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Treat the Ordinary as Though It Were Divine, by Tori Press

It’s easy to seek inspiration and divinity in a beautiful or majestic setting, in a great work of art or a brilliant creation of nature, in the things we rarely see and experience in life, in the moments we highlight, cling to, latch onto. But what is the divine? Do peace and joy and divinity live only in life’s peak moments? Or are they everywhere, all around us, waiting to be noticed and appreciated and tapped into? 

I live in Los Angeles, where there is no event more ordinary and mundane and frustrating than sitting in a traffic jam. I like to try to find the divine when I am sitting in traffic, when there is nothing else to do.

I gas and brake and gas and brake and follow my breath, the movement of my foot between the pedals of my car. I notice how I grip the steering wheel; I notice when I am starting to feel tense and anxious, angry and frustrated. I breathe out my tension, my frustration. I will arrive at my destination when I arrive.

I notice the way sunlight dances off the windows of the cars in front of me, the way palm fronds ripple and wave in the breeze, the way you can see the mountains in the distance on a clear day. There’s beauty in the rainbow of cars around me, in the rich and vibrant lives of the humans driving them. There’s compassion for the angry driver who cut me off a minute ago; there’s a choice to react to him not with more anger, but with gentle yielding.

There’s a sense that I am a part of a joyous, orgasmic universe experiencing itself, experiencing this daily ritual of sitting in a snarl of traffic on the 405 with my fellow Angelenos, all in this together, whether we acknowledge it or not. The only thing stopping your ordinary experience from becoming a divine one is the way you perceive it.

About Tori Press

Tori Press is a freelance artist and writer who focuses on mental health, mindfulness, and self-compassion. Her drawings about the joys and struggles of the human experience have been featured in several publications, including the Huffington Post and A Plus. Tori lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and two children. Visit her at revelatori.com and on Instagram.

Love Foothold, by Shirley V. Ting

I thought of this idea and image while I was talking to friends about our loves and search for love in our late twenties and early thirties. Some friends settled for “good enough,” while others wanted more and had a list so stringent I myself would not pass.

Some of my girlfriends married men just because they happened to be there and were single. And some male friends did the same: they chose someone compatible, even though there wasn’t any excitement.

I wondered if maybe we’d all felt pressured to find someone to love just because that was what was expected at that point in our lives. This was the next stage, and it would have meant there was something wrong with us if we weren’t paired up.

But why would anyone want a love that wasn’t right for them, just to fill what’s missing? And why would anyone want to be that for someone else? That’s just asking for more heartache, I thought.

This painting embodies that floating, running around, searching and trying to find the perfect heart or love. Looking back, I wonder if maybe the process starts with loving one’s self so there’s no emptiness, no void, no discontent, no need to fill the gap or be the gap filler. Who knows? Everyone has a different heart.

Sing Our Song, Lyrics by Helen Brennand, Performed by Ambiere

 

The lyrics to “Sing Our Song” were inspired by my equine companions and our first experience of deep communication, which began in 2012 after the loss of a child. They healed my grief, heartache, and guilt with a generosity that far surpassed anything I had ever experienced. I went on to share what I heard and learned during that time and, in their honor, founded “The Haven,” a center dedicated to horses and their spirit.

I wrote the song lyrics in late July last year as I sat with the herd enjoying the fresh morning breeze of a warm summer day. I could feel the beating pulse of inspiration, as I always do, when they have energy and messages to share. On this particular day it was a compelling and invigorating feeling drawing me in, mixed with the illusive beat of hidden charisma.

Delicately they arranged themselves around me in a semi-circle. I was spellbound by their beautiful faces and bright, attentive eyes, wide and glistening, filled with the pure intention of unconditional love mirrored from their hearts. Something unusual happened as I wrote. At first I thought it was a poem but soon realized it was a song and was offered on behalf of all animals as a collective.

Their words are reaching out to us as our world is dying and we witness species of animals becoming extinct daily. I could feel them asking us to stop for a moment to observe and listen to the wisdom of the animal kingdom. Silently, they are singing to us the most beautiful song.

Knowing of the challenges we face, they offer their spirits as inspiration. Their only wish is to help draw us back to love and unity. My heart ached as I listened to their honesty, knowing, and forgiveness toward humanity and the seamless vision they share of us all flying together as one flock.

