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I met Sara when we were seeking a great place and teacher to spin with this winter!  When I took that first spinning class with Sara, I knew that I had found what I was looking for; an inspired, passionate and motivating force of nature!  Sara was instantly our favorite guide leading us spinners (cycling and otherwise!) for our one-hour ride of what she calls “sweat therapy”!  And it was, as I felt not only sweaty from the intense cardio workout groovin’ to fun, uplifting playlists, but I had also received as a bonus, the feeling of release that is the often by product of a cathartic therapy session! I knew that I had to get to know Sara, and when I learned about The Fly Buddha, I understood more about what made her special brand of inspirational magic so tangible! Sara is a fired up more than survivor, but what I would call a thriver in life!  I am so happy that Sara said YES to sharing her inspirations with us here through my What Inspires You? Blog Series!  Thank you Sara!

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Raw, Emotional Humans

Raw, emotional humans. My favorite. So real. So strong. So present to the now. So willing to rise above. Acknowledging all their feels in every dark corner and in each ray of light. They hide nothing. Expression and truth is the game. Connection and growth is their goal. 

Once a month I lead a room full of THIS…pure, beautiful, unapologetic vulnerability. Men and women showing up, ready to give and needing to take. We talk cancer. We talk pain. We talk what is and what could be. On the table it goes for one to release and someone to pick up. It’s awesome. It’s powerful. It’s as uplifting as it comes. 

I leave those nights changed. My heart with more empathy and my mind greater depths of compassion. For the unfiltered truth is all that matters in the end. Humans being human – real, raw, expressive feelers – ebbing and flowing, leaning and bracing as we journey together on this ride of life.

Raw, emotional humans. This is what inspires me. xoxo 

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Warrior DTLA
Bio:

Just months after my 30th birthday, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It hit me with the weight of a ton of bricks. My life suddenly filled with uncertainty, the future no longer a guarantee, and the days of motherhood stripped away from me before I had the chance to create miracles of my own. I spent the weeks that followed with a heavy heart focused on survival and acceptance of this altered life.

Then I got an introduction to the Southern California Reproductive Center where a beautiful new focus, one centered around hope and the possibility of “mini-mes” one day, gave me something to look forward to – something to carry me through. Under the care of Dr. Surrey and his staff I was able to freeze 18 eggs before beginning my cancer treatment.

Now, three years later and cancer free, I’m happy I gave myself this gift! I have so much excitement in my soul thinking about the next chapter of my life when I get to play the most important role I could ever imagine – that of a loving, grateful mama.

After my experience, I felt pulled to bring more awareness to egg freezing as an option to women diagnosed with gynecological cancer as well as provide financial assistance and resources during the process. Saving my eggs brought hope into my life at an extremely hopeless, fear-filled time. It is my mission to give this same powerful sense of hope and beautiful gift of motherhood to every woman who faces a similar journey through my foundation, The Fly Buddha

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” 
― Pema ChödrönThe Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times
Contact Info:
Sara Krish // Founder, Mentor, Cancer Warrior
Follow on IG/FB @theflybuddha

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.

~ Denis Waitley

When asked to explore the topic of BE LOVE from my friend Kat of Gently Moving Forward, I felt overwhelmed and still do honestly. The topic of Love is no small thing. Artists of all kinds, from fine artists to songwriters, authors, screenwriters, dancers, musicians, actors and on and on have been diving deep and pulling up expressions on Love for millennia. I am reminded of something that a good friend and mentor said to me once, ART is like LOVE, it’s not easy to define or contain, Love is endless like the ocean. So, with that, I will contribute my current musings on this call to explore “Be Love.”artist palette

 

Love is finding a soul mate and life partner in the most roundabout and curious manner… I am amazed and grateful each and every moment of this miracle.Kevin and I

LOVE with Kevin

 

Love is Mother Nature in all of her manifestations, the vast oceans, rivers and lakes, the rich and varied earth forms, the life-giving air, and transformative fire. She is my core inspiration for most of my artistic expressions in painting. The four primal elements and our home planet Earth give Love to us so abundantly and freely without any complaints, demands or refusals. She is always giving selflessly.mamma ocean

 

Love is the joy of creativity in any medium. I create art through painting and I have also discovered the joy of cooking for others in what I call my “creative kitchen.” I believe that conceiving of and preparing a meal for a beloved and loved ones is a simple necessity that has become one of my creative expressions throughout the days… as the saying goes, “a girl’s gotta eat, right?”creative kitchen

 

Love is the creatures of all types—four-leggeds, winged-ones, swimming ones, creepy crawlers, buzzing bees and the humming birds…. Every day I am in awe of our co-habitants and Spirit helpers. Love exemplified.wild dolphins

 

my babies

Love is that profound knowing and love between my family, both biological and kindred-spirits in community. Love is when we just look at each other, communicate telepathically and feel each other through the breaths of everyday living, whether near or far.

Alisa and I

Love is feeling compassion and being loving to the Self and Other despite the emotions that are stirred up when seeing injustices, inequalities, imbalances, or the pain and suffering of any living being through inner or outer wars or violence of any kind. Being a highly sensitive and empathic individual has its benefits for sure, though we may feel too much sometimes. The key I am discovering through the gentle and ongoing practice of Self Love is to continue to love, accept and be at peace with all aspects of the Self and of Other, aka. Loving What Is according to author and teacher Byron Katie.

The I Inside

Love is “not taking it personally,” this principle being one of my key intentions for the year of 2016 and believe me, once I shot that arrow into the air and shared that intention publicly, the little tests showed up and sometimes continue. The inspiration for transformation is LOVE indeed!

And, lastly for now, Love is remembering Who I Am. After many years of awakening, of teachings from teachers, readings from astrologers channelers and the like, to meditation retreats in India, Central America, across the US and beyond, guided rituals, self-help and psychology books, volumes of personal journals and on and on… One thing I have heard and seen over and over are these wise and simple words, Know Thyself, Remember Who You Are. And this my friends, is BEING LOVE and it’s free of charge, simply requires remembering more in the game of remembering and forgetting.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems on love by Rumi.
Let us fall in love again
and scatter gold dust all over the world.
Let us become a new spring
and feel the breeze drift in the heavens’ scent.
Let us dress the earth in green,
and like the sap of a young tree
let the grace from within sustain us.
Let us carve gems out of our stony hearts
and let them light our path to Love.
The glance of Love is crystal clear
and we are blessed by its light.

~translated by Azima Melita Kolin

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my facebook page, check out my Art with Lórien online classes or email me at artwork@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Art to Awaken Your Heart, Nourish Your Spirit

www.lorieneck.com

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For my “Be Inspired” series of blogs, I have invited kindred spirits from a variety of backgrounds and specialties in life.  Today, I am happy to feature a Guest blog post from my partner in life and love today, Kevin.  I have known Kevin for over thirteen years, after our spiritual lives began bringing our lives together.  Our shared values and interests continue to be source of inspiration and nourishment for us both.

INSPIRATION

Stepping out in a world blustery with expectations and demands, it can be easy to overlook essential inspiration. We remember to take our next breath, but even now, are we inhaling slowly and deeply… appreciating the gift of life itself, grateful for the simple pleasures and sustenance all around us? When the power goes out, we feel at a loss, but what do we feel when we forget to appreciate art, music, nature, or the value of relationships? The soul can silently wither, until the day we wake up, perhaps wondering… what happened?

So it is with great joy that I write this, recalling elements that inspire me and invite my mind to soar and dream of yet-unseen possibilities. May everyone who reads these words answer their own inner invitation to reconnect with feelings and memories that raise their eyebrows, lift their hearts, and spark the imagination.
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THE WONDERS OF NATURE

Whether walking by the seashore or trekking through distant lands, tranquil moments in nature provides an endless source from which to fill myself with appreciation. Watching flying fish soar great distances in the Galapagos Islands, and snorkeling with penguins and hammerhead sharks. Gliding over feet of fresh powder on Copper Mountain. Basking in the glow of fireflies and chirping frogs at Fort Shantok State Park. Enjoying sunset after sunset with my beloved. The list is endless!

Gpgs penguinsA few friendly penguins keeping me company in the Galapagos.

SunsetThe wonders of nature are a gift, when our eyes are open.

LEARNING

I am so grateful to my parents and teachers for my education. I love libraries and bookstores for keeping their doors open as long as they are able. Throughout life, my worldview has been illuminated by inspiring treatises such as The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, Dawna Markova’s No Enemies Within, Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and Anodea Judith’s essential Wheels of Life. These greats show us pathways to live more fulfilling lives.

DELICACIES

Like a lemon tart that makes the tastebuds sing. Or homemade gourmet pizza on cornbread crust that is pure comfort. Cooking, and cooking together, is a wonderful creative experience. I love appreciating the sunlight, rainwater, and care and tending of the thousand unseen hands that helped deliver the bounty of ingredients to my countertop. And the sights, sounds, tastes and experience of preparing a meal are all joys to be savoured.

food-blogHomemade delicacies. The fun is in the making!

FORTUNATE COMPOSITIONS

I’m inspired by movies like Groundhog Day, that remind us that our actions make a difference. Foreign films and films like Julie & Julia that remind us that life may be full of recipes but is not a formula, and every life has something valuable to teach and to tell. And they also remind us to follow our dreams.

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Music can comfort the soul, and beautiful artwork reflects meanings and emotions that provide healing and guidance along the way. Literature, like A Confederacy of Dunces, dances with a musicality of language, with the authenticity of well-worn clothes and vulnerable humanity. And artworks and architecture stir the soul, from Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie, to timeless gardens of the Shinto Palace above Kamakura, to the jewel box of Sainte Chappelle.

The Jewel Box of Saint Chappelle // Lórien Eck’s Water IV

INNER WORK

Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate to experience spiritual awarenesses firsthand, such as the lotus flower experience, where the awareness of one’s body drops away, and one experiences their life force as a phosphorescent flower rising up the spine and blooming through the crest of the head, unfolding endlessly like a holographic chrysanthemum. There is definitely more going on here than meets the eye! This directs my life toward valuing inner work… defining and redefining my own life, and realizing the qualities that give rise to a better world. Encouraging myself to dream in this way, with a sense beyond limitations and boundaries, can give our lives meaning beyond this fleeting existence, knowing we are threads in a much grander, greater tapestry.

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LOVE

At the end of the day, there are the relationships that make it all worthwhile. The love of family and friends, and a partner in life to walk along the shores of life, share the vistas, and enjoy every step along the way, each and every day. Reflecting on this, I feel as though I’m fulfilling the hopes of my dear, departed Aunt C, who still reminds me “do good things, not dream them all day long, and so make life one grand, sweet song.” Living life fully is a grand adventure. I am thrilled beyond words to have a magnificent, extraordinary partner to share it with. Let’s do this!

 

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BIO

A lover of life, adventure, and understanding it all the best we can, Kevin Helms brings a true appreciation to the life around him. He is a gentle guide through the dark waters of modern times, helping others see their own light and shine brightly. His calling includes work as a writer, editor, and meditation teacher.  Connect with Kevin at Copy Caravan.

 

Today I get to share the awe-inspired words of my close friend Kat!  We share a deep love for the ocean and for so much of what the islands offer us as pure and simple inspiration!  I look forward to being a Guest blogger on her Gently Moving Forward‘s “BE LOVE” blog series during the month of February!  Stay tuned for that in the coming weeks here!  And, now Kat’s offering…It’s so gorgeous and profound! xoox

What inspires me?  

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The Ocean is my biggest inspiration.

One of the things that Lórien and I have in common is our deep love of the ocean. Being near the ocean, walking at the beach and hiking along the cliffs is medicine for my body, mind and soul.  Swimming in the water with the wild dolphins in Hawaii is top on my list of inspirational activities! I will never forget swimming with the wild humpback whales in Tonga. Just thinking about being in the water with a mama humpback and her calf gets me inspired!  When I am in need of inspiration, one of the first things I will do is head to the beach. Even just 10 minutes at the shore can shift my energy level, provide clarity, and give me a fresh new outlook.

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That special place.

We all have special places that make us feel good. I am grateful to feel that way about my backyard. It is a private, “secret garden” filled with flowers, trees, birds, and a warm hot tub/spa.  A little time in my backyard every day helps me to stay grounded and inspired.  I love to drink a cup of tea and listen to the birds sing. The beautiful trees help me feel grounded and strong. Sitting or floating in the hot tub is very relaxing and can sometimes change my state of mind completely.  Do you have a special place where you go to recharge and get inspired?

 

Inspirational fuel

Seeing someone take a project from the initial idea stage to completion lights me up. Allowing that to fuel my own creativity helps to give me the courage and clarity to pursue my own dreams. That is the spiral path that I want to be on, moving upward along with others. Our dreams are possible and within our reach if we are willing to do the work. Willing to bravely nourish our dreams. Willing to put the time and energy into making them come alive. Willing to ask for help. There is much we don’t have control over, but consistently moving toward the directions of our inspired dreams is something we really can do.  Every step we take brings us closer. We may need gentle reminders sometimes.  Cultivating relationships with others who are choosing to live inspired lives can serve us tremendously. One of the things that I have learned is that it is not only OK to ask for support, it is essential!

Choose Love over Fear.

Every day we have a choice.  We can choose to move us in the direction of our inspirations or we can get stuck in fear.  Everywhere we look we can see either love or fear. One of the easiest ways to make decisions based in love is to take a few breaths and become as present as possible in the moment. Think about the choice at hand and notice how you feel when making your decision.  When we choose a love-filled choice, it will feel light. If it feels heavy, there may be some fear in your decision.  Play with this and practice it for a bit. You may find that you have your own unique experiences that will help you to make more compassionate choices. The more I practice this simple process, the easier it is for me to make choices aligned with love.  Choosing love over fear is one of the greatest contributions we can make in our lives, both personally and collectively.

Practice Ho’oponopono

Forgiveness, Love and Gratitude are my Trinity.  Through all of my years of study, the most powerful tools I have learned are Forgiveness, Love and Gratitude. When I am stuck, one of these three will help me to shift my energy to get back on the inspiration highway. The ancient Hawaiians had a practice of atonement called Ho’oponopono. This practice involved using forgiveness, love and gratitude to transform issues, relationship challenges and other things can block our creativity and access to inspiration.  The next time an issue comes up, hold it in your mind’s eye and repeat the following:  I’m sorry. Please forgive me.  I love you. Thank you.  Try not to judge yourself or others as you practice. Start with yourself and then move on to other people or situations from there.

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Take time to Retreat and Realign

Busy lives with many demands make it essential to unplug every now and then. I take myself on a personal retreat quarterly. Taking time to retreat helps me to review and reconnect with my goals, dreams and desires. These retreats ensure that I make time to bring more of my inspiration forward in my life. I look at what is working in my life as well as examining what isn’t working. There is something magical about choosing to align with what is working in our lives. By focusing on what is working well, we can tap into the flow of grace and ease in our lives.  Being in flow helps us to bring more of what we want into our lives.  Knowing what is working is key to help us to shift and release what isn’t working.  In these retreats, I allow time for rest, deep contemplation, integration, fun and inspiration!

Filling Up the Well.

In our modern-day world, there are so many choices and options available to us. While it is good to have many choices, sometimes it can be challenging to make inspired and aligned decisions. Learning to say “no” helps us to say “YES!” to the important things in our lives. Inspiration, like growth, is not a straight path. It is more like a spiral, evolving and moving forward. As we seek inspiration, it is important to be patient with ourselves and to practice self-care strategies that fill us up and support our body, mind and spirit. Self-care for me may be different for you. The key is finding what works for you!

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What do you do to keep inspiration alive in your life?

Gently Moving Forward,

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Kathleen Nelson Troyer is the founder of  Gently Moving Forward. She works with organizations and individuals as a retreat leader, consultant, coach, trainer and mentor.

She leads intensive individual and group retreats to Hawaii and other sacred spots on our planet. She also facilitates family and systemic constellations and believes in the power of forgiveness, love and gratitude to transform our lives.

Kat lives in a seaside cottage with a magical garden 25 miles south of San Francisco with her fabulous husband John, three cats and one dog.

She loves to travel, cook and hike. She is passionate about living a peaceful, joyful and inspired life.

