Shame (Part 1)

Oh, Dear.  I may really be just about to step into “it” today.  But, here I go.  I intended this blog to be an honest insight into where I am in my head and heart.  And the last few weeks have led me to questioning our collective and personal “shame”.  So, what is it?  Why do we have it?  Does it still serve us?  If not, how to we rise above it?

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“Shame” a work in progress.

So, how did I get here?  Well, the last few weeks I have started a new piece for the She Said/He Said exhibit coming up a the Groshek Gallery in Chicago.  I had an inspiration to do a Tree of Knowledge/Adam & Eve/ Paradise piece.  It has caused me to explore my memories of my childhood Sunday school lessons regarding the origin story (myth?).  April has also been a month of reflecting on a turning point in my own relationships.  I don’t want this to get too “long and involved” but, I do want to share enough detail that this makes sense.  So, I’ll do my best.

So the story of Adam and Eve for me is about “shame”.  We learn shame very young and, I believe usually from our parents.  (Confession: I’m a parent, I know I’ve fallen into my shadow and used shaming to attempt to solicit the behavior I desire from my kids).

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Every book contains a lesson.

Last Saturday I went to see comedian, Jen Kirkman where I bought her new book, I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself.  As I was listening to the Prince soundtrack and waiting for her to come on-stage I started reading the introduction to her book.  She starts out with “Ugh, my parents are going to read this.”  (I know what she means!) She then goes on to quote another of my favorite funny people, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul).  He once said that people should make their art, whatever it is, “as though their parents were dead”.  And why is that?  I think it is because we worry about “shame”.  Not that we will cause our parent’s to be embarrassed by our work; but that they, our first source of “shame” will bring on that bad feeling within us again.  (Please Note:  I love my parents and don’t wish to cause them any embarrassment here or elsewhere nor do I wish they were dead, but when I stated I might “step in it” this is it. I just believe that we must rise above this concern for feeling shamed in order to “grow up and evolve”.

And how appropriate that only a few days after the death of the musician Prince while listening to his “Pussy Control” I was reading this book introduction and ruminating on “shame”.  Prince was a successful artist who by all outward appearances, rose above a concern for self-shame.  In fact by many recent reflections on his life his ability to be his true self and express his true artistry is greatly admired (and envied) by his fans and others.  And that is my point I guess.  Can we really do our best most creative work if we are in a place of shame?  And can we really bring to the world the healing and solutions needed if we are not creating from our highest, best self?

Well, I have gone on here for a bit, and while I have a lot more rolling around in my head and heart regarding the story of Eden, I think I will continue on another day.  You see the story of the Garden of Eden includes another figure,  Adam’s first “wife”, Lilith.  And she takes me on another “thread”.  So, rather than try to cover too much “ground”, you will have to wait for “that stitch in time” and for the rest of this story.  In the meantime consider the role of “shame” in your life.  Is it holding you back from being the highest, true-ist expression of your “self”.  What would you do if you didn’t fear (the feeling of) shame?

Please see Shame: Part 2 HERE

I’m So Excited (and I just can’t hide it)

I’m not sure why it is, but my best ideas and inspiration come to me when I am out in my backyard soaking in the hot tub (time machine) under the moon and stars.  Tonight there was a lovely, bright crescent moon and the brightest “star” is actually Jupiter.  He is my “action” planet and together we say, “by Jove I think we’ve got this!”

So, tonight I have a plan of action.  Looking back in time I realize I am celebrating the 20th anniversary this year of my business, Pamela Penney Textile Arts (where a stitch in time saves!)  I started creating women’s art to wear jackets and children’s special occasion garments in the spare bedroom of my home when my children where babies.  (Crazy, I know!)  I’ve expanded and grown and want to share my joy. Tonight I had a spark of an idea about how I want to go forward this year and share my celebration with the world!

I’m not really ready to share all of the details yet.  They need to be “ironed out“.  Much like things work in the sewing room, creations don’t really look great until they are pressed!  I will be sharing this very soon.  So, stay “tuned“.  You may want to bookmark this page, as I will post a link to the updated information here as it gets solidified.  In the meantime I will leave you with some clues…..

