What Does it Take to Truly Forgive?

I try to send out an Illuminara.com newsletter once a week. This past week, the topic was about forgiveness and what I realized I must do to truly feel the feeling of forgiveness in my mind/body/spirit. And many, many people who subscribe have responded. Alice, for one, said:

“I, too, learned that forgiveness is what we must practice if we are to grow as spiritual beings.

There was a time in my life when the thought of forgiving a personal hurt was something I couldn’t choose to do. Instead, I asked God to bless the lives of the persons who I felt had hurt me. I didn’t really care if the persons were blessed. I couldn’t articulate what a blessing for them would be. I just prayed every day that God would bless them. Ovetime I found that the only thought I had about the persons was the daily blessing request, and in only a few months, I knew I was ready to forgive and let go of my pain. I prayed one last blessing request, forgave the past hurt, and thanked God for the lesson I had learned.”

Thank you, Alice!

When Horses Appear in Readings and Dreams

Hugh with the Horses/ pencil and watercolor 2009

When horses come up in my client’s intuitive readings, it is a signal to me that it is worth talking about power, endurance and freedom.  Horses sometimes show up in dreams, too. When this happens for me, I try to recapture the feeling I had in the dream, and the horse message is different each time. For example, I’ve dreamed I was about to ride but for one reason or another, it kept being interrupted and I never get to it. This is obviously about being frustrated over self-impowerment, not being able to get up and go, not being quite able to have mobility and to do what I love.  This feels very archetypal for me, or universal, almost as if the majestic purpose we are born to is withheld at various points in life, and we must endure.  There are times like that, where we must wait and cannot fulfill a particular dream or reach a longed-for goal. Other dreams I’ve had with horses have more to do with magic, with talking to them and or riding in sheer wonderment. My favorite was one where I was a girl in a renaissance dress, but barefoot, and I was riding a pony out in the open (like the Yorkshire Dales). There was another child also riding another pony a little bit away, and I knew we were friends. I saw this scene from above during this dream, but felt the joy of circling with the pony, cantering and being completely connected to the momentum and grace of the animal as an extension of my own vision or direction.

If horses show up in your dreams,  see what the message is (and let me know about it if you like!).

* Hugh Gilbert inspired this piece of art; he is a healer worth looking into!

Abraham Lincoln Pardoned the Turkey

One of my many paintings of Lincoln/Enamel on wood/2012

This is a repost of a wood cut painting I did of President Abraham Lincoln/2012

I’ve always been so inspired by Abe Lincoln.  He remembered his dreams and reflected on them and their meanings, was interested in the mystery of the human spirit and souls in the after-life, and was full of so much knowledge which he shared with such engaging humor. When I was a child I thought we had visited his house and I still “remember” it.  Today is Thanksgiving and I had not realized that Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President Lincoln during the Civil War. The following is an excerpt from the Smithsonian website:

It was, however, in late 1863, when the Lincolns received a live turkey for the family to feast on at Christmas. Tad, ever fond of animals, quickly adopted the bird as a pet, naming him Jack and teaching him to follow behind as he hiked around the White House grounds. On Christmas Eve, Lincoln told his son that the pet would no longer be a pet. “Jack was sent here to be killed and eaten for this very Christmas,” he told Tad, who answered, “I can’t help it. He’s a good turkey, and I don’t want him killed.” The boy argued that the bird had every right to live, and as always, the president gave into his son, writing a reprieve for the turkey on a card and handing it to Tad.

The boy kept Jack for another year, and on election day in 1864, Abraham Lincoln spotted the bird among soldiers who were lining up to vote. Lincoln playfully asked his son if the turkey would be voting too, and Tad answered, “O, no; he isn’t of age yet.”

Line Crews at Work

Since I’ve spent the last few weeks watching trucks with people fixing power lines, I started thinking about how I’ve sketched line crews but have no idea how they do what they do. It seems dangerous. I’ll never forget how happy we were when the lights finally came back on after Sandy!

These are 2 from my Westport Sketchbook

Send Thoughts of Warmth to NY and NJ

  Spirit Painting for Mena/2010
About a month ago when we moved into a temporary rental, I noticed the shower was elegant but the hot water ran out so fast, that I thought it was miserable. I said out loud, “Uh-oh, God wants me NOT to relax into great comfort for some reason.” After a few weeks, I discovered the reason, and her name was Sandy.

Sandy made us cold, so I decided to post this total sun-scape this morning. This art is a reprint of one of my first Spirit Paintings for a young girl and the colors and light in it seem right for me today because I am sending thoughts of warmth to areas hit by hurricane Sandy. It is sheer hell to freeze (we did for a week when Westport had lost power). It is severely beyond reasonable to shiver, literally, for more than 15 days as the people in parts of NY and NJ have done.  What about infants and young children, elderly people or those who are unwell? What about standing around freezing, remembering what warm felt like so long ago (15 days is a long time to be cold)?

I hear that people are losing composure as they get more and more desperate (and that a guy pulled up in a BMW, got out and punched a young power and light volunteer lineman from Florida so hard that the young man has to now have reconstructive surgery).  Why would you punch the person who is trying to help you get warm again??? Let’s give the workers who are trying to restore power, many voluntarily traveling here from out-of-state, a thank you when we see them.  It’s better than trying to injure or kill them while they’re trying to help you get your power back on. We had Hydro Quebec and Po’Boys from Louisiana and some crews from Massachusetts here when our power was out and I felt teary every time I saw them. I was constantly pulling over the car (my Prius kept me warm during the day, at intervals) to thank them. I’ll never forget that cold week after Sandy and before the nor’easter that brought snow.