Kat is the author of The Gently Moving Forward Guide to Inner Wisdom that is currently available as a gift to her newsletter subscribers. You can find Kat and get a copy of her book at www.kathleennelsontroyer.com

My featured Guest Blogger is Cady McClain.  I met Cady through a mutual friend from my childhood and boy am I glad that she reached out!  We connected through our shared interest and passion for women’s voices and representation in the field of arts, both visual and performing.  My video post on balancing the genders in the arts connected us online and I am so inspired and excited about the powerfully awesome documentary film that Cady is directing, writing, and producing along with Kate Super.  I promise, you will feel inspired and like me, looking forward to the release of her film.  Thank you Cady for being you and sharing your inspiration here and with the world!
Cady’s Blog Post:
For the past five months, I’ve had the honor and privilege of getting to interview women who direct film, television, and theater for a documentary I am working on called Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct. I’d like to share with you a little bit about a couple of women I’ve spoken to in order to give you a bit of the inspiration I’m enjoying!
Leah Meyerhoff is the founder of a group called “Film Fatales,” and graduated from NYU Film School with an amazing film called I Believe in Unicorns, a coming of age story filmed so sensitively, so creatively, I practically felt like she was whispering to my inner teenager. Film Fatales consists of female filmmakers who create “peer-to-peer mentorship” by meeting once a month at each others’ houses and participating in conversations that help each host with a topic related to the project on which she is currently working. This organization is also making a mark on the Independent film scene with its outreach programs and support of filmmakers on the circuit. I admire Leah so much I was practically shaking when I met her, but by the end of our conversation I felt quite at ease. She’s that kind of person. Incredibly well-spoken and clear, thoughtful and kind, super organized (which I loved), and without the slightest tinge of bitterness for the gender bias that is so rampant in our industry. She says that she “took the script and flipped it,” and I love that expression. Instead of identifying herself as being at the hand of gender discrimination, she proudly took on the label of “woman director” and created a whole movement of creative women who are now all owning their gender status and creating flourishing careers. I am proud to say I am now a fellow fatale!
 
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 (This is Leah Meyerhoff with a traveling coffee mug that looks like a camera lens. A gift from me to her as a “thank you” for her wise words and journey!)
I also got to interview Deborah Kampmeier  whose first film, Virgin, had a huge run on the festival circuit, and whose second film, Hounddog, caused an international scandal due to its subject matter: the rape of a child. Honestly, I was very concerned myself about watching the film, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a beautiful film and nothing like what it was made out to be. Sensitively done, considerate and respectful to the issue of sexuality in a developing girl, and surprisingly insightful into female sexuality. Deborah works with a passionate authenticity and a deep respect of her and others “womanhood.” She understands things about being a woman that I never heard anyone say, or even suggest. Listening to her talk I was brought to tears by her commitment to her artistry, and her passion for her unique vision. Her work is daring, original, and important, and reminded me that I must take risks in my own work, despite everything.
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(This is a shot of my interview with Deborah, taken while playing back on my big screen TV!)
I think that is what really inspires me the most: women committing to their unique vision, despite all. No matter what anyone says, no matter what the statistics are, they persevere, the drive forward. Sure, everybody gets afraid sometimes. But these women (and many more) don’t submit to the fear. They continue to stay above water and true to themselves. There’s no being shut down by “the business” and all that talk about how you “have to compromise.” No mam. They talk about being clear about who they are, what they love, and how to work in spite of the obstacles.
And that’s inspiring stuff!
Here’s a link to a promo about the film: https://vimeo.com/145945236
And to the films’ FB page: https://www.facebook.com/WomenDirectors
Cady
(And this is me with Mr. Peanut, my loyal and loving super buddy.)
Marla is a phenomenally inspired woman: her job title even happens to be “Chief Inspiration Officer,” so inviting Marla to share her #HolidayHumanity Storytelling Campaign was a natural fit.  I had the pleasure of meeting Marla through a mutual friend, another inspired woman, when they were on a so-called “Artist’s Date” (à la The Artist’s Way) in 2012.  As the owner of Embrace Your Spotlight, Marla does amazing work as a mentor and coach for entrepreneurs looking to build a genuine, trusted and compelling personal brand while redesigning a leveraged business based on a healthy money relationship generating leads, ideal clients and higher revenues.  I am honored to call Marla my friend and power-walking partner along the beaches of So Cal.

Check out her blog post here and perhaps you’ll be inspired to contribute your story to her #HolidayHumanity Storytelling Campaign. 

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Spotlight

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What Inspires You?

What inspires you?  Sometimes life can feel flat, dull and dry. How do we change it up, keep inspired, happy and moving forward in the direction of our wildest dreams?  Maybe we lose sight of what our dreams are, what makes our heart sing or excites or moves us…  We are spiritual beings having a human experience and this can happen from time to time to anyone, especially if you are like me and tend to review, reflect and reinvent myself over and over again!

kalalau 2In one my fave places doing what I love… moving my body and Spirit near the sea…

We are creatures of change, of transformation and always evolving.  And, whilst moving along, my journey, purpose, joy and following my bliss can at times seem foreign and distant.  When I have found myself in those places or in a funk, which I have, one of the ways that I have navigated back to my joy out of sadness or fear is to look for what inspires me and sometimes this is jump-started by the simple act of taking a walk outdoors in nature…

gold sandBeauty is all around us, in nature, in the raw primal elements…

What inspires me is all around me, all of the time.  I find that it simply requires paying attention, being awake and being aware.  Sometimes, that’s easier said than done!  What I find works best to keep it simple and to remain gentle and at ease is to simply focus on what feels good and notice that.  What inspires me naturally is what feels to good to my natural physical senses… to taste, smell, touch, hear and see.

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Here are some of the people, places and things that inspire, give me life and provide light to be my best self and to do what I am here to do!

outdoor labyrinthme and babies

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pink sunsetspring water venice masks stained glass and sunlight
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lilies meemie  fire 2-up gold sand kalalau 1   color leaf

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Let’s face it, it’s easy to slip into the habit of taking the simple things in life for granted and at times, forget what is truly of value, especially when those things of value cost nothing.  We are so fortunate in so many ways, nature providing abundant nourishment, life force energy and the essential basics of fresh air to breathe, water to drink and the heartbeat of the mother herself keeping us all nurtured and cared for.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my facebook page, or email me at artwork@lorieneck.com.

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love, creativity, adventure and play!

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Art to Awaken Your Heart, Nourish Your Spirit

www.lorieneck.com

 

 

Julie and I met whilst we were both living at the same place, during a magical time in Kauai.  It was just after the new year and we were both in our own transition time, integrating the intense wisdom and healing powers of the islands and our own inner processes.  She brought with her a strong sense of adventure. She had just left the big island of Hawaii where she had been exploring the creations of Pele, the volcanoes, which was very exciting to talk about! We shared in conversation and I learned that we had common interests and passions in travel, wild nature, astrology, the Bay Area and yoga!  I enjoyed our conversations and sharing time “on the mat” at Metamorphose Yoga studio and at one of my favorite places on planet Earth, the beach! Julie is a tremendous human resource for entrepreneurs and I am thrilled to share her inspirations with you here.  Thank you Julie!

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  1. I get to weave my passions into my work. I’m nature obsessed. I want everyone to slow down. I am passionate about people nourishing themselves first (please put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others!). This is reflected in the way I run my business and the way I teach and coach others how to run theirs. It feels amazing to do it my way.
  2. I get to create my own schedule. I don’t work before 10AM! Mornings are for self-care. I clump all my clients together so that I have large chunks of time to focus on other kinds of work or simply to get outside and have fun. I can often schedule my work around my vacations instead of scheduling my vacations around my work.
  3. I get to choose my strategy and tactics. I don’t have to do things I don’t like. I do work hard, but it’s toward a vision that I have created that feels authentically me and aligned with my purpose. I get to be myself in my business, not put on airs or shows, nor use weird or sleazy marketing tactics. I know that being me is the best way to attract the kinds of clients I actually want to work with, not trying to be someone or something else.IMG_0042
  4. I get to sit on my comfy couch and look out over the beautiful bay and the redwoods while I’m on the phone with my clients. And I get to wear whatever I want while I’m doing this. And cook healthy food for myself at lunchtime.
  5. I get to work with ridiculously inspiring people. My clients are doing such beautiful work in the world, with so much integrity. They are an inspiration to me and call me to task too… I am constantly learning and improving my own skills so I can serve them and their visions better.Natural-Business-Cycle-2 Master
  6. My business evolves as I evolve. I see business as cyclical, not linear. We travel around the wheel many times, and we learn and grow with each pass. As I change, my business changes with me… my mission is not set in stone, I get to take whatever classes I want and welcome their influence on the way I work, the messages I send, and the impact I have. My business is so different from when it started, and I know it will continue to evolve as I do.
  7. It’s great fodder for personal growth. I get to be at my edge, constantly. Truthfully, this is not always fun. Things are sometimes up and down in the life of a business, and it requires a lot of trust, courage and self-compassion. I’m working on it with all my clients, and working on it in myself too. There is a continual balancing act in my life and business, and I am regularly faced with my fears, insecurities, and areas where I need to grow.
  8. I can help friends out in the middle of the day. That was pretty hard when I had a “job job.” But now, if a friend needs a ride to the airport at 2PM, there’s a chance I can actually do it! More broadly speaking, I have more time to support and connect with the people I care about and love the most. Yay!Replenish Retreat Promo 1c
  9. I get to create my dream retreat and then invite cool women to it. If I want to mix business strategy with hot tubs and seasonal foods and chocolate and red wine in the redwoods in winter, then that’s what I get to do! Wanna come??
  10. I get to live out my purpose… Helping other people create all of this for themselves! I love putting structure around a vision, in fact, I pretty much do it in my sleep. It’s such a deep pleasure to be able to support others using the gifts that come so naturally to me. I feel most on purpose when I am supporting others to be on their purpose, and making the money they need to support their lives, their families, and their dreams.

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Julie Wolk helps mission-driven entrepreneurs (teachers, consultants, coaches, healers, and other service professionals) who are excellent at their craft, really rock the business side, so they can thrive. She developed the Natural Business Cycle, a unique and overwhelm-reducing business development model based on the natural world. She co-founded and for many years co-directed a thriving nonprofit organization (Wilderness Torah) and worked for 10 years prior to that in environmental advocacy and public relations. Julie is a certified professional coach and spends a lot of time wandering in the East Bay hills.

Learn more at: http://www.juliewolkcoaching.com/

The coolest thing about networking is that we get to see firsthand the power of the concept of six degrees of separation! I met guest blogger Laura via someone I met at networking event in 2014! As I got to know Laura, I became fascinated by everything she had going on in her businesses and in her leadership role in the local community. Laura inspires me so much through her ability to say YES! and to live life to the fullest through following her dreams and passions. Thank you Laura for sharing your amazing enthusiasm and love for making a positive impact in our world!
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  1. Having Infinite Possibilities

As an entrepreneur, my vision will determine how large my business idea grows. The only limitations are the ones I put on myself by not thinking big enough. Being an entrepreneur has opened my mind to think in terms of possibilities! I get to ask myself “How?” when faced with challenges, and seize new opportunities when they arise. Coming from an attitude of “What’s possible?” has benefited my personal relationships as well. There’s also no ceiling on your income when you own your own business!

  1. Controlling My Time

I’m so grateful to be able to choose how I spend my time each day. I love building my businesses while balancing time with my family and having fun. My shop, The Experience Ink: Tattoo & Smoke Shop, is close by if I’m needed there. These days I’m spending most of my time at my new restaurant, Tlayuda L.A. and love learning a new business! It’s so much fun getting to know our customers and introducing new people to Oaxacan Mexican food.W1

  1. Being My Own Boss

An entrepreneur’s success is based on her efforts! To be successful in my day-to-day activities, I’m growing my leadership abilities in managing my employees. A significant growing opportunity was training someone to take over my day-to-day operations of The Experience Ink so I could start Tlayuda L.A. Every day I become a more effective leader of others and myself.11836766_999984993357169_8097951033883481873_n

  1. Living My Passion

I’ve always been passionate about giving the best possible customer experience. It doesn’t matter what business I’m in – I love to make someone’s day more positive. Now I’m able to share my passion every day through so many different avenues of business! It’s really true how when you love what you do, it’s not work!

  1. Having a Creative Outlet

I feel so fortunate in getting to express my creativity through my businesses. Social media marketing is one of the main areas where I let my imagination flow. I get to tap into my artistic creativity from designing the next special of the week in my tattoo shop to staging a mouth-watering photo of my restaurant’s latest dish.1613936_1013917561963912_2565506408094794608_n

  1. Creating Jobs in My Community

I have always cared about my family and my community and I’m continually looking for more ways to give back. As an entrepreneur, my businesses now employ ten people. That’s ten families who now have a steady income source providing for their daily needs! What a privilege!

  1. Supporting Other Entrepreneurs

I love connecting with other like-minded people. I’ve been hosting an entrepreneur Meetup called Free Business Tips at the Experience Ink in Mission Hills for the past two years. We’ve built a great community of small business owners that encourage each other, provide resources and assistance, plus masterminding and feedback opportunities. We always welcome people who have never owned a business before and it’s so rewarding to watch them succeed! I also have so many great friends and business partners I met from my Meetup!

  1. Industry Innovation

Innovation comes from being open to new ideas from products to customer service. My focus is always on enhancing the customer’s experience. Along with incorporating new ideas, I also set my own standard of excellence for each company. I’ve found that setting my own bar in each industry builds our brand’s reputation and grows our raving customer base.

  1. Being Open to Change

My passion is creating the best customer experience. One way I do that is by listening to my customers’ desires or challenges and then striving to fulfill that need. Changes can trigger fear in many people and the fear alone keeps many people from becoming an entrepreneur.  Spending money on a new marketing campaign, investing in a new product or firing an employee is scary. However, as a business owner, I have to trust myself to make the decision and push through the fear. Introducing new ideas has led to many successes both in business and in my personal life. Who Moved My Cheese is an excellent story about adapting to life’s changes. There’s a twelve-minute animated video that shares the whole story and the short book is worth reading many times. I am constantly learning, re-evaluating and striving to implement positive changes quickly to continually grow my all businesses.

  1.  Growing Myself

My 10th reason I’m grateful for being an entrepreneur has to do with who I become in the process of building my businesses. Each business started as just an idea in my mind and now they are built and I get to see them expanding every day. I understand more and more how each business and I are connected. I find that the more I better myself, the more successful my businesses become as well.  After I took the PSI Basic Seminar in personal growth and success, I improved my awareness and added tools that I use daily in every business and my life. In fact, opening my restaurant was one of the results I created after that class! The Experience Ink and Tlayuda L.A. are merely the first of many businesses where I create an amazing experience for every customer!

 

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About Laura

Laura Guerrero owns Tlayuda L.A. Mexican Restaurant and The Experience Ink Tattoo and Smoke Shop. Tlayuda L.A. brings together the Oaxacan flavors with a contemporary twist – it’s not your traditional Mexican restaurant. It’s located at 5450 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles, two blocks off the 101 freeway at Western Avenue. The Experience Ink is located at 15534 Devonshire Ave in Mission Hills at the 405 freeway and Sepulveda. There’s a team of talented tattoo artists plus a retail smoke shop with a great selection of vaporizers, hookahs and much more. ExperienceVape.com is her successful eCommerce vaping website for the smoke shop. Laura lives in the San Fernando Valley with her family and enjoys going to art shows, meeting new people and sharing delicious meals with great conversation.

In January 2013 I had the pleasure of entering Metamorphose Yoga Studio in Kilauea, Kauai, where I was warmly greeted by Carol and Astell.  That day I committed to a month of yoga for my health and well-being and after signing up, I heard these words: “Your body is already thanking you.”  My month-long daily practice with Carol and her dedicated, gifted team of healers/yoga instructors fulfilled that promise in so many ways.  Situated in paradise, her yoga studio offers a feeling of coming home—the sacred atmosphere and warmth starts with a friendly greeting from her dog Oscar.  I am so honored that Carol is sharing her wisdom and soul with us through her Top 10 list here.  Thank you Carol for all you do and are for us!

Carol and mommaAstell and Carol at Metamorphose Yoga, Kilauea, Kauai

1) The love and support of my community

I’ve been teaching yoga on the North Shore of Kauai for ten years. In this decade I’ve had the honor of sharing many life experiences with my students – birth, death, marriage, divorce, health and illness. Through it all, I’ve witnessed the power we gain through yoga. It helps us breathe, move, and face this journey we take part in individually and collectively. It is deeply touching and inspiring to be involved with so many amazing people on their path of growth. The connection we have created at the studio through the practice of yoga has carried me personally through challenging times. It has become my main source of inspiration. And I get to work with my mom, Astell every day!

2) Watching my students transform with yoga

Yoga is incredible. It can be so gentle and subtle, yet powerfully dynamic. I love experiencing how yoga serves people at all stages of life. We have had classes with babies, teens, adults, seniors, disabled students, dogs, chickens, and more all in one room. I never know what to expect. I’m always blown away by how beautifully we can all practice together. Most importantly, I love witnessing how yoga helps us develop self-acceptance and Santosha (contentment) for whatever is unfolding in our lives.

3) Creating a sanctuary for us all

My intention in opening the studio was to provide a space that feels safe & nurturing for our students and visitors. We offer many styles of yoga – Flow, Vinyasa, Therapeutic, Restorative, Gentle, Teen & Kids Yoga. No matter what level of practice you are at, you can enjoy a class with the company of others. It is so special having a place where we can all let down our guard, open our hearts, laugh, cry and feel whatever we are going through in life and our bodies. It’s magic.

4) The motivation to learn and grow

With teaching and running the studio all week long, it is so important for me to stay in my center. I can only teach what I practice and experience, so I am obligated to continually take refuge in my yoga, meditation & pranayama practices daily. Because my job is to be there for others, I know I must devote time each day to be present with myself and my life. It’s what makes everything flow better and easier. I also have to keep expanding in my knowledge of the body, on how yoga can be used as therapy for injury, and how this path of yoga can serve us during all stages of life. My students are my greatest teachers!

