Switching Thoughts and Empowering Your Mind

I have never used my site, Illuminara.com, for placing commercial ads of any kind, besides reminding everyone about my Spirit Paintings, intuitive readings and Reiki, and now and then featuring another artist/author/musician who may have products to sell.  I have not used ads because I felt inwardly, it would corrupt the serenity I want the site to offer, although that may not be a good business move on my part, it is the better spiritual choice for me.  And how many things could I advertise that I’d really BELIEVE in whole-heartedly?  I decided that if ever there was a product I truly believed in, then that would not compromise my integrity to associate Illuminara.com with it.  Since I really want the site to be a place to turn to for spiritual, visual nurturing and inspiration, I cannot allow what doesn’t feel right.

I found that during many, many readings, I have directed people to use the products of Eldon Taylor, because I so very seriously believe in what he creates to promote wellness.  I use his cds myself and highly recommend his cds and books and programs.  When I tell people about InnerTalk cds, I do not consider it commercial advertising, but rather directing others to something genuinely helpful, like recommending a great doctor or physical therapist. With that, I am SO excited to say that I am now an affiliate of InnerTalk, Eldon Taylor’s Progressive Awareness enterprise that supports the well being of people everywhere.

“Your mind is incredible. The brain has been compared to a computer in a sort of bio-computer analogy. The analogy has power–but it is an understatement. Science has discovered many of the hard wired connections that appear to give the brain/mind so much control over the body (health, wellness, longevity, youthfulness) and our destinies in terms of success, learning, wealth and prosperity.”  (This is one of the quotes from the site where the products are available.)

Sometimes changing our thoughts (you know, the tapes we play over and over in our minds when we can’t move past an issue or beyond a place of suffering?) can be too hard to do.  We try but we just can’t make the shift.  Often these thoughts drag us down and leave us so exhausted that it becomes even harder to get into a different emotional and mental mindset. InnerTalk cds are created by Dr. Taylor to reinforce positive messaging straight to the cerebral cortex, without you having to do anything but listen. This can be while you’re driving the car, working on stuff in the office or home, or even while sleeping.  There is an enormous selection of cds to help us through all kinds of life circumstances and conditions.

Look at the column on the right, and scroll down under the Spirit Painting image where you’ll see the InnerTalk banner and the quote, “When Believing in Yourself Matters”. Click on that and it takes you directly to InnerTalk where you can learn more.  I believe you’ll find a great resource there for your total well-being!

Walking On Turtles

Turtle keeps coming up in readings and dreams, leaving the feeling of a deep and rich presence of calm.  In one dream, there was an enormous turtle (as big as a car) with layers of turf, dirt on it. Grass literally covered it’s back. When I saw the turtle in the dream, I said (in the dream), “Oh, yes, I know this turtle. She has always been here.”

I’ve read that turtle symbolizes Mother Earth. The turtle in this dream gave a sacred calm as she was nearly one with the earth, a thick layer of grass on her back. She could rise up, and she could sink down low and be unseen.  We’d walk on her grassy back and never know it. Just like we walk upon the earth and mostly never give it much thought. Maybe we’re walking on a giant, calm, sacred turtle.

When Bad Things Happen, Go Into Your Creative Self

Detail from an accordion book I made/1996

In this piece of art, I was reflecting on how life inevitably brings us difficulty, and we can’t avoid suffering.  It’s part of the human experience, but I always hope for the least amount of suffering possible. Being creative and at play with my imagination has helped me very much in dealing with life’s challenges. I suppose this is so because at the moment that we generate creative feelings, and act on them, we are in a place of acceptance of what we’ve experienced or are experiencing. We are not of the world so much as above it, getting a perspective. We cease to try to control our world and enter into a kind of zone of just being, yet with a dynamic momentum of creative force.

Live and Learn with David Millians, Teacher Extraordinaire

David Millians is one of those teachers who has inspired me greatly. In his role as teacher his presence reveals so obviously how genuine a person he is.  Some people genuinely care and are truly good and even when David was young, he had a depth and sense of responsibility that was remarkable. He is so inspired and inspiring. David teaches at The Paideia School in Atlanta, and was there years ago when I was teaching there also. I asked David if I could interview him for Illuminara, and this is how it went:

Me: “David, what inspired you to become a teacher?”

David: “The energy of the children first inspired me to teach. Afterwards, I also realized how much I enjoy learning and that teaching is an opportunity to do so for the rest of my life.”

Me: “Is there a spiritual aspect for you?”

David: “For me, in the classroom, I tend to be all on or very quiet, almost contemplative. The former is ecstatic, and I enjoy both states and the flow from one to another.”

