Posted in Drawing, Drawings, healing, Journal, life drawing, mindful art, mindfulness, portraits, portraiture, Procreate art, self-love, Sktchy, yoga

Portraits & Botanical Drawings

I’ve been keeping-on-keeping-on with my portrait practice. Last week I hit portrait 65 of 100 of my portrait practice challenge.

I’m happy to say that my ability to see what is in front of me and draw that is improving. This means I am becoming much better at drawing portraits that have a likeness to the person and that makes me feel great. Sometimes their features are a little out of proportion like the lady above… I made her nose a little too large and had some trouble placing her eye on the far side of the three quarter view, but overall I am pretty happy with how my portrait skills are going.

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It’s a great way to spend time when I am not working (from home). My art practice is giving me space from the stresses of the world and helping me to figure out who I am and how I am seeing the world from day to day. I have noticed that if I am having an off day, emotionally-speaking, then my drawings can either save me and pull me out of that funk or they are a reflection of the inner turmoil I have been experiencing. I think that’s one of the wonderful things about art. It allows space for the mind to process what has been happening.

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A couple of weeks ago I was missing my fortnightly life drawing class so I spent a few hours reconnecting with how to see and draw the human figure with a fabulous yoga pose provided by a Sktchy muse.

The pose was quite a challenge for me to draw and I think I did a pretty good job of it, however, I can see a few errors. It’s always this way for me. I can’t see the errors at first but after a few days away from my work, I can see where I was in the process of drawing and seeing. And I can see where I have gone just a little off course.

Still I enjoyed the process of drawing that yoga pose and it inspired me to get on my own yoga mat. I’m no-where near as flexible as the lady I drew but that’s not the point. I have to keep reminding myself that yoga is about coming to the mat and working with my body where it is. Giving myself some inner love and acceptance.

What can I say… I’m a work in progress!

So this weekend I moved away from doing portraits and the human figure to embrace some nature. I came across an inspirational idea to use a thick felt tipped pen to create botanical compositions. The above drawing was completed today and I had a blast. It’s a combination of gum nuts, eucalyptus leaves and wattle.

So many hours of work but so much fun. I’m still learning where to go darker and when to hold back. But for my first botanic composition I reckon I managed to create a lovely piece of art.

I’m also embracing imperfection and messy art. I am allowed to make it my own messy creation cause when you stand back it looks great… even if its a bit of a messy-mess up close.

Yesterday, I played with the felt tipped pen in my A5 visual diary. It’s got creamy paper and is lovely to draw in. I found an image of a Protea and created this drawing, then I had to put prismacolor pencils on it to make it pop. I do love the combination of ink pen drawings with my prismacolor pencils. It’s so satisfying to see the work come to life on the page.

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And finally, last weekend, I spent a number of hours outside observing my lemon tree which I have carted around from one home to another in a pot – always whispering promises that when I finally have a home of my own I will plant it and give its root space to stretch out.

I’m still working on finding a place to call my own. The lemon tree has faith in me.

If you’re interested I did the above drawing on my iPad using procreate. I’m loving procreate and learning how to use it to capture art in a new way. There’s so much to learn.

Butterflies have been flitting around my home in abundance lately and laying their eggs on my lemon tree. It doesn’t have so many leaves now that the caterpillars have munched their way through the green leaves!

But I don’t mind. I’m sure my lemon tree isn’t too keen on being eaten like that but it will bounce back. It always does.

The act of sitting in my fold up chair and sketching my lemon tree was truly therapeutic and de-stressing.

I hope that my arty creations inspire you to take pen or pencil to paper or to try out your own creative line work on procreate too.

In this difficult times of isolation and social distancing, I think the practice of art and creative writing, journalling, singing, dancing, playing instruments – anything creative – is a soothing balm for the soul.

Happy creativity. May you draw, dance and be wild in your creative abandon. Don’t judge yourself. Just know that each attempt is a reflection of where you are at that moment in time.

