Posts Tagged ‘Tattoos’

Integration Lifetimes and the Splitting of the Worlds

I keep thinking about Inelia Benz’s recent post, “The Splitting of the Worlds –Coming to a planet near You!” , urging people to consider an option besides simple light or dark … positive or negative. According to Inelia — and I had previously written about this, too:

“The physical separation is really up on the human collective mind right now. I would say, for now, just observe it.

“As I observe it, and this is something that is coming out in the Interview with a Psychic Assassin book, there is a third option manifesting. It’s is so outside of our reality scale that it needs to be observed.

“Basically, light and dark can and do exist without the other. In fact, that’s the only way they can exist. We can see both because there is both existing separately from each other in our world. There is also a reality where neither exists.

“And something that is just appearing in our awareness, is a reality where they both exist as One. Not light and dark making grey, but making a color that is not in our spectrum. Not a reality where they neutralize or mesh, but where a new element emerges.”

This third option has the potential to transcend the duality and extremes currently thrashing collective consensus reality. It’s akin to what I’ve called an “Integration Lifetime,” in which the goal isn’t fixing a single relationship or issue, or succeeding at a particular career, or evening the score; no, it’s much more complicated and yet infinitely simpler than all that! Integration Lifetimes (and there are millions here living them right now in microcosm of larger processes on our planet) aim to reclaim all the disparate facets of our multi-dimensional beings and empower ourselves to live and be in the world but not of it. Even that phrase fails to reflect all the subtleties of an Integration Lifetime, because once you find that new set point and way of being, you can suddenly afford to be “of” the world, too. The weight of the world won’t weigh you down.

The integration process begins with dis-integration, which is why I encounter so many of you as Medical Intuitive clients! Life falls apart in ways that prohibit you from using bandaids, splints and crutches as permanent cures. After the dis-integration comes a period of the Void. You’ve lost everything you thought you knew and were, but you can’t see or feel or know what’s coming, because “it” remains so far off your radar that you miss “it,” even when “it” begins to permeate your being. The Void can last awhile. However long it lasts, it feels uncomfortable. The sooner you embrace that discomfort of uncertainty, the sooner you notice something massive, healing and deeply nourishing moving through your life. It seems murky at first, hidden in the shadows, and in fact, Shadow Work becomes an important part of moving from the Void into the New.

Shadow Work requires great courage and fortitude, but it offers great rewards, as well. You begin to recognize the eternal parts of yourself, even as you catch flickers of new versions of you that look and feel vaguely familiar, yet somehow more whole, grounded and vast. For some people who tend to live very multi-dimensionally, such integration can even include making peace with linear time and the rational mind. For most people, it requires exploring (and sometimes even mastering) the concepts, ideas and skills that you find scary and repulsive. It’s not about right/left or right/wrong. Nor is it just a blob of formless, mindless goo. Real integration is about options, choices and responsible co-creation.

Most teachings on the Law of Attraction suggest that we must only focus on that which we desire, so that we don’t send ourselves into the downward spiral of “miscreation.” Although it sounds good to focus only on the positive and that which we do want, it actually takes tremendous energy and mental gymnastics to attempt to ignore things we’d rather not experience. The tricky part is that not everyone’s living in the same type of incarnation. People on a “regular” lifetime can leave their Shadows for dealing with another time. People here on Integration Lifetimes, by contrast, find that when they ignore Shadows, the Shadows get bigger, more threatening, and scream for more and more attention.

As a Medical Intuitive, I see so much of this dynamic play out in complex, chronic health crises, especially Lyme Disease, brain injury, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, endocrine disruption, and various autoimmune conditions. These sorts of conditions can easily become a game of whack-a-mole, which so perfectly mirrors the larger world right now with its myriad crises and intertwining rabbit holes. Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on one symptom or corrupt group, another three blindside you — screaming even louder for attention. Most days during the week, I speak with at least one, sometimes several people who confess that they are paralyzed by the fear of death. Sometimes it’s the fear of suffering. Sometimes the fear that this current symptom or situation “will never go away.” Not just mild anxiety. We’re talking paralyzing, white knuckled, raw FEAR.

For people on an Integration Lifetime, positive affirmations rarely work, and — even more frustrating — these folks have usually done a lot of spiritual growth work, plus extensive study of natural and energetic healing, Law of Attraction, metaphysics, Ancient Traditions, science, art and more. They look around at people far less aware having far fewer and less intense issues, and they begin to judge themselves for “being a fraud” or “flaky” or “self-sabotaging.” Meanwhile, such judgment exponentially fortifies the blocks against healing and integration! Someone not on an Integration Lifetime reading a bunch of Hay House books might find that material life changing, because they’re encountering new material. But few things feel new to those on an Integration Lifetime. This sense of world weariness extends even into alternative spiritual and healing realms. These souls might feel initial resonance but then quickly return to feeling bored or disjointed — huge levels of awareness coupled with seemingly disproportionate 3D problems.

The worst thing you can do on an Integration Lifetime is try to make yourself conform to “normal” expectations and compare yourself to people not on an Integration Lifetime! Doing so will add to your confusion, because not everyone thriving on Hay House, yoga and Law of Attraction is on an Integration Lifetime! They might be great people with a lot to offer the world; they might be on a fast track to spiritual growth and development; but if they’re not on an Integration Lifetime, then don’t be surprised when their “sure fire” methods backfire for you.

This dynamic has implications for collective consensus reality and splitting timelines, too, bringing us back to Inelia’s comments: “And something that is just appearing in our awareness, is a reality where they both exist as One. Not light and dark making grey, but making a color that is not in our spectrum. Not a reality where they neutralize or mesh, but where a new element emerges.

“The urge to separate to different realities seems to be somehow related to the emergence of this new vibration. It is almost like if we don’t separate now, we will be all gobbled up into the new element and that is so unknown, so different, so ‘not human’ that we are pushing our choice hard now.”

The challenge for those on an Integration Lifetime is that “healed” does not mean “returning to the way things were.” No model exists for the new version of you, because you haven’t yet given birth to it. In the same way a child hides in the mother’s womb, this new version of you hasn’t yet seen the light of (any) day. It’s a new Creation, still nebulous in the realm of pure potential. We are in times of tremendous choice right now, and the type of lifetime you’re on largely influences what choices your soul will find most satisfying. The urge to split — although a strong one — also feels a bit “been there, done that” to those on Integration Lifetimes. To those younger souls just discovering things like the Law of Attraction and Reality Creation, splitting the worlds into light and dark, positive and negative seems like a fabulous opportunity. Even those on an Integration Lifetime might sometimes fantasize about living in the land of lollipops and gumdrops. Organic and sugar-free, of course! 😉 But ultimately, those on an Integration Lifetime would find themselves bored with that scenario, in the same way that people who’ve gone through a major life transition find old parts of their life feel too small or “flat.”

