The Lotus: Bloom a Flower with your Mind

I already adore Shilo Shiv Sulemen and her art, I would love to meet her one day and spend an afternoon illustrating lazily under a tree over a cup of Chai in India. Ah, a girl can dream.
Currently Shilo has been involved in a beautiful project centred around meditation. As the lead artist working with a Neuroscientist, Business Entrepreneur & local Artisans in India Shilo created product designs for a new meditation product and app in the shape of a Lotus flower.

“This is a a hand crafted mental and physical health tracker blending beautiful design and biosensor technology. The Lotus responds to your brainwaves through a supported brain-sensing headset. When it detects you’re calm and relaxed, the flower blooms and begins cycling through colours. Over time the Lotus gradually closes and more slowly changes colours when it’s time to meditate again. This acts as a physical and visual reminder, gently nudging you to take a mindful break during your day.”

This is such a wonderful product and when not in use it is a pretty gadget or ornament for the home. It is a brilliant reminder to encourage meditation and mindfulness as well as fusing it with your Yoga practise. This product is something I would love to own, although it is at the finishing stages it is not as of yet on the market but you can pre-order if you wish. Once The Lotus is readily available to buy I think I will treat myself to one, especially now that I am focussing all my energy into Yoga, Belly Dance, Meditation, Nutrition and Well-being; The Lotus will be a great companion to me and I know some of my friends would love to own one too.

Check out their Kick-starter page: The Lotus

Pre-Order a Lotus here: The Lotus Product

Back bends and Circles with Samantha Emanuel

I decided to book one to one tuition with renowned Belly Dancer and master teacher Samantha Emanuel. A few years back I took a class with Petite Jamilla to learn double veil spinning techniques, now as I am training in Dance Leadership, nutrition, finished my Anatomy & Physiology course & just started Hatha Yoga teacher training I felt like I need to expand my learning even more with those I look up to for inspiration. I will be taking 2 intensive classes with Rachel Brice in November which I am both nervous & excited about because I have loved this dancer since I was 19. One day I hope to receive tuition from Moria Chappell for her knowledge in temple dancing & odissi, Deb Rubin for her expertise in Belly Dance Therapeutics & holistic medicine and Didem for Turkish belly dance & drum solo techniques.

With this new found sense of ‘I am just going to do things that make me happy’ I contacted Samantha for solo tuition at her home dance studio in a little village near to Chagford in Devon (about an hours drive from Plymouth) and it was awesome. Samantha is very dedicated and precise when talking about how the body works and dance dynamics, far from airy fairy she tells you exactly how it is, what you need to work on and delivers excellent guidance during your practise. Very down to earth she encourages development but tells you not to strain your body. With me she worked on arm co-ordination, upper back strengthening for back bends, using theatre and contemporary dance related circular movements to help with stage presence, how you project your body and how to flow from one move to the next within a space. She also told me to research the work of Eric Franklin for further study.
Just like one of my Yoga teachers she noticed my left ankle likes to be crooked when doing downward-facing dog and taught me techniques to work on that with a rubber band to pull on the muscle to strengthen and correct it otherwise one day I could end up with a broken ankle. The session was short but sweet and I learned a lot from her, I do hope to attend future classes with her again for further development.

If you would like tuition with her before she moves abroad for 9 months, click on her website here: Vagabond Princess

Here is an interview from her latest DVD:

A very Fiery Tarot Reading

the wild unknown tarot deck
Although full of passion and a pro-active enthusiasm towards life, I am still a human being who at times worries about my life direction? Am I on the right track? What will people think if I do this? What if I fail? What if I am not good enough? Will these ideas be fruitful? and so on. I am going through all these questions at the moment as I am going through a very changeable time in my life. I have always been a free spirit growing up (ask my mum & sister) who leaned towards unconventional life choices which was hard to grasp for a very normal working class family-What do you do with a child like that when all you want them to do is play hopscotch, ride a bike and dream of being a dentist or journalist, a normal person in society? Now as a woman they have accepted I am just a bit strange but well intentioned and full of imagination so when I tell them my next mind boggling idea, they are kinda used to it now.

