Soul Musings

Embracing a Morning Ritual

ConnectedPower-copyright

Connected in Energy Mandala, Kristen Fagan ©2012. Yellow represents the Spiritual Solar Plexus (Third) Chakra which is positioned below your ribs and above the naval. In essence your solar plexus is a group of nerves that has a very ‘radiating’ appearance to it, which is why it got its name. This chakra is in control of your energies and activities connecting us to one’s own personal power, abundance, courage and self confidence. Yellow is full of creative and intellectual energy. A “sun color” it makes us cheerful and optimistic.

Slow down to move forward is something my wise friend Kerry Burki likes to say.

And it’s a phrase that has stuck with me. I get caught up in busy-ness. I am often doing one thing and thinking of another. Case in point, the other day I was writing in my journal before I started my work and mid way through writing, I was distracted. An email, a notification, a quick glance at my to do list, the distractions are endless. Then, I came back to the present and realized that I was in the middle of writing. I only finished a page when the goal is three. I ended up writing about how I was consistently being distracted. Single-tasking is ideal but, multi-tasking creeps up on me over and over again.day

It got me thinking. What if I carved out a way to wake up gracefully instead of groggily rushing to work. What would it feel like to truly embrace a morning ritual. It sounds divine and frankly a bit out of reach. I mean, I’m not a morning person. I do not rise with a smile ready to tackle the day. While I am more pleasant in the morning today then years past, I still love to sleep in. I want to wake when my body is ready. I despise waking up to an alarm clock and that happens most days (which is in large part is because of my night owl tendencies). With summer on the horizon, now is a great time to set myself up for success with a morning ritual. I liked this article, 7 Morning Rituals that will change your life.

Ideally, I think I have to keep my morning fairly simple:

  • Yoga 20 min
  • Breakfast 15 min
  • Morning Pages and Tea 10 min

This week, I began a few days with yoga and kept up with my morning pages well. I woke up just 20 min earlier to get my yoga done while everyone was asleep. I have tried to keep up a personal yoga practice before and get stuck deciding what poses to do. I decided to do 10 sun salutations followed by warrior poses on each side. Easy to remember and accomplish. It has been refreshing and I look forward to the benefits of more joy and focus infused into my day due to the slower start. In addition, I have to be mindful of distractions try to limit them throughout the day bringing my focus back to a single task until it’s done.

“You decide what you listen to and what you ignore” ~ Lisa Congdon, Becoming a working artist.

Do you have a morning ritual?

What sets you up for a focused and joyful day?

Finding My Strength

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Happy May! I can’t believe it’s May. I feel like I lost touch in April entirely. I have been trekking along as best I could but, haven’t been as on top of things as usual. I’ve been struggling with fatigue and burnout and overwhelm in ways that are new to me. My mind is full of ideas and dreams and my calendar full of action plans but, my body has had other plans for me and much of those plans involved feeling tired and weak. Remember back in January when I felt like I was hibernating? Well that feeling has been creeping up more and more and it’s been putting a real cramp in my style.

About a year ago I felt like something was up with my body chemistry, I got blood work done but never went back for the follow-up appointment so, I never found out what was going on. Fast forward to this year and “I’m so tired” had become something of a catchphrase for me. I hated it. I was napping before dinner and often too tired to get up and cook. Which lead to us eating poorly and me feeling worse. My eyes have been extremely itchy and dry, making it tough to keep them open while working my design job. I started carrying eye drops with me everywhere. By the time I was done with my day job the thought of getting back on the computer to blog or email was the farthest from my capability. Which left me feeling worse about myself. My motivated spirit is something that makes me feel like me. I love getting shit done. But, lately it’s been a never ending cycle of excuses to myself as to why I didn’t do this or that – a viscous cycle.

In April, I finally got myself to the dr, did blood work and went back for the results. That part is key. I found out that I am anemic as well as deficient in vitamins B12, B6 and Magnesium.  I began taking an iron supplement two weeks ago. I also stopped drinking coffee. I read that it’s an iron inhibitor and so, it may have been adding to my low iron symptoms of fatigue, dry eyes and cold extremities. I love coffee and still want it as a treat but, for now I’m on a break. I’ve been drinking tea instead, some days caffeinated some days not. In addition I have been taking B-complex and a trace minerals supplement.

