An Unlikely Labyrinth

When is a labyrinth not a labyrinth?

When it’s the sidewalk I travel while walking my dogs.

While there is a beautifully-designed labyrinth in a serene setting within 20 minutes of my home, it’s not always convenient to go there when I need a contemplative walk.  Labyrinths, unlike mazes, have one clearly marked path leading in to the center and back out again.  I enjoy walking them because they allow me to focus on the journey rather than the destination.  Isn’t that ultimately something we all want to do… enjoy our journey without worrying about where it’s leading?

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that my earth-centered spirituality means I hold every place in nature sacred– my backyard can be just as holy a place as an ancient stone circle or burial mound.  That broad view of the sacred led to my next question… Can any walk be a labyrinth walk with the right intention?  I immediately answered yes, as long as I’m not preoccupied with where I’m going.

I gave it a try a few days ago, when taking Freyja for her walk.  We both know the route so well that thinking isn’t necessary.  I set the intention before leaving the house to respectfully walk away from my home in prayer, talking to the Divine and return to the house in meditation, listening to what the Divine had to say to me.  All relationships, including our relationship with Source, require great communication skills.  The ability to know when to talk & when to listen.  Labyrinth walking, for me, allows a balance of both.

There is a specific issue weighing on my mind so I shared it for the first half of the walk, praying silently so people wouldn’t look at “this woman” muttering to herself like she’s crazy.  When I felt I had shared my heart’s concerns fully (this took an extra-long walk), I paused & lifted up my concerns.  “This issue is completely out of my control; I know that.  Help me do what I can to improve the situation & release what I can’t for the greatest & highest good.  Blessed be.”  I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, & returned home in quiet meditation.  Among the birds twittering & wind howling in the fir trees, I heard a whisper of encouragement.  I wasn’t walking alone.

So, to answer my own question, “Yes, an ordinary walk can be a labyrinth walk with the right intention.”  It’s amazing how much better I feel when I approach ordinary experiences with a more spiritual attitude.  Walking dogs, picking berries, or even washing the dishes can be spiritual.  All it takes is a shift in focus, allowing it to be so.

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Roots II & Roots III

As I continue work on my “Roots” series, I’m reminded of my connection to all that is.  Roots symbolize groundedness & being rooted in the present.  While many of us have lost that sense of unity, it’s within our grasp if we get back to nature.  I recommend spending time silently in the presence of a tree.  Keep one or both hands on it as you meditate.  If you are confident in your appreciation for nature, rest your forehead against it’s trunk along with your hands.  If you are too self-conscious, sit with your back against it instead.  Be aware of any sensations, thoughts, or feelings that come to you.  Let them flow through you as you maintain a connection to the tree.  End with gratitude for all that trees provide, for we know, there would be no life on earth without them.

Roots II

Roots II: in serene blues & violets.

Roots III

Roots III: in orange, purple, & green

Take a look at my Art Gallery page to see all my recent work. 

Check out the pieces for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

 

Love: The Path & The Destination

What I love is the path & the destination.    Susan Korsnick

Time takes flight on wings of joy when I’m doing something I love.  I forget about meals & even sleep when I’m immersed in moments that bring contentment & meaning to my life.  For example, I’ve often looked up from gardening to see the sky has moved beyond dusk into that inky blueness just before nightfall.  It’s that late already?!  Until my attention is drawn away from what I love to do, I’m neither exhausted nor hungry.  The same thing happens when I’m creating art or pursuing my spirituality.   Focused on what I love, I have no concept of time or limitations of any kind.

When friends are being supportive, they say things like, “What does your heart tell you to do?” & “Follow your passion.””   We know we should listen to our hearts but sometimes the obligations of life roar in our ears & drown out the encouraging whisper of Self.  The more we fill our days with commitments & obligations, the more we are distanced from what we love.  Sure, we all have duties we must perform… bills, jobs, errands, chores, etc.  But it’s vital to the human spirit that we immerse ourselves in what nourishes us on a deeper level so we can perform the “musts”.

