Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seeing the good things

Sunset in Vals
I've been very busy making lists and plans and setting things up to calm my mind down and it has worked perfectly. Yesterday I set to work with a nice to-do list and was amazingly effective, so today I really felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.
I got my phone back that I left at my parent's place on Monday. We have couches set up for both this and next weekend (this weekend in France and next week in Glasgow), I've done most administrative stuff and research that was pending, we started packing our boxes today and did some last shopping before we leave for Montpellier on Friday.

And guess what I saw in Glarus? The fountain has been knit-tagged!

There are beautiful things to be found in this world wherever you look. Because what you find depends on what you look for.
So I'm back on track, hopeful again and eager to create! But all my art-stuff is neatly packed in the crafting-box and my supplies will be very reduced until the end of the year. I'm not sure if I'm unhappy about that; sometimes it's good to simplify things.


Is everything ok with you? If not, try this: Everything OK. Made me smile. :o)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Looking for a rainbow

Aaawh friends... I've had quite a tough evening/day yesterday...
Sometimes things just collaps above your head and you get carried away by a big wave of stress, sadness, anger, feelings of insecurity and powerlessness.

The only thing to do in such moments is to sit it out and tell yourself that it is only a passing phase...

I got a lot done today though and feel much more hopeful. I'll check back with a 'real' post when my head is more clear and not threatening to explode. ;o)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

self portrait thursday - week 47

When my doc told me that working out wouldn't hur my back more, I started exercising again. But I had been doing absolutely nothing for about five weeks before that and it is hard to get back on track. I went jogging for half an hour every day before my backpain hit. Now, after two weeks of building up, I can do 20 minutes and I am absolutely dead afterwards.
I've also changed my morning yoga into a more challenging posture muscles exercise program that is going well. That means, I can see a lot of difference after those two weeks. I still have very weak back and ab muscles and trying to keep myself upright during the day often gives me back pain. But I think I'm on the right track.

I started an interval training program two days ago to see if that can boost my endurance platforming. Today is day two, it's sunny and I'm looking forward to hit the track. Wish me luck! ;o)

P.S: Posting is not so frequent since I'm staying with my family until Monday and I want to enjoy the time with them. It's a weird thought that I won't be with them for Christmas. It will be the first time in my life and it is a bit scary.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Something told the wild Geese

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go;
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered . . . "Snow".

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned . . . "frost"

All the sagging orchard steamed with amber spice
But each wild breast stiffened and remembered . . .  "ice".

Something told the wild geese it was time to fly.
Summer sun was on their wings
Winter in their cry!

- Rachel Field

Oil on cardboard

This is a painting I've done a while ago but I completed it by adding the words and silhouettes of the geese yesterday. It's my first piece with oil colors and it was a big fight. Well, creating always is a bit like war for me, but this was even harder.
I'm not sure if it is really visible, but the colorful stuff that forms the Lady's shoulder are actually autumn-colored trees and there's a river springing from her neck. I wanted her face and hair to be the cold faces of the rocks that are towering above the valley and the loose part of her hair is the icy wind.

I really like how it turned out, but I don't think I'll get out the oil colors soon again. What mediums are you at war with?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flower headbands

I've uploaded some more flower headbands to my Karma Swap album on facebook. They are really fun to make and to wear. All of them stretch to be worn as headbands by adults, but some of them are smaller and can also be used by children. Go to the album for more details.

Of course there are endless possibilities to wear them. Use them as hairbands, necklaces, to decorate your bag...

The Karma Swap is something like a little shop where you decide about the price. If you get a big smile on your face when you receive one of the things, that will be enough for me. If you want to pay for the postage, or send something in return, or pass the love on, that is just as good!
Help me spread the love!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Xmas works

I'm generally an early bird when it comes to christmas presents, but I think this year is a record.

Since I'm going to see my family on Wednesday for the last time before christmas, I've finished everything already.
It always feels inspiring to be ahead of deadlines. :o)

Have you started on xmas things already? Or is it too early for holiday feelings?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Impressions of a crafty day

Sometimes it's really inspiring to live in our little house here. Everyone is doing something, keeping themselves busy.

Craft materials 

We teach each other what we know. I explain about knitting. Felix learns to sew. Andreas and Trev answer our questions about nutrition. 
Laundry is drying next to the oven.

