a red headed woman holds a seedling sprout and contemplates destiny

what an artist does for you…

what is all the fuss about? why are artists worth so much in some circles of life and worth so little in others?

the answer is quite clear. and it’s not remotely to do with some magical mysterious talent…though it helps.

it’s about love.

really?

yeah. and this applies to us all. artists happen to be some of the first in line to feel the edge of evolution. we go out on a limb so to speak, and bring back the psychic bacon…the soul food for nourishment of all.

we are arbiters of change and flying shamans. we are cosy in our bubbles where we see the cosmic dance played out before our inner retinas.

we put our visions down, fresh from the universal soup into some kind of reason upon canvas with all manner of colours and textures.

and those of us who know how to allow ourselves to love this weird thing that we do, know how to thrive. we are juicy and full of life because we’ve invested in our spiritual connection.

an artists job is merely to remind you who you are.

you are all the paintings and beautiful sunsets throughout time.

you are the dew drop on petal and the cold glint on metal.

you are light and being beyond this physical appearance, mere density of vibration.

a painting then, is like a map. if it resonates with you then it is yours to cherish.

talk to the artist. she wants to serve you. she wants to enliven your world with the visions she incubates.

without you, her audience, there is no reason.

a hopeful looking woman leans into an invisible wind that blows her very being away as she disintegrates in waves of rippling vibrations though she looks brightly into the future model is uk artist phoebe thomasson photo art by adam white photography copyright 2015 awp and pt
photo art: adam white
model: phoebe thomasson

sat nam. (truth is my name.)

acrylic painting by phoebe thomasson abstract blue brown winter colours

To Do List: Cultivation

Today I need to….

Cultivate Strength, one hour at a time.
Cultivate Bravery, to meet my own weaknesses.
Cultivate Determination to overcome my limitations.
Cultivate Fitness I wish, that I may lift you up.
Cultivate Perspective that this is my journey; destination unknown.
No-one else is on it with me unless I share it.

I hit a bit of a crisis today. Things went pear shaped for a minute, but I remembered that I could choose how things went by my response. I remembered that I have a choice, always. I can respond negatively or creatively.
I chose to allow myself my full gamut of feeling, as insane as it was for a minute, then throttle back and consider what was being said to me. Consider how I could change my perspective and see things in a more hopeful way.
I ended up giving myself the pep talk I was looking for externally. The thing is that it’s never as good from someone else. Our own reassurance or ‘inner sense’ is definitely tailor made for us if we can muster the space to talk intelligently to ourselves.
I also realized that I don’t need to tolerate my acting the fool, inside and out if it’s not productive. I can tell that stupid voice to shut up if I think it is being unreasonable. In short, I can control my own mind, then no-one else need do it for me.

….Cultivate trust in myself.

Photo Credit: Roger Kirby

Dreaming of Destruction….again!

Just before my last waking this morning, I had a series of dreams. They were very strong in their imaginary.

See what you make of them and I’ll tell you what they mean to me at the end.

Dream#1: Nothing Left to Eat…

We are a small tribe/community living in a glade type valley and we are foraging for food and living our lives.

There are mini dramas going on, just as in any culture but something ominous was looming. It becomes clear that we were running out of food and that before long we would have to find more or we were all going to starve to death.

A group of us took off to search whilst the elders stayed behind and took their chances, unafraid for their survival unlike ourselves. We were hungry!

We came up a leafy hill and everything stopped. The massive strip of ground before us was as bare as could be.

Tilled soil was all that stood there as far as the eye could see up to the brow of the massive hill. My guts went weird as a ferocious sound hit us. Although we knew we should run now, we were transfixed.

Dogs came running over the hill towards us. They didn’t look like the type of dog to be fierce, they were golden retrievers! However their appearance did nothing to allay the reality that they were protecting their site and we were clearly trespassing!

That’s the end as far as I can remember.

Dream#2: Trouble in The Air…

We were driving to my friend’s house up the Weymouth Avenue and just at the top by the traffic lights we spied a sight that we had never seen for real in this area. A twister!

We debated  for a minute how serious it was. It was soon clear that it was very serious indeed and headed right for us.

My first instinct to carry on in the direction I was going, which may have actually taken us beyond the path of the wind tunnels, was immediately over-ridden by a strange mix of ‘I have to get home!’ and deep panic.

Home meant doing a U-turn in the road and I was aware of traffic all around…and home was where it was headed. Where should we turn, and how fast could we run without contributing to the general panic?

