Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Different kind of War story

My Grandad was a casualty of WWII.
He didn't die on the battlefield in a muddy mangled mess. He shot himself in his recruiting office in Halifax Nova Scotia. Deemed dishonorable we don't remember him the way we do those with medals. He was forever quieted and I don't even know where he was buried.
The following is my version of the little we know about the story:
David Fitzgerald Mitchell was an incredibly handsome, quiet, smart and warm man. He had many friends who adored him, parents who worshiped him and had he had married the Love of his life; Jacquie. They had one son, my dad. D.F (as I like to call him) was a recruiting officer for the Canadian army and was proudly sending troops to Europe to fight for the freedom of our great land.

The soldiers were young and  proud and full of hope for the job they were doing. I imagine them traveling with excitement of the adventure they were on. They had guns. What could possibly undermine their efforts? Their heads had been filled with the glory and glamor of travel in the greatest of uniforms..... Canadians through to the bone.

WW2, poppy, Canada, Flanders, rememberance day
Carrie Harper's Tissue Paper Poppies
The boats landed, the boys were slaughtered one by one. A blood and mud bath. letters came home to families-can you imagine the pain that came from every element of this horrific tale? The boys, their Loved ones and even us today as we remember what they did for us with their naive unknowing promise. I don't think this tale would have existed without naivety as..... who would sail into their own bloody demise? But the stories of those boys is for another to tell, I have no connection to them except my patriotism. My story is of another. a beautiful red haired man who was so overcome by his job of sending dreamy young to their demise that he imposed his own demise.

carrieharper, family, war, rememberance
David Fitzgerald Mitchell 3 yrs old
D.F.M.- I never met him. He was long gone by the time I was conceived. Yet his life has touched mine more than any other figure. We are kindred souls, he and I, woven together by our similarities. He took his own life and I had spent much of mine imagining of the same. Not any more, I should be clear. But there were years that I just wanted to vacate this Earthly war. I tried at least 4 times to move on to a bodiless place. Finally, the last time, as I woke up on the cold concrete floor of a little locked room I was told by an overwhelming force to "STOP TRYING, YOU HAVE THINGS TO DO YET". so I did, I have. I let go of the family curse. David Fitzgerald remains so close to me all the time; I can't, in fact sense where he ends and I begin. Instead of fear and depression I have delivered the two of us into eternal Love and forgiveness.
DFM in the striped jacket

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Friday at 10.10.10, Tribehouse event

On Friday Novemeber 2nd I strutted up on stage in 3.5 inch black patent heals. I was one of ten artists to present my story at the Tribehouse event 10.10.10. That night at Bottega in front of about 150 people I revealed a secret, I have bipolar II. "I'm a high acheiver", I said, "It's not just ordinary Bi-polar, it's TWO". My self diagnosis is "artist"....... wow, what a reaction! everyone clapped and cheered, I honestly couldn't believe it. On I trudged with my story,
"I have a messy brain, here's me in my studio with my creative chaos"

"don't let another day go by without telling someone they are magnificent"

 blog post #1 that I read:
A terrifying scenario: I'm shaking today so that when I draw, the lines are squiggly. When I stand up the room spins a bit, just until I adjust to the upright position. When I'm with other people I try to control the shaking and the shaking gets worse. I wonder what it must look like that I tightly cross my arms and attempt to hold my head steady.  This is what it is to have Bi-Polar II. To be mostly out of control of your faculties. To wonder if you can hold a pen or paintbrush, to sense that your bladder might give way at a completely inopportune moment  or to know that everyday you will make poor decisions that circularly lead back to shaking. The hardest part is looking backwards and seeing the clear and steady path toward mania and realize you were the last one to see it. And to be overtaken by an evil and wicked force that makes the world feel hostile, hellish. When you begin to screw up and lose control you wonder if you will have a friend or a mainstay again. It's so easy to forget that you've been here before and you got through it..... it's a tunnel shaped like a funnel and as you methodically stride in the direction of the narrow end it's impossible to see the goodness of creation. I suppose this is where the 'Bi' in it lives, that the up becomes the down. You can't really have one without the other you can only hope that with experience it isn't as black as the last time...... the 'jaws of the black dogs' will release a bit easier than the last time. To choose Love over Fear is what I wish for today, only that. When the fear is Goliath and behemoth and the Love is a tiny speck, I have to rely on the word of those around me and have blind faith that these thoughts are lies.

I'm choosing transparency and full disclosure, this time, so that the others.... my partners in mental illness can feel camaraderie.  I know, we frighten you in our unpredictability, intensity, electricity. But, I can tell you that for the first time in 45 years I understand that I belong and I deserve to hold a space regardless of my craziness. Go ahead, be threatened but know that I am here to mirror something in you; your own craziness maybe or creativity, instability or need for compassion. I am here to feel deeply the details of the pulse of the Earth and then to bring them back up as art. It's my job and the penalty is that sometimes the layers of overwhelm overtake, my brain is a soup of swirling ideas and my body is not my own to navigate this place.

