Monday, September 22, 2014

ARTnapped and learning to relax into the moment

I was "ARTnapped" today  

It was my third time visiting a local assisted living condominium to host art classes.
It has had a slow start over the summer, so I was not surprised to only see one gentleman waiting at the table.

He was a Chinese man whom I had heard the residents speak very highly of because of his masterful traditional Chinese watercolors.

I sat down and upon seeing he had an ipad with him (way to make me feel *outdated!*- we have no i-phone nor i-pad!) I asked him to show me his paintings.

He spoke no English other than a few words here and there, but he laughed delightfully when I ''oohed and ahhed" over his pieces.

He also showed me his Jade jewelry, large bracelets and a huge jade medallion of a dragon he wears inside his shirt for "health and vitality".... he speaks very little English... but this 84 year old had a twinkle in his eye when he said "vitality"   ;)

His paintings done in the traditional Chinese style of vertical handmade papers with a watery ink.

His pieces were glorious and he was happily scrolling through his collection when a Chinese woman joined us at the table with a big smile; and seeing that I was looking at his work, she exclaimed with lots of hand motions: "wait here I get mine"
And off she disappeared into the building.

As we sat there looking at his pieces, one of the staff there told me that the man and woman are a couple, that it had been "love at first sight" for them and they are both painters.
Sergio and I too, had a "love at first sight 'thing'....

The woman came back and excitedly showed me several paintings in frames she had painted and also some cut out figures of painted cardboard, they reminded me of old fashioned 'paper dolls."

Suddenly, they began to speak in Chinese... and within minutes, they were scooping up my art supplies as they invited me upstairs to her apartment.

The three of us rode up the elevator as they spoke in Chinese to each other.

Stepping out of the elevator into the hall, I saw that most of the doors had some type of decoration. We walked up to a door which had  Christmas decorations and Jade hangings.

Inside, all the walls were covered with their art. Art of all sizes, mostly Chinese vertical landscapes and tigers too (I found out later that tigers are his favorite theme).

They gave me a tour of her little place and told me he too, had hundreds of pieces made by both of them.

We sat down at the small table in the living room and she offered us Lychee and watermelon cubes and they turned to me and pointing at the canvases I had brought, they said "you, teach"...

I had no idea what I would teach these two accomplished watercolor artists.... I had canvases and pencils, so I handed them the supplies and as soon as they had them, they began to draw.

I have to confess that instead of *being in the moment* ... I was totally obsessing over the fact that I was not teaching them anything (!)

St. Catherine, Patron Saint of Artists
Available here
That's what I was there for: I was getting paid for an hour of teaching.... but they were doing their own thing.

And as I watched, I realized that there was not much I could do... just as I, an oil painter- handle acrylics like oils, they handle acrylics like watercolor.

Drips everywhere.
Lots of water.

I told myself to relax.
Let it go.
It was good enough that I was there and my presence was inspiring them to paint, they were obviously enjoying it, so I decided to join in!
I grabbed a canvas and began to paint too.

As soon as I stopped worrying about the fact that I was not teaching them anything, I began to worry about the silence.
Nobody said anything.
For a Latina... that was tough.
There was no music, no conversation... not even between them.

It took a whole hour before I was able to convince myself that it was "ok" that I was not 'teaching' and I was not 'entertaining'.... I reminded myself that the ancient practice of meditation is very much a Chinese tradition.

So I sat in silence with them.
And it was beautiful.

Before I knew it, I had not been there for only the hour I am paid for.... I had been there for close to four hours, mostly in silence, all three of us painting together.


Sergio called me as he was worried about me "missing" ... so I got up and told them I had to go home and cook dinner-- and oh my, they wanted and wanted and wanted for me to stay for dinner.

Such an incredible experience.
No language barrier.... just art and sharing.

As we said our goodbyes I hugged them "Latina style" and they bowed and gave me their blessing.
We exchanged business cards, and I then found out that not only is he a gifted artist, he used to be an attorney at Law and a Law professor in Shanghai-- which means it was under Mao (!) .... the stories he must have!

When I left, she walked me to the elevators and as we said good bye, she told me how beautiful I am and insisted I return soon, this time: "you stay for food".
I wanted to cry.
As I mourn the abandonment from my mother and siblings... All that Is/God is sending lovely people into my life to remind me that I am loved.

