Monday, December 15, 2014

India: Embracing my Discomfort Zone

For most of my life, the idea of travelling to India scared me. Though I am of Indian ancestry, I was born in Canada and had little desire to visit my mother country. India felt too uncomfortable and strange, and many questions plagued me: What if I got sick? What would the bathroom situation be like? What if the crowds and poverty were too confronting?

But a few years ago, something shifted. I began to practice Yoga and learn more about the Vedas, the spiritual texts of India. I started to appreciate aspects of my culture that I long took for granted and, for the first time, felt the inclination to just go.

Practicing yoga on the beach at sunrise...ahhh

I believe that when one desires to visit India, there is an irresistible, magnetic pull to the country. Previous doubts and fears lose their grip, and circumstances seem to line up to make the journey happen. It’s as if Mother India knows we are coming!

For me, it was being at work and seeing an online listing for Sacred Earth Journey’s 2010 Spirit of India tour. In that moment, something within me came alive. I contacted the tour leader (and yoga instructor) Michele Labelle and, upon meeting her a few days later, was very inspired by her love for India. Within a couple of weeks, I was signed up for the retreat.

I am so glad made that decision. India opened my heart and mind in ways I didn’t expect. It was heavenly to practice yoga at sunrise on the beach. It was magical to see fireflies dancing in front of a large stone Shiva sculpture during our candlelight Yin class, beneath a starry sky. To experience India’s sacred temples, sights, sounds, colours, textures, smells, art, shopping, and (of course) food with my group was such a gift.

While some first-timers to India prefer an independent experience of this paradoxical, compelling, and often overwhelming land, I loved being in the company and camaraderie of like-minded souls. Given that I was there for only a short time, I wanted all the guesswork taken out of the equation and relax (as much as possible) into the experience. I didn’t want to worry about what was safe to eat, where to stay, or which sites to visit, and I am very thankful that Sacred Earth Journeys took care of all those details.

Our wonderful group

Did I feel out of my comfort zone? Yes…those old questions did not disappear overnight. But I was beautifully supported along the way. My tour leaders were wonderful and knowledgeable, and I felt safe and comfortable with our drivers, who expertly navigated India’s chaotic roads so that I could fully absorb my surroundings.

There’s a sense of magic in India that’s difficult to put into words. I could actually feel my family history with each step I took. Our group travelled through the South, but I have no doubt that if I’d stayed longer I’d somehow be guided further North, to the exact village where my great-great-great grandparents lived.

Perhaps that will be my next trip. I look forward to that day.

~Aleya Abdulla

Join Sacred Earth Journeys on our journey to India in 2015. Read more at http://www.sacredearthjourneys.ca/current-tours/sacred-south-india-adventure-with-michele-labelle/tour-description.  





Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Free Art Gifts & A Special Message from Artist Lori Goldberg


We are excited to be able to pass on a very special message from Lori Goldberg sharing her excitement about the March 2015 Women's Spiritual Art Journey in Bali with Mooh Hood and Lori Goldberg and news of a fabulous gift pack when you sign up for the journey by the end of the month!


Hi,

I have some very exciting news about our trip to Bali!

We are happy to tell you that we are almost at the tipping point to make our
journey to Bali into a reality.

It is so amazing that in just 3 ½ months we will be heading off to one of the most desired places in the world where we will be experiencing a vibrant land, a spiritually altering culture and, most importantly, we will be expanding ourselves creatively bringing us closer to our authentic selves!

My authenticity is one of joy and I desire more of that thank you very much!


I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to visit Bali twice in the 80's. It was a life changing experience for me. The way I see life presently and the way I make art is a direct influence of my Bali time.

I approached Mooh earlier on in the year and asked her to invite me to collaborate with her on her next Women's Journey to Bali. Mooh, whom I have had the pleasure to know for over 30 years, is so much fun and knows how to create rich and unforgettable experiences  I knew she was the right person to co-create with.

The process so far has been a beautiful and smooth experience. Lots of laughter, getting clear and loving our time working on the trip together. We know how to have fun and also inject meaning and depth into our experiences and that is what we want to give to you... But really it is all of us giving and receiving to each other. Right?

That is what this group of gorgeous vital women will be about! Rising into ourselves; the radiant beings that we are!


I want to inspire you more as an incentive to get you to commit to this journey.

Anyone that signs up by the end of December will receive a special artist gift.

I want to spoil you and give you lots of goodies.

Your gift includes:
  •        6 art cards of your choice;
  •      One signed art catalogue from my recent exhibition "Into the Garden";
  •      An unlimited signed print of your choice and...
  •      One complimentary art lesson just for you.


There! Now how can you resist this offer?

With joy in my heart,

Lori


Sign up by end December to take advantage of this unique offer – Lori’s artwork has been exhibited in Canada and Europe, and is part of extensive collections and commissioned displays in North America. This is truly a gift of creativity and beauty to inspire your own journey to the land that embodies both those qualities so exquisitely.

To read more about the “Women's Spiritual Art Journey in Bali with Mooh Hood and Lori Goldberg” visit our website.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bali’s Spiritual & Creative Pull: An Interview with Mooh Hood & Lori Goldberg

In March 2015 Mooh Hood and Lori Goldberg will be leading a “Women's Spiritual Art Journey in Bali”. Here, we catch up with Mooh and Lori to talk about what keeps drawing them back to Bali and the effect of this beautiful country on their own creative processes. We also delve into what participants can expect from the journey, from a spiritual and creative perspective. 


