Category Archives: Expressive Arts

Bask In The Sun Daydreaming

The frilled neck lizard is a creature that spends its days basking in the sun, daydreaming its future into reality. Lizard’s wisdom is that of the dreamer; the daydreamer!

In a culture obsessed with efficiency, mind-wandering is often derided as useless—the kind of thinking we rely on when we don’t really want to think. Freud, for instance, described daydreams as “infantile” and a means of escaping from the necessary chores of the world into fantasies of “wish-fulfilment.”

In recent years, however, psychologists and neuroscientists have redeemed this mental state, revealing the ways in which mind-wandering is an essential cognitive tool. It turns out that whenever we are slightly bored—when the reality isn’t quite enough for us—we begin exploring our own associations, contemplating counterfactuals and fictive scenarios that only exist within the head.

Today Lizard is calling upon us to take serious note of our daydreams and visioning! It encourages us to keep a journal and spend time creating ideal scenes, roadmaps of possibilities.

Try creating some ideal scenes in your journal – writing or drawing. Address areas such as

  • daily routines
  • creative expression
  • leisure and travel
  • money to support the lifestyle you want
  • relationships

Potential for Self Knowledge

Art work by Ravenari – Wildspeak

Lizard is letting you know that it is time to take do an internal audit. Are you coming from your heart? Be aware – simply because the ego is the master of deception and you will often have to peel back many layers to get at the truth – and to discover what your heart is really telling you. Take the time to really focus on your personal dreams.

For a long time, I have worked with ‘others’ in mind! My heart is telling me to apply my artistic midwifery skills to self! As a result, I am spending time treasure hunting for inspiration and drawing again. Frilled neck lizard inspires me to stop camouflaging myself, to open up fully, step out into the bright light and own my artistic abilities.

When you are able to know what parts of yourself need to be on display you begin to know who you are as a person. There is great potential for self-knowledge with the frilled-neck lizard, who says that rather than hiding because of fear there are ways to display ourselves in ways that incite pride and admiration.

Brolga Dancing

Sit comfortably, but erect! Let your shoulders relax and your feet rest on the floor. Close your eyes! Choose colours for brolga dancing! Choose colours that will help your spirit dance! Use your intuition to choose colours! Pick the colours that feel right at the moment – don’t just choose your favourite colours! Visualize a circle with those colours! Keep looking at the circle as it spins and dances. Keep it simple! Watch the colours for ten minutes and then, when you are ready, colour in brolga and write about spirit dancing with her!

It is in this way that I draw and then colour images such as these! Looking at them now I can see the joyful spirit that lies within!

Host A Brolga Party

Along the theme of experiencing joyfulness, brolga also lets us know that it might be time to draw in ‘party’ energy. While this might literally involve organising a party, attending one with friends, or going out with a group it could, equally, simply mean that you intentionally release stress and energy and have a good time.

Social gatherings are often very healing when we go with no expectations but to treat ourselves and look after our social spirit. Rather than going on an Artist’s Date alone you might host a brolga party OR  bundle some friends in the car and go on an Akari style mystery tour with an end destination such as the Brolga Room at the Healesville Hotel!

Cocktail
Brogla Room

The menu below can form part of the canapes to start a function or to create the perfect cocktail party. When confirming your numbers & timing we can work together to develop a menu, you may choose fingerfood for the event or match it with some more substantial dishes.

Cocktail parties include feasting on
freshly shucked oysters with red wine and shallots dressing

smoked buxton trout rillettes with horse radish cream & lavish

rice paper rolls of green herbs, chilli and hoi sin pork

duck rillettes on buttered sourdough toasts with cranberries

cured yarra valley salmon, crme fraiche and chives on rye

crostini topped with-pork & pistachio terrine with pear chutney
crostini topped with-babaganouj w dukkah

buxton trout rillettes w yarra valley salmon roe

yarra valley goats cheese & tomato tartlet w green olive tapenade

pumpkin, sage and fetta arancini

zucchini fritter with tahini yoghurt

lamb kofta with tzatziki

chorizo and sweet corn fritters with aioli

confit duck pithiviers

middle eastern lamb turnovers, zaatar dipping sauce

little caramelised onion tarts, rocket and fetta

salt & pepper squid lime aioli

cones of local beer battered fish & chips

mini beef or chicken burger sliders

slow braised spiced lamb on cous cous

kennedy and wilson chocolate tartlet

mini pavlova with passion fruit cream mini lemon curd tarts

Romancing the Creative Spirit

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week eight and Brolga has danced into my life, on the arm of and the creative force, to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

When brolga energy has come into your life, it indicates that there is a focus on relationships – particularly romantic or more-than-platonic relationship. It might be time to court your partner again and remember romance or the joy of finding a person you love.

