Slug

Slug was on my mind today and made it into my sketchbook as well as into my 500 words contribution for today:

5th sketch in my sketchbook: slug
5th sketch in my sketchbook: slug

Slug messenger (31-day writing challenge 4/31)

The Golden Slug Trail
The Golden Slug Trail

Slug turned out to be one of my five spirit animals for this year because, just before the new year I had three encounters in a row. Slug crossed my path washing salads.

The first slug I encountered was a small one. I immediately put it outside. Temperatures were still above freezing point and – as far as I could estimate – fine for slugs to find a new home.

The next day, again while washing a salad, I found another slug. This one was slightly larger. The weather outside was still fine to put the second slug immediately outside, too.

Another day passed and while washing yet another salad for dinner (not the big salad eater, but in the past few weeks I had this strong craving and am indulging in many salad side dishes). This time, I discovered an even bigger slug that almost got flushed down the drain!

I do not like the idea of being responsible for the death of an animal. You may be guessing that I am vegetarian. You’re right. It’s just another one of my ‘things’. I am neither judging anyone for eating meat nor am I interested in converting anyone to vegetarianism or veganism. I have no interest in getting into an endless ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ conversation. Everybody needs to figure the meat/nomeat thing out for themselves.

So, uhm, where was I again? Ah yes: the third slug.

Upon seeing the slug in the sink, I quickly picked it up to prevent it from flushing down the drain. Then, together with some salad leaves I put it in a previously moistened cup and covered the cup in a way that air could get through but the slug not. I decided to bring it outside after dinner.

But after dinner, it was already late and the weather had dropped to minus temperatures. I thought it was probably smarter to keep the slug indoors overnight and set it free in the daytime when the temperatures were milder and it could find its way into the soil.

The next morning, I was devastated to find an empty cup! The slug was gone and as you can imagine, I felt terrible. β€˜Why did I not bring it out immediately!?’ I thought to myself. I turned out to be the one thing I did not want to be: responsible for the premature death of a slug!

Somehow during the night, the slug slipped out and went wandering off through the apartment. I guessed the slug would loose too much moisture to survive in the apartment climate. I searched everywhere for the slug and hoped to find it alive so I could bring it immediately outside. But there was no trace of it. It did not even leave a trail to follow!

So I pondered the message slug was trying to send me and came to the conclusion: no matter how comfortably safe and β€˜well-fed’ I may be: freedom is the most valuable asset of my human existence. I should never let attachments to things hinder my journey nor let myself be bribed by comfort to give up my freedom (from attachments to things, thoughts, etc.) for anything. Despite the danger, slug set out on its destined journey. It did what it instinctively needed to do.

But two days later, I found the slug. Unfortunately, my worries were confirmed: the slug was all dried up. I was sad, felt guilty and thought to myself: β€˜If I had just brought the slug outside, then nature would have taken its natural course.’ I realised that for the same price, I could have never found the slug again. Either, it could have made it out the window or I would have vacuum cleaned its remains unknowingly. But it reappeared before me and was brought back into my awareness.

Under the new circumstances, slug’s message called for a revision of my above-made conclusion and so I pondered further. This time, slug’s message dawned on me quite clearly: now is the time to take things slow. It’s not the time to take risks and leave your safe environment. The consequences of such action could do more harm. Be patient and don’t rush things.

Thank you my little spirit animal guide.


May my little messenger rest in peace.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time

Doing a little writing challenge and combining it with my daily sketch for 60 days.

I’ll be writing everyday at least 500 words (unedited) for 31 days. Both challenges are intended for the extra exercise and routine.

Of course I am also wishing to create engaging content for you, too. But please forgive me if I’m just rambling on.

As for today, it marks the third day of my daily sketch and the second day of the writing challenge.

conceptoftime
Time: gouache and gold ink; daily sketch day 3/60

 

I did not intend to paint clocks. And, had I realised what a terribly complex topic writing about the concept of time would turn out to be, I would have painted some simple blotches to which I could have wrote just anything! But I stuck it through, for better of for worse. Tomorrow I’ll need to come up with something simpler to write about. πŸ˜‰


Time (31 day writing challenge 2/31)

The last couple of years, I’ve had a feeling that time is passing really fast. And I mean, really fast! 2016 felt not different. Is time flying by? Or am I flying with time?

