TO TRUST ANOTHER BEING…OR TO NOT TRUST?

baboon near a bridge in uganda

Hi dear fellow human – thank you so much for coming to my podcast-blog/ museletter ❤ I love you for it!

This full moon’s podcast is inspired by the mind-blowing, life-deepening, soul-affirming course Living In The Gift by Charles Eisenstein, and the social media group discourse.

This week’s interviews on the course are about seeing with generous eyes, which is such a profound concept, if we are to live creatively – to be in the flow, and in our full human potential.

a baboon – seeing with pretty greedy-for-bananas eyes, if truth be told

Our full potential is intimately entwined with our connectedness with others, and how the energy passes between us – is it enhanced and does it create even more energy than the sum of the parts – or do we project fear onto the other, and assume that we’re in power-competition with them?

In the podcast I tell the story of the soldier on the bridge, who approached me, rather agitated, holding a very large gun, and wanted to take my camera off of me…. I speak to the difference between how I acted in that moment, and the resulting events – and how my ex acted, which could have created a whole other situation.

the glorious river from the bridge, on the way back from gulu to kampala in uganda

I spent a lot of time after this event, thinking on my ‘naivety’ as my ex had (very angrily) labelled it – had I really put myself in a situation where I was ‘this close’ to being killed (?!) – or was I simply comuning with another human being, and supporting that other human being to go about their business in a happy, successful way?


i was mesmerised by this incredible torrent and the vegetation, so didn’t notice the soldier until he was right nearby

The baboons by the bridge were an interesting other branch of the story, which led to my meeting up with one of my oldest friends (from my childhood in a wee village of 10 cottages on a Scottish island) just a few days later… yes, in the middle of Africa – talk about coincidence!

a statue somewhere in kampala, uganda

Life is f***ing magical and so very precious, when we look for the alchemy in things. But we are also the alchemists: life is absolutely NOT a passive exercise – the more we seek and interact with harmonious interbeing and expect things to magically come together – particularly in relationships and collaborations with other humans… the more we grow the magic of the world.

Mmmmmmmm!

So much love and blessings to you for the happiest day or night,

***THE HAPPY ENDING ***

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RETURNING – WITH FRESH EYES!

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THIS IS WHY I CAME HOME!!

All gloriously coffeed-up and with a happy apple brioche in my tummy, my luggage stored safely at the station, and sat with my essentials, in a park of towering brick antiquities, palm trees and daisy lawns.

I’m encamped on the grass in the half shade, checking whether the sun is taking over the day yet. It’s late March: where I came from was a furnace, where I’m from originally would leave your arse frozen damp and muddy, but here, I could forgiven for getting teary-eyed about it.

It’s fricking perfect.

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Life in Italy is something folk romanticise about, obviously – films, songs, paintings, blogs – the Guardia Sanframondi Renaissance movement – and the Italian branding plays to it, like a Latin lover wooing a stupid tourista – easy.

But underneath all the marketing and all the folks getting lured in by the promise of that postcard idyll, there’s a profound possibility of CONTENTMENT here: a potential of fulfilment, nourishment, spiritual ease, social synchrony, community wealth, which cannot ever be bought, bargained for, commercialised. It can only be earned.

It is earned through one’s presence, a willingness to embrace and accept, a dedication to the moment, a belief in truly good things… and a humility that lets all the crazy wash right off your back.

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I think that it’s easy to overlook the small pleasures – to take them for granted, and not be joyous for them. It’s only in being without them, that we see their preciousness. The Italiani in Guardia are often perplexed as to why we stranieri would like to be in such a setting as this previously-abandoned medieval town, when we come from cultures which – at least to the outside – seem to offer such a pinnacle perfection of the consumer machine.

It’s hard to sum it up in a short blog, but for me, it’s this moment – the Easter Sunday bells are thundering with the force of all those centuries of religious consent – but they are so solidly, absolutely, delicious in how their sound wraps itself around this park, around me, around this moment, like a familiar blanket. The birds join in, as does the chatter from a biodiverse park clientele, of Romans, stranieri and dogs. And even the traffic seems to lap like waves, close as it is, adding not unpleasantly to the ambience.

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The air is as clean as air gets in a large European city, and the breeze touches my skin just enough to cool the parts that the sun is beginning to burn. My bare feet are tucked under lush clover and grasses, dotted thickly with proud bright daises.

The park begins to fill with Easter Sunday passeggiatori, none of them particularly heading to or from church, and none of them looking like they’re carrying the weight of Jesus’ martyrdom, on their shoulders. Punctuated by regular Vespa buzzing past, laughter and jollity flows around, from group to group.

We all consent to and support this good vibe, this rich life, this perfection, and we all want to keep it flowing benignly. Italy is not just about the absence of danger, discomfort, visible poverty or tensions (having just returned from a month in Uganda, I find this all very tangible), nor about the presence and availability of tasty treats, cultural resources, mod cons. For me, Italy – loving Italy, and living here – is about that quiet perfection which every single day is sewn together by; the rightness of the underlying paradigm, and the collective agreement to honour it – set in stone.

