Urban Sketchers Symposium 2019 Amsterdam

July, 2019 I finally attended my first Urban Sketchers Symposium, this year held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands –and it was amazing! The only downside was that there was a historic heatwave throughout all of Europe, and made it quite challenging to endure the long days spent sketching out in the streets. I stayed in an adorable attic apartment, but it was sweltering as well, so it was a crazy-hot and bright week. Would I do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT. Next year’s event will be held in Hong Kong, and it’s my intention to get my heiney and my sketchbook in HKG next April!

My photos and sketches from my time in sweltering Amsterdam, where I took the following workshops:

Memories of a City, Reportage with Veronica Lawlor
Amsterdam Rooftops with Hugo Costa
Urban Portraits with Marina Grechanik

How Now Brown Cow

Negro & son

It’s been one year since Reed Burns gave me one cow to figure out how to produce grass-fed beef in San Miguel, and what a tremendous year of learning it’s been — and hopefully far from over. I find it all so very fascinating, interesting, satisfying and completely heartbreaking.

One year later still, the most difficult cow is Reed Burns, but that’s the price of this front line education on cattle ranching and making meat. Reed and I have evolved together in this partnership because we both have great regard and determination to make an agricultural contribution, but Lordy the road has been bumpy and difficult.

When I walked into that meeting with Via Organica last year, I wasn’t sure of the name of the ranch, how many cows there were, what they did all day, and I barely knew of the breed “Limousin”. I googled it that morning to discover they’re a hearty French cow, good in this terrain, known for easy birth and similar in meat quality to the Angus. Reed Burns knew what he was doing when he choose the breed for his Guanajuato ranch over a decade ago. And I knew that we needed a better quality of meat in our community.

I didn’t know many of the things I know today, and looking back, I may have thought twice if I knew what I was in for… but then again, no. I have loved all the challenges of learning about cows, ranching in Mexico, butchering — soup-to-nuts, as they say. I’d never have privy to the things I’ve experienced if I were in the States, that’s one of the beautiful things about an unregulated life in Mexico; I’ve had face-to-face access to the blood, sweat and tears of raising cows.

Morning

I am not hardened or immune to any of it and sometimes all this blood, sweat and tears takes my breathe away. It has brought me to my knees more than a few times. Ranch life is very close to the bone and I am surrounded by men who seem to be unaffected by the death or killing of cows, whereas I’m affected by it all and still want to be involved. I prefer to be affected, but it requires me to take care of myself so I can continue to tend to the job at hand with a clear mind. It requires me to elevate my thinking and continue to strive to be a better person in all that I do.

Yes, I do take it very personally and work diligently with the folks I am working with to provide a good life to the cows, before we take their final sacrifice. Who are we to ask for the life of a cow if we are not clear in our own lives?

Morning

My heart has grown with the cows and I get accused of being too emotionally attached to them. It’s true I love them. One of my most favorite places on earth is sunrise in the corral, when I can hear all the cows breathing and chewing and snorting. I breathe with them. I stare. They stare. They get up slowly and stretch their front legs much like dogs. An avalanche of poop and whiz begins to splat on the dirt. Sun up, time to eat, time to move out into the fields. It’s strenuous work getting out to the fields and these cows work hard and are quite lean, yet very well-natured. I bless them with reiki as they march out into the rocky pasture. Another day of hiking across the hills of Rancho Santo Niño in search of food.

Heading Out

I continue to work with Reed Burns because I want them to have a better life and their lives have improved over the past year. They eat better food, their housing structures have been expanded, and greater attention has been given to their health. If I were to walk away right now, I would be content to know their lives are better now than when they were a hobby ranch a year ago. But I haven’t walked away; I am also in on the butchering of these animals when it is time, because it is my commitment to make sure they have a good death, as well as a good life. None of it is easy, however.

Bone

We have been fortunate to have found a butcher in Dolores who has a tremendous heart and has taken time and consideration to teach me so many things about cows and meat. He has taught me how to smell a carcass and what to “look” for when smelling that carcass. So many cows are fed horrible diets and no matter what’s said when the animal is sold, the smell of the meat never lies.