Alternatively, there is something quite intoxicating about being in true connection with the creative spirit.  When this happens, as it happened to me as I gifted my one true love, the creative spirit, with the Twelve Days of an Australian Christmas, it can feel like a passionate love affair that washes over you like a storm. It can feel like a Mystical Union that puts everything into perspective and fills one with a deep sense of peace.

When Saint Teresa of Avila wrote I Gave All My Heart she was writing about her relationship with God, her beloved one. When I meditate upon this work I acknowledge that I have given all of my heart to my one true love, the Creative Spirit.

I gave all my heart to the Lord of Love,
And my life is so completely transformed
That my Beloved One has become mine
And without a doubt, I am his at last.

When that tender hunter from paradise
Released his piercing arrow at me,
My wounded soul fell in his loving arms;
And my life is so completely transformed
That my Beloved One has become mine
And without a doubt, I am his at last.

He pierced my heart with his arrow of love
And made me one with the Lord who made me.
This is the only love I have to prove,
And my life is so completely transformed
That my Beloved One has become mine
And without a doubt, I am his at last.

For me, courting the creative spirit also involves making romantic gestures to self. This might involve buying a bouquet, a box of chocolates or king prawns for dinner ‘just because’ is a great way to establish a bond with self.

Brolga also teaches the value and wisdom of flirting. Sometimes flirting harmlessly with friends and meaningfully with partners allows us to re-experience what it is to have fun with others. In the French language class I am enrolled in I am enjoying playful banter, conversation and flirtatious behaviour. This is a way to experience fun within the friendship of this group.

Sometimes it’s time to just let loose and be joyful, instead of being serious all the time.

Embryonic Diapause

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week seven and the creative force has produced the Kangaroo to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Embryonic diapause (also known as delayed implantation in mammals) is the developmental arrest of a fertilised embryo. This evolutionary device, which has evolved in over 100 mammals, allows reproduction throughout the year and maximises survival of young during less favourable environmental conditions. An embryo is considered to be in diapause when mitosis is decreased or has stopped completely and considered to begin development again when mitotic activity reoccurs. There is a complex interplay of stimuli which regulate the entrance into and exit from diapause, but in marsupials it is very much dependent on a suckling young being in the pouch. The main benefit of embryonic dipause is to lengthen the active gestation period; regardless of mating seasons, birth can happen at the optimum time for the species, or to effectively space out births.

Kangaroos have a particular ability to delay the growth of their young through a process known as embryonic diapause.  This is a very adaptive way with which they are able to slow the growth process of their young ones when there is not enough source of food in the area where they are located.  Kangaroos communicate through various bodily movements such as touching, stomping their feet, grumbling and snapping.

♣ The lesson of kangaroo is that things can grow by delay! Is there a project you have in embryonic diapause, waiting for the right time to be kick-started again, waiting to be born at an optimal time?

Make Space for Intuition

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week seven and the creative force has produced the Kangaroo to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

The kangaroo is a marsupial, meaning the female possesses a frontal pouch where her prematurely birthed offspring complete their development outside the womb. Watch this video and you will see how the infant must instinctively ascend their mother’s belly and crawl into the nurturing pouch.

The lesson of Kangaroo is to make space for intuition. It is time to enhance our natural instincts and allow them to guide us. When we let our intuition guide us our over-analyzing tendencies diminish. When we learn this lesson, movement becomes freer and fortunate synchronicity increases.

