Category Archives: other art
One of the most awesome things I do every year is devote some focused time to, put simply, reflect on where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be, both literally and figuratively. I do most of this through both a self-designed personal retreat and a program called the Stratejoy Holiday Council. Once the dust of this reflection settles, one of the many things I emerge with is a theme. It may be a word or a phrase. It may have a whole story that builds up to it or it may have been born out of my time of reflection. It falls into the rhythm of my heartbeat, speaks truth and inspires my goals. For me, the value of my theme for the year (or whatever amount of time it remains) is grand.
All that said, I wanted to share my theme for the present time.
I could write much more to draw out the beauty of how this theme developed and what it means to me, but, instead, I will share the visual representation and encourage this process of listening to your own voice, creating a collage of cravings and moving with more strength and love through YOUR journey. 🙂
I’m back! I have been through a whirlwind of self-reflection over the last couple months and needed some time to focus on, well, myself. Thank you to everyone who has been commenting, tweeting and emailing to encourage me to keep up with the moxie! It means so much to me. I can’t imagine a more perfect way to reemerge into my online world than with a quote from my friend Molly at stratejoy.
Let your brilliance shine!
“In a way it feels foolish and selfish to be dissatisfied with my life because I have so much…for which the gratefulness overwhelms. But in the midst of the wealth of my life, I find that I am craving more. More connection. More love. More sincerity. More art. More nakedness. More life. More growth. In a way, I am actually desiring less. My cravings have a simplicity to them. I want to breathe. I want to exist in a new place…a place where I am stripped down. Where I shed manufactured adornment and my heart becomes exposed enough to wake up. My whole heart.”
I wrote those words six months ago. It was my birthday. And now it is today. This is me:
I don’t really know how to map the journey in words from that day I reflected in the mountains to this day. And if I did share every divine detail, I am not certain that anyone would even believe me. It has been a beautiful and chaotic whirlwind full of awakenings, serendipitous moments, dreams, real connection, harsh realities and vulnerability.
So anyway, about this portrait.
The words are drawn from the things I wrote on my birthday retreat and from what I wrote down during Holiday Council when asked, “How do I want to feel? What am I craving?” Then, a couple weeks ago, I sat down with some markers and wrote them all down.
Vulnerable is in the center because that word has become like a fire in my heart, dangerous yet able to ignite every other craving. Why I wrote down that I wanted to feel vulnerable is beyond me. I didn’t even grasp the fullness of what that meant and I didn’t remember writing it. But vulnerability decided to come knocking at the door of my heart whether I remembered inviting it or not. And I let it in. Ever since, I have been either wrestling with or embracing it.
I decided to collage these words with an image of myself and immediately knew I wanted the photo to be simple and stripped down.
No hair styles.
And I decided to only take three pictures. I didn’t need this to turn into some crazy photo shoot.
The exposure and contrast of the photos was created more by me with the camera than in editing because I wanted it that way.
I also wanted the expression to be simple and without too much of any one specific emotion.
After looking at the three shots, I almost took more because I was slightly uncomfortable with them.
But that was perfect because sharing these imperfect photos and these words and this collage and everything about it makes me feel vulnerable.
And that is what I want.
To be exposed enough to find my real heart.
To breathe in my own skin.
To be awake and authentic and alive.
Sincerely and wholeheartedly.
To draw from the opening pages of Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (read the book, watch the TED talks), which seemed to providentially find its way into my hands in January (which, by the way, I just today discovered that the book came out on my birthday last year and almost had a cow), I want to be in the arena of my own life. I want to move forward with courage and passion and whether I win or lose wont matter as much as the reality that I fought with my whole heart.
I have to admit that I am right now fighting the urge to completely rewrite this entire post. I feel like I’m saying too much or too little or not saying it eloquently enough or with enough humor. And that is why it needs to stay exactly as it is…
If I wait until I am “perfect” to share myself and my heart, I will wait forever. This is who I am and where I am right now. And it is beautiful.
Suma from Nepal
Ruksana from India
Azmera from Ethiopia
Sokha from Cambodia
Wadley from Haiti
Yasmin from Egypt
Senna from Peru
Mariama from Sierra Leone
Amina from Afghanistan.
I watched the trailer at least 25 times. And then, I went to see the film so that I could hear and see more of their stories.