I’m a work in progress and most days I am more energetic then I’ve been in awhile. Having awareness about what is going on with my body has been huge help in me finding my strength again.

When you feel like something is off and you have strange symptoms popping up, don’t ignore it. I urge you to look into it. You’re body is trying to tell you something. Listen. Your intuition is stronger then you realize. xoxo

Art Is Not What You Make, It’s Who You Are

lotusLotus rising from the mud – created during Whitney Freya’s painting meditation.

This week I was rejected. Well, that’s not entirely true but, my artwork was and that’s pretty much the same thing. It wasn’t a flat out “we don’t want you” kind of rejection but, let’s face it, it doesn’t sting any less. A no is a no. It happens to us all at one time or another but, it’s still painful. I was disappointed, hurt, maybe a little angry. Rejection. It’s what we all fear. It’s what stops us in our tracks when we contemplate putting ourselves out there. So, what did I do?

I reached out to my husband and one of my besties to share in my sadness – misery loves company, right? I cried and moped around for the larger part of the day. I may have had a few handfuls of chocolate chips. I allowed myself to feel the pain. After a little bit, I pulled myself together and submitted my work to another show as well as jotted down some ideas for a themed show I’d also like to submit too. I got right back on the horse so to speak. I listened to Flying Leap! Lori Portka and Liv Lane’s free audio class about fear and finding your purpose. I purchased their book Infinite Purpose directly after. Divine timing.

Once the kids were in bed for the night I decided the best thing to do was give myself some space and paint. I have been listening to a painting meditation series with Whitney Freya on and off since January and that felt like the perfect medicine and you know what, it totally was. I listened to the meditative music, moved watercolors around on paper and I felt lighter, more connected to my soul and began to shed the sadness from earlier in the day.

Art heals. It’s why I create. At the very core of what pulls me in is the desire to feel that direct access to my heart through my intuitive mind, eyes and hands. Art is not what you make, it’s who you are. It’s who I am.

I let my feelings simmer for a couple days after my rejection and then replied. I was grateful they took the time to look over my work. I also wanted to ask a question. The response mentioned that my style was similar to other artists already scheduled and that stuck with me. You don’t want to hear that your work looks like everyone else’s and it’s tough to look at your own work with a critical eye. I wanted to know more. What was it that made my work feel similar to others? I wanted to be able to see my work through a different lens. I may or may not change my work based on the opinion but, I wanted the opportunity to sit with it and let it simmer. I have not heard back yet but, hope that I do.

Soul purpose sometimes doesn’t make sense. It isn’t romantic and doesn’t necessarily work the way you think it should. Soul purpose is about growth. It is about you showing up bigger than you ever have before. It is about you stretching in sometimes uncomfortable ways. ~ Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici

I know I need to show up more and do my souls work. I am leaning into the idea of daily practice and what that may look like. The desire to be authentically me is overwhelming and paralyzing at times. I look at this as a lesson of growth. My voice is a result of dedicated practice and that is something I need to make time for.

Rejection. It is a catalyst. It is something that pushes us, makes us uncomfortable and can break us if we let it. Don’t let it. Move through the hurt and find your strength. You are not the sum of what people think. You are so much more. Believe in your worth. Believe in your gifts. Believe in YOU.

_MG_0969Photo by Kerry Burki and Kimberly Kling. Art by Kristen Fagan

KERRY Magazine Issue #2 Behind the Scenes

Issue #2 of KERRY Magazine will be sent to her email subscribers this week. Get on Kerry’s email list at kerryburki.com to receive your copy. 

Sneak peak at Kerry’s photo shoot for the second issue of her magazine. Recognize anyone – haha, we were having too much fun! I am blessed to have met these women. This issue is healing, therapeutic, unique and engaging. I am so excited to be a part of it.

KERRY Magazine is a dream project by Kerry Burki, who is an inspirational a catalyst for positive change. It’s a digital magazine that uses real women as models, supports small businesses, encourages you to feel beautiful as you are right now.

Happy New Year!

NewYear

 

Happy New Year Friends!!! Thank you for an amazing 2015. I haven’t had a chance to process it all yet. I will be working in Leonie Dawson’s Shining Workbook this month and once I release my 2015 it will really come into focus what transpired. I know it was a big, transformative year. I know this because I have been in hibernation resting from it all. I have slept for 12 hrs on at least three different occasions within the last two weeks. I have taken the kids school “winter break” quite literally, ha! In addition to all the sleep, I have been binge watching movies with the family and reading so, even when I’m awake there has been a lot of down time relaxing. It has been healing.

