Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Inspiration Celebration: cycles

As we work with our individual totems, we will begin to see how the predation process in its life within the wild reflects our own life within our environment.... By examining the combined qualities (medicine) of both predator and prey, the powers of death and rebirth become more accessible. The balance of totems enables you to recognize the natural rhythms of the death and rebirth process and use it more effectively. By working with the energies of both the predator totem and its prey as a totem will make life transitions less chaotic and disruptive. As a result your life becomes more creative and production. - Ted Andrews Animal-Speak

Last week I finished Deep. I pulled out all my paintings and sat with them in one room, reflecting upon my journey and where it has taken me. There were certainly surprises and new insights when viewing my work as a whole. That is the gift of the intuitive or fearless painting process: it allows me to bypass my intellect, the ideas and beliefs and perspective I hold and access my subconscious where things are not always as I imagined them to be.

For example, when approaching my second painting, I was thinking I was addressing something I needed to let go of, some attitude or belief or fear that was holding me back from stepping into my full power and gifts. What I now see is that painting represents rejection and denial of keys aspects of myself needed to be whole, to be fully alive and potent. The figure frozen in the tree structure weeps as the doll is being cast aside; without that part of myself, I am stuck, frozen and cut off.

In my third - and least favorite piece - I recognized I needed to embrace that doll. But what I thought was a painting about nurturing and support, I now see is pointing out how I mistake protection and withdrawal as care. This painting bothered me because it points out my disconnection due to fear of rejection and how isolation creates further disconnection within myself.

The third in what I think of as my doll paintings is my favorite of the entire course. Here I see integration, acceptance, and a cherishing of the discounted parts of myself. This painting was made as an act of devotion to love and in the process of painting it, I came to realize the need to offer to myself the unconditional love I so freely give to my daughter. Without knowing all that was happening below the surface, the act of painting this piece healed me.

My "purpose" painting: to be me
giving and receiving; heaven and earth

So what does this all have to do with predator and prey energies? I am embracing my totem hawk and while doing so, rabbit has offered herself to me for some deep lessons. As I absorb the many lessons of Deep, an important cycle in my creative life is coming to an end. But what rabbit is showing me is the nature of my creative cycles. There are quiet periods where little seems to be occurring and then I find myself in the midst of inspiration chaos! I am flooded with ideas, inspirations, and a host of projects I am itching to begin. It is overwhelming at times. So I sit frozen, unable to decide which of the many things calling out for my attention I wish to take on next. I hop back and forth between projects, frantic to keep the flow of inspiration and motivation alive. It is thrilling but it is exhausting.

But now I recognize this is my cycle. And while the initial stage feels like inspiration over-population, I also know hawk waits for the opportunity to strike. One thing will emerge from the chaos and forces right for its development will present themselves and then hawk will guide me to swoop in and carry that idea to its completion. I must learn to trust and wait. And I also must trust that rabbit is doing her share to keep the litter of ideas well cared for until needed. I think I can finally let go of a fear of lack.

What next? There is this writing workshop by fellow fearless painter Natasha on capturing our stories; there are additional sewing projects inspired by re-purposed clothing and knitwear, creatively put together by Emily Falconbridge; scrapbooking/journaling ideas in Got Paint (which I hope to use in a journal I am creating for Cowgirl - that may end up being my Opus!), always more painting, more art postcards to make and mail out; new fairy bundle ideas; sewing and knitting projects; and of course photographing and writing it all down for future reference.

Do you wallow in an overabundance of ideas and inspiration? How do you sort through the myriad of shiny, wonderful projects? How do you balance your energies and attention? Is it really a balance or is creativity, by necessity, a sweet taste of chaos? The balance being in the cycles of birth, growth and destruction? Filling and emptying? Activity and rest? Remembering to receive as well as offer forth?

As I steep in all these ideas, reminders of abundance, receiving, waiting and trusting swirl around me. Hawk sits on the lamp post waiting for me on every walk; as we approach he takes flight. I return home and find this gift in the mail:

postcard art by mango sister Mel

confirming once the cycles of giving and receiving, taking in and offer out that are constantly in motion. And Joy. Let's not forget joy! She is always just a crayon away ...


