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What I Really Want To Tell You 10/12/17

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Today what I really want to tell you is how there was a bee in my hood this morning that stung me repeatedly right before my run. I really want to tell you how I just knew I would be allergic and wanted to use it as an excuse to skip the exercise. That for the first mile of trotting with my dog I could barely breath and I kept telling myself it must be the stings and that I should just quit, go home, try another day.

I really want to tell you that in some ways this has become a habit. Over the past few years if the conditions aren’t perfect or I’m feeling slightly off I don’t do the work I need to do. I distract myself with other busy work. I give myself the safety of not failing by sometimes simply not trying.

I really want to tell you that it hasn’t always been this way and I’m not even sure when or how it began. It might have been as a result of losses or other failures and honestly at the end of the day I’m not even sure the why is relevant. The fact that this has become an option for me however is.

I really want to tell you how I kept running this morning. The breath came and I found my stride. The conditions shifted to meet me or I them and it was a beautiful run. I went for 4 miles, further than intended, and could have continued.

I really want to tell you that I’m re-creating this habit of continuing to go in other areas too. Of forcing myself to move forward and risk failure in order to achieve success.

Finally I want to tell you about my new studio and the white walls and the blank slate and all of the possibilities I see for it. But instead I’m not going to talk the talk here, I’m going to walk the walk there. I’m off to create and promise to be back in touch soon.

Last week I asked what you really wanted to tell me and I heard so many amazing things from people. I heard about the importance of financial planning, people’s passion projects, just words of love so I’m asking again. Is there anything you really want to tell me?

What I Really Want To Tell You...

cassiacogger

What I really want to tell you is how grateful I am that you are here. That you take the time to read my words as I share my thoughts. To view my art. To see me.

I want to tell you that but I also want to tell you so much more. 

What I really want to tell you is I don’t have it all together all or even some of the time. Yesterday as I grabbed a cup of soup with a girlfriend she asked me how I did it. How I “had it all together”? I laughed as I looked at her and her beautifully groomed hair and lovely clothing and answered that I was wearing a hoodie because I had yet to put a bra on for the day, that truth be told I had been wearing the same leggings morning, noon and night for three days straight and my hat was hiding some braids from the day before because I hadn’t brushed it yet even though it was 1:30 in the afternoon. That my priorities just vary from others and I have come to accept that. I pick and choose and more often than not I choose immediate interaction with my husband and children over blow drying my hair and a few marks in my sketchbook over sweeping the floor. 

What I really want to tell you is that motion without progress is exhausting. To move for the sake of moving, to do something without intention or direction, wears a girl out. What’s the gazinta my bestie always asks me and more and more if I don’t have an answer that satisfies me I’m letting it go. We all have a finite amount of energy and we must spend it wisely.

What I really want to tell you is sometimes it’s ok to be quiet as you sit back and take a moment. Maybe to figure things out, maybe to savor that which you have already resolved. Not only is it ok, it is necessary. This is what I have been doing as I work to reconnect to my voice as an artist and as a human. As I struggle to clarify exactly who I am and what I want to do with my precious time here.

What I really want to tell you is that art heals. Viewing art and making art. When you allow it, when you give yourself over to the process, it can shift so much. Viewing a painting or sculpture can bring you in to your environment allowing you to connect more deeply to that which surrounds you. Making an artwork, the tactile experiences of sight and sound and touch and smell activate the body and allow you to really marvel at your experience as an energy in this human shell.

What I really want to tell you is that if you have a yearning, an urge, a question that repeats itself again and again act on it. Try the new activity, walk in to the unknown, get curious about the question and work on answering it.

What I really want to tell you is I love this Hawaiian prayer Ho’Oponopono. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. It’s applicable in so many moments each and every day.

What I really want to tell you is that after you’ve taken a moment to be quiet it’s ok to find you words again and share them. Let them flow. Don’t edit yourself as you begin, just say what needs to be said and if something comes out wrong refer to the above ( I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.) and try again.

What I really want to tell you is that as I type this I’m questioning if I should be. Who am I to “tell” you anything? Wondering if these words even make sense. This is what has happened again and again over the months as I have attempted to return to a regular weekly sharing process. Until today, the doubt has won and I have fallen silent until I sit down a few weeks later and try again and the cycle repeats.

What I really want to tell you is everything really is a cycle. I want to end by saying I’m so grateful you are here. That you take the time to read my words as I share my thoughts. To view my art. To see me.

p.s. What I really want to tell you was inspired by an exercise with Angie Wiseman and her Wild Writing class (her business name is Soulshine Studio) and the picture of me above was taken by my amazing new studio mate Katie Russo and the gallery she shared it with me in was called Soulshine. There are messages all around us if we only pay attention. I’m doing whatever I can to let my soul shine. I’m inviting you to do the same.

