Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quotation: Music Is A Mirror

"Whatever you want to do with your personal life, your career, your brand – it’s all there inside you. You don’t need to ask anyone for permission or approval. You have all the answers. Instead of running to the latest workshop or guru, you need to slow down and tap into your gut wisdom. My gut never leaves me astray."
- Kris Carr -

"Do not assume that divine guidance flows only when you are in need of help. Guidance continues to flow whether or not you have problems. It transcends problems, heartbreaks, and traumas, flowing through dreams and illuminations. Whether guidance comes during times of tranquility or trauma, however, it is up to you to have the courage to acknowledge it."
- Caroline Myss -

I believe your spine responds to music in a way that it might not respond to visuals. That sound can reach inside you in a very primal way. I like to create these sonic resorts that people can walk into and never leave their chair. Then they can take it back into their own physical structure. Music is a mirror that lets the listener say, ‘I can be in the stillness in this two-bar phrase, so I can be in the stillness in my life.’ And that might not seem like a lot, but this is how you expand the soul.”
 Tori Amos -

Friday, August 26, 2011

Quotation: Watch Me

“But I think that a lot of us are trapped in our limitations. But limitations come from not physical limitations but I think internal limitations. We have perceptions of ourselves that we took on from other people’s opinions of us which formed the way we see ourselves. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s who we are. I think most people are trapped in these opinions and wear them like a hefty bag. And we almost asphyxiate ourselves with other people’s ideas of who we are. I don’t know if you could call this being serious. I see it more as an explorer. I see myself as an explorer asking questions, not necessarily having many answers.”
- Tori Amos -

"You have the innate freedom of emotion, imagination, fascination and desires, and you're not concerned with what other people think of you, or conforming, or repressing yourself. I think it's natural for all human beings to be free and not self-conscious. And fuck everyone who tells you otherwise- who cares what you do? Do what feels good in your heart. Do what makes you an individual."
- Natasha Khan -

"There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say, 'Watch me'." 
- Layne Beachley -

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quotation: Setting Off Lightbulbs...

"We grow primarily through our challenges, especially those life-changing moments when we begin to recognize aspects of our nature that make us different from the family and culture in which we have been raised."
- Caroline Myss -

"A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower. You didn’t have to struggle to make your face different than anyone else’s on earth. It just is. You are unique because you were created that way. Look at little children in kindergarten. They’re all different without trying to be. As long as they’re unselfconsciously being themselves, they can’t help but shine. It’s only later, when children are taught to compete, to strive to be better than others, that their natural light becomes distorted."
- Marianne Williamson –

My hope is that in some small way as a writer... you set off lightbulbs for other people and their wholeness. That means their shadows, parts of themselves they amputated out of shame. This is done by many many people... Our wholeness is what makes a conscious planet. And to me, that’s really what Utopia is, people exploring their uniqueness and having respect for each other's uniqueness. Not one of us has the magic; all of us have the unique magic. If I can remind one person of this, maybe they can remind me, when I’m having a bad day and I’ve forgotten my uniqueness.”
- Tori Amos -

Monday, August 22, 2011

Imaginspiration: Blue Skies Are In My Head...

House Of Hope: An Eating Disorder Photography Exhibition & Fundraiser

Images are powerful. No question about it. We see thousands of images on a daily basis, and they impact upon our view of the world and our place within it in a myriad of ways.

When it comes to the topic of Eating Disorders & Body Image, there is a heavy emphasis on the negative. From the perils of Photoshop, to the unrealistic representation of beauty within a very narrow range of size, shapes & flawless appearance. I'm not saying it's not important to highlight the impact this has, and it's a topic that I'm bound to return to at another time, but I think it's just as important to recognize and throw our support behind the positive impact that images can have. Whether it's visual art, photography, or typography, images have power to uplift, inspire and brighten someone's day in an incredible way. Images can also communicate words that can't be spoken; truths that remain hidden; and tell a story in a language that is universal & individual both at once. Art saves.