About Helen Brennand

Helen Brennand is an author and equine professional based in England. She is an accomplished rider, trainer, and holistic therapist who has a passion for horse welfare. Helen now dedicates her time to the center she founded to ensure a lasting, safe place where a horse’s inner wisdom is free to be released and allowed to shine. Follow Helen on Facebook.

Sacred Garden and Sacred Tree, by Sonia Koch

Jardin Sagrado (Sacred Garden) reminds me that all (love, peace, and creativity) is inside of me, and that my external reality is a reflection of what I have created inside of me.

I painted Pipal (Sacred Tree) to express my view that beautiful beings give us so many gifts without asking for anything in return. They show us the cycles of life, the permanence and impermanence, and they give us calm, strength, and abundance. I love trees!

I would like for my artwork to connect the viewer with his own soul and open the window that looks at life with joy, excitement, and wonder. That would give a new sense to my art, beyond the happiness that it gives me every day.

My creative process is so intuitive, and I find inspiration in many things, such as love, motherhood, the sacred geometry of nature, nature, and my place in it. In this series of paintings, I was inspired by the Mandala and textiles of oriental origin, to create colorful floral and plant surfaces such as textile patchworks that revolve around a center.

Color is essential in my artwork, as nature is multicolored. In my work I feel the need to capture that vitality through intense and light colors.

The rigor of drawing and painting in acrylic on canvas or paper facilitates my expression.

About Sonia Koch

Sonia Koch studied at the University of Chili, where she received a degree in design. Her first solo art exhibition, Suenos de Mujer, was in 2002. Since then she has participated in many more individual and collective exhibitions within Chili and abroad. Her art has been featured on the cover and inside of the Latin Version Louise Hay datebook for the last four years.

Still, a Meditative Reflection of Music and Silence, Performed by Rhonda Rizzo

“Still”—a meditative exploration of music and silence. Written by Dana Libonati and performed by me, Rhonda Rizzo, this tender piano solo is a short, beautiful reminder of the things that truly matter in life: friendship, compassion, and the gift of music.

In this piece I hear all the years of friendship I’ve shared with Dana Libonati—how he helped me through my divorce, how I was there as he battled cancer, and how we’re connected by our shared passion for music, spirituality, and telling the truth.

About Rhonda Rizzo

Rhonda Rizzo is a performing and recording pianist and author. She has released four CDs, Made in America, Oregon Impressions: the Piano Music of Dave Deason, 2 to Tango: Music for Piano Duet, and A Spin on It, and has written numerous articles and a novel, The Waco Variations. She blogs about and records new music at www.nodeadguys.com.

Excavating My True Self, by Tori Press

This is a drawing about the layers we build around ourselves, the way we bury our true selves so deeply and effectively beneath the surface that we can become lost even to ourselves.

We start at the top, at the outermost layer that everyone can see—your groomed and cultivated external appearance, over which you have control and with which you can make a statement about who you are. Below that, you’re influenced by the culture in which you live, the unconscious messaging you may have been absorbing for years of your life, your personal experiences, the beliefs and biases you’ve formed about the world, the way you speak to yourself in your own head—often without even realizing It. 

I’ve learned that clinging to any of the upper layers means clinging to a version of myself that’s not authentic, that’s not real. Whether I am latching onto the belief that I am my most superficial, carefully curated, external self, or to the more subtle, sinister, and convincing belief that I’m all the things my self-talk says I am—either way, I am not seeing my authentic self.

My true self is that quietly steady part of me that is the observer, the voice separate from any perception or influence. The part that has always known itself, but may have forgotten itself or experienced fear in revealing itself to the outside world. 

About Tori Press

Tori Press is a freelance artist and writer who focuses on mental health, mindfulness, and self-compassion. Her drawings about the joys and struggles of the human experience have been featured in several publications, including the Huffington Post and A Plus. Tori lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and two children. Visit her at revelatori.com and on Instagram.

