HER-story:

With words and images, I am telling my story. Through art, through sculpture, I am remembering HERstory...
CASIMIRA

Wednesday, December 31

grateful for the year's teachings and challenges

- 2014 mixed media -

…the dark, thirsty spider has already injected paralyzing venom and is stealthily weaving a sticky, intricate web, slowly sucking the light and draining the life force from within its unsuspecting prey…

excerpt from my journals


I see beyond my eyes, with heart and intuition.

I see behind the clever masks and smiles.

I understand the lie within the lie, disguised as "truth"...

Dreams guide me.  Ancestors and angels protect me.

I have learned to trust my gut.

Nothing can be done to change a loved one's stubborn, karmic destiny.

Could the spider be teaching me to fully and fearlessly step into my power by simply trusting myself more and more?





Tuesday, December 30

manipulative little monkey

- detail from mixed media on paper, 2006 -

...The little monkey had accomplished everything she ever set out to do. She had traveled throughout various jungles and supposedly spoke several languages, including Elephant, Weasel and Worm.

She had a habit of marking her territory through bodily fluids. She proudly displayed stacks of rings on all four paws, one for each lover. She was famous at last, or at the very least infamous.

Still, she did not feel satisfied. Mona hungered for more...MORE...MORE... She had become addicted to power, or the idea of it.

With time and bananas, Mona became First Monkey of her land...but would she ever learn to wear silk?

excerpt from a short story entitled "Mona de Seda" about an ambitious little monkey named Mona who dreams of wearing silk, originally published in 2006





Monday, December 29

his love lives on

- my beloved father-in-law on one of the countless walks we shared -

One week ago today, I was both honored and humbled to witness a beloved's final breaths. 

Such intimate and sacred moments, meant only for those who knew and truly loved him through the years...

I memorized his strong yet gentle hands...

I memorized his perfect rosebud lips...

"Do not stand at my grave and weep. 
I am not there. 
I do not sleep. 
I am a thousand winds that blow. 
I am the diamond glints on snow. 
I am the sunlight on ripened grain. 
I am the gentle autumn rain. 

When you awaken in the morning's hush, 
I am the swift uplifting rush 
of quiet birds in circled flight. 

I am the soft stars that shine at night. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry; 
I am not there. I did not die." 

- Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004)

Sunday, December 28

kissing me, sweetheart

- 2013 mixed media on canvas -


"Nothing can shatter this love.

For even if you took another

into your arms,

the truth is,

my sweetheart,

you would

still be kissing me." 

- my beloved HAFIZ (who else?)



Saturday, December 27

nothing and everything

- an image from my 2007 journals -

"Turning your mind toward the dharma does not bring security or confirmation.  Turning your mind toward the dharma does not bring any ground to stand on.  In fact, when your mind turns toward the dharma, you fearlessly acknowledge impermanence and change and begin to get the knack of hopelessness.

In Tibetan there's an interesting word: ye tang che.  The ye part means "totally, completely," and the rest of it means "exhausted." Altogether, ye tang che means totally tired out.  We might say "totally fed up."  It describes an experience of complete hopelessness, of completely giving up hope.  This is an important point.  This is the beginning of the beginning.  Without giving up hope -- that there's somewhere better to be, that there's someone better to be -- we will never relax with where we are now or who we are.

To think that we can finally get it all together is unrealistic.  To seek for some lasting security is futile. To undo our very ancient and very stuck habitual patterns of mind requires that we begin to turn around some of our most basic assumptions.  Believing in a solid, separate self, continuing to seek pleasure and avoid pain, thinking that someone "out there" is to blame for our pain -- one has to get totally fed up with these ways of thinking.  One has to give up hope that this way of thinking will bring us satisfaction.  Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there's anywhere to hide." - Pema Chodron

I bring it all to my meditation mat: the numbness, the emptiness, the anxiety, the loss, the boredom, the grief, the gratitude, the joy, the laughter, the exhaustion...without judgement.  I sit and breathe and simply honor what is going on at the moment.  I am more than feelings and emotions.  I am more than thoughts.  I am more and yet I am nothing and everything.





