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

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.

Manifestation

Can we manifest the world we would like to see?  If so, how?  I believe we are being called to.  At least I know I feel  called to this.  In searching for the “how” I have recently come across the book Coming Alive! Spirituality, Activism, & Living Passionately in the Age of Global Domination, by Rebecka Eggers.  (In fact, I don’t remember selecting it, but it seems to have just appeared in my Kindle about a week ago!)

Eggers lays out a story which refers to mythology, religion and anecdote to explain how we have created the “Domination System” in our current world.  She explains how this current system is the root of the troubles we face as a society and as a world.  She describes a process of how that old system can be transformed.  Much of her story resonates with my personal path.  My “wounds” and my healing path that have led me to my own revelations. I have an inner knowing that my healing is important as it will also assist in healing the Collective.  I believe we are all responsible for our own healing because it is necessary for the Whole.  This is the Way we influence the Collective Consciousness, at some point reaching the tipping point and shifting the Whole.  She inspires (me) us to find our own places to use our personal medicine to heal the issues we see hurting the world.  I believe that is what has brought me to “A Stitch In Time Saves” as my personal medicine for the world.  (Although I am still very much on the first steps of the path to how this may play out in healing the issues I see in the world!)

So, how am I currently seeing this play out in my life?  Well, yesterday I rode my bike to my studio from home and was giving some thought to the discussion from a meeting of artists/gallery owners that I had attended the evening before.  We are working to put together an art exhibit for this fairly new gallery to open in a little over a month.  Our show title is tentatively “He Said : She Said”.  The gallery had some interesting artwork currently on display with guns as the subject matter.  I was thinking how outside my comfort zone working with that subject matter would be for me.  Living near the west-side of Chicago has really made me very aware of the issue of gun violence over the last couple of decades.  And this is “worlds” away from my upbringing in rural Michigan and the use of guns for hunting and sport.

I reflected on these thoughts during my bike ride and I had a vision of a gun that would follow the bullet as it wounds with a needle and thread that would immediately “heal” the damage that the gun created.  Or perhaps it was some sort of sewing machine in the shape of a gun that could both shoot and stitch.  Anyway,  I got into my studio and I drew this sketch (today I added the watercolor paints to it).

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I titled it “The Seam Stress 2016” –  Designed to mend wounds as soon as they are created.  If guns must continue to remain “legal” then we must create different guns.  (I’m still not sure if this will lead me to create a more complete work of art with this subject for the exhibit!)

Today as I was eating my lunch at home I glanced at yesterday’s New York Times  Business Section lying next to me.  I noticed the headline of an article titled “In Rwanda, Blood Delivered by Drone”.  I immediately assumed this was about drone weaponry and how they were being used to kill (bring blood).   In my opinion, drone weapons remove the “human” connection making it even easier to kill without conscience.  But no, this article was about a small group of engineers near Half Moon Bay, California (I’m not making that up!) who have designed and are launching small fixed-wing drones that can carry medical supplies to remote locations almost 40 miles away.  This start-up called Zipline, plans to begin operating a service with these drones for the government of Rwanda in July.    “The new drone system will initially be capable of making 50 to 150 daily deliveries of blood and emergency medicine to Rwanda’s 21 transfusing facilities, mostly hospitals…”

Well, it may be just me, but I see this as an example of our weapons  being “created different”.  And as Eggers has described it is happening “from the bottom up”.  We can no longer look for our solutions to come from our so called leaders, from the top down.  We must create our own solutions and start putting them in place when and where we see the opportunities.  She calls this being a Passionate Warrior, embracing the shadow side and incorporating it into what we transform our World to be.

In order to create this change I believe that first, we must be able to envision these solutions.  (Eggers talks about the Seer)  I see this as the role of the artist and the dreamer.  So, that is where I will continue to play out my part.  Sketching and dreaming of solutions, no matter how crazy or impossible….a sewing machine that can shoot and mend?  A gun that stitches closed the wound it creates???  Maybe someday.  Or just as soon as someone sees my Vision for it.

