Tag Archives: beauty

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?

Mojo Monday ~ SHE: A Celebration of Greatness In Every Woman

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SHE ~ She Harnesses Everything

SHE is a book of qualities illustrating the greatness and strength of all women.  From ‘everywoman’ to exemplars Madame Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, to visionary artist Shiloh McCloud and poet Maya Stein, these woman represent the very best in the human spirit.  Author-artists Mary Anne Radmacher and Liz Kalloch have gathered these fierce and fiesty females along with their best advice for our life’s journey on the topics of leadership, friendship, adventurousness, collaboration, risk-taking, happiness, compassion and much more.  With words of wisdom from Madeleine L’Engle, Laura Schlesssinger, Rachel Carson, Oprah Winfrey, Harper Lee, Lucille Ball, Cheri Huber, Julia Child, Drew Barrymore and many others.”

The book SHE: A Celebration of Greatness In Every Woman is a work of art. Each page is richly designed enhancing the beauty and power of the words that were written by authors Mary Anne Radmacher and Liz Kalloch.  This work of art also includes words of wisdom from Shiloh McCloud, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Deanna Davis, Jennifer Louden, Christine Mason Miller and more.

I can recall how in January of 2013 Mary Anne Radmacher emailed me asking if I might be able to give her Shiloh McCloud’s private email address, as she wanted to contact her about a particular project.  I knew Shiloh wouldn’t mind so I shared it with her.  Later that same day I heard back from both Mary Ann and Shiloh about their delightful exchange regarding this very book project. Here it is finally in all its glory.

My friend and Cosmic Cowgirl tribe chief Shiloh was selected as the representative for the Mystical in the book. Here are a few images from the book for this particular topic.

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There are so many more brilliant words of wisdom in the book.  More quotes to inspire.  More image and designs to please the eyes.  It is a feast for the senses.  The only thing missing is a musical soundtrack to accompany the book.

Here are some more images and quotes from the book to enjoy.

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Authors Mary Anne Radmacher and Liz Kalloch are about to begin a tour with their new book.

One of the big book events is taking place on March 8th
from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in Napa, CA

Here are more details:
Celebrate International Women’s Day in a festival-like atmosphere!
Join inspirational author Mary Anne Radmacher and artist/co-author Liz Kalloch
sharing their new book, She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman,
as well as Dr. Rhea Zimmerman (producer and director of Love Bomb The Movie
and local author Pam Burns-Clair, MFT
(We Who Took a Leap – From Where Our Mothers Left Off),
followed by lunch (which may be purchased),
book signing, wine tasting, local entertainment and
a room filled with inspirational women sharing
their unique talents/contributions in our community.
This event is FREE to both participants and the public.

SHE Gathering March 8th

Visit the Facebook page for the book SHE here.

You can find Mary Anne Radmacher on Facebook here.

Liz Kalloch is on Facebook here.

Lastly you can also find cards (even SHE cards) and prints by
Mary Anne Radmacher and Liz Kalloch
at a web site called Applied Insight.

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She Nurtures Greeting Card (She)
“She nurtures. She gardens.
She calls her friends to play in the fields of excellence.
She commands respect by never demanding it.
She grows all kinds of goodness. She lives with intention.”

Mojo Monday ~ Courageous Acts of Art

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Art is a personal act of courage,
something one human does
that creates change in another.
– Seth Godin –

In the past couple of days there were two stories I came across that are completely unrelated, except for an invisible red thread that I saw connecting them.   I recognized in both stories some common messages about the power of art.  Both are also stories about courage and how art can save lives and transform challenge and hardship into beauty and creativity.

AliceHerzSommerTheTimes

Alice Herz Sommer photograph from The Times

Let me introduce you first to Alice Herz Sommer, who just turned 110 years old in November and is the world’s oldest pianist and holocaust survivor.  In July 1943, Alice, her husband, and their six-year-old son Raphael were sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp.  Theresienstadt was originally designated as a model community for middle-class Jews from Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.  Many educated Jews were inmates of Theresienstadt.  In a propaganda effort designed to fool the Western allies, the Nazis publicized the camp for its rich cultural life.  Alice played more than 100 concerts in the camp along with other musicians.  Her young son Raphael remained in the camp with her, performing in a children’s  chorus at the camp.  Unfortunately her husband, Leopold Sommer, was later sent to Auschwitz and although he survived the camp, he died at Dachau  in 1944.

As a child in Prague, Alice spent weekends and holidays in the company of Uncle Franz (Franz Kafka) and other notable figures like Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and Rainer Maria Rilke who were friendly with her mother.  When Alice moved to Israel after the war, Golda Meir attended her house concerts, as did Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Isaac Stern. Today Alice lives in London, where she still practices piano for hours every day.  Alice has been victorious in her ability to live a life without bitterness and she credits music as the key to her survival, as well as her ability to acknowledge the humanity in each person.  Here is a short featurette from a documentary made about Alice called The Lady In Number 6.

Camille Seaman

The next story is about Camille Seaman who is currently a 2013 TED Senior Fellow and a Stanford Knight Fellow.  I was introduced to Camille by a wonderful syndicated interview by Richard Whittaker called Camille Seaman: We All Belong to Earth.  Camille has many artistic talents, but she has become most well known as a photographer.

Let me share with you first Camille shares about being introduced to photography as a teenager in the interview:

So in high school they recognized that I was at risk of getting into trouble, ending up pregnant, on drugs or whatever. So they put me in this after school program and they gave me a Nikkormat film camera. They took away the manual and said I’d have to figure out how to use it. They taught me how to bulk load black and white film. They taught me how to develop using an enlarger and chemicals, all that. Then they said go out and photograph your experience.  I didn’t realize it, but that probably saved my life because I was given something creative in my hands, so I could express whatever anger, frustration or emotions I was feeling as this teenager. So I did. I photographed everything; all my friends, all of our adventures. I realized having that camera in my hands gave me excuses to be somewhere in a positive way.