Xmas-market sewing projects
Katrin has taken over my sewing machine in her professional hands.

It smells of bread.

and some play

Of course it isn't easy if the temperature in the whole house except for the living room is barely above what we have outside. 
But it can be quite quaint at times.

Wishing you a great and relaxing weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

New clothes

Here are the clothes I made from the fabric I got for my birthday.
I knew I wanted to make a flowy skirt from the brightly colored fabric and I liked the colors together. So I experimented with it a bit and came up with this combined, princess-like skirt. I need to wear an underskirt with it though, because the fabric gets static with my tights. It would probably look nice with my pettycoat.

I also made a skirt from the flowery fabric. I made a waistband from some stretch material and then just cut a round hole in the middle of the fabric to have minimal waste. The result is a very swingy, twirly pixie skirt that calls for some embellishment. I'm thinking tassles and bells, yeah!

I've already been lounging around in my supercool farmprint pants. They are super comfy and quirky, I'm in love with them! Super easy pant shape with no side seam, adding a stretchy, superlong waistband and some more stretch at the ankles.

I'm quite proud of myself for not screwing anything up too badly this time, and of Miss Bernina for being very well behaved although she really worked hard for three full days.
Well, happy sewing! ;o)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Self portrait Thursday - week 46

Feeling a bit hippy in my handmade farmprint-fabric pants today! ^^ Also, we made a start in sorting through our stuff to see what will be packed when we move.

Trev got an email that we've been waiting for for some time now, as we made our plans around this event. Remember we agreed to spend christmas in England this year. Since Trev also has a job offer from a lab in Glasgow we wanted to link the two so we didn't have to fly over twice.
So our December will start with a short trip to Montpellier in France to sign our rent contract for the flat which will run from beginning of January until sometime in summer.
The week after we'll fly to Scotland and spend some days there. We also want to look at the city a bit and see if we would want to spend a few years there... then we'll take the train down to London and stay with Trev's parents until/over christmas.
There are no further plans yet but at the beginning of January I'll hand over my flat in Zurich to Kim officially and we have to be ready to move down south. I plan on packing everything but the bare necessities up before the traveling starts but you never know.
So, yeah, I'm excited! :o)

Oh, I'm also enlightened, as you can see. *lol* still feeling very dazed from my experiences last week. Some dear friends have agreed to help me plan my initiation ceremony, I'm so grateful for that and really looking forward to work together with these girls!

And here is something else: I made a couple of things in the past few days that I don't really want to keep. So I had this idea that I wanted to trade them with somebody who would be happy about them - for whatever they want to offer - another item, the postage fee, or even just a smile and a prayer... go look at my facebook album of the Karma Swap!

Wherever you are, whatever you do, I hope it is pleasant!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Darling, we need six babies, quick! ^^

Ouf! Today was the last day of my big sewing adventure! I've used up almost all the fabric I had. There are a few yards left but I really couldn't think of anything to make anymore... nor was I motivated. Maybe I'll think of something quick and easy to do with it before I have to give the machine back to my mum.

It was dark when I finished, so I only snapped pictures of the baby shoes that I made to use up some leftovers. Anyone needs baby shoes? I don't really have a use for them... oO But the pattern is so easy and quick and cute that it became one of my staples. I'll try and get someone to take pictures of me in my new trousers and skirts in the light tomorrow.

In other good news, I am back to exercising. It still affects my back a bit but I don't really care since the doctor said there's no risk of damaging anything, so I'll just carry on. I've put together some yoga poses and a workout focusing on posture muscles.

Posture will be one of my big projects in the next half year... the doc said I really didn't have much muscles in my back and that she was surprised because I said that I work out...
Well, I hadn't been exercising for very long before I hurt myself and I have always been the slouchy kind of person, especially because I don't like working at desks... I always lie on my bed or crouch on the floor or hang on the sofa... no wonder I don't have any supporting muscles. Sitting straight for more than five minutes actually really hurts me and tires my back. It's quite frightening to think that I've cheated myself through life without developing this important part of my body...

