Who deems one to be an Artist?

Long Point Beach Copyright: Raine Eller www.realignphotography.com

This is a weighty subject for me. I have long reflected on this label or title. Who decides whether you are an artist or not? Is there an initiation period of some sort?! Of having to accomplish a certain amount of work first? Is is necessary to initially create for years on end unbenownst to others before sharing your pieces? What about accepting payment for your work? Do you weather the stormy chaos of crowds at markets and trade shows, promoting yourself til you are hoarse; jumping through the hoops on the carpet at a gallery; standing til your legs feel numb, on a cobblestone road, painting portraits of any interested soul for next to nothing? Ok, I got carried away there! (and into another section of the timeline apparently).

Seriously, I wonder is it when one sells their first piece of work for money? Or after one hundred pieces?! Who decides? There are likely a thousand different perspectives and opinions ‘out there’ on the subject. At this point in my journey, I need to be concerned with my own. I believe artists are those who absolutely need to share a message, or inner interpretation — visually, olfactorally or viscerally to the world, which satiates a creative longing within them (which, in essence is truly a Soul calling, I feel).

I remember sorting through my parents’ basement years ago. I was pulling out old boxes that they had asked me to please take before the sale of the house. These boxes were filled with memorabilia from my elementary, highschool and college days! (ugh)

SO…through the boxes I foraged, remembered and experienced the accompanying feelings that nostalgia lane brings. Then, while rummaging in one cupboard, I came across a skinny long box underneath some bins. Curious, I opened it to discover–mouth suddenly hanging open–BEAUTIFUL sketches of women and men and fruit. Separate subject sketches, not all together (!) They were done by my mother. I knew she was exceptionally creative and talented….yet not to this degree.

Sadness seeped through….to think she had hidden them away like this. I felt so many feelings all at once. I immediately marched upstairs to get her to account for her actions. I said ” You’re an Artist!!!” ” WHY are these HIDDEN away like this?–they should be in frames somewhere for others to see!!!” I was very passionate–perhaps a bit too emphatic in that moment. She got a little teary eyed (or perhaps it was my eyes that were misting so hers looked the same…) She hemmed and hawwed and declared she did not feel they were good enough. Wow. My heart sank like an anchor off the boat of self esteem.

Can self-doubt be inherited??! Seriously.

In recent years, I’ve had countless discussions with two very dear friends–both whom are artists. Each of them has sold their work and had formal education. They are each quite matter of fact and humble about their work….and disciplined when creatively in their flow–at creating and creating and creating! These are the mentors I have chosen to emulate.

One of them taught me that ‘releasing’ (sharing/showing/selling) the finished work is not so much about ego’s need for attention, yet rather the completion of the process. It certainly feels vulnerable and almost sad yet also jubilant, in my experience, to do so. I trust it’ll get easier…

And so, four years after seriously beginning (again) my photography, I can say the word “artist” in the same sentence as “I am” and, although still cringing somewhat inside, it is feeling more integrated each time I do.

May you embrace your inner creator today…

Scotland roadisde, ON Copyright: Raine Eller

“Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite — getting something down.”
― Julia Cameron

Focusing as an Empath

Copyright Raine Eller www.realignphotography.com

What a colossal relief I feel when I am even just LOOKING at a lake, pond, ocean or river. There are such soothing effects, I find–viscerally. It feels like an almost instant alignment with calm and contentment…to my core! The heavy weight of any concerns, worry or stress–mine and others that I’ve picked up along the way, just falls off me like an over-stuffed backpack.

I think it’s the vastness, the power and the simple focus the water seems to have. There is no haste–despite the times that it’s rocking it’s way to shore! It just knows where it needs to go, and simply does so.

As a child, I used to feel frightened of the enormous waves of Lake Huron. I thought they were angry and so avoided them while they were raging!

