My jaw hurts

how strange it is to notice it
clenching less often
while still anchoring itself
into itself,
as though it will save me
from all of my fearful thoughts.

or from words ~ useful
communication, where muscles
loosen, and the space that is created,
has options to offer others.

(so glad I’m not an expert).

what would i say if i
said everything that I wanted to say
as beautifully as i wish i could,
or if i simply accepted –

this moment,

exactly as it is?

>>>pain is a reminder of life, and living:
it is a reminder that we are all equally
subjected to

all the feels.

the good, the bad, the ugly ~
why settle for only a bland sky?
why settle for that which catches your eye?

why settle at all…

move through it ~
this is life, and it is living through you, but your
body is not the extent of your consciousness – it is only
a small part.

***
I’m very much looking forward to my retreat with Francis Lucille at the end of the month. Consciousness is having fun with pain here, why not?

Art in the woods, a new light coming

claude-monet-painting-by-the-edge-of-a-wood-1885

Art in the woods

As of yet, I still do not have a favorite style of art. My tastes seem to have changed throughout the decades. But I do find some subject themes repeat in my field of interest such as those by the descriptors: “art in the woods,” “pictures within pictures,” and “landscape and subject blend together.” For example, the image above is a painting by John Singer Sargent of a scene with a painting being composed by Claude Monet. This painting has the appeal of both the woods, and a picture within a picture.

Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood John Singer Sargent 1885, Impressionism, portrait,  oilcanvas

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the-hammock

Landscape and subject blend together

Everything about the above painting tells me to relax. It does it gently so I don’t have to feel bad about a thing. The subject is a part of the scene, with a touch of texture expressed by the brush to express the differentiation between the subject’s pink dress and the dimensionless ground of this wooded area, where the hammock is suggested to hang from trees out of view. The red of the umbrella stands out – this relaxing woman is well-prepared for any occasion, and she can rest peacefully on her hammock in the confetti-like woods.

The Hammock Giovanni Boldini, c.1872 – c.1874 , Impressionism, genre painting,  oil, panel

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a-birch-grove-1

Art in the Woods

One can imagine seeing apparitions in this piece. It’s a peaceful view of nighttime and the hint of the magic of the forest, with its glowing hues, and with the green and yellow “lights” it is a suggestion of an almost black-light luminosity. This reminds me of many of my most favorite forest scenes.

A Birch Grove Arkhip Kuindzhi , Березовая роща  c.1880  Impressionism, landscape

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I saved my favorites for the last ones. Somehow they represent something new that is on its way for me – these paintings both fill me with intrigue. They are both by John Singer Sargent, who I discovered today, and who by the painting below, inspired me to post today. Since the painting below is not in public domain, I have linked to the video about the painting. Having received stargazer lilies for my birthday this year, and having particular affections for both the rose and carnations… everything about this painting below, I love.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, by John Singer Sargent, around 1885
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the-sphinx
The Sphinx, John Singer Sargent, 1890 – 1891

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Constructive questions

Part of the trouble with the brain drain – from the planet – is the lack of open-ended questions in our world. People attempt to answer questions, which one would think is the purpose of them, but upon closer inspection, it is the question itself which may be the empowering factor. We live in a world of quizzes with correct or incorrect answers. That immediate gratification factor, of being able to determine “wrong or right” about any answer – as on a quiz or a test – is making us all not so smart.

Two blog posts ago, I wrote asking questions about blogging, social media and obligations. Many of us try to “fit in” blogging into our busy lives, while we try to make an income and survive, or while we try to be present with our families, friends, and while for many of us, in the meantime while we narrow down ‘everything’ (say our “being empathic”) so that we can focus on one patient or client at a time, so we can “do the next good thing.”

I’m about to head over to yoga class, remembering the positions I once formed myself into as a child, in order to “better myself” or stretch, or so that my mom wouldn’t be so bothered by my questions; hence, I had something “to do.” Here however, I have a luxury, a luxury that many gray hairs afford me: QUESTIONS, and a little bit of blog magic. I can pose some questions and then go about my day, and with the magic of blogging, meanwhile cogs and wheels start turning in places I couldn’t have even imagined, and gold nuggets drop on the floor falling, potentially, from the sky…

1). How can we have a society where the food that is good to eat is not overly expensive?

