Whimsical Wednesdays ~ The Artist’s Corner: The Magick Rabbit Storybook Art


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As promised, today’s Whimsical Wednesdays brings to you a peek into my “Artist’s Corner” with the first look at some new little whimsical paintings Astrid and I have been working on in our free time. Astrid was right that 12/12 would be the reveal and so without further ado, I’d like to show you what the two of us have been up to lately in Wonderland here.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you likely recall the evolutionary journey my paintings and drawings have gone through over time, but this fresh flow of creativity has truly been the most enjoyable for me, as they come straight from my inner child and blend together my imagination with what Astrid sends me.

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Moonlight Whispers by Tania Marie & Astrid

 

We call this collection “The Magick Rabbit ~ Storybook Tales of Wonder and Whimsy Come to Life.”

The images you see here are straight off the press, as they say – just quick snaps from my cell phone for now in order to share them with you.

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They’re also Astrid approved, as you can see. 😉

I love how she embraces them and even recognizes herself in The Empress, which I created as a whimsical version of her as a Tarot Card, and gives it a straight-on kiss!

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And in Bedtime Stories, she goes straight for the little dark bunny that looks like her! Too cute!

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I intend to get them professionally photographed/scanned here shortly, which will capture the detail and color much better than I can in most cases, and will then be able to make more fun stuff available to you.

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The Journey by Tania Marie & Astrid

 

I want to stick to small sizes, as these are meant to be fun for me, easy and quick to execute so that they mimic childhood memories of when I used to sit down at the kitchen table as a little girl with my French Grandpa drawing throughout the Summer on my grandparent’s long visits with us.

They’re pure joy and imagination flowing through what I love most – rabbits!

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Bedtime Stories by Tania Marie & Astrid

 

And in keeping them this way, I can also make artwork like this, accessible for many.

While I keep a creative channel of energy flowing in balance to the other things in my life I need to focus more left-brained on.

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The Empress by Tania Marie & Astrid

 

These original 8″ x 10″ paintings on canvas boards will be available, alongside prints and other fun items like greeting cards, journals, etc. with these images on them.

In this way I can offer affordable storybook windows that rekindle the wondrous heart of your inner child – portals to harness sweet magick into your everyday life.

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I’m not sure that I’ll have the other items available before Christmas, but these originals might be up in my new Etsy shop soon.

Eventually, I’ll create more of these 8″ x 10″‘s (and perhaps some other fun smaller canvas board sizes) in my spare creative time, but the next collection will be a little bit different – I’ll share what I mean when they’re ready! I see them in my/Astrid’s minds’ eyes, but I never know what is going to come out until it does!

What I love is that there’s no thought involved. The magick just happens in surrendering to the inspiration.

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Cosmic Voyage by Tania Marie & Astrid

 

I can’t tell you how wonderful and fulfilling it’s been to channel these first five rabbit-inspired, magickal pieces of art from the Faery Tales of my mind and the shared visions between Astrid and me.

They are little whispers of enchantment to infuse your life with a little magick and inspire your own inner child or a beloved child in your life.

While simple, like anything I create, it’s always infused with much more. And you can discover that meaning for yourself, each time you peer into these Faery Tale Windows.

There’s a storybook tale within each to reflect your journey, as the adventure it is – all shared through the heart of one Magick Rabbit and one Rabbit Faery.

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For now, this is just a little introduction, as Astrid and I have been so excited about sharing these.

We’ll announce when my Etsy shop is ready, as I’m in process of rebirthing it after it being empty for years.

If you’re on Instagram, you may want to follow along, as I’ll be making shop update announcements there, as to when things will be available. In terms of originals, these will be first-come-first-served, so keeping your bunny ears tuned in will be key for those. I’ll also have giveaways and other fun things only available via Instagram.

We hope you enjoy this little peek into the world we’ve been walking in lately.

Let us know what you think.

Monday Musings ~ The Writer’s Corner: Interview with Jean Brannon, Author of Atlantis Writhing


 

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Today’s Monday Musings from The Writer’s Corner highlights author, Jean Brannon. The worldwide web brought Jean and I together by way of serendipity, but it feels much more like a golden thread of soul connection drew us back to where we left off. There is definitely a rich and sweet weaving that happens between us when we communicate, filled with continual, synchronous reflections. I couldn’t have been more honored to be able to read and offer a review for her new novel, Atlantis Writhing. Originally, it was my artwork that connected us, but it is our shared desire to spread love and inspiration through our work that unites us.

Jean was so kind to be open to doing a written interview for this Monday Musings series and I think you’ll find her answers and journey to be very inspiring and insightful.

Interview with Jean Brannon ~ Author of Atlantis Writhing

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  1. How did the idea for your novel “Atlantis Writhing” come about?

 

Back in 2013, I had been working in a joint healing practice in Athens, GA with my beloved life partner and Reiki Master Greg Hagin. When he passed away unexpectedly, I felt I needed to re-evaluate everything. To reclaim “my life” as opposed to what had been “our life” together. I also felt Greg’s death had been a wake-up call to ensure I made life’s every moment count. Just the week before his death, Greg and I had worked together to create a list of things we wished to accomplish in 2013. “Completing a first novel” was at the top of my priorities.

And so, two days after Greg’s memorial service, I sat down at the computer and decided to write. Really write. No matter how bad the words sounded or how much I didn’t feel like it. I committed to write without judgment, without editing and without missing a day until a first draft was completed. That was August 5, 2013.

I told no one what I was doing. I abstained from movies and television and the radio to eliminate outside influences and be able to write as purely as possible from a meditative place. Every day, after treating my acupuncture patients or finishing farm chores (Greg and I had lived on the outskirts of Athens, on over 12 acres of land), I would meditate. And then sit at the computer, allowing a storyline to unfold. I was guided right away to an Atlantean setting to explore the questions that kept flooding me. Questions that – not surprisingly since I’d lost my life’s great love – centered around examining what a balanced and healthy but impossible love would look like. Whether such a love could endure. And if  it would endure.

Then on March 7, 2014, I saved the first draft of the final chapter in “Atlantis Writhing”, my written response to those questions I’d been asking for so long. My own editing process then began and many revisions followed, leading me eventually to seek publication. An endeavor that turned into a few years of query letter submissions. A process that ultimately led to the book being published now by Absolute Love Publishing.

 

  1. What are your inspirations for writing?

 

The archetypal “hero’s journey” is an endless source of inspiration to me. Anyone who is feeling frightened or challenged or traumatized or unable to go on…who finds a way to go on anyway. Whether that’s a fictional Rocky Balboa refusing to stay down in the boxing ring or a very real Rosa Parks not budging from her bus seat, I am moved and motivated by ordinary folks doing the extraordinary.

Yet in addition to that type of inspiration, I am continually appreciative of and called to action by the ancient wisdom I do my best to embody. The guidance gleaned from my studies in Chinese medicine and New Thought philosophies. Which means I intend to incorporate these teachings into my work, so that anyone who reads my writing – or even glimpses the cover art on something I’ve created – will be uplifted, inspired and empowered. And so knowing that I’m consciously intending to help anyone who crosses my path feeds my enthusiasm and keeps me passionate about this labor of love!

 

  1. Have you always known you wanted to write?

 

I grew up an avid bookworm in a small town in West Virginia. At the time my hometown didn’t have a library, but every few weeks a mobile library would park near the elementary school. And I could hardly wait to check out as many books as I could from the Bookmobile! I would sometimes re-read books while waiting for the Bookmobile’s return. Truly I can say I’d read “Charlotte’s Web” at least 50 times by the time I was seven!

