Iolana ~ "Soaring Bird" ( Love Gives Life Within)

I FINALLY MADE IT TO HAWAII!

Pictures are a thousand words but seeing in person goes beyond a thousand pictures.

My daughter just graduated from college with Summa Cum Laude honors and she got a job at Disney so to celebrate my husband and I took her on a trip to Hawaii. Fourteen years ago, I was  headed to Hawaii for my 20th Anniversary but not long before we were to leave my husband gave me another option,
to redo our 1950's bathroom and add a sunroom along with a diamond wedding ring (When we got married we were so young and broke so we used my grandmother's ring instead. I will add here that I got a beautiful one for my 25th anniversary).  So being the practical person I am I chose to let Hawaii go, at least for a while. However I must say, it was not an easy decision and with it came some big heartache, (some wailing and some big fights). "I mean after all, it's Hawaii. Isn't that everyone's dream?"
 So this is why it was a REALLY, REALLY BIG DEAL FOR ME to come to the land of Paradise.

"I mean after all,
it's Hawaii.
Isn't that everyone's dream?" 

But I will say, Hawaii never stopped whispering to me. Finally her voice became my voice and then my daughter's as well, it wasn't long before Hawaii spoke even to my husband. Can you hear her calling?
Be still and listen.

"Can you hear her calling?" 

Having less than a week to spend in Hawaii, we decided to focus our trip on Maui. We were NOT disappointed! Maui truly lives up to everything I ever heard about it. It is as close to paradise that a place on this Earth can be. I mean it is gorgeous! Of course, I know that we bring ourselves wherever we go, so no place can take away our troubles but it can help us get in touch with ourselves on a deeper level so things in our life can be put in their proper perspectives.
Maui gave me a gentle reminder to slow down and observe, for everything is created from the inside out.  

"Maui Time."

 

Here are some fun pictures of our adventures. Horseback riding, snorkeling, sightseeing and good food. 

We are leaving Maui with many wonderful memories! O'Hana, we are all ONE family and Earth is our home. 

We are leaving Maui with many wonderful memories!
O'Hana, we are all ONE family
and Earth is our home. 

Here is a short video showing my process and the inspiration. 

Beautiful spiritual moments in Maui. 

The Gorgeous Maui Skylines.

O'Hana, we are all ONE family
and Earth is our home. 

So many adventures so many good times.

"Here is my interpretation
of the inspiring land of gentle transformation. "

 

I designed the painting around the four elements, (earth, wind, fire and water) which connects everything and everyone. My hope is to connect the heart and mind with a feeling of Oneness.

I chose the name Iolana for the Hawaiian girl because it means "soaring bird" which has always been the image we associate with freedom or transformation. Since birds have the ability to fly above they can see life from a higher perspective. I also chose to add the title "Love Gives Life Within" because it is a Hawaiian saying that I think best sums up my experience on Maui. It opens the heart and nudges us to go within. Although our body has 5 senses our soul connects us through our intuition, peace, trust and empathy. We have to learn to trust what our soul sees and feels. It is our inner knowing. We have 7 chakras or 7 spiritual doorways. Each has a meaning and a connection to everything. We learn through these doorways. This painting is my attempt to share my soul connection to Hawaii.
 
I don't always want to share my inspiration or interpretation of a painting because I want the viewer to find their own message but this one wanted to be heard so I will try to share my story. As you can see, Iolana, is shown  not only blending in with the environment she is one with it. I tried to create a harmonious connection to everything around her. Even with a brewing storm and fire blazing in her hands, she isn't knocked off of her center. She is at peace with all that is.

