"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A New Book Wish List

Last year I posted a book wish list, just for fun. An online friend recently mentioned that her son's holiday wish list was divided into two sections, books and not-books, and that reminded me to look back at my list. I'd posted it in early December, forgotten about it, and was pleasantly surprised when my brother got me one of the books for Christmas (he's always been talented at getting me books I love, even without a list, though).

Looking back at the list, I notice that I've only read three of the twelve, though only four of them will be forwarded to this year's list. My interests are constantly shifting and changing, go figure. Well, here goes:

The Complete Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice by Julia Cameron

Shadowheart by Tad Williams

Guerilla Marketing on the Internet by Jay Conrad Levinson

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Kissing the Limitless by T. Thorn Coyle

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Anastasia (The Ringing Cedars, Book 1) by Vladimir Megre, Leonid, and Dr. Sharashkin

Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick

Healing Light of the Tao: Foundational Practices to Awaken Chi Energy by Mantak Chia

The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature by Starhawk

Pilgrims by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (this one, I'm sad to say, won't even be coming out until March...sigh)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week Plans

How did it get to be Thanksgiving week already?! I've been enjoying a rather quiet and introspective month, by choice, but I'm also glad for the arrival of the holiday season. I thought I'd share some of our plans and projects for this week. I just posted this blog's address on a new Unschooling group in Facebook, too, so "hi there, new readers! Welcome!"

ElvenTiger and I are still working on her room renovations. Actually, I'm procrastinating just a bit while writing this blog. I'm headed upstairs to do some more painting, soon...really. We're working on the second coat. It's a lovely rich purple. ElvenTiger is also involved with indoor soccer (none this week due to the holiday, though), knitting projects, and math. She's taking a math class through our homeschool group and seems to be enjoying it. They're doing fractions right now - I think perhaps her extensive cooking experience will help her in that regard.

Dryst is involved with a new PC game called Minecraft, which is in the beta stage, or maybe it's alpha...anyway, he and BlackLion have been having fun figuring out new strategies and techniques to use. He seems to be in the midst of another growth spurt - eating a lot and feeling a bit low-energy. Though he's working on setting up a football game in our yard, followed by a sleepover. His indoor soccer season hasn't started yet.

We're hosting Thanksgiving, as is our tradition. We'll have a slightly smaller crowd this year, which is good because it means everyone will fit around the table. My brother and his new wife and step-daughter won't be joining us, as they're headed north to see some of her family. I'll miss them, but I'm so happy that my little brother has a family of his own now. Our Thanksgiving menu features seitan and vegan gravy (my Mom makes turkey and gravy for the meat-eaters), smashed potatoes, stuffing, peas, squash, the infamous slimy onions (and another onion dish that is less slimy), homemade cranberry sauce, and oatmeal rolls. Dessert will feature four pies: apple, pumpkin, chocolate cream, and raisin, plus some fudge. Wow!

This week, in place of our usual weekly gathering, our Maine Wholeschoolers homeschool group is headed out to see the new Harry Potter movie together. I can't wait! We'll also be drawing names for our Secret Santa gifts, which we exchange at the big New Year's Eve party.

My other projects include getting our Winter Solstice invitations sent out, working on some recording for Feline Dreamers, writing, and of course cleaning the house for the big day. Busy elves! I hope your holiday is fun and full of family, friends, and delicious food. Count your blessings!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tips for Creative Entrepreneurial Types

Over the past couple of days I've come across two great articles that appeal to my creative side.

The first one I found through a link on one of the blogs I read regularly, Blog of the Zombie Princess. She's been talking about doing "Morning Pages," and shared a link to an article written by Julia Cameron, which is part of her book "The Artist's Way." This month I've been doing a version of the morning pages that I learned from a writing teacher at Vermont Witch Camp a few years ago. I find it incredibly productive and inspiring. I'm not sure if it came from the same source, but either way it was great to read about the reasons behind it and the benefits of the practice. If this intrigues you, be sure to read the whole chapter, which is provided as a .pdf file.

The second interesting link came from my Mom, who recommended a story she saw on Good Morning America about bloggers making money by writing about their passions. That story led to a terrific article about using social media to promote your business or website. Like the Christine Kane stuff, it's very "creative person friendly," and focuses on content and connecting with people.

Enjoy! I hope you find them helpful.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Art of Interior Design

In the past, I never really paid much attention to interior design. When I was younger, all my furniture came as hand-me-downs from family members. After I had kids, although we did paint and decorate a bit when we built this house, we had to deal with childproofing and messes and spills and tons of toys everywhere. My most cherished artwork consists of pieces that friends and family have made for me, which is wonderful but doesn't make for a coordinated "look," necessarily. Over the past few years, I've admired pretty homes in magazines, and realized that I'd love to live in a color-coordinated, stylish but not trendy (a style that suits me and my family), uncluttered home.

I've encountered folks who manage it, even with kids (plus, of course, the kids are getting older now). Amy puts up pictures of her lovely house, charmingly named Mermaid House, on her website. Another homeschooling Mom I know impressed several of my friends with her beautifully designed place (though I haven't seen it yet, myself).

ElvenTiger recently decided she wanted to redecorate her room. Her grandparents had given her a gift certificate for paint on her last birthday, along with some Disney faerie appliques for the walls, and she had also received some traditional faerie "wallies" from a friend. In the process of helping her with the project, I decided that it might be time to redecorate the living area. So I've been looking at magazines, talking to friends, and trying to figure out what type of "look" would be best.

I think I'm gradually heading towards the art of interior design - although on my own terms. I'm still fond of thrift-store and used items, to lessen my impact on the environment. I don't want to get obsessed with having an "image" for our house. And cleaning isn't really my favorite thing to do with my time.

