pleasure… art gifts… midwinterfest at the arthouse

Ciao, dear friend…

Welcome to my podcast – especially to new subscribers from the Womb-Centred Healing Temple summit ♥ 

This is one of the fullest podcast-newsletters I’ve ever done, so get a cuppa and settle in…

And there’s an über-special 2-for-1 painting offer this month – don’t miss that!

This month’s podcast is on pleasure; not surface pleasure, not peak pleasure, but the deepest, most fulfilling-expanding-interconnecting pleasure that is our birthright – and that, unfortunately, we are so very distracted from pursuing.

The podcast shares how vital holistic pleasure is, both to our well-being and to our fulfilment in life – and how letting-go is so essential to this fullest pleasure.

Most of us spend most of our lives avoiding letting-go: we find security in accumulating and compounding situations, rather than releasing, giving away (e.g. wealth/ belongings/ our home), truly relaxing. This intense focus on gathering things to us, to keeping our cupboards, wardrobes, bank accounts, etc, full – it gives us little room to feel or to imagine, and so we become emptier and emptier.

This is why art is such an important activity: it both brings us – through doing it – into a spaciousness, which permits all things to relax and release, and, when we spend time around art, it shows us (invites us into) that spaciousness which the artist inhabits.

The distinct release that comes from allowing the creative flow to come through us, and of not being attached to the outcome – it’s not like a peak orgasm, but like the long, slow building of the orgasmic state; an ongoing symbiotic, awoken, sentient, state-of-connectedness that comes about from our being aligned and enlivened in our life.

Art is like a microcosm of that state, as it’s ultimately all about – not stepping into, but being flow – allowing flow to come through us.

This kind of allowing, cultivated over many years, and honed and mastered, is like the big letting-go, e.g. of stepping out into the new by selling one’s home and moving into the unknown of a different landscape, culture, community, language, climate…

But ‘big letting-go’ is something that folks rarely do, because they equate leaving and letting go with losing things, rather than with the profound gaining of freedom, of movement, of energy and time and space… of newness and possibility, learning and growth, of constructive challenge and positive – stimulating – change.

We don’t do big-letting-go much, and so we lose all our power of adaptation; our ability to be challenged and made new.

This holding-on, over time, becomes the absence of deep pleasure, because by default, holding onto things is a kind of deep tension… which translates into ingrained tensions, neuroses, fears-as-the-norm.

Our reality becomes stilted, because we don’t know what it is to have that space of unknowing – the void of creation, the space between things, in which there is peace and…. the pleasure of being alive.

I’m not suggesting that we all should follow the thrill of abandoning a life and work, and throw ourselves into a vulnerable state by having an adrenaline-fueled trip to foreign climes…

But I am hoping to inspire you about what it might feel like to let go more… To give yourself spaciousness in all things – free of being occupied with stuff, tasks, pressures: to feel your way into that emptiness both within yourself and around you – and to get more art in your life!

Press play, to hear the Pleasure podcast:

My Arthouse is up for sale…

You can see the listing here – I’m adding short videos of each room, one at a time…

Because I’m beginning a new life-work phase, my paintings want to go to new homes too:

  • I’m setting my business up to make it much easier for you to buy a painting, including payment plans via Patreon
  • My art catalogue is available as an ebook – Clare Galloway art catalogue – 100 pages of depth-colour-meaning, packed with info and stories about the art, and how to buy it
  • You get the huge gift of 2 paintings for the price of 1 this December: either buy a painting (pay in full) before the end of December, or begin a painting payment plan, via the €50 per month Patreon patron reward level, and get a second painting, as my midwinterfest abundance gift, to you. The second painting should be of the same price or less than the first – and P&P is not included.

See my paintings on Etsy right now

Ask me any Qs about this below, and let me know asap if you’d love a particular painting set aside – each painting is absolutely inimitable, and there are a few being reserved already.

The wonderful Veronica Thai invited me onto her Curious Monki podcast…

We’re speaking about how we access creative power – and use it in the everyday, to live happily and super-fulfilled!

