Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Under the sun

The following text and flash illustration ( except of course the picture from Hubble^_^) is from my husband! I found it very interesting to have the beginning of a sctientifical explaination to a philosophical problem. We discussed this matter one day, and I discovered how far science have already gone!! Since then, I believe that we can no more make a clear separation between science and spirituality/philosophy/personal growth.

Under the Sun

Nothing is hidden under the sun. For me, this also means that no deed is without witnesses.
We like to characterize witnesses as sentient beings capable of seeing our intentions, but this definition is limited, as the realm of human perception remains limited to how we visualize the world.

Take a book for example. An inert object with words contained within.
Here is a philosophical question: Is a book only worthy if it is being read?
In the same line of thoughts, are our actions meaningful only when they are being observed?

In my opinion, the fabric of the space time tends to build bridges between what we might call the impossible. Quantum teleportation has proven that relationships exist between the building blocks of matter, beyond the observable.
In this same spirit, I would argue that our action (or inactions) also reaches across the void of space time to trigger other actions whether perceptible or imperceptible to us. We might not have the technological know-how today to measure the effects (ripples might be a better term) of our actions, but we can agree that we humans are part of the very fabric of space-time itself, and hence our actions will ripple across the surface of space/time even when there is no observer.

Why is this important? Well my idea is that it would be wise for us to take time to understand our actions and their possible consequences, because the ripple effect could affect us as well. It sounds obvious but a lot of us take this for granted. We will all be better off if we spent more time understanding each other and the cause of our actions, before we act.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Interview with Michelle Harvey

Michelle accepted to make the interview today, and I am happy to have her sharing her views in my blog. Michelle designs original jewelries. She is the owner of Michabella Creations, and a blogger. But before everything, she is the accomplished mom of a four year little girl.

Me:Can you tell in a few words a little bit about yourself.

Michelle: I am a stay at home mom to a lovely little girl who will be 4 thisyear! I love all types of music, cooking, reality TV, and of course,making jewelry!

Me: How did you come to jewelry design?

Michelle: After working several years in the fashion industry, I became a mom and wanted to stay at home. About a year later, I felt I needed somethingfor myself, and that's when I learned how to make jewelry. I teamed up with a friend and we started Michabella Creations a little over 2 yearsago.

Me: Where do you get your inspiration?

Michelle: I get my inspiration from many places. Sometimes the beads themselvesare too beautiful too pass up and then I play around until I'vecreated something I'm happy with. The change of the seasons also lend inspiration to my designs. Lastly, the colors and trends of the fashion industry play out a bit in my designs.

Me: What are your goals?

Michelle: First, my goal is to be a great mom and have a happy child. The goal for my business is to have my designs be noticed and be able to sell to boutiques across the country. It wouldn't hurt if they made their way to print and television, either!

Me: Do you believe in your lucky star?

Michelle: I would have to say my daughter, Chloe, is my lucky star.

Me: Do you have periods of doubts?

Michelle: Absolutely! Lots of doubts!

Me: How do you deal with those periods of doubts?

Michelle: I step back from creating and networking and focus more on my day today life. Then something strikes me or my creative juices start to flow again and I can't help but get back on track with what I'm doing.
Me: What method do you use to find back your energy?

Michelle: Energy...what's that again?!

Me: Is it effective?

Michelle: No, I just have to push through to get things accomplished day to day!

Me: What is your motto in life?

Michelle: I don't really have one, but I do feel it's important to teach my daughter that you need to work hard and not let anything stand in the way of her dreams! You can do anything you set your mind to.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Interview with Dana Nedelea

My friend Dana accepted to make this interview on my blog, and I feel very happy!
Dana is a photographer and a blogger, she makes lovely pictures, and one of her specialty is music group photography. I hope you will take the time to visit EastSide blues band's website to see the beautiful pics she made for the group. Today’s interview will be illustrated by her floral and portraits( that I looovve) photography.

Me: Can you tell a little bit about yourself and how you came to photography?

Dana: I was born and grew up in Romania, in a big city called Ploiesti, known for its oil refineries (because of that it was intensely bombarded at the end of the second world war by American aviation) and its beautiful chestnut trees boulevard.

I lived 30 years under communism, but I can say I had a beautiful childhood and adolescence, being blessed with wonderful parents. I was lucky to be a teenager in the ‘70s when there it was an opening to culture and I could spend all my time reading good books, watching films, listening those years’ music or classical music, going to the theatre, to the ballet and winning 3 literature prizes (in high school). I also played tennis, handball and I did gymnastics.

