Art by Mare Martell

Set a Spell

howl

Kick the needles ‘neath your feet

raise your arms, the moon to greet

Call the wolves. Call the owls.

Under dark, the hailing howls

Lay the stones from east to north

Deosil way to lay the fourth

“Honor AIR that breathes my life.

Passion’s FIRE burning bright.

Emotional WATERs flowing free

Grounding EARTH, cradle me.

SPIRIT high, SPIRIT low

Heed me now, hear me and know

I raise my heart to greet the night

In the sun I claim the light.

I call to you to hear my plea

Grant me peace and prosperity

Material goods for material needs

Spiritual power, banish greed

Service holy giv’n in your name

The WHEEL turns, offerings of change

Beloved! Beloved! Hear my cries!

Balance me within your eye

Love and justice, wisdom, peace,

Hear me now, so mote it be!

Chance of a Lifetime

Live in the now, man.

Live in the now, man.

2015 begins with shouts of “This year it will be different!” “This year I will lose weight!” “This year I will be a better person!” and I sit at my table shaking my head in disbelief. You already have the tools to skip to the good parts. You can already make every change. Right now. Today. Reading this. It’s a matter of putting yourself into uncharted personal territory.

One of my favorite pieces of advice given in a common language is, “Live right now.” It doesn’t take a year to figure out that you’re still going to a job you hate that pays a tolerable salary. It certainly doesn’t change anything when you buy a size larger than you thought you should because that weight has miraculously grown on your buttocks. It doesn’t bode well that you already believe yourself to be a bad person. Shake the dust off your boots and look to the horizon of possibilities that are just outside of the comforting circle you’ve established. This moment is your chance of a lifetime.

Imagine yourself resting in the middle of a circle that is made up like a protective wagon train hunkered down for the night on the Oregon Trail. As you sleep in the comfort of this circle near the campfire that keeps the darkness at bay, you’re surrounded by the security of friends, family, income, a home, food, reliable transportation, hobbies, and the knowledge that you know exactly (more-or-less) what will happen in the morning because every day starts out the same,  progresses the same (twists and turns happen but usually nothing major), and the day will end roughly the same. We feel in control and safe. It becomes, to some, a prison of mundane predictability with no opportunity for progress. The horses are staked, the homestead built, and yet many have not traveled more than twenty miles from their origins.

Outside of that circle of wagons is a vast prairie. The golden grasses of adventure wave with friendly light at the rise of a new breath, a new dawning. Away from that blazing campfire is the cold face of unfamiliar people, confusing ideas, opportunities to explore growth, languages we don’t understand, beliefs that have never been mentioned within our safety circle. There is nothing written in stone even on the distant mountain peaks. But there is much knowledge, many ideas, creative blossoms of ingenuity to be picked from the stems of the wildflowers, the winds of change tickling the skin of those who put up the sail on their wagon to find their own home.

The opportunities to change don’t come once a year. They are always available to you. It’s not weakness to have to keep trying again, it’s weakness to reject an idea without sincere effort. It isn’t easy to unhitch your wagon and move out into the darkened prairie where things get larger than life that seethe with intimidation. It’s instant change. But, just as the original circle brought comfort and safety, so does the place outside the circle if you can learn to trust yourself. If you learn and remember that you really do have the answers even if the outcome isn’t exactly as you’d expected.

You can choose to be anyone you wish to become simply by willing the change. Obviously, this isn’t going to work for every condition. It can’t raise the dead or take back something done/that happened/circumstances, but it can change the attitude with which we are using to deal with the emotional upheavals.

Take the chance by saying “Yes!” to Opportunity:

There are many things that I know how to do because I’ve tried a lot of different things. I can draw, write, paint, organize, create, visualize, produce, etc. But this comes from seeking new opportunities as often as possible. If I don’t change what I’m doing every day while expecting things to change, that’s just insanity according to the quote attributed to Albert Einstein.

Take the chance to say “No!”:

I see many unhappy people saying yes to things they don’t really want to do. They say yes out of some twisted sense of obligation. It can cause them to blow off the people who were depending on them, not completing the tasks they said they’d do, as well as driving away potential for further opportunities. Understand that if you don’t place and maintain your boundaries, you’re not going to find that happiness because resentment will build as fast as that half-hearted yes came out of your mouth. It’s okay to say no if you don’t want to, are already stretched too thin, or hate the idea of yet another meeting.

