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Create Change

Our current world is far more sinister than the one I grew up in, and although humanity has persevered through very dark times, none feel as dark as this.   Evil is masquerading about, disguising itself as well-intended and dare I say even “good.”  We are discerning right from wrong misguided by people who understand how to manipulate our minds and our decision making.  Think you are obsolete from this?  I encourage you to read on.

Inherently, we are composed of both good and bad.  Our conscience, that when influenced, can sway either way.   Knowledge is available in an instant and literally at our fingertips.  We are rapidly making choices and decisions without understanding who may be misguiding influence in a particular way.  It has been proven that so much of our day to day decisions are not made of our own accord, but by those influences.  Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, offers his thoughts on this particular subject in his TED talk way back in 2008.  It is interesting to note that as we have become more engrossed in our high speed, online based lifestyle, we have also forgotten our real need for personal human interaction.  A point I will pick up on later.

Fast forward to our world today.  The Covid-19 “Pandemic”  Why do you think they chose that term?  One word, FEAR.  Charts, graphs and “strategic” projections based on too many variables making it difficult to comprehend.  Why?  Could it be to  create visual uncertainty?  Leaders offering daily repeated messages that seem far to general in offering clear solutions to problems at hand, and proliferating the agendas of those who have ability to influence.  I’m quite sure it’s to misguide our thoughts and sway our opinions.  Terms like ‘pandemic,’ social ‘distancing,’ ‘infection rates’ and ‘death tolls’ lean focus on the negative.  It’s no wonder people walk around like zombies with their heads down while doing their “essential” tasks.

I understand death is subject not talked about simply because of the real fear people have of death itself, probably why that remains the focus.  A message of hope in all the despair that is being projected is to step away from the messages of ‘gloom and doom’ regarding death.  It is the finality of LIFE, it’s not a new concept.  My experience with death is not at all despair or gloom.  In fact, what I have experienced with several loved ones dying is it may be sad but also very powerful on a personal level.  When it comes to understanding one’s own spirituality, I believe it’s almost not possible unless you’ve experience the joy of first and last breaths.  Grief, most often experienced as a negative emotion of death, is the counterpart of love and though it is painful and unpleasant, it is directly related to how much you love someone. (or something.)  We actually experience grief in all loss and it is justifiable and healthy to express.  Just as you are born, it’s certain you will die; what isn’t certain is how or when, it’s not really up to us.  What is also certain is you have a choice over what to do with that life, how you want to influence or lead others and what you want your legacy to be.

We also can choose how, with whom and where to spend our time.  There are 525,600 minutes in one day.  An hour contains only 60 of those minutes, make whatever you do worthy of that time.  It is certain you cannot get it back so use it wisely.

Getting back to the previous comment on personal human interaction, it has become clearly apparent how significantly lonely individuals are, yet we were too busy to recognize it.  Families, friends, businesses and communities have supported, without a hidden agenda, and have provided for each other in this time.  I’m overwhelmed with emotion when I see how as a human race we have bonded over this recent affair.  So many have joined together as humans and responded with hope and extended help to those in need.  Seeing beyond the power and greed showcases those that have pure hearts and wishing to lead from a place of love. 

I believe the messages presented in our world from those who are leading with impure hearts further cloud common good and common sense.   They are clever in their influencing and we may have to pick the ‘best of the evils’ in how our systems operate due to greed and power.  It takes far more courage to stand up and speak truth and lead with love than ever and it is certain we are in desperate need of those who will do so and make major change in our world.  

It all starts with us and where we choose to lead from.  I choose to believe that most people are of good intention, and may have unintentionally been misguided by influential propaganda directly out of their control.  Creating change we must remain true to our heart and lead with love.  This is an honorable propaganda that needs to be spread worldwide and for the greater good of humanity.

Definitely not my usual art related blog post, yet this was a heart led message that needed to be shared.

Please stay safe, be well and I love all you be-you-tiful peeps!  Art Hugs ~ Tammy

 

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Studio Truths

First, let me say, I’m blessed to be able to pursue what I love.  Second, know that life gets in the way of our pursuit and it’s okay to pause.  Passion will bring you back.

My studio is overflowing with pieces in various degrees of completion.  I will finish them over time (who knows exactly when, some of them I tinker with for months).  The reality of so much in progress would have caused anxiety in years past.  It could be overwhelming and daunting to think about what to do first or prioritizing tasks.  Mostly, I think, because of societal conditioning to follow through with what you start in a timely manner.  I’ve talked about perspective before, how you view your circumstances, etc.  In altering perspective I opened myself up to growth and I was amazed by the result.

Because I was a regimented, scheduled soul for so many years (like 20+) the concept of not working on an individual piece to completion was foreign.  What I have noticed in changing perspective is one project often sets forth another idea, sets forth another, etc, etc.  They commence within and without addressing that inner voice, it could be lost or forgotten.  Now, when that inner voice nags at me to explore something, I listen.  In doing so, my anxiety was reduced and I am able to literally ‘create’ stress away!  What a great concept!!  It is completely refreshing to explore, experiment and choose a piece to work on based on inner voice instead of exterior deadlines.  Profound concept, I know.