Things got worse in my country at the beginning at ‘80s when the access to information and art was stopped. That time I graduated Chemistry in Bucharest and I started to work as an engineer. Next 25 years of my life I just survived (another 8 years of communism and 17 years of never ending transition) in a beautiful country, with nice people, but where the personality and individual talent didn’t matter.

I tried to remain faithful to my hobbies: reading, tennis, watching good films and documentaries. In 2004, after I found myself alone ( my parents died too early and my marriage broke in pieces) I refused to let the grief defeat me and I decided it’s the time to live my life in my way, alone or with an open-minded partner ( I wished to live with somebody I can talk with, share everything, to be loved for what I am and to be encouraged to find my way).

Short time after I decided (against my friends’ advice) the traditional Romanian style of life is not for me, I met my partner (he’s a Gibraltarian) who is everything I dreamt and more. He is a musician and he played with different rock bands (the most famous of them being Scarecrow in ‘70s, they used to play in same concerts with Jimmy Hendrix, Garry Moore or Pink Floyd).

He noticed my photographic talent and encouraged me to develop it (I always made good pictures), but I started to take photography very seriously last year when we moved together to Gibraltar and the acquisition of a Nikon D60 in November 2008 helped me a lot.

At at my suggestion, he changed Rock music for the Blues and now he’s part of The EastSide Blues Band and they started to be a name here in Gibraltar (they just appeared in Gibraltar Globe Magazine last week). I’m the photographer of the band and I participated from the beginning at the promotion of it (being their adviser and I‘m very proud of what they realized so far in so short a time).

My pictures of the band and all the biographies of the 4 musicians, their blog, comments of the fans, press and 8 tracks with their music can be found on www.eastside-blues.com. My new life in Gibraltar after I crossed all Europe leaving Romania and the process of discovering myself in a new world, my everyday pictures, all of these can be followed on my blog http://danangib.blogspot.com. Also my pictures portfolio can be seen at http://danangib.tailcast.com or on http://lemondedenamate.ning.com/.

Me: Where do you get your inspiration?

Dana: My source of inspiration is nature and everyday life. I believe that before you try to change into art your nightmares or bad memories you should look around you. I took beautiful shots in Alameda Gardens, which is a Botanical Garden (different from others because the plants grow wild); also I took interesting shots in a market place where I found beautiful characters. Just looking at them, they’re untold stories (they were very friendly and happy to pose). I think my pictures show those kind of things people tend to miss considering them very common and dull, but this is my way to show my appreciation and interest for everything I got as a gift living in a wonderful place surrounded by nice people.

Me: What are your goals?

Dana: For me, art means 70% talent & inspiration and 30% experience & technique. My goal is to achieve enough experience and technique to be able to express through my pictures what I see or what I feel when I’m taking a shot. Also I wish EastSide Blues Band to have more and more fans, so, please visit and join their site.

Photographies: Dana Nadelea/Music: EastSide Blues Band

Me: Do you believe in your lucky star?

Dana: Yes.

Me: Do you have periods of doubts

Dana: I can’t say I have periods of doubts, it’s more a kind of disappointment in front of the lack of reaction or interest of people in art (I‘m very disappointed by my friends from Romania, who are very reserved in following my blog and making any comments on my work).

Me: How do you deal with those periods of doubts?

Dana: I don’t have a special method. I just keep myself busy finding all the time something to do : I read books, take pictures, watch good films, work on the computer, talk with my partner about interesting subjects or we just take a walk together or I invent delicious recipes making a surprising meal from almost nothing , etc…. due to these activities I’m never bored and I don’t let the doubts or disappointment to overwhelm me.

Me: What method do you use to find back your energy?

Dana: Well, I have a good sense of humor and that helps. Also I’m very well balanced, I know in life there are good times and bad times. What is important is to learn your lessons and go further trying to improve your work.

Me: What is your motto in life?

Dana: Don’t take anything for granted, look around you, the world is beautiful and you are lucky enough to be part of it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interview with Sarah Skeen

I am happy to have Sarah as my guest today. She is the mom of a very cute little girl (very very cute^_^), a jewelry designer, a photographer, the owner of Lucksgirl, and a blogger. In a few words, a multitalented individual!
If I choose to illustrate this interview with her photos, it is just because I fell in love with them :).