Accepting age as a factor for a fast time perception alone does not satisfy me at all. I really dislike when people blame β€˜whatever’ on age. But I’ll give the age argument a fair chance and contemplate its influence on my personal time perception:

Let me travel back to when I was a toddler. I barely remember anything in the first couple of years of my life. Or let’s phrase it differently; I’ve go no memory of time related sensations. I’m guessing, as a child, I still did not have enough awareness to add the time factor into the experiences I was making. Early on in life, my only concern was to quench my thirst or hunger, poop, rest or explore this strange new place I found myself in and be as cute as possible to make sure the ones feeding me (my parents – a concept I did not understand in the beginning of my existence) will continue with keeping me warm, dry and well fed.

Around the age of three and four, memories started to kick in and got archived. Gradually there were more things to remember and more things to look forward to. A great experience wished to be repeated and not so great ones, well, avoided. And before I even realised it happening, I was stuck in either past memories (good or bad) or dreaming or fearing the future, disassociating myself from the present.

I feel that my ability as a child to be more in the present did not stem from my age as such, but from my disinterest in the past and the future and an in-the-moment concentration on what I was experiencing. The more I grew into the time concept of past and future, the more I was jolted out of the β€˜timeless’ experience of the now into a decelerated perception of my passing days and existence.

As I grew older troubles and worries derived from challenging circumstances made life harder. Worries in particular are like chains that couple past traumas with future angst. It’s like an endless loop in coding or a dog chasing its tale. There is no clear beginning nor visible end to worries. Looking back I can say that worries decelerated my time perception massively.

Until, well, because I set upon a path to consciously return to the present moment, which in my case would be by means of yoga and meditation I was able to break out of the endless loop and feeling of stagnation.

Time can pass quickly when we are engaged in something we enjoy, but it can also pass quickly while we are engaged in so much β€˜doing’ that we miss out on the β€˜being’, which in my opinion is also a lesser than desirable state of being. There needs to be a balance of movement and stillness within time.

Thinking about it, from a happy person’s perspective life will not seem much longer than a blink of an eye. For a person who is suffering, life is an endless endurance and time seemingly stands still.

The thing is, circumstances cannot necessarily be influenced directly or even changed. Life will always bring its fair share of challenging situations. There will always be things do that I do not enjoy so much. But, whatever the circumstance, I can always decide to be happy and engage in life with utmost awareness and aliveness to make the best of the present moment and fly with time.

Time should not just fly by nor should it stand still. We should fly with time and make best use of it.

 


For now, I just want to fall into bed!

Good night and sweet dreams.


Happy New Year! To a delightful 2017!

I’m sitting in my office/kitchen looking out the window and admiring snowflakes softly floating from the night sky. It’s the first snowfall this winter season. To me, snowflakes are absolutely beautiful, magical, divine.

When looking at a whole year, snowy nights are rather rare. Maybe this is what makes them so special?

But now back to what I actually showed up to this post for:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope your two first days started off well!

May you experience a juicy year full of

love, light, and positively surprising and consciousness expanding moments!

To a delightful 2017!

Spirit Animal Guides for 2017: whale, octopus, slug, hawk, white peacock
Spirit Animal Guides for 2017: whale, octopus, slug, hawk, white peacock

Every end of the year, I do a shamanic journey to find my spirit animal for the upcoming one. This year is no different, except that it brings with it an abundance of spirit animal guides to join my year’s journey: whale, octopus, slug, hawk and white peacock.

I’m also getting a strong feeling that this year will have its fair share of possibilities and upcoming opportunities. My only concern is whether I’ll be brave enough to seize the opportunity as it arises. The thing about opportunities is: they are fleeting and cannot be thought over for too long. Unfortunately, I can be an ‘over thinker’ and I believe, I’ve missed many a good opportunity because of it. May my spirit animal guides help me out of the maze of over thinking into the vast skies of clarity.

Furthermore, this totem pole marks the first page of a sketch book with 60 blank pages. I received it for my birthday last year and have decided to do a simple sketch (mainly colour) a day. The purpose of this tiny exercise is to relax into whatever is being created. Kind of like a ‘creative stretching’ or ‘colour meditation’. It’s about letting go of the mind and being the observer of where the hand and brush takes me.

It does not have to result in anything other than trying out something new and daring to fail (as in disharmonious colour combinations, or wobbly lines or whatever else I [my judgemental mind] may not be happy with). I think it is important to have the freedom to fail in art. Because, maybe I will created 59 pages of b.s. but the 60th page will be a revelation of new creative potentials. It might even take 60x60page sketchbooks before that happens. Doesn’t matter, it will take as many pages and sketchbooks as it will take. All that counts is that I show up to the page and fill them with lines and colour as well as breathe deeply and relax into the activity.

page 2 of 60
page 2 of 60

 


Time to breathe deeply. Good night.