I love that.

Posted in healing, yoga

A little yoga healing

Yoga peace
Image courtesy of Jared Rice, Unsplash. Effect added by Selina Shapland

I confess that I have not stepped on my yoga mat for about three or four months. Not until this afternoon have I been able to step onto my mat and move through a sequence.

Why?

I will tell you soon.

Today, I did the following Yoga with Adriene which is titled, Yoga for After Disaster, which is central to filling me up with healing and positive well being and sending that out to those in need. For me, this was a truly healing practice.

In recent times there have been so many tragedies in the world.

Much upheaval.

Sadness.

Aggression.

Pain.

Terror.

So many things out of my control.

Sometimes I feel … tragedy fatigue.

And then I come to yoga and I am once again reminded to let go, to allow and to know that I cannot control such things. Even the small pains in my life are not in my control. I must feel them and experience the pain but it is how I choose to act in response to the pain that matters most.

Now, I begin to feel a moment’s peace.

Yet there is much more to my story than seeing and feeling compassion and pain for those who have been touched by such tragedy in the world. The shootings, the terrorist attacks, the hurricanes, the volcano threats, the threat of war based in two over inflated egos.

So many disasters culminating.

There have been disasters in the past – big and small.

I feel I am rambling but this is what I must write. I need to write.

I am not insensitive to what is happening in the world, but sometimes it is all too much for me to bare and so I need a little healing. I need to turn inward. To silence the chatter of my busy mind. To silence the news, the social media and the psychic drain of those in power who seek to control others in the world and cause harm to people, animals and the environment.

Sometimes it is all too much and I begin to disassociate because that is how I cope when things get too big and overwhelming.

Thank God for yoga and meditation. I give thanks for the philosophy and the teachings that it is okay to heal oneself and then be in a position to give to others. I give thanks for taking time to find peace and relaxation inside.

So why did I walk away from my yoga mat?

About three or four months ago, we noticed that my mother’s dementia symptoms were escalating. When the realisation hit that mum was forgetting. Forgetting so much. It hurt. A deep hurt. So painful, all I could do was function in the world and get through the day.

I walked around in my own haze learning to come to terms with what dementia was and how my brother and I can begin to cope with this disease and extend the care our mother needs in a respectful and loving way.

So I walked away from yoga because I couldn’t step on the mat.

Strange that, when yoga brings me so much peace, but there you have it.

Now that the initial shock of mum’s escalating dementia has subsided I have been able to give myself my first 30 minutes on the mat and I feel so much better.

But dealing with this heartbreaking pain, the realisation that dementia is erasing my mum before our eyes and ears, has been a very hard thing to bare witness to. And even though I do not live in the same place as my family, I still feel the acute pain of losing my mother to such a wasteful disease.

Quite simply it is devastating to watch and hear someone I love so very dearly deteriorate.

In recent months I have cried many tears. I have been immobilised. Unable to give more because I had nothing left to give.

The pain was and still is deep.

I cannot express it more. Not now. But one day I am sure I will open up and plumb the depths of the grief I know I am experiencing at this time in my life. One day.

But not today.

Today, I have given myself the gift of healing and I feel refreshed for the first time in months.

If you have been going through a tough time, no matter how big or small, it is my hope that a little bit of Yoga with Adriene will bring you a moment of peace should you choose to step on the mat.

Namaste and Blessed be.

Posted in creativity, yoga

Pressure Cooker Dahl

I had a go at making dahl/daal with my new pressure cooker and it worked!

I’m not much for cooking. My partner is more of the chef in our relationship but I had a go, thanks to a recipe given to me by my yoga teacher, Kristy from Yoga Rhythms.

I played around with the recipe and made it my own. Here’s what I did.

I chopped up the onion, added ginger and garlic and two table spoons of olive oil and sauted them. Then I added tomato, capsicum and fresh basil. Then I added cumin, chilli powder, a bit of curry powder and garam masala. Stirred it all around in the pot and then I added my soaked lentils.