5) My freedom as a teacher

Here’s the contradiction: owning your own business means you are never really free. The phone is always on and the doors are open every day of the week. That can be hard. The benefits, though, are immense. I have the luxury to create my life schedule and to teach in alignment with what I truly believe. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone or meet unrealistic standards. I get to do what I love every day because I love doing it. That’s pretty amazing.

6) Retail therapy in the boutique

Oh how I love yoga pants! Leggings, capris, fancy patterns or plain black, cotton, lycra, bamboo or made from plastic water bottles. I adore them all, much to my tiny closet’s dismay.
Buying for the boutique has been a new learning adventure for me. I was never much of a shopper, but thanks to my very gifted and retail-savvy husband we always find fun, comfortable and beautiful things. Our inventory flows in and out – we have apparel, jewelry, books, home & body products, yoga supplies and much more. The added perk for me is I get to buy the things I like and want to share with my community.

7) Supporting companies and projects I believe in

Because we vote with how we spend our money each day, I do my best to support companies that are making an effort to respect and give back to our environment. Local, organic, recycled, natural products are my first pick. I try to support businesses that plant trees, donate to animal wildlife rescue, give clothing to women’s shelters, reuse plastic water bottles, and do their best to create a product that is good for the planet as well as good for ourselves. Each time we purchase something, we fund a bigger picture. I take this responsibility very seriously.
I also regularly fundraise for animal welfare and natural disaster relief. Some of our causes we have supported are:

8) Sharing the philosophy of yoga

Physical yoga is just one branch of the larger tree of Yoga. I think it is important to share and explore the other facets, The Eight Limbs of Yoga. This is an ancient system of knowledge on how to carry ourselves in life. Western yoga tends to only focus on the physical postures, whereas the roots of yoga teach that the body is just the gateway to the more subtle layers of self.
The other Eight Limbs are: Yamas, moral codes; Niyamas, personal conduct; Asana, physical posture; Pranayama, breath; Pratyahara, turning inward; Dharana, focus; Dhyana, meditation; Samadhi, union with consciousness.
All of these fold beautifully into the wholeness of our practice. What we experience and explore on the mat stays with us as we venture into our daily lives.

9) Meditation & Pranayama:

I was given the gift of meditation, Dhyana, from my mom when I was a child. I can honestly say it is the most valuable tool I have ever received. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sitting quietly at the beginning of my day transforms my entire world. Pranayama, breath control, is also incredibly powerful. It helps bring us back to our most vital function,  back to the present moment, as well as recharge the mind/body connection and brain function. Dhyana and Pranayama top my list of practices for health and well-being. They can be utilized during all phases of life.

10) The challenge of running my own business

Owning a yoga studio IS hard. Period. It requires a large space and often has little financial return, so from a business perspective making ends meet can be tough. There are also very colorful and diverse personalities involved in the field of yoga, so it takes strength and wisdom to make decisions that support the overall needs of our community. When you open your doors to the public, you never know what to expect!
Regardless of these challenges, at the end of the day I am always so grateful to be sharing my love of yoga with others. Owning this studio has made me stronger, more compassionate, grateful, and more fulfilled than I have ever been. I am so blessed to be surrounded and supported by such a beautiful community!
Carol Bio
 Carolyn Dumeyer

Carol comes from a background of yoga, meditation, massage and anatomy. Her lifelong exposure to the healing arts has inspired a teaching style that embraces honest acceptance for wherever we are in the present, while expanding into our unlimited potential. She has been teaching yoga & anatomy on Kauai since 2005, is a 300+ RYT and has studied Ashtanga, Anusara, Iyengar, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga with many acclaimed teachers around the globe. Prior to dedicating her life to yoga, she had a career in massage therapy with a focus on anatomy and injury rehabilitation. Her daily inspiration comes from the beauty of nature, a loving family and her animal friends.

Kathryn and I met in a yoga class on our adjacent mats at Metamorphose Yoga in Kauai.  In that moment, I felt a total kinship with her upon our first Ommmmm that day.  When I learned that Kathryn was a fellow artist and designer, I was lucky enough to be able to visit her Art cottage studio and even pick up some of her By the Sea Company merch!  I love my butterfly dress and aloha pom-pom organic sarong, and of course, a few organic gauze market bags.  I was so inspired by Kathryn’s vision, our conversations about being artists and her highly creative, diverse collection of handmade goods and artworks.  I also was so happy to be able to participate in the Kilauea Art Walk with her!  Kathryn, you are a beacon of beauty, creation and light!  Shine on sister, and mahalo ke akua for sharing your art and gorgeous gratitude list with us!

hello paradise - 11. I am grateful beyond words for the natural beauty that surrounds me. I create in a tiny Art cottage perched in the jungle of Kauai, Hawaii. Tropical fruit trees, a vegetable and herb garden are at hand, plus the majestic rainbow eucalyptus trees standing tall in my yard. I am immersed in nature, with birds singing, roosters crowing and trade winds gently blowing. The shapes and colors inspire me daily.

eucalyptus trees - 1

2. I’m grateful for my conscious awareness, which directs me to create messages of positivity and enlightenment, with uplifting visual cues.

art is medicine - 13. The ability to invent and create freely, without limitation. I left corporate America 10 years ago and my healing journey began. I am successful at running my own business as an Artist because I don’t listen to negativity. Everyone will have an opinion about what you are doing; what others think does not affect me. I am strong yet flexible in my beliefs.

kantha on the rocks - 1By the Sea Company kantha on the rocks

4. Imagination is the BEST nation! My imagination and creative impulses are the driving force in all I do.

artwork assortment - 1

Current projects include:

Just a Thought, daily inspirations for living, set to release in 2016.
The Hawaii Coloring Book, release date, January 2016.
An illustrated book called The Heart Farmer, for all ages, because the world needs more love!
I dreamed of a game for therapists, woke up and created it . . . “the feeling better game.”
Participation in Art Tribe Kauai. (A group of us create beautiful weddings by the sea in the Hawaiian islands, including beautiful decor and amazing handmade flower leis and haiku).

sarongs and jewelery - 1Running my own fair trade company for organic home goods: www.bytheseacompany.com

beautiful - 15. My ability to help make the world a better place by spreading positive messages and teaching people art, especially those who think they are not creative. Everyone is creative! Some people have been told they are not good at art—it may take time and practice to find out what inspires you artistically.

Indigo dye6. Working with indigo and color. Indigo is one of the oldest-known dyes. It is pure magic to work with! The color starts as chartreuse and changes right before your eyes to navy . . . truly wonderful to work with such amazing techniques.

textile love - 17. I am so very grateful for all the support I receive from the community, their participation and encouragement for my sharing of creative projects.

love rocks - 18. Random acts of kindness. I have always been a giver;
giving is the gateway to abundance and it feels so good!

work space - 19. Winsor & Newton paints and Copic markers, Berol Prismacolor, organic dyes and really, really fine papers!!

hawaii - 110. Divine guidance. I am divinely guided in all I do. Source works through me. When I create art, source is with me, guiding my mind. I am grateful for my personal spiritual alignment which allows me access to the universe and brings forth global messages of positivity and higher knowledge.

5 second bunny - 1p.s., Everyone who comes to visit my Art cottage is asked to draw a 5-second bunny. This has been a tradition in my house for many years and always a great laugh!!

life on the edge - 1Living on the Edge

selfie - 1Kathryn Letson was born and raised in Minnesota, where she spent time in the city and the woods. She went to Parsons School of Design in NYC and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design, going on to work at some of the most well-known Design houses in the world. After traveling the globe as a Corporate Trend Director, she become a mentor at Parsons, an illustration instructor and a global speaker in the Fashion industry as an expert in textiles.

Kathryn moved to Hawaii to make her dreams a reality. Now creating Art and textiles from her home office in Kauai, her life is focused on sharing knowledge, creating new concepts to better the world, and serving others through Art. What could be more powerful? Your imagination is the engine that runs your life, and Art is a direct pathway into your imagination. Kathryn lives life with love and gratitude.

www.bytheseacompany.com

Liz and I met when we both were in residence at Noniland Hawaiian Agricultural Research Center and Bee Sanctuary over New Year’s 2013.  Her role was as a vegan and raw chef for guests, mine was artist-in-residence… the bottom line is that I reconnected with a soul sister in Kauai, one of my heart homes.  It was magical!  What I love about Liz is her quiet yet fierce dedication to the earth and her gourmet preparations of whole foods with such love and reverence—truly inspirational.  One of the best cosmic giggles that we shared was learning that, unbeknownst to us, we were both at the same writers conference in Los Angeles in 2009 just “by chance”!  I love the Universe! and I am so excited that she contributed her beautiful words and wisdom to my blog.  Loving you Liz!

Liz’s Top 10 List:

1. I am grateful to my breath for sustaining my life. For being a function of my presence and the flow to which I return again and again when I require grounding calmness and peace.

heart2. I am grateful to my heart for being the space I connect to with my breath to feel deeply and express my true self. My heart is the place from which I most purely emanate my light.
3. I am grateful to my body for being the vehicle for which I traverse this existence. I give much care and nurturing to my body to ensure that my daily experience is smooth, comfortable and vibrant.
4. I am grateful to movement for helping me process my energy. Be it yoga, dance, walking, swimming etc giving my physical body the gift of flow supports my health, interactions, emotions, strength and clarity. It is one of my primary outlets for releasing unwanted feelings.
 rainbowplate5. I am grateful to food for being a source of absolute love. I receive so much nourishment and energy from what I put into my body but also great joy in the act of preparing, sharing and consuming it.
 waterfall6. I am grateful to pachamama for being an epic provider of life, to life and for life. Her beauty, resilience and abundance is unparalleled.
 dustliz7. I am grateful to my partner Dustin, family, friends and community for allowing me the experience of love, nurturing, support, togetherness, joy, laughter, happiness and expression. I am grateful to have people in my life to act as mirrors helping to show me so clearly what I need to see in myself.
forestwoman8. I am grateful to my ancestors for being the protects of universal knowledge and wisdom. I pray that we as a species are able to remember the power and importance of these ancient peoples and collectively open ourselves to their sacred teachings.
 bamboo9. I am grateful to universal wisdom for being the force that surrounds all of existence. When I am feeling most clear, I feel the power of this force and the truth in its wisdom. I am in gratitude to universal wisdom for helping us all find our way home.
10. I am grateful to presence for the opportunity to live in the now. For the reminder that the past and future are creations of the mind and I have the opportunity in every moment, at every moment to create and experience the highest potential of and for my life.

lizblueFor over 10 years, Liz has been in pursuit of health and happiness.  She was born and raised in Baltimore, MD where clean food and abundant living was an important part of her upbringing.  These themes continue to be the guiding force in her life.

Known to ‘dance to the beat of her own drum,’ Liz has spent much of her life traveling the world, exploring cultures, communities, cuisine and spirituality in search of what feeds the body, mind and soul. She went to University in Sydney and Florence, worked in children’s book publishing in Los Angeles, taught English in Thailand, studied yoga, meditation and Ayurveda in India and Nepal and sacred plant medicine in Peru. She is a certified yoga instructor and has most recently spent time as a chef for communities in Costa Rica, Colorado and Kauai. Liz lives with her partner Dustin on Maui.

       www.lizselvawellness.com

When I met Courtney at a dinner party last year, I instantly knew that I had met a true soul sister.  We chatted about some of my most valued and favorite topics: our dogs, art and painting, writing and living an examined life.  I have always admired women writers, women screenwriters and women directors~ especially women writer-directors breaking down barriers in Hollywood~ all heroines in my book!  Here’s to Courtney’s Top 10 things that she is grateful for: it’s honest, real and amazing! Thank you Courtney, you rock sister!  Cheers!

CourtneyDanielsshootingondrivewayCourtney directing on set.

  1. Jimmy, my husband. He believes in me, and when he gets excited about my writing, it gets me excited about my writing.
  2. Working with friends. Shooting with people you know and enjoy, that you have a history with, makes every step of the process more fun.
  3. My dogs. As with all animals, each is a character. I like taking breaks from work to pet them and hang out with them.
  4. Others’ feedback. It’s helpful to hear which parts of my writing resonate with readers/viewers and which don’t.
  5. The things other people make—paintings, music, books, movies. When Steven Soderbergh was accepting an award for one of his films, he commented, “Art makes life worth living.” Trying to imagine life without the arts is like trying to imagine the planet without trees.
  6. Doing a mix of things makes me happier than spending too much time and energy on only one thing or another.
  7. Iced matcha lattes. I drink two a day. I’m so addicted to this healthy ‘treat,’ and the matcha powder is so expensive, that I lick any undissolved grains of it off the bamboo whisk and glass the way people in movies rub grains of leftover cocaine into their gums.
  8. The wisdom of others. Reading books like “The War of Art” and “The Alchemist,” and clipping interviews of successful people talking about the lessons they learned on their journey helps me feel less alone and it fortifies me to keep working. Current favorite bit of wisdom: “Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back the past, nor satisfy your other daydreams. Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.” (Dag Hammarskjold, “Markings”)
  9. Tracy Anderson. I’ve done a lot of different types of workouts and I think hers are the most efficient way to get in the best shape of your life. I will probably never do anyone else’s workouts. They make me feel great, and energized, and better able to tackle film production, which is draining.
  10. I’m grateful to God. Obviously I don’t know if there really is a God, but I choose to have faith, because I would rather have the comfort it provides than not. Some people don’t need it, which I get and respect. But it has helped me a lot, having God to talk to when I need strength or courage to keep taking risks. I feel like everything is a risk—even the smallest step can make you feel vulnerable and exposed to rejection and disappointment. To keep taking small and big steps every day… well, I think this is why L.A. people are famously “woo-woo.” Most of us need a lot of faith (or other coping strategies, like meditation, yoga, etc.) to keep moving forward.

CourtneyDanielspicforIMDBCourtney Daniels grew up in Houston, attended the University of Texas at Austin, and lives in Los Angeles. After writing feature screenplays on spec for several years, she wrote and directed a short film that premiered at LA Shorts Fest. She then made a feature, “What Other Couples Do,” which premiered at the Pasadena film festival. Courtney writes about people, books and things on her site, Sugarinsixtyseconds.com, and is currently shooting the pilot episode of a web series she’s writing. Her film, “What Other Couples Do,” can be streamed on Amazon and on the indie film subscription site, Fandor.com.

   www.Sugarinsixtyseconds.com

Paula Youmell is a holistic health nurse whom I met when I was living in Northern New York.  I had an opportunity to see Paula in action when she presented at the Holistic Health Fair that we organized in the town of Potsdam, she is an amazingly knowledgeable enthusiastic teacher of holistic health, whole foods and natural healing I must say!  Paula continues to inspire me with her blog Wise Women Red Tent blog posts which I read voraciously! Here’s Paula’s Top 10 list of what she is grateful for as a Wise Woman Nurse!  Thank you Paula!

Paula title image#1. I can create my schedule to include hang out time with my two boys: Jake 16 and Eli 13. That’s me, Mom, in the middle.  I can see a client, take off into the woods for a walk or swim with my kids and dog (maybe both), and get back to clients again later!

#2. I get to do what I have a fiery passion for: inspire others to change their lifestyle and heal through nature. I grew up watching my grandfather make his own herbal medicines. These images of my grandpa-witch doctor (as my sisters and I called him) stuck with me. Right out of nursing school I started looking for natural ways to heal all the ills I encountered in my hospital RN duties.

point 3#3. I work from my home saving gas and time from the stress of commuting to work. I can get up from my desk, do laps about the house (I have 2 sets of stairs which makes for interesting figure 8s and loops upstairs & down!), toss in a couple of yoga poses to stretch and expand, and get back into the work mode feeling refreshed!

 Paula 4#4. I can whip up awesome, whole food meals for my kids using locally sourced fruits & veggies, meats, eggs, dairy, etc. This is much easier as I am at home. The time spent commuting can be spent cooking. I set my own hours and can be finished with wearing my Wise Woman Nurse’s hat by 4 or 4:30 to have an amazing and nourishing meal on the table by 5:30. As a heal by nature & whole foods kind of gal… this is very important to me. Paula 5#5. I can work in my jammies! Yup, that’s correct: If I am working with phone clients or taking a day to work on my book projects (I have written two healing books so far!) I can stay in my jammies just as long as I want. It is always amusing for the UPS man to catch me in my jammies at 1 PM!  I can blast classic rock and jam in my jammies on my periodic romps through my home to loosen up and lighten up. Sitting all day is such a drag!  Yes, I am straight out of bed, pull my hair up, in this picture and the Garfield nighty… it is 31 years old!

#6. I’m my own grandma. Oops, wait, I meant boss. I am my own boss! This is an amazing gift to myself. I am totally in control of how my business is run and how the boss treats me.

Paula 7#7. I can schedule time or days off for yoga classes, longer walks in the woods, field trips with my kids & their school, exciting alone day trips, and my continuing education. Sure I make up that time later, doing evening & weekend work, but I am the ultimate scheduler of my time.

Paula 8#8: I meet, support, and create friendships with the most amazing people! This is deeply satisfying to draw positive energy and people into my life. Here I am with a group of local gals whipping up herbal medicines. This is what I mean about satisfying work and relationships!

