Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Madonna for Racing 2 Cure

Italian Renaissance Madonna and Child
I fell in love with the Madonna the first time I saw the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. During a violent thunderstorm, the main character, Frances Mayes, played by Dianne Lane, slaps her hand on the beautiful icon of the Madonna that decorates the old bed in her Italian villa. The way she slaps her hand on the icon promises a connection to safety, a connection to one who has borne the worst and survived. Along with Frances, a little owl rides out the storm, sitting safely in her bedroom while the shutters flap in the wild winds and thunder and lightning rage outside. Frances says to the owl, whose feathers are ruffling in the great wind, "You're gonna be okay. You're safe here. Just don't fly around. You creep me out!" The owl, in many cultures, is a harbinger of death because of its silent wings and nighttime activity. It's a bird that is often ostracized by other birds. But owls have their place and purpose. No doubt about it. I love them. It's a great scene, full of hidden meanings. 

This is what Mary is to me: the calm amidst the storm. The quintessential woman who bears the very worst, yet never does her heart grow cold, and never does she lose the ability to love, not only her son, but also those who would do him harm. She has abiding faith in our larger Source of Creation. She has abiding faith in Life itself. She is an example for us to aspire to in cultivating serenity amidst the challenges of our lives.

So when I was asked by a good friend of mine, Brenda Milliken, if I was interested in donating some Dreamkeeper jewelry for the fundraising for Racing 2 Cure, I was delighted to accept, and my first thought was for the families dealing with cancer - the mothers, the children, the fathers, praying for healing and comfort, living with strength and loving with gentle hands throughout all of the challenges inherent in the illness in the bodies of our loved ones. I decided to donate my very first Madonna to this effort, in hopes that she will bring serenity and guard and guide the love within the hearts of those who understand the journey to healing. Sometimes that healing means "going home," and my hope is that this Madonna can be a source of comfort regardless of whether healing means "here," or "there."

The Madonna Necklace
The original painting of this Madonna and Child was attributed to Fra Filippo Lippi (scroll down within the Lippi link to see the full image, it's beautiful) during the Italian Renaissance period - so so many years ago, and yet the message still has meaning. I love the soft colors of this painting, and the rose with the thorns, a depiction of what it is to risk leaving our true home for adventures on beautiful Earth. She's very special.

Agate earrings with a touch of gold.
I made a pair of earrings in case her new caretaker would like something to wear with the necklace. I love working with gemstones, and agate has lovely energetic properties that enhance the energies of the wearer, such as the ability to bring about emotional, physical, and intellectual balance. "They aid in centering and stabilizing physical energy," according to my favorite crystal expert, Judy Hall, in her book, The Crystal Bible

Flat pearls with turquoise and Hill Tribe silver
 And while we're talking about the energy of the feminine, I'll post these beautiful flat pearl earrings, which include Thai Hill Tribe silver accents and little turquoise dangles. Pearls come from the sea, so bring good feminine energies to their wearers.

Black onyx teardrop necklace
I chose to include a beautiful sterling silver wire wrapped black onyx gemstone in this collection for Racing 2 Cure. Onyx brings strength and support during times of enormous mental or physical stress. According to Judy Hall, it helps to center your energy and align it with higher guidance. 

Black onyx teardrop earrings
And again, as a designer, I'm trying to give more thought to what earrings people might like to wear with their necklaces, so I put together these shiny black onyx teardrops - simple, not too "matchy matchy," they'll go with the necklace beautifully. You could also wear anything silver, like hoops, or anything with a little black in it. 

Beautiful blue chalcedony
Let's talk chalcedony. This beautiful transparent blue stone is full of healing energies. It's "a nurturing stone that promotes brotherhood and good will and enhances group stability." It also "absorbs negative energy and then dissipates it to prevent onward transmission." I gave this teardrop a couple of Swarovski crystal friends, in gentle pink and soft, silvery blue.

Pure chalcedony earrings
And I made some sterling wire wrapped blue chalcedony teardrop earrings to go with the necklace in case someone wants a set. They'll bring out the blue in your eyes, along with all the great energetic enhancements.

And last, but never least, I included a couple of sets of my most popular selling item in Dreamkeeper Creations, the set of five cloisonné bracelets.

Brenda's son, CJ will be doing his part for Racing 2 Cure, and I'll be his biggest cheerleader, next to his Mom. Go CJ!!  

Sending love and strength to all those who are experiencing health challenges. May this little bit of money help to bring comfort, and support the mission of finding a cure.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Comforting Thoughts About Jess's New Journeys

Jess and Jen building cairns together.
I came across this article today and found it a nice summary of the information provided by Michael Newton, Ph. D., in his books Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls, both of which I read and enjoyed years ago. (Unfortunately, the article could use some editing, but it's a nice round-up nonetheless.)

I first encountered this information when I lived in Southern California, in a culture which tends to foster open-mindedness and personal experimentation. It wasn't enough for me to just read about these types of experiences, I wanted to find out as much as I could first-hand, so I spent some time practicing meditation and "graduated" to guided past-life regression, then went on to experience several past-life regressions on my own.

I've posted a bit about what I learned, including the discovery of carryover interests and talents, an understanding of past/current relationships and events, and developed clarity about various skills, interests, and habits of my current lifetime. Past-life regression is a very natural process, one which also carries the capability to heal by defusing carryover emotions (fear of fire, water, heights, pain in the body from past-life wounds, etc.).

One of the most helpful things about having done this personal research is the ability to apply its concepts to the recent passing of my beautiful daughter, Jessica, who left this world at the tender age of 26, in January of this year.