So let's make it better!
Anything you're going to work on over winter?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The call

The Godess has touched me, in a way that I would never have thought was possible, and in a moment in my life where I needed her most.
Before this I had felt more and more disconnected from my beliefs and I felt that no matter how hard I tried to meditate and pray, my spirituality was slipping away from me.
Now I feel as if my batteries have been charged. The feeling of connection and finding Her everywhere in my life is back.

picture by Martin

But I'm not just standing here feeling refreshed and more sure than ever of how to live my life.
Vision quests (a kind of trance meditation where you'll have dreamlike visions) are a big part of my religious practise and the two that I've been on since last week were quite exceptional. In the first one, I met Shakti for a dance in a purifying fire, and she told me that this was not the end, but the beginning of something.
What she meant became more clear in the second vision where I received very detailed instructions for an initiation ritual.

When I first got interested in paganism as a teenager, I gave myself a trial time of a year and a day as an "apprentice witch". After this timespan of experimenting, reading and meeting other pagans, I decided that this was "it". I only then changed to calling myself pagan when somebody asked for my religion. I devoted my further practise to Baba Jaga, who had also inspired my name (although that was long before that time). Ever since then, I have considered myself a scholar of  the Old Lady and have found her to be a wise if somewhat challenging and unpredictable matron.
In this vision that I had about my initiation I have been told that my time with Baba Jaga is now over. I have been called to enter a new stage in my spirituality. It feels like this part of the path will be lighter but also more concrete and demanding.
I have been informed about certain rules that will apply for this stage of my journey, and I have been assigned a task.
It will affect my life quite a bit more than it has so far. Until now, I've been used to shape my spirituality to suit the rest of my life. After this initiation I will - to a certain degree - shape my life around my religion.

As you can surely imagine, I am really excited and I just can't wait... It feels a bit like christmas, or maybe first communion for christians.

So... this is the story of how religion suddenly got really really important in my life... and how it made me feel like a sun that can shine for everyone...
It does feel a bit weird to write about all these things out here, but it's affecting me so much these days, I could never write this blog without telling you and not feel like a liar.

Have a blessed evening! :o)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Grace of the Goddess

A note ahead:
If you're familiar with my blog you might have noticed that there is a category called "little pagan life" and might have heard me mention my religion every once in a while. I don't write about spirituality very often, partly because I'm not sure how to write about it and not make it sound kitchy or esoteric, partly because it is not a predominant topic I write about, and partly because I don't want to make anybody feel like I'm pushing my beliefs on them.
So, dear reader, whatever background you have, note that the following text talks about my very personal spirituality and religion. I don't claim for it to be the only truth, nor would I ever want to challenge anybody elses beliefs.

For everyone who doesn't really know where to file "pagan": I believe in Gods and Godesses, I pray to Father sky and Mother Earth, I talk with the spirits that are in everything we see and don't see and I believe that the energy that the whole world is made out of is holy and part of the godly matter, just like you and me. 

The story that leads up to this Wednesday in November 2011 begins about two years back, in the summer of 2009. That was the summer when I quit my job and traveled for half a year. I spent most of 2010 working different short-time jobs and then took another half year of in early 2011 to pursue my dream of illustrating children's books.

I think it was somewhere between different journeys in that first summer that I realised that this is the time you always dream about when you are younger. I had finished school, finished studying, I was all grown up and independent. This was the time where I could start doin whatever I wanted.
This realisation started to really depress me, because it seemed like I wasn't passionate enough about anything I tried to really make it feel like I was living a dream. I liked traveling, but it made me homesick and I realised that it could never be the sole content of my life. But when I was working, I felt itchy to get moving again. I couldn't see myself fulfilled by my job as a kindergarten teacher, even when I took a nature education course that I felt very inspired by.

Then I plunged into illustration. I loved making art the main focus of my life at home (and sneaking in a lot of traveling). But I felt guilty about not being professional enough, not working hard enough, not progressing fast enough... I felt insecure if I really wanted to put so much energy into something I couldn't really see myself making a living out of very soon.
Everything in my life that I like I liked - but I was not driven by it.

I like painting

I yearned for a purpose, for the feeling of doing the right thing. Whenever I looked at my life I had the feeling that I would look back when I was older and think "Was that really all there is?"
But what more could I do? The more goals I set myself the more stressed and depressed I got. If I took it easy the feeling of guilt would come back.
I just didn't know what to do! I felt so empty and confused and unfocused, no matter what I did.