Perhaps it’s because books seemed like such a rare and magically precious commodity. But even as a child I daydreamed about one day being a novelist. By the time I attended Richwood High School, I’d fallen in love with classical literature, and in Mrs. Gwinn’s eleventh grade English class read two pivotal works – “The Hobbit” and “Jane Eyre” – which had a lasting impact in terms of the genres that spoke to me the most: epic fantasy depicting the hero’s journey as well as impassioned romance.

 

  1. Can you share a little about yourself and the journey that has led you to now?

 

Even though I’d always hoped beyond hope to be an author, my writing journey has not been a straightforward path.

I grew up in an impoverished area where people worked hard for most anything they had. Where it was understood that young people needed a rational plan for the future so they could earn a decent wage and provide for themselves and their families. Where dreams were more in the “crazy pie in the sky” category because, in most cases, that type of thing didn’t put food on the table.

So when it came time to choosing a college major, I knew in my heart I wanted to be a novelist. But my head kept telling me to “keep it real”. I decided journalism would allow me to become a practical writer, and so I ultimately graduated from WVU with a bacheler’s of science in journalism with an emphasis on advertising copywriting.

Post-college I landed what I thought would be my dream job. I moved to NY and began work as a copywriter. But it wasn’t long before I felt disillusioned. Before it felt increasingly wrong to use my writing skill to sell people things. And before I developed pretty severe back pain. I vividly remember spending a couple of weeks recuperating in bed, where I began taking stock of my life. I acknowledged to myself I still desired to become a novelist, but working in the ad business had made me realize I simply couldn’t bear to write some pretty words simply so I could sell some books. I knew I needed to feel like I had something important to share.

Fortunately, an acupuncturist was recommended to me. And I was helped so quickly I felt uplifted by Oriental Medicine. I began to wonder how pleasant it might be to work in soft music and dim lights and help people to feel better. Ultimately I decided Oriental Medicine would make a wonderful second career – not realizing at the time that this ancient healing system would one day inspire the words I’d feel were important enough to share.

 

  1. How do you stay motivated with your writing?

 

Motivation to me is fueled by two forces – desire and momentum. Sometimes I find that life’s extra-busy periods can scatter my energy, which tends to put the brakes on forward progress as it dampens my enthusiasm. Which can then undermine motivation in general.

So I’ve found a simple balancing technique that springs from committing to baby steps. Which involves asking myself honestly what tiny amount of time and effort can I commit to my writing each day. Because in the committing comes the showing up, every day, to honor myself. And that daily attention, from a Chinese medicine perspective, nurtures the digestion channels while helping the acupuncture channels governing movement to flow. These channels are all crucial to keeping one’s motivation moving forward in a healthy way.

If a person can thus “show up” and pay daily attention to a goal for 21 days straight, that’s how long it takes to form a new habit – or begin to realize a dream. So if all you can comfortably commit at first to your writing dream is two minutes a day, then commit to two minutes a day. But really commit!  Put it into your schedule. Set a timer if you need to. And make sure you write your heart out for that full two minutes.

At this stage, resist doing more. Because it’s all too easy to overdo it and become overwhelmed. Do your two minutes and feel great about it, since after the initial three weeks of two-minute commitments, your mind, heart and soul will be in the habit of enjoying them and thus be eagerly anticipating those two minutes. Once this habit is established, then gradually add minutes to your commitment. Perhaps two minutes extends to five, which can then become seven and eventually ten. Over the course of another month or so, you’ll find you’ve carved out the time and now have the initiative to move forward passionately with your dream!

Jean Brannon

 

  1. What are your greatest challenges?

 

I find my single greatest challenge is being a natural multi-tasker. Which means, for the most part, I am in my happy place juggling a number of projects and goals. Yet if you combine that with my Capricornian tendency to be a workaholic, then sometimes I forget to make enough time to play every day. Add in the fact that I love being an author as well as an acupuncturist, and on some level I feel I can justify the long hours I put in daily – because these paths of service both light me up!

But I do my best to remind myself that experiencing daily delights outside my occupational joys are essential to overall balance and well-being. Which is why I set aside time every day for activities like drawing and home improvement projects (art and appreciating old houses are two passions of mine!). As well as yoga and Epsom salt soaks and walks in nature and quiet contemplation of a firepit’s flames. Incorporating such things helps me make self-nurturing as much a part of my life as multi-tasking!

 

  1. What does a typical day look like for you and do you find that scheduling in your writing helps?

 

A typical day for me probably looks atypical to most people. Some days my acupuncture sessions are booked in the afternoons or evenings, while other days I offer morning treatments. Jogging and yoga and other self-care pursuits get penciled in around my sessions. And in the new year, I will be adding in book fairs and festival appearances and so forth – so my schedule is likely to get even less structured.

But no matter what else is going on during the course of a day, I find the early morning hours and the ones right before bed are when I’m naturally drawn to write. For me personally, a hard and fast writing schedule doesn’t feel best. I prefer to make the commitment every morning that I will meditate in front of my keyboard. And make sure I take at least some notes if full-on inspiration doesn’t strike. Then I do the same thing as my day is winding down. I find that by inviting ideas to come to me in the in-between hours (dawn and dusk) that the words flow more easily and naturally than if I try to force productivity according to a particular time table.

 

  1. Do you have any advice for new writers?

 

I’d advise any new writers, first and foremost, to have their internal editors take a little break and go sit in a corner quietly. There is a time and place for editing. Which is that time and place when you’re ready to make it all look neat and pretty and wrap it up to go in a red bow. But that’s not at the beginning. The beginning tends to be rather messy. It’s a time for coloring outside the lines. For dangling participles and drivel as dialogue and a disturbing overuse of adverbs.

I’d encourage new writers to let it look bad. And move on. There’s too much of a human tendency to angst about whether it’s any good or not. Such a tendency to worry that it can block momentum and make you pause, overanalyze and then stop altogether.

Please. Don’t stop. Whatever else you feel you must do, just keep going. Just keep showing up, and the words will come. They may sound stilted or silly initially, but encourage them to keep coming and – sooner or later – they will start to flow. And flow well. For sure you’ll surprise yourself if you just keep at it!

 

  1. There are more options these days for writers to publish their work and pros and cons for each. Which way did you choose and why?

 

I chose the traditional publishing route, and I decided to follow that path initially because I felt I might learn a lot from whatever feedback I’d get through the query-submission process. I reasoned that having spent my early corporate career as a copywriter would serve me exceedingly well as a new novelist. Because I’d learned not to be married to my words, and so I had no fear of anyone doing the equivalent of bleeding a red pen across my pages in the interest of making them better and moving them closer to being accepted for publication.

I wasn’t exactly prepared, however, for silence. And seemingly endless waiting. In this day of electronic submissions, I can appreciate how agents are getting thousands of queries every day, and so a prompt and warm and fuzzy response isn’t usually the norm. But to hear nothing? For months on end? After spending hours personalizing a query to a particular agent, and pointing out why my story perfectly aligns with the material they’re seeking?

After six months of form-letter rejections or no response at all – and no feedback whatsoever to go on – I decided to take an agent’s query-writing class. I followed that up with another agent’s class where I submitted my query and first few pages for a critique. I got some great feedback from those classes, and yet vastly different opinions as to what makes an awesome query.