Love, Child, Love, by Leslie Ralph

Nature always leaves me filled with awe and feeling so much closer to my truest self. In nature, I see that freedom and peace are possible for me. I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and freedom lately, and any way I look at it, I come to the same conclusion that the way through fear to freedom is love. Love is the first step and the final destination when we’re seeking clarity, healing, or self-discovery.

The words Love, Child. Love. came to me while journaling one day. They were not my own words but resonated with me deeply and have since inspired much of my recent art and writing. As I reflected on these words, it seemed to me that these are the words of Mother Earth herself. This is what nature’s saying when I’m in awe of her presence, and these are her instructions on finding true freedom in my life.

About Leslie Ralph

Leslie is writer and artist who hopes to leave the world a little brighter than she found it. Her people are soul-searchers, deep feelers, and big-hearted dreamers that crave inner peace and inner truth. Download her free ritual for receiving to bring true healing, inner peace, and lasting joy into your life.

Stop Breathe Let Go, a Short Film by Tiffany Bellinger

I conceived the idea for “Stop Breathe Let Go” after I attended my first breathwork class in Atlanta. I didn’t know what to expect from breath work, but I assumed it was in the same family as meditation, so I gave it a shot. By the end of the class I felt as light as a feather. My mind was clear and I was feeling the love. At this point, I was curious to try other practices that used the breath as an anchor to connect with my true feelings. Something that helps us stop, breathe, and let go. Ding, ding, ding!

To keep the production simple, I used an iPhone and collaborated with a talented animator. The film screened at the Awareness and REEL Recovery Film Festivals in 2018 and remains popular in the mindfulness communities.

About Tiffany Bellinger

Tiffany Bellinger is the director of the short film “Stop Breathe Let Go.” She conceived the idea for the film after her first experience at a breathwork circle. She continues to explore holistic practices that help us become more aware and mindful. Visit www.stopbreatheletgo.com or www.facebook.com/stopbreatheletgo to learn more about the film.

Self-Love Is Never Selfish, by KJ Hutchings

When I painted Self-Love Is Never Selfish, I was thinking about how many of us grow up believing self-love is a form of arrogance or conceit, that we should love other people but not ourselves.

I was no different in that respect, but over the years I’ve come to realize that self-love is anything but selfish.

When we love ourselves, we are able to love others in a more open, selfless, and healthy way. We don’t demand love in return, or feel unworthy of love. We’re also far more pleasant to be around. Treat yourself well and you’ll automatically treat others well too.

I wanted to convey in my painting that self-love is a gift we should all give ourselves. Because, after all, the most important relationship we will ever have in our life is the relationship we have with ourselves.

About KJ Hutchings

KJ Hutchings is a fiction and self-help writer and artist. Much of her work focuses on women’s self-empowerment, self-esteem and creativity, as well as relationship issues. Visit her site kjhutchings.com to get 25% off any artwork in her online shop, free fiction and chances to win heartfelt original paintings. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Speak Love Without Words, by Kevin Thompson

Drawing simple notes helps me focus on others in an intentional way. By spending time creating something by hand, I am able to surround others with love and kindness.

By creating a grin, by affording a grace, or by a simple acknowledgement to gratitude, the world, or at least the world of another, is made brighter. Sometimes they are simple. Sometimes they are flawed by commercial standards, but they are always done way that intends to bring joy into the world. One smile at a time.

About Kevin Thompson

Kevin Thompson received his B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Tennessee. He works in the express tunnel car wash industry as a district manager, writes for restingtimes.com, and operates Compassion Waves Card Company. His experiences range from working to manage million dollar markets to wondering the streets with little money or hope.

Comforting Realms, by Marianne McGuire

“Comforting Realms” came from my lifelong experience of oneness with all beings, which is available for all who wish to access it. I believe that art can be used as a portal through which we can all feel our universal consciousness. On this magical journey, we move from the shadow toward the light where there is no duality, no separation between the individual and the universal.

It is my deep desire to create art that acts as an invitation to the viewer, to beckon you into the painting, into the energy of the image so that you too can explore another realm. So you can be drawn into the light through a meditative state and feel the scintillating peace, comfort, and excitement of oneness, and connect with your spirit and the truth of who you really are.

Painting what I feel when I am ‘in beingness’ is my passion. My mission is to connect with the beauty that already exists all around us—within and without—to inspire and uplift those who own my pieces.