One step further; this applies to most everything we do in life.  As human beings we start out as an idea, if you will, hardwired with a basic design.  Given our individual circumstances, that design is slowly developed by family, faith, friends and community.  We have a basic understanding of what we may want our finished outcome to be and then exterior influences beyond our community make an impact on our being and we morph/change.  In my 42 years here, I’ve experienced this numerous times.  Changing and improving with each phase of our ‘life project.’

Viewing my art in this manner allowed me freedom of choice  When I step into my studio and often before I allow myself the guilty pleasure of quieting my soul to hear what is being said.  I know which pieces will need attention or detail, which ones aren’t developed enough and which ones are ready to impact somebody else on their journey.  As humans, we aren’t meant to be complete until our journey has ended and I would say the same of my work.  My art will live on in the viewer, it will change/morph and inspire someone else in a way uniquely personal to them.  For this reason, and the pure joy of creating, I choose to continue the pursuit.

Happy Art-ing all you Be-YOU-tiful peeps!

 

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Inspire

INSPIRE was the word that showed up today while meditating and reflecting along with the color yellow.  (If you know anything about chakras that refers to the solar plexus, the emotional connection of our being, aka soul, where everything combines together) Being quiet and listening to that inner voice speaking kind of caught me off guard, sort of like being bungee’d straight into the sky and losing your breath along the way.  What does it all mean?

Journeys can change at any given moment.   Each day is a new chapter in that journey.  I wake up and my course has been preset, even though the schedule may say something else completely.  Be ready for detours; they come in all shapes, sizes, challenges and surprises!  I’m learning to have a goal, but perhaps not an ‘exact’ way to achieve it and let the universe guide me.

So far, each decision I’ve made on my path of great self discovery, has delivered stepping stones for my future.  I’ve been able to renew relationships from the past.  It’s brought new people into my life from seemingly out of nowhere.   I’ve given all up to “Faith”  and am able to lean on “Hope” for the future (I know these are my daughter’s names, but there was another reason we chose those names many years ago).   My past was also necessary on this journey and I’m made more aware of that each day, as well.

I know that in time, my creativity will be used to inspire others, but it is important for me to be in a good place mentally and spiritually in order to help them on their journey using creativity to foster self acceptance, move beyond fear of failure and even heal from previous hurts.

I’ve been consistently creating, joined the Valley Art Association, got over my fear of hanging my work to display for more than ‘just’ family and friends.  I feel like I can trust my creative thoughts a little more after hearing comments from others about my work and how they perceived it as I envisioned the work to be viewed.   That being said, I had a creative light bulb also surface today shortly after meditation and I cannot wait to share what I’m thinking about trying in 2019, I shared this vision with my girls tonight, and they thought it was great.   You probably will be seeing some yellow in my work for a little while, and with it some emotion also.

I told my husband and several others that it is difficult to reign in all that has happened and how fast it is hurling this direction.  It’s important to recognize that when you truly follow your destiny; you may have obstacles to overcome but nothing can stand in your way!!!

 

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What’s your ‘hand’ story?

If eyes are said to be the ‘window to the soul,’ hands must be ‘footprint of our heart.’

Hands are really quite amazing.  A baby’s hands are soft and innocent, a child’s hands are inquisitive and covered in experiments, a teenager’s hands are curious and skid-dish at the same time, a mother’s hands are strong and gentle, a father’s hands are hard- working and thoughtfully disciplined, a grandparent’s hands are experienced and wise.

My hands alone have done so much; doing hair and nails, drawing and painting, nurturing and comforting and teaching my babies,  playing instruments and cooking.  It would seem to me they are a direct extension of our heart and its’ intentions.  Watching my husband fix cars, change diapers, comfort his girls and me with the same hands.  Remembering my parents’ hands and all they did.  It just simply amazes me that with all the humanness we possess and the day to day responsibilities that we do, there still seems to be so much energy and emotion recognized or transferred through our hands.

I know this was a brief message, but it was weighing on my heart to share this.  What story do your hands tell of you?  Are they being used to serve others or yourself?  It’s quite a curious thought, isn’t it?

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Spirituality-Religion or Faith

Are you spiritual?  What do you believe and why?  These questions befuddled me for the duration of my youth, and here’s why. (I’m using religion in quotations to set it apart for specific reasons.)

My mother was raised by devout German Catholic parents with 11 siblings on a farm in a small rural town right here in Central Wisconsin.  (I believe my grandmother was around the age of two when coming here from Germany.)  My father, youngest of four, was raised in one of the bigger cities in Central Wisconsin and also attended a Catholic church.  I watched my father’s quiet, yet steady faith while my mother struggled with practicing a religion versus having faith and a spiritual relationship with God.  For me, memorization and repetition ingrained the practice of this ‘religion’ into my very being as I grew up.  The Bible wasn’t opened at home, but preached by the Priest during the Homily at Mass, we didn’t get to question in order to understand it, we had to just believe it.  We prayed, but it was more like reciting words.