My butcher has taught me the importance of a veterinarian who is not afraid to bend over. What, bend over??! Yes, when cows need shots, and they all do at some point, you want to work with a vet who will bend down to administer the shot in the lower leg quarter and not in the prime rump, because that affects the quality of the meat. Our butcher has also taken time to work with our ranch boys to teach them how unnecessary it is to hit or beat the cows. He takes care to photograph the results of a bruised cow — or rather, bruised meat, to show them the consequence of not taking care. It has worked! The ranch family now flail their arms and yelp to move the cows. It literally made me cry when I saw this the first time.

A good life and a good death, right?

I am emotionally attached, but I also butcher, deliver and devour con gusto. It’s the most profound and soulful work I’ve ever done. It also completely kicks my ass.

Recently, two bulls got into an argument as bulls do, and one bull took a horn under his jaw, which caused an existing tumor to very quickly grow and swell up the bull’s head. He stopped eating, became listless and motionless. We had to end his misery. I went to see our butcher to talk about it and he took from a very large bucket the head of this bull that I have enjoyed breathing with on occasion, and plopped it on the table in front of me. We looked at the jaw, we analyzed everything, as the dead eyes looked at nothing.  I knew that cow and I liked him a lot. “This is what happens Meag, just deal with it,” I kept telling myself. This is what happens, cows die, deal with it.

Guess what? I have no clue how to deal with it. I don’t want any of these cows to die and how in the world did I arrive at a place in my life that I’m in on the killing of cows?? How did this happen and will I ever be forgiven???

This has cracked my soul wide open to a very strange place and I find myself considering life and death, love and hate, sex and dying, as well as wondering how far away am I from having my head on a table being examined and considered if there was anything more that could’ve been done? Is this who I am, a murderer of cows, a happy carnivore, or is it forcing me to see and experience life from a place of extreme gratitude for all that I have?

The other day I began to sob about my part in the killing of these cows to the point where no sound came out and my rib cage trembled and ached. I asked for forgiveness, I asked if maybe I should go instead of the next cow. I looked to the sun and wondered am I good enough to be doing this work and to please help me become a better person.

There is more work to do. But first I will draw Negro el Toro because he is so handsome and strong…

Negro

 

 

 

The end of PicTweetArt?

03-09-16a

While on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, I quietly completed one year of daily drawings, based on a mostly-randomly-selected tweets. It was an extraordinary personal exercise, and challenged me in ways I had no idea would be challenged. A drawing a day? Seems fairly straight forward and people are doing it all the time, no big whip.

I had no idea I was bent towards drawing the naked body, but I really enjoy drawing the naked body. If I could draw the body in one fell, solid stroke, I was happy as a lark and felt accomplished as I began my day. Little victories. Early on during this drawing exercise, I began to attend live model drawing classes, and the things I learned in there, oh my! We all have bodies, right, but have you ever thought about all the different ways we can move, bend, stretch, contort? Simply amazing! The body aside, what about emotions? Emotions can make a body erect as the Washington Monument or crumble in a heap of rumbles all over the floor –and everything in between.

I also liked the idea of trying to tell a story from someone’s tweet. This was not always easy, but in hindsight, it was invigorating. I was accused of being a pervert, gay (really?), asked “how do you figure a naked person from this?” and unfollowed more than a few times. I didn’t mind — although it’s not my intention to be offensive, I was simply practicing my story-telling abilities, which may or may not have included a naked person, but never vulgar and always joyfully intended.

On March 17, 2016, I completed a full year of daily drawings — I did not miss one day, thank you very much.

It has been almost two weeks since #PicTweetArt ended. I’ve dreamt of it, day-dreamed of it, looked at people hard and wondered how I would draw the lines of their face or the shape of their calves. I even got busted in Vallarta for taking a picture of a woman’s legs as she stood in line at the bank because she had truly amazing calves.

As much as I loved how this exercise changed me; it improved my confidence, opened my mind, taught me anatomy, ETC., the most difficult part of #PicTweetArt was reading Twitter each morning.

Ugggggg Twitter. No one talks on the platform anymore, people are mostly pushing out their stuff — just as I was pushing out my stuff. I had to search for real tweets, so many brutally empty tweets that no one gives a rats ass about. I allowed myself about 10 minutes to search for a tweet and as loathsome as it was, I somehow found a tweet for one whole damn year, and I drew that tweet — hard.

