Author Archives: Tania Marie's Blog

Monday Musings ~ The Writer’s Corner: Twas the Night Before Yuletide


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My dear friend Mark of Ravenwood Inspired, who also happens to be the wizard behind making me two new fantastically magickal Faery wands (one of which just arrived recently in time for the Solstice), sent me this version, below, of one of the most famous Christmas poems. I have to say, however, that I really love this one a lot more and I think you’ll understand why.

I thought it would be perfect for today’s Monday Musings. It also reminds me of my Russian Tortoise, Gaia, and celebrates this sweet Eve that is also Joy’s birthday (my sweet angel rabbit who returned to the stars).

If you haven’t heard or read it, I hope you enjoy this enchanting Yuletide rendition that speaks of the spirit of the season and reminds us of its true reason. The poem is thought to be written by C.C. Williford.

We’ll be back to regular Monday Musings next week, which will feature more poetry and other works by a sweet author friend of mine. Stay tuned!

Until then, I hope you enjoy a beautiful holiday evening, however you choose to celebrate this time of year.

I’m about to jump into my snuggly bunny onesie, enjoy Christmas lights by the fire, prep a yummy meal and dessert, and get ready for the continuation of the new Watership Down miniseries and present opening.

Wishing you a beautiful Christmas Eve.

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TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE YULETIDE

Twas the night before Yuletide and all through the glen
Not a creature was stirring, not a fox, not a hen.
A mantle of snow shone brightly that night
As it lay on the ground, reflecting moonlight.

The faeries were nestled all snug in their trees,
Unmindful of flurries and a chilly north breeze.
The elves and the gnomes were down in their burrows,
Sleeping like babes in their soft earthen furrows.

When low! The earth moved with a thunderous quake,
Causing chairs to fall over and dishes to break.
The Little Folk scrambled to get on their feet
Then raced to the river where they usually meet.

“What happened?” they wondered, they questioned, they probed,
As they shivered in night clothes, some bare-armed, some robed.
“What caused the earth’s shudder? What caused her to shiver?”
They all spoke at once as they stood by the river.

Then what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a shining gold light in the shape of a sphere.
It blinked and it twinkled, it winked like an eye,
Then it flew straight up and was lost in the sky.

Before they could murmur, before they could bustle,
There emerged from the crowd, with a swish and a rustle,
A stately old crone with her hand on a cane,
Resplendent in green with a flowing white mane.

As she passed by them the old crone’s perfume,
Smelling of meadows and flowers abloom,
Made each of the fey folk think of the spring
When the earth wakes from slumber and the birds start to sing.

“My name is Gaia,” the old crone proclaimed
in a voice that at once was both wild and tamed,
“I’ve come to remind you, for you seem to forget,
that Yule is the time of re-birth, and yet…”

“I see no hearth fires, hear no music, no bells,
The air isn’t filled with rich fragrant smells
Of baking and roasting, and simmering stews,
Of cider that’s mulled or other hot brews.”

“There aren’t any children at play in the snow,
Or houses lit up by candles’ glow.
Have you forgotten, my children, the fun
Of celebrating the rebirth of the sun?”

She looked at the fey folk, her eyes going round,
As they shuffled their feet and stared at the ground.
Then she smiled the smile that brings light to the day,
“Come, my children,” she said, “Let’s play.”

They gathered the mistletoe, gathered the holly,
Threw off the drab and drew on the jolly.
They lit a big bonfire, and they danced and they sang.
They brought out the bells and clapped when they rang.

They strung lights on the trees, and bows, oh so merry,
In colors of cranberry, bayberry, cherry.
They built giant snowmen and adorned them with hats,
Then surrounded them with snow birds, and snow cats and bats.

Then just before dawn, at the end of their fest,
Before they went homeward to seek out their rest,
The fey folk they gathered ‘round their favorite oak tree
And welcomed the sun ‘neath the tree’s finery.

They were just reaching home when it suddenly came,
The gold light returned like an arrow-shot flame.
It lit on the tree top where they could see from afar
The golden-like sphere turned into a star.

The old crone just smiled at the beautiful sight,
“Happy Yuletide, my children,” she whispered. “Good night.”

