August 20, 2015

Bringing the sacred into our every day life

We are on vacation this week.  At a lovely little chalet in a delightful town in Quebec's Eastern townships surrounded by mountains, open spaces and people who have such kindness.


There is no schedule.  No appointment.  No "to do list". 

But there is a wish list, a Soul List, one I carried in my heart and my art pouch before I left:
  • Reconnect with my yoga practice
  • Spend time with my little girls creating and playing together
  • Make a sacred altar at my bedside table 
  • Journal with the SoulCollage card I pick every morning
  • Be present
  • Find the sacred in the everyday
This week, on a beautiful morning, on one of these days where a soft gentle breeze caresses the skin like wings of an angel and the sun shines so brightly that it feels like the green of the grass and leaves are lit from within, the girls (4 and 7) and I sat outside in the garden.

We brought out acrylic paint, water, paintbrushes and feathers.  One after the other, we chose feathers, particular feathers that we felt a pull toward.  And then, we asked our heart and the feather: which colour does this feather want? What do I feel an inner pull toward?  My 7 year old daughter really connected with this practice - at one point, she mentioned that the feather wanted orange and red.  We applied gentle layers of paint, with symbols, dots, lines...  

  
It was a beautiful practice - one of painting, of connecting with a natural element, of observing it and asking our heart- what wants to happen?

Once they were dried, some of the feathers graced the sacred altar at my bedside.  Reminding me that creating beauty and finding the sacred into our every day life is about becoming aware of our surroundings, being present with what is unfolding, developing a connection with nature, listening to the whispers within.


And this, for me, is part of the Magic and Sacredness of Life...

Namaste and Love,


Isabelle


October 8, 2014

Encountering the Muse - part one

Since last April, I have been on a journey.  A wonderful journey that has gifted me with such enfolding, that I could never have imagined at the beginning...

Since April 2013, I have been a student at the Color of Woman school, founded by Shiloh Sophia McCloud, an accomplished artist, visionary leader and women's activist, and a woman I love and admire.  This was a dream that I had carried in my heart for quite a while.  I knew it was only a matter of time.  I had already answered the call in my heart.  And finally came the day....  my heart was singing: yes!!!

Thus began my journey to become an Intuitive Painting teacher and a Intentional Creativity coach in the Color of Woman method.  A journey filled with so many claiming, healing, releasing, transforming... I had known for a long time that painting and the arts were powerful tools, but this method developed by Shiloh is truly revolutionary. 

Not only have I learned tools, processes and techniques to truly bring forward transformations and healing, claiming and unfolding, both in myself and others, but all of us receive such amazing support into becoming teachers and leaders.

I would like to share with you here some of the pictures of bringing forth the Muse, my second painting using the Color of Woman method - and my second lifelong painting of a woman on canvas. I hope that this will give you a feel of the process, which involves visualization, intention, journaling, sketching, painting and writing connected with the painting as messages for the painting to ourselves:

My intention for this journey:

Creating a portal for Her to come throught:


Painting her features:

 This is a close-up picture of Her face, completed:

But before She manifested in this fullness, I hit a major block.. a stalling...  a resistance... I no longer knew what her colors were...  when I painted her one morning, this is what appeared:


Something within me needed to be tended to, explored, transformed and claimed...  I needed to dig deep inside.

I will share with you in the next blogpost the unfolding of what came throught for me.

How about you... what is your experience when you create?  Do you ever encounter roadblocks? How do you view and approach them?

With a full heart,

Isabelle


October 3, 2014

What is practice?

Recently, a wonderful woman posted this question on a Facebook thread - for you, what is practice?

Viewed only from the perspective of making art, it can manifest as sketching, or trying various color combinations, which are all essentials for artists.  However, I realized that for me, practice does not only apply to art in its most literal meaning... it's about connecting with art and life at the heart level, at the deepest level of intention.  

In fact, for me "art" does not only translate to what is showing up on my canvas, sketchbook or art journal, but actually includes, infolds and embodies all areas of my life.  The ability we each have to author and create our own life.

