues, I need a lot more than a basic Sun Salute…and I have a ‘normal’ core routine that I have done for years…but then I hit that wall of – not enough physical space…
So I had to let go…let go of the need to do certain movements in certain ways…I had to let go of being able to move the way I need to move…I had to let go of expecting to get into the deeper aspects of Yoga on the mat, because there is no way my toddler will allow me to breathe without his assistance—ever since his yellow jacket attack he is a bit more determined to be physically closer all of the time—this is a phase—I understand it and I am ok with it.  He’s only three and he is allowed to take his time to work through what he needs to work through.
Eventually, during this course, I began to pull out my poor abused Yoga mat…in the month or so that I have been back on my mat, the dogs have wrestled on my mat, plus the toddler loves to take the mat out and use it as a blanket—I have a second mat just like this one…but, alas, I know not whence it has gone…it’s lost in the basement vortex, is my guess.
Anyway…I meet myself on my mat. Sometimes for five minutes. Sometimes for fifteen minutes. I do what I can. There is no quieting of the monkey mind—because my little monkey (toddler) literally spins circles around me the entire time I am on the mat—most days. He has a knack of clobbering me when I least expect it (this is a show of affection—talk to his father about it) – he has actually knocked me over while circling (on accident), especially in a warrior pose or in triangle pose—and he has done it when I knew he was there and knew what he was doing and I was watching and being careful…he will sometimes do the poses with me, which can be nice…many many mornings my practice is overtaken with a vigorous round of airplane—which, believe it or not, my back genuinely appreciates most of the time—the only issue with airplane—other than once that starts there is no more Yoga for the day—is the boy gets up on my feet and begins to (literally) spin around by throwing himself all over the place…he starts with his head towards my head—then his head towards my feet…then he jumbles up and down my legs…giggling like a madman and expecting me to catch his silly self every time—and thus far, I have…although there have been times too when I have regretted it (as in I overstretched my back, or twisted my arm or something…) but he has a blast…and thankfully we do not have to do that every day.
Many is the day I show up to my mat…and I do nothing but cry…there is still a limited space…I have to move things in order to have the scant room necessary for my mat…much less for my own body…and there are days when the toddler runs into the room, I get hit with the door when he opens it (I told you, not enough room—not joking here) – he starts demanding I come sit with him (I can only handle so much Team Umizoomi or Bubble Guppies…really) – he starts demanding we find his sister who is constantly “lost” (if he can’t find you—you are lost…) … there are days when I beg for five minutes…just five minutes…to just lay on the floor with my feet up the wall so I can breathe and relax…toddlers have no mercy…well, sometimes he does…but some days if I ask him for anything I get an well-thought-out reasonable argument—that goes on and on and on…and he needs you to look at him, look him in the eye, when he is conversing with you…because, well, who wouldn’t?
Yoga in this manner—with all these constraints, conscriptions, delays, agonies, assistance, hugs, love taps and bouts of airplane—it’s not what I would have expected.
However, the benefits of this practice—even on those days when I literally spend more time begging to just stretch out for one minute than actually doing anything—far outweigh not doing it.
For one thing, eventually, my toddler will feel safe again. (He stepped into a yellow jacket nest on his birthday party in early August.) Eventually, he will understand that I need this time and that I am not lost, I am not running away, and maybe just maybe, he will work through a routine with me.
Eventually, we will move to another house, a bigger house, with more room for everything, much less my Yoga practice. One day, I will be able to do my own full Yoga routine again, where I can stretch out in any direction whenever I need to do so.
Eventually, lots of things will shift and change and improve. I know this.
Right now, despite all the stress and the strain and the – toddler-dom I undergo every morning in order to meet myself on my mat—I am feeling calmer, softer, more like me. My body is opening up to me a little tiny bit—she and I have stopped talking in the past four-five years…and we are still not on good terms…the chronic pains are loosening up a bit here and there…not that new ones don’t appear, not that old ones don’t reassert themselves periodically…but I have a space now inside my heart that I can step into so that I can breathe into that pain and breathe through it—even if it is not the breathwork I once did…even if there are lots of stops and starts…even when I can only move stuff, open my mat, sob a minute or two, and then fold the mat up…I am meeting myself there…I am trying…I am holding out my hand to the part of me I used to love deeply and fiercely and I am holding on to that part…while allowing new parts of the person I want to be to open—albeit slowly and fearfully.
There is still a lot of work for me to do, on and off the mat.
All I can say is at least I am showing up. Every day.

