Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bighorn Sheep

Whether a creationist or evolutionist or somewhere in between, we, humans arrived after the waters and land, plants and animals. It could be said the best was saved for last. It could also be said that we are guests here on this gorgeous, life sustaining planet.

Maybe it's both.

Have we, humans, over the millennial, centuries, decades, currently, today are we respectful stewards and/or guests?

Now wait, this isn't what today's post is about, except to say that I believe with all my heart, we have much to learn from those who were before us and we can all be better as co-inhabitants of Earth. 

Still, this is not today's post, well, kinda. 

Today is about sharing part of my intuitive art practice, which isn't something I'm fully comfortable with (the sharing part not the practice part). Actually, all of today's post is just about sharing the parts. I have so much to say about the practice and about animal wisdom and being an inhabitant and about being human...but today, it's just a part of each of these as they work their magic into the whole of ME.

Displaying photo 5.JPG

A few weeks back in my post titled Slow Down, I mention exploring Bighorn Sheep. This exploration took me into my intuitive art practice. Through the layers and layers of creating, I was brought deeper into the wisdom, gifts, and understanding of Bighorn Sheep which in turn brought me deeper into an understanding of me, my layers now in the present, in the slowing down, in feeling the presence of Bighorn Sheep.

Displaying photo 4.JPG

Displaying photo 3.JPG

Displaying photo 1.JPG

While I'm not sure he's finished-finished, he is complete or I'm complete for now, anyway. His eyes were saved for last and after stepping back and looking deep within those eyes I realized of all the messages he holds for me the most important isn't even shown here; his feet, but hey mine aren't visible either. And yet looking back at the first layering's I have the words, 'surefooted' and 'secure'. 

Just love this intuitive art process. 

This morning I referred to Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, a great go-to book. Yep, I was in Bighorn Sheep's environment a few weeks back, and he noticed me. So it was, after the eyes, that I read this, "Those with this totem must learn to trust in their ability to land safely on their feet as they make new moves and new beginnings." Grateful for his wisdom then as I passed through the Gorge, grateful for his wisdom now.

An interesting side note, over the past few days as I was painting and exploring Bighorn Sheep one of  my photographer friends, Mark Andrews kept sharing current photos of Bighorn Sheep on FaceBook. Interesting? or another part of the magic.

This post, again is parts, tidbits, as these pictures are but parts, tidbits of the process, part of the practice, part of the exploring, part of the understanding...all simple parts of the whole, parts of what make me whole.

Life Remains Beautiful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Another Lesson in Easy vs Simple

One would think I'd have this whole easy vs simple thing down. In all actuality I do, sometimes though, "I just want easy!!!!!"

For example, standing up from sitting. Such a simple concept and for many an easy skill. Attending BootCamp two weeks ago I witnessed and was inspired by many bilateral above the knee individuals who make standing up look rather really easy. Me, I must have lead in those jello-jigglers residing in my hiney.

Another example, my gardens. Aside from a pending surgery on my right shoulder, getting up and down from the ground, scooting across the gardens, pulling weeds (heavens there are tons of weeds and this coming from a girl who welcomes most weeds as wildflowers into her gardens) just isn't easy, simple yes, not so easy. Then there's the simple idea; Mother Earth, how easy would it be for the grasses not encroach into the Creeping Myrtle or for the Goat Heads not lay a carpet of new seedlings around the Angel Hair Mugwort. "I just want cleaning up these garden areas to be easy!!!!"

Oh, but how much I learn from Mother Earth and from outstanding young adults.

While at BootCamp, Pedro, a young man not only missing both legs above the knee, he's missing both arms above the elbow and who happens to be one of my super hero's, says to me during standing up training, "Julia, I don't care if you are 34 (he's also charming) there isn't a bead of sweat on your forehead yet!"

