Category Archives: art

Mojo Monday ~ In Your Own Skin Project

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What word or phrase would be
absolutely true about you;
but not obvious to strangers?

With her camera, body paint, and the quest to explore how people choose to show themselves to the world, Katheryn Trenshaw—photographer, documentarian, and artist— approaches total strangers and asks: What is true of you that is not obvious to strangers?
After conferring with Katheryn and consulting with their hearts, those who agree to participate choose a word (or phrase) that reveals something about themselves that is unknown to others. Katheryn then paints the word on the skin of the person and photographs them. The result is as moving as it is unexpected.
Her background in art, psychology, and language allows her to connect with her subjects on a variety of levels. This multi-layered perspective comes through to the viewers of her moving photographs. Over the past year, Katheryn has created nearly 150 portraits of subjects from more than thirty countries and all walks of life. Each photograph documents a personal story.

Katheryn Trenshaw shares this about the In Your Own Skin Project:
“Some years ago during a silent retreat I had an epiphany. I realized that the greatest treasure I hold is buried deep inside the thing I least want anyone to know about. Within this wound inside of me lay a rich treasure trove. I was a living paradox and the sooner I could learn to dance with this, the sooner I could unabashedly share my gifts.
I have been inspired by the work of many, especially Brené Brown. She comes from a social work research background and began wanting to know more about what makes us happy. She teamed up with neurobiologists and other researchers and basically discovered that if you want to look at happiness you need to look at shame. Happiness is directly linked with reducing shame, and this takes us to vulnerability, authenticity and ultimately to resilience in transition / changing times.
As an artist, I have specialized all of my professional life in the masks we wear, and am passionate about ritualistic mark making on skin and bodies. Breaking the Silence was a body or work I created consisting of 100 masks that toured the United States and Europe for over 15 years. It was all about revealing our true nature and looking at what we conceal and has had a huge influence on my subsequent work, life and respect for peoples traditions throughout the World.
I’ve always been fascinated with “shadow” material, the taboo that no one wants to speak about. I tend toward, what Robert Bly calls “our shadow bags”: Sex, death, money, and power. These more hidden aspects of ourselves hold great treasures and vitality when they are freed.
These elements combine to create what is now the In Your Own Skin project: A community multimedia art project, connecting us all by revealing hidden truths from around the world. With your participation we can create the powerful 1st documentary short to share the normally hidden wealth of wisdom that unites us all. And I have to say that I haven’t been so passionate about anything since the birth of my son.”

The overall project as described by Katheryn:

This In Your Own Skin documentary short is about nothing short of unlocking human potential and joy. I’ve seen the potential for human beings to share in such a powerful openhearted way. The further I go into this project, the more I trust our deep intelligence. I experience people being genuinely authentic. We are living differently now in these challenging times. We are living more and more in community and in ways that we really support each other.

Projects like this one and the others I have created ( like my Breaking the Silence Project) show that love always trumps fear.
I am passionate about this project! I love every minute of this mad and wonderful process: creating these ways to reveal and share our hidden stories with each other. I love how this process can weave into the every day aspects of my life, parenting, community and travels. I recently was reminded of the obvious… that the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give that gift. Each of the In Your Own Skin portraits gives a gift and reveals a part of each of us. Now that is worth getting up for in the morning! I am so very grateful.


To learn more about the In Your Own Skin ProjectYou can visit the following web sites:

Kick Starter Fund Raising site –

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1456356865/in-your-own-skin-project

Facebook Page –
https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Your-Own-Skin-Project/177799442314881