29 Faces Check-In

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Didn’t expect this today, did ya?

But I love this…

Faces 23? to … uhm, 31… 🙂

This one is an old sketch on a 4in x 6in postcard that I did forever ago.  I decided now was a good time to finish her.

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This one was actually fun and is more minimal than you think.  This is a spread that started as smears and blots of paint from other work.  All I did was add in the facial features and a tiny bit of shading…the ‘skin’ was already there.

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This is a crop of my Equinox spread.

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This is the face of the first full mermaid I have done in a long time.  There is a story about this one; I’ll tell you some other time.

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This is a second mermaid close-up.  On canvas board.  Oh, there will be many many more mermaids coming…

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Sketch book playing, creating shapes without sketching them in first.

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This is part of my Full Moon Spread…which is coming this Monday…

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Playing with paint, minimal palette, in my 8in x 5in journal.

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This is my truly minimal piece today.  Gesso and charcoal.  A little color on the lips.  Indigo for a tiny bit of shading on the face and in the hair.

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Mother-In-Law

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*Please note: all the opinions expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone. These are my impressions and my emotions. Bear this in mind if you think I am attempting to single anyone out…I am not.
And while I am at it—I really dislike the fact that I feel compelled to put such a warning up in regards to anything I post on my own personal blog. My personal blog means—my personal opinions, ideas, emotions and whatever else – I am not bashing – I am not trying to hurt anyone – I am not making accusations…
This is just my stuff…
However, I have spent a great deal of my life surrounding myself with total a**holes, whether I knew it before or after…and so…let me reiterate—my opinions, my impressions, my stuff…
And now that we are clear…
I love my former mother-in-law. I do not feel, and I did not feel back then, that I was permitted to dig into the relationship and actually build something lasting and meaningful with her. It has nothing to do with the woman herself; it was the impression her son pushed upon me, things he said, things he did, things I saw, things I heard, things I was told…yada yada…
I still have a great deal of admiration for her amazing talent. She sewed and she did woodwork—her husband did the most incredible woodwork as well, but that’s another tale. They were great people, as I knew them.
I never chose to sew much more than straight lines while I knew her, because I did not like the idea of feeling as if I had to compete with her. The ex was a huge competitor…everything was a competition. I haven’t seen him in well over a decade and yet I am still trying to work out that throw hard, go hard, fight fight fight to win stuff that he put into me. *Sidenote—I was 17, 18 when we met…I was still a kid…a lot of the formative garbage in my head unfortunately came from his point of view—and that takes a lot of time to work out…especially when I don’t know it’s in there.
Need an example? Bowling. I like bowling. I like to bowl. I had so many issues when I started bowling again after the divorce…not that I bowl often or anything…but still…the ex taught me to bowl. He taught me to throw hard, aim hard, force my will on the ball…which works for him…please don’t get me wrong. His style works for him. It does not work for me. It never did. That didn’t stop me from acting as if it did for him.
I am still to this day trying to work the kinks out of my bowling. I throw much softer, much more gently, and I use a lot more of what I call English (a billiards/pool term—I dunno if it applies to bowling, but it works here for me) to guide the ball to where I want it to go. I may never throw a perfect game in bowling, but I sure do enjoy it so much more now that bowling is not longer a battle where I must conquer.
What does this have to do with my former mother-in-law? Every now and then, when I sit down to write my gratitudes for the day, she comes up. Towards the end of the relationship with the ex, she and I were discussing things. I don’t remember how or why or any of that. All I remember is we were discussing how much intuitive readers make—and at the time I said most that I knew charged $60 per hour–$1 per minute. And that woman, bless her heart, asked me why I wasn’t doing that, why I didn’t charge that…something along those lines.