Ask Astrid Fridays ~ The Rabbit’s Corner: Solstice Illumination as You Journey Down the Rabbit Hole


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It’s no surprise to me that today’s share from Astrid falls on this incredible Solstice line-up to include a Cancer Full Moon and Ursid meteor shower. Rabbits have long been associated with the Moon and, in fact, many ancient stories tell of the rabbit on the Moon that you can actually see when She’s at her fullest. I find it fascinating how on this longest night of the year that we’ll have incredible illumination and cosmic alignments galore, as the Full Moon will peak tomorrow morning of the 22nd AND tonight we are also going to be able to see Mercury and Jupiter in conjunction within this Yule’s Long Night’s Moon sky to add to those shooting stars.

Winter Solstice celebrations of the first day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere means Summer Solstice celebrations for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere. Again, a very cool link for Astrid, as she came home with me on Summer Solstice – a day shared by the transition of my beloved rabbit, Joy.

And Winter Solstice, two years ago, was a day my sweet rabbit, Cosmo, had chosen for some of his ashes to be spread here in Lake Tahoe.

So, I’m seeing a lot of wholeness around this, which makes sense as the Winter Solstice embodies the energy of conclusion along with a time for rest, self-reflection, self-care, and “being the light” – something rabbits are very adept at in being masterful navigators of the dark.

I’ve noticed Astrid spending extra time in her castle tunnels lately, as she demonstrates this time to cozy up and journey the inner labyrinths of our emotions, beliefs, fears, and patterns so we can make adjustments for bringing in and embodying the new and potentials we envision and feel calling to our hearts.

“There is value in journeying the depths of your heart,” she says.

The seasons remind you of the ever-shifting and flowing cycles of life, change, and potential to honor and make space for. Winter Solstice reminds you of the light that you are, as a gateway of sacred reverence for a “return to light” in general.

Astrid reminds you that your 3D circumstances and stories do not define you. She encourages you to open your heart more and be willing to take up more space while beaming out the glow of who you really are.

“If I relinquished to simply being seen as a little, round ball of bunny fluff I would never know the true and full power of my inner rabbit. Looks can be deceiving, but if you believe in that limited illusion then you won’t experience the full spectrum embodied in the coin of being. Remember there are two sides to it, but you’re not limited to one or the other. There is simply the coin that can flip in and out of experiences at will, never being less of the whole at any time,” she says.

So, as the holiday season flashes through with a flurry of hustle and bustle, Astrid wants you to tune into your inner rabbit and honor your needs with some extra nurturing during a time when you are feeling tugged to do more outside of yourself. This will create balance and help you to find that peaceful center amidst everything around you. It also helps you to anchor more into your wholeness and all of the potentials available for how you experience things and are experienced, yourself, by others.

The Full Moon feels at home in Cancer and this lends to the ability to do some beautiful movement on the inner landscape that can help you make those bunny leaps into the New Year. An opportune time for embracing your feelings, allowing healthy emotional release, communicating from the heart, and experience a cleansing and freeing up of space, as you are supported in shedding light on the dark crevices within.

I know how Astrid and I will be spending this cozying up Cancer Full Moontime, as I return to one of my most beloved childhood stories – Watership Down – this weekend.

Astrid’s eyes get bigger and she sits up to nudge my ankle, as I write this.

I read the novel in 6th grade as part of our curriculum and was transformed by it, falling in love with the rabbits and the movie, as well. It has long been a favorite for me so when my sweet friend, Kelly, told me it was coming out again, the little girl inside of me was over-the-Moon excited. I keep mentioning it every day, actually, and it’s finally almost here.

Originally set for release on the 25th/Christmas, Watership Down is a new BBC series starting the 22nd and will hit Netflix on the 23rd in two feature-length episodes.

I feel its message is quite fitting for these times and its release is quite aligned with things unfolding in my new world.

Before I conclude with a dream Astrid wants me to share, she also reminds me of all of the sightings and alignments that have recently been taking place here. She wants me to mention these, as a way for others to also recognize the constant messaging reflected to us even when we think we are alone and not receiving answers. And also because she knows our experiences are collectively connected, like a warren, and there may be something ignited by these reminders.

