Tuesday, 17 August 2010

UnOILed ~ UnspOILed! The UnOILed Coast Quilt Project

It has been several months since my last post entitled: "What is the yearning behind the work that you do?" It comes as no surprise that having actually done the exercises (What me? No, I just teach that stuff...) my life has unfolded in yet another wonderful, magical way.

In June of this year I began working exclusively with what I wanted to do, manifesting what I wrote about in my last post. As life will do I was offered (through a series of twists and turns) an opportunity to get involved as the spokesperson for the Positive Energy Quilters UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project.

Today I found myself featured in a national newspaper article on a group determined to fund-raise to fight for the "No Tankers" campaign here in British Columbia. The article link appears below:

Be careful what you wish for ~ the magic is that it happens!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

What is the yearning behind the work that you do?

Books come into our lives for a reason. Often they stay on the shelf patiently for weeks, months or even years, and then call to us urgently, just about the time we are ready to embrace the information within. One such book hailed me recently: Marry your MuseMaking a Lasting Commitment to your Creativity by Jan Phillips.

I couldn't put it down, devouring the insights and suggestions within like the starving artist I aspire not to be. One particular piece of advice wouldn't go away:


With this firmly embedded in my heart, I took a look at my work from a different another angle:

What is it that I never, ever tire of ?

Three things emerged instantaneously:
# 1 Writing in my Journal
I love journaling, its powers of self-discover, truth seeking and healing. I promote it, teach it, use it in my counseling practice, and an writing a book about it. I'd like to design them.

# 2 Working as an Intuitive
This is essentially who I am. I do intuitive sessions, write about intuition, teach how to develop it. My greeting cards and mixed media art strongly reflect that part of me.

# 3 Researching and Writing
I thrive on research. It's what drives me, and the writing is a by product of the research. Even as a youngster I had binders full of information I had gleaned from books or magazines gaining the reputation of "if you wanted to find out about something, ask Shena!"

Lately, I've become more involved in social activism. How would this fit with all of the above? I am persistent in the pursuit of facts, undistorted by the opinions or manipulations of others. It has become increasingly important for me to find out the truth, encouraging others to do the same, and then acting upon it.

So what's the common denominator?

The essence of Journalling is about finding oneself. My whole message as an Intuitive is to support people in remembering who they are and finding themselves again. Research is basically about finding out about things and with that comes knowledge that I bring to my Writing. Finding out the truth and standing up for what I believe in? That would be Social Activism.
So what is the yearning behind what I do? Finding oneself, finding one's truth, remembering who we are, being solid in that knowledge, and acting from that place of knowing. No surprise I start every journaling workshop off with the statement: "Know thyself."

What is the yearning behind your work? What is it that you never tire of? Ask yourself these questions. See what comes up for you… you'll be glad that you did!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Feast for the Soul

Last Sunday Tony roused me out of bed and into the van for a trip up Vancouver Island to a beautiful spot where we spent three hours meandering though what can only be described as a sheer delight to the senses. I'd been feeling a bit uninspired recently, okay... a LOT uninspired and, as always seems the case, he unfailingly picked the best medicine for me. Known to the locals as "Wacky Woods" the name belittles the true essence of the place. The owner of the property, several years ago, began creating his own outdoor sancuary, expressing himself in utterly unique ways both visually and verbally. A sign greets you at the beginning of the path:In the spirit of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures

The magic unfolds as you walk deeper into the woods and discover untold delights and sculptures that are thought provoking, evoke deep emotion, or simply make you smile.

Old cedars hold books with messages for the mind and the soul...

Faces from another time watch how we allow things to unfold this time around...
And on that cold Sunday afternoon the warm rays of bright sunshine floodlit certain pieces to absolute perfection.
This man and nature had worked together to create a symbiotic relationship with each other. Some of the book openings had grown over and been reclaimed by the cedar. Some of the trees had fallen or blown over and the roots became part of the landscape. Exactly as it was always meant to be.
The most amazing thing was there was no sign to show it was there, no entrance fee, no gate that closed at a certain time, nowhere to leave a comment. Just the beauty of man and nature together... at their best. We didn't want to leave this place, and I think a part of both of us remains there, safe in the knowing that man can get it right, sometimes.

Monday, 8 February 2010

What a difference a day makes

A nasty chest infection kept me home for several few weeks this winter. One of the side benefits of having to stay in bed was that I got to watch the sunset over the bay each evening out of my window.

