Thursday, June 3, 2021

Choice, chance, change - the reasoning behind the affirmation ritual

Burning to cleanse is not a new concept, farmers used to do it to clear the land of old crops and holistic people use it to cleanse draining thoughts that hold you down so the concept of burning to remove is not new.  Some think these ideas are full of mystic voodoo and somehow dangerous in allowing bad spirits in to haunt you.  To us that have done these rituals for many years that sort of makes us giggle because to us the very idea we would allow anything bad to happen is so far removed from what we are trying to achieve and more importantly help you achieve.

The affirmation burning is a mix of old Hindu and Buddhist ideas combined with ancient folklore and includes the thinking behind The Secret.  The simple idea is that you are honest with yourself and that in itself can be difficult because none of us really like to own our flaws, weaknesses or other negatives we consider within ourselves.  The truth is those weaknesses or flaws that we consider, others see them as our strengths so perhaps the trick is to relearn how you see yourself? But, the idea is that you write down these things - whatever they may, and by writing them down you release their negative hold over you.  By actually saying out loud I want to be more xyz than abc you are acknowledging, accepting and recognising that change would be good.  Only by recognising and accepting can you actually hope to make change.  Einstein sort of nailed it when he said if you keep doing the same thing and expect different results then it won't happen - and logically we know this but it isn't always easy especially when there are emotional aspects to most of our decision making processes.

But, and this is the good but - by becoming more self aware, by actually looking at things and considering what you want to be, where you are now and then seeing that link you can begin to see what you may want to change.  And they don't have to be earth shattering massive 'I'd like to get a PHD in neuro science' well ok, you may want to and that's fantastic if that is your goal.  For most of the changes need to be around self care, self healing, self love and self acceptance.  Simple things like if you get enough sleep your body and brain can function more effectively.  The world isn't always fair and it certainly isn't always nice but sadly it's always been that way and will continue to do so.  The trick is to find how you want to engage with this world, you're not competing with anyone but yourself so comparisons are pointless. We all know that social media posts tend to only show the amazing things, they don't show them treading in cat sick at 6am while stressing that everyone has overslept and it's chaos - well they might say that later and make it sound funny but you get my drift?

So back to the burning, it's incredibly simple.  You write down the things you feel are weighing you down, could be you need to love yourself a little more, could be you want to spend more time with friends, could be you want to stop feeling powerless in upsetting situations - the list is endless but it's also incredibly personal.  Whenever we've done these evenings in the past I've heard folk say 'oh, that sounds so petty and silly, I can't include that' well yes, you can because it's affecting YOU, not anyone else YOU.  What one person considers a minor inconvenience others get really upset over, it's incredibly personal and has a lot to do with your background, your upbringing, your work but the point is it's personal to you so there is no right or wrong, nothing too small or too big you can't include.

You write them down, but try to make them into something that has a call to action so for example rather than saying I'm fat and I don't want to be you would say I want to eat well and become a healthy weight.  Changing the wording allows you to do something rather than assume it's a done deal and you're stuck with it.  By removing the opportunity to change you will remain burdened with that negative thought.  The trick is to begin owning those choices, or at least the ability to make them - and yes believe me I know it's a lot harder in reality and it's a learnt behaviour, it won't come instantly especially if you've had these negatives for some time but small steps lead to a long journey so take the first one.

Once you have written down your thoughts, they could be for you or for others, but make them helpful, make them positive and give them a call to action and a positive choice element.  As you fold them up remind yourself what you wrote down, remind yourself this is the first step to freeing yourself, this is the time you now acknowledge they are not helpful to you.  Fold them up and place them in your bowl, dish or whatever you choose to use.  We burn them by adding white sage for cleansing and dried flower petals as a reminder that all things are temporary and will pass.  Listen to the noise, listen to the crackle and smell the sage as they burn and watch as all those flaws you allow to define you are nothing more than paper burning in front of you - and YOU now release their power over you, because ultimately it is your choice so take it.

Pixie x

Monday, February 1, 2021

Beginners guide to understanding Buddhism

One of the key things that Buddha taught us was about attachment (anicca), and how that attachment creates desire to hold onto things, and when we can no longer maintain that hold it creates suffering (dukkha).  There is a misconception that Buddha believes we can only grow through suffering, what he was trying to say that our false preconceptions of what is useful or valuable to us causing suffering because of our attachment to something.