I decided to experiment with the feedback I’d received, and so I revamped my query into two styles according to what I’d learned. And then I began the submission process all over again. Yet I got the same results. After several more quiet months, I decided to hire Jane Friedman – a veteran with 20-plus years of publishing industry experience – to review my query and synopsis. I’d been following Jane’s newsletter and blog for a while, and found her insights to be wise and thoughtful.

She provided quick and compassionate counsel regarding my submission materials. And then said something shocking. That basically it was my genre – a New Age fantasy novel – that likely was the issue. Because most publishers weren’t looking for novels with metaphysical teachings. Although she gave me some tips for searching via mlswishlist.com and PublishersMarketplace.com for agents and editors and publishers that perhaps would be open to New Thought novels.

I immediately started researching, and with renewed confidence I prepared a submission package for a publisher I thought would be a great fit. I mailed out the materials two weeks later. And then in six weeks, I got an email from Absolute Love Publishing’s editor – she wanted to read the whole manuscript. In two more months, I was offered a contract. And now eighteen months later, “Atlantis Writhing” is ready to launch!

And so my own experience and what I’ve learned talking to other writers tells me there’s no one right path to publication for everybody. Some writers may be overwhelmed at the idea of all the decisions required in self-publishing. While others may thrive on retaining complete creative control.

I have to say honestly my own journey toward becoming a published author is not what I’d expected. Yet I’ve learned so much and I wouldn’t change any of it! I am thrilled to be aligned with a publishing company whose sole mission is to promote goodness in the world – I mean, how wonderful is that?

I hope my own experiences may help inform others and prepare them for some of the possibilities they could encounter if they choose to pursue traditional publishing. Overall, though, I would encourage new writers to explore all the options available, then see what truly resonates with their intuitive senses. And make their choices accordingly.

 

  1. What are you currently working on?

 

Right now, I’m revising a nonfiction manuscript on the lesser-known lower-leg chakras that Absolute Love Publishing is looking to release this spring. I’m also writing a free 21-day PDF series I hope readers will find helpful that explores step-by-step some of the self-actualizing tools the “Atlantis Writhing” characters use in the book; this PDF series will be available at no charge by the first of the year to anyone who emails me and requests the “Free PDF Series” at jean@jeanbrannon.com.

 

 

  1. I know your book hasn’t officially launched yet, but how can people pre-order and where can they find announcements about its official release?

 

I so appreciate you asking about the publication date and pre-order information! The book officially is launching Tuesday, December 11, 2018, and at that time will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and other similar outlets. The book may also be pre-ordered at the Absolute Love Publishing website: https://absolutelovepublishing.com/atlantis-writhing/

 

And Tania, I’m so thankful for your time and for you allowing me to be a guest via The Writer’s Corner. Many blessings to you and your readers in the coming year!

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Thank you dearly Jean for taking the time to share about your journey. It’s a beautiful example of what is possible through commitment and supporting what calls to our hearts. I greatly appreciate you and all you have to share with the world. I know that your experiences will be supportive for many. I wish you much success with your new novel and continued blessings. I’m so grateful for the reconnection.

Jean Brannon is an Author & Acupuncturist. Her website is www.jeanbrannon.com.

And again, her book can be pre-ordered at this link, where you’ll also find my review: www.absolutelovepublishing.com/atlantis-writhing/

Ask Astrid Fridays ~ The Rabbit’s Corner: The Worth of Waiting


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I was reminded yesterday when I gave Astrid the first batch of her holiday gifts, just how much joy it brings to my heart to see her happy and giving her the things she deserves. This continued later in the evening over conversation with my sweet friend, Lynne, who is visiting, as I shared with her about the first time Astrid saw her Wonderland realm I’d created just for her and she dropped into a deep state of heartfelt gratitude. She stopped in her tracks and took it all in, then sat in overwhelming feelings she had always believed were possible, but hadn’t materialized outside of her belief until now. That was the most moving moment for me when she looked at everything then turned to me and wanted to snuggle – if her eyes could have shed tears they would have, but mine sure did. I heard her expression of gratitude and felt her love, as she thanked me for seeing her and making her dreams a reality.

We both dropped into a timeless shared moment that is etched in my heart forever.

Last night I went to bed knowing today was Astrid’s share time and asked her to let me know what she wanted to write about.

She said, “the worth of waiting.”

So, I went to sleep with the intention to hear her message and bring that through now.

Astrid knows that so many of us feel like we are waiting forever for the things we want. That constantly we’re told to be patient just a little while longer. To keep believing. To not let go of our dreams. And to keep moving forward when all we want to do is give up with disappointment, exhaustion, and feelings of overwhelming sadness.

She knows I have so many times gone through that myself – feeling like nothing was ever going to happen. That I kept working on things, giving my all, making changes, devoting myself to figuring out what I’m missing, and still had only my hope to go on.

She knows that so many times I wanted to give up and was brought to my knees in painful soul-felt tears and couldn’t understand why.

And she knows somehow I kept going.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons she and I connect so much. Because Astrid has been through the same in her life.

Her background is filled with disappointment, fear, sadness, the unknown, and yet she kept fighting and kept going.

This eventually brought her to SaveABunny where she was finally treated with respect and tenderness, and at least was out of danger.

Yet, she still had a couple of years ahead of having people come and go, but never seeing her, nor wanting to adopt her.

She kept believing when all seemed hopeless.

And although she was there one of the longest of any bunnies, awaiting a forever home, it did happen.

We found each other.

Two souls who kept believing.

Two souls who have never given up.

We found our happy ending in each other.

Astrid says, she easily could have let her health go and gone into full-on depression, but she kept strong, took care of herself, and remained a robust picture of well -being.

She knew one day….one day….her dream would come true.

And she wanted to be at her best when it did.

I can so relate, as so many times I wanted to give up on things in my life I hoped for and never saw evidence of getting closer to.

And yet they did come and I was reminded, like Astrid, that time is an idea we attach to. The spirit and heart don’t experience it the same. There is no timeline for when things unfold. There’s the journey and how we embrace it.

No matter when something happens in our lives, even if it’s just for a minute of blissful depth, that one moment will be worth all of the pain, struggle, and work we put into our lives.

Astrid says, “It needn’t be that way though. If you embrace that the future is now and live your life backwards with the beauty being in your heart to experience whenever you want, then you will know how to ride the eternal.”

In essence, we don’t have to suffer, as the only reason we do is the acceptance of separation from that which is in our heart awaiting our opening to.

Hard to embrace when your physical reality seems to say something else, but that doesn’t have to be the story if we tell it differently.

And this provides the hope and the ability to experience life more fully now with whatever our situation is.

It makes what we desire more tangible and draws it in as a manifestation.

Astrid knows this isn’t easy to embrace when heartache becomes overwhelming.

But she knows it’s possible, as it’s been her experience.

And I do too.

I keep using these techniques and keep listening to her reminders, as I continue to embrace hope for manifesting more things my heart is feeling.

I see and experience them as done and so the journey is much sweeter. It also makes it so that if they manifest or not, it’s not as important because I already am enjoying the possibility within my heart where it counts the most.

It creates a feeling of wholeness and from there anything is possible.

Astrid says, “You are a timeless being living a blip of your immensity. Open to your fullness and you’ll open to the potentials in greater ways than you think.”

There are reasons things align as they do and if we remove the time constraints, the worth of waiting reveals itself.

You might even find that you’re living rather than waiting.

Take care of you. You are worth it.