Instead of finding myself stuck in the "finality" of death as we are generally taught - in the misery of abandonment and loss, I am able to think of her new journeys with a much more expanded perspective. So, with that in mind, I'd like to share some of the thoughts that bring comfort, even as the human part of myself struggles with her absence - the spiritual part celebrates her ongoing existence, of which I am certain.

Comforting Thoughts About Jess's New Journeys
  • If I could choose a place for my daughter to live, it would be exactly where she is now, surrounded by love, access to learning and mentorship without cost, with a complete absence of danger, a place I can visit and a place to which I belong.
  • I honor my spiritual commitments - knowing we chose the larger events of our lives together coming in, I can remind myself as I do some of the hardest things a mother ever might have to do that I am honoring our agreement. I am working with her, for her, on what we agreed upon.
  • I can release the need for questioning every facet of what happened during her sickness and subsequent surrender.
  • I can release the need to place blame on anyone for the circumstances surrounding her passing.
  • I am profoundly thankful for and appreciative of the grace with which she navigated through the leaving part of her time here.
  • I realize that she's not a child, but a whole, grown-up, eternal, and infinite spirit/soul, and can relate to her in this new capacity, which allows me to release what can be an overwhelming parental sense of needing to protect.
  • I can respect her decisions without judgment or the need to usurp them. 
  • When I am grieving, I can use my awareness to recognize the human part of myself and its yearnings as well as the spiritual part of myself and its abiding comforts.
  • I have a solid understanding that there is no "past, present, or future" except here in this Earthly plane of existence, so I know that this particular relationship with my daughter "is, and always will be." 
  • I hold no regrets about common expectations of a young person's "future," and what they "did not have a chance to experience," because I know that she has as many opportunities as she desires to experience whatever she desires; it is already happening in the eternal now, and some of these experiences include me.
  • I know that she has less limitation and more abilities in her new form, so I can ask for and feel her love when I need to.
  • I know that she is cleansed of the emotional turmoil that accompanied some of her Earthly experiences.
  • I can celebrate the love she widely shared while she was here.
  • I can profoundly admire the courage with which she approached and navigated the challenges she experienced while she was here.
  • I can celebrate our togetherness as well as our independence and interdependence.
Jess - Self-portrait happy dancin'
I still have to work with my Earthly self to create balance in my emotional self. The Earthly part of myself cries and misses her, and I have to work hard to care enough to stay and work on my own journeys. It is challenging here, but there are many joys to focus and work on, and the bottom line is that not only do I need to honor the commitment we made together when she was born, I have to also honor the commitments I made alone and with others when I was born. 

So I carry on, with spiritual joy and human sadness, along with a profound sense of wonder at the magnificence of life in all its forms.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It's a party with no rules!

Mad Hatter Glass Cabochon
Magic! Eat me, drink me, and you can grow large or small! 

I'm late, I'm late, for a Very Important date!

I LOVE the Adventures of Alice in Wonderland - the stories, the history, the imagery, and all of the wonderful characters Alice gets to meet. 

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I chose this cabochon image of the Mad Hatter at his tea party to embellish, and it was a GOOD TIME!

I've read the stories, enjoyed the fantastic images done by a number of really talented illustrators, and loved the movie where Johnny Depp did what only Johnny Depp can do with a character - creepy and colorful and lovable all at the same time.

So I had a good time choosing the colors that would go into the embellishment of this cabochon necklace, and I had a rough idea of how I would combine them, but my muse must have been dancing with the Mad Hatter because after I'd calmly done most of the green border, she suddenly reminded me that the Mad Hatter is all about breaking the rules - what is, isn't and such. So I found myself choosing not more green, but wild red instead as I sewed and sewed tiny peyote stitching around the glass cabochon image. I noticed the Mad Hatter's hair is very orange, while his jacket is quite red, so I combined them with abandon, then moved on to the blue, for the blue band around his hat.

The fringe begins on the right, short and fluffy with some flowers and leaves.
Then I started the fringe, which I'd imagined nicely symmetrical and balanced, but my muse, in cahoots with the Hatter, was having none of that. Into my hands jumped tiny Czech flowers and leaves, because his tea party's outside, and my muse directed me to PLAY as I worked my way around the bottom, choosing all manner of Dr. Seuss-like patterns in each fringe strand. 

And ends on the left, asymmetrically, having collected
some divine orange and red tea-r-drops along the way.
It's fluffy and floofy and fun!

Hangs about mid-chest, crazy wonderfully.
Showing off the necklace patterns.
The necklace part is 23 inches, and slips right over your head, to hang about mid-chest. The patterns in the necklace are also Dr. Seuss-like, because he was also one who knew so well how to bridge the worlds of imagination and reality to craft a really enchanting story.

Total length of necklace including the embellished cabochon and fringe is about 27 inches.

It's backed by soft royal blue ultrasuede, and sewn with FireLine throughout, which is very strong so it'll last a long, long time. 

Next I'm doing the Queen, and I just ordered two new collage sheets chock a block full of my favorite characters from this timeless story - the white rabbit, the cards, the caterpillar, and Alice on many wondrous adventures, can't wait to work on them!

This one is currently up in DreamkeeperCreations on Etsy, but I'll wear it just once in a few days, (I always test my creations) when we get to attend the Mad Hatter Tea Party, a membership event hosted by the Bellefonte Art Museum, where we'll experience High Tea with scrumptious edibles, and visits from some of the characters from this beloved story book. I think the event is certain to help me to grow larger, but I'll need to use my imagination for growing smaller, or maybe go  to  the      gym....

Happy summer adventures!