Spring is here!
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I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. -Claude Monet

Hey Friends!

 

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a moment to just sit and write. But we all know that seasons change, and life continues to go on. So much is going on in the world right now, but the best lessons I’ve learned thus far is that when I feel uncertain, or anxious or fearful of anything… the best I can do is simply just plant my feet firmly and remember that the world is in motion.

 

Always in motion, always changing, and no matter where we are, it’s what’s in our hearts that help us to continue to keep moving forward. No matter how difficult or challenging our life circumstance may be - we simply need to hold on, try our best to be patient, and trust in what we know. Even when we know nothing, we have to just trust that growth is a continuous  process.

 

Every year around Spring we see flowers pop up, and gardens become beautiful. But even as a flower continues to grow or bloom; we don’t ever actually know it’s growing until we’ve seen it blossom fully. Flowers continue to grow, but none of us is actually equipped with the kind of patience it takes to watch a flower actually grow. We simply bear witness to it. And for me, the beauty of what truly surrounds us in this life, is that we always get to choose what we bear witness to. And we bear witness to what we truly want to see. And for me, that’s where Art is SO much like growing a Garden. It takes human hands to dig up the soil, turn it over, and snatch up old roots - but that’s not all of it.

 

However little we know about gardens and flowers, what I’ve witnessed is that only God does the actual work of gardening. And any experienced gardener I’ve ever met will share with me how much patience, trial and error, and faith it takes. What’s always been true for me is that while I am an Artist - I’ve never thought of myself as the best, but I have held on to my own faith.

 

What I know for sure, is that God is the Master Artist and the Master Gardener, and while we can always take credit for the work of our hands - whether it’s planting with soil, mixing paints and colors to make art..seasons will change, and we get to choose what we hold on to. And letting go isn’t always as easy as it may seem.

 

But I believe that work begins and ends in the same way it has, since the beginning of all creation.  

 

Happy Spring Beauties! Sunshine and flowers continue to give me life and inspire me to keep moving forward, and I hope it does the same for you.

17 lessons i learned in 2017...
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For me, 2017 was a year of incredible highs and lows, yet chock full of Life-Altering Soul lessons...