2). How can we develop feedback systems that don’t overly tax dopaminergic systems and augment addictions in people?

3). How can we help people who need to “take a break” from things, find that space, and see that “letting go” is exactly what will save us. Perhaps.

I like the number 3 today. Questions ended.

*A note about astrology:
As an astrologer, I have been studying “the stars” and my relationship to the stars, more specifically, since the time I was about 10 years old or younger. I was answering quizzes about psychology before my little brain was even in a “person-like-shape” Back then I was an extrovert. Now, I am an introvert. Some wonderful writers coined the term “extroverting introvert,” which can also be applied. Regardless of labels, what I have discovered throughout my years of observation and reflection, is that, I tend to communicate more during Mercury retrogrades (so far). This particular retrograde is conjoining my natal Sun in Leo. It brings me out for as long as I am able…And my Sagittarius MC is active.

So, what say you?

Shadow Selfie – and on Not giving up!

Another ‘Day of Mindfulness’ event, and the “witness” of never leaving, never returning… is ‘always’ leaving and ‘always’ returning. How many steps have we walked together?

I’ve been keeping record ever since May of 2017 of my steps with myself, but even earlier than that when my disk herniated in 2012 and seeped out triggering my nerve and years of confusing debilitating pain, confused muscles and who knows what else – a month after I moved across country; it changed everything in my life. Then I got married in 2013, and then in 2014 I started grad school part time, doing yoga in class to get through the pain at first. Technically, I have one more year to go of internship and class.

I feel a lot better, but not without many setbacks along the way. Fortunately none of the setbacks were complete and all-encompassing – I found myself digging smaller holes to climb out of each time. I’m very unamazing, but I did write a poetry book, which is something I am proud of.

Since then, I’ve seen people overcome back issues much quicker and be far more determined and dedicated than I was at the time. At the time, I dug my hole – on one level – and on another level, I was leveling-up and being much stronger than I ever have been. There’s so many ways to look at things, I suppose it depends on the mind-set we are in which interpretation gets to hold the most weight for the longest time; therefore re-patterning the brain connections.

Everything felt like it needed to change, and it has. Everything still is changing.

Of all I learned, most of all: I cannot compare myself to others. If I do, it always hurts inexorably. I’ve watched so many people fly by me in the race of life – so many people with good solid abilities be brave and continuous. There are so many people that I admire, that I almost basically admire anyone. Let’s just get up today, and tomorrow, and every day! Let’s just keep going…

When I first started grad school, I thought that my gratitude for my improving situation could carry me through! I thought, after all, I re-trained myself how to walk!  But by now I was in California, and all the people around me seemed just so much more amazing and so much more able. Hey, other states have really cool and talented people too!

Many days along this road, it’s just been, well, hard to love myself. But it wasn’t until about 2010-2011 that I found a way to love myself, anyways. What I learned is that I didn’t find a way to love myself until I had something I had to walk away from. I needed to experience the depths of my despair in order to realize the urgency of my need to self-love. Then it came. Also, my nana passed, and I held her hand as she died (2007). Love came.

But, when I thought I was done – and had cleared the “boards” of my life, had my whole life ahead of me: I was on my way to the next major challenge, years of back outage and struggle. It would be an untrue story to stay that it was all struggle: these were also the brightest, the best, the most love-filled times of my life – even as my social circle mostly waned, and I felt so lonely at times.

I think this is just the way life is: it gives us everything – the good and the bad – and the in-between. This is how we grow and develop, and it is OK. I am always just beginning. This is my reality. The more I learn, the less I know.

What is mindfulness about? Well, it’s not about a full-mind (we all know that!), nor it is about all the noise in our heads as we practice our steps in walking meditation. It’s not about walking through just one or two “dark-sides,” or doing some shadow work in a couple of workshops.  It’s about being willing to continue…despite all that junk that’s going on. It’s about constantly signing up and constantly narrowing down, and honing what’s important and valuable to oneself in this precious, valuable life.

That’s what it is about.

You see that speed bump up there? That’s part of what makes the ride “doable.” It kind of looks like a DNA strand, and the shadow – well, I think I prefer shadow selfies. That’s how I see myself, as I blur on the landscape…skidding off bumps, sometimes I see them – sometimes I don’t!

