Can We Speak in English Flowers – Old (1760s) and New (2017)
London to Missouri and Back

 

 

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This poem by Nayyirah Waheed* pretty much says it all for me.

 

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A Sacred Circle of Creativity
From Mystery to Manifestation & Back Again
Mother Earth, Mandalas, Meditation & Words

Above is the title of my new three-day workshop that takes place Oct. 12- 14. The golden pebble journey, as I call it, always takes place when I create a workshop. Bits of synchronicities and teachers, human and otherwise, appear all of a sudden leading me to find new pieces of wisdom and experience to share with others.

heart-tree-mandala-linda-massie-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogHeart Tree Mandala – Linda Massie

As I prepare for my upcoming three-day workshop, golden pebbles have appeared that lead me down a path to more and more mystery and magic to share with others.

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Sharing Sweetgrass & Stones – Friendship & Books

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Some of the deepest sharing of souls I’ve experienced takes place when a very special book group gets together. We call it the Crystal Book Group, named for a location but also for the clarity and power of our sharing.

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Total Eclipse – In Our Front Yards – Sun & Moon & Earth Mandalas

eclipse-mandala-FEATURE-4-together-karen-martinez-blog-creativity-for-the-soulEclipse Mandala – Sun & Moon Discs – Karen Martinez

A week ago I lead a guided meditation about the awe and amazement we will experience when the total solar eclipse passes over us, our lands and homes as we stand in the alignment of sun, moon and earth.  Light and dark will dance on the surfaces of our bodies and into the depths of our being.

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To Be or Not To Be – A Garden

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I am working on a new practice, like the practice of yoga, meditation or prayer. It is the practice of becoming bilingual in the language of animacy.

 

 

 

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I am starting with my gardens. They surround me daily.

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A sacred circle of creativity is a nurturing safe embracing place where a deep connection with our own personal truths and source is opened and expressed.

mandala-sharing-pinks-ann-brune-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogWatercolor Mandala Pinks & Purples – Ann Brune

A sacred circle of creativity can surround us as we create individually or with others.

 

mandala-sharing-blues-ann-brune-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogWatercolor Mandala Blues – Ann Brune

It is created with a centering of intention and opening to creative spirit. It surrounds us in a mandala of wholeness and centering.

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Today I finished planting my garden. It’s the last on the list of the many gardens I work in.

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Last winter I put raised beds in a sunnier area in my back. They keep the rabbits out of the vegetable patch. My former vegetable garden is now mainly flowers, native and not, but all bee friendly for the two new honeybee hives.

 

 

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I recently saw an art exhibit called Crochet Coral Reef in Santa Cruz, California.

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It honors women’s brilliance, handicrafts and love of Mother Earth. It is a unique collaboration weaving together math, science, handicraft, environmentalism and community art.

 

 

 

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It was the discovery that a women’s handicraft could explain and create a physical form for a complex mathematical theory that started the journey of this exhibit.

 

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It was the weekend of Earth Day.  I held a mandala circle at my studio where a guided meditation connecting Mother Earth to our creative centers started the evening. We let the energy of this  connection  bring forth the mandalas we created.

 

 

earth-day-mandala-linda-massie-3-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogLinda Massie (inside page of 2 page book on black paper)

It was as if a seed of inspiration germinated deep in our creative centers and grew as the colors, shapes, images and words found form on the paper.

earth-day-mandalas-linda-massie-4-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogLinda Massie  (cover of 2 page book, an explosion of creative  iridescence)

We used paints made from different colored soils dug up from the earth. One was the red clay soil of North Carolina, one a brown from Missouri and one the deep black of Minnesota.  We also used watercolor paints that sparkled with the iridescence of mica powder, which is mined from the earth.

earth-day-mandalas-janet-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogJanet Gray – mandala with brown dirt paint and bright flower feathers

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Hummingbird Charm & Sweetness

It was a charm* of hummingbirds that called to my son and me as we heard the hum of wings. The spring flowers had just begun. Although the tulips and daffodils were lovely, the hedge full of humming wings most captured our attention and awe.

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Goodbye Father of Rock N Roll – Chuck Berry

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“If you had to give Rock ‘n’ Roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry” – John Lennon

I live in University City, Missouri. The city that loved, and loves, Chuck Berry more than any other. Berry passed away last week at age 90.

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Flower Freeze

flower-freeze-nectarien-flower-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogTonight winter comes back with 20 degrees F.  Spring was here all winter and the flowers grew. Unfortunately many of the flowers won’t make it through the night.  Blossoms, leaves and newly grown foliage won’t survive the cold.

 

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But I could pick many of the flowers and bring inside. So yesterday I picked as many as I could and put them in vases.

 

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I was recently inspired by a quote:  “The earth seeks to be admired by you,” Gaston Bacheland, a French philosopher.

 

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I am thankful I can closely admire these flowers in vases and wait for other new blossoms when spring finally arrives.

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LIVING LIGHT
“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”
Theodore Roethke

 

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For those new to a month for mandalasplease open this link and read the beginning of  blog which explains it all. This is the last in the 4 part series LIGHT.

 

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The Light of Creativity

mandala-witch-hazel-christine-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogChristine Torlina -Wonderful Witch Hazel Mandala
The very fragrant and beautiful Witch Hazel was the inspiration

The way we bring our light into the world is through our creativity.

mandala-sunset-ann-brune-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogSunset Mandala by Ann Brune – inspired by the night sky. Painted will iridescent paint glazes.