Time for the general synopsis…

Dreams are multidimensional and usually contain at least two levels of understanding, one cultural (global) and two, personal.

On a personal level both dreams seem to say to me that I’ve hit my nemesis.

In some sense I am up against the ‘survivalist’ dream. The ability to sustain myself is somehow under threat, either for real or metaphorically.

This could have always been the case, and something I am now discovering (new territory) or something that is coming upon me as new realizations dawn (threatening circumstances). On both counts the message is quite clear.

ACT! Now is not the time for contemplation…for me this is clearly a call to clear and concise decision-making.

Trust your first instinct! If that is to run, just choose the right direction. If that is to stand your ground (more appropriate with dogs than tornadoes!) then do that!

The worst thing I can do now is vacillate in self-doubt! Making the wrong decision is the fear but making no decision is fatal!

Global Interpretation…

(Remember this is my own!) OK. So we are at some ‘event horizon’ and all we see before us is barren land and…the dogs of war? We know not what is beyond the horizon and all we can sense is despair at our uncertain future.

Let me give you the alternative ending…

(Penned in my waking hours!)

A New Perspective

Immediately we all sink to our knees, drop our gaze to the ground and stretch out our arms. The dogs pick up on our non-resistance and almost simultaneously they become our friendly welcoming committee. They run up to us licking our face and wagging their tales.

They communicate that they’ve been waiting for us and protecting the land. They lead us over the bow of the hill where we behold a Golden City before us. We know instantaneously that before us lie the treasure of abundance.

The Golden City is replete with good food, shelter and companionship. We make plans to go and fetch the rest of the tribe to bring them to the city. The city exceeds all our expectations. It’s golden hue is a sign of its enlightened vibration.

Mankind has finally learned to live in harmony with nature. The barren field is merely ready for us to plant the seeds if our choice, and we are welcome into the city as long-lost sisters and brothers. We are home.

Now that’s much better!

Bonjour mes amis…

she holds her hands up to the sky blue patterned alien friend
“Blue Friend” mixed media on board Copyright © Phoebe Thomasson 2014

Just a little note to tell you that I am filling up my pages with my artwork if you want to come and take a look…oh, it’s all going on here!

I’ve taken up a life coaching course and now I can’t stop working because my vision has exploded…funny that; why does it take someone else to give us permission to be the person we want to be? What went wrong with school eh?…yeah, don’t all answer at once…my boy is not going to school because I want him to believe in himself when he grows up…and all the time in-between…

Anyway, I think you should probably come in…it’s time….

x:-)

Success: plant growing through the concrete by txpotato

The Failure of the Concrete is the Plant’s Success: The Benefits of Not Succeeding…

As a follow up to my post of the other day (here) I am quite keen to share my latest thoughts on failure and how useful it can be on the path to success. I would go so far as to say that failure is an essential part of success! In other words I don’t think we can succeed, fully and deeply until we have had our fair share of fails.

Why do I say this? Well apart from the fact that all the experts in the field agree with me 😉 I am also reaching my own conclusions quite independently based on my own experience, which has, funnily enough included bags of failure if I’m honest about it! I flunked art school, quit jobs, got the sack from other jobs, failed to complete numerous courses, went a few times to classes and never went back…you name it I’ve ‘failed’ at it. I even sucked at door to door sales…but to be honest it was the most horrendous experience of my life so it was good to fail at that! I’ve not even mentioned the numerous relationships that have gone by the by! Now that was much more painful but I still learnt a lot about myself.

Anyway. My point being, that as a result of trying all these things and somehow finding I lacked the requisite know-how/discipline/organization or personality traits (patience, kindness, understanding, humility et al) I am still here! I didn’t die of shame, (even though I felt it for a while) and that’s the main thing! Sometimes we cling so dearly to a thing we believe we must succeed at, (despite it not feeling good in the slightest) that we entirely miss the point of it all.

Now I’m not suggesting for a minute that we don’t apply ourselves to things or ‘work’ at them but there are things in life that just ain’t our thing. If it is our thing but we don’t yet know it, and we just need more expertise or experience, then dropping it for a while, if needs be, will only serve to show us that it is our thing after all.

If something is a good fit, it will always come back to us in one form or another. Even people we love can remain our friends despite not working on an intimate level if we are open to that…

The beautiful thing about failure is that when we get good at it, it is like an art form in its own right. It becomes a process of letting go, like falling off a log. When we need to let go, it is right to let go, but we don’t because we cling to this fear of ‘the fail’ and unwittingly we arrest our own development.

Our process depends on failure!!!

