Fall is a beautiful season. Here in Northern New Mexico the cottonwoods and aspens are shedding gorgeously bright yellow leaves against clear turquoise skies making every artist drool at the vibrancy of such contrasting colors.
The leaves descend slowly at the end of their life cycle effortlessly, making me think of what I need to allow to die within…. what has completed its life cycle…what needs to be released.
Many old stories, beliefs, and even obsolete priorities are asking to be given up to create spaciousness for what is NEW and what is needed to grow in the next season.
Like one of those yellow leaves letting go of its hold on the tree, I’ve had to let go of being in one of the BEST places to experience an ancient and colorful celebration of Death and letting go.
Let me tell you a personal story. For years, my friend Adpurkh Kaur in Portland, OR and I have been dreaming of doing a Mystic Yatra to Oaxaca, Mexico around Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). For several reasons, earthquakes, shitty economy in Mexico, social unrest, our dream has been cancelled and never manifested. But we were both ok with that. It was not meant to be, then and the right time would come.
Well. This year we were both truly committed to make it happen regardless! Wow were we wrong! And so, several months into the pandemic we both realized we could still make our dream come true via Zoom technology. Granted. It’s not the same, but I think we’re all grasping that things are not going back to way they were anytime soon.
So with that in mind, we started talking about different ideas, projects, crafts, having so much fun dreaming it in and on and on until what the heck! We’re going to Oaxaca, at least in our hearts and soulful minds.
Take a peek at what usually transpires in Oaxaca as they start building up towards that time of year we all know so well as Halloween, and they know as a sacred Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) Take a stroll with us……..
If you are feeling called to journey with us into these
festivities in a fun, creative way, please join us.
OCTOBER 24TH 9-12PM PACIFIC
OCTOBER 31ST 9-12PM PACIFIC
(look up your time zone converter for your area)
May your fall season be one of introspection and gratitude and may you remember that invisible threads of love bind us all to one another; especially those who have left this earthly plane.
I have a special corner in my bedroom where I bow my head. I have a little table where I place crystals, pictures, special mementos, candles, some incense and when the urge rises, fresh flowers. It’s my altar.
My altar has changed and morphed through the years. In fact, it’s always changing. Sometimes it is as simple as a beautiful cloth and a single candle. Sometimes it is wild and colorful. Sometimes it’s jam packed. And sometimes it’s dusty cause months have gone by without me tending it.
All I know is that it is a place where no matter what, I can go regardless and sit quietly. Light a candle. Close my eyes. Make a prayer. Bow my head. Receive.
Recently with all that’s going on in the world (inner and outer), I’ve been visiting my altar often, especially when things start moving too fast. I’ve noticed that one of the requirements to visit my altar is to S L O W down to be open to receive: insight, respite, comfort, surrender, Wisdom.
Wisdom comes to visit me often when I sit at my altar. Did you know that in ancient times WISDOM was personified as a Goddess? I love to visualize Her walking through the veils that separate our realms and sit down for visit. (I have been known to leave a little chocolate on my altar cause I’m sure even Goddesses enjoy a bit of chocolate).
I invite you to ponder this. Have you considered claiming a small space somewhere in your home and dedicate it to that mystery? Would you consider setting up space where you can intentionally leave the drama of LIFE, along with the to-do lists, news, social media, upsetting interactions, work hassles… and simply BE?
I invite you to explore what having and altar would mean to you? And if you have one, I invite you to take everything off and start with a clean slate.
Humbly ask: what wants to be included here now? Set an intention, ask out loud and then go for a walk around your home, the beach, a fun store, anywhere you happen to be during the day and ask: What wants to come visit my altar?
I LOVE this little game I play with myself!
I recently came back from facilitating an intentional creativity workshop in a stunning area of Colorado near Carbondale. 10 women gathered together to paint, sit in circle, share stories, laughter, tears, amazing food and our spirits at the foot of Mt. Sopris at the beautiful 13 Moons Ranch.
In a wonderful book titled IF WOMEN ROSE ROOTED by Sharon Blackie I read the following excerpt, which reminded me of our weekend together.
“It’s so easy to be pulled down by life’s challenges and the awful things that are happening to the planet, but it doesn’t serve any purpose to stay in that place. It’s not what Earth requires right now. The Earth is calling on us to change things—but also, while we’re doing it, to have fun! FUN—maybe that’s the most radically feminine idea of all. If women want to change things, we need authority, and authority comes in good part from inside ourselves. It comes from conviction, from understanding and owning our stories, from a strong sense of who we are and what our place is in the world.”
Personally, I am deeply humbled and amazed with the paintings that came out of our honest exploration and inquiry. What came out in only two days of painting was nothing short of astounding. We started by sketching self-portraits onto the canvas from selfies each woman took prior to coming.
