The Importance of Dreams

Many years ago I lashed together four branches with beautiful designs etched into them by worms that I had gathered from a Girl Scout summer camp that I loved to work at. The place holds great significance to me and the fact that I knew how to lash was because of Girl Scouts. It was my first dreamcatcher and I wanted it to be unique, so I used embroidery floss of all different colors, creating a spectrum that spiraled towards its center. At every change of color I placed a gold bead that, when finished, made me think of dew on a spider’s web. I hung macaw feathers from the frame and wove holders for stones to hang from the dreamcatcher as well.

When it was all finished, I found myself instantly exhausted. I hung it up and took a nap in the middle of the day which was highly unusual for me unless I was sick, it just didn’t typically happen for me at that youthful age of twenty.

I had the most vivid and amazing dreams.

At that point, I wrote them all down. The dreams lead me to stones I had forgotten I had gathered. I discovered interesting correlations between my dreams and my life. I wrote them all down and the more I wrote, the more I dreamed these vivid and meaningful dreams. I discovered that different people and animals represented different things going on in my life. I did a lot of reading about symbols and meditated upon the personal significance.

I have always been a spiritual person, just not a religious sort.

We are always searching for meaning and guidance in life. Dreaming is one of those tools.

For me, specifically, the act of creating is what gives my life great meaning. I love all forms of creating, whether it is art or writing and the ability to share inspiration with others is what drives me forward in life. Some people are thrill seekers. My thrill is derived from that spark of inspiration, a deep desire to see what is in my head come into physical being and the reactions of the world in seeing what I have created.

But everyone gets off track. The enthusiastic spiritual seeker of my youth has been pounded into a struggling artist, mother, teacher, writer who spends her time worrying about whether the car will start today, if I’ll be able to afford groceries and keeping the kids and family healthy and happy. Another year has come and gone and I am just one year away from “over the hill” and feeling the creaks and pains of my recent lethargic, self indulgent laziness.

But a very strange and hard to ignore totem “animal” has arrived to smack me on the hand and tell me to get my fears under control so I can move forward in life.

Last week I had a run in with a black widow, hanging out under my loft bed. It was, quite literally, staring me in the face. It lead to me sleeping on the couch and other places for the week until I finally cleared out a great deal of junk and some cobwebs with the intention of making sure there were no others.

I have long held a great fear of black widows but I recognize and respect spiders as a symbol of writing and creativity. And don’t forget that a dreamcatcher is made of a spider’s web! Recently, I created a work of art involving dreams for the Mystery Build competition (follow the link below to see and vote for this piece before November 20th, 2014) I should have known that this new “dreamcatcher” would have a powerful effect on my dreaming!

http://mysterybuild.com/art-project-2014/page:7/Dream-of-a-Spiritual-Jellyfish#o3kzhce8XBHkPAyA.01

The last two nights have brought the scary black widows dangling into my dreams.

I apologize to my husband for slapping him in my sleep. I dreamt I had encountered two black widows in the bathroom and one was coming to get me. That day, he and I tackled the daunting task of fixing the bathtub leak and the toilet leak, which was something of an ordeal, but we conquered our fears of not accomplishing the task correctly and just did it.

Last night I encountered black widows in my dream and didn’t freak out right away.

I realized they might be trying to tell me something. They were hanging in the way of me going through a doorway to a house, then they crawled onto the roof and across the receiver of what I perceived to be my radio, causing the channels to be changed. I decided to not go inside and found myself wandering a beautiful evening landscape. I started to float about and drifted over the edges of a pond and saw flock of egrets nesting and sleeping on the water’s edge amongst the tall reeds and water plants. (The egret has long since been a totem of mine in the past). Then I returned to land to find some friends, one of which was working on schoolwork, grading or homework and seemed to need my help in getting out of a grumpy state of being and given another perspective on how to attack their situation.

What does it mean?

That’s not really the point. Its the fact that I am paying attention and writing things down. Life is filled with many meaningful things. Don’t discredit something as amazing as the dreaming process. It is just as real and meaningful as the rest of life and holds so many clues to the subconscious that is screaming to be heard and understood. All I really know if that it is important to:

Follow Your Dreams.