What I’m suggesting is that we allow our natural tendency to fail at things to guide us towards what we will excel at! I’m sure you know the Thomas Edison story as he tried to invent the light bulb? Well that’s all well and good but do we know how to fail with grace and good feeling…and then carry on? Notice how, unlike Edison I am not denying the ‘failure’ thing. For me it has been more useful to accept it for what it is and move on. But interestingly enough both attitudes can benefit us; I’m just giving an alternative version! Whatever you want to call it…it’s important to carry on! Just try approaching something in a new way or take a new attitude, if it’s your thing that is! I guess the light bulb really was his thing!

The Paradox Strikes…

I didn’t get it for ages. The paradoxical revelation came for me when I started acknowledging that I had failed and that I was all right with that. As I came to terms with my lack of ‘follow through’ it ceased to matter so much and as the skies of self-recrimination cleared, I could finally see that alongside the fails were a whole bunch if successes!

Self-awareness, self-knowing and understanding are some of my best assets now. I know what turns me on and what leaves me cold and I choose to flow with the river of bliss and not the trudge of duty…

By learning about myself I can now control my destiny…more so than ever. If I had doggedly stuck with the first ‘job’ that had come along I’d still be washing dishes in a potato bar….I’m glad I got the sack! I’m glad I quit! I’m glad I didn’t go back.

Now I am following a path of my choosing and learning something exciting everyday! Now that’s what I call success!

Rising Tide (Party at The End of Time)

I woke just now from dreaming
The feeling was desolate…

Have you ever felt
Like it was the end of the world?
Did you see the party
At the end of time?
Were your loved ones there
And your brother too?
It was my nephew who was by my side.
Or was it my son grown up?

Can’t seem to shake off the flood
The waters rose when she came after me
We tried swimming in the dark
Party over I chose to leave early
Strike my own path back to base camp
Before the dawn we were up to our necks
In the flood waters do we swim?

Stay up on higher ground
My waking self says get up
Get up out the water
The water is emotions drowning you
You can swim but it is cold
And will only tire you out
But in the dark its hard to know
What to do so me and him we swim
He’s been bitten by what?

I hugged my dad at the party
Does he even remember me?
Do the dead remember who they were?
Who they were is who they are to the living
Enduring memories serve as anchors
We keep your ashes in a box
Should we set you free on the earth?
Do you want to be free?

Stay up on higher ground
Climb on the tables
Forget and let her be.
Dark waters in the night
Do we swim in you safely?

The bar man offered me cheap drinks as he was closing
But they were no cheaper
Only faster. Urgency nearly making the choice
Not wise to guzzle your drink down
Leave the party early to the other end of town.

We saw the waters rising
It was like a tap left on
The door was a dam
Keeping it rising
Stop mesmerising
Get up onto higher ground.

Rise.

My old friend she scorned me
Then let me know her pain
I said yes I share your agony
But know of many remedies
She looked awkward in her skin
I remember her as graceful
Time and pain had taken their toll
I saw we were no different
In our weirdness
Sisters together
Then she disappeared again.

My uncle dancing like a gangster
Mod clean cuts and grey pin suit
I stood at the balcony with you
Beautiful young man
I’m old enough to be your mother
Are you my son?
What do you see by my side?
How can we hold back this tide?
Stay on higher ground.

Rise and shine.
Shine up and rise like the phoenix
He smiles at me
Staying by my side in the rising tide.

We swim.

Why? Because I am a truth seeking missile

Why is by far the most pertinent, relevant and integral question.

Why?

Ha! Because without it we are unsure. Unsure that what we are doing is the right thing. Unsure of our reasons for the relentless pursuit of excellence despite the hardships. Unsure of the reason for our very existence.

Being unsure about such fundamentals is only going to lead one way. Down. So lets change the program from the ‘how’ of things and free the way for the main man.

Why oh why? We lament. But really, how long have you sat and applied this question to your current project, work or choice of careers? Probably not as long as you should.

If we ask why we will get to the heart of the matter and perhaps unearth the missing pieces that are keeping us stuck. It is probably the most enlightening question on earth….

Here is what I discovered when I asked why and went beyond the obvious…

Why do I write?

Because I am a conduit of truth and in seeking the answers I am so inspired that my discoveries must have somewhere to go…to be processed.
Because the quest is there in black and white. It can be assimilated, rediscovered, transmitted between idioms and shared.
Because it calms me, clears me out and helps to crystallize my thoughts.
Because it’s fun! Deep! Cool! Savvy! Interesting! Intelligent and Sane!
Because if I don’t I do not have any leverage. I cannot transform without releasing the flow of thoughts.
Because I would become constipated with words if I didn’t and bore the pants off all my friends…(I may do that already!).