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“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince

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Mandala Created by Girl Scouts from an Elementary School

The Light of Our Hearts. Our brightest light shines from our hearts. We feel love within and send outward from our hearts.

This Month for Mandalas is inspired by LIGHT. This week is inspired by the LIGHT within our hearts.

For those new to a month for mandalasplease open this link and read the beginning of  blog which explains it all.

 

 

 

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Our hearts are more than our centers of feeling, they are also centers of intuition, intelligence and perception.

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“My love is like a red, red rose”
Robert Burns

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A red rose is the symbol of eternal love. We give red roses on February’s Valentine’s Day to honor the lover that cupid’s arrow have chosen for us. The red rose and cupid are not the symbols of St. Valentine. They are the symbols of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love and divine beauty. Aphrodite, who later became the Roman Goddess Venus, tempted men and gods alike to her bed of roses. Here she made love to her many lovers. Cupids were at her command to travel to the world of humans and to pierce their hearts with blind love’s arrows. In ancient Greece Aphrodite’s power was summoned by envisioning oneself in her mirror of transformation, which was adorned with red, red roses.

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“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Maya Angelou

mandala-blog-kaleidagram-witch-hazel-1-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogKaleidagram* Mandala of Witch Hazel

For those new to a month for mandalas – please open this link and read the beginning of  blog which explains it all.

 

A MONTH FOR MANDALAS – LIGHT

There is light from within and light that shines upon us. Our light comes from deep within our soul, from the womb of our being. It is us, our essence, our truth, our guide and our strength.

mandala-blog-LIGHT-witch-hazel-1-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogWitch Hazel blooming at Missouri Botanical Garden 2-3-17

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STANDING UP FOR TRUTH
“What you love is the cure” is an African proverb. How can my love for (fill in the blank) cure my life and the world? We find our highest truths when what we love is formed in the light of love. What we love is the vision that creates the foundation of the future. Bringing highest truths into the world is The Great Work of our time. It is how we stand up for our truths.

 

mandala-labyrinth-karen-martinez-truth-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogKaren Martinez Mandala – Words She Heard when Walking a Labyrinth

DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS?
The future is uncertain and is up to us to create the cure. A calling comes to each of us from the future. It pushes us to reach deep inside to find the strength to bring our truths and what we love to the surface. It’s usually not easy giving birth to our truths in our actions, but we are urged on by poet Mary Oliver when she asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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Truth in Kinship – Family, Friends, Community, Creation, Creator.
Sharing Truth Tea. How I can go forward.

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This is part 3 of a Month for Mandalas with the main theme “truth.”  The first blog asks, “What is a Month for Mandalas” and explains what it is, why truth is the theme and how to begin.

TRUTH IN KINSHIP.   We find truth from and in others – people, creation and Creator. Truth comes from a deep place of love. It is true truth if it is formed in love. There is love and there is fear. Truth is not truth if it comes from a place of fear.

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The Truth In Nature. This is part 2 of a Month for Mandalas with the main theme “truth.”  The first blog asks, “What is a Month for Mandalas” and explains what it is, why truth is the theme and how to begin.

There are ways to know and find our truths. Because we are nature, we can find our truths there. In our quest to know, feel and live truth, we can open up to deep truths in nature, inside ourselves.  We are one with nature. Nature is within us as part of our psyche, our body, our life.  Nature can guide us, speak to us, co-create with us.  As John Muir said, “The sun shines not on us but in us.”

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WHAT IS A MONTH FOR MANDALAS
A Month For Mandalas is a time of creative inspiration and expression. A Month For Mandalas, does not mean creating one mandala a day for a month. It is an invitation to create whatever works best. That could be one-a-day or only one during the entire month. This is a month long creativity inspiration of Mandalas, Meditation & Journaling. The guiding word for this session is TRUTH. It is a month to delve deeply into our creativity, our creative spirits and let them guide us into the future.

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The mandalas I created here were inspired by the prompt and meditation in this blog

 

Creativity is a way to bring us to our deepest self, our soul. Art heals is an expression often heard. It simply means expressing our true self, our truths. Art makes us whole, the root of the word heal. Mandalas are a form of art that begins with a sacred circle of wholeness that lets us make marks, write words and express who we really are. Everyone one can make marks and write words. Everyone can listen to words of a guided meditation that help us settle into our creative depths.

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This four-week session has a new blog post once a week with creativity prompts, a guided meditation and shared mandalas. Many “Months for Mandalas” and “100 Days for Mandalas” sessions have been part of my blog posts. The explanation of how to start this session is in this post ( 100 Days for Mandalas Invitation). Please check it out  before starting. Please share your mandala creations if you would like them to appear on this blog. How to do that is at the end of this blog.

 

TRUTH
Truth? What is it? What are my truths? In our present world of post-truth “truths,” it is often hard to make sense of what is going on around us and inside of us. Where do we find our own deepest truths, how do we know them, how do we make them stronger and go forward with them? Let your creativity be your guide.

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There are many songs nature sings that we cannot hear. Each plant, insect, animal and all of creation has its own vibrations. These vibrations are songs, sung as part of the ongoing symphony of life. These songs are a web that surrounds and sustains our world.

 

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Monarchs butterflies have their own song. I can’t hear the songs monarchs sing to the plant that it is married to, milkweed. I can’t hear the songs milkweed sings to the monarch, but the songs are there.  They are a duet of life that reaches from the far north of Canada to deep into Mexico and the Pacific coast as these beautiful butterflies migrate from north to south and back again.

