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The Destination is the Journey
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Deep Blue Waters ...

Life Running its Courses


Rolling in the Deep by CJ Shelton
 
Summer is on its slow wind down now and with it the memories of quiet days and joyful moments as the Wheel of the Year prepares to make a quarter turn towards autumn. As sure as the seasons change so too do the currents of our lives. Like water, we are in constant motion, moving steadily forward and overcoming obstacles but hopefully ‘pooling’ occasionally to rest before gaining momentum once again.
 
Water Essence 2 by CJ SheltonWater Essence 3 by CJ Shelton

Water Mandalas from my Water Essence Series

The Headwaters Region where I live and make my art is so named because it is the source of four major river systems - the Nottawasaga, Credit, Humber and Grand rivers have all shaped the beautiful rolling landscapes of the Caledon Hills. These ‘headwaters’ or springs from which so much life and vitality originates is one of the reasons I was instinctively drawn to this area. Shaw’s Creek, a tributary of the Credit River, flows right outside my studio window at the Alton Mill and is a constant reminder of the beauty of this most vital element. The sound of it bubbling and frothing over the rocks and rapids is natural music to the ears … is it any wonder that so many of my mandalas feature watery blue and aqua colours spinning in perpetual motion!

Paddle to the SeaSome of you may remember from early school days a movie called Paddle to the Sea, the story of a little hand carved man in a canoe, set down on a frozen stream by its creator to await the spring thaw. The film then follows the adventures that befall the canoe on its long odyssey from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean. You can watch the full movie here on YouTube. I have always loved it and its premise of something unique and original being brought into the world only to be surrendered to the forces of Nature. And what adventures that little canoe had! Sometimes it was smooth sailing. Sometimes it got stuck. Sometimes it gut-wrenchingly went over waterfalls like those of the mighty Niagara. But always it kept moving, accepting whatever happened to it, learning lessons, growing stronger along the way until eventually it came to the big blue sea …
 
The profound message of the little wooden man in his canoe is literally about how to ‘go with the flow’, how to navigate life with grace and maintain balance by finding right relationship with ourselves and the world around us. It also reminds us that when something takes us out of our ordinary routine – such as rapids and other water hazards – it can make us suddenly see things, people and situations with new eyes.
White Water Rapids
There are all sorts of journeys we can embark on but many wise sages have proposed that the longest yet most profound is the one from our head to our heart … so what better metaphor than water to represent the challenges and joys of that particular passage? Whether it is witnessing  a situation that is out of our control, being on the receiving end of another’s volatility, or dealing with our own emotional turmoil, what keeps us going on often treacherous waters is developing the deep realization that ‘this too shall pass’. My mother often gently offered these words whenever I found myself in an especially bleak situation because they remind us that all conditions, positive or negative, are only temporary. Many more wise words have also been spoken about how without a few dark episodes in our life we would never be able to recognize the brightness and joy of the positives.
 
Acceptance, humility and gratitude, like water, are qualities whose aim is to follow the path of least resistance. Gradually, over time and with practice, the waters of life erode lines of wisdom into our faces, our hearts and our souls and it is those very ‘water lines’ that build our character. Each of us is etched with our own personal experiences of the raging torrents that have threatened to drown us, the calm harbours that have given us temporary shelter, and the wide lazy rivers that allowed us to drift easily for a time with little effort.
 
Niagara FallsTo cultivate grace and acceptance is to cultivate the understanding that there are times we can only stand by as helpless witnesses, times when our only response to another’s rough waters must be patience and compassion while their storm passes, and times when we must forgive ourselves when inner churning seas threaten to capsize us. We are each captain of our own canoe-of-life so therefore ultimately it is up to us - and only us - how we choose to navigate the inevitable ups and downs of making our way from one port of call to another.
 
When life’s waterways get rough, sometimes the only way to keep our little canoe moving forward is to either keep rowing or simply lie back, float and harmonize ourselves with the deeper underlying current that is at the very core of our existence … when we recognize these eternal truths, the wisdom of ‘just go with the flow’ makes perfect sense.
 
My fall workshop schedule is now posted at www.dancingmoondesigns.ca so be sure to check out what's upcoming and reserve your spot. A great way to start ‘seeing with new eyes’ is by learning to draw. You don’t have to have any art experience to enjoy my ongoing drawing classes which let you play and experiment in the calming atmosphere of my studio. I now offer Zen Doodling as well, so please join me on September 26 during The Headwaters Arts Festival and Culture Days for an introduction to this wonderfully meditative past-time.
 