I do wish for someone who won't be afraid of me and who can see that these times are when the genius resides and bubbles over. Someone who will see, for me, when I can't, that I can blow the top off of sanity for a short while in order to make something bigger than us all. For us all. Delusions of grandeur or maybe a moment in time that is meant to be.
If I had the flu or cancer or a broken leg you'd bring me chicken soup  but I don't. I have faulty wiring in my brain and therefore, I'm alone. My disease isn't recognized as a disability because sometimes I function very well (better than average) but then there are times like this when the tiniest of tasks is impossible. I haven't been able to hold a real job for over 20 years, I'm an artist, a painter.
I ask you to take this in just a little and hug someone you love a little longer. It will ripple out.
    
 • "Let's not go another day without telling somebody they're magnificent. We're sitting in a room absolutely full of artistic genius."

blog post #2.

Have you ever watched a butterfly just after it emerges from it's chrysalis and is a fully intact amazing creature but not quite yet sure of it's flying ability? It sits for a time slowly moving it's wings up and down........up and down............ up and down and then suddenly, as though it's done it for 1000 years,  lifts and floats away in a blur of brilliant colour. I think that's me, now. I'm sitting at the end of the dock just emerged from a long slumber and my wings are testing.... up and down...... up and down........ up and down. I haven't yet believed the moment that comes next. I think we are not prohibited to believe it because it is going to be so much more magical and wonderful than anything ever previously known. It is going to be huge. Possibly heavenly. I was given a glimmer of the fear I've left behind so I won't forget that it's behind me. Its talons used to grip me mercilessly for months at a time but that bird has officially flown the coop. I NEVER will feel that fear again, A new excitement of risk has taken its place. What a wonder is this world.

~standing O.......... it felt great!



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Do What You Love

I decided to re-post this today, on Friday night I spoke out at Bottega about living with bi-polar II. I'm going to speak openly about it so I can support others to know they're not alone.

Carrie Harper

There’s a hummingbird lighting on the wild flowers and grapevines outside my window. More and more I see the beauty of the world instead of the darkness. I think as artists we need some dark to contrast the light, but it’s the light that shines out of us and attracts people to our work. I have been painting, sculpting, cutting, gluing and experimenting since I can remember then in 1992 I was fortunate enough to attend The Alberta College of Art and Design. When I entered art school I thought I wanted to design functional 3-D objects such as housewares and furniture. I imagined a path of study to include traditional art school and then industrial design. The course of life can change direction like a hummingbird, quick and unexpected. As poet David Whyte writes, “anything you can plan is too small for you to live”.
I started out as all art school attendees do in a foundation year and my soul came alive in a way I never dreamed possible. I studied everything from pottery to metal smithing to photography. I was home in the art world and knew then that I was an artist through and through, it had chosen me. Part way through second year I found myself expecting my husband and my first child and ended up majoring in textiles and surface design due to safety issues. The year of my pregnancy I focused on fabric design, paper making and colour theory. I came to love working 2 dimensionally. When my daughter was born I sunk into a severe post partum depression and there began my 16 year battle with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, a terribly misunderstood condition. All along my career path I have discovered ways of creating no matter the direction life throws me. I always pour myself 100% into anything I’m working on (something that has served me well now that I am a mixed media artist).  As much as I tried to make art I couldn’t do it. It was like I needed to have my batteries re-charged but couldn’t find the power cable to plug in. I barely coped with looking after my new little angel baby. When my daughter was 8 months old it was discovered that I had a pregnancy induced thyroid problem and I was put on medication to treat it. Between that and anti-depressants I came out of the “jaws of the black dogs” and began to feel creative again and picked up paint brushes. All I could manage for a long time was watercolours. I am so grateful to that medium because it was simple, portable and I learned so much about the kind of artist I was. Up and down I went over the years, sometimes painting and sometimes just barely surviving. I had several suicide attempts in the very dark times, not something I’m proud of but I share it as an important part of my story. One of my missions, now, is to give Bi-Polar a face and to embrace everything about myself to be the best artist and mother I can be. I was terrified to have another child but when my daughter was 4 I had a beautiful baby boy. Joy of joys I did not fall into another depression!
 