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Dream of the Spiritual Jellyfish

What is Mystery Build?ReyesSpiritualJellyfish1

It’s an art competition held by Jerry’s Artarama. They sell box kits with the same art materials which are not known until you buy the kit to enter the competition. It’s contents are to remain a Mystery  until the projects are revealed and judged. Each entry gets a web page to showcase their project and get votes between November 1st – 20th  . Here’s where you can see the results of my project. This year’s theme was Build A Dream

How I found Mystery Build:

Like most things found on the net, it was something that popped up in my Facebook feed. I ended up posting a like to the competition with the comment, “Would anyone like to buy me a kit and see what I come up with?”

Someone was actually listening.  Thanks to a friend, the box arrived on my doorstep some time after that.

Concept for my Dream:

I have had many great, surreal and entertaining dreams. It was hard for me to decide upon a concept. It was a random spark of inspiration that hit when I was showing some friends the box and we were giggling over the assigned Username and Password for the site. One of which involved the words ‘Spiritual Jellyfish.”

I grabbed onto the thought of a jellyfish having dreams.

What would a jellyfish dream about?

What would a spiritual jellyfish dream about?

I have often had dreams where I was another type of creature. So I imagined that a jellyfish might wonder about what it was like to have a fish’s tail. But why stop at any normal sea creature? This is a dream. A mermaid represents a creature of water and land.

Then I figured, why stop at land?ReyesSpiritualJellyfish2

Why not reach for the sky?

I created a dragon, a mythic beast, continuing the spiritual metamorphosis in a dangling upward spiral through the dream catchers. The transition of colors traversing the spectrum; create a reversal of the chakras’ traditional arrangement.

 

If I had more time:

I came to this project late and feel like I ran out of time to do all that I had wanted to do with this. If I had more time I would have created several smaller objects to hang around the main objects in the shape of birds, fish and small jellyfish; arranged in a way that would help draw the eye up through the mobile more effectively. I would have spent more time in the video setup, editing and photography. I used blacklights but would have liked there to have been even more glow and eye-popping details.

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October 26, 2014 · 4:32 am

National Write a Novel Month

This will be my second year of joining the many writers out there who are taking inspiration from posting their daily word count to the Nanowrimo website. Today marks Day One and I am happy to say that I managed to reach 2030 words for today.

While most of my friends know me as a talented artist, it is not nearly so known that I have always loved writing too. My first real attempts at writing began at age 16. For this year’s Nanowrimo I dug through my old folders and printouts to find my first stories. While it isn’t the very first of my stories that I’ve decided to restart for my noveling challenge, it is one of the stories from my past that I am resurrecting in the hopes of completing what I began so many years ago.

Eventually I will have an excerpt to share, but for now I wanted to share a song/poem I had written into one of my (unrelated) stories that I had forgotten about and thought was very interesting since I don’t really consider myself much of a poet but I do really enjoy and appreciate music as one of the many creative outlets in my life.

 

Did you not notice I was gone in your eyes?

Caught my breath and lost my heart.

Daydreaming again… of what, I won’t admit,

In sweaty dreams, acts of lust I commit.

 

Who am I anymore, but this slave of yours?

I am a cat chasing its tail,

Thinking I’m going to get somewhere, someday.

I have faith love will show me the way.

 

My world is forever changed, don’t lose me.

This creature of yours that I’ve become

Be brave, restless heart, you’re a warrior now

 

Who am I anymore, but this slave of yours?

I am a cat chasing its tail

Thinking I’m going to get somewhere, someday.

I have faith love will show me the way.

 

I am what you need me to be,

I am what you wish me to be,

I twist, I writhe, I am posing and posturing,

Calm and still, stalking silence,

 

For you all I am this chameleon.

 

 

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Why I Love Spirals

IMG397

I have an addiction for swirls, spirals and flowing designs in my work. I yearn to find the “perfect” line. I strive for this indefinable satisfaction that I receive from creating what I consider to be a successful work of art. If you are an artist, you probably understand this affliction. It is, perhaps, because the forms follow nature. An artist’s expressions are a natural process and cannot help but to eventually evolve towards the deeper exploration of what makes a successful work on art?