Postcards                                    Photos                  Sharing

                                    Contest                          Prizes                                         Stitches                          Instagram

Twitter                   Games                                     Creativity

                         Celebration               Party

Facebook                 #aStitchInTimeSaves            Fun

              Did I mention Prizes???

 

Warrior New Moon

The Warrior archetype is showing up all over the place for me. According to Jose and Lena Stevens of The Power Path School of Shamanism we all have the Warrior even if we have another over-riding personality or archetype. I am primarily of the “artist” archetype and often have a difficult time tapping into my inner warrior. The Power Path 2016 Trends forecast indicates that this year will have an energy of dominance and aggression. It could be very beneficial to utilize my inner warrior So, how do I reach my Warrior?

Well in late February I pulled the Tarot Card: II High Priestess and chose to work with it as inspiration for a mixed media sculptural art piece.  I had two 5th grade girls coming in after school and they wanted to work on sculpture boxes.   It is sometimes easiest to teach by example.  So, this was to be my example!  I like to work on process pieces that evolve over time answering some inner subconscious questions for me. (Learned through my time spent at Whispers from the Moon) This piece did just that.

I began my sculpture on an old blue box with the brand title “Crown” embossed upon its cover.  I created a tape and foil female figure with a long flowing skirt.  Each week she gathered more details.  Paint in violet and a red flowing skirt, beads, a “sea glass” face and jewels in her skirt.  Her hair was wild like vines with silver sparkles.  Her arms outstretched.  Yesterday I finished the box by collaging a magazine cutting that I had snipped and held in the box from the first day of the project.  “It’s a New Day!”  I then water-colored a sun-rising from the eastern edge of the box (This was inspired by Rebecka Eggers vision for over-coming the Domination System through the symbolism of the Great Eastern Sun of Chögyam Trungpa.)

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Last night I finished reading book that I started a few days ago, Coming Alive! Spirituality, Activism, & Living Passionately in the Age of Global Domination, by Rebecka Eggers.  (mentioned in yesterday’s post)  In the final chapter Egger’s states, “I want to address the aspects of the Passionate Warrior that are contained within the one who came to me.  Ishtar is inside of me. She is knocking around the edges of my being threatening to explode in a red-hot fountain of lava. Can you feel her too?”  Today I went to my trusty source Google, to find a comparison of Ishtar to the High Priestess.  I found this at the Tarot of EliThe Thoth- THE HIGH PRIESTESS.  The Tarot High Priestess ….represents the Supreme Mother, without her smiling mask, revealing a True face of cold yet beautiful countenance.  This “cold and beautiful continence is also known as Ishtar (Sumerian Inanna/Ananna), who is depicted on The Babylonian key 2 card. One of Her titles was Belit (demonized by the Christians) the feminine of Bel, meaning Lord. As does the Moon, which is the planet attributed to The High Priestess, she has her “light and Dark” sides.  Complex and of many roles,  Ishtar/ Inanna (Lady of Heaven), had Three distinct Functions (As does the Three Paths of the Upper Triangle of the Tree of Life).”

Yes, Ishtar has indeed come to me.  I can feel her.  My Ishtar has a face of polished glass, cold yet beautiful.  She has a skirt of Lava.  From the Tarot of Eli, “The Thoth High Priestess is shown with all veils  removed, all illusion is dispersed, and we must face the crystalline reality of our own absolute free will when facing her; a task not for the weak who fear mortality.”  Yesterday I also felt compelled to add the word “Crone” to the box.  In my mind the word Crone played off the existing word on the box “Crown”.  I believe you earn your crown as a crone!  And as the silver threads start to appear on my head I just smile and tell myself my crown is coming.  The Crone is also a female character who has aged out of the fertile years, she is a bit more androgynous.  The Tarot of Eli goes on to say, “the High Priestess is the Womb of Consciousness, but she is both Male and Female, much like a Hermaphrodite (Hermes-Aphrodite) that can impregnate itself.” 

Through synchronicity,  my dear friend, artist and writer, Sallie Wolf discussed her encounter with the Warrior at our March New Moon Meeting. (I am part of a small group of artists and writers who meet monthly to set our creative intentions, plan action steps and witness the progress for each other)  Sallie had felt some inner resistance when her yoga teacher had asked the class “what are you a warrior for”.  I’ll let you read her story HERE.