Why do I blog?

Because it is a way for me to transmit my findings to others.
It stops me hoarding my knowledge.
Because sharing is healthy and we are right to use our freedoms.
Because freedom of speech is going to change the world to a better place.
Because it is an exercise in non-attachment.
Because it helps me overcome perfectionism.
Because it’s fun, creative, exciting, challenging, inspiring, satisfying, enriching.
Because books are much harder to write and I’m not ready for that.
Because it keeps me doing what I love.

Well I think the reasons are all there…I should just carry on. How about you. Why are you?

Photo Credit Joana Croft

Wouldn’t it be nice if one day there were no locks on your doors?

Well, I’m not talking about your real doors of course, though this would suggest that we’ve finally reached the utopian ideal of a peaceful golden age where no one needs to lock anything and that would indeed be lovely. No. I’m talking about your creative castle doors which are far more accessible than utopia and easier to unlock than you may imagine.

In the last blog Strategies for Unlocking the Creative Castle I talked about lock one which is the #trimmings and peripherals lock which needs some fun experimentation and a moderate amount of information gathering.

I hope you got some insights into what turns your lights on and spins your taps to full-bore? If not go and read it again and have a happy week experimenting.

If you fancy doing things in no particular order I fully endorse that too. Here we go.

Lock #Two: MINDSET

I am an artist who likes to do things in completely crazy and unconventional ways
I am an artist who can work in many different mediums at any time I choose
I am a writer, I’m not being an artist with paint today but with words
I am a tired artist who has done enough writing for now and will go to bed
I am an artist sleeping in an artistic way dreaming up inspiration for tomorrow

Ok. there are a few mindsets for you. Pick one and ride with it for an hour, a day, a minute. Whatever works NOW and takes you to the next NOW.

DO NOT dawdle in grey indecision. Know that you are there and beat a hasty retreat. Where? Somewhere…clean the bath for all I care just get out of the greyness. It is not a good place for you to be. Your locks will rust with boredom and no key will be able to reach you.

Find a mindset. Experiment. Say how great you are…go on!pretend! If it works it works. Now experiment some more and find some paper and a pen…there you go….see? Easy does it….

BABY STEPS towards the door. Turn the key carefully and don’t choke on the dust when you open the tomb. You in? Good.

This room is going to get a makeover!

See what we did there? Yay!

It’s called a visualization. Sorry for the patronizing tone there but my mind is loving it and so should yours; it’s a playful child-like thing if you are creatively invested in it so it really doesn’t mind the odd patronization. Only adults fear being talked down to so you have to try to circumvent the grown up and tell it to be something important like an ‘observer’ and observe the rules of St. Fu….in other words Shut The F*** Up. No offence intended, honest guv.

Good. Now the child can play.

Enter Stage Left: Quiet peace and wonder. They all play with wooden bricks and smile as the sun streams through the window. {Laughter}

That’s the feeling. The magic when you are in your castle. From whence does it cometh?

Mind set. Mind set. Mind set.

It’s a play. It’s scenery. It’s music, mood and lighting. It’s lines delivered and audience wooed. It’s theatre. That’s the mind. That’s the scene, NOW you are the dancing queen….

Argghh! how did Abba get in?…they get in everywhere! Exactly. Do you remember the dreaminess on their faces? The Glow and The Shine? The trousers…er…they had the MIND SET!

Go play…
Go dream…
Go look at who your imagination says you can be…

That’s key #2 in a nutshell.
Right there.

🙂

Strategies for Unlocking The Creative Castle

Imagine never having a problem with starting a new piece of work ever again!
Imagine a big iron key ring with all the keys to your creative castle!

Block=B-Locked

Every lock needs a key!
From now on I invite you to use the image of ‘being locked’ instead of ‘blocked’.

No matter how far down the line you think you are in terms of artistic ‘locks’, or how long you’ve been ‘locked’ for, and no matter how expert you are at finding valid reasons why you can’t possibly be creative today, not ever, you can choose to override your own belief systems right now.

When you are caught in that space you know so well, when you are thinking you will never figure out how to make the next move, resist the urge to believe in the futility of it all!

Realize instead that there is another way; a ‘subroutine’ that you can learn that will insure, in the long run at least that you will never have to suffer long term locks again!