Some may call it *reaching* .... but I do believe that this afternoon was another gift from All that Is and my papa too... such a balm to my heart when my heart is still healing.

I am grateful, oh so grateful!

There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved: 
It is God's finger on man's shoulder.
~Charles Morgan

St. Catherine, patron Saint of Artists. Available here as reproduction on canvas & Paper.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Meditation and Prayer

Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.
-Diana Robinson

God in the Bible says: 
   "Be still... and Know that I am God."

The Bhagavad Gita says

"Still your mind in me, still yourself in me, and without a doubt you shall be united with me, Lord of Love, dwelling in your heart"

Meditation/Prayer is so important to our everyday life, though it can prove difficult to find the time to "be still" in our too busy lives.

However, spending time with the Divine is essential for our emotional well being; indeed, studies have shown that when we spend time meditating/praying- our brains get stimulated and positive emotions became increasingly active.

When we are in a state of prayer/meditation, we are able to "go inside" and find answers for questions we may be seeking, hearing what our subconscious may have been trying to tell us.

When we take the time to "be still" (via meditation/prayer) we are enabled to "hear" the voice of God leading us to truth as the intuitive process that we all inherently possess becomes more active under an attitude of "stillness."

For example, a problem may all of a sudden transform in our minds and we see a solution, or we may have a different perspective about an event or individual in our lives.

Prayer/meditation leads us to 'see' the world around us a bit more clearly... this in turn, leads us to better understanding and to a place where we can "simply be" in freedom and with love. Accepting ourselves wholly and joyfully.

It is not an egotistical activity that one strives for- but one that will lead us to better love the world around us -as the old saying goes "you can not love others, until you love yourself".

Make time in your day to return to your essence and understand and 
accept who you really are by being 'still' in meditation/prayer and listening to 
your own subconscious and the voice of the Divine.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blessings from beyond.....

In February, I began my road to healing from the emotional abuse that has clouded my life ever since I can remember...

It is a long and difficult road, especially as emotional abuse, what I call "the invisible wound" is something that leaves us scarred for life in a manner that nobody can *see* nor understand unless they too, have suffered similar circumstances.

One of the things I have been grieving in all this, is the fact that now I realize how much my mother actively manipulated my relationship with my father (they divorced when I was 5 years old). 
She hated the fact that I had his photo in my studio, and one in our home. I was told to not let anyone know I had *another dad* and ever since I was a little girl, I was forced to call my step-father "dad" and was forbidden to let my step-siblings know that I had a different father.
Of course, she told me it was "not to confuse them"... but when he died 
when I was 17 years old... and my siblings found out- she found a new reason for me to keep my papa a secret: she did not want anyone to know she had been married before.
This has continued, only two years ago she announced she would not come back in my studio or my home if I had his photo there. Mi papa.
I made excuses for her- I tried to understand: "she is hurt because he left her" I told myself; still.... he is my daddy. He is ever present in my life and my love for him will never wane. 

In February, as I gradually *finally* began to understand the abuse, I suffered panic attacks, heart palpitations (bad enough that they landed me in the ER with doctors thinking I was having a heart attack), and finally a deep depression that lasted about three months.  

During the darkest times, when I would sit on the floor for hours weeping and rocking back and forth... I pleaded with God/All that IS, my grandmother and my Papa to send me a sign that they are with me. 
I needed comfort so very badly....

But none came.

I needed a BIG sign from the Universe....

I got laid off. 
And I chose to not worry about it; 
I decided to gift myself time to paint and heal.

I began by re-painting some pieces I was unhappy with... and I began with this one, my Butterfly Angel. It is a piece I made inspired by Gabriel Garica Marquez's famous novel:
"One Hundred Years of Solitude.

(I have worked with this same image before, but this is one happened to be finished on the same day that the wonderful author passed away (!)

A few days later, I was invited to exhibit it in a local art show where the piece sold during the opening.
I was told it was purchased by a gifted sculptor and days later, we were introduced via email.

His name is Sy Gresser and indeed he is not only an absolute wonderful sculptor and poet, he is an absolute wonderful human being! We began communicating via email almost daily... it was balm to my soul during those months where I did not leave home and studio steeped in sadness and grief.

We made plans to meet in person, but the depression prevented me from doing anything social for several months. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, Sergio and I traveled to visit Sy. 