“Nature is especially supportive to your journey,” Astrid shares, “as She mirrors with raw reflection the answers you search for and in some cases for many of you, yearn for.”

Lately, I’ve had a lot more different wildlife sightings than usual. For the first time, recently on Thanksgiving, we’d seen a raccoon just across and down from our house and yesterday I saw another – this time one that had been hit by a car on the side of the road. We haven’t seen raccoons in all of the years we’ve lived here so both of these feel significant, including the full life cycling as well, as we approach the end of the year and this longest night before days expand.

Coyotes have been on ultra high around our house, too. Several individuals have crossed the street in front of our car as we turn the curve at the Sherwood sign recently (I always say we live at the edge of the Sherwood Forest). And two large coyotes that looked like wolves went right by the edge of our back deck one night, as if circling the perimeter of our home.

Then, of course, the four deer at our back deck and side yard on 11/11 for our first sighting at this house.

But yesterday, along with the transitioned raccoon, I also saw bald eagle for the first time in months and a cool sighting of wild mustangs.

This all took place on a day I decided to forego my usual schedule and go down to Reno instead, feeling called to shift things. I was contemplating the change and how it felt aligned with my feelings, guidance, and going much deeper into my work after setting things up to nurture that.

As I began my drive suddenly bald eagle appeared confirming what I was affirming in my mind and heart. She soared toward me and above, following the lake’s shoreline, as I was. I could see her white head clearly, guiding her dark, massive body across the sky. She heralds taking to flight, greater personal freedom, and going further with courageous steps, as she can see ahead the possibilities and renewal even if I can’t.

And in the valley below, I saw wild mustangs for the third time now, but rather than them grazing near Washoe Lake, they were in a single-filed line wading through the lake at hip level, which was a beautiful sight to see.

A lot of feeling confirmations and moving through the watery energies of this Cancer Moon reflected – all connected with inner trust and being willing to examine what is moving through.

A raw, freeing energy seems embodied in all of the sightings – even with the sad physical death sighting of the raccoon.

I definitely have been feeling nudges with several things and the need to make the next moves and changes. Driving always is meditative in this regard, where I solidify answers and confirm my intentions.

Astrid is always on my mind when I drive and I smile in my heart with each sighting, knowing she is experiencing it with me where ever I am.

Later yesterday evening I was messaged by a friend and artisan that I’d commissioned back at the beginning of September to create a special piece for me connected to my projects as a way of manifesting the visions. There had been no rush, as I believe in perfect unfolding and wow, was it ever.

She sent me photos of the creation she was making for me and said it would be done that night and sent out the next day – and it was!

Of course, this was magickal with its birthing happening for the Solstice and Full Moon. Not just because of the timing, but because of even the details of the creation that were so fitting – some of which she did through her own inspiration of my energetic description.

This piece happens to be a cosmic dragon, that embodies the essence of the Cosmos. She is of Aurora Borealis coloring, star-dusted, and golden star encrusted, holding a silver crescent Moon up with her tail – that has planets embedded along the spine in cosmic alignment. And upon the Moon sits a little white rabbit, while another rabbit sits on the back of the dragon reaching up in sacred connection with it.

Talk about synchronicity with the Solstice Full Moon, Meteor Shower, and Mercury and Jupiter conjunction.

Oh, how the Universe works in mystical and magickal ways.

Astrid is smiling hugely as I share all of this and she had made her way to me when I was receiving this news and the photos to ensure I knew her magickal part in all of it. 🙂

She now asks me to add the dream.

So, just two nights ago Astrid appeared in my dream landscape. She’s been hopping in lately even if I don’t always share about it. But this one was potent with its timing and so I’m not surprised she wants me to share it.

In the dream Astrid was with me and we came upon a place the Earth was opening up below us. A deep hole, jagged with rocks appeared and suddenly Astrid went hurdling down it. I couldn’t see how it happened, but there was a deliberate energy around it. I peered down and saw her laying on the ground. I was so worried she was hurt or worse, but she stands up and brushes herself off. She takes a moment working out her legs and such, shaking it off, and seems to be okay after wiggling her body back.