Paula 9#9: Little by little the work I do, and so many others too, we are creating a paradigm shift on this planet. We are teaching others to re-connect with nature (because we are nature) and how to care better for ourselves, this planet we live on, and all the other beings we share this planet with. This, my friends, is HUGE!

Paula 10#10. I can live in rhythm with the cycles of nature: getting up when I wake up (which is usually 6 AM!) and tucking into bed when the sun says goodbye for the day and/or I am just plain beat. Not having an alarm clock setting off a stress response in my body, jarring me out of my sleep, is a perk of being my own boss (or was it my own grandma?).

For these reasons, and many more I could come up with, I am grateful I have listened to my inner wisdom and followed my path as a Wise Woman Nurse, here to support others on their paths to more vibrant health.

Namasté

Paula Youmell, RN, Wise Woman Nurse

Youmell PaulaPaula Youmell, RN is a Wise Woman Nurse,

Natural Health Educator, and Author in Potsdam, NY.

www.PaulaYoumellRN.com

 

Glam squadThe artist in her element with Water IV ©LEAD

1. I can be in my DIY “glam squad” mode and still work on my paintings!

Sometimes I will have a split commitment, so I’ll take a paint break, shower, get those hot rollers on, then come back and continue with my painting flow!  Love that flexibility!

2. I get to choose my material/content to explore in my creative life.

One of my most favorite aspects of what I do is the fact that my art practice is a personal laboratory in self-examination and an ongoing research project in what I love, what I value.  My original art collections reflect my creative process and the road less traveled that I find myself on steeped in truth, beauty and adventure.  I love this quote by Lena Dunham, “As an artist, you get the opportunity to write the world — or create the world — that exists in your fantasies. It’s a really beautiful thing to do.”  And this quote by legendary Italian curator Massimiliano Gioni, “Artists are people who do things with images in order to understand the world. They have a fierce desire to know themselves.” Oh yeah baby!

3. I get to choose which art materials I am making my art with.

IMG_0832_2Palette colors make me smile. ©LEAD

I love that we have access to so many art materials and tools to play with!  Today, artists can choose from a HUGE selection of store-bought art supplies and oodles of re-purposed surfaces, media and materials to create with.  My new favorite art supply store when collecting some materials is Lyon Art Supply. It’s one of three stores in a fairly small chain with a rad selection of papers, and sometimes “hard to find” tools that I use.  Also, it’s close to my studio and the best thing about this place, they offer a great and rare 30%! discount for teachers and students!  Awesome!

4. I get to listen to music of my choice and sing out loud whilst I work!

I have a secret passion for singing!  This is something that just a few people know about ’til now!  I used to sing in my classroom and my teenage students were often shocked and caught off guard as they thought,  “who does that?” :)  I heard something interesting about people and singing.  There are three places where folks sing freely, do you know where they are?.  1. in the shower 2. in the car, and 3. drunk karaoke! Let’s change that!

When I am in my studio, I am usually plugged into one of my fave Pandora stations… 80s, Indigo Girls, Fleetwood Mac, Ani DiFranco, Donna De Lory (to name a few), and belt it while I am painting or simply in studio.  Perhaps I’ll include an audio clip in a forthcoming blog post….

5. I can make a mess and be outdoors! AND I get to play and it’s super fun!

IMG_5971My blue hands. ©LEAD

I love making a mess and luckily, I don’t mind cleaning up after! Great fun indeed!  The ability to play, to be a child, to lose all sense of self-consciousness and of “doing it right” or having the “correct answer” is one of the rewards of honoring the call to live as an artist in these contemporary times.

6. I can make my own schedule according to the rhythms and cycles of nature.

Sunrise, sundown, seasonal changes, daylight savings, planetary shifts and the cycles of the moon.  I love all of these changes that we get to experience affecting our daily lighting, moods, temps, and keeping the energies alive and fresh.  The ability to be in sync and in harmony with these ever-changing cycles is one of my favorite aspects in keeping my microcosmic creative process in tune with the macrocosmic flow.

7. I get to break the “rules.”

The art world and the world at large operate on many layers of unspoken and spelled out rules and regulations.  One of the best characteristics of being an artist is the fact that although there are these tangible parameters that exist like the art world “market,” art fairs, galleries, critics, etc, bottom line–there is no True North for artists.  To walk the path is to create your own.  This is what is meant by breaking the “rules,” even those we make for ourselves; to create, innovate, re-invent and be willing to fail and to keep going is part of this journey.   One of my favorite quotes on this topic is from Marina Abramović , “When you repeat, you really lose respect for yourself… For me, the studio is a trap to overproduce and repeat yourself. It is a habit that leads to art pollution. Nothing new happens. You don’t surprise yourself. Artists are here to risk, to find new territory. Risk, especially when you are a known artist, includes failing. It is an essential part of process. Failure is healthy for your ego.”

8. I get “free dress” every day, not just sometimes.

IMG_1160_2The artist in her “free dress” mode. ©LEAD

I love fashion and I love creative self-expression, even if this means wearing an old tank top with worn-in yoga pants and Havaiana flip-flops!  One of the best parts of my day in the studio is the freedom I have to wear whatever I please, especially if this means my most functional and comfortable clothes.  I have worked in many job settings from corporate to educational institutions and have certainly worn the heels, the stockings, the pencil skirts and dry-cleaned shirts.  I loved those days too, and believe me, I will do it when necessary, yet nothing beats comfort and the freedom to move and get dirty without constrictions or limits!  Love my painting clothes!

9. I can work from home with a short commute of two flights of stairs=smaller carbon footprint.

As an artist, I have mainly worked from a home studio, a designated work space ranging from a small room to an outdoor studio to a garage space.  The best part of this setup is the commute is ideal and I feel so much gratitude that I can be green through my choice to work from home.  One of my last teaching jobs included a brutal commute during rush hour, round-trip to the far side of downtown Los Angeles.  That was certainly the toughest part of my day, waking up at 5am and getting home well past 6pm reminded me of what I truly value in life ~ quality time with my loved ones and less time in a car on the roadways!  A friend once said to me, “The quality of your life is reflected in your commute.” Wow.  Check this out.

10. I get to express myself and share my gifts and talents with the world!

Water V artist 1The artist with Water V at a recent art exhibition in Southern California. ©LEAD

And, lastly, I feel immense satisfaction from getting to be an artist today.  With so many ways to share our creations and expressions through social media outlets, networking and the internet overall, it’s such an easy pleasure to create and know that I can share my artwork with the world without many obstacles or fuss.  Success is guaranteed when we share our unknown with our community and keep on creating from our essential truth.

I leave you with these inspiring words for the artist in us all from one of my favorite artists of all time.

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant — there is no such thing, Making your unknown known is the important thing — and keeping the unknown always beyond you…” — Georgia O’Keeffe

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my facebook page, or email me at artwork@lorieneck.com.

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love, creativity, adventure and play!

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Art to Awaken Your Heart, Nourish Your Spirit

www.lorieneck.com

Loving is Tending

fire I 95%Fire I, close up, 3’x4′, Mixed media on canvas, ©LEAD

Love is particular.

When you love someone,

A tangible, touchable someone,

The whole world opens up.

If you want to know the universe,

Dare to love one person.

All the secret teachings are here–

Go deeper, and deeper still.

The gift of concentration

Is the spaciousness that surrounds it.

Focus illuminates immensity.

Sutra 99

The Radiance Sutras: 112 Gateways to the Yoga of Wonder and Delight

(English and Sanskrit Edition, Lorin Roche, Ph.D.)

To love is to pay attention, to give attention, to tend to the being that is YOU or the being/s in front of you.  As I read this sutra above and allow its essence to permeate my awareness, my thoughts and feelings vacillate between the Self and the “other.”  Daring to love me, to know thyself through loving, tending to my own rich tapestry of intricacies is a day to day practice of tending my lifelong journey of wonder, magic, delight and actualization.  The word attention itself is derived from the words tender, tenderness, to tend to it.  Paying attention to the soul, the Self can be as natural as breathing, and is by default, a way of loving the Self.  We love ourselves as we pay attention to our physical needs, our emotional shifts, our thoughts about ourselves and our longings and yearnings in this life.  This way of perceiving how I love myself has been a refreshing, compassionate, kind and gentle way forward as I move forward on my life path.

Self love is the foundation for all other types of love.  Through my own deepening practice of Self love, I am progressively learning to love all else in a more attentive way… from my love for others, for the planet, for what I do, what I create, and everything else that I pay attention to that is outside the boundaries of this being that is Lórien.

love yourself_photog. unknown

Isn’t this perspective an exciting, beautiful and interesting method of loving the Self ?  Since this discovery, I have been in a constantly deepening state of awe, spaciousness and curiosity in love and life.  Awakening to loving myself in this way is transforming all of my interactions with others, from drivers on my morning commute, to my art students, to my more intimate connections, like family and close friends, and of course touching the details and entirety of my life existence in a way that is immeasurable, yet tangible at the same time.

I especially enjoy this line from Lorin Roche, “Love is a state of perceiving great value in the beloved.”  Love can therefore be a practice of paying attention and appreciating the layered nuances of the Beloved Self from the first moments of awakening in the morning to the last moments of alertness before falling into sleep and dream at night.  Aaahhhhhh…

Cast aside the ten thousand things,

And love only one.

Don’t go on to another.

Engage your lively awareness

With this one focus–

One object, one thought, one symbol.

Now go inside,

Find the center.

The soul, the heart.

Right here,

In the middle of the feeling,

Attend the blossoming–

Attention vast as the sky.

Sutra 39

The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, Ph.D.

fire III palette_fuschia

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my facebook page, or email me at lorien@lorieneck.com.

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love, creativity, adventure and play!

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Personally Experienced and Recommended Resources

Gently Moving Forward

Change Your Energy, Change Your Life with Kathleen Nelson Troyer

The Radiance Sutras

Paths to Enlightenment in Everyday Life

as translated by Lorin Roche, Ph.D.

Elixir

Songs of the Radiance Sutras

Sample Track: Go There

www.lorieneck.com

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My Manifesta ~Part 2

abundant thinking

Happy New Year 2015 my friends!  My wish for you is that this IS your BEST YEAR EVER!  How BIG are you dreaming these days?  What’s in your heart to BE, BEcome and express in this coming year?  We are still in the window of newness and opportunity, so if you are still feeling the transition from 2014 into 2015, it’s okay, totally okay.  It’s not an “overnight” thing, but a gradual process that require time and space.  One of the rituals that I found to be very helpful in my own transition around the end of 2014/New Year’s Eve was to dedicate a block of time to journal and move through a completion exercise that my friend’s Life Coaches Kat and Elizabeth of Journey Into Being Retreats created.  The exercise is guided through an audio Podcast as well as a written text and is a series of reflective questions for your journal.  Here it is for you to check out and do, Podcast: Completions.

Both whilst and after doing the Completions exercise, I felt so much lighter and most importantly, more complete with the last 12-month cycle so that I can move forward intentionally, powerfully, clearly and confidently into 2015!  I have BIG dreams, visions and am super excited to bring these immaterial realities into manifestation!  Woo hoo!  And, I look forward to sharing my creative dreams with YOU via my website www.lorieneck.com and here of course.

So far this year, I have been “in” my sunny outdoor studio painting two of my large-scale paintings within my Fire Series and larger Elements Collection. Here’s a little teaser about the amazing story and impetus for my latest body of work.

fire nov new 2Fire I-She (excerpt) 3’X4′ Mixed Media on Canvas

The inspiration for Fire and Water.
Legends speak of an ancient culture of advanced beings, submerged in the ocean and buried beneath the sands of time. Not of the lost city of Atlantis, but an entire continent known to us only as “Mu.” The inhabitants of Mu are said to have been artistically and spiritually inclined, and those immortal energies live on in the paintings and vision of Lórien.

Water IV Dec. 11Water IV, (excerpt) 4’X5′ Mixed Media on Canvas

I am looking super forward to sharing more about the magical and fascinating story of the Earth across time through my paintings.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear your comments here, reach out via my face book page, or email me at lorien@lorieneck.com.

May your year ahead be filled with more love, more peace, more creativity, fun, adventure and play!

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Personally Experienced and Recommended Resources

Journey Into Being Retreat

Quantum Meditation and Transformation

The Reach Approach

Copy Caravan

Conscious Calendars

And, a fun Upcoming Cosmic newsflash  I just learned about from my friend Kathleen Whalen, a Vedic Astrologer and Conscious Calendars founder.

We have a comet visible in the skies right now in Orion’s belt.  http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/

Next LIVE viewing of the comet is Sunday January 11, 2015 20:00 UT.

 

www.lorieneck.com

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IMG_0832_2My palette for my Fire series, Elements Collection ©LEAD 2014

Warm end of summer (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) greetings to ya!  It’s been a very warm, yet mild summer here in So Cal and quite the productive one for this artist as I make progress, day by day, on my latest body of work, paintings Fire I, II, III.  As these paintings are born into completion, I will be sharing photos as well as some “in studio, in action” shots.  In addition to working in my studio and attending gallery events at LGOCA (Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art in Laguna Beach), I feel fortunate and grateful to be able to donate my energy and resources to a great cause that I truly believe in.

The organization is called Girls PACT,  a non-profit, curriculum-based program for young women ages 14-21 based in West L.A. that develops personal values, fosters self-confidence, teaches sexual health, promotes healthy lifestyles and serves the community by empowering young girls to make informed decisions, with confidence, so they may succeed in school, love and life.  Their mission is to inspire young girls to put themselves, their education, goals, and dreams above all else.

I found this to be an inspiring fact about Girls PACT:

OUR Statistics! (check out this link for more info About Girls PACT)

Below are the stats for our Girls PACT program. 

  • Nearly 3 in 10 teen girls in the US will get pregnant at least once before age 20
  • We have been offering the Girls PACT program for 18 months
  • Resulting in ZERO pregnancies
  • With ZERO current funding

My own personal experience as a young woman growing up through those tender years provided me a strong “learning curve” of developing self-confidence and making healthy choices, was certainly learned “the hard way”.  Fortunately I had some tough lessons early on which prompted me to be somewhat conservative throughout my high school and early university years.  I certainly experienced my share of painful lessons around self-esteem and self-respect throughout those years, and honestly, I still am growing, evolving and becoming in these areas of Self- realization.  Process, progress, not perfection is a motto that I like.

My inspiration and motivation to support Girls PACT is directly informed by my own traumatic experiences from ages 14-18 as well as my working directly with hundreds of young women ages 11-18 for over 14 years in the public education system.  My life’s journey has been immersed in deep healing and spiritual work, and lots of support from friends, a variety of healing professionals and spiritual teachers.  My vision and commitment is to support young women in any way that I can through sharing my time, energy, resources and my earned wisdom and I have chosen Girls PACT as one of my organizations to give to.  Looking back, I certainly wish that I had mentors during those times, to guide and support me through the labyrinth of changes, choices and opportunities.  With date rape, teen pregnancy, abuse (emotional, physical), body image issues, eating disorders and more on the rise, it is more important than ever to educate, empower and protect young women from these elements of our ever-changing world.

My introduction to Girls PACT is through a good friend of mine who is on the board and I am delighted to be able to donate a Soul Cosmology Painting Experience™ to their 1st Fundraising event, see details below.  All are welcome to this 21+ event!

Girl Pact Sept. 6

 To purchase tickets, click here.

 

 Soul Cosmology Painting Experience™ samples

IMG_3673“Lori” Mixed Media on Paper

Cindy“Cindy” Mixed Media on Paper

IMG_3649“Kat” Mixed Media on Paper

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via commenting on this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.lorieneck.com

“Art has the power to heal.” ~ Lórien

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Who’s Your MUSE?

lorien in the studio with fire seriesIn my outdoor studio with my new Fire Series in the works, (l-r) Fire II, Fire III, Fire I ©LEAD

WHO IS YOUR MUSE?  Where do you find your inspiration?  What inspires YOU?  Where to start?  I recently was chatting with a woman at an event I was at, she told me that her challenge with creativity is where to get ideas.  Hmmmm.  She asked me about where I get my ideas and how it all starts for me.  Well… that question is one of my favorites to reflect upon as I am regularly inundated with yummy inspiration, a flood of ideas and stimulation emerging from both within and without.  The early stage of the creative process is for me often my favorite, although the entire journey of the creative process is exciting and enjoyable.  I wrote a bit about my creative process in my last post, Trust and the Creative Process

Fire 1Fire ceremony ©Photo LEAD

pele goddessPele~ Hawaiian Goddess of Fire

Inception of an idea can start anywhere, for example, a hunch, a whisper, a dream, a conversation, an image, a word, a glance, the options are endless really.  To illustrate, I will refer to my latest inspirations for my new Fire Series, as past of my Elements Collection.  From water came fire for me and it was (and tends to be) a spiral-like journey, vs. a straight line.  My initial interactions with the element of Fire was ignited strongly whilst on the Big Island last year when I spent time in meditation, retreat and ceremony with Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of the Volcanoes while at the Kalani Retreat CenterPele grabbed me and I have been under her tutelage as my main Muse through this moment as I continue to create my new Fire paintings.  Pele urges us to follow our passion… what’s yours?  Are you following your passion?

fire 2Pele flowin’ on the big island of Hawaii ©Photo by MaKia

Fire I in processExcerpt of Fire I in process, 3’X4′, Mixed Media on Canvas ©LEAD

kilauea volcanoKilauea, Hawaii

Kilauea is the most active volcano in the world. The Hawaiian mountain has been steadily flowing since 1983! That makes it one of the most long-lived eruptions known on Earth.