  1. Although my goal is to bask in your painting fantabulous either tonight or tomorrow, I LOVED being able to do it here NOW. Your work speaks to me..that doll means something to me. I plan to sit with your work for awhile and even revisit mine. What a gorgeous shining soul you are.

    My life feels like a constant struggle for balance - constant. I think I have it semi-under control and then I feel like I have to start all....over ....again and perhaps that's the thing. DEEP has taught me to loosen that goal for control and perfection and so I go back and forth between periods of 100 ideas and a few. I never fully seem to know where I need to start but I think that has to do with the fact I I sometimes wonder if I am on the "right' path. I need to remember that whatever it is I want I need to imagine and create.

    Either way, it helps to know I'm not alone and that I get to travel this road with souls who keep me thinking and inspired, like you.

  2. There is so much here that resonates with me that I can't even pull words from the heavens. I'll come back, hopefully more literate...

  3. Wow! Amazing and powerful paintings! Your reflections and insights are very personal, yet resonate with me too. Your energy and zest for life have always impressed me, and I am in awe of all you do. I find I need withdrawal and fallow time or I start feeling overwhelmed. My intention to focus this year has really helped me find a better balance and peace in my life.

  4. Lis, as always, you just nailed it here:) Cycles, cycles, cycles - if only I could just accept and trust them in myself and my life it really would bring me some deep peace. Love reading about your experience here!

  5. ah yes...the timelessness of learning to honour cycles...

    i have these distinct phases as well..constantly moving through deepening and surfacing...

    learning to relax and sink into the *quiet* times has been (and continues to be) a hard lesson for me -- but i really cherish the benefits when i remember that being still is okay. and then when i surface...oh - the ideas, the inspirations..the paint and words fly!!

    which is also dependent on how much coffee i've drunk in a given

    SO loving our connection much i can't hardly put it into words...gratitude, gratitude, deep gratitude...

    rock on, my Seestah...i'm rockin' right beside you...


    ps. Tashita is bringing chocolate and Doritos...


  6. The grandest and loveliest thing that keeps me coming back to your blog again and again.... is your openess and unabashed honesty. I just love reading your truths.

    I too try and accept the stillness that can come between inspiration and bursts of creativity. Very hard for me to accept as I start to throw around words like "lazy" and "procrastination". But as I look deeper within and accept myself for who I am, I find that truer words are: "rest" and "patience". This post helps me follow that path of healing.

    When the time is ripe with inspiration, I can't wait to see what you are up to next :)

    Much love,

  7. So much that is interesting and beautiful here.

    Do you wallow in an overabundance of ideas and inspiration? Yes, I do this with my writing. And for me it has been an agent of procrastination.

    How do you sort through the myriad of shiny, wonderful projects? I've only recently found a way I can do them all by giving them freely to the universe. And having done so, I feel the creative energy flowing freely through me in a way it has never truly done before.

    Lovely weblog. I have been here a while, lurking in wonder. I will come again.

  8. love seeing you creative cycles and journey through deep and your creative life.
    Lately I have been inspired by nature, the sky, trees, clouds.. I feel spring stirring in me.

  9. These paintings you posted are awesome! I love that you sat with them in one room and looked at the stories they tell. Mmmmmmmm :) Art means different things to everyone - but this is the stuff I love about art and creating - experiencing our lives in a deeper way, processing things on many levels, and HEALING. I got chills when I read, "the act of painting this piece healed me." That's super sacred stuff.

    Much love to you! Thanks for helping me remember what it's all about :)


  10. Your paintings are absolutely beautiful Lis, and the process of creating them and then reflecting upon them has obviously been very meaningful for you. The Ted Andrews book is already on my wishlist but I have a few other things to get through before I move on to that.
    As for me and creativity, I've reached a stage where I want to finish all my outstanding projects before moving on to anything else. In fact not far to go now...!
    Have a lovely rest of week,