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I am so fortunate to be in a book group that shares the breadth and depth of books, words and our souls’ truths.  Our last gathering of the year is a sharing of one poem each.  This year’s sharing speaks of poem-lack, truth, tree-speak, friendship, darkness & hope.

 

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Kelly gifted us all a folded art page turned into book pages to keep our poems in.

Listen deeply. Let these words fill you with their beauty, strength, power and depth.

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The Winter Solstice takes place at 4:44 am my time, December 21st.. The longest darkness, the shortest light. A birthing of light that grows.

A time of quiet and going within.  Listening, deep listening. A time of planting prayers, intentions, wishes, and dreams that can grow in the womb of darkness to be brought to light at their time of birthing.

Here are some Solstice Mandalas created for this year’s days of welcomed darkness with returning light. A light that can guide us as we journey through time.

 

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The first “hard frost” was a few days ago. I picked the last flowers blooming in my garden a few hours before.  That “killing” frost came at least a month later than most years here in St. Louis. Some roses, black eyed susan, coneflower and monarch butterfly weed were still blooming.

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Rose is a reminder of the garden of paradise, or earthly divinity. The celestial garden resides in our heart. Rose is the symbol of love. Perhaps roses stay in bloom longer than most flowers to remind us to carry love in our hearts especially in the cold of winter.

 

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I was totally delighted when I walked into my daughter-in-law’s kindergarten and first grade classroom recently.  There were beautiful mandalas hanging in the air.

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The art teacher brought the beauty and power of circles to life in a unit on learning shapes. The children in several classrooms painted circle flower shapes that showed their amazing creativity.  It rings so true when Picasso said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

 

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I love the exuberant colors and strokes. The power of the circle shape shines through. Enjoy this gallery of mandala art.

 

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I recently created a set of pottery bowls inspired by the beauty of a glaze called M.D. Shino or Malcolm Davis Shino, and the legacy of the man Malcolm Davis who created his famous variation of Shino glaze. Clay and pottery transformed and healed the life of Davis after a time of great political turmoil in which he was intimately involved. A leader in the civil rights movement, peace movement and opposed to the Vietnam war, Reverend Davis an ordained minister. He discovered the healing power of clay in 1974. His journey from political activist and pastor to potter in a time of great political turmoil is relevant today.

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In early 1960s Davis organized civil rights bus caravans, voter registration and sit ins in the South. He became an ordained minister for United Church of Christ and in 1967 chaplain for George Washington University.

 

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My heart is broken. A physical pain stabs in my chest. How to heal from the shock?  Our amazing country descended into votes for hate.

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This morning I found some papers I made long ago and wrote  a prayer stating, “I cry for my children. I cry for the world. I cry, I cry, I cry. I cry for the earth, the lands, the air, the rivers. I cry for our future. I cry for love. I cry for humankind. Can I call it kind? I cry for a sound above the chants of hate. I apologize to earth for human hate. Please help me wash it away.”

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Once a month I hold a mandala circle at my home art studio.  The mandala makers who come to share in this sacred circle of creativity always bring their unique light of creativity into the world.

mandala-black-white-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogWhite Pen on Black Paper – Karen Martinez

We share a few moments of greeting, sometimes new instruction about art materials and technique. Then I lead a guided meditation where we settle into a space of quiet and creativity. At the end we share what we have created and our experiences being in that flow.  We always are amazed at the diverse creativity and the depth of soulful expression. Here are some of the mandalas and art created and shared in recent Mandala Circles.

mandala-butterflies-karen-martinez-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog3D Butterflies Mandala – Karen Martinez

My guided meditation was about imaginal cells – cells inside a butterfly that bring about the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.

mandala-birds-red-ball-linda-massie-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogBlack Bird & Red Ball Mandala – Linda Massie

Linda created this mandala about her trip back to St. Louis from North Carolina after she attended the course I taught – Creating Sacred Space in the Garden, Planting Prayers. One of the sacred spaces was created by Kelly Larson, who also taught the course. Kelly found a red ball in the woods and added it to her space. On Linda’s trip home a red ball rolled out onto the road.  At each state line black birds also appeared. Black birds were often part of Kelly’s art work.

mandala-red-turquise-spiral-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogSpiral in Red Mandala – Linda Massie

mandala-tree-earth-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogTree & Earth Mandala – Linda Massie

mandala-butterfly-spiral-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogButterfly Mandala – Sharon Tutko

Sharon Tutko created a butterfly mandala with words of inspiration and gratitude.

mandala-joy-sharon-blog-creativity-for-the-soulAltar Mandala – Sharon Tutko

mandala-divine-grace-blog-creativity-for-the-soulDivine Grace Mandala – Sharon Tutko

mandala-interlocking-circles-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogCircles Mandala – Martha Schermann

Martha Schermann used glaze watercolors to create these interlocking circles to create other shapes in both these mandalas.

mandala-interlocking-circles-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogCircles Mandala – Martha Schermann

mandala-white-stars-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogBlue Sky – Ann Brune

Ann Brune created this glistening circle on deckled edged watercolor paper.

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Ann also created the textured swirl mandala.

mandala-yellow-dots-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogCenter Dots – Blue & Green – Ann Brune

Ann created these  blue green  expanding circles in her  often expressed colors. Notice the dots in Ann’s mandalas.

mandala-butterfly-wing-christine-torlinda-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogButterfly Wing Scales – Christine Torlina

Christine  Torlina’s inspiration was a close up photo of intricate butterfly wings scales.

I am so grateful for and inspired by the mandala creators who join me for mandala circles.  It is a sacred time and place. We  open to our deep creative spirits and express our unique visions, however simple or intricate they may be.

