'Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you’ve made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly, your wholeness when you feel broken and your innocence when you feel guilty.'
The other morning I allowed myself the opportunity to be creative, to express my heart in song. Often I am utterly scared of setting my voice free. To sing to my hearts content. I recall thinking how the neighbours have been doing construction work for weeks on end and how if my voice was going to sound bad it wouldn't be any worse than the screeching of the construction tools.
There is nothing that cannot be met, there is nothing that cannot be embraced. Yet in the mind and in the body, remnants of pain, suffering and residue of past hurts and wounds bubble to the surface, challenging my capacity to meet life and accept all the things that I judge as being imperfect. Yes, I am a work in progress, yes, I fail at love sometimes, yes, I feel like a failure sometimes and yet I stand in the world with all these problems and wonder how can I be loved in the midst of all this?
Yet I am.
But how, is it possible I wonder? I don’t know, right now I am too far gone in my mind and in pain as it bubbles up to the surface challenging my resilience.
You see, my son in his passage into adult life stumbles. The prices of rent soars ever skyward as the youth of our world struggle to make ends meet and question the ways of our changing world, I find myself stumbling too.
My quest to forge forward wanes. My business and my capacity to hold my ground is now met with an emotional collapse that threatens my ability to be present. What do you do when you are in the grip of negativity, but fully, completely be with it?
Yes, it’s one thing to speak words of positivity, but it’s another thing to walk an authentic truthful journey. There are so many things that can be said, so many programs to take, movies to watch, inspiring books to read and perspectives to take on. Yet, what is it that rests in my heart? What is it that matters most? It’s when these core truths are integrated that things begins to shift.
The intense feelings, the emptiness, the aloneness, the heaviness, these challenging emotions are signals. Whilst the likely inclination is to avoid feeling, the wisest response to these feelings is to give them fullest attention. To bring them into the heart-space without distraction of any kind. To welcome them with a state of receptivity that would honour one’s beloved. Softening to them. Simply observing them as we would a baby in need.
You see, it is not control and resistance that brings us the fruits of life, it is inner surrender to what is that does so. It is about allowing and opening to life that welcomes in the new. If a seeking to control what is felt is occurring, if a seeking to manipulate and coerce life so that one can force one’s own agenda, it's because life isn’t being trusted. At these times things have a funny way of reflecting back the same lack of trust.
When an opening to what life wants occurs, when there is receptivity, embrace, when judgement dissolves, change welcomed, a meeting of the flux and flow, welcoming of vulnerability, then that’s where expansion begins. That is exactly when consciousness is made available to a universal power that operates through all things.
Most people are shy of embodying their fullness and avoid the flux and flow. Most people assume life shouldn’t include the negative, uncomfortable and dark moments. Actually, dark moments engender one’s capacity to forge the intensity of presence and resiliency needed to weather the adventure of living.
Each of us are being invited to embody all of life in order to be whole. Not just what we please.
Most people are petrified of fully feeling the complete depths of pain, which is why there is a madness that has gripped our planet. Disagree? Then jump online and google the last mass shooting, rape or terrorist attack or mining on indigenous land. For what could possibly cause such a separation to drive a collective insanity?
We could instead make peace by taking full responsibility for our share of pain. This begins here and now with acceptance of the fullest breadth and width of emotion, of every thought and the entirety of what it means to be alive today, inclusive of fear and joys. Only then can one connect to the fullness and sacredness of life.
It is not wrong to experience what exists, if we are feeling it, it means life is signalling something to be aware of. To accept it brings peace. Life is always offering that which is intrinsically designed for our fullest evolution. For every single thing in life is biologically driven to evolve each and every one of us.
At times, I catch myself and find I’ve missed precious moments of life. Noticing this is a great step. It proves pivotal in getting to questions that support a shift. What’s really going on? Is it possible I’ve shutdown somewhere?
Then begins the process of deep listening. A practice that quietens the mind. That engages me honestly and attentively to the body. To welcome every sensation.
Deep listening rests the mind. It opens us up to the subtleties and nuances of life to become viscerally available. It builds awareness that expands consciousness. It develops a spaciousness in which resilience can be found.
In listening there is a stillness that buoys the spirit. A stillness that bears powerful gifts that are available to us the moment we choose it.
Rumi a famous persian poet once wrote:
“While you go searching for trinkets, there rests a treasure house in your own being”
Deep listening reaps such rich rewards and creates a veritable shift. It’s what helps us notice and cut through the fog of unnecessary thoughts. Even in the efforts towards growth, we can get caught up in yet another task to do. Wanting to tick off to do lists and mistakenly assume that our worth may be related to what we have or what we do. When we are not listening we can become flustered with things don’t go according to plan.
