Tag Archives: Aaron Paquette

Mojo Monday ~ Love and Loss

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IMG_1697I know a few things about love and loss.
I know a bit about grieving,
for I have danced with death on more than one occasion.

As I begin to write this post about a death, a birth and two heart surgeries my quirky mind jumps to thinking about the film called Four Weddings and A Funeral or those jokes that start off with “A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar…”  Perhaps it is not in my best interest to share how ADHD my thoughts can be, and may I add, how they exhaust me at times.  Yet it is true that these past two weeks have included the death of a great uncle, the birth of a great niece and two heart surgeries, an aunt’s and that of a very dear member of my creative Cosmic Cowgirl community.

My auntie’s heart surgery went smoothly and she is on her way to recovering.  The heart surgery of Sue Hoya Sellars, a master artist and matriarch, on Thursday, September 18th also appeared to be successful. All the monitoring during the long procedure indicated things went well.  There was a beautiful video live stream post surgery, where those present and those of us miles away could touch base and share in wishing Sue a speedy recovery.  However things didn’t go quite as expected because Sue didn’t wake up.  As the hours and days rolled on vigils began and still family and friends held onto hope that she was simply healing in “Sue time.”

As more time has passed the shadows of doubt have grown.  The community has circled around sending waves of love from around the world, while writing poems, drawing and painting, in honor of she who has taught many how to wield a paintbrush and how to mix her unique blend of black paint. In the midst of tears that I shed multiple times a day I am inspired by all the creativity and love that abounds.  There is the 30 day Committing Art with Sue that launched.  I have seen so many beautiful drawings and paintings posted by those who have been touched by her and this community.  I have fallen head over heals for the quotes that artist Christina Gage has been creating from close ups of her paintings and the wise words of Sue herself.   I have been moved by the poetry and written words of so many who wish to share their experiences with Sue and offer words of comfort to one another. I have loved hearing how many have visited the hospital, sitting and talking to Sue, singing to her, drumming for her and certainly praying for her.

Sue with her art and quote collages by Christina Gage ~ Forms of Joy by Christina Gage

Sue with her art and quote collages by Christina Gage ~ Forms of Joy by Christina Gage

Even as I write this on the evening of Thursday, September 25th, Sue is alive, blood flowing through her veins, and her heart pumping.  Actions were taken earlier today though to remove all the tubes and wires, so that family and friends could move her to her beloved Terra Sophia homestead.  The latest update was that she remains unresponsive and it is expected that she will transition from life to the great mystery called death.

Every day since the surgery I have awaited the announcement that she has awoken.  I have expected to hear accounts of her waking to joyous reactions and great relief.  I have imagined her look of surprise to learn she has been sleeping for a week.  Many have suggested she has been soul traveling and will return with stories of visiting the cosmos and spending time with ethereal beings.

I reflect and find irony in how my most recent taboo article for Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine is entitled We Are All Going to Die.  Poetry Can Help.  The day my article was published is the day I learned Robin Williams was no longer with us and not long before that one of my all time favorite human beings, Maya Angelou, had passed away.   In the here and now of grieving for the very real likelihood that Sue transitions in the next hours or days, the title of my own article feels more real than ever.  Yes, we are all going to die and yes, as I continue to witness, poetry can help.  So can painting, singing, drumming and writing as we transform grief and loss into expressions of love and beauty.

Sue believed strongly in the power of art to heal and to connect with our consciousness.  As a part of fulfilling her deepest wishes and the legacy of her vision a Barn Raising has been initiated.  Sue’s longtime homestead is called Terra Sophia and an invitation has been extended to be a part of Sue’s vision for her property to become a sanctuary for committing art.  Please visit the “Barn Raising” site to learn more on how you can participate.  On this site is also a beautiful video that offers a peek into Sue’s world at Terra Sophia.