This is something Melbourne photographer Emma McEvoy knows well. Her blog, She Takes Flight, is covered in amazing, beautiful, positive, inspiring images and it’s for that reason that 1000’s of followers - or ‘warrior’s’ as she prefers to call them – visit on a daily basis to make life seem just that little bit easier. Whether it be someone recovering from an Eating Disorder, struggling with depression, or simply looking for a dose of life-affirming positivity, it’s evident that her blog has a meaningful impact.

In her upcoming exhibition, House Of Hope, Em seeks to tell her own story of recovery from an Eating Disorder and give insight beyond the cold words surrounding the illness(es), that too often paint a black & white picture, of what is an experience with many shades for most. Through her photography she hopes to convey a real understanding of what it’s like to experience an Eating Disorder, without becoming mired in the bleakness or the behaviours. Eating Disorders remain poorly understood illnesses, and a part of the reason why is the prevalence of misinformation, myth and sensationalism. House Of Hope is a much needed and beautiful antidote. It’s not to say that the painful, difficult aspects of an Eating Disorder should be glossed over, on the contrary, but it’s so very important to understand that an Eating Disorder is something a person experiences – it’s NOT a part of that person or something by which they should be defined or judged. There is a beautiful soul within that deserves the same empathy and compassion as any other human being, and as an ED often robs the person of their ability to offer themselves those things, the role that friends and family play in support and understanding can be vital – yet such a difficult balance to find.

Equally important is the message of hope. When in the midst of an Eating Disorder, recovery can seem like something completely out of reach, but it is entirely possible, and I believe that’s true for every person. It’s not an easy path to walk, but I found that my own journey of recovery contained some of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learnt, and despite the difficulty, was worth every step. In sharing Em’s own experience through photography, House Of Hope is a reminder to ANYONE experiencing an Eating Disorder that you are not alone, that it does get easier, and that freedom is a possible dream worth chasing - because you ARE worth it.

The Exhibition goes beyond just photography, set in a character house and described by Em as being ‘multi-sensory’, you’ll have to attend to find out just what she means by that, but I have no doubt this is going to be a very special event and I hope that all of you in & around Melbourne will make your presence felt. I sadly cannot be there in person, but will certainly be there in spirit. 

House Of Hope will be held on the 6th of September with all funds raised going to The Butterfly Foundation(see below for details and RSVP). Please visit the House Of Hope Facebook page to help make this amazing, important event as successful as it deserves to be.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quotation: Music Is Everything

"There has already been much too much music that doesn’t express anything at all and is only good for dulling your senses like a bad drug. Music should do the opposite, it should open your senses. When you compose you’re dependent on these channels being open, and you have to learn to keep them open and let the energy that’s flowing through and filter it into something that’s your own." 
- Tori Amos -

"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." 

- Plato -

"I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours. But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love, belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the only means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality. "
 - H.A. Overstreet -

"Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words." 
 - Robert G. Ingersoll - 

“Laughter, song, and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly matters when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration, or healing: We are not alone.” 
- Brene Brown -

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"In My Head", She Said: Why supporting creative projects matters.

""In My Head", She Said' is a project that aims to highlight the diversity, complexity and creativity of the female mind by asking women from all walks of life to publish their experiences and philosophies in an encompassing and respectful environment."

“Gratitude”. Amazing what one simple word can inspire.  The funny thing is, what it inspired was not directly related to gratitude at all -  It just happened to be the topic of conversation with Tori Amos that made Carly Bramwell realise that we don’t hear women voicing their thoughts, ideas, and opinions on things like this anywhere near often enough.

Like most good ideas, the “In My Head”, She Said project has grown and changed and evolved many times since the initial idea was sparked. The project now boasts an ever-growing, impressive line up of female musicians including Lissie, The Pierces, Hannah Peel, The Smoke Fairies, and Sea Of Bees, who all share their thoughts on a diverse range of topics giving insight into the minds of these creative women. This short series of interview snippets gives you a great taste of what’s to come…

One of the things that struck me right away was just how much I could relate to almost all of these women; how many of these threads of thought existed in some form in my own mind. Immediately it made sense of why I relate to the music of some, and it had me eagerly listening to others with new ears.