Healing for those on an Integration Lifetime is not so much about removal, as it is about conscious Creation. Sometimes Creation involves a carving away — like sculpting — but that carving away does not become an end in itself. Rather, the carving away exists as a step, perhaps many, many steps, in service to a greater vision, inspiration and spontaneous engagement with the material. Carving reveals Shadows, as greater depth encourages the play of light and dark, but the whole of Creation eventually reveals itself as far more than the sum of its individual cuts. An artist adds something with each taking away, infusing the Creation with life force energy until that Creation can hold its own.

I believe the third option of which Inelia speaks has begun to hint at its arrival, because enough people on Integration Lifetimes have come far enough on their individual journeys to open space for something beyond the Void. Old tugs to the familiar remain, but continued Shadow Work coupled with active, conscious Creation in both the imagination and in tangible ways — will continue to gestate this new option until the birthing time.

Different people engage Shadows in different ways. My dear friend and sweet faery twin, Tania Marie prefers not to work as an activist exposing wrongs or fighting for rights, but she’s got a body full of extremely potent, powerful, deliberate, beautiful and what some people have even called “scary” tattoos. She’s got a dragon, snakes, and jaguars, occult symbols, Moon goddesses, and ancient languages all in black, black, black ink all over her body. That’s a lot of intensity, money and pain, which she wears in indelible ink as an unapologetic reclamation of the power, Shadow projections, and often corrupted goodness attached to all these things. Embodying the Shadow literally on her body allows Tania to live her life with innocence and childlike wonder while still honoring the vastness and power of her being. Her book, Spiritual Skin, helps others to explore a similar path.

Tattoos are widely popular right now, but not for everyone. Some people invoke and integrate their Shadows by embracing whatever taboos have most defined their lives. Others move through various Archetypes and roles. Others attract life threatening illness or injury, which makes them reconcile with their own mortality. Since we all die at some point, this last version of Shadow Work opens itself to everyone — even those not on a full Integration Lifetime. Inelia has noted that “Gaia (Earth/Terra) has actively been pushing for a physical separation that is done through time, three generations, and is trauma free and gentle.” Those on Integration Lifetimes tend to feel deeply connected to Terra and tend to be the ones walking a fine line with awareness of this unsustainable civilization and way of life crumbling to its core (scary Shadow stuff!) and the joy, freedom and excitement of creating and welcoming the new.

As more and more Integration Lifetime folks move through their own process of dis-integration and learning to accept the Void, the human frequency on this planet continues to rise and offer encouragement for entirely new ways of being. We can reclaim the best of the old and the new, while consciously finding ways to integrate the pain, darkness and fear boiling to the surface of collective consensus reality. Energy adepts know that energy is energy, so we can mitigate the need for drastic physical events like pandemics and devastating tsunamis by exploring their energy signatures and finding different ways to rearrange and morph the energy. Kind of like radical feng shui!

Those who’ve already journeyed through the Void might find their skills and experiences increasingly welcomed as we redecorate and remodel reality, as the awakening masses begin to ask, “OK, we see it, but what the heck are we supposed to do with all this stuff????” The splitting of the worlds option gets rid of it, along with a whole lot of the material world. The integration option might involve some decluttering, but it doesn’t necessarily mean gutting. Think “re-purposing” or making art from junk, beauty from the discordant, healing from pain. The collective has not decided on a path yet, but individuals will each make their own choice. Collective consensus reality just means the tipping point of people with relatively aligned choices. If you suspect you’re on an Integration Lifetime and have been hammering the “positive” button, I’d simply encourage you to use this time delay to make sure you won’t be bored with your selection. Red pill, blue pill. Why take any pill? Or maybe you want a purple one. Maybe you want a world beyond pills.

Collectively, we’re in the Void right now, which means we wait. We can drive ourselves crazy with the waiting game, or we can use the extra linear time to explore and begin to create all sorts of worlds before we fully move into the new. You know what they say: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, but today’s a gift. That’s why they call it ‘the present.'” I’ll repost Joanna Macy’s wonderful talk on the gift of Uncertainty and wish you many blessings:

Sacred Tattoos: More than Skin Deep

It brings me great pleasure to announce (albeit somewhat belatedly) that my dear friend and colleague Tania Marie has released her first book, called “Spiritual Skin.” When I interviewed Tania for this blog in May 2009, I asked her to write about her tattoos. Little did we know that her interview would become so popular! People began to email Tania with more and more questions about her process, designs and how tattoos could become part of one’s spiritual journey. Even back then, I urged her to write at least an e-book, and after much work, she has done a beautiful job!

“Spiritual Skin” is now available in both e-book and on Amazon. It offers a thorough, inspired and empowering look at spiritual tattoos from ancient history to deciding what or if to tattoo now. Tania helps readers discover themselves and their deepest yearnings for self-expression. I have already referred clients to this book and they love it! (Please note: Tania does offer an affiliate program for the e-book, but I’m not affiliated with it. I just love her book and know from helping clients decide about tattoos that Tania has really covered every angle in a heartfelt, inspiring way.)

Here’s an excerpt about portals, which blog readers know I love (and paint!):

…A growing body of literature supports the idea that portals can transport spiritual practitioners into altered states of consciousness.

American psychologist Charles Tart believed that through the study of altered states of consciousness, the apparent gulf between science and spirituality could be bridged.

“We cannot ignore data that is not physical,” Tart wrote.

After several years of research, Tart came to believe that there are several universal techniques used by varying figures, which can access alternate realities through portals. These include use of the senses, mandalas, voice and musical instruments, body movements and decoration, physical pain and olfactory and tactile stimuli.

Of significance to those interested in tattoos is the fact that visual symbols can act as portals accessing altered states of awareness. As commentator Nevill Drury has noted, “visual symbols may be employed to expand sensory awareness. Here a key point is that the inner, meditative experience of an image or symbol can be as ‘real’ to the individual as the perception of a more tangible object in the physical world.” This confirms that tattoos can serve as portals to transport their wearer to altered states.

Different forms of spiritual healing or more extreme situations directly affect tactile portals (points of contact or penetration on the outer surface of the body that create altered and spiritual renewal experiences).

This leads to another area of significance for tattoos as portals – their use in the ceremonial infliction of pain. For example, ritual flagellation in some branches of medieval Christianity was believed to enhance devotional connection with the suffering Christ. Modern day tattooing, body piercing, bondage, sensory deprivation, fetishes and body rituals are believed by some to serve as portals to altered states of consciousness and designed to “transform the body” to allow one to experience a “greater reality.” Workshops led by people such as Fakir (California-based, modern day primitive, shaman, master piercer and body modifier) are held to facilitate this and said to induce transformational experiences, to be physically freeing and similar to near-death experiences.

Thus, there is significant support for the idea that tattooing can help one access altered dimensional states and experiences of energetic portal opening for healing and spiritual renewal. Body art can greatly affect your daily experience, whether through intentional meditational practice or simply the awareness of its symbolism.

