Dancing in the kitchen

I pretty much hate my kitchen. It really isn’t a great space for me. It’s so small and cramped and dark. It’s so small that I can sit on one counter and reach the other counter with my feet…and I’m short people. Plus the lighting is terrible, and since I hate doing dishes, I tend to want to avoid that room entirely.

However.

I do like to cook. Not all the time, of course, and I haven’t quite figured out how to attempt something simple like a hamburger, but right now I’m totally into soup and greens. So on an occasional night, I’ll let lose my inner Diva Chef, and go to town, and for me, the right music makes all the difference. Granted, it takes me longer to cook because I spend a ton of time shaking my ass and drinking wine. But there is nothing like listening to the sexy Danzig serenade me…fucking damn! He’s amazing.


 

Damn. Back to the cooking thing…well, really, the dancing thing. I love to dance and cook at the same time. It makes cooking such a better experience for me…could be the wine too, but just saying. I also bought an immersion blender so that has helped shorten my time spent in the kitchen as well as helped out immensely. Please note, if you enjoy soups or shakes…buy one of those. It’s delightful.

As lame as it sounds, I’ve added some personality to my kitchen to replace the drabness. It really is the small things that I’ve added or changed that have made being in my kitchen a much more pleasant experience. I’ve put some color into the room, added a speaker for my iPod…And since I am only cooking for myself, it’s great that I can try whatever I want without the pressure. No pressure that someone is grumpy and hungry, no pressure that they want something simple instead of the elaborate and scrumptious meal I am preparing them…it’s all about me eating what I want, when I want and after I have satisfied my need to express myself with my body.

Since I’ve started making these smaller changes (and the obvious big change of forging ahead solo), I’ve decided my soups are succulent and melt my palette, my “quickie greens” are delicious and rejuvenating and I have to admit…my new tofu chocolate shake is surprisingly savory. (BTW: shout out to Pinterest here for the amazing recipes I am always finding. So many great ideas there. Thank you!!)

Point is, it’s the small things that have helped me find the beauty of my kitchen, and really, isn’t that how it is with many things in life? The small things that pick you up and make you smile. It’s hard to remember that sometimes when all the shit is going down and people are walking all over your heart and soul. So much anger and resentment in the world tend to consume and overwhelm me. Really, it drains me…You know that part in TrueBlood where Sookie finds out she is a fairy and that Bill, as a vampire, is stealing her light? Well, I’ve definitely had my vampire…so there is very little light in me right now. But it’s these small things, an hour enjoyed seducing Danzig over the radio waves, stirring some soup and drinking some wine…that make me appreciate that even Darkness Screams in the Midst of Beauty.

Darkness Screams in the Midst of Beauty painting

A reflection of the heart

She's on the verge of letting go...

The heart. It is not to be taken lightly. It is a motivator, an inventor, an artist, a lover. It’s said that people can discern your state of being by the energy pouring forth from your heart. The quality of the energy is essential. It’s difficult to add a happy veneer to such energy when you are heartbroken. It’s difficult to tame the enthusiasm when you are happy. The heart opens up to the vast, infinite possibilities of the universe. The expanse that we wake up to every day, and influences the decisions we make. My heart aches. I feel the heaviness, the constriction, the knowledge of what has been lost and never will be again.

My heart cries the tears feeding into the River Styx.

I bend, I bow, I love, I hurt. Always I hurt. The sadness begins with the first alarm, permeates by day, marinates by night and infiltrates my dreams. It fuels my subconscious, I never want to think. Trying to wrap my head around my heart is futile, is disturbing, is depressing. Situations change, people change, this I know. My heart still beats to the melody of what was. For how do we let go, of the impressions that we’ve made, the pain that we’ve caused, the anger that we feel? Fuck me, the stupidity, the tears and all of the drunken rages. Those spirits give life to the damaged soul.

The heart is a special part of me. It is not a plaything, or a toy…but I gave it away to a boy.

The energy from my heart is stained with desolation. Residue of pain. Vital energy gone, taken, and given to another, a shadow of me.

The energy of the heart is essential. It is the story of your being, writing the current page of your life. It is a guide, a friend, an enemy. It is the novel you read each day, the lens through which you see. The heart supports you, beats for you, is your lifeline, and yet can betray you. The heart can be your link to the world, the space from which you connect. It is your personal Grimmoire, the spell and curse you cast.

The heart is tremendous. It can weigh you down or lift you up. It can grace your lips with a smile or your cheek with tears. It creates and destroys, is precious and mundane. It is the place of emotions, the place of blood. Both pulsate life.