He lives only 30 minutes away... I was nervous. Sy and I have shared intimate things about our lives for the past three months and I was hoping we could share the same richness in person and I would not be a disappointment to him 
~"this is all your low self esteem via all the negative stuff you were told about yourself all your life" said Sergio
~"I know"
 I said, "but I can't help it" 

C'est moi: *an Eeyore who wants to reclaim her inner Tigger*

We arrived in a section of Maryland that is largely Mexican immigrants.
Driving up to Sy's house, we could see stone sculptures in front of his duplex and dishes with cat food and water laid out for visitors.

Sy opened the door and welcomed us in to the home he shares with his Chinese wife and son and began to prepare traditional Chinese tea for me.
As he came out of the kitchen he asked:
"is Olivos your last name or i it Sergio's?" 

"mine" I said, "Sergio took it as his artistic name" I added
Sy looked at me and asked:
"did you know a Luis?
"A Luis Olivos?"

and oHmygoodnesss!

My eyes opened wide and I blurted out anxiously 
"yes, yes...whyyyy?" I stammered.... 
he looked at me and he hardly got the words out 
"was he your father?"  
.... I was on him... indeed, like a Tigger.... pounced into his arms, hanging from his neck- sobbing
my body shaking and trembling and long heaving, weeping sobs ...
I cried
I shook
I snorted 
I held on to this man whom I had never met before... my head nuzzled against his neck... sobbing.
I left two long dark stains of mascara on his shoulder

In time, he gently pushed me away and shared with me.

Thing is, in all our back and forth emails he has shared about how Mexico has been his biggest influence on his art... the place, the poetry. He has written to me about my art and that of Sergio's poetically, appreciating the characteristics that undoubtedly permeate our art-Latino influences, Mexican influences.....

He had told me about the year long residency he had done there, in Oaxaca. 
I knew how much Mexico and the residency there had meant to him.... so you can imagine my surprise when, as I wiped my tears -- 
he looked at me and said:
"Luis was my friend. It was he that got me the residency in Mexico. He was the one who helped me write the proposal and when I came back, he helped me write the report."

omgoodness... more weeping. 

My daddy, mi papi, mi papa....

More tears. A bit of tea held with shaky hands; and I asked him to share more.... after all, I have been *starving* to meet someone who can tell me more about my father, who he was as a human being. 
A man. An artist and a friend. 
Luis & Claudia Olivos
I wanted to know what he was like beyond the man I knew as a girl.

My Papa had gone to Europe to study art after studying law and sociology in Chile, and at some point he moved to the USA and began working at the OAS. The residency that Sy procured with the help of my Papa was through a program in the OAS.

When I was holding unto Sy for dear life... I felt as though I was reaching through an invisible veil and holding my Papa.

It was amazing. 

Sy shared more about my papa... he knew him before I was born, and lost touch with him after he returned from Mexico which would be about the time he married my mother.

I tried to focus on Sy's art and life... to hide the tears that kept escaping from my eyes. 

After three hours there, it was time for us to leave as Sy was obviously worn out from the emotional visit. I made this little video before we left....

As we slowly drove home... both Sergio and I marveled at the events of the day.
We both talked non stop about how absolutely amazing the whole thing is ...
beginning with the fact that I felt a very deep connection with Sy when corresponding with him.. .this deep connection that I felt that can not really be explained...until now!
It really is amazing.

Every week that passed where we did not drive up to meet him made me sad.
Sergio joked once: "should I be jealous? ...."
Such was my desire to meet Sy in person....
Who would have known it was my Papa pushing, pushing me.... giving me his sign .... to go and meet him through his friend, fellow artist and poet. wow.

Through all this heartache... this lonely feeling and utter sadness, this loss....
I had begged my Papa to show me a sign.... and WOW he gifted me himself as *real* as he could... flesh and bones for me to embrace and to embrace me.
Gracias Papa. Te amo.

Luis Olivos Ruiz de Gamboa. Mi papa. 

There are many books, videos and websites that you can peruse for understanding, if you too have suffered emotional abuse via an NPD parent, I would recommend that you read my blogpost here where I explain my own experience and this site too where you can read more about it (I especially appreciated the section entitled: What NPD Parents Are Really Like, as I could relate it to my own experience with the abuse I have endured via my mother and step-father).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

One morning

I was waxing poetic this morning, so I wrote this:

One Morning (the scapegoat) 

One morning she realized she was growing wings where before there had only been stumps
she had not known how strongly the oppression had affected her
constricted her and bound her 
yet, it was present in everything she did
every relationship, every decision, every response.....
the pain of the marginalization
the weight of always wondering 'why?'
the hard edges
the pain of rejection 

the grief of abandonment....