Friday, December 26

milk and honey

- our mini Christmas tree -

- all you need is LOVE - 

- from my beloved Latin Lover -

"Casimira de Mi Vida,
You are my milk and honey.
You are the nourishment and sweetness of my life."

- Luis J. Checa Pallais (a.k.a. my Latin Lover)



Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas

- my Santa baby -

"It came without ribbons!

It came without tags!

It came without packages, boxes or bags!...

...Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.

Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" - Dr. Seuss



Wednesday, December 24

Noche Buena

- vintage snapshot of my grandparents' home -

Tonight families gather to celebrate each other and to honor Christ’s birth.

Those who are far away are missed more than ever.

Those who have passed away are always remembered.

A feast is prepared and enjoyed amidst laughter and song.

At midnight, bells ring to announce La Misa del Gallo, midnight mass with choir and candlelight.
Esta noche es Noche-Buena
Y no es noche de dormir.
– old Spanish verse

Tuesday, December 23

healing

- mixed media from a series -


"She Who Heals:

Mother, sing me a song -

That will ease my pain,

Mend broken bones,

Bring wholeness again.



Catch my babies -

When they are born,

Sing my death song,

Teach me how to mourn.



Show me the Medicine

Of the healing herbs,

The value of spirit,

The way I can serve.



Mother, heal my heart

So that I can see

The gifts of yours

That can live through me."

- Jamie Sams


Monday, December 22

re-birth

- 2007 mixed media on paper from my journals -

Little Bird hatched from Mother’s ancient crystals with a precious gem balanced upon its beak.

“Why am I here?” Little Bird asked Water Buddha.

Little Bird, you are here to live.
To breathe and to fly.
To laugh and to cry.
Little Bird, you are here to die.

“To die? But have I not just now begun to live? I do not understand,” Little Bird cried.

Little Bird, life would not exist without death.
And really, death is but re-birth.
Little Bird, you have always been and shall always be.

excerpt from short story, originally published in 2007


Sunday, December 21

tigers and strawberries

- mixed media on paper from my journals -

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.” 
 Pema Chödrön


tigers and strawberries on this Winter Solstice...
the longest night of the year...

an apple
a fig
a mouth 
a finger 

cigarettes under the stars
cold rain
hot tears
naked trees

a new moon
a dark, invisible moon marking a new beginning and a new birth



Saturday, December 20

worries


- mixed media from my older journals -

She worries about what others might say.
She worries about how family may judge.
She worries she has gained three ounces. 
She worries she will be single all of her life.
She worries she will be childless all of her life. 
She worries she may want a divorce. 
She worries he will leave her for a younger woman.
She worries her daughter will become sexually active at thirteen. 
She worries about her adult-middle-age-almost-senior-citizen children. 
She worries about worries...
"You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow."
- Janis Joplin (1943–1970)

originally published in 2008

Friday, December 19

if that's what you want, if that's what you ask


"I can hold my breath.
I can bite my tongue.
I can stay awake for days,
if that's what you want,
be your number one.

I can fake a smile.
I can force a laugh.
I can dance and play the part,
if that's what you ask,
give you all that I am.

I can do it...
but I'm only human.
And I bleed when I fall down.
I'm only human,
and I crash and I break down.

Your words in my head,
knives in my heart.
You build me up,
then I fall apart,
'cause I'm only human.

I can turn it on,
be a good machine.
I can hold the weight of worlds,
if that's what you need,
be your everything.

I can do it...
I'll get through it,
but I'm only human...
just a little human.

I can take so much,
until I've had enough..."
- C. Perri


I posted this song last month. It resonates with me at this precise moment.

And although I really can't fake a smile, much less a laugh, I know how to be diplomatic and polite.

I am doing my best, and I continue to trust my intuition...