…accessing the place of surrender and flow by using art.  As Clare says, we all have a creative engine within ourselves.  When we access this energy, we charge ourselves up and suddenly become filled with bright ideas, solutions and all the beautiful things that want to be expressed.  Art is how we can be reunited with our innate primal sense of truth.

the intuitive artist 101…

The Intuitive Artist 101 is the new gateway course to The School Of Real Art – The SORA. I’m excited because the next phase of The SORA has been a long time gestating, and it is now putting up buds, forming shape…

You can watch a brief intro to The Intuitive Artist 101, above – it describes  what the course will contain.

You get access to the whole course as it unfolds, if you join me on Patreon (all levels of patron reward get access to all my creative outpourings). See The SORA website for much more info on the courses currently available.

the womb-centred healing temple…

This is the introduction interview to a longer discourse that I had with the incredible Sama Morningstar – I was honoured to be invited to speak as a womb-centred-healing creator, for this potent summit of deepest feminine wisdom, and the Womb-Centred Healing Temple.

We talk in the summit about how I have used art to access dialogue with my core, with my creative centre – how I began intuitively, but then became adept at working from my womb, from the creative fulcrum: how I healed my own life, using art as this primal tool to access the primal voice, truth, wholeness – to wake up my very cells and my deepest passion for life.

midwinterfest in guardia sanframondi…

My neighbours and I in the Via Dietro Gli Orti, alongside other local artisan folks, will be creating a beautiful, atmospheric event from the solstice through to Christmas eve…

I’ll be creating a solstice mandala installation, and setting up a shop with my art and books, and there will be all kinds of singing, food, crafts and festivities… There’s a lot going on in the medieval quarter this winterfest, and so it will be a gorgeous end of the year community-spirit-fuelled event…

Thank you from my heart (and womb) for listening, for reading, and for connecting with my work – it is always genuinely an honour to be seen, heard, connected with…

Follow me, etc via the links below – I so love to hear from you!

Much love and oodles of midwinterfest beauty and nourishment to you,

***THE HAPPY ENDING ***

  1. Huge gratitude to you from my ♥ if you’ll click on LIKE and/ or comment below! And even more gratitude if you share this – if you know someone who’d be inspired.
  2. Subscribe below and/ or join my newsletter.
  3. Join me on Patreon if you’d like to get more insight into my life and work: colour, depth, meaning, creative freedom, the good life, the whole woman… Patreon is my inner circle, where I share most with my very special people.
  4. My art school website is here, my art is on Etsy.
  5. Social media: Instagram, Facebook – the art school, my artist page

GUILT AND CREATIVE FREEDOM

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Why do we have so much guilt around ‘indulging’ in art?

Ironically, delving into our creative uniqueness is one of the core primal practises that can bring our lives into harmony – but we often stop ourselves even beginning, because there’s this sense of ‘I shouldn’t’ around making art.

It might be the sensuousness, or the fact we’re simply taking the time to do something deeply personal. But the most common aspect that stops us dead in our tracks, before or after we actually get a brush mixing up colours, is guilt – that sense of being ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for trying.

This ‘wrongness’ is something that a creative could struggle with literally for decades; it comes from a deep place, when we were being programmed as children into believing that teacher/ parent/ older sibling or peer is right, and we are not – and we should shut up and do as we are told.

THE WHOLE VOICE (detail)

THE WHOLE VOICE (detail)

This cycle of what is essentially a potent abusive dynamic, is put in place when we’re just setting foot into the wider world outside of our home. If it doesn’t get drummed into us in our first school, it certainly will when we go on to the second phase, where by now most of the kids will be implementing the power hierarchy alongside the teachers.

Guilt takes multiple forms as we evolve in our lives – if we don’t attend to it, take care of ourselves, nurture our inner landscape, it might eventually become so compacted and atrophied, that it’ll raise up and shout to be heard – it’ll become a monster, instead of a  symbiotic garden.