Leo Tolstoy wrote: 

“It's too easy to criticize a man when he's out of favour, 
and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else's mistakes.” 

but life can be a novel with new chapters .....

now caterpillar to butterfly
she is the swan
the sand that turns into pearl
the diamond in the rough
the survivor

Watch her soar


Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.” 
~Randa Hafez**

oil on canvas
12 x 12 inches
original piece: $315.- (plus shipping)
Buy it now:

original or reproduction

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

of birds and surviving the tough winters of life....

I posted this on our FB page  but wanted to share it here too:

May 27, I wrote:

OMG~sweat and tears!! I was out trimming trees and branches and suddenly this branch fell with a bit of a thump 
I looked and burst into tears when I saw what I had brought down..... !

One of the tiny birds had his beak open and I realized a tiny branch was propping it open and he/she could not close it... so absolutely shaking at what I inadvertently have done...
I helped close the beak...poor little tiny things!
~ the branch is back on the tree, and I have been sitting about 30 feet away (inside our home, behind the glass front door) with tears streaming down my face *praying* the mama finds them! 

They are on the same tree- but on the opposite side as I wanted a sturdy branch to prop them up on... she keep flying around the tree, but can not seem to find them. They make inaudible noises (to human ears), so I know she will find them, I know she will!

Poor babies... they must be so scared and are definitely hungry!

I spoke to a local wildlife specialists who said I did what they would have done and to call them back if no bird action in the next 2 hrs... but that seems so long, these little ones must be so afraid, hungry and thirsty!

Three hours later I posted:

MAMA found her babies just now!
 *whew* now I can get my smelly self in the shower... my *vigil* is over!!!

Here is the mama bird standing on our mailbox in front of the tree where I put her little nest w/babies ...

The nest is just to the right of the tree.... hard to find, but not for her!  :)

                           *Mama Love*

Five days later, June 2 , I posted:

baby birdies I saved last week (after cutting the branch that held their nest... so not sure I can call it "saving" lol!) 
are doing great... oh my how fast they grow!! 
Their mama is constantly watching out for them, guarding the nest... but I quickly stole this photo to show you how well they are doing- it has only been 5 days and LOOK how they have grown!!!

June 8, I posted: 

I have been at *church* ... i.e: weeding and talking to "All that Is/God".....
No frilly dress, 
shorts and a tank top instead
no high heels, 
barefoot: sweat dripping down my back, finger nails black with dirt... 
it works for me
this Sanctuary where my mind gets clear and my thoughts go to prayer and ants, weeds, earthworms.... 

I found the empty nest of the my little bird family friends
they left behind the little blue egg I had seen there on the day I found them
it has a tiny pinhole so I left it next to a tiny cactus that I found half dead on the street this Fall ...

I planted the cactus, it was shriveled up and becoming black, it was tiny, the size of my thumb- and I just made a tiny hole with my hands in one of the pots outside our front door and stuck it in there.....

I don't know why I didn't plant it is as though I did not have faith in its potential- or perhaps I did not want to be reminded of its frailty...

* wholdhathought* that it would survive this unusually frigid, snowy winter?

But it did.

And I heard "All that Is/God" tell me.... 

                     so shall you, survive.. the frigid struggle of years of NPD abuse....

It has been so difficult, all these years.... and like the cactus, my mom and step-dad have been made me feel tiny, shriveled up, unworthy... and within all the abuse, they have told me time after time that I am "too sensitive" ... 
but I have always believed that:

“Sensitivity is a sign of life. Better hurt than hardened. I bow to those who keep their hearts open when it is most difficult, those who refuse to keep their armor on any longer than they have to, those who recognize the courage at the heart of vulnerability. 
After all the malevolent warriors end each other, the open-hearted will inherit the earth.” 
~Jeff Brown

Courage... the courage to survive, and be healthy against all odds.... 

to remain vulnerable and openhearted... 
to still reach for the warmth of the sun, even after one has been so often met with coldness and hardship....

A few weeks ago, when the weather became warm, 

I saw it there
the little cactus- still tiny no bigger than my thumb, but it was green and very much alive

I took it out, and planted it in a different pot, this time with sand and much loving care ... and *woo hoo* ... 

look at it now! 
In only three weeks.... it is looking like this: amazing! 