Thursday, December 18

tus caricias han de ser mías y de nadie más

- mixed media on paper in a private collection -

"Ya me canso de llorar y no amanece -
Ya no sé si maldecirte o por ti rezar -
Tengo miedo de buscarte y de encontrarte -
Donde me aseguran mis amigos que te vas -
Hay momentos en que quisiera mejor rajarme -
Y arrancarme ya los clavos de mi penar -
Pero mis ojos se mueren sin mirar tus ojos -
Y mi cariño con la aurora te vuelve a esperar -

Y agarraste por tu cuenta la parranda -
Paloma negra, paloma negra ¿dónde, dónde andarás?
Ya no jueges con mi honra parrandera -
Si tus caricias han de ser mías, de nadie más -
Y aunque te amo con locura ya no vuelva -
Paloma negra eres la reja de un penar -
Quiero ser libre vivir mi vida con quien yo quiera -
Díos dame fuerza que me estoy muriendo,
por irla a buscar..."


- as sung by Chavela Vargas



Wednesday, December 17

to the end of love

- mixed media from my journals -

"Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin -
Dance me through the panic, 'til I'm gathered safely in -
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove -
Dance me to the end of love -

Let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone -
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon -
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of -
Dance me to the end of love -

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on -
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long -
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above -
Dance me to the end of love -

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born -
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn -
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn -
Dance me to the end of love -

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin -
Dance me through the panic, 'til I'm gathered safely in -
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove -
Dance me to the end of love..."

- Leonard Cohen


Tuesday, December 16

awake


"You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book, or you take a trip, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. 

The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. 

It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves then from death. Some never awaken."

- Anais Nin



Monday, December 15

you're a sky full of stars

- mixed media from a series -

"...I'm gonna give you my heart,
'cause you're a sky, 'cause you're a sky full of stars,
'cause you light up the path.

I don't care, go on and tear me apart,
I don't care if you do...
'cause in a sky, 'cause in a sky full of stars,
I think I saw you...

I want to die in your arms,
'cause you get lighter the more it gets dark,
I'm gonna give you my heart...

'cause in a sky, 'cause in a sky full of stars,
I think I see you,
I think I see you...

such a heavenly view,
you're such a heavenly view..."
- Coldplay






Sunday, December 14

accessing the inner queen


"A queen is wise.  She has earned her serenity, not having had it bestowed on her but having passed her tests.  She has suffered and grown more beautiful because of it.  She has proven she can hold her kingdom together. She has become its vision. She cares deeply about something bigger than herself.  She rules with authentic power.

Our kingdom is our life, and our life is our kingdom.  We are all meant to rule from a glorious place."
-Marianne Williamson



Saturday, December 13

no turning back


"God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there's no turning back." - Gloria Steinem

no turning back...dear goddess...


Friday, December 12

are you living ecstatically?


"I love the abstract, delicate, profound, vague, voluptuously wordless sensation of living ecstatically." - Anais Nin

detail from one of my wearable sculptures in a private collection







Thursday, December 11

live and learn

- I love the paint on his hand -
If a child lives with criticism,
He learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule,
He learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.

If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

- Dorothy Law Nolte (1924-2005)

What did we live with as children?

What did our parents live with as children?

What are our children living with?


Wednesday, December 10

fun


this little boy has taught me to find the FUN in every little thing...

"MAMA, helping you is FUN!"

my laundry elf...I love being his mother, what a blessing he is...




Tuesday, December 9

my skin


"How violently beautiful would it be to leave your mind here and your body somewhere else. This is the way you make me feel when your fingertips declare war on my skin." - R.M. Drake


tulips, the first snapshots I took with my cellphone, 2013.
do you remember?

Monday, December 8

in the midst of a dance


"Living with integrity means not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships:

- asking for what you want and need from others

- speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension

- behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values

- making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe

...The moment in between what you once were and, who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place." - Barbara De Angelis

I am in the midst of a sacred, wild dance...

2013 mixed media on canvas from a series where I explore painting as poetry, mediation, prayer and dance...

The piece is soon to be part of a private art collection.





Sunday, December 7

sunday sunset


a ball of fire -


almost naked orange copper trees -


my beloved son - 


chasing the sun -


chasing the playful light - 

blessed by the fire -

side by side -

gratefully making memories...


snapshots taken with my cellphone today



Saturday, December 6

a reminder to be true, on the last full moon of the year...

- mixed media -

"It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for 
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool 
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me 
is true.
I want to know if you can 
disappoint another 
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life 
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone 
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments."

© Oriah Mountain Dreamer 

a reminder to be true to myself, to my dreams, to my art...