The specific images and symbols you choose in a tattoo can help enhance specific things in your life, strengthen energy that is operating at less than its potential, open points that feel blocked, enhance and create potency to specific chakras, convey healing energy to specific regions, reveal your essence to others, heal karmic energy, connect with past lives, and tap into your subconscious and latent gifts. All of this can be done through the ancient art of tattooing, a means of rewriting your soul’s history, empowering your experience through “spiritual skin,” and creating an auric resonance to the energy of your choosing.

The significance of tattoos lies in the beliefs and intents we place upon them. And when imbued with our experience, our beliefs and intents yield deeper potency that can support personal empowerment.

When you allow your tattoos to empower you in this fashion, you are not only tapping into specific energies personal to you, but you are also tapping into the Collective Consciousness energy as you embrace and apply universal symbolism.

Images and art are universal means of communicating where words fall short, and they convey much more than language allows. They unite people beyond the color of their skin and what others see as their outside reflection. Tattoos, while controversial to some, are like fine art, transcending all boundaries and holding individualistic beauty and meaning relative to each person.

It’s no wonder so many feel drawn to this personal art form of expression and that it has been carried on throughout the ages. With tattoos, we can definitely say that a picture speaks a thousand words…

For more information, reviews and links to buy the book, you can check out the Spiritual Skin website here. Even people like me who have no intention of ever getting a tattoo will find gems of wisdom and love embedded in this gorgeous offering. Blessings and thanks to Tania Marie for this special contribution.

Interview with Sarma Melngailis

I have long wanted to interview Sarma for this blog, because she’s a woman of fascinating contradictions, multi-talents and beauty. Plus, she makes some seriously awesome raw food! Really, those Rosemary Quackers are unbelievable. 🙂 Sarma has received quite a bit of press for her restaurant, online shop and books, but I wanted this interview to show a side of her that not everyone gets to see. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

Sarma Photo

1. You’ve got a new book that just came out. For those of us who loved Raw Food, Real World, please share a bit about how your new one’s similar and how it differs.

It’s called Living Raw Food and like the first book it’s full of recipes from my restaurant Pure Food and Wine, but this time they’re divided in two sections: easier recipes that don’t require much soaking time or dehydration, and more ambitious recipes that require a bit more planning. The text around the recipes in Raw Food Real World was from a beginner’s perspective. My co-author and I described how we felt after our overnight transition from eating absolutely everything to eating only (or, mostly only) raw plant foods. Now this book is written just by me, and it’s more about what it’s been like for me after five years on mostly raw. I also really wanted to address some of the more common questions I’ve been asked over the years, which includes issues related to emotional detox and people’s struggle to “stick with it”. There are also lots of short essays about various ingredients and an essay on feeding your pets raw.

2. Your restaurant gets rave reviews from around the world. Please share some of your favorite moments of recognition.

Hmmm. It’s not that often that I get asked to gloat but this is fun! Domestically, I’ve always been really proud of our listing as a three-star restaurant in Forbes magazine’s list of All Star New York Eateries, every year since we’ve opened. It always makes me really happy when we’re recognized for our food and not just in a vegetarian category.

Internationally, we’ve always gotten tons of coverage from Japan more than anywhere else. I think they are very in tune with what’s new and perceived as “cutting edge” over here, and also experiencing a big movement towards organic and healthy living. Also, Japanese food has similarities with our food in that it’s very much about aesthetics, natural flavors, and respect for the ingredients. Japanese food (like raw food) is very restrained in comparison to often heavy or sloppy American or other foods.

What other favorite moments… OKAY, since my father is from Latvia, I was totally excited when the magazine with the biggest circulation in Latvia, Sestdiena (which translates as “Saturday”) put me on their cover. That was pretty cool. International press is great because so many people from all over the world are always traveling through New York, and we also ship One Lucky Duck orders internationally now.

3. So many people know you as the author of Raw Food, Real World and the owner of Pure Food and Wine, but you also have an online store called One Lucky Duck. I haven’t made it out to NYC yet, but I sure love the Duck. For those readers not aware of your company, please share some of the vision behind this little gem.

One Lucky Duck is a brand I created for our packaged snack line and ingredients and also for our online store (http://oneluckyduck.com). Launched in 2005, it’s a source for the best of everything raw and organic. I felt like there was a need for a fun, colorful, reliable source that didn’t carry an overwhelming selection of products, only the very best that we find in every category. We carry a whole line of our own packaged cookies and snacks, ingredients and supplements in a section called “eat”.

Then we also have “glow” for skincare and cosmetics, “read” for books and magazines, “wear” for apparel, and “nest” for kitchen tools, home products, exercise tools, and pet products. The website is a lot of fun—we just updated it to add more informational sections and my blog.

4. You have an unusual tattoo. Is there an interesting story behind that?

Thanks. It’s the One Lucky Duck logo (registered and trademarked, by the way!) I got it just before the online business launched in the summer of 2005. As soon as the logo was completed and confirmed, I realized it was the tattoo I’d been waiting for. For years and years I’d wanted to get a tattoo but really didn’t want to get just anything. So I was waiting for the right image and this was it. I like the idea of branding myself with the brand of the company.

5. Tell me about your famous sneaker collection.

Oh dear. This is a bit embarrassing. Over the years I’ve collected a lot of sneakers. I purposely avoid going into or looking in windows of sneaker shops, but sometimes I can’t avoid it and see something new or a color I don’t have. Right now, I have 39 pairs of Pumas. I don’t know how they all fit in my apartment b/c it’s not very big but they’re stashed in the backs of closets and up on shelves. I also have 3 pairs of Pro-Keds, 2 Adidas, 3 pairs of Vans, a few Converse, and a few boring old running sneakers. I just have a thing for old-school style sneakers (and all of these collected over many years! I haven’t bought any new sneakers in at least a year… I think.) I only have a few pairs of high heeled shoes and I wear high heels maybe two or three times a year.

6. You’re widely recognized as one of the most gorgeous raw foodists. What are your favorite beauty products?

Oh… thanks! Well, I love coconut butter. That’s one of my all time favorites because it has so many uses – body oil, face oil, make-up remover, shaving, lip balm, and then you can put some in shakes too because it’s so yummy. Speaking of yummy, Bee Yummy Skin Food is another favorite product. It’s amazing for everyone and really healing for burns and any irritated condition. I think it’s also great to keep skin clear—it’s not a heavy cream. And for cosmetics, RMS Beauty is made by my good friend and is outstanding. The concealer is the best, and I love the luminizer too—it’s shimmery and makes you glowy. Those are my all time favorites. And lately I’ve been using Dr. Alkaitis products (cleanser, eye cream, etc)—they’re amazing.

7. You once sported a blue Mohawk. Care to share anything about those days? What has inspired your various style shifts?

Oh yes. Well, when I was 12 years old I started cutting my hair shorter and shorter. Then coloring it orange, then it got brighter—like Ronald McDonald bright—then it went to blue, then green, and back to mostly blue and so it went until I was 15 when I finally grew it out and dyed it brown (which then shifted to my current blonde over the years). I think I just liked being different, and at that age I could get away with it. During that time I worked at a quirky frame store and art gallery, where I could also get away with it.