Deep listening is a beautiful antidote. It reveals that the biggest shift is made inside. That we can start exactly where we are. It’s not necessarily about ticking off lists. That we can tune in to life through our skin, bones, organs, belly, heart and our very marrow. With the entirety of our being.
Listening reconnects us with the truth that we are part of an incredible field of vibrance revealed as we open. An opening that is the result of grace.
When the majority of the world is operating within the paradigm of fear and scarcity, it is a conscious choice that one makes to operate in new and inspiring ways. One that is dynamic and affirming of life. This new paradigm may appear to move against the current of what most people are accustomed to. Possibly it might feel as though it’s going against common logic, but operating from love is one of the most liberating things you can ever do. It is essentially creative. It is what life wants for each and every being. It is about returning to the simple magic and mystery that supports every single living organism in the entire universe.
To assume scarcity, limitation and perpetual fear denies life. Life is essentially already supporting each and every individual and all the animals and plants in the world. When we look closely in nature where there is a natural uninterrupted flow, you can observe that nature is celebrating life.
When you take the time out from the should’s and should not’s and instead act on what gives life true authentic meaning, it is here that freedom, synchronicity and abundance can be found. The magical thing is this, these things have always been available before, it’s just that now you are becoming receptive to the opportunities. The thing is that the tension, fear and resistance that were making the blessings and opportunities difficult to perceive before are now diminishing.
Creativity is a beautiful part of an incredible world of we all live in. Music, painting, movies, poetry and all the magical things of this world are not limited to only to professionals alone. This is a world of inclusion. Creativity affirms and supports all life. The moment you are willing to listen and respond to the magic and mystery in all things is the moment you are most alive. When you hear the calling of life and trust it you can and will act on what feels like home in your heart. This is when you are at your most creative.
Can creative genius within each and every one of us be amplified? I believe so.
Feeling closely into the energy of sexuality I have found that it is intimately associated with inspiration which fires the spark of creativity. Though subtle the links between sexuality and creativity are certainly there.
So many people have been conditioned, to suppress sexual energy and therefore unconsciously hindering their natural inborn creativity. Sexual energy and it's vitality is paramount to inspiration and hence creative genius.
Since sexual energy powerfully fuels inspiration why would anyone choose to diminish what is both naturally human and powerfully Divine? Those who do, would likely do so unconsciously.
Kama Sutra Sculpture
When it comes to creativity (pardon the pun :-) it is amazing to discover that every life-form is created through the act of arousal.
In Napolean Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich, he wrote about success and it's arrival to those who learnt to harness and transmute sexual energy into their work and life purpose.
Noting how those who mastered their sexual energy and learnt to harness it so they could be in service to the world became not only magnetic but also abundant,
His writing focussed somewhat more on male sexual energy perhaps because of how regular ejaculation depletes the bodies spirit. Although the dilution of sexual energy also applies to women, regular ejaculation impacts men negatively.
According to Daniel Reid's book The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity, if every sperm in a single ejaculation were fertilised it would be enough to repopulate the entire planet.
For those who learn to recirculate and replenish sexual energy, stamina, resilience, immunity and creativity become available to overcome life's challenges and obstacles.
Napoleon wrote how harnessing one's sexual energy is the driving force behind the embodiment of passion and love in one's work which is essentially creative be it in the arts or not.
This creativity is heightened when arousal towards life is met fully, Yet the mind is easily prompted to opt for the shortest possible route towards reward. Short cuts though rarely grant the sweetest of victories. Wisdom gained through life experience requires monumental presence that meets the inevitable up's and downs. Such presence is impossible if immediate reward is one's primary aim.
by Gustav Klimt
Creativity is activated by accessing the gap between stimulus and response. It is, birthed by those who abide beyond the mind's chattering. As the filtering of spontaneity, knee jerk reactions, triggers and habitual patterns dissolve, inspiration, creativity and sexual prowess return,
Refreshing alternatives are made available beyond limiting perspectives which are all too common around sexuality and creativity. Releasing such perspectives is enabled by entering into silence and stillness within. This is the fuel that awakens consciousness fuelling intimacy and depth at the heart of every soul.
Beauty is not limited to the photogenic or to the artist. It is in-fact universal, life affirming and serves all.. Sexual energy isn't about owning that which arouses.
Sexual energy, creativity and inspiration are indeed about receptivity which when channeled draws all that is needed.
Oil on canvas
by Jhana Bowen
“Your value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth.” - Author Unknown
It’s amazing to see in current political situations globally that lives seem to matter less when financial concerns get in the way of humanitarian rights. Take for instance how global super powers only seem to involve themselves in another countries plight unless there is something beneficial in it for them. I believe this is why Tibet has gone unaided in it’s 60 year long Chinese occupation.
