Website Revamp

I woke up this morning with a clear idea of how I wanted to tidy up the website and blogs I’ve got all over the place, rather a good feeling to be so energised first thing in the morning. Frightened the life out of my husband who’s more accustomed to me staggering around first thing in the morning, swigging coffee and getting caffeine in my veins to fire myself up!

I’ve closed my Soul Songlines website and transferred all the material to my blog, as I discovered the existence of extra pages yesterday.

So now I’m feeling very, very pleased with myself as I’ve spent today working on my blog, Purplicious Passion Party, investigating various bits and pieces available on WordPress, and general revamping the whole website.

It’s looking much tidier, less cluttered and I’ve finally managed to work my way through the widgets available, even to the extent of fixing up a link to my YouTube videos.  And the masthead comes from some artwork – see right – which I completed a couple of weeks ago. How good is that?

I’m off now to wind down for the day, polishing my halo furiously and knowing I shall sleep the sleep of the just and righteous, lolol.

DREAMS AND DREAMS COME TRUE

I’m always fascinated by the way in which creative people operate, or how they’ve been sparked into embarking on a project.
My friend in the UK, who is a Cancer Sun, Cancer Rising and Cancer Moon had a dream about working with and selling crystals.  She eventually took redundancy from the bank where she was working and used some of her redundancy pay to set up a shop which sold crystals. This was terrible successful so she moved on to sell – very successfully – crystals at markets and mind, body, spirit fairs.  We met at one of the fairs where she had a stall, she has remained a good friend and came to our wedding when we tied the knot – after 27 years together – in the UK prior to our return to Australia.
Today I read about the Rock Garden in India’s Chandigarh, which was created by Nek Chand, who had been working as a road inspector near Chandigarh when he had a dream of a vast kingdom on the site of which he was in charge.  Amazingly, he spent the next eight years collecting all sorts of different figures with stones, rocks and urban waste.  Here’s a link to the Garden:
Paul Cox, a well-known Australian film director and actor, made the following comment about the Rock Garden (he’s just made a documentary about it):
“I’ve watched people visiting Disneyland, and I’ve sat for days high on the wall of Nek Chand’s kingdom, watching its visitors. No doubt Disneyland is enchanting, but the people leave it spiritually empty-handed. here they are enriched to such a degree that they leave quietly, holding hands, smiling.  They’ve shared something of magic and beauty that will nourish their dreams for years to come.” (The Weekend Australian, 29-30 October, Travel Section).
Also on TV, we’ve been watching “Choccywoccydoodah” which is about a chocolate shop in the English coast town of Brighton.  This isn’t any old chocolate shop. It’s full of eccentric, wonderfully creative people with the lady in charge one of the most amazing people I’ve seen – looking like someone’s slightly eccentric grandmother, but full of wonderfully creative ideas and with a will of steel.  I hoe you enjoy the video, wonderful stuff, here’s the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6F0WQrlJVg&list=PL9D72B01191B11831&index=3&feature=plpp_video

 And finally here’s a link to Playing for Change, with the song “Stand by Me” recorded and mixed from the performance of artists around the world, with the dream of uniting people through music.  Wonderful stuff!
Happy viewing, folks, and there are heaps more videos by Playing for Change which are truly inspirational.

HERE’S TO DREAMERS, MISFITS & SQUARE PEGS WHO’VE ESCAPED ROUND HOLES!

I’ve been reading a few articles and watching a couple of videos and a TV series which I’d like to weave together to honour the spirit in everyone, and encourage our need to look below the surface and not take people on face value.
The first one I’d like to mention is a TV series from the UK called “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day”  which is about some building workers who volunteered for a project to build a replica Roman villa using the tools and methods employed by the Romans who built the original villa in Wroxeter. They had six months to build the villa, not just putting up the structure but also replicating artwork on the walls and tilework in a mosaic on the floor of the entry hall.  It is not just fascinating in what it reveals about the Romans and their building techniques. 
It is eye-opening to see the hopes, dreams and creativity of a bunch of workmen who would normally only be seen as bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters, and so on.  All of these men joined the project to explore their creativity, to feel part of a larger project where they could expand their gifts and talents in different ways, and to feel that they could explain to their kids and grand-kids their passion and pleasure at being involved in the construction of a Roman villa, right down to all the tiniest details.  It’s been heartwarming to see these blokes open up and also see their self-confidence grow as they embraced skills they might otherwise not have realised they had and see their feeling that in this project their life had some meaning, instead of a day of grinding, boring work and going home to flop tired in their chairs at night.
I make this point because I get well and truly pissed off with the characterisation of people, mainly less well-off, as bogans,  ferals, chavs or trailer trash.  All human beings have hopes and fears and longings for a worthwhile life and we ignore these aspirations at our peril, as could be seen in the riots in the UK. Research since these riots has shown that the overwhelming majority who took part in the riots were of low socio-economic status, had special educational needs and weren’t involved in gangs, the first easy moniker the British government tried to slap on the riot participants.
In each country where you see kids being interviewed, all of them – regardless of the country – have the same longing for education, a good job and a happy life.  Apart, of course, from those children and babies dying of hunger in drought-stricken areas and where the death of Steve Jobs inspires more tweets per second than the hundreds, thousands of children dying daily from the lack of basics such as food, water and shelter.  Makes you wonder about our priorities, doesn’t it?
Our priority should be to honour all sections of society, regardless of their material well-being, because there is so much untapped talent and creativity which would create a much richer, more fulfilled world if the wealth of longing for creativity and inspiration could be unleashed.  I mention in this respect the video I just watched on TED of a person talking about computer hackers who possess amazing computer and technological talents but who, because so often their gifts aren’t recognised and because of their life circumstances, get drawn into a life of cyber-crime and end up in prison.  It’s now been discovered that many of these amazingly talented hackers have Asperger’s Syndrome and wish desperately to be part of mainstream society where their creativity can be harnessed for the good of society. Here’s the link to the TED talk on cyber-criminals:
Today also I watched another video which is an advertising feature but which, I feel, is a message not to take people on face value because they are wearing certain clothing or have a certain way of dressing which may not be mainstream:
In fact, this shows that if you face your fears you may find rewards you never expected!
The last piece I want to mention is an article I read in our Saturday paper about a young couple with cerebral palsy.  They are both of  Greek heritage, met at school, lost touch, but reconnected a few years later.  They fell in love but faced opposition from disability support authorities, their church and their parents. But they persevered.  They got married in a registry office, finally got support from disability support authorities for married accommodation, eventually got a Greek Orthodox priest to marry them, and finally ended up with their parents’ support because they were so happily married.  Both were frustrated by the inability of the community and the bureaucracy to recognise them as being capable of far more than their disability, but their struggle to get married and make a go of their relationship has of course caused attitudinal changes. And they are very, very happy.
Yes, I know, in the words of John Lennon, “you may call me a dreamer”, but I also love to recall the words of Steve Jobs which, I feel, are the future of community building and the way to a different, more compassionate, more tolerant and – yes – more just society:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