I will begin at her crown and go down to the root but then I will connect back to the seagull, who represents freedom. There are 7 Plumerias representing the 7th chakra called the crown chakra. The Plumerias are gently flowing into the waves of emotional transformation (reminding us to allow the emotions to flow effortlessly even in the midst of the storms of life).The green lei around her neck is flowing and connecting her throat down through the heart chakra and on to the root. It represents the healing power of the throat and heart chakras which connects us to our root and then with the world. When we are able to lovingly speak our truth and open the heart we can hear the world around us as well. Next you can see that Iolana is holding the flames of a blazing fire which connects the control chakra (our will) and sacral chakra (our sexual and creativity chakra). This is where our passions and desires create our world.. It is also the place that allows us to burn up and heal our karma  (the healing of ancestral, childhood, and sexual wounds). Three red flowers are seen below the fire, representing the trinity of life and the transformation of the father, the mother and the child. From here we can pull our attention to Iolana's grass skirt. You can easily see that her skirt is blending in with the sand. This symbolizes her her grounded presence with the Earth and her root chakra which is also known as the foundation chakra. When we are grounded within ourselves we are grounded with our world. And lastly but definitely not  least, the seagull is soaring right above her head and the crashing waves which is a symbol of freedom even in midst of chaos. Freedom is not only a state of mind, it is our soul's birthright. We are the ones who imprison ourselves so it is up to us to set ourselves free. However remembering this is a journey and it takes as long as it takes.  But when are ready to remember with all our chakras , it can be only one breath away. 

A couple of my never ending lessons of life!

"Transformation is the journey of life,
it is not the destination." 

"Nothing ever stays the same." 

"Be still and know ALL is exactly as it IS...
there is no hurry,
unless you want it to be."

 
"This too shall past."

"It takes as long as it takes."


"The light cannot exist without the dark. 
Neither Are good or bad
but rather two poles of the balance of unity." 

 

I had so much fun with "Seeing From The Inside Out"

When you are ready to feel, it you can heal it. 

The background of this painting was inspired by an online class I was taken by Olga Furman called "Paint Your Heart and Soul 2017". The teacher was Basia Zielinska. But the inspiration from the class stopped with the background. My spirit and higher self wanted to take me on a totally different journey. 

I had been going through some deep inner healing work surrounding my relationship with my father, All my life I sought my father's approval as all daughters do. But my father was a 6'6" stoic man.  He devoted his life to be a college professor and never really spent any time with my two brothers are me. I lost myself in trying to make my father happy. Finally one day he told me that I not only hadn't done anything to please him, I never would. A lightbulb finally went off in my head. "WHAT? ALL THIS TIME I WAS TRYING TO PLEASE YOU WAS COMPLETELY WASTED?  Although it has taken me several years to grieve this loss, I am finally pulling myself out of the hole I had fallen in since I was a small child. Everyday I have to pull back inward to make sure my inner child is loved. But finally I learned that I am the mother and father now. Now I can give her the love from the inside out. The tears flowed as I made this piece. I released so much old stuck energy. 

~This piece of art is a symbol of transformation. It incorporates and blends the energies of fire which burns up the old out grown parts of our selves, along with the healing and cleansing power of water which releases the muck through the tears of grief, and the freedom that the winds of change bring as they yeah us how to fly while still being grounded in the presence of the Earth.

 

~"If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies."

Above are my speed painting video of the process. The one on the rightis a shorter one minute version.

I do recommend watching the longer though because it is of one of my favorite songs by the Counting Crows.

"Letting Go Doesn't Mean Giving Up"

This painting was inspired by the series called "The Tudors". I was mesmerized by Natalie Dormer's performance as Anne Boleyn. She has these very intriguing eyes that pull you in. I also was inspired by a class I was taking online called "Paint Your Heart and Soul". The teacher was Lucy Chen and she was inspiring us to break out of our comfort zone by painting a hand. I was so out of my comfort zone. I had to take a picture and paint my own hand which is very large. I have extra long fingers.  Although I was not thrilled with the results I knew it was as far as I could go at this time. 

I definitely need to practice hands more often!

The motivation for this painting came from a promise to myself to let go of things that are not working in my life so I can see another way to do things. The symbol is in her reading a letter and pondering on letting it all go. Enough is enough. 

Here is a short video showing a couple of stages. 

Adele Inspired

This painting was created and inspired by my love for Adele's music. I was turned onto her music several years ago by my oldest daughter Natalie. She and I ,along with my other daughter, Mary Kathryn, were very fortunate to be able to go to her 2016 Hello Concert in Nashville Tennessee. When I returned from the trip I was so inspired to create this painting for myself. I have added  a short video I created of the process and snaps from the concert.