We worked diligently side-by-side exploring, asking, doubting, resisting and remembering the powerful beings we are.
What emerged by the time the weekend was over was an honest, powerful and stunningly beautiful self-representation of each woman.
The blank canvases underwent a radical transformation as each inner portrait evolved into a powerful projection of our beautiful Spirits.We had fun in Colorado. We also had tears, fears and sweet joy hanging out together. My prayer is that these portraits will serve those who came as reminders of who we women truly are, and the amazing possibilities that every woman has within just waiting for the right moment and opportunity to burst forth.
There was once a HUGE massive forest fire. The animals were all running and scrambling to escape, except for tiny little Hummingbird.
She buzzed tirelessly back and forth between the river and the fire. She would fill her little beak with water, fly back and spit a few drops of water into the massive blaze. Bear watched her do this a few times and then said to her: “Little hummingbird, come away with me. Save yourself! There is nothing you can do to save this forest.”
The hummingbird replied: ” I know I probably can’t save the forest. But I do have a part to play . And I can do MY part.”
When devastating fires, floods, hurricanes, senseless shootings, earthquakes, personal losses and political shakiness make me feel like hiding, feeling numb and utterly helpless that’s when I try my hardest to “spit” some light into the darkness engulfing me.
It’s hard not to succumb to hopelessness. It’s hard to stay strong and centered amidst the “bad-news-barrage” coming relentlessly our way. Some days it feels like I’m just holding my breath waiting for the next “thing” to happen. On those days I have to remind myself constantly to stop for a moment and take a deep breath—LOTS of deep breaths actually. I find myself needing to do this to re-center, re-ground and re-connect to Spirit, and Joy, and Happiness and Love.
This hyper-speed acceleration of change also offers tremendous HOPE because the potential outcome of this madness is heralding a new era for the human race where Honoring our Mother and each other with Integrity, Peace, Love and Mutual Respect can be the prevailing standard instead of the abnormality.
I encourage you to find those seemingly insignificant actions that fill your heart and cheer your soul. Talk to a tree. Look to the sky above and find a shape in the clouds. Dance to your favorite music. Grab a paintbrush, pen or spatula and create something amazing. Sit quietly in prayer. Sing as loud as you dare. Find sacred images in river rocks. Whatever it is that makes you smile.
Just Do It.
Be like that little hummingbird. Know your presence on the planet at this time makes a HUGE difference, small as though it seems. Can you picture us all like a vast army of hummingbirds, each doing our little parts to facilitate this great turning in the evolution of human consciousness? I can.
I send you sprinkles of love and light.
Births. Weddings. Engagement. Graduations. Deaths. Transitions.
These life moments are intricately woven aspects in everyone’s lives. How we deal with them, mark them, suffer through them, enjoy them or even remember them are what make them markers in our lives’ trajectories.
A month or so ago a very dear and close friend passed away quite unexpectedly. In trying to understand and process what had happened I turned to intentional creativity for help. I decided to make a painting of her celebrating her amazing Spirit.
I knew it was going to be a deep journey for me, and my intention for this particular painting was to get in touch with my grief and confusion at what had happened. It also allowed me to touch my friend’s Spirit in ways I could never have anticipated.
I dove right in treating the whole process as a closing ritual: starting with setting up the paints, blessing the jar of water, spraying rose water on my canvas and tuning into my friend’s beautiful life. I had a chance to really say goodbye in a profound and deeply meaningful way.
This experience confirmed once again what intentional creativity has brought to my life. And it is something I want to share with you, no matter what is going on in your life.
My painting is nowhere near done. It’s a work in process as I continue to sit with her, talk with her and continue to enjoy her presence in my life. Sometimes I just sit in front of my canvas with a cup of tea and imagine us sharing a joke, a story or a sisterly moment. And when I hear the echoes of her laughter loud and clear, I know she is still is and will always be with me.
Above all, I am grateful for the chance to deal with life’s intense lessons through creativity because it adds a dimension of depth, trust and love that is quite profound.
If you wish to learn how to use creativity with intentionality at whatever life throws at you, come join me in our upcoming Spirit Moves Retreat, September 22-24th in Colorado. See upcoming events page.
There is nothing more beautiful than a beautiful rose in bloom. It stirs the soul. It moves the spirit.
Can you see yourself as this beautiful rose… blossoming with intention, purpose and love? Coming in September Tanya Risnes and I will be co-leading another SPIRIT MOVES RETREAT in beautiful Colorado. Now in our third year, this is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in 3 days of intentional painting, kundalini yoga, nourishing food, connection, singing, laughing and sharing in the spectacular 13 Moon Ranch in the heart of the Colorado rockies.