Me: Can you tell in a few words a little bit about yourself.

Sarah: I am a stay at home mom to a beautiful 4 year old girl and it wasn't until I became a stay at home mom that I discovered that I have a real eye for photography as well as the other crafts that I enjoy.

Me: How did you come to photography?

Sarah: An ex boyfriend of mine bought me a 4 mega pixel camera for my birthday in 2000 and I started to play around with it but there is nothing like the birth of your first child to make you want to take pictures. In 2005 my daughter was born and I had the perfect little subject! Shortly after that we purchased a Canon Rebel DSLR with a 105mm macro lens and I fell head over heals in love with photography. I live in the ideal place (in the woods on a mountain) for nature photography which is what I love.

Me: Where do you get your inspiration?

Sarah: I am surrounded by inspiration! From my beautiful daughter to the flowers, animal, trees, and insects outside of my door. How could I not be inspired?

Me: What are your goals?

Sarah: My main goal is to be the best mother I can be and raise a child who loves nature as much as she does the people around her. I would also love for my Etsy shop to thrive! I love sharing my photography with the world.

Me:Do you believe in your lucky star?

Sarah: My daughter Lily is my lucky star :)

Me: Do you have periods of doubts?

Sarah: Of course! We all do. Sometimes I think I do more than others.

Me:How do you deal with those periods of doubts?

Sarah: I don't have any special way of dealing with it....it's something that just comes and goes. I try not to pay much attention to it because the more attention I give to doubt the bigger it gets.

Me: What method do you use to find back your energy?

Sarah: Energy? Being the mother of a 4 year old I have forgotten what that is!

Me: What is your motto in life?

Sarah: This may sound really cheesy but I live by "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" I feel like a lot of people don't really put themselves in other people shoes. When you're saying something mean or just not being nice do you ever stop and think about what it would be like to be on the receiving end? I do and I feel like I'm a better person because of it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Interview with Terry Spier

My guest today is Terry Spier. She designs beautiful jewelries. I particularly love the stones she uses in her work. She is also the owner of Magical Beadstalk, and a blogger.
However my interview pattern doesn’t change, my guest answers make the difference^_^.

Me: Can you tell a little bit about yourself, and how you came to create
Magical Beadstalk.

Terry:I am 58 years old and have lived in the United States for 10 years. I am originally from Canada, born in Montreal and having lived in Toronto for 25 years or so. I am a product of the sixties, and didn’t find my direction until the age of 29, which is when I decided to get my life together. Up until then life was about fun. At 29 I went to University to study psychology. I loved the learning and I never looked back. By the time I left Toronto for the US, I had a psychotherapy practice and was a tenured professor at a community college in downtown Toronto. My specialties were sexual orientation, trauma and addiction. It was both difficult and extremely rewarding, and required much personal growth to try and stay grounded. I did burn out after 15 years and when I fell in love with an American I took the plunge and gave up my career to move to the US.

I now live in Western Massachusetts with my partner Elaine, our two dogs, and I am going to be a grandmother in July – very exciting times. It has been a huge culture shock moving from a city of 3,500,000 to a town of 16,000. I love the slower pace to my life.

I have been collecting rocks and beads since forever. I am particularly drawn to the shapes, colors and designs found in stones. By the time I moved to the US I had quite a collection. I have created jewelry on and off through the years, mostly making things for friends and myself.

In 2004 I decided to expand my love for making jewelry into a small business. I registered as a business and after much discussion with friends, came up with the name Magical Beadstalk. I had been in business before having been a part of an antique clothing business in the early 70’s called Bygone Threads, and an antique shop, specializing in Art Deco called The Ageless Attic.

Things progressed from there. I lost both my brother (2005) and my mother (2007) and realized that life was fragile in a way I hadn’t considered before and that it was time to start living what I was teaching. So I took the plunge and started my business full-time. It is sometimes a struggle, but I’ve never been happier or more content.

Me:Where do you get your inspiration?

Terry:I don’t believe there is an easy answer to this for me. Inspiration comes in many forms. Nature is often a catalyst for my creativity. Or sometimes it’s as simple as finding a strand of beads that I look at and know what needs to happen with them. Other times, inspiration is more connected to what is going on with me internally. I am studying Reiki and Buddhism and am focusing inward more, and my pieces seem to reflect this – softer tones, natural stones, not as much flash. I used to work with Swarovski Crystals a lot, and find that I no longer use them much. I am inspired more by natural vs. manmade. Except for sterling silver, that is. I love working with silver.