Last night I watched a very uncomfortable documentary on Tibet. As a child I grew up in Dharamsala, the home to the Dalai Lama. I attended a Tibetan boarding school amongst over a thousand Tibetan children. I recall feeling blessed to be western. In the Western world it seems that Tibetan culture and the Dalai Lama are very much appreciated and yet no government has intervened with China to end the massive human rights and environmental issues.
Are convenience and money more important than helping our fellow human beings who have lost their country and lives in the millions? Yet, more and more, I see courageous souls venturing out beyond safe comfort zones, boldly stepping out of their shells to create change. I see visionaries, therapists, artists, counsellors, teachers and entrepreneurs who through their life's work are creating massive shifts in the world by affecting each person they touch.
Photographer: Unknown (please notify if known)
When I watched the outright blatant abuse of human rights in Tibet where 97 Tibetans burned themselves alive in protest against the Chinese occupation, I found myself afraid to step up and be a part of a necessary change. What if like John Lennon, Gandhi and John F. Kennedy, I also lose my life working for the same changes they tirelessly worked for? Would it be worth it? Would there be far reaching impacts that would justify my fearlessness?
Photographer: Unknown (please notify if known)
Creativity begins as we commit to love. Love begins when we are present no matter what. When we accept uncertainty and choose truth regardless of the situation, the darkness that exists in the unconscious collective of humanity is met with undying presence. All elements of humanity can be welcomed and will open our hearts. This is when we become true artists of life. When instead of avoiding the bitter sweet truths, we instead embrace them. It is imperative to honour what exists in all of us for this is what will recreate our world.
Detail of 'Transformation'
Medium: Oil, gold leaf and mixed media on canvas
by Jhana Bowen
Our creativity must embrace the darkness and find ways to unearth our fullest presence. This is what heals unconscious behaviours that cause such deep suffering. In witnessing intense pain, let it intensify the desire to be in service. To do all it takes to live in presence. Not to rescue, fix, blame or judge, but instead to turn up fully and recreate the world. By accepting that this world is a part of it all. Through a deepest surrender forgiveness begins, Accept the fear, anger and all the spaces where unconsciousness lives. From here action begins to change the world.
'Shift in Consciousness'
Medium: Oil and mixed media on canvas
by Jhana Bowen
Being in service in the world comes naturally as a byproduct of growth and evolution. Inevitably in the process there is an intermittent forgetting, a stumbling and the encountering of mistakes which are poignant and cathartic parts of the journey.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with aiming for excellence, ease and grace only arrives as every aspect that comes with being human is deeply and intimately met. Honouring every step of the human journey is an inclusive experience. For it is the nature of the entire universe and space to include rather than to exclude all that rests inside of existence.
Potential lies not in the future vaguely out of reach but remains ever creative in the present. It is in this moment and an undying embrace awakens pure unbridled power. Whatever this moment carries, it’s depth and breadth lies in attentiveness as key factors in awakening one’s capacities in work, business, artistic creations and what underpins almost everything in life; relationships.
The depth and degree to which an individual is capable of meeting oneself is parallel to the same depth and degree to which that individual will meet others. This depth will be an indicator of the quality of life felt across all relationships. Initially, this depth may appear shallow and lacking in substance. In observation of modern society it is common practise that depth and substance are substituted by superficiality. For all that glitters is not gold.
In art, art that spans across the rigours of time, what is notable are works that connect with the psyche. They impact us deeply not so much because they simply beautify the space but because they invoke our deepest presence. These artworks call forth who we really are. Artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Michelangelo forged forward as emissaries of consciousness in their works to unveil the deepest truths of being. It is primarily art that communes with the Divine that transcends time. It shows us that which is immortal. Whilst the fabric of existence is touched by our own consciousness so too does our consciousness touch everything. When each act is embraced accordingly, in reverence, in a delightful communion with all that is, we encounter art as a way of life. Our breath as a brushstroke. Our movement as the paint touching the canvas of life. Our stillness as a dreaming and visioning.
The Power the Moves From Within
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In the journey of human evolution some areas in life often serve to act as triggers. These can often threaten a sense of self. Sometimes, the smallest issue causes a forgetfulness of truth.
Each person has their own particular areas of strength and weakness. There is never anything wrong with personal triggers, nor in experiencing pain. These actually serve as catalysts for growth, confirming the presence of life and an opportunity to engage sensitivity with presence.
It is always important though, to watch that we don’t lose self to story. ‘I am no good,’ ‘This always happens to me,’ ‘I am hopeless,’ ‘I’ll never be successful,’ are examples of possible stories. To not catch reactions, triggers and stories for what they are can be a recipe for unnecessary pain. When old patterns creep in, the greatest shift out of self defeating attitudes is the readiness to work with everything.
Acknowledge any trigger, reaction, emotion or thought, but all the while, be alert to truth. Truth is only available through alignment with the core self.