I look forward to sharing more about the journey into the Fire as I roll out my paintings one by one over the next few weeks, sharing the story and artwork here and on my website.  Stay tuned and in the meantime, there is a wonderful NEW art show where I am showing the paintings below at,  MUSE: The Art of Transformation and Healing.
Cosmic XCosmic X, 9X12 inches, Mixed Media on Paper ©LEAD

EckBLagoon Nebula III, 12X16 inches, Mixed media on paper ©LEAD

MUSE flyerCurated by Art 4 All People

June 28 – September 28, 2014

Commonweal Gallery, a nonprofit health and environmental research institute
451 Mesa Rd. Bolinas, CA 94924

Opening Reception and Arts and Healing Festival
Saturday, July 12th from 1:00 pm – 6:00pm

The Opening Event Line-Up

Closing Reception
Saturday, September 27th, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

All are welcome! 

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.lorieneck.com

“Art has the power to heal.” ~ Lórien

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water II source photoInspiration Source Photo, Pacific ocean, Kauai, Hawaii, May 2013 ©LE Art & Design

Hello my readers!  I am back… I took a bit of a sabbatical from this blog roll, as I am have been deeply engaged in my creative process on a new series of paintings for my Elements Collection.  It feels good to be back here and I am excited to share some thoughts about Trust and the Creative Process.  I’ll start by posing these questions: Where do ideas come from? How do we get inspired to create something? Where do I start?  As you know, inspiration and creative ideas can come from anywhere anytime…

For me, creation and creativity come very naturally and I usually have an abundance of ideas.  On the flip side, the challenge for me has been to have  too many choices, feeling overwhelmed or just simply, choosing one to focus on.  As a painter, I have a way to take on the abundance of ideas which is to organize them into collections and sometimes a series within a collection.  I have eight “working” painting collections that serve as containers to hold the individual creations and this is key for the constant creator.

To illustrate the more nitty-gritty, messy and juicy creative process of one of my individual paintings, I have selected Water III, a mixed media on canvas painting.  It is one of five paintings in the Water series within the Elements Collection.  This painting was the 3rd (of 4) in the series that I was making last summer for a show and I must say, my creative process with this painting (and most paintings) was not a straight line.  And, this is what I really would like to share here.  Once the spark of an idea is lit, (in my case I was focused on water as a topic and paintings as the creation), all kinds of curves, twists, turns and some of the following may come up.  And if any of these do arise, the important thing is to stick with the journey and follow the guidance, both your inner guidance and source energy/Creators guidance.

  • unbridled inspiration to start, gather info, research and develop the concept
  • love the work one day, dislike it the next day (even abhor it!)
  • feelings of  anger, frustration and general un-ease and negative emotions
  • desire to quit or start over completely
  • feelings of doubt, the illusion of fear and even questioning the skills set and/or innate talents
  • struggle with the materials or the natural elements (for example, I work outdoors and sometimes the heat dries the paint too darn quick even with methods to slow it down)

Throughout the creation of this painting, I rode the cathartic wave experiencing everything between elation and agony.  At times, I truly thought that this painting was not going to make it.  But, to the best of my ability, I trusted.  I trusted the guidance and love of our Creator to lead me on through; letting go and trusting both at the same time.  Suggested practices that have helped me along the way that you can play with are:

  • when the stuff comes up, FEEL…
  • when you feel stuck, change something, anything!
  • go on daily walks, bike rides, movement and balance has helped me even more than maintenance during an intense creative project
  • pray, meditate, breathe deeply, take long baths, talk to a trusted friend, write about it- we are NOT alone!
  • if necessary, and I just did this with another painting, set it aside and start or work on another project, take a break, but come back to it when you feel ready
  • let it all incubate and gel, relax and seriously chill out when not working on project~ whatever that looks like for you!
  • the main idea is to find the JOY in the creative process and to EnJOy every step of the way…

Now, my practical creative process in a nutshell:  I started with the photo image I took of water, see above, as my source image (what I use as a spring board for an abstract painting).  The canvas size is 24 inches X 36 inches and I used acrylic paint and a variety of mixed media materials.  Below are a series of photographs and the final one is the finished product from start to finish.

water III.1The Beginning

water III.2Next Stage

Water III.3And then this…

water III.5Top portion of the painting

water III.finalNearly done

Water III.4Almost done (reflections on the painting from the sun)

Water IIIFinal Painting, 24X36 inches, Mixed Media on Canvas

insta_WaterIIIMe with Water III at the Bridge to the Soul Art Show

All Images ©Lórien Eck Art & Design

Since its completion in August 2013, this painting, Water III, has been featured in two art shows, one in August 2013 at one of my  galleries Hale Arts SPACE, in Santa Monica and in the Bridge to the Soul traveling show in Los Angeles, November 2013-February 2014.  This painting is available for purchase either through Hale Arts SPACE or directly through me.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.lorieneck.com

“Art has the power to heal.” ~ Lórien

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Furry Family Love

IMG_1468 Shanti and Angel sunning!  ©LE Photo

 I have had the honor and privilege of loving, receiving unconditional love and caring for two animals that are to me, basically, people. :)  These two earth angels came into my life in about 11 and 8 years respectively.  Shanti is now 14 years old and the mother of Angel, who is now 8.  They were both born in Hollywood California, and the story is quite like a storybook fairy tale.  I adopted Shanti at the age of 3 and she has been my constant companion and my beloved soul mate, in the form of a fuzzy critter!  She is my love and has been with me through thick and thin!  We have climbed many hills in the LA canyons and enjoyed many sunsets together!   Angel was born into a litter of 3 and was adopted by my parents.  These two puppies have given me and my family such joy, laughs and comfort throughout the years.  The two of them are soul mates to each other as well!

IMG_5877Shanti and Angel going on a field trip to the beach! ©LE Photo

Furry animals of all breeds are truly givers of unconditional love and have much to teach us humans, in my humble opinion.  I am forever indebted to  Shanti and Angel for their sweet licks, happy faces, silly antics and adorable little behaviors that are unique to each of them.  I know that many of you reading this would agree with me about the JOY that animals bring us and how the love from a dear animal is so precious and priceless.  So many of us are animal lovers and honestly I would have to say that 99.99999999% of my friends, family and acquaintances are pet parents.  Are you? :)

I feel so lucky and am even more lucky to be able to support a wonderful animal rescue organization in Southern California called the Modjeska Ranch Rescue (MRR).  MRR is a non-profit rescue organization based in south Orange County, California and operates as an all-volunteer rescue dedicated to finding great homes for neglected and abandoned animals.

art&wine animal**Due to an overwhelming response so far, the location has been changed to:  The Modjeska Park 28891 Modjeska Road

The organization was founded by Russell and Teresa Taylor in 2001. They opened the door of their heart to helping the helpless and ended up opening up their home for abandoned animals. Since 2001 this couple, in tandem with community support, have placed more than 6500 animals into new homes. The success rate of this rescue is amazing.

I will be there with original paintings, limited edition fine art giclées, fine art gifts and more!  The event title is “Healing Hearts” and it’s true, adopting a pet heals their hearts and brings us lasting joy, comfort, peace and the unconditional love that we all desire.  We will   raising funds for this amazing non-profit under a canopy of oak trees surrounded by nature’s beauty.  All are welcome and I cordially invite you and your loved ones! Feel free to check out their website to learn more about the Modjeska Ranch Rescue.   See you there!

IMG_0487Shanti my love bug! ©LE Photo

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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 Recommended Resources

Modjeska Ranch Rescue
D
edicated to finding homes for neglected and abandoned animals.

Reiki

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use

www.lorieneck.com

“Art has the power to heal.” ~ Lórien

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awaken_nourish_logo“Art has the Power to Heal.” ~ Lórien 

 As my friend Choury says, “the awakening process requires letting go and takes time but well worth it!”.  My spiritual journey certainly has been a process of discovery and I have experienced several awakening experiences which have certainly taken time and letting go.  What I do know is that it has has all been worth it and as I continue on this journey of awakening, I have learned that nourishing the Self plays a big role.

What pray tell is nourishment and what is nourishing to my Spirit, to me as the whole BEing and how can I provide this nourishment to myself, thus to others on a consistent basis?  These key questions guide me on my quest of self-fulfillment and self-love.  Many of my teachers in this life have expressed this vital element of nourishment in a variety of language and methods.  For example, as a Raja yoga practice, I was taught that nourishment takes the form of self-remembering that I AM a peaceful soul, my true essence is Eternal, Immortal, Light.  Cass Phelps of Awake One shares that nourishment comes in the form of discovering one’s gifts, receiving those gifts and then sharing them with our world.  As a student and teacher of Reiki I have learned that nourishment is received as embracing the Reiki principles:

The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine of all diseases
Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.
Pray these words to your heart
and chant these words with your mouth
Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind
The founder , Usui Mikao

And, so as I continue on in awakening and nourishing, I have opened my personal journey up in offering my gifts and inquiry through my art and teaching.  In 2012 when I was making my career transition and launching my professional art career and new website, naturally the tag line was, “Art to Awaken Your Heart, Nourish Your Spirit“. This came through very organically for me as I was “brainstorming” this and creating my new material.  Two years later, I am happy to offer classes and workshops with this theme and focus.  It is a very rich topic for me, one which I explore daily through my art making and creative living as an artist and educator.  I am pleased to announce my public workshop event on June 8 at the Temple of Light in Southern California where we will explore this topic together through painting and community.Lorien Eck flyer image PR-June 8

On May 3 at the Temple of Light, I will be giving a brief talk called “Awaken Your Heart, Nourish Your Spirit“, at the monthly Holistic Health Fair in the Crystal Cave 1:50 – 2:20 pm.  I also have a booth at the fair where I will be available to chat and am offering my fine art gift items and original paintings.  I am also happy to offer a promotional price, even below the Early Bird Special for those register for this workshop event with me at this event!  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Hollistic Healing Flyer new printable

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Personally Experienced and Recommended Resources

Temple of Light

An amazing and unique center offering a host of services to spiritual seekers and holistic healers in South Orange County, CA.

Quantum Meditation and Transformation

Choury DeVelle Bsc, CHt., NLP is a great life coach, healer and practitioner of his craft.

Awake-One

Cass Phelps is an amazing individual and his inspired body of work and offerings have been a phenomenal resource for me! His work is comprehensive, relevant and rich…I am eternally indebted to my teacher Cass.

The Power Path

The monthly forecast from these amazing folks is an invaluable tool.

Reiki

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use.

Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga meditation redefines the self as a soul and enables a direct connection and relationship with the Supreme Source of purest energy and highest consciousness.

www.lorieneck.com

The divine is not something high above us.
It is in heaven, it is in earth, it is inside us.~  Morihei Ueshiba

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“Fashion is a force to be reckoned with. It celebrates, provokes, and entertains. And, from April 24th 2014, it’s going to do even more. Because we’re turning fashion into a force for good. On 24th April last year, 1133 people were killed and over 2500 were injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Social and environmental catastrophes in our fashion supply chains continue.  Fashion Revolution Day says enough is enough.” I have been a fashion lover from a very young age.  I love fashion, textiles, color and style, always have always will.  I also am an Earth lover, a self-proclaimed nature freak and lifelong vegetarian.  Therefore, what I value, both the Earth and beauty through fashion converge in Eco fashion and sustainability in fashion, from what I wear to what I create as an artist/designer.  In one of my previous blog posts, My Manifesta ~ Part I, I muse about my desire to live more minimally, my quest to re-forest my lifestyle through examining what I already have and to commit to lowering my overall consumerism.  I took an inventory of what clothes I do have, where it was made, the manufacturer and the fabric.  I was not proud nor surprised to say the least.  In response,  I made some choices and I have maintained my commitment to cease buying clothes for the time being, and when I do, they will be sustainable fashion either created by me or by an eco fashion designer.  This feels really good. img-whomadeyourclothes Did you know that fashion uses more water than any industry other than agriculture. At least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles. Americans throw away 68 pounds of clothes on average each year, and we only buy 10 pounds of recycled clothes annually. Clothing that ends up in landfills takes a very long time to decompose — about 6 months for a cotton sock, one year for a wool cap, 40-50 years for a leather belt and 50-80 years for a rubber boot.  According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 11.8 million tons of cloth, textiles and shoes are discarded in the United States each year, ending up in landfills or being incinerated.  It’s a very serious issue. And so, I found that like anything in life having to do with change and transformation, awareness is the first step. After the awakening process, then actions can take place and conscious choices can be made.  For me, it’s been practical to learn about what I already have, continue to wear it guilt free, but also to stop giving my money or buying into what I no longer value.  How we spend our money/resources is a tremendous power we have.  It’s a start and the journey is a lifelong one. On Thursday, April 24, there is a global movement happening in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh with the collapse of the building, and the ever-growing death toll, many articles appeared urging consumers to support ethical fashion as a way to improve working conditions throughout the supply chain. And, on 24th April each year, Fashion Revolution Day will bring everyone in the fashion value chain together and help to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future.  What can we do?

Get involved


The first Fashion Revolution Day is based around the theme ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’

We have lost the connection with the clothes that we wear, so we thought it was important to make this first day about transparency and reconnecting the relationships in the fashion value chain. What is the connection to someone else through your clothes? The farmers do not know where their cotton goes; the producers no longer make entire garments, they are just line workers; and the end consumer rarely knows where their clothes were made.

8_FRD_actions_-01Be Curious

We need to become more curious about how our clothes are made and who made them. 

  • Look at the labels on your clothes. Where is it from? Who made it?

8_FRD_actions_-02Find out

Get in contact with brands and ask them ‘Who Made Your Clothes‘, to discover the real people throughout the supply chain. 

  • Send the brand a photo/video of your garment on Facebook/Twitter and ask Who Made Your Clothes? Let us know by tagging it with #InsideOut and @Fash_Rev
  • Use the Fashion Revolution Day Trump Card Game to find out how ethical your garments are. Then play the game with your friends!
  • Check out our Further Reading list for more information on ethical fashion
  • Play the Fashion Revolution Day Quiz to test your knowledge!

8_FRD_actions_-03Do Something

We want hundreds of thousands of people to take part! Together we can use the power of fashion to catalyse change and reconnect the broken links in the supply chain. In order to raise awareness within the fashion industry and beyond, we want to encourage them to continue to try and make things better. 

  • WATCH The True Cost A Documentary and share the movie streaming on Netflix.  Spread the word!
  • Stay up-to-date with local news and events through your country page and social media
  • Get in touch with your Country Coordinator about holding your own event for Fashion Revolution Day!
  • On Fashion Revolution Day 24 April, please Tweet: Today I’m wearing my (shirt/dress/T-shirt etc.) #InsideOut because I want to ask @(brand/retailer) Who Made Your Clothes?
  • Tell your friends, family and colleagues about Fashion Revolution Day and get them to wear something inside out
  • Change the way that we are consumers.  I personally have stopped voting with my $ through NOT shopping at many of the stores that are involved in the fast fashion trend.  And, like we talked about in the kitchen, I have warmed up to wearing pre-owned clothing- beyond vintage, but newer pieces that are from resale clothing stores- there are a few good ones in LA, where the clothes are fashionable, some basics, and in like-new conditions.  The buyers and the parameters for buying for resale are strict and the bar high.  This has been really fun.  I am excited to participate in the #30wears initiative, where I share that hashtag when in a photo with a piece or pieces of clothing have been worn over and over.
  • Take care of your clothing, fix it and resell or donate it if you are not using it anymore.  Be an active consumer, own your clothing- not just buy it.
  • Buy clothes that have a minimum impact on the environment.  If you can, buy organic cotton, buy less clothing and/or support companies who create textiles and clothing that are more sustainable.  Check out The Good Trade website for starters.

Wear it #insideout

Together we can use the power of fashion to catalyse change and reconnect the broken links in the supply chain. Wear your clothes inside-out to help start the beginning of an industry-wide transformation towards a more sustainable future. Show us your inside out clothes on Instagram by tagging it @Fash_Rev and #InsideOut

https://instagram.com/p/l9AQAJtwKg/

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

 

kids-paint-workshop

When I was a  young girl in elementary school, my sister and I used to take the bus to school.  We took the bus to round-trip to school and more than one time, we experienced being bullied by a couple of the neighborhood boys.  I am four years older than my sister, I was her protector.  I felt scared and vulnerable and yet I had to be strong for my little sister.  The bullying that we experienced was traumatic for me and I have very vivid memories and feelings from those days.  I also remember some of my classmates in elementary school being teased, bullied and ostracized for being “different” in any way.  I wonder how those classmates from the past are doing now?small-bullying-blu

These days, bullying has escalated to a whole new level of threats, danger and intensity.  Teaching in the public school systems in rural New York and inner city Los Angeles for 14 years total, I saw first hand what it can be like for our youths and the peer to peer bullying these days.  I did my best to protect and be an ally for all of my students.  Recently I watched a documentary called “Bully” made in 2011.  The opening scene was devastating for me, the whole film was actually.  Thank God for these parents, educators and educational leaders who are taking a stand for kids being bullied.  And, thank God for the courage for the bullied kids to be willing to report to the adults what’s happening.