Hope you enjoy.  

I am taking an Online Class called "Paint Your Heart & Soul"

This wonderful online art class by Olga Furman called "Paint Your Heart and Soul" is inspiring me to find my artistic voice again.  After going through many changes within myself as well as on the outside over the last 2 years, I am finally finding some balance again. My husband and I moved  two years ago out of our home state where we spent our entire lives to a beautiful new dream home and new life. Although the transition has offered us space and time to grow spiritually, individually and in our relationship it has also brought a sense of loss. As one chapter of our lives was closing a brand new adventure was beginning.  During this time within my cocoon, I temporary lost my artistic voice but now that I am beginning to break free with my new wings.  This online class is helping me to see the world with fresh eyes.

If you are interest in Olga's class click here. 

http://olgafurmanart.blogspot.com

Here are a few pieces I created from the lessons. 

 

This is the first time I have ever used charcoals and tinted paper. I found the charcoal most forgiving and I look forward to doing more portraits in the near future. It is not easy to face my fears within to make art. If I am blocked in anyway I cannot coax myself into facing my fears and letting go so I can create.  Art always takes me on a journey within, a healing journey. It can be quite scary to visit these places I didn't even know existed.  I see the sadness in her eyes.

This is the first time I have ever used charcoals and tinted paper. I found the charcoal most forgiving and I look forward to doing more portraits in the near future. It is not easy to face my fears within to make art. If I am blocked in anyway I cannot coax myself into facing my fears and letting go so I can create.  Art always takes me on a journey within, a healing journey. It can be quite scary to visit these places I didn't even know existed.  I see the sadness in her eyes.

This exercise was about connecting with animal totems that speak to us. Since I have been working with the trinity of the inner child, mother and father within I wanted to use the Lion to represent the spirit or higher consciousness. Through the innocence of the child, the emotional strength of the mother along with the courage of the father we embrace our full self. 

This exercise was about connecting with animal totems that speak to us. Since I have been working with the trinity of the inner child, mother and father within I wanted to use the Lion to represent the spirit or higher consciousness. Through the innocence of the child, the emotional strength of the mother along with the courage of the father we embrace our full self. 

This exercise was quite fun. Although in this print you cannot see all the layers of color that were created, in person they show through much more clearly. What was fun about this project was how I intuitively knew there was an angel of fairy that wanted to show up before I actually saw her. Then the next day I looked and saw her in the background. I sketch an outline of her and then when I started painting her in I noticed water was coming from her hands. So this painting was already there. I just brought out what wanted to come out. This happens quite often when I paint. At the very least, some part of my art journey always incorporates this process. It is such an intimate conversation with my spirit and higher self. Much like a lesson I need to learn. 

This exercise was quite fun. Although in this print you cannot see all the layers of color that were created, in person they show through much more clearly. What was fun about this project was how I intuitively knew there was an angel of fairy that wanted to show up before I actually saw her. Then the next day I looked and saw her in the background. I sketch an outline of her and then when I started painting her in I noticed water was coming from her hands. So this painting was already there. I just brought out what wanted to come out. This happens quite often when I paint. At the very least, some part of my art journey always incorporates this process. It is such an intimate conversation with my spirit and higher self. Much like a lesson I need to learn. 

Embrace Your Wisdom

As I enter my third act in life,  a period I think of as 'Embracing Your Wisdom' stage, I find myself experiencing what some might call a life review,  as if I were dying. I'm not dying (at least as far as I know) but I am allowing myself to go through the same process many experience as near death, the deep reviewing of life and making peace with my decisions and choices.  I want to be peaceful with myself and my past so that I can enter a more freeing state of mind and body.  I don't think we have to wait for death or have a near death experience to learn  some really deep and important lessons from our life.

*Death is not the opposite of life,
it is a part of it. 