I washed the lentils three times, then I drained all the water and soaked them in chicken stock (which was equivalent to 2 cups) and added an extra cup of water. Then I threw it all in the pot, turned on the pressure cooker, pressed the ‘beans’ button and let it do its magic.

And this is the first time I have ever made dahl that isn’t runny. It came out exactly as it is supposed to be – like porridge.

It was delicious. Not too spicy for me as my tastebuds prefer mild foods but I reckon you could do whatever you want with this nutritious food.

Yoga is having a very positive effect on my life in more ways than I had thought when I first started my regular practice.  Initially, I came to the mat just so I could find a way to stop the anxious thoughts whirling around inside my head and now it’s helping me to clean up my diet and get healthy. How cool is that!

This whole experience is changing the way I relate to the process of cooking. I love my pressure cooker and I am actually looking forward to being more creative in the kitchen.

Posted in yoga

Inspired!

Yoga practice opens my heartLately I’ve been practicing yoga – more than I ever have before and I am loving it!

I’ve also been writing and editing my Tuppence Weatherstom manuscript and helping my best friend, Edward, get his book, Uriel’s Gift into the hands of people who will enjoy his story.

Life’s been busy and I’ve needed to spend time on the mat. I don’t get on my mat every day but I aspire to it.

Recently, I’ve been doing yoga with Kristy from Yoga Rhythms and Yoga with Adriene from YouTube.

They both inspire me to continue my #yogacommitted challenge and to seek balance in my life. I also find myself being kind to my body because yoga is about being in the present and being in sync with my breath. It’s not about body image or doing the perfect asana.  And I find that refreshing and healing.

I am finding that every time I come to my mat to practice yoga with awareness and intention my heart opens and heals a little more. My nervous system repairs itself a little more. My mind quiets a little more.

This is wonderful. I need it. I appreciate it.

Of course, I cannot do a back bend the way the person in the image does but I do my own version because I know that I am growing my practice whenever I commit to getting on the mat.

Some days are harder to get on the mat than others but I am doing my best to show up and be present. So far I have done 93 days of yoga this year. That is the most I have ever stayed committed to my yoga practice.

Regular practice is helping me to feel much happier in life and it is providing me with another tool to manage the anxiety that sometimes tries to eat me alive from the inside out.

And it’s helping me with my creative writing. I’m more focused and creative. It’s helping me to play with my animal companions more and it’s helping me to get back to my art which I think is brilliant. I am so grateful for all the benefits yoga is giving me.

Also I’ve found myself going through another phase … as I have become more interested in yoga, I have become inspired by my teachers to cook dahl (or is that daal – I don’t know which spelling – they both seem to apply).  We just got a pressure cooker and I’m going to give this another go. I’m not much of a cook but I feel inspired to try.

So I found some great dahl recipes on YouTube.  Here is one of my favs so far:

I love this lady. She is adorable and I really enjoyed watching her cook her version of dahl/daal. She doesn’t use a pressure cooker but I’m still pleased I found her YouTube video.

I hope my dahl comes out as yummy as hers.

I’ll let you know how I go.

Namaste.

Posted in Animal Love, Creative Writing, fiction, positivity, yoga

My Happy Jar, Yoga, Writing and the X-Files

My Happy Jar

One of my friends told me about this great site called Your Happy Jar and since my quest for 2017 is to connect with balance and count my blessings as well as write a great novel, I thought I’d join.

I’ve had a great time writing short notes that I can look back on and appreciate. Reading through my notes already makes me feel happy.

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Above are two of my happy moments. As the title of my website says – I am an animal lover. These are two of my beloved four legged furry friends.  The third one is a little more difficult to snap up a photo of but I’ll get him one day and he’ll be added to my happy moments too.