All this brutal poppycock aside, I’ve decided to continue the practice of daily drawings via Twitter and starting Friday April 1st, I will be back at it!

See you on Twitter my Darlings!

March’s PictweetArt:
[envira-gallery id=”1949″]

Drift Out of Driftwood

dirty meag

This week I am closing up life at the ranch and joining Reed in San Miguel de Allende for the next few weeks. It’s hot as a witch’s breath here in Austin; everything’s gone and dried up and blowing in the dust. I hear cackles in the wind, it’s that hot.

I’m so very happy to be heading down south; when the news sank in, my spirit shot up about three stories high. My time in Central Texas has not been easy, oh but it has been highly educational.

It’s been challenging to find work in and around Austin, THE hottest, hippest city in America. Countless interviews later, I was probably giving off a much bigger vibe of “no, I really don’t want to work for your company” than their vibe of “now wait, who are you?” After years of working for companies I could not be more opposed to, I find it difficult to pretend to be excited about someone else’s company. Throughout many of the interviews, I could see exactly why I would leave, or more specifically, why they wouldn’t ask me to join. I have had small project work here and there, but mostly I have spent a heck of a lot of time expanding my repertoire of energy, energy, energy, gimme more of that arty-energy-jui-jui-jui.

My fear of failing after being fired a handful of times a few short years ago has had a fierce grip on me, almost smothering at times, but my backbone has returned and I’m ready to get forward move ahead. I failed at being able to succeed in a corporate job; I never liked it, but that’s what I was supposed to do, right? My mom’s voice still haunts me, “for crying out loud Meag, why can’t you just keep your mouth shut?”. This internal struggle has led me to work for some terrible people at some awful companies and guess what? I could not keep my mouth shut and was eventually shown the door.

My inner conflicts reflected as all my outer struggles. I have been in my way forever.

Another challenge to finding work was “being so far away from Austin” in Driftwood, Texas, a small po-dunk Texas Hill Country town, about 22 miles southwest of Austin. Yes, TWENTY-TWO miles, not TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO miles. Driftwood truly has a gritty feel of the wild, wild West; it’s rugged and quiet, hot and empty — for now, the real estate wars are heating up all across Hays County. The Salt Lick BBQ is here and that’s a huge claim to fame for Texas BBQ fans, but there is little else besides ranching, cowboying, and stealing water. Reed’s family has had property here for a number of years, so I have had the privilege of living on a gorgeous National Park, in a state with very little national parks. I have tremendously enjoyed my ranch explorations with Dito Bandito at my side, Henry in the car; I will always think fondly of this little internet-providerless town, ideally from afar.

You get dirty when you live in Driftwood, it comes with the territory and the terrifying shower I avoid like the plague. Here, I have lived precariously close to scorpions, spiders, snakes, fire ants, lobsters, chiggers, kissing bugs, cows, wasps, mean donkeys, mean HORSES, oh and an angry Reed Burns, but the latter has started to mellow as he ages like a fine wine, errr rather a full-bodied, potent, añejo tequila. We have had a rough road together, Reed and I, but we’ve also made great strides as we break down our walls — huge graffiti-filled walls from the early days of our spontaneous, mostly reckless, tequila-fueled, rowdy marriage. I am excited to meet Reed; he’s in his element in Mexico and it is something to behold, when he holds his court.

[envira-gallery id=”1336″]

In early 2001, I moved to San Miguel de Allende to teach Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms dance class and develop my artistic talent. However, in reality, after 10+ years of sobriety, I decided to drink the vino tintos and life took a turn towards a very different path than I had envisioned. It wasn’t awful, but sometimes it was painfully awful. I certainly had some glorious times, but many of my demons came back to haunt, they took a hold and directed my life for a number of years and through a number of scenarios. I eventually made my way back to Chicago after our divorce and I spent the next few years directionless and heart broken.