What can we do?  At the very least, we can raise awareness, talk about it and be advocates for our children, ALL children, so that we can decrease the bullying going on and keep our children safe and protected.  There is much that we can do as both childless caring adults and parents to educate our kids about the effects of bullying and what can be done to prevent it.  It’s a complicated and a wide-spread issue in our schools, across the internet and at times out in the community where kids hang out.

effects of bullying

One thing we can do is to become educated, watch “Bully”, speak out and give voice to this issue and support the kids who we are in contact with about bullying, openly. Let’s be a safe haven for them.  Some proactive actions we can take to take on the issue of bullying, are organizing town hall meetings, giving classes, and creating anti-bullying events in your community.

If you are in the Laguna Beach area, this week we are hosting this event at the gallery where I am a showing artist.  Please come out and bring your kids to participate in this event!

Paint Workshop for the Kids

Let them express their thoughts on bullying through art.

On Thursday, April 24th, 3p-7p at the Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art

611 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 715-9604

~

Recommended Resources

Living Values Educational Program

Educators involved in Living Values Education in more than 60 countries, welcome you to the website of the Association for Living Values Education International (ALIVE). We invite you to join us in this global endeavor to help students explore and develop positive values and move toward their potential. We hope you will join us in creating caring, respectful environments where students feel safe, want to learn, and live their values. The Living Values Education Program is effective in decreasing violence and bullying, and in creating safe, caring school climates which are conducive to quality learning.

BULLY

 A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.

The Bully Project

The BULLY Project, the social action campaign inspired by the documentary film BULLY.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

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Soul Cosmology

IMG_3652“Lórien” ~ Soul Cosmology Painting

In October 2012 I was inspired to combine my passion for painting with my other gifts.  I felt excited to see where this spark would take me and my artwork.   I began to experiment with a few of my friends and really enjoyed the results and shared their Soul Cosmology painting with them.  They really enjoyed the experience too!  Here’s what my friend Choury shared with me:

“I am delighted with my beautiful Soul Cosmology Painting by Lórien Eck. It’s hard to categorize this kind of art because Lórien actually interprets her subject’s energy with a kind of ‘Artistic Alchemy’ that goes beyond being beautiful. It’s peaceful and healing and energizes my room. It simply makes me feel good every time I look at it. I couldn’t be more pleased – Thank you Lórien!”
~ Choury DeVelle Bsc, CHt., NLP Quantum Meditation and Transformation

IMG_3651“Choury” ~ Soul Cosmology Painting

A soul’s essence cannot be contained in a word, or even a phrase. And so, using my spiritual insight and artistry, I interpret your unique soul qualities/gifts and express them through light, color, texture – from Spirit to matter.

Cindy“Cindy” ~ Soul Cosmology Painting

Soul Cosmology Painting is a one-of-a-kind painting that reflects your Soul’s unique beauty, essence and light.
Your Soul Cosmology is your essence of being or Spirit translated into a fine art painting- Matter-it is a potent reflection of you. It is a mirror and reminder of your bright inner light and Eternal beauty. As you engage with your painting, you awaken and are nourished. You begin to recognize “you” again, and open up to receive those most precious aspects of yourself: your true essence, harmony, beauty, personal power, strength, balance, and peace.Imagine commissioning a Soul Cosmology Painting to…

• Reflect and remind you of your Inner Beauty and Light

• Enhance feelings of inner peace, self-healing, self-empowerment and well-being

• Strengthen a deeper appreciation for your own wisdom, sovereignty and bliss

• Illuminate a more profound recognition of your unique genius and gifts, and of the light that is YOU!

• Validate a more grounded connection to your daily experience of Cosmic Consciousness or Oneness

• Beautify a space with art that translates the language of your Soul

IMG_3649“Kat” ~ Soul Cosmology Painting

IMG_3673“Lori” ~ Soul Cosmology Painting

All Soul Cosmology Paintings are fine art originals.  I create them with mixed media pigments, fairy dust, natural dyes and/or earth sourced minerals/crystals.

Soul Cosmology Paintings are created using 100% sustainable, raw materials from the earth for personal and global health. Your Soul Cosmology Painting can be created for your home/work space or to wear on your body as a shawl, wrap or sarong.

There are two sustainable and cruelty-free eco textile options to choose from. These options will be discussed, custom designed and handcrafted to meet your requirements/desires for home/workspace or the body.

I am so happy to be able to bring through and offer this gift.   Please contact me directly to inquire about your Soul Cosmology Painting.  I would love to paint your beautiful Soul for you to admire… xo

IMG_3666“Cynthia” ~ Soul Cosmology Painting

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

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flyer:windowLang Fine Art Laguna Beach, ©LE Art & Design (photo)

One thing I know for sure is that I am cosmic, made of the stuff of stars.  I began creating paintings  in my Santa Monica art studio in the fall of 2010 that depicted images of the cosmos.  I didn’t question why I was painting these images or even have a cognitive motive to paint the skies, the heavens, the starry galaxies.  I was simply following my creative impulse and following my bliss.  I began to engage more and more with the imagery from the various NASA space telescopes and paint abstract, textured and sparkly paintings on paper mostly, and enjoyed the process so very much.

stuff starsIn the summer of 2011, I began to receive lots of encouragement to show and share my artwork in our world.  At the time I was teaching art full-time in the public school system and was beginning to moonlight as a professional artist.  I gradually began to show my work at more and more art galleries in the Southern California region, as well as continue to paint and fall in love with our cosmos.  In late 2012, I began to engage more deeply with the available knowledge about how super connected we are to our cosmos, how it is in our very DNA, as well as engage with a variety of teachers, leaders and authors of books about the star nations and multi-verses that exist.

Cosmic XIICosmic XII ©LE Art & Design

This content and focus of my work is more exciting as ever with new documentaries coming out all of the time and mainstream television shows being produced, like Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the sequel series to Cosmos: A Personal Voyage presented by Carl Sagan in 1980.  I just discovered this new 2 hour video called Earth from Space produced by NOVA, that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet!  There are many programs found online and via youtube, like this one that I really enjoy from NOVA in 2004, the Origins series.  I believe that we are just scratching the surface about what “we know”, however, I love how art imitates life in so many mediums!

Orca NebulaOrca Nebula ©LE Art & Design

I feel lucky to be able to this very day, show my work throughout Southern and Northern California since 2011 and have enjoyed such a wonderful time the past 6 weeks sharing many of my original cosmos and earthscape inspired paintings in Laguna Beach at Lang Fine Art.  This show is open for 1 more glorious week, up through March 30, 2014.

Lang Fine Art
1450 South Coast Highway,
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(in the Art Center, across from the Surf and Sand Hotel)

Borealis II 30x22 Mixed Media on PaperBorealis II ©LE Art & Design

I also have an ongoing showing of several of my larger original cosmos-inspired paintings at:

Irvine, CA
Temple of Light
Spiritual Community

11 Goddard
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 333-1641

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

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Water III NewWater III” – 2′ x 3′ – Mixed media on canvas ©LE Art & Design

“On  World Water Day, March 22, 2014, the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers will be leading a women’s WATER BLESSING CEREMONY from the sacred Montezuma Well.” #inthenameofthemother

In the Winter 2013, I began my deep personal journey with my element of water.  Water as a holistic experience, body, mind, spirit and specifically emotions.  I created and was offered a full-blown opportunity to dive into my own repressed and unexpressed emotions, most possibly grieving lifetimes of sorrow and loss.  No matter how long this soul had been containing this unexpressed water, the floodgates were unleashed and I let it flow… for months.  (Note: this is a very abbreviated version of a deep and broad experience for me.)

Lórien’s Water Inspiration

One full cycle of the seasonal year has progressed, my intimate, cathartic relationship with my water has grown and evolved me as an Soul and artist.  My journey with the waters took me through the winter, spring, summer, and through to the latest winter season.  In order to navigate these waters, my daily practices ranged from journaling, letting the tears flow, walking by the seaside, swimming in the oceans, appreciating the rivers and oceans and in creating my five paintings in my Water series.

Water IWater I 2.5′ x 4′ – Mixed media on canvas ©LE Art & Design

Today, March 22, 2014 is  World Water Day.  Although the day may be officially over, it does need be.  We can honor the water with the intentions as stated in the Prayer for the Healing of the Waters.  We m,ay continue to stand in a moment of thought and prayers for our sacred waters #INTHENAMEOFTHEMOTHER

Water IV“Water IV” – 4′ x 5′ – Mixed media on canvas

We can also honor our own water by drinking plenty of pure, spring water, taking lots of baths, swimming in clean oceans and rivers, feeling our feelings and honoring and accepting what ever we feel, without judgment, e-moting through artistic expression, and more.  Be creative, be loving and surrender to the healing element of water within and without.  Many blessings on swimming through your deep blue waters… xo

Water IIWater II 2.5′ x 4′ – Mixed media on canvas ©LE Art & Design

Water VWater V” – Diptych 3′ x 3′ and 3′ x 3′ – Mixed media on canvas

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

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darkskiesDark/Light Sky ©LE Art & Design

“You have the opportunity to drink in this energy of Balance and allow it to transform the very atoms at the core of your being.”  ~Archangel Michael via Shanta Gabriel

Happy 1st Equinox of 2014!  This day is significant in that there is an equal measure of lightness and darkness (or shadow) in our Earth and Sun dance.  This “outer” balance of dark/light reflects our own delicate balance of our inner light and inner darkness.  And, in the northern hemisphere, the light is getting brighter and stronger day by day… building towards our Solstice in June.

How can we work consciously with these outer energies in a way that is favorable for us?  For me, doing some sort of ritual to honor the light/dark balance in a simple way is my charge today.  Lighting a candle on my alter in the morning with prayers and meditation and later in the dark of the evening, I will create a simple ceremony again with fire as the central element.  For more ideas on rituals and ceremonies, check out Mystic Mamma’s ideas.  (scroll down on that page to Rituals)

harlesdon_flowersHarlesden Spring ©LE Art & Design

The power of clear intentions is a sure way to move forward and harness these cosmic energies. We are also in the “new year” in the astrological world, moving from Pisces, the 12th sign of the cycle into Aries, the powerful first fire sign.  So, to my many astrologer/y friends and Persian friends, “Happy New Year!”  To quote one of my favorite online resources for charting the annual cycles as well as wisdom of the “Mamma”:  “This symbolic point of balance has been celebrated by our ancestors since the beginning of time. In cultures across our planet this period marks an initiation and symbolic integration of the forces of light and dark.

For more insights on the meaning and significance of this transition time/space, see this link and many many Bright Blessings in this new season!

Ciel:Mer XVCiel/Mer XV ©LE Fine Art

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

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Green Is Queen!

IMG_0638Succulents in Bloom ©LE Art & Design

I love the color green!  Why?  Green represents so much!  Green represents growth, the earth, fertility, growing grass and leaves, green emeralds, and the stone of jade.  Green is also the color representing the heart chakra.. Ahhhhh  Green is also associated now with the “green” movement, the greening of the earth and all that is “eco conscious”.

Today is St.Patrick’s day.  I celebrated by wearing an awesome bright green scarf and celebrating by spending time with my healing art! Here’s my “selfie” from Lang Fine Art in Laguna Beach with “Ciel/Mer XIV” ( 22″ x 30″ – Mixed media on paper).IMG_0630Selfie on Green Day ©LE Art & Design

I also spent some time walking along the pacific coast near the sea and window shopping, what fun!  Our last stop was a special visit to another one of my “happy places“, a gorgeous nursery where we saw those beautiful succulents and lots of beautiful garden toys, statues, plants, herbs, botanical trees and lots of amazing living things!

IMG_0632Fuzzy One ©LE Art & Design

And, let’s remember our beloved green drinks and smoothies!  My favorite green juice is a combo of organic kale, parsley, celery, cucumber, ginger and a little cilantro!

IMG_5992Fresh green juice-art studio breaktime ©LE Art & Design

What a wonderful day of beauty, fine art, the sea, plants galore and even The Green Man!

IMG_0633The Green Man ©LE Art & Design

“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night.” ~Irish blessing

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

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cheryl pelavin gallery (e)gender project Lórien Eck_webMy poster for (en)Gendered (in)Equity or “Gallery Tally”

“Shiva and Shakti, Twin Flames” by recubejim, used under CC BY – Text added to original, 24X36 inches ©LE Art & Design

I am a Soul first, in a female body second.  I am an artist.  I am a female artist.  Did you know that even today, that the statistics of commercial gallery representation is imbalanced?  It’s about 71% male and 29% female in commercial galleries nationwide.  Wow!  Really?  As a working professional artist, I personally represent myself, show in galleries that invite me as well as other “non” art gallery alternative spaces.

poster gallery picPoster maker and Poster at For Your Art Gallery

The more I learn about the gender equity facts in the art world, and consequently, across the board in relation to the existing art world and the world at large, the more I feel inspired to share this data simply to raise awareness.   This is not the ’70’s, this is 2014 and we in the Western world are seeing inequality in so many areas.  Here is an fabulous website that I enjoy getting real with.  Feminist Magazine.  A few fun facts from this website:

Source: Guerrilla Girls

  • The number of professionally trained artists and art historians in the U.S. – Males 52%, Females 48%
  • Percentage of artists at major institutions:
  • National Gallery of Art — 98% male, 99.9% white
  • National Portrait Gallery — 93% male, 99% white
  • Hirshhorn Museum – modern and contemporary art — 95% male, 94% white
  • Exhibition opportunities: Juried (artists unknown to juror) – Males 52%, Females 48%
  • Exhibitions opportunities: Invited (artists known to juror) – Males 80%, Females 20%
  • Gender distribution of visual artists in art texts – Males 90%, Females 10%
  • Of the over 100 Tonys awarded since 1947 for theater direction, only 2-5% have been to women Directors; only 2-6% to African American Directors.

So, what am I doing about this, what’s in my hands?  I am still making my art, still showing art and have joined a grass roots collaborative project to raise awareness about the gender ration called (en)Gendered (in)Equity or “Gallery Tally”.  It is a crowd-sourced, social engagement art project in which over 500 artists from around the world have joined the effort to collect and visualize statistical data regarding ratios of male and female artists in contemporary art galleries.  My project poster is shown above.   Here is the article in Artillary Magazine that got my attention about this vital project.

Micol Hebron_Super Inequality

Micol Hebron, Photo by Safi Alia Shabaik, 2013

For this inspired poster project, I chose the New York City commercial gallery Cheryl Pelavin because I appreciate her gender values and the history of her gallery is unique.  Check it out!

doors_000

My poster along with 250 others are a part of Los Angeles-based artist Micol Hebron’s collaborative poster project and will be on display in  LA at ForYourArt, the show is called: (en)Gendered (in)Equity: The Gallery Tally Poster Project.  Timed to open during Women’s History Month, the exhibition will feature over 250 posters, each created by a different artist, representing the gender ratios at Los Angeles and New York art galleries.

Having started in Los Angeles, the project is now in its second phase, focusing on galleries in New York. Subsequent visualizations will include Berlin, London, Chicago, Santa Fe, Portland, Pittsburg, San Francisco and other cities.  To see the posters, gallerytally.tumblr.com. 

Here’s the Facebook Invite: All are welcome!

(en)Gendered (in)Equity: The Gallery Tally Poster Project

ForYourArt at 6020 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles

March 29­–April 25
Opening: Saturday, March 29 – 6 to 9pm
Discussion: 6:30pm

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or emaillorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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www.LorienEck.com

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My Manifesta ~Part 1

treeRooted Tree Branching Up ©LE Fine Art (photo) 2013

Happy February~ Happy V~Day!

Today I begin to slowly take on my personal “manifesta”.  It is in part inspired by the Mercury Retro Cycle, February 2014, as well as the turn of our annual cycle, and more I am sure!

And, while I am applying this astro cycle’s principles to my practice, (take any word and add the prefix RE) i.e. review, redo, remember, re, re, re…. this whole lifestyle re-vamp started to kick in consciously for me after the turn of the year, Jan. 2014 when I was camping in the jungle off the grid for 1 month…… :)  It wasn’t about quantity of time, but the quality~ time spent in reflection, and in forgiveness; a time of  healing the heart, the mind and the Spirit in nature.  It was a very cathartic transition time for me and now that I am back in my so-called “normal” existence (NOT!), I am in the sensitive integration leg of the journey.  This stage takes time, care, attention, love, patience, understanding… because the reality is that my life has changed, I have changed.

What exactly is my Manifesta?  It is one way that I am integrating and responding to my inner-world changes and how to interface with the outer world.  The overarching themes  are very “RE” oriented.  Reduce, reuse, recycle, reinvent… basically, less consumption and more creativity with what I already have.