While at the day of my mindfulness, I caught a glimpse of one of the young monk’s books and it said, “be. silly.” on the cover. Isn’t that right? Do we do all this, just to ‘let go’ ?  Well, yes, why yes… we do.

You see that picture up there of my hand? Well, sometimes I have to just ‘hand it to myself,’ if i can except myself, while not measuring up to the expectations of others, or the abilities of others, I can keep going, and keeping going… is exactly what I am doing.

Now my hand is an incredible claw that will dig me up out of my hole with the silliness of the moment. I can still cry and be serious on a dime – whatever life requires of me.

You see that buddha up there? Broken in 3? It’s about being both broken and not-broken.

It’s about living in the middle. I don’t ever see myself as taking on the role of the expert, or knowing one, but one day – I hope people learn something from me that gives them value, value they make for themselves. One day I hope to be that strength for others that I had and have to continuously keep becoming for myself. A lot of days I am that person, and I get all the pleasure of making a difference in the lives of others, but most days – I still feel like I’m not making enough of a difference, or healthy enough to ‘show up more,’ but I have to be patient… and find the skip in my step, no matter what. No matter what is going on inside of me or out there in politics and war. I have to find the anchor in my claw-shadow-hand. It will pull me up, unexpectedly from any disaster I find myself in! It’s the superpower I’ve been cultivating… it’s entirely unamazing – but it’s worth the whole shadow!

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A little bit about astrology: This upcoming eclipse on August 11, 2018 will be the last in the N.Node in Leo series. It’s conjoining my N.Node in Leo, within a 2 degree orb, and conjoining my Leo Sun. Remembering back 18 or so years ago to the last N.Node in Leo transit, well, it wasn’t easy. I was single then, even with that 7th house Sun. In fact, I had spent a lot of time alone in my life, self-reliant (S.Node in Aquarius, 1st house). But, there’s something great and new around the corner. I can just “feel” it. It’s free and it’s fun, and I will never stop striving for it. The bliss of the N.Node Leo “fun” is how we learn to dance while we cultivate ‘courage’ and ‘strength,’ overcoming even the most realistic of fears. This is what Leo is about, not the glitz and glamor that everyone confuses Leo with, but who knows…

Yes, recently I caught a glimpse of a man in a parking lot who it looked like his wife and daughter where heaping gold glitter onto him. What was he doing? Preparing for a music video? I have no idea. But, he glowed. He laughed. Maybe he was preparing for something big…. or maybe, he was just having fun. The answers are inside. All the answers are inside. Is there really any difference to ‘just having fun’ and ‘making it big?” You tell me. Life is already quite a modest affair… or is it, really, more like a dandelion bursting through the concrete: a regular miracle of strength and life force!  May you all be ready to live your best dreams…or at least have fun getting ready…as we smile through the tears.

 

Making a Difference

We are between eclipses and astrology continues. What about where we are beyond that, when not lost in translation? I have been taking my time and focusing my energy on taking care of my home and my personal needs so that I can support those who I care for offline – attending workshops and working on my center, developing technique and building up my qi.  I’ve been more dedicated to my private practice of journaling, meditation, and spontaneously creative breath work. 🙂

Before, when I started this blog, I was more “out there,” dispersed and now, it’s clear to me, that my immediate environment  – the neighborhood, etc, are more my proximity, is where I literally dwell, even from a shamanistic perspective. I think part of it is because I was actually moving in 2012 (blog started in 2011) and then I moved again in 2013, and then nearby to the previous location in 2015; since then, I’ve gotten settled, reclaimed more of myself from fragmentation, and have started running ‘deep’ once again. I’ve been going through transformation in a number of ways as I interact with all sorts of teachers in person, and when I meet with clients or patients in person. It’s really about re-forming myself, finding places where my illusions keep me from the present moment, and deepening my practice of self-work.  Getting good results is inspiring; it can also be a reminder to me that I need to keep at it.

Also the shifts have a lot to do with me getting much more physically healthy and being busy away from old focuses, and into new ones – or at least increasingly into the endeavors I started more recently, a couple years ago. As a result, blogging has not been a high priority for a while now. The poetry isn’t coming as regularly, but maybe it will return again.