So the creative’s work is to listen, express, make sense of, and transform all guilt. We can use it as a compass, even; wherever there is an ‘I feel bad’ around our creative activity, we should face it and ask it – what would it feel like if I didn’t feel bad?

THE WHOLE VOICE (detail)

THE WHOLE VOICE (detail)

What art, pleasure, indulgent activities do, is they connect us to our core – to our source of power, and thus to our ability to e.g. harvest energy, be inspired, create ingenious and beautiful things…

The system, consumerism and materialism, work on the fact that we’re NOT connected to our core, and all that free energy and deep satisfaction and enjoyment.

Our culture is constructed on our neuroses and guilt, and our superficial needs, which are hyped up into a frenzy, so that we’re always looking ‘out there’ for a solution, when the answer’s right here, inside each and every single one of us.

 

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THE WHOLE VOICE – large painting on old table-top, in acrylic, oil pastel, pencil

If you’d like to know a great deal more about how to access your core creative power, and to juice your life up into the good life, join me via the links below.

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As ever, thank you so much for your support and your interest in my work…

Tantissime belle cose, 

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***THE HAPPY ENDING ***

  1. Infinite gratitude to you from my ♥ if you’ll click on LIKE and/ or comment below! And even more infinite gratitude if you share this – if you know someone who’d be inspired – ♥♥!
  2. Subscribe below and/ or join my newsletter.
  3. Join me on Patreon if you’d like to hear/ see/ read/ get much more insight into my life and work: colour, depth, meaning, creative freedom, the good life, the whole woman… Patreon is my inner circle, where I share most with my very special people.
  4. My website is here, my art is on Etsy, e mio sito in italiano è qui.
  1. Social media: Instagram, Facebook – the art school, my artist page

STEPPING INTO THE VOID

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The idea of moving forward into ever-uncharted territory – how does that make you feel?

We live in a time and reality where much of what we digest is prescribed – it’s created far away from us, often from materials very disconnected from nature, and we purchase our e.g. food, information, power, inspiration, through a process of exchange that removes responsibility, energy, depth and meaning….

We end up stuck in repeating circles of simply purchasing what is offered to us, rather than making life choices that truly reflect our deep values and our immense appetite for learning and growing.

So how do we make life more authentic, more dynamic, more meaningful?

We simply step out into the void: into the less-mass-produced, into the simple and natural, and into our own unique path and vision.

Even spontaneously taking a new route, and interacting with whatever/ whoever we meet on this road; even going to sleep at an unusual hour, or waking up to feel what the world is like before the sun rises; even trying an unfamiliar dish, or a spice that has never touched our tongue…

We have opportunities, grand and wee, in every minute of every single day of our lives, to experience something richer and more expanded than we were in the previous moment – when we remove our attention from the flotsam, and allowing the new to flow towards us, through us.

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Painting coming to completion this year: connected with finding our deep intuitive voice, our inner wisdom, our channeling the divine creative, by listening to our sentient body.

Living in the void, or at least delving into it frequently, is an incredibly potent portal.

It’s the creative friction between the comfortable and the non-comfortable – and so it’s the space where all new things are created: it’s like the spaces that nature fills – those borders and cracks, the place where one surface meets another one.

The creative friction, the cultural exchange, the alchemical melting pot – all have this massive potential, if we can step into them empty, and let them fill us up anew…

So this month’s Art Of Life podcast is on how we step into this space: how this is a vital part of our creative expansion, and how, when we make a habit of entering the mysterious… we enhance everything – from our sense of self to our ability to channel our dreams, our vitality and our enthusiasm about life!

 

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I hope that my Art Of Life podcast inspires you! Please comment below – I’d love to hear your response.

Other clare artista news this month:

The Arthouse tent will soon be being mounted again in the gardens below Guardia’s famous facade!

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Download a PDF of THE WHOLE WOMAN brochure in English and Italiano

A dear friend Maya and I are initiating the very first WHOLE WOMAN workshops: we’ll hold an intimate group of just 10 women in this magical setting in this circular tent,next to the Ratello waterfall.