I gave part of my heart away. And he still has it. Toys with it. A friend with benefits nothing more. To be used and played with. Acknowledged when it suits the lover, discarded when there’s another.

The heart can infuriate, the heart can soothe. The red cadence consumes.

Woman in red painting by MSaxxy

Tense up to fly

As I was planning one of my Vinyasa classes I realized how many of the asana’s named for birds require some sort of tension or even a bind first.

Bakasana (crow) needs a squeezing in of the the forearms and the shins. A tightening of the Uddiyana Bandha and the engaging of the Mula Bandha. (For more information on Bandha’s click here.)  All of these areas need to be engaged in order for flight to occur. Svarga Dvidasana (Birds of Paradise) requires that you squat down, bind, and then root to rise, extending the leg out.

What’s obvious about these postures when you think about them, is that sometimes adversity leads you into flight. Utilizing tensions, putting them where they belong and where they are appropriate, can free you. In crow, if you don’t engage the Bandha’s it’s harder to life and easier to fall on your face (it’s not a far fall! Doesn’t hurt…much!) Maybe the lesson in that statement is that if you embrace the tension and learn to live with it and breathe through it and use it, it will prevent you from falling.

And really, this is true about everything from art to music to work to life to love. Obviously I’m not some insightful genius that had an epiphany strike my brain. Well, actually, that did happen but it’s not unique to me. It’s everyday we encounter tension, and we can either succumb to it or use it. We can run from it or learn to understand it and grow from it.

Of course, that’s the kind of statement that’s easier said than done, and oft times when currently in the tense moment, especially the really bad ones, we all want to cry bullshit and crawl under our pillows. And fair enough. I highly recommend doing just that. And under that pillow, just breathe. Not in the Faith Hill “Breathe” kind of way, but in the Willie Nelson kind of “Just Breathe.” (Pearl Jam does a great cover). The kind of breath that allows you to feel pain. The kind of breathe that allows you to feel comfort and love. The breath that accepts the gamut of emotions that we as human beings experience.

 

 


The answer to everything seems to be: Meditation

meditationArea

 

Maybe it’s because I do yoga and that tends to influence the randomness I read on the internet, but most articles I read seem to suggest that meditation is the key. Everywhere I look there is new evidence on meditation and how wonderful it is.

For example, this article on Mind Body Green shows pictures of some people’s transformation at a month-long meditation retreat. And Tiny Buddha has an article dispelling meditation myths and telling everyone why they should start today.

 

To be that girl, I’ve been trying to meditate for a long time now. And let me tell you, it is freakin’ difficult. The actual meditating part isn’t so hard. I love just sitting down on my soft meditation pillow, putting on my over-sized headphones (yes, I normally listen to music), and settling in. I can normally get into those Delta waves pretty quickly and I am zoned in. Although I do appreciate the help of my Om Harmonics download. But once I’m there, I’m pretty good. Mind you, I think 15 minutes of meditation is awesome, it’s not like I’m sitting there for hours.

However, finding my way to my meditation cushion is a challenge. I only try for 15 minutes and yet I still haven’t been able to find a consistent time that works (my schedule is pretty inconsistent). I should probably just start out slowly and meditate one day a week or something, until I can work it in as a habit. And I really really want to. All of the articles describing the benefits of meditating scream out to me to sit my ass down and meditate. It would be so beneficial in every area of my life. It’s amazing that it is so beneficial and should be essential to my lifestyle, and I yet in my social media, technology-tapped world, I feel like it is a luxury.

 

It’s amazing that I can know how beneficial meditating is and yet can’t seem to find the time to sit my ass down to do it.

 

How do you find the time? What tips do you have that have helped you make meditating a habit? Or are you in the same Paripurna Navasana asana I’m in and haven’t been able to cultivate the meditation habit?

Photography Prints

Sometimes I forget

Sometimes I forget.

To listen. To actually shut my mouth and quiet my thoughts and listen. My shallow desire to connect, to share, to be seen as someone who knows has left me as someone waiting to speak.

It has left me inauthentic.

Sometimes I forget, that it’s not about me. That though I am the center of my world, that so is everyone else.

I forget that we are all connected. That we share in the universal energy.

Sometimes I forget.
To appreciate the silence.

 

I am just a tool

I just worked really hard on a piece. I’ve actually been working on the piece for about a year now. Not consistently, but I’ve been working on it here and there. It’s one of those personal pieces where I put a lot of time in it, get it where I think it is good, and someone says, nope, it should be this way.

