The creative tension between cats and dogs

Squished Creative Cat
Seeing this card yesterday, I laughed out loud and could not help purchasing it.
Looking at it today, I realize it contains deeper layers than entertainment alone.

Come fall, I’m back to being my own boss for the first time since late spring 2016 – and there is some adjusting to be done and experienced, obviously. Looking at my schedule, my intentions and the silly card above I now know this:

What my internal Boss really needs to be aware of is, that my internal Creative Cat may risk being squished by my internal People Pleasing Service Dogs (yes, they come in plural) unless attention is brought to the picture. Well guess what? It just was – literally.

To be clear:
I love my internal service dog(s). I love them. They are affectionate, open-minded, effective, fun – and they get shit done. They are the integral part of me that makes me enjoy customer care, friendships and family life. I’m slightly surprised to admit this: somehow I just really didn’t see my Creativity for the Cat it is until just now. I find myself puzzled, and honoured – and relieved. Maybe certain things will make more sense from now on.
Or, in other words: pardon me, Cat. Let’s let those dogs out on the yard for a while, and have some youme-time – on your condtions, of course. Oh, you want me to go out, too? Oh. Okay. Okay. 😀

#FeedingACat vs. #OwningADog

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PS. I was recently listening to How To Be An Elder, the third and conclusive audio book in The Dangerous Old Woman-series by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. She made an attentive distinction between stereotypes and archetypes – something I found refreshing in a time where a lot seems to be taken literally all the while while we are continuously being subjected to visual input. To connect the dots between a picture, a symbol, and the inner landscapes is not only intriguing – it can be a necessity. At its best, it also creates a certain sensation of space; a holographic tension between being and doing, between birthing and becoming.

What images have been talking or appealing to you lately?

A note on ecstasy

Version 3

It’s been a long time incubating.
Come summer, come retreat, come gateway back to the written wor(l)d.
Considering poetry and studying matters of the soul, I, finally, come across a description of “ecstasy” that agrees with how I have felt it in my bones for years:

The Greek word ek-stasis gives us the root meaning of ‘ecstasy’, to ‘stand outside oneself‘.
/…/
At the moment of ecstatic intensity, we simply are. We simply know. Eternal knowledge imprinted in eternal patterns flow unimpeded between us and the universe of which we are both part. We are gripped, held, in an explosion of energy as the patterns touch. There is peace, exhilaration, and unbearable lightness of being. We need nothing. We desire nothing. Everything is part of us, we are part of everything. We are complete. We are ecstatic.

(Jerrilee Cain in Hestia Come Home)

 
What a relief to be (re)invited to consider ‘ecstasy’ as not a climactic, singled-out event or an isolated state of being – but as a continuum rooted in simply being, and knowing; a knowing of a most immediate kind. Cellular cel(l)ebration of being alive! And, what deep contentment it brings, what relaxation: to feel a fire burning contained by a hearth; to sense streams moving deep under a calm surface. Eruption is not excluded, yet it might not be necessary or even the truest expression of a life force on the move. The lightness of being might be even bearable; not unlike sunshine touching receptive skin, or wisps of clouds traveling across a sky.

Ode To Midsummer

OdeToMidsummer

Ode to Midsummer

While we learn to co-exist with wasps,
and while we do our best not to get driven mad by mosquitos
Musical bumble bees sound the flower trumpets
and raspberry bushes recover from the heavy showers of rain.
The sun sets close to midnight, only to rise again at four.
In other words:
In my natural habitat it is almost impossible not to celebrate Life right now.

~m©a, 2016

A magical, spherical moment

…and while I was playing tag with a rainbow
it stretched itself into a complete arch that could not be captured with my camera

I just stood there in the middle of the field laughing out loud

I made it home just before the rain got heavy
– I even brought in the laundry in time.

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m©a, 2016

Dakinia_Dancing With Rainbows

Bursting into being

921074_10200354589681525_2083895613_o

I banned excitement from my house for a while.
She seems to be of the forgiving kind, though:
I can already feel butterflies in my belly
and my heart sure seems glad to see her!

After hiding underground all that time
it must be time to burst into being,
not unlike the trees who all at the same time
decide to dress up for the summer festivities.
All but the old maple tree by the corner,
who scoffs at vanity and yet secretly prepares
to be the most beautiful of them all.

~m©a, May 2016~

 

January Art in the making.

Let jealousy take you there

Intuitive Painting.

Intuitive Painting.

Dear human beaming,

envy is so last year, but it certainly moved me along once again.
It went something like this:

Just before Christmas a friend of mine wrote me how she for the first time in a long time was excited about life. I was happy for her, and yet I felt a jolt of envy I felt upon reading it. Rarely jealous, I take these kinds of sentiments seriously – by now I know they always come with a message (usually connected to me neglecting some need in me).

