A Language of Understanding (art journal musing + peek)

it all makes so much more sense to me without words. all the things i see and feel most deeply, and most want to express and explore in the nature of things.

and yet, my whole life i've been told and shown that words are part of my gift and medicine. life calls me back to the distinctly uncomfortable edge of translating those ineffable connections - from the visual, sensual, felt realms of experience - into arrangements of ideas when i write, speak or teach. Ideas that might, with god's help, spark a wider perspective, shine light on a bridge overlooked, or catalyze a small moment of healing and validation for another.

part of me would love to be an artist who could spend all day painting and making, knowing all along that she was called to this visual expression and sharing alone. or a writer who knew without a doubt that words were the medium for her, the gift, her way to sweat, evoke and inspire... maybe I would write a book, or blog more regularly. but what i find as my creative truth + process is a little more complex than that.

this artist energy, for me - this creative energy i can't deny - is one of BEing in life and relationship, and pursuing what calls forth my creative spirit into that engagement somehow. it's not one way of expressing or another. it's both/and and then-some. it is a dance of learning and teaching sharing.

it's not (just) a job. it's not just a 'body of work', per se, except what is to be discovered and expressed in this body of mine. it's a way of experiencing life, first. deep terrains of internal landscape that shape the navigation of life 'out here' where the world might observe but mere glimpses. and it just doesn't always look like what so many conventional ideas about 'artist' would have us believe....

and the rest, for me, is the very real struggle of working with what I can to let out from inside of my experience that beauty and pain and inquisitive nature which calls to be expressed, released, loved, evolved or blessed with the poetry of activated stillness. it's a stumbling on the page most of the time, and yet sometimes a resonance of recognition... however big or small or seemingly inconsequential.

sometimes, for me, it is line and color and the making of marks. sometimes it is words and musings and sharing bits of stories, healing or connections i have learned, sensed or witnessed.

always, what comes of my process, is merely an attempt at translating presence with all of this. evidence of my own quest for understanding and connection with life itself. and maybe it's also a morsel, perhaps, for yours.

and lately, i find more and more, at the end of the day, in the language of life and love and creative spirit... it all makes so much more sense to my soul without all the words getting in the way....


In Time, With Space... (all creative souls need space)

all creative souls need space I was considering beginning a monthly creative life/practice review here at the blog.

But how do you begin a cohesive monthly review - or any kind of personal re-counting or reflection for such a short period of time - when it seems like your whole world has been shifting from the inside out for... over a year... maybe three... or... is it ten? There are so many layers, too many words for what can't be summed up anyway.

spacious pages awaiting spills...

While I often encourage reflective reviews of our creative practice and process... there are also times when it becomes a distraction, a way of looking back so as to avoid facing the ultimate, great unknown of Now that is so abundantly available at any juncture.

Sometimes we need the anchor to re-orient or focus, but sometimes we need to remember that if we're looking back to find something we think we lost or failed to see along the way, we may be missing a living encounter with creative presence right here, right now.

Turning forty does something to you. That’s for sure. There is a threshold of sorts around this time.

What I can say... what doesn’t seem to change, despite its risk of sounding trite... is that everything that ever happened in my life, everything that is happening, and maybe even that will happen, led me here. To This moment. This perspective... ever-expanding, I hope. This dance with holding on and letting go, and forgetting all of that to just BE. Feeling all the things. ALL the things.

Conversely, even today’s rabbit hole that leads back into some old shadow is part of it... or yesterday’s trail that entices me into some new territory to explore for awhile. It’s all part of the journey of getting to be human. Some days I don’t know which it is that I find myself inhabiting... the hole or the trail. They can and do overlap, when you get right down to it.

But on a good day... a really good day... I’m not so much concerned with having an answer about what is what, what should be, or what could be, or about the direction of my perception, or how my energy is spent exploring.

I’m just present to what really, truly moves me.

One thing I have been learning, about being me, is that to even begin to know what moves me - to form a living relationship with what calls my heart and spirit into Life - I need Space.

freshening up the studio was a much needed boost for my soul - grateful for this space while I have it

Space to listen. Be in my own skin. Absorb the deliciousness of quiet. To unravel from patterns of survival, judging and reaction that serve no one’s best interest. To put down the tools and find respite. To peel away layers of other people’s stories and agendas, and the modern world’s residue of contradictions and prescriptions for a meaningful life.

