Winged Spirit- Soar to New Heights

Winged Spirit emerged from the canvas to remind us that we should release our burdens and soar to new heights.

Winged Spirit emerged from the canvas to remind us that we should release our burdens and soar to new heights.

Winged Spirit speaks to me, gently saying “Release what no longer serves so you can soar to new heights.”  Her wings are strong yet nurturing. “Fear not,” she continues, “when you have the courage to take a leap, Spirit will carry you safely on the wind. You will not fall.”  What wonderful advice as we head into 2015, a new year & an opportunity for a new beginning!

By letting go of my preconceived idea of what this canvas could be, Winged Spirit continued to reveal herself.

By letting go of my preconceived idea of what this canvas could be, Winged Spirit continued to reveal herself.

Winged Spirit emerged from layers of acrylic paint playfully applied with a variety of tools- brushes, a spray bottle, sponges, a fork, stencils, stamps, and my fingertips.  I was able to connect with this piece far more deeply than I had with some of my earlier work because I allowed myself to enjoy the process and let whatever was going to happen happen.  Surrender… a new concept for me.

After freely applying several layers of paint without any thought to the outcome, I saw Winged Spirit peeking through the drips, splashes, and strokes.

After freely applying several layers of paint without any thought to the outcome, I saw Winged Spirit peeking through the drips, splashes, and strokes.

 

Early in the fall, I strolled into my local fabric store and happened upon a display of art-related books.  As soon as I read the title “Brave Intuitive Painting”, I knew I had to have Flora Bowley’s book for that’s exactly what I would love to call my painting process.  But I can’t.  Not yet.  I stayed up late into the night soaking up her advice, techniques, and colorful examples, enthusiastically telling my boyfriend, “If I could write a book, this is exactly what I’d want to say!!”  She encourages artists to release preconceived ideas of a finished product and immerse ourselves in the process of discovery… and self-discovery.  The book led me to her website which led me to her e-course called Bloom True.  I highly recommend it for anyone to wants to break free of expectations and allowing the experience of creating art to be a more intuitive process.

The point of taking Flora Bowley’s workshop is not to copy her style.  Rather, the point is to honor the authentic creator in my Self, silence the critical mind for a while, and just BE.

Visit my shop on Etsy to view the art I currently have for sale.  www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

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Slow and Deliberate

I’ve been recording my dreams for over 30 years, keeping journals & reflecting on the meaning of my dreams for I believe they are messengers that can inform our lives.  In the past few years, I’ve extended my dreamwork wisdom to workshops & women’s groups, with the intention of helping others use their intuitive wisdom to interpret their own dreams.

Our inner council (intuition, gut, guardian angel, etc…) works for our highest good.  It’s up to us to acknowledge that & make changes as needed.

In a recent dream, a white alligator protected a younger version of myself.  The alligator sat half-submerged in the water, unmoving yet vigilant & alert to her surroundings.  Nothing escaped her notice.  I sat timidly in the shelter of some exposed tree roots where the water met the shore.  I was hiding but never saw what the danger was.  The alligator knew… she would make sure I stayed safe.

When I awoke,  I referenced Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  This resource is full of animal facts & symbolic interpretations that have guided me well for years.  Even if I dream about the same animal more than once, I’m able to get something different & relevant from this book.  This time, the part that resonated for me was a few sentences on the alligator’s eating habits & how it digests its food very slowly.  That spoke to where I am now.  I’m taking in a lot of new information from a variety of sources.  Some is worth retaining & applying to my life.  Other information is merely that endless stream of garbage from the internet, the news, & print media.

If the alligator dream wasn’t enough of a message, I read Grandmothers Counsel the World by Carol Schaefer.  The passage I read aligned perfectly with the dream.  In it, Schaefer quotes a Yupik elder (a tribe of indigenous people near the Arctic Circle) who said, “Yupiks believe it is significant that we are born very small & grow slowly, not eating right away, slowly developing our awareness of the world.”

Synchronicity… I’m hearing the same message to “slow down & be deliberate with my actions” from more than one source.  I take this to mean that I need to limit the intake of information so I can slowly process what I’ve already learned.  Digest what I’ve already bitten off before taking another bite.  To stay in balance, I need to proceed at a pace that’s right for me.  These messages alert me to the fact that I’ve been so eager to learn, grow, & move on to a new project that I’m at risk of making careless mistakes. Instead of working shallow & broad, I need to work deep & narrow, focusing on what truly matters.  What I do is meaningful & I need to take it to a new level without being distracted by the rest of the information bombarding my mind, heart, & soul.