After some soul-searching I ended up beginning the New Year by taking out my colours again. Acrylics, water colours, gouache, crayons, pens, glitter; whatever I found in my art supply corner of the room. Brushes. I even ventured out in the newly arrived winter cold, half-sniffly, just to invest in a block of fresh water colour papers slightly bigger than any I had at home. Set it all up. Dipped the brush into water, and color, and began.

Excitement? Check.

All heart,
Minna

*
PS
Please remember that also 2016 is a year long. Plenty of time to get excited for all kinds of reasons and none. And next time you meet Jealousy, why not let it take you somewhere good?

PPS
The painting above is a part of a Woman Unleashed Online Retreat assignment I surprised myself by signing up to. Nudge nudge, wink wink, said the Universe, and I listened.

Diva Dawns by Amber Bonnici.

On exits, entries and other opposites

Diva Dawns by Amber Bonnici.

Diva Dawns by Amber Bonnici.

Dear human beaming,

something worth considering as another ends meets another new beginning:
Expression is the opposite of depression.

Being someone who has experienced bouts of depressive states or downward spirals of kinds and others, and simultaneously being someone who is learning to make those crucial small corrections en route towards any one of them, those words carried some serious healing power for me when I heard them last summer. By choice not dwelling longer on what those earlier bouts may or may not have been rooted in or caused by, let me put it like this:

I seem to have bypassed a downward spiral with a tiny and absolutely remarkable marginal this morning.

It must have started the way it usually begins: with all kinds of things layering up, like storm clouds on a carefree blue sky. There was tiredness after a long autumn, restlessness concerning where and how and with whom to spend The Remarkable Tonight and the next few days. There were questions related to creativity and unmet expectations concerning what I should have been able to have created/made happen in the time I have had to myself over the last few weeks. Reoccuring theme(s)? Seems so.
So I did what I have been doing lately when internal circumstances are being brought to the boil: I turned the stove off. I took the saucepan off the hot plate. Instead of digging deeper into annoyance and impossibilities, I simply stopped digging. Then I took a good look at my destination. Yup: I had once again been heading directly towards the Swamp Of No Creation.

The Swamp Of No Creation is the shitty place where I have been sworn to uncomfortable, unbreakable silences, where I vow to never, ever, ever, EVER touch anything that might bring me some joy in this world again. The Swamp Of No Creation is the stinky pond where I’m supposed to throw and get rid of any art I have ever created or am even dreaming of creating, not to mention all or any supplies I ever might want to use to do it – papers, words, pens, glitter, guitar, you name it (yes, guitar. I already saw myself zipping it up in its case in order to hide it in the darkest corner of my wardrobe for forever after).

As (sh)it happens, the network of roads that are leading to this place must be very intricately woven, as the routes seem to differ slightly. However, my internal GPS seems to be getting the bigger picture more and more clearly. From a more and more safe distance, I am being reminded to – excuse my French – fight, to fight, to fight for my right to party. Party meaning enjoying life and all that good stuff that is able to come into being through my heart co-operating with my head and hands. Good stuff including me making constructive choices to the best of my abilities at any given moment.

Writing this, it strikes me how incredibly easy and structured most processes sound in hindsight, and how mucky it can be when it gets mucky. I am lucky, I know. However, I am also beginning to see that most opposites actually more often are back to back to each other like coins, rather than at different ends of a wide spectrum.
The same brainpower that generates the image of the Swamp, also creates that Fertile Land Of Possibilities. Likewise, last summer I identified the two competing aspects of some of my most common traits and behavioral patterns – what they look like when they work against me, and what they look like when they work for me. They go as follows:

Seeming opposites #1On the left the demanding, driving Never Enough, which in its more gentle and constructive form appears as an enthusiastic Always Ready.

Seeming opposites #2Again on the left, Too Much!!!! (too big to even fit the picture) which tries to convince me of being too much of this or that, whereas the sane side of it is simply just me being Fully Alive, with all gifts I possibly have to offer the world.

Seeming opposites#3On the other hand, the Worrier in me loves to whisper Better Safe and tuck away feelings and brilliance rather than being open to the Precious Life that my Appreciator of Life so easily gets excited about.

Seeming opposites #4Last but not least, my tendency to say You First really is just rooted in a very heartfelt trait I either was born with or picked up someplace good: Be Kind.

Yes, I had great fun when drawing these. Yes, it has made it easier for me to move in between the settings, now that they have a face. Yes, there are probably more of them around. And no, this is not a final solution for necessarily anything at all, merely an observation of where I’m at, and how I got here. However, with these words being rooted in almost getting intimate with a downward spiral this morning, and with the pictures being rooted in identifying internal spooks, the (almost) opening phrase becomes even more poignant:

Expression is the opposite of depression.
Or, in other words: shit is the best fertilizer.

