25 August 2011

Autumn's Approach

Sparks from a summer campfire.

Hello, darlings!

Thank you so, so much for such beautiful, kind, shining responses to my last post. They made me a bit weepy and caused my heart to overflow with gratitude and love. I am so blessed to know such an incredible group of people!

It's been a busy week, as I've been preparing to move back to campus in just a few days. Classes begin on Monday, and then begins a landslide of deadlines, research, sleep deprivation, and general intensity. While I'm looking forward to cooler nights and the trees put on their annual fiery display, I will miss so much about summer: bare feet, glowing skin kissed by the sun, diving into a cool swimming pool, the hum of cicadas and katydids in the warm night, and regular blogging.

Last winter I did my best to keep up My Peacetree in the midst of my academic year, but time flies so quickly when there are endless papers to write and articles to read that my posts were sparse. I must be honest with myself and see that the possibility of this happening again is not unrealistic.

I love so much about this space: the presence of beautiful, creative, kind people; discovery, exploration, and growth in so many spheres; a place to share my artistic journey and to hear from others on the same path. I love connecting, creating, dreaming, photographing, musing, celebrating, overcoming, learning, and stretching. I love this space so dearly, just as I love each and every one of you who help to make this incredible community.

While the next few months seem daunting at the moment, I will do my best to find moments here and there to share all that's happening in my world. I have a few posts already written, and if you are interested in doing a guest post, I'd love to hear your ideas! You can contact me here or send me an email at mypeacetree2 (at) gmail (dot) com. Woohoo!

Oh yes, and happy Friday! What deliciousness are you up to this weekend?

17 August 2011

Truest Truth

It's been a very long time since I had the courage to write anything truly personal here. As I've hinted at before, this year has been an achingly difficult one, and I have had to endure some incredibly difficult situations that have ripped open excruciatingly painful wounds from the past, particularly from my childhood. The truth of it all is that I can't – even for myself – find the words to express or sort through the emotional responses to this year.

I hope one day to be able to share without reservation my experiences in order to help those in similar circumstances, but today the pain is too raw and close, and words fail me. (Update: I have told my story here.)

We all have been in the midst of difficult situations – every last one of us. We are human, after all, and life is made of challenges to be overcome. Along the way we learn things, messages introduced when battling obstacles. In good moments, we tell ourselves that we are strong and resilient; in moments of fear or disappointment we whisper negative things to ourselves, words like "failure" and "incompetent". And the funny thing is that, the longer we tell ourselves these unhappy things, the more firmly we come to believe it, regardless of whether or not it was ever true.

What have you been telling yourself, love? On my worst days, I find myself believing that I am stupid, unappreciated, invisible, and completely alone. I have felt guilty and angry and ashamed and unloveable. And I have cried many, many tears.

The reason I'm sharing this today is that I believe I am not alone in this inner struggle. This world can be harsh sometimes, and, I think, often leads us to think that if we are not perfect – if we are not skinny, tall, tan, young, brown-eyed, blue-eyed, or green-eyed enough; if we can't paint like Rembrandt or van Gogh; if we aren't that blogger who posts every other day with stories from an impossibly perfect life; if we don't have smooth, glowing skin; if we can't find love; if we have bad hair days; if we have troubles and concerns and worries – if we aren't perfect enough, then we're not good enough.

If you, sweet reader, have been struggling silently with these doubts about your own worth, I have a message for you, one that is far greater than any negative whisper you have ever told yourself. This message doesn't come from me, but from all the love that makes up this beautiful Universe, something eternal and ever present, something that speaks only truth. It's a message just for you, darling.

You are loved.

You – sweet, strong, kind, creative you – are perfect.
You are good, and whole, and you are on the right path.

You are enough.

And all the love that makes up everything, the love that coaxes flower petals from tight buds, that makes the stars twinkle and the cicadas sing, that brings hope and joy and comfort to people around the globe, this love is enveloping you, holding you tightly in a big bear hug and filling you up with happiness and peace. It is holding you, now and always.

Breathe it in, beautiful. Trust it.
Everything is going to be alright.

13 August 2011

Another Peek into a Little Book

Hello, darlings!
Here are more pages from my little journal, made in England in 2007. Which spread do you like best?

07 August 2011

Mini Journal Pages

Nearly four years ago, I decided to move to England to live and work in a community of young special needs individuals. When I arrived I was nineteen years old and knew no one, and I was incredibly excited to do something meaningful in a foreign country. I brought with me no art supplies, as I had only just begun exploring art journaling.

During my year-long stay, I dived into iHanna's beautiful blog and became so intrigued that I created a very small journal from scrap paper, borrowed paint from the art cupboard, collected all the paper scraps I could find, and experimented with all the brand new techniques I was learning.

Here are the first pages:

What I so love about the size - it's only about 3 x 4 inches (7.5 x 10 cm) - is that I had no fear of messing up a page or of wasting supplies. At the same time, it was just right to explore new techniques in without worrying about how to pull a whole page together.

More to come soon!

05 August 2011

Art Journal Inspiration

Hello, darlings! Happy, happy August!

I apologize for my absence this past week; time seemed to slip by more quickly than usual! I've been working on some exciting things, like submitting my artwork to Art Journaling magazine for publication (wish me luck!) and writing out a plan for a new art journaling online workshop. If you have any thoughts about what content you would be interested in learning, please share! You can write me here or leave a message in the comments.

In regards to ongoing projects, I do have one confession: I still haven't taken the last two photos for my month long daily photography project! Once I do that, however, I will write a special post to share my thoughts on the entire process and any tips for those interested in doing a similar project.

For now, let me share a tiny fraction of the hundreds of photos I've favorited on Flickr. Click the image below to view larger. Wishing you a beautiful weekend!



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