The fourth Brahmavihara; Upeksha

The fourth and final of the Four Sublime Attitudes is Upeksha, or remaining impartial to the faults and imperfections of others.

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Well.  This is often easier said then done.  This page (on the right, created with Tim Holtz and dylusions stencils and stamps) from my art journal illustrates this attitude in two ways.  I can see myself in the figure, full of all the anger, negative thoughts, judgments, recommendations, and advice, I am dying to share with those who “need” to hear it.

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I can also see the others, full of their own faults, who don’t have a breath to think about their growth towards equanimity at this moment.  This is the way to see this page, that person is dealing with their own junk, they don’t need me to “help” them.  Let’s let everyone be their own imperfect selves.

This study of the Brahmaviharas has opened my eyes to the idea that we all can be contributing to the idea of loving kindness, even on a very basic level.  No need to be meditating for an hour everyday (unless you can, then, right on!), just take some moments throughout the day to breath and think upon the ideas of friendliness, compassion, celebrating the good in others, and being impartial.  Bringing these ideas into your mind and heart might encourage you to see the outside world differently, and will certainly give yourself permission to see the good in yourself.

I’ve had fun sharing these concepts that I’m learning in yoga class.  It has given me focus in creating my art, and it has helped me to solidify some of these ideas and how they relate to me.  Thanks!  What inspires your lives and art?

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Thora recognizes the light within you, Namaste.

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Goodness all around

Week three’s theme at yoga class was the Bramavihara Mudita, or celebrating the good in others.

This is a fun one.  It inspired this silly little page in my art journal, and reminded me of a few thank you notes I should send.

DSC00853Dylusions stencil, Tim Holtz stencil, vintage alphabet stamps, and probably Dylusion inks in the background.

On the drawing front, I just got this book, Portrait Revolution by Julia L. Kay, for the library, and I can not wait to dive in.  Just the cover alone is full of juicy bits of inspiration!

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This week’s face doodles:

Take some time this week and celebrate someone — it doesn’t have to be balloons and cake celebrating.  It doesn’t even have to be the presents kind of celebrating.  Maybe just a kind word, or a bunch of wild flowers.  Celebrating the good encourages more good, and who couldn’t use more of that delicious stuff?

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Be well.

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Start with yourself.

Week two of the Brahmaviharas yoga series was Karuna: or compassion for those who are suffering.  I am thankful that I am not suffering like so many folks are today.  I have everything I need, and sometimes it feels selfish to be dissatisfied with the quality of my art.   I would never consider myself “suffering” because my art isn’t perfect.

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It’s the compassion part of karuna that is really speaking to me.

We put so much pressure on ourselves.  How often are we told to be gentle with ourselves; but then in the next minute are told we should be giving it everything we got, or going for the gold, or reaching for the stars?

Maybe today we can only reach for the ceiling, is that enough?

Compassion says yes — because we need to show compassion to ourselves before we can show it to others.  So, our masterpiece may not appear today, or this month, or this year — but that’s okay.  Give yourself a break, cut yourself some slack.  No inspiration this week, oh well, create something anyway.

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Yoga class inspiration

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The Mock Orange is in bloom, yummmm.

The next session of my yoga class is focusing on the The Brahmaviharas, the four sublime attitudes.  I have very little experience with and knowledge of these Buddhist virtues, so I am excited to broaden my horizons.

Week One we focused on Maitri — friendliness toward the joyful.  As with a lot of our classes, we focused on going inward, to share friendliness and acceptance with our selves.  I needed that this week.  The postures were a challenge, not because they were physically difficult, but because I had to remember to connect my mind to my body.  To think deeper about body placement and intention.  It was kind of like a backwards step, but I know that sometimes going back gives you the ability to move forward.

At the end of class we shared a Buddhist meditation called a Metta Meditation, something else I was not familiar with.  To ourselves, we repeated the following statements.

May I be happy.

May I be peaceful.

May I be safe from harm.

May I be free from suffering.

May I have the ease and joy of well-being.

After several rounds, we were then encouraged to think of someone in our lives who could benefit from these words, and then, again, to ourselves, we repeated the following:

May you be happy.

May you be peaceful.

May you be safe from harm.

May you be free from suffering.

May you have the ease and joy of well-being.

Powerful stuff, folks!  I spent the day with these words rolling around in my head.  Simple statements that can bring mighty strength.  Quite the learning day!

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A request and then success!

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I got a call the other day.  A woman had received one of my cards and loved it.  Would I be able to enlarge it so she could hang it up at work?

I don’t know I said, let me try!  And look, it worked!!!

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Here’s the card.

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And here’s the stamped image enlarged 200% and then matted out to be a 12 x 12 piece of art.  I just love that this woman reached out to me with this cool idea.  I can’t wait to play around with this technique some more.

Once again proving, you never know where your inspiration will come from.  Stay open, my friends, it’s looking for you.  Just be ready to accept it, and give it a ride!

This fantastic stamp is from Stampin’ Up!

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It is too nice out!

Sorry folks, but when it looks like this outside . . .

It looks like this inside . . .

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Maybe the creative juices will be flowing next week.  Hope you’re all enjoying the first days of summer!

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They come in threes

My husband had to do some unexpected travelling recently.  I stayed home to hold down the fort, giving me a little extra time in my week.  I created three pieces of art: a collage of scraps, a fast portrait, and a painted canvas.  They all stretched my creativity in different ways.  The collage was an exercise in matching non-matchy papers and patterns and using doodles as enhancement.DSC00717

The fast portrait was an exercise in working on top of a clean up page in my journal (a place where I wipe off excess paint and clean stencils), and in working quickly and not erasing, and futzing around.  I really challenged myself with drawing in sharpie with no pencil first — eek.  I think she has a really cute nose.

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The third piece I worked on this week was a companion to last week’s art.  I love the brightness and the texture.  What looks like a camera flash is actually a spray of white paint, so shiny!  I again used Dylusions paints and sprays, modeling creme, and stencils to get this lunar landing vibe.

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Here’s a up close shot of one of my favorite textures —  I only used three or four colors here, but by using a heat tool, I was able to change the tone of the colors, making it seem like I used the entire rainbow.

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Schedules are back to normal in our house this week, so I might not continue to be this productive, but as long as I’m creating, I’m happy.  What makes you happy?  Baking, gardening, pruning dead roses, watching Youtube videos of other people organizing their homes?  Let me know if you share any of my other secret loves.

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