Practice manifests for me as a way to connect my heart, my body, my breath, my mind, and my art to this present moment... what wants to be expressed? What needs to move into form? What do I need to hear, see, feel, release, claim? Infusing everything with intention, whether it be my yoga practice, painting Her into being, the energy with which I great strangers and friends, the holding in my arms of my daughters, the kiss on my husband's neck, the smile and looking in the eyes of a friend... Practice is both the mean and doorway into becoming fully manifested and living a fully-expressed life..


One of the first verse of Pantajali's Yoga Sutras that I learned from my yoga teacher Robin is:


Atha yoga anushasanam - Now, we begin the practice of yoga.

Atha in Sanskrit means 'now'.  Which reminds me that we are always beginner -and that to be a beginner is a privilege. This state of mind allows us to remain open to possibilites, receptive to welcome and honor all that is present in the moment.  

Practice for me is another word for presence.  Presence to what truly is.. both within, and without.
Work-in-process painting - Acrylic on wood panel

I will be sharing more with you in the upcoming weeks on the wonderful unfoldings both on my easel and in my everyday life that these past few months have bestowed upon me.  I have been quiet intentionally, as these past few months were a time for me to go within, dig deep, heal, reclaim, and manifest... but more on this on posts to come!

I would love to know.. what does practice mean for you?

With a full heart,

Isabelle

February 5, 2014

This life, this moment, this breath...

A friend of mine posted her Facebook movie today, and I decided to give it a try.  Basically, Facebook takes your posts since you joined and creates a slideshow movie of some of the pictures you shared.  One gets to see snippets of her life with this touching music that plays along...  I was not prepared for the surge of emotions that would fill me...

I cried.  I cried my heart out.  Lifted my eyes, looked up at the sky, brought my hands to my heart and gave thanks, bursting with gratitude for this life, this oh so precious life that we get to live, that we get to experience, that we get to share, and explore, and taste.   With all of its beauty, and heartaches, and joys, and sorrows, and oh so many many wonders and miracles.

This is what I wish with all my heart to share with you.  The many wonders of life, of you.  The love that underlines it all...  even when we don't understand.   For I have come to believe that the greatest sorrows can bear the most precious gifts...

Sometimes, we can only stand as witness of the pain in other people's heart.  And no matter how much we would like to lift this pain, to take it away, no matter our love for them, we can't.  Sometimes, we get to be bystander by watching other people destroy their lives, and sometimes even take their own lives... like my father did 16 years ago and my eldest brother 3 years ago this upcoming March.

They say it takes 3 years to grieve the death of a loved one by suicide.  This is my way of honoring my brother and letting him go in peace...  By wishing him all the love where he is...By reaffirming my oh so strong conviction that this life, this amazing life, is so worth it.  Every single breath of it.  Every experience of it.  That we are such beautiful being, all of us.  And that I love him with all my heart.


I am aware that I was blessed to be born with a joyful and hopeful heart, and an unsinkable spirit.  And at the same time, deeply recognize that, for me, yoga and art have been the paths towards the realization of our divinity, of our intrinsic goodness and of the incredible joy that resides inside ourselves. The answer to my prayer that my heart stays open, no matter what.  I am convinced that I would not be the same person were it not for the profound, transformative changes that both these practices bestow.

At my brother's funeral, I gave the eulogy.  In closing, standing in front of his wife and son, of my mother and youngest sister, I sang the song Hands, by Jewel.  I would like to share it here with you... in the hope that every single one of us recognizes our own worth and beauty, no matter what. That we each hold the power to decide, to take a stand, to open ourselves to Love and Life.   This is not a 'deserving' thing - you are born deserving, and beautiful, and so precious....

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

I love you Benoit and carry you in my heart, always...  thank you for having been my brother in this life, for all that we shared together, and the many gifts of knowing you...

With heart open wide,


Isabelle


January 16, 2014

The First Violin... or living our life wholeheartedly

Last week, my husband and I went to a classical concert given by the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra.  We had not been at one for years, and it felt wonderful and slightly luxurious to take this time, on a week night, to sit down and immerse ourselves in music.