Me:What are your goals?

Terry: Do I have goals? Of course I do, but it’s not something I think about much. On a practical level, I want to make enough money to support myself. On a personal level, I want to continue to feel the joy and contentment I get when creating. Have I said it before? I love what I do.

Me: Do you believe in your lucky star?

Terry: I don’t know about a lucky star. Most of my life I believed I was guided by something outside of myself that led me where I needed to go. Was that a lucky star? Maybe. I have tried to be compassionate, honest, open and generous in my life, and often I receive the same from others.

Me: Do you have periods of doubts?

Terry: Yes I do. I can have doubts about my choices, especially trying to survive in this economy as a jewelry artist. I can doubt my skill, having heard more than once that I’m “just a stringer”. But these periods of doubt seem healthy because they help keep me grounded and motivate me.

Me: How do you deal with those periods of doubts?

Terry:I deal with periods of doubt by just letting them happen, trying not to dwell or hang on to them. At this point in my life I feel that whatever happens will happen and I don’t need to try and control situations like I did when I was younger. It seems to work, and the periods of doubt come less often.

Me: What method do you use to find back your energy?

Terry: Sometimes I need to get out of the house and connect with friends. My studio is in my home and I can spend days with little social contact. I don’t push myself as much as I used to. If I’m not feeling creative I will focus on something else that needs to be done, for example putting new pieces up on my website, calling my consignment folks to see if they need new stock, applying for craft fairs, etc. There is always something to be done.

Me:Is it effective?

Terry: Seems to be. Knowing when I need to change gears sometimes eludes me but I think I am getting better at it.

Me: What is your motto in life?

Terry:When I was younger my motto was “I am my own Guru”. I always believed that I didn’t need to look elsewhere for strength and direction – I knew what I needed to do if I looked intently enough.

I’m in a different place now and that is no longer my motto, although my way in the world is still similar. What guides me is believing that I get back what I give - to cherish the little things - trust that the right things will happen if I pay attention - and to let those I love know it because things can change so quickly.

A Gestalt therapist named Barry Stevens wrote a book in the 70’s, I believe, called Don’t Push the River. How I love that title. So maybe that is my motto – don’t push the river.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

About limitations

I came across a post on Lori Anderson’s blog, you absolutely have to read it! It is so beautiful to see how people are able to go through their own limitations, in this case physical disability, and mostly, through the limitations society projects on them.

We are so quick to give limits to what is acceptable for other people to do. It can be with people with disability as shown in this post, but it is more often with our entourage, friends, families, etc…
One example we usually see are the limitations given to kids. It can be by their parents, teachers, or other adults close to them. How often do you hear “You can’t do that”, or “You are not talented at”, or “this is not for him or her”, etc…

............Illustration by my older son.

Those words create mental limitations that are very hard for an individual to overcome while growing up.
What we should never forget, is that we have the experience of being ourselves, but in no way can we have the experience of being someone else. When we empathize with someone, we are empathizing with an experience someone else is living at the moment, but we are in no way this other person with all their complexities.

.......Illustration by my youngest son..........

So when we think of placing limitations on someone else, we should stay humble, and think that we do not have the experience of being that person, then, we might remember that it is not up to us to dictate limitations for the person.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Amor and Psyche

I love Greek myths; they are so full of symbols and hidden meanings
The myth of Amor and Psyche is one of my favorite Greek myths.
Amor is the god of love, and Psyche a simple but extremely beautiful mortal human. She was so beautiful that even Aphrodite the goddess of love was jealous of her.
I wouldn’t retell this myth about the love story of Amor and Psyche as you can find many versions of this story online. Here is a link to one of these versions on Wikipedia.

Amor in latin means love (also known as Cupid, the Roman god of love), and Psyche in Greek means soul. So this is a story between the soul and love.

What I found interesting is to see how Amor (love itself) was stunned by the beauty of psyche (the soul).
It is also interesting to see how in a first time Amor have to remain hidden from the eyes of its lover (Psyche) and how their love must be kept secret.

Another fascinating point is to see how this story between love and soul elevate the soul to the status of immortality.
And at least, it is remarkable to see that their daughter, the fruit of their love is named Voluptas, which means sensual pleasure and bliss (delight, harmony). This is my favorite part…sensual pleasure (wich is very human) and harmony born from divine love.

