Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simple Abundance in 2010

I've always wanted to try working though Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort & Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach, which has readings for every day of the year starting January 1st. Of course, to do it "right" I've always felt I must start on January 1st, but never think about the book until too late.
From the back of the book:

In the past a woman's spirituality has been separated from her lifestyle. Simple Abundance shows you how your daily life can be an expression of your authentic self... as you choose the tastiest vegetables from your garden, search for treasures at flea markets, establish a sacred space in your home for meditation, and follow the rhythm of the seasons and the year. Here, for the first time, the mystical alchemy of style and Spirit is celebrated. Every day, your own true path leads you to a happier, more fulfilling and contented way of life-- the state known as SIMPLE ABUNDANCE.
For whatever reason, I remembered the book before January 1st this year. I guess its the right time for this journey. And I'm putting out the call to anyone else who might be interested taking the journey with me. I've already got several takers, which is exciting! If anyone else is interested in reading along, please do join in.

Will I make it through all 365 days? I have no idea. But I'm willing to give it a go. I'm thinking of it as an exercise in self-nurturing and I can always use some of that on a daily basis. Couldn't you?

At any rate, my intentions are good and with support from other journeyers, we might all just make it! I'll be doing an SA check-in here on my blog each weekend and invite other participants to check in here as well. Here's to Simple Abundance in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wrapping Up the Year

So. Seems I unintentionally and inadvertently took a break from blogging this month. But I'm okay with that, because for the past 2 1/2 weeks I've been out of state visiting relatives and then, once back home, came down sick and am still recovering.

This past year has been a year of growth for me. I've grown in my polymer clay knowledge and experience and in my tarot expertise. I've grown in my family size (2 new kitties) and I've grown in my circle of friends (my Ya-Ya sisters, spirituality group and my fellow poly clay artists). And I've begun to rediscover my sacred self through my art and my pagan spirituality class. Of course there have been bumps in the road, like the never ending joys of home ownership (note sarcasm) and the perils of the economy, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm looking forward to the new year.

Taking a tip from this blog post, which I found through this blog post, I've chosen a word to live by for 2010. And that word is:

EXPLORATION

That will be my mantra. In my every day life, my art, my self-care, everything. I think its a very all-encompassing word and it feels very empowering to me as well. So here's to exploring in 2010~ onward and forward!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Magic Circles at the Mall

As much as I used to love the mall as a teenager, I completely and utterly loathe the mall now as an adult. I avoid the mall at all costs. I don't think I've been near one in at least 2 or 3 years... until yesterday.

The husband wanted to go to the mall to search for grab bag gifts for his family's annual grab bag exchange. And not just any mall, not our nearby, small, unpopular local mall. Nope, he wanted to go to Flatiron Crossing-- *the* mall and massive popular shopping center between Denver & Boulder. My anxiety level rose just at the very thought of it.

Anxiety really set in once we got there. Traffic was heavy and backed up, so many cars trying to get in or out of the area. Traffic cops directing the heavy flow of cars. Parking lots filled to capacity and beyond. My chest and stomach got tighter and tighter, my breath shallow and ragged as we looked for a parking spot.

But when we entered the mall-- that's when my anxiety kicked in full force. Crowds of people, children screaming, shoppers brushing up against me as we manoeuvred through the aisles, music blaring, every store a maze of aisles and displays, overly bright lights and colors everywhere. I couldn't take any deep breaths, I felt like I couldn't get any air, I felt dizzy and jittery, I felt like I would shatter into a million pieces at any second. I had to go to the bathroom. NOW.

Locked in the stall, I knew I had to find some way to calm myself or I was going to have an panic driven meltdown any second. Tears and hyperventilation were dangerously close to surfacing. I tried to breathe slowly and deeply to ground and center myself. And I realized, *now* was an excellent time to create a magic protective circle around myself.

I've been taking a Wiccan Spirituality class since September and one of the main focuses of the class is grounding, centering and creating sacred space around oneself. I used to have these techniques down, but my skills have gotten rusty over the years. Plus, I realized, its not as difficult to create sacred space when you're in a calm, quiet, meditative atmosphere-- but here, at the mall, in the midst of chaos-- *that* is the real test for creating a magic circle. Could I do this effectively when it really counted? That was the true challenge.

I breathed and breathed, I imagined roots growing out of my feet into the ground, pulling up soothing energy from the earth; I imagined a white light reaching from the top of my head through the ceilings and clouds into the sky, bringing cooling energy from the stars down into me. With toilets flushing and doors banging and children laughing and mothers scolding all around me and my private little stall, I breathed slowly and I tried to focus on mentally drawing lines around me-- from above my head, down my right side, under my feet and back up again on my left side and from one side of my body all the way around me horizontally and from the top of my head down back behind me, under my feet again and up in front of me to meet at my head once more. After I'd drawn the omnil, I breathed in strength from the Universe to fill it up with protective energy. Energy that would keep people from bumping against me, energy that would deflect the chaos and noise, energy that would cushion and cocoon and keep me tranquil.

When I felt calmer, I left the bathroom and rejoined my patient husband. I tried to keep focusing on that magical sphere all around me as we waded through the crowds. But about 15 minutes later... I had to go back to the bathroom. Focus, focus, focus. And block out that little voice inside of me saying "this is never going to work"-- it had to work! Why else have we been practicing this very thing in class for so long? Because with practice, it *does* work. Breathe, breathe, breathe. And thankfully, at last, some small measure of peace descended upon me. I could do this. I knew I could.

And I did. And we made it the entire length of the mall, went to the upper level and came back again. And even found some decent grab bag gifts in the process. But, oh! It was so good to finally walk out into the open air and natural light and make it to the car and then home and know that it was all over. But I would never have made it without my magic circles.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feline Friday: Fountain Fun

Yes, we spoil our cats. We recently got them a fountain water bowl. (What!?! It promotes increased water consumption for a healthy urinary tract-- its a good thing!)

Sass & Dot were absolutely fascinated by the watery action, but didn't quite know how to handle the whole fountain bowl concept at first.

Sassy, however, quickly became an expert at drinking right from the top of the fountain flow.

Dot can't quite figure out how to do that yet. Which results in her getting wet. A lot.

"What are YOU looking at? You think you can do better? Ha! Sure. Whatever."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Practice Sculpting Faces

Today I practiced sculpting faces. They are challenging, especially since I am teaching myself how to sculpt. These are far from perfect, but I feel like I'm beginning to get the hang of it.

Two online tutorials that I find very helpful while I'm in my learning process--

Shaping a PC Face Cabochon

Sarajane Helm's Making Faces

I have fun making the noses and mouths but I find eyes more difficult. I've practiced sculpting faces with closed and opened eyes and I think I like the closed eyes better. Maybe its because the faces look more peaceful that way or maybe its because I just don't like feeling like I'm being watched! Which do you prefer?

Be sure to check back to see how I use my face sculptures once I perfect my technique.