Tag Archives: inspiration
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We are them.

24 Sep

Coming Home.

17 May

I often find myself completely ego-absorbed – driven to produce, create, take action… make stuff happen. I am great at ‘doing’.  Out of the necessity to find balance, I have inadvertently become great at inner stillness. Sitting. Contemplating. Absorbing. Processing. Imagining. Allowing my separated soul and body time to sit face to face, hand in hand and catch up with each other, blending back together.  Time to become whole; become One.

When I need to act, my action is balanced; centered, coming from harmony. From here, intuition, a sense of rightness and my feelings help shape and inform my proven ability and delight in taking action. Action now imbued with a sense of possibility, wonder, delight, adventure, and hope. So much different from the good old days, where my heavily armored ego, trotted off on its own, busily weighing up its narrow and self-obsessed options of fight or flight.

I applaud and commend my ego – all these years it has fought the battles for me, engaged, retreated, always ready, never complaining about the poor nourishment or dismal conditions it suffered through.  I thank you. I release you.

I imagine two thrones – one for my ego, where it now sits, resplendent in its strength, honor, and might. A beautiful, proud warrior. A warrior who has little use for armor or weaponry. A warrior skilled in the hard-won arts of diplomacy, compassion, poetry and self-love. Passionate. Alive. Whole.

The second throne occupied by the Queenly counterpart to this Warrior King- nurturing, encompassing, soothing, allowing. restoring. Cool water on a hot day. The Queen, my inner feminine, the ground of being on which my inner masculine acts. Reunited with her lover/husband. Wildly passionate, years of waiting collapse into this moment/ every moment. Fueling new life. New hope. New possibilities.

I intend a metaphor that allows me to express the feeling of my masculine and feminine natures functioning as one, as an equality, as a harmony. This does not mean that I do not fight, or do not pick up my weapons… it means that my fight and flight options have been infinitely expanded, tempered and balanced with a love, care and respect for myself, which transfers to all my brothers and sisters, unconditionally. I have infinite ability to respond. I am losing my ability to react. My ego is gratefully no longer running the show alone. My Warrior has returned with a Hero’s welcome.

It takes time to nurture this relationship with oneself – years of fighting, disagreeing, slogging it out on the battlefield of life. The day the Warrior returns, the day the Hero knows his glory days are over- is full of mixed emotions. Any sea change in life can suddenly find you washed up on a distant shore, ready to stop fighting, stop all the running; longing for home.

Coming home means learning to find new glory, new adventure in the person you have become, getting down to the business of living the life you find directly in front of you, to slowly but surely find that the life you have is exactly the life that was meant for you. You learn to meet yourself again and again, loving more and more who you see, battle scars, heartaches, regrets and all. Allowing the inner feminine to pick up the broken and aching pieces, cradle the inner child, comfort and soothe you into wholeness, until you can return to the field and not see a battle, but a life of blessing.

Mysteriously it is no longer about us, but about others, acquiring becomes less important than giving, fixing, understanding, mending, listening.  A new life unfolds. Full of the adventure and mystery of the unknown- in a world full of possibilities, anything can happen. Anything can surprise and delight. Nothing is locked down tight. Nothing is for certain. Except love. That is the only certainty;  the only possibility open.

I feel together now, in a way that I never could have imagined- heart and soul, body and spirit, mind and matter. The polarities have softened, lost definition. To the extent that I can envision myself as one, I can envision the earth and all creatures as one. There is no ‘other’, no thing to fight (except myself, which becomes silly.) I am done fighting. I have taken up residence where I have always belonged – in the House of Belonging. Allowing the Unameable Mystery of Love / God, /The Divine /my Higher Self /Being etc. to stock the pantry, turn down the covers, roll up the rug, and light the fire – anticipating those moments when I remember to return home.

Coming home becomes easier as I learn to accept myself, accept that I intimately belong. I am undoubtedly cared for. (Despite how I act and sometimes feel.) I am learning to live out of my new reality- less fear, more joy. I still catch myself, my ego poised for the fight; on red alert. But it’s more like a bad dream and in a few seconds I can wake myself up, grateful for the choice. Glad to find myself home, safe and warm in my own bed.

All those pretty, pretty colors…

24 Mar

While I have been an artist all my life, I have only recently come to terms with being OK with not necessarily fitting into the ‘real’ world Ipretty colors walk out into every day.

