creative practice

8.

 
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a thousand ways to go home again.
— RUMI

Life is messy.

Between the last full moon and today's new moon things clarified and got muddy again. It feels like I'm being asked to go deeper and deeper to find my answers. How deep I am willing to go?

At the beginning of this month I learned that my friend died. Unexpected news like this one stops you in your tracks, it wakes you up, touches you right in the innermost chamber of your heart...

When the initial shock wears a little and grief settles in, more questions arrive.

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The grief is still there, palpable under the messiness of my ordinary life...

The questions are still there, at the centre of my soul.

I am still alive...

How do I want to live my life?

What is important?

What is my purpose?

How do I honour every precious moment that is given?

* * *

I couldn't help myself and I decided to complete this post with Mary Oliver's poem. I feel that this poem (and especially the last verse) is so overused in the on-line world, at the same time it perfectly describes my inner state, and it is beautiful and touching.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

P.S.

Below are the pictures of my last full moon mandala, from August. Although, I created it during the full moon I didn't feel like sharing. After completing 31 days of August Break and showing up on my Instagram feed daily I had to take some time off social media and recover. I hid in my cave.

I didn't have any plan for this mandala. I was surprised that I decided to cut out the circle from the page and that I used weaving in this piece. At the same time, when it was completed it made perfect sense. I am trying to establish some structures for myself, make choices about what is important in my life right now, and decide in which direction to move forward. Placing the strings of thread and the weaving above the messy and overwhelming background depicts the work in progress. I like how meaningful the tiny bell - I randomly attached into the middle of this mandala - became. It symbolizes awareness, focus, and a point of access from which the work grows and expands. 

The foundation for lasting happiness and fulfillment is finding and living your life’s purpose.
— Rod Stryker
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s.

7.

I love it when different projects merge together in a very natural way. I am noticing that because the creative process is so embedded into my everyday life now, it helps with integrating and deepening various themes and projects, and it's opened a kind of new dimension in my life, one that I greatly enjoy.

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I didn't have any ideas for this new moon/solar eclipse mandala. The day before, I went to Michael's after work, to buy gesso and I found myself meandering around the store. These beautiful neon threads caught my eye and they reminded me of Frida Kahlo and her life and work. By the time I reached the cashier I already had ideas for an entire book full of white, vintage, ivory and black spreads filled with these neon colours, gold accents, graphite drawings, embroidery and random papers glued together. That is what I call a spark of inspiration!

At home, I noted all of these ideas in my sketchbook. I felt so excited about them, and wished I had time to start working on this project immediately. Then I felt a little disappointed that this project would have to wait - as I am already involved in so many other projects right now. I also noticed that a part of me became fearful as the thought that "I will never have time to follow through with this" entered my mind. That part became sad and afraid, that this will be one of those ideas, that end up in my sketchbook and won't get a chance to spread its wings and manifest into this three-dimensional world. 

As I held the neon threads in my hands, I looked at my studio's table and noticed the pieces of leftover papers from my current project. I picked up a small piece of paper and started stitching it with my new neon thread. Then I painted over with gesso the mandala circle in my New Moon Journal. When it was dry, I glued the stitched stripe of paper to it and I went to bed satisfied and excited that night.

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The next day, I felt an immense pleasure while I was continuing work on this mandala. Things were unfolding organically and I just gladly followed my intuition and the creative process until I felt my work was completed.

I feel that there is room to add more here but I also know, that right now, it is not the time to do so. Things are still in the forming stage of the process; they will shift and develop - but this feels like the beginning of a New Cycle.

There is so much beauty, goodness, tenderness, and joy embedded into this mandala and it fills my heart with gratitude.

 

6.

I am back home from my travels, although the idea of "home" and "being at home" has quite a different meaning for me right now. For the past fifteen years I have been trying to be at home here in Canada and I was pretty sure that I had arrived to that place in myself, from where I could call my current home "my home".

Returning to Poland showed me that nothing is for sure, things aren't that obvious anymore. This trip reminded me quite strongly that I spent the first 30 years of my life in a different place, different "home", and in a sense I was a different person. This journey truly touched and woke up the invisible roots I am still surrounded by. For so many years I tried to move forward and establish myself in this new land and life; but now, the pull to go back and review and investigate the past is so strong - it takes a lot of space in my mind and soul.