Mojo Monday ~ Mary Anne Radmacher On Setting One’s Own Sail

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HONEY ALARM! 
by Mary Anne Radmacher
I amused clients today at a trade show.  While engaged in conversation, suddenly an alarm sounding like a motorcycle engine, birds chirping,  or chimes would  sound from my iPhone.  I had preset  alarms to sound throughout the day to remind me to SET MY OWN SAIL.  It’s a process I use when I know I am going to be very busy and really externally focused.  I use systems that remind me to see the joys, to act from my core impulses regardless of my setting. In a trade show there is a lot of pressure to fulfill the “role” of a creative person.  And yet, I wanted to remind myself, beyond expectations and roles…
No one is better at being me than me.  I had many opportunities to choose and embrace my own unique way.  And I did.  Today I remembered that clients do not choose my work because of an image or an expectation, but because it is created, uniquely, by me.   Throughout the day I would remind myself of this and say, “I set my own sails,” under my breath.  It was an odd invitation to patience, to empowerment and acceptance.  Yes! it was an invitation to see and savor the “honey in my heart.”
So those little reminder alarms helped set my own sail in stalled traffic as a commute that takes 20 minutes in off-time took over two hours. I set my own sail as calls from a toxic former associate came in.  Just because the phone rings does not mean I have to answer it.  That’s what voice mail is for.   That’s a “message” itself. In choosing to see the joys in my day, I get to determine the systems I will use, and what things will get a  “yes,” or a “no.”
I set my own sail.  I choose.  I govern.  I see through a lens of my choosing.  I make no one else’s decisions for them but I set my own sails. And perhaps tomorrow I will set a few less alarms for myself!



Writer and artist Mary Anne Radmacher shares that people have asked her over the years how she maintains a cheerful outlook in the face of clear and occasionally discouraging circumstances.  Her response is that her book called Honey In Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things is her visual, concise, inspiring answer to that question.

Here is an excerpt of the introduction: “My days are fully occupied.  The many commitments and tasks in each day would happily fill my minutes from dawn to dusk – if I let them.  I get to set aside time for the sweetest things in life.  I make room in my heart for ‘honey,’ those things which are sweet, healing, and restorative.  At the end of the day, these small sweetnesses make up the taste that lingers.  These become the real treasures that bring richness to life.”


Mary Anne Radmacher has touched the hearts of tens and thousands with her popular cards, books, posters, journals, and gift books.  She conducts workshops and writing seminars on living a full, creative, and balanced life. 

She is the author of the following books:
Lean Forward into Your Life
Us: Celebrating the Power of Friendship
May You Walls Know Joy
Courage Doesn’t Always Roar
Live with Intention
Live Boldly

Please visit her website: http://www.maryanneradmacher.net/

Mojo Monday ~ Releasing the Past

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Removing an arrow/error like believing your past 
was the BEST and your future is less bright, 
is easier said than done, if you know what I mean. 
We get a LOT out of holding onto the the things that harm us, don’t we? 
I know as long as my past is better than my future, 
I cannot call in the future that is mine from a pure heart, 
or as Dr. E puts it: ‘clean, calm, clear heart’.” 

~ Shiloh Sophia McCloud 
Sharing from her experiences at 
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ 
SoulFire Vision Quest in June 2012

The past can be an anchor holding you back.
When I read the words above that Shiloh Sophia McCloud wrote they literally leapt off the page at me. Fairly recently I had found myself in a bit of a funk and during this time frame I also happened to flip through some old photographs.  Some were of my days of living and traveling in Europe.  Others were of me in my college days and with various friends sharing fun experiences.  I found myself wistful of my youth, my courage, my appearance (one that required I work out damn hard to achieve), my freedom and some of my relationships.  The words Shiloh wrote spoke to me deeply though.  At the age of 43 was I really ready to declare the best years of my life were over?  Was I really thinking that nothing fabulous would/could happen that might make those experiences of my twenties and thirties seem small in comparison?  When had I grown so disillusioned, jaded and skeptical?  Was I going to throw in the towel and live my life talking about the good ol’ days and the “remember whens”?  Heck, I had to admit that I was falling into that pattern.  

Recently I also made some observations about we humans.  I saw first hand how easy it is for we humans to hold onto the past in a death grip of remembrances, and not in a good way.  It is fairly common for people to keep track of the hurts and the ways we have been wronged.  I make no judgments of this tendency, because most of us have been there at some point or other, and according to psychological research it is now believed that it is in our human nature that bad events wear off more slowly than good ones.  Here is a quote from an article called Praise Is Fleeting, but Brickbats We Recall by Alina Tugend, “As with many other quirks of the human psyche, there may be an evolutionary basis for this. Those who are ‘more attuned to bad things would have been more likely to survive threats and, consequently, would have increased the probability of passing along their genes,’ the article states. ‘Survival requires urgent attention to possible bad outcomes but less urgent with regard to good ones.'”