8. You receive a lot of emails from young women with eating disorders. What tips can you share here for anyone struggling with body image issues?

I always say to them, go easy on yourself! Better yet, forgive yourself! It’s okay. It’s funny? Okay, it’s not always funny, not at all. But I think if you can try to see it that way, then at least some of the pressure is lifted, and it’s the pressure that’s causing all the trouble. The saddest thing is to feel terrible, guilty, and alone over those sorts of issues. And I think feeling really bad about these sorts of struggles only exacerbates the whole thing.

Breathing in and out and focusing on being compassionate with your self no matter what’s going on is helpful. Also, trying to shift thinking towards being optimally healthy (vs. optimally skinny, etc.) can provide the right kind of inspiration, and that’s how raw food can help because it shifts your focus onto food as nourishment and fuel and eating optimally healthy foods (which are also optimally healthy for the planet).

I read an excerpt from Frank Bruni’s upcoming book—he’s been the New York Times restaurant critic for over five years, and turns out he was bulimic throughout high school and college. You don’t often hear about men having these sorts of struggles. So, it’s not as unusual as people think. Overall the issue of body image is a tough one. Everyone’s their own worst critic, and feeling crappy about that stuff doesn’t do anything to help at all.

9. In addition to being One Lucky Duck, you’re also “One Smart Cookie” with a surprising history in … investment banking? How did you know it was time to take a leap of faith into something different?

After college I came to New York and worked for Bear, Stearns. After two years of many 100-hour plus weeks of working, I moved to private equity. I still worked my ass off there, but it was more interesting. Finally, I wanted more of a life and more control and figured at a hedge fund I could have that—where the work is not deal-oriented but rather market-oriented and so didn’t require late nights and weekends. I thought I’d be happy then.

Instead, having more time only made it really obvious to me that I simply didn’t love what I was doing and very often felt out of place in that environment. I didn’t get excited about reading The Wall Street Journal and talking about deals. But I loved reading Gourmet and Food and Wine and loved talking about restaurants and food. When I was leaving private equity to go look for work at a hedge fund, one of my colleagues pointed out to me that I didn’t seem to love what I do, since I always talked about food and restaurants. I think that’s when I realized inside that I needed to leave finance, though it didn’t happen until almost a year into my next job.

10. You run a busy restaurant and online store with over 70 employees in total, have written two books, you represent your own brand to the press and public, you’re in a relationship, and you’re doing all of this under some challenging circumstances. I also know you’ve got a huge heart. How do you manage to keep it all together?

I don’t always keep it all together! Or, I just haven’t figured it out yet. The restaurant and oneluckyduck.com stay together and running because so many amazing people work there and I’m lucky that they’re so dedicated. I’m usually able to keep myself together because I’m inspired by them and inspired by all the people who come to the restaurant and juice bar, and visit the website and read the books.

Still, sometimes I let myself fall apart. Or, I hit some kind of burnout threshold and then just really don’t want to get out from under the covers. I used to beat myself up over this, or try to avoid it. Now it’s much better if I can accept that it doesn’t mean I’m a total failure if I feel that way now and then, and just go with it!

11. What’s your very favorite “New York Moment”?

I think it was actually the very first day I lived in New York in the summer of 1994. I’ll never forget the feeling standing on the street on Second Avenue and 10th street holding the keys to the little studio apartment I was renting. I was out of college and my father just rode off after having helped move me in. I felt this incredibly exhilarated feeling, all on my own, in New York City, where I’d barely spent any time before, living alone in my own place for the first time—completely independent. So I’m in this euphoric mood, and I turn to walk down the block and there’s Robert DeNiro, just standing there talking to someone. And he looks right at me and I look right back. Of all the people to see in New York City on your first day there… !

12) Please tell us a bit about your furry friends, Dallas and Sydney.

Sarma's Feline Friends

Sarma's Feline Friends

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I have two cats, Sydney and her brother Dallas. They’re from the same litter even though they look very different. I got them from someone’s house near where my mother lives in New Hampshire, so I met their mom and other siblings. They’re over eleven years old now.

After I switched to raw food six years ago I started thinking more about what I was feeding them and what their ideal and natural diet should be. After looking into it I started feeding them raw food and they’re amazing on it. I haven’t brought them to the vet since and they’re beautiful, energetic companions. The food I get them is raw organic chicken and vegetables and it comes frozen. I also give them dehydrated wild salmon treats which they go totally bonkers over. We carry them at oneluckyduck.com. They come for dogs too but they’re the same thing, just a bigger size. I’m working on spinning off the pets section of oneluckyduck into its own site, shinyhappypets.com, so that’s one of the projects in the works.

Too Cute!

13. I’m so excited by your work! If Sarma had Sarma’s way, what else would we see from you in the near future?

A LOT! There’s a lot I want to do. Feeling held back from being able to charge forward to make it happen has been really challenging. I’m looking for the right partnerships and funding, which takes time. It’s like finding the right person to father your children… you don’t want to do that with just anyone. It’s been a long and very interesting road, but I really want to do it all the right way. Bringing raw food (and natural living) into the mainstream in a very big (and fun) way is the goal, and there are a lot of really great and different ways I want to do that, and in different parts of the world. And one of these days, I want to take a real vacation!

Thanks so much, Sarma! Wishing you the grandest of blessings and synchronicities and that all-elusive vacation.

You can visit Sarma at http://oneluckyduck.com or Pure Food & Wine.

Interviewed by Laura Bruno of www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com. If you liked this interview, you might also enjoy ones with Cassie Margraf and Tania Marie.

Henna for Hair

I just finished teaching an all-day Reiki Master Teacher certification workshop. Congratulations to the new Reiki Masters! We had a wonderful, information- and sharing-packed day, and one of the stranger observations was that occasionally my hair “turned” a different color during class. Purple, actually. Just for a few moments when I was talking about certain esoteric things. Did the sun hit it an odd way? Perhaps. Were the students seeing my aura? Maybe. That often does happen during Reiki classes. Once last year I was teaching a class on Atlantis and the students swore my hair momentarily turned blue.

I don’t have a “logical” explanation for any of this, since the lighting didn’t change in those moments, but I do get a lot of questions about my hair. People want to know how I get it to grow so long, how it stayed so healthy when we lived in the desert, what color IS it? Do I dye it? Do I curl it? Why is it straight on some days and super-wavy on others? Do I blow it dry? After class, I decided to blog-surf and saw that Kristen of http://kristensraw.blogspot.com had a recent post about going back to her natural brunette hue. Since I’ve felt nudged to post about hair for a few months and haven’t, her post, combined with the multiple class discussions about my weirdly illuminated hair convinced me that it was time to share a few things.