I contemplate how I will get her when suddenly creatures of inner Earth start to approach. First as shadows and then closing in on her from the left. They are almost like wolves, but something more.

I can hear her in my heart and know she’s about to take off, and she does. She darts off to the right down one of the tunnels and the creatures follow.

I hear the invitation and know I must journey into inner Earth and her womb to follow her. In my mind, to save her, but I gather Astrid intends much more than that.

She seems not afraid or worried that they will catch her, but I’m not as certain – my mothering instincts setting in to protect her.

But I also feel the call of the adventure, and Astrid is asking of me much more than simply to save her…she wants me to join her on the journey.

I, and she, know I have no choice because love guides me above all else, and gives me the courage.

Two dear and powerful shamanic friends of mine show up as if they know of this expedition already and come with tools of their gifts to join the mission in this underground system of warren tunnels within Earth’s core.

So the three of us devoted women head off together, down the rabbit hole.

Wishing you all a peace-filled Solstice journey into the light of your heart.

Whimsical Wednesdays ~ The Artist’s Corner: My Artistic Journey Creating from the Heart


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Today I thought I’d answer one of the questions I get asked a lot about my artistic journey. When did you start painting and what kind of training did you have? 

It seems to me that we’re programmed to think that in order to be able to do something we must have gone through a certain kind of rigorous training and so we automatically ask these kinds of questions, as we relate seeing gifts in someone to a curriculum of schooling.

While this may be some peoples’ journeys, it isn’t everyone’s.

There are many people whose training has come “built-in” from their soul history.

There are some people who aren’t born with a filter and so they just “go for it” with expressing themselves and the creative energy that moves through them.

There are people who cultivate a passion they feel.

And there are people who are drawn to training more studiously because that feels right to them, they want to advance their techniques and expand with their breadth of work, and maybe even on some level feel it’s a way to establish value for their work, as society places such high worth on things like degrees, training, and names of schools we attend and get accepted into.

There’s no one way, or one right way. We each go on the journey that feels to provide exactly what we need.

For me, it was a strong aversion to training, classes, and schooling of any kind. So much so that I even turned down working at an art school to teach others to draw because it felt boxed-in, and since I didn’t feel right about it for myself, I just couldn’t see advocating that through my work to others. It was more about consistency for me. I had to go through that process though and interviewing, in order to confirm to me what I felt.

So what has my journey been like with art?

I have been drawing all of my life.

It was my favorite pastime.

My fondest memories are of summers sitting at the dining table with my French grandfather drawing after play time outside.

I received a lot of recognition for my drawing in elementary, middle, and high school, but never had any formal training. I naturally took to it without art class teachers’ help. In fact, most of what they said didn’t make much sense to me.

I was very good at reproducing things that I saw like a photocopy. That was my left brain, detail-oriented, perfectionist that could sit for hours working on two square inches of a piece to get every pencil or paint brush stroke exact.

It’s no surprise I was also extremely good at staying “inside” the lines of coloring books – another enjoyment I loved – along with things like creating Spirograph drawings (do you remember these?!).

Detail work is something I carry in me over lifetimes, but I’ve come to find is not my joy.

It’s a soul-ingrained pattern I’ve spent years undoing in this life.

Ironically, my childhood drawings I started doing on my own before this patterning circled back through is what I’ve returned to now. A reclaiming of my “essence,” but channeled through a fresh me.

As a child I was very good at creating simple images of what I saw in my mind’s eye of things I loved in nature all around me.

My favorite and best thing I could draw was, and remains to this day, animals.

I never felt drawn to taking classes outside of the ones we either had to, or had as electives, through high school.

For some reason I felt inclined to keep this part of my life raw in its nature and didn’t want to feel controlled by rights and wrongs. I wanted simply to bring forth my visions without boundaries. Having everything else in life feeling so controlled, this let me have one little sacred piece to myself where anything goes.

Interestingly, while I could draw people if I wanted, I just don’t really want to and it’s more effort.

What flows for me is nature, animals, magickal beings, and enchanting or cosmic visions.

