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Archive for the ‘Inspiring Women’ Category

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Hello!  I am happy to be back writing here in my blog, after a turn-of-the-year hiatus and by demand of very clear, poignant and pivotal events of late. In this blog, I am embarking in an area that is not often openly talked about and is quite a complex, layered, and profound area of the human experience.  For some time now, what has been brought to my attention once again, is the grieving process, the stages of grief and my own personal layers of grief that began in earnest with the death of my six-year-old sister when I was eleven years old.  For me, grief had been a very scary and sensitive topic (death and dying included) and I avoided or denied those feelings with some underlying.  I was a young girl, just in the 6th grade and the space and stages of grieving were paused and delayed in earnest until I was about eighteen years old and a freshman in college.  It was a car accident where I was injured, shaken up and overall, experienced trauma and stress, and was the catalyst to a profound spiritual awakening and the earnest start in my search for meaning and truth.  It also was the impetus of my own conscious grieving process of the physical death of my only sister and my desire to connect with her spiritually.  This process has been a constant, as with every death “out there,” all loss and grief is re-triggered for me.  And like everything in life and personal growth, progress not perfection has been my ally as I continue to navigate the many losses and feel the grief in my life and in the collective.  One of the ways that I process and integrate loss and grief now is through my art practice and I will be blogging more about art, healing and grief in subsequent blog posts… stay tuned.

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Here are my observations right now and what inspired this post today.  The veils are certainly thin these days, and I am being reminded once again how truly precious life on Earth is, to cherish every moment and to continue to LOVE above all else, especially when the external realities are extreme and polarizing.

sobonfu Sobunfu and I at the Rowe Center, MA, June 2000

This is from January 19, 2017: Today I started my day like many others, morning rituals, welcoming a new day to embrace, embark and do my very best.

I learned of the passing of one of my very special teachers, a powerful healer named Sobonfu Somé. I do not know the details of her passing to the Spirit world other than the fact the she was with her family in Burkina Faso. What I do know deep in my bones, is the impact that she had on me and the sweet memories I have with her, studying her books, learning from her culture, the Dagara in Burkina Faso and most importantly, being with her in sacred ritual at the Rowe Camp and at the Omega Institute in NY, both in 2000. Her name itself means, “keeper of the rituals” and her work and legacy touched many many lives here in the West.

I was introduced to her work through another teacher and mentor of mine who has also passed, Joy Parker, who was studying with Malidoma Somé. I was excited to study with him but destiny guided to study with Sobonfu instead! After devouring her books, I was able to be with her in person at one of her grieving ritual 3-day retreats, this one at the Rowe Center. It was powerful, transformational and taught me about honoring the sacred in everyday life, to honor my ancestors and to embrace grief, something that was and still is a life long learning curve.

Sobonfu also taught me about the sacred element Water. She founded Wisdom Spring, working diligently to provide various villages in West Africa with drinking water and to provide resources for education through its various programs including Art for Africa and Walking for Water.

Ironically (or is it?), there is a Grief Ritual scheduled for March 2017 near Washington, D.C.

Anyway, I’m continuing to reflect on how knowing of and receiving Sobonfu’s life gifts here on earth has impacted me and what more I can do to integrate and honor her legacy.  To learn more and benefit from her wisdom, visit http://www.sobonfu.com

It is comforting to me to know that she is crossing over to the realm of the ancestors and her Spirit endures through her work and us…

My reflections so far about Sobonfu and her teaching will continue in forthcoming blog posts and revolve around her legacy of discovering and sharing our gifts and for me that includes the healing, art-making and evolving through the grieving process.

Something that I heard today from another wonderful teacher/friend of mine, Georgette Star of the Life Blessing Institute, who said. “I’m learning to “share this intimacy of grief with others who can hold that level of sharing. What an incredible gift to connect heart to heart.”  And, with that my friends, I’ll share that my heART is here to heal, to teach and to inspire healing the hearts of others and the world through engaging intimately with the creative process.  I truly look forward to sharing my three new art program launches this spring which range from a foundations in art-making course to a program that facilitates a deep dive into your creative healing process with me as your gentle guide.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to share your contributions via comments and connect to me via my Facebook page, explore my Art with Lórien art classes on YouTube, and if you would like to make sure you are notified about more content like this, please sign up for my newsletter here.

May your days be filled with a sense of wonder, love and the spirit of Aloha,

In love, gratitude and beauty…

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Art with Lórien Studio Video Production Set

Hello My People!

It has been a bit since I have posted here, and I will just say that I have been involved!  Involved with creating and producing lots of art and art education content!  Whew!  Check it all out on my website, especially take a look at Art with Lórien, my fairly new online learning platform and community!  Woot!  I have also been up to the following hobby of mine, which is supporting women in the media.  One of my favorite organizations is the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, an organization that engages, educates, and influences the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under.