Laura Bruno in San Francisco

Laura Bruno in San Francisco

1 ) Yes, I use henna on my hair, but no, that’s not really why it’s red. I always had some red in my hair. My dad was a carrot top for the first two years of his life, and I must have inherited some of that natural coloring. Traditionally, though, my hair has always grown in extremely light blonde, then blended into a brownish-red.

I’ve always had a problem with knots. Not little tangles: big, huge, struck by lightning, scary witch’s knots. A friend in Reno advised me that I could curb some of the craziness by using henna, so I tried it in December 2006, dreaming of red-headed bliss. It did tame the knots, but my haircolor looked exactly the same as pre-henna. Nothing happened on the color frontier.

In February 2007, my now-ex-husband and I moved to Monterey, CA from Reno. The next morning, he said, “Woah, did you dye your hair last night?”

“No, why?”

“Go look in the mirror.”

When I did, I had flaming red hair. My skin color also looked several shades lighter. I thought it might be from the salt in the air, but it stayed red even when we returned to Sedona in October 2007. It took me quite a while to get used to this overnight shift of both skin tone and hair color, but eventually I did, and eventually the knots returned in all their witchy grandeur. I figured why not use henna again, since it really couldn’t get much redder? And so I did.

I still do every 4-8 weeks, depending on my mood or the level of knottiness. Using henna has meant I no longer go through 4-5 giant bottles of conditioner every month. I also like that it temporarily makes my hair feel thicker. (The reason it tames knots is because henna coats the hair shaft, plumping it up while conditioning it at the same time.) Ever since Monterey, my hair has become like a personal mood ring. It does seem to change color (by other’s observations). If you use henna, it can definitely reflect more red in direct sunlight, and mine does that, but I can’t really count henna as the sole explanation for why sometimes my hair looks brown and then I get really happy and it suddenly looks red. Or purple. Or blue. 🙂

2 ) Besides henna, what else do I do to care for my hair? Um, not much. I’m not a big brusher. I used to cry when my dad brushed my hair out as a girl, and old habits die hard. Back when I was traveling a lot, I once found my brush in my suitcase. It had sat there for 3 weeks and I hadn’t even missed it. I didn’t even notice it was gone! When I do brush, I use a wooden, flat Aveda brush, and I never brush when my hair’s really wet. I finger comb, do nothing, or wait until it’s mostly dry.

I don’t use a blow dryer unless I’m running really late or if I have recently henna’d and not gotten all the goop out of my hair. In that case, it can drip orange for a couple washes, so I will sometimes blow dry the ends to avoid having to clean up from the drips.

3 ) How do I keep my hair from breaking off? I’m sure the henna helps. I am also currently using shampoos by the Morrocco Method. They’re pricey and somewhat heavily fragranced with essential oils, but overall I like them. They are 100% raw and 100% vegan and natural, so I feel like it’s totally non-toxic hair care.

The shampoos don’t lather like regular shampoo, though, and I’ve been told by people who switched from more toxic products that they almost get the “no-poo” hair effect of having extremely greasy hair until their hair adjusts. I didn’t have that problem, but I have noticed that my hair does kind of clump together more, almost like it wants to curl into ringlets or big waves lately. I brush it more frequently since switching shampoos because I don’t want it to clump out and look greasy.

I don’t know if the clumping curls come from the Morrocco Method shampoos or from my many months of massive doses (6-10 grams / day)  of MSM. David Wolfe claims that MSM makes hair curlier, and I have to say I always had stick straight hair, but over the last few years and especially the last few months, it’s gotten much wavier.

4 ) How often do I wash my hair? Definitely not everyday. I usually go between 2-4 days between washes. In the desert it’s closer to 4; on a humid week, it will be closer to 2. The Morocco Method has all those essential oils in it, so hair doesn’t get stinky even when it still looks clean. Before Morocco Method, I just used to spritz a bit of lavender water or a little essential oil on my hair on the 2nd or 3rd day.

5 ) What about diet? Well, as I mentioned above, I currently take a lot of MSM. I take it for removing scar tissue, but I believe it has strengthened my hair and made it shinier. I follow a 90-100% raw vegan diet. Once in a blue moon, I’ll eat a bit of bee pollen. I take the Vitamin Code raw vitamins, B-12, chia seed in my smoothies, Jarrow’s Vegan Bone-Up, and lots and lots of greens, Vitamineral Green and currently also spirulina. If I remember, I sometimes take a little swig of the gluten-free, yeast-free Floradix because I eat so many antioxidants that sometimes my iron gets a bit low unless I’m on a cacao kick. I’m sure all of these things contribute to healthy, fast-growing, shiny hair.

6 ) What about hair loss? People ask me about this a lot, especially people new to a raw diet. Hair loss can come from lots of sources, including a lack of B-vitamins, especially B-5 (Panthenol) and B-12, since a deficiency of B-12 or folic acid could contribute to anemia. The scalp does not like anemia. Your hair is considered a luxury item in terms of cell nutrients. If you have anemia and hence low oxygen levels, guess what’s not getting leftover O2?

Hair loss can also occur due to vitamin A (beta-carotene) toxicity. Yes, on a plant-based diet, most people will not get too much viatmin A; however, as I explained in The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide and this post, it does sometimes happen with the use of lots of superfoods. Superfoods are “super” because they have huge antioxidant profiles. Occasionally, people get so high in beta-carotene that the liver starts acting like someone who’s on Accutane. Skin can dry and crack; hair can fall out. In big clumps. I’ve had this happen myself. It does grow back. You just can’t keep up those levels of beta-carotene indefinitely.

Sometimes hair falls out because of detoxification. Again, it will usually grow back as the detox clears. Sometimes hair falls out due to hormonal imbalance. This can occur in both men and women. Male pattern baldness almost always has a hormonal component. Many men find that when they start taking saw palmetto for their prostate health, their hair loss slows. A nice perk!

There are literally hundreds of things on the market promising faster growth and slower hair loss. Some work, some don’t  Some treat the root cause of problems; some work on the surface; a few are probably quite toxic. I’m not a doctor. Not a hair expert. I’m just sharing some things I’ve observed:

Essential fatty acids tend to help; MSM helps; hemp protein usually helps; Sun Warrior protein (highly absorbable) seems to help; Morrocco Method shampoos supposedly stimulate hair growth (my hair does seem to be growing faster, but this is totally anecdotal on my part; check out their site for photos); checking beta-carotene levels helps; staying on top of B-12, B-5, folic acid and iron helps; getting hormone levels checked can sometimes help; examining what hair represents for you gives some nice clues as to what’s happening and why.

7 ) What about cowlicks? Yep, got ’em. They’re crazy. They stick straight up. If you find something that works, let me know! LOL, my hair gets really crazy sometimes, and aside from changing my part, which only sometimes works, I haven’t found anything that helps. You’re on your own on this one.

8 ) OK, back to henna: isn’t it incredibly messy? Yep, and you’ll smell like hay or grass unless you mix it with essential oils or some kind of tea. I don’t know why, but I actually like that it’s a big, green goopy mess that I leave on for 4 hours. It creates a whole ritual and I know I’ll have that day to myself. It does take a long time to wash out. It does make your bathroom a big mess (but at least that means mine will get a good scrub down!), and it does change most people’s hair color.