In 2008 (after watching The Secret) I found the most perfect studio and partner to share it with, well within my price range. At the time I was still experimenting with many art forms but having a proper work space felt like taping my wings back on and spreading them to fly. I see the path behind me lead right into the arms of a love affair with Mixed Media. I am so grateful to artists Suzi Blu, Kelly Rae Roberts, Teesha Moore and many others for paving the way and making Mixed Media a legitimate art form. Through working as a Mixed Media and journal artist I have visualized and expressed the person I want to be. It has given me a clear map for my journey. My life is so interwoven with my art now and I’m happy and fulfilled. I have created a line of journals, computer/cell phone skins and I’m also working on resin pendants, canvas bags amongst other things, all with my art on them.
“Dream big” I say to myself! At first that meant; make a painting and go to a networking evening, then slowly it grew into; talk to galleries, set up a studio and write a blog. Dreaming big has served me well. Recently my doctor told me she believed that my bi-polar is in remission. I live now as imagine an athlete in training might eating simple clean food, sleeping well, surrounding myself with supportive people and doing what I love. My Life journey needs to be simple, clear and innovative if I want to stay well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

art has nothing to do with clarity

art has nothing to do with clarity, does not dabble in the clear and does not make clear, and more than the light of day (or night) makes the subsolar, -lunar, and -stellar excrement. Art is the sun, moon, and stars of the mind, the whole mind.

Monday, September 10, 2012

new website

I'm happy to say I will finally be setting up a new website. Designed by the brilliant Nicogroove of http://fairtradecreative.com/

excited!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Tuesday Dream

I'm having a dream,
tastes like regret and lavender and June beach sand.
it involved an idea of more than I crammed into a moment
and Elizabeth called out to me, "Earth's crammed with Heaven".
I believed her
until the tiny bits and pieces floated away. wings crushed by my (I thought) brutal tender hands.
Perfection until Tuesday.
There's a wiff of golden dust on my palm's lifeline, all that's left.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Over the past few months I've spent some time at The Canadian Mental Health's wellness center in Kelowna. There, I've had the privilege of facilitating a group project on a large Flora Bowley inspired painting. Group projects can be challenging at best but throw in a bunch of fragile souls to the mix and it's a mind bender...... I enjoyed every minute even though there were some angst filled ones.
 
The piece is titled Imagine.
Here are some details












Saturday, August 4, 2012

Be

Be
Be still
Be still and
Be still and know
Be still and know that
Be still and know that I
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and
Be still
Be

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In my rush to run the field....

there are days I wonder if I've made more mistakes than lived well.
"have I filled my mistake jar too full"? I ask. 
Have I lived just outside of wellness to come back and be honorable?
Am I worth Loving?
Am I?

In my rush to run the field,
have I pushed away the last blade of grass
and watched the fishes last sparkling scales under my callused feet?
Is Love mine still to cling or  
have the mistakes added up past the level?

What sage can answer me now
I'll quest if you can help me rest.
there is only one answer
either the one I know or the one I won't believe.

I push you away in my longing to be Loved and I am as confused as anyone at strange logic.




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dragon

I'm lying in a hammock in my sister's back yard, aka. 'The Garden of Eden'. I feel a sense of overwhelming peace that passes all understanding. 
Yes, I just spoke in horrible, biblical cliches! They've been top of mind a lot lately so I'm just going with them. 
The Peace thing is a big deal (awareness) as I  started the day with a debilitating insecure mental buzz. The only way I can think to describe it is similar to a nasty caffeine high at 3 am, only it doesn't wear off. You can't get away from it except to wait. The worst part of the buzz is it started small, a few weeks ago as an inspired, motivated, creative state. A disguise for what the medical profession has labeled on me 'mania'.  I'm blessed to have the most loving caring parents who I've been hanging out with this weekend. I was in the car with my diplomatic dad who apparently witnessed my tell-tale behavior of talking fast. He then reported his concern to my Mum- I love this chain of command. It's the way it is in my family, we watch out for each other fiercely!  There were triggers that are irritatingly consistent so as you think I'd know it was happening. As is almost always the case, I wasn't the first to recognize it happening. I just realized progress though; I wasn't the last....... AND I THINK I CAUGHT IT!

TRIGGERS • lack of sleep and restorative time, art show, new friendships, spiritual growth.
DRAGON TO SLAY •  fear of alone-ness, self abuse, insecurity, working on my own steam, perfectionism.
SYMPTOMS • jitters, un-restful sleeps, creativity, motivation, a lot of ideas, emotional, shortness of breath, dizziness, talking a lot and fast, hyper emotional, spiritual connectedness.

What to do today; well, possibly, exactly what I'm doing.......
1. lie in a hammock
2. breathe
3. pop the air out of the thought bubbles that tell me I'm not good enough and then hope they shut up.
4. sleep (with a little help from my meds)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Post-Lille Gard-fest

Have you ever had immersion into absolute spirit-filled, emotional goodness? Like, you've been picked up off the planet and gently placed somewhere safe...... no, I'm not having a manic episode I just went to Lille Gard Arts festival! For three days we laughed, created, collaborated, danced, sang, Loved each other and completely saturated ourselves in art of all kinds. It was pure bliss. For me, it started here with this video:
I worked on the Lille Gard promo video with two of the most creative, wonderful guys who let me throw everything I have at it. They came to my studio and Nico Boesten filmed while we painted. Jesse Padget, 'idea guy extraordinaire'; directed, painted and then narrated and played the banjo.