Of course, I felt the “should’s” creep up. I should be getting things done; do my workbooks, clean the garage, take the kids to see snow, work on a new jewelry idea, get my artwork updated online, get outside and the list goes on. All those “should’s” are compelling and worth making time for but, I had to shoo those thoughts away and remind myself that rest was work too. A different kind of work … soul work. There is no shame in giving in to your need for rest and recuperation. When the need within being is strong, it’s important to listen. The creative muse often shows up demanding attention, energy and time in anyway possible followed by a quiet stillness. It’s okay to enjoy both, the yin and the yang.

Fittingly, I was treated to an online yin yoga session this week. It was an offering in the Woman Unleashed online retreat. And today, I had the pleasure of exploring painting with intuition (my fav) with Alena Hennessy. We created “I am …” artwork.

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I am devoted. I love that. I have never had that word show up for me before. After I was done, I thought about my devotion and how it applies to my life. I am devoted … to my creative life, my art, my loves and my tribe (that includes you!) Wishing you a new year filled with love and devotion. xoxo

Do you want to learn more of Woman Unleased but, worried it’s too late to join? Relax. Take a breath. There is still time. Visit www.womanunleashedretreat.com to join in!

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Happy Solstice

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If you are in the northern hemisphere, Monday was the shortest day of the year. The Winter Solstice is the moment on Earth when darkness reaches its peak, just before the return of the light. We are reminded that the old must end in order to begin anew. It is a time of stillness, reflection, re-birth and transformation.

I celebrated by beginning the Woman Unleashed online retreat, a free event, with Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici to help me awaken my power, passion and purpose for 2016. Visit www.womanunleashedretreat.com to learn more.

One of my desires this coming year is to truly pause and celebrate the changing of seasons. Being a desert dweller our season changes are subtle and the days flow into months without realizing how much time as passed. I’d like to fully honor the season changes with a small ritual.

Here are a few ways to celebrate the Winter Solstice:

  • Spend time with loved ones with a feast representing the season.
  • Light a candle. Reflect on your aspirations for the coming months.
  • Visit a place outdoors that’s special to you. Consider watching the sun rise or set from your little patch of the world.
  • Hold a fire ceremony. Write what you’d like to release and throw the paper into the fire as a symbol of letting go.
  • Reflect the stillness of the day by cultivating stillness in yourself. Consider a meditation or hour of silence.
  • Build a shrine (or mandala) of nature’s found objects.
  • Give to others by donating food or clothing to those less fortunate.

As you light the fire and candles for your celebration, do so with the intention of bringing more light into the world.

How about you? How do you celebrate the changing of the seasons?

Good Karma Feels Good

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It’s with a grateful heart that I submitted our GOOD KARMA donation to UMOM New Day Centers today! Thank you to those that bought jewelry from me during the Good Karma sale – your purchase made this donation possible.
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UMOM New Day Centers, located in Phoenix, Arizona, provide safe shelter, housing and supportive services to homeless families in need. They keep families together and provide care from emergency shelter to transitional housing and finally, permanent, affordable housing. If you’d like to learn more and how you can help visit, http://www.umom.org/

TOY DRIVE FOR CHILDREN IN HOMELESS SHELTER
The Phoenix Philanthropists group is collecting new, unwrapped toys for children (newborn to age 17) who will be spending Christmas at UMOM’s Overflow Homeless Shelter.
 
Toy donation drop off:
Thursday, 12/10 from 4-6pm
Starbucks, 1939 S Val Vista Dr, Mesa, AZ
 
I’ll be dropping off a few toys on Thursday, if you have toys to donate I’d be happy to take them with me.

Morning Pages

MorningPagesMonthly yoga art desktop calendar from Eliza Lynn Tobin.

This July, I started a practice of “morning pages” or in my case, “afternoon pages” and “evening pages” too since doing anything at a specific time or even on a daily basis seems to be a mental block for me. My inner rebel against conformity, maybe? Anyhoo, the idea is to journal 3 pages long hand in the morning everyday. Letting whatever needs to flow onto the pages. House cleaning for your mind and soul. This concept was created by author and creativity guru Julia Cameron in her wildly popular book “The Artists Way”. True to my nature, I have not been consistent with doing this everyday but, I am trying to keep up with it even if I have stretches between entries.