For example, we may desire a new phone (doesn't matter if we need it or not, the desire is present) so we buy a new phone.  We give ourselves lots of rationales like I deserve it because I worked hard last week, all my friends have one so I don't want to get left behind.  Temporarily it brings us happiness as we can join in with our friends, we get to play with new buttons.  However the happiness is impermanent, we may have had to take a new credit contract to purchase it, and now regretting it, the dog may slobber on it and break it and thus the cycle continues through to suffering.  It was the desire, not the phone that brought about the suffering, the desire for something that would bring temporary happiness.  Yet we find ourselves blaming the phone, that thing that is just plastic and electronics that you didn't even need in the first place, you just desired it.

However, when we become aware that things are temporary and constantly changing (impermanence) we accept the temporary happiness and enjoy it while it is with us.  We are grateful for that time.  It is not the impermanence that creates the suffering, it is our attempt to cling to something that is ever-changing that causes the suffering.

2020 created the greatest level of change many of us will ever see in our lifetime.  It taught us that life truly is impermanent as friends and family became ill and sadly passed, often without the ability to grieve properly.  Jobs, businesses, friendship groups have all been tested to their limits and some have fared far worse than others.  Buddha also taught us that people do not have a fixed self or soul and are constantly changing (Anatta) and again each of us has transformed in some way during the last 12 months because we are not fixed.

He talked of the four noble truths:

  1. There is suffering, this is inescapable and to think otherwise is foolish - Dukkha
  2. Suffering has a cause, be it physical, emotional, or due to false attachment - Samudaya 
  3. Suffering can come to an end - Nirodha
  4. There is a way to bring suffering to an end - Magga

The idea that there is a cause for suffering is explained by Tanha, 

  • craving things that please the senses
  • craving to be something you are not
  • craving to stop experiencing something

But we're back to the idea of attachment because everything changes that chocolate you crave today will taste different tomorrow and you may also be cursing the change that the weight gain gives you.  Your cravings change, your body changes, your needs change, and to grow attached to something that gives short term benefit may lead to an attachment or addiction which in itself will cause harmful effects. He then spoke of the three poisons 

  1. greed or desire (cockerel)
  2. hatred or anger (snake)
  3. ignorance (pig)

Budhha believed that people get trapped into these cycles and that the poisons are linked to the cravings or Tanha.  Craving something you do not possess leads to greed and perhaps anger at not being able to have something.  It is also to ignore what you need and replace it with desire and thus the negative cycle continues.

By living in harmony with the four noble truths and recognising that life does indeed constantly change, as do we within it and accept it we begin to take control of our own lives.  Living in the present is about accepting what we have, not what we desire; value the body we have, not desire to be something we are not.  If we are unhappy about something then we need to look inwards and see if we are not poisoning ourselves by false attachment or expectations?  I for instance will never be a 6' glamour model and there is absolutely no point pretending otherwise!

Nibbana is a state of freedom, happiness, and peace or enlightenment.  It doesn't mean you sit in temple praying with monks for hours in contemplative silence, it means you are living in the present.  Content with what you have, valuing the ever-changing world around you, and accepting that if suffering is present it will not last.  Change is the only constant and Buddha asked we be mindful of the eightfold path to allow us to get closer to eliminating the poisons that hold us back and cause suffering.

It isn't easy right now to always think kindly, act with good intention, and be grateful for what we do have.  Many are experiencing struggles they could never envisage 12 months ago so it is important we are grateful for what we do have and offer support to those that may need it. 


Monday, January 4, 2021

The Secret - a guide for living


Go on, admit it - how many of you made resolutions, or vision boards, or goals for 2021?? I know I did, but then something didn't feel quite right about the way I was approaching it.  It all seemed to centre around I won't do this, I want to leave that behind and I began to realise they were all negatively formed phrases.  I remembered that years ago I had been gifted the book of The Secret so decided to revisit it.  It was a wet rainy afternoon so why not put the film of it on.  It is on youtube and currently on UK Netflix and if you haven't seen it, I thoroughly recommend that you do as it alters your way of seeing things - for the better.  The book is also available written by Rhonda Byrne.

So, back to the 2021 vision boards.  Initially I'd started the way most do, a list of things to change and again it sort of centred on negative things.  What The Secret teaches you is the universe doesn't recognise can't, won't, and so on so leaves those words out.  So, if you keep saying I don't want to be fat it leaves out the word don't and yep you got it you keep reinforcing that you will be fat.  So, rather than focus on what you don't want focus on what you DO want.  But make it sensible, don't say I want to be thin - say I want to be the healthiest me possible.  But then there's another layer to The Secret, write these phrases as if they have already happened so it now gets changed to I AM the healthiest I can be.

