How do I trust my instincts and intuition? How can I honor my individual spirit and be part of my family or community?
From the wolf as the misunderstood character in fairy tales to the tale of La Loba who sings the bones of wolves back to life (as retold by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women Who Run with the Wolves), the wolf is a dynamic archetype.
There is the wolf pack, a symbol of community. There is the social hierarchy of the pack. The lone wolf: isolated, alienated, solitary.
For my Wolves card, I chose to focus on wolves as a symbol of community and in maintaining the self in the midst of community. I also looked at wolves as a reminder to trust instincts and intuition.
When you are in a group of people, I encourage you to notice: Do you feel part of it? Do you strive to blend or fit in? Do you lead, follow, or a combination? No matter what role you play, are you being true to yourself while doing so? If not, how can you honor yourself more? Are you happy with the role you are playing in the group? Is there another role you would like to play?
The Wolves card reminds us that we can be part of something larger while still being true to ourselves.
You can find more information about my oracle cards here. Here is the link to purchase your own set in my Etsy shop. Enter 10SPIRAL at checkout for 10% off!
I recently returned from a Nia training in Portland, Oregon. There, I spent a wonderful week dancing, learning, and connecting with like-minded movers and dancers.
I also shared my oracle cards.
When my husband suggested I bring them with me, I wasn’t intending to share them. Well, maybe I would share them with my host or bring them out during a break. Maybe I would just use them for guidance in the mornings or evenings.
The cards had other ideas. One morning, as I was getting ready, I was checking in with myself: Is there anything else I need to bring?
The answer came: Bring your oracle cards.
I don’t have to share them, I thought. But then I pulled a card and got this:
The truth card. I had to laugh. It was the most appropriate card I could have picked. I was in the middle of the Nia Blue Belt training, which focuses on communication and intimacy. And one of the elements in the training is truth-telling, starting with telling myself the truth about myself.
I think I have to share them, I thought. And so, during our open sharing time that afternoon (about what we’ve learned that day, what has come up for us in general, anything goes), I told the story and shared this card, passing it around the circle. Several of my fellow trainees later asked to see more of the cards.
I felt incredibly vulnerable after sharing. These cards have become part of my story. They took over three years from start to finish, from the first line drawn to final printing. I initially created them as part of a personal growth program, but I finished them on my own terms.
I recognize that sharing them in a circle like that is a way of promoting them as a product, but that wasn’t my original intention. My intention was simply to share my art. My art and my creativity is part of who I am, part of my truth. I shared my art twice during the training: the first time was the vision board that I created before the training, and the second was the cards.
I did receive some orders as a result of sharing the cards, the first of which was the last set of my first printing from two years ago. So I ordered more sets. You can find them in my Etsy shop here.
I’m realizing how important sharing is in my own creative process. Yes, I share on social media and whatnot, but it’s also important I share in a variety of forums. So I’m setting an intention to share more of my cards and their stories and meanings here.
Yes, there is a vulnerability in sharing my work. But there is also this: by giving myself permission to share my own work and creativity, I also connected with other people about theirs. People came up to me afterward and shared about their art, how they hoped to get back into it. Art can be deeply personal, and it also has a universal language that can speak to the creativity within each person.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m making enough new pieces of jewelry and art. After finishing my oracle cards, which was a huge undertaking, I’ve felt a little…well, anticlimactic about my artistic process and progress with the lack of a major project.
In reality, I have continued to create. I’ve made a variety of new things – cards, decorated hair clips, a few new pendants, etc. It’s been more that I’ve been making things a few at a time; it’s been very here and there.
I have a decent inventory of items I can sell. I’ve been doing fewer craft fairs this year, although have been successful with selling items to friends, family, and a few Etsy customers. Some of that is because I’m busy doing other things (e.g. oracle cards, planning my wedding, preparing to move) and part of that is because I’m a little more discerning about what kinds of events I put my energy, time and money towards.