Whimsical Wednesdays ~ The Artist’s Corner: Custom Commissions Versus Creative Freedom


As artists we are challenged to find a way to get our work out to others while still enjoying the process and not compromising ourselves. While everyone has a different journey with this and relationship to their work, their self-value as an artist, and the timing of their releases, not all artists find it easy to make a living at what they do right off the bat and not all artists may hit it big in having their work discovered or desired by every gallery or person. So, artists are left with wanting to be able to do what they love, not compromise their integrity, remain authentic to the style they enjoy, but also still be able to enjoy that connection that happens when someone purchases and takes home a piece of their work.

In many cases, this is why some artists may opt for offering commissions and take on custom work, as it allows them to still be an artist, while helping to support their ability to keep creating.

Some artists simply prefer doing custom work because they truly love that one-on-one connection and intimate relationship they create with the person they’re creating for and it allows them to challenge themselves with continued new subjects and ways to create.

They love the interactive quality of the work and having something new to work on every day.

For some, it’s more consistent work than trying to sell original pieces.

Then there are artists who purely love creative freedom and not having to create something someone else tells them to, not have to be concerned if it’s exactly what that person wanted, and simply love to work from that impetus of creative energy that moves through them when inspired and not on a timeline or schedule.

And then there are the artists that like a balance of both and find they compliment the process of being able to do what they love and tempers the right balance of compromise and variety, while helping them live and work as the artist they see themselves to be.

Where do I fall into all of this?

Well, having done all three levels, I find myself back in the place of truly feeling the call of full creative freedom at the doorway of my heart.

That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the process of commissions in the past, as I’ve met some dear souls through that work, was able to challenge myself in many ways, and did enjoy that intuitively intimate connection and relationship channel during the process of creating – this was both with paintings and sacred tattoo designs.

However, I much preferred total creative freedom and found that when, in some cases, I was being dictated by every little part of the process and was at the mercy of someone else’s feelings around something I may have spent hours working on, it really could be a very stressful process and put a damper on creativity.

I adored the times when I was handed creative license with commissions and found that those pieces came out the best.

Custom work can, in essence, have the potential to be an interruption to an artist’s flow of their own planned work, unless it truly is an artist’s joy and perhaps first love, to create commissioned pieces.

I can even remember when I created my first mural for an investment firm I worked for and several large commissioned paintings I was hired for in the beginning that I had to work at convincing the very left-brained people who hired me with proposals and long explanations of what I envisioned, supplies needed, logistics, and how long and how much it would cost, as well as having to provide a sample sketch even when I knew that the magick happened during the process of creating. I then felt like I had to stick to that plan and wouldn’t have any room for inspirational flow in the unfolding of its creation. It became too much of a business and my need to make someone understand a right brain process with left brained explanations.

The connection can potentially get lost in the translation of this.

Luckily, those paintings went really well, although were stressful and tied me up in things I ended up rather not be involved with, but the mural wasn’t as much embraced even though they agreed to my sketch.

While they liked it, they didn’t love it. I found out that it lasted only several months before they painted it over. Not a surprise, as my heart saw a potential for them that the financial people there just didn’t quite understand. They were stuck in the old ways and this new vision was a bit too uncomfortable.

I was grateful to all of them for my very first opportunities to get my business going, which ironically allowed me to quit that investment firm job in the first place, and was still proud of myself for being able to acquire some really huge projects without any resume behind me.

These experiences may not have been my perfect fit, but at the time were my perfect reflection for what I needed to learn and what I called up for growth.

Then there were the many wonderful fits where harmony and synergy were in flow.

I think this is key if you do choose the custom work.

It really depends on the individual and what feels right. It’s important to align yourself, as well as put out intentions of the type of clients you want to work with, be willing to say “no” when something doesn’t sit right, and not take something on just for the money if at all possible.

The theme of this post actually was inspired by my continuing to get requests for custom sacred tattoo design commissions and people finding me online and even sharing my work with others, which happened twice already today. Even though I’ve removed my website and these offerings, there’s no way to remove the world-wide web of your past work altogether and those phantom pages that float in the ethers, so I take it as opportunity to feel grounded in my choices and able to say, “no” with gratitude.

I think these are key things for any kind of work we do and not just as an artist.

There isn’t one right or wrong way with this, but there are things to weigh and options to look at to see what feels right and where you’re willing to compromise or not. Or in fact, what doesn’t feel to be a compromise, but maybe just a shift in perspective that can open you to more possibilities.

You may even move in and out of these choices over the course of your artistic journey.

My professional artist life began as all commissions, then turned into a mix of custom and originals, and now is solely original-based creations.

This has all moved me into the new creations I’ve been inspired to paint solely from my inner child’s joy, imagination, and love.

I had hoped today I’d be sharing the first of these little paintings with you, but Spirit has something else in mind, as this past week has been very full and so I won’t have the last two of this first group done until next week.

Astrid feels next Wednesday is the day to reveal them, so stay tuned for Whimsical Wednesdays on 12/12 – no surprise there that alignments have it falling on this day.

Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you’re an artist of any genre, where do you find the greatest joy?

Is it in creating custom pieces, your own originals, or a mix?

Is there something you could tweak that would make your current path more enjoyable?

How do you hope things to evolve and what steps do you plan to take to make that happen?

In love and creative magick, I wish you the most heartfelt journey with your art.

Monday Musings ~ The Writer’s Corner: Author Highlight & the Importance of Storytelling


stories for the inner ear

Monday’s Musings this week takes us back to the days of storytelling and the simplicity of woven symbolism that speaks to the heart. One of the authors I hold dear in heart is Cliff Durfee, who transitioned back to the stars as the angel he is in October of 2014. I shared and reviewed his book, “Stories for the Inner Ear” in a blog post just the year before. You can find that here:

Self Discovery Was Never So Simple And Fun ~ Stories For The Inner Ear By Cliff Durfee

His book is one of my most cherished and sits on a whimsical shelf alongside my most favorite books and beloved pieces.

As the first link reflects, Cliff and I shared a very special friendship and I feel him so often around me, supporting and guiding my journey.

Especially so when I began writing my new story, feeling him to be smiling down upon me with my dear rabbit and tortoise friends who are out in the Cosmos with him. In fact, my Russian tortoise, Gaia, moved on very close in time to Cliff.

I find it interesting that it was not long after his moving on to the next part of his journey that I experienced a twist in my own and went through a soul-decision of how to embrace my own transitional phase, which led me to now.

With the holidays being challenging times for people missing their loved ones and even experiencing the transition of people dear to them, this compounded the reason to share about Cliff and his book again.

It is through the innocent beauty of what he brought through to the world and to my life, that I find extra peace and experience of his eternal presence, which brings sweetness to what could otherwise be emotionally challenging.

And as a writer, sharing a love for child-like simplicity, faerytale, and mythical storytelling, I am seeing even more why our connection was so profound and how much he is helping me to bring forth my best through my own work.

Storytelling is perhaps the oldest art form, as even simple drawings were a way to tell a story and leave lasting impressions for others. It is a sacred and ritualistic process that is very meaningful.

Everything has a story to share if we take the time, and devote the presence, to listening.

From the trees to the mountains, the creatures of the forest and sea, the tiniest child or eldest member of the family, to even the stars and Cosmic sound frequencies – they all carry a story and purity of heart will open us to hearing more and more of them.

Stories give our lives meaning, inspire, provoke, teach, entertain, reflect, express beauty, and shape the future while also healing the past. They bring us into the moment to feel something that has the ability to change our lives, here and now.