We’re entitled to be warm in winter, especially if we are paying for it, but losing power in a storm does not entitle us to get violent and lash out at the workers for these companies or toward anyone.  I say this knowing that all of this chaos is only the beginning, there is more to come and we need to be ready to expect the unexpected–not out of fear, but out of grace. I tell myself and others to be ready to not lose your inner core, even when things get extreme.  And preparing otherwise in every way seems really smart, because what if the entire grid goes out, what then? Will we all be lining up or fighting for gas for the generator as many have had to do, or what?  Asking cold and hungry people to be full of grace or peace in their hour of need is not fair because when surviving becomes that edgy, the primitive nature in us takes over.  So being prepared seems like the best thing to at least try to do. I have repeatedly had dreams of solar ingenuity during hard times and using the sun for basic needs. I have to educate myself and the minute I can, I’m going to have solar panels. For now, I’m drinking up the sun and the warmth I’m lucky to have. Each drop of hot water or soothing sunlight is a true gift.


A Recent Spirit Painting: Transformation, Endurance and Faith

Spirit Painting for Anna/ 2012

While creating this one, I felt new beginnings, prayers answered and harmony with nature, even through tests of endurance. Butterflies somehow make it, some traveling for miles and miles though they are so delicate.

I am creating new Spirit Paintings for those who have commissioned one intended as a holiday gift. I never promise that I can have them ready by a certain date (as I never know what will happen when I create them–each one is unique!) but I do try.

Broken Leg Premonition Dream

From one of my 2011 sketchbooks

If you write down  your dreams in a dream journal, you may find that some of them are premonition dreams. This is one I had last year that not only connected with a dream my son had (at the same time that I had my dream) but it did seem to come true in reality. As if we were given a kind of wink and nod as to what to possibly expect. Idon’t have a dream like this and say, “It means you are going to break your leg, oh no!” Instead, I get a feeling of being held, of being given something I don’t quite understand. I accept it but acknowledge it without trying to label it as anything but a notable dream. Then when the subject of the dream does come true, that is when I feel a kind of “Wow!” feeling. Even if all the details are not exact. In this dream, my son had a scar and his leg was “broken”.  My son also had the same dream. Then when he knocked his shin bone hard enough to require stitches, we remembered the dream we’d had earlier. His leg has an impressive scar, like a lightening bolt, on his shin.  Paying attention to dreams really enhances my life. Keeping a dream journal makes daily life and experiences so much more potent and meaningful.

Hurricane Sandy

My water color and pencil sketch of Canal Beach in Saugatuck Shores in peaceful weather/2010. This is an area that would have suffered some damage from Sandy.

I am sorry I have not posted or sent out newsletters from Illuminara.com in a while. We live along the coast just outside of NYC and have had a real adventure with the superstorm and the aftermath. However, I have felt completely protected in this interlude, even if we were uncomfortable (no heat, no power, etc).  We are closing on a house and had to secure a temporary rental while waiting, and I almost signed a lease on a beach house in the area, but didn’t feel quite right about it.  Standing in it with the realtor, I simply felt ill-at-ease, yet I was pressed for time so decided to go with the flow and agree to take the house for the month.  Then another family rented this beach house out from under us (they planned to rent for longer and were better candidates for the owners). I did not get angry, but inwardly felt it “wasn’t meant to be”, and scurried around to find another house to rent, this one in a more bucolic suburban setting, with small fields and meadows.

As news of the hurricane came in, I began to prepare the family. What I realized after the storm is that I am sure that the beach house we nearly rented was flooded (or at least had to be evacuated) while the house we ended up renting had not one single tree that would fall on it during a wind storm. It has beautiful trees of all sizes and types surrounding it,  yet not one was positioned close enough to worry me or endanger us. I feel blessed by this.

For a while, I have been focused on how imagination, creativity and intuition are all in the same category of presence and am writing about this in my new book (due out in 2014). What I realized in this situation of feeling protected, is that the same feeling of enchantment that I feel while creating or while intuiting or feeling empathy for another, is the same feeling I had upon feeling protected during the storm. As though magically surrounded by something out of the ordinary, something divine and good.

I look around, though at all those who suffered so much through this storm (and still are suffering terribly) and know that if my family was fortunate enough to dodge the severe misery and devastation wrought by this storm, then I have to concentrate on those who have not been as fortunate. This time, we were only inconvenienced as a family, and that hurt enough–I cannot imagine what those feel who have lost everything and are freezing and alone, or with babies to feed and keep warm.

These are the days of the”earth changes” that we’ve been talking about for quite a while, and extremes are what we must expect. All we can do is (to the best of our ability) be prepared to live without power, and/or to evacuate.  More than ever, I use my  intuitive sensing and listen to that inner voice, that for me, is our connection to the Source of Life. I pray every day for protection and strength for what comes.

I am typing this from the Westport Public Library PC (and I’m a Mac user) because there is no internet at home, so I will not post as regularly as I would under normal circumstances until I get cable restored. But I miss my daily Illuminara posts because creating art, expressing through color, light and form is my purpose. Now I am reminded that it is a beautiful luxury.  I create these posts because I want to engage and interact with others using art to explore dreams,  intuition, spirituality and healing.  These explorations can carry us through hard times but hard times can mean we have to focus on the basics of survival.  After shivering for a week and benefitting from the kindness of good friends who took us in and fed us, I am grateful for every last good thing in this world.