Do we ever learn? YES!!

lovecompassionsmc
“Love and compassion” by su ni 

Running an art gallery showing 20+ artists has been an amazing learning experience. My artwork is here as is the work of others. I always try to show all the artists, tell all their stories and let the client decide what speaks to them.
Today a group designing a new office lobby came in. They were interested in one piece by another artist but were headed back to another gallery to buy a few pieces they had seen there first. They had noticed my work but decided that they thought they wanted a piece by another artist. I’m happy, thinking they will be back.
But after they had gone, I looked at the piece that was preferred and wondered what my work is missing? Maybe my work needs to be more complex? Maybe putting some of my work in frames would help?  etc etc.
Then the tiny voice within said, “this is what you do… you don’t need to be someone else.” And I did relax and go on with the day.
Maybe an hour later, the group was back and in the end commissioned four paintings to be made… by me. As they had decided that my work had just what they wanted. And I had to smile… inside and outside. While, of course, I’m grateful for the commissions but I’m particularly grateful for that tiny voice in my head (or is it in my heart) that says… you are okay, just as you are.  I attribute that voice partly to age and experience… as I certainly didn’t have that voice when I was younger. The voice that blasted thru my head generally told me I wasn’t good enough. And now, the “not good enough” voice does still live in my head but she’s more like a doddering old lady, muttering in the corner. And to me, that is truly cause for celebration!!!
Believe in yourself… you’re the only you that there is.
 

Mother, please?!

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Happy mid February, especially to my neighbors here in Ohio. We certainly have had a “real” winter here this year. Lots of cold, fair amounts of snow… even I have uttered those familiar mid-Febrary words, “Enough, already?!”
 

Somehow one of the little voices in my head reminded me today that spending time in nature is so nurturing, healing and calming for us. Well, I know that’s true when the weather is beautiful but surely not in February? Well, our mother… mother Nature doesn’t go south for the winter. Her power, her beauty and her wisdom do still abound regardless of the season.

So, we can bundle up and take a brisk walk. But often I find that taking a “gazing break” is also very helpful. Gazing out the window at winter’s wonders is also very comforting. Studying the intricacies of a snowflake or pondering the interesting shapes which have evolved on my patio as a result of pots and rocks and who knows what else got left out there under all the snow. Savor the brilliant colors of birds, stark black branches and brilliant white snow.

Bringing some green indoors is also a lovely solution. I have some new basil which I hope will sprout soon in my south facing studio windows. Or just try spending some more time with those green friends who already might be sharing your indoors.

Art showing nature is also a good solution. I chose an image from Katie Balas’ show at the gallery to share here. Katie told me she chose this color palette to combat her winter doldrums. Heck the article below mentions that just staring at a green rectangle can encourage creativity more than any other color? So I encourage you to enjoy the season, however suits you best. Allow your positive thoughts to lift you up, brighten your day regardless of the season.

 http://www.theguardian.com/news/oliver-burkeman-s-blog/2014/jan/21/spending-time-nature-mental-health

 Image from Katie Balas, “Forest of Souls”. Katie’s show is at Journey Art Gallery thru March 13, 2014, JourneyArtGallery.com 

Wholeness

Welcome to the new year. I LOVE this time of year. So exciting to imagine what’s coming.
I just got home from leading a meditation/ chanting gathering. I was reminded there about our topic last month which has been affecting me in a positive way. Thought I’d share.
That topic was Vipassana, mindfulness and the aspect of non-duality in this practice. But rather than wax all Eastern and guru-ish, let me say it’s about wholeness.
Vipassana means to see things as they really are. The idea of non-duality to me is about being one, about being complete within ourselves. We don’t need to have a “bad kid” mentality about part of ourselves. In our gathering, the example was when our mind wanders in meditation, we may think, “Dang… there I go again, When will I grow out of this?” Rather, we can gather our mind back to us, like we might pull a small puppy we’re training back to us… with love that this being or this aspect of ourselves is part of our whole and we can love it. We’ll entertain the thought that all parts of our self, our mind, our personalities serve a purpose.
Thermans-headhere was a tv show in the early 90’s called Hermans Head. In that show they explored the concept of a “committee” of varied personalities that “lived” in one man’s head. There were men and women, laid back and uptight, accomplished and insecure. And the show just had fun with how all those personalities contributed/ or took away from Herman’s daily life, activities and decisions. I think many of us can identify with having different parts of our personality. Some of us even totally can relate to the committee concept in our head. Non-duality/ wholeness calls us to see all those aspects of ourselves as good and needed. There’s no part of us that we need to think about as having to get rid of. We may not choose to take action on what each and every part of ourselves may think about… but having all the parts there is a good thing.
So today I encourage you to start loving all the pieces parts of yourself, accepting all those as facets of a more beautiful whole.
It takes us “off the hook” (thanks Jenny) for parts of our personality and frees up that much more energy to enjoy this moment.
Happy new year. Savor this moment… this very moment as it’s all we really have.
much love
namaste
and
HAVE FUN!
s