The methods I use will get you into your inner space where you can look dispassionately at what you have to do to create the kind of conditions that will enable you to paint, draw, write or whatever it is you do.

Don’t ask how just yet but simply create a list of conditions you imagine you need to make headway.

My own list looks something like this;

More time
More focus
More energy

Ok. That’s fine for starters but it’s really vague. What we need are specifics.

There is a vibe that goes with the creative flow that we must learn to evoke strongly enough that it starts to erode the locked energy as water does stone. This is a process to repeat over and over until you are familiar with the elements involved.

I’m going to start with a cup of tea. Not any tea but a herbal tea blend with cinnamon and ginger that has particular significance to me. What? For me this tea evokes a feeling of strength and tranquility, two of the elements I need to create.

Candles, music, certain clothes or scents will all have attributes that play a part in awakening our sense of flow. Spend some time becoming aware of your preferences in each of these areas.

Dismissing the peripherals as insignificant is to deny the nature of human creative expression. These are your keys into the castle. The castle has many rooms and you will need many keys. Don’t skimp on the atmospherics as they are what will take you into the mysterious central chambers where the meat of your creative life is stored.

Likewise, don’t wait for perfect ambience either. Enough to get your juices flowing is all that is required. I am here in the study/office/computer room which is currently too cluttered and disorganized for my liking. However, I have managed to circumvent that distracting reality by employing a few key elements that have instantly put me ‘in the mood’.

One: I have my hot three milks spicy drink on the go…
WHY? BECAUSE…it helps me feel nurtured (in case you are wondering it’s coconut milk, soya milk and goats milk and today because I’m coldy I’ve a generous helping of Cayenne Pepper, crushed Cardamon and it’s all sweetened with Coconut Sugar. Super Yum!).

Two: My laptop is set to full screen enabled by the f11 key and also within the editing suite of WordPress…
WHY? BECAUSE…then there are no immediate distractions in my face. I’m easily distracted and I KNOW THIS ABOUT MYSELF!

Three: right in front of me is a nice plant, then a wall with a wide and beautiful picture of rock strata and waves lapping…

WHY? BECAUSE…That’s enough to hold my forward gaze whilst thinking when I hit a stall. I don’t need to look left or right, oh and also I have a supportive chair, and bare feet; that’s always a good one if it’s warm enough (it’s warmer round here in January with the central heating on than it is for half of the summer in the UK!)

WHY…..????

You get the idea. So. Settings and peripherals are lock number one.

If you had noticed my use of WHY and BECAUSE that’s also a conscious decision to make these things count, they have a reason for being, they are not just random occurrences. That’s not to say they were all planned just to make this blog happen, I just know that with a few of the correct elements in place it is so much easier to create. They may initially occur out of trial and error and that’s your job for the week. Watch the nice things you do for yourself and see how they ‘make’ you feel. Take notes! They’re good for you!

Tune in for lock number two coming very soon!

🙂

Vision Quest

mountain_lake

What’s your vision?
Vision of what?
The future? a different reality?

Perhaps some of us recoil at these kind of questions and judge that they are all a bit wishy washy for today’s scientific minds. But I would argue that science itself comes from the wonder of mystery and the grace of discovery.

Without a vision of something more alluring to come, what are we? I would answer that we are probably depressed and ‘dry’ in our world, physically and otherwise.

Like a lake or a stream, life is either static or moving at any given point but there is a reflection available within each state. Our moving target may be harder to spot as it is distorted by the speed of the water, but when we sit by the lake of reflection our views can become crystal clear.

It may be that we have no focus on the future because we are so busy in the river doing our thing that we cannot contemplate any sense of visionary reality, we are simply surviving and will take what is offered. This may be fine and a larger vision of family is played out to incorporate many rivers joining their race towards the sea. But when our day is done and each has their own way to travel, have we set our sights on something larger, some vista we may have once desired and shelved through inconvenience?

The far away place you dream of is just out of place now and not in keeping with your utilitarian version of day to day reality. It feels more like a dream; completely unapproachable from this waking state of fast moving river consciousness.

Or is it? Is not the far fetched utopian ideal the very ‘vision’ we require to fuel our reason for existing in the first place? The battle for realism, no matter what is undermining the capacity for us to dream.

No dream, no vision.
No vision = blindness.

So next time you find yourself stumbling through a fast moving river version of your life, ask yourself where the nearest lake is and make time to sit by it and remind yourself of the view from the point of stillness. Go on, I know you can! You never know what you might see in those still crystal waters.

Just don’t jump in without a wet suit; these mountain lakes are freezing!