Category Archives: healing

the rainbow and beyond–why transgender persons are important to human evolution

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in honor of transgender visibility day, i want to share a few thoughts about the expansion of transgendered people and their visibility in our communities. personally, I celebrate transgendered people! i see them as a gift to assist in balancing our very polarized societies and enriching our communities with a switched perspective in gendered expression. don’t worry, if you are feeling confused i am going to bring it home here. many times we have heard silly colloquialisms regarding gender such as  ‘men are from mars, women are from venus’ or, ‘the battle of the sexes’…and the frequent references to painful relationship situations due to misunderstandings between masculinity and femininity. people shrug and give up– “well, guess that’s a man thing”, or ‘women! so complicated’. and the painful experience prevents them from experiencing love and acceptance. and if that happens we become stunted. to have women among us that have known from the inside out what it is like to have a mans biology and a mans social expectations and conditioning, and vice versa, is to have a rare opportunity to heal the divisions and misunderstandings between the genders—on many levels, both physical and subtle.

why now more than ever are there trans people coming out of all walks of life and class/age groups and claiming their right to choose or change their biological gender to one that more accurately represents them? there are more children being born that are informing their parents of a true gender they feel beyond the biological gender they came in with. I’ve heard wonderful stories of parents allowing their children to express themselves as their claimed gender and fighting for their rights to attend school and church etc, –also of abuse and repression that have led to trauma and loss. it is often life or death for many trans people to be themselves. our communities are crying out for healing in relationship, and the birthing of transgender people is an answer to that crying. it is a wonderful healing opportunity to have a whole, healed person that feels their appropriate gender grace our communities.

i have loved ones, friends and friends of friends that are transgender. I have been by the side of a person I love while they made the only choice to transition to honor their true identity even while I had celebrated their fine example of being the other gender, the one they were not, and  though I had an initial sense of shock I embraced the opportunity to grow as a well rounded community member. i truly advocate for the support of well being in transitioning and pray that others will learn to celebrate the differences and opportunities we have for learning more levels of acceptance and understanding. people are people and it is be painful to be misunderstood and judged just for expressing ones true nature, as our birthright is to express our true nature.

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there are many ways of gender blending in the spectrum, however– if one says they are a different gender than they were born with, then they have come to an edge of self awareness that defies biology. that is evolution, and that is not a frivolous choice, as no one would choose to make the most complete change that a person could make and suffer the potential abuses and misunderstandings that may come with such a change. in many ways we are desperate for evolution as a species! truly there are more people wanting friends and partners that are caring and true and committed and deep, than can fulfill an extreme version of gender, one that has been rendered for so long we are physically evolving out of it. societally, there is too much attachment to the definitions of masculine vs. feminine, and women, men and children–people–are hurting because of it. transgendered persons are part of the rainbow tribes, and are guides into new and more hospitable territories, where aspects of peoples divine masculine and divine feminine are embraced individually to bring us to being more complete and expressed, satisfied selves. and that is why I celebrate transgendered persons, the rainbow and beyond!

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the artist on sex, the shadow and spirit

yes, I am choosing to write about a risky topic, in that it entails broaching the conversation of our most private and often unexplored topic, sex!  it gets our attention and regardless of our opinions, preferences and experiences will command a moment or more of attention when we see it in a topic.  it is natural, biological, and humans are captive to the impulse regardless of their personal conception and whether it involved sexuality or was a scientific experiment.  the biological sequence of becoming a life form involved an exchange of energy to initiate development.