Cliff’s book is a compilation of eleven magickal stories interwoven into a simple and enchanting read. The layers of symbolism speak to your heart and sweetly work on your subconscious.

It’s still available on Amazon and may be a beautiful holiday gift for a loved one or yourself.

There is room for all kinds of storytelling because we love being moved by a story, taking us through the twists and turns of emotions and life decisions, to awaken parts of us in slumber, or remind us of something important we’ve forgotten.

In essence storytelling connects us both to our humanity and ignites our destiny.

Ask Astrid Fridays ~ The Rabbit’s Corner: Upgrades & Overloads of Rebirthing Change


Rebirthing seems to be a theme running through the collective and just today it came through to me through five different streams of experiences and messages from others. One of them being Astrid, as rabbits reflect this symbolism well. She’s been very eager the last couple of days to not only nudge me hard at my ankle, but has bee-lined to me in order to grab a hold of my pant leg with her teeth to get my attention.

Likely she knew of the energy overload I was experiencing and the upgrade about to take place, but it also seems she’s been really keen on my being with her so that we can navigate the unknowns together.

Rabbits are very at home in the labyrinth Netherworld where intricate underground passageways and dark twisting tunnels are the norm and where they feel secure navigating their travels by intuition and inner light alone.

Change is no stranger to them and they are accustomed to making decisions in the face of fear and maintain peaceful focus amidst chaos.

After all, their survival relies on it.

This sense of self and ingenuity is a gift that reflects to us our ability to master the same within us awaiting our reclaiming.

As Lee shared in his December Energy Update yesterday, “We are built to handle change.”

And as the ever-rebirthing rabbit says, “You, too, can get in touch with change and ride the sands of time, as the seasons weave their cycles.”

Astrid knows change very intimately and has braved the new every step of the way. Recently she shared about her own upgrade to a Castle Tower, and while it had mirrored our own shifts up until then, it was also foreshadowing more change upcoming for me.

That hit yesterday, as I’ve added a heap load of new into my life recently (including a wave of new energy painting) and its been a process to integrate a balanced schedule with it all.

I’ve been feeling a build-up of energy in a way I can’t describe and it catapulted me to this suspended point outside of this or that. It released tethers that provided any sense of familiarity and detached me even more.

Astrid says, “This is the Cosmic way, and when you are at home within this unknown, you realize the power of your own inner light above all else.”

It keeps coming at me with the expression of new inspiration and focuses, along with the stripping away of layers, the joy of surrendering things to others ready to own their own level of responsibility and reclaiming, and the deepening gratitude that stretches me to farther reaches of heart generosity that lives for today.

Astrid often sits tall and looks me straight into my heart with piercing wisdom that seems both so far away and so tangibly rich.

She says, “This is because I reflect the heart’s Great Mystery that can only be experienced by way of both loving and letting go more. Then you experience the vastness and beautiful complexity of Cosmic Love.”

She continues sharing “This overload of energy is a liminal space you’ve been experiencing as a compilation of layering new pieces onto pieces you don’t want to forget, while juggling ways to hold them within the still limited version of unrealized potential, rather than relaxing into these things already being who you are. The reminders have already done their work and the memory can now let go into the ease of embodiment. It’s time to create from the impetus of fertile inspiration and allow these to rebirth completely anew.”

And so, yesterday, my mini Notebook (the computer I’ve been using the last 5 years) finally and fully overloaded. I’ve been receiving messages from it over the past few months that there was no space remaining and our attempts to delete things went in vein.

Then my computer said, “No more.”

Just as Astrid said, “Come join me as you already are.”

Ironically and synchronously this took place yesterday directly after I posted Lee’s December Energy Update and right after I received an email from a very special spirit and artisan who after a couple of months since onset of our correspondence, had completed creating “a celestial muse” she was working on in collaboration with me that happens to embody “creation” and not surprisingly, but without me saying anything, wove the song of my heart into being.

It just so happened that I was ready for this, as anything of importance to me – truly only my new novel – is stored on a tiny little chip, and things that might “seem” important, but speak of the old days for me, were surrendered away. I let it all go, including several years of saved emails and work correspondence from days of the past and embraced Dave’s extra, heavy duty computer as my new replacement, which I’ve been using for our shared side business bookkeeping.

The overload caused everything to run in circles, take forever to implement, reverse working at all without hours of dissecting, and simply not listen to or understand commands.

In essence, I would not be moving forward unless I walked into a much more expansive field where pieces are not even present to remind me and only embodiment speaks for itself.

All of the new energy couldn’t keep piling on to things working in the background and using up space in one way or form. A larger playing field within the vortex of my heart had to be opened where things move freely and are simply an intrinsic part of me.

I said goodbye to the memories while closing all access of return and this new and vastly larger platform now provides the space for that “impetus of fertile inspiration” Astrid spoke of.

Better yet, I have no attachment to it and anything on it, which feels extra freeing, as I don’t feel the computer to be mine. It is more of a portal and conduit to bring things through, but to shut away and detach from at end of each day.

And then today, some wonderful and full circle soulful unfoldings took place when the perfect guardian said yes to my passing on three sacred items that speak of what has been some of the greatest importance to me and my lifetimes, which I only recently had also been nudged to surrender over in trust.

Astrid was specifically involved in this, literally getting my attention and moving these pieces into my awareness.

I couldn’t ask for a wiser companion.

I’ve also found myself giving out in bigger ways than ever lately, feeling that vastness and abundance, without need to hold on. There are infinite ways for things to come about. To hold onto something as an idea of insurance was also robbing the good it could do in so many other ways now, including the very way I thought it might one day help.

Astrid has been quite the muse in all of this – amusing and musing!

When I do something from that infinite place she binkies with delight – I call it a Cosmic Binky.

When I’m missing the point or urgency, she grabs hold of my pant leg.

When I’m “getting it” and download her wisdom, she peers deeply through me in her Buddha Bunny- like stance with eyes dark as the Cosmos and a twinkle of starlight at center.

This morning, as we were still prepping Dave’s computer for me I was upstairs at our usual Ask Astrid blog time so Queen Astrid came running upstairs to get me. She waited patiently beneath the graceful towering giraffes – her grounded sentinels of grace and divine purpose.

From there she was downloading today’s message, as she helped me to connect the dots with all the latest happenings.

Every day a new layer of fine-tuning is integrated.

She reminded me that every time my energy gets an “upgrade,” so do my computers and cell phones.

And we both know that this is true for many of you out there as well.

Our energy shifts affect things around us.

Rabbits are finely attuned to energies and reflect them to the tiniest degree.

My two other rabbits, Nestor and Joy, used to have physical blow-outs because of the expansive energy they would channel and their bodies had to readjust, which isn’t the easiest always for bunnies.

Astrid is much better at managing her energy and wants me to understand those tweaks and fine-tunings that can help with optimizing my own.

This time it wasn’t about forcing a change by crashing my computer and losing things, but more about mindfulness that gave me the option of tweaking realizations and moving forward more effectively and in bigger ways.

As we go through changes, which right now everyone is experiencing in varying degrees of relative intensity, there are ways to tune into those little tweaks so that we can all optimize our energy.

Sometimes they’re easier to see and feel than others, so reflections like these can assist us.

For me, it seems Astrid is sharing that just as she fully chewed down and got rid of her Carrot Cottage so it no longer takes up any space, in order to make space for her Castle Tower, so too did I need to look at the tiny ways space was being held by things I already embody.