When I am standing in front of the easel, all that matters is being awareness. That’s where the inspiration comes from; that’s where the beauty comes from. When I paint, it’s from a state of presence. I imbue my pieces with this energy so the viewer can be drawn in and “enter” the now more easily.

Because I connect with this space before and while creating my paintings, they are birthed for here, and that’s why your true self—beyond your conditioning—responds to these paintings. My desire is for you to allow yourself to feel this magical energy and experience presence and oneness in your everyday life.

*Oil on Canvas, Height 30 x Width 40 inches. Limited Edition, signed Fine Art Canvas Prints available.

About Marianne McGuire

Marianne McGuire studied History of Art, managed a fine art gallery, worked in fine art auctioneering, and has been an artist since she was eighteen. She has exhibited in galleries and sold her work at fine art auctions. Her work is in private collections around the world. Her art reflects her lifelong love of metaphysics and transformation. Visit her at MarianneMcGuire.com, LetGoAndKnow.com, and DeeperDestiny.com.

“Your Light” Musical Storybook, by Jillian Aversa

My inspiration for writing the musical storybook “Your Light” came from my journey into new motherhood. I wanted to do something special for my daughter—and with my musical background, writing a lullaby was a natural fit. But to make the tribute more interactive, I decided that turning the text into lyrics for a picture book would create something we could share together for many years to come.

I found the experience of creating this project during the fall and winter months to be healing because creativity is a welcome distraction from my seasonal depression (“Seasonal Affective Disorder”).

About Jillian Aversa

Author and new mother Jillian Aversa is an award-winning vocalist and composer, drawing musical inspiration from the beauty and grandeur of nature. Learn more about her at www.JillianAversa.com.

Nature Spirit by Maria Beadell

A trip to Canada inspired this piece. I was blown away by the awe and beauty and uncontrolled majesty of nature when traveling through the wilds of British Columbia, and this painting tries to combine these feelings into a mythical scene.

At the centre of the piece is ‘wolf-woman’—a symbol of wild, authentic femininity. She is emerging from the lake, from the depths of the Earth, from Gaia herself. She is beautiful and wise, her steely glare reminding us all that she is the boss, and we can tap into her energy when we need to.

About Maria Beadell

Maria is a self-taught painter. Her mission is to help people own their power, love themselves, and let go through empowering portraiture. Her painting commissions feature elements of fantasy and the surreal and are always vibrant and full of character. You can see her work here at www.mariainpaint.com and on Instagram and Facebook.

When In Doubt, Breathe In, Breathe Out, by Sneha

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Whenever I feel anxious, deep breathing helps me find my center, stay calm, and put things in perspective. We might not always have time to meditate, but we can always take a few deep breaths to help clear our mind, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

About Sneha

Sneha is a dreamer who is now exploring herself as an artist and trying and learning different things. She has recently created an artwork page on Instagram and on Facebook. She would not say she is great at it, but she's growing and improving day by day.

Sacred Space by Tahlee Rouillon

As an empath and highly sensitive person, I’ve always found nature to be exquisitely healing. I forget often. I spend too much time on the computer, or all up in my own head. And then I step outside and remember. It’s incredible how much connecting to nature helps me feel connected to my eternal, wisest self.

Which is why I wanted to celebrate this connection with a film clip to accompany my latest meditones album, Sacred Space. It’s a one hour long meditones album for sensitive souls who want to connect with the infinite within.

Creating the film clip was a wild & holy experience. Over three days, myself and cinematographers, Trent & Jessie Rouillon travelled along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. We surrendered our plans, and let intuition guide us. And because of that, we discovered sunrises across deep, verdant valleys; I danced on clifftops, the vibrations of pounding waves reverberating in my feet; windswept, frozen & in awe as the sun set and a million stars shimmered above.

Every time I see this film clip, I get goosebumps. It feels like a creation beyond me, even more so than the music I channelled for the album. In deep gratitude for this beautiful planet we call home.

About Tahlee Rouillon

Tahlee Rouillon is a music composer & founder of Sonesence. She creates sonic sanctuaries for empaths & sensitive souls through her soothing meditones music. When heard with headphones, meditones create calm brain waves effortlessly; perfect for sensitive souls struggling in an overwhelming world. Tahlee also loves forests, friends, good food, Instagram, and laughing out loud. Real loud. When you hear it, you’ll know.