That conversation would echo in my brain for years.
It was because of that conversation that I began to charge for my work. I began charging $60 per hour for my intuitive work. And then, after working for awhile, moving through things, learning that I can do more than just support my family on $60 per hour…and for wearing myself out on many levels working with clients that probably should have been better served by someone who had a much better method of self-care in place, shall we say…or by a different type of counselor, much less an intuitive coach…I did a great deal of soul-searching about the type of life I wanted to live, about the types of clients I wanted to work with and I wanted to serve, about the hours I wanted to work, about many many things. In the end, because of that one conversation (that I remember) with my former mother-in-law, it dawned on me that based upon the work that I do and the levels to which I hold myself, I would best serve myself by charging more for my services. My base rate now is normally $120, period. I charge more for different reasons. I will charge $60 for a half an hour for different reasons. That sort of thing. I credit my mother-in-law for giving me the idea, the concept of permission, that I could do such a thing.
I have long followed Leonie Dawson. I was a member of her Goddess Circle for one year, several years ago. I learned so much in that year. It was because of what I learned during my time in her Goddess Circle that I decided to raise my rates( to $120 per hour).
To be clear, and to be blunt, raising my rates effectively got me better clients, people who genuinely want to do the work, people who are sincere and focused…and it also allowed the people who were looking for that guru, or that person to tell them how to live their lives, to gently fall away.
And for those of you wondering, yes, even now that I am not doing much work at all, I do still have some clients. Yes, I do always feel the need to defend myself and my positions, even when I am not actually under attack…a behavior from that marriage that I still cannot break myself of quite yet…
This post is not supposed to be about my clients. It is about making sure that the Universe hears me loud and clear about being grateful to have had a random conversation that made it possible for me to move across country, buy a house, move again after it became necessary to move, rent a house, and support my children and myself well…up until I stopped working when I got pregnant with my youngest and then I basically stopped working all together for a year or two to take care of him.
Now that I am beginning to build my business again, what I learned from that one conversation comes back to me…even though my business has shifted into new (for me) directions. I have that conversation with her, coupled with many conversations with my mother…in my head and in my heart…and I am embracing a new dynamic…although my base rates to work directly with me on a one-to-one basis are not shifting.
I just wanted to say, I am grateful for that one conversation. It had a powerful impact on my life going on. If I had one wish, it would be that I took that advice sooner…and that I stuck to it fervently in the face of other obstacles …

My Truth Is My Own…

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Relate 2015...Relate this year has been an intensely interesting … so intense all together…last year, even though the whole I (literally) lost my eyesight and it took me weeks to recover…there was a lot going on with me because of Relate…this year, I started Relate making sure I kept putting eye drops in my eyes to keep the same issue from happening again…until it started to happen again…lol…this time I surely did it to myself while attempting to make certain it didn’t happen again.  Too many eye drops–even though it was only two per day…once I stopped doing that, my vision did improve.

Instead of freaking out as my eyes grew weaker–and yes, since last year, this is something I am very conscious of as it does happen frequently now, but not so badly that I have lost my vision again (thankfully)–I stopped…and I listened…I picked up my journal and I had a discussion with my eyes…and funny, part of the issue really was Relate…

Because it came down to–what is it exactly that I do not want to see…this is not a question specific to Relate in any way…but Relate asks you, teaches you to be honest with yourself, to embrace your own truth…and there are days when Truth and Honesty are not … they are not the prettiest gals at the ball, shall we say?