Here are photographs taken three nights in a row at the same time each night. It reminded me of the importance as an artist and a writer to notice the subtle changes that nature and life are showing us every single moment of every single day. To take note of the differences, and to remember that although it may be the same view, same day... the overall picture is always changing.

Art Play Journals

I journal daily. I also have my art journal which is a visual/written record of my art journey. I have my work journal which contains everything work related, but I wanted to start another kind of journal – where I could… just… well… play!

I started with a spiral bound sketchbook page, some pictures from a magazine which I glued down as background and then scratched to create a distressed look, then painted over with watercolours. I decided to rub gold shoe polish randomly over the page…

Next I transferred paint from the first page to a second one using scrunched up tissue paper, then painted the suggestion of a flower with nail polish (mental note: do more with nail polish!)…

Below is the painted page on which I tested the effect of painting with mushed up tissue paper before doing the whole page above. I then glued on a picture from a magazine which will later on be painted over and then who knows what else…

I realized by the third page that the paper I was working on was way too thin so I found a nice big bound sketchbook that would accept light washes and glued the painted pages into it, cutting off the excess strips, which promptly became the basis of a woven piece. I adhered torn air mail writing paper, then laid an overwash with watered-down gold acrylic (rules? what rules?)…

Here's the back of the above page from another angle, lots of potential for another time…

Meanwhile I painted yet another page with the excess paint from the woven piece above. I smooshed some circles in watercolour crayons, painted over some more, this time blending the crayoned circles, crayoned some more, painted and blended yet again, then used interference paints to go over all of the circles…

Each time I had excess paint or medium I mushed it onto another sheet of paper, even the paper towel I used to rub one medium onto one page got torn up and collaged onto another. In short, I had a blast!

So now I have the foundation of five pages to continue playing on and I am completely taken with using an Art Play Journal to explore, experiment and above all… play.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


In my work I often meet people whose beliefs or the situation they find themselves in, are in direct conflict with my own beliefs. My job is to "get my ego the heck out of here" and work intuitively to receive guidance and information that will help them make the right choices for themselves.

On a personal level however, I have strong opinions and a very strong belief system which I tend to keep to myself unless asked, or provoked. It was the latter that caused me to write this post.

There is a relatively new age way of thinking which appears to have grown in popularity over the last decade; in that we each of us chose our own lives prior to birth.

My intuitive hackles have always risen quite unspiritually whenever I have been confronted with this particular concept, especially as it is generally pronounced in a very condescending way, directed at another party who is in the midst of some major challenges.

First and foremost I'd really like to know: Who said?
Who said that this is the way things are?

If we are completely and totally honest we will admit that absolutely nothing that is the basis of any belief system or religion on this earth can be 100% proven. That is not to say that it may not be true. And that is not to say that we don't have the right to believe it. But we have no irrefutable proof. To callously proclaim this kind of dogma to someone who was traumatically sexually abused as a child for example, is at the very least utterly irresponsible and at the most, downright cruel.

This week I heard this same dogma applied to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. I cannot begin to express my horror at the inhumanity of anyone who can calmly sit back at this time and pronounce "oh well, they chose to come into that life."

I can't wrap my head around that way of thinking. From where I'm standing, all this serves to do is make the person devoid of responsibility to feel anything, respond in any way, or heaven forbid, help another human being. Which is ironic based on the fact that this dogma stems from us taking responsibility for what happens to us in our lives. Their life? Their choice? Not ours to interfere with? Now isn't that just handy? This dogma isn't about responsibility. It's a total cop-out!!!

I don't have any answers. I don't remotely profess to know how this whole thing we call life works. I am lucky enough to be able to work intuitively for others when they ask me to and get guidance and information for them that is always supportive and encouraging. What I do know is that I have never, ever received any information that involved guilt and judgment.

I don't believe that I came into this world being meanly tricked by being forced to chose ghastly experiences for myself. That's pretty sick if you really think about it! I do believe that whoever or whatever created me did so with unconditional love. And I often can't help but wonder what part of the word "unconditional" is it that we still have so much trouble believing?

What happened to humanity? What happened to compassion? What happened to simply acknowledging a person's, a nation's pain? What happened to just giving a damn?

An earthquake hit Haiti. Thousands have been killed. Thousands more are without food or water, and little or no aid a week after the fact, despite what the mass media will have us believe.

Light a candle tonight to show that these people matter. Because they do. They didn't chose what happened to them. But something did. An unfathomable tragedy of epic proportions which is still unfolding. And each and every one of us can take responsibility. Can do something.

We can, at the very, very least, care.