This is so far from what we are taught in most of today’s culture: human pleasure and divine must remain separate concepts. The sacred and the profane...

So to conclude, the human soul access to immortality by fully living its relationship with love. The path to accomplish this relationship is not meant to be simple, or easy, but we will have all the help we need to accomplish the union between our soul and love.
This relationship will not only help our soul in its quest for immortality, but also helps us create harmony in our lives.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interview with Theresa Thompson

My guest today is Theresa Thompson. She is a busy mom, a handbag designer, the owner of Tiltcreations, and a blogger: http://tiltcreationstoo.blogspot.com/

I really love her trendy bags...( If I could, I would buy one for each day of the week :D).

When interviewing I am interested in the creative process, and the idea creative people have on personal growth.

The interview:

Me: Where do you get your inspiration?

Theresa: I wish I had a good answer for this, but honestly, I don't always know. There are times I am lying there trying to sleep and Wham! Idea hits of a way I'd like an embellishment or pocket or strap or something. In the beginning most of my inspiration stemmed from frustration and wanting a bag that met my needs better...mostly of the diaper bag variety.

Me: What are your goals?

Theresa: My goals are simple...to complete what I start and learn what I need to do to help what I create sell.

Me: Do you believe in your lucky star?

Theresa: Hard to say - I think it's hiding, or went Supernova on me.

Me: Do you have periods of doubts?

Theresa: I am sorry to say, yes, all too often. Hopefully the seasonal change can help that slide away.

Me: How do you deal with those periods of doubts?

Theresa: My family is good for that...both my in person family and my little etsy/blogger family...and a switch up in creative outlets always seems to help. Reminds me that I am doing this because I love to create things.

Me:What method do you use to find back your energy?

Theresa: see above :)Is it effective? 95% of the time. The other 5% just needs a good night sleep...hard to come by with a preschooler.

Me: What is your motto in life?

Theresa: Be the best and happiest person you can be. I tell my oldest this all the time. We tell him that it does not matter how much money you make, or what job you have, or car you drive...but that you know you spent your life doing what is right, what is best for you, and work doing something that makes you happy and complete.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The phenomena of empathy

I want to talk about this phenomena that we all experience at a level or another, and that we should look closer at. I am talking about the phenomena of empathy.

Wikipedia describes empathy as the capacity to share and understand another's emotion and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes", or in some way experience what the other person is feeling. Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion, sympathy or empathic concern because this capacity can be present in context of compassionate or cruel behavior.

A usual way to experience empathy is with our family, friends, in a therapeutic context, and with people generally close to us.

The most typical type of empathy to describe is the one that exist between a mother and her child.This is sometimes manifested by the fact that if the child suffers, the mother suffers as well, sometimes regardless of distance.

Many of us have experienced another type of empathy, this is the empathy that can exist between someone we do not know well or sometimes with a perfect stranger.

Experiencing this type of close link with someone unfamiliar is usually interesting, and sometimes extraordinary, or frightening depending on the circumstances.

This type of empathy can usually be found in people who tend to be easily depressed.
I have seen and met people that have this ability to be very sensitive to other people’s issues. They personally experience the emotions of the people frequently around them, and are not sufficiently aware of this most of the time.

Hence they are usually not armed to control this phenomena, and most of the time, they don’t even know that they are deeply feeding off someone else’s emotions. Sometimes even if they know they are experiencing someone else’s negative emotions, they do not know how to protect themselves, which is important.

First of all, being conscious of the fact that you are easily influenced by other people’s emotions can help you prepare and protect yourself from these negative feelings.
If you think you are feeding of someone else’s emotions, there might be a reason. Your path might be temporarily in synch with this person’s path, or at least the person believes you are on the same path and wants your help, consciously or sub-consciously.

If this circumstance occurs, it is important to think of yourself first and foremost. Ask yourself if you are mentally strong enough to live through such an experience?
If yes, great! Live the experience fully, and do what you have to do to help this person, and in the process yourself, because you feed off both the positive and negative emotions.

However, if you believe the empathy felt from someone else’s emotions is too much for you to handle, identify the source of these feelings, and then, try to visualize yourself cutting a umbilical cord between you and this source.

This doesn’t necessarily stop you participating positively in helping to overcome the source of the negative feelings, but it will help to protect you from succumbing to these same negative emotions, and in the process feeding the flames of negativity, instead of quenching them.
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