On Not Making the Strawberry Jam

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The temperatures are hot and the humidity snuck up out of nowhere. We are T-4 days until summer vacation. Where I live this means one thing and one thing alone, it is strawberry season.(ok that might be dramatic, there are other things too but strawberry season is a big damn deal as it should be.) Families arrived to the fields by the car load last weekend and filled flat after flat.

My online feeds are clogged with pics of bright red succulent berries, talk of cleaning and freezing the berries, then more pics with stacks and stacks of little jars of jam. Everyone it seems is trying to “capture” this fleeting period in a jar.  

It had me questioning if I should be making jam too. Mind you I never have, we don’t eat jelly in our house, and I have only ever canned once in my life. Still as I see the pictures and I hear the talk I can’t help but feel a slight panic rise in me as I wonder if I or worse yet my kids are missing out. If I should be donning my apron and firing up the big pot and getting to work on something that would surely be a tasty treat.

It had me questioning and then I stopped. If I decided to make the jam I would have to give up making something else; Paintings in my studio, embroidery on the couch, tree climbing memories with my children. It would prevent me from doing the work I am really here to do. The work that lights me up. The work that when I am lucky lights you up too.

So I’m not going to make the strawberry jam. I’ll drive down the hill and buy some from a farm stand that can make it far better than I ever could and spend that time making art instead.

How about you?

From Chaos to Calm Through Creative Expression

that's me holding the advance of my book right after it arrived last week:)

that's me holding the advance of my book right after it arrived last week:)

From chaos to calm through creative expression, yes really. This is not only possible it is my reality. Paintings as prayers, mark making as meditations. These simple acts allow me time to process and parse my experiences in the world around me and I believe can help others, yes you, do the same.

I didn’t realize this was the case until my creative practice started to fall to the wayside. A wonderful daughter followed by an amazing son in tandem with an online business outside of the artistic realm led to my energies focusing elsewhere. Slowly but surely it began to feel like life swirled around me. I felt increasingly lost and slightly disconnected. We moved across country to a new town with a brand new community and I began to feel like nobody knew the real me. I was not fully, or even partially expressed.

After a life of painting and artistry I lost myself. I got busy in the day to day, the here to there, the need to go, go, go. I forgot how to create, how to express. I forgot how to sit still. I forgot myself, but I knew I was still there and I craved to reconnect.

Through one experience then the next I found my way back to myself.  I stumbled upon sacred geometry. As I began to explore it calm began to return to what felt like the chaos in my body. One night I pulled out a compass, drew a circle and everything started to fall in to place. I literally began to reconnect to parts of myself, the creative, expressive soul inside in a way I never thought possible.

This was the space in which my Story Circles were initially created. It was here that the seeds for “Creating Personal Mandalas” were planted.

This combination of simple, sacred geometry (shapes and symbols, balance and symmetry that exists in nature and the universe at large), basic knowledge of the mandala (circular drawings), and my deep artistic background opened the gates to back myself in a profound way.

For the first time I consciously realized I could find healing through creative expression and connection with self, through a blend of geometry, drawing and visual story telling? I also realized anyone could regardless of their abilities. 

Fast forward 4 years. My creative practice has grown and shifted. My Story Circles remain an integral part of it and have taken various directions in numerous mediums. I developed my Story Circles class shortly after developing the personal practice and have taught it many times. I am now on the cusp of the release of my first book, “Creating Personal Mandalas: Story Circle Techniques in Watercolor and Mixed Media” sharing all that I have learned and guiding you on your own journey in creative expression and self connection.

As I sit and reflect I know that one truly can move from chaos to calm through creative expression and just want to say if you’re interested in exploring I’m happy to show you the way…

*I you’re interested in exploring there is a free chapter including 2 two step by step creative exercises from “Creating Personal Mandalas” available as a download here.
 

 

Permission to Share

Cassia Cogger Circle as True North

As you may know by now, I have a new book, Creating Personal Mandalas, Story Circle Techniques in Mixed Media and Watercolor, coming out this Spring (I'm pretty excited!!!). I have been working on it for a year and a half and in a little over a month it will be shipping out to the world! I have poured hours and days and love and tears in to this book and I am so excited to share it with anyone who is interested in receiving the gifts it has to offer.

It explores the circle as a vessel for creative expression, self connection, visual story telling and so much more. It is an art instructional but also a guide back to center for those willing to embark on the creative journey. It is permission and direction with step by step instructional for those wanting to creatively express but feeling like they might not know where to begin. For those that do it is a collection of prompts and inquiries to send you on your own creative way.

Why am I sharing all of this? Because I just received permission to share an entire chapter, including two step by step instructional exercises with you. I believe art is for anybody willing to engage and explore and this offering allows me to make the book, at least in part, available to anybody interested as well.

The chapter I will be sharing is titled "The Circle as True North" and shares some of my own personal experiences surrounding values as well as one mixed media and one watercolor instructional. The instructional guide you in exploring that which is important to you while simultaneously exploring creative expression and offers technical direction for those that crave it.

Please accept this gift by signing up and let me know how the exercises go for you. I would be so honored...