Kindness and other news

WeAreOne
We Are One.

Local Canton folks know of Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant. This local landmark and maker of great memories was robbed this week by a trio of young men. The establishment, the patrons, the wait staff… all threatened, terrified and robbed. It’s a frightening thing to hear about. And while I hear a few of the expected “if I got my hands on those thugs…” the much louder response was “let’s go help.” The day after the crime, people took action in love and went to Taggart’s. They bought ice cream and gift certificates. They waited in line for tables. They brought cash and spent it– to help, to love, to remind the victims that our community supports.
As a business owner in downtown Canton, sometimes I wonder… was this a good idea to open a gallery in this small town struggling to reinvent itself? Yesterday, my dear neighbor Maranda stopped by the gallery. We were talking about Taggart’s and she said to me, “If I could just find them, I would…” and I cringed a bit… then she finished,” If I could just find them, I would hug them. That’s what they need. Probably no one has ever taught them how to love.” And my eyes grew misty, and I knew that yes, indeed, it is a good idea to open a business where more and more people believe that we can change things through positive choices, by pulling together and by finding a way to love.
Gallery events
Annette Poitau, oil painter, has a amazing show of her work at the gallery thru Jan. 3. Large, colorful abstracts, small series paintings and limited edition prints.
Holiday Tree Show– 10 artists, 10 trees, 10 expressions of holiday joy. Trees for sale at $175 each (a tax deductible donation to Journey Scholarship Fund). And we encourage you to vote for your favorite tree at 25 cents per vote. The artist of the vote winning tree receives the vote money given to their tree. We start taking offers on unsold trees on Dec 15th.
Trunk Show of jewelry from Linda Grubb this Friday and Saturday nights. Appetizers, wine, cheese
Black Friday and Small Business Saturday we’re open 12-9pm. You’ll find amazing gift shopping all over the Downtown Arts District.
Image= “Oneness” by su ni at http://www.JourneyStudios.com

put joy on the priority list?

 

Change can be beautifulMorning!
It’s a lovely day and I’ve got way too much to do. So will make this hopefully short and sweet.
I’ve been worrying too much lately- waking up in the middle of the night remembering this or that, tasks to complete, new ideas to follow down. It takes awhile to get myself centered again to fall back to sleep.
This morning a friend shared this video with me, Welcome to Earth timelapse by Luc Bergeron.
 http://www.wimp.com/earthtimelapse/
Watching it somehow calms me… perhaps it’s just the reminder that the universe is so vast and contains so much beauty. Perhaps my “little” to-do list isn’t really what life is about. Oddly, just a few minutes after watching this video, while pondering how to tip the balance back towards more joy and away from less worry… I received the news that a friend’s dad had died suddenly.  So sad and surprising… but follows the same train of thought to me.
Our time here on this mostly beautiful orb is limited…
so rather than worrying our way thru life…
I challenge you to put joy at the top of your to-do list!
Love, peace, comfort and light
s
Image- Change can be beautiful, 30 x 40 acrylic on canvas by me