KB: What is it about Bali that captivated you and keeps drawing you back?

Mooh: Bali feeds my soul on many levels. It is alive with devotional rituals from the daily placement of beautiful offerings, to the dance, music, and art that is created for the enjoyment of the Gods and Goddesses. When I experience these unique ways to keep their world in balance it allows me to make sense of my world as well.

It is rare to be able to witness and also participate in such a rare culture that was created by “the Goddess birthing the world”. I find this constant awareness of their physical world seen and unseen the invoking the spirits of nature extremely compelling.


KB: What are you most excited about for this journey?

Mooh: I am excited about the timing of the March journey this year, as it will include the amazing holiday of Nyepi when the Balinese do an island wide cleanse of any negativity to enter in their New Year. Following an amazing night of giant Ogoh Ogoh mythical monster effigies, paraded around Ubud, we enter into a most unusual and sacred period, 24 hours of complete silence. We will use this time to create, meditate and just be quiet rare in our busy world. This is unique to Bali and must be experienced imagine!

This year will be exceptionally special with Lori bringing her own perspective; guiding us in our art focus, in her informed and playful way!

Lori: To share with a group of like-minded women a Bali experience. And to co-lead the journey with my dear friend Mooh. 


KB: What’s your favourite thing to do in Bali?

Mooh: My favourite things to do in Bali are walking early in the a.m. in the 
rice paddies and through the local villages, witnessing the beginnings of another glorious day.

I love going to the temples for prayer and beautiful ceremonies  (I can't get enough of the visuals of the Balinese in their temple finery) and getting blessed by the priests and priestesses.

Oh, did I mention the delicious fresh, local food we savour daily?


KB: What can participants on this journey expect from a creative perspective?

Lori: The creative process is intended to enhance our Bali experience. It does not take over, it adds. By committing on paper a visual response to an experience we had, it brings another layer of meaning and therefore enhances the experience and opens up new senses.

The best thing about the art part of this journey, you do not have to be an artist or have any experience. I have an approach to guiding that brings the intuitive, playful and fun side to making art. Yes techniques will be shown and support will be there.  I will teach techniques on drawing, composition, colour mixing, how to create a travelogue/a memory book of your Bali experience. Also included is collage, writing and photography. Each participant will have an art book/drawing tools that include pencil, pens, felt pens, oil pastel and a watercolour kit. I will augment with other materials, and other treats that will enhance the experience of creating a Travelogue. After the trip is completed, all participants will be invited back to my studio (Skype for those out of town) to take ideas from the art book and start a painting or mixed media art piece.

Mooh: I am hoping participants will take away with them a personal sense of opening to that precious balance within their own life.

They will have the memory of travelling in Bali with a group of like minded women, sharing deeply from the heart, in our rich circle time, and returning home with that soul-filled feeling. 

Journals, art notebooks, and cameras will be loaded with visuals to remind us of the rich experience of Bali from an insiders view and to nourish further creation. On a more frivolous note, they will be also bringing home incredible treasures they may choose to buy in the markets we visit.


KB: What effect does being in Bali have on your own creative processes?

Lori Goldberg: When I had the opportunity to visit Bali twice in the 80's I was struck by the Balinese and their beliefs about animism and that everything has a life force even their bicycles and paint brushes. Matter of fact they have birthday parties for these objects! I took it for face value and it completely resonated with me regarding the way I approach the creative process. I do believe everything has a life force and so the meaning behind my painting practice became deeper and I had more clarity about my own way of working. It was an amazing experience to go to a place where in the Balinese language there is no word for Artist, they just are. They are under divine obligation to make beautiful things. So I felt I had found my tribe... so to speak.


KB: Have your visual depictions of Bali changed significantly since your 1988 series of paintings Out of the Blue? If so, can you talk about how they have changed.

Lori: I still believe that everything has a life force and that my work has changed in that I explore different subject matters but the underlying sensibility is the same. When I approach a canvas, I am aware I am in a dialogue with my paint, brushes, canvas and of course the vision… though the vision can change... I think going back to Bali will inspire me to become freer in my work when I return. I am curious what will happen. And excited!



KB: Is there anything else about this journey that you’d like to share with us?

Lori: If you always wanted to go to Bali and you were waiting for the right time to go, then you do not have to wait any longer. Mooh and I are beautiful, kind-hearted, knowledgeable and fun women who are committed to giving you that amazing inside, no hassle for you, uplifting Bali experience that you deserve. 

Mooh: Something I would like to share is that we will have the opportunity to work with a healer women can choose to have that experience if they wish, everything is always optional. I always support each individual's desire to take personal down time and leave lots of room for it in our 12 days together.

I make sure women have a sweet place to stay the first few days if they come earlier to adjust to the journey and time difference. I also ensure that women are directed to good lodging if they wish to stay on.


To Read more about this creative, spiritual journey visit our website. To find out more about artist Lori Goldberg you can visit her website, and to read about Mooh Hood, including her Bali-inspired jewelry line follow this link.



~ Kim Bridgett



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