What has this got to do with my Tarot reading? Well everything. I am going through a transitional period in my life which involves new ideas and new challenges. Yes I am still an artist, yes I am passionate about the community arts and yes I do still have ambitions to be an art therapist of some kind. But I have other ideas I want to pursue (because life is too short to go on the straight and narrow) and it will seem like an odd change of direction and in all honesty although excited, I do worry about the things I mentioned above (such as judgement from others & being discouraged which then can put doubt in anyone’s mind) so I gave myself a small Tarot reading and here it is:

First of all you can see it’s a very fiery reading with 3 out of 4 cards being from the suit of wands which are represented as the element of fire and the last card is an illustration of a heron standing over the warm glow of a fire. So to start with you can see it’s a very active, passionate yet temperate group of cards.

the six of wands wild unknown
The Six of Wands:(Signifactor Card/represents the individual) Public recognition, victory, progress, self-confidence. The Six of Wands focused on creating success and building your personal brand and reputation. You want to be successful at what you do but at the same time, you want to ensure that others know about it and give you the recognition you deserve. You may need to promote yourself more frequently by sharing your success stories with others and encouraging them to follow a similar journey.You have overcome the challenges along the way, and now you are focusing your energies on the one goal that will lead to your success. This is your time to shine and to come out on top. Have courage and convictions in your beliefs. There is a blue butterfly flying out of the darkness in this card, the dark wands below her represent past struggles and perhaps people who have undermined her. A butterfly represents transformation, be aware that others will freak out at your soul’s new found strength and metamorphosis, that is their problem not yours. Blue is the color of the sky and sea, so perhaps something overseas is coming your way? It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

seven of wands kim krans
The Seven of Wands: Challenge, competition, perseverance. expect competition, jealousy and challenge, as other people will no doubt also desire the same things as you. The Seven of Wands can also indicate a challenge to the continued success of a venture or creative project from an external source.There needs to be acceptance with this card that you are not always going to be able to win everyone over. There will always be challengers and opposition to your point of view and you cannot keep everyone happy all of the time. Thus, now is the time to draw your line in the sand, and say, “This is who I am and this is what I need right now.” There cannot be any compromise or negotiation at this time, just hold your ground with determination and courage. the Seven of Wands is inherently a card of independence for the nonconformist.

ace of wands the wild unknown
Ace of Wands: Inspiration, power, creation, beginnings, potential. The Ace of Wands is a sign to just ‘go for it’. This highly action-oriented card sees you feeling incredibly inspired and enthusiastic about pursuing a new idea or project that you have in mind. Encouraging you to listen to your instincts, if it feels like a good idea, it probably is. So, start with a few basic actions to get things under-way, and then continue to grow and develop your ideas through more complex actions later on. The important thing is that you act now, rather than spending more time planning or researching. You are being offered an opportunity here that shows great promise but it will be up to you to make the most of it and to maximise the potential for the longer-term. In the present position, the Ace of Wands indicates your need to take a definitive stance. Many people who are leaving an old career and beginning a new, risky venture see the Ace of Wands in this position when they receive a Tarot reading. Starting your own business or pursuing the life of a creative artist (be it singing, writing, painting or whatever) is reinforced with this card in the present position. If you are torn about working in a rigid, confining, safe career or breaking out into the unknown and making your own way in the world, the Ace of Wands in the present position guarantees that it is time to abandon all drudgery and blaze a trail of your own.

Temperance card, Kim Krans
Temperance:Balance, moderation, patience, purpose, meaning. A time of peace and calm after the storm. You are at peace with what you are doing and it is all coming together very well. Your inner voice is guiding you gently to the right outcome and you are patiently listening and following. You have a very balanced perspective on the situation at this time and you are in a very good position to make the right choices. In this card we have the water and fire mixing at the heron’s feet so he could actually be the Temperance angel (The Temperance card is usually depicted as an angel), the alchemist mixing opposing elements to get something new.
Herons are water birds but they are waders too, straddling both the realms of land, water and air since they are powerful fliers… Straddling different realms, different elements is seen as very magical just as places where different elements meet are magical places.. This fits well with the image of Temperance as an alchemist, using science and magic to find the Philosopher’s Stone, the Elixir or Life of the magical formula to turn base metal into gold. Heron’s are associated with balance too – they have long, skinny legs and so they are seen as birds that take balancing very seriously. This is perhaps a card that is personifying you, you are the alchemist patiently mixing magic with reality to make your dreams come true. A very calming card.This is one of the most welcome cards in the Tarot deck when it is in the future position. No matter how tense your struggles are now, or how unforgettable your past may appear,after all your hard work and after constant opposition from those around you, the future is a sunrise of peace and well-being.