I am not these things anymore; my heart is alive and looking straight ahead. I take my dedication to all-things-energy very seriously and have experienced some tremendous healing as of late. I was recently attuned in Reiki Level II in Wimberly with Melissa Kleen; I am very aware of the strengthening eyeballs in the palms of my hands. An intensely powerful shamanic surgery with a clairaudient shaman healer has created new pathways in and around my heart during a mind-expanding experience. A traditional cacao ceremony has elevated my heart and I can’t stop giggling, nor crying tears of joy, for that matter — it has also changed my approach to my art and how I see the world. An autoimmune friendly approach to eating has relieved some long-time anxieties and discomfort, in addition to helping me drop some weight I had been struggling with. Curious to see how I will fare when face-to-face with the delicious street tacos of Guanajuato olé!

—> I am totally ready to get to work — I need to get to work.

ANDALE! Nos vemos!! Saying adios to my NIA Dance pals, until next time xx

New Energy in 15, walking the labyrinth

Have you ever experienced the magic of a labyrinth?

Being from Chicago and having travelled a bit in Europe, I have seen my fair share of labyrinths, even enjoyed the movie, but honestly, I never paid them much mind. They certainly are pretty. I used to walk one during lunch breaks when I worked near Saint James Episcopal at Huron & State in Chicago, but I probably stood there smoking butts on most days, pondering my daily dilemma.

These days labyrinths have taken on a much deeper meaning, other than wrecking the depths of my lungs thankfully; they have become a place of revitalization. Walking a labyrinth is an opportunity to experience a divine imprint through a walking meditation, a different manner of praying. I like different manners of praying. While I appreciate mediation and continue to explore the hidden nuggets found within, I’m always anxious to get my butt up off the floor, preferring to walk, dance, hop, skip, jump as I strengthen my third eye. It works for me and through this, I discovered the magic of the labyrinth.

The labyrinth is an archetype in the human mind and represents the many twists and turns we can take to arrive somewhere — anywhere in life. “SOLVITAR AMBULANDO.” IT IS SOLVED BY WALKING says the sign over the labyrinth at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin. Labyrinth patterns are universal, have only one path and there are no tricks, nor dead ends. Many times my thoughts are chattering away in my head as I begin to walk, starting from the outside, zig-zagging towards the center, but the experience changed for me when I walked with a group of women on the night of a full moon in Butler Park. It completely altered and lifted my spirit — the moon beams surely helped — and I’ve been a big fan of walking in these magical circles ever since.

labyrinthATX

If you would like to find a labyrinth in your area, the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator is shock full of information and will point you in the right direction. If you have never tried it, I would suggest walking a labyrinth with a group of people because the opportunity, for me, represents life. Often times churches will offer a free monthly labyrinth walk; I like free.

The labyrinth walk is a chance to see how I navigate around and through others. Do I dance smoothly or dart sharply with my world, what are my thoughts telling me? What makes me hesitate? I have always gone to great lengths to avoid people throughout my life, but I’m changing my tune — it’s now or never. This sacred map is teaching me things.

If anything, it’s a wonderful bump to disengage from the day, a chance to re-charge and think about love. Wait. Love? Love won big today with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriage across the entire damn country, HOORAY! Here come the haters but Welcome to 2015, America!

Ooooh I’m looking for clues… maybe then I won’t be so frightened by the sound of a telephone, oh yeah…. xx

New Energy in 15, re-energize on the lake

After realizing I needed a physical break from the qi-gong training I was doing, as well as from too much exercising when under the weather, a day on the lake with friends was a great way to re-energize and enjoy some lols before the thunder and lightning rolled in. Perfect day!

 

Cries from the Buddha Belly

This past week was my second week of an intense daily qi gong practice called “Jingui Golden Shield,” and this was also the week that the levy broke. The beginner instruction for this ancient form of qi gong involved slapping my bare stomach in key meridian points for several minutes in succession, in order to awaken the chi (qi, prana, holy spirit, life force energy, call it what you will) to quickly develop the human energy body for improved health.

Yes, it hurts to slap the belly with the bare hands. So what, I said.

On about the 12th day, tears started to fall as I reached the end of my lesson, right before I was to hit the floor and apply the ancient Chinese tincture to my red-hot pink belly. My instructor suggested I stay ahead of the slapping; in fact it should be a hit and not a slap, and don’t take it too far — but don’t be numb to it. It should keep me awake. I tried to find that spot that kept me awake; I could not. The tears continued as I made my way home. I kept on crying; the tears fell throughout the day and night, when I was alone and when I was with others. ugh.