I have personally experienced my own propensity to remember the bad, as well as witnessed that of others. I have found it sad to observe once close and treasured friendships crumble because of one or two negative interactions, in spite of years of wonderful times spent together.  I have also witnessed someone complaining and talking about their resentment for events that took place 30+ years ago.  Yet reminding someone that those events are far in the past, cannot be changed and really don’t have to affect them in their current life, isn’t often productive.  You can’t make someone else see through your eyes how they are allowing their old resentments to steal their happiness in their present life.  Again I don’t judge anyone that is stuck in such a place.  There is a time when it might be necessary to delve into the past in order to really get the muck out and heal it.   When Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant teamed up earlier this year Iyanla stated that in order to heal our pain three things to need to happen, we have to feel our pain, we have to deal with it (really deal with it) and then we can heal it.  Feel, Deal, Heal.  She also bluntly told a former addict that while he was no longer using drugs and drinking alcohol that he was now addicted to his story and that he needed to move on because he was the only one standing in the way of his happiness. 

I am also here to share that Cosmic Cowgirls has a secret weapon when it comes to transforming one’s pain and past into glitter and gold.  The remedy is art and writing one’s Legendary Story.  All of our lives offer us up the most wonderful material for a kick-in-the pants, rollicking, roll-in-the-hay read.  That bar fight you had back in 1995, don’t you dare leave it out, and your stories from when you raced wild with a roller derby team called The Angry Beavers will be sure to have your readers staying up all night.  If you danced in a cage or on tables in a bar tell us all about it.  Perhaps you lived in Europe and had several foreign lovers.  Hmm….now we are getting to some good stuff.  Yet, there are the tougher stories, perhaps the boyfriend or husband who cheated and left you for Paris Hilton.  There might even be tragedy, the fiance who died in a car accident or the abusive childhood you survived.   All of these provide you with a champions story and the back story to who you are today.  If you have any doubts about that one pop on over to Effy Wild’s blog called The Glitterhood and begin reading her powerful and moving mini-memoir. 


As we are beginning our Legendary journals over at the Red Key Vision Quest consider what stories you have to tell.


Is there something that you first need to feel, deal and heal?


Do you feel addicted to any of your stories that are causing you pain and keeping you from moving forward in your journey?  (feel free to share or think about privately)


Which stories or experiences of yours first come to mind when you think of the word Legendary?


With love and encouragement to shine, shine, shine!
Michelle


** Mojo Monday was born in May 2010 and has been featured on Cosmic Cowgirls Rodeo of the Soul since that time.  Mojo Monday offers up inspiration, interesting ideas, questions and more to get our week off and running.  We like to gather around the campfire and share  our stories and our experiences with one another.


In 2011 Steph Cowling who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, joined the Mojo Monday team and inspired us all for a year with her incredibly thoughtful writing and her beautiful photography.  Fortunately you can still find her writing in her column Soul In the City in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.


This year the inspirational Trish O’Mally is co-facilitating Mojo Mondays with me.  Her writing carries magic within it and if you attend a Cosmic Cowgirl Conference you may get to experience her gastronomical brilliance as well.

Mojo Monday ~ The Red Key

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The tribe I call my own, Cosmic Cowgirls, is offering an invitation.


This is your invitation to open the door of the heart with the flaming red key of possibility! 


How would you feel if you could take charge,
AUTHOR YOUR OWN FUTURE
inste
ad of letting life happen to you? 

If there was a place to express your TRUE voice now instead of later. 


WHAT IF THERE WAS SOMETHING YOU COULD DO RIGHT NOW – TODAY
to change how all of this is landing in your heart, your life, your spirit?

Maybe you are saying…I’ve heard that before
Painting by Shiloh Sophia McCloud
I want to live my true authentic self. Whoever that is… Life is too precious to live an unexpressed life. But I don’t really KNOW what my path is or where it leads, OR how to get there. I’ve tried change before and it didn’t stick. How is this going to be different?

Many women say that this work that we offer is just what they have been waiting for all of their life. A true connection. Belonging. A place to express the songs and images within them. You are a choice that you get to make. What it is you want to say, be, cause, create, manifest? How you want to experience your life and how it occurs for you? And you are right, it is not easy to do it alone and that is WHY we are doing it together, as a tribe of women who are TOGETHER committing to a life path of sacred work that reflects who we are instead of living a life that is not consistent with us. Why would anyone keep living a life that does not reflect who they are? Because many of us don’t know where to turn.
Now there is a place to turn, and something to turn it with – a magical red key that lives inside the heart – a key that belongs to you and your very own muse.