Take the chance but know that you’re not Atlas:

We are, as a whole, superhero wanna-be’s. We’re told we can have it all. The problem with that is, we’re not Atlas. We can’t balance the weight of the world, or rather our own personal worlds, on our shoulders as well as taking on everyone else’s. If you’re already juggling three balls and someone asks you to take a fourth you have the option to say, “No thanks, I have enough going on in my juggling as it is.” OR you can say, “You know, I think I will try it.” You really have a 50/50 chance of success which increases depending on your experience, knowledge, skill set, and time.

Say Yes to things about which you feel deep passion:

When I joined a church nearly a year ago, I was given the wisdom from one of the elders, “There will be many great things offered for you to do. Only choose those which speak the strongest to your heart and say yes to those. There are enough people to say yes to the rest that you don’t have to say yes to everything.” I realize this contradicts my previous statement about saying yes to opportunity, but it isn’t an opportunity if your heart isn’t willing and open to try it. You have to figure out what truly moves you to action.

Each breath you take is a new opportunity to make better choices. You have that opportunity every moment of every waking day. Be a member of the breathing life, not the stagnant life. No amount of good intentions will ever allow you to move forward if you don’t actively work towards being happy.

As far as the right now, I am not going to make any resolutions unless I can achieve them right now. I think of it as a bit of pocket change. If I can embrace it right this moment, what does tomorrow give me that right now doesn’t? Not a thing. Tomorrow isn’t promised, only this moment as you read this is and does. It’s all we have. Why worry about what we can’t change or dream about what we will do? Right now is the chance of a lifetime.

“Just Do It” –Tagline from Nike ads

“Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”–Joseph Campbell, Author of The Power of Myth

“Live in the now, man.”–Garth Algar, Wayne’s World (Dana Carvey)

The Learning Curves

I’ve struggled for most of my life with self-destructive behaviors, bad attitudes, and I couldn’t figure out why these things kept happening to me. I estranged myself from my family, I got divorced from bad relationships that I’d picked. I just couldn’t find that peace of mind that everyone else seemed to have. About 15 years ago, I realized it was my own doing. I know, right? Who knew?

I began to seek out a different way of doing things, a different way of thinking because what I was doing and thinking were clearly not working. Using my rather unique experiences as a springboard, I read, talked, shared, took in, observed, and processed how other people lived happy lives. Since I was seeking clarity in my life, this made sense to me. This gave me an understanding of how my life works. But, how does one find clarity in the chaos of difficulties that arise in daily life?

