what is :: (the ascent)

“I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” – Frida Kahlo

Sometimes, when we dive in to shadow, swallow it whole, and let ourselves thrive on the contemplations that result … we find all of the ways we judge ourselves, push ourselves, or expect ourselves to perform or achieve.

We find all the ways that shadow has been dominating our life.

We see all the ways we have been building our world on things that don’t even actually exist in our authentic, real self.

We feel all the expectations and labels we have placed on ourselves …

We feel the cages we have created around our own desires.

What if we are doing it all absolutely perfectly? Just right? In the most correct way possible?

What if our every breath is exactly as it should be?

What if we don’t have to do anything other than be exactly who we are, where we are, when we are?

And what if our true freedom is born out of just being where we are?

Just as we gathered our inspirational images and items at the beginning of this workshop, we are able to gather all the parts of ourselves that we have discovered and discarded on our journey.

Jan Kubis

my project

I have been all over the map with my project, moving in and out of the journal onto paper and fabric tapestries. Leaving Prague for a week or two and returning to my world here in Houston as I’ve processed and purged some very big things. Of course I realize it is all connected, and at the same time I have consciously chosen to walk more sure-footed in the present so that I could process my own past (which has its definite intersections in the present and past tense of the Czech Republic).

Guess what?

I need these meanderings, this freedom to roam all the tenses. I resisted veering off the so-called path I defined for my work in this course, and yet, by doing so I inadvertently gifted myself the very rebirth I have been seeking.

Sometimes we need to live in our self-created cages for a while in order to conjure our own liberation.

In the spirit of practicing what I preach … here’s a video of my return to some of my inspirational items from our first weeks together. My goodness! What an incredible experience to return to these things after the journey I’ve been on!

what you can do

Pull out your original inspirational items from back when we began.

Lay them out before you.

Spend time marinating with each of them.

Allow the feelings to rise. You know by now you can hold them.

Notice new feelings … linger with them, and with the feelings returning from before.

Notice what you have left behind in your process.

Notice what has filled in new places inside of you.

Just be with all of it.

Allow the time to ruminate … to feel the poetry of each piece.

Move through your day knowing you’ve held each item in contemplation of its truest meaning in your life.

Ask yourself: how has my understanding of this image or item deepened?

How have I deepened?

How has my world around me deepened in response?

And be with what is.

Acknowledge yourself.

Acknowledge what is.

If you feel up for it, inch toward expression of these things through blind drawing, stream of consciousness writing, or making collage papers (a few techniques demonstrated in the video below).

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In the first demo video below, I show you how to play with your papers and take them into a more ‘distressed’ or textured look.

If you are feeling stuck or blocked, this is a GREAT way to move out of stuckness into a soothing practice of pure creativity.

In the second demo video, I dive back into my art journal and share some personal reflections on where I’ve been creatively and conceptually.

muse ::: frida kahlo

You knew this would happen eventually, right?

How could Frida NOT be one of our muses? :)

Instead of focusing on her wide body of awe-inducing self-portraits, I’d love to highlight her journal. For me, it is always an inspiring place to visit for loosening up, not being result-oriented, and drops me right into the truth about pure expression. When we stop trying to make masterpieces and just create for the sake of spontaneous expression … we make masterpieces.