Making Space for Intuition: Try These

♣ Sitting in sacred silence and meditation in the morning to connect with your inner world.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson says,  “Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”  In the mornings, I enjoy sitting at the kitchen table in the sunlight, eating my breakfast mindfully and in silence.  Along with meditation, these two things help to attune to my intuition before my day begins.

♣ Scheduling in gaps of time where you don’t make any plans, but follow your intuition.  Sundays are my days for this.  I like to do whatever I feel intuitively guided to do that day and really try to not making any plans.  I love sleeping in when it feels right or rising early when the energy in my body gets me up.

♣ Dialogue with your Soul, asking for her needs, desires, what it wants to experience today.  Listen intently.  Be curious.  Ask questions.

♣ Take your time back from being busy to creating intentionally.  Review your commitments and check in to see if they align or you’re just doing them out of obligation.

♣ Drive without music.  Rather than filling it up with music or talk radio listening to everyone else blare messages into your head (oh and I love driving and singing so it’s definitely not a bad thing), at least once a week turn it all off.  Make your car an intuitive spaceship.

♣ Write to liberate your Soul.  Give your thoughts some wings and journal freely, with no agenda, everything that’s on your mind.

♣ Creating the space for your intuition allows her to show up and shine.  How can you make room to hear your inner voice?  What ways can you begin letting your intuition guide you each day?

♣ Make room to receive.

Tunnel Deeply

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week six and the creative force has produced the Echidna to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Echidna teaches us the value of focusing on the little things. Paying attention to the small details can make the bigger picture that much more successful and nourishing. Take the time to look closely at the matters around you.

As well as looking at the little things, there is something in your life at the moment which requires further investigation. When Echidna is threatened they did deep into the ground. It’s time to dig a little deeper. This might be through research, conversation, chasing up leads or simply meditating or spending time ruminating on an issue until ‘it’ comes to you. Echidna energy is valuable for helping us to scrutinise ideas that – up until now have not been fully formed.

Echidna gives you the tools and power to not only look beneath the surface but tunnel deeply into your problems and thoughts and find nourishment from what you find there.

Echidna comes into our lives to show us what an asset being stubborn can be! Dig your claws in, brace your spines against your threshold, and protect yourself, your family, your ideas and your creations. When you let echidna teach you nourishing stubbornness, you also access stability. Echidna teaches you to remain grounded at all times, even when you are sailing through the lands of your creative imagination, coming up with new ideas and plans to make your life happier and healthier.

Don’t Be Like Me

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week six and the creative force has produced the Echidna to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Echidna has come urging me NOT to be like him. He raises his spikes when someone gets too close and I have been guilty, not only of keeping people at arm’s length but of raising my spikes when faced with criticism. I have a well-established armoury to defend myself! Echidna says ‘get back or I will spike you’; ‘get out of my space’! He is so encased in his comfort zone that he won’t let anyone in. When we don’t walk outside those self-imposed boundaries we don’t grow.

Rather than rolling into a tight ball when the critic tells me that what I am doing is self-indulgent I am checking out how it feels to be self-indulgent and self-compassionate! I am also opening the barrier to my property a little! I posted on FB suggesting that cooks or families might like some fresh fruit from my trees! Some lovely people have responded, each offering other fruit in return. Given what the price of figs has been it will be a treat to receive some freshly grown ones.

As I engage in Still-hunting, suddenly this area seems even more interesting, almost indulgent! Yesterday I found my way to a historic cemetery and sat under large oak trees contemplating Mt Franklin, which lay within the frame of my view. A brown rabbit ran by but I chose not to try to follow it. Instead, because Echidna has been urging me to step well outside the boundaries I have unconsciously set for myself, I indulged in quiet time in the shade and contemplated going inside one of these trees. I made a note, in the small travel journal that had lain unused, of other places I might explore.

Read about Zen and the Art of Team Blogging, a testimony to what can be achieved when we break down the barriers and work collaboratively.

 

Piggiebillah the Echidna

Echidna by Ravenari-Wildspeak

Piggiebillah the Echidna was once a man. When he grew old, so old that all his friends had died, he lived with men who had been boys when he was middle-aged. They were all strong and tireless, and able to hunt all through the hot sunny hours of the day, and to travel long distances in search of food, but Piggiebillah was too old to take his part in providing food for the tribe.