Are you, like so many of us, feeling:
• life is passing you by and your life didn’t turn out the way you wished?
• are living like you are dying instead of living like you are living?
• you would like to be creative, feel that you are, but tell yourself you don’t have time?
• there is no creative spiritual community you can truly call home?
• that the voice of the critic is your own voice, and you believe her when she says: you’re too old, you don’t have time, you’re not smart enough, not creative enough?
What if we told you all of those were lies?

Come learn more about this journey that begins June 21, 2012 at:

Mojo Monday ~ Spirit Essence Portrait

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Spirit Essence Portrait painted by Melissa Harris for Michelle Fairchild

Melissa Harris is an artist I have long admired.  I have followed her work for over 12 years now.  She is one of the artists that makes me go “Wow!”   


Melissa features two web sites of her work.  One is focused on what she describes as Melissa Harris Fine Art and the other is called Creatrix, A Division of Melissa Harris Art Enterprises.


She has the most amazing series with such titles as Empowered Women, Women and Magic, Women and Love, Women and Nature, Women and Meditation, Women and Dreams, Women and Cats, Cycles of the Moon and Mermaids.  

She has created two inspirational decks of cards. One is called Goddess On the Go and the other is Anything is Possible.


Melissa’s creations while focused on her amazing paintings also often offer up her gifted insight and healing thoughts.  The messages in her gift cards are often poetic and powerful.  


Her art, which is sometimes available as prints, candles, jewelry, tshirts and more make very thoughtful and beautiful gifts.


For many years I have longed to have her do a Spirit Essence Portrait for me.  This year when my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday it came to me to finally get this for myself.  I even offered to split the cost with him.  Melissa asks for a photo of the person and then asks the person to include some questions she/he would like answered.  Here is how Melissa describes the portraits on her web site:


Have you ever wondered what aspects of your being would reveal themselves to a psychic or “intuitive” and what these qualities would look like in a painting?
I combine my background as a clairvoyant with my artistic abilities to create your own spirit essence portrait. I will tune into you and do a 7″ x 10″ watercolor painting of your unique essence as it appears to me in a semi-trance state. I then combine the elements of what I find into your painting in a way that will be helpful for you in your path of development. For example, this might include reminders of issues you are working on, aspects of yourself that you may want to honor, patterns of behavior that you are working on changing, etc. I never know. These are just some examples. The session takes 75 – 90 minutes and you receive the double benefit of learning what I “see” as well as owning a Melissa Harris original painting.  


When I received my personal painting that is featured above I was so very moved by it.  Melissa included a cd on which she recorded her message to me.  It was incredibly thoughtful and intuitive.  At one point I found myself tearing up even as I was so touched.  


Here are several more of my favorite Melissa Harris creations:

Anything Is Possible

In Your Power

Queen of Hearts




Mojo Monday ~ Honey In Your Heart

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Writer and artist Mary Anne Radmacher shares that people have asked her over the years how she maintains a cheerful outlook in the face of clear and occasionally discouraging circumstances.  Her response is that her latest book, only just released on January 24, 2012, called Honey In Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things is her visual, concise, inspiring answer to that question.
Here is an excerpt of the introduction: “My days are fully occupied.  The many commitments and tasks in each day would happily fill my minutes from dawn to dusk – if I let them.  I get to set aside time for the sweetest things in life.  I make room in my heart for ‘honey,’ those things which are sweet, healing, and restorative.  At the end of the day, these small sweetnesses make up the taste that lingers.  These become the real treasures that bring richness to life.”

The book has three sections.  The first is called Ways to See.  This is where Mary Anne explores “some practical actions that create space in her heart and life for the more gracious activities, the small celebrations.”  

The second is called Savor.  Here is where you “will find many invitations to celebrate and savor the sweetness, that festive firework of a ‘Yay!’ that explodes in your soul when something seems a bit like a holiday.”  Here she “shares phrases, poems and thoughts that might inspire you to see the honey in your day that you’ve yet to notice.”  

The third section is called Simple, Good Things and this is where Mary Anne shares things that drew an audible “yay” in her experience.  She shares that she wants her list “to be the inspiration for you to begin your own list.”


Honey In the Heart is a beautiful book filled with the inspirational writing and colorful art of Mary Anne Radmacher.  Here is an example of beautiful word art that appears in the book.


She poses thoughtful questions ~ “What is the first things you set your sights upon in the morning?  And how do you invite yourself in to a day that you intend to savor?”