Today is the April New Moon.  I feel it is the Warrior New Moon.  It is also “a New Day” symbolized by the rising Great Eastern Sun.  Let us bring the Sun, the Stars and the Moon together, masculine and feminine, for a new Dawning.   My Warrior looks like the High Priestess, Ishtar.  I am a (Com)-Passionate Warrior for utilizing my talents and skills as a catalyst for Change through A Stitch In Time Saves.

Post-Script:  yes, the boxes that my students created turned out wonderful too.  See their finished creations at www.PamelaPenney.com.

How to Measure $uccess

Yesterday was the Full Moon Eclipse and I am just now documenting my intentions for the month. (I usually do this with the new moon.)  I am taking advantage of this powerful moon energy to assist me in visualizing my dreams and manifesting my goals.

The past two weeks have been a productive time for me.  I made some strides at getting several commission pieces underway and I have made a lot of progress on cleaning/emptying my basement.  Yesterday I spent a great deal of the day cleaning my studio, washing and waxing the floors.  I also took time off last week to enjoy and relax while my daughter was home on spring break and had the chance to see my sister-in-law, niece and grand-nieces last week while they were in town.

I have also recently come to the realization (while working on taxes and cleaning out files in the basement) that it was 20 years ago, 1996, that I started my business, Pamela Penney Textile Arts.  While it is always easy for me to fall into looking back at where I came up short, where I could have been more successful, and wondering why I’ve worked so hard for so little; today I choose to celebrate.  I honor my choice at times to put family and community ahead of financial gain.  I measure my success in the number of lives influenced and inspired.  I give gratitude to my husband and family for supporting my endeavors.  I give thanks for the flexibility my work has allowed for my time and energy.  I am proud of the creations I have manifested in the last 20 years and hope that they have blessed the lives they have become a part of.  I most of all give deep gratitude to the Universe for blessing me with the life I dreamed of as a young adult; a creative artistic life blessed with healthy happy children, a supportive and loving husband, great friendships and a funky studio with all of my supplies/space to work, and my own strong and healthy body/mind/spirit.

It is also coming to my attention that the next two decades will take me into my “advanced years”.  In some ways I feel like I am at a cross-road yet, still unsure of which corner to turn next.  Although twenty years can fly by very quickly, a lot can be accomplished in that time.  In twenty years at the age of 74, how will I measure my success?  How do I take the next few steps to lead me on that path?   I move into this full moon to new moon cycle with ease and joy, opening up to new opportunities for growth and continued learning.  I give gratitude for the past while being open, excited and ready to take on the future.  I step through this portal with the knowledge learned through my past experiences and let go of the burden of my past failures and mistakes.  I open myself further to new avenues of revenue, support and “success”.  I measure my success on my terms.

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While it is important, the measuring of revenue is not the only way to measure success.

Vernal Equinox ~ Balance

The balance between light and dark.  The day is equal to the night.  In less than a couple of hours the sun will be centered over the earth’s equator creating perfect mid-line balance.  I had a vision today of myself on a trapeze flying through the air, swinging from one extreme to the other.  I do that.  Usually, I am fluctuating back and forth from my doubts  over to faith and optimism with glimpses of Truth beyond my understanding, rarely pausing for long anywhere in the middle.

About a year ago I read a very enlightening book, The Gene Keys: Unlocking the Higher Purpose Hidden in Your DNA, by Richard Rudd.  As part of the book you have the opportunity to go to www.genekeysgoldenpath.com and get your own personal Hologenetic Profile.  This unique set of “keys” unlock the mystery of your “path”.  My path starts with my Life Work of gene key 63.  In the shadow aspect this key shows up as Doubt.  I often feel the pull of my logical brain, bringing me back to the dark places of doubt.  Doubt of others, doubt of myself, doubt of the Universe.  But when I can let that go and push my trapeze out into the vast middle space toward the unknown I find the Gift of this key:  Inquiry.  “Inquiry is about remaining open without finding a definitive answer to life”.  The more a person can inquire more deeply and openly, the more apt one is to uncover something more complex, something new and something that will push one forward to a new level of understanding.  And when I let the momentum of my trapeze swing from Doubt on through Inquiry to take me to the highest vibration of this key I reach the Siddhi of Truth.  Yet, somehow in the great paradox that is the human condition, the Truth is found within the Doubt and my surrender to it.