It's taking me some time to get my footing back after being swept away like that.....

I have made amazing contacts and sparked some exciting fires. Let the Action begin!

Watch for upcoming workshops, shows, new work being created and best of all COLLABORATION!!!!
P.S. do you have a homeschooler looking for art instruction in the fall?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cut Grass..... or cutting the grass


Today: Love is, to me, someone who wants to cut my grass.
I want someone to want to cut my grass.
seems so simple.
I live on a big beautiful property with a lot of it and the only mower we have is a tiny little electric one. My dad does most of the work so I really don't have to do it very often. The mower had a flap over the back opening that has been removed so as you walk behind it you get a face full of cut grass. We have had a lot of rain so every green thing has grown thick and lush. It's beautiful.
Right now it represents for me, though, fear of being alone with all the jobs of life. Maybe it's a girl thing. So much work to do...... so much alone. It's crippling at times, and I never quite seem to get it right.
I know for sure that I have to look at it differently, do it differently because it's just way too painful this way. I know for sure that God listens. In the mean time I hold my hands to my heart often and say, "it's OK baby, it'll be OK. You know, be my own set of arms..... hold on tight for a bit longer.
Love is, to me, someone who wants to cut my grass.
this is where I live and Love.
It is love that brings happiness to people.
It is love that gives joy to happiness.
My mother didn't give birth to me, that love did.
A hundred blessings and praises to that love. Rumi

My daughter just got home and said, " I washed and vaccuumed the car mom"........ Love.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Year

Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alchemist, "when you want something with all your heart, all the Universe conspires to help you achieve it".
and then he also said,
"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

I was just looking back at my year and discovered a challenge I had laid out for myself.
"Be Well. Not for yourself but for those who need you"


The greatest gift one can give the world is to be well.
I'm in training. You know, like an olympic athlete?
My games are being an artist, a mother, a friend and an embracer of life. I really want to be excellent at that list........ perfectionist? Maybe.
I have become closer to ultimate wellness than I ever believed possible and I have had my eyes opened to magic. My wish for my wellness is to be a balanced tri.: spiritual, mental and physical.
I know it involves the hardest decisions, above all. The athlete has to decide not to eat certain foods and to have supportive relationships. I too am working on decisions. Lately, most of mine aren't great. Some of them are, though, and they certainly are better than they used to be.
I guess I would like to be good at truth, clarity and brutal balance. I still err on the side of permitting the unacceptable because I am a harbinger of Love. Sometimes wanting to spread Love can mean letting my guard down and not prioritizing, kind of like a silly flower child. Spreading flower petals is romantic and fun in the moment but it can lead you down a path, off course. Somehow, my vision of balance is spreading petals, in the moment, while prioritizing for extreme personal best.

I love having a thin healthy body and a clean mind but most of all it's my big ass wings that I love. They are attached to an even bigger ass glowing soul that needs to make art!

I am aware that complacency can creep in and in the blink of an eye I'm off the training schedule..... slipping away from my Olympic dream. Today I'm going to get it back.
Join me in being the very best you can be, just for today...... make good decisions- do it for someone you love.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

firsts

“For it is only habit and memory that dulls the physical passion. Without memory, each night is the first night, each morning is the first morning, each kiss and touch are the first.”

Friday, June 15, 2012

Heather's Story of How A Mesothelioma Diagnosis Changed Her Life

This is a new thing for The Pear Workshop, a guest blogger.
I am honored that Heather has contacted me to share her story through my blog. I'm a fan of brave women, we all have a story and when it's shared freely we become conduits for pure goodness.

In Heather's words:
One of the most overused sayings of all time is, “it takes a village.” That phrase is extremely common, but I have had experiences in my life that have caused me to really believe in it. Lily, my daughter, was born on August 5, 2005. I had a normal pregnancy except for the emergency c-section. My husband, his family, our friends, and my parents were there to help us welcome our child into the world. Everything was going so perfect that I did not expect that my life would soon take a turn for the worst.

A month after I went back to work, I began to experience fatigue and shortness of breath. I could have easily attributed those symptoms to being a new mother, but my gut feeling told me that something was not right. I went to the doctor and underwent a series of tests. The results confirmed that I was suffering from something that was far worse than stress.

 I was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November of 2005. That was just 3 ½ months after my daughter was born. Mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of cancer that occurs as the result of asbestos exposure. It turns out that I had come in contact with asbestos when I was a child.