This core self is where true creative potential is accessed. It is where life originates and returns. It is from here the flow state begins.
Triggers, reactions and stories are deleted as challenges are harnessed for the gifts they bring. This is the way to recreate discomfort as rocket fuel for growth, productivity and inevitable success. Success is possible as challenges are met, not ignored.
The genius artist of life is alive in everyone, ready and accessible to create life as the masterpiece it is. It begins by taking full responsibility for every area of life. In this way, doors to creative potential open. Choose to walk through them by listening to the deepest truth of who you are. Know now that creativity isn’t rigidly confined to a world of the visual and auditory. Creativity is inclusive, not exclusive. Creative potential exists inside everyone, in everything and anything that can possibly be encountered. It is what makes the entirety of life possible. This is the reason why being in the state of flow enlivens. It is by stepping into what serves the whole universe that possibility takes front and centre stage.
It is the nature limited conditioned mind to discount miracles. It does not understand and cannot rationalise their existence. In my life I have directly witnessed paintings cry, had a vision of the Buddha and with my own eyes seen a golden dolphin swimming in the ocean. I have seen pictures of a statue of Christ bleeding. Throughout numerous cultures and history many instances of miracles are noted. Wether we are open and receptive to the world beyond rationale the truth is we cannot explain everything.
It would be safe to say that life is in its entirety truly a miracle. For if we are to see it with open eyes we would engage and be present to its infinite depth and mystery. We would not be able to discount the luxurious abundance that life is inherently imbued with.
Creativity is the art of making something out of what originally seemed impossible. What seemed to not exist, yet the imagination dreams it is possible and desires to make it real. What is possible that you have not yet deemed available in life? What is possible that seems impossible? Are the words I’m possible hiding in the midst of impossibility? Are you ready to shift and see that right in the midst of you lies the greatest creative vessel ready to be birthed in to reality? To be a part of a whole new world? This is true art. This is the nature of the entire universe. This is what dreams are made of and it is what drives ever living creature. For in truth life is inspiring, simply because out of nothing appears all things. In a galaxy of infinite possibilities we have the finite being born into existence. To be played with, explored and experimented with. Art is the juxtaposition between limitation and unconstrained imagination. The artist plays with possibility and allows the stretching space between the known worlds and the unknown to be bridged.
The miracle is that we don’t know and are prepared to not know so we can make known these realities that the eyes have not yet seen.
If art serves a purpose it is to awaken us beyond the blindness that ravages our society and keeps so many locked in the confines of comfort zones fearing to take a risk lest one get hurt.
To create, to live is to take a risk. We have no guarantee of what the outcome is and that is the adventure. We have no idea what lies at the frontier of life and that is precisely why it’s so beautiful to explore and discover and to play. To birth something new and to witness with the full spectrum of ones being all that is to be experienced.
When an artist discovers his or her creative voice, an opening arrives borne from a quiet place of stillness. When there is a deep listening taking place, inspiration builds. In much the same way as when Isaac Newton lay down under an apple tree, he rested and gradually fell asleep. His surrender into stillness opened him to a revelation as the falling apple hit him. He discovered gravity. Similarly many artists discover their greatest breakthroughs in the vast spaciousness of consciousness. This space makes artists available to humanity’s greatest masterpieces.
Yet so often the mind wants to take pride of place in controlling the outcome of artistic ventures. Surrender to the quite and abundant place where all art, beauty and wonder comes from is often set aside in mainstream culture. At the same time the creative world is revered for it’s gifts and treasures. It’s precisely because it makes us see what is possible when we are open to an enlivening field outside of chaos and the mad chatter of the mind. The busy goings on that want to sell themselves on their importance.
When, as an artist we arrive to our work fully present and attend to what is before us, wether with brush in hand or an instrument of music, or any other creative project, we give our entirety of being to the moment. When the artist makes a mark on the surface of choice, he or she makes visible that which was previously unseen. Drawing into consciousness a felt sense of aliveness. We can perceive directly these marks as a window to the artists soul. The way the medium is applied is a signal of their presence. The way the instrument is touched by the artist’s loving hand says so much about their sense of connection. We get a sense of what the artist feels and their intimacy with what it is they wish to express.
There is a reason why art created by the human touch has such a powerful effect on us. So many resonate with it and have valued original works in excess of millions of dollars principally because it captivates and enlivens the soul. There is a sense of wonder that is a portal to the world of stillness.
What was created with a brush, paint and canvas or any other form of art, has actually built a connection in the viewer to a timeless state of being.
Art serves as a doorway. It speaks of an abundance presence. Of the capacity for us to remain open to a world of wonder and beauty which we perceive when we slow down and listen to something beyond the relentlessly restless mind. Art disentangles us from stress and it’s effects on the immune system. It gives us an opening beyond the mundane and frees us to be ourselves again.