9 ) Will henna turn my hair green? Not if you haven’t used artificial coloring or bleach on your hair, but if you have, then yes, it might.

If you have artificial coloring in your hair you need to cut it out, grow it out or otherwise wait 6-8 weeks until you have no fake dyes prior to henna-ing your hair. Please don’t mess with this; I have heard nightmare stories. I would not use a non-natural shampoo anymore anyway, but because of my henna, it’s not even an option on the table. I’m OK with red, purple or blue, but I don’t want green hair! You’re also not supposed to touch the henna with metal. I’ve messed up and accidentally used a metal spoon without incident, but the instructions are so insistent that I don’t recommend it. I honestly don’t know what might happen. I just usually remember to use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula.

The henna powder itself is green, but when warmed with water or tea, it begins to stain the hair shaft a reddish color. You can purchase different “colors” of henna, but really, there’s only one true henna and that’s red. All other “colors” of henna are actually dyes mixed with henna powder. Some may be natural, plant-based dyes, but if it says it only contains henna, but it will turn your hair black or brown or strawberry blonde, then you can bet there’s something else in the package.

10 ) What about black henna? Products marketed as black henna are extremely toxic and should not be used. If you want to turn your hair black using natural henna, you need to henna first and then follow it with an application of indigo powder. This will create a shiny black look. It is NOT the same as black henna.

11 ) Won’t henna stain my hands? Yep. Wear gloves. Henna has been used for thousands of years in the ancient art of mehndi. The red brown dye can create beautiful designs on the hands, feet, pregnant belly or anywhere else on the body.

Henna doesn’t adhere well to oily skin, so if you want to avoid staining yourself, use some kind of coconut oil, olive oil or other oil around the hairline, over the ears and on the neck. For the hands, you really need gloves. If you mix oil on your hands, the oil gets in your hair and the henna may not adhere well to the hairshaft. If you don’t wear gloves but do oil your fingernails, they will still probably turn orange because they’re so dry. Whereas the orange on your skin will eventually wash off, you’ll likely have orange nails until they grow out. It’s not terrible, but it does happen.

12 ) Is there a spiritual reason to henna? Traditionally, yes, henna is associated with the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance and prosperity. Ancient Egyptians used henna in rituals and for sacred body adornment. Henna is mentioned in the Bible — both for its intense fragrance and for its use by pre-Christian Jews. People today use henna during birth ceremonies, baby showers to honor the coming child, at yoga studios, to inscribe sacred symbols or chants on the body, and just for general nurturing.

I don’t know what’s in henna in terms of nutrients, but I do feel like using it alters something in my brain — in a good way. I feel more relaxed and receptive to intuitive perceptions (yes, even more than usual!); I do tend to make a ton of money the whole week after I henna my hair (it’s like money arrives in huge chunks all that week); I feel more mischievous in a fairy way; and overall, I just feel more in tune with my “goddess” self. The last observation may be because in terms of other self-care and fussy things, I’m kind of lacking, so my henna represents a conscious acknowledgment and celebration of that part of myself. In any case, yes, henna can be considered a spiritual practice.

13 ) I can’t think of any other frequently asked questions about my hair, but please feel free to ask away. I frequently hear from clients in Medical Intuitive sessions that they would like “better hair.” I’ve listed most of what I know here that works generally. More speicific details really apply in the case of your own personal symbolism of hair.

Many Blessings and Lustrous Locks to you!

Laura Bruno

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

 

Interview with Raw Fooder and Artist Tania Marie

 

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Today begins a new “interview series” on my blog. It occurred to me that I know some fascinating people, and I’d love to give them a chance to shine. I’ve conducted so many interviews for other venues, but none for my own blog. That’s about to change! Over the next few months, I’ll be profiling a variety of artists, writers and other visionaries right here. Today’s “guest” is Visionary Artist Tania Marie, who hails from Lake Tahoe. Some of you might recognize Tania as my Three Day Gratitude Extravaganza cohort or my 2008 San Francisco Veg Festival photographer. Besides having a legendary ability to keep pace with my own gargantuan appetite for gourmet raw food, Tania provided the cover illustration for The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide. She’s an amazing artist, healer, teacher and all-around intriguing individual. I hope you enjoy getting to know her:

What do you love about being an artist?

I love the freedom of expression it allows me and the ability to let go of all ideas of what is “supposed to be” and instead allowing what naturally wants to be. There are enough areas in my life where I need to be more structured and organized, or manage things, that I joyously welcome how my painting time allows me to let go of that. I have never taken any classes and don’t immerse myself in other artist’s work so that my art can remain raw and unencumbered by any rules.  As an artist I express myself in ways that I cannot with words and my canvas allows me to share the visions, emotions, messages and complexities that I receive and feel, uninhibited by rules or constraints.

Very often I find it challenging to communicate what I want to say and always wish there was a way I could project what I feel and see energetically to people and that is what art is for me. It is my channel of communication closest to the authentic truth of who I am and what I want to share about myself and the world. My paintings are visual stories into my soul and beyond and so it’s truly a vulnerable process of exposing that which lies deepest and closest to my heart, in order to share more intimately with others. Sometimes I feel that we get too caught up with words and definitions; art offers a boundless way to express so much more in deep and subliminal ways. For me, the art of imagery triggers something relative to the viewer and allows for freedom of interpretation without a “right or wrong” message received. The message is individual, as is the experience of life.

 

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How has your vegan/raw food diet influenced your artwork and life?

My connection with animals is very much a big part of my life and my paintings. My first drawings as a little girl were of animals (especially horses) and they have remained my most favorite thing to draw/paint. They continue to be a recurring part of my work, as animals are so dear to my heart and when I paint them I connect with and capture their souls. I love to portray them as the soulful beings they are and capture the inherent human quality they possess, each time I do so. They appear in my art as if they could speak at any moment. I have a very strong connection with Mother Earth and in helping to support her healing, which for me includes all of her children.

I have always had an intuitive connection to animals and feel them so deeply. I believe this compassion is what ultimately led me on a vegan path. At first the choice to change my diet was for health reasons and the reaction to feelings of illness when eating animal products. But as I became more aware, I realized that my body had reacted first, to what my soul knew. My sensitivities to animals had created reactions to eating any products that came from them and so the more I continued down my path of dietary changes, the more I connected with the deeper soul reasons for my choice.

Being vegan is a spiritual choice for me now and as this unfolded I started to see that as a person, an artist, and an evolving soul, the best choice for me was to go raw. Being a raw vegan supports the clarity and higher vibration I need in my life to do my service, the exuberance I feel for what I am here to do, and definitely opens the channels for divine inspiration and creativity to flow more freely. And because of my commitment and choices on that path, I also naturally saw my artwork evolve into deeper connection with the Earth and animals…wanting to share their stories and the realization of our connectedness…to bring about conscious awareness, a return to natural harmony, and honor for all of Earth’s children. My work celebrates life and living from that place of compassion, celebration, and unity.