And so, I too will thrive, even after the cold.... I too will thrive!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

our ARTventure in NYCity

A busy month for us with two trips to New York for our art~!

Claudia & Annie,
another of the artists represented by Parcai Designs

The first time we went, was to visit Surtex- the annual *trade show* for art licensing.

Since I only signed on with my agents 

Parcai Design in February, we thought it would be important to attend the show and get a first hand glimpse of what "art licensing" is all about.

The show began on a Sunday, so when I happened upon a "call for artists and crafts people" for the Saturday, I thought it would be a great time to do a "practice" set up with our tent and art in New York as we were scheduled to participate in the Washington Square Art Market two weeks later.

On the right, you can see some of my whimsical drawings for Halloween themed art licensing!

Our trial run was interesting. 

Sales were basically the same as we have on a Saturday at our local Farmers/Indie Market here in the Washington DC area.... still, we had to subtract expenses from that (travel, tolls etc.)- but again, more than anything, we wanted to get a "feel" for showing in NY.
Both of us have exhibited in NY in the past, but they have been gallery shows.... selling on the street is so different, and we have found that everything changes from one place to  another-even within the same city.

During our first weekend in the streets of NY, we overheard many comments such as:

"Oh look, Mexican art!"
(never have heard people saying that before.. and it was said many times and both weekends... funny, I guess here in Washington DC everything is a bit more politically correct and we may hear: "Latino Art" or "Colorful art")

we also heard:
"Religious stuff... keep walking" 
 and reactions to my "Dia de los Muertos"/Day of the Dead: "how macabre!" "how weird" 
(both of which we have not heard here in the DC area- which is admittedly more "religious" than NY, although we are not certain why the reaction to Day of the Dead art, as NY has many Mexican immigrants too).

We came back home

~unloaded our car.... and a week later re-loaded with different art. 
Deciding *what art* to take with us
the second time to NYCity

No retablos (reproductions we make on small pieces of wood), only three angels, and only a couple of "Dia de los Muertos" pieces in the "bins" not the walls.

The second weekend led us into some misadventures involving our lodging and transit to and fro the event ....
(we left our car in NYC and commuted to an affordable rental in NJ--the adage: "you get what you pay for" came true!).

The Washington Square Art Market was started by Jackson Pollock.....

"one balmy spring day in 1931, in the midst of the Depression Era. Jackson Pollock, desperately in need of funds to pay the rent on his Greenwich Village studio that also served as his home, took a few of his iconoclastic paintings down several flights of stairs and set them up on the sidewalk near Washington Square Park. His friend and fellow Village artist, Willem DeKooning, in equally desperate financial straits, soon joined him.."

As far as sales, the first day was horrible for all the artists, but the second day was profitable (though again, we need to subtract the travel & lodging expenses from it all);  nonetheless we did make a profit and we were able to take our art to a wider audience, in short, we are very pleased overall!

It was again underlined to me how different the public in NY is to DC metro area...
This time around, with only three paintings of angels, we still heard comments that the art was "too religious" ....
One woman was *very tempted to buy an angel* she came back three times- but said she felt "like a hypocrite because I am not religious" .... (she did not buy it)

You can see our booth set up in NYCity here.

One of the BEST parts of the show

~the other artists we met who were exhibiting nearby: a Portuguese potter, a Chinese photographer, Jamaican painter and a native New Jersey couple who paint Americana folk art.  

The interactions we had with them were fluid and natural and just truly amazing... it felt like "home" to us...  not only wonderful people, they are all full time artists, which is what we aspire to....*hoping* that soon Sergio can let go of his day job as an assistant teacher...

One of the artists, a Jamaican artist, I am quite sure must have known my father as he was exhibiting in the UN in the late 70's and 80's which is when my dad was at the UN and as a side assignment, he would help with curating the UN exhibitions where this artist exhibited often at that time and also they both knew the Ivory Coast ruler/later: president 
Boigny who I remember having dinner with at my Papa's place in NYC.
It is always touching for me to meet someone who may have known my father... 

We have exchanged phone numbers with the group and have already made dinner plans for when we return in September! 

We came home absolutely exhausted... part of it was the "not sleeping" the couple of nights before the trip as we had so much to get ready for... part of it was not sleeping when we arrived because other guests at the place we stayed at were making sooooo much noise all night... 