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Belonging to this culture is never something I thought to show off or hold up as a status symbol, but it is something that I can now sense and enjoy. Having tried and tested and failed and overcome a  stack of initiation challenges thrown at me by the place and the people, and having woven my own perceptions and contributions into the tapestry… and now having stepped right away completely from Italy, and come back to it…. I feel a sense of  – not ownership, but – that I am responsible to my place in it.

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I feel utterly joyous to return to this benevolence, this warm familiarity and nourishing ambience; it feels like it is mine now. There are so many reasons why Italy projects such a strong romantic appeal, a seductive façade. But more importantly (for me), under this glam exterior, there’s a depth of riches quite unimaginable.

 

Come join me on Patreon to see all the insight and images, a window onto my studio and creative process, more from my travels in Africa – and to Live Like A Happy Artist! This is where I share all the behind the scenes and deeper stories, just with my special people…

PATREON SIGNUP BUTTON

You can also:

Follow me on Facebook

Browse my Etsy shop

See my books and calendars on Lulu

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Tante belle cose, Clare

THE UNIVERSE IS ALWAYS SHOWERING US WITH BLESSINGS!

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This week (my 4th in Africa) a multitude of stuff happened, which to many folks would signal ‘Oh noooo!!’ and have them running home tail-between-legs. I’ve even had a few messages from friends and family, scared and stressed for me, and assuming I should jump on the next plane back to Guardia Sanframondi.

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But to my perspective as a happy creative person, the way we view what happens around us – to us – there’s a spectrum of possibility in that… and all of it is positive.

What that means in reality, is that no matter what has been thrown at me, from aggression and projection and domineering manipulation, to being isolated and ignored, to electricity cuts and water outages, masses of biting insects, utterly debilitating heat, lack of personal safety, not being able to find the most basic food stuffs…

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All this can be a joyous learning curve.

How? How does one turn an anguishing situation into a constructive one?

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It’s so simple that it gets overlooked a lot: good old methodical correcting of our thinking.

What this means in practise is that, as big clever super-intelligent human people, we have the truly extraordinary capacity to think for our selves. We also are able to both rationalise and transform our feelings – our emotions.

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Together, these two inner resources allow us, if we really work with them with sincerity and humility, and go always deeper, and to get to this place deepest inside, where it all is good.

One of the practical tools I used, back in some of my more stressful times (and in moments like these in Africa!) is to make a great long list of at least 21 reasons for why this moment or issue is something really truly positive in your life.

At first this is an awfully clunky process, but you will be amazed what comes of it, as you convince yourself, like a self-fulfilling-prophecy, to look at the bright side.

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But slowly, slowly, you begin to open your mind, your very synapses, your heart and whole energy, to what is possible, rather than what isn’t possible.

And this opening is the key to human happiness and well-being. When things flow through us, rather than coming to a blockade, where we have a big heavy doubt in our mind or heart, or even a subtle negative thought, we can access infinitely more energy, inspiration, enthusiasm, hope, success… you get the idea.

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The very act of being negative stops this flow. And when the flow is stopped, it begins to manifest in the outside world around us: we project outwards into our work and relationships, our home and family life, the literal blocks which are going on inside of us. Our partner becomes an aggravation rather than the support we so desperately need, our job becomes a drain on our very soul, and life in general feels like it is wearing us down.

But by this time, we don’t see that we are being negative: we think we are being ‘realistic’ or that we can see reality better than others: we’ll defend this dark reality, no matter how much it is eating into our soul, to the end.

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Awareness, or sometimes another human being, or often something we come across or read, can inspire us to really look at the limiting shell we’ll living in, but we have to be willing to see it.

So really it’s a choice, like everything in life:

get busy being happy, or get busy being stuck in your own muddy rut.

Start looking at what the darkest things in your life are/ have been, and how they can be lessons and blessings.

Or you could just sit still, and complain about how life isn’t what you want it to be.

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In my experience, having come from a place of poverty, ill health, depression, grief  and severe anxiety (I could go on) and having utterly transformed that into a beautiful and empowered life, filled with colour, depth and meaning…I know that it works; that no matter how downward your spiral appears to be; how deeply rutted our habits and closedness… it can and will all be opened up so we can flourish, if we just set our minds to it.

Happiness IS the way!

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Loads of good wishes to you, and I’ll be in touch via PATREON about all that’s going on in Africa!

You can also SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER, which will be going out on Monday.

                                                                                                                                        Clare xx

AFRICAN ADVENTURE week 3

DSC_0001_2nutmegs!

Here is my week 3 African Adventure vlog.

I’ve been painting, writing, exploring very quietly and gently (above: drawing-paintings on paper and wood (works in progress))…

From this evening I am taking a room in a guest-house by Lake Victoria, to spend time by the water, and to be in a better position to socialise and walk out and about. I am very excited about it!

I’m also excited to be getting to know and navigate the climate, food, culture and landscape… It feels very stimulating, even if I am going about everything very tentatively!

