Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Astrology

My dear friend and astrologer Virginia Bell  says "
"The word disaster means to go against the stars. Dis = against, aster = stars."

  Read her Spring Astrology newsletter below. Enjoy
- Rhonda

Beloved Friends, we are in the spiritual high point of the year. This is a holy week, a sacred time: Passover commemorates the Jews’ escape from bondage; Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ and the opportunity to become new in body, heart, and soul. Resurrection: the act of rising from the dead; bringing something back to life. Rebirth: a new or second birth, a spiritual regeneration. These rituals are rooted in ancient custom and whether we worship in a temple, church, or in nature it all comes down to this: no matter what challenges we are facing, no matter how dark it becomes, at any moment we can rise up and begin again. What in your life needs to die so that you may be reborn? What needs to be freed from bondage? What needs to be renewed or reclaimed?
The Three Most Important Full Moons Take Place in Spring
During spring the creative energy pours forth from the chalis of the Moon and a doorway opens bringing fresh awareness. Once again we have the ability to move to a new level of consciousness; once again we have an opportunity to reaffirm our soul’s journey. The Easter Full Moon (April 17-18) is called the Resurrection Festival or the Festival of Shamballa. The creative energy reaches its highest potential and it is the beginning of a new cycle of creation. 
The Buddha Full Moon or Wesak Moon (May 17) is called the Buddha-Wesak Festival. It is said that Buddha was born, died and received enlightenment on the Full Moon in Scorpio and many consider this the highest spiritual day of the year. Each year this great being returns at this time to help humanity toward enlightenment.“The greatest event upon our planet, from the standpoint of spiritual verities, is the Wesak Festival. It has been there always, but unknown to the majority. Now its influence is to be recognized and consciously utilized.” Alice Bailey (Esoteric Psychology)
The Sagittarius Full Moon (on June 15) is called the Christ-Goodwill Festival or the Festival of Humanity, the World Day of Invocation and provides an opportunity to unite the human family. The divine energy received at the Wesak Festival is released and anchored within the human consciousness. This year the Full Moon is a total Lunar Eclipse at 24 degrees of Gemini/Sagittarius, close to the center of the galaxy.    
“Nothing happens until something moves.” -Einstein
We are in a time of enormous transformation for everything is shifting, both in the heavens and on earth. The outer planets; the ones that are so far away they weren’t even discovered until we had telescopes; the ones that move slowly and change signs rarely, have all recently entered new signs. Pluto, god of the underworld and planet of death and rebirth, entered Capricorn in 2008. Although that was three years ago it’s still only at the beginning of Capricorn. Chiron, associated with wisdom and compassion, reentered Pisces on February 8. Although not technically an outer planet, Chiron’s presence in Pisces is significant. On March 11, that rebel Uranus, the Great Awakener, entered fiery Aries, the sign of war, action, and passion – and the earth moved,literally. Then, on April 4, mysterious Neptune entered dreamy Pisces
“Utram bibis? Aquam an undam? Which are you drinking?
 The water or the wave? –John Fowls (The Magus)
Neptune is the planet of the invisible and the unseen; it is associated with all those things we cannot see with the naked eye; inspiration, imagination, music, spirituality, sacrifice, and escapism. It rules watery Pisces so it’s strong in its own sign. The last time Neptune was in Pisces was from 1846-1862. Neptune will remain in Pisces until 2023; over the next 15 years we will see its best and its worst of this illusive planet. Neptune has the potential to bring about a spiritual awakening and inspire more compassion for the earth and each other. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and energy medicine will become even more main stream; perhaps music will be softer, fashion more fluid. Neptune is associated with addiction and we may also see the negative effects of prescription drugs. At the same time new drugs will appear on the market as many people turn to self-medicating as a way of dealing with their problems. Water will continue to become the new oil as issues around water and pollution increase. On a personal level Neptune (and Chiron) asks us to open our hearts and intuition. Look at the area of your chart where you have Neptune transiting; something new is emerging there; water it with compassion, forgiveness, and care.  
The outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) are raw, primitive and powerful; they don’t have the social graces of the inners ones like Mercury, Venus, and Mars. These great titans of mythology, these “gods of change” are asking us to wake up and we need to cooperate. The word disaster means to go against the stars. Dis = against, aster = stars. A real disaster this year would be to try and prevent change. Keep in mind that action alone does not create lasting change. With Neptune (and Chiron) in Pisces, our actions need be grounded in consciousness and for the highest good of all concerned.    
Change Your Story; Transform Your Life
One way to create change is to change our story. Is there a story you keep repeating to yourself and others?“There aren’t any good men (women, jobs, opportunities, affordable houses).” “I’m too old (too broke, too tired, too fat) to meet someone, get my play produced, or change careers.” You get the drift. Are there people in your life who encourage your story? Do you look for evidence to support it? These stories aren’t necessarily real but we’re deeply attached to them and they keep us tied to the past. Is there some truth in them? Sure, but they’re not written in stone. “The world is more malleable than you think. It is not all set in concrete and where it is, at least stick your fingers in it before it dries.”  -Bono (U2)
What message are you sending? Do you talk about what you like or don't like; do you focus on what works or doesn’t work? Thoughts are magnetic, words have power; the emotions connected to those words have even more power; they can inspire or defeat. Does your story reflect your highest self or your worst fear? Would you be willing to change it? What (or who) would you have to give up? Whatever you think about, you speak about and whatever you speak about you bring about.
Don’t believe me. Become a detective. Become conscious of what you say; notice how it feels. Listen to other people's dramas; pay attention to how that feels. Try telling a different story; one that is aligned with your future and not your past. Notice what happens when you do; you may get a different result, a new perspective, or attract new experiences. Experiment, explore, play; it doesn’t cost anything, it does no harm, and as Buckminister Fuller said, “You can’t learn less!
“Never be afraid to change what you believe in order to become who you are.”
-Sister Karol Jackowski
 Check out Sister Karol’s inspiring weekly blog on Martha Stewart Whole Living: The above quote is from a recent blog entitled: 3 Ways To Be Picky About What You Think (And You Should Be)
Beloved Friends, There is so much going on in the world right now; earthquakes, nuclear explosions, floods, wars, not to mention the economy – and we witness it constantly on TV and the internet. It’s only normal to feel a bit shell shocked. If you’re feeling down or depressed, there’s probably nothing wrong with you; we’re all suffering from a collective Post Traumatic Syndrome. Be gentle with yourself and others. Meditate, spend time in nature, eat well, and rest. Connect with people you love and do the things that bring you joy.
“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach
It is late now in our little tower room high above the Astrology Cafe. I am deeply grateful for your presence tonight. The candles have all burned down. The room is quiet and still. Outside the old owl has appeared on the branch of the Alder tree. A soft breeze drifts in from through the open window. Celebrate this miraculous season; take joy in each fern and flower, welcome the Sun as well as the rain. Above all, love yourself, feel good; be glad, no matter what is going on in your life or in the world. You are loved, all is well, Virginia
Visit my website: www.virginiabellastrology.com or connect with me on Facebook.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Personal Vision