So we have a transition from:

I don't want to be fat
         I want to be healthier
                I am healthier

And once you start making that transition in your mind you begin to attract what you want, you may bump into a health coach, stumble across a good cooking article, find youtube links; but you will attract what you need because you've already told your subconscious that this is the person you are so you begin to believe it which in turn makes you happier about your food choices, cooking choices and so the positive cycle evovles.

What the book tells you is imagine the Universe is one giant department store and you can have literally anything you want, and make a list! You want a new car, new partner, better health - whatever is important to you, write it down.  BUT make it into a now statement.  So if you want to have a new car imagine it's already sitting outside your house and you have the keys, write down I am driving my new red car.

Now, this isn't just a way of selfishly fulfilling your wishlist like some genie in Aladdin; it's also about appreciating and recognising you are responsible for your own joy.  Not your boss if they were kinder, not your kids if they cleared up more, not your partner if they paid you more compliments but YOU. Your joy lies within you and it's up to you to realise and appreciate that.  Sure, it's easy to go 'I'd be happier if I were 10lb thinner' but would you?? Really?? How is being thinner really altering your headspace??  The body is temporary, it's a shell to contain you so being thinner doesn't really alter your perceptions or your attitude that much.

The other thing that comes out loud and clear is love yourself first, because if you don't then why should anyone else? Now this is a tough one for many, we often have difficult histories and stories but sadly so do many and we can't change what happened to us.  But we can choose to see that we're still here, we live with it and manage it perhaps, we can choose to see the good things we do for others.  Often the most damaged are the most helpful to others because it's far easier to do nice things for others than thinking we deserve them too. Been there, got the Tshirt and now I use it to clean paintbrushes because I like painting and it seems a fitting use for it.

Also, one of the things it says it talk about the things you want more, talk about them with passion, with excitement, with energy.  So, if you've always wanted to get an MA for example imagine you have the books, imagine the joy you can share with others when you have that qualification.  See yourself as having already achieved it.  Energy flows where attention goes so if you're constantly saying I'm rubbish at this - guess what, the universe will go yep we agree so here's some more to feel rubbish about!

The other critical thing is you have to believe, so there's no point half heartedly saying well yes of course I want to be healthier .... you're about to throw in a but statement, but I can never do it, but I can't get to the gym.  The minute you pause and add in that but statement, forget it.  You don't believe it will happen so guess what, it won't and your cycle of negativity continues.  So ask and truly believe in your heart that it's possible.  And accept that perhaps what you get isn't quite what you expected but it'll be what's right for you so say thank you.  So make the list but make it with bold, clear, honest intentions - not because Sarah in accounts wants something and you like Sarah in accounts; but for YOU!

So the key message is:

You can achieve, be, do anything you want - but what do you actually want?? Think about it properly for a minute or two, for YOU not your kids, not your partner but YOU?

The law of attraction works like a magnet - what you desire you attract, so the more negative thoughts you put out the more you'll get back, simple.

What you think about you bring about - again, negativity breeds negativity but happy breeds happy.

Your feelings will drive what you achieve, we each have yucky situations to deal with but how you feel about it as you're dealing with it will cause the ripples going along.

Don't apologise for wanting something - a child hasn't learnt they are not the centre of the world so why not be bold and say you know what, yes I do want that promotion.

So, firstly    
    ASK - write your list to the universe
    BELIEVE that it's possible, be bold, be clear and just accept it will happen
    RECEIVE - this is often the trickiest as we don't always see the gifts let alone accept so just say            thank you and accept them

So here we go, vision board 1 BEFORE watching - usual list, often negative and quite frankly even by my standards a little dull!

Board 2 AFTER watching, it's jolly and pretty and doesn't follow straight lines (remind you of anyone?!)  None of this is a list, it's all I am and imaging I'm already there.

I'm not expecting to magically become a great glass artist overnight without working at it, but I am expecting to now enjoy the process more.  To take more joy from it, be more passionate, share that excitement with others and maybe you too can use it to find you magic, just have fun with it!

Pixie x

Friday, January 1, 2021

New year, new start

So, 2020 - you were a delight weren't you?? Well, actually in a weird way yes you were to me.  I've always been a creative little hippy soul who's happier picking daisies than growing show-stopping roses with fancy names and oddly the chaos forced me to re-evaluate my life, my dreams, my hopes and examine what is it I really want??  You know as a kid teachers ask 'so, Angela, what do you want to be when you grow up??' Don't think you were supposed to ask erm do I have to grow up?? Why??  And please don't think me trying to find the positives is negating in any way the truly awful year that 2020 has been in so many ways for so many people around the world, the devastating effects will be felt for many years, if not decades to come and only time will tell what the true cost to the world it's caused.