Here’s #1 of my Manifesta:

1. Re-view aspects of lifestyle.
a. What I wear on my body.
-where it was made (country)
-what it is made from (textile)
-brand (that’s a whole other story!)

This is a big one for me.  Even to the point of my life’s passion/calling.  From an early early age, I have been obsessed with my clothing, with textiles and with putting outfits together!  I even won an award in high school for what else, “Clothing”.  Yes! So this topic runs deep!

So, one of my recent activities has been (without judgment) to examine at every piece of clothing I have and assess the following: textile, country of manufacture, and company of manufacture.  I am keeping a record and the stats are not that startling, yet conclusive to the fact that I am making HUGE changes.  1st choice that I have made is to cease buying any new clothing items. Period.  One could call this practice simplifying, yet it is and so much more.  It’s also what I like to call the “RE-forestation” of  a lifestyle that has lived in an urban region for some time.

My Manifesta envelopes all aspects of my life, from what I value, to how I spend my valuable time, my relationships, my living and “work” environment, and of course, my stuff.  We all have our stuff and even  after a home relocation in 2012, when I donated much of my stuff, there is still more!  The stuff I am referring to now, fits into the childhood, sentimental category.  And, at the end of the day, it is still stuff.  And, so the process of elimination goes on.  All is being put through this ‘RE’ process, the RE-zoning and RE-inventing myself in an ever-changing world stage.  One thing I have come to learn is that when the feeling of overwhelm settles in, that’s the sign to eliminate and to simplify, to let go as easily and gracefully as possible whatever is there and to create clean, fresh space.

My Manifesta is an ongoing process and contains many layers.  It is a slow, step-by-step, year-long project and focus that I know will yield results and allow me to manifest my dreams.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Personally Experienced and Recommended Resources

Mystic Mamma

This is a great resource for astro wisdom, cosmic consciousness and mamma-ness.  This link is especially illuminating in terms of

Mercury retrograde, February 6-28, 2014

The Power Path

The monthly forecast from these amazing folks is an invaluable tool.

Slow Fashioned Blog

Fabulous resource for the curious, courageous and committed co-creative consumer!  I challenge you to take the Pledge!

One Dress Protest

One woman’s inspiration, in her words, “to figure myself out in the complex and oftentimes disconcerting world of clothes

and outward appearance.”  Excellent inspiration for me!

www.lorieneck.com

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pathThe Path to the Great Unknown ©LE Fine Art (photo)

“The past has no power over the present moment.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Aloha fellow travelers!

Happy New Year greetings from the magical and mystical island of Kauai!  What amazing and expansive times we are in!  I am personally experiencing a time of great change and gracefully releasing what no longer serves my highest good.  Ahhhhhh.  This month, much like December, is a period of transition for many, and I am certainly feeling this.  Why is January still feel like a transition month?  Well, from what I know, the Dec. 31/Jan 1 shift is just one of many larger cyclical passages that occurs and effects us energetically.  The others are the Chinese New Year, this year occurring on January 31 (always coinciding with the new moon), the astrological new year with Aries (first sign of the zodiac) and of course, our friend the groundhog who pops up on Feb. 2, often signalling a new season.  So, with all of those factors in the field, it’s no wonder the vibes are feeling like they do!

Navigating the course moving from the Chinese year of the water serpent to the soon to be wooden horse has proven to be a time of great growth, detachment, adjustments, preparations and education on all levels.  I have re-dedicated myself to my daily yoga practice and embarked on a deep cleanse and all level detox sourcing many of the fruits of the sacred land that I am living on, (fresh Noni, aloe, parsley, coconut water, to name a few) and letting go even more through my long exhales…

I read something recently from the Power Path by Lena Stevens, where she talks about being prepared, getting ready, set, to GO in the coming months of this year.  Here’s an excerpt from her January forecast: “The question is, “What are you preparing for?” This is an unknown as to how the future will manifest, but the preparation is always for something new and better to come into our lives, a new paradigm, a new perception, a new frequency. We do not yet know how it will manifest, but if we are encumbered by all of our excess baggage (physical, emotional and psychological) we will certainly not be able to take advantage of it.”  Oh yeah love that!

Yep!  This is what I am experiencing full on and feel that what I can do at the very least, is to prepare my body/mind temple, my emotional and my Spiritual bodies for what it is I am here to do and what lies ahead.  Starting here with baby steps and moving into what I can change/create in terms of nourishment, in thoughts, emotions, beliefs, relationships and especially letting go of what no longer serves is my focus at this time.

What to prepare for?  One thing I know for sure, this Chinese year of the wooden horse holds lots of promise of dreams fulfilled from following my bliss step by step and through patiently watching the mystery unfold.   From astrologer Carol Barbeau: “Horse magic is always about traveling free and following your path: Horses are to me about Travel, Power, Freedom.”  How exciting indeed!  I look forward to sharing more of the adventure and magic as 2014 rolls on!

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Personally Experienced and Recommended Resources

The Power Path

The monthly forecast from these amazing folks is an invaluable tool.

Carol Babeau Illuminations

Her weekly and monthly forecasts are fun, inspired and always insightful!

www.lorieneck.com

“Hope is a waking dream.” ~ Aristotle

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Why is Art Healing?

Water IVWater IV 48 inches X 60 inches Mixed Media on Canvas ©LE Fine Art

My relationship to art and healing is complex and textured with many personal stories close to home as well as those from my professional career.  In my experience, my spiritual evolution is in direct relation to my artistic process.  My self-expression has morphed in its form, yet the reliable resource has consistently been a source of resiliency, growth and ascension to this day.  My artistic process has served me as an outlet moving me from hope to despair and back to hope again throughout my life.  And, my art “products” have served as a living document reflecting my upward spiral.

My exposure to the arts began from birth really, as my father is an active fine artist thus I grew up in a household that supported and fostered both art making and an appreciation for the arts.  I was immersed in a creative atmosphere and was given active permission to “play” in the arts.  My sister was an avid artist and it was through her creating of art that she was able to cope with the pain and suffering that she endured through a terminal illness with grace and ease.  Her fragile life is a strong testimony to the healing and liberating power that art carries.  Art continues to be a central resource to my family’s healing, grieving and transformation from a tragic loss.

As an arts educator for over 14 years, I personally witnessed a multitude of what I call “transitions in consciousness” within the thousands of students that I was able to reach.  My art classroom provided a safe container for their artistic expression to flourish and heal/relieve the suffering from loss, disease, grief, poverty, social injustice and other life threatening situations that many of them faced.  Time and again, it was self-evident that creative expression through the arts provides solace, an inward refuge and for many hope through a shift in awareness and perception.

Overall, art is a potent path of healing both as a practice and a profession for me.  Art, creativity and healing are to me synonymous.  Art is the glue of the Universe and provides a nourishing space for the Soul to rest and take refuge.  More than ever, art and the artistic process serve as the means for the evolution of human consciousness and planetary healing.

lorien

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Kalani floralsKalani Wedding Flowers ©LE Fine Art (photo)

“If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…maybe we could understand something.”

  ~Federico Fellini

The month of October was a very special month for me.  After a solid commitment and about 4 months of careful preparation, that included a renewed daily yoga practice, more silence and lots of focused inner work, I felt ready for my retreat at Kalani with one of my teachers’ Cass.  The title of our retreat was Path of Love and its focus was LOVE.  Love as a practice, love for the journey itself, love through all of the spirals, curves, twists, turns and for the SELF.  The retreat center itself was on the Big Island of Hawaii, where Pele the goddess of fire and passion resides.  Kalani retreat center is a beautiful backdrop and sacred container for any retreat, gorgeous jungle, clean air and away from civilization.  Truly a ‘bubble’ enclosing a tropical paradise serving as a crucible for many a phoenix rising.

Our retreat encompassed diving into breath work, movement, art-making, dancing, bio aquatic time in the Watsu pool, silence, sharing and  lots and lots of PLAY in the quantum field of LOVE.  During our 5-day “intensive” together, we honored a day of silence.  This intentional silence time/space truly provided me with my nourishment and the integration that is essential after so much deep unwinding and unraveling…. Yum!  I enjoyed that silence time so much that after retreat concluded, I spent more time in silence during my extended stay at Kalani.  I experienced pure pleasure as I steeped in my own medicinal brew of heightened  SELF awareness, synchronicities and surprises.

Silence has also been a core theme of my long time Raja yoga meditation practice started up in 2001.  So, this was nothing “new” to me, but is so so so integral to propelling my creative evolution forward at this juncture.  What this silence provides for me now is the critical “stitching up” and full embodiment of what emerges and is dis-cover-ed through such a retreat, or any created space for personal growth.  So, as each day rolls out, my beat goes on of weaving the tapestry of my gifts to offer up to our world in a form that is visible, vibrant and juicy…

Thank you for reading and I invite you to write your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Personally Experienced and Recommended Resources

Awake-One

Cass Phelps is an amazing individual and his inspired body of work and offerings have been a phenomenal resource for me! His work is comprehensive, relevant and rich…I am eternally grateful to one of my lifetime teachers, Cass.

Kalani Retreat Center

         Kalani is Hawaii’s largest retreat center, one of the best-loved centers  in the world for more than 35 years.

The Torus

The involuting of the Self into itSelf.

www.lorieneck.com

“When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.”

-Eckhart Tolle

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The Spring Equinox  officially rolls on March 19th @ 10:14 PM PST & on March 20th @ 1:14 AM EST & 5:14 AM GMT/UT.  Does this fact, this transition of the “outer” season/cycle affect your “inner” world’s season/cycle?

For myself, although I live (and have mostly lived) in a predominantly season-less place, Southern California, I do feel the outer shift in my inner world.  How?  I feel excited about all of the newness that is about to sprout up from seed thoughts and actions planted deep in the three-month span of a snow-less winter.  I feel a surge of fresh energy, like fresh oxygen from a deep breath of pure ocean air in my day.  I do feel a subtle, but very powerful infusion of vital life force energy coming up from the earth and moving through the ethers….

It is a very exciting and “all things are possible” time on planet Earth.  Dream Big, plant the seeds, water, sun, love, belief, trust, and let us all remember to breathe deeply as we move into this next season.

As for my creative projects and creations… lots going on and to be revealed soon at:

Lórien Eck Fine Art

And, lastly, a few of the resources that are supporting and inspiring my journey of late:

Oneness of Us

Gently Moving Forward

Acknowledge is Power

Chi Field

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

All love,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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February 2012. Year of the Water Dragon.  Valentine’s day coming up. I offer this thought and inquiry, “what if Valentine’s day was everyday?” What if YOU were always your first Valentine and your significant others and/or humanity closely near the top?  Love is….

What a year it has been so far for me, lots of love…. After a quick start of 3 concurrent art show openings and exhibits, blogs posts,  art receptions, art creating, and lots of new connections, I am taking a long, deep breath to absorb it all in. It’s now time to settle in and allow the new experiences to integrate.  Settling into the love from my larger community and all of those supporting my art work as it is launched into the world.

Self love and love for humanity is on my mind and in my heart.  How do I continually bring this LOVE, for self and others, into my day to day experiences and interactions? How do WE continually bring this LOVE, for self and others, into our day to day experiences and interactions? How do YOU continually bring this LOVE, for self and others, into your day to day experiences and interactions?

So, I leave these questions with you and will be back in March with more musings on life and love.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

With immense Love and Gratitude,

Lórien

Check out the latest art news:

http://lorieneck.com/news.html

Latest blog entry for Laguna Niguel Patch

www.lorieneck.com

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Greetings!

This is such an exciting time in our lives!  2012 will be whatever you want it to be! That is the beauty of who we are in this time of truth, love, light, reinvention, and transformation from the chrysalis to the butterfly.

Dream it, nurture it, become it, be, be, be…

Now, for my update of exciting news in my world, the world I know as light, color, beauty…

On January 4, 2012, I will be launching my new website

www.lorieneck.com

Opening Jan. 5, 2012 at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, 7 of my original mixed media paintings will be exhibited through March 31.  These artworks can be experienced in person in the hotel gallery space off of the main lobby.  You can even purchase one to take home for your own walls!

RITZ CARLTON LAGUNA NIGUEL
One Ritz-Carlton Drive,
Dana Point, California 92629
949.240.2000

Earth and Above: Borealis III 22X30 mixed media on paper

Also, opening on January 20, 3 brand new pieces will be exhibited at haleARTS

S P A C E in Santa Monica.

This show runs January 20 – January 31, 2012.
Opening Reception with the artist is Friday, January 20, 5-8 PM
haleARTS S P A C E
emerging artists for emerging collectors

2443 Main Street
Santa Monica,CA 90405
http://www.halearts.com
(310)314-8038

And, one more amazing opportunity to share in the fresh 2012 New Year….

Lórien Eck Fine Art has been selected as the Featured Local Artist for “Local’s Night” at the Whole Foods Market Venice for the Venice Art Crawl, Thursday, January 19.

A  reception for the artist with live music that night from 5:30p-8:30p at

Whole Foods Market-Venice

225 Lincoln Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291 USA
map, directions & nearby stores

Phone 310.566.9480

I look forward to sharing my latest artistic creations with you throughout 2012 and beyond….to celebrating life with you!

It is my purpose to serve and offer my gifts… with gratitude.

Happy,  healthy, prosperous, wonderous, and days filled with miracles to you every day of 2012 and beyond,

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

Love and light,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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Dear Friends:

Happy Autumn!  After quite a bit of time of silence and travels,  I am happy to be back here writing to share about my latest musings, creations, and offerings.

I have been actively creating an inspiring body of art works on paper this past summer.  And, I am happy to announce that I will be offering a select collection of these new works at an exciting new art gallery space on Main Street in Santa Monica.  haleARTS SPACE opened its doors in the summer of 2011 in the Edgemar Center, a structure located in the heart of Main Street and designed by local architect Frank Gehry.

See this link: http://www.halearts.com/haleARTS/Welcome.html

This collection of smaller (18″X24″) mixed media works on paper are stand alone pieces and each piece is made available as a Limited Edition of One, signed by the artist.  They will be offered for a limited time (during the Art Sales Oct. 15/16 and Dec. 3/4 ONLY) for a price of $100- allowing new art collectors an opportunity to covet a master work from an emerging local artist.

Here is a sample of one of the original pieces available exclusively at haleARTS SPACE:

And, below is my artist statement:

Lórien Eck creates unique mixed media paintings that are rich in texture, color, light, sparkle, and dimension. My work is available as one-of-a-kind creations- thus preserving the touch of the hand and of the intention of spirit.

My work is to be experienced up close and personal, invoking a connection to source, truth, and natural beauty. My inspiration is sourced from the quest for beauty, truth, and the Divine in all beings and things.
Lórien’s intention as an artist is to create beautiful pieces that inspire hope, healing, and that act as a catalyst for a transformative spiritual experience in the individual and humanity as a whole.

I look forward to hearing from you all- and from my new collectors!

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In beauty and light,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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Create!

our hands on workshop in the arts wing at SLU

My week long visit to St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY where  I graduated with an M. Ed. in ’06 was divine!  This teaching and speaking residency gave me the opportunity to spend time sharing stories from my nine years of teaching art in LA, as well as learning about how the education cuts are impacting the local education community on the opposite side of the country.  And, to meet some wonderful, very creative and inspiring university students and profs!

See (http://www.stlawu.edu/academics/programs/education/students/3113)

I spent time with several classes interacting with over 120 SLU undergraduate and graduate students.  It was such fun!

On Thursday, I was involved with speaking and sharing about my art work and the global initiative World Wide Weavers (www.worldwideweavers.com) with two other local artists Paul Pedersen and Michael Frenette spoke and shared their work with the group of about 30+ students and community members.

After the talks, we moved into a large open studio space where all had an opportunity to paint acrylic on canvas (and some paper too).

From the SLU Adirondack ProgramAt the end of the creative session, we re-gathered and debriefed together about the “creative process” that was experienced.  It was wonderful and interesting to witness many similar stories that these science majors and various other “non-artists” had to share about their love of making art and how they feel that their creativity has been sucked out of them or pushed down as they moved ahead into high school and university life.  The overarching theme was how it was so refreshing and like drinking a glass of cool water after a walk across the desert to pick up a paint brush and simply express themselves in color, shape, and forms.  Without judgment, correct answers, or any specific instructions or mandated outcomes.  In addition,  as students they said that they are used to be told exactly what is expected, how to get to the right answer via a proven formula and path.  And, when asked to create, invent, innovate something out of nothing with little boundaries given, they feel unprepared and confused.  Uh oh….

The beauty of this open, unstructured art experience was that although the participants were not given specific instructions, each one came up with their own success story!

The arts give so much in the way of critical thinking skills, the capacity to invent, to be flexible, to innovate, to collaborate- all 21st century skills for the global market.

For specific info on the Creative Economy in California, see the Otis Report

http://www.otis.edu/creative_economy/

Save the Arts!

http://www.artsusa.org/

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

Peace and Love,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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Arts Collaborative

Today I had my first full day at SLU as a guest/teacher/artist in residence. Visiting about 5 different classes, ranging from undergrad to grad- it was amazing! Classes raging from Contemporary Issues in Education to Educational Leadership with a variety of Education department professors to a Gender Studies class entitled Performing Women’s Identities with Dr. Evette Hornsby-Minor.