In the course of this year I realised more and more that I would not be able to solve this problem with my waking mind. I started praying more and more intensely, begging the Gods to give me a sign, a clue, something that would ease my mind.

Be careful what you wish for for your wish might be granted... 
On this Wednesday, I went out for a walk. This is what I wrote in my journal afterwards. It might sound a bit unctuous, but it is as close to the experience as I can get. 

As I am walking, I know that the world is beautiful. The sun is shining from a clear blue sky, lighting up the grass and bare trees next to the footpath and caressing my face. Looking at the mountaintops makes me feel as if I was standing at the side of a giant river, looking up at the shapes of the pebbles looming over me, glistening in all their water-washed glory.

I see the beauty and I like it, but my soul is not connected with it. It circles in its own universe of doubts and thoughts; plans, desires, fears race through my mind. 

I needed a big, neon sign
 I had prayed for guidance, for relief, for a sign, anything, for a long long time. I was not even sure if my prayers were heard, for the more desperately I was looking for a solution with my rational mind the further I felt I drifted away from the peaceful center of my mind and the more disconnected I became with my spirituality.

I have prayed, nonetheless. I have lit candles, whispered prayers before going to sleep, wished for help as hard as I could. I had cried and I had given up on it, only to start all over again.

On this afteroon, as I am walking through the beauty without feeling it in my soul, the Gods decide to reach out for me.

There are no rainbows, no flashes of lights, no beating wings, but I know that what I am receiving at this moment is an epiphany. I could not even try to describe which angle of my consciousness is shifting or what thoughts I have at this moment, when the whole world, nature and all its forces and spirits, when Gaia raises to embrace me.

At this moment, I feel the purpose of my life – of life – as clearly as if it had been laid out in front of me, just for me. It is no thought, no words in my head, nothing that I have worked out in my mind that wells up inside me. It is the feeling, the sense of the ultimate, the purpose, and it is inscribed in every single one of my cells. Clouds of mist are snatched away from the outer layers of my soul and revealing what my self has known from the moment it came to being.

I look up at the mountain, and I see. I look at the river and I hear. I run over the grass and I feel. I smile at the sun and the trees. Seconds later, a deep, never ending feeling of gratitude wells up inside me and I am in tears. Then it strikes me again how lucky I am and how everything is alright now. I chuckle and start to sing along with the music I'm listening to until I can't hold myself together anymore and laugh out loud, skipping along the path. I have been touched by the Godess, by her grace and love. I am not lost. I am secure in her hands and life is so simple and beautiful before my eyes, like the most perfect crystal that has ever been found. I wipe my face because I'm crying again.

Ok, I swear by my glowing soul that there is no word of exaggeration in this last paragraph (not in the whole text actually...), this is really how it happened and a couple of bicyclists must have had a very peculiar experience...  
And what is it now, the meaning of life, the ultimate truth, the thing that made me act like a freaking fool on abright Wednesday afternoon? I'll tell you, but I warn you: It sounds simple, it is simple, and you can read it as many times as you want, if you don't feel it, if it doesn't hit you in the face with your very own personal epiphany, it will only be a bunch of pretty words.

The purpose of life is to be yourself. To contribute with everything that you have, with your happiness. Make art, make love, smile, do yourself good, broaden your mind. Be the source of unconditional love for the universe. You don't have to force yourself to do anything that does not bring you joy, if it isn't for an ultimate purpose of joy. Bring joy into the life of others. Freely and to your own heart's delight. You cannot force the world to change, but you can be the change in the world, the jewel that is picked up by whoever is meant to find it and be touched by it. Trust in Her to guide you so that you will touch the right beings at the right time.

This is the big thing that happened to me last week. You see, nothing that really shows on the outside... but on the inside... I'm still so shaken and feeling so blessed and grateful and just at ease... Everything I have done since this day has been filled with love and smiles and has felt like the fulfillment of my very personal task in life. 
Also, there have been a couple more things that added up on top of this. But this post is already leeeengthy and I will talk about it tomorrow.
If you've made it this far: Thank you!! It feels so good to be able to spill this because I'm so excited about it!

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