May 30,2012
Variety is the Spice of Life

I believe I am a wandering and wondering spirit. I am reminded of the scene in the movie Chocolat when Juliet Binoche's character observes "the winds of change" blowing in and she knows that it is time to move on. There is something about my spirit that thrives on change and travel. While the mainstream population finds a spouse, builds a nest and has children, I have always been driven by the spirit of adventure and wonder. This has not always meant travel, but it has meant variety … changes in career, education, location …

Because most people are more stable in staying in one place, home, job, I struggle with this inner need to keep moving and changing. I try to fit into the mainstream. I feel those winds of change blowing again. Sometimes, I fight them … the diapause spoken about by Kidd, when the larva deliberately tries to hold on to its present life and delay its transformation into the butterfly. We must be who we are and follow our inner guidance.

There is a proverb that goes, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." There is more than one interpretation to this saying, but I like the one that says that moss represents stagnation, so those who keep moving keep their ideas fresh and creative.

"For a time, then, we stay. For a time. Till the wind changes." (Harris, p. 19)

References:
Harris, J. (2008). Chocolat, Random House Canada.
Kidd, S. (1990). When the Heart Waits, Harper, San Francisco.
© Carla Weaver 2012


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May 27,2012
Guardian Angels

Recently, a friend offered to lend me a book called, "Your Guardian Angels" by Linda Georgian. First, when someone offers me such a book, I assume that it is a suggestion from the Universe, so I accept. Second, I believe in angels. Another friend recently gave me a deck of angel cards and keeps mentioning what she's been reading in her book about angels by Doreen Virtue. So, the Universe has made several suggestions to me of late about angels, and I decided to pay attention. I have now completed reading the book by Georgian and have been consulting the angel cards over the last few days.

What I have been reminded about is that all of us have at least one guardian angel around us and that there are many angels available to help and protect us. All we need to do is ask. This is comforting knowledge … to know that we are not alone and that we have all the help we need. One of the things I particularly liked is that Georgian created her own "angel list" in which she's assigned angels to take care of various aspects of her life. For example, she has asked an angel to help her to eat the right foods and another to help her to have fun. She's asked another to take care of her worries and another healing. This idea appealed to me. I feel that I could use help in all aspects of my life, so after I put down the book, I drew up my own little organization chart and asked angels to take care of all aspects of my life from health and nutrition to work, fun, finances and home life. It can't hurt to ask and I can use all the help I can get.

I made the organization chart this morning in a local coffee shop, and as I was walking out the door, for some reason, I decided to look at a bulletin board that I have never looked at before. A single poster on the board caught my eye: "Dialogue with Spirit Guides." The text on the poster states, "If you could sit across from an angel, what would you ask?" Just another suggestion, I guess. I think I'll go to the event.

"Angels look for an opening in our consciousness, then they slip into our thoughts, or our dreams. But they can also arrange events, provide people and circumstances to assist us, or even show up themselves in light or humanlike form (Georgian, 1994, p. 67)."

Reference: Georgian, L. (1994). Your Guardian Angels, Simon & Schuster, New York.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 27,2012
A Summer's Day

Blue, fluffy, green, yellow, fresh,
Sky, clouds, grass, dandelions, wind ...
Morning starts the day off Great!

Cool, dark, stars, music,
Calm, relaxing ...
Evening ends the day off Great!

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 26,2012
The Process of Waiting

Sometimes, we must simply be quiet and wait and listen to the Universe. As someone who usually has a "to do" list a mile long, I find these times of waiting and listening to be difficult and frustrating. However, today, as I was making my list of daily priorities, I realised that today is a day to wait and listen. It is a day to contemplate recent accomplishments and rest from that work. It is a day to rest and prepare as I contemplate the next project. It is a day to listen to the Universe for guidance. It is a day to rejuvenate. It is that day that we "stop and smell the roses."

"Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life. (Simone Weil)"

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 25,2012
Spin the Chrysalis

Last night, on TV, I saw a show that was a behind the scenes look at Lady Gaga. Every time I see Lady Gaga interviewed, I am struck by the wisdom she has for such a young woman. She described herself as always being "effortlessly in a place of transformation." What a tremendous attitude. Truly, all of us are constantly changing or transforming, and the key is to do it effortlessly … to go with the Universal flow. Rather than resisting change, if we can go with it, life is so much easier. I know that the times when I feel the most angst or turmoil are the times when I am resisting what is going on around me … either outside or inside of me.