Detachment as Offering

I like to start my week with yoga class as often as I can.  I have been going to Ahimsa Yoga here in Oak Park for a bit over a year now.  I’ve been an on and off again practitioner of yoga since my knitting teacher loaned me a book of poses when I was about 13 or 14 (yes, that makes it 40-ish years of yoga!)  Synchronicity brought me to Ahimsa.  Last winter I created my textile art piece titled “A Stitch In Time Saves” (the inspiration for this blog moniker) to publicize the One Earth Film Festival and my work was hung on display at Ahimsa.  So this monday morning I made it to my class where my lovely teacher and now friend, Jackie shared an Inspiration deck from which I could draw a card.  My card for today is “Detachment“.   Perfect, of course, as I’ve been making an effort toward the goal of detaching and letting go.  I spent much of last week cleaning out my basement and detaching from my physical “stuff”.  Now, time to work on my attitudes, thoughts and beliefs~

Coincidentally I cut out a page from the May/June 2004 Yoga Journal during an art making session a few weeks ago written by Sally Kempton on Detachment.  She writes, “the way I ease myself toward detachment is to practice offering…….I offer up whatever it is that I’m doing, whatever I’m intending or wanting, or whatever I’m trying to get free of……Offer the fruits of your labor to God.” …..”Offering our actions helps train us to do things not for any particular gain or personal purpose but simply as an act of praise or gratitude, or as a way of joining our consciousness to the greater Consciousness.  Offering our desires, fears and doubts loosens the hold they have on us, reminding us to trust in the Presence- the source of both our longings and their fulfillment.”  There is no expiration date on this advise!

Then I spent a little “art journaling” time before working on some commission pieces that I need to make headway on in my studio this week.  (And I did make some great progress this afternoon!)  Here is my journal entry embellished with my tree imagery and the Yoga Journal article with wood and bark texture~

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Journal

And here is the the work I made progress on in the studio today.  First, an acrylic and mixed media canvas.  The working title is “Can You See the Forest for the Trees?”

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Can you see the Forest for the Trees?

And I’m working on this sweater vest for a client made from Salvaged Cashmere, some of which I hand-dyed.  This is “a Stitch In Time Saves“~

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A Stitch In Time Saves…..a salvaged and hand-dyed cashmere creation by Pamela Penney Textile Arts

I am pleased with the progress and enjoy the process.  I remain detached from the outcome and welcome the work as it evolves.  And I like Mondays~

 

 

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!

 

A Stitch in Time Saves

Who am I and Why am I Here?  I believe Guidance has brought me to this place in time and location.  Everything up to this point in my life has brought me to this Now. (and if you are reading this it has brought You to my Now)  For some reasons that I don’t even know yet, Guidance has directed me to start sharing ME and my I AM here.  What is this Guidance that I refer to?  My Intuition? My Inner Voice?  My Higher Self?  I have my theories, but I’m not sure it matters.  What does matter is that I have had a pretty good history of listening to whatever that guidance is and it always serves the “lower me” well.  (Side notes:  I love any words that have the word Dance within them.  And I find it interesting that the word Guide is both a noun and a verb). I believe I am here to post what I Hear and what I Learn.  If you find my stories interesting, entertaining, or helpful then I welcome You.  If you do not, I wish you blessings on your own Path.

So today is the first day of the rest of my life (and yours),  and many Signs are indicating that on a cosmic level (yes, I believe our stars and planets are sending messages from the Heavens) today is the beginning of a “New Beginning“.   Today is the Full Moon.  I resonate with this message from the full moon update by Starseed Astrology: “Meditate on how best you can serve the world and how best you can develop or diversify your skills, services, and professional value.”  (Wise advise even if you don’t believe in astrology).

I also drew “The Fool” – the zero card – the beginning- as my card of the day today (I have an app on my phone which posts a daily tarot card for me).  “When the Fool appears in a reading it is time for a new adventure….Don’t make all the decisions about your path, or make assumptions about how it’ll be before you embark…Trust in the Universe to keep you safe, then take the leap into the unknown!” And yet another reason I am here.  HERE @ A STITCH IN TIME SAVES.

I look forward soon to sharing what lead me to a stitch in time saves.  What it means to me and how it got it’s name.  Until then, welcome to my New Beginning.

A Stitch In Time Saves. Penney 2015.LR
A Stitch In Time Saves (c) Pamela Penney, 2015 fiber and salvaged materials