A foot in both worlds

A-foot-in-both-worldsWbCI attended a workshop yesterday. I need to escape the routine and be in different places with different people from time to time. While I learned a bit, enjoyed a lot… I find that I came away pondering the existence of opposites… male and female, good and evil, black and white, what was and what will be, the good guys and the bad guys. The existence of these seemingly opposite things creates a balance of sorts… and one can’t be inherently good and the other bad.
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
If you know me, you know I don’t watch television and generally avoid the news. But of course, I hear thru internet or personal interaction about the issues that are worrying the people around me. Health care, war, the environment… many people have that “issue” that they can’t help but want to tell you all about. And as they’re talking, they’re getting more animated and passionate, but generally not in a positive way. And as they talk, I find myself stepping back.
It’s not that I don’t care about the issues that concern people today, it’s just that I don’t think I have the power to change them by discussion or physical actions. I maintain that there’s good and bad sides to any issue… and I don’t want to spend a lot of time debating the details.  Instead I’d prefer to look within… and find those areas in my own spirit that are agitated or angry. I can have an effect on those. And if I devote my energy to opening my heart, shining a positive, peaceful, even joyful light to the world around me… I believe it makes a difference. When more of us put our energy and focus on finding our true selves, then pursuing our own life’s mission… that positive energy will be something palpable, real, effective and it CAN change the world.
I don’t think evil exists… if there is something that is blocking my path to true happiness, it lies within me. I’m going to get busy clearing the obstacles that I throw in my own path. Raising my energy level, seeing the world from perhaps a more spiritual perspective just might have more benefit for the world than I know. And when I forget, spin around in circles and shake my fist at the sky… I’ll try to remember that is just part of it too. Hopefully, I’ll try not to spend a lot of time spinning. It just makes me dizzy? 😉
Peace and light to you…
and Have FUN!
su
image- “A Foot in Both Worlds” by me.

My birthday wish

garden-partySmC
Garden Party by me

I went looking for the “right” quote for my day. One of my favorite authors is Rob Brezsny. I adore his book “Pronoia.” It’s kind of a bible for people who want to cast off the old and revel in the new, who are tired of fighting and ready to dance on the lightness of life. Yes, those are my words, not his, but I hope he’s “rubbing off” on me.
Instead of a perfect short quote, appropriate for our Facebook/twitter communications, I found this. Too long, perhaps. Too convoluted, even confusing? Brazen, irreverent and it even contains a few bad words. But worthy, I think, for its expression of love and for the author’s lovely freedom to speak as moved to.
Much love, su
____________________________________