So back to the question of what do you want to be when you grow up, I always wanted to be either a writer or an artist but I didn't quite know what sort and that's because I'd not been introduced to the world of glass fusing as a child.  I was fortunate enough to meet some incredibly talented people and they taught me bits and it just set off a chain of wonder that has never quite been resolved, until now.  Due to the pandemic and all the world slowly shutting down I recognized very quickly that without some creative outlet and self-imposed routine I would, ever so slowly, go completely mad (hecklers that know me in real life can pipe down at the back!!) I did some research and purchased a kiln, I then spent many months learning, testing, trying, improving until I was at the point that actually I have some pretty decent ideas and the quality is good.

There are other aspects to my character some may not be familiar with.  Since my late teens I have read tarot and been aware of the other worlds that merge into ours like auras, crystals, Angels, tarot and many other disciplines.  Some kindly pat me on the head as this little pixie of hippyness wrapped up in paint-covered dungarees but knowing deep down I'm very happy in my own little world.

I was fortunate enough to attend a psychic development course at Equinox locally and this helped me gain confidence to use Angels, understand their place and help for us and also started to expand my ideas of work I could make in 2021.  I've always been drawn to colours, to chakras and always known I hear things that aren't necessarily there but it's just me and as they say in Practical Magic, you can't practice magic while you're looking down your nose at it so one of my things this year is be more open about that side of my life and how it influences me.  

My personal card for the year is the Ace of Cups, and it didn't really come as a shock.



She is the start of an emotional journey and I think she represents my creative journey and the fact that I'll have to believe in myself more and more as I go along and that's ok, that's a good thing.  Feelings that aren't quite explained yet but will be in time which is why I like it.  And the blog will document my interest in Angels, in nature, in colour, in self healing and in making fun things as we go through this new year.  I hope everyone has managed to find some positives from last year even if right now they may still be hard to find, especially for those grieving people they've lost, look after each other,

Pixie x 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Does size matter??

This question bothers me on many levels and the answers always bother me even more.  The fact we even ask it says that unfortunately, yes it does matter.  It's like the old question of which country is more civilised? The one with many laws or the one with none?  The answer is none because if everyone behaved rationally and with kindness to others there would be no need for legal redress.  And interestingly I asked does size matter but didn't say the size of what yet most women will instantly think of body size - that's conditioning for you!

For as long as I care to remember myself and female friends have questioned how we look, our weight, our clothes, hair etc etc yet ultimately we should have always been asking the questions only for ourselves, not for external validation.  Yes, there is a reality check that if you're a diver you need certain clothing before the pedants wade in! For the most part though it shouldn't matter that much so why do we attach so much importance to what is ultimately a shell that contains our soul?

It's no secret that a few years ago I was really rather ill with a period of depression and while some comfort eat I basically lock the fridge and yes I lost a lot of weight and was rather ill because of it.  There was a concern over whether I was actually anorexic due to my poor body self image but the reality is that it was the depression pixies feeding this anxiety, they do that - they pick up on cues and amplify it to an unmanageable proportion.  So, an artist friend of mine twigged what was happening and did something rather lovely for me.  We made stuff based on my physical shape so I could start to see what the world sees.  In my garden I have a concrete bum as a stepping stone and I used to have a full size sculpture of me.

Years ago I was fortunate to see some pieces by Niki de Saint Phalle outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the image stuck with me.  I didn't realise at the time quite how important that image would become to me. 

So, the reasoning behind my piece was that in my head I was way bigger than the reality and he wanted me to actually SEE my true size.  By wrapping me in chicken wire I had to feel my shape as each curve was created, it made me incredibly aware of my physical shape.  And then the hours working with the modroc and paint again reinforced how others see me.  I'm not a perfect airbrushed model, I have wobbly bits and bits that I'd love to be firmer but the reality is it's me and I rather like me now.  There was a time when I desperately didn't, but I had to come to terms with the difference between an outer shell and the internal character.  The shell is just like the window dressing, the character is what makes you, you.

Social media can be particularly damaging, many gifs especially when you head towards anything sexual or erotic are mostly white, slim, toned women.  I've seen incredibly few short black women, or wobbly bums! I can tell you from the swimming pool changing rooms women come in all shapes and sizes, and even if they take the same dress size their bodies will still differ.  Sadly for many this mixup of self, identify, self worth and image are all muddled up together and believing that if you just somehow toned that wobbly belly you'd get the man of your dreams or that promotion.  Now, I'm not going to pretend that certain roles do not require a certain physicality but that isn't the same as looks or not having a wobbly tummy.  