MY CREATIVE BOWER

This is my Creative Bower, aka my workspace. I was prompted to take this photo after Mystic Medusa asked us to send in pics which reflect our astro profile.  I’m a Libran Sun, Libran Ascendant and Aquarius Moon.  On the right is my stand of crystals which keep me grounded (well, I do have 9 air signs).  Next to this is my desk with computer and printer, reflecting my work as a writer. On the table by the window is a bowl with all sorts of bird feathers in (given my air signs, I love birds and feathers), and the bowl is surrounded by a set of runes I created myself on stones collected from nearby Scotts Head Beach. On the main desk is a laminated newspaper article  of Steve Jobs’ address to Standford University in 2005, with the headline: “Stay hungry, stay foolish, trust in destiny: Jobs’s wish for all”. I read it every day and it continues to inspire me.

On the walls are my various paintings, reflecting my work as an artist.There are red hippeastrum in the corner of the desk from our garden and there’s a red candle and red bird on the rainbow-coloured  file stand, the rainbow colours reflecting my love of colours, and the red the passion of my inspiration for art and writing.  The bookshelf is filled with all my art materials.

I’m really grateful that Mystic posted this subject as it’s made me realise just how much I’ve integrated all aspects of myself in the past 15 years, developing as an artist and writer from someone who looked feisty but who struggled with severe lack of self-esteem and self-confidence.  I felt quite emotional doing this project – it’s been a bit like a homecoming!

PASSION, YOUR HEART AND CREATIVE SOCIETY

Over the weekend I’ve been reading about people who find joy in creating artisan butter and associated products; growing cider apples and making cider; writing; acting; and about lots of others who have all followed their passion and are living lives of joy and direction. This isn’t to say that life has suddenly become a wonderful, easy journey as there are challenges, successes and failures.  But every person is happy because they are following their passion.
Yes, I know we can’t always do this full-time because workers are still needed in the less sexy work areas such as building roads, constructing houses and high-rise building, cleaning work and so on.  Nevertheless, if even in our spare time we can commit to what lifts our spirits, then listening to what really feeds our heart and soul is life-changing.
I’ve been thinking about this since I read about the Australian Prime Minster, Julia Gillard, talking about what work has operated and how she understands work. She talked of someone starting at the bottom of the ladder, working towards – perhaps – a position as bank manager, then part-retiring to work as a teller.  Now I don’t know about you, but this is how things worked in the past.  This scenario doesn’t work now. and really is quite depressing if this is supposed t be a vision of the future.
More and more people are in part-time jobs or ones where there is no job certainty.  And as I mentioned, there are far more in the so-called lowly work areas than there are in the rarified atmosphere of being a bank manager.  It does make me think of how we are creating a different future though.  The explosion in social media and in computer technology is opening up vistas of creativity which have never been possible before because people got through a couple of world wars then spent time re-building their countries and their lives. Not to mention developing nations where people are still struggling for the basics of survival like food and water.
In the present age, however, there really is no need for the old work hours that operated in a society rapidly being overtaken by the new. If working hours were shorter, more people could be gainfully employed although – shock, horror – it might get up the noses of the corporate slave-drivers who rely on maximum exploitation for their profits and also require people to live simpler but, perhaps, happier lives. And with greater non-working hours, just think of how great wellsprings of creativity which could be fostered at all levels of society.  
The potential for truly civilised societies to develop is unlimited.  All it takes is vision,  imagination, creativity and,  oh, that lovely word – COURAGE!

CELTIC AWAKENING

This is the very first mandala I created and the first artwork of my life which looked in any way reasonable.

When I painted in art classes at grammar school, my efforts could only be described as pitiful and the only reason I scraped through the art exam with 53% was because of an act of charity by the art teacher.
I never realised that real-life simply doesn’t inspire me.  I can’t draw landscapes, still life or anything like that.  BUT my real forte is symbolic  art combined with my psychic abilities and these have sparked off artistic gifts and talents in my 49th year.  I’m a late bloomer, folks, but remain eternally grateful to that first mandala workshop I attended.
I lugged this painting around with me from Queensland to the UK to Western Australia to northern New South Wales, and finally had it framed when we were living in Victoria.  The framer did a wonderful job and produced a finished product which reflected the sensitivity and creative ability of the framer. So it was well worth the long wait.

I called this Celtic Awakening because it really was a time when I cast myself off from my old life and entered a completely new phase of my life as a Reiki Master, artist, writer and teacher.