You know that crying that comes from super-deep within the lungs and goes on forever with the mouth agape, yet no sound is produced? I had time to wonder if I would ever breathe again, or if it would ever stop. That kinda crying. Buddha Belly tears, but fuck that, I was not in search of a zen-like state-of-being, I was cracking some buried egg wide open all over the place, and the oozing seemed to have no end in sight. It was the most exhausting cry I ever cried.

In some recent blood tests, I learned I have a borderline thyroid condition that does not yet warrant medication, but now is the time to repair current damage and prevent future injury. My research into the world of autoimmune disorders and conditions has begun. Whoa Nelly I had no idea!

I read a new book written by Austin doctor, Dr. Amy Myers, called “The Autoimmune Solution” and could not believe how much sense this book made to me. I have been denying symptoms of my autoimmune disorder for years, but did not even realize it; I just thought I lacked the discipline and motivation to achieve my goals in life, although I have always remained busy. In the past six month, my symptoms have worsened; weight gain, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, muscle soreness and brain fog.

I continue to exercise quite a bit and assumed I was always sore because of it, but now I wonder. I exercise because I worry I’m getting fat and old, although I do really enjoy being active and continue to have ambitious future goals. The worry makes my stomach upset after eating a very small amount. I sometimes forget what I am doing. The movie “Still Alice” was scary to watch. We all forget, right? I cry A LOT. My Chinese doctor gets a little uncomfortable when he sees me. I have to lay down after each meal I eat, even if I just slept 9 hours and this “laziness” drives me bat-shit crazy. It’s all a vicious cycle and this book goes into great detail about our current state of gluten and how it’s newly-mass-manufactured evil properties are wiping the human race right off the planet. Well she doesn’t exactly say that, but it does not look good for the world and all it’s millions of highly-processed gluten-filled products we find ourselves surrounded by.

I have been tremendously stressed over the past few years and my life has yet to settle down, but I never considered any lasting physical effect from any of this…. until now. Now it’s staring right at me in the mirror and I need to make some enormous changes.

cry me

I have stopped working out every day; I stepped away from the qi gong classes. I have cried a river of tears and I’m not even sure why, except it sure does feel good when it’s over. I am going to do the Myers Way Program because I want to feel as good as I can for the rest of my days. I have suspected sugar and bread and whatnot for months and months and now my exhausted self is ready to take this leap of faith.

Pass the hankies xx

 

Andale Austin

austinstar

I have been in Texas for just over a year and in the past few weeks — no, days really, it has truly begun to feel like home. I am feeling so much support in this cradle in the middle of Texas, I find myself caught off guard and tingly-all-over by the kindness of strangers and not-so-strangers that have helped me get acclimated in my new hometown.

After several months of travelling and setting up shop on the ranch, I have turned my focus to getting into the groove in Austin. I’m back at Square One in that I need to get a job, an address, a routine… and it’s finally starting to happen. I know what I want and now it’s time for the legwork. I have found some work; it is not my dream work, but it is putting me out in front of people, which is a great start. I am highly animated these days and eager to work with others. One foot in front of the other.

Austin is a very fast moving city; hottest city in America, some would say. The recent cover of Austin Monthly magazine quoted 158 people are moving to Austin EVERY DAY. That’s a solid stream of buses dropping off musicians everyday at the Greyhound station.

New friends, YaY!

Austin’s NIA dance community has been a great source of support; it’s teeming with women who are excited about life, love to shake their moneymaker and aren’t afraid to let it all hang out. Their stories are extraordinary and many times moving, and I’m thrilled to have found this support as a new whitebelt teacher and as a new citizen of Austin. Many of these women are undergoing profound personal transformation and have been a great source of comfort as I go through my own. Plus we spontaneously break out in dance when out in public.

There’s something very delightful about not caring if you cause a stir –when stirred properly.