Me: “Since you go to China and are about to take a lot of kids to China, what would you say is the most striking difference between our culture in America and the Chinese?

David: “The most striking is the food, which is better in China. There are many more subtle aspects, such as the differences in assumed moral relationships, hierarchy, and the place of schools and teachers, but, overall, we are more alike than we are different.

Me: “What do you learn most from children you teach (and have taught)?”

David: “ Balance – not too much, not too little. This applies to everything in and out of the classroom.”

Me: “You and I once realized we’d had the same dream the night before: I told you on the playground I had dreamed of the moon turning big and red and ominous and it felt like ‘the end’ and you said, “I had that very same dream!” Do you ever get influenced by dreams, or ‘talked to’ about the students or your school ideas and plans?”

David: “Due to a medication, I did not recall my dreams for years and years, a real absence for me. Now, I once again dream vividly and in great variety, windows into the many vistas of myself. It is always interesting and insightful to explore them during and afterwards, when waking.”

Me: “Do you keep a journal or do your students keep daily journals?”

David: “I keep more of log than a journal. It is intermittant, inspired by moments, events, and the opportunity to record. My entries vary from diary-like text to stories, outlines, and sketches.”

Me: “ If you had a motto, written on a personal crest, what would it be?”

David: “活到老学到老!

“Live in all one’s life and learn in all one’s life!”

Longshore’s Birthday

I was delighted to receive a call at the studio a few days ago asking if I’d like to put Westport Sketchbook drawings I’ve made in Longshore Club Park available on the Longshore 50th Birthday website. I feel honored to be a part of the celebrations. Just go to this link to see their site, it also links back to mine here at illuminara.com, where I’ve set up a special Longshore page.

Bono, Ali Hewson, Me and…


All week I’ve had dreams about celebrities. First it was Ali Hewson and her husband Bono. Simon and I had a great time joining them to sing informally in some charity group chorus thing (?) and then later at a pub in NYC. We were the best of friends, joking and laughing. My husband even showed up at one point wearing a biff. This is the straw hat he wore at his English boarding school, but of course would only wear now in jest. Then night before last, JFK Jr. and some mutual friends and I were also being silly on an excursion to an event in Georgia. These are like gifts, dreams of fun and happiness. I wake up pleased, and not longing or stirred up–just happy to have had so much fun. There are those celebrity dreams where you wake up and wish terribly that you truly did know that famous person, and these were nothing at all like that. I have no idea what they mean or signify. I am just happy about them. Maybe they mean I’m focused and comfortable and happy, and nothing more. But as Karen, my Cherokee mentor had said, “Dreams cannot be denied.” So, the experience of a dream is transformative and vibrant. A dream is real in the sense that it is experienced, and absorbed into our understanding of ourselves either in some emotional or psychological way. Or some other way, perhaps, as in dreaming of things to come. 

*Special note about the beautiful Ali Hewson: her clothing line Edun “acts as a voice encouraging the fashion community to do business in Africa and thereby help bring the continent out of extreme poverty.” Tango Diva/Diva Blog

Welcome to Illuminara

I’ve kept a journal for over 25 years and collectively must have over 50 sketchbooks filled with drawings and writings that record my dreams, my thoughts and feelings, my visions and aspirations.  I cannot imagine not keeping a journal because so much would be lost to me if I did not record the vibrant images and often clairvoyant dreams I experience.  (Of course, sometimes dreams are mostly good for Jungian or Freudian analysis, and others are not so inspiring, so I record the ones which are important and vital to my growth and awareness—you know when you have such a dream).  Mostly, though, my visions are part of a spiritual identity and my way of life as an artist. I have developed this way of life consistently over time.  Since childhood, my dreams have been highly cinematic, powerful and dynamic.  There is no way I can ignore them, they are so much a part of my life, they are not separate from my waking hours.   They inform me and guide me.

Being more conscious and aware is my practice and the motivation for keeping a sketchbook journal.  I believe in this as a practice because I believe that life is more meaningful if I am learning and deepening my understanding of myself in the world around me.  Life is in fact magical, people are magical!  All we experience is worth drawing and writing about, even the harsh and ugly lessons we go through, or the painful episodes.  Good or even brilliant things are going on, too, and waiting to be recognized and recorded by us!

In Illuminara Journal, I am being playful with my observations as an artist, using awareness and inspiration as my muse.  I invite you to keep a sketchbook journal, too.  Listen and see.  Honor what you know!  See the world around you and make note of it—we’re all unique and deserve to have a voice.