Yes, what I love is the path I follow & each moment lived in love is a destination unto itself.

“Don’t worry about what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive & do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  Howard Thurman

Roots I: Symbol of Connection

While I had every intention of working all weekend on the Roots series of paintings that I mentioned in my last post, Mother Nature had other plans for me on Saturday.  Instead of the cold, grey, frosty January day I was expecting, Saturday was warm, sunny, & enticing.  I couldn’t resist the desire to be outside.

Whistling for Freyja, we slowly explored the backyard together.  She sniffed the ground for signs of rabbits while I took notice of each small bud & each bright red winterberry.  I walked deliberately, visualizing roots reaching from the soles of my feet into the soft, damp soil then sighed contentedly.  Being outside is so soothing to the spirit!

After pruning blueberry bushes & grapevines then hauling two wheelbarrow loads of debris to a spot behind my house where lawn clippings can be composted, dirt was not only on my hands but also on my shoes, my jeans, & even my nose.  It felt wonderful.  Gardening isn’t a chore to me; it’s a relationship I cherish.

After a couple of hours in the sunshine, I returned to my easel, ready to paint the roots that symbolize the profound connection that I have with nature.  Here is the first of five canvases.

Roots 1

Take a look at my Art Gallery page, I’m interested in hearing what you think. 

Check out the art I have for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

Roots: Art That Grounds Me

I’ve started a new series of paintings collectively called “Roots”.  While hiking last autumn, I marveled at the intricate root systems jutting out from trees growing on the hillside along the trail.  The roots meandered in & out of the soil, animating trees that seemed so solid & stoic.  I took several photographs, knowing they would be subjects of later artwork.

Roots 1

Roots 2I find a comforting familiarity when Mother Nature speaks to me through the chirping of birds, the look in a doe’s eyes, or the rustling wind in the fuzzy limbs of a fir tree.  As I walked the damp, leaf-covered trail that grey autumn afternoon, these roots beckoned me to come closer & hear their message.  “Stay grounded & rooted in the present.”  In my energy work & shamanic practice, I completely understand the importance of being grounded.  Roots are the perfect symbol for that message, being both roots and “rooted” & reminding me to stay connected to all that is.

When thoughts and emotions run high, leaving us in a state of “dis-ease”, we can find comfort in nature… standing barefoot on the land…gazing at the clouds… letting snowflakes settle on our upturned faces… listening to the rain with eyes closed…  allowing ourselves to be children again.  This sacred connection to the earth can relieve symptoms of dis-ease before they manifest in the body as disease.

Nature inspires me in all of her wondrous forms.  Roots are no exception.  Here are the first two stages of my artistic process.  I hope to share the finished work with you soon.

Root Project

Caran D’Ache water-soluble pastels are perfect for sketching directly onto canvas.

Roots in progress

Playing with color combinations… with varying degrees of success.

Nature-Inspired Wall Hangings Part 2

Here are the last 2 wall hangings in the series titled “Nature-Inspired Wall Hangings”.  I’m pretty excited because two of the pieces I showed in the November 28, 2012 post called Nature-Inspired Wall Hangings Part 1 are in happy homes.  One I gave as a gift & the other sold right away.  I love incorporating found objects & other tactile materials in my collages.  It’s cliche but great art has to come from the heart & speak to the heart.  Without triggering an emotional response in the viewer, can we even use the term “art”?

3 Twigs Wall Hanging

3 Twigs Wall Hanging has handmade paper, twine, copper wire, stone, pinecone, & wood details.

Hand and Spiral Wall Hanging

The Artist’s Hand is a symbol of creativity. It’s made of wood, hemp twine, handmade paper, acrylic paint, glass beads, & copper wire.

Take a look at my Art Gallery page, I’m interested in hearing what you think. 

Check out the art I have for sale at www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan