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it’s your lucky day!

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick's DayFeel free to share…may your day be full of magic!

New Work -fall leaves. Mainly.

1 Dec

work in progress

 

New work! Don’t even have a working title for it yet. Something about life-in-death and death-in-life. And how as things are ‘dying’ – returning in various stages to the earth from where they came – they are breathtakingly beautiful. The unbelievable colors of fall, the rich greens of spring and summer, and the golden brown of winter -all part of the same eternal process of life. to which, it seems, most obviously, death is an integral part. So why do we treat it otherwise? The Muslims have a beautiful saying that death in its approach is terrifying, but when it comes, that moment is actually sweet. wanting to see my life -all life- as a totality, not a sum of little disconnected parts. one great big song. With the going out as beautiful and natural and mysterious as the coming in. this picture is helping me cultivate that wider, more inclusive view. I try to come into rhythm. I am trying to honor the ebbs as well as the flows.  Each day includes at least a small letting go as well as the ushering ins of the new.  Trying to allow both the space they require, without judgment.

work in progress Nov 2014

 

 

 

Dwarfs, illumination and knowing that everything matters.

11 Sep
Telesphoros,  – Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

Telesphoros, – Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

I think of him as a healer of sorts- but maybe not a healer of symptoms, more of a caretaker of our need to create meaning where it seems none exists. A reconciler that ties things together- a witness to something greater that assures us that somehow what happens to us makes sense – that things are ultimately cared for and brought to completion. That somewhere, beyond our understanding, all is made right in the end.

Telephoros, the strange little ‘Accomplisher’ of the ancient world started out as a Celtic god. His original identity has been lost to us, but the name the Greeks gave him when he was brought to Anatolia in the 3rd century BCE give a clue: telos – meaning end, or purpose and phoros – carrying or bearing. ‘Endcarrier’. ‘Purposebearer’. His name actually means “the accomplisher” or “bringer of completion” in Greek. Telephoros was closely associated with Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine.

Carl Jung also had a fondness for Telephoros. He carved this sentence in a stone at his estate in Bolligen, Switzerland:

‘Time extending through the ages is a child playing at a game of chance. The child is king. Telephoros runs through the dark places of the world like a star sparkling in the depths, leading the way to the gates of the sun and the land of dream.’

To the modern mind, so much of what happens around us and to us seems so pointless. So accidental. So inconceivably beyond our ability to do anything about it. Our world perfectly acts out Jung’s metaphorical child playing his game of chance – great things happen. Accidents happen. Bad things happen to good people. We are overjoyed. We suffer. Despairing because chance implies randomness, suggesting non-order, no pattern, senselessness… one look around us could easily confirm this as truth. And yet…

‘Telephoros runs through the dark places of the world like a star sparkling in the depths, leading the way to the gates of the sun and the land of dream.’

To the ancient mind, most worldly or psychological forces were personified – it’s simply much easier to relate to a person or animal than to a concept of something. So our very human need for completion and purpose became Telephoros, personified as a dwarf, wearing a hood or cap and carrying a lantern. Dwarfs stand as a guardian of the threshold between the conscious and the unconscious realms. They traditionally have a life hidden from mankind, preferring twilight and night to daytime. I like to think Telephoros, when he’s not gatekeeping, carries his lantern through the depths of our personal and collective unconscious, shedding light on that which is in darkness, illuminating through dreams and longings what remains black and unknown in our waking hours. He casts a glimmer of purpose, balance and completion into the darkness of misunderstanding. He runs beyond limited concepts of time and space, acknowledging those things that appear accidental or random or unfinished. Holding his small light, he hurries ahead, urging us to the gates of the sun, the place of illumination, where life can be seen in its wholeness.
If we choose to entertain Telesphoros’ metaphor, we will find it easier if we adopt an attitude of faith that outside of time and mind heartaches will end, opposites are reconciled and healing is accomplished. The price of this faith is our willingness to allow light into our darkness.
Can we allow things the right to exist as they are, beyond our human compulsion to categorize them as good or bad, wrong or right, timely or untimely? Can we begin to conceive of a metaphorical space where opposites are reconciled and everything brought to completion- in its own time? Can we be ok with that? With not knowing? With letting something so important to us be ultimately out of our hands?
Compassion, deep self-love, acceptance, gratitude, mystery – these are concepts that we must personally personify in order to connect with the ancient belief echoed by every great teacher throughout time – that beyond our understanding, somehow, all is made right, things are cared for and everything matters.