So why do I love Spirals? The Golden Ratio is a mathematical formula used by artists and architects in creating designs that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The spiral is a product of this formula and is something that occurs in nature. Is it any wonder that another name for this formula is The Divine Proportion? This is not to say that it must be the reason, but it is my theory. I don’t spend my time figuring out formulas just for fun, I’m not a math whiz, but I often find myself sketching out a line, staring at it, knowing something is not quite right about its placement and then I will modify the line to make it “feel” right. I have a sense that if I looked a little closer at the image I would find the unseen relationships.

Filippo Brunelleschi ‘discovered’ the rules of perspective by using a mirror. He painted a building, as he saw it, onto the mirror to get an exact representation and then he drew lines and grids to analyze and observe what those lines did. He found that lines converged at what is now called a vanishing point. Many artists of his time (1400’s) already understood that angling lines could create an illusion of depth, but had not yet observed that those lines followed a natural pattern in order to create a truly realistic image. Brunelleschi was the first architect to be able to draw what his buildings would look like and actually have an accurate image to show his clients/benefactors.

Is there an unnamed discovery to be made in the field of art and aesthetics? There is an explorer inside of me that wished I’d been around to travel across America, ‘discovering’ new lands and people but I think that the frontier I was meant to explore (in my lifetime) is to ask more deeply of myself, “Why do I love spirals?”
Art is like spirituality and science and yet entirely unlike anything else we know; all at the same time. I am the explorer of line, the connoisseur of composition, the challenger of color theory and traveler of the realm of endless imagination. I am an acolyte to the Divine Proportion.

I create my reality.

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Read the Signs

On my way to an interview yesterday I found myself a little lost and pulled over to consult the almighty Google. While sitting in a parking lot I spotted a stray dog. This was a business park, not a residential, mind you. It was unusual to see a dog there and the poor animal looked like it had never lived a comfortable life. In fact, it looked a little like a coyote in its body frame but had the short hair and markings of a brindle pit bull.

I decided not to get out of my vehicle to see if I could help the animal; not just because I was worried about being late to an interview but because the dog didn’t look like it was going to be friendly. As I started up my GPS route and got on my way again I looked at the poor, starved creature and wondered if that was somehow a reflection of me?

I have been floundering about for a job for the last nine weeks, sniffing after scraps, hopping into yards I wouldn’t normally go to in search of something to sustain myself. At that moment I lost all mental momentum. I’ve remained positive all this time, projecting my confidence that something would soon turn up but as of that moment I felt the wind knocked from my sails. In that moment, I read the sign before me that said I was a starving dog in search of anything.

I feel as if I have been wasting a lot of energy on job hunting with very little result. If I were putting this much effort into creating and selling my own work, maybe, I could have things off the ground but that is really a scary prospect to me. But so is the reality that I’ve yet to find any decent prospects for employment. Either way, I am currently feeling exhausted, burnt out and frustrated.

But just like reading tarot cards, the outcome doesn’t have to be what is drawn. The signs are there to warn us of the possibilities so that we might alter our path to avoid the fate that could await us. Of course, now I feel like I’m waiting for another sign: one that says “This Way”. 

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The Evolution of Our Reality

As I begin to learn the ins and outs of using the internet to spread my art I feel as if I have come to see a piece of the evolution of our society. While checking into my Etsy I found that someone had ‘liked’ my page, so I did what I normally do and ‘liked’ them back. But, I stayed a few minutes to look at the things on their page and it made me realize that if I like and enjoy my work, and so does someone else, it stands to reason that if they are the kind of person to ‘like’ my work they must like the same kinds of things that I do. By adding them to my social network I have added someone of a common thread.

This mentality leads to several things that are showing the change in our society:

Adding people with a common thread leads to more people seeing my work but we’re connected, like a friend of friend. These acquaintances share a common interest. Thus begins a sort of relationship with this online community. We begin to view the online community as if we were a vendor at a renaissance faire, never really getting to know anyone but coming to recognize faces and relate to them as real. We have friendly conversations and share our joy in that common interest. Relationships we already have are deepened by the added ways in which we are able to communicate.

We’ve begun to extend ourselves into living virtual realities. Our kids have a hard time writing long hand. Cursive is a beast of the past, taught in art classes instead of being considered an inseparable part of the curriculum. Students try to shorten words into texting lingo while writing a paper to be turned in as a final draft essay. We use our phones for surfing this virtual world and playing games. We do this more than actually using it as a phone. The name of the device is no longer fitting but seems to be redefining itself; just as our virtual existence is changing us.