No-one gave him anything to eat, and it was surprising that he remained so well. As he grew older he seemed better nourished than anyone else. In fact it was so very surprising that some of the people became suspicious and kept a close watch on him. After some time they discovered something that Piggiebillah had kept a secret to himself for years.

When he left the camp one morning, he was followed, and it was seen that he went to a rock at some distance from the encampment, and hid in its shadow. The watchers peered at him from behind bushes, wondering what he was waiting for. They soon found out. A young woman came along the path. Piggiebillah sprang out, and before anyone could move or give a shout of warning, he plunged his spear into her body. The old man dragged her off the track, ate her limbs, and hid the rest of her body away for a later meal.

The disappearance of many people of their tribe, and of visitors who were expected and never arrived, was at last explained. A secret meeting was held and it was unanimously decided that Piggiebillah must be killed. He was so active, in spite of his great age, that he had to be taken unawares.

They waited until there was a dark night without a moon. The old man was lying at some distance away from the fire. The men gathered silently round him. He was sleeping on his back with his mouth shut to prevent his spirit from wandering. He moved in his sleep and murmured, ‘I hear the butterflies stamping in the grass.’

While he dreamed of butterflies the men drove their spears into his body. Piggiebillah groaned as they beat him with their clubs. Bone after bone in his body and arms and legs was broken, and at last the terrible cannibal lay still.

His wife was looking on in horror. She hit her head with her digging stick until the blood ran over her breast. Her name was Guineeboo, and when she fled from the scene she became Guineeboo, the Red-breasted Robin.

The men crowded round the fire, laughing and chattering over their easy victory. But Piggiebillah was not dead. He dragged himself painfully into the deeper shadows until he came to the burrow of Trapdoor Spider, Murga Muggai. He fell down the hole, and stayed at the bottom until his wounds were healed.

The one thing he could not do was to pull the spears out of his body, nor did the bones in his broken limbs knit together. Nobody recognised Piggiebillah when he came out into the daylight again. He crawled on all fours, with his broken legs splayed out, and the spears were a bristling forest on his back. For food he dug with his hands, and had to be satisfied with ants and other insects, and scraps of food.

Piggiebillah had turned into an Echidna, the little animal that scratches for ants because he cannot eat other food, and burrows underground to escape from his enemies.

A.W. Reed, Aboriginal Fables & Legendary Tales (Aboriginal Library)

Dog Rocks – Still-observing

 

Today I was called upon to drive up to Dog Rocks on nearby Mount Alexander to still-observe. The call was quite insistent! I considered finding a space closer to home but the voice calling me would not be silenced.

Dog Rocks are near the peak of Mt Alexander. They comprise of huge, picturesque granite outcrops. Over the years, they’ve become a favourite stopover landmark for bushwalkers and a popular spot for climbers and artists. Rock climbers were working the main area so I clambered into a quieter space, hoping that a ‘significant’ creature would make its presence felt. However, only the Australian Blowflies buzzed noisily around me as I examined a vulva like a passageway leading through an outcrop.

I quickly decided that blowflies are far from insignificant. They do make their presence felt! Blowflies have been deemed to be vehicles of death, decay and destruction; envoys of evil, sin and pestilence by the Christians. However, some African tribes celebrate a Fly-god, with the fly revered as an embodiment of the soul. As such flies are never killed.

I have been guilty of being homicidal with blowflies but I was rehabilitated after vomiting repeatedly when cleaning up a mass of dead flies seven years ago. Now I quietly encourage them to leave the premises; refrain from having toxic sprays in the house.

As I contemplated the blowflies I thought of the small house fly who has quite literally been the ‘fly on the wall’over recent days! This small creature has been persistently invading my space, eavesdropping, circling around my fingers as I type, soaking up knowledge, urging me to develop my senses and become more observant.

Let’s face it! It is almost impossible to dissuade flies from persistently swarming about us when we are outdoors. The presence of flies affirms the quick and abrupt changes in my thoughts, emotions and endeavours. Rapid changes in all aspects of my life are currently taking place and the ever-persistent fly is reminding me not to give up. It is persistence which will enable me to reach goals and bear fruit sooner than later.

