Friday, November 26, 2010


I am commissioning a small artwork - fun, fun, FUN!  I've been working really hard on my portrait making over the past few weeks, so I've decided that my Christmas present to myself will be a custom artwork.  
I wrote my request on Etsy's Alchemy, which is nifty little part of Etsy where you can request custom items.  I requested a custom artwork which incorportated this quote by George W Bush.  
"Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law."
(Nahhh...just kidding folks.  It's by the Buddha, of course!)
 One of the artists who responded to my request was a print maker from Bulgaria, named Plamena Doycheva.  (I just knew she was going to be good - a Bulgarian print-maker - how exotic!) 
Here are some examples of her work.  

It's so intricate, and with such a soft and  sensitive use of color.   Plamena and I are going to exchange some e-mails and then she'll do some drafts for me.  I'll let you know how the artwork turns out. I can't wait!

Monday, November 8, 2010

How to be @$#%!!!

I've been noticing over the past week how much resistance I have to certain thoughts and feelings that I think are 'wrong.'  Anger is one of the biggies, and I suppose it's like that for a lot of people (particularly women). 

As I was sitting with feelings of anger yesterday and noting my resistance, the title of Toni Bernhard's book How to Be Sick came into my mind.  (I just love that title; it's both clever and poignant). I did a little flip on the title and found myself saying instead -  'How to be angry.  This is how to be angry.'  

I imagined a little alien standing in front of me, newly arrived on earth with no idea how we human beings operate.  'How to be angry?' he asked.

'This is how,' I replied, describing my 'symptoms' for him. 'You screw up the muscles in your stomach, you feel your blood racing, your face looks all pinched, your temperature rises, and you think of a person who did something to hurt you.  That's how you feel angry.'

I watch as the alien practices feeling how I'm feeling; screwing up his face and clenching his fists. 'Yes, you've got it!' I say.  'Hi 5 Alien-creature! That's how to be angry.'

Spontaneous and creative practices like these seem to cut off the blood supply to my resistance.  It's impossible to resist and judge my anger whilst simulaneously teaching an alien life-form how to feel it!  

Throughout the afternoon, as emotions and thoughts arose, I'd use the same technique.  How to be to be to be to be @$ to be to be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Phrases of Self-Compassion

Over the past week or so I've been busy digging a truckload of dung into my garden (metaphorically speaking of course, I don't think I could lift a shovel if I tried). 
As I've been digging I've been developing some phrases of self-compassion and kindness to help me as I face all the crap that surrounds me - grief, despair, helplessness and hopeless. I think of these phrases as my little cheerleading support team. They are 'Team Emma' - waving their pom-poms around and giving me a good old razzed-up cheer when I finish yet another hour of digging through my truckload of crap.
Here are a few of my phrases:
'Oh, this looks like anger.  It's here, but I'm sure I didn't do anything to deserve it. It's not my fault.'
'I don't expect too much of myself today. However I feel is fine.'
'Oh, more anger. It's OK. If I am angry, that's OK.  If I'm not angry, that's OK too.  I don't have too many expectations of how I'll feel - it could go either way.'
And, if I'm sitting with any kind of pain - emotional or physical - I say:  'Pain, yes...this is pain.  I'm so sorry.  I'm so sorry it's here.'
I've just returned from a visit to my doctor. I dragged myself out of bed to go (only realising when I arrived that my jumper didn't completely cover my pyjama top underneath. Oops!)  Anyway, as I was sitting waiting for my appointment I shut my eyes and noticed my physical discomfort.  I had a racing heart, a tight fist of tension in my stomach, and my head and back hurt. 
'Oh, this is pain,' I said to myself, 'I'm sorry.  I'm really sorry it's here.'  And, as I sat waiting the tears started rolling down my cheeks.  It was such a relief to give myself some sympathy and kind attention.  In those moments it didn't matter that other people in the waiting room could see my pyjama top peeking out the top of my jumper, or the tears on my cheeks.  I  just a great relief and sweetness at being able to express some compassion towards myself in my suffering.
The view from my front-yard at dawn.
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