On our way home, Sunday, when we were only about 20 minutes from home, we came upon a HUGE traffic accident. It was after 2:00am... and we arrived upon the accident only minutes after it happened- ambulances and police began to arrive after we did.

Then, a second accident (a van that slipped in the oil spill of the first)- it was all very chaotic... and cars were playing *bumper cars* all around... we watched as the car in front of us hit the one right in front of them as that driver was standing outside his car looking at the chaos... it was awful... but we could not help but be thankful that we had not arrived there minutes earlier ... and pray for the victims.

We arrived home at 4 a.m.   
It is now Wednesday, and I am only now recovering from all the travel and sleepless nights *whew*

BUT, it was all well worth it and we both look forward to doing it again for Labor day weekend in September!

Our space was in front of a Mexican Restaurant.... the owner not only bought a piece the last day of the show... he gifted us frozen Margaritas! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mary Magdalene

Today, I am excited to announce I have been featured on Artsy Shark! You can read it here

And I want to share with you the woman I have most looked up to all my life:

Mary Magdalene:

The beautiful sweet energy of  Mary Magdalene  emanates pure unconditional Love.  

I have always felt misunderstood and misjudged by my family of origin... thus I have always resonated with Maria Magdalena.

She loved with earnest understanding of the frailty of humanity; though judged and misunderstood of who she was as a child of God-she loved *no matter what was said about her*...

 the rumors and negativity did not get in her way of Pure Unconditional Love for all.

 She chose to do her work from a higher consciousness, where love reigns supreme.

This is what I aspire to, each day!!

When you are at one with the Divine and choose not to dwell in the states of judgement, human bickering & chaos, you are working from the levels of higher consciousness where love rules supreme and where the most good can be done. 

Where you dwell in consciousness is where you truly dwell
keep your vibration high,
your thoughts sweet
keep focusing positively.. keeping your heart open to more love.....

Prints available in three different sizes

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Athena, Goddess of War and Wisdom

As I work through this process of inner healing, I was thinking about which of the Goddesses to share with you that applied to my situation ....

At first I thought of the Goddess Oestra, for new beginnings... but Athena, t
he Goddess of War and Wisdom; patroness of warriors and artists, called to me so loudly as I scanned through my Goddess images... I paused and listened.

And as I read what I wrote about her (below) several months ago..... she was telling me:

             " this is a time for you to put your armor on... you are in full battle!

Indeed it is "a time for battle" as I fight for my emotional health and healing of the heart.

Although Athena is a warrior goddess, she battles with diplomatic wit and justice instead of weapons. 

Her most powerful tool is inner wisdom and as such, reminds us to pause in the midst of our troubles and seek wisdom from our very core.

The battles we face in life are not to be fought with violent or passive aggressiveness, with false witness/gossip  about others, with manipulation-- we are to fight life's battles head on with truth by our side always seeking for the highest good of all involved. 

Too focus on what we need to do: dig deep, heal and finally to come out renewed and strengthened

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. 
~Arthur Golden,

I find it interesting that she is the Goddess of war and artists.... indeed, as many of us know: Art heals; and I recently heard one therapist advice that the best way to heal from trauma is to do something creative...anything- but it must be something that you love.

So for some it may singing, or knitting or cooking, planting a flower garden.... Art heals and is a necessary "weapon" for life and healing.

I am ready for my battle towards healing; armed with traditional tools as I am now not only seeing a therapist, but also have joined a support group for people who like me, are healing from trauma resulting from abuse. And I am also utilizing the tools of my art as my therapy and thus gifting myself May and June to heal and paint as my teaching load will be minimal these two months (the cut backs at my college teaching gig last month a  blessing in disguise!). 

Are you too "in battle" with something in your life?
Remember: we are not responsible for some of the challenges that life brings forth, but we are responsible for how we respond to them....things in your life may be horrible, but you have a choice of how
you will continue/push through and not only endure, but be strengthened by the process.

We acquire the strength we have overcome. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

About Athena the Goddess of war, wisdom and the arts- 
She's the daughter of Zeus, known for her creativity, wisdom, justice and diplomacy-
ie: averting war, solving problems in a strong, decisive manner. 
Her tree is the olive tree (the meaning of "Olivos" in Spanish is Olive trees). The owl is her companion. 