Meetup.com has been a great resource to meet new people and learn of new ideas; I attend about four meetup groups on a regular basis and the momentum is building. One is an art and technology meetup with it’s focus on creating a community in Austin for new digital artists; I volunteered to be the gatekeeper of information and gather everyone’s name and interests. I even presented my #PicTweetArt and #NewEnergyin15 at the last meetup! It was a bit of a departure from the amazing new media presentations that were being highlighted, but I think it was all very well-received. There were LOLs :D. I joined the group to discover new ideas in video and to meet some interesting people.

The artistic sparks are flying, she said with a cheese-eatin’ grin!

I am a member of a Women’s Shaman Circle; the wisdom that’s being shared within this sacred circle has altered my life forever. I am honored to be a part of such a experienced and educated circle of women.

Women helping women. SHAZAM.

I’m also a new member in a specialized qi gong training called Jingui Golden Shield. It is a rare Temple Style of qi gong designed to achieve super health by developing the human energy body very quickly. I discovered this through my Chinese doctor and acupuncturist, Dr. Zhang, who diagnosed me with a deficient spleen a few weeks ago. We are working on this, but basically it’s the early stages of a thyroid condition, and it is my goal to reverse this condition NOW before a Western doctor prescribes daily pharmaceuticals.

Nooooo pills for me.

A worrisome mind, my age and irregular eating patterns are probably to thank — oh and the stress of absolutely everything changing in my life.

thanksaustin

I am turning 50 this year and this health condition has added an extra 10 pounds around my belly. It freaked me out — well hell’s bells it still freaks me out, because it gets in my way and I want it gone. Given the amount of energy work I do in addition to biking, hiking, dancing, yoga-ing, qi gong-ing and walking, it drives me craaaaaaazy that I have this new blob that just won’t budge. Then I read a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I’m remarkably embarrassed I’ve had the audacity to cry about a little midlife weight gain.

mans_search_for_meaning

I have the privilege of being alive and living pretty well for half a century. I digress. This profoundly moving book about surviving a Nazi prison camp put gratitude in perspective for me in a manner I shan’t easily forget.

Profound gratitude.

My body can still move in amazing ways. I have great new friends I can lean on. I am networking. I’ve always hated networking! I love, love, love learning about energy and sharing it. I am branding and self-promoting, gaaaaa the dreaded self-marketing. I am in Austin, f*cking Texas, the hottest city in America and the good vibes are growing. I have a tremendous friend and confidant in Reed Burns. Sure it’s terrifying to be starting all over, but I am totally grateful for this life.

I am scrappy and I live in America — and if there’s one thing America loves besides Cheezwhiz, it’s scrappiness.

ANDALE TEXAS!

 

New Energy in 15, I am a Texas Tree!

I have decided to lay down my roots in Austin, Texas after sitting on a fence for about a year. I actually cried as I gazed up to Lady Liberty on top of the Texas State Capitol; this State can annoy the heck out of me at times, but fault can be found in any state. I don’t look for that because I have found some awesome new friends, some bubbling opportunities and a fairly clear path ahead of me. It’s where I want to be.

xx

New Energy in 15, the Texas Polar Dip!

These past few weeks have been especially awesome because Deep Eddy pool has opened its gates at 6am because Barton Springs pool is closed, due to all the recent floods and storms. The water is spring fed and suuuuuuper-cold, which is a fantastic way to greet the day if your heart can take it! The pool goes back to regular hours (8am) on Monday, June 8th, so I am grateful to have enjoyed it these past few weeks in my favorite sunrise hour.

New Energy in 15, Go with the Flow, Vladimir!

Best laid plans until Vladimir the Russian Wolf Hound decides it’s his party, then it’s best just to roll with it ;).

Things have definitely settled down after last weekend’s torrential storms and flooding here in Austin; even Red Bud Isle dog park is back in business. It’s a very pretty park to start the day in and even to do some qi gong if you know how to go with the flow!

Sure it’s cornball, but I believe the key to happiness, which is fleeting, is to look for the good stuff in times of chaos. What do you believe?

New Energy in 15, a bike ride in Austin

I love that Henry is still game to come along with me on adventures — he really is the most docile dog in the world, without being annoying.

In what was a rather stressful week, a bike ride along Lady Bird Lake was the perfect medicine for the day; I rented an Austin B Cycle and away we went. Henry gets all the smiles — he alone changes people’s energy. My energy was changed too, Bless His Heart as they say here in Texas.