Dreams are powerful.  I’ll honor my own inner wisdom & heed what they have to say.

A Meditation Buffet

My early perception of meditation was that I had to sit still, be quiet, & clear the mind of all thoughts.  I tried.  I tried often over the years but each time, I got discouraged, believing that “I wasn’t doing it right.”  I’ve since redefined meditation for myself.  Meditation is about listening, taking the time to focus on my own well-being & need for a bit more tranquility in my life.  It doesn’t necessarily require sitting in silence on a cushion, although that method works well for many people.  Instead, it might be a method that incorporates chanting or walking as a way to focus the attention.

I recently offered an evening session called “The Meditation Buffet” for curious women open to exploring different meditative techniques.  Just like some of us recharge our mental/emotional batteries by being alone while others get energy from being in a group, we have different spiritual needs as well.  Some people need singing, dancing, & movement while others need contemplative, serene spiritual experiences.  It’s not surprising that we are different in the way we meditate, too.

The Meditation Buffet came out of conversations with friends & a few co-workers.  Most either had no meditative practice or if they did, it was infrequent.  Why?  Three statements frequently come up…

“I don’t have enough time.”

“I can’t sit still for that long.”

“I can’t clear my mind of thoughts.”

 I designed The Meditation Buffet to address those three concerns & offer possible solutions to busy women who may not have the time to explore these techniques in-depth.  (Like a quick taste of an unfamiliar food on a buffet table, a 15-minute introduction to a meditative technique is sufficient to determine whether or not it suits your personality & lifestyle.  Let’s face it, you know when something’s right & when it’s not if you let your intuition guide you.)

“I don’t have enough  time.” With full-time jobs, kids, errands, & other obligations, the time to care for our whole self- physical, mental, spiritual, & emotional- slips to the bottom of the list of priorities.  Everyone & everything else comes first.  Eventually, this catches up with us in the forms of anxiety, sleeplessness, & illness.  We can’t continue to give when we have nothing left to give.  Meditation gives us an opportunity to center ourselves & find peace among the chaos.  When I was a girl, I had a friend who came from a large family.  The only time she could study quietly was in the bathroom.  She’d lock the door then climb into the dry bathtub, shutting out the world with a shower curtain.  You might be laughing but for some people, that’s a possible solution for a bit of privacy.  So, before you say you don’t have time to meditate, get creative.  Think outside the box.  Maybe you need to think inside the bathtub!  This is the hardest excuse to overcome because it means making a commitment to yourself.  It means saying “I’m worth it” and following through regularly.

“I can’t sit still for that long.”  In the workshop, we tried a couple of techniques described in John Hudson’s book Meditation: Simple Steps to Peace, Well-Being, & Contentment  and a few that I learned from other sources, including a beautifully serene walking meditation I first practiced at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.  A participant in the group introduced the rest of us to Birds’ Nest Meditation, which required us to sit in nature, as if in a nest, & heighten our awareness of the world around us.  I found this grounded me & brought a sense of peace from being fully present in the moment.  I recommend Hudson’s book for it has “everyday techniques accessible to everyone” on topics such as postures, mantras, & visualizations.  It’s definitely worth reading if you are new to meditation or still searching for a method that works for you.

“I can’t clear my mind.”  That’s perfectly natural.  I’m not aware of anyone on the planet who is able to free their mind of every thought every time they meditate.  Sometimes, the best we can do is respectfully recognize that we have a lot on our minds & with loving kindness toward ourselves, let each thought drift away like a colorful sailboat on the river of our consciousness.  Acknowledge the thoughts & let them flow.  Do this over & over if you have to, breathing deeply each time you notice another thought trying to distract you from the process.  Do the best you can with this & let that be good enough.  You will improve with practice.

I’m far from perfect when it comes to meditating regularly.  I, too, use excuses when it “doesn’t suit me”; however, I fully admit that I feel out of alignment with my higher self when I neglect my need for solitude & peace.  I’m writing from a place of knowing.

I Succeeded Because I Tried

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

Elbert Hubbard

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Last weekend, I debuted my new business venture Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self at the New Visions Celebration of Life Expo in York PA.  This popular holistic health expo attracts everyone from reflexologists to Reiki masters as well as vendors selling products including crystals, jewelry, essential oils, & books.  It was the perfect place to share the philosophy of Pure You & the services I offer.

I’ve often described the idea of birthing a new idea to birthing a baby.  A mother doesn’t give birth expecting a child to come out fully formed as a veterinarian or fashion designer; she knows it’s a baby who will develop as it grows.  Ideas are exactly the same.  They, too, evolve over time.  I kept that in my mind as I set up my booth, arranging the banner, business cards, & flyers promoting my upcoming workshop “Light in the Darkness:  How Dreams Illuminate Your Soul”.

