Wonder Walks: Your Field Guide to Making Art in the Urban Wild

Wonder Walks: Your Field Guide to Making Art in the Urban Wild

We’ve had a lot of moving pieces in our lives lately, how about you? The stress needle moving up the scale has encouraged us to return to practices that may have faded into the background. One of my favorite ways to do that is a Wonder Walk which immediately shifts my perspective. What is a Wonder Walk, you may ask? I am so excited to share with you! Here is how you take yourself on a Walk of Wonder:

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Connecting with Your Ancestors Through the Expressive Arts

Connecting with Your Ancestors Through the Expressive Arts

We are in this special window of time during the year’s cycle where things are slowing down, we can feel the daylight shortening, and Summer is growing ever smaller in our rear view mirror. It’s a wonderful opportunity to savor the stillness and slowing down that Autumn can bring.

This time of year is also a wonderful opportunity to honor your ancestors; one of my favorite things to do! In light of the magical window of early Autumn and in gratitude for those who have come before us, I wanted to share a simple creative ritual to help anchor further into the season.

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Permission Slips for Pleasure: Working with Embodiment & Trauma

Permission Slips for Pleasure: Working with Embodiment & Trauma

When an individual has experienced physical trauma and they have ensuing pain, the idea of dancing can seem challenging to say the least. However, in working through the expressive arts, we are taught to create space to work with what you have available in the moment. This means that whatever willingness, energy, curiosity, etc you have is ENOUGH.

Permission slips can be a great way to try something out with less pressure for it to look a specific way. What if you only explored movement in ways that felt good?

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Mother/Daughter Retreat: The Gift of Playback

Mother/Daughter Retreat: The Gift of Playback

During our Mother/Daughter Retreat, we have a fun tradition of each family leading a creative project with the group. We take the entire afternoon and dive into whatever creative invitation is present. This year, we had unexpected themes of flowers and ancestors. Ah, such beauty!

Another meaningful way we explored our ancestors was through Playback Theatre, a form of improvisational theater where an audience member’s story is “played back” to them. This helped us take our sharing a level deeper. Click through to get all the details of our trip and story sharing.

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Mystic Woman’s Creative Source

Mystic Woman’s Creative Source

I have been delighting in the Mystic Woman Online Circle over the last few weeks as we explore the seasonal wheel and its connection to our creative cycle. As I move through the cycle, I am noticing that what piques my curiosity most is what resides in the center of the cycle. In my imagination, I see it as the center axle of a wheel. I find myself asking, “what remains constant no matter what part of the cycle you are in?” In Mystic Woman, we call the center of the cycle, Creative Source. Creative Source is your creative lineage and is completely unique to you.

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Cultivating Awe

Cultivating Awe

If you have been hanging around us lately, you might have been involved in a conversation about awe. It’s a quality I have been inviting into my life recently. There is so much going on in our lives - so much to navigate politically and personally. When we are called up to our personal and social/political change work in times like these it’s important to tend to our resilience, and ground ourselves in nourishment. This provides a strong foundation and a place to resource while doing the work. I have been expanding my gratitude practice with tuning my inner compass to several other qualities to deepen my resilience.

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Spring Growing Pains

Spring Growing Pains

Once again the garden asks to be shared with you. As you may know, we have been working to bring seedlings to sprout and blossom. Oh my, have I been smitten with the image of wildly open and luscious petals of sherbet poppies. I mean, like really besotted.

Spring can seem all sexy and beautiful with flowers and color and possibility and renewal. It is all of those things, and there is more. A lot can go wrong along the way.

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Fertile Void

Fertile Void

It’s official, Southern California has had its first days over 75 degrees in 2019, and we are ready to start spring seedlings. Perhaps it’s too early? It is January after all. It’s hard to tell, but after weeks of rain, the earth is soft enough to be worked with, which can be rare! I am holding visions of bouncy, vibrant spring flowers.  Fingers crossed!!

It’s only been a few days since we planted and we are already in that phase where you wake up every morning and rush to see if anything has happened overnight while whispering encouragement to the damp soil. Maybe that's just us? We are eagerly awaiting some kind of sign that the process is moving forward. I mean, it’s been 2 days!

As I write this, I can feel in my bones, that it’s such good practice to be in this process. We are feeling similar to these tiny pots of fertile soil these days.

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Taking Time to Be

Taking Time to Be

Have you been hit with a rush of NEW YEAR, NEW YOU, RESOLUTIONS, WORD OF THE YEAR, SALE, SALE, SALE? We have! We are having to remind ourselves that even though we live in SoCal, and there are a hundred different signs pointing to how we need to take 2019 by the you-know-what and run with it, it's still winter.  With that in mind, maybe we don't need to have it all figured out just yet.  Maybe we can take some time to feel and breathe and tune our presence "up" after the rush of the holidays.