What does it mean to you to be “a visionary artist”?  

As a visionary artist, I create from my soul and intuitive connection to the Universe. For me, that entails creating “outside of the box” and having the ability to see beyond the boundaries of physicality and enculturation.  It’s also about my ability to capture moments of inspired vision and thought, feeling and expression, in a form that conveys something bigger than myself and speaks in foresight and deep messages to the viewer. This involves not buying into the idea of “impossible” and reflecting the miracle in knowing that what I can see and feel in my heart, “is possible.”

I feel it encompasses the ability to mirror a vision, manifested in form, that reflects our co-creation potentials. It denotes being a dreamer and leading through innovative visions, feelings, and imaginary foresight of what “can be” if we allow our creative expression and limitlessness to flow freely. Sometimes that involves dreaminess, idealism and fantastical vision, which in some ways makes a visionary artist, like myself, somewhat of an inventor or philosopher; teaching, conveying, and expressing profound messages through the gift of art and imagery.

Does Reiki affect your painting?

Reiki has also affected my life and painting tremendously. Every choice and step I make along my spiritual path has opened doors for the work I do. The more I connect to that Universal Oneness and Love, the more I understand and connect to my authentic self. This remembering and reconnecting helps me on my path to embracing my essence more and more each day and in doing so, my work evolves as a mirror of that unfolding process. Choosing to embrace Reiki into my life was a big commitment to saying I am ready for more and I am ready to take greater responsibility in my life. This has been reflected in not only having a clearer channel for the messages I receive for my paintings, but in the depth of the messages and my abilities to convey them.

I have never taken any art lessons or classes and so experience is the only learning I have had and Reiki is definitely a channel that has fueled that experience in broader ways. It has helped me to direct my work in the healing direction it is meant to go. I imbue and encode my paintings with Reiki energy and healing messages, which people have noted when viewing them. Everything that I am and everything that channels through me goes into my paintings. When I am in that space of creation it is a pure connection to Spirit, and Reiki has helped open that connection to receive in greater depth and with greater ease.

Having the ability to self-treat myself with Reiki also helps me move through any challenges and blocks I may have or run up against and so it has also been a supportive tool in my artistic and life processes. I have experienced the aliveness of my paintings through my ability to feel energy. There have been times that I am so connected with what I am painting and so in my heart, that I have felt the Reiki heat radiating from the images. Very profound indeed and part of why I refer to my work as “living art.”

UPDATE: For a video on Tania, please see below. I just learned that she’s in the running for an art contest. You can view her entry here. Click on Marie Tania and vote!

How does music influence the way you paint? Any favorite tracks?

I “need” music to help my creative process. It’s that simple. Without music my art is a struggle and that is not how it is meant to be. Music is food to my soul when creating. It is the missing ingredient to the recipe of my painting. Music moves me and takes me to that place I need to be to receive the inspiration, visions, and messages. It helps me move into my right brain, while my left brain is guiding the brush in my hand. If I don’t have music I will strain endlessly and literally get drained trying to make something work with what I’m painting. But when I have the right music and get into that space of divine connection, everything flows and the process of creating is so much easier and natural. The music moves me and connects me deeper to what I am painting. I can feel the messages and many times am moved to tears of joy or sadness because of how profoundly the music connects me. And sometimes it even moves me to dance while the music channels through, making the process of painting such a “whole experience” for me.

The type of music needed can vary greatly and is all dependent on what the painting and part of the painting calls for. There can be a general theme for the painting or it can vary from image to image within the painting. Each part has its own energy and speaks to me as to what it needs in order to come alive. I then follow my intuition as to not only how it will look, the colors chosen, etc…but as to what music speaks its story and energy. I know when I’ve found the perfect music as it “just feels right.” And sometimes when I find the right music, I may play it over and over for hours, days, weeks, or whatever is needed, never getting sick of it, because it speaks the essence so perfectly. But the moment I am done with the music I instantly know, as I no longer have a desire to hear it anymore and it just won’t work.

That connection with divine inspiration, sound, sight, expression, and physical manifesting is accessed when all is in place. I work with all the senses, but for some reason sound is extremely important, alongside visual and feeling. So the music can vary and I will be drawn to all sorts of music, some of which might not make much sense to me, but then that would be my mind thinking and not my heart and soul feeling. It can be music ranging from current pop, Latin, foreign, R & B, classical, opera, new age, nature sounds, mantras, and even techno and more. I continually have to update my cd collection to mirror what my paintings call for.

Some of my favorite painting music comes from Lisa Gerrard, Yanni, Enigma, Deva Premal, Josh Groban, Gipsy Kings, B-Tribe, Krishna Das, Qhapaq Nan (a Peruvian folkloric group), Enya, music from Cavalia, several movie soundtracks, various Celtic and techno artists, and the list goes on….

What do ancient cultures have to do with today? 

My newest series, “In Lak’ech” focuses on different ancient civilizations that come to me as being meaningful to what healing message is being relayed and needed. I have very strong connections to our ancient cultures, mirrored in much of what you will not only find in my paintings, but my home, my life, and even my tattoo body work. To me, it is part of remembering our connectiveness, remembering what we have forgotten, but what lies within us. Integrating as part of the healing process. The ancients knew this and now I feel we are becoming aware of what was once known. I also feel that there is much to learn from our ancient history and that part of that process is recapturing and embracing the pieces that worked and produced beautiful results and learning from the choices that brought about destruction and separation. I believe we have the ability to utilize many tools and avenues to help us make wiser choices, so as not to repeat the past. Simultaneously recapturing in a new way, the pieces that created harmonious, connective, and inspired, co-creative existence.

The In Lak’ech series consists of five paintings representing the five elements and conveying healing messages from various ancient civilizations. Their purpose is to support harmony and balance between the Earth and the Cosmos, as the Ancients once knew how to do. They also express the connectedness we share and the importance of Universal Love and Compassion and our responsibility to co-create wisely as self-empowered beings, so as not to repeat the past. We have the potential to achieve great things that can surpass what we’ve ever known on this Earth, but part of that involves embracing all of our parts and understanding where we’ve come from, what works and what doesn’t, embracing and imbuing it with the new. In Lak’ech literally translates as: “I am another yourself, you are another myself” – “I am you and you are me.” I feel that this profound realization will become the centerpiece of our lives as we move towards becoming one global human being.

I see that you also design crystal healing pendants and offer crystal healing classes. Is there a tie-in to your work as an artist and the message of your paintings?  