I have some questions about the purpose of the internet and blogging right now as it relates to where my needs and those of others’ intersect.

I do believe that many bloggers are here to make a difference, as a main motivation. To me, that’s one of the keystones of blogging. What to do, though, when one is getting their ‘connectedness’ offline primarily. What to do when wanting to show people that caring is happening, but the focus is more deliberate now, and definitely self-centered.

When I get a text or two in reply to me, and I’m told, “you made me smile,” I feel like that’s a complete moment – that was making a difference. When I think about how I will use my newly acquired and honing skills, I think: YAY! Where can I be of service… next? I love that my work is offline!

Those bloggers who I most want to connect to, are people who want to make a difference, and already are making a difference. I see it all the time. Not living online daily, while knowing that there’s this online world, with online connections that are taking place, and people are interacting and supporting one another. It’s really a brilliant thing!

So ~ This is a gratitude post.

Also some questions:

  1. How can blogging best serve people who are only part-time or 1/4 time (or less) bloggers?
  2. How can we maintain relationships that have infrequent interactions? (i’ve had years of this and I love those friends/family dearly!!)
  3. How can we keep connected for the teamwork purpose of creating a healthier, happier planet with people who aren’t being left behind?
  4. How can we allow for people to be free from the internet for whatever period of time they need, and then be ‘welcomed back’ again?
  5. How has the internet and social media transformed and shaped social obligations?

A day of mindfulness

My focus has been renewed, and I seem to be away from blogging more and more during my current cycle – which is very healthy and supportive for me! Times always change and so maybe I will be back again to blogging when it is most beneficial.

While my spirituality is owned by no one particular teacher or set of teachings, I follow many wise persons who have come before me, as well as my inner guidance.

About a decade ago I began meditating with a group in a different state, on another coast. It was my home then, and sat for years with this group. I also sit alone and regularly meditate, with or without family, and sometimes it just so happens unplanned meditation with classmates while in different locations: serendipity, yes.

Since then I’ve been making my life on the opposite coast, and settling happened, and day of mindfulness and schedules converged, so as to enjoy a meaningful and in-depth experience at Deer Park Monastery.

The last time the “main monk” and founder was present there, I was outside suffering from back injury. I’m happy to report that I’m much improved!

I only hope that one day Thay will be in the same place at the same time, once more! I believe Thay is still recovering in Thailand. He established Deer Park Monastery and a satellite 🛰 meditation sangha , and now this. Many beautiful monks and mindfully kind people dwell and can be found sitting and eating peacefully.

Here are some pictures! May your day/days be filled with peacefulness and gratitude…

a soft focus

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~ The power that i seek is within myself and it seeks me now ~

How often do we transform ourselves in the fire of the forces surrounding us,
the forces that are shaping us everyday as we ask within and listen for an answer from that still small voice, “What is it that I really, really want?”

Besides loving and being loved, having sustenance: food, water, shelter, I think that each of us has a powerful and unique message that speaks directly to our hearts, and its okay to be different. It’s okay to be different and be among the same. Some voices may just say a simple and certain request, “peace.” For others need community, and differences of opinion, the excitement of discussion. Not everyone has exactly the same needs for human or animal or nature’s contact. I think that ought to be respected. I think this is what it means when we talk about compassion, it is about having the humanity to see the equality in all, while also allowing for the variance of what that equality looks like, without divisive judgements, and impositions. We live in an era where roles and designations are fading quickly, essential categories are in question for the past is rapidly disappearing without a trace in a world of technology and continuous innovation. We don’t just build from the past anymore, we forge the future within ourselves.

The beauty and capacity in people is astonishing to me as it is in this flower – a soft focus – a momentary glimpse of phase of life, and all are brilliant moments. Why seek to be in another stage of life from the one you are in? Relish where you are, exactly while you determine what that means, to be where you are now.

Sometimes it means, “Who needs a ‘what’s next’?” I’ll see it when I it arrives…that which I seek, seeks me now.