“You’re a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from stardust, riding a rock, hurtling through space. Fear nothing. ~Author unknown

As an empath, I have experienced significant stress after being around too many others in a day. I can sense and absorb, quite easily, the moods of others. I’ve been like this my entire life and had a heck of a time managing it in earlier years. Along my path, I have had to learn how to cope and manage it so I could go out and do things in the world…and remain aligned at the same time!

Since I am a sensitive, I have acquired ways to ground myself beforehand and during, as well as to realign as soon as possible afterwards. A successful shop is like being behind the camera, I have to remain calm / still, centered in my own energy and focus on the task at hand.

In this regard, it has been interesting for me to see others cope with the ‘social distance’ regime. I have always needed to be about six feet away from people while shopping!

Animals seem to be drawn to me, and I am SO inspired by their simplicity, adaptability and resourcefulness! They are such a spiritual tonic for me, causing me to realign instantly in the moment I interact with them. They have so many messages for humans, I believe. The basics in my understanding are: look after yourself; harmonize with nature; share the love where you can, and always be mindful about what’s going on around you.

“This above all: to thine own Self by true”. ~William Shakespeare

Copyright: Raine Eller www.realignphotography.com

Aligning…in the Bod

copyright: Raine Eller www.realignphotography.com

Ever had the feeling upon waking that your body went on a rickety old roller coaster during the night without your approval? That’s how I awoke the other morning–feeling crumpled and sore. It is definitely the opposite of how I like to feel ‘aligned’ in my body! It occurred to me that I had omitted to stretch or yoga around the time of doing some pretty physical work a couple days prior….duh!

I have recently learned a little about the Wim Hof method. For anyone who is not familiar, it promotes the importance of proper breathwork and cold water therapy. I am presently trying it out myself….gradually! So far, it is quite exhilerating and really beyond adequate description in a single blogpost. I think it’s a research-it-yourself kinda thing: take what resonates and apply it to your life if you feel so inclined. www.wimhofmethod.com

I felt remarkably aligned after my first visit to an Osteopath–I likened it, at the time, to a bottle brush being inserted in the spine. Felt very straight and quite clean…the brain fog had dissipated too, which was a bonus. There is definitely a connection to feeling well physically from body therapies like that, along with getting regular excercise and eating well.

I only go to the Chiroractor occasionally nowadays, which equates to the need for more discipline with my fitness schedule. “Gotta find the dolphins” I say. This is my goofy way of encouraging myself to ‘just do it’. The resulting endorphin increase is reward in itself. Discipline to ‘move it, move it’, is often challenging, yet there’s nothing like the feeling after the sweat, don’t you think?

As far as eating well goes, VOLUMES have been written about doing so healthily. What is healthy for me might not be so for you! Throughout my teenage years, I engaged in some pretty outragious yo-yo dieting. My body had ballooned up in weight from emotional overeating. It was SO comforting though, to numb my feelings with sugar and carbs! “Didn’t everyone do this?”, I used to ponder. It all realigned nicely though, after extensive work on my emotional, mental and spiritual health.

I learned along the way, that what I think contributes DIRECTLY to what I feel. So my goal remains today, to train my brain and keep it that way to the best of my ability. Then my feelings are much easier to navigate through. Feelings, like everything else on this planet, are temporary. I now breathe through them and express / release them much more appropriately . Back to food– today I see it as fuel. While I endeavour to keep it clean for what my body needs, I feel it’s imperative to have fun and be creative about it at the same time!

Hyacinths are NOT edible!!! Hibiscus, Lavender, Nasturtiums and Calendula ARE!!! 🙂 Copyright: Raine Eller www.realignphotography.com

As with our breathing, what goes in, must go out. Reflecting on the daily constitution this morning…! How it is mandatory to have sufficient and consistent bowel movements to feel clean in ones’ body…and in ones’ mind! I recently heard an eyebrow-raising exerpt from an article on a Dalai Lama interview. In it, he shared that there was nothing like a healthy daily constution! I felt befuddled by this (I guess I was surprised to learn that he was human).