Even though I believe death is a natural process of life as is birth, I used to turn my head away from death's lessons. What a shame too because I think death and birth are our greatest teachers for how to truly live. I have always felt more alive when embracing a newborn baby but I must admit I felt like I was going to die when saying goodbye to a love one. Yet goodbyes always remind me to treasure my limited time on Earth. Saying goodbye has never been as easy as saying hello.  So I thought, doesn't it make sense to want to learn how to let go more gracefully? Even though I have always had a underlining desire to study death and dying I also had a fierce resistance to it as well.

This all change when my dear mother-in-law, (who was like a mother to me) made her transition.  I felt like it was the most beautiful gift she could have given to me. She moved through the entire process with the most beautiful grace and love. She never complained or displayed a sense of fear. I learned so much about the natural process of dying. Of course I know a lot of this had to do with the fact that she was ready to let go. She had lived a full life without regrets. I learned so much about life by facing my fear of death. 

One of my favorite memories was also one of the last times she was conscious with us.  My daughter had asked to buy a Christmas music card for her. I will never forget her display of pure joy and wonderment like an innocent child opening her first gift. As she smiled and looked around the room at everyone barking orders of how she should do this or that or what they could do for her not realizing her time with us was now very limited, she said, "this is a very busy world." I knew she had already been in and out of this world. I will never forget how she cherished that simple musical card, opening it again and again to hear its magic. She embraced it as if it contained the entire world. No one noticed her pure joy except my daughters and me. Yes, it was a fleeting moment but it will also last my entire lifetime. It was such a wonderful reminder of how to cherish the simple joys of life, for they are truly the most treasured gifts of all. 

I know death feels like it steals away our hope while birth feels like it gives us hope, but I am beginning to see that both can give us hope and teach us how to live...truly live our lives. That is if we are brave enough to experience these gifts more intimately. 

Through my own internal life review process I am learning to forgive myself for things I did to myself and to others. This is not an easy journey. Whether we are called to learn about ourselves inwardly or outwardly much of the same things can be learned. For me the call just got louder and stronger until I finally let go of the resistance. Was I being guided or even pushed inward? Maybe, I don't think I would consciously choose to walk this scary path but I am learning more than I thought I could about myself. In my youth, I am sure the thought never crossed my mind to look backwards, I was too busy climbing smaller mountains.  There was more in front from which to learn than there was from behind. But now I find self-reflection to be a more gentle and graceful way to see not only where I have been but also to plan where I choose to go.

Does it take courage to muster the strength to dive into the shadows of my past so that I can mine the pearls of wisdom within?

Absolutely! Tremendous courage.

But it takes even more courage to allow myself to share my process for all to see and judge if they so choose.

Birth is not the beginning
nor is death the end.

On a side note. Yesterday I was talking to a Hospice worker named Emily about my aunt's death directive and how I wanted her to be comfortable and without pain but also to allow her to have a natural parting, on her on terms. This was how my aunt lived and how she wanted to leave this world. I told Emily that my aunt has always been very strong and I wanted her 'will' to be the guideline. I said I know the world is still so afraid of death and that is why they try to control it so much. which actually does not allow the individual to go in peace and on their own terms. There is a selfishness about the way we try to control death which is often misguided as compassion. Emily and I talked so more and she said, "you should be a Hospice worker. Few understand the death process and your gifts are so needed." I had thought of volunteering before.  However I still take too much emotional energy of others so it would not be healthy for me at this time. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day we understood death more and feared it less? If we were not so selfish about our loves ones being called home just as the other side misses the love ones being born here. If we realized that everyone on a higher level knows they are going home and on deeper level are ready for the transition. Most often our love ones try to tell us on some level about a week, a month or the last time they saw us before their departure that they love us. It is almost like their goodbye. It might be something they said or they might come in a dream. Some may even connect with us after their departure, like in a dream or some form to say, "I am okay". 

I think we are having more and more near death experiences due to the technology that allows us to bring people back after their heart stops. I am sure we are also ready to face death more. Not only are we very thankful that we can saves lives but maybe this ability to bring people back from death is also teaching us some very valuable lessons. Every near death experience I have had the honor of reading or listening to had many things in common, but one of the most important is the individuals come back unafraid of death as well as a deep appreciation for life and for others. They often change their jobs to serve others. I think that should ease our pain and fear about death a little.

 

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.
— Richard Bach