Yesterday while speaking to my son Chris, I mentioned the gardens and how I can't wait for him and his siblings to be home next week (they know I'm anxious to give them a yard 'task'; task sounds better than 'chore') and he asked how the Lavender is doing. He and I had chopped and trimmed and cut the woody shrubs way down a bit too early this Spring for we had a few freezes after the cuttings.

"They are doing remarkable!" I told him.

"See Mom, a good cutting back is healthy," he replied.

"Well it wasn't so healthy for me," I sarcastically shot back.

"But I believe it was Mom."

What Pedro, Chris, and Mother Earth taught me, what they continue to teach me, is life isn't easy, it's not meant to be easy but when I, when we, exert effort and commitment into our lives all the while keeping it so simple, we simply discover our beautiful, ideal, treasure filled life!

A treasure from one of the gardens. After these Bleeding Hearts were planted two years ago, Cadbury our dog ate them and trampled what was left. A few months later, Cad who was already ailing, took a turn for the worse and we had her put to rest. These beauties hadn't bloomed since. While they attempted to grow once before they were plucked out mistaken for a weed.  I believe these are a gift from the other side given by Cadbury!

Here's a glimpse at my Super Hero Pedro! He also has a Ted X talk but it's all in Spanish, still remarkable to watch. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Slow Down

There was anxiousness heading to Las Vegas last week to catch a flight. I left plenty early however I didn't take full consideration of highway construction in the gorge. As I approached, my anxiety grew. Sections of I-15 were down to one lane, speed reduced to 35 MPH, behind several tractor trailers, I was forced to slow down.

 Maybe it’s the ongoing practice of ‘slowing down’ which eased me into a blissful state. Taking a deep, full, rich breath I was awakened with vividness to the pristine beauty of life.

The morning sun’s play of light and shadow soften the rugged walls. This truly is a magnificent pass. I noticed the vertical carved ripples in the rock and recall Jeff telling me how years before these areas were drilled and blasted to make way for the interstate.

This day, current construction crews had erected a protective barrier around a shrine which has been well maintained for years. I've notice the hallowed place before; the cross always freshened and silk flowers and tokens deliberately laid in honor of a lost loved one, Fred, his name painted on the cross could now be read.

Wiry creosote bushes danced in the canyon winds as if to show off their fresh spring green foliage and yellow-green buds, this is the plant I miss the most from the desert. If only there was morning moisture to release its heady fragrance.

Looking closer at the desert floor the wild flowers were bursting in their splendor, such a small window of opportunity for them to take center stage in the desert terrain.

Even with the frightening lack of winter snow a bit farther north, there was quite a bit of spring runoff water in the river. I watched her flow, no looking back, no regret, no fear of what lies ahead, she simply continued on her journey, a destination not yet known to her, but ardently she flowed.

Humble and grateful tears filled my eyes. In the stillness which lies just beyond the shoulders of a busy interstate there is wonder, pulse, beauty, an ever alive nature. Again and again I am reminded that life remains beautiful.

Wiping a tear from my right eye a surge of excitement filled me, “Maybe in this slow down I’ll see a big horn sheep!” In my current state it only seemed fair and right to receive such a gift.

Emerging out of the mouth of the gorge, there was a slight disappointment at having to speed up but even greater disappointment at not seeing big horn sheep. And just as I approached 50, 65, 70 MPH, looking in my rearview mirror at the shrinking, massive gorge a knowing hit me. I was in his environment. I may not have seen big horn sheep but he saw me, he felt my presence and respect for him and sent me a wave of his medicine.

As the day continued and the following crazy, hectic, difficult days unfolded, I carried this wondrous experience to ‘slow down’ with me, with gratitude, I welcomed the ease it offered.

Slow down…simply slow down…what can you, what will you glean if you but venture to the experience? With promise, all will get accomplished and oddly enough, quite possibly even more.

It’s been a week since the ‘slow down’ and I still feel this bliss as well as big horn sheep’s medicine with me. What power does he offer? What gifts does he wish to give? It’s now time to explore his medicine….