My doctor told me that I could expect to live 15 weeks without treatment. I immediately began to think about how that would affect my husband and daughter. If I would have died, I would have left them alone. I could not bear that thought, so I decided that I would get the most drastic treatment possible to fight this cancer. On February 2, I underwent a procedure called  an extrapleural pneumenectomy. The surgery removed my entire left lung and all of its surrounding tissue. I had to spend 18 days in the hospital. I also had to undergo two months of recovery at home before beginning chemotherapy and radiation treatment. 

It is hard adjusting to motherhood, but when you are fighting mesothelioma, the task is even more difficult. Today, I am free of cancer, but I can honestly say that I would not be here without my village. My family and friends were there with me the whole time to help me raise my daughter. Even though I had to experience some of Lily’s first milestones via black and white photographs, looking at them helped me keep fighting.

 The most important thing that I learned from my ordeal is that life should be cherished because it is fragile. Cancer is bad, but sometimes, good things can come out of trying circumstances.



Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out her story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Collaborative Energy

Collaborative energy is the most powerful thing I have ever experienced. I plan to slide and flow into it and take my hands off the wheel.

thought for the day:
For so long I've been living in hiding~invisible~ now I say, "world I'm here. Notice me, Love me hate me watch me shine. I shrouded in all kinds of complicated layers and was wildly successful at becoming nobody but my heart screamed out. My body decided to dance and get up out of it's wheel chair and knock off it's prosthetics. It's a messy Joy I'm in ~ it's a ruckus adolescent party and I'm swinging from the rafters a bit while the world sits back and tisks its tongue and wags it's finger. I'll laugh my crazy wide open laugh. Just for a little while until a new comfort settles in.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

On Pain

 Moving Water by Rumi
When  you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a joy.

When actions come from another section, the feeling
disappears.  Don't let others lead you.  They may be blind or, worse, vultures.
Reach for the rope of God.  And what is that?  Putting aside self-will.
Because of willfulness people sit in jail, the trapped bird's wings are tied,
fish sizzle in the skillet. The anger of police is willfulness.  You've seen a magistrate
inflict visible punishment.  Now see the invisible.  If you could leave your selfishness, you
would see how you've been torturing your soul.  We are born and live inside black water in a well.

How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don't
insist on going where you think you want to go.  Ask the way to the spring.  
Your living pieces will form a harmony.  There is a moving palace that floats in the air
with balconies and clear water flowing through, infinity everywhere, yet contained
 

On Pain: Where does it exist this thing that rips me up like the flag hanging patiently in reverence? That daughter of fear and enemy of Love? I invite it in at times, only because it has been the best of familiar friends. Like all friends it lets me down yet I know it so well I let it stay and rub my feet. I've known it the entirety of my life and it forces me to live well even though there have been times I got deep into to bed with it. It's my house guest today yet we don't visit very often anymore. "You'll keep it until you no longer need it", a wise friend once told me. I don't think I need it anymore, this pain. I'll invite it to leave now and choose joy and Love. Will you join me, J.? Let's leave this friend at the train station now and say goodbye for good. I no longer need it or have patience for it

 
Rumi
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


Don't go back to sleep
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion, 
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes 
to see with the other eye.
 
 

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Dad was raised in part by his grandparents. As the story goes, his grandad's first greeting of everyday, without fail, was day a lilting "morning". So, as a little guy, my dad called him 'Morning' because he thought that was his name.

Lately, I stroll up to #5, 375 Bernard Ave. with a hot cup of Starbuck's in my hand. As I climb the long steep stairs to my studio I think to myself, "morning".

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Shack


Have you read 'The Shack' by William Paul Young?
It's a book that took the faith world by storm a few years ago (and then crossed over into the alternate-faith world too). I'm not sure that happens very often unless the book really has something to say. When I read it I was in the throws of a severe, isolating depression, having felt in search of spiritual answers and feeling completely thrown up and burned out by the church I was just plain mad at everything. Needless to say Young's work pissed me right off. I can't articulate why at this point, yet after last night I have a feeling it had to do with Holy Spirit's greater work in me. Like all matters of the heart they unfold in their own sweet time. It seems like years ago that I was in that torturous place but it wasn't that long- just a lifetime.

I Love authors, artists, musicians and people who trade stability for God-given creativity so when I heard that WPY was coming to Bottega I couldn't have been more excited! An author at Bottega, two things I adore. I went alone, something I do a lot lately. When I got there I was with my tribe, though! A sweet new friend invited my right up to the front row to sit with her and as a result I got to be in smile distance from this most wonderfully heart giving man I've ever had the privilege of meeting.

