Category Archives: Art

What Fills Your Soul? (#5 Wisdom Along the Way)

 

What Fills Your Soul?

Have you considered this question lately? Ever?

It could also be asked, what makes your heart sing?

Why is this even important?

Because, Dear One, You and Your Soul matter!

Sometimes I have needed permission to be good to myself. It has been easy for me to keep a hectic pace, do ‘good’ things for everyone and just be busy.

And some of this ‘serving others’ does fill my soul.

However, only when my soul is already in a filled up, healthy place, to begin with.

I am not saying you shouldn’t serve others if you are not filled up first. If you are human, you probably serve others in some way.

If you are female, you do serve others, usually a lot.

I am saying to sustain serving others requires that you recharge. And even if you don’t think you are in a ‘serving others’ place, we are all required to serve ourselves with good self care.

The best way I know how to do this is a Soul Filling Session!

What is a Soul Filling Session? I actually just made that up… but let’s delve a little deeper.

We all recharge in our own unique ways. When I am talking about Soul Filling, I am not only talking about physically rested, well nourished and healthy. I am talking something spiritual, sacred and soulful.

Whatever your belief system, most of us believe in a higher power, God, Jesus, Source etc…

I belong to a group of believers that agree our souls arrived here in this lifetime pure, perfect and unhindered. I also know that the journey of life has added struggle, lies and light dampening experience to every soul I have ever encountered.

The process of Soul Filling, for me, means to check out of my daily ‘to do’ list and check in to my sacred inner and outer space of being.

I am most Soul Present in:

Nature

Solitude

Beauty and

Quiet

This can look like being anywhere in nature, going for a walk outside, journaling in a peaceful setting, reading the Bible or a soul filling book, doing art in a room with a view, being anywhere in a natural setting  or even being home in a quiet, lovely space I have created for prayer or meditation. These places are where I check in with my soul.

These places may look very different for you. And that is perfectly incredible and awesome that you have found your own Soul Filling experience!

Questions I may ask myself:

  1. How am I?
  2. Am I operating from love? Or am I operating from duty, fear, people pleasing, need for approval, obligation or guilt?
  3. Am I believing a lie (or lies)? What is the truth?
  4. How does my body feel? Healthy, energized, rested and well? Or am I tense, sick, in pain, tired or stressed?
  5. Is my life currently aligned mostly with love, joy, peace or not? What about my relationships? My work? My home?

The answers to these questions give me clues. Even if I am in good places, but depleted, I know I need some Soul Filling.

My personal criteria for Soul Filling time/activities are:

  1. I end up feeling more love, more joy and more peace.
  2. I feel very connected to Jesus or my Source.
  3. My shoulders relax and my breathing becomes deep and unhindered.
  4. Hope increases.
  5. Strife leaves.

I urge you to spend some time thinking about what a personal Soul Filling Session might look like for you? Maybe even consider a few different scenarios. What if you only had 15 minutes? Or an hour? Maybe you can carve a weekend or a week to delve deep into filling your very precious Soul with what it most needs and desires.

What do you hear, see, feel when you ask, “What does a Soul Filling Session look like for me? What does my Soul most need?”

Sometimes my Soul desires solitude and nature. Other times my Soul needs to feel heard and understood by me or even someone near and dear to me. Frequently my Soul wants to check out of the daily routine and create, adventure or explore.

There is no right or wrong path to Soul Filling. The only wrong way would be to not do it at all.

This week for my Soul Filling I was able to intentionally carve out a number of time slots and various experiences. They ranged from five minutes to five hours. Here they are:

  1. I walked and prayed down a beautiful country road, lined with trees turning colors of Autumn with golden sunshine dripping through the canopy cover.
  2. I pondered the leaves gently falling from their Mother Tree to the Forest Floor.
  3. I lit a candle – earthy and herbal, turned on some quiet Jazz music and read Richard Rohr’s daily email meditation.
  4. I opened up my journal, did a free flowing – no judgement – cleanse of my thoughts, feelings, or observations – writing session. (I may have been bratty, bitchy, even ugly here – but I got it out from the inside of me).
  5. I practiced daily gratitude journaling.
  6. I lost myself in the creative practice of making art.
  7. I played with my dogs – outside, pondered the beauty of crisp fall days and smelled the flowers (literally).
  8. I escaped into a beautiful story wrapped in the pages of a book.
  9. I spent relational connection time with my wonderful husband.
  10. I chatted, at length, with some God girlfriends who fill my Soul.

I encourage YOU, Dear Heart, to discover and regularly visit Your Own Soul Filling Sessions.

And I would love to hear what they are!

Call of My Wild Soul

Sometimes, when you least expect it, and think it can’t possibly happen this BIG, this WAY, ever again – our Hearts are Cracked Wide Open.

God has been this way for me for many years now, and I am pretty sure, I will never get used to or expect the expansive goodness that comes from our Creator.

For me, my filter is Jesus. And no, I am not saying He must be yours. I simply ache to share my experience.

This last week I was at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico for an art retreat titled: Call of the Wild Soul. It was incredible.

First and foremost, I admit, I cry every time I see the Rocky Mountains. I am a Midwesterner whose heart and soul lives in the mountain forests and streams. My husband loves the Caribbean, so we have compromised and I also love the island of Captiva. But, I HEAR GOD in the mountains. And I hear the whisper of creation through the mountains, valley, cedars, water and rocks of this rugged land.

Call of the Wild Soul is an art retreat. So you think: artists making or teaching art. Right? But this was So Much More.

