Ode To Midsummer

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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

Bursting into being

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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~

 

Let jealousy take you there

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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.

On exits, entries and other opposites

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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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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

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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

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 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

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© 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.

*

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 ~

A word of encouragement

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Picture by Kavilo Photography.

Dear lovelies,
this came up today.

*

Let’s talk about circles.
You know, those, that can be used for protection during times of incubation and introspection. Those, that are welcome during times of recess and reassessment; those, that create a safe space for withdrawals and wandering.
In case you didn’t know, those circles – the sacred ones – are yours to draw exactly as often as you might find necessary, exactly in the ways that feel right to you.

Even if it might seem lonely On That Brink Of Something New at times
Alone is what you truly are not

There are Hearts allover beating a little extra in order to best answer questions like
Can I?
Am I ready?
What if…?
What if not?

There are Hearts allover pursuing their dreams one decision at a time.
There are Hearts allover taking baby steps on shaky legs, and taking them nonetheless.

Can you imagine your hands reaching out towards the Hearts around you?
Can you feel hands holding hands?
Can you see a circle emerging?

We are all held in the making.

————

© Minna Aalto, 2015

A note on intentional solitude

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Love notes from an intentional solitude

Dear lovelies, the essential first:
Only goodness can come out of time spent on one’s own.
Even more so, life!

In case the thought of solitude feels like bringing death to something, it usually does. First, it is death to all those habits that are so easy to maintain in the midst of caring and caring for –  I can and I want to; I should, and could, and must. Second, it is death to a period of possibly stretched engagement. Stretched most often because of I will only ________, and then…
Not that there is anything wrong in engagement, quite the contrary. However, I am undoubtedly developing into a devoted spokesperson for the cyclical nature of – everything. I notice that following the brilliant and soul-restoring work of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés since the past seven years or so has influenced my vocabulary around these matters. Her thoughts on what she has named the Life/Death/Life-cycle have been essential for my deeper understanding of myself, creativity, sexuality and life.

Living somewhere, where the four seasons distinctively differ from each other – yes, I cherish them all – does underline the experience of the waxing and the vaning; spending the summer in an environment where lush greets me as soon as I step out on the porch, has only heightened my awareness of the cycles that occur all around us; being a woman bleeding at irregularly regular intervals, I am aware also of the cycles within. Thus, eternal expansion doesn’t make sense to me. An inhale and an exhale do. Blooming and decaying; day and night; activity and rest, do. And the big bang that is said to have launched our ever-expanding universe into being in the first place? Who knows – maybe we are simply in the midst of the biggest heartbeat there ever was.

And so it is, that for some of us humans living in the midst of this heartbeat – and especially for creatives with a strong strand of introversion blended into their personality, if I speak for myself – withdrawing at times is a necessity. Not because the world is a weary place – even if it sometimes might seem like it – but because solitude is like a bath for my soul. At times it is enough with a great cup of coffee, or trying on a beautiful summer dress, or three, just for fun. At others, it can be that lonely drive somewhere with music blasting; or to sit in silence in a park, or by the pier, or on some rocks in the sun. It can be a dance class, or a yoga class, or going for a walk. It can be sitting meditation, or living meditation, or that precious lonetime at home. Even playing guitar, or drawing a picture, or reading a book! All those moments are a form of an exhale, of letting go, of creating space for whatever it is that wants to make itself heard. And yet, as I have come to discover, sometimes something else is needed.

A Minna Twice song in the making is called Make amends, and it reflects over the important and sometimes revolutionary power of women seeking solitude, or solitude finding a woman. This sought-out solitude is the place from where I seem to be able to best judge how to navigate onwards, be it concerning art or entrepreneurship or my intimate relationship(s). This is the place many long for when it is time to re-evaluate any partnership they may be in. This is the place where Life/Death/Life is very, if not most, likely to show its face: what will be allowed to live, and what to die?

I know now, that a younger me drew conclusions about the state of my intimate relationship based on not what I truly felt for my partner, but what I was lacking in self-nurture and self-love. The current me values communication and stating my truth, above all. The arrival of death does not necessarily mean the end of the relationship, but it may mean necessary changes to keep it a happy, sane and alive one. If a relationship is rooted in fertile, loving ground, any pruning of it will only make it grow bolder.

So, one more thing about that withdrawal, or retreat, or other period of intentional solitude: do not fear it. Make friends with it, and invite it in. Some of my brightest ideas, some of my most personal insights, some of my most creative endeavours have been received during times that I have allowed myself tro truly feel what needs to be felt, to see what needs to be seen. And before I know it (and by now I know it deeply), it’s time for an inhale again, to be out there to inspire and be inspired some more.

*

Please know, that I’m writing this note to myself as much as for anyone else: oh dearie, do not be fooled. Just because this solitude brought on those changes, it does not mean that I never again will stand here asking and sorting and weeding. I may be done for now, but the nature of cycles is to – return.

*

PS – with the exception of a few very short visits in partnershipland during my twenties, I was leading the life of a solitary woman until almost 30. After a period of self-chosen celibacy lasting about two and a half years, I got an urge to get a bigger bed, just in case somebody I’d like enough to share it with would show up. A couple of months later, I met my current life partner online, via a music project we both had signed up for. It took us four months to meet up, and when we did, I knew it was the end of one kind of solitude. Enter next!

PPS – you can find many of Dr CPE’s great audiobooks on Soundstrue, an independent publisher I’m happy to support.

*

Make amends

Give any woman some time for thoughts
Give any woman some time for feeling
Leave any woman alone for a moment
And watch a world unfold

True dat, things may not go back to what they were like,
true dat, she might even ask for more
But though she is talking of a revolution, it might be one of love

Let me take a while to think about things
Let me take some time to feel what I’m feeling
Let me sit alone, for just a moment
Oh, leave me be in peace

I might take a walk to clear my mind
I might go inside and lock the door
I might seem shut down, not be at home
Oh, leave me, please, alone

True dat, things may not go back to what they were like,
true dat, I might even ask for more
But though I am talking of a revolution, it might be one of love
See, I might talk about love

© Minna Aalto | Minna Twice, 2015