New Energy in 15, Draw me Amadeus

Draw Me Amadeus

Each day I draw a drawing based on a tweet I randomly select from Twitter; the exercise has done amazing things to expand my creativity and inspires me more each day, even on the days that I don’t like my drawing. I did a drawing of Pope Francis recently that literally made me feel weird — but even the creepy ones teach me a lesson.

The more I work with my energy, the more risks I take with my creativity — and this is my goal! My art is pretty safe right now, so there is tons of room for growth, but I also focus on my people skills — drawing them, that is. I struggle with hands and feet, but it’s getting better.

So this week’s #newenergyin15 is all about creativity, playing and setting high hopes! I’m currently taking belly dancing lessons — I love it! It uses muscles that rarely get used in the Western world and makes me feel stronger on oh-so-many levels.

Here I am belly dancing in Vienna, listening to Mozart In Real Life, because this is what I’m going to do some day. Perhaps not all at once, but you get the drift, it’s my vision board… :DD

 

 

New Energy in 15, Stillness in the Spillway

Practicing stillness or mindfulness can be challenging, and even trickier for me when I do it in public spaces… but the Barton Springs Spillway was a’buzz with friendly folks, many of whom were interested in what I was doing. What was I doing? A t’ai chi move called Cloud hands in s-u-p-e-r slow mo. Slow motion is hard because I want to whizz about always, but the lessons of slowing down have been ginormous, across the board. Summer time…

New Energy in 15, 7 Precious Gestures on Lady Bird

In Qi Gong, there’s a practice called “7 Precious Gestures” and while there is no perfecting them, I hope they will be a part of my daily routine for the rest of my days. The slower, the better, the bigger the burn — the bigger the test on my patience. Even though it’s done very s-l-o-w-l-y, these 7 gestures totally fire up my life force energy and that’s what I’m here for.

My Daily #PicTweetArt

After feeling tremendously inspired from the #15minArt project I did this past winter, I had been hankering to do another daily exercise because I really loved how it changed me. Creating a piece of art each morning literally changed my brain — it disrupted my thinking patterns —  and this alone is reason enough to continue to do the things I am doing.  This is to say I like it, I really like creating art each morning.

I poked around on Twitter to see if there was a daily art project I could jump in on, but found nothing. So on March 18, 2015, I began my own Twitter project: #PicTweetArt.

Each morning I randomly pick a tweet, draw it fairly quickly then post it on Twitter, tweeting it to the Creator of the tweet I have selected. Generally speaking I stay away from rules when doing this project, but there are a few guidelines: no agency tweets, no promoted tweets and I tend to select real tweets written on the fly by real people. What I am finding is that I need to expand my Twitter network, because apparently I am following a lot of marketers and machines — ain’t nothing worse than tweets sent out by marketers and machines!

This daily exercise has taught me so much and I have only been doing this for a month! My preferred drawings are ones that I do quickly and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, and secondly, although I want to criticize each drawing I complete, I am getting much better at just letting it go because I can continue to hone my skills with each passing day. I have trouble with hands and feets, so this I know I want to understand better.

It is a wonderful daily exercise that is really helping my confidence level; go figure. I learn something new everyday and that makes me happy:)))

Follow me on Twitter at @meagan_burns_ (I am no longer @meagburnt, may she Rest In Peace!), and perhaps I will choose your tweet some day!

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New Energy in 15, feeling HOT at HOPE Gallery

I attempted to do some energy moves at the always-interesting HOPE Outdoor Art Gallery, but it went from 68 to 93 degrees in a flash this recent Sunday. I was already feeling pretty angry and find that I cannot flow with the gentler exercises such as qi gong or t’ai chi when I am feeling like this. So I wrapped it up and headed over to a NIA dance class, where I shake it like a polaroid to work off the angry energyballs. Then I dance. HARD.

#15minArt

A 30-day daily art project to rev up the sense and creativity, I started each morning by doing a 15-minute art piece and posted it to Twitter, where a community of artists we doing the same daily exercise. This project literally changed my thinking — it expanded my confidence and helped me to take creative risks. I highly recommend if you are struggling with writer’s block or literally ANY blocks.

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