Even if it means annoying others or being selfish for a while I do have the ability to accomplish my goals. My current goals are to trust the process and complete the final year of my Masters of Social Work; spend 52 weeks learning from Australian birds and animals. Still hunting is a part of the 52 week process! I am carefully recording my observations.

As I sat at Dog Rocks I noted the call of the Kookaburra and the footfall of rock climbers clambering to find places to test their skills. But it was the brown butterflies who danced around me and who led me to find a small magic circle, formed by ancient granite.

Butterfly seemed to be asking me to go on with the clearance I have been facing, embrace changes in my environment and to work with my emotional body. The energy supporting a physical transformation of energy was all about me. It is time to release any expectations and simply allow change to flow through and around me.

Still-Observing

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week five and the creative force has produced the Pelican to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

After watching a Pelican, patiently perched on its nest at St Leonard’s, Victoria, on the Australia Day long weekend I have been encouraged to emulate this bird. Ted Andrews talks about Still-hunting in this classic book, Animal-Wise. 

“Still-hunting was practised in shaman traditions all over the world. Its primary purpose is to observe and learn. The still-hunter would go to a place he or she knew well or felt attracted to, whether a hillside, a meadow, a forest or a pond. There the individual would wait patiently until everything returned to normal. Then the still-hunter opens themselves to learn from the natural world.”

A google search reveals that this term is also used by actual hunters who treat the killing of animals as a sport! As a consequence, I will be using the term still-observing!

Perched on the nest my pelican, photographed here, appeared to be still-observing!

Become a still-observer!

Let the place choose you! It may be your own backyard!

Allow intuition to guide you to a place.

Upon arriving in the place become as unobtrusive to the environment as possible.

Remain very still and observe. Let the world go around you as if it were not there.

Feel and imagine yourself as a part of the environment and natural surroundings

Quietly observe the sounds! Pay attention to small detail.

Reference: Ted Andrews, Animal-Wise, page 28

Still-observing With Akari

Dog Rocks

Perch Advantageously

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week five and the creative force has produced the Pelican to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

The elegant pelican animal totem is definitely an opportunist with style and finesse. In the wild, these large-billed birds perch themselves in the most advantageous position before swooping in to catch their prey. They wait patiently and focus intently, striking at the most perfect moment.

Pelican spirit guides float into our awareness to encourage us to do the same. In order to experience the benefits of opportunities, we must be proactive. We cannot just sit idly and wait for things to come our way all of the time. Each of us needs to get out there and place ourselves in circumstances that will yield benefits. Put yourself in a position that will enable you to utilize skills and resources.

In addition to resourcefulness, the pelican spiritual totem commonly symbolizes social responsibility and active attributes, such as social, teamwork, charity, generosity and friendliness. This is because these birds are highly social and reliant upon their groups. Hunting is a group effort, in which many members of the flock work together to gain abundance. Pelicans encourage us to develop friendly, caring, and supportive relationships with members of our own communities, as well.

Are you intent upon a goal, or some treasure you desire? Do like the pelican does. Perch yourself in an advantageous position, and observe the resources that come your way.

Remaining Buoyant

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week five and the creative force has produced the Pelican to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

Despite their size pelicans are light and buoyant. They can float like a schooner. A pelican in flight can quite suddenly plummet into the water and then pop up to the surface. Its system of air sacs under the skin makes it unsinkable.

Symbolically this hints at the benefits of buoyancy during tough times. The pelican is teaching that no matter how difficult the creative process may be, no matter how much we may plunge when we are knocked back or our critic’s voice is loud, we can pop back up to the surface.  The Pelican holds the knowledge of how to rise above criticism.

Pelicans, in spite of their lightness, sometimes have a difficult time taking off from the water. Still, they do manage, and again we can see the correspondence to freeing oneself from that which would weigh us down.

The water is a symbol of emotions that may weigh us down. The pelican teaches how not to be overcome by them.

Here are some facts about density and its effect on buoyancy! How can we apply this principle to the creative process? How do you stop your spirits from sinking under the weight of self-doubt and criticism from that inner voice that is quick to pass judgement?

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