  1. Ask for help: “Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.” –Ric Ocasek. It is difficult to believe that someone else has dealt with the same or similar issue that you are going through right now. But one of the keys to being human is understanding that you are not alone. Although the problem you’re facing may seem overwhelming, someone, somewhere has gotten through the same thing. Seek their guidance and wisdom by simply asking how they did it. Take what applies from their experience and use that tool to accomplish your own success in handling the issue.
  2. Help Others: “Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.” –Sai Baba. What you give you receive. If you’re helping others to become better in their lives, improve their situation, be more productive and you’re doing it with love in your heart, the love that you gave returns and returns and returns. It can’t help it. When love is present in a giving heart, the return rate to the giver is exponential. It doesn’t just stop at the act of giving, it gets paid forward. It spreads more love and encourages others to give as well.
  3. Meditate: “If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. It means to think of something over and over.” –Joyce Meyer. This term is used frequently, but how and what do you do? Inside all of us is a place that is silent. A place filled with nothing but your own experiences, thoughts, actions, and yet it’s filled with nothing. It is the place where your inner voice speaks loudest. In order to find that place of peace within yourself, you must first seek it. Sit in a quiet room with soft music playing. New age music helps me. Focus on your breathing. When you breathe in, breathe in peace. When you breathe out, breathe out love. Be patient and wait. Thoughts will spill through your mind with the “Woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” let those pass. Soon and sometimes not, the thoughts will ease and settle and the silent place within allows focus on the issue at hand. You may hear wild voices pushing you to act, but I’ve learned “When in doubt, wait it out.” The silence within will offer your own wisdom and guidance and it’s comforting to hear the voice of reason from within your own mind.
  4. Look for Omens: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” –William Shakespeare. When things feel like they are out of control it is easy to not see the messages the Universe sends. Sometimes it will be a well-placed and very obvious sign that points your way. Sometimes it’s hidden in plain sight but gets overlooked because it couldn’t possibly be that easy. Maybe a friend will call just when you need them to and they have an opportunity you hadn’t considered or you’ll see something that makes you want to act because it strikes deeply within your spirit. If you listen, you will hear and see them. They are everywhere and they wish you nothing but the best.
  5. Adjust your Focus: “Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving towards something.”-Ralph Marston. Some days are the “bad days.” Maybe the dog woke you up before you wanted to be awake or before your alarm clock went off. Maybe when you do wake up and begin to get dressed you discover your favorite pants or blouse are in disrepair. Maybe your coffee pot decided that you really wanted to go without coffee today when it quit working. Whatever the catastrophe, it’s very easy to be inundated with the “Why me’s?” Shift your focus. Instead of bemoaning the negatives, look for the blessings offered. Waking up earlier than planned allows extra time to spend with your little dog or to go out and get a new coffee pot or a new favorite outfit. Every cloud has a silver lining if you look for it. When you focus on finding that silver lining, attitudes begin to shift. When attitudes begin to shift, the Universe says, “Oh! You want more positive! You could have just said so!” What you spend your time focusing on is what will be attracted to you. “I hate my life,” for example will send the message that you like the situation and the Universe will continue sending it to you. The Universe doesn’t understand hate. “I don’t want this to happen.” The Universe, again, has no knowledge of don’t. It hears “I want this to happen.” It responds to the negative thoughts with what it hears. If you say, for example, “I love my life,” The Universe hears this and responds accordingly.
  6. Be Grateful: “Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.” –Paulo Coelho. Similar to the Universe responding to your positive energy is the act of being grateful. Small things, big things, in-between things, all have reasons to be grateful written in their existence. Grateful hearts attract more things (not necessarily material goods) to be grateful for simply by refocusing from complaining to changing. People who live by the law of gratefulness live a happier life because they’re not seeing only the negative of a situation. They are looking for reasons to be grateful and they will find them.
  7. Be joyful: “There’s no destination. The journey is all there is, and it can be very, very joyful.” –Srikumar Rao. Do things that bring you joy. If you feel happy dancing, dance. If you feel happy writing, write. If you feel happy working numbers in an accounting book, do that. Whatever brings you joy is the path you should be following not because I tell you to, but because it’s where your bliss lay waiting. Go ahead and ask people what they wanted to be when they grew up and the majority will not be anywhere near the field they first imagined as a child. As an adult, it is easy to be sucked into the responsibilities that are necessary for our own survival as well as of those we love. In the meantime, that responsibility, when not balanced with our personal joyfulness, becomes a yoke that can become unbearable. Seek joy and balance in everything you do and that unwanted yoke all but disappears.
  8. Remember to take care of yourself: “Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.” -George Bernard Shaw. There is such a thing as being too polite or being a doormat when it comes to dealing with other people. It’s one thing to take into consideration the feelings and opinions of others, but it’s an entirely different beast when what they want goes against what you need for yourself. By allowing someone else’s wants and needs to supersede your own you give away a piece of your personal power. It’s okay to say, “I want…” “I need…” and further, by maintaining those ideas a healthy compromise can be reached. A favorite saying is, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s a favorite because it is a reminder that your opinions, wants, needs, and objectives not only have merit but also have value.

As my behaviors shifted from self-destruction to self-construction, my attitudes have gained a stronger perspective towards positive living. My world has become a more beautiful place to live. The results of taking into daily practice that which I’ve learned has allowed: Reparations with my family, a happy marriage, and a joyful, giving of love and time to others while maintaining balance in nearly every aspect of my life. There are still cobwebs that need to be cleared, but as my vision expands to include wonder, awe, and amazement of the world around me, I can’t help but think just how lucky I really am as well as how much my hard work has paid off.

Pssst! I wanna show you something

Yesterday I worked hard on rearranging, moving, stuffing, cutting, thinking, and mostly trying to figure out my vision. At the end of several hours, I’m well on my way to getting things where I’d like them to be. With less than two months to go to modify, I want to make sure that I’ve done my homework, have it just so. 2014 has been a monumental year for me. I’ve collected my works, some previously unreleased work, and art from myself, friends, and some not-yet-met friends.

Sneak Peak at the numbers

Sneak Peak at the numbers

This doesn’t include the art or the graphics, just what I’ve created this year with a few surprises to myself. I’m so excited, I wanted to share this with you.

YIELD!

I’ve been curiously absent these last days from posting what normally is a lot of work. I try to schedule those, by the way, so that they don’t all hit at once. I suppose I could schedule them for different days but I post them that way for a reason. Think of it as clearing off my mental desk in preparations for the next idea (and there are some days with a LOT of them) to manifest.