I have been a part of the Cosmic Cowgirl community since October 2008.  This tribe of creative women has impacted my life significantly.  Sue intimidated me a little the first time I met her and I joke that it was the “toilet paper lecture” that did it.  Those who have heard this same detailed instructional guide from Sue can nod knowingly and then giggle.  It was the second time I met her that I was struck strongly by the depth of her love and kindness.  I saw in her eyes the wisdom and the generous heart that poured forth.  I admired her deep contemplative mind and her gentleness.  I also loved her humor and wit.  That second time upon preparing to depart from an amazing weekend spent with Cosmic Cowgirls I went to say my goodbye to Sue and found myself spontaneously announcing “I love you Sue.” I saw the glisten in her eye as she took in my heartfelt words.

Some people affect us more deeply than we know, especially when faced with their departure from our lives.  Sue was at the heart of the Cosmic Cowgirl community.  She is beloved to us all.  I pause while typing this to hold my hands to my face while stifling a sob. I wipe my nose and dab my eyes and return to sharing written words for comfort and a way to process the grief.  Later I will turn to the paintbrush and a canvas to transform tears into expressions of art.  Always I will turn to this community of creatives for connection, friendship and support.  We are bound by the red thread.

an-invisible-red-thread

 

In closing a song that felt called to be shared.

Raven Song
by Elephant Revival

Raven Song
Lyrics by Elephant Revival

If I was a raven
I’d fly on through the heavens

I’d fly to all my loved ones
If I was a raven

(vocalizations)

If memory’s worth saving
I’d savor the feeling
of knowing love and loving
I’d remember the feeling

(vocalizations)

Some say upon that mountain
there is many a raven

They call out to the living
from somewhere far beyond them

From those we’ve loved
that have flown on

From those we’ve loved
that have flown
on

In Wind and Shadow by Aaron Paquette

In Wind and Shadow by Aaron Paquette

Mojo Monday ~ Pursuing Our Passions

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A Dream Ready to Fly by Aaron Paquette

Following quote from
acclaimed artist Aaron Paquette

You think you don’t have enough knowledge yet,
or training or time.

You think all these things and so your
mind listens and makes it so.

Isn’t time to believe all things are possible?

Isn’t it time to let go of that great evil, perfectionism,
and let your work be imperfect without fear of judgement?

Isn’t it time to cast worry aside and grab hold
of your purpose, your reason, your destiny?

I will tell you what you already know:

This is the time.

This is your day.

This is the moment you feel a flame in your heart
growing, spreading, filling you with Life!

Nurture it!

Protect it!

Help it grow.

It’s the true expression of your very own
soul longing to breathe free.

Longing to fly.

Are you ready? It may not feel like it, but you are.

Will you fall? Absolutely!

And will you rise?

Absolutely.

Do what you have to do to make it happen right now.
Change everything. Now.

You are fierce and beautiful and strong.

Show it to the world.

Hiy hiy

Returning Home by Aaron Paquette

Returning Home by Aaron Paquette

Artist Aaron Paquette is one of Canadaʼs premiere First Nations artists. He is a painter, writer, keynote speaker and workshop facilitator. He is also a political commentator, illustrator, goldsmith and cathedral stained glass artist.  Please visit his web site here.

His recent projects include a major reconciliation mural for Edmonton’s LRT Grandin Station, a series of four paintings depicting the challenges faced by Canada’s indigenous people entitled, “Four Directions”, and he is curating a traveling exhibit for the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Image from mural at Gradin Station

Image from mural at Gradin Station

 

Lastly Aaron just released a debut young adult novel entitled Lightfinder, through Kegedonce Press. Here is a synopsis of the book:

Lightfinder book cover

Lightfinder book cover

Aisling is a young Cree woman who sets out into the wilderness with her Kokum (grandmother), Aunty and two young men she barely knows. They have to find and rescue her runaway younger brother, Eric. Along the way she learns that the legends of her people might be real and that she has a growing power of her own.

The story follows the paths of Aisling and Eric, siblings unwittingly thrust into a millennia old struggle for the future of life on earth. It deals with growing up, love and loss, and the choices life puts in our path. Love and confusion are in store, as are loss and pain. Things are not always what they seem and danger surrounds them at every turn.