There’s also another factor: I’m an aspiring Nia Technique dance fitness teacher. I’ve been putting some of my creativity energy towards learning routines and finding my own sense of movement. I take several classes a week, and for the next two months, I’m teaching once a week. So, I’ve been putting more time into that than into my visual art. However, I also recognize that I’ve been doing art for most of my life; it comes more easily to me. Dance…much less so. I took a few modern dance classes when I was 12 or so, but didn’t have the time or patience at the time. I took improvisational dance and dance history classes in college and took expressive moment classes for a while when I lived in San Diego. When I started Nia, it became about the body-mind-spirit connection and more. It became a regular activity I wanted to practice and improve at. I not only wanted to learn the technique, I also wanted to teach it. And learning to teach is a very intensive process.
I don’t see my Nia practice as replacing my visual art practice by any means; they definitely can exist side-by-side in my life. However, even as I write this, I’m realizing that I practice Nia regularly. I don’t currently have a consistent art practice. I see blogs that talk about sketching or making at least one thing a day. At the moment, I am not doing this. At one time, I was practicing wirewrapping on a regular basis, and my skills definitely improved dramatically. I don’t think I’m at a stagnant place with my art – but I might be at a place where things aren’t moving very quickly. And really, they don’t have to. I’ve been satisfied with the small supplemental of income I’ve earned, which mostly means some of what I create pays for itself. I also realize that I’ve felt vulnerable about the idea of getting feedback on what I can do next art-business-wise.
At some point in the relatively near future, I want to dedicate more time to it. I want to create goals for the act of creating – whether I’m doing it to create something for profit or just for myself. I want to get feedback on my Etsy shop, recommendations on what I could improve. I want to read books or take online classes about different aspects of running an art business. Ideally, I want to create enough time and space so my Nia and art can feed each other. Perhaps someday I’ll do a Nia and art workshop.
My time and attention is pretty divided right now, but perhaps once I settle into my post-wedding life, perhaps I will find more flow and ease in my visual art practice and business. It’s all a work in progress.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying illustrating words. For myself, I find them encouraging. I also love the painting process, of putting my brush to paper, deepening the shades of color, finding my own balance between abstract and expressionistic.
So far, I have painted these words: (click for full size images)
What other words would you like to see? What inspires you?
When I was in late elementary school through middle school, my father dated an artist – a potter, to be specific. She made everything from teapots to bowls to rattles, all with a fanciful and semi-Southwestern flair.
I always got the feeling that she didn’t know what to do with me as an adolescent. However, she did know what to do with me as an artist.
Her studio was an artist’s playground. Of course, she had clay. She also had the materials for stained glass, jewelry making, collage, and much more. I could spend hours there creating. She also showed and taught me some things: how to make a bowl from a mold. How to solder stain glass together. How to make earrings with beads and headpins.
Of the techniques she taught me, jewelry making stuck with me most. I made several pairs of earrings and put them up for sale at my dad’s yoga studio. While it would be years before I would return to the basic wirewrapping techniques, they somehow stayed with me. Years, later, my boyfriend’s mother gave me a wirewrapped pendant. I loved it and wondered if I could make something like it. She gave me some copper wire to experiment with.
I didn’t until I held a piece of blue kyanite in my hand, a stone that my mentor told me would be good for psychic protection. “Are you going to wire wrap that?” She asked. I resolved to try, and used the copper wire to wrap the piece, complete with a spiral in the center. And that was my more recent beginning with playing with wire and stones.
I wrapped a few stones after that, and then resolved to really learn and refine my techniques this past fall. I took classes. I spent hours experimenting and practicing, and discovered what worked for me.
Now, I have my own materials and a solid collection of stones. I am still learning and playing. Sometimes, I have a design in mind. At other times, the wire and stones speak to me and turn into something that surprises me.
Sometimes, I think about when I started making jewelry, how exciting and rewarding it was to create a finished piece. And honestly, it still is. It’s often the activities that I enjoyed when I was younger that suit me best now as an adult.
Someday, I hope to have my own studio, full of all kinds of arts and craft supplies. There, perhaps I will teach someone else a technique, and this will inspire them to create for years to come.