It’s frustrating and heart breaking.

I wasn’t the one who initiated this piece, so in some ways I do have to care what that person thinks. I know I know, if I like it it should be enough, but when you are trying to work with somebody, and that somebody has a strong vision, it doesn’t really matter what I think. I’m just a tool, really, a means to an end. A tool that doesn’t seem to have the right attachment to make the final product into the vision.

I just want to hear, that looks awesome.

Sounds lame, but I do. I struggle and put a lot of thought and effort into my work and it is becoming increasingly difficult to just hear, better, but it isn’t…and it completely dashes my confidence. Which is probably why it’s taking me so long to work on this piece. You’d think with my meditation and yoga, that I would be better about removing my expectations and need for approval from others. But that need has been there longer than the meditation and yoga. It’s driven beside me in all of my endeavors. The need for approval and to hear positive things said about me and my work is so strong that to not have it is an embedded fear. It’s a large reason why I procrastinate…if I failed it’s because I didn’t put a lot of time into it. I usually didn’t though…still was pretty successful.

And now…WTF?

And now I try, I put a lot of time and effort in and it’s still not good enough. What kind of reflection is that for me? Maybe it’s a reflection of the other person living an unsatisfied life, never being happy with themselves or what they are doing. Maybe it’s them feeling their own personal failures and unintentionally bringing me down to that level. Makes me wonder if the piece will ever be good enough. The only time the pieces are good enough is when that person gives me step-by-step directions, over my shoulder, on what to do. Not really an equal partnership. Huh…that sucks. What’s difficult is the work we do together is pretty fucking brilliant. But I can’t really consider it a we project, not when I’m just taking directives, being told what to do. I really am just a tool. I have the programs, the computer and literally the technical skills to accomplish a vision…but it’s not my vision.

I’d say when is it time for my vision to come to fruition, but I need a solid vision first. And any time I have had a solid vision, it still doesn’t get a lot of great feedback. What does that say about me? Maybe I really am a failure, maybe not an artist at all. Maybe I should just give up and except I am a tool. Or just not share my personal art with anybody. I clearly get my feelings hurt when I don’t get the response I was hoping for. My artist self may just belong in a cave in the farthest reaches of the mountains. Yeah, dramatic, I know. I’ve heard that before too. Whatever.

Navigating the inner and the outer

Every human being must navigate between the inner life and the outside world, just as the artist must navigate between Poetry and Craft…

We are all artists, in our own ways. We have the same struggles, the same drives…sometimes, it seems, and I could be wrong here, that artists just feel it more. Want to express it more and try to help the world via their own personal expressions of that navigation between their inner selves and their outer selves.


And for some artists, the torment is romantic.

And for some artists, the torment is romantic.


It’s an element that denotes life allowing us to scream out, I AM ALIVE! To get caught up in the mundane necessities of life is to deny an entire human responsibility. Not every one can answer this call. And that’s fine. Each of us is on our own journey and each of us on our own path. I have a path of pain, of extreme human emotion-sometimes mine, sometimes not-that cries out for expression. It dwells so deep within that it hurts. Deep in my Manipura, my personal power and how I relate to the world. It is excruciating and sublime simultaneously. Beautiful and ugly. The polarity I feel towards art, and this deep-seated feeling of needing to express, scares and excites me.


It is a visceral experience that foments existential unrest at times.


Each day is an opportunity for art. Each day a time to succeed or fail. To sit with art, to live with art, to express in art, is a curse and a gift. One that encourages you to explore your soul, you inner deep being, and somehow connect that to the world. the challenge, to not get lost in your soul universe and to remember that there exists an external community to connect with. To be a hermit, is all to easy.

A new year in art


2011 was an interesting year. I made a lot of progress in art, mainly in setting it up on Etsy and Zazzle.. I even sold three paintings. That was encouraging.



So it’s amazing that here I am in 2012 feeling like nothing happened in 2011 and that so much more needs to be done. How many of you feel that way? Need to be more consistent in blogging, in joining etsy teams and forums, in uploading products to Zazzle, in gathering a following, in determining relevant content, updating my website…oh, and let’s not forget about doing art and growing as an artist.



I must say though, that as I look back on previous projects I have worked on, I do feel like I have made enormous strides in my art. What I once thought was amazing is now questionable, and what I am doing now seems superb!


These two are .pdf’s if you want to check them out:
Outside of a Program
Another event program

An inside page to a program.
An inside page to another program. This will be printed on pearlescent paper to give it a wonderful shine.