While my work could easily be judged by art critics who have their own idea of what makes art “good,” for me I love the raw expression of what moves through someone’s heart.

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the beauty of fine works of art. I am in awe of the masterpieces hanging in galleries and marvel at how incredibly they’re executed.

But I do love purity and innocence too, which is what my presence here on Earth is about. And I equally see the beauty within this type of creative expression and see them as fine works of art in their own right because, to me, art is something that not only captures a visual gift come to life, but truly moves you with emotion to experience something deep or even triggers the opening of your own heart with the images acting like keys.

Creative energy is unlimited and therefore there are many ways to bring forth artistic expression.

I say, if it feels joyful to your heart to create, then that’s art.

So, while I’ve cultivated my own form of artistic expression by listening to what moves me and implementing what I’ve integrated and worked on throughout my life, I believe we each have our own journey with this.

But I encourage anyone who feels the desire to draw, paint, or create in some way, to just do it!

There is value in expressing what you feel and if you feel it, I guarantee there is someone out there who needs just what you have to share.

What do you feel your artistic journey has been?

Sometimes we start out one way, but move into a different arena later.

Don’t be afraid to try something.

The value of art is not based on whether it hangs in a gallery or gets critical acclaim.

The value of art is in the expression.

Creativity yearns to be shared.

Monday Musings ~ The Writer’s Corner: Writing is an Opportunity to Face Fear


Most everyone in some way experiences fear on some level and it isn’t just isolated to writers or creatives. This is just one way our fears manifest, by stopping us from doing the thing we love most. We all have little voices in our heads that have a life of their own, running us around in circles with the idea of keeping us away from pain and disappointment – yet they also keep us away from growing and experiencing fulfillment.

While today’s post focuses on fears writers experience, the ideas and techniques shared here can be applied to any fear we have in life. And since writing fears really aren’t about writing, per se, but about something deeper around stories we’ve accepted as reality about ourselves conditioned by the past, while we work with these fears we’ll be shifting our entire life.

I’ve had to work with many fears over the course of my life to include things like public speaking, fear of heights, fear of being judged and having my work judged…and while we may not always completely eradicate those voices, we definitely learn how to work with them, harness them, and stop giving them control.

In Sage Cohen’s great post, 10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing for Writer’s Digest you’ll find insightful thoughts on how to consciously work with your fears in a way that harnesses their energy for your writing. I especially love this reference she adds, which speaks to how we can regain control over our lives in the midst of fears and fearful voices:

In A Beautiful Mind, when someone from the Nobel Prize committee asks schizophrenic mathematician John Nash how he silenced the voices that threatened to interfere with his work and his life, Nash replies something to the effect of, “I didn’t. They’re talking to me right now. I have simply made a choice to stop engaging with what they’re saying.”

And so can you.

You can also choose to have a conversation with them like she shares in #9 where you get your fear voice and heart voice together as one through a series of thoughtful curiosities that put things at ease.

It’s interesting to me that we fear “fear,” but fears are more like our soul’s coursebook to growth that we have written perfectly in a way that we know in our hearts will provide great depth, expansion, and evolution. Fears can translate into some incredibly rich writing, music, painting, or any creative project by adding layers of realness to our work.

I’ve used a lot of the techniques she describes in her article and while things may not happen overnight, they do happen step-by-step if you’re willing to truly work at it. That’s all you really need, is a commitment to yourself to work with yourself gently and with encouragement.

Ari Meghlen recently shared a guest post by Nore Hoogstad on How to Overcome Writing Fear that also focuses on some key fears around writing and some quick, easy thoughts around them, which you may also find helpful.

I hope you’ll find these supportive with your process.

What are your greatest fears that seem to be running the show?

Do you think you can commit to working with at least one of them and make your passion a priority, as a result?

Ask Astrid Fridays ~ The Rabbit’s Corner: You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide


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Today Astrid would like to speak to that little voice inside of many of you that sometimes wishes to just curl up in a ball and shrink back into a dark corner or closet – maybe even just pull the covers over your head and pretend the world has no idea you exist. Maybe you prefer being invisible sometimes and this can serve well in specific cases, but perhaps you’re holding yourself back out of fear or a deep-seeded experience that leaves you afraid to put yourself out there.

