Tuesday, 26 June 2012

SumMEr of {Nurturing} Me

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

I'm delighted to have been invited by Renee over at HappilyEverAfter by Renee Burke to participate in her 13 week SumMEr of ME - a calling forth of self-care project over on her blog. This is an exploration in self-care and self communication, a looking at what we each implement into our lives as part of our self-care and nurture regime.

I know from past experience that a sure fire way for me to feel calm, balanced and totally fantastic inside and out, is Yoga.

Back in 2000, Yoga was something that seemed quite an enigma, very mysterious and in truth just a little bit intimidating. So to overcome that, as is often my way, I decided to break through my fear barrier that was keeping me on the outside looking in, and signed up for a 6 month Yoga Teacher Training course!

It turned out to be incredibly transformative, and this particular style of integrated Hathya Yoga had us leaning some incredibly simple movements to begin with, so simple in fact, I remember myself and others asking "How can THIS be Yoga?" but it worked. And it worked to clear toxins and emotions that had become locked in the body, and all of this happened before we even got to beginning the asanas.

Anyway of late, I have been doing some asanas as part of a home practice, very gentle, using a few favourite DVD's to keep me inspired. But I've also become aware that some grief and disappointment (from some experiences in my life over the last couple of years, things that didn't work out quite as I would have liked) have become locked in my body, and I was finding it hard to 'access' into them, so I could release them and heal them fully. Then I woke up the other morning with the sudden realisation that going right back to basics and doing the very simple first routine I learnt all those years ago, can help me to break through these emotions that have gotten trapped in my cells and joints! It was a bit of a light bulb moment!

That is what I know I need and will be doing this SumMEr. Nurturing myself one day at a time, with a lot more time spent on the mat.

So Yoga Yoga on!

Catherine Athena xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Simple pleasures - hot butternut squash soup and garlic toast on a cold, rainy evening
smell:: The heady honey-ed aroma of flowers in the hedgerow
touch:: Rough bark of a silver birch tree
see:: Picasso - Matisse on DVD
hear:: windchimes playing on the breeze
think:: where is the Sun hiding {at this time of year}?
feel:: relaxed and drama-free
read:: The Four Agreements ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
intuit:: topsy turvy global weather patterns making folks edgy

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

On the Road

"The only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time. The ones that never yawn or say a common-place thing, but burn, burn, burn ... like Roman candles across the night.

Jack Kerouac's beat generation classic "On the Road" has been turned into a film, due for release a bit later this year...and {secretly} I can't wait to see it!

Directed by Walter Salles - director of the marvellous road trip movie "The Motorcycle Diaries" another autobiographical jaunt, but that time it was across South America, and the story of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (Che Guevara as he would later be known)

Written in a flurry of typing that took just 3 weeks, 'On the Road' has gone on to inspire and influence many artists, writers and musicians.
"If you're working with words, it's got to be poetry. I grew up with [the books of Jack] Kerouac. If he hadn't wrote On The Road, the Doors would have never existed. Morrison read On The Road down in Florida, and I read it in Chicago. That sense of freedom, spirituality, and intellectuality in On The Road — that's what I wanted in my own work". ~ Ray Manzarek keyboard player of 'The Doors'.
"I read On the Road in maybe 1959. It changed my life like it changed everyone else's". ~ Bob Dylan

Check out the trailer... what do you think?

Catherine Athena xo

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

My wild-ish Nature...Inner landscapes in acrylic paint and collage

I began this painting one dark day at the end of May, as I listened to one of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés' audio books called "Seeing in the Dark: Myths and Stories to Reclaim the Buried, Knowing Woman" and while her stories unwound and carried me to enchanted places, one particular tale, (a traditional Eastern European folktale - which was the basis for the wonderful Tim Burton's Corpse Bride a stop-motion animated fantasy film) took me deeply inward.

And while I was there, it brought to mind a dream I had late last year, where I found myself in a numinous and liminal place, a wild landscape of stark shadows, running with Wolf-Dog-Coyote through dark woods, past blood rivers and lakes over a frozen grey terrain. It was like I was in the Underworld of my own consciousness. My inner worlds.

Anyway, here is my acrylic and collage interpretation of that dream vision. My wild-ish nature.
Catherine Athena xo

Monday, 11 June 2012

Coyote Wisdom

I painted this almost a month ago - 17 May 2012.

Inspired by the wonderful books of Carlos Castaneda, my love of the Mexican and North American desert regions with their vast azure-turquoise blue skies.... and Coyote, who truly knows how to trust himself.
Coyote is to me, is such a powerful example of an animal who is able to adapt skilfully to any environment or situation, the ultimate survivor-thriver.

I noticed some fascinating shifts beginning to take shape for me immediately after I painted this quote onto my painting, and it was up on display in my living space, where I was seeing it all the time. I found out for myself how the very act of writing something down makes it physical, in this world, no longer just a concept, and in this case the words seemed to take on a life of their own and I got to start living with them.

Events and opportunities suddenly came up where I found myself checking in with my instinctual 'knowing' Self, to see if I trusted myself...or if I needed to trust myself more.
Words have such inherent power in them. The words we use and choose to surround ourselves with.
Cat x

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Lightning Flight

An exciting day for me... One of my paintings was featured on a major art blog! ::

Jubilee Bank Holiday

It's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend here in England... meaning that Queen Elizabeth has reigned for 60 years and we have two bank holidays after the weekend (although I've worked both days anyway).

What it mostly means for me is the Post has not been delivered for 3 days...and I'm eagerly awaiting some more art supplies to arrive for an art course I'm doing... one where I get to channel my playful and free 7 year old.

One of the early exercises has us drawing symbols (making image libraries) of things that are kind of personally symbolic to us. I began drawing some free-form shapes and suddenly all these creatures, objects and things that I used to draw when I was young started flooding back into my mind, like I'd opened up a secret memory room I had long forgotten. Felt great to be gathering them into my sketchbook.

Right, I gotta get back to it. I'm on a roll and I want to catch the wave! C x

Monday, 4 June 2012

Quotable Quote

I adore this quote. It reminds me how everything is interwoven and connected, and what we create become mirrors of us and our story, the living of it and the telling of it.

Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.~ Michael Ondaatje