So, the idea - I've always wanted to do these sculptures with women for women so they learn how beautiful every shape is and begin to own and value theirs.  Parks full up and down the country would be an amazing sight!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Chakras - and their importance

Deep down we all know that we're connected to things outside of our control, some call it their gut instinct, some say I just had a sixth sense about something.  That odd feeling when something tells us not to cross the road just yet and seconds later a car comes whizzing round the corner and had we crossed we wouldn't be here.  There are many stories like this around the world and the truth is yes we are all inter connected.  

I choose to work with the Chakra colours as they are based on reflections of light and that's such a beautiful thing to do when you are surrounded by glass that basically twinkles and reflects all the time.  Adding candles to coloured glass makes any room cosy so I find it incredibly relaxing to consolidate and build on that connection.

Essentially they are points within the body that control different functions and are represented by different colours.  From teaching, I'm also aware of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and I've always considered the linkage from this to the Chakra colours and the different functioning we each need.

I've always been one that some days I just NEED to have yellow around me, and on reflection it's me being aware of which Chakra is misaligned so needs a little boost or a bit or help.  I instinctively pick the crystal I think will help me most on any given day but I'd never really looked into it that deeply and just allowed intuition to guide me. Scientifically glass reflects at different rates so it's not a total surprise that this resonating can affect the physical and mental body too.  Think about when you hear music and the beat or tone can be felt through your body, just because you can't necessarily feel the colours vibrations doesn't mean it isn't having an effect.  Some also struggle in the winter with seasonal affected disorder and use light to correct the imbalance.  So this idea that light and frequencies affect us, while it may be anecdotal and not fully recognised in science, does appear in many articles and blogs.

So, back to the Chakras.  I decided to use them as a base for my work and even if you don't buy into the Chakra logic they're pretty and look colourful together and I always think the world needs more colour! Anyone who has met me in real life will attest to the fact that magnolia is definitely NOT a colour I accept exists or would ever use!  Over the coming weeks I plan to go through each colour and use pictures from around my home and garden to show how I use them to boost my own energies.

Have fun out there, and start listening to which colour you need around you,

Pixie x

Sunday, August 30, 2020

It begins!


Hello and welcome to my happy little world of friends, glass, cats, food, garden and generally pottering about in the shed!  I found myself in a situation where due to Covid my work had dried up and like many was twiddling my thumbs and getting ever so slightly bored.  Those that know me in real life know that a bored me is a dangerous me so I started thinking - if I could do anything what would I want to be doing?  The obvious answer is always doing something creative.  I've always dabbled, everyone has the watercolour sets and old brushes or card making stuff and I've tried many things over the years.  I was fortunate to be introduced to some amazing glass workers a few years ago and they were kind enough to help me learn.  The love of working with it has never left me and I've been umming and ahhing for a while now so decided why not? I'd never get such an opportunity again and let's face it, life is short to be stuck on a treadmill.

So, after a couple of skips, several injuries, battling to fix a shed roof and the kiln delivery guy taking pity on me the studio was set up.  He really was a helpful delivery driver, he wasn't supposed to bring it inside but took one look at little me and one look at the huge pallet and rolled his eyes in a kindly way and lugged it in for me!

I've also always been interested in holistic healing like Reiki and chakras and hope to use that in some pieces soon too.  Already had a couple of chats on twitter about others doing guest posts on what they enjoy doing too so that will be lovely as time rolls by to see how others use them.  The other side of me loves the sensual and celebrating the aesthetic of the body, not in a smutty way but in a positive, affirming way so some of the work may seem slightly erotic but it comes from a sense of celebration and art.  There is still so much I want to learn and try, some will work, some will be met with a grumpy stompy footed reaction and a little scrunched up nose looking for the chocolate! There will sadly also be many references to my stupid cats that obviously adore a snuggly kiln to sleep by, no cat hairs are included in work unless that's something you really want!

The blog will end up being a mix of creative stuff and general ramblings - sadly I have to wait 10 hours each time I press fire so the small brain needs an outlet and if you follow me on twitter you will already know this, feel free to mute now! I really am very fortunate that I have a childlike 'what if??' sense of the world and decided life is too short so let's see where this adventure takes me,

Have fun whatever you do, Pixie x