Falling in Love

falling in love is not something that happens just once,
it might start in seemingly personal ways, but it is endless and
expansive

my husband and i were out at a plant nursery, where we divided and
chased after our respective whims and I found myself

photographing,

and falling in love with this vine. Partly it was because it was fuzzy,
but mostly, it was the energy of the vine.

we will be celebrating our half-a-decade anniversary soon
(my husband and I, not me and the vine – but in some ways,
yes. that too.)

i’m already celebrating,

celebrating how this joyous experience is mostly everywhere, most
often, most of the time.

the same day, children were everywhere, it seemed
(no matter where we went)
playing musical instruments.

it was the day I really remembered how much I like to sing.
and a couple of days after a friend and study buddy listed from the top of her head,(unprompted) a list! of
her favorite poems from the book I wrote and published in 2017

Starting with, “Sing. out. 🙂 (: Sing in.” 

the falling in love just keeps going…
in this real live world, where non-attachment means
the certainty of connection.

As the Full Moon approaches, I am thanking the symbolism of Saturn: reliable, steadfast…

As I prepare for the Autumn, I know a re-newed focus awaits.

 

luminous

the luminous self
will reach you
without the capital
‘S’
it’s so non-specific ! that,

it’s specifically heard, pin-pointed, deeply felt,

observed, exactly as it is.
no emphasis needed

no mistaking when you are called directly,
and your attention is

full

of the grace
who knows you
intimately.

Ka Malana ©2018
Moon VOC -> in Scorpio to Sag.
Listening to dramatic music, that
not everyone might like…, and that
makes it even more delicious.

nothing to seek

There is nothing to seek
lest one seek the wind and
aim to put it in his pocket.

Goals come and go
and are fun, but each post
reveals its way to every
other, an endless string
of passers, passing by,
all marks of time –
in different, creative
pathways.

What about going nowhere
and seeking nothing?

Does it seem,
really,
all that dull
a world?

I think not.

Ka Malana ©2018

I will raise my voice

I will raise my voice
my voice inside myself
that will not be contained,
nor constrained.

I will rise within, first.

* * *

I will open my eyes
and see –
restoration will be given to this land;
its promises and potentials
shall be
recreated,
renewed.

I will grow a sanctuary, with this vision.

* * *

I will call out to each
and every child confused
about where his parent might
be, at a moment’s notice.

you are seen.
you are loved.

No more school shootings,
No more crazy-cruelty.

I will keep on living until I see a
better world, and that is my defiance.

We are not small, we who are in remembrance
and we who are witnessing…

Ka Malana ©2018

********************************************************************************
Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice Chart

I’m liking the mystic rectangle and the grand trine in this chart. Go ahead and point it out if you’d like. I also enjoy seeing the transiting North Node in Leo conjoining Venus in Leo. I’m offering no interpretations at this time. I’m fresh out of that sort of offering. But I think a picture can be worth more, anyways.

Mercury is in Cancer, my natal Mercury’s home. I’m nearing my Mercury return. It is what you make it. I’m working on that in my own heart/chart, finding my heart, and strengthening it, every day. North Node in Leo, for me, is about finding courage – and that – I am certain of. How many cycles will I need to strengthen my natal Sun? I don’t know…, but I do know that I will keep finding my way in the dark, or in the light – it matters not.

 

coming from a small space.

small_fern-t2
Stock photo

Exploring a perspective…

Our society doesn’t really enjoy smallness. When we refer to the ‘small,’ it’s often pejorative and the word is tied to phrases like “small-minded” and “playing small.” Smallness, the concept, is often coupled with ignorance, and not being a “major player,” which in our society, usually means ‘a bad thing.’ Granted, ignorance is not very well supported for good reason; maybe living in a world where everyday people are constantly trying to “learn” and constantly enrolling in classes has demonstrated an educational industry that has simply gotten out of hand. If you aren’t teaching these days, or running workshops, what are you doing?! The message is the same: everyone ought to be a leader, a teacher, a giver, a bestower of “the way”!

In our society, the paradigm is to aspire to be the inspirer of others (most influential!), taking big, bold actions demonstrating ‘great’ progress, demonstrating command of personal willpower, great personal fortitude, and a thick skin; meanwhile leaving room to express “vulnerability” in leadership which may or may not even feel vulnerable to the people divulging their “secrets.” After all, this is another ‘trained’ phenomenon. People are actually instructed to be vulnerable, to make themselves “real.” Each decade another set of instructions comes from research and leadership circles, and the advice trickles down to all, as each tries to become “more like” those instructions for success, the proven success. Then those who read those messages and repeat and disperse this information to their groups, ad infinitum – until maybe, maybe this news is old news. Maybe we need a new type of success – one that doesn’t look like all the other options available outside of us.