Advent Day 24: Prayer for Peace

For the last day of Advent a quick illustration:

A prayer for peace
A prayer for peace

 

This one was inspired by the rather contemplative and introspective mood I’ve been carrying around with me all day.

I also feel the urge to retreat, light candles (nope, I do not have a Christmas tree, because I feel sorry for the trees [no judgement – it’s just another ‘thing’ of mine πŸ˜‰ ] ), do yoga, pranayama and meditate.

I wish to express my gratitude on this day for being loved, safe, warm and sound.

So, for this evening, I’m keeping it short and wishing you all a very


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

May all beings in all the worlds be peaceful and happy.


 

 

 

Advent Day 23: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

For today’s Advent day 23: little Sugar Plum Fairy honours us with a dance.

Sugar Plum Fairy Dance
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

 

White Peacock follow-up

Because, I did not want to offer you yet another white peacock illustration, I just hinted its relevance with the Sugar Plum Fairy wearing and carrying its feathers.

I actually stopped thinking about the white peacock since my last white peacock illustration. But, today white peacock came to remind me of its relevance for 2017. And so I wanted to share a follow-up:

Nope, no peacocks walking around in the area. If I wanted to see a peacock in real life, I would have to go to the zoo. But spirit animals can appear in various ways (at least, that is what they do with me).

Today, the white peacock was the first thing I saw upon opening my Facebook account. A friend shared a post with a white peacock fanning his tail.Β  Such a beautiful sight!

Therefore, I felt further research into the meaning of this beautiful creature was necessary. White peacock had something more to say to me and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.

What it said was profound and it started with a question:

‘Who am I’

WOW! This is THE question!

Am I a daughter, auntie, lover, friend, sister, cousin, niece; a communication specialist, an IT professional, a dancer, an artist, a traveller; a coach, a friend, a teacher, a writer, a shaman, a spiritual aspirant/intuitive/healer?

I am actually all the aforementioned, I am also more than that and at the same time nothing of that! THAT is and is not at the same time. Finding THAT shall be the quest of 2017!

My head is slightly spinning now πŸ˜€

Best remedy: yoga, pranayama, meditation

Namaste

 


One more day before Christmas!


 

Advent Day 17 – Marks my Bday & White Peacock Revisited

Yep, I’m a full-fledged Sagittarius.

Usually, I don’t write about my birthday – but today something is somewhat different.

Yesterday’s ‘White Peacock’ illustration was so disturbing to me. I literally loathed it! And this feeling continued throughout the night and during today’s Advent and, well, my birthday, too.

I decided, the illustration needed to be revisited. I needed to create an improved version for today’s advent – although I had many other ideas: cake with candles, gingerbread man with birthday cake, huge cupcake with candle, Mrs Santa baking birthday cake, etc.

But the power of the White Peacock was stronger and demanded my attention. And, it was only after another session of peacock feather and symmetry frustration that I understood why.

 

Peacock Revisited
Peacock Revisited

 

The way I see it, birthdays mark the beginnings of a personal new year.

And although, in my case, the general New Year is only two weeks away from my personal one, these transitions happen differently, yet possess identical power in terms of introspection.

Every general New Year, I seek out an animal spirit totem that will guide me with its wisdom through the new year.

To find the animal spirit totem, I will use a deck of cards. If a real-life animal gets my attention before I lay the deck of cards on New Year’s eve, I will go with it. Last year it was a gecko and it indeed guided me well through this year.

Sometimes, it takes me a while to register the animal that is seeking my attention.

Like with the white peacock, where it took me a good day of annoyance over an illustration to tune into its symbolism.

To recognise the animal messenger (whether in meditations, dreams, in real life, in my mind, or even whilst googling for something entirely different),Β  something in my mind, heart or soul needs to start to move (annoyance – or amazement, awe, disgust, etc.). It usually triggers some kind of emotional or cognitive response.

And this is what happened today:

I was working on the peacock illustration when I received a beautiful birthday message from a very dear friend of mine that touched me to tears. One of the things he wrote was:

May you shine like a Sun for centuries in the millions of hearts! ‘Lavanya’ [meaning of name] is the life force and you represent that! ~ Madan

I was not feeling ‘unhappy’ today. I had a nice day. But maybe I could describe the feeling with ’empty’ or ‘pointless’ and still discontent with the ‘bloody’ peacock.