I love to post the creativity of these shared mandalas in hopes they will  inspire others to connect with their creative spirit and bring that spirit to light through images and words.

ENJOY & CREATE

LINDA

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The joy of leading and teaching spiritual art workshops is mainly seeing the opening up and blossoming of each participant’s creative expression.  This was especially true in August in North Carolina at Kanuga during the Faith, Art & Creative Expression workshop that I taught with Kelly Larson. It was titled Creating Sacred Space In the Garden – Planting Prayers. We spent time outdoors finding a Sacred Space, but also inside creating.

planted-prayers-kanguga-cover-eckhart-linda-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogOrigami book by me (Linda) with Master Eckhart Poem

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It was some times hard to explain what the workshop was about. It was titled Creating Sacred Space In The Garden – Planting Prayers offered at Kanuga during the Faith, Art and Creative Expression conference in late August. We started with ways to know and experience nature as a participant in the evolving story of faith, art and our creative expression. We made simple art with painted images using different paints and dyes. We wrote words from the heart that were sometimes intentionally  illegible. Then we took some of these image and word prayers out into nature to “plant”  and send them out into the world. (See previous blog)  We also created prayer boxes to hold these treasures.

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First we asked ourselves, what is prayer?  Poet Mary Oliver writes:
“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.”
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.”

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Although it’s a few days past, I want to rename the Harvest Moon, the Persimmon Moon.

persimmon-mandala-4-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe glorious old native persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)  in my back yard showers us with ripe sweet fruit in September and October. The sweetness falls from the tree and must be picked up and eaten or frozen before the day is over.

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Creating Sacred Space in Garden – Planting Prayers was the title of the class I taught at Kanuga near Asheville, North Carolina, in late August. It was part of the Faith, Art and Creative Expressions – Liturgical Arts Conference held yearly in the 1400 acres woods in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sometimes described as a “thin” place, this Episcopal Retreat Center is a space where deep connection and community promotes and nurtures the weaving of faith, art and creativity.

 

kanuga-creating-sacred-space-finay-outside-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogOur classroom surrounded by trees
Art work hanging to dry

kanuga-creating-sacred-space-classroom-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogInside our classroom
More art work hanging to dry

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I love my garden and the beauty of flowers. I love growing flowers and bringing some inside to be near their beauty and energy.  These are some of the flowers from my garden from this year, in vases I love, many that I made out of clay.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

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I love how mandalas inspire kids and adults. This blog shares mandalas from children as young as preschoolers to adults as young at heart as any child.  That is the beauty of mandalas, they help center us into that place of childlike wonder and inspiration.

 

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Christine Torlina’s family came for a visit from California. The children created mandalas along with Christine. Here is their shared creativity.

 

 

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These ducks, flowers and other shapes are held in the embrace of a mandala circle.

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I am getting ready to leave in a few weeks for North Carolina to teach my course “Creating Sacred Space in the Garden” at Kanuga, a spiritual retreat center outside of Asheville.

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My goal for myself, my friend Kelly Larson who is helping me teach, and the class participants is to open our hearts in a deeper way to the songs of nature. To open our hearts to the love of creation and Creator.

 

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I want us to hear not just the physical songs we here with our ears. But to hear the songs that only a quiet listening heart can hear.

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Is this a dream? A farmers market where 20,000 show up every Saturday morning. Where the goods are only locally grown and produced. No, it’s my hometown Madison, Wisconsin farmers market.

madison-farmers-market-capital-building-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

I was in Madison for a family reunion recently. I love the Farmers Market there. It stirs my heart to be where I was born and raised. I love farms and farmers. I spent many summers and weekends at my Grandparent’s dairy farm an hour’s drive away from our city home.

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Our mandala circle took place the night the world found out about the Orlando shootings.  The mandala art created was about finding a way to peace, healing and stopping the hate.

mandala-prayers-orlando-linda-massie-1-detail-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogLinda Massie created a powerful and beautiful mandala prayer book, with quotes, thoughts and deep images.

 

 

 

mandala-prayers-orlando-linda-massie-1-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThis is the opened origami page that was folded and torn to created the book.

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These mandalas were created and inspired by a mandala circle of shared creativity and a meditation honoring silence.

mandala-linda-massie-yin-yang-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogYin Yang Mandala – by Linda Massie

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I miss making mandalas with art materials. Instead I created some “driveway mandalas”.  It is busy springtime when my life and driveway are filled with flowers and  plants. It’s hard to find time to do much else besides live in the moments of making sure these lovelies get planted in their new homes.

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I did find some time to create a few mandalas of the flowers on my driveway with my son’s smartphone app – Kaleidagram.  These are my “driveway mandalas”.  I love the details that show up on these mandalas that are often not seen with the “naked” eye.

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My wish and joy  is that this online space be an embrace of mandala community and sharing.  I have no idea how wide and far this web of Creativity For The Soul spreads. I love to share mandalas created in workshops, circles and sent to me from near and far.

mandala-workshop-4-16-mariln-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogMandala by Marilyn Kearns Davis

 The awe, admiration and inspiration felt when we pull ourselves out of the flow of creativity and share what we created at the end of mandala circles, workshops and working alone is a perfect ending to a time of letting our deep creative soul come to life.

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I wrote and illustrated this book – Ginda Mouse – in my early twenties.

 

ginda-mouse-cover-LIGHTER-copyright-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogGinda Mouse and Her Friends at  Blueberry Farm
Written & Illustrated by Linda Wiggen Kraft

It has been tucked away for a long time. Recently I took it out, got out my old typewriter, added my married name to the cover and pasted on new page numbers where needed. The paper is faded from age, the original typewritten words are faint and the story reminds me of a sweet time in my life.