I madly punched notes into my iphone:
"believer is an activity not a category"
"self-giving Love was before time, space and matter"
"the greatest good is self-centeredness"
"the Holy-spirit is creative. our receptors enable us to hear the Voice. When something shatters the receptors [addiction, abuse] it is through art that they can be reconnected."
"trust your value aside from you as a commodity" [your ability to earn]
"95% of evangelism comes from our mistrust of the Spirit"
"secularization is half way to Jesus from religion"
"any theology of separation is false. We were chosen before the beginning of time. we have the freedom to un-choose not to choose"
"I Am. the million do not matter more than the one... the I Am." (we are all the I Am)
"I Am the way the truth and the life is the most inclusive of all ideas" (we have made it ex-clusive inside our limited mind of time space and matter)"
"our scars stay intact and are transformed into something beautiful just like the way God can make beauty from all the world's imperfections. We were created perfectly imperfect"

"I walked on my knees until tonight", I found spilling out of my mouth. Until I heard author William Paul Young and I found myself metaphorically •standing up• and believing what I believe.

.......alone. that is: walking on my knees alone.

Spiritually I had struggled on the periphery of the christian 'Church' (large 'C') with my strong belief in a God, a Universe that was not about duality, separation and earning one's way. I'm not a sinner for having been born or for being me. I've been dismissed as a misguided devil worshiper and a new age follower which, I decided actually fit my brand a lot better than a Christian. Yet for so many years I've walked the fringe, mysteriously finding friendship from within the christian community. What an alienating place to be for a thinker like me. My walk must fit my talk. I can't be a hypocrite, for living authentically is the only way I can live. I will never accept a lot of modern Christianity's interpretation of the Bible which seems to include apathy, laziness, war-mongering and ambiguity. Shouldn't spirituality be the most certain thing in one's life? Certain of course, meaning absolute knowledge that no one is right or wrong and that everyone is a valid being? That the universe was made from Love and therefore, we are Love and Loved by definition? That the ultimate mystery of all; time space and matter will remain perfectly a mystery no matter what you believe about your origin.



You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Mary Oliver

I'm gratefully and unapologetically NOT on my knees anymore.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

To Spend

created with four arms and four legs and a head with two faces.
Fearing their power. Zeus. Split them into two separate beings.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shop Girl, movie





Shop Girl:
As Ray Porter watches Mirabelle walk away he feels a loss. "How is it possible, he thinks, to miss a woman whom he kept at a distance so that when she was gone he would not miss her." Only then does he realize that wanting part of her and not all of her had hurt them both and how he cannot justify his actions except that... well... it was life. 

Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/exercise_fitness/marathon-switzer.html
I have to say I love journalistic photography from the '60's and '70's. *(story below)
 *(I just got this picture from a facebook friend about the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and what she had to face, discrimination. She had trained and followed all the protocol to enter the race, and I'm sure at the time realized what she was doing was trail-blazing, but how great it would be? maybe not. Then, the unthinkable happened... she was attacked by race organizer Jock Semple who was shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon.)


What do you see when you look at the picture? a woman running a marathon? No small feat for anyone at any time but this particular time it was 1967 in the centre of a powerful movement to open up social perceptions. But, what I see are the men in the picture. Oh I see her too, she's shrouded in the light of a higher calling and determination. But it's the men that stand out for me because I too run a race and I'm ever convinced that it's those that champion us and support us that make the impossible possible.  This is where the story, in my mind, gets exciting; do any of us ever know what our true calling or gift is? Do we know, ever, absolutely that when we wake up that day and do the thing we've trained for that we will leave an indelible mark on history? some butterfly is flapping away in Bora Bora right now and the air is moving just enough to set off a series of events that you are a part of. Are you training for something? or, Are you training alongside someone who needs what you can offer in support?


There is a quiet rumbling ever under us that is spearheaded through the arts. Queen Victoria proclaimed "I would venture to warn against too great intimacy with artists as it is very seductive and a little dangerous". Maybe that old monarch was right..... stay away............. you're still here. Ok well, since you asked. If you choose to be around us ask how you can be a champion, a shield from the attackers, the users, the egomaniacs. Ask what we need to keep making our work.

Friday, March 30, 2012

my week in pics

Ok so here's me in my usual post, bed! I have pink hair
.
In Downtown Kelowna you can find some new permanent art on Leon Avenue. It was a combined effort between The Kelowna Gospel Mission,  Communities in Bloom Committee, City of Kelowna and the artists..... of which I am one of seven.
what I accomplished this week is painting this huge mixed media piece which is demonstrating Mixed media on Opus Fine art printing. It is a very unique possibility now as their printing is NOT WATER SOLUBLE so you can paint to your hearts creative content! I'm so grateful to Opus for the opportunity. You can visit her at Opus Kelowna
 OOps! I had a fight with the concrete post in my parkade..... as you can see I lost! "God, what is the purpose of this" is my daily mantra. In keeping with the FACT that I always get an answer. The answer was ,'I'm a grown-up who made a mistake. I have no-one to answer to but myself. I have no need to beat myself like a child. Just deal with it like an adult' Yahoo..... what an amazing moment to have no guilt about this experience!!!
 
on the way to Opus Art Supply to deliver this big 'Girl'

My big painting with Opus Art Supply Diva Christina of www.hangingonthewall.com Thanks to other art diva, Trina Ganson for taking the picture.