She shares some of her poetry.  Here is a poem about releasing pain from the book:

My pain stays in my wardrobe.
To wear it is always a choice…
The painful lyrics line my shelves.
Each page gives pain its voice…

My pain is in my history,
Giving impulse to my present view
It’s brought me where I’m standing and now
I’ll tell a bit to you –

For in the telling of the tale, pain feeds its weary soul.
In the space it takes in telling are my hours and
minutes – stole

From the freshness of this moment, from the truth of
this day’s dawn, pain steals and rakes and rolls upon the
soiled beauty I garden on.

My pain’s been ever with me.
But I tell you this time, clear,
It may have some this far with me,
but today – I’ll leave it here.


The book closes beautifully with these words in the Afterword from Mary Anne.


Mary Anne Radmacher has touched the hearts of tens and thousands with her popular cards, books, posters, journals, and gift books.  She conducts workshops and writing seminars on living a full, creative, and balanced life. 
She is the author of the following books:
Lean Forward into Your Life
Us: Celebrating the Power of Friendship
May You Walls Know Joy
Courage Doesn’t Always Roar
Live with Intention
Live Boldly
Please visit her website: http://www.maryanneradmacher.net/

Mojo Monday ~ VoluptuArt

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“Every object, every being, is a jar full of delight. 
Be a connoisseur.” 
~ Rumi
Do you have any favorite web stores?  Have you found some that are more than just stores, rather they are places where you can browse for inspiration, perhaps for a few giggles and for that ever important visual stimulation that actually delights your soul?
I have a few favorite web sites that represent what I would create if I was going to open up my own virtual gift shop.  One that tops the list is called VoluptuArt.  If you have never experienced this treasure trove, than you are in for a super duper treat (picture a large ice cream sundae with all the trimmings.)
VoluptuArt’s Mission speaks volumes:
“VoluptuArt has been created to bring you art that will inspire you to celebrate the fullness of your life! 
Our art and gift items portray bodies of all sizes, shapes, ethnicities, ages and genders. We strive to find images that ’embody’ a sense of aliveness, self-love and body esteem. We’ve also chosen items that we hope will encourage you to stop, take a breath and remember what is important in your life and to be grateful for your amazing body!VoluptuArt is packed with: sculptures, jewelry, functional art, wall art, journals, cards, magnets, candles, t-shirts, Yay! Scales and more!”
They also invite visitors to let them know about artwork or artists they believe would be a good match for VoluptuArt. 
Some of my favorite artists have art work available on the web site: Shiloh Sophia McCloud, Mara Friedman, Anahata Katkin (PaPaYa), Krista Lynn Brown, Kristine Paton, K Robins Designs and SARK. It is a wonderful place to discover new artists too. 
Here are some of my favorite creations by Kristine Paton.  Many of her images are available on bookmarks too and she pairs each one with an empowering quote.  They make wonderful bonus gifts if you happen to be giving someone a book.
Red Boa
This image is called Red Boa.  The book mark has the following quote:
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Flamenco
This image is called Flamenco.  The book mark has the following quote:
“Be Yourself  The world worships the original.” ~ Ingrid Bergman
VoluptuArt has quirky and unusual one-of-a-kind items.  Take for example the YAY! 
Scale.  How would you feel if you stepped on the scale in the morning and it always gave you a compliment? “you’re perfect”, “you’re gorgeous”, “you’re hot!” You’ll never have another bad scale day with a Yay! Scale. Thanks to the principles of quantum physics – a Yay! Scale never lies! Conceived, designed, handmade, and signed by Marilyn Wann of Fat!So? fame.  Note this is the silver version, another version comes in purple sparkle and one even comes in a plush hot pink carpet.
There are also amazing sculptures to feast ones eyes on.  Here are some of my favorites. These two are by Shelley and Michael Buonaiuto called Gladys and Wind.
Wind
Gladys

Looking through the various themes can lead one to fun new discoveries as well.  Some of the themes include: Goddesses, Divas, Funseekers, Frida Kahlo, Woman of Valor, Relationships, Rumi, Bellies, Breast Health and Ahhs and Giggles.
Another treasure that I enjoyed discovering is this petite earring Goddess holder shown to the left.
If you visit the VoluptuArt you may also want to visit their Resource page. They list articles, poetry, films and link to other inspirational web sites.
If you visit and find something that strikes your fancy come back and share.
If you have some favorite web sites please share links here too.