 

Meditating on or moving with Telephoros can be particularly enlightening. (puns are good!)
In my drawing, Anam Cara, I’ve put the symbol for the feminine on his cape, indicating his integration with the intuitive feminine shadow world of dreams and the unconscious. Jung seems to have included the symbol for Venus on his Telephoros figure. ( I’m not sure if this is certain, but it makes sense.) Metaphorically balancing all energies,(i.e. healing), contemplating the concept of Telephoros provides a bridge to the idea of completion, integration, acceptance and ultimately surrender. Light a candle placed in a bowl of water. This is a great symbol of light in the unconscious realm.

Now… imagine seeing a book below the surface of a lake that is smooth as glass. Reach into the water and pull up the book. Watch the ripples as they recede and return the water to stillness. Notice the clouds float by in the reflection of the sky. Are you on the shore? In a boat? is the water cool? Is it a hot day? Do you hear birds? what do you smell? This sort of detail really gets your self involved and often allows things to drift to the surface that just as well might have remained on the bottom…. Become aware of what’s around you. Whenever you are ready, go curl up by the foot of an great oak tree and imagine reading that book!

The Castle

7 Jun
janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

 

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

 

Ever forward, but slowly…

Kiss a frog…

5 Jun Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014
Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

 

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

The work for today. A Northern Leopard frog. And why, exactly, is there a frog in this picture(among other things)?

The water represents the unconscious, and the frog symbolizes that which can move between both realms- the conscious and the unconscious. The unconscious at first may appear as frightening and dangerous, but as we  reconcile this aspect of our self we take another step towards wholeness and self- acceptance. It is exactly our neurosis, our unwanted parts that make us unique and lovely. Remember the frog prince? The princess wants nothing to do with him, but when kissed, he reveals himself to be a handsome prince…so go ahead…kiss a frog  – warts and all.

a rainy day with prismacolors

2 Jun Janet Balboa,Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2013
Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

A rainy day put to good use. I’m headed out for coffee…and some friendly faces. Bought a new burnisher, colorless. Don’t know if I like it as much as burnishing with a pencil itself, seems to leave   a lot of wax.

Choosing Where You Are Going

22 May
20140517_120326

heart chakra – drawing in progress

 

When you are on the path to knowing who you are and consciously directing your energy in the direction that you want to go, you are courting inspiration. Identifying who you are and where you are coming from clears a lot of psychic clutter; old beliefs, dead weight; all the stuff you are not. It’s hard to get filled with inspiration when you’re full of old baggage.  The initial effort must be to head in the direction of joy daily, no matter how small that step is. Getting rid of all the emotional baggage and clutter connects you back to open space. The place of potential is where inspiration starts.

Inspiration literally means to be spirit- filled. On the wings of spirit comes vision. The Bible states, ‘without vision the people will die.’ Being inspired and having a vision is the difference between looking forward with anticipation to our days rather than just getting through another day.

Inspiration fills you from within. Recognizing what you love, getting excited. Consciously making room for those things you love creates the attitude of joy and inspiration. The importance of being inspired cannot be overstated. When you are fired up about something, you have the motivation necessary to accomplish it. When you are uninspired life is a boring waste of time. It becomes difficult to perceive any meaning. You have to have inspiration and vision so that your life can have meaning.

Vision is the over-arching dream from which goals and directives present themselves. Vision by its nature is inspired, therefore, inspiring. Filled with a vision, you are overjoyed and blissful, motivation is easy and natural. Vision, when combined with your love for what you want to accomplish and delight in expressing your talents, will start an avalanche of motivation.

In the past, you have often been told that you need a plan, a strategy–goals to accomplish your new vision. So, thinking about it, you write down what you need to become and would like to accomplish. Your initial glow of intention lasts the entire day, but then you wake up the next day with zero motivation. In addition, you can now add frustration, disenchantment and depression to your emotional bank account. Fabulous.

The problem? Most people use their heads to goal-set. This way of arriving at outcomes, looking ‘out there’ and deciding what is needed, (often based on the expectations of others, or extenuating circumstances) – is always external and therefore intrinsically uninspiring. Writer Michael Neill came up with a great way of describing the standard left-brained way of goal setting. He calls it S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-specific.) Another recipe for millions of people leading lives of quiet desperation. When you set your goals in this frame of mind, what outcome can you expect? A mechanistic life that will be specific, measurable, action-oriented (read exhausted) realistic and time-specific. Where is the joy? Where is the excitement?!! Where is the human being and her ability to create? LIFE, participating in life; means feeling inspiration, excitement – passion; things that bring out your best and challenge you to become more. How are these things going to manifest if the path to achieve them is based on an uninspired list of external ‘things I want’ or ‘I want to achieve”?