We’ll be using yoga, drawing, sharing and sewing to bring aspects of our selves into wholeness and harmony – letting go of the negative and the old, and embracing a new idea of self in this body. And we’ll be creating a taliswoman, who we can channel our creative power into, and be guided by.

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There’ll be workshops throughout July, and then in September too: we’re hoping to develop this concept of women empowering their selves, and to develop this big network of women through THE WHOLE WOMAN group on Facebook. Perhaps we’ll even be travelling to your town in the future!

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Another glorious Vacation With An Artist took place at the Arthouse this month:

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I just said goodbye to the wonderful Sajili, after her highly successful week exploring her creative potential in Guardia Sanframondi.

She’d come all the way from Mumbai in India, and had never drawn or painted before!

We had a truly glorious week of quiet adventuring, whilst I guided her to bring her subtle spiritual message of partnership and harmony, into being.

Because she was such a willing and passionate studio guest, it was easy to support her finding her visual expression – all work should be like this!

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As ever, thank you so much for your support and your interest in my work, and it’s always wonderful to know your thoughts – do respond below, or ask any Qs…

Tantissime belle cose, 

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***THE HAPPY ENDING ***

  1. I now make monthly public posts via my newsletter and this blog. If you’d like to be notified of this, subscribe to this blog, and join my newsletter.
  2. Join me on Patreon if you’d like to hear/ see/ read much more: that’s my inner circle, where I share the most with my very special folks.
  3. Please let me know you’ve seen this post by clicking on the heart symbol and/ or commenting below – and please share it if you know someone who’d be inspired! ❤
  4. My website is here, mio sito in italiano è qui, my art is on Etsy, The Real School of Art is here, my books on Lulu and Blurb, and art holidays on VAWAA.
  5. Social media links: Instagram, Facebook – the art school, my artist page, the Insider’s Guide To Guardia book page, Twitter – clareartista

BREAKING THROUGH THE BIG NO

CIAO! WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ALL THE ‘NO’ IN OUR ‘NORMALITY’?

Though it seems on the surface that we live in a free, democratic, abundant reality, modern culture is in fact mostly based on a complex series of deeply negative norms…
In this month’s creative inspiration podcast I go into into how we’re fed perpetual untruths about our huge creative potential – and how art can get between the layers of limitation, and blast them open…!
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This year has been challenging and glorious so far. I’ve had some health concerns that’ve brought me to a deeper, happier place; they’ve been reminding me to give it everything, as this life is precious!

Seeking healing, I’ve also been astounded at how it’s the simplest things, readily available, that are the best cures for the whole… Which in turn reminds me how a successful life is about being rather than doing: it’s about letting go and letting things be as they are – which leads me to being satisfied with all that I have, and focussing on the parts that are working, rather than navigating from what is imperfect.

 

my ‘millionaire’s panorama’ from the balcony of my €10K house – sometimes I forget the profound value of this astounding view – then I remind myself, and am like… wow

My podcast is about how we get lured into obsessing about ‘lack’ and ‘not-quite-right’, or ‘not-quite-there-yet’. We’re trained from early on to focus intently on that which isn’t, instead of being grateful for and making use of that which is – this helps folks sell us everything; from washing liquid to courses in spiritual entrepreneurship.

 

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I hope that my creative inspiration podcast inspires you! Please join in the conversation below, if you feel stimulated to:

 

Other creative news from the Arthouse this month – this new art on brick…

 

Click on the image to see my Etsy shop – the new pieces are being released there, one by one, throughout June. (The one in the lower-right is already winging its way to a new home in the USA.)
Alongside the release of these new artworks, I wanted to tell their story, as it’s about breaking out of conventional thinking and non-creative mind-blocks, too!
This short video (9 mins) is on how this big body of artwork might never have come into being, if I’d taken heed of the sage advice ‘why don’t you just get a man in to do the job?!’
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My book Making Space To Make is also coming along nicely this month – I’m on chapter 11, and it’s starting to feel like a beautiful, meaningful book! Above is an illustration from the Taking Back Time/ Taking Responsibility chapter. I’ll be sharing excerpts from it over on Patreon in June, and hope to have it published on Lulu Books around midsummer.