Also, when I recently spoke of my desire for a decorated home, everything in its place, Quester wrinkled his nose. "I never feel comfortable in places like that," he said. Well, I guess I'll have to be sure it's homey, too...or that there's a family room where clutter is welcome. Back to the drawing board...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Intuitive Dream Healing

I’ve been working with my dreams over the past several months. I’m keeping a dream journal and noticing how my intuition provides answers, cloaked in dream images, to the questions and challenges in my life. It’s a rewarding process. It helps me to go deeper into areas where I need to learn new tools and lessons, as well as connecting me more strongly with my creativity and spirituality.

Over the past week, I’ve noticed an interesting new dream phenomenon. After my weekend intensive workshop, I noticed one morning when I woke up that I’d been dreaming of one of the other workshop participants – I’ll call her Ella (all names are changed to protect privacy). I’ve gotten to know her better over the past year or two and have done other magickal work with her. I didn’t have a memory of us doing anything in particular in the dreams, just her presence and an echo of her name and energy. It made sense at the time – I’d been thinking of her because we’d just been in sacred space together and because I like her.

A couple of days later, I had a similar experience with another woman, who I’ll call Kelly. She’s an acquaintance of mine. We met once at a party and struck up a casual Facebook friendship based on a shared sense of humor and attitude. I hadn’t been in touch with her lately, but the echo of her name remained in my mind when I woke up. She wasn’t in any of my actual dreams, but it was as if, after each dream ended, her name arose and I re-focused on her, then went on with the next dream. It’s a bit hard to explain, but she was like a thread running through my sleep time.

Last night it happened again, this time with a colleague of mine, who I’ll call Bette. This time I knew she had been in a difficult situation, but I wasn’t particularly focused on her before I went to sleep, so it wasn’t a conscious effort. Some subconscious part of me must have wanted to help, because this time it felt more like I’d been sending her healing energy as I slept. Again, she didn’t show up in the dreams themselves, but after each sequence, her name and energy returned to my dreaming self (strongly enough so I recalled it upon waking). I think I’ve been doing some kind of spontaneous intuitive dream healing.

When I do energy work, I make sure to ask for permission before sending someone healing. I guess I can’t really do that if I’m not conscious of what I’ll be doing in advance! Though I don’t think it’s harmful, because of course their subconscious selves have to allow the energies in order to be influenced by them. In fact, I think the whole experience is kind of cool. It’s also interesting that it has happened primarily with acquaintances or colleagues, rather than close friends or family members. I wonder if I could do dream healing more purposefully, by focusing on someone (who has given their okay) before I go to sleep. I think perhaps some experimentation is in order! Anyone want to be the recipient?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Iron Pentacle, The Simpsons, and a Kiss From Michael Franti

Hello, loyal readers! I assume you're loyal, since you're still here even though I haven't written for a while. October was insanely busy. I had said "yes" to a whole bunch of (admittedly fun) social events, we still had lots of soccer games, our car situation remained...interesting, and by the end of the month, I was done. I was tired and burned out. After a car accident (Quester hurt his arm, but he's okay now) and a sudden illness in BlackLion's side of the family, we canceled most of our Halloween plans and stayed in, honoring Samhain quietly (the kids did get to go trick-or-treating with their friends, though).

The first weekend in November was set aside for a two-day workshop that BlackLion and I were very excited to attend. It had been scheduled for last fall, then spring, and for various reasons had been delayed. It was well worth the wait! The workshop is from the Reclaiming Pagan tradition, and is called the Iron Pentacle. I learned SO much about myself, discovered new tools for my path, and met some wonderful folks.

As you can tell, I love to explore my spirituality, and I often (as a Virgo) have a plan - I outline goals, next steps, and practices for myself. Yet at the end of the second day of Iron Pentacle, one of the questions we answered was "what will you take away from this workshop?" In other words, what are your next steps? And I was delighted to not have an answer. I have so many rich, deep, challenging and delightful new concepts to contemplate that I just don't know yet where they will lead me. As I'm setting aside much of the rest of November for introspection, creativity, and inner work, it's great to have so much material to focus on.

After the second day of the workshop, we went to New Hampshire with some friends to see Michael Franti and Spearhead in concert. What a perfect show to close out our magickal weekend! Their music is uplifting and positive but not syrupy. It's about real people, struggling, growing, and loving as best they can. And Michael Franti is full of energy and glows with power-from-within. Everyone in the place was up and dancing! After the show, he hung around to meet his fans. I went up front to shake his hand and thank him for the show. I said "blessed be," and he replied with a kiss on the cheek and a friendly "and you." I love how he blurs the line between performer and audience. For the final song, he invited all the young kids and adults age 60 and up to come up on stage and dance. It was a very cool experience, and next time we plan to invite Dryst and ElvenTiger to come with us.

One of the things that came from the workshop was a renewed focus on my passions. Meaning the things that I love to do, that I find exciting, that I choose to do given infinite time. So I came up with the idea of only doing the things that are a passionate "yes" to me, and transforming things that are an intrinsic part of life into things I can also be passionate about. Like, being passionate about housework because I love to have a clean house.

Yesterday, I had a half-hour before we were going to leave for my parents' for dinner. I was hungry, and the kids were sitting down to have a snack and watch the Halloween episode of The Simpsons. So I joined them. I don't watch many TV shows, and certainly wouldn't have put that particular show on the list. But the "yes" was about connecting with my kids, and sharing their passions. And sure enough, Dryst started telling me about why this show was particularly interesting, and how it included parodies of several movies, and ElvenTiger and I laughed together, and we had a fun time. I like where I am right now, and can see all the amazing things I have yet to learn.