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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Culitavting Abundance - guest post by author Brian Leaf

I'm happy to introduce you to Brian Leaf, author of the recently released "Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi." Here are his thoughts on cultivating abundance. Love the confidence/dating analogy! All the best from my creative oasis to yours,  Jill

Cultivating Abundance

We’ve all experienced it. In our most pathetic, clingy, desperate hour of need, the Universe delivers … absolutely nothing.

It seems a sick joke, but, in fact, whatever force or God runs the show seems not to respond to disempowered displays of self-pity. She seems, instead, to respond generously to empowered non-attachment (which reminds me quite a bit of dating in my twenties – I always seemed to do best when I was already feeling attractive and confident.)

So why? Why does God (and dating) reward confidence? Why is it that when I am freaking out, feeling that I will just die if I don’t hear from my agent, that I hear only crickets? But that when I get to my cushion to meditate, and when I let go, releasing to faith, that I return to my inbox with a fresh book deal awaiting me?

Here’s the answer. This place where we live is a gymnasium where our souls do soul push-ups, and since self-pity does nothing to build these spiritual muscles, it is discouraged. It is our path to find our true selves while here on Earth. To drop into our hearts and souls. To experience that we, ourselves, are each part of God. Claiming the opposite, that we are helpless and alone, is incorrect and ineffective.

When we are lost in clinging and self-pity, we’re like toddlers tantruming for chewing gum. And God, like a loving parent, won’t give in to something that isn’t healthy or safe for us.

Nice idea, right? But how do you get confident and become grounded in the seat of your true self? The answer: meditation, of course. Meditation is the practice, over time, of switching from indentifying with our thoughts and transient emotional states, to identifying instead with our deeper selves. And when we are connected to our deeper selves, if even for only moments, we can see more clearly and choose the path that works out our Karma and brings us toward freedom.

When we get grounded, resting in the true seat of our selves, in our authentic nature, seeing clearly and choosing that path of vitality and freedom, energy flows unbidden, the world falls at our feet, and God unlocks the arc.

Brian Leaf, M.A. is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at http://www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com.

Based on the new book Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi ©2012 by Brian Leaf.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Glad to see Brian made it to the great state of Texas!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bye-Bye Overwhelm - Hello Fun Bloggin' & Lots of Amazing Artists

Jill and  Mosaic Butterfly by Juli Hulcy of www.Artquirks.org
Okay, I'll admit that I've slipped a bit behind in my posts lately and I'll be happy to blame my slight perfectionistic leanings and good old procrastination for that. I have several wonderful stories and lots of great photos to share, so as they've slowly piled up over the past few weeks I've felt more and more overwhelmed by the prospect of sharing them with you in a timely and pretty manner.

Luckily, today it dawned on me that I am, after all, a Master Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach and I have the tools to break down this overwhelm and get back to posting.

First, though I have three or four different stories I'm eager to share, guess what, I don't have to share them all at once. Once at a time will do quite nicely, thank you. (breaking projects down into small, doable steps is a wonderful part of this creativity coaching method)

Fun sign in Front of Juli Hucy's amazing chick coop (sad my photo didn't turn out - it looks like an old-fashioned circus car - super cool! Lucky chicken!)

So today, I GET TO (no reason to tell myself I HAVE TO do something I really enjoy doing) write the story I want to share about the White Rock Lake Artists' Studio Tour here in East Dallas a few weeks ago. Creative Oasis Coaching was a proud sponsor of the 20th anniversary of this East Dallas tradition and it was a blast getting out to see as many of the studios as I could over the weekend.

My Sis-in-Law Shanny went with me, and I do happen to love her, so this photo opportunity at Juli Hucy's funky studio was perfect. (check out Juli's work at www.artquirks.org)
One of the most surprising stops along the tour was the White Rock Weaving Center, which looks from the outside like an unassuming one room shop, but as we walked further and further in we realized there were more than seven rooms and spaces filled with beautiful, color threads and yarns, looms of all shapes and sizes and the wonderful women creating various weavings throughout. It was truly a feast for the senses. 

I would love to wrap myself up in all of the super soft and colorful wool in the spinning room. 

Did you know there's such a thing as painting with felt? Check out this gorgeous, textile – so lovely to see and feel – a 3-dimensional depiction of a photograph created on canvas with soft felted wool. 

We visited the inviting backyard studio of Sonya Shinn Edwards and enjoyed watching her work on a few canvases and sell one or two just in the short time we were there. (Yay! Love people who support independent artists!) And that's what the tour is all about – exposing people the fabulous variety of talented artists we have right here in East Dallas – many of them in my own hood.


I could have spent all afternoon on the funky and fabulous grounds of David B. Hickman and his eclectic sculptures. He and his wife have truly created an artistic oasis. Check out this brilliant mosaic fireplace in their back house. (I know it's wrong to covet - but I want one!!!)


I was able to find a few lovely things to buy for myself including a Japanese style vase created by Lynn Wilkes Armstrong of both hands studio.


I also loved the photography and mixed media pieces shown at silent G imagery. Their styles encompassed a wide variety of images and themes and were so engaging and magical!


I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the woman who started this all 20 years ago – hosting the first event in her backyard with other artistic neighbors – Marty Ray and her husband Richard Ray. Marty creates beautiful pottery and her husband paints. 


Richard's work shed in the back reminded me of my granddad's garage where he hung all matter of rusting treasures. I wonder if he realized he was creating art in his own way?

Check out his Vangoghesque painting of White Rock Lake. I love it!


Of course there was no way I could visit all of the 50 artists and five art centers in just two days, but if you visit the tours' website at www.whiterockartists.com you can check out even more of the many talented teachers, artists and supporters that came together to open their studios and hearts to the Dallas community and do so each fall. I know they'd love for you to join them in 2013!

Fun sculpture made from an old tree stump, because that's what you get when you view life through a creative lens!

Until next time, all the best from my creative oasis to yours,

p.s. - Last tool, I gave myself an hour to create a blog that was not perfect, but good enough to share, and that's what you have here. Hope you enjoyed!