Arguably, we have lost our ability to communicate in person but we are capable of so much when given the freedoms of anonymity. We are who we create ourselves to be when we are online. We have avatars to define ourselves. Our inner thoughts are left exposed for anyone to peruse. People we might never meet in real life can become our closest friends online. We find like minds to surround ourselves with. We’ve learned a new way of communicating and relating to our world.

Social media is designed to give us a something that we can create as tangible in our minds, like a café or the interface of a favorite gaming console. Our phones are more than the electronic leash; they are our hands and voice in the virtual world. We have become so heavily connected that we feel we must ‘check in’ with the world we have created. We feel purpose and support; we believe that we have a place in which our ‘friends’ are listening and need us as we need them. Recently, I saw someone post that they were going camping but that they would check their texts at least once or twice a day in an area where they could get reception. I felt lost on this concept but realized that we’ve become dependent on feeding this need to feel connected to our virtual world.

It’s a safe haven where we feel we can express ourselves in a way that we aren’t allowed to do in our real lives. The truth is that as we begin to communicate in this open manner online, it begins to feed into our normal lives. In any relationship, communication is the key to success. The virtual world holds nothing back; we have no excuse to not connect with others when they are right at our fingertips. Our loved ones can be anywhere and we can still send them a kiss; conversations don’t end because you leave a room. But what I think is more interesting is that we learn to communicate better because we have to do it more often and our interactions in daily ‘real’ life become more effective because of what we have learned online.

How we learn has changed; the ways in which we get our information has changed. Instead of looking at a book we look to the internet first, or a virtual copy of a book. Instead of looking for a real person to instruct us how to do something we look up tutorials. Games are being developed to teach us things. There are even those who have begun to change their classroom environment to resemble the ways in which we interact with the virtual world; creating the classroom environment to resemble a game with its vernacular helping to create a living virtual world. This is touched upon in the bookThe Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game.

Our world is reaching its next step in evolution but it’s not a physical shift, it’s mental. We are all the pioneers and engineers of or shared reality. What an exciting prospect, like something out of a science fiction movie. What world will you create? As with any step in evolution there will be many mutations that don’t quite make it but the strongest and brightest will prevail, carrying us into the next generation of the human reality. What we create in the virtual is bound to manifest in the physical. I am already taking strides into this future by stepping into a coworking office in Sacramento known as the Think House Collective

Image

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Created the World in Seven Days

Recently I complied notes about the world I have created for my stories and I realized that if there is a divine being out there who created the Earth in 7 days, it had to of been a major rough draft and he had to of had some collaboration! 

Anyway, my world actually began when I was 16 during my first attempt at novel writing. Let it be known that when it comes to creative projects I rarely start with anything easy, where’s the challenge in that? So I’ve never tried doing short stories, I just went straight for the novel. But here I am now, at age 37, finally looking at one of my writing projects that might actually reach completion! But that’s not really what this post is all about.

Throughout the years I have started a handful of story lines and rather than create a new world for each, I have continued to expand my world. This recent writing project “Magpie Sky” has shown me how much my world has grown. There are many cultures, music, fashion, levels of technology, magic, religion, flora and fauna. I could not really begin to gather every single note I have on my world because I realized it could be a book all on its own! But after talking about my world and my story with a couple friends they wanted to know more and one expressed an interest in joining me in writing in this world.

We are both Role Play Gamers and the concept of creating worlds, characters and plot lines are not a foreign concept to us. He was excited to create his characters in a world that was already fleshed out and I am excited to be the Goddess, creating this world for him to play within. By adding others to the creating process of my world I know that it will continue to evolve and maybe someday it will even gain a life of it’s own, evolving without my guidance. 

So I don’t think the Earth could have been completed in seven days by one being but maybe with a whole collaborative crew that eventually caused the evolution of many things on the earth; including humans creating their own contributions to the world. At some point I might have to create that book about my world, complete with all the sketches and illustrations I’ve amassed. But it will probably have a silly title such as, The Goddess Created the world in Seven Years (and had lots of help).

 

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