Living so close to, and intimately with, the ground and Earth, rabbits know how to “hide” well, but this can have a two-fold meaning of either having the need to camouflage and blend in or that you have made yourself so small that you are un/under-recognized for who you are and the gifts that you embody.

Rabbits know the importance of awareness and protection, but they are not shy about exhibiting their exuberance and big personalities when they feel the urge to do so. In fact, they will leap with glee when the moment moves them, or rise to the challenge with fierceness, despite being seen as small, timid and fragile creatures.

They are extraordinary sound navigators who know when to seize the moment and “hop” into new territories and experiences. Their ultra-sensitivities create the light when all seems lost and dark.

And this is the place Astrid wants to address for those of you who find yourself feeling lost so much, desire to shrink away, or aren’t even aware that you are diminishing your light when it’s needed the most right now in the world.

Invisibility can definitely be a gift, but it doesn’t serve you or the collective to live in the dark eternally.

Life can’t go on, nor thrive, without light.

Astrid knows there are times she’s been afraid and that she’s needed to regulate her energy so as to find that balance of protection and safety, while also making herself known and asserted.

If she had remained purely in fear by her circumstances and triggers, she would not only not have survived, but not have been recognized for the gifts she has. Marcy of SaveABunny and her staff of volunteers saw her because of the big energy she put out, and of course we know that this is also how she and I made the connection.

We both had to rise to our highest and most whole, to have a meeting of equals merge into partnership and recognition of reflection.

We could easily have missed a beautiful chance if we both stayed small.

How many times might you have missed out on an opportunity because you kept yourself small?

How much of your dreams are you not able to experience because you hesitate to share your gifts?

How much love do you hold back from yourself because you’re scared to show others who you really are or to feel how worthy you are?

Is it disappointment, hurt, anger, or guilt that makes us fear ourselves and our power?

I often wonder why these feelings win out over love over and over again.

Astrid shares that responsibility can play a part in this process we seem to be learning in exercising our gifts and powers.

But she and I both agree that responsibility can can carry its own weight that isn’t always tempered with love, but analyzed and dissected by ego.

So in fact it, too, can lead us astray of going bigger, as it tries to work out every angle to satisfy another excuse not to shine forth.

While we think that hiding serves us well, in most cases it is a reaction to something now or from a “past” that didn’t go the way we hoped. And even though those triggers and experiences are gone, we are still operating as if they are happening right now.

This perpetuates our “staying small” and unable to shine our inner lights, like rabbits do, to navigate us through the dark tunnel labyrinths of experience.

And in some cases, we devise ingenious ways of talking ourselves out of letting our energy out bigger to serve our ego fears and can even find spiritual bypassing ways of describing it and why it makes sense to do so.

Truth is, if you want to find a reason not to do something you can always find one.

And when it comes to our wholeness and embodying our potential, we have all the excuses in the world why not to do that.

Whether or not those excuses are valid is between you and yourself.

Astrid wants to remind you that it’s okay to recognize when camouflage and invisibility can serve us and be a magickal tool in our back pocket to pull out now and then, but “hiding” when rising would benefit you most, is not the healthiest choice to always fall back on.

It’s okay to learn as you go and make instant adjustments along the way. Chances are, you’ve already done years of work so truly, now is about the experiential classroom. This is about being both student and teacher and bringing integrity and humbleness to the process of being.

Now, more then ever your gifts, your light, your essence is needed in the world.

And while you think you may be alone in facing those frightful triggers, experiences, and the things that feel scary in the world, you are not.

More and more souls are finding that the way out of hiding is to actually step out. No one is going to force you out nor pull you out. Only you can make that choice, but it’s a very liberating choice that once made – even in small steps – suddenly helps make sense of an upside down world and brings authentic power to the forefront.

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Astrid says, “The more you wear a mask, the less you will ever know yourself. It’s not just others you hide from in doing so, nor whom are robbed of knowing your beauty and experiencing your ripple across the world. You are the one who is hurt the most when your light is kept small.”