The writing is done as a stream of consciousness and because of this it has helped me work through challenges, calm anxieties, see hidden pockets of gratitude and been a catalyst for “a-ha” moments. One crucial point is that these writings are private. Julia Cameron goes so far as to say if you need to burn the journal afterwards so be it. Having disposed of an entire journal of deep writing once before, I can tell you it’s a liberating experience to let that all go.

Earlier this week my frustration with how I felt and my unhealthy eating habits finally came to a tipping point. I have my morning pages to thank for finally taking a step this week to remove flour/gluten from my diet for the ten thousandth time. After a particularly glutenous weekend I felt awful and after putting down on paper just how awful I felt, I realized how silly I was being. Each time I remove flour/gluten from my diet I feel instantly better. This week was no exception. I went from ranting that I have no energy, my joints ache, my eyes blurred, my mind was foggy and I had a looming feeling of despair to waking up refreshed, energized throughout the day and feeling motivated and positive in a super short period of time. I think it’s one part intention to take care of me and one part actually doing it that has me feeling good again. I have to honor my body and listen to what it is clearly telling me to doesn’t want instead of allowing the instant gratification of a pastry or the ease of making a sandwich cloud my judgment.

Do you have a writing practice? I admit I’m inconsistent but, that aside it is a wonderful way to check in with yourself and see what kinds of feelings and thoughts are swirling around in your head. The idea to just write whatever pops up in the moment has really helped me to tap into those areas that I tend to close off and ignore. I encourage you to give it a try.

KERRY Magazine Launch and Giveaway

Do you remember the inspiring photo shoot I was involved in this summer? Well, it was for the launch of KERRY magazine! KERRY Magazine is a dream project created by Kerry Burki, who is an inspirational a catalyst for positive change. It’s a digital magazine that uses real women as models, supports small businesses, encourages you to feel beautiful as you are right now and even has a printable worksheet to help you go after your dreams!

I am honored to be a part of something so special and BEAUTIFUL!

Read this issue: http://issuu.com/kerryburki/docs/kerrymagazinefall2015

To celebrate, Kerry is having a giveaway with items from the amazing advertisers. This is a great way to spread the word about the magazine, support small businesses and potentially win something created with a lot of love. (psst: you could win one of my best selling pillow case covers!)

Giveaway ends Sunday October 18th 2015 at 4pm MST so, don’t delay. Click here for details: http://bit.ly/1jyBcgE

Third Friday Artwalk on Grand Ave

This was over a month ago (kinda tells you how fast my August has flown by) but, I didn’t want to let sharing about my experience of July’s third Friday artwalk go. It was such a great date with myself. I had plans to go with a friend and our kids, that fell through so I was going to go with just my kids but, Bert ended up being home from work early and the kids didn’t want to go with me. I was a little sad at first and thought for a second I would skip it however, I really wanted to the see the She Deck exhibit before it closed. Not seeing it would have been a big bummer so, I decided to go on my own. It was an awesome time. I forget that I like being in my own company. I like to move at my own pace and wander. I like lingering when it feels good. Couple that with my love for viewing and experiencing art and that makes for a perfect date. I spoke to a few artists and a gallery owner while there which I wouldn’t have done if I had company with me. It was a great reminder to go out, even if no one wants to go out with me and maybe especially if no one wants to go out with me.

 

Pieces by women artists will abound along Grand Avenue on Third Friday, as {9} The Gallery also presents a “Summer Solstice” exhibition, plus a “She Deck” exhibition of skateboard decks, at the Frontal Lobe Gallery at Bragg’s Pie Factory.

JulyArtwalkCollageTop: Exhibit at {9) Gallery, Artist Brenda Edwards

Middle: Mural on the side of {9} Gallery, Artist Amanda Adkins

Bottom: Summer Solstice Exhibit at Frontal Lobe Gallery, Artists Lisa Von Hoffer and Lauren Lee

She-DeckCollage

 She Deck Exhibit at Frontal Lobe Gallery featuring over 50 female artists showing their skateboard deck creations.

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I happen to have my art on exhibit at the Fair Trade Cafe during third Friday also. I was blessed to sell two artworks during my time being featured! Heartfelt thank you to Fair Trade Cafe and those who enjoyed and purchased my art.