In the words of Dalene, who attended last year:
“Spirit Moves was a transformational experience for all who attended. The intention that is put into this event is what truly brings about the personal blossoming that results from this interactive experience. The blending of Kundalini Yoga, circle sharing, meditation, nutritious/delicious food, and this magical style of painting is supportive to your unique inner world and brings forth deep healing.
“Spirit Moves is one of the most unique retreats/workshops I have attended.”
I absolutely love that I have my painting as a positive reminder of my power within to help me achieve my wildest dreams. Tanya and Guru Kiren are nurturing and empowering, so you feel truly heard and held on this journey.”
Now in our third year, Spirit Moves will be gathering at the 13 Moon Ranch in Carbondale, Colorado, September 22-24th.
The cost for the weekend is $800 if you pre-register by August 16th ($900 after that) and includes shared room lodging, all meals, art supplies, tuition and the use of the magical and beautiful 13 Moon Ranch.
Join us as we explore realms of possibility and color that will make your Spirit soar by bringing your heart, your intuition and your mindfulness into a painting.
If you have any questions about housing and registration, contact Tanya directly at email@example.com
Celebrating Summer Solstice In New Mexico is a matter of extremes. Extreme heat, extreme dryness, extreme high desert, extreme altitude, extreme intensity, extreme sunshine and extreme fun.
If you’ve ever participated in the 3HO Summer Solstice Celebration up in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico you might have a few extremes to add yourself. It’s different for everyone. But the common denominator of all the experiences is summed in the picture above: connection. People from all walks of life flock here every year from all over the world: US, China, Chile, Peru, Canada, England, Mexico with the sole purpose to cleanse the mind, go beyond ego and feel their spirits soar.
10 days of inner work through Seva (selfless service), Simran (chanting and meditating), 3 powerful days of White Tantric Yoga, Music, classes and morning sadhana will polish you inside out leaving you feeling relaxed, transformed, peaceful, changed.
If you’re ready for an intense, sublime, joyful, meditative and powerful event that shakes you to your core, see you here next year!
I just returned from teaching a 4 day sweet retreat adventure up in Bowen Island, outside Vancouver, B.C. with my good friend and amazing co-teacher Bir Kaur as well as two guardian angels (Pawan and Meenu) who helped organize and run the whole weekend with sweetness and ease.
The retreat was called “Celebrate your Emotional Self”, and it was a deep exploration on the 11 moon centers in a woman.
The moon center technology is subtle, ancient and mysterious. It was a profound experience for all who participated.
I realize that when women give themselves the opportunity and give themselves the time and space to gather for a deeper dive into exploring their creative yearnings, AND have the focus be around some amazing yogic technology (like the 11 moon centers) a powerful alchemy happens.
During our 4 day retreat we connected with each other, nourished each other, supported each other, and created amazing Smashbooks to hold our moon technology findings. These little treasure troves are not just notebooks to write things down. They are portals of transformation to jot down insights, collage visions, paint dreams, shed tears onto the pages and even smear dirt or ashes from a sacred fire.
We also immersed ourselves in sacred ceremonies all weekend to deepen the work. All in all…. it was a magical, transformative, healing, connecting, and FUN weekend.
Do not despair. We will offer this once again. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know. Who knows? Perhaps this offering will come to your neck of the woods, and you won’t want to miss it!
I recently read an article in “Uplift Magazine” that fired up some of my neural pathways. Yes, we all know certain activities like yoga, meditation and nature walks inspire, change, uplift and regenerate us.
Now we can add ART to the list! The scientific community has now verified the effects of ART upon our senses, our wellbeing and our souls. And THAT is exciting.
According to the research:
“Art can heal us, inspire us, and alter our brain chemistry. With so much talk about the evidence of the positive effects of yoga and meditation, you might be surprised at what scientific research also says about how art affects the brain.
“Long before modern neuroscience, artists were creating works to inspire people. With today’s complex brain imaging scan technology, we can now see just how art changes the physiology of our brains. Contemplation, taking in beauty, and observing art all stimulate pleasure centers within the brain while increasing blood flow by up to 10% in the medial orbitofrontal cortex. This can lead to an elevated state of consciousness, wellbeing, and better emotional health.”
With this in mind, why not pick a brush, a pen, a marker, a glue stick, some glitter or a piece of charcoal and sketch, draw, paint or doodle something so uniquely and meaningfully yours that it wakes up the neural pathways of your inner artist? In my experience teaching workshops using intentional creativity, there is nothing more rewarding than the 1000 watt smile of someone who has re-encountered the 5 year old inside alive and well, fingertips covered in paint and charcoal dust.