We used to discuss optimal elimination aspects in the supplement department I worked in. A colleague of mine delighted in googling pictures of healthy end results. I’m serious. I think it’s like some supplements…if we have even just one a day, we are SO much more effective, for ourselves and for the others we interact with. Anyways, customers were often coming in to the natural health department inquiring about products that might help with this particular challenge. Yes, there were red faces at times, yet often–much laughter.

I also learned a TON when I went for Colonics! There is a definite connection between the health of the gut / intestines and the productivity of the brain…of course, much has been written on this as well! 🙂

It’s such a vital system in the body, and obviously affected by many spokes on the wheel. May you feel aligned within your body today!

Copyright: Raine Eller www.realignphotography.com

What do you mean, “Intuitive Photographer”?

Copyright Raine Eller www.realignphotography.com

When I have observed professional photographers’ work, I have always felt amazed at their sophisticated skillset–to capture subjects so perfectly. What I did not feel– was inclined to investigate their credentials–until recently! I had some harsh judgement from my own inner critic about not having any formal education in photography. (“Shut up”, inner critic!) I think of myself as an Intuitive Photographer, because I utilize my inner nudges to know when and where to get photo shots.

All things that truly matter– beauty, love, creativity, joy and inner peace, arise from beyond the mind.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Dalai Lama quote: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to...

Copyright: AZ Quotes

The foundation for my postcard discoveries, is daily prayer & meditation time. I believe I must keep spiritually ‘fit’ by this type of daily discipline. As an extension of that, I endeavour to look after my whole self–clean nutrition, healthy people and places; good rest; diligence in work; taking time to play etc., Then the Intuitive part of me is alert to these moments. I simply know when I need to pull the car over and look more closely….OR when I feel that innr nudge to take myself to some beach or trail at a certain time.

The Intuitive voice seems to be quite strong and yet quiet at the same time. Tuning in to it takes practise, and more practise! I need to continue to re-align in mind, body and spirit, so I can continue to catch these magnificent moments. See you out there!

“Do not be a person of success. Be a person of value.” ~ Dalai Lama

Creative Pursuits

copyright Raine Eller / www.realignphotography.com

I mention this on the home page and want to elaborate… I have been happy to have tried my hand at many creative things–knitting, archery, sketching and many more. Typically when I have found one that I resonate with, time seems to melt away, and before I know it, I have forgotten to do things like eat, go to the loo… 🙂

When we engage with a creative process, there is such discipline involved! I don’t think it’s feasible to avoid discipline when a committment to a process is made. (Take it from me, I have tried!) Only when I dedicate myself to: learning about the subject, practicing it, and cleaning up from it, do I grow. This has been a long road for me, because I can like the easier, softer ways 🙂

The way I think during process is like a ‘zen-zone’ combination of ‘in the moment’ and thinking several steps ahead. That’s the best I can articulate it, really. It culminates in feelings of joy and expansion in my experience. My belief is that these feelings come from ones’ perception of the soul connection with Source/Creator/ the Universe/God/Jehovah–(whatever name you have for the One Power of Love).

And you know what? I could NOT acquire wisdom from watching others do their creative process–beyond the initial learning, of course. I have tried to achieve spiritual growth through osmosis and it just doesn’t fly for some reason.

Did you ever get an ‘incomplete’ on your report card in school? I used to detest essay deadlines, so I’d procrastinate and then do a rushed, half-assed job, then hand it in and feel totally deflated when I received a C grade :/

Applause to all you teachers out there!… The repetitiveness you apply when teaching young minds discipline! There was such emphasis on creative process in the early years at school, which I adored. I recall learning in kindergarten to absolutely dive into the creative project, yet at the same time– be mindful of what I’m doing, respect others who may be affected by my work (like the boy next to me who got the fallout from my glue bottle challenge), and clean up any mess I make!

Written from what I feel is such a lighthearted, graceful perspective, “All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten” sums it up beautifully. Thank you, Robert Fulgham!