In essence, the message has been “be the best” – yet, even if you are being the best ‘you,’ how would anyone be able to recognize that? How would they even know what to look for? How could they offer support? That’s how different your success could look!

Nowadays the push is for each player to be the one who scores for the whole team – the shining star – the one who makes the biggest difference leading to the success for all. That’s still a level of shine that isn’t as shared as it could be! We value teams only in the sense that the teams occupy a great space due to the leader’s charisma, charm, and personal effectiveness: specifically if that leader is the coach. We want to point out one person to either blame or punish for success for failure.

It seems we value leaders above all, and there’s this underlying disdain for “the collective,” often relegated as “the unconscious” masses. We have to of course, “wake them up.” The entire concept of smallness in our society seems to relate back to a need for “protection” and “encouragement.” Everyone, it seems, should celebrate big gains in wisdom, intelligence, finances, etc. Progress should be unequivocally upward and regularly consistent, for all. Underlying these messages are some worthwhile intentions: we do want everyone to be happy. So, what does happiness real look like, though? Is it really the same for everyone?

Is there a possible different world, in which small places can hang out without being bull-dozed by the great and the awesome?

Are people allowed to simply “exist”?

When did we start attacking “existence” so strongly – all the while celebrating that existence in the non-human realms? I used to do fundraising for animal welfare groups, and many of the individuals I would talk to literally hated humans, above all.

Many of us love nature; we love how it exists. But if anyone actually tries to emulate nature, that individual will receive exactly zero praise. It might even be fought by the powers that be that apply pressure to this existing. This isn’t about praise however. This is about being allowed to live and let live, without the constant encouragement for self-disdain for being ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ and even gasp, “slow to grow.” Are we not giving enough, doing enough? Have we not changed the planet yet? How can this relentless pursuit to be big and grand, occupying as much space as possible physical or digital, while being uber productive, be the way to freedom and peace – for everyone?!

However there are a minority of quotes/adages that go something like this, “great is the enemy of good.” Each quote and concept needs some deconstruction.

I offer these thoughts merely as a reflection, realizing that this viewpoint that I am experimenting with is also temporary and transient.

 

My passion!

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Words.

for every time, i couldn’t word it, “it” slipped from me and word confined me and stifled me and “it-brush” didn’t have a problem with my choices. The brush, had texture, the brush had ears for every word I couldn’t translate from the other side of language, or what language? Or what symbol?

Artist.

—->Who I am.

not in my dna nor my Q&A (but there, too).
not in where I live and who I know
or all the pulses I’ve felt now.

it’s not in one piece of art that I make, but in all the art that i haven’t made yet.

or how vulnerable I make myself to the “strangers” who seem to want to talk to me wherever I go. even when quiet time may be most appropriate for me. I say hi and try to be as friendly and welcoming and open as possible.

the rhythm of the drum 🥁
The wildness in me who refuses to be scheduled by others.

the me that is happy to connect with people and Happy to close my shutters and say “me time, or close friend time, or family time.”

the selfless “i” who employs much time figuring out what would be best for others (and that I be myself. And how can I know that without asking. And that I sleep soundly. And that the ways of the world and the business of things will never confine my spirit).

my Spirit.

Ka Malana 🌅 2018

the painting is what it is. This piece I wrote felt more like spoken word. I hadn’t planned on posting daily to my blog, so I don’t know how long I will keep at this, but for now…

it is what it is

social media has been awkward. I started writing on this subject but still haven’t managed to communicate in a way that I can build on yet.

Oh – I forgot to add one of my favorite songs that came on while painting – here’s the live version!

RIP Mr. Bourdain

As many losses as we experience, as a people, so grows our courage and our ability to face what we face, each day – and when we find the resources, we want to share them, and so we do. Thank you for this post Venus Lotus. Sometimes we allow that sense of loss and confusion to help guide us back to remembering why we are here and how each and every one of us is worthy of peacefulness

Venus💎Lotus

“As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” -Anthony Bourdain

SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources 

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