I had even saved the top roof of the Carrot Cottage with the idea to create a little house upstairs for her and she was not interested in the least bit.

So I’ve since removed it completely once she said, “I told you we’re done mom. I love the memories it held of my being welcome to my forever home, but our love is now permanent and the cardboard house takes up space our hearts can use to create and anchor new growth in.”

So, in reflection, while I may have given up the work and things of the past, if it still sits there even as storage space on a computer, or as an item tucked away on a shelf, they’re still taking up space I could breathe more freely in and by removing them I brush away the dust of memories and awaken the sparkle of birthing new stars.

Astrid smiles. “Change is like the beautiful birth of a star.”

astrid giraffes.jpg

 

 

December Energy Update with Lee Harris ~ Leveling Up, Deep Connection & Playing the Waiting Game


Continued self-love, nurturing, and gentle kindness toward yourself is important to remember and implement, as the strong energy waves of change keep sweeping through. Ups and downs are not unusual while we ride these currents, but breaking the patterns of how we experience things can be possible.

Emotions continue to rise and we are called to greater ways of working with these feelings both around us and within us.

“We are built to handle change,” Lee shares. We can harness our fear and learn to transmute it.

Listen through to the end for a clip from this month’s MP3 from The Portal.

Whimsical Wednesdays ~ The Artist’s Corner: The Value of Your Inner Artist


Ironically, because I’m in such a creative flow right now with my new paintings, I haven’t been able to channel an original post for today’s Whimsical Wednesday’s series. That said, the theme I did have in mind, when tuning in, is one I have written on before and I was able to find it to reblog for you today. It expounds on the value of creativity and how I feel it to be key to our current collective shifts and intentions we want to manifest.

For this reason, I am very supportive of artisans and small businesses, choosing to purchase all of my gifts and personal items from other creative entrepreneurs from around the world.

I’m hoping that by next Wednesday’s return to The Artist’s Corner, that I will have a snippet of the fun and whimsy I’ve been bringing to life on canvas here. So stay tuned!

For now, here is my take on the intrinsic value of creativity and nurturing the inner artist, which holds true today:

Creativity is love.

It is a magickal and powerful energy vital to exercise and cultivate as a channel of creation itself.

It’s an exciting time for alchemizing our very existence. We are infinitely creative beings here to evoke the remembrance of what lies in our hearts. This is an opportune and timely alignment of energies for really bringing forth the authenticity of your heart and expressing it in its most beautiful light, outward to all from within.

Our creative energy is an expression of the boundless love of All That Is and it is essential in creating new realities of experience. Cultivating the imagination, dreaming, hoping, allowing and supporting vulnerable and passionate expression, utilizing creative visualization… is all vital to manifestation.

The creative and healing arts are rapidly taking more of an essential role, as they once did, in leading the way to a new experience of life.

Once again the arts, integrated with the other essential aspects of wholeness, are and will be recognized as foundations that will create experience as a memory of harmony embodied and we’ll return to the conscious dance as partners with Earth, Nature, the Cosmos at large, and our very existence.

Cultivating the right brain back into balance with the left will help to anchor in new energies. This is why it is vital to support people in the arts and to cultivate those aspects within yourself that have called to you. Valuing the contributions that creativity shares, not only to the individual practicing their own expression of it, but to all who are touched by their creations and services, enriches communities collectively.

I am moved to share about the invaluable ways art enhances my own life and how it has the ability to do the same for others.

I find joy in walking the magickal path, and I channel and express everything in symbolic and creatively loving ways whether on my person, in my personal environment and sacred space, or through my work.

Painting has been my sacred key of life – my personal ankh that opens the door to life aligned with universal will. I didn’t set out to produce art, but like the wings of a butterfly are essential to its flight, I discovered that creating art is the breath of life to my soul.

From the onset, the unconscious, life-giving process of manifesting on canvas, the visions that pervaded my day-time dreams, struck me as magickal. And, over the years, that magickal essence persisted despite deterrence,  yet the unfolding process is now accessed in quantum leaps of conscious experience.

It was a naturally progressive evolution that infiltrated my life with creative passion at every corner, reminding me that who I was, is who I AM. I paint from the inside out, employing naturally innovative and intuitionally guided techniques, as my unconscious is the undisputed light that guides me through the maze of tunnels to the divinely aligned, creative destination.

I was always an imaginative and creative child, whether singing, dancing, drawing, painting, make-believing, inner-eye journeying, dreaming…and any time I immersed myself in strictly left brain-focusees or jobs over time, it always resulted in imbalance, health breakdowns, unhappiness, diminished light, low energy, and basically like a piece of my soul dying.

I’ve learned the same can be true of only focusing on the right-brained things, which has resulted in fine-tuning a balance. We can’t forget all of our parts.

Whenever I let myself wander the creative paths, supported the integration of creativity into action, and watered the seeds of driven inspiration and passion, my life blossomed in all the ways the latter, on its own, wilted.

And yet, if I didn’t bring along the wisdom of the left brain and put things into action with courage and execution, my creative expressions would never see the light of day, could never be more than a side hobby, I wouldn’t be able to manifest intentions, and the value of what I did would go unseen or embraced.

But like many of us go through, as I grew up those creative parts of myself were not exactly nurtured and the natural me was reconditioned into an unnatural me, that I then had to relearn once again. Left brain took over and I had to relearn my creative nature. At a later point, that creative part out-weighed the other, and once again I needed to step back and retrieve the powerful parts of both to learn alchemy.

Everything evolves in perfection, and while it didn’t have to be that way, without this process, much of the depth, compassion, value, and ability to see with wider perspective would not have been cultivated as it was.

Creativity and painting, in essence, supports what feels most natural to me and supports every aspect of life. If you think about it, creative energy is life, and the life-giving force. So, it makes perfect sense.

I’ve experienced what it was like when I was disconnected from it and what it is like nurturing its expression.

I’ve also realized throughout my evolution and work, and observing the shift of energies, how vital to the collective our value, support, and cultivation of the creative arts is to where we are headed.

The male aspects of ourselves can help lift these parts up, fortify them, and create more effective use and action with their expression.

Creative and healing arts were once solid foundations that pervaded our experience throughout ancient times – times when we understood and realized the importance of being in balance and harmony with nature and the cosmos, which came through our cultivation of these aspects of consciousness.

As things have shifted, many of these aspects that enriched life were forgotten, lost, went more underground, were diffused and scattered, or replaced by new values. There are always cycles to life and the circle has been cycling back in a new way, as we are remembering, reevaluating, and understanding that balance is essential and cultivating natural creative expression is healthy to the state of collective humanity.

All forms of art have the ability to enhance life in amazing ways, not to mention, help us get more in touch with Source. It is an invaluable expression that through support and cultivation, can help us to connect more with our natural essence as creative, loving beings that are individually beautiful expressions of collective diversity.

We are all creative beings that channel creativity in beautifully unique ways. If you have felt nudges, inner callings, are receiving signs, have always wanted to explore your creative side or dabble in the arts, but haven’t fully supported it into the open, have felt insecure about your creative expression, judge it against other’s work, or wondered about what it would be like if you let yourself express yourself freely, now is a great time to harness that energy and let it flow without limiting beliefs.

The more you support these creative impulses, the more you allow yourself to explore things outside-the-box, to start creating and manifesting what you desire, to experience more magick and synchronicity in your life, discover ways to enhance your community and the collective, to create the greatest works of art you have yet to create, and to find greater sense of peace and inner joy.