Upon reading Madan’s touching message, things shifted to the better. I also felt the urge to research white peacock animal spirit totem meanings.

I discovered, there is a connection between Madan’s message, the meaning of my name and the message of the white peacock.

In short, if I really wish to tap into my life force, the force (wait a minute, this reminds me: the new Star Wars movie is out! πŸ˜‰ – anyways, where was I? Ah yes – ) that makes me shine from within and gives me the ability to touch hearts as I move down the path of life:Β  White Peacock will be my guide in the upcoming year.

Also, quite clear to me now: the illustration is not to my liking yet,Β  because I need yet to ‘become’ the White Peacock.

There is much more to the White Peacock’s message, but I will leave it at this for now. I’ve got 365 days to imbibe its message and teachings – and to get the illustration right! – Don’t worry, I will not post ‘a peacock a day’ until 17th Dec 2017! πŸ˜€

 


May the force be with you!


Advent Day 11: One with the Sea

For the 11th day of the Advent: I am One with the Sea.

I am One with the Sea
I am One with the Sea: made with Photoshop using Kyle T. Webster brushes

My muses are still on strike.

So, I thought I’d use this opportunity to finish off the unfinished.

I decided to complete the SeaBlue #colour_collective illustration from two weeks back for today’s Advent day 11.

With the Advent season upon us, I’ve been postponing the final touches to it and focused more on Winter and Christmas themed illustrations.

But, I am glad I completed this one now.

Working may way through the lines, hair and waves was a such a meditative process.

Quite the contrary to how I felt after yesterday’s illustration, which left me with stiff shoulders, a stiff neck and an everything but satisfied me.

But after working on ‘I am One with the Sea’, I feel relaxed, at peace and ready to welcome the new week.

Just the right way to end what was a pretty task filled week.

Well, that and a cup of Tulsi Tea! Cheers!

For tomorrow, I am planning on sharing my most simple ever version of a gluten-free, vegan Chocolate Cake recipe, or as I also call it gluten-free, vegan Chocolate Flat Bread. It is so simple (even kids can bake this one) and it is a delicious sweet snack for in between meals. If you love Chocolcate, than stay on the look-out for tomorrow’s Advent day 12 post.

 


Hope you had or are still having a lovely weekend.

And, wishing you all a great week ahead!


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Waves update

Work is still in progress:

seablue_ccweb2
Waves (work in progress): Created with Photoshop

Digital Work

Although I’d love to continue, my left hand and shoulder are aching and I am forced to stop. 😦

I do find that drawing on screen is more tedious than drawing on paper or canvas.

I noticed that my eyes and my body get quicker tired.

My neck, shoulders and working hand are more likely to stiffen.

Nonetheless, I do love working digitally.

To solve the body-aching problem, I guess the best strategy is to divide working-on-screen time into smaller chunks and to make physical activity and long-distance gazing a part of the creative process.

Lifestyle Balance

You know, sometimes, I wished this body could just go on 24/7, especially when I am struck by a creative flow (which is very often) and I always risk wearing myself out.

But the body and mind need (healthy) food, exercise, fresh air, (for me also) mediation and yoga on a regular basis, and last but not least: rest.

2017 Resolution

Hey, I may just have figured out my New Year’s resolution for 2017!

Create a more balanced lifestyle.

I will ponder this resolution in the upcoming weeks leading to 2017 and work out the details.

A good start to ensure success could be: sketching out a daily routine where not only projects, tasks and goals to be met but also times for leisure activities, recreation and rejuvenation are listed.

A Need for Improvement

Definitely a personal ‘party pooper’: slacking off on my meditation and regular yoga practices, as well as on my outdoor activities in favour of goals I wish to meet and tasks I feel that need to be done.

But, no matter how much I may be aware of what is best for me and how much I try to improve my lifestyle habits, chances are that I will fall back into old habits.

In such cases, I believe it is important to practice patience with myself, improve strategy and retry.

Set-backs should not be used as an excuse to not try again. We should always try again.

Epilogue

Looking at this illustration, I believe it may have manifested to serve as a prologue, as inspiration for an inner dialogue regarding the desired ‘me’ in 2017.

A dialogue that will serve as a personal blueprint for 2017.


Hope you are enjoying your weekend!


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