Vision on the other hand, has the emotional fire of passion behind it. Your emotion from the heart is what gives you motivation. Passion comes from the heart, not the head. It takes courage to put your heart into something. You risk involvement. But isn’t that what you want? Involvement with life? Aren’t you done with watching your life drift by? To seize the day is what it means to be human, to make the most out of life. You are intended to be co-creative, interacting– a participant.

To the degree you invest your heart into your life is the degree that you will love your life. Where are you already investing your heart? What are the things you love? Notice the things that you are passionate about, the circumstances that make you want to jump for joy. Your passions are clues to where you will find inspiration, power and motivation. These ‘things’ are not things out there, but qualities you possess, skills you have, states of being.

It’s a subtle perceptual adjustment, but the new path has to be based not on ‘things I want’ or ‘things I want to be’- but on who ‘I AM’.

Bring forth and develop the being that you already are, that which make you unique. This is the only way to find joy, abundance, and meaning in every area of your life. Learn to tap into the source of joy and watch that feeling begin to manifest in your life. Watch in amazement as the Universe reflects joy back to you. Or abundance, or creativity. All these things you already are, your talents and gifts, once expressed will be where you find your true fulfilment.

When you are inspired, you begin to have a vision of how things could be. The joy of working that vision into reality with all its challenges and difficulties is exciting and fulfilling in itself. Fulfilment comes from expressing who you are as fully as possible. Nothing helps express you more than living your dream wholeheartedly.

Your desires will remain a vague wish unless you give them the power to manifest. No one can do this birthing for you. Your job is to bring these thoughts down from the mental plane into the material realm. This is the human’s co-creating ability. Spirit fills you with desire; you pull the desire into material form. Your part in co-creating is visualization.

The Universe does its part- it gives you the desire to express more. Without you, nothing will happen. You must do your part. Only you can give the desire direction (imagination and visualization) and energy (emotion) thereby producing the feeling that will change your now into wow. It works. But you have to do your part.

Somewhere, not too far into this process, you will catch on fire. The moment any part of your vision becomes a reality, you will sense it. You will believe.  The instant this happens your way will become smoother–magical. ‘Unseen hands’ will appear–events and people will spontaneously appear, with the information, encouragement, and support that you need at exactly the right time. It will be easier to hold your head up, because you will have a sense of strength from deep inside you that will bring you joy. You will know in your heart that you can do anything you put your mind to. You are becoming self -reliant and truly prosperous– from the inside. You have to be before you can do or have. You are mastering the first step–’be’. ‘Do’ and ‘have’, action and attainment, will naturally follow. All your actions and the results they bring you are the direct result of who you are being.  You too will be on fire, watching your vision turn into reality.

Learning to do the back float.

20 Feb

After all these years, you would think I’d be a pro at letting the mighty river of life gracefully carry me as it courses along. I’ve read enough books; have had the rug pulled out too many times to know that I’m definitely not in control here. On most days, I have learned to go with the flow, show up open and excited. I trust that I will flow over the rough and smooth and all will be well.

Then there are the other days.

Quietly, my ego has seized a tiny foothold of control somewhere. Some little negativity or offence has been noted. Someone cut me off in traffic. The jeans are a little tight. It could be anything. Whether this perceived offence shows up in the form of others bringing me down, intolerable situations or unexpected events, it’s a given that it will now be magnified beyond recognition with fear, worry and self-doubt. Like the genie emerging from its bottle, my ego, now the size of our galaxy, is ready to make things right again.

I’m not saying my ego is the bad guy. Far from it. It would be difficult to be a participating member of society-especially in the west- without it. The ego’s crucial mistake is believing that permanence and control are possible. The ego will fight against the huge current of life, insisting that the show is run according to its myopic view of life. Not very clever, but unfortunately, very comfortable and habitual.

My crucial mistake is allowing the ego the reins in the first place. But when I’m feeling bowled over by life, I just want to get back on my feet again. Feel powerful again. How else do I lessen my fear? My ego’s big bully stance certainly seems like the best bet here. Soon I find myself desperately grasping for anything that will support and hold my head above water. As I struggle, my struggle causes me to sink, and I hold on tighter. Fighting…….

Often, I do realize that what I am doing is senseless. I now take over the reins. My rational mind kicks into overdrive and I come up with plans, action steps, lists…the control at my fingertips now is astonishing. The river of life changes its direction, now flowing where I command, annihilating all obstacles, giving me the cosmic green light.

I wish.

Letting my ego and all its fear – or my rational mind and all its control -run my life is a sure recipe for big time disaster.

