The trees remembered me. I could tell by the way the wind rustled their leaves in just a certain way. I didn’t know if they would since it had been so long since I had been this way.
The path was overgrown, and a bit dark as the canopy overhead blocked out the sun. I was afraid as only a woman walking alone in the woods can be. Too many horror stories real and make-believe. I refused to turn back as I had come too far like the story of my life.
The deeper I traveled, the richer the sounds of the forest, and the smells of decaying earth filled my lungs. You know the smell that only comes in the fall as the trees lose their leaves.
The crows scared me with there cawing and the unearthly swish of their wings taking flight as they shook the acorns from the trees to rain down upon me. Trying to unbalance me like marbles strewn about. The sound of the crunching beneath my feet. I was careful though. I called upon my spirit animals to walk by my side, and the fear slowly melted away.
The path opened up as the trees thinned and the water lay before me and the river welcomed me home. It too remembered.
I have been working on self-love lately, and I came upon this idea to paint how I felt about me. The first thing I placed on the paper was a big heart. From there I just let my creative spirit guide me.
I feel as if the heart is a seed and that I have planted myself on rocky soil. I am firmly planted though. Even I can see that. My puny arms are raised in the air letting the light in as much as I am able to.
I started exploring this because I have a life long habit of falling for unavailable men (rocky soil). It has been two years since my last relationship, and I am getting closer to wanting to go down that road again. I feel the inner work is necessary before I proceed any further. My thin arms and legs tell me I am not yet strong in this self-love I am developing. But the light that surrounds me gives me courage to continue the journey.
I’d like to create a painting once a month to see how I am progressing over time. I’ll share those paintings with you here.
I’ve been writing. Every day. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time (can you say years!) but haven’t been able to stick with for more than a few days.
I was listening to a podcast recently and the guest said she writes 500 words a day before she gets onto social media. For some reason that really resonated and I thought I would give it a try.
I am finding this to be easy. My only “rule” is that I write 500 words. I tried for a few days to get it done before I hopped onto Facebook but that didn’t last long. I found that just the fact that it only had to be 500 words is all that really mattered.
500 words is nothing. It is only a few paragraphs. I open up a blank document and turn the word count on and begin to write. Some days I have an idea for a blog and others its just words for my journal which, once I am finished, I copy and paste the words in to. This has been a very satisfying experiment that I plan to keep doing.
Knowing myself very well I tend to need some psychological trigger to either get me to do or quit a behavior. The magic word this time was 500. I could wrap my mind around that. There is an end goal in sight. It is fun to see the word count go up and up. The last few days I have finished my 500 words without even struggling.
If you are a writer and you want to consistently get words out of your head and onto the paper, tablet, etc. find that magic thing that works for you. I have tried many different ways over the years to get me to write every day. I have bought fancy journals that remain half filled. And, then of course, I have to buy another one to start over again. I have hand painted journal covers thinking that putting all that energy into the cover would get me to write. I have created special photo journals on my computer thinking that would do the trick. None of it worked until now. It is the simplicity of 500 words that was my magic bullet. I hope you find yours.
As many of you know, I recently moved to Ashland, Wi. I left my life in the Twin Cities and began anew. One of the ways I have been settling into this new life is through nature photography. I have always found peace in nature. From the moment I step into the woods my energy shifts and my soul lightens. Well, usually that’s what happens.
Yesterday, my hike took a different turn. As I pulled up to the trail head I immediately noticed there wasn’t a bathroom in sight. It took me over a half hour to drive there so I already had to pee when I arrived. I knew I would have to find a friendly tree to squat behind as soon as I could find one.
Once I finished my potty break I started down the trail. I was excited as I had never been to this spot before. Right away I could see that there wasn’t many flowers, which are my usual choice to take photos of. As I continued on my journey the wee little gnats began to gnaw on me. In my haste to go on my adventure I forgot one of the most essential things to bring on a north woods hike, bug spray! In my case, a bug deterring essential oil.
The trail was muddy, windy and gnarled. Needless to say I could barely look up from the path or I could have easily tripped on a tree root. By the time I made it to my destination, a waterfall, I was a bit disappointed. There were people down there who were smoking cigarettes and generally killing my nature vibe. I did get a few shots of the waterfall but the bugs were keeping me from spending any more time there than necessary.
As I walked back to my car I was reflecting on how not all nature hikes are sublime. As miserable as this hike was, it wasn’t a total bust. I got a great aerobic work out and it was a lovely drive there and back.
P.S. – The photo above of the snowman in the moss was early on in my hike. I looked down and there it was just hanging out. I have no idea why it was there or how it had arrived in the first place. I think it was a foreshadowing of my entire adventure. Not every thing happens as expected.
Since my boyfriend and I broke up a year ago my self-esteem has been in the crapper. Unconsciously I had decided my worth was based on whether or not he loved me. Yes, I know this doesn’t make much sense and many people wiser than myself would tell me not to think this way. Yet, I believe this is a very human condition. We eartlhy creatures are constantly looking to others to tell us we are o.k.
This past week I went back for a visit to the city where he and I spent so much of our time together. Every where I went I could feel him in the memories that we shared. I realized that it wasn’t him that I was missing but the feeling of being in love. When I was in love with him I felt beautiful, sexy and wanted. I think that is the reason that it was so hard to let the relationship go. I simply didn’t want to give up those powerful feelings.
During my stay in the Cities my friend Elizabeth Fritz, who is a Soul Art Facilitator, brought me through a process that helped me find myself again. The journey we took that day with art and meditation made me realize that the most important relationship I have is the one to myself.
The image that you see above is part of the painting that I made during the Soul Art process. The eye is my eye, looking at me with the eyes of love. It is a reminder that it’s time to fall in love with me again. And, that my worth can not be determined by someone else’s actions or opinions of me.
This painting is actually a meditation mat. I use it every day during my yoga and meditation practice. It reminds me that I am my own beloved. In the image below you can see that there is a crown in the upper left hand corner. That is so I remember that I am a noble woman and to carry myself as such. My name Della means noble.
The image on the right represents all the many spiritual paths I have been on that have always led me back to center.
My take away from this journey is that the greatest gift to Self is Self Love. And, the surest way to lose my way, is by expecting another to validate me. I am on the road to falling in love again. . . and its with me.
Check out the playshop Elizabeth and I will be offering in June. You too can make your own mediation mat through the process of yoga and soul art.
I am Woman
About this painting: I am currently using acrylics on canvas to explore the chakra system through my painting. This painting reflects our first chakra. I’ve entitled it “standing in her power”. Please email me at email@example.com if you are interested in purchasing the original painting for yourself. To find out more about my services please visit me here.