I have always resided primarily in the magical world of my inner life. And these two worlds are not overly compatible. The trick has been, to use a biblical phrase, ‘to be in, but not of, this world’. Far easier said than done. It is something we all have to figure out for ourselves anyway, which is why, I suppose, Jesus wasn’t overly busy handing out instruction manuals.

In weaving, it is the warp threads that give the foundation, the anchors over and under which the weaving will happen. What are the warp threads of your life? What anchors you and holds you? What is your foundation? Your comfort?

For me, it is my experience of the unity, the oneness and the sacredness of everything on our planet. While not an overly unique or unusual perspective, it allows me a powerful foundation from which to create. Warp threads are not typically sexy or exciting. But they allow the pattern; the beauty to be.

Most of the time I would much rather focus on the weft, those horizontal threads which make the beautiful patterns, colors and designs. This is where most creatives hang out. In the beautiful colors, often to the exclusion of everything else.

I am slowly learning to appreciate the stability and strength of my foundation threads. I am learning that being strongly rooted in the everyday, ordinary world where money, food, shelter, time and schedules are necessary and essential is actually complementary to my creative process.

The bringing together of these two very different but necessary worlds has been my most difficult lesson. And I am by no means done doing it.

So now that I have reconciled myself to not being ‘normal’, and not ‘fitting in’, paradoxically, I have an extraordinary feeling of arrival. Of finally fitting into my groove. And I know that while I had very little to do with my fortunate arrival here, in this space of belonging, I also know that it could not have occurred without me.

Such is life.

(This is my obnoxiously long response to the prompt: ‘Write a bit about yourself ‘ for my Etsy Shop)

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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!

Yin Yang, Beauty and Hedgehogs

17 Dec
JanetBalboa c.2014 Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

JanetBalboa c.2014
Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

Further along. Finished a fabulous book yesterday – The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. ‘Wow’ is all I can really say about that. And, I will be sending Muriel a copy of this print as soon as I finish it and can find an address for her. Why? I sense the same quest for beauty – the same need/desire to see that beneath all the fear, all the scary stuff is a beautiful, untarnished world that reaches out to us. When we are very quiet and choose to listen, we can hear the muse. Mmmmm…yes.

I’ve also been working on a site – Go for the soul.com – where one can buy my work, if one were so inclined. I have to figure out the shipping bit, but for the most part, it is done. It drives me crazy really, because I always choose drawing over working on the site. So of course, the web site kind of plods along. meanwhile:

JanetBalboa c.2014 Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

JanetBalboa c.2014
Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

I plan to finish and scan this today. Which means I’ll post a far better picture of it, without all the weird light reflection noises. The empty spot will be filled with a shell of the type common to Ireland, (New Grange). The Discus Rotundatus, some theorize, could be a model for the famous spirals. I like the idea of a spiral shape in the ‘Yin” spot – feminine, dark , moist; perfect.

I love that frog. That was late last night. Happy.

Honoring the Elders? Become one.

26 Nov

Becoming elderly will happen whether you choose to become an Elder or not. Becoming an Elder requires a choice. You can honor the person you have become, or get lost in regrets, guilt and broken dreams.

Becoming an Elder requires making peace with the past and purposefully leaning into the future.

It’s really a decision about who you want to be in the latter half of your life. Will you become a source of wisdom and clarity for those around you? Or will you become a bitter, selfish burden of complaints and ailments?

Most people have a habit of doing the same thing they’ve always done. They copy behaviors modeled to them by family and society without question. They resign themselves to ‘getting old’ – to never figuring out what life is really about. They give up the race before it’s even been run. What else can you do? (Most people have forgotten they have a choice.)

You and I know better. We have a choice. We can choose to trust that we are Elder material; believe that we have what it takes to be a wise person, a source of clarity. I certainly don’t feel I have it together enough, for enough of the time to be ‘wise’ let alone clear. But I’m it now. I’m next in line. When my kids come to me for advice with their ten foot tall and bullet proof attitude –  I can either take this next phase of my journey seriously or I can turn my back and try to run like hell in the other direction. My kids are the main reason I’ve decided to wise-up. You’ll have your own reasons; tapping at your shoulder, making it clear that you have wisdom the world needs.

What’s ironic is how well prepared we are for becoming an Elder. Our life becomes the perfect training ground for mastering the tools of the Elder: wisdom, understanding, compassion and patience.