Watching and participating in the ongoing Catholic traditions; I was captivated by the beauty and mysticism surrounding it.   Attending Catholic grade school, I spent hours every week learning about Catholicism and attended Mass 6 days a week until I was in 7th grade (then it was only 4 days a week).  Even though I was taught to obey and not question these beliefs, I did exactly that.  I’m quite sure Father (our priest) winced as he saw my hand go up during ‘religion’ class when discussing such things as creation.  Asking questions such as,  “God created Adam and Eve and they had two sons, Cain and Abel;  if Cain killed Abel,  how did humankind begin without incestuous relations?”  “Why did Moses live to be so old?”  “Why can we eat apples if they are the forbidden fruit?”  (We seemed to have spent a lot of time learning about the Old Testament.)  And the list of questions goes on and on.  “Why must I remain faithful to this ‘religion’ or suffer certain damnation from God?”  “Who is deciding this, God himself?”  “Why does a Priest need to intercede on my behalf an absolve my sins?”  All the time thinking to myself, is this the type of God that I want to follow?  I don’t believe I was the only Catholic teenager to have these questions.  It was stranger still that fellow Protestant friends knew and understood the Bible and they seemed to question their faith far less.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us to live simply; why did Catholics seem to care so much about frivolous things such as large, ornate churches with statues and spires, gold chalices and vestments of every kind?  It seemed to be a lot of pomp and circumstance parading itself to attract followers.  Was I being presumptuous, perhaps?  Simplicity seemed the farthest from what this ‘religion’ was demonstrating.  I wanted so much to understand how this or any ‘religion’ was benefiting my own faith and spirituality.

Sometime in my late teens and early twenties I began to raise the question what is spirituality and how does it differ from ‘religion?’  I felt there was more than what I had been taught, and longed for more meaning in my faith.  In growing and learning about the complexities of this world and choosing NOT to remain in a state of prolonged naivety in regards to my spirituality and faith, I searched for answers.  I spoke with religious leaders, other faithful, read the Bible and other books about Catholicism, read about other ‘religions’, even books about spirituality.  I would sit in the library on the floor, at times, perusing the books and devouring any information I could find.  Throughout this time I came across many unique observations. Beliefs seemed to vary based on humankind’s historical interpretations of ‘religion’ itself. (Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and the list goes on and on.)  Many had similar fundamentals, but varying structures.  Even paganism, astrology and mysticism seemed to breath the same truth.  A common factor in these beliefs was undoubtedly the care given to heal, use and grow the spirit or soul of an individual.  This was certainly an AH-HA moment!  I understood that although we may achieve it in a myriad of ways, believers had a goal in mind and that resonated with me.

Now, in my fortieth decade, I recognize ‘religion’ as a term used to describe an organization in which believers follow a doctrine or specific regulations authorized by a group of people; perhaps even to benefit their own agendas.  GASP!  Now, you could assume that I am against ‘religion.’  This is untrue.  I completely support a group of faithful, well-intended, spiritual believers gathering and participating in events for the greater good of humankind.  Unfortunately, I have experienced far too many ‘religious believers’ speak, act or disregard the very ideals of the ‘religion’ they claim to be practicing.  It would seem contradictory to assume a title of a religious sect without practicing its beliefs and likewise for a ‘religion’ to assume the role of attaining followers to benefit their agendas.  For this very reason I chose to separate from organized religion and its practices, while maintaining my spirituality by practicing simplicity.

I prefer to ‘practice my faith’ by surrounding myself with those who have similar beliefs, morals and ethics as myself.  I choose to teach my children about the Bible and expand their knowledge so they may grow their own faith.  A personal relationship with God (or whatever you’d like to refer to that Higher Power as) is what I am referring to.  Something specific, intentional and personal.  A spirituality so wonderful, that when you establish it, you will feel incredibly blessed.  It is not always black and white, and at times I’ve been drawn away from God through temptation, but I always return.  In returning, I’ve developed a stronger relationship along the way.  I believe this is how we grow our spirituality and faith; molding and shaping all aspects of our lives.

Seem too simple?  Jesus taught two simple commandments; “Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself.”  I really believe if more spiritually faithful people listened with their hearts and truly heard the Message and lived the commandments; we could drastically change the course of our world.

I am forever grateful for the journey I’ve been on.  My upbringing in the Catholic church with all the memorization and obligatory repetitive behaviors taught me fortitude.   I learned tenacity from watching my father, knowing that this faith can get me through some pretty tumultuous ordeals, and that it has.  Experiencing so many family and friends leaving this world has given me hope that there is more than we know waiting on the other side of our human realm.  Joining with other believers in prayer taught me that many hearts together can heal.  Listening to that inner voice that speaks can be difficult in this chaotic world and equally as difficult is demonstrating spirituality and faith by how we choose to live.

Take time to be still, open your heart and listen to this Higher Power, experience the love and peace that comes with It.  Imagine what It can do for us, our loved ones, our community and ultimately our world.  Remarkable idea.