So, tonight as we move through the transition from Winter into Spring, as the Sun is ever so momentarily balanced over our equator, I surrender to my doubts (Dark) and then I push off into the unknown territory of further questioning and inquiry, reaching for more truth (and Light).  Balance in nature is not stationary, it is an allowing of movements back and forth sometimes big, sometimes small, always moving, only momentarily in the center points or on the extremes.  I let go of my extremes with faith, I do not hold on.  I also do not get stuck hanging in the middle.  I swing knowing that I will swing closer to the Truth with the momentum of joy and with the acceptance and trust that wherever I am in the arc of my flight, it is just exactly where I am supposed to be.  Striving for Balance.  Yin and Yang.  Light and Dark.  Equi~Nox.  

En~joy the Swing into Spring!  

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More on Synchronicity

Synchronicity is the language of our Higher Self and Divine Guidance. If you were God you would use a more complex way of communicating than our human language, right?  Besides, we are given free will here in Earth School, so the subtle language of Signs and Symbols leaves it up to us to be open to our intuition, to have faith and trust in our inner connection to the divine.  We can choose to hear and listen, or ignore with our free will.  So if we choose to, how do we see and hear the divine in our everyday lives?  Here are some examples of how I was “spoken” to over the past couple of weeks.

2016-02-11 07.44.42-1I was inspired to drop in to my local “rock shop” as I call it.  Inner Arts Studio is just down the street from my art studio and I love to go in a gaze at the crystals and smell the wonderful incense.  I selected a Selenite Heart as it was a few days before Valentine’s Day.  Selenite, named after the Moon Goddess Selene, is thought to have properties that help with clarity and cleansing the energy in spaces and auras.  I carried it around in my pocket for several days, during my jury duty as help with clarity seemed appropriate.  A few days before Valentine’s Day I was putting together a “care package” of chocolates and goodies to send to my daughter who is away at college.  After I got everything in the box and sealed it up with packing tape I realized that the Selenite Heart was missing from my pocket and wasn’t on the table.  I looked around several places and decided it must have fallen into the box.  Oh well, she will have an extra goody in her gift, I thought.  I sent her a text message to look for it in the bottom of the box.  Later that day after I returned from the post office I decided to look around my studio one more time to see if I could find it.  As I went to lean over to check behind some items for it I “stabbed” myself in the left side of my chest with a metal pole from a display stand that was poking out of my storage area.  Ouch, I was going to be sore there for a while!  And then I realized, I had put the stone heart in my bra, next to my own heart.  I was being told “loud and clear” where I had put it!

Then a few days ago I was collecting some thoughts in a little note pad for this blog.2016-02-22 17.12.37 (2)
The note pad was a little “passport” that my friend and artist Lisa Nordstrom of Art Gecko had put together a few years ago for an event in the Oak Park Arts District.  She is a creative mixed media artist who among many things creates unique journals and notebooks from old book covers and pages.  I had used the remaining pages in this pad to write some short comments about the first few posts I was planning.  I noted how I loved words that include the word “Dance” within them (see this post).  And then I turned the page of the book to this>  Lisa had stamped some words and images on some of the pages.  The next page had the word “Dance!”  More Synchronicity! Another Divine message.  What messages are you receiving?  Are you paying attention? Think of Synchronicities like I do, as the  little sparks that light up and confirm you are standing right where you are supposed to be and illuminate the next steps along your path.  Thank you for joining me here on my path I hope my words help illuminate your journey.

Note:  I finished this post last night, but felt a need to wait until this morning to publish it.  Perhaps it needed one more read through?  No, I woke up to seeing this article in the Elephant Journal about Synchronicity and today’s 11:11 Leap Day Portal by Alex Miles.  Maybe you will enjoy the synchronicity of it too!