Learn more about Tarot card meanings at Biddy Tarot

Want this deck? Here it is: The Wild Unknown

Original Unverpackt

The first waste free super market set to open in Berlin is an exceptionally clever & and brilliant idea. When it comes to sustainability. Germany is best known for its renewable energy ambitions and efforts to reduce carbon pollution. While these initiatives have been largely driven by government and researchers, a team of budding entrepreneurs is looking to get in on the action, too. Aiming to open this (northern summer), Original Unverpackt will be Germany’s first package-free supermarket.

Original Unverpackt will be located in Berlin’s Friedrichshain Kreuzberg district & sell food mainly sourced from local suppliers as a means of reducing transportation costs and pollution. The products are then sold in bulk using gravity bins (upside-down containers with a lever where the user can decide exactly how much they need). Bringing their own containers, customers can take the produce away, borrow reusable containers from the store or use bags made from recycled paper.

Every step of the supply chain is guided by the team’s “Zero Waste” philosophy and on offer will be organic goods, conventional, lower cost items and also non-food cleaning and cosmetic products. This focuses on reducing the consumption of resources like water and oil, and chipping away at the 16 million tons of waste packaging that the company says is produced by Germany each year. I would really love to see this idea flourish and eventually make it’s way around Europe, opening more waste free super markets even in the UK, I would definitely shop in a place like that for my food instead of Asda, Sainsburys or Tescos. I believe this is the way forward as part of a sustainable and responsible lifestyle.

Here is their website:
Original Unverpackt

Source: Gizmag

Art & Dance: A beautiful combination

art with dance

dancing and art

movement therapy with art therapy

On the last day of my Dance Leadership Training I had to supply a mixed media creative task bringing another art form into dance. Being a community artist already with an honours degree in Fine Art and a Foundation Diploma in Art: It’s Place in Therapy with BSY Group I had a few ideas. I love mixing Art with Movement and had seen a number of artists do this with individuals confined in wheel chairs and other disabilities. It is a beautiful combination of expressive creativity that allows a variety of people to feel artistic and these types of arty tasks break away stigmas attached to art & dance. To be an artist you don’t need to know how to use a paint brush and to be a dancer you don’t need to know point. Your body can be both the paint brush and the canvas. This sort of creative task brings an individual back into their child-like or primal self and back into their body to explore how they feel when they make a physical representation of their movement by leaving colourful marks on the paper.

Wheel Chair uses can express themselves with this sort of activity also. It can be adapted by applying paint to their wheels so that they make tracks as they move around the paper or who said dancing and art needs the requirement of hands & feet? If those with disabilities are comfortable and brave enough they can be placed directly on the floor and explore the surface of the paper with other body parts, support workers may need to be present as a guide and as someone who can help the individual apply paint to chosen areas but again this activity can really show anyone how beautiful their bodies are and help them to see their movements create beautiful artwork at the same time.

You will need:
A Dance/Art Leader
Support Worker(s)
First Aider/First Aid Kit
Huge Rolls of Paper
Friendly (water based) Paint in a variety of colours
Big sticks or clumps of charcoal
Coloured chalk or Pastels
Clothes you don’t mind getting a little bit messy
Sponges to apply the paint (if needed)
A venue that also supplies showers or wash area
Baby Wipes

If it wasn’t for my Art:It’s Place in Therapy course with BSY Group I don’t think I would have the skills or knowledge to put these sorts of Creative & ‘therapeutic’ activities into action. At this time in my life I am continuously developing my skills and knowledge within the community arts, dance and hybrid art expressions so that one day I will be ready for my masters in Art-psychotherapy. BSY Group have opened a door in my mind and heart into something I consider extremely rewarding and magical.

Now with this dance leadership training, all I need to do is create lesson plans and teach 10 hours worth of classes in Belly Dance to receive my Dance Leadership Certificate next!
All Photos © 2014 Claire Summers & Exim Dance.