But I am back; back "here"  and from here I am trying to envision my next step.

This Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse were raw and beautiful. They reverberated so vividly within my inner landscape, filled me with reflections and dreams. I think it shows in this mandala, the dreamy, calm, yet somehow rich and layered image - so much meaning hidden there, at least for me. It is subtle but when I look at it I can feel it's power.

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a cocoon enveloped in eclipses

resting in mystery

processing

digesting

connecting with its roots

transforming

becoming

withdrawing into the inner landscape of the soul

awakening from a long forgotten dream

sensing the centre of the universe

following the golden thread

learning self

whispering to the moon

“my love”

 

+

 

 

* This mandala was inspired by the eclipse, the blood moon and a journal spread that I created for one of the classes I'm currently taking - Hali Karla's "In the Stars". I used the scraps and leftovers from that spread and from my birth chart, as well as one of the self-portraits I took for a different project. Here is the journal spread.

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xo

s.

P.S.

Images of July's New Moon Mandala, which I created - of all places - in Bulgaria!!! With limited art supplies, and lots of "happenings" around me I felt like I was in the eye of the hurricane and life was whirling around me. As a highly introverted person I learned my lesson the hard way. My idea of vacation is to retrieve to a cave, preferably alone, with a book, journal and art supplies. Traveling, even though truly exciting, is hard work for me...

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4.

 
In the deep dark spiral of a dream Great Grand Mama Moon came down and she smiled with her leathered wrinkled face and she laughed ha ha ha; and then she delivered this wisdom message: Oh, Daughter stop fighting with your spirit and be still. Fighting has made you tired.
— Birthing Wings ~ Story Reading by Jessica Zinchuk
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Joseph Campbell believed that "When you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid". This is exactly what happened when I watched Jessica pull my name from a little bowl. She was giving away a free Story Reading and when she reached out to choose a winner one piece of paper was trying so hard to escape from that bowl; it almost looked like a paper snake wiggling itself into her hand. She picked it up and revealed the name of the winner. It was my name! In that moment, a huge wave of gratitude was released from my heart and I truly felt the connection with these "invisible hands" helping me on my path.

When my story - "Birthing Wings" - arrived in my e-mail, I created a sacred space to receive it and it was indeed nothing ordinary when I finally pushed the play button to listen to it. Words would fail to describe this experience, but one thing that I can say is this - the story went straight into my Soul and it is still there making herself at home.

The Story and the conversation with Jessica afterwords became a catalyst for creating my website and moving forward with my dreams. The shift was so powerful that my website was ready in a few days. Everything fell into the right place and unfolded beautifully.

I was encouraged by my friends and virtual friends to create my own website for years now, and I was still on the fence about it. Some parts were excited about this idea, the other parts preferred to stay hidden; exactly like in the Winnicott's quote.

In the artist of all kinds I think one can detect an inherent dilemma, which belongs to the co-existence of two trends: the urgent need to communicate and the still more urgent need not to be found.
— D.W. Winnicott

I did not publish my website right away, but the clarity and enthusiasm I felt after receiving "Birthing Wings" was stronger than my doubts and fears. Once I figured out my first blog post, there was nothing left to hold me back. And this is how this space was born.

The slides below show the process of creating the painting for the Story, which I started immediately after listening to the recording. The background painted on the wood panel was waiting for years to be picked up again. I painted joyously for a few days and then... I got stuck for two months. I wasn't really sure what the painting wanted from me, so I decided to wait, and believe me - waiting is NOT my favourite thing to do.

Last week, as I was staring at the painting I knew that if I want to move forward, I have to let go of that wing, that I painted initially. Letting go was harder than I expected, but once the wing disappeared under the dark blues I completed the painting in no time. Maybe the wing is waiting for another painting? Or maybe I am birthing the invisible wings, that only I can see and feel inside of me? or maybe this blog represents my virtual wings? ; ) Well, time will show.

My story ends with this beautiful line "IN THAT MOMENT SHE PROMISED HERSELF TO NEVER DOUBT HER MAGIC AGAIN", and it kind of became my mantra. It reminds me to follow my Soul's whispers and not worry about anything else. 

 

Invitation

To learn more about Jessica's soul work visit her website or find her on Instagram.

 

xo

s.