Prayer for You
I’m happy to announce that this is a perfect moment. It’s a perfect moment for many reasons, but especially because I have been inspired to say a gigantic prayer for all of you. I’ve been roused to unleash a divinely greedy, apocalyptically healing prayer for each and every one of you — even those of you who don’t believe in the power of prayer.
And so I am starting to pray right now to the God of Gods … the God beyond all Gods … the Girlfriend of God … the Teacher of God … the Goddess who invented God.
Dear Goddess, You who never kill but only change:
I pray that my exuberant, suave and accidental words will move you to shower ferocious blessings down on everyone who reads this benediction.
I pray that you will give them what they don’t even know they want — not just the boons they think they need but everything they’ve always been afraid to even imagine or ask for.
Dear Goddess, You wealthy anarchist burning heaven to the ground:
Many of the divine chameleons out there don’t even know that their souls will live forever. So please use your blinding magic to help them see that they are all wildly creative geniuses too big for their own personalities.
Guide them to realize that they are all completely different from what they think they are and more exciting than they can possibly imagine.
Make it illegal, immoral, irrelevant, unpatriotic and totally tasteless for them to be in love with anyone or anything that’s no good for them.
O Goddess, You who give us so much love and pain mixed together that our morality is always on the verge of collapsing:
I beg you to cast a boisterous love spell that will nullify all the dumb ideas, bad decisions and nasty conditioning that have ever cursed the wise and sexy virtuosos out there.
Remove, banish, annihilate and laugh into oblivion any jinx that has clung to them, no matter how long they’ve suffered from it, and even if they’ve become accustomed or addicted to its ugly companionship.
And please conjure an aura of protection around them so that they will receive an early warning if they are ever about to act in such a way as to bring another hex or plague or voodoo into their lives in the future.
Dear Goddess, sweet Goddess, You sly universal virus with no fucking opinion:
I pray that you will help all the personal growth addicts out there become disciplined enough to go crazy in the name of creation, not destruction.
I pray that you will teach them the difference between oppressive self-control and liberating self-control, awaken in them the power to do the half-right thing when it is impossible to do the totally right thing.
Arouse the Wild Woman within them — even if they’re men.
And please give them bigger, better, more original sins and wilder, wetter, more interesting problems.
Dear Goddess, You pregnant slut who scorns all mediocre longing:
I pray that you will inspire all the compassionate rascals communing with this prayer to love their enemies just in case their friends turn out to be jerks.
Provoke them to throw away or give away all the things they own that encourage them to believe that they are better than anyone else.
Show them how much fun it is to brag about what they cannot do and do not have.
Most of all, Goddess, brainwash them with your freedom so that they never love their own pain more than anyone else’s pain.
Dear Goddess, You psychedelic mushroom cloud at the center of all our brains:
The curiously divine human beings reading this prayer deserve everything they are yearning for and much, much more.
So please bless them with lucid dreams while they are wide awake and solar-energy-operated sex toys that work even in the dark and vacuum cleaners for their magic carpets and a knack for avoiding other people’s hells and their very own 900 number so that everyone has to pay to talk to them and a secret admirer who is not a psychotic stalker.
Dear Goddess, You fiercely tender, hauntingly reassuring, orgiastically sacred feeling that is even now running through all of our soft, warm animal bodies:
I pray that you provide everyone out there with a license to bend and even break all rules, laws and traditions that keep them apart from the things they love.
Show them how to purge the wishy-washy wishes that distract them from their daring, dramatic, divine desires.
And teach them that they can have anything they want if they’ll only ask for it in an unselfish way.
And now dear God of Gods, God beyond all Gods, Girlfriend of God, Teacher of God, Goddess who invented God, I bring this prayer to a close, trusting that in these mysterious moments you have begun to change everyone out there in the exact way they’ve needed to change in order to express their soul’s code.
Amen. Awomen. And glory halle-fucking-lujah.
Rob Brezsny

How to birth a dream

_6199275smI know it might sound a bit dramatic but “birthing” does seem an appropriate term for watching this dream of mine come to fruition.
In January of 2012, I began writing a business plan for a new art gallery in the Downtown Canton Arts District. It seemed the next logical step in growth for my art business. I imagined at that point that the gallery would open in June of 2012. I presented the concept to the local arts council and the chamber of commerce and both agreed that the idea was solid and the timeframe would work.
Ah… we all had so much to learn. Everyone started… gathering info and support. Investors were approached, funding researched. And everyone did their job well… it’s just that there were a whole lot of jobs to do and a huge number of people involved. Appreciation of the number of tasks and people needed to make a huge project happen is my lesson. See, rather than opening in June of 2012, I am very hopeful that we will open in June of 2013… just one year late! Now this might sound awful to you but I’m not complaining. Work progressed one logical step at a time. Decisions were made in the order they came up. It all just took a lot longer than we thought.
The good news is that no one gave up. No one really got terribly upset… we just kept plugging along. Granted there were times when I wanted to scream, jump up and down and have a tantrum… but tantrums don’t help people. They might feel good for a brief moment to the one throwing said tantrum but to the rest of the audience… well, you’ve been there, I’m sure. So I tried patience and discovered that instead of focusing on what wasn’t happening according to my plan, I could spend my time taking care of details that I hadn’t even imagined when I wrote that first plan. I learned that I have plenty to learn about this new business and that education will continue, I’m sure for years to come.
My gallery became “our” gallery because so many people got involved in the project. There are a few who are instrumental in this success… and there are many who might have just offered a pat on the back… and many somewhere in between but all were important. Jeff Dreyer and Mac Worthington were there at the beginning and have continued to encourage me all this time. Mike Gill at the Chamber/SID and Robb Hankins with ArtsInStark sat through my first presentation of the business plan and both have worked hard in so many ways through this whole process. Bad Girl Ventures, Cleveland, boosted me to a whole new level in so many ways. And there are innumerable people, some whose names I don’t even know, who did important jobs all along the way. My gratitude grows daily. I think I learned a lot about being a team player, about asking for help when needed, about holding my tongue, and trying patience and peace.
So at times it was painful and it took a long time… but this little dream has grown, blossomed and struggled its way into reality. The work isn’t done… but I’m very impressed and hopeful at what can be accomplished when you dream beautifully, don’t give up and take the patient, peaceful path. If you have a dream, and of course you do, remember that you must never give up on it… just keep visualizing that dreams do come true. Then work crazy hard and ask for help to make it happen.
Hopefully, next month, you’ll get to see photos of our new “baby.” Then the parties will begin. Welcome Journey Art Gallery, a creative destination in north east Ohio.
JourneyArtGallery.com 
 