For easier reading, I copied the words below each illustration.

ginda-mouse-1-LIGHTER-copyright-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogGinda Mouse lived in the city or country, wherever her heart felt best.
She now lived in the city but today she longed for the country.

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For decades I’ve wanted to travel to Esalen, take a workshop and immerse myself in this unique Big Sur land of delights, dreams and depth. The delights are the land, waters, air, light and their gifts. The dreams are the calling from dreamtime at night, and the depth is exploring into the mystery and connection of soul and nature. A perfect combination.

esalen-garden-goddess-feature-blog-creativity-for-the-soul copyGarden Goddess dances in garden overlooking the ocean

DELIGHTS – The delights are in the waters; the ocean, a river that dances from mountain canyon through forest to merge with the Pacific, and hot springs mineral water that fills warm pools with healing water.

Esalen-bridge-prayer-flags-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

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“There is a calling from soil that brings gardener’s hands into the dirt to grow a garden. There is a calling from clay that brings potter’s and clay artist’s hands into the dirt to transform it into objects that become part of daily life. I can’t resist both callings, so when my hands aren’t digging in garden soil, they are in the clay studio playing and creating with clay …”

 

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The words above are from my most recent article in The Healthy Planet. It is about my love of gardens and creating with clay.  The entire article can be read here. I will be sharing garden advice and these latest clay creations at The Healthy Planet Expo on Sunday March 20th in Webster Groves.

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Soon I’m leaving for a to a place I’ve wanted to go for decades – Esalen in Big Sur, California. There I want to settle into a deeper place in the center of my heart and the center of our earth’s heart. I want to receive this blessing and give it to others, especially during my upcoming workshop in North Carolina.

esalen-photo-water-land

Books helped me on my way to this journey. While reading one author’s words, I knew I had to gain more of her wisdom. A quick search lead me to Esalen. A powerful dream, weeks before now made sense. And mandala art and journaling became part of the already taking place journey as I prepare to leave home.

Here are some of the books that inspire me for this adventure.

 

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Spring is almost here. That time of earth’s rebirth.  There are a few flowers blooming in St. Louis now. Lenten rose, crocus, winter aconite and snow drops have opened. Their small flowers are such a joy to see, but their small size sometimes isn’t enough. I need a bigger flower fix.

 

flower-mandalas-cherry-blossoms-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThat’s when I go to the wholesale flower district to walk into the coolers full of flowers in all directions. The flowers are in tight bundles.  Like babies wrapped in blankets, these are bundles of joy.  Their flower energy opens my heart and fills it with joy.  I stand there as long as I can without looking too strange as I fill up with the flower’s beauty.  Then I take photos with my IPhone to carry the images with me.

flower-mandala-cherry-blossoms-circle-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogI create mandalas with the photos through the App Kaleidagram (part of Blink Tap LLC) * to enjoy the flowers again and feel the energy of mandalas.   Here is what I immersed myself in recently.

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Lark’s sweet southern voice called me in late 2014, asking if I would teach a five day workshop in August 2015 at the F.A.C.E (faith, art & creative expression) conference at Kanuga, a spiritual retreat center outside of Asheville, North Carolina.

kanuga-lake-deck-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogKanuga lakeside gathering place for outdoor services

 

kanuga-lake-boat-house-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogKanuga Lake boathouse

I was flattered and excited. Little did I know it would be a life-changing journey to my own and other’s deep creative heARTs by combining creativity with connection to others, the land and Creator.

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Mandalas and meditation were shared during my last mandala circle at my home studio. The circle of sharing also goes out into the world and comes back via the internet. Here are some shared mandalas created from near and far.

SHARING FROM NEAR

mandala-coloring-spiral-karen-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogAt the last mandala circle, I lead a guided meditation with the theme “the quiet and mystery of winter, turning within”. Karen Martinez created this mandala above inspired by the meditation.

 

 

mandala-coloring-stamp-karen-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogKaren also created a collage of winter with stamped and punched out images on black paper. She added her own inspirations and words of wisdom in white.

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In the winter I have to visit the flowers from my garden through photographs. Seeing them lets me fall in love with my garden all over again. Not that I don’t love my winter garden, it has its own beauty that speaks more quietly without flowers. But it is flowers that make my heart instantly sing.

 

flower-vase-violet-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe violets grow mostly in the lawn.  I love their sweet faces in spring. There is a bit of wildness in my garden where things grow with abandon. Fortunately there are so many flowers, I can cut  them for vases without leaving holes in the design.

 

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I want the new year to be an inspiration to remember what calls to me from the depths of my soul.  Reminders help me listen to what feels right on the deepest level, what brings joy and what stirs to action.

 

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My books group, which is really a friendship circle of the deepest kind, shares poems every December.  The poems are put together as works of art, which we give each other as gifts.

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This year the five of us each chose one poem to share. Instead of creating our poem collections beforehand we decided to make poem books on the night of sharing. We gathered together to share a meal and friendship,  and to do an art project. We each created an origami book from one large sheet of paper and put the poems inside. We used sumi  and acrylic inks for the colors.  Each large sheet of paper, folded into a book was created with different strokes and colors. Here is mine, with the cover above.

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In this time of increasing light, let your inner light shine brightly.  A Month for Mandalas, session two, which ended weeks ago, was about connection to nature’s elements.  Part of the session is actual connection and merging of mandalas with the elements. This is the last connection to the elements – fire.