I've finished the final draft of chapter 1, and am on draft 3 of chapter 2 - your personal vision.  Vision for me is at the heart of everything we do.  I keep re-writing this chapter! It's probably way too long. But, I've been researching visioning and visualization practices, and lately reading about the Tibetan practice of visualization with mandalas - its fascinating. I know we, as artists can apply that to our own growth, and career growth. The spiritual is not separate. The keys are in the practice. And expanding the mind, into non-mind. And then back into form.

Have been going to the Rubin Museum a lot and sitting with the amazing collection there. As a member it is free, so I spend my lunch hours - sometimes just 10 minutes gazing at a Thangka or Mandala painting. Very rejuvenating to the heart, the eyes, the  soul.

When I was just out of art school, I worked at MoMA, and used to pick a different painting to sit with on my lunch hours. My favorite was one of Archipenko's "Black on Black". I can still see myself sitting on a bench, in a deserted gallery, pondering it - entering it, almost 30 years ago.

So I had a thought. Not a vision, but an idea. I'll write about the ideas in the book for you to consider of course, and try out, but I'd also like to share the actual book with you, as it evolves. And I would love your feedback.

Here is the table of contents I've come up with. What do you think? I'd love for you tell me if you think I've missed anything, or you would like something included.  We are a community - we do for each other, we help each other, we grow together. Thanks for being there, thanks for sharing your process, your needs, and your ideas -  Thanks for letting me share what I've learned along the way.

So this is going to be a hands-on career planning book with creative visualizations and guided meditations, self-assessment and self-exploration worksheets for visual artists to create and sustain a
successful career. Workbook and audio files will be downloadable from a website I'll create for the book, so purchasers can actually hear me take them through each process.

Create Your Art Career: Tools for Empowerment and Success
Table of Contents 
Part 1: Who Are You

Chapter 1: What is Creative Visualization
Topics to cover: introduction to visualization and guided meditation, self assessment and
journaling. How to use visualization, guided meditation,  self-assessment and self
exploration techniques for career management.

Chapter 2: Your Personal Vision
Topics to cover: Introduction to career management and the core principles of an artistic
career, how to chart your visions, what is authentic for you in your artistic practice, how
to find your authentic voice and deepen your personal myth. Create your business vision
and creative manifesto, and visualize the journey as an end in itself.

Chapter 3: You are a Successful Artist
Topics to cover: what does success mean to you, what do you value, where are you
headed and why? Uncover what success and achievement mean to you in business and in
life, and begin to create a plan based on your definition of success. 

Chapter 4: Your Unique Talents 
Topics to cover: Learn how to deepen your creative process. Assess your skills,
accomplishments, values and talents. Understand why you make the creative choices you
do, how to utilize your unique talents and augment your weaknesses.  Learn from your
accomplishments to target future goals. Charting accomplishments and finding common
threads for success.

Part 2: Where Are You Going?

Chapter 5: What Would You Do if You Couldn’t Fail?
Topics to cover:  Exploring options, creating blueprints, varying scenarios, seeing the
future unfold 5 years, 15 years, 30 years in the future. Applying your fascinations into a
life plan. Apply the answers uncovered in Part 1 into career path visualizations. 

Chapter 6: Uncovering Your Long-Term Goals and Short-Term Goals
Topics to cover:  creating personal and professional goals for the short term and long
term, writing a personal mission statement and career creative manifesto, outlining career
ideals by stages and creating your career destiny. 

Chapter 7: Develop Strategies and Tactics to Reach Your Dreams
Topics to cover: once you have your long term and short term goals, you need to create
strategies and tactics to reach them. Uncover why your goals are important and discern
how you will get them done. Delving into your why statement, and outlining the how,
what, where, and when to manifest your goals. Create a mind map

Chapter 8: Clarify Your Vision
Topics to cover : Explore your ideal life , your ideal job, your ideal client, your ideal
business, your ideal location, your ideal day, your ideal co-workers, your ideal salary,
your ideal gallery, etc.. Learn to imagine and visualize every detail of making your
creative career dreams a reality. If you were to do one thing in your professional life that
would have the most positive impact, what would that be?

Part 3: How Will You Get There?

Chapter 9: Assembling an Action Plan
Topics to cover: Now we start to put into action all that we learned in parts 1 and 2.
Create a life plan and action plan of key moves and visualize the steps to succeed.
Incorporating the personal mission and creative manifesto from earlier chapters, this plan
will be the guiding and grounding force in moving your career forward.

Chapter 10: Create a Momentum Calendar and Vision Board
Topics to cover: Goals are simply dreams with deadlines. Nothing happens without start
dates and end dates. We will create a vision board with all key elements of our plan, with
dates. We will create/design a calendar and chart our momentum, our studio practice,
bridge our creative minds with business mind with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly
goals that each reader can design for themselves.