"The most surprising thing I discovered is that caterpillars don't yield themselves to the cocoon at the same rate. When the moment to spin the chrysalis arrives, some of them actually resist and cling to their larval life. They put off entering the cocoon until the following spring, postponing their transformation a year or more. This state of clinging has a name; it's called the 'diapause' (Kidd, 1990, p. 102)."

"There's a natural diapause in the human journey of transformation … a time when we hold onto the self we know. It seems that at the moment of our greatest possibility, a desperate clinging rises up in us. We make a valiant attempt to 'save' our old life. In the words of Daniel Day Williams, "We fear it is all we have. Even its sufferings are familiar and we clutch them because their very familiarity is comforting … Yet so long as we aim at the maintenance of this present self, as we now conceive it, we cannot enter the larger selfhood which is pressing for life." (Kidd, 1990, p. 102).

Reference: Kidd, S. (1990). When the Heart Waits, Harper, San Francisco.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 25,2012
Old Friends

Old friends are the best ones. They are the ones who know us as we are ...they know our history, our faults, our best characteristics, our families and other friends. They are the ones who know what we're thinking and what makes us laugh. They understand us and know us best. Some people never experience those truly old friends because they don't let people in, or they move on before the friendships become old ...they miss something important in life, I believe.

Old friends change and we don't always change in the same way. We're all on our own paths, so we may grow apart emotionally, or have different interests or circumstances, or experiences. We may be separated geographically. We may not always like the changes, but, there's still that shared history and deep knowing that is worth preserving and cherishing…a deep love and respect for who the person becomes. Like a loved and comfortable old sweater. Sometimes, lives don't go as well, but old friends have a deep caring and hope and prayer for healing and a positive outcome. We all need new friends as our lives change, and they become old friends over time. Old friends are the best…

"Real friends allow each other to be completely themselves. They know who each other really is and still accept and love one another. And they feel confident that their relationships will weather all kinds of differences, changes, craziness, and transformations (Carol, 2006)."

May all your friendships be blessed.

Reference: Carol, J., (2006). The Fabric of Friendship, Sorin Books, Notre Dame, Indiana.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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May 22,2012
Animals

I am currently taking a course in physiology … one of the most difficult things I have ever studied, but even more difficult than learning the subject matter is reading about the experiments on innocent animals in the name of science. I must frequently put down my text after reading phrases like "after we removed the mice's eyes,"(while they were still alive), or "after the monkey was killed…" (after doing tortuous things to it). The cruelty that man does in the name of science is shocking to me. I understand that we want to learn the causes of serious diseases so that we can find the cures, but is it right to experiment on and kill God's other creatures in the process? I do not think so, and I believe that there will be karma.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 20,2012
Forgiveness

In art, as in life, we encounter obstacles that prevent us from moving forward. In art, we may think that our creativity is blocked, that we don't have time, that we don't know how the plot should unfold, or what color to paint the background. The underlying issues are probably bigger … things like anger, resentment, or other unresolved "baggage." Just as we need to keep our studios physically tidy so that we can create, periodically, we must also pay attention to cleaning out the emotional blocks. Recently, I was reminded that I must look at some resentments that I was holding. I made a list, and as I reviewed it, I still felt angry or hurt by each item on the list. Then, I came upon a wonderful quote by Gerald Jampolsky: "Forgiveness means seeing the light of God in everyone…regardless of their behavior (Jampolsky, 1999, p. xxxviv)." When I looked at the list again, I was able to see the light of God in these people that I felt had wronged me. It does not mean that I agree with all of their behavior or actions, but I do recognize them as children of the Universe just as I am, doing the best we can. Having let go of these items that were blocking my love and light, I am able to move forward…in life, work and art.

Reference: Jampolsky, G. (1999). Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All, Beyond Words Publishing Inc., Hillsboro, OR.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 19,2012
Things Will Be All Right in the End

"Everything will be all right in the end, so if it is not all right, then it is not yet the end." This is a line from the trailer of a new movie that is being advertised and a great proverb, I'd say. I have not heard it before and I do not know its context in the movie. However, if we believe in a higher power of some kind and have faith in the power of our God or the Universe or Higher Power to watch over and guide us, then everything will be all right in the end. My mother used to say that something good comes from everything, so when things seem not to be going the way we'd like, we must stop and look for the good in the situation. When we are lost, we must appreciate the new scenery and experience. When we follow the guidance of the Universe, things will be all right in the end. So, if it is not all right, it is not yet the end…wait for God's help…and it will be all right in the end.