We had front row tickets, and therefore were almost sitting WITH the orchestra. The music was beautiful, the harmony between the musicians something I had never experienced before. Mind you, althought I truly appreciate classical music, I do not listen to it on most days. But this concert - it was really beautiful. I was being carried by the music... and then something caught my eye.

There was this player (frail, of asian ascendance, in his early twenties), sitting at the front row.  He was playing the violin.  But he was playing it with such passion - it felt to me as if  he was dancing with his violin. Whispering secrets to it. His entire facial expressions were a story in itself.  You could see delight, surprise, passion, tenderness, playfulness...  This player, the first violin, LIVED his music.  And his passion, his profound love for the music, the way he had of giving himself completely to it....  it filled my heart with glee. Seeing his joy, he transmitted it to me... I was smiling from ear to ear for the most part of the concert, because he was able to communicate to me, to all of us, his love and passion.  Pure delight.  Lived joy.

Swaying in the light - Neocolor II on watercolor paper - art journal spread

This had a profound effect on me.  Living a life of purpose, I believe, is being aligned with what makes our heart sign, what makes our soul come alive.   We often forget this.  We don't take the time... we have so many things to take care of in our full-to-the-brim life...  But this nurturing of the Soul is essential if we are to live a wholehearted life.  Be it music, painting, creative writing, art journaling, playing an instrument, dancing with your kids, connecting with the body with breath and movement... what makes your soul come alive?  What makes your heart sign?

Can you imagine a world where everyone would take the time every day, even for just 10 minutes, to make this heart and soul connection?  I believe the joy created inside our hearts could not help but make our world a kinder, wilder, happier place.

How about if, today, we all took  the time, if only for 10 minutes, to connect with that joyful place?

I would love to hear from you - what makes YOUR heart sign?  How do you make time for it?

Wishing you a fill-to-the-brim-with-joy day,


Isabelle
p.s.:  Today is the day my intervew at the Create You! Telesummit airs.  You can find more details here www.fullcoloryou.com, or by clicking on the button at the upper right.  I would love to hear your thoughts!


December 31, 2013

The smell of a mango...



A sneeze woke me up today... It was my 6 year old daughter, standing beside my bed.   When I opened my eyes, she approached and said ''Joyeux anniversaire Maman'' (Happy birthday Mama).  And then I remembered - ah yes, indeed, it is.   I hugged her little body and pulled her closer.  Softness. Then I heard the sound of running / stomping feet approaching - that would be my youngest daughter, almost 3.  Milk Mama, she said, stumbling unto me, her arms wrapped aroung my neck, hugging thight.  And I smiled.

They both walked away to go play, and as I was lying in bed, hearing their joyous chatter about tiny furry rabbits and magical horses, I smiled.  And for a moment, paused.  What was this feeling that filled my entire body? What was this space that I was feeling in my being?

Peace.. Peace like the pause between the inhale and the exhale.  And then again between the exhale and the inhale.  This place that seems like a void, and yet also like the All.

Spaciousness... This sense of spaciousness within the Now filled my heart, my mind, my entire body.  I had an internal smile as I remembered... Spaciousness is my work for 2013 and, as we are coming at an end to this year, my whole life seemed to indicate that I had not been able to attain it, as I evaluated it in terms of time (have more time to do what my heart longs to do) and space (have a spotless, clutter less home).  But this morning, I understood - spaciousness is not something that can be attained from the outside, by "controlling" our environment, or "managing" our time.  True spaciousness for me, in the way I experienced it this morning, is an internal state. A deep, profound Yes... What a beautiful birthday gift I received from the Universe...  

Gratefulness and gracefulness filled me.

We went downstairs, and as I was cutting the yielding golden flesh of a mango, the smell filled my being. I closed my eyes, brought the mango closer to my nose, inhaled deeply.  Paused.  Yes.  This feeling of spaciousness again.

  
At the eve of the start of the New Year, and as a gift to you on my birthday, I wish you:

Pauses filled with the awareness of your own breath.

Present moments of spaciousness.

True Acceptance - of what is, and of yourself.


Namaste and Blessings,


Isabelle