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As ever, thank you so much for your support and interest in my work, and it’s always wonderful to know your thoughts on the subjects discussed – do respond below, or write to me directly via the contact page,

Tantissime belle cose, 

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***THE HAPPY ENDING ***

  1. I now make monthly public posts via my newsletter and this blog. If you’d like to be notified of this, subscribe to this blog, and join my newsletter.
  2. Join me on Patreon if you’d like to hear/ see/ read much more: that’s my inner circle, where I share the most with my very special folks.
  3. Please let me know you’ve seen this post by clicking on the heart symbol and/ or commenting below – and please share it if you know someone who’d be inspired! ❤
  4. My website is here, mio sito in italiano è qui, my art is on Etsy, The Real School of Art is here, my books on Lulu and Blurb, and art holidays on VAWAA.
  5. Social media links: Instagram, Facebook – the art school, my artist page, the Insider’s Guide To Guardia book page, Twitter – clareartista

rare podcast!

Hi – here is an occasional podcast – if you are interested in what I am doing, join me via one of the links below – I look very much forward to having you in my inner circle.

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***THE HAPPY ENDING ***

  1. I now only make rare public posts. If you’d like to be in touch more often; join my newsletter HERE or join me on PATREON
  2. Please let me know you’ve seen this post by clicking on the heart symbol and/ or commenting below – and share it if you know someone who’d be interested ❤
  3. My website is here, my art is on Etsy, The Real School of Art is here, my books on Lulu, art holidays on VAWAA.
  4. Social media links: Instagram, Facebook – the art school, my artist page, the Insider’s Guide To Guardia book page.

THE SCHOOL!

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Here is a COMPLETELY FREE course – an intro to the Real School of Art – your go-to-place for all things related to creative transformation…!

I finally got my fabulous online art school up onto the Teachable platform: it’s neat, organised, and will make sense to more-logical brains (than my own).

It was a battle to get my vision into compatible format!!

It feels amazing to have this gateway between me and the world: a means of my channeling all this integrated wisdom about artistic expansion – living the happiest of artist lives … and hopefully setting lots of folks into a great creative adventure…

Here’s how it works so far:

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this is the FREE INTRO COURSE

THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU IF: You just want to have a nosy – and get a feel for the school. There’s some art chat around what art and creativity really are, and why they’re so vital in the world today.

There’s also some insight into the school’s approach and energy – and some free art lessons!

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The MYTH-BUSTING SERIES!

THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU IF: You’re keen on art and have a dream about creating something significant, but it all seems so mysterious, snobby and remote – out of reach to you. YOU WISH SOMEONE WOULD PULL AWAY THE VEILS AND GIVE YOU A FRESH, ACCESSIBLE POINT OF VIEW OF IT ALL!

This is a series of short art chats and exercises for you to follow: it takes us through the most prevailing of the lies about art, which stop humans from being magically creative!

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This is course 1- on making space inside & out for your art

THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU IF: You love creating or have always wanted to get creative, but for some intangible reason it seems to be an elusive process: time passes and the dream, project, painting just don’t get anchored. YOU WISH SOMEONE COULD GUIDE YOU INTO YOUR FIRST STEPS AS A SERIOUS ARTIST!

This lesson set goes over the essential shit which no-one tells you about in art school: how to arrange your space and time, and how to get over the initial inner turmoils which being creative brings up.

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This is your BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION course

THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU IF: You’re keen to begin more seriously with your art studio and practise, and you feel like it should be easy – you ‘should’ just get on and create more… but then practical stuff gets in the way, and the doubts about your ability… YOU WISH YOU COULD JUST GET ON WITH THE ART!

Haphazardly winging it won’t get you near your enormous artistic gift, nor will learning tricks or short-cuts: this is how to approach your art practise right, from the start!

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This is the LIVING IT course!

THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU IF: You’re a creator and have a practise, but it hasn’t seemed to develop beyond an extended hobby – and this frustrates you. Other banal stuff seems more urgent, and your enthusiasm peters out – blocked by lack of direction and inspiration… YOU WISH YOU KNEW HOW TO POWER UP AND SUSTAIN A PROFESSIONAL ART PRACTISE!

Your approach is everything: get this clear, get your commitment in place, and your practise will flow like it should – prolifically!

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This is the one to get you OVER ALL YOUR ART HURDLES!

You’re up and running as an early-career artist; out and about, connected, exhibiting here and there – you have some confidence but you want much, much more from your art career: it all feels a bit stale, and you want it to feel stimulating and fulfilling… YOU WISH YOU KNEW HOW TO FREE UP YOUR ENERGY AND REALLY MOVE TOWARDS YOUR LIFE AMBITION VISION AS AN ARTIST!

Everyone meets resistance, and at every stage in their life and work; this is a set of lessons to equip you for sailing over the jumps like a pro!

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This is the course which shows you how to KEEP YOUR ART ENTHUSIASM UP!

You’re starting to craft a healthy art career, and love your practise… and yet there seems to be an invisible ceiling above you that you can’t get beyond; a pervasive sense of limitation. YOU WISH YOU COULD GET OVER YOUR INSECURITIES AND GET TO GRIPS WITH THE PRACTICAL SHIT, SO AS TO MAKE A MORE MEANINGFUL CREATIVE CONTRIBUTION IN THE WORLD!

The deeper practical shit which many artists never get right! Here’s the key fodder to cultivate a proper art career – one that expands and flourishes!

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And this is the PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE PACKAGE

THIS FULL RSOA COURSE IS FOR YOU IF: You want to commit now to the full journey – the Real School of Art is a series of 67 lessons; crammed to the edges with inspiration, depth and colour. If you’re looking for a complete course to take you from first tentative sketches … to a vibrant career as the unique creative genius YOU WERE BORN TO BE – this is your course!

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 Stepping into the life of a real artist is challenging, exciting, terrifying: it might turn your world upside-down … and then you might realise that your world was topsy-turvy to begin with!
Entering a committed life as a working artist is something many dream of, but few have the guts to do: in this school I’ll be showing you in bite-sized steps, how to cultivate the courage that it requires, to really embrace YOUR ART PATH.

I am on hand as your guide and arts professional, to support you in your transformation. And in this first phase of the Real School of Art, I’ll be offering one-on-one Skype/ Zoom/ whatever sessions to my students, as an added bonus.

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Come join us!!

Clare xx

6 STRONG REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD STEP INTO THE VOID…

It’s my birthday week again! And this is always a beautiful time to reflect on all that I have, all I’ve achieved, all that is coming true of my dreams.

This year is fricking spectacular: the freedoms I sought when I stepped out of what precious little security I had had in Scotland… The freedom was this, and it is now here, as solid and mysteriously epic and wildly magical as I could’ve ever glimpsed in my visionary imaginings: my own home; the deepest and most fulfilling of loving partnerships; my time filled with art and creative living, love and beauty; my view each day as glorious and inspiring as a panorama could ever be; the liberty to express myself deeply and meaningfully in a great spectrum of ways, as the mood takes me; being rewarded for what I do and am – financially yes, but also with friendship, community, heartfelt appreciation; people being inspired by what I do and believe in; being able to contribute to the world, to the universe, in the fullest of ways that I was born to do…

It’s important for me to reflect on how I got here, and to appreciate how hard I worked for it – how hard it was to get to this: 8 yrs ago when, driving from Scotland with my cat and paintings, all the way to Guardia Sanframondi in Italy… Parking my right-hand drive car – barely remembering which side of the road I was meant to drive on each day… Not knowing even how to pronounce the word for ‘bread’, and walking around the town with that particular sense of vulnerability that comes with being a foreign woman alone in a new country…

It was easy, when I first arrived in Italy, to get drawn deep into the panic of having given up all my taken-for-granted familiarity. Despite the fact that there had been a fire under my arse chasing me to Italy, the first months were full of my dwelling on that familiar discomfort of a place where e.g. I was capable of talking on the phone to resolve a bureaucratic issue… where, even if I was cold and damp and miserable, at least I knew where to buy my vegan-organic goodies, and had friends aplenty to discuss Buddhism and ecstatic birth with.