Reference: Line from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie, Director: John Madden.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 16,2012
Perception is Reality

Perception is reality. That's what a former manager of mine used to say. What we believe is our reality; and what we think is reflected in our outer world. How we see things is also influenced by our beliefs, cultures, emotional states, experiences and other influences. We all perceive things from our own unique perspectives. In other words, we see the world through our own eyes. That is why when we are in relationships with others, communication is so important. We cannot expect that another person will think, act or respond in the way that we think they will. How can they? We are all unique.

"While we may not want to take responsibility for our own perceptions and projections, when we do so we are then able to make choices between the belief system of the ego and the belief system of love. As we become aware of how our egos use projection, we can make changes. We can honor our feelings and decide if we want to hang onto them or let them go (Jampolsky, G.C., 1999, p. 54)."

Reference: Jampolsky, G.C. (1999). Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All, Beyond Words Publishing Inc., Hillsboro, OR.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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May 11,2012
Growth

I recently took a painting workshop taught by Rick McDiarmid. Over the years, I have found him to be one of the best painting teachers I have met. Besides being a good teacher, I believe that I connect with him because we share some of the same basic beliefs. At the workshop, he gave out a little post card with examples of his painting on one side, and the following statement on the other:

"I believe all physical form is light and sound or vibration … a creative and sustaining universal essence that includes all that is visible and non-visible from sub-atomic particles to the vast nebulae in the cosmos. This is our very essence and we both experience and express it in our daily thoughts, feelings and actions.

Painting is but one way to express our relationship with this essence or life force. In the painting process I hope in some way, to capture or bridge the physicality of our outer lives with the non visible current that flows through all life. I am continually fascinated by the movement of light, pattern and the interactive nature of color that can be explored in developing a painting concept (Richard S. McDiarmid)." (See Rick's work at www.richardsmcdiarmid.com.)

I, too, try to add something of the energy of the subject to my paintings in my interpretation. I never attempt to make my images look exactly like the images that they represent. Rather, I am after a feeling or an impression of the subject.

This freedom to express the non visible in our work adds a whole new dimension to our creativity. A few years ago, I began experimenting with abstract painting to overcome my own judgementalism of my work. I began to paint a series of paintings based on spiritual principles. I created the works by first meditating on a principle or concept, and then by painting it to express the feeling and concept visually. Who is to say what "prosperity" or "giving" look like? In fact, they don't look the same to me from day to day, either. The process not only helped me to stop being too self-critical of my work, but also helped to evolve my work. I have continued to paint abstractly, and was then led to experiment with acrylic and mixed media. Now I am back to oils, but my work has evolved because of the experiments with new subject matter and new media.

Another artist that I greatly admire is Wassily Kandinsky. He believed that literature, music and art were the best vehicles by which to communicate the spiritual, and that art must be an expression of the inner need of the artist and should touch the soul of the viewer or listener. To touch the soul of another through our work is a worthy goal, and one that I have set for my art and life. Even if it is never achieved, it is worth the effort because it helps me to grow and expand my own spirituality and work.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 11,2012
Support and Guidance

Yesterday, I was having the classic no good very bad day. In retrospect, not so bad, but I wasn't coping as well as I could have. After a call to the cable company to complain about some damage done by one of their service reps, I was drained. Not only had the service rep done damage, but the customer service rep was rude and condescending. I called a friend and told her I needed a hug. I relayed the cable guy story and a few other similar recent instances when I had been disrespected.

Not only did I get a telephone hug and some compassion and understanding from my friend, but she made a few very helpful suggestions so that I could turn around my attitude and outlook. First, she suggested that I take a few minutes right away to reflect on whether my thoughts and expectations were attracting these situations of disrespect and rudeness. She suggested that I pray for help and guidance on this matter and also that I ask the angels for help. She suggested meditation and sent me some guided meditations online (http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22). I chose to do the meditation for love and kindness.