In honor of winter, we have decided to give ourselves time at the beginning of the year to press pause and allow ourselves to "go dark". 

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What I Learned from the Trees

What I Learned from the Trees

This time of year is so full with wonderful ways to connect and celebrate. It’s a season wild with the dichotomy of strangers being extra nice in the post office and then crazy in the parking lots. I know I fall into both the naughty and nice categories. Sorry, Honda Civic, in the Sprouts parking lot!

This time of year can also be a time of stress, anxiety and overindulgence in all the things, you know what I mean? Do you find yourself on the brink of losing it, or so over-committed you can’t see straight? Or, perhaps you just want to make sure to carve out space to savor this special time of year. If you are in any of those boats, we feel you!

It’s times like these that I gain guidance from the natural environment.

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Nectar List 2018

Nectar List 2018

Did you know that generating a sense of gratitude can build your resilience and help you more easily navigate all of life’s ups and downs? Practicing gratitude can actually make you a happier and more positive person. Sound hard to believe? We are all for it at Yellowbird! Co-creating our annual Nectar List is one of our favorite ways to practice gratitude. Care to join us?

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Red Thread with the Ancestors

Red Thread with the Ancestors

While the veil is thin, like in many other cultures and spiritual traditions, we enjoy spending time honoring the ancestors and those who have come before. Tugging on the red thread that joins us to those whose shoulders on which we rest. We all have the opportunity to pull on the thread of our heritage at this time. Want to say yes to the invitation, too?

We wanted to gift you with a ritual “recipe” this season. Enjoy!

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Women's Work, Women's Artistry

Women's Work, Women's Artistry

Some of my oldest memories are moments of making, of “women’s work”, of learning how to sew, cross-stitch, knit, and french knot from my mother, Nana T and Nana M. I remember it being a special thing I did with the women in my family. Even then, I knew I was learning skills that had been passed down from generation to generation and to hold the work with a kind of reverence. I remember heads bowed over a project, crowns almost touching as I learned whatever skill was being offered.

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Calling in the Image Companion

Calling in the Image Companion

This initial blog post has been edited and adjusted to reflect my current status in my exploration of my image companion. The title of the blog post was originally, “Calling in the Gypsy” and portions of the original blog are below followed by my current personal inquiry on the subject.

My birthday was this past week and in the Violet household, birthdays are like the new year. We review the prior year, set intentions and usually pick an essence or quality that we want to be inspired by for the upcoming year. It can be anything from a color, to an herb, to a quality or even a genre of music. The sky is the limit! We then work with that essence through the arts, ritual and personal practice. In Expressive Arts, we would also call that engaging with an “image”. The image reaches beyond the visual and allows it to encompass just about anything that moves your heart.

This year, I have been called to work the the Gypsy.

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Savoring Summer

Savoring Summer

Ahhh, sweet summer!

I have to be totally honest, summer is not my favorite season.  In fact, it can be downright kryptonite for my spirit and body. Erika, however, thrives in the summer and finds it a sweet spot in the seasonal wheel.  Despite my tussle with the heat, I am excited to say that with my commitment to honoring the cycles around me, I have decided to embrace the season for what it is. The results? As an active participant, I have found myself able to delight in more of summer's gifts. #Winning! We set summer intentions as a way to embrace the season. In bidding farewell to the longer days, it's time for a Very Official Violet Report on our #summergoals. 

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Sisterhood In Action

Sisterhood In Action

Many moons ago, I worked as the Transformational Recovery Director at Shakti Rising.  One of the greatest gifts of that time was my partnership with Tess Meissner wherein we co-created and facilitated numerous classes and retreats. The sisterhood we built during that time has seen us through many things, including each of our entrepreneurial journeys.  

​I am so thrilled to give a shout out for her upcoming retreat titled, UnearthedShe will be partnering with her long-time friend and one of my favorite creatives, Jonelle Tonkin. Jonelle is the magic maker behind the Yellowbird logo for all of those who have asked!  These ladies are a powerhouse duo and they are offering a unique opportunity to reveal and claim feminine power this fall equinox.  There is still time to join them! You can check out the retreat details here.

I was lucky to sit down with Tess recently and chat about her upcoming retreat and her experience in Yellowbird’s Enflesh this past winter. We were so honored to have her join us!  Grab a cup of something icy and delicious, and read the blog where we explore shapeshifting and her take on cultivating the sacred.

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Enfleshing Self Love

Enfleshing Self Love

I love being a facilitator of the arts. Whether I'm teaching dance in a studio setting, working therapeutically with one of my students at Monarch, or facilitating an expressive arts group for adults...it's always an experience that astounds me, leaves me curious, awakens gratitude, and leaves enough room for the spice of mystery to show up. 

What I don't get to share about as often is the secondary healing that I get to experience for myself as a result of being witness, observer, space holder, process shaper and sometimes "co-explorer" of the creative process.

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