Will Raven”s mysterious purposes prevail? With darkness closing in how will they find the light to guide them? Will Aisling find Eric in time?

 

 

 

Here is a beautiful three part series of videos with Aaron Paquette by Bravo!  The first video provides some background on Aaron and the second and third videos delve deeper into his art and spirituality.  I was very moved and inspired by what he shared and think you will be too.  It is well worth the time to watch all three.

From the Spirit Part 1

From the Spirit Part 2

From the Spirit Part 3

Abundance by Aaron Paquette

Abundance by Aaron Paquette

Lay Down Your Burdens by Aaron Paquette

Lay Down Your Burdens by Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette’s story was inspirational to me because it is an example of a person living his vision and acting upon his passion.  I will share another example from an article by Dr. Margaret Paul called “Are You Playing Too Small?”

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~Nelson Mandela

“Do you feel passionate about your life? If not, you are likely playing too small – opting for safety rather than for the aliveness that comes from fully manifesting your gifts and talents.

We have all been given unique gifts and talents. Some indigenous people know this and choose not to name their children until their unique talents emerge. For example, they might name their child “Basketweaver” or “Listener” or “Healer” when these talents emerge. They fully believe in encouraging the child’s natural gifts and talents.

For some strange reason, many of my clients believe that if something comes easily to them – if it is a natural talent – then it’s not what they should pursue. They believe that for something to be worthwhile, it has to be hard. Yet this is exactly the opposite of the truth! That which comes easy to you is your natural gift or talent, and it is likely what brings you the most joy.

My client, Skip, started working with me due to depression. He was a successful dentist with a lovely wife and three children whom he adored, but still, he was depressed.

As we explored what was going on in his life, he told me that he became a dentist because his father was a dentist and his father wanted him to take over his very lucrative practice. But Skip did not enjoy dentistry like his father did. He never felt passionate about his work. It soon became evident that his depression was related to not doing what he really wanted to do.

Skip knew early in his life that he had two passions: psychology and writing poetry. He had been writing poetry since he was child and had even published a small poetry book, which had received some acclaim and which brought him great joy.

He had always been interested in psychology, and had read extensively in this field. But his father had convinced him that he could not earn enough as a psychologist and a poet to support a family, and that he had to think of others rather than himself.

Now, with a wife and three children, he felt trapped doing something for the rest of his life that brought him no joy. He dragged himself to work each day, and lived for the few hours when he had time to write poetry, as well as to spend time with his family.

When Skip realized that he couldn’t be a good husband and father being so depressed, he decided to make a huge life change. With the support of his wife, he cut his dental practice in half and went back to school to become a psychologist. And he started making more time for writing – both poetry and fiction.

As it turned out, Skip is an amazing writer and storyteller. His first book of fiction was published and did well. He is currently working on his second novel and finishing his PhD is psychology. With the income from his book, he is able to continue to support his family with his half-time dental practice. Because he is doing what brings him joy and manifesting his gifts and talents, he is also enjoying dentistry much more. He plans to continue his half-time dental practice, establish a small psychology practice, and continue writing. Somehow, he has also found more time to be with his family.

Skip is being as big as he really is and is no longer depressed! By following his passions, he has renewed energy and aliveness for his life and finds that he has time to do all that brings him joy.”

A Fearless Heart by Aaron Paquette

A Fearless Heart by Aaron Paquette

Aaron shared about being in connection with spirit and creating his art and how this led him to a more stable, centered and spiritual life.  Dr. Margaret Paul then shared about her former client who finally dared to pursue the passions he had suppressed and in turn found freedom from the depression that had plagued him.

Where are you at with pursuing your passions?  Do you know what they are or are you still figuring it out?

Sometimes our responsibilities regarding caring for others and jobs that pay our bills make it more difficult to pursue our passions.  Do you make the time to do the things you love?  If not how could you change that?  If you do make the time, do have any words of wisdom for those who struggle to do so?

Do you find that there is a connection between your passions and your spirituality?  If yes, how does that influence you?