This idea of being stuck, of not participating with life was Joseph Campbell’s idea of hell. He said it’s the place of people who could not yield their ego system to allow the grace of a trans-personal power to move them.

When you are in agreement with the universe, accepting that everything is just as it is supposed to be, without judgment, you will be cared for. You will meet who you are supposed to meet, go where you are supposed to go – you will experience guidance and direction.

Here’s the quickest, kindest way to quiet the emotional storm and return to your source of power and guidance that I’ve found.

THE BACK FLOAT.

It will restore your ability to ride the current (wherever it takes you)

Getting back into touch with your physical body is one of the best ways to get centered again. Your body is wonderfully uncomplicated when it comes to ‘thinking’:

‘Ouch. That hurts.’

‘Oh! I like that!’

Use this simplicity. Your body is very good at just being. Trust it. Trust yourself.

Ok.  Back float position. Just like you did at the YMCA for your ‘Guppy’ swimming badge…

Lay down flat on the floor.

Lift your chin towards the ceiling

Relax your arms, lift your chest and stomach, and slightly bend your knees. Breathe deeply and relax.

Imagine you are floating down a lazy river on a hot summer’s day. Your ego isn’t going to want to do this, and your rational mind will balk, but it works.

1) Let go. Allow everything to be just as it is. If you are fighting anything in your life, then you are in disharmony with the entire universe. Don’t waste your energy pushing against what-is– against the universe– which is presenting itself to you just as it is. Your acceptance of what-is allows energy to flow to you. Breathe.

2.  Realize that you don’t have to DO anything. Let go of the need to control the situation. When you feel the need to force change on a person or situation, you are adding to the emotional upheaval. When you get caught up in the drama of the situation, you are focused on the problem, struggling, and effectively shut down your ability to go with the flow.

Get up slowly. Give thanks. Be aware you are always on sacred ground. You are loved.

Who are you?

7 Jun
The old paradigm is finding a place for ourselves in the world. The new paradigm is finding a place for the world in ourselves. -Marianne Williamson

The old paradigm is finding a place for ourselves in the world. The new paradigm is finding a place for the world in ourselves.
-Marianne Williamson

The higher you’re going to fly in life, the less dead weight you can carry. Many old beliefs can be re-evaluated. For instance, my third grade teacher once said to me that I was obnoxious. Granted, it was an understatement, however, it became a die-hard belief. I went through years of obnoxious. Does it apply to me now? Or is it out- dated and better dropped altogether? Can I replace it with a new belief that supports and empowers who I am now? ‘I am obnoxious’ could become ‘I am full of energy’.  And, when you’re over forty, that’s a good thing.
See your situation; recognize the beliefs that are creating it, and replace them with ones that serve who you are now. You can drop the beliefs completely, but sometimes it’s easier initially, to replace them with something supportive. Retrain your mind. Stop creating the drama that results from living out of unconscious, out-dated beliefs. It’s where you place your attention that makes the difference. It’s your choice. Stop paying attention to beliefs that hold you back and start focusing on beliefs that help you on your chosen path.
Accept your life exactly as it is right now. Accept your past, and examine the beliefs that have got you where you are. Change them if need be. Agree to love yourself right here, right now. There is no one else like you on the planet. You are perfectly yourself. Get back in the flow of life by accepting ‘what-is’. Remember, life is always moving forward. Don’t get stuck in the backwaters suffering with resentment and fear. Get back in the current as quickly as possible. Those backwaters are loaded with bitter, resentful people who watch life go by, suffering endlessly and pointlessly.
Real suffering, conscious suffering, takes place when you go through the necessary pain of changing your beliefs. They are beloved to you– old friends. Many were created unconsciously to protect you. You are big enough to choose beliefs more in keeping with who you are now. The suffering is in the letting go. But once you let go of the past and those worn-out beliefs, you are released. The only way to be truly present, and truly free, is to accept life as it is, fresh, ever changing. When you try to make any of life, as such, conform to your ‘belief system’, you are tying it down, holding it still. Water that doesn’t move stagnates. Allow yourself to flow along with life. Gracefully turn over your false sense of control to the bigger force that is unfolding the Universe, exactly as it needs to be, yourself included.
As you exchange old beliefs for new, see this letting go for what it is: a temporary return to chaos. You are inviting change. Change is by nature unsettling. In the growth required to adopt a new set of beliefs, there is a large spurt of expansion and activity. It is followed by a rebalancing time of contracting; a time of stillness, to allow the pieces to reform into a coherent picture. The seeds of transformation are present in chaos. As a caterpillar experiences the soupy breakdown of its caterpillar being, new cells, called imaginal cells begin to multiply. These cells multiply and overwhelm the immune system. The caterpillar actually liquifies. Finally, the imaginal cells gather, differentiate and form and entirely new creature– the butterfly. Everything is put back together in a new, dynamic, updated version. We must die to our old self to be born into our true nature and destiny.
Trust that life is carrying you. You’re beginning to become conscious of how harshly the manifestation caused by your old beliefs cut you off from your source, how your old beliefs truly did not serve you. You’re going to experience bouts of chaos. Out of chaos emerges re-organization, a birthing–new life. Soon, you will recognize this cycle and welcome the exciting growth period and accept the unsettling/re-settling period as just as necessary. While you are in chaos, new strengths are forged and merged. You become more.
Real change requires a deep inner shift. If you start lifting weights, you wouldn’t expect to see results right away. Deep muscle change occurs first, unseen. A lot of your initial progress will be internal and invisible. Don’t get discouraged. Your job is to establish new connections in the direction of joy. All you may be able to muster up at first is feeling better; not so out of control. A far cry from joy, but it’s authentic, a new reaction, creating the beginnings of a new way of responding to the world.