I had to sit with that…for four, five, maybe even six days…and then I pulled out my art journal…and I started to play with paints…once those first layers were dry, I took a bright neon pink paint pen and around the outer border, all the way around the two-page spread, I wrote: my truth is my own…over and over and over…and then…I added more paint, more colors, more textures…

Finally I felt called to create a sketch, inspired by a marvelous piece of art someone sent me–a piece I will be discussing some other time…but a piece that I am so … grateful to have…

I sketched…I painted…and then I took that neon pink paint pen…and I wrote My Truth Is My Own…because the border version had all but disappeared under the layers of paint…the funny thing in when I scanned the full spread, that neon pink is practically invisible…although the black sharpie I used to add a bit of shading with stands out fine…that is not a good thing…really…I didn’t completely outline anything…I just added touches…so it looks like there are weird black lines just kinda sitting there out in nowhere-land when you look at the scan…

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This is part of that spread.  Indeed, she is a mermaid–her tail is on the other half of the spread…as I sat with this piece, trying to reach in and divine more truth from her…something else hit me…eons ago, at the end of LifeBook 2014, I sent Carla Sonheim an email telling her that I would be creating a series of mermaids and trees…yeah, it’s a long story…but this was the assignment I gave myself.

I had planned to do twelve…but actually I only did one — so far…

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I could not paint over her fast enough when I finished her either…this canvas is now one of my Manifestation pieces–this mermaid became the Lady with the blonde hair (there’s only one blonde–ya can’t miss her).

I have been irritated–annoyed–upset–perturbed–antsy–anxious…you name it–because I have not been able to muster my inner Fortitude and just do it when it comes to these mermaid and trees pieces…

I have told myself I don’t have to create twelve pieces.  The original idea from Carla was five or six, if I remember correctly, since I don’t feel like digging around and looking it up.

I have told myself nothing has to be on canvas–and trust me, that one above on canvas was a fluke–that canvas has about three other paintings under the mermaid…I originally intended to use the same substrate for the mermaids and trees as I had used for LifeBook 2014…mixed media paper…which I am actually no longer quite so keen on, but that’s another story…

I had a brain freeze–I did everything I could to avoid creating mermaids…and I do have about twenty lists of how to incorporate mermaids and trees cohesively in a painting…I mapped it all out…I have stick figure sketches…I have scribbles…I ‘drew’ with words instead of images…I have all of that down…I could not, for the life of me, draw a mermaid I was comfortable with…so…I began to avoid the entire idea of ‘mermaid’…

I did create one mermaid…for Painting The Feminine…no, I take it back…I did two of them…

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One is barely mermaid-y at all…which I have to admit, I actually like…and the other…another faceless undersea nymph-ish creature…

And then…nothing…

For me, that is tantamount to denying who I am essentially at my core…

I did take a deep breath once (or thrice)…and ponder the WHY of my brain freeze…I had been perfectly willing to splatter paint all over in the name of all things mermaid well before this…right?

Actually…the only mermaid’s I have drawn and/or painted ‘lately’ have been in the style of Tamara Laporte’s Rainbow Mermaid class

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This is my interpretation–or at least one of them–from Tam’s class…I don’t know if my brain stuck on the rainbow mermaid concept…or what happened…but I painted a few in line with Tam’s class…and I was all gung-ho to create the series based on Carla Sonheim’s suggestions…and then…

Brain freeze…

Until my lovely beauty…the very first image in this post…she who is part of a larger spread not shown here…

As I sat with this lovely thing…it dawned on me…that this is my Truth…

The whole “My Truth” thing kept coming at me…

Something shifted…wow, last week was all about shifts and re-alignments…this week has proved quite similar…changes to finally unite who I want to be and who I truly am into one cohesive being…it’s not easy work–and it is not instant work…

I am a work in progress…and I am good with that…

But sitting here listening to my mermaid…as she dreams of me sitting–no, of me standing firmly grounded in my own Self and in my own Truth…it hit me that what I really need to do…is create a practice for the next whatever many days…thirty maybe…where I do nothing but create mermaids…maybe one a day…maybe I work on one piece for a week…so long as I am working on a mermaid…then that counts…

It’s not as if I do not have journals prepared for this sort of thing…

I will let you know when I start this project…and I will keep you updated as I go along…

Thanks for listening…