  1. Anxiety and Stress can wear you out, if the root cause is never discovered and worked through... and if you self-medicate your way thru it; you WILL prolong the Lesson.
  2. Loyalty can be a blessing and a curse. It can heal hearts and create trust & connection, or it can keep you in places you’ve outgrown. It’s not your job to get your Family to The Promised Land. Show them what’s possible in how you LIVE LIFE. If they wanna go, they’ll do the work.
  3. “Rest” doesn’t always mean sleep. Sometimes it means fresh air, a journal, a bath, a stillness meditation. Plugging out by taking breaks from phones, social media & people can be hella restorative. 
  4. You teach people how to treat YOU based on your tolerance and low expectations. This includes YOUR children, no matter the age. Boundaries are what help people grow. 
  5. Know When to Let Go. Some Mamas really pride ourselves on nurturing and enabling laziness in our grown Sons and Daughters in ways that feel good to us; but isn’t good for them. If your need to feel Needed is what drives you to do things for people, it might be time to consider letting go. Here’s a great podcast on the subject: http://apple.co/2zawkJb 
  6. GRACE isn’t given; it’s received from the the Great Omnipotent Divine (GOD) and is not meant to rescue you from Pain...but rather sustain you in learning the lessons Pain presents, until it gets better. 
  7. Be careful of who you allow to Sow or Speak into your life. Not every philosophy, message, word, inspirational newsletter, Coach, or Strategist is right for you. Once you really know Who You Are, you can learn to listen to your own heart, and follow that voice. 
  8. Move Your Body and Be kind to it. Eat well. Fresh, life-giving foods. A run or walk outside in fresh air, a private dance party around the house, or even 20 minutes of deep breathing & stretching does wonder for body chemistry and balancing emotions.
  9. UNSUBSCRIBE from Philosophies and Behaviors that no longer serve you. Why get EVERY Email about sales when trying to save money? Why hang out with people who eat greasy food and hang out at bars when You’re trying to lose weight and drink less??
  10. Don’t let GUILT hold you back. Reaching some level of success can make you feel guilty about leaving loved ones behind, especially if they feel threatened and/or jealous, and comment on how you “must think you’re all that.” As much as you want to bring them with you, they have to WANT to come, and CHOOSE to do the inner work. 
  11. Your big Energy, Presence, Drive, Determination, Resilience & Ridiculously LOVING & FORGIVING Heart is NOTHING to be ashamed of, so Own Your GREATNESS, UNAPOLOGETICALLY. 
  12. Sabotage is REAL. You can deliberately destroy your own destiny or allow other people to do it, simply by not Speaking the truth to what you know is right. 
  13. To LOVE someone is to Tell them the Truth. Be a radical Truth-Teller at all costs; it can really bring about change for people. Do you want your friend at the restaurant to meet her Prince Charming with Cilantro in her teeth? So why not tell her (gently, of course) that her bitterness and abandonment issues still show through her cute hair and outfit? 
  14. WHO YOU ARE is ENOUGH. So you can Stop over-giving, running yourself ragged, buying the gifts, and trying So hard to be ALL things to ALL people. Your presence and energy (when you’re emotionally healthy) matters way more in the end. 
  15. Success CANNOT be duplicated. There’s no perfect, one size fits all approach. But knowing and/or seeking to find YOUR unique purpose is the real work, with the real rewards. 
  16. REFILL THE WELL.The best help I can give to someone else comes from planting good seeds, and watering my own garden first. 
  17. STOP letting your Inbox, Phone, FB Messenger and all SOCIAL MEDIA PUNK YOU INTO NOT TAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF. Solitude and Stillness, is not a Luxury. Especially for Creators. Being willing to listen and receive is Prayer. Prayer changes everything. Now GO BE GREAT! 
VersAnnette BlackmanComment
On Grief, Grace & Grit
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If you've been rocking with me for a while, you're aware that earlier this year in May, I lost my younger brother, William to suicide. (at least now I can say his name). He was 32 years old. The healing process from this tragedy has left me with a lot to learn; so many feelings to process, and a greater understanding of who I am and this ever so complex thing called Emotional Wellness. 

The driving phrase I chose for 2017 was "Cultivating Radiant Joy". In January when I chose it, I told myself I was going to study and understand joy, I was going to pursue JOY and have a JOYOUS year. Yup! Happy dance type shit! All the time! What I didn't know then but definitely know now is that truly deep sorrow and Grief gives way to joy. 

There aren’t really words to tell you how this pain has cracked my soul wide open. It's such a visceral pain; the kind you can feel in your chest -- while the rest of your mind and body feel numb. On the flip side, it creates an intensity of awareness that makes you feel a connection to everything around you. You start to discern things about people you couldn’t see before. You feel the truth about situations in your spirit. 

But this connection only comes after the hardship of feeling, you know the kind that causes you to lose interest in work, being with people, or pretty much anything involving you to feel things. The kind that makes you walk around in sweatpants and not comb your hair. It's strange how even the most connectedness driven folks can push everyone and everything away and operate in that state of isolation for weeks without even noticing. And if you're anything like me, you'll do your best to avoid feeling down because it's a source of discomfort. 

And that’s where Grace comes in. 

Grace is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot. But I wanted to dig deeper for an adequate definition. Here’s what I found:: It has been defined as “the divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, and to impart strength to endure trial and resist temptation.” 

I binged watched TV shows, enjoyed one glass of wine too many, too often. I didn’t hang out with friends, and I barely answered my phone. Some days the “influence to regenerate and sanctify” my own soul led me to pick up my paint brush even when I didn’t feel like painting. And on some days I found an ounce of strength and endurance, but On sooooo many days I was this close to giving up. And sometimes I just DID NOTHING. And grace was being okay with that. I’d love to know, where has GRACE shown up in your life lately? Have you endured any loss this year? How are you getting thru it? Leave me a comment below. 
 

My newest collection, "This is Grace" will be released next week. These paintings are special and are from a beautiful place in my heart. I hope you’ll connect with these pieces, and more than that - I hope that there’s at least one that speaks to you.