I was working at a factory on a rotating shift. The days were 12 hours long and usually 2-3 in succession with 2-3 days off in between bouts. Back in May I had surgery on my foot to correct an ongrowing issue (my nerve had grown around one of my main foot arteries, good pun, eh?) and within a couple of months I felt amazingly good again. I could walk! I could dance! I could jog (sort of, think Mario running without turbo). I felt so good I applied for an got the job. For three months I worked diligently to maintain my personal belief and work ethic by being consistently in attendance, observant to detail, and team oriented. I believe I maintained that throughout my employment.

A few days ago, while working a position that required far more dexterity than my hands could handle, I lost feeling in my fingers. Not only did I lose feeling in my fingers but I lost grip as well. I could no longer hold onto the parts. My co-worker refused to switch jobs because she was fine. I explained that I was not. She refused again. I went and spoke with my supervisor and told her that I couldn’t feel my fingers and my hands wouldn’t hold onto the parts. She said, “Okay.” and walked away. When I don’t feel heard, my frustration level doesn’t take much to push me over the edge. I just plain waited until break and contacted my employer. I was told to go home, finish out the next day and they’d find me something else to do.

From my previous post The heated battle, you may recall that I’ve been struggling to find something better suited to my gifts, needs, and requirements of financial responsibility. I believe I’ve found this particular niche. Jamie Lopez asked me a peculiar question which incited ridiculous thoughts in my brain. I only half committed to her idea. But the thought was persistent. It stood up and plinked my forebrain like a form of water torture. It whispered, “You should do this. You should do this. You should do this.” I tried to ignore it, but it was really difficult when that’s all I could focus my attention on doing. I consulted with my Mama, tossing the idea in the air with clumsy juggles, sparking further ideas until the seed had firmly taken root. I let it rest in the “earth.”

Without much ado, a couple of nights ago, my Uncle Les called me. He’s not a frequent caller, but when he does, I always know that I’m so loved by him and my Aunt Liz that I look forward to when he has time. He called me up and asked me, “Hey, do you remember Jim Bob?”

“I do. That’s Aunt Liz’s nephew, right?”

“Yes. I was thinking about you and I usually do, by the way,” he continued.

“Thanks!” I interrupted.

“You’re welcome. Anyway, his wife works out of her home. I thought of you because you’re a compassionate woman and an excellent writer, I think you could do what she does.” He stated firmly. “I think you need to be doing this.” And he explained word for word what I’d talked to my mother, was inspired by Jamie, and pondered about for two weeks.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned that paying attention to the omens when they come that clearly is a wise move. Otherwise, the Universe quits presenting the idea to you and gives it to someone else. In the past couple of days, I’ve retrieved my EIN (Employer Identification Number), set up a Paypal, applied for a business license, bought and started setting up a domain, secured an 877 number, and applied for information about advertising.

Although it may seem as if I’ve been slower than normal or that I’ve taken a vacation, I’m actually working towards being able to do what I love more than anything to do which is write for a living. This is scary stuff in my book, but I feel the have to becoming more prominent. It’s really strong and I know it’s right.

On November 3rd, I’ll be launching the site, the business, and making sure that I have myself priced accordingly. How weird is that? With the time on my hands right now, I can make sure that I’m able to deliver top quality of a valuable and perpetuating service that everyone will need. I’m so excited that your patience is allowing me this time to bring this idea into full bloom. Let’s see what happens, shall we?

Tribe of Artists: UNITE!

If you’re a writer, a poet, a painter, an artist of any kind, I’d like to help you succeed. I’d like to do a featured artist of the week which will allow you exposure to my fellow bloggers. If you’d like to be featured (aka pinned) then drop me an email with a link to your page(s). If selected, I will make sure that I cross reference your work on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and of course WordPress.

I believe strongly in supporting those with talent, drive, and ambition to bring their humanity into beautiful fruition. Although, and yes it pains me to say this, I can’t pay you anything, if we all share anyone’s art we really dig, we can spread even more beauty in the world. If you have a show coming up, let me know, I can post that too. I really want to help.

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to check out Activate Your Life! on Google + via the Anjana Network which is a group for artists of all sorts to find support and encouragement in their artistic field of choice. I am a moderator there and will happy to check out even more ways to help you promote your life’s work.

My email is the same as my page @gmail.com as well as at hotmail.com maremartell that is (Trying to confuse spambots may confuse you too but it’s my name with the appropriate suffixes). Let’s see what kind of an empire we can achieve when we lift one another up in love.