Here’s another happy writing moment:

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That day I’d been having so much fun writing my novel while on the train, I almost missed getting off at the right stop.  Reliving that memory is awesome, especially as writing a novel length story can be such a roller-coaster of emotions for me.

It is so nice to remind myself of all the happy moments I have in my life.

Yoga

As I’ve said before on my blog, I’ve been committed to my yoga practice as I explore the benefits to my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual self. Somedays I don’t want to get on the mat but the moment I do, it’s like I’ve come home to myself and I know I’ve made the right decision for my own self-care.

So far I have been #yogacommitted for 80 days.  I’ve missed a few days but this is the most consistent I have ever been with my practice. And I enjoy the idea of developing and growing my yoga practice.

Doing yoga with Adriene as a guide has been the catalyst for change for me in so many ways. The other day I did this yoga flow with Adriene. It was a strong practice and I found it challenging, but I breathed through each posture and my prana was rocking by the end of it.

As I result of daily (or almost daily) yoga practice with the youtube videos, I’ve started going to Yoga with Kristy near where I live.

Kristy is a lovely yoga teacher located on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. She makes everyone feel welcome and allows each participant to work at their own level with kindness and compassion.

This coming Thursday I’ll be off to attend her restorative yoga practice again.  I think I might float home.

Writing

As you can tell from the above, I’m still writing my first novel, Tuppence Weatherstorm.  I’ve finished rewriting the first nineteen chapters and have another ten to go.  I’ve been sending off chapters to my writing buddy in Melbourne and I’m looking forward to feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

When I wrote my first draft, it was just under 80,000 words. But now, on the third rewrite, the word count has grown to almost 95,000 words. So, I’ll be culling and tightening my prose as I go through my next rewrite.  I’d better add that to my editing list.

So my writing is right on track. I’m falling more in love with Tuppence Weatherstorm and the world I’m building which is good because writing a novel is a marathon activity.

The X-Files

IMG_1325I’m about 24 years behind the times, but I’ve just started watching The X-Files.  This is my  copy of season one. I’ve watched three episodes so far and I’m hooked.

I’m not quite sure what I was doing the whole time The X-Files were airing, but I’m glad the episodes are available for me to binge watch now.

I am loving the paranormal themes of this series. Just saying.

 

 

Posted in Balance, creativity, Mind-set, self-love, Social issues, spirituality, yoga

Yoga Committed

16473056_10154361371861375_2419717276492334111_nYesterday, I completed 31 days of Yoga Revolution with Adriene.

Here’s a photo of the yoga calendar and all the stars I placed on it to keep track of my growing daily yoga practice.

The last 31 days have given me strength and flexibility in my body, but more importantly this practice has given me strength, flexibility and peace in my mind and attitude. It has taught me a new vocabulary and opened the door for me to have a daily ‘conversation’ with how I am feeling and where I am at in my life.

I recommend giving 31 days of yoga a try.

Now that 31 days of yoga is finished, what do I do?

I’ve started a Yoga Committed practice where I do 28 days of yoga based on another calendar graciously provided by Adriene in her newsletter.

Today I completed Yoga Tone and because I loved Revolution so much, I did day 1 – Ease practice again. The combination was fabulous.

So I am committing to daily practice and I am looking forward to discovering what the next month will bring in body, mind, heart and soul.

I’ve read that the more mindful a person is, the more creativity flows through them. I’m experimenting with mindful practice on and off the mat and I hope to see increased levels of creativity flowing through the river in me and out into the world.

Life isn’t always easy. And in these times of egos beating one against the other on a global scale have far reaching effects with worrying repercussions, so it’s important to find what is meaningful and connect with that.

There’s so much judgement going on in the world today and as we’re all so interconnected, thanks to the immediacy of the internet, the effects are being felt more now than ever before. The nastiness is tragic really.