Also, I am a huge fan of the #heforshe campaign that Emma Watson launched with the support of the UN Women organization.  Check that one out and recruit your guys to support!  🙂

One of the “armchair” ways that I support women in the media, is my consumption of films that are directed by women, are written by a woman and/or feature stories about women.  One of my guiding litmus tests for the content of a film, is applying the Bechdel test.  What is  the Bechdel test you may wonder?  It asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.

So, to solidify my commitment to my hobby and quest, in January 2016, I pledged to watch one film per week as part of the #52FilmsByWomen campaign sponsored by Women in Film.  What I am really excited about is discovering the #52weeks List of Gayle Nachlis, Women in Film Senior Director of Education, so many superb films on her list! I also learned about Film Fatales, a network of women filmmakers who meet regularly to mentor each other, share resources, collaborate on projects and build a supportive community in which to make their films. Here’s Film Fatales list of films directed by women streaming on Netflix USA, 245 and counting!

In other news this year on my journey, I went a red-carpet premier in Hollywood at the TCL Chinese Theater where the series was created and written by a woman.  Even though the content was not my style, too much violence and cursing, it’s always good to see a woman get up and address a full theater of guests (invited) viewers, supporters and talk about their vision being supported, funded and birthed into the world!  Super cool!

And, so as we approach the end of 2016, and my 52-week pledge, I am sharing what I have enjoyed so far… And, I do pledge to continue into 2017 and beyond.  With our evolving landscape, values, priorities and the balancing act that is occurring, there will be much to catch on the screen, big and small!  Enjoy and join the fun!

MY LIST from 2016 so far: (in no specific order)

Miss Representation- Watched this in 2014- a must see on the topic.

The Women’s List

Jenny’s Wedding

Joy

Bessie

Iron Lady

Mustang

Woman in Gold

What Happened Miss Simone?

True Cost

Diana

Tig

Tangerine

Trainwreck

Hello, My Name is Doris

All About Eve

The Story of Ruth

East Side Sushi

Séraphine

The Lady in the Van

Coco Before Chanel

Suffragette

Brooklyn

Carol

Joan of Arc: Virgin Warrior

He Named Me Malala

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Hanna

Miss Potter

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Maggie’s Plan

Frida

India’s Daughter

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

Zootopia

Me Before You

Dukhtar

Girlhood

Middle of Nowhere

Selma

Ride

Pariah

Orion: The Man Who Would be King

The Letters

Big Stone Gap

Under the Same Moon

Testament of Youth

Still Alice

What Other Couples Do

A Ballerina’s Tale

Conviction

The Intern

Me Without You

Under a Tuscan Sun

Ai Wei Wei Never Sorry

Citizen Four

Wonder Woman

Planeat

The Future of Food

The 33

The Whole Truth

Our Kind of Traitor

Mia Madre

 

and counting…

And, please take a look at a blog post here from earlier this year that features a new documentary called Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct by friend Cady McClain,  She is directing, writing, and producing along with Kate Super.

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 art classes on YouTube, get to my website, 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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insta_WaterIIIWith one of my healing Water paintings, Water III. To lean more about my Water Series, click here.

I am thrilled to start up a new blog series theme: Artist Interviews.  In this blog series, I will be interviewing inspirational artists and will sharing these insightful and inspirational messages in a variety of ways that I look forward to launching soon!  For now, I am sharing the first interview of yours truly.  In 2014, I was interviewed by Art 4 All People as part of an art exhibition focused on arts and healing.

Here is the interview, short and sweet!

How would you describe Transformative Art? 

Transformative Art is art that reaches into the soul and acts as a mirror revealing the deep and rich inner beauty of the Self, as well as the shadow self.  It has the power to shift consciousness and not only raise the vibration of an individual, but shift the collective consciousness.

What inspires your own Art and what does Art mean to you? 

My own spiritual journey and quest for beauty, for what is true, and as a devotion to the Sacred is what informs and inspires my art practice.

In my experience, art serves as a visual response to the questions that one asks or that the collective is asking.  For example, questions about the nature of reality, what it means to be a Spiritual being having a human experience, or about what is possible in the human experience.

As an Artist what is the significance of doing Transformative Art in these times, in this century in the now?

If an individual feels the call to create and share their art with the world, the significance of doing Transformative art now is ad infinitum.  Art is a bridge between the mundane and the Sacred and has the capacity to bridge the gap of disparity between suffering and pure bliss. Artistic expression gives meaning and healing to the human condition.  Art is the glue of the Universe and provides a safe space for the Soul to rest and take refuge.  More than ever, art and artists serve as the foundation for the evolution of human consciousness.

 

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 art classes on YouTube 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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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

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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

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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.
Deborah
(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.)

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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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