The statistics and lives shared on the screen were both troubling and inspiring. These girls faced (and still do in some cases) everything from slavery, loss and abandonment to rape, abuse and arranged marriages, but the spirit that rises from these depths illuminates a hope for positive change. And education fosters that spirit. Though their lives and stories are diverse, they are bound together by the injustices they face and by the reality that educating these girls is changing and will continue to change their lives, their communities and the world.
I could say so much more about the film and the way different writers with connections to the countries took on different stories. Or how beautiful the cinematography was. Or drop the names of the well known who came on board to narrate. I think, though, that my most important response is to ask myself how I can help fight ignorance and fuel positive change. Yes, the film was disturbing and inspiring. Now what? What can I do?
Well, for starters, I can share my thoughts and encourage others to see this film or support this cause. So here I am. To find out more about 10×10 or Girl Rising, how to get involved or where to see the film, visit their websites. Also, check out a preview of the film below:
Another step I have taken is to give financially to this cause, which helps girls education initiatives throughout the world.
In addition to financial support, I was challenged by others and within myself to find ways to support this cause on a local level. Within my own day to day world, I have the opportunity to educate and because of this movement, I will be more proactive about pursuing that. I have also discovered a couple local programs that align with empowering girls and women through education and am getting involved with at least one of them (more details on this as it develops).
I want to share two other organizations that I have been a part of in some way already that align well with supporting girls education and happen to help two of the countries focused on in the film, Peruvian Hearts and The Anyway Foundation.
My passion lies in creating positive change in this world on an individual, local and global level. For me, it anchors in the arts and I want to use my creative voice to fuel this change and give others the opportunity to do the same. This film has inspired me to continue to pursue my passion.
There is a quote from the film that I want to end with here, but I cannot track it down or remember it in detail, but I will find it soon and it will be here. 🙂
photo from the 10×10 media resources page
How fabulous are these?!?
I knew I had to make these the first time I saw the idea. Valentines dinner gave me the perfect excuse, though they would obviously be lovely any day. 🙂
This was super simple and a lot of fun. It did take a tiny bit of a time commitment to cut the fruit and assemble, but it was worth it.
Fruit. Be creative! (I used watermelon, kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries and blueberries)
Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter
Kabob Sticks (or whatever they are called…they have them at most grocery stores)
I bought halves of the pineapple and melons and cut slices of desired thickness to cut the hearts. The kiwi and strawberries were easy to quickly slice and heart up. One thing I would say is to make sure the hearts are thick enough so that they stay intact on the stick. I made mine about half an inch thick.
I then put one of each fruit on each stick with blueberries in between. A lot of fun could be had with less fruit or more fruit or fun color arrangements!
I thought about making a yogurt dip with a little bit of cinnamon for these, but just kinda forgot to…
I went for the breakfast for dinner thing with these and served with eggs, bacon and heart-shaped pancakes, of course!
This beautiful idea was inspired by mint in the middle
I recently created a piece of art using materials I found outdoors and a few things I had lying around. It was both created with and inspired by brokenness. To find out more about the inspiration and the process, visit the post on blartog.
So, I am part of a new blog called blARTog, which exists to challenge people to be creative and share art. The first project was a self-portrait. I had an idea for the portrait for weeks, but when I sat down to do it, it turned into something completely new and different and actually opened my eyes a bit. You can read more about my process right here on the blog, but what I suddenly realized through this was how easy it is to know someone without actually knowing them. We have these worlds that we live in online via social networking sites like facebook and twitter as well as through photo albums, e-mails and online chats, basic accessible information, videos and profiles of all sorts. (And here I am sharing this all on a blog!) I awkwardly became an observer of my own life as I scrolled through this online life. I did not feel that anything I saw or read was untrue to who I am, but a loneliness set in as I realized that anyone who knows “online me” doesn’t fully know ME.
This realization inspired me to do a few things:
1. Create this piece of art.
2. Take some time to become an observer of my “real life”. How? I literally came face to face with myself and considered where/who/how I am. What am I feeling passionate about? What am I struggling with? How do I feel? It was humbling. I have a lot to ponder and change.
3. To try not to judge people solely based on a picture or comment I see online.
4. To remember to nurture and cherish my real life relationships. In reality, it is not that hard to stay connected to those you love, whether it is through a phone call, letter or card or an actual one on one over coffee or a walk. If it is truly important, time can be found.
I never imagined a simple portrait would teach me so much and I am so thankful.