The superficial mind perpetually seeks stability, pattern, anchoring: if it could, it’d probably put the brain in a jar and have it in a secure room, fed by wires and artificial nutriment. In some ways, we’re heading that way – kids not even allowed to learn from experience that fire burns and falling down on concrete breaks skin; no-one letting germs circulate their home any more; everything packaged and everything truly natural to all intents and purposes outlawed. At the end of the day, it gets good-comfy to be laid back on a soft, sterile sofa with the perfect-coloured cushions, in front of an ever-busy TV screen and munching on sugar and slurping down caffeine to keep us perky – to maintain our ‘interest’ in life.

And it’s nice to have the steady drip of a wage: the knowledge that every single month we will have a familiar amount of money deposited in our lap, which corresponds roughly to the amount that we’ll have to put out into the world. This rhythmic symmetry makes us feel like everything is under control, despite life distractions regularly popping up inconveniently.

What does it mean to throw all that comfort out, and to go out on a limb – to stand at the end of a diving board above a mysterious ocean, and to simply jump: to enter a new country and culture and start a new life from nothing… what happens? What would happen if we gave up all the comforts and trappings, and chose the unknown, the new, the unfamiliar? (Wouldn’t it destroy us? Or fuck our lives up?! Shouldn’t we be fighting with all our domesticated life force, to hold onto what small territory we have?!!)

But seriously: what happens when we up give up an old life and start in a completely new, unfamiliar place? I’ll tell you:

  1. First, it creates a void: a void is something we are all terrified of, and yet it is the space into which the better, the best, the life we REALLY WANT to be living can grow. The void – space to think, feel, to be present in – it’s one of the greatest hidden secrets of our time: the best of us are lured into this mythology of time poverty, and of being full to the brim, overstimulated, and ready for terror, in every moment of every day. We seek all kinds of therapy and antidote to this, from holidays in countries with better weather, to titillation of the senses (hard or soft) and over-indulgence: staying up late or pressing the boundary ever-so-gently, but never stepping outside of it. Ultimately however, we all seek peace and gentleness – we want to be more sensitive and quiet, and we want our day to be full of love and significance: to have this, we need the space, the void. There is no room, otherwise, and to cultivate this space, we have to wean ourselves out of the fear of not being filled up. We have to allow life to open up around and in front of us, rather than clawing to get back in the box we’ve made for ourselves.
  2. It makes us realise what inner resources we have – because we have to actually draw on them; use them. In a comfortable life, we rarely challenge ourselves beyond the fluffy yum-numb of our routine. It feels like fulfilment – but it really isn’t: the human soul needs to experience friction and challenge in order to grow, in the same way a tree needs natural soil and wild weather to get it to its potential.
  3. It makes us see that we can actually reinvent ourselves; change, travel, upheaval – particularly when they are consciously chosen rather than imposed on us – are the most useful of tools to get us to stretch our minds into what we might also be/ achieve/ dream of. Staying at home can be satisfying to a degree, but the longer we don’t stretch our legs or hearts or energy, the more accustomed we become to the atrophied version of our self which we’ve elected to prioritise.
  4. It makes us work hard; on ourselves, on our work, on our life and friendships… There is a profound satisfaction in having to make new connections, networks, structures to hold us; there is the deepest meaning and beauty in our having to build a new household, in having to harmonise a chaotic new reality, in having to learn a language and legal system, cultural and religious norms… And that hard work is more honed than it might be if we are living a stagnant life: it is more specific and necessary. Our compulsion fires up our engine, and gets us more streamlined.
  5. It brings us into a realm of raw creative flow. Most lives are full of complacency, and this sense of ‘this’ being ‘all that there is’ – why bother changing anything, if we already have someone to drink coffee and complain about the weather/ our partner/ our boss with? If someone is telling us where to go each day, and we still get to ‘wild out’ on payday by buying a new pair of shoes, or getting drunk and laughing excessively, why would we want to re-accept the power-that-flows-through-all-things-when-we-are-aligned-with-our-life-purpose?! Hmmmmmmn – I wonder.
  6. Possibly most importantly of all: putting ourselves into a new and challenging situation like moving to another country makes us appreciate the value of things: we see how hard it is to find a thing which before was always a bancomat and a supermarket trip away. We being see how communication is so much more than constructed word formations, and that a smile or being touched on the cheek can be profoundly moving, confirming our place in the world. We learn to enjoy what little we have, essentially, rather than seeking more-more-more without questioning whether a thing is really improving the quality of our life. Perhaps our values can even deepen, in time – especially if we’re immersed in a culture which is more rooted in family, spirituality, friendship and nature…