I Love my Mum


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rumi

I Love Rumi,
Amazing that something from so long ago resonates so well. There really is no time, it's all an illusion.


The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

Don't go back to sleep
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion, 
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes 
to see with the other eye.
 Moving Water
When  you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a joy.

When actions come from another section, the feeling
disappears.  Don't let others lead you.  They may be blind or, worse, vultures.
Reach for the rope of God.  And what is that?  Putting aside self-will.
Because of willfulness people sit in jail, the trapped bird's wings are tied,
fish sizzle in the skillet. The anger of police is willfulness.  You've seen a magistrate
inflict visible punishment.  Now see the invisible.  If you could leave your selfishness, you
would see how you've been torturing your soul.  We are born and live inside black water in a well.

How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don't
insist on going where you think you want to go.  Ask the way to the spring.  
Your living pieces will form a harmony.  There is a moving palace that floats in the air
with balconies and clear water flowing through, infinity everywhere, yet contained

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

It's been a long cold winter. I woke up today to drizzling wet snow and rain. The clouds weren't even clouds. I had put some cosmic time limit on this winter of my heart but the cosmos, the Universe has other plans. It says to me,, "oh, girl, it's only just begun". This lesson is wide and deep and only you can wade your way through it alone. You won't see me, I'll be there though, just as I've promised. Keep walking and you'll know when it's over." And I throw myself face down on the ground with my pink and black hair flailing...... begging. bargaining. pleading.

I hear messages like, "Love sometimes, is not enough"
And I scream inside.... but Love is all I know how to do....... letting go is a whole other story........ I don't know how to do that.

"the grieving can go on for years" is another one...... and I say, "I can't do this for years, it's TOO F-ING PAINFUL"

"you'll get through it" they say. and I say......."I don't want to f-ing get through it, I want my life the way I imagine it" and I hear my inner two year old shamefully making an absolute fool of herself.


The stories in my head have to be mine though, so I say, "everything is unfolding perfectly". And then I believe it somewhere down under the rubble of this wound. This blasted open f-ing wound in my chest. This weeping, oozing, bloody thing that keeps re-opening.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've often deluded myself into believing that I embrace change, welcome it even. In 2011 that belief was challenged about as far as one human could manage (pending death of course). My marriage of 22 years crumbled and my husband had to move to Alberta in order to find employment. The property we have our house on is for sale so there is the ever present possibility that me and the kids will be uprooted to God-knows-where. Possibly hardest of all, my baby girl is about to turn 18 and graduate high-school as well as get her driver's license. It's all happening now and there are days that the pain is palpable like a throbbing cold yet burning spot squarely to the left of center of my chest. I'm having one those confusing/emotional days where I question every decision I've ever made. It's exhausting this business of change, yet the only thing we can truly count on.

life happens

us on one of our first dates. in a photo booth

Tonight my daughter brought her phone to me and read out a twitter conversation her dad was having with a woman. I found myself dissolving into a spell of crushing pain and confusion and then viewed the tweets myself. It was just a week or so ago when he told me he didn't want to speak to me anymore. before that I was feeling so happy, that we would talk regularly about how the kids are doing, to raise them together and to be a re-defined family but then I was abruptly cut-off, without explanation. It must be about the time this new person entered our lives.

I'm examining my feelings tonight and trying hard to really see them for what they are. Sadness and disappointment that we didn't last forever, letting go of the dream that he might show up on a white horse one day.  I knew the day would come that he'd find someone else. I just didn't want it to and so I let myself believe that we would work on our proverbial 'stuff' and find each other again and things would be new and different. Tonight, I'm back to this business of grieving. Back to the beginning- denial....  I must be on stage 2 of the grief ladder because it feels more like intense pain.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote about the 5 stages of grief, I found this list of 7:

1. DENIAL
2. PAIN

3. ANGER/ BARGAINING
4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS
5. THE UPWARD TURN-
6. RECONSTRUCTION/ WORKING THROUGH
7. ACCEPTANCE/ HOPE-

I need to know that I will get to reconstruction, acceptance and hope because being down in the pain pit makes it hard to see a way out.

Monday, March 12, 2012

doing what I love

I decided to repost this today, on Friday night I spoke out at Bottega about living with bi-polar II. I'm going to speak openly about it so I can support other to know they're not alone.