May your transition from one (calendar) year of life to the next be smooth, and may you discover and rediscover things cherished and longed for as we venture into yet another New. Rumour has it right: everything is possible.

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The first and last pieces of art in this blogpost are by Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici whose work I “accidentally” came across this morning. Or, actually it went like this:
Due to an inner craving of soulfood, I, prompted by a mail from Nia Tehcnique Inc., decided to join the Woman Unleashed Online Retreat over the next few days (anyone can join the event for free and participate as much or little as feels right and good). Anyway, the event turned out to be hosted by Amber, whose web presence felt encouraging and inspired me to look up her art. Having spent the past month reading Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Untie the Strong Woman and crafting my own relationship to the Holy Mother & the representations of her, Amber’s painting above (Diva Dawns) was breathing new air into me, whereas the Virgin of Guadalupe (below) kind of completed a personal cycle.
Exit cruelty, enter love.

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As the reasons to or the impact of a long-term, severe or clinical depression in or on a person’s life never are to be underestimated, I want to underline that neither I, nor Clarissa Pinkola Estés who I once again happen to be quoting in the beginning, are uttering these words lightly. There are some things that we can overcome on our own. There are others, that we may need help with.

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And what “should” I be creating this time of year? Apparently not so much, really. At least not anything I tell myself I should be creating. So rarely are births or rebirths really about pushing – they are more likely to be about letting go and come what may.

 

Rebirth by Amber Bonnici.

Rebirth by Amber Bonnici.

 

 

Many good returns

Dear human beaming.

Lately, I have been walking amidst all the beauty that is available at this time of the year. Lights, sparkles, scents; glitter and glow and well-wishes that I’ve taken utterly personally. I am confident that there is a lot of authentic heart energy of giving and receiving at work amongst the also slightly crazy seasonal consumerism.

Lately, I have also lent my ears and eyes to Dr CPE (Clarissa Pinkola Estés) once more. This time I have been listening to and reading Untie The Strong Woman, a work introducing some of the endless shapes that the Holy Mother and her presence may take. I find myself pulled into the world of this Mother of mothers just like I years ago was pulled into the world of Wild women running with the wolves. A lot has happened since – some has remained, some has been discharged, yet some uncovered.

In Untie the Strong Woman, CPE concludes a kind of trilogy drawing the outlines for feminine spiritual existence. It begins with the wild woman in Women Who Run With the Wolves, moving on to the wise one in the Dangerous Old Woman-series and ending up cheek to cheek with the holy one in Untie the Strong Woman. I find myself contemplating that the order only sometimes is chronological, mostly, happening all at the same time or in cyclical turns.
Being alive alone brings an undercurrent of holy into our every day, and wildness and wisdom surely take turn to spice things up; to assist us in seeing deeper and further when necessary; to teach, to learn, to share, to grow. And not growth that comes from controlled circumstances and fertilizers of a million kinds; rather growth that comes from having roots and a face to turn towards the light.

With Winter Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the U-turn of that nurturing light exactly, and us walking towards it again. Holy, holy is also the road that has lead us here, for we have been walking with the sun in our backs. What better is there to lean back on, at times? And all the reflection and contemplation, all the seeing in the dark that gets magnified while being practiced – what better gifts to bring along for a new birth?

May the holy days coming up be invitingly invigorating for all the senses; may the Season celebrating Light and Love revive and restore you beyond your wildest wishes.

All heart,
Minna

 

 

Another season of good

 Mii_the starry insight_signed

 

 

& dear human beaming,

be aware of that there amongst the crazy seasonal consumerism is a lot of authentic heart energy of giving and receiving at work also.

Let your eyes collect the beauty around you, and let your hands reflect it back to the world in deeds that fit you. A miracle is a miracle regardless its size; goodness abundant regardless the measure.

All heart,
Minna

Soul-fire

© Minna Aalto

The infusion of soul-fire into our own ideas, our own life, the lives of those we touch, that is our work.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves.

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Up north, daylight is growing more and more scarce on daily basis. The soul-fire seems to be burning brighter, as attention is turned inward in a most natural way. In its light necessities and priorities are scrutinized gently and firmly; what is no longer of service will be reduced to cinders and eventually ashes; a nurturing layer of things let go of.

Hibernation does not necessarily mean passivity, as passivity does not necessarily mean actionlessness. It is just more likely that the life force withdraws out of sight in order for one to sift through the inner matters that needs sifting through. When you look inward, look with love.

~Dakinia Minna ~