There is a definite correlation between crystals, the work I do, and the artist and person that I am. I have a great love and resonance for crystals and that stems from my connection with ancient cultures and the healing and messages that I receive through them. My art studio and living space sanctuary is surrounded by crystals and their potent energy supports my work daily. Living in their vibration is not only a reminder of how these crystalline beings were once a major part of spiritual ceremony and healing use, but they emanate and channel information that facilitates both my artistic and healing work. Even my new painting I’m working on will feature beautiful crystals as part of the energy needed in conveying the message. And now I am expanding my artistic abilities to the designing of unique crystal healing pendants as well. It is no coincidence that crystals are so prevalent in my life and work, given their ancient connection and the symbolism ancient cultures have in my life. The Earth’s consciousness is supporting humanity’s awakening to the re-discovery of ancient and forgotten healing arts, such as the utilization of crystals.

Reverence and use of crystals goes back to the dawning of civilization. Crystals have been connected with specific parts of the body and its organs for thousands of years and many of these connections come from traditional Western and Eastern Astrology. India’s Ayurvedic records and traditional Chinese Medicine claim healing with the use of crystals, which appear in ancient text formulas over 5,000 years old, now used in modern medical prescriptions. The Christian Bible refers to crystals over 200 times, crystalline structures have been found in the ruins of Babylonia and in the ancient Egyptian and Chinese tombs of rulers, and many of the early civilizations of the Earth (Mayan, Aztec, American Indian, African, Celtic) utilized quartz crystals in sacred ceremonies. For ages, shamans and crystal healers have been familiar with the crystals’ ability to focus light and sound vibrations into a concentrated ray for healing purposes.

I feel that each crystal contains their own “personality” and can be utilized in unique ways to assist understanding of the nature of existence on the Earth plane. They are nature’s gift to man and are found in all shapes, sizes, colors, and composition. They each have a unique vibrational resonance due to their varying mineral contents, their inherent geometry, and the color frequency they emit; hence can be powerful healing tools. I just love to be in the essence of crystal energy and to share that experience with others.

You not only paint on canvas but also have created a canvas on your body with tattoos. How does the process of tattooing mirror and/or influence your artwork? 

Tattoos have been an evolving process for me. It’s not something I ever initially intended, but unfolded as I continued on my path. I have come to see that, just as my paintings are visual stories, my body work has become a visual story of my soul’s history as well. I have recently been saying that it seems as if they symbolically represent my epitaph, so to speak, an inscription of symbolic messages that speak of my essence and the depth of my heart and soul. I very much revere the sacred process of tattooing and in no way take it lightly what I put on my body. To me, it is also a way of recapturing an ancient process that has a very spiritual symbology – again recapturing the old and infusing it with the new. Everything I have put on me has been very symbolically placed and has been intuitively guided. Nothing is arbitrary and sometimes the even deeper meaning gets revealed to me later…I just know to trust what comes to me and then the rest divinely unfolds.

 

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Like my art, my tattoos are a profound experience of self-discovery and healing and I have seen how that healing has transcended the personal and become collective. Many people have been moved by my tattoos that would never have otherwise been drawn to such and I can see how I have helped support people’s processes through their experience of my tattoos, just as my paintings facilitate. I never intended such on a conscious level, but I do now recognize this an undeniable truth.

I also know that in many ways I may seem like a walking dichotomy, as one would probably not think I would have tattoos and that’s the beauty of the message, which transcends judgment. The specific images, writings, and symbols each hold a significance and span different ancient civilizations. My back is more my artistic canvas and my hands and inner wrists are what I like to call scriptures of communication. The way they have come about has very much been tied into my personal processes and the energy I am working with at each given point, and especially tied into the energy of the paintings I’m working on.

I am a very symbolic person. My tattoos help symbolically to open and strengthen the energy needed and so even where the images are placed on me holds significant. For example, certain tattoos are placed on each of the chakras on my back. I am intuitively guided as to when and what I have tattooed on me and have been intuitively led to the perfect artist to convey the right energy and visual needed.

Having my inner wrists and hands tattooed was relatively new, but important as I work with my hands. Whether through Reiki, painting, or simply the way I communicate and speak with my hands, it became important to me to strengthen the energy of my hands with potent symbols. All of this has not only mirrored the healing portrayed in each painting’s message, but has helped me connect and commit deeper to the work and service flowing through me.

Interestingly, the very first tattoo I got was when I started painting on canvas for the very first time. Then I broke away from painting for quite a while and the second tattoo I got was when I picked painting back up and created the pieces that first connected me with ancient civilizations and transformed the way I painted.  Depth and complexity grew with each tattoo and each painting. Then I had another break from painting and the third round of tattoos began and has continued with the unfolding In Lak’ech series. I actually had never seen that part of the connection, but wow…the tattoos HAVE actually been an important partnership and mirroring connection with my entire painting path.

What are your dreams for your art? 

I dream of continuing to create moving and healing paintings and to have them received and experienced on a much larger scale, support authors in creating beautiful and meaningful book covers that convey the heart of what they are expressing in the entirety of their book in one image, illustrate books that magically capture the author’s beautiful words, and create awe-inspiring, portal-like murals for healing centers and beyond. And lastly, to perhaps one day be a part of creating grand, live art experiences that incorporate art, sound, healing, and much more.

It is also my dream and desire to help bring the arts back into our lives in a bigger way. I support the creative arts and realize how important creation energy is to us all. I feel that not only is it healthy to express creativity in a way that is relative to the individual, but it is also important to surround ourselves in creative beauty and to honor that energy. I believe if we would honor it within ourselves more, then we’d honor it in each other and realize the mirror of it in Mother Nature and our Earth, which would change how we relate to everyone and everything around us. I am a big fan of supporting people to feel safe to express what is inside of them and to understand that creativity does not have rules.

I would love to help facilitate the understanding and channeling of that raw energy into creative outlets, which I believe inevitably would help cease some of the misdirected energy and help people connect and learn about themselves. I would also love to help people believe in their dreams again and to let their imaginations run wild and that is part of why I create the kind of art that I do and push the boundaries a little further each time. The sky’s the limit and as a dreamer I will continue to dream and revise my dreams to mirror my process.

What do you hope or intend that people receive through your art?

My main drive to create is a simultaneous desire to express my heart’s passion and to help support collective healing on a global and Universal level. To experience how my work touches people is the reason I create. I am so in gratitude and joy to see and feel through people’s experiences of how my work moves them. Not because it is mine, but moreso because of seeing how we each have the ability to positively affect so many people’s lives, simply by authentically expressing ourselves through our joys. I hope to touch people with my art in ways that are thought-provoking and facilitate their evolvement. I hope for them to receive the healing messages in their own relative way and to help bridge separation, inspire, support change, bring natural harmony and compassion into more prevalence, cultivate honor for ourselves, others, the animals, our Earth and Cosmic connection, and nurture unity.

If someone else wants to interview you or purchase artwork, what’s the best way to reach you?
I am easily reachable either by email, tania@taniamarie.com, or direct line, (775) 343-9244. People can also visit my website for more information about me, my work, and the vision of my heart at www.taniamarie.com.
  
Thank you, Tania, for this interview and for your generous and talented spirit. Blessings to you!

~Interviewed by Laura Bruno www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com