I’m not going to mislead you.  Putting myself out there in a new way was scary.  There were feelings of vulnerability, a fear of acceptance, & moments of self-doubt.  All I could do was reject the negativity & stand in the knowledge that no matter how Pure You was received, at least I had the guts to try.  I had the courage to make my dream a reality.  I know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t put my heart & soul into this venture, I’d have a lifetime of wondering “What if…” in addition to the understandable feeling of failure that results when I don’t even try.  That’s not my style.  I’ll always be a dreamer & I’ll always do my best to make my own dreams come true- being the hero in my own life story.

My best advice to any dreamer longing to make the dream a reality…Don’t let fear paralyze you.  So what if something you try doesn’t turn out the way you want?  By trying, you are opening the door of possibilities that remains forever closed to those who “settle” for what is.  Stand in your own power.  Be the co-creator of your life.  Success comes with trying.

Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self

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There came a point in my life this past year when I had to ask,  “When am I going to invest as much time, energy, & love in myself as I invest in work, relationships, & other commitments?”  Honestly, I’ve never done that, judging it as selfish & self-absorbed.  But how can we give to others if we don’t first nourish ourselves?  I took a deep breath, ready to invest in myself with just as much passion (if not more) as I put into everything else.  Elbert Hubbard said, “There is no failure except in no longer trying.”  I had to give it a try.  I had to commit to an idea I’ve believed in & put into practice, with profound results, for the last several years.

The idea for Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self came to me after attempts at getting to know my “authentic self” (i.e. my Soul) through one-dimensional approaches fell short. By “one-dimensional” approaches, I mean any attempt at self-discovery that treats the physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual aspects of us separately without seeing the four as comprising a total human being.  While I am a physical body, an emotional being, a thinker, & a spiritual seeker, compartmentalizing tends to be a “divide & conquer” approach; while I truly believe the Soul (i.e. the Authentic Self) is all of these things & much more.  Focusing on one aspect, expecting enlightenment or healing, is like expecting one leg to support a table.

Picture a plant in your mind, from root system to the flower or fruit-laden top…

Our Soul, our Authentic Self, is like a plant.  A plant has roots that ground it, drawing nourishment from the land.  Our physical body is the same way, grounding in this existence & gaining nourishment from the food we harvest from the earth.  A plant has a stem that draws nutrients up into the rest of the plant, keeping all systems working, & supporting the entire structure.  Our intellect is the same way, regulating everything from body functions to decision-making.  Plants have leaves for photosynthesis, opening to the sun, & drawing in what it needs to energize itself.  Our emotional self is the same way, reaching out for connections & sustenance.  Many plants have flowers or bear fruit.  Our spiritual self is the same way, something beautiful that enhances our lives & capable of becoming something richer that not only nourishes us but those around us.

Can you say a plant is a stem any more than you can say your Authentic Self is your intellect or your emotions?

Pure You takes a “whole-istic” approach to Soul Retrieval, integrating all aspects of you to support your journey of awakening & empowerment.  It’s the sacred space where you can explore who you are at this moment, what you value most, & how you nurture your Self so you can serve others.  Your body, mind, heart, & spirit must be in alignment for your Soul to thrive.

You cannot fulfill your life’s purpose if there is imbalance.

Pure You is the place to find that balance using a variety of ancient & modern methods, including energetic healing, creative expression, dream work, & spiritual exploration to awaken your Authentic Self.  Both my group workshops & individual consultations are challenging, provocative, & meaningful; yet, I’m fully aware that a client will only get out of it what he/she puts into it.  Pure You recognizes your journey of discovery must start & end with you.

Pure You provides the sacred space where you can Turn Your Divine Spark Into a Flame.  There are 3 goals of Pure You

Recognize Your Own Divine Light

Let Your Light Shine

Share Your Light With Others

There is a deep-rooted desire in each of us to respect our own divinity, stand in our power, & connect with all that is in a rich & meaningful way.  Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self reunites the physical, emotional, mental, & spiritual aspects of your existence to live your life as your greatest & highest Self.

You are uniquely you, with talents & skills in a combination that no one else possesses. 

On August 10th & 11th, I’ll be premiering my new venture “Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self” at the New Visions Celebration of Life Expo in York, PA.  Click on the link below to learn more!

New Visions Celebration of Life Expo

May this balanced approach to empowerment, healing, & awareness resonate with others & help more people stand confidently as their Authentic Selves.