Space to polish the lens only I see with. To be swept away by music or prayer or color becoming breath... or whatever is spinning in worlds within me that no one else can take or measure or see.

Space to be nothing more and nothing less than who and how I Am, in the Presence that moves me toward my becoming.

May we each be able to create, carve, refresh and find space in our lives - however small or large, whether physically, spiritual, mental or otherwise - for this filling up of our souls. May we find in that space what heals our tired places and moves us toward a sense of gratitude and creative vitality.

Lately, I Have Been...

detail of art journal page in process, Hali Karlafrench broad river near hot springs, nc

prayer page, line drawing in visual journal (Hali Karla)

blessed skies (Hali Karla Arts)

mixed-media art journal page starts (Hali Karla)

handmade card from my hubby (Hali Karla Arts)

Lately, I have been...

... in a bit of a transition state with my personal creative practice. It looks like a lot of simple pages, false starts, quick messes and slow-goings. That usually happens before some sort of immersion of expression, but who knows?

Lately, I have been...

... putting together content, astrology insight and art journaling prompts and demos for the soulful creatives exploring IN THE STARS with me this year. Everyone is swimming the waters of awe and inquiry with their birth charts, while expressing possibilities and nuances in color and reflective words. My heart is filled up with this program and the participants so far this year! You can join us anytime, for the time being.

Lately, I have been...

... practicing receiving. I'm not so great at it, but with my 40th birthday last month, I tried to get a little better as lots of love came my way from my closest folks. The anticipation of the big 4-0 was uncomfortable and sensitive, I won't lie... with some age appropriate life-reflection, I suppose. When the day actually arrived, though, I truly just felt so LIGHT in my heart and very, very grateful and joyful for this Life, and ready for the unknown of the next chapter.

Lately, I have been...

... reading some really great books on astrology, the moon, being a birthing partner (for my sis!), racial/criminal injustice, spiritually guided resistance (what would Jesus do? No, REALLY...? kind of stuff), icon and illuminated manuscript art, and practicing devotion. *ah, books*

Lately, I have been...

... playing piano more. Like I did as a kid. Losing time. For me. Music goes hand-in-hand with devotion in my world.

... and practicing reading birth charts. oh, how I love this. I offered limited readings in March to my students last week, and the spots were gone in less than an hour. It is such an honor & joy for me to get to spend time with a chart and share what I see with the person... all in the hopes that they feel more connected to their wholeness, to others and to the great sacred mystery of Life unfolding.

Lately, I have been...

... praying. Re-finding and redefining and finally claiming my faith. Every day. With others. In new, uncomfortable ways for me. Not just in the ways I was given or shown, or ways I have wished I could call my own, but in the ways I've been called. Being me, in relationship with God. This is tender territory... some of it very new territory to me... or variations on territory that's always felt like home... that is, such a huge, huge part of who I am and always have been. Lately, I've been trusting that more fully, and finally choosing to make it the most important relationship in my life. And so, as it goes with such things, there are changes happening within.

Lately, I have been...

... online a bit less. In my life a bit more. Loving it that way. And exploring ways of finding the balance that fits my work and life with this... which leads to another thought...

Lately, I have been...

... remembering how important a simple, grounded life is to me - especially in this crazy world. Remembering how much I value intimacy and time for my closest relationships, to learn more of what makes me a better human being, and to just be quiet, in nature, as much as possible. Remembering how I hope to show up to others I work with. How important it is to my heart and soul to choose a slower, intentional pace, and a clear channeling of my creative energy, for the possibility of communion with that deeper presence. Remembering that not knowing is the chance to connect with the natural, divine mystery. Remembering to not confuse tools with their intended purpose and gifts. To not get caught up in unnecessary nay-saying, gossip, drama, suspicion and critique, but to choose to see the beauty in the unfolding, the places where growth and hope can shine through the cracks... hushing our minds, shining peace on our hearts and initiating action with clarity.

Lately, I have been...

Listening. Growing. Grateful.

What have you been noticing in your world and skin lately? May you know clarity, peace and discovery, whatever it is.

With heart,

Hali Karla