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I built a mandala to honor the light of fire.  I used a large brass tray to begin.

 

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I added a large metal singing bowl in the center.

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A Month for Mandalas, session two, which ended weeks ago, was about connection to nature’s elements.  Part of the session is actual connection and merging of mandalas with the elements. Here are the mandalas honoring and becoming one with air and earth.

mandala-4-elements-christine-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogChristine Torlina’s Mandala honoring all four elements.

These mandalas below in this blog post were created to become one with air and earth. The papers are rice paper.  The inks were sumi and made from walnuts. Bees wax crayon and fabric dye give more color.

AIR – a prayer flag that blows in the wind.

mandala-connection-flag-pergola-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogConnection of the four elements to air. Prayer flag on backyard pergola.

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A Month for Mandalas, session two, which ended a few weeks ago, was about connection to nature’s elements.  Part of the session is actual connection and merging of mandalas with the elements. Here are the mandalas honoring and becoming one with water.

mandala-connection-water-christine-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogChristine Torlina Water Mandala

These mandalas were created to become one with a body of water. The papers are rice paper and 100% recycled cotton paper.  The paints and ink are made of beets, tumeric, spirulina and walnuts. Bees wax crayon give more color.

mandala-water-linda-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogMy water mandala

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The beauty of roses in late fall have their own power.  For me they are a healing balm and light.

rose-garden-purple-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogJust to see these flowers brings a joy and soothing energy, which I need.  A flu like illness has kept me in bed most of the week.  It is the looking at these rose photos that brings a healing light. A light much needed in these darkening days.

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A Month for Mandalas – Loving Water

mandala-beach-glass-ann-brune-1Beach Glass Mandala by Ann Brune

This is the fourth week of A Month for Mandalas – Session Two. It is the last week of the inspirations of the four elements. The planting of mandalas, mindfulness and prayers will be shared soon in upcoming blogs.

The main them of this session of Month for Mandalas is Planting Mandalas, Mindfullness & Prayers – Connection to Creativity & Nature.  An overview of the entire session is from the first week’s blog.

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Loving Fire – A Month For Mandalas

mandala-coloring-book-arrows-watercolor-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogMandala Watercolor – From Mandalas Every Day Coloring Book

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Loving Air – A Month For Mandalas

mandala-air-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogMandala inspired by air, feathers and clouds

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Loving Earth – A Month for Mandalas.

This is the first official week of A Month for Mandalas – Session Two
Planting Mandalas, Mindfullness & Prayers – Connection to Creativity & Nature.
An overview of the entire session is from last week’s blog.

earth-mandala-leaves-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog
Each week is inspired by one of the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.  Earth is this week’s inspiration.

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Planting Mandalas, Mindfullness & Prayers – Connection to Creativity & Nature

clouds-2-kaleidragram-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogAir – Sky & Clouds

This is the invitation and a beginning for A Month for Mandalas – Session 2. This blog explains what it is all about.

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wild-things-stairs-saint-louis-library-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThere are Wild Things going on in my own garden and in the downtown Saint Louis Library. There is a celebration and exhibit of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak throughout the library. Wild Things have invaded my garden too.

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Here is a book made of round mandala pages. There is also a special mandala box where this book is kept along with other mandala projects.  I made these as examples of what I will be teaching next summer at the 2016 F.A.C.E. (faith, art and creative expression) Conference next August 21st to 26th outside of Asheville, North Carolina at Kanuga Conference Center.

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This is the front cover. The size of each mandala circle page is about 8 inches diameter.  It began as large pages of watercolor paper painted with fabric dye in circles for these mandala pages.

 

mandala-book-papers-drying-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogCircles were then cut and used as mandalas that on the outside are images within these circles, and on the inside pages mandala images also have words.

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The last Mandala Circle get together was about an hour outside St. Louis at the home and land of Christine Torlina and Gary Schimmelpfenig.  The ten acres of restored and loved prairie, wetland, pond, creek and woods are called “Earth Mirrors”.  It’s a mirror into the souls and long history of the land, and those who care and cared for it.

liatris-torches-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogLiatris flowers -Blazing Star or Gayfeather – with the sun behind each stem, were torches that lead us on the prairie path.

 

 

purple-coneflower-earth-mirrors-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe beautiful and well known Echinacea Purpurea – Purple Coneflower – is one of the world’s most widely used medicinal plants with healing parts in root, stem, leaf and flower. It provides pollen to bees and other insects. Goldfinch birds love echinacea seeds. These birds will come from long and far for these seed treats.

 

 

mandala-sharing-prairie-circle-echinacai-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogThe mandala I created was inspired by Echinacea Purpurea – Purple Coneflower. I felt the history and energy of the land and the Native American honoring of the four directions.

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I’m back home after an incredible journey that was deep and wide. A journey that opened new doors of creativity, community and connection.  Sometimes it is hard to get grounded after such an experience. For me, it is spending time in the garden that gives me grounding and welcomes me home.

As much as I love the flowers, it is the creatures like these swallowtail caterpillars eating my dill plant on the deck that make me especially happy.

 

my-garden-swallowtail-caterpillars-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

 

And what makes me even happier is to see Monarch butterflies and caterpillars. This year I planted lots of asclepias (butterfly weed) plants for the Monarchs.  There are more Monarchs flying around in my garden and caterpillars on plants now than before –  yeah!