First, Ghost Ranch has a rich and creative history. It is where Georgia O’Keeffe sequestered herself and painted many of her famous paintings. It is a land rich with a checkered past of artists, outlaws, natives, entrepreneurs and religious icons. Second, it is a thin place. Ghost Ranch and its 21,000 acres are one of those places where heaven and earth intermingle. You simply cannot walk on its land and not feel a connection to something larger than yourself. There is even a labyrinth set up for whatever religious practice you prefer. Currently the Ranch is owned by the Presbyterian Church, and there are many beautiful and stunning places to worship.

Next, imagine a place where visual artists, Bluegrass artists, bird watchers, travelers, cowboys and truth seekers all meet up to experience what the wildness of the land has to offer. Pure serendipity happens. All meld together. It Is Magical.

While I was at this amazing retreat I experienced new art technique, new ways to connect to nature, camaraderie with an amazing sisterhood, and brotherhood, and at one-ness with the land and nature. My cup is full and overflowing!

At the same time all this was happening I did some growing up. As much as I loved all the classes and teachers, I was able to follow my own compass. When a time came to follow my own heart and joy versus curriculum, I chose me. This was a huge and transformative experience for me. As much as I would like to say I am no longer a people pleaser, I still like to go with the flow to not rock the boat or hurt people’s feelings. I was presented with the opportunity to conform to a class that wasn’t resonating with me. I chose not to attend the second day and instead attend to the joy of following my heart. And I Did. It was like breaking free from a self imposed cage!

During this same time period, I opened to a different way of knowing and experiencing creation. It was world changing for me. I have always been drawn to nature and animals AND almost felt guilty or persecuted for my love of the same. Here, at Call of the Wild Soul, I was released to be a complete lover of nature, animals and ALL creation. It was Soul Affirming. This happened because of the organizer, Erin Faith Allen; the setting, Ghost Ranch and the class Environmental Self Portraiture led by Melody Ross and Pixie Lighthorse.

Gratitude and abundant thanks to all who made this possible.

Gesso + Jesus

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Let me tell you about gesso. First it is pronounced, “jess-o.” It took me a couple adult years doing art to realize this proper pronunciation, marking me a novice in the art field. I am okay with that, because I have embraced being a novice (most of the time).

Gesso is a base coat or primer for many art substrates, including canvas, wood or paper. Gesso changes how art medium interacts with the substrate. It can seal a surface, make a material more absorbent or give it more, “tooth.” Gesso can also be used to cover mistakes and start over.

I love gesso. It reminds me of Jesus.

I really enjoy working with canvas, board or paper primed with gesso. It allows me certain assumptions. I know the next layer of paint or graphite or pastel will react a certain way. I also know my canvas will be easier to work with.

People are like that. Myself included. I am WAY easier to work with, with Jesus. I wont go into a long story here, or doctrine or theology. What I will say is this: My life before following Jesus was completely different than my life is now. I live wrapped in the security blanket of God Love that marks even my worst days with a spark of joy and peace.

Back to gesso… It can also cover an art mistake like nothing else! Wonky eye? Gesso (see photo). Missed perspective? Gesso. Out of proportion body? Gesso. You get the idea. Not only does gesso cover the mistake, it gives you a brand new base to start over from.

I know! Just like Jesus!

Walking with Jesus has given me a clean canvas to create on, daily. I have embraced the Jesus gesso of being forgiven and set free (from addiction, depression, shame, anger, hopelessness). Just like in art, and with gesso, I continue to work through each day. Neither Jesus or gesso are a magic wand. But they are pretty darn close! Jesus truly can take all our mistakes and make beautiful art from them.

As I am growing, journeying, as a human and an artist – I see life’s lessons mirrored in art. I know my art can always improve with the help of gesso. And my life continues to expand with a Jesus walk.

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Live Better Stories

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Okay, this advice came on the packing paper for a new pair of shoes. And I couldn’t resist adding it to my current art project!

This year I am choosing to live a better story!

After all, one of the best parts of being human is our ability to choose. A better story for me might be stepping more into the abundant life that is always available.

My friend, Jesus, might say, “Life to the full.”

Yes. That’s part of my better story!

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Faith, Hope and Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.(1 Corinthians 13:13)

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

Love one another. Love covers a multitude of sins. God is love. Love God and Love People.

Love is a verb. Love is an action. LOVE IS A CHOICE not a feeling (but it can feel great)!

Love. Keep your LOVE ON!

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(Mixed Media – plaster on gesso board. Acrylic, gesso, coffee, stabilo pencil and antique hymnal collage element)

Art and Soul!

A space of my own has been a dream for my whole life. Not just any space, but a peaceful, joyful, beautiful, feminine, creative and holy space! Maybe you can relate?

A part of me realizes that this is my inner desire for Heaven – an ache that is ever present. That niggling feeling that says, “There is more.” Sometimes this feeling is more pronounced. Other times it is just a whisper in my heart and soul. Nonetheless it is always there, waiting for me.

This art space is part of my solution to the way Jesus taught us to pray: On Earth as it is in Heaven…

Through the years I have carved out corners, closets, cubbies, tables, rooms, decks, porches, lawns and patios as a private retreat space. As an art space. As a breathing space. As a quiet space to meet with God.

This year, thanks largely to my husband, I have designed – prayed over – and am now using “The Upper Room.” A space of my own!

Of course it is an evolving space – just as I am evolving – ever growing – in my walk with Jesus and my creative endeavors.

So – If you haven’t seen me lately…I’m hanging out in the Upper Room with Jesus!

Soon to follow: More photos and Upper Room Creations!

Thanks for letting me share! Be blessed!