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“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

development from the infinite unknown, or spirit world into a life form took some sort of attraction and environmental arranging to occur.  thus the occurrence of matter!  any matter formed also creates a shadow.  shadows can be fun.  we can play with shadows, and become the master of our shadow.  we can turn in a certain way to the light and with our eye see the smallest shadow possible.  if we desire we may grow that shadow to immense proportions with the right angles of light, and make a large impression with our shadow.  some may call this a negative impression, and indeed it can be.  however there is another side besides the negative shadow, and it is the protective, powerful guardian side, that we can also depend on if we know how to work the light.  and now of course you know that I am speaking metaphorically as well as physically.

okay back to the sex, time to keep the attention going here, for real! –a quick review, how are all those things related–artists, sex, shadow, spirit?  oh yes, by nature of having a physical form, attention is drawn toward the impulse of exchange, and energetic exchange that creates more energy is a matter to consider, along with its shadow.  a psychological shadow also develops as a psyche forms when the matter begins to relate/exchange with other forms.  it all may seem very abstract but there is a basic exchange, a relationship.  in that sense spirit is drawn to that which is energetically embedded in our primal impulse, from that moment when energy surged into the cells that began to grow into us.  that universal occurrence of biological exchange makes us especially drawn to the idea of sex.  regardless of the opinion we have regarding sexuality, we will respond to the word or idea with some attention.  artists are the ones that visibly, consciously externalize the shadow–both physically and psychologically to the world, becoming a reflection for other lifeforms to relate to.  many artists have an ongoing representation of the shadow in their work.  it is an opportunity to have a reflection, and to share the reflection, as there are those that are conditioned to believe that the shadow is bad, or to be feared somehow, and want to minimize it to be more comfortable.

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“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

we can benefit by being aware of the shadow–as a performance of personal power, or to provide a distraction, or open a conversation with the psyche as to ones fears and challenges.  I have found the dialogue can be very helpful, to assess where i am in relation to my shadow.  by looking at it, envisioning it, and playing with the shadow, we can communicate with the parts of our psyche that are pre-lingual, and deep in shadow.  it may well be an uncomfortable conversation at first, as our very powerful imaginations combined with deep elemental forces will detail any type of fear or fantasy we may have.  artists and creative types, scientists, are agents of this primal creative energy, and often explore aspects of shadow sexuality in their work.  the commercial viability of sexuality is part of our collective human shadow and is a consideration for many artists and the phenomenon we know as ‘selling out’.  because sexuality is viable, it will often dominate certain types of commercially successful art forms, especially in film and music.  as artists with integrity we can minimize the grotesque exploitation of sexuality for profit by looking at the shadow sides of ourselves and use the sexual energy to create work that honors the sexual impulse of all life as a more elemental occurrence.

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“O” collage, mixed media 2′ x 3′ istara freedom

as I am transitioning from the more quiet side of the visual arts to songwriting and singing, I am beginning to consider performance again and selling an image.  I get to play with the ideas of sexuality and how much of a sexy image I want to portray.  i consider the challenge it has been for me from time to time to present or ‘sell’ my  visual art, as it is open to interpretation and has the energy of self reflection.  it gives the viewer a mirror to go deep inside and that can be uncomfortable for those that want a pretty and conventional surface to relate to–or people will get distracted by my physical presence, and want to shift the focus to me. so now i get to play with selling my own image in the presentation of the songs if i choose.

perhaps you were expecting a more juicy expose on sex, shadow, spirit and the artist. i will admit, i have been curious to see just how much of a difference in the traffic to my site will be affected by including sex in the topic, and this is part of my research. maybe another day i will write a more ‘juicy’ piece to make up for it if my readers seem interested. let me know. thanks for the visit!

the healing art of tattoos

 if you have visited www.istara.org, you may have read this paragraph:

i became interested in tattoos in San Francisco, as part of the urban tribal underground art scene. i felt that the tattoo scene as a movement was a cultural effort to heal, through skin art, many many layers of our collective human suffering, through the individual story, and provide a new acceptance for the uniqueness of everyone’s path and expression to heal. eventually i acquired a tattoo machine, and it has become a healing art for me.