Here's to clear sailing as we round out the summer.


May you enjoy the dance!

CJ Shelton
Artist & Healing Arts Practitioner

Dancing Moon Designs
Illuminating the Creative Spirit ...

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THE STORY BEHIND THE PIECE ..."The Salmon of Knowledge"
This piece was inspired by the adventures of Fionn mac Cumhaill, a mythical Irish warrior and hunter and his quest to catch a magical fish. In the story, an ordinary salmon ate nine hazelnuts that fell from nine hazel trees surrounding the Well of Wisdom. By doing so the salmon gained all of the world's knowledge. Legend had it that the first person to catch and eat this salmon would, in turn, gain all knowledge.
 
For the ancient Celts the symbolic meaning of fish (specifically salmon) was wisdom, inspiration and prophecy. In Greek and Roman mythology it symbolized change and transformation. For Christians, the fish is a symbol of abundance and faith as in the story of fishes and loaves. Most pagan traditions recognize the fish as a feminine symbol of fertility and water in general is a symbol of the Divine Mother or Sacred Feminine.
Original 16” x 16” framed mandala $250
Cards with this image $10
NEW MOON RED TENT CIRCLE GATHERING
Sat. September 12 from 10-12 am, Hornings Mills
$10 donation

Please join us in the tent! To learn more about the Red Tent and what it's all about visit www.redtentontario.com
HEADWATERS ARTS FESTIVAL
Sept. 19 through Oct. 4
This year's festival has a new home at the Alton Mill Arts Centre with open studios, a special juried show, live performances, book readings and more. The Opening Reception is Sat. Sept. 19 from 4-7 pm. Be sure to stop by my studio for a visit and to view my new 'Grace' Collection featured in last month's newsletter.
ART IN THE ROUND Intro to Mandala Making
UPCOMING DATES:
Sat. Sept. 5, 1-4 pm
Sat. Sept. 12, 2-5 pm
Sat. Oct. 10, 1-4 pm
(with a special Thanksgiving theme)

OR book your own session anytime for groups of two or more. A great gift idea or a fun Girl's Day out!
DRAWING LESSONS - "Seeing With New Eyes"
ONGOING Sunday and Wednesday afternoons from 1-3 pm

Student DrawingBuild your drawing skills and learn to see the world through an artist's eyes. Newbies and more advanced welcome. Start anytime | Pay as you go.

**NEW** BUDDING ARTISTS Drawing for Ages 10-14

Sunday mornings from 10 am to 12 noon beginning Sept. 27
**NEW** "A BOUNTIFUL HARVEST"
ZEN DOODLE

Sat. Sept. 26, 1-3 pm
Zen DoodleTake your doodling to the next level! Discover the fun of creating intricate miniature art pieces full of delightfully tangled designs. Come make your contribution to a larger piece of communal 'doodle art' then stay and play awhile making your own art piece to take home.
$30 per person
CELTIC HARVEST SPIRALS
Sat. Oct. 3 from 10 am to 4:30 pm

Celtic TriskeleSpend a full day painting in my studio and create your very own Celtic triskele spiral pattern on a 12" x 12" canvas
$135 per person
SYMBOL QUEST
Symbol Quest EyeSat. Aug. 22 from 10 am to 3 pm

Take a magical journey of self-discovery around the Wheel of the Elements to find your own unique power symbols.
$85 per person
"The Moon Tree" Pendant
The balancing energy of my signature piece "The Moon Tree" can be yours to wear. Pendant $30.00 each. Available at my studio or by special order.

Moon Tree Pendant by CJ Shelton
Shamanic Consultations & Guidance
Are you in search of answers or experiencing a challenging life transition? 1-on-1 sessions can be booked with me at the Alton Mill or Breakthrough Centre in Brampton to help you find solutions.

MARI® Mandala "Soul Symbol" Interpretation
Explore the 'language of your soul' in a 1-on-1 self-discovery mandala making session combined with a symbol and colour matching component that lets your own inner wisdom shine through. Sessions are by appointment at the Alton Mill. Visit my website to learn more.
Happiness runs in a circular motion.

Thought is like a little boat upon the sea.

Everybody is a part of everything anyway.

You can have everything if you let yourself be.


~ Song Lyrics by Donovan
 
Copyright © 2015 Dancing Moon Designs, All rights reserved.


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