Be Wild by Jen Picicci

This painting is called Be Wild and is one in a series called “Advice From Trees.”

When I make art, I usually don’t plan much. I pick out colors that call to me, then get to work with no real sketching or idea of how it will turn out. Once I completed the swirling background on this piece, the words “be wild” came to me, and the tree just flowed through me.

When I’m painting the world drops away. If I’ve been sad or anxious or ruminating about something, it disappears when I paint. I’m so in the moment that time seems to stop, yet when I look up, I can’t believe how late it is.

I wouldn’t say painting makes me happy, exactly, not in the smiling, bubbly kind of way, but it makes me still and present and I feel deeply, deeply content. It’s an anchor for me, a beacon, the thing I know I can go to when I’m feeling out of sorts.  I hope when people see my work, they can feel some of that peace as well.

About Jen Picicci

Jen Picicci is an artist, writer, and teacher living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She’s currently obsessed with creating whimsical watercolor landscapes and teaching women how to hear their own inner wisdom. To see her art, follow her on social media, or take her self-study Inner Guidance 101 class, visit www.JenPicicci.com.

Seeking Warmth from the Comfort of My Spirit by Rita Loyd

The inspiration to paint this image came after reflecting upon Buddhist philosophy and realizing that I am my own refuge; I can return home to myself in the present moment any time that I need. My inner-sanctuary is always with me.

About Rita Loyd

Rita Loyd is a watercolor artist and writer. Her work is about nurturing unconditional self-love. Her art has appeared on over 100 magazine covers including Science of Mind. For more healing art and tools that will help you nurture unconditional self-love, visit NurturingArt.com. She also has an interview series here called The Power of Healing Art: Interviews with my Favorite Artist.

Golden Buddha by Mélissa Bordeaux

East Meets West ~ Inspired by Eastern philosophy and my travels through Asia, this collection consists of acrylic and mixed media paintings detailed with Swarovski crystals. Some of the pieces are adorned with thousands of crystals which I apply one by one in a meditative state. The peacefulness I experience from this creative process transcends to the images, as my vision is to create art that captures light, draws you in, and radiates a sense of tranquility.

About Melissa Bordeaux

Expressing emotion through visual art is Melissa's labor of love. The bulk of her work has been influenced by Eastern philosophy, as she spends her time between Vancouver and Thailand. She is inspired by her surroundings, travels, and the process of transformation, and wishes to share this experience with the world. Visit her at MelissaBordeaux.com and at Instagram.com/MelissaBordeaux.

Pretty Pistol Designs by Jane Zacny

Lately I’ve been very inspired by and interested in Asian culture and art, and I’ve discovered an interest in bohemian culture and art as well. So, in much of my work lately you’ll see Japanese-inspired images as well as bohemian-inspired imagery, such as the hamsa and the Buddha with the japanese cherry blossom tree. That one has become my favorite next to my cat in the cherry blossom tree with a midnight summer in the background.

A lot of my new art revolves around my past and discovering myself again as I try to heal myself through meditation and yoga.  I hope people take a liking to my work and also have some sort of understanding and can relate to the meaning behind it.

About Jane Zacny

You can find more of Jane's work at facebook.com/PrettyPistolDesigns.

Laho, Beautiful Electronic Music by Adrien Grellet

I spent the last ten years producing electronic music. My music reached a unique and new point, through one track: Laho. It starts with three chords I was using to meditate with my piano, playing them extremely slowly.

This track is something I feel beyond my person, and beyond art. It is hard to describe with words. I often spend one year on a track, but this one came out in one day. Some people were simply relaxed by it, but some others were somehow healed, and apparently use it on a daily or weekly basis, to reload their energy, and to refocus, somehow.

About Adrien Grellet

Adrien has had three things in his life for many years now: spirituality, mathematics, and music. He's been playing piano and guitar for more than fifteen years, and also drums in some bands. He's been meditating on a daily basis for the last ten years. His being is gradually choosing love over fear. You can find on Sound Cloud and Facebook.