Creative energy is the source of creation. If you don’t exercise it, you close the door on the endless possibilities you, as a limitless and powerful being, have the ability to tap into.

Creativity is the power of love expressing itself.

The more you support this expression in yourself and in others, the more beautiful life will be.

Here are just some of the values of expressing creativity:

  • helps you be more aware of, and with greater sense of connection to, both the outer landscape of your surroundings and the inner landscape of your experience, visually, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually
  • increases your sense of gratitude as simple things once taken for granted become beautiful
  • opens you up to limitless possibilities and draws in new opportunities
  • greater sense of self and security with who you are and choices you make that reflect you
  • you learn to become more comfortable with your unique creative process and can apply it to anything you do
  • you gain greater understanding of how others perceive visual information and how to communicate in different and broader ways that words may limit – enhancing your intuitive and telepathic abilities
  • you feel more in tune with yourself, your inner voice and intuition
  • you learn more about yourself and the collective, as your art and creative expression will mirror current themes and messages
  • you feel more comfortable with yourself
  • helps you realize there is something more to life out there, beyond the obvious, that you end up finding by journeying within
  • creates more joy, inspiration, and lifts you up when you feel down, unmotivated, blocked
  • gives you greater sense of peace and comfort in solitude
  • increases your knowledge, helps you find more meaning, and expands your horizons, as you explore through art or research themes you are creating
  • cultivates states of bliss and excitement when you align with the universal you
  • builds your self confidence and courage
  • develops your ability to share more of yourself with vulnerable curiosity
  • teaches you about yourself
  • develops patience and flow
  • balances
  • creates wholeness
  • allows you to use your whole brain and by engaging both halves (left and right) this supports great things to happen

Here are just some of the values of art (both in supporting and cultivating as a collective community and in terms of what you receive from owning a piece of art or creating one for yourself):

  • Art is a powerful form of expression for both the artist and those who own it, allowing the expression of individuality and can represent their beliefs, feelings, imaginations, convictions or philosophies in socially (and visually) acceptable and redeeming ways
  • Art encourages people to be curious, ask questions, look within and introspect, think about ideas, experience fresh new perspectives and encourages being in the moment and stopping everything to reflect on more than just the mundane daily routines
  • Art improves quality of life, enhances, revives, personalizes, and transforms any living, working, sacred, or place of gathering from lifeless to unique, beautiful, inspiring and engaging environments on an ongoing basis
  • Art inspires and may spark thinking about or visualizing other ways life could be
  • Art stimulates conversation and communication with the interchange of thoughts, feelings and ideas, even among total strangers who might never otherwise meet or engage
  • Art speaks universally and needs no interpretation other than your personal experience of it when viewed
  • Art encourages and cultivates children to dream, imagine, fantasize, be creative, express themselves, have fun with life and gives permission to do so, as well as to ask questions and expand their perceptions of reality
  • Original works of art uplift, reflect, enhance and magnify the personality of the individual who owns it, as well as can stimulate and activate more of the desired elements and aspects that are desired or feel under-developed
  • Art strengthens and enhances community livability, learning, creation, and engagement
  • Supporting, creating and buying art improves the quality of life for everyone and serves much larger purposes than simply decorating a wall. Not only does it enhance things in personal ways, but creates wondrous transformations that revitalize, raise values and draw in new opportunities where ever artists share their artistry. This supplies the world with creative oases that stimulate culture in numerous ways around the world

We all have a creative side, even though many do not believe they are creative. It’s innately who you are as spirit manifest.

The more you embrace and allow the Divine Feminine energy (the right brain) to flow from within, in partnership with, and supported by and brought forth through action of expressing the Divine Male (the left brain), you can live in balanced harmony.

Monday Musings ~ The Writer’s Corner: Creating Time & Commitments


Today’s post is a personal share of my journey with my writing, but more so, about how I’ve had to restructure and sculpt out a new way of being and managing my time. Truth is, I’m still in process of tweaking things and figuring out the most supportive schedule that honors both my needs for flow, but also creates a more a personal commitment to growth, by opening up to how discipline can be fun and efficient if I create a well-balanced bigger picture out of it.

One of the questions I’m asked is how I find time to do all the things I do, but especially where writing is concerned and what a typical day might look like for me. I actually included this on my new FAQ’s page so it is an anchor of reference for others and myself. Here is what I shared about my schedule and how writing has become an integral part of it:

“If you don’t make the time, it won’t happen. Or if you don’t make the time, something may happen to force the time upon you. And believe me, we can find time for what is important to us. At first I did it only when inspiration was flowing, until I fractured my foot hiking and got the message I needed to complete the story and not treat it as a side hobby. I used the two months of healing to do just that. And since, I’ve found that I need to balance inspiration and discipline in order to keep moving forward. So, I actually have recently created a very structured, but balanced schedule that involves at least a 2-3 hour block in the late morning for writing (which these days involves editing/revising) after my morning routine and time I allow for social media and an hour of writing a blog on the days of my blog series, I then have lunch break, a block for my exercise routine at the athletic center that includes time out in nature after class days, 2 hours of painting after that, and relaxing/movie time before getting to bed. Weekends are open to what ever shows up and allows for outdoor and social activities. Of course there are times extra things show up that need taking care of, so I just readjust to the best of my ability for that short duration.”

I have always been an organized person, but over the years I have gone to a more extreme version of flowing to counterbalance the many years before of over-working myself and being highly regimented and rigid (which produced huge amounts of stress, disconnect from my spirituality, and unhealthiness) – this to include my schooling years and years spent in office jobs.

What this ultra-flow resulted in was things piling up on me and then me ending up doing these big last minute pushes where I’d accomplish in-human feats.

So, yes, one extreme to another – years of over-worked, unrealistic demands I placed on myself to perform at an ideal perfection level always, to super flow, but then pulling out crazy accomplishments in the nick-of-time.

Not very healthy, to say the least.

And so I had my work cut out for me in learning how to fine-tune the right balance of each of these that both supports and harnesses my gifts.

In walks this new path I’ve carved out for myself that while is very streamlined in comparison to my previous flowy, multi-faceted days, also asks of me to create a committed and balanced discipline – a new sacred ritual to be my new norm and most natural way that takes the best of my abilities and creates a harmonious dance, rather than one partner taking the lead more.

And I will say, it’s been an interesting challenge that I’m taking my time to anchor.

This weekend I’ve been in reflection and opening to different perspectives of seeing it all in order to make adjustments that are best aligned with all angles taken into account.

While things have been in flux, I’ve been noticing how things feel and how other areas of my life are affected, then seeing if those are ways I’m okay with, or not.

It’s created an in-between-worlds percolating experience, as the shifts form.

If things feel off-balance I want to take a look at that and make sure its reflective of my essence and new, more authentic way of being (perhaps this off right now because it’s different), or if it is leaning too far to one side and neglecting my highest heart.

And so experimentation continues to weed out or embrace, but ultimately to anchor harmony.

This is why I feel my spirit has called in things like my new style of painting, which I haven’t done for several years – to help keep a creative flow going alongside a very disciplined editing time I have ahead.

Also bringing in the athletic center training ensures I don’t get trapped in my chair at my desk all day, helps physically move energy, and ensures physical well-being overall. It’s also hugely impacted my outdoor activities, as I’ve seen a major upgrade in conditioning, strength, and my ability to do things like strenuous climbing with speed and greater ease. Dave calls me “speed racer” and remarks I’m 20% faster….always ahead of him now these days.

