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

Looking Up, Looking In... All The Feels and All The Colors

Path in the Western North Carolina Mountains (Hali Karla Arts)Western North Carolina Mountains in the Fall (Hali Karla Arts)Western North Carolina Mountains in the Fall (Hali Karla Arts)Cathedral in the WNC mountains with Prisma app, (Hali Karla Arts)Western North Carolina Mountains in the Fall (Hali Karla Arts)WNC mountain trail, light and dark, Hali Karla Arts This time of year is my absolute favorite palette. Rich layers, deep tones and changing colors with both bold and soft moments of exclamation... and this understanding within, that you best pause to take it in because only the temperatures know if the change will be swift or steady.

The temperatures fluctuate quite a bit where we live in the WNC mountains.

Some nights are cold, like you'd expect in the fall, and some days hot like summer. It will likely continue to swing around a bit before settling on a more consistent, cooler time of retreat in the winter.

I find that my creative visual practice slows a bit with autumn. Because I know there will be plenty of indoor time soon enough, and because... well, I'm a bit like a bird... shiny things and vibrant colors delight me, and it's time to let the rhythms slow, while the nest is tidied and tended.

The cool air is a promise to my soul, and grounds me in my skin and feelings. It says, This life is precious and oh-so-fast. Take notice. Be present. Celebrate creation, living around and within you.

There can be a solemnity to the rhythm and reflection, too. But it is not to be feared or fought. Just felt. Part of the mystery of all that beckons, shifts and transforms in the cycles of our consciousness.

I think often of how we co-create with this awareness.

Of how spirit speaks to us in so many ways - always trying to reach us in languages we can receive. Calling us home, right where we are. Often surprising us with connections and wonders we couldn't see before.

I also find comfort in the reminder that those who have gone before are not separate from us. They are with us, and we are with them. That there is a flow between times and lives, between heaven and earth. Especially in this beautiful time of year, when we reflect and celebrate on ancestors, saints and souls.

The changing colors and falling leaves speak of what is holy to me. Bold reds, oranges and yellows surrounding, and the crunch of transformation beneath my feet - it is a language I can understand.

The woods become cathedrals of remembrance.

Brightness, with rich layered depth, is a promise and validation I can feel. In its presence I am whole, devoted, surrendered, ready, re-filled. There is healing and relief from the intensity and stimulation of our times.

I wonder how this time of year speaks to you and your creative self in your place in the world... if you've been able to slow down a bit, to wander and listen.

Whatever it says, may you listen openly for the languages you naturally respond to, and receive the inspiration and love being offered.

Hali Karla