Carrie Harper

The year of my pregnancy I focused on fabric design, paper making and colour theory. I came to love working 2 dimensionally. When my daughter was born I sunk into a severe post partum depression and there began my 16 year battle with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, a terribly misunderstood condition.There’s a hummingbird lighting on the wild flowers and grapevines outside my window. More and more I see the beauty of the world instead of the darkness. I think as artists we need some dark to contrast the light, but it’s the light that shines out of us and attracts people to our work. I have been painting, sculpting, cutting, gluing and experimenting since I can remember then in 1992 I was fortunate enough to attend The Alberta College of Art and Design. When I entered art school I thought I wanted to design functional 3-D objects such as housewares and furniture. I imagined a path of study to include traditional art school and then industrial design. The course of life can change direction like a hummingbird, quick and unexpected. As poet David Whyte writes, “anything you can plan is too small for you to live”.
I started out as all art school attendees do in a foundation year and my soul came alive in a way I never dreamed possible. I studied everything from pottery to metal smithing to photography. I was home in the art world and knew then that I was an artist through and through, it had chosen me. Part way through second year I found myself expecting my husband and my first child and ended up majoring in textiles and surface design due to safety issues. All along my career path I have discovered ways of creating no matter the direction life throws me. I always pour myself 100% into anything I’m working on (something that has served me well now that I am a mixed media artist).  As much as I tried to make art I couldn’t do it. It was like I needed to have my batteries re-charged but couldn’t find the power cable to plug in. I barely coped with looking after my new little angel baby. When my daughter was 8 months old it was discovered that I had a pregnancy induced thyroid problem and I was put on medication to treat it. Between that and anti-depressants I came out of the “jaws of the black dogs” and began to feel creative again and picked up paint brushes. All I could manage for a long time was watercolours. I am so grateful to that medium because it was simple, portable and I learned so much about the kind of artist I was. Up and down I went over the years, sometimes painting and sometimes just barely surviving. I had several suicide attempts in the very dark times, not something I’m proud of but I share it as an important part of my story. One of my missions, now, is to give Bi-Polar a face and to embrace everything about myself to be the best artist and mother I can be. I was terrified to have another child but when my daughter was 4 I had a beautiful baby boy. Joy of joys I did not fall into another depression!
 
In 2008 (after watching The Secret) I found the most perfect studio and partner to share it with, well within my price range. At the time I was still experimenting with many art forms but having a proper work space felt like taping my wings back on and spreading them to fly. I see the path behind me lead right into the arms of a love affair with Mixed Media. I am so grateful to artists Suzi Blu, Kelly Rae Roberts, Teesha Moore and many others for paving the way and making Mixed Media a legitimate art form. Through working as a Mixed Media and journal artist I have visualized and expressed the person I want to be. It has given me a clear map for my journey. My life is so interwoven with my art now and I’m happy and fulfilled. I have created a line of journals, computer/cell phone skins and I’m also working on resin pendants, canvas bags amongst other things, all with my art on them.
“Dream big” I say to myself! At first that meant; make a painting and go to a networking evening, then slowly it grew into; talk to galleries, set up a studio and write a blog. Dreaming big has served me well. Recently my doctor told me she believed that my bi-polar is in remission. I live now as imagine an athlete in training might eating simple clean food, sleeping well, surrounding myself with supportive people and doing what I love. My Life journey needs to be simple, clear and innovative if I want to stay well.

Friday, March 9, 2012

flavor paper and REX RAY

Flavor Paper : Tasty Handscreened and Digital Wallcoverings
One of the companies I've stumbled upon in my licensing travels. How cool is this wallpaper designed by real artists like my new favorite Rex Ray (only. just. David Bowie's graphic designer)! How amazing is that?!!!! Aside from his totally stellar work in graphic design- his collage paintings are TO DIE FOR. You must check him out if you love color and pattern as much as I do.
http://www.rexray.com/

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Twongo-ing

Do you have a bunch of those Twongo or Groupon coupons? Or any coupons for that matter. I've never been a coupon user. Once and awhile I clip them but then often forget I have them and they expire..... what a bummer. Well I have a bunch of them now, saved up, and there's some really fun things I can do. You know, like facials, massages, carpet cleaning...... It's going to be great! I decided I'm going to review them as I go right here at The Pear Workshop dot com. Yesterday I went for a heavenly Shiatsu massage at E.volve Health and Wellness with Carly Wrighton, on Ambrosi Road.



 Often when I use a coupon I find the purveyor is a bit skimpy on their services..... Like they know you got a deal and they're a bit resentful or something. I was pleasantly surprised with Carly, who was so generous. She actually asked me if she could go for an hour and fifteen minutes just to get to know me better! So, we chatted for about 10 minutes and then I got naked and up on the massage table. What a treat, under the sheets was lovely warm heating pads. I've been so cold this winter so I really appreciated the warm cocoon. The massage was fantastic and towards the end Carly placed brass bowls on my spine and gently 'played' them with a stick of some sort? (sorry, not the most technical description) The bowls vibrated causing a deep sensation down my spine.... super cool and exotic. I was so relaxed when I walked/floated out of E.volve, I forgot all the busyness and stress for a little while. Thanks Carly!