Rough Edges

kukla10This fall’s political extravaganza is having a different effect on me. (No worries… I’m not talking about any particular candidate or party here if you’re just sick of hearing about this or that platform.) I’m seeing that in one way, the political barrage this year is helping me.         What??

I have a friend who’s fascinated, even passionate about politics. Sometimes I ask in conversation, “So, how’s your guy doing?” This question often launches us into a discussion where quickly, inside my head, I hear myself saying… “Why did you ask that?” See… the conversation goes to places I’m not familiar with. He brings up issues I’m not really conversational about. Me, the eternal pacifist, feels dissension brewing.  So I smile, and comment… “Hmm… never thought of it that way.” And because we’re friends, the conversation eventually shifts to some topic I feel more comfortable with.
But later, when I’m alone, those “uncomfortable” topics come back up. I find myself doing a bit of research about things I wouldn’t normally study. Or I ponder reasons why I’m uncomfortable or, even better, I explore more truthful replies than, “Hmm… never thought of it that way.”
Another dear friend of mine is exploring the concept of rough edges and she introduced me to the idea on a recent visit. The idea that when 2 very different places, people, or ideas come in contact, they can both be changed or they both can appear different for the encounter in ways that are beneficial and even beautiful. She’s doing research for a book on her perspectives so I won’t go there right now. But another clear example of this phenomenon is the work of Daniel Kukla, a photographer who had formal training in biological and anthropological sciences. His clever and beautiful project titled, The Edge Effect can be seen at  http://www.petapixel.com/2012/09/28/photographs-of-mirrors-on-easels-that-look-like-paintings-in-the-desert/#rmuz1WOBZ92I9Uis.99
So, in my experience, I’ve realized that when I hang out with people who are like minded, who generally agree with me about a particular issue, then I see the issue as sort of solved or put up on a shelf. My opinions about it don’t get explored further. However, bring in that soul who (horrors) doesn’t necessarily agree with me, and I find myself pondering the issues again. And in doing this, I find my voice again. I may or may not change how I feel, but these ideas/issues that I might have see as “truths” get dredged up again. In the examining process, I’ve found that when I put some of my beliefs “up on the shelf”, I put a bit of my passion there too. And the “rough edge” that I encounter in discussing issues with person with another point of view, causes me to pull not only my beliefs off the shelf but my passion too. And therefore, I must admit that bit of dissension can be entirely refreshing.
And no, I don’t want to debate candidates with you. 😉
Peace and love
su

Getting by with a little help from our friends

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I have a friend who’s going through a tough time. A group of her friends are organizing a fund raiser to try to raise a bit of money to help her out of a crisis. We’re so happy to be able to help. She’s so miserable that we have to help her. Yet, she’s always first in line to help someone else.
Weird how givers aren’t always good receivers.
Just pondering how our minds understand that if united we can do so much more to help someone in need. Yet when we’re in need, that same mind seems to think that we’re supposed to solve every crisis alone.
I also wonder why we get so ashamed that we need help, yet helping others makes us feel so useful, helpful, needed.
Somehow, do our hearts have 1-way valves on them letting tons of love pour out… but when the tons of love are ready to flow back in, depending on the circumstances, we feel ashamed to be the center of so much help. My friend mentioned that she feels like everyone pities her… when we’re just trying to love her.
If, as part of the human race, we are all united, related, one… perhaps we might all take a moment to check our hearts and make sure they are equally open to giving and receiving. If we let as much love flow in as flows out…somehow I think the universal river of love will be overflowing its banks, and the world might just be a better place to live.
love and peace
su
 
Image – Find a way to love by me at http://www.journeystudios.com