Chapter 11: Visualizing Great Business Relationships, Research and Referrals
Topics to cover: Visualizing all the pieces coming together. The hardest part of putting
your authentic voice into the market place is knowing what is the right market,
networking, and talking about yourself. We will utilize creative visualization and
assessment exercises to research and uncover your market, enhance building successful
relationships, practice effective and easy mutual networking and pitching proposals.

Chapter 12: Affirmations for Achievement and Success
Topics to cover: Persevere and don’t give up. Change negative beliefs into positive ones,
learn to focus and affirm the “end in mind”, establishing a visualization and meditation
routine, forming a supportive community, seeing it all come together because you
deserve it! Learn how to maintain your art career.

Chapter 13: Artist as Entrepreneur
Topics to cover: How to incorporate your life plan into a innovative business plan. Turn your authentic voice into the perfect business plan, and create a right relationship with money. Visualize the funding you need and your business spirit and structure flourishing in the world with the right audience, with the right goals, and the right marketing initiatives so you can bring in the right income.

Chapter 14: Successful Partnerships
Topic to cover: You cannot do career alone. Now that you have a vision, a plan, and a budget it’s time to think about how you will reach your audience.  What is your brand, your marketing plan, understanding market trends, how to create your own micro-markets.  Visualize your hot business model reaching the world.  See yourself working with your ideal clients, innovating and responding to market conditions through the power of partnerships. 

Chapter 15: Your Sustainable Art Career 2.0
Topics to cover: Marketing with social media and how to keep it going on the web, get ready get set go, open for business, your social branding. Visualizing yourself in cyberspace, work hard and work smart reaching your ideal audience and marketing your message through social networking, building equity, building viral word of mouth through all cyber channels.

Chapter 16: Take Charge of Your Life
Topics to cover:  Success for the long haul. Make your dream of a creative career a reality. Maintaining a sustainable life and art practice. Visualizing the five elements of a recognized, successful artist and visualizing your artistic business, meaningful, purposeful, fulfilling.  Are you ready to succeed?  Exercises to ensure your long term survival, work/life balance, fulfillment and satisfaction.

Resources and Index at the end.

What do you think? Am I missing anything? Is there something you would like in addition?

And in between it all, I'm drawing, meditating, healing. Watching the branches sway in the wind. Teaching at SVA how to write grant proposals and visualize success, being a Thesis advisor to an awesome photographer Alisha Jones.  Hanging out with Elia and Dave, and Max. And of course, dancing with the trees and becoming the spaces inbetween all form - ahh.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mighty Balls

 Another one of my dear SVA alumna's has a great new business venture  - Mighty Balls!

Please check out her Indiegogo campaign and pass the word. She needs help, and what is a community to do - we help.

I am definately looking forward to my Mighty Balls t-shirt.
All the best,
Hi folks!

Mighty Balls is over halfway through our fundraising campaign, and boy, have we been busy!

First, I would like to take a moment and thank every person that has contributed. Everyone has been so generous! And both Dina and I feel unbelievably blessed. I think I get tingles every time someone contributes. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

For Mighty Balls there are many great things on the horizon. Many projects are in the works, but most exciting we have found a partner to produce our sauces and are working on refining the recipes for production on a large scale. Beth has been canning for over 30 years, and works with many notable restaurants in Manhattan, so we are really excited to be working with her. Lately we've been playing with one of my personal favorites, a completely addicting African raw onion and mustard sauce. I can't stop eating it, and can't wait tot share it with everyone.

Our fundraising campaign has only twenty days left, and we still need your help. We are offering some really fun perks for everyone who contributes. For only 35 dollars, you get a signature tee, and limited edition sticker, not to mention our undying gratitude, and bragging rights to say you helped Mighty Balls get started. Visit http://indiegogo.com/Mighty-Balls to learn more. The more you give, the more we can do.

And equally important, all click-throughs and visits to our page help us raise in the rankings. We made the front page of the food campaigns within the first few days we posted, but our goal is to make the front page, and you can help us get there! Spread the word near and far. 

And don't forget- every contributor gets their name entered into a raffle for a chance to have a Mighty Ball named after them (and really, who doesn't want that?).

Let's do this!