Legend goes that Athena and her uncle Poseidon were both very fond of a certain city in Greece. Both of them claimed the city and it was decided that the one that could give the finest gift should have it. Leading a procession of citizens, the two gods mounted the Acropolis. Poseidon struck the side of the cliff with his trident and a spring welled up. The people marveled, but the water was as salty as Poseidon's sea and it was not very useful. Athena's gift was an olive tree, which was better because it gave the people food, oil and wood. Athena named her city Athens.

Athena Original Painting

Prints available in three different sizes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Breaking out of my abusers' cocoon, healing into a mariposa/butterfly

I finished my "Mariposas" painting- a painting inspired by the great author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who passed away last week.... and it led me to think about the journey I have been on since early February... a shedding of the cocoon of lies I had unwittingly & unknowingly been wrapped up in via my abusers.

It kept me in a cocoon of self doubt, low self esteem, second guessing etc... 

The painting came into being in three different stages... interesting to me-because though not on purpose, it does mirror my own journey of "coming into being" after years of abuse and being led to think that I was the one to blame. 

The painting was initially painted in 2012, and she hung in the studio all this time. I retook the project last week, the same week it was confirmed to me that my lifelong struggle with feeling unloved and unwanted by my family of origin was NOT my imagination, indeed: 

I am and always have been a victim of abuse as the scapegoat of the family 
via my mama, step dad and siblings too.

I have spent so many years trying to understand "why do they treat me like this"

I have been a victim of Narcissistic Personality Disorder/NPD which is so damaging because it is insidious and secret, it maintains the victim in a state of incongruency with self because " Gaslighting: the victim is typical.

from my 'healing the mother wound' workshop journal 

One is convinced by the narcissists that one is 'faulty', 'broken' or (as I was told by my abusers): 'damaged goods', 'crazy' and having a 'vivid imagination'..... and worse yet, they run smear campaigns where the actual victim is made out to look like the perpetrator.

Gail Meyers writes about what has also been my personal experience:

 "For example, this is one of my narcissistic personality disordered mother's favorite maneuvers. She would verbally assault me, then scapegoat by telling everyone I verbally assaulted her while wrapping it all in fake concern. This was her concealing her abuse by playing the victim while vilifying the true victim

She would then tell everyone who would listen how she was verbally assaultedwhile imposing the silent treatment on me.

Then at whatever point we spoke again she would gaslight me by rewriting history and claiming I owed her an apology. This is often how she concealed her abuse, garnered pity, and rallied the flying monkeys for abuse by proxy." 

You feel alone, confused. It is heartbreaking especially coming from a mother and close family members. I have read that it is one of the hardest of all abuses to heal from....

one of many Mother's Day that left me brokenhearted and in tears.

To FINALLY *know* "it is them, not me"... has been liberating...

To all victims of abuse: Just think how gorgeously our TRUE selves evolve and how high we can fly once we aren't held back anymore! 

I am sorry if this upsets family whom I love and hold dear to my heart... I have to speak the truth. There have been too many lies-all my life, the smear campaigns perpetuated by my family of origin have defined me ... the secrecy has added fuel to it all, and the truth finally has set me free and much of  it is due to the sharing of others who too, have been abused.

....and for now, I need to shout it from the rooftops.
It is part of my healing
I have to honor my heart after years of remaining silent as a scapegoat.
AND I want to be a voice for others too.... I have been so blessed to find the stories of others who have been through this journey too (some of the links here).

There have been countless times when friends of family, extended family and friends have asked me about the lies they have heard about me... I just never understood...
I have been in denial too long.... time to be set free from a lifetime of abuse. I understand now that I was in denial, which is common for people who are abused by people they love.

I will not let the abuse define me... but at least for now, 
I need to share this truth, to be seen and heard. 

one of many journal pages I made to convince myself
"I am worthy"

"It is much easier to make good men wise than to make bad men good." 

~Henry Fielding, 1749

I will not let the abuse define me... quite the opposite: I have allowed the abuse to define me all these years... now, I am shedding all the crap that has been heaped upon me as the scapegoat .... I am dusting myself off .... and I will soon be SOARING higher than ever!!

Thank you to all of YOU who have supported me *so* much throughout the years... especially those of you who although have been told lies about me, still held me close to your heart. And thank you to all my friends who have believed me and held me as I have struggled with something none of us could understand... thank you, I love you.