 

my-garden-monarch-caterpillar-8-23-15-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

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Mandalas, Labyrinths, Sacred Spaces  labyrinth-seed-pattern-classic-mandala-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogMandala Classic Labyrinth Seed Pattern – Basis for Labyrinth Shape below

classic-layrinth-mandala-blog-kanuga-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

I leave in less than a week for Kanuga near Asheville, North Carolina to teach a week-long course titled “Entering the Sacred Through Images, Words, Nature & Gardens”.

My workshop is part of the Faith, Art and Creative Expression Conference.
All the participants will be embraced and nurtured within the 1400 acre Episcopal retreat center that has been described as a “thin place”. To me that means Sacred and Holy.

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I love creating mandalas on paper, but I also love putting these images on other surfaces.

shirinky-dinks-bxw-flower-mandala-earrings-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

Shrinky Dinks are a plastic  that shrinks to 1/3 its original size when it is “baked” in the oven. There are different kinds of Shrinky Dinks, the one I used was for ink jet printers. Jpeg images can be arranged on an 8.5 x 11 inch format and then printed on a Shrinky Dink sheet.

 

shrinky-dinks-black-white-mandala-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

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tiger-lily-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-photo-linda-wiggen-kraft-blogI finished the crazy garden planting time a few weeks ago.

Somehow in all the busyness surrounded by flowers,  I didn’t make time to take photos.

A few weeks ago, I took photos of what was blooming in my garden.

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mandala-healing-hands-red-fingertips-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog
The mandalas I’ve recently created will be part of a larger series.  The theme is “Hands of Energy Mandalas”.

 

 

mandala-healing-hand-yellow-hearts-blog

 

The energy of our souls is expressed in its uniqueness through each hand. Who we are and what we love to do is brought into the world by our hands.  These mandalas are a “portrait” of different kinds of energy that others share with the world.

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I can’t keep my hands out of the dirt, whether gardens or clay. clay-play-linda-wiggen-kraft-collage

The gardens are almost all planted. Of course mine is last, shoemaker’s children kind of thing.  I have been creating mandalas, more coming soon on the blog.  I love all of that, but what also calls to me is the lure of clay. Porcelain and stoneware pull me into their world.  The clay sings and talks to my hands. I am centered when I play with clay. (See book at end of blog)

necklaces-om-by-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog

 

Necklaces

 

 

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In years past I’ve received emails from the Missouri Botanical Gardens saying “the sacred lotus are blooming”. I haven’t received an email yet, so I hope they haven’t bloomed. I want to take photos and be in their presence before the flowers fade.

 

 

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It’s hard to say what my favorite flower is, often I say it’s whatever is blooming right now. Lotus and roses are my top two though.  Perhaps because they are both so beautiful, are considered sacred and have spiritual meaning.

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(Cover – Merry Month of May Book – Rewriting My Story)

Last year  I took an art workshop with Edi Klinger of Santa Fe.  The workshop was about making origami books. The first one we did was a simple fold. What I created went way beyond simple, it was profound in that it rewrote my story of spring time stress.  I’ve designed, planted and maintained gardens for twenty three years. I love what I do, BUT spring time is very stressfull because most of the yearly work has to be done in May.  So here is my rewritten story.  It has changed my life.  The outcome is at the end of this blog.

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In April I attended the one day Pow Wow at Washington University in St. Louis.  There were many mandalas there. This was the 25th annual Pow Wow organized by the Center for Native American Studies at Wash U (as we call it in St. Louis).

 

pow-wow-mandalas-2-drum-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

There were many mandalas and sacred circles: from the dancing, to the drums, to the art. The drum above was played and chants sung while drumming  by the members of the Ho-Chunk Nation,  from Wisconsin, my home state.

 

 

pow-wow-mandalas-boy-headpiece-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

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This is the last week of 100 Days for Mandalas – Session 5 – The Gifts of Our Soul.  It is a time for reflection.  A time to find the essence of the entire session.  That essence is “I am” and “We are”.

 

mandala-we-are-words-blog-creativity-for-the-soul

Although this is the last of the three week session with the theme of “I am enough”, it is a time for closure and honoring these 100 Days.  A completion of the circle with the knowing that “I am” is that closure and enough.

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This is the second to the last week of 100 Days for Mandalas.
The theme of this week is:
Enough – I am Enough

mandala-turtle-jan-workshop-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog(turtle mandala by Janet)

I am inspired by the creativity of those who come to learn about and experience mandalas in my workshops.  A few weeks ago I had an all day workshop that showed me the we are all creative beings  who are unique, perfect and “enough” in each expression.

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Tomorrow, April 25th 10 am – 4pm – an Arts/Crafts sale – Fundraiser for VSA Missouri, at Living Arts. There are about 10 artists/crafts people who are sharing their creativity with their art.  The art includes ceramics, photography, jewelry, wall art, fabric art, clothing and more.  I will be selling my ceramic art and pottery, photography greeting cards and mandala coloring book.

Living Arts is a unique and wonderful artist studio in the St. Louis area, in Maplewood, 2814 Sutton Blvd 63143.  It is a shared studio with Spirited Hands Art and VSA (Vision, Strength, Access – Arts for People with Disabilities).

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My dear friend Kelly Larson is Spirited Hands Art and Gina Alvarez is Executive Director of VSA. Living Arts Studio mainly teaches classes. (I will be teaching a mandala workshop July 9th and 16th, 6-9 pm at Living Arts). Twice a year there are Arts/Crafts sales.

 

 

ceramic-birds-by-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

Here are some photos of  my birds, plates, bowls and  spoons that will be at this fund raiser. A portion of sales goes to support VSA.