It just never feels like enough though, does it? Always should be doing more, putting more time into things, life, art…It’s utterly exhausting so that by the time I am sitting down to do some art, I have no energy or brain power to do it. Everybody has to be in a similar situation though. So how do you do it? How do you maintain your life and still have the energy, will and brain power to improve yourself and your art. Create art. Explore your soul. Write music. How do you find the balance in your life, to live a life, and achieve all of your goals?

Talent entrusted to you

“You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you. Go work with it.”




I just read this quote on Facebook. It’s an interesting thought…destiny of sorts. That are souls yearnings, and our natural talents are given to us so we can share them and make an impact on the world in a specific way.


I often wonder if art is a natural talent or an idea that I want to place myself into…an image, I want to become. I have this idea of who I want to be and it’s quotes like this that make me wonder if I am ignoring what I “should” be doing, or if I am trying to achieve just that. I mean, where does the image, and the drive to become that image, come from if it’s not an innate need. Or is the fear I feel telling me that I am indeed not good enough to achieve this image, that the talent isn’t entrusted to me? All the training in the world is not a substitute for natural talent. Do I have enough natural talent to do what it takes? Can I succeed?


There are people who believe in me and believe I am talented. Maybe, in this current state of confusion, I should just trust in them. Haha, I was just reminded of this song:


trust in me siouxsie and the banshees


Natural talent eh? I just want to be an artist. To explain my emotions and thoughts visually. And yet I have this huge wall that keeps me from doing it, and thus making me question myself. I have no artistic style, no idea how to transform my emotions on canvas. I mean, I am a graphic designer by day and that’s all well and cool since I am designing for someone else. It’s not me. I don’t know how to put me on a canvas. I want to put my fear on the canvas and yet am paralyzed and have no idea how to do it. It feels pathetic. I’ve even gone so far as to ask ‘K’ to draw something on a canvas that I can then add paint on. Super lame.

Stress


So I am responsible for the talent that I was entrusted with…what the hell am I talented at? And is it talent I have, or an image of what I want to become?

@Etsy shopping for the holidays


So many things to do. So many avenues to explore. Always such a long never-ending to do list. One of those things on the list, and one that I am proud to have made progress on, is my Etsy shop. I’ve only just really scratched the surface, but I’m glad that I at least have it up and have even sold a couple pieces, Yay! It’s weird, really, to have sold pieces that have been in my closet for years. One impetus for selling my art in this capacity was really to push me to create more. One of my excuses was that my apartment is small and I don’t have storage room. Clearing out pieces I painted years ago allows my art to evolve with me. That’s important. I have changed a lot, and continue to change a lot. My art reflects my confusion of life and of my sense of self. I have no real style, no real consistent approach, nothing. And the art shows that. And it seems a bit amateur because of my mental incertitude. I wish I was better, that I spent more time with it…that I could figure it out. Just another item on my to do list.


But that’s not the point of this, and I apologize for the rambling. Rambling seems to occupy my head and now my writing. So, back to Etsy. I have decided, and feel quite solid in this decision, that as I am trying to become involved in the Etsy world and trying to sell my own art and use that as a viable avenue of income and really just personal growth and exploration, that I needed to support other Etsy members. Etsy tries to create a community and I need to participate more in this community.

MSaxxy Etsy Shop


Becoming more involved in the community. Supporting the community.


So I have decided to buy as many of my Christmas presents off of Etsy this year. All handmade, personalized, and from people just like me. Not the corporations, not the already rich and dominating and powerful. People like me. Here are links to what I have purchased so far:

Etsy gift I bought for my nephew


So, that’s what I have purchased so far. The guys in my life are a bit harder to buy for from Etsy…but I’m going to figure it out. I am determined to not walk into a store or a mall this year. It just seems so impersonal. The sales people there don’t care. They didn’t spend hours making and crafting what they are selling. And you know what. I have loved the interaction with almost all of the people I have purchased from. They message me saying they have their order, I’ve responding with some light conversation, it becomes a personalized, more intimate transaction, and you know, they send their business cards with a little note or at least something hand-written, using my name and really making me feel like they cared. Like they love what they made and want it to go to a good place. It’s been amazing and I love it. Etsy is a great place to shop for the holidays, or really in general. You can find almost anything on Etsy. And really, perusing it has really made me laugh at times. Some things are super funny. I love it. I’m going to try to shop more on Etsy. It really is such a fun, warming, inventive and just all around awesome place to shop and community to be a part of.



I highly recommend, this holiday season, you support your local entrepreneur, buy off of Etsy or do something to help people that are just like me and you.