Now that I was more relaxed, I was able to reflect on my inner state and realize that I was thinking thoughts of unworthiness and I was also grieving from some recent losses in my life. I was able to journal about these thoughts and pray to let them go. Instead of thinking thoughts of unworthiness, I was able to reframe my thoughts knowing that I deserve kindness and respect. After this time, I went for a walk. Within the hour, the cable company had called back and subsequently sent out a field manager who promised to do the repair and was apologetic for what he termed "unreasonable damage." This morning, another work contact emailed to say that she was working to fix something about which she had been very impatient yesterday. Things turned around.

We can get worn down by circumstances and lose perspective. We know what to do, but when we are worn down, we sometimes forget what to do or feel negative and don't do what we know would help. That's when we need encouragement of a friend, coach, sponsor or spiritual advisor. They can encourage us and understand. Then, we must examine our part in the situation and acknowledge and accept it. And, we can take advantage of the tools we have, such as prayer, meditation, exercise, journaling, painting, reading….

Today, I am having a very good day! I hope that you are, too.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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May 09,2012
Satori

Sometimes, we experience what Eckhart Tolle calls "a glimpse of what is possible" … a momentary glimpse of being fully engaged in the present moment…..a moment when we are in tune with God…a moment of pure knowing. The more we can experience these glimpses, the closer we come to a shift in our consciousness when we can glimpse the possible more consistently. Try to observe those momentary glimpses and be aware of how they feel and when they occur. Allow them to happen more frequently.

"In Zen, such a glimpse is called satori. Satori is a moment of Presence, a brief stepping out of the voice in your head, the thought processes and their reflection in the body as emotion. It is the arising of inner spaciousness where before there was the clutter of thought and the turmoil of emotion (Tolle, 2005, p. 177).

Reference: Tolle, Eckhart. (2005). A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, A Plume Book, New York, NY.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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May 08,2012
Imagine

Last night, a friend and I visited a hotel in our community where there is currently a show of student paintings. The title of the show is "What If?" and there is a wide array of paintings on that theme….my favorite, a little painting called "What if Cats were Clowns?" It is very sweet, creative and humorous … three cats in playful poses painted as if they were clowns. Other paintings are amazingly deep and insightful for such young artists … one raises questions about women's rights and the upcoming presidential election in the US. The theme, "What If?", is thought provoking and stirs the imaginations of the artists to shift their thinking to come up with new ideas for subject matter.

The South Delta Artists Guild did a show a couple of years ago called "In Between," which generated a large variety of interesting interpretations and ideas in the work.

Several arts groups have collaborated with poets and writers to visually interpret their writing. Another show theme in which I participated was "Big and Small," in which artists were required to paint either very large or very small paintings. Artists who usually paint small tried their hand at large canvases and it stimulated their creativity.

In art, as in life, we must consider new possibilities to create new and exciting work or new possibilities in our lives. Taking a different theme, such as "What If?", "In Between," or "Big and Small" can stretch our imaginations to come up with new ideas or we can interpret a poem or story. We don't have to be participating in a show to do this. We can impose our own themes in our own studios. Why not paint a series of "In Between," or "Just About"? What about illustrating a story … your own or someone else's?

Imagine the possibilities. John Lennon did, and think of the impact of that one song on our world…

© 2012 Carla Weaver

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

© John Lennon


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May 01,2012
Be Flexible

It seems like you can't do it all … work, paint, .live, BLOG, walk the dog, play, exercise, travel, volunteer, eat, sleep. Choices must be made and priorities assigned.

Obviously many of the activities that I've listed must be done every day, so that means we must choose our extra activities. In the last couple of weeks, I chose to paint rather than write for my BLOG because I'm having an art show during the month of May. I focused my creative energy on painting, framing and hanging the show.

One of the most creative things that I accomplished was figuring out how to hang this show. I had selected the paintings for the show and took a few extras as backups. In my mind's eye, I could see how the show would be hung … which paintings would look best together. However, all didn't go as planned because the hanging system didn't work for the small square canvases I had. Since they accounted for a significant part of the show, I had to get creative about how to hang the work and be flexible about deviating from my original plan.

Being flexible and open can lead us down new paths. Being fixed on one idea or plan can turn into a major obstacle if something unexpected happens.

If you're in the White Rock/Vancouver area this month, drop by my show at the Good Day Sunshine Café on King George Highway.

© 2012 Carla Weaver


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