READY:  You begin on the on the starting block. You get into your lane, put your toe on that line and get prepared to run. Your parents, teachers, coaches, pastors and culture prepare you – you’re a little sponge accepting information, guidance, examples, attitudes, and behaviors from the outer world. You gain energy, stamina, dreams and skills. With all the outer stimulation, you listen to your inner wisdom less and less, getting caught up in the business of becoming, achieving – devouring everything in sight.

STEADY:  Once you hit your late twenties you are (ideally) prepared to enter society as mature, responsible adult. You haven’t really questioned what you’ve been taught; you’ve just accepted what you’ve learned as truth, and then made it your truth. Toes on the line, hand on the starting block, ready, steady.   No movement is allowed –hold fast to your mark and wait for the gun. This is the time when ‘wait for it’ is heard- and false starts are common. All inner movement is potential, a gathering, a holding of energy; waiting, maturing. Ripening. Invisible. Inevitable. Outwardly, you test your skills; build your character, usually one mistake at a time. You experience at least one dark night of the soul. It’s so easy to get out of control, overextended, overwhelmed. So many false starts. You end up trying to control everything; parenting, kids, marriage, job, house, car, pets, leisure time, date nights. You are officially caught up in the loop of succeeding, possessing, proving, providing and accumulating.

GO!  Somewhere around age fifty, the starting gun went off. I didn’t even see this one coming. Surrounded by enough piles of inner and outer baggage to open my own thrift store, I had forgotten that I was all geared up for a race. To me it was just business as usual. Apparently, life had another agenda. (#letting go) – In the lineup were waistline, eyesight, children, parents, youth, health and lots of ‘stuff’. I was suddenly jolted into awareness, forced to change – ready or not. Struggling to cope with the ending of relationships, conditions, and situations that I loved deeply, having to let go when I was not ready to let go. Understanding that I wasn’t really in control after all. I was certainly underprepared for all of ‘this’.

But ‘this’ is it, isn’t it? This release is somehow what I’ve been waiting for – what life actually has been preparing me for. The gun, the signal, the great big ‘GO!’ that releases all the built up tension, all the momentum stored, all the latent energy finally let loose. Run!

Fight it.

Lean into it.

Your choice.

 

The decision you make here is a critical one. It will color all the rest of your days, your relationships, your focus and how you spend your time.

Choose to release the things you have outgrown and that which no longer serves you.  With all the outgrown remnants finally cast off; you will extricate yourselves from years of ‘should’ and ‘because I said so’. You will enter ‘why not?’ and ‘because I can!’ You will be lighter than you have ever been.

Everything to this point has prepared you to be here, now. You are on Sacred Ground. You find that gloriously, thankfully, miraculously, this race is not to be won by strategy, but by character. Your character. Shaped by years of preparation; learning, mistakes, triumphs and experience.

What have you been waiting for all your life? Start now. Pursue your story, because you finally have one to tell. You know who you are now. You know this runner. Let go of everything. Concentrate on the journey as it presents itself.  Be open to wonder.

You’ll find that you’ll begin to love the race for itself and your joyful participation in it.

Run. Because it won’t be the same without you.

drawing the neolithic way

9 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

 

These things always start off poorly. At this point I’m a bit panicky, because it looks more like a dessert rather than rock.  I stay with it, knowing that if I throw enough color at it, it will be fine. If in doubt, add more. (color, coffee, nutella…)

 

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

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

Getting the lines of ochre and sepia in, and the grey speckles. So far, everything in marker. The inner lines are outlined in black, so the point of this  is softening  up the black indentations and flattening them out visually. Nevermind the resemblance to  intestines. Or worse.

 

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

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

 

Now. Cover over the whole thing with a white pencil. rub most of the pencil off with a piece of kleenex. (beware the kleenex with the lotion!) then go back over the lightest bits with cream pencil. burnish again: if the kleenex isn’t ratty by now, push harder.

 

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

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

 

More colored pencil: Add in all those little veins with french grey 90%. Sienna, Light Umber. I speckled the entire thing with warm grey 90%. popped up the white with chinese white. I also added Rust(colored pencil) haphazardly across the top – partly because it gives a look of granite but mostly because I’m never really sure when something is done.

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

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

And there it is. A spiral cut into rock. Just like they did it in 10,000 BCE. ;)

Here it is in the overall picture:

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

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

 

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…

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.

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