Full Moon : the phases/faces of a woman’s life

25 May
Triple Goddess

prismacolour – markers and pencils. a few copic markers too. pen and ink outline. on my favorite- marker paper. it always amazes me how flimsy, yet strong this paper is! finished size is 12 x 17

Maiden, Mother,Crone!!

My celebration of the wise women on this planet who are entering the full flowering of their being.(In plain old english, those of us turning 50 and beyond) It’s a full moon today too, and I have just finished. How’s that for a little synchronicity? Have a inspiring, creative and fruitful day…

Thursday

10 May

psst…. I ran again this morning…only saying because this is sooo unusual. I feel so much better- usually I wait until the end of the day when I’m tired and ready for a glass of wine. So I am trying this new approach. The app is C25K – couch to 5k – and she tells me when to walk, when to jog…brilliant.

anyway… coffee in hand, I’m in my studio this morning needing to finish up my Green Man. It’s Rob’s birthday present, which is in a couple weeks. I originally set out to do a very simple piece- and as always, there is more in the wings than I expect. I was surprised at what showed up – I only saw the green man and the knot work border. It  says ‘you are love – you are loved’ around the circle, with a very fancy scroll/leafy background. These are the things that I do not see in the ‘planning’ stages. Which is why I suppose, I love to just start with a half-formed concept – because what I did not intend is often so lovely.

I was helping my daughter last night with a homework assignment- argumentative paper on overpopulation. Her main challenge is focusing- narrowing down such a broad topic to a very specific statement which she then can argue and to which she can propose a solution. She is a very creative type and kept coming up with new ideas, new realizations of what we are doing to our beautiful planet, and as the spirit took her and she got passionate about it, it became very difficult for her to niche down and limit herself to one narrow corridor of thought. ‘ There’s just so much to say about it…’ she sighed.

I mention this because I find in the ‘real’ world, one’s ability to be specific, set goals, have a plan, to niche down, to limit oneself – is expected and encouraged. But as I sit here, half in the ‘real’ world and half in the ‘other’ world, straddling both of my hemispheres, I am choosing to be influenced by something else. I am seeking, waiting for that which pulls me out of myself – that which allows me to see countless possibilities, infinite arrangements -the clamoring of the infinite for expression in finite. It’s such a dance- to be able to be ok with uncertainty, to allow overwhelm, to sit in complete wonder at ‘what is’ and to not want to change it, just to witness it. As artists, we are surrounded and influenced by our culture, and its attachment to ego and certainty. The two killers of creativity. As artists, we hold a position that is overlooked (by ourselves and by our society) in its importance. We hold the curtain back so that others may get a glimpse of that which is beyond- to build a bridge, to help others see what we see- to look with non-physical eyes at what exists beyond our limited perceptions. We allow infinity, mystery and uncertainty into this world. As Einstein is often paraphrased- you can’t solve a problem on the level it was created – it takes new ideas, fresh thought, and inspiration to bring something new into being. Part of my job with my students is to teach them that this uncertainty is a good thing; a necessary thing. That our culture and our souls desperately need inspiration – to be filled with fresh breath, to experience the mystery of life – in addition to our amazing ability to think, to limit and define. Both halves of our brains are necessary in the curiously human ability and purpose of endlessly creating  finite expressions of the infinite – whether an English paper, a decent cup of coffee or a work of art.

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