we are all made of stars

so what does this all mean to me? the urban tribal underground art scene? at the time it was where its at, people of various ages and diverse backgrounds, rejecting the homogenization of the masses through corporate programming and the cultish fervor of groups of all types that require adherence to a dogma or any conformity. artists, persons frustrated with the system and the hushing of human spirit, came together to confirm a possibility, that of freedom of expression, and respect for diversity. in a new turn to the idea of the wild west, a reclamation of individuality and a remembering of our pioneering spririt, exploring a new frontier, in a cyber age of maximum saturation, it became necessary sometimes to extrapolate our pain, to wear it boldly/to set it free. 

painful karmic memories are released

the opposite of denial, acceptance. interest. a new means to relate, the forming of a tribal community in an urban setting, an attempt to make new definitions for living. finding a way to connect to nature through the ownership of ones body. all of these concepts are present in the current cultural tattoo revolution.  

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the surge in popularity and acceptance of tattoos in america is a reflection of this revolution. while people have always tattooed and gotten tattooed, in the last twenty years it has gone from an underground urban revolution to a very mainstream thing to do. it is the american spirit, even if the tattoos are symbols from other cultures, they have helped a person to reconnect to their native homeland, or spiritual homeland, and that is a part of the healing.

yantra to ground root chakra

in addition to externalizing pain, tattoos are frequently acquired for the acknowledgment of a great joy, such as a sacred union, a child’s arrival, an anniversary of a momentous occasion, winning a great race, accomplishing a desired goal, celebrating years of being clean and sober, acknowledging a son or daughters passage into maturity, or even re-committing to one’s faith. maybe it is committing to one’s life, as many of my tattoos have symbolised for me.

this vine has three leaves for three years clean n sober

frequently tattoos are in memorium, or commemorative. tattoos can cover many types of scars, to help with the look and improve a person’s self-esteem.

the morning glories are covering scars

 

i have discovered that tattoos remind me of how temporal our time incarnate is, and the eternal permanance of life. i imagine a day when i’m able to tell stories and show wrinkly faded tattoos to my grandchildren and wrinkly, toothless friends.

i heart Art!

pages and pages of days go by
in this writer’s life
cut and paste world
collage of ideas
layer themselves into a vision
sculpting time into Art
i heart Art!

art is the vehicle that carries us back and forth through time. we become time travelers when we look at a piece of art or read what’s been written, as it has been completed at a fixed point in time, even if that time is ten minutes or many many centuries, back to petroglyphs and cuneiform. we create future time, with our ideas, both in imagining, describing and depicting other possible realities, as well as the more subtle shaping of the next moment by our choices and actions, our creations. that is the future, an extended idea of the now.

writing, sculpting, painting, collaging and music, also the process of understanding and  translating what other people’s needs are into skin art,  these are my teachers, friends that inform me along the way.  my capacity to understand the world grows with each expression, and the world grows with me.

the sculpture in the photo above is a great example for me of time travel and growing the world. titled ancestor, it was made during a time i was taking a class on mesoamerican art and architecture. the rough stone,  a mineral called serpentine, that left to nature’s nurture, would eventually become jade, was gifted to me concurrently by a friend, a jade carver. many of the colossal heads carved by the olmec culture in mesoamerican antiquity are carved from serpentine. i felt inspired by the rich, earthy green colors and interesting striations, and just dug in with my chisels and mallet. it is a fairly soft stone. when the piece, ancestor emerged, i felt surprised by the obvious influence of the ancient art i’d been looking at for three months! i realized that my own small percentage of hispanic heritage had found an opportunity to connect, in geologic time, to it’s roots, through the hand working of this stone. thus the name, ancestor. i had reconnected to myself and a part of the world culture. i am pleased with the original work that will always call to mind my remembrance.

in the law of time, when we are harmonious with nature, the only law that exists is time factored by energy equals art. the creative energy that exists is the same creative energy for us all, regardless of our medium, our skills or talents. that is why many artists say they have channelled their art, or gotten themselves out of the way somehow to let their creation flow. that, of course is why it has been said there is no original art. though all creative energy is from the same source, it can only come out as a unique expression when tapped by any individual. ah the beauty…