As usual, come and join me on Patreon, if you’d like to get a fuller picture of what I’m working on – a big window into the life of the happy artist!

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Tante belle cose, Clare

GETTING FAMILIAR WITH THE TERRITORY

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5 tips for landing in foreign climes!

ONE: FRESH AIR/ SPACE

Be outside as much as possible, just breathing in the new air, observing what is immediately in front of you – the difference and the similarities. Don’t judge, don’t think too much, just be.

Even if you are closed in a truly urban box, appreciate that, too, and try to keep some air in your room.

If there’s no comfortable option for opening windows, then air-conditioning can be a fine alternative!

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TWO: WALKING: Make walking a daily priority; it’s grounding, refreshing and it lets you familiarise yourself with your immediate neighbourhood. You’ll see new things, and get a better understanding of where you are.

Just a once-round-the-block will reveal a ton of insight into a place.

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THREE: PACE YOURSELF – be realistic about how well you can know a place, how quickly.

Some cultures will seem more alien than others, depending on where you’ve come from: set small steps to begin with, and take quiet time to muse, reflect, talk with friends on Skype or social media.

And make sure you are nourished, appropriate to the climate and food tolerance – I came a cropper with that, last week, as I started off too adventurously, not taking into account the necessary time period for the intestinal flora to adapt! This week I’m able to digest practically everything, thankfully, but last week it felt like I was losing my ability to take in any nutriment at all.

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FOUR: TURN ANY ANXIETY AROUND: acknowledge your fears, but do not feed them.

Also, ask yourself the following; is this experience enriching me as a human being – like, am I growing from this? Am I becoming who I want to be? Or is it bringing me down? Be honest with yourself.

Often, when we look at the positive and the learning – at our self-development – it becomes more apparent that what we’re struggling with can actually be useful.

It’s also vital that you accept if you’re not even having a good time, though! All things pass, and sometimes, it’s the coming home which is the joyous thing, not the being away!

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FIVE: BE SAFE: stride out fully aware of any risks you might be taking, but consciously giving thanks that you are protected.

Find a balance between having your eyes wide open, and pushing your own boundaries/ or the limits as to what you are told is possible.

Always ask for advice from locals – and especially from other women, if you’re on your own as a woman.

There are well known psychological studies about how victim mentality can project an aura of vulnerability – not just walking in the street, but in socialising and relationship. Our fears, if we allow ourselves to navigate from just them, will provide an open door to folks who (consciously or unconsciously) feel drawn to the energy which we are losing – which is flowing out of us, through our fear projection.

Conversely, if we radiate out loving respect, harmony and joy, it is amazing how we can find the right word or gesture, in any given moment, to dissipate tensions, to make friends, and to find a peaceful solution to many, many issues.

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I hope you find this useful in your travels!

Do you have any tips for folks going out into the world?

Do share them in the comments below!

Come join me on Patreon to see all the insight and photos, from my travels in Africa this month – and to Live Like A Happy Artist! This is where I share all the behind the scenes and deeper stories, just with my special people…

PATREON SIGNUP BUTTON

You can also:

Follow me on Facebook

Browse my Etsy shop

See my books and calendars on Lulu

 

AFRICA WEEK ONE!

DSC_0026It’s ridiculously hot, I’ve been sick, it’s an incredible experience!

Here’s my week one vlog from Kampala in Uganda:

For all the photos and updates, including special vlogs and insight which I only share with my beautiful patrons, go see:

www.patreon.com/clareartista

And in the meantime; here are some snapshots:

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I AM IN AFRICA…

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With my great capacity for full-immersion, my first day out and about in Kampala was pretty overwhelming yesterday. From the heat to the intensity of activity in every direction, the noises and the unusual light and the super-strangeness everything. It’s really like being on another planet!

DSC_0004the road to the workshop

Alongside this, being outside of my usual safe space, my haven and workspace – wow, it’s intensely un-grounding – and unnerving – at first!

DSC_0044the workshop garden

When I set out on any journey, this is almost always the first reaction; everything is unfamiliar, and I want to go home… but settling into a place is a powerful aligning force: when we carry around our inner resources and capacity to learn, there is a wonderful energetically-stimulating space in any newness, which feeds the soul, feeds the creative field.

DSC_0070view from the workshop garden

Though it can be somewhat overly-exhilarating initially, jumping in at the deep end is also a marvellously toughening, waking-up, reminder of who we are and what we love, where we want to be and how we want to express ourselves in the world. Travelling somewhere really different can remind us of what it is to be fully alive, because all of us is switched on to alertness, to awareness and presence.

DSC_0008an African sky

Things happen when we travel, which cannot happen at home, where we’re comfortable and secure: we become bigger, our boundaries are expanded and our minds have to adjust to accomodate more. It’s a most powerful way to transform the self!

DSC_0029a handmade rope on a tree

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If you’d like to see all the photos and videos I’m sharing from Africa, and to follow the life of the happy artist – go sign up for my Patreon campaign HERE

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