The truth is that thought is as important to creativity as paint on the canvas or chords on guitar - Thought is the very heart of creativity. And ‘art’ is the medium through which so many communicate those thoughts. Whether it be music or painting or poetry, very often this is how we express and connect to thoughts and emotions. Hearing the thoughts behind the songs that reach you, expanded upon and explored in detail is something I find as inspiring as the music itself. It inspires me to think; it inspires me to create; it inspires life. It’s the sort of inspiration that’s integral to living a creative life, and that is exactly why I think projects like this one are so vitally important and worthwhile.

The next stages of “In My Head”, She Said will include acoustic sessions, more interviews and possibly a few other surprises. One of those hopefully will see the project return to the original inspiration, interviewing the amazing woman that is Tori Amos.

Like so many creative ventures, one of the biggest hurdles has been funding and right now it’s what stands in the way of some of the next filming planned. And this is where creative communities can be so amazing – I know few projects that have succeeded without the help and support of other artists pitching in where they can. In that spirit(and that of the project itself), I have donated a mounted print of the portrait I gave Tori when I met her in 2009, and all donations over £15 will go into the draw to win it(bear in mind this print cannot be purchased elsewhere). If you’re able to contribute ANY amount to this amazing, inspiring project please follow the link below – I know it will be so greatly appreciated. Closing date for the draw is 21st August.
*non-Tori fans, I’m happy to change to any other print in my RB folio if you happen to win.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Quotation: Whether you notice it or not...

Insight may come in a flash, but it's the result of accumulated noticing -- whether you notice it or not. 
The 'I just knew it' moments in life are often triggered by little things. Annoyances, nuances, subtle incidentals--soft inklings so seemingly flip that we're prone to discredit them. Poo poo on that intensely intense but fleeting emotion--lovely or harsh. Miff miff on that big vision that just cycled through your consciousness. Pshaw on that white flash of passion--the lusty-love kind and the flare-of-rage kind. But those spins and flashes and pangs are being felt because you're ready to feel them--and they matter. The trick is to pay attention to them. Imagine sand streaming in an hour glass, each grain forming a pyramiding pile of sand. Until one grain punctuates the pile and the tall triangle collapses into a flatter triangle. It only takes one grain of awareness to shift everything.”

- Danielle LaPorte -

"Love will never be certain, but after collecting thousands of stories, I’m willing to call this a fact: A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all men, women, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.When these needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We grow numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. There are certainly other causes of illness, numbness, and hurt, but the absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering"
- Brene Brown -

"The real power is in honoring ourselves and each other. Now if someone isn’t ready to do that, then you can’t have a relationship with them. It’s not our job to dictate to them what their choice should be. If somebody doesn’t want to respect you, then it’s about boundaries, saying how far you are going to go, and probably move on. I really believe that there isn’t a resolve with everybody on the planet. Not all of us could sit down at the table and work stuff out today, because not everybody wants to honor each other. We can’t be hurt by this, we have to accept it. Still, it’s challenging when relationships don’t work out, it can be painful. I mean there is a sense of loss, and I’ve had to move through that. Still sometimes you love certain people very much, but you just aren’t ready to work things through. You have to go away from each other, maybe for a long time, and take your own road.” 
- Tori Amos -

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quotation: Presence

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
- Alfred D Souza - 

"None of us needs instruction in how to recognize what your heart is saying. We do need guidance, however, on how to have the courage to follow those feelings, since they will force us to change our lives in any case. But consider the consequences of not listening to the heart's guidance: depression, confusion, and the wretched feeling that we are not on our life's true path, but viewing it from a distance."
- Caroline Myss -

"As you start to be present in your life, just live every moment, you're not worrying so much about next week. I plan things, clearly, but things are going to be how they are going to be.
There is nothing I can do to stop the fates from knocking on my door, all I can do is choose how I will respond. I do have that choice. And so in a way that has made me totally comfortable in my own life and yet it has been liberating at the same time. You don't have to control anything any more." 
- Tori Amos -