(see http://www.stlawu.edu/academics/programs/education/students/3113)

I learned something new about rural America. Rural America can be likened to the urban area, specifically “inner city” America like where I teach in Los Angeles, yet does not garner as much attention nor funding opportunities, yet the need is there. Interesting.
I learned that like LA, many good teachers are losing their jobs here-across the board, but of course, the visual and performing arts are hit hard-disappointing many students.

I learned again, how critical it is for me to enjoy and celebrate the vibrant, rich, and diverse culture that LA offers.

More to come as the next day arrives- including photos!

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

Love,
Lórien

http://www.lorieneck.com

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Hello Friends:

January came and went and I missed my monthly blog entry, apologies.  The month bounced by so quickly and now we find ourselves 25% into February 2011!  So, on that note, I wish you a hearty Happy New Year to You!

I will take up the theme of the Chinese year of the Rabbit, as this is how I feel, like time is hopping so quickly and creatively too!

This change from the Year of the Tiger to the Year of the Rabbit officially on Feb. 3, 2011, and I can say that I personally felt the shift!  Not only did I move some furniture to reflect a recent Feng Shui consultation, but I felt a sense of relief from the move away from the  tumultuous Tiger to the calm Rabbit. I do not know about you, but I experienced a roller coaster of a 2010.  Although this shift was subtle, it was felt in my subtle body!

For a great article on our rabbit year, see this article from my local paper:

http://www.smmirror.com/?ajax#mode=single&view=31736

So, as I sign off of this entry, I wish you all a wonderful, creative, calm, and love-filled 12 months.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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The year 2010, winding down but not before a dramatic Total Full Moon Lunar eclipse and  Winter Solstice celebration on Dec. 21.  What a way to end a year full of surprises, accomplishments, and moments full of joy, love, risk, beauty, and release.

The darkest day of the year was ironically the brightest with the full moon lighting the night sky. And for myself, this excerpt sums it all up best in terms of how to harness this powerful energy for the year to come (even if you do not believe in the art/science of astrology, this is just good stuff to ruminate on):

“The Solstice unveils the return of the light of consciousness.  Now is the time to jettison all emotional baggage and habitual thought patterns.  These will not serve you at all in the coming years! Our new conversations may be difficult at first.  We will not know how to express ourselves.  It is crucial that we embrace this time of not knowing and allow ourselves to liberate and transform our relationship to language and communication.
How can you use this energy?  How can your mind guide you to deeper emotional truth?  How can your mind partner with your heart?  What will that look like?  How will that be expressed?  What will that create?  What will that destroy?   What will you call this new state of being?

This is the Season of Darkness and Light!  Celebrate and be Joyous!  See you in 2011!”

~excerpt from http://www.facebook.com/lorien.eck#!/pages/Home-Planet-Astrology/104307816279417?v=wall

So, as you let go of old beliefs, transcend thought patterns and look ahead to set your intentions for 2011,

I wish us all the best year ever, one full of limitless possibilities, sparkly magic, deep love, full and hearty compassion, and the courage to step beyond our own perceptions of self and other.

May you experience exceptional health, abundant wealth, and progression towards the fulfillment of potential in 2011 and beyond.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

With love and many blessings,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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Attitude of Gratitude

©LE Art & Design (photo)

This time of the year, Thanksgiving season in the U.S., is an obvious time to be thankful and look at what we truly have to be grateful for in our lives.  Taking inventory on what is a blessing in our life on a daily basis is a practice that this season brings to mind for me.  Although, I have been told by many a good friend to just “have an attitude of gratitude” and whatever I am grateful for will increase because what we focus on gets bigger.  So…. on that premise, here is my practice of choice.

Upon waking in the morning or closing the day with creating a mental list of some of the little and big things in our lives.  Some of my favorite appreciations in my life are: good health, a roof over our heads, beautiful sunsets, food on the table, good friends, loving family, good employment using my God-given gifts, opportunities to grow, just to name a few.

I offer this blog entry to you as a gift and a gentle reminder to carry the season of warmth and the abundance of love, sharing, and kindness throughout your days.  Make Thanksgiving- the giving of thanks- a daily practice and watch your blessings grow, become a happier individual, and this good energy will naturally impact to all of those around you.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

 

Cheers!

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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The Power of Choice

©LE Art & Design (photo)

This month’s theme, or the theme that is emerged in my consciousness today, is the concept of choice. The power to choose, to select this or that, this way or that way, this thought or that thought, is completely 100% up to “us”, each individual and in the power of the ever-present moment of NOW.

Experience has taught me that to think a certain thought, I will feel a certain correlating emotion. And, so learning to consciously choose those thoughts, in the moment, that bring joy, relief, calm, peace, has become one of the choices  that I must aspire to make in all of my waking moments as I move through my day. The beauty of choice, is that it is always there, like a faithful and loyal friend.  This makes me feel very content.

The power of the present moment, combined with the power to choose, I am left with no space to slip into thoughts of helplessness, blame, or doubt. This gives me and us such authority to become who we were born to be.

The inspiration for this blog entry can be found at: http://www.thereachapproach.co.uk/

Lots of great free reading materials in the Resource section of the site.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

With Love,

Lórien

xxoo

www.lorieneck.com

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Super Harvest Moon…

As we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox, we are also enjoying this Indian Summer here on the West coast it’s in the 80’s/90’s!

Let’s focus on the present full moon- it’s called a “super” harvest moon.
This year marks the first night since 1991 that the harvest moon fell on the Autumnal equinox. And it won’t happen again until 2029. The term harvest moon refers to the closest full moon to the Autumnal equinox. Wow!

Autumnal equinox is considered a time of the Mysteries. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, or just moving along through the “hustle-bustle” of everyday life.

Take time to acknowledge your accomplishments and raise a glass- feel the gratitude of being alive, being healthy, being aware, awake, and on the divine path that you are on.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

With love,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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Indian Summer

©LE Art & Design (photo)

Here we are at the turning point of “back-to-school” and the heating up of the sun’s powerful rays of light.  This transition time isn’t traditionally called “Indian Summer”, (definition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_summer ), however for some reason it feels like it to me.  It might be because in So Cal, where I live, it has been an unusually “overcast” or fogged in, relatively cooler summer,  up until about one week ago.  So, the collective community is being pulled between getting to the ocean shore and stocking up on new school supplies, backpacks, and getting those kids onto big yellow school buses!

The feeling in the air is conflicted and yet as humans, we’re adaptable, so we’re just ziggin’ where we need to zig and zaggin’ where we need to zag.

Life is good- enjoy the sunshine and the warmth of the summer breezes, the learning process of being in “school”, and the combination of the two! :)

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

Lots of love,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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We have heard this before, so many times, but what does it really mean to you? to me?

The Home represents an aspect of the Self.  It is what keeps us safe, it is the place we go to recharge, it is like our outer skin, like a second body to our Soul.

I chose this topic for this month’s Blog entry because of the life change that I am experiencing; an opening of the heart, the decision to finally move out of my home of eight years to a home near the sea, where my back yard will extend all the way to Australia!

This journey of deciding that I must create “a relaxing sanctuary” near the sea was congruent with the opening of the 4th Chakra, the Heart, and Letting More Love for myself in.  This is also a symbolic and real foundation from which to Create from.  So, in this new home, I will be birthing new paintings, new creative projects, and all things from the heart.

Something that I came across as a tool for understanding, is this classic, and yet so valuable tool: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_of_needs

~may it be useful on your journey…

The summer season brings the expansion, the warmth, the long days of the light of the sun, and, of course, days enjoying the majesty and the beauty of the seashore.

So, as I transition to this new Home, I wish you all a wonderful journey in the Summer season.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

Much Love,

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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As we are in the heart of the longest day of the year, the day with the most light- Summer Solstice-I reflect on the concept and the experience of the light of the sun.

Light- it contains all of the colors of the spectrum of the rainbow.  Light, the opposite of darkness, the absence of the darkness.  Light contains the powerful energy to illuminate the truth, to highlight the essence, to expose, to reveal, and to shine, simply shine.

The light of the sun makes the word go round’, provides us all food, nourishment, and makes all grow- towards itself.  The effortless self-evidence of light is a mirror reflection of who we are, in our most simply form, most simple self, our true essence. This daily cycle of the light of the sun emerging out of the darkness of the night sky is easy to take for granted, especially in sunny Southern California.  And, so as I write this monthly blog, the quiet gratitude of our sun that is burning hot and bright these days, is still warm on my shoulders reminding me of my time soaking it in today.

So, as we move ahead into a 3-month season of sun, let’s take those moments when basking in the light of the sun to remember and give thanks to all of the goodness and life that the sun star gives to us day in and day out.

Om Shanti (a blessing of peace, I am a peaceful soul- a point of light)

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In the Light,
Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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What is love? How can I open to more love, be more loving to self and other? These are questions that I am asking myself
daily…. Love is the glue, the essence of  who we are… love is compassion for self, for others, for even the things that we do not “like”.

What if we even love that which is not to our “liking”? What if we love even those who defame, who hurt, betray, or any other example of what, in the world of duality, can be referred to as “bad”?

How can we grow to open to more love?  This is my journey,  to more love for self, for the oneness, for all.

What has inspired me to this intention of loving more,  are conversations with good friends- sisters, and brothers on this spiraling journey called life.
For more resources and insights, see the following  websites….

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

In LOVE for ALL,
Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

Recommended Resources

http://www.thereachapproach.co.uk/resources.php

http://www.blissfulmusic.com/

http://www.aliciamarysmith.com/

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I have started this blog to share some thoughts on themed-based subjects ranging from art, education, film, spirituality, and well, life in general!

Stay tuned to this page!  I will be updating this blog on a regular monthly basis.  I am thrilled to be able to have a forum like this to share my thoughts, secrets, and the gems that find their way across the landscape of the world stage and into my sphere and on to YOU!
In the meantime…  take good care and
see you in the stars*

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connections and would love to hear from you via this blog, my face book page, or email lorien@lorieneck.com.

xoxo

Lórien

www.lorieneck.com

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Happy New Moon Monday all!  I met John in Northern New York where I worked and studied for my M.Ed. degree from St. Lawrence University, a beautiful country setting along the US-Canadian border.  Knowing and witnessing John evolve and grow over the years has been such an inspiration to me! I had the pleasure and privilege to teach Reiki to John and his mom Diane, as well as support John in becoming a Reiki Master Teacher.  He is a gifted healer and wise beyond his years, if you are in the SF Bay Area and require a transformative healing session, I highly recommend John, his hands are angelic, intuitive and compassionate beyond words.  A hearty thank you John for an inspired blog post!

 

I was recently asked: What inspires you?

I have to admit…it’s a somewhat difficult question… but not for the reasons one might think. It’s not that I have difficulty finding inspiration; in fact it’s much the opposite! There are SO MANY sources of inspiration for me I don’t even know where to begin! The world is filled with so much beauty, so much love, and so much joy, if we just open our eyes and hearts to see and feel it!

Personally, one of the biggest inspirations for me is when I see other people living their truths, and creating the lives they want to live! I’ve had, and have SO many amazing people in my life! My mother Diane was one of the biggest inspirations in my life! Although she passed on over a decade ago, her memory continues to inspire me. She was a loving, kind person, who would not speak down to anyone, but would speak out and stand against injustice, with such a HUGE heart, that she would always give to those in need, if she could, while keeping just enough for herself! As a result, I have never felt *poor* no matter how few material comforts I have.

mom DianeMy mom Diane on her wedding day.

I’ve been inspired by many others, including my friend Relani, who helped me to see myself as whole and beautiful as I am at a young age, helping me be comfortable with myself as a queer and gender fluid person. Through Relani I was introduced to Lórien!  Seeing all the beauty Lórien has put out into the world through her art, her organizations that give back to communities in need, and the healing work she does has propelled me down a path of not only self-healing, but the healing of others and the planet! From her I learned Reiki, and was introduced to MANY other amazing spiritual and inspirational people! Today I am working as a Massage Therapist helping people ground and heal their bodies with manual manipulation and Reiki, as well as teaching about plant-based nutrition, juice fasting/cleansing and detox, as well as working for human rights issues, and protections for animals and the planet!

reiki hands image

This brings me to something else that inspires me: Gratitude. Whenever I see people giving thanks for the things they have, especially those who have little, inspires me to feel grateful for all I have, and reminds me that I’m here for a purpose, which is to share my Light and Uniqueness with the world, and add to the collective healing of our planet and all its inhabitants! Having and expressing gratitude every day brings more abundance and beauty into my life, as the focus gets shifted from *not having* to being truly *rich*! Even though I don’t focus on material wealth, I’ve found the more I express gratitude, the more I receive the things I need and desire. The law of attraction is very powerful and can give us everything we need, if we are grateful, and open to receive!

reiki

There are so many other people in my life who inspire me on a daily basis: I could go on and on! I recently was introduced to an amazing spiritual man who has become my mentor, helping me with self-care (something we healers often forget about in our passion to help others). Because of his support I am now actualizing my dreams and moving forward at lightning speed after a few years of struggle, and am now creating new and amazing things! He continues to inspire me to challenge myself, and work through the difficult times with great joy in my heart, and with Love!

DanawithMissLoveDana and John

I’m inspired by my friend Dana Morrigan who has chosen to live her life authentically, and also hosts karaoke in the SF Bay Area, which is therapy for me. When I’m feeling stressed or down, there is little that can inspire me to great joy more than belting out one of my favorite tunes, while being surrounded by other folks who are also expressing their loving authentic selves in silly, serious, and playful ways!

karaokeJohn singing at Dana’s karaoke event

JezebelDelilahLove(Photo credits to  Nye Lyn Tho http://nyelyntho.com/ )

Although I have not formally met her in person, I feel incredibly inspired by my Facebook friend, Jezebel Delilah X (Vanessa Rochelle Lewis) who shares so much Love, insight, and truth, with such a degree of vulnerability and authenticity, she makes me want to do the same. I learn so much reading all of her insightful posts. She truly is a real life Magickal Mermaid Goddess, sending out waves of Love on a daily basis, showing me what true beauty really is!

 

NatureGorgeous Nature

I’m also greatly inspired by Nature having grown up in rural upstate New York. I love getting out and exploring the forest, going to healing hot springs, and immersing my body in the waters of Life; whether it be in a lake, river, or the beautiful ocean, for which as a Pisces, I am grateful to be living within sight of, from my bedroom window, just a short trip away! I always feel the most whole when I am surrounded by trees and plants away from the din of the city. It’s what balances and grounds me, helping to reset while living in a heavily populated city can be a bit chaotic at times, but still full of Love and amazing beings!  Going on a hike, alone or with friends is truly a walking meditation, as I connect deeply with all the wild plants and animals around me, and realize that I too am a part of nature, not separate, but one with!

healthynutrMy home fridge filled with all of my fave fresh, organic fruits and veggies

Seeing other people make positive changes in their lives also inspires me! I’ve had so many friends recently decide that it was time to no longer just sit and wait for things to happen, but actually get up and put the effort into making their goals and dreams come to fruition! Sometimes it’s something very small, for example, going to bed at a certain time to be well-rested, or practicing daily meditation, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes a day, or once a week with in a group setting. The point is, these people have started making changes, and working towards their goals, even if with baby steps. Seeing this, and the eventual fruition of some of these goals is extremely inspirational to me, which proves that I too, can achieve my goals, even if I need to start small and take things moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day and so on! There is so much Light and Beauty, and Abundance in the world for everybody! We just must take that baby step, and start healing ourselves, and manifesting our realities. I was touched and honored last week when Lórien asked me to be a part of this blog, having been inspired by something I had written. Even just doing this guest blog has inspired me to create my own blog on healing, healthy food, spirituality, joy, and creating the Lives we want, while being authentic and loving to ourselves!

With so many sources of Love, Creativity and Joy everywhere, how can I not be inspired?

John Bio pic 1

~ ~ ~ ~

John Graves has been practicing massage therapy, Reiki and energy work for more than ten years, having received his training at Sonoma College (formerly Western Institute of Science and Health) in San Francisco, under the tutelage of many wonderful teachers with varied backgrounds in many massage modalities, acupuncture, chiropractics, yoga, eastern thought, and natural healing!

John has received over 735 hours of training in advanced massage therapy, including Swedish massage, deep tissue, reflexology, energy work, pregnancy massage, pre- and post-event sports massage, and triggerpoint therapy. He is initiated and ordained into the Essene Way, studying Essene Mystical healing techniques and meditation and continues to study other styles of massage and healing work, including nutrition, herbal medicine, meditation and yoga, and looks forward to branching out into many different healing modalities.

***CAMTC Certified as an Advanced Massage Therapist in the State of California, ABMP Insured

Massage and Reiki With John: http://johngraves.massagetherapy.com

His blog can be found at: https://peacelovefoodbliss.wordpress.com/

 

Resources:

Connect With Dana Morrigan: https://danamorrigan.wordpress.com/

Swim With Jezebel Delilah X at: http://www.jezebeldelilahx.com

 

 

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