And adding in regiments of time for other important aspects of entrepreneurship, joy, and connection with limits, both ensures balance and keeps things in check, as it’s easy to get side-tracked.

While this is the ideal schedule I’ve put together, which I actually have very thoroughly written out on a sheet of paper I keep at hand with time slots and all, I am open to higher versions that may speak through, as well as keep in mind realistic encouragement, without creating high demands on myself while I transition into this schedule.

I’m about 60% there while I’ve had a lot of new thrown at me and a lot of setting things in place that was key to make it all smooth, and I will continue to implement this over the next month to make it my new norm.

I am finding myself much more productive this way and getting used to it all, finding that it does in fact speak to all parts of me and truly is the way I will find myself able to accomplish all that I want in timely and aligned fashion.

When do you carve out your time for writing?

Do you have ways to make all the things you want to do, work into your life?

How might you shift your schedule and commit to implementing it?

Aren’t your desires and dreams worth it?

Ask Astrid Fridays ~ The Rabbit’s Corner: Navigating the Illusion of Loss


Last night while we headed out for our second wind of the night’s outings, just as we turned the bend at the tip of the forest, a raccoon caught my eye to the left. It was no more than a day or two ago that we were having a conversation with friends where Dave mentioned not ever seeing a raccoon, opossum, porcupine, etc. and I told him – “Oh they’re out there, they just don’t show up when you want, plus you’re usually asleep when they’re exploring about. They slip through the veils when needed.” And then she did.

When asking Astrid to think about what she wanted to share for today’s message of her blog, she told me to go ahead and go out first to enjoy the snow and more snow shoeing, while she thought about it and would send me her ideas while out in the forest. And, of course she did.

While out in the forest I received two messages from her. One, was the image of the raccoon and the second was some sadness – my own – and some words “illusion of loss.” I continued snow shoeing, wondering about the tie-in and why she wanted me to go out, but it then hit me while the snow was coming down all around us and all of the forest was deep in blankets of white.

Everything around me had changed pretty much overnight since the eve of Thanksgiving, going from Fall’s warm colors and brittle leaves, to a slumber where signs of life are dormant and the purity of snow infuses its own cleansing alchemy.

It might appear like life is no where to be found, but in fact it is never gone and is in process of deep renewal – the kind you believe in, but won’t answer to your hopes until you’ve all but forgotten your dreams.

Astrid reminds me that the holidays can be very beautiful and warm times because of the love in our hearts the magick kindles, but they are also full of nostalgia, memories, and in many cases – a sense of loss, emptiness, and loneliness.

These are times people reflect on dear ones who are no longer physically with us and Astrid knows that lately we’ve heard of many souls moving on, which makes it challenging for those of us left behind with our feelings that are magnified now.

She reminds me that I, too, am one of those souls who deeply misses my dear ones and she brings this up for me to impart a message from her she knows won’t immediately take away the pains any of us feel, but assures us can be the alchemy we desire.

She prompts me to share what I’ve learned through my “losses,” while she helps channel her message through my processing. And by “loss” she means, having experienced my dearest friends that resided on Earth in animal bodies with me, returning to the stars.

So I reflected on the snow, bitter wind, and the blankets of white draped over the once colorful landscape and the feelings that flow through watery tears and sometimes cast a frozen burn upon my heart. They are one and the same….an illusion of something we think we can’t see or touch anymore in the same way, but underneath it all, remains and is ever-renewing, expanding, and preparing to blossom again and again.

She reminds me how much I LOVE the snow and its magick, even though it can be harsh and even take lives away from the creatures of Earth when her presence is thick with icy illusion.

Yet, I have not thought of snow and Winter as wrong or hurtful. It simply is another form of beauty that transforms and kindles a spark of inspiration in my heart and brings me closer to pure grace of being.

The same is how I’ve experienced physical death – when I allow myself to go through the flow of icy tears and memories, I’ve arrived at the magick of pure and simple love that suddenly drops into the true experience of eternal spirit that inhabits the vortex of my heart.

The loss is no longer truth because the gain is far more permeable and returns me to essence.

Winter. Death. They are both passing cycles and they are both ironically beautiful. Inherent in the state of each, is a remarkable alchemy that draws forth the depths of our hearts to feel things we normally want to run from or put a coat over to keep the chill out. But if we run our fingers over an icicle, we can begin to feel the burn.

This is the flame of life – the fire that raises the ashes – the burn of Cosmic love – the inferno of eternity.

Astrid knows I go through this burning continuum every time waves of memories and winds of spirit flash through me of my loved ones gone. They are a merging of then, now, and beyond, and once I move through the reminders of then, inherent is the presence of now.

The bridge becomes the heart and we become One.

I am seeing eternity through the eyes of loss and death. Just as I am seeing promise and inspiration through the eyes of Winter’s veil.

And so, raccoon reveals herself.

No longer to be hidden away in the dark, striking behind the shadows.

I/we come face-to-face with the truth.

Raccoons are known as great shapeshifters and tricksters.

Some may even refer to them as thieves, stealing away or hiding things from you in the dark of night.

Caroline Myss has written about the thief archetype saying that he, “sheds light on the potential wealth within you that can never be stolen.”

Our dear ones, our dreams, the things we think we have lost and can’t touch or experience the way we used to love, were never truly taken from us.

The only thing we ever lost was our understanding of real love.

Love that truly sees.

Love that truly feels.

Love that truly is eternal.

Love that bridges all illusions and boundaries.

Love that knows the inherent beauty in all things.

Love that brings everything into the now.

Love that expands and renews, over and over again.

Astrid reminds us that we have the strength and courage, just like fearless raccoon, to see through any difficult situation with ingenuity, flexibility, and possibility.

Like Spring inevitably comes after Winter, it is also inherent in Winter’s embrace.

They aren’t a one-after-the-other experience, but part of each other right now.

You experience things as beautiful because inherently your spirit recognizes the totality of something even if your ego and conscious mind only sees one thing.

Just as Nature recognizes our true nature and hopes to remind and reflect back to us the totality of who we are at any given moment – every cycle, every experience, every emotion, and thought are all of who we are now.

Our loved ones are all of who we are now.

They are eternally here behind the veils we erect.

And when you catch those glimpses of their spirit moving through the wind, when you feel their breath send the hairs on your arm and back of your neck to stand on end, when you see a shadow and spark out of the corner of your eye, or simply when your heart swells with enormous floods of love…you’ve pulled down the veils, removed the masks of slumber and judgment, you’ve turned on the light in the dark, and opened a locked door.

Those we love are with us and in everything around us.

We’re ready to experience the multi-dimensionality of life and open to new potentials and great change.

Astrid walks between worlds…between being grounded and on Earth and far-off in the Cosmos and although she understands the challenge we have of grasping these concepts, it is her desire to help open the portals to our hearts so we can walk with her into the realms of possibility. When we see only half the story, we are choosing to keep our lives compartmentalized.

We are choosing to remain small and separate.

We are choosing to keep those we love away from us, rather than with us.

Creatures of the night, like raccoon, can help reveal the truth of the heart and bring us the gifts they’ve been hiding away – into the light.

And what was lost can now be found.

Those that left, we’ll discover just tucked themselves away in our hearts, revealing the greatest magick trick there is – the power of love to unlock everything.

Astrid sends her love to everyone and hopes the seeds within her words take root.

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