I think the current actions taking place in the world can become consuming of individuals as one side fights against the other.  I’m not saying that we should not embrace change or look for ways to stay safe or better ourselves as human beings or stand up for what we believe to be right and true. What I am saying, however, is that no matter how in the fray one is … the effects still ripple out and are felt beyond the source of the conflict.

So, getting into a calm and centred spot is important and I think yoga will help me as it helps so many other people in the world to find connection, peace and calmness.

I believe that power, real power, not judgemental aggression and violence, comes from a place of centred calm.

So, my goal is to connect with my inner power and stand in it. Embrace it and own it. And even when the egos of aggression and life’s painful moment attempt to cause me harm, I’ll be centred and ready to withstand the storm.

It’s nice to share with you what’s good and also what concerns me. I’m grateful I have an opportunity to share art and writing and what inspires me with you again too.

Thank you for reading my blog.

I’ve been quite … chatty.  🙂

Blessed Be.

Posted in self-love, yoga

Embracing Imperfection

It takes courage to love yourself exactly the way you are!

This week, I turned 44 years old.

I have also just finished watching a fascinating documentary called, Embrace.

The documentary gave me an opportunity to stop long enough to appreciate who I am and my body for the fantastic expression of Selina-ness that it is.  For years I hated my body, especially my pot belly and I felt a deep shame that I was not model perfect. As a result, I threw myself into exercise and flogged my body at the gym day after day.

That was about 10 years ago.

On reflection, I have to say … the mental voice inside my head did a real job on me. I heard this voice day after day that told me I had to exercise or I’d get fat and no-one would love me. It told me how disgusting I was and that if I was to be acceptable to anyone, to be loved, I had to attain physical perfection.  I chased fitness and a flat stomach with an obsession and I never told anyone of the way the voice inside my mind harmed me day in and day out.

Every time I looked in the mirror I saw ‘fat Selina’ not the woman I had shaped through regular exercise and healthy eating. I couldn’t see what I looked like and no goal was ever close enough to being good enough.

It was heart breaking to be brutally honest about it.

So then I got sick. My thyroid started to give me a message I could not ignore. I had Hashimoto’s disease and my body was no longer able to function the way it had. Every day was like walking through thick mud and my energy was extremely low. This resulted in a rather sedentary lifestyle and a shit-load of emotional self-beating for getting fat!

It got so bad that I couldn’t go into a shop and buy anything new to wear because I was putting on weight – going from a size 10 to a size 14.  Depression set in and my anxious thoughts gained momentum.

But somewhere along the way something changed inside my mind and one day-I can’t tell you exactly when-I just stopped beating myself up for being imperfect. I started to look at my imperfections as a way of showing the character I have in my body. I’m not perfect, I can’t attain perfection but I can be fit and healthy to the best of my ability, even at a size 14.

So, long story short, as they say, I went through a dark night of the soul (many times over) and faced numerous fears and learned to quiet the voice inside my head.  It’s still there but now it does not carry the authority it once did.

This year, I decided to embrace balance and self-love in a new way and I started doing daily yoga practice with Adriene from YouTube. I’ve been consistent for 25 days and I have found my body gaining strength and stability as well as flexibility. But most important – my mental and emotional self-perception is changing.

Where I would have once told myself: You’re disgusting. You’re fat. Your belly is getting in the road of doing a forward fold. You’re ugly.

I now hear: All is as it should be. You’re doing great. You’re finding peace and self-acceptance in your body and that is how it should be. You are worth it.

I also caught myself admiring my round pot belly and giving thanks for the shape of it. This is something I’ve never done before … shown gratitude for the one thing that I’ve spent most of my life hating and considering to be a barrier to receiving love.

I think yoga practice and the consistent steps I have been taking to accepting my body as it is has begun to have a very positive effect on my mental and emotional state of mind.

And watching the documentary Embrace has been another step on the journey to self-love and self-acceptance and most of all …

Embracing imperfection!

Thanks for reading my reflective blog.

Blessed Be.