Astrid knows how I, too, have kept myself small in the past and straddled timidly between two worlds of fears and hopes.

“And what did that do for you?” she asks me.

“It kept me stuck,” I replied. “Torn and tormented between two worlds warring against each other, rather than teaming together and empowering myself into truly living, rather than merely surviving.”

That reminds me of a favorite line Julia Roberts says in Steel Magnolias, “I’d rather have 30 seconds of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

How about you?

If coming out of hiding gave you the most enriching and fulfilling experience you’ve ever known and was better than your wildest dreams, wouldn’t it be worth “going bigger” for, even if it wasn’t forever?

Not that it couldn’t or wouldn’t be forever, but you won’t know it until you try it.

Or is the known feeling of suffering and smallness, more comforting?

“Everyone has the ability to go bigger, no matter what their circumstances are. You are creative beings and therefore have unlimited ways to bring through more of your potential. Feel bigger! Thinking is only half the story, but your heart will guide you past the limits of your mind,” Astrid says.

It’s not easy, I know, and can be quite sticky with layers, but personally I decided that the possibility of that total enrichment far outweighed the illusion of safety in the darkness.

Astrid says, “That safety is an illusion that keeps you away from your truth….away from being who you really are and experiencing what you have available. That illusion is the fix to experiencing the true power within your heart.”

And she’s so right.

We think we stay safe by staying small and hidden, but by making that our “norm” we not only get to experience more of it, but are dying a slow death.

Choosing to go bigger and stop hiding happens for each person at different times in their life or soul journey and in different ways, by different triggers, and timings, so there isn’t just “one” way to get there.

Yet the one thing we all have in common is “potential.”

And the more each of us do our best to rise to that potential, the easier it becomes for others to do the same.

Rather than spend time trying to make others step into their potential, why not utilize our resources to “be” the potential?

Rabbit doesn’t wait for snake to see the “potential” when it threatens her kits rather than finding something else to eat that day. Rabbit rises to her “potential” and becomes the bigger rabbit she knows herself to be and chases off the snake.

Yep, that’s right. There are videos out there that catch mother rabbits fighting off poisonous, deadly snakes to save their babies. It’s incredible, but this is the truth of their wholeness they weave in and out of, as they carry it at their core always.

And I’ve seen this happen not only with people, but myself as well, where we’re put into dire situations and then rise to the occasion.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful to rise always, rather than only when threatened or in our darkest hour?

Those moments demonstrate that we have it in us, but we choose not to always shine the light.

Astrid carries this bigger energy with her always. You can see it and feel it, even if not demonstrated every second, but when she wants to, she does. She’s not afraid to let you know it’s simply who she is, nor is she worried how you might judge her. She knows the truth of who she is will reach the truth of each of us and when truth meets, that’s the most authentic and fulfilling experience, regardless of result. Yet, it also helps reflect and draw to her exactly what she needs and wants to see, while not missing out on what it feels to be alive.

I asked Astrid if she has any advice to offer to someone wanting not to hide anymore, but is too afraid.

She thinks a moment and replies in her own way, “There will never be a perfect moment to wait to do something and tomorrow is not always a promise. We can’t survive alone in the dark forever. Night turns into day and it is your nature to do the same. In and out you weave, but weave you must, or cease to be. Both the Sun and Moon know just when to shine on the Earth or how to allow others the same. Yet they DO and WILL shine in fullness and never cease to shine while others are. They dance in and out, sharing the stage of the grand show. You may not know how stepping forth and being bigger will be embraced, but embrace it for yourself and you will find your place on the horizon amidst the other stars. It’s there that we will meet, heart-to-heart.”

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What I’ve learned, and Astrid describes so beautifully, is that the truth of who you are is not something you can hide from forever. It catches up to us, no matter how fast we run away. Just as the Sun’s light keeps shining, despite your only seeing it half the day, so does your light, despite blanketing it in vein.

Eventually, your essence will see its way through, so why not give it a boost out?

“That’s right! Being who you really are is what we need most in the world at this time and is the greatest service to humanity,” concludes Astrid.

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.

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