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Enough – I am Enough

mandala-enso-book-cover-blog-linda-wiggen-kraft-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

The theme of this three week, and last, session of 100 Days for Mandalas 5, is ENOUGH, I AM ENOUGH.

 

 

mandala-enso-book-pages1-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

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“There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask ‘What if I fall?’    Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?”

                                               Erin Hansen

mandala-spring-flowers-1-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-photo-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog

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“The authentic self is the soul made visible”

                         Sarah Ban Breathnach

I feel authentic when there is connection with nature. It is a way for me to know the Creator. I feel myself and my truths when surrounded by the beauty and power of life that lives and grows on the land and the land itself.  I felt this in childhood and feel it now.

 

 

mandala-tulips-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul

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Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Everything else is secondary. Steve Jobs

The word courage comes from Old French (corage) meaning “heart, innermost feelings” and from Latin (cor) meaning heart.  True courage comes from our heart. It is the bravery of our innermost light that guides us to what is true for us, so that we bring our truth, our light, into the world.

mandala-linda-massie-courage-vulnerable-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

Mandala created by Linda Massie

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My social media world has expanded.  Creativity For The Soul now has accounts with Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and a Facebook Page.

WHAT I LOVE (about the internet and social media)

I love sharing on the internet. My website and blog let me share my passions and the creativity of others. I can’t share all I want to share on those sites alone though. Pinterest lets me share many more photos.  My new pottery , my garden, gardens I designed, mandalas from each 100 Days and other “boards” are all there in one place. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook also let me expand this sharing.  So this I love.

dinnerware-pottery-by-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blogFrom Pinterest Board – Slab Built Pottery – Dinnerware for Ten

 

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Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.

mandala-mobile-authenticity-karen-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

It’s about the choice to show up and be real.

The choice to be honest.

 

 

                                                        

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The choice to let our true selves be seen.

                                                                                  

 

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Authenticity is a collection of choices

that we have to make every day.

mandala-authenticity-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-linda-wiggen-kraft-blog

It’s about the choice to show up and be real.

The choice to be honest.

The choice to let our true selves be seen.

                                                                               Brené Brown

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Can you remember  who you were

 

mandala-girl-dress-red-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

before the world

told you who you should be.

     Danielle LaPorte

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A dear friend from another state called me last week and said I MUST MUST MUST look at the art of an amazing artist Susan O’Malley.  The artist’s parent in-laws are friends of my friend.

Susan-omalley-Inspiration2

I found the website and links and was amazed at the loving power of Susan’s work.  Her messages of how we can live our lives with love, grace and dignity have been placed in public spaces around the world.  Here are her own words about her art:  “I make art that connects us to each other. To this end I have given pep talks, asked for advice from strangers, and installed inspirational posters in public.”

Her inspired art  has been exhibited in unexpected locations. If only such wisdom guided our lives each day as we got off the subway  or walked down the street.. What a wonderful way to change the world.

Her art has been exhibited in:
Subway stations

Susan-Omalley-ThisPlaceRightNow

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Helpers Along the Way 

As we journey through life there are helpers who are there for us.  Some are people, some are angels in the real sense and other like angels. Inspiration and guidance come in many forms.  Often a rock found along a path calls out to be held in a hand.  These rocks and other objects held in the hand bring a connection to something far greater and beyond daily life.   For me Zuni stone fetishes carved in the South West hold an energy of beauty and purpose.

 

mandala-hopi-fetish-2-blog-creativity-for-the-soul

To understand the Zuni fetish, we need to see it in its original context,

assisting humanity in honoring the mysteries of nature.

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Oh how I miss flowers and living colors this time of year.  A few days ago with new snow on the ground I visited the wholesale flower district in St. Louis.  I headed for the coolers full of flowers first.

 

 

flower-fix-roses-1-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog
The roses and carnations are bundled in tight wrappings. Each bundle is pure living color.  I wanted to stay a long time in the gigantic cooler, surrounded by the colors.

 
flower-fix-roses-orange-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-BLOG

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When faced  with a decision

 

mandala-journey-boat-child-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

 

Choose the path that feeds your soul.

  Dorothy Mendoza Row

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Not I, nor anyone else

can travel that road for you.

 

mandala-journey-boats-big-detail-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

My mandala was inspired by the theme of JOURNEY for this three week session. Walt Whitman’s words bring to mind the fact that each of us is on a journey that only we can make.  Although others join us on our journey, it is ours alone.  The images of boats on a river speak to me of journey both outward and inward. Our journey is not only the journey through the physical world, but also our journey within to discover  the gifts of our soul.

You must travel it by yourself.

It is not far.

It is within reach.

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What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful

and what shall I do about it

 mandala-poem-the-earth-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

This is the third week of 100 Days for Mandalas, a time to be inspired to delve into the deep creativity that reveals the mystery of who we are and guides us on our life journey. It is a time to create mandala images and words.  It is an online retreat that fits into your 100 Days. Here is the invitation from the first session that explains it all.

 mandala-mary-oliver-what-does-blog-creativity-for-the-soul-blog

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Today is a snow day for me.  I often work in gardens in the winter with my helpers.  Today it is too cold with a thin cover of snow.  I have the gift of unscheduled time, a day to be slow, in the moment and dreaming about blooming gardens that I’m missing. I’m sharing photos and parts of an article I wrote for a gardening magazine about SLOW FLOWERS.

slow-flowers-buckey-blooms-photo-jason-bowers-blog-creativity-for-thesoul-blogMother & Daughter – Susan Studer King & Kay Studer
Buckeye Blooms in  Elina, Ohio- Photo by Jason Bowers

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