I wanted to make a statement here; yes, about what the positive side of a challenge like moving abroad can be, but also to remind folks that NONE OF THIS COMES ABOUT EASILY OR INSTANTLY OR BY LUCK – NOR CAN IT BE BOUGHT: it has to be earned, slowly and through hard graft, humility, concerted attention and commitment, love and optimism, and by pushing oneself always to be a better human being. We have to know ourselves, and then too, to know craft and hone this self into the best we can be.

I wanted to remind myself, and to folks who are inspired by what I do: none of this happened here by accident, nor was any of it handed to me on a plate. More importantly is that I came from a place of significant fear, grief, illness and imbalance: I didn’t stride over here in confidence like many people assume, throwing it all together in happy nonchalance… I arrived neurotic and shaking, overwhelmed and reactionary, paranoid and terrified, even: nothing flowed well when I got here, and I hated most things about the country and culture. There was a dark night of the soul where I KNEW that I had fucked up phenomenally: that I’d thrown it all away and had nothing, and that I was a mess-up and useless and had sabotaged my future…

And though things got a tad better when I acquired the house, and began settling my roots into this blessed land and my heart into the community, it didn’t get any easier. There was a good 6 + years of anguish and panic, interspersed with tiny blisses and occasional profound beauty… just enough to keep my spirits above the mire, but not always. I struggled with health and social stresses, with financial fears and the strain of trying to stabilise ideas and feelings in a completely different reality.

I want to express this, even if I am repeating myself over the years, because I know that many people don’t ever change their lives because they think that one should be strong, confident, healthy, in equilibrium, solvent, and sure of what one is doing, to move abroad, or to make a big life change. You don’t, you simply have to do it, e basta.

Happiness, freedom, fulfilment grow like plants in a well-tended garden: they don’t appear overnight; they flourish according to whether or not they are planted, and whether or not it’s in the right season and soil, and the good care and attention given to them. They live to their potential not through one big showy action, but through myriad small ones. They yield fruit according to the accumulation of all these tiny attentions and harmonies – and when they are happy and in the right place and time… the fruit is bountiful – and heavenly delicious… And their seeds go on to produce more and more and more life and growth and fruit.

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Much love and creative power to you, Clare xx

 

ART HOLIDAYS!!

The arthouse now has a series of windows open for folks who love art, and who’d like a one-on-one, individually tailored, painting-with-the-artist holiday: go and see VAWAA’s beautiful site, to hear more about it.

Your holiday will include prior consultation on how we’ll craft your art activity; we’ll hone in on your specific goals and needs.
We design the 4 day session just for you: you can focus on skills development, wild expressive work, creative catharsis, a personal project – or even work completely spontaneously.
I’ll be there throughout, and will also show you around this magical town, in which I’m protagonist of a growing international creative community!

It’ll be a highly inspiring break, guaranteed! A completely unique experience, super-nourishing to your creative spirit!

Please share this blog if you know someone who would love such a holiday!

Keep in touch with all my news, and with the Real School of Art, via PATREON and on THIS WEBSITE

Happy August creative expansion to you!


xx Clare