Later on in the interview Camille shares about her experience with facing fear while she learns to surf. Let me share an excerpt with you.

     I was like, okay. I started to try to paddle out and my balance was terrible. It felt really awkward. The water was so dark, cold and murky. This was at Bolinas and the Farallons were 29 miles away. And there were all of these great white sharks out there, which meant they could possibly be here. That was all I could think about and I freaked out. I turned to him and was like, “Oliver, I’m scared.” He turned and looked at me and then he paddled away. And I was so mad. I was so angry. I was like, “Oh my god! He was my friend since we were like 16 years old and he just abandoned me.”
I tried for a while and then it was like, forget this. I got out of the water and just waited for him. I was like you’ve got to get out sometime. And when he came out and I asked, “How could you? I told you I was afraid and you just left me.” And he said something that really resonated. It was really a great truth. He said, “No one can teach you to manage your fears, but you.” And he was right.
From that day on, I would go out and I would sit on the board. I got a little better at paddling. I got a little better with the balance. And I still sometimes would freak out. Then I would be like, okay, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, a shark could bite you and kill you. Well, is that happening now? No. Okay. You know, you kind of just work through it. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, I can drown. Is that happening now? No. So I surfed for over a year every day. And then I was hooked.

Camille’s courage, love of adventure and travel and a free plane ticket later lead her to fly to the Arctic Circle.  There is a point where she is fives mile away from the nearest town and all she can see in all directions is just white and she has an epiphany.

 On this extreme part of our planet I was realizing that I was a creature of this planet, that I was literally made of the material of this planet—that we all are. And in those moments, I realized the absurdity of tribe, of border, of culture, of language—because at the bottom of it all, we are all made of this material. We are all earthlings. There is no separation. There is no distinction. None of us were born in outer space. We will all return to the material of this earth.
What was so clear was that I was standing on my rock in space. I understood the immensity, and also the minuscule nature of that. I understood that I meant nothing in the scale of time and space and history of this planet. That it would blow over my cold dead bones without a thought. But the fact that I could stand there on the ice and actually ponder such things was a miracle. That was a self-realization at its finest. It made me realize what my grandfather was trying to show me.
I started to think about that; if my sweat becomes the rain, whose sweat is this ice? How many ancestors ago, what creatures created this? They’re all my relations, all my relatives. And in that, I understood the integral nature of this planet—that we truly are a web of life.

Here are two of her amazing photos.

The Last Iceberg

The Last Iceberg photo by Camille Seaman

 

Photo by Camille Seaman

Photo by Camille Seaman

Here is a TED talk given by Camille about her iceberg photography experiences.


The experiences of these two women inspired me.  What are your thoughts?

Creativity and art (music and photography) play significant roles in Alice and Camille’s lives.  What forms of creativity and art play a role in your life?

This post began with a quote by Seth Godin that reads: Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.  Do you agree with this quote?  Have you ever felt changed by an experience with art?

November ~ National Photo Posting Month

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Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks initiated November as the National Photo Posting Month. I have committed to participating and will be posting a daily photo via Twitter and Facebook and thought I would give updates here at We Are All Meant to Shine every five or seven days.

(If you want to play along the hash tag for participating is #NaPhoPoMo)

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Mojo Monday ~ Autumn Is…

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Autumn Beauty Collage - photos by Michelle Fairchild

Autumn Beauty Collage – photos by Michelle Fairchild

I find beauty and things to delight me in every season.  Our natural world is an artists dream.  Just look around and you can see how Autumn knows how to put on a show.  She is vivid and rich, the hues of yellow, orange and red sometimes shocking even in their glory.

Already this season our family of four, while on a weekend jaunt out of town, stopped in Suisun City at Larry’s Produce.  I am almost reluctant to share about it publicly, thinking it might be better to keep it a secret.  The market is already a wonderful place to pick up produce during the late spring and summer months, but it becomes even more festive in my eyes in the fall when the pumpkins, squash and gourds arrive.  Here is a sample of the delights to be had at the outdoor market.

Larry's Produce - Photos by Michelle Fairchild

Larry’s Produce – Photos by Michelle Fairchild

Living in Northern California in a more rural area there are also farms that transform into festive destinations in the month of October.  Just this past Friday I went on a field trip with my daughters 2nd grade class to a local farm where we went on a train ride, a wagon ride, picked pumpkins right off the vines, bounced on a trampoline, shot corn cobs out of air cannons, wandered through a corn maze and watched little piggies race.

Hawes Farm - photos by Michelle Fairchild

Hawes Farm – photos by Michelle Fairchild

Not only are the images about Autumn stunning, but so can be the words of writers who wax poetic about this season and its golden abundance.   Here are some delightful reads for you to enjoy.

A Circle of Sun by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Autumn Is

Awesome Autumn Day

 

Mary Oliver Song for Autumn

 

 

In my exploration of all tings Autumn I also came across this sentimental creation by Cathy Cullis called Fragile Things.

fragile things

autumn leaves      seedpods

feathers      rain clouds

fading photographs

poems

my heart

 

 

Fragile Things by Cathy Cullis

Fragile Things by Cathy Cullis

 

Fall Fun

Have you experienced any Fall fun yet?

Here is a list of some ideas to get you going.

Consider writing your own poem about Autumn or simply a list that begins with Autumn is…

Grab your camera and go for a drive or a walk and capture some of the fall color in your area.

Pick up some pumpkins and colorful gourds at the store and create a display on your porch, dining room table or altar.

Is there something you love best about this season?