Dancing Into Summer!
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A Place to Live From

Contentment, Kindness and Creativity

Detail from "The Green Man Speaks" by CJ SheltonWith the celebration of the Summer Solstice last weekend, spring has fully turned to embrace all the blazing and passionate warmth our sun has to offer. This is the time when Mother Nature in her fullest glory dances in perfect harmony with her consort the Green Man, Lord of the Forest.
Having given birth to a new generation of life and nurtured it through the promise and perils of infanthood, parents and offspring of all kinds can now enjoy some well-earned freedom. These are the days we all live for – warm summer nights, balmy winds, bountiful gardens and many other sensory delights to feed the soul and nourish the body.
Singing cardinalThese past few weeks I have particularly noticed the pure contentment of the birds and their songs filling the air. Like us, they are feeling elation after a harsh winter and are happily serenading summer to their heart’s content. Every evening the local resident cardinals in my neighbourhood trill atop the highest tree branches right up until dusk, announcing to all their sheer joy at being alive and pride in having a nest full of babies.
KestrelI have also been pleased to finally see (and hear) our local pair of mated kestrels or ‘sparrow hawks’ as they are sometimes called. These tiniest members of the falcon family are about the size of a blue-jay and often nest in urban areas. The trick is being able to spot them. Last summer I was fortunate enough to see them frequently as they ‘danKestrel Danceced’ together in mid-air doing a food exchange. This delightful act occurs when the male calls out his hungry mate from the nest to receive the supper he has caught for her. This year the kestrels don’t seem to have hatched a brood but they are certainly enjoying each other’s company, doing regular ‘fly-bys’ in perfect tandem, almost as if to let me know that they are just fine with taking a break from parenthood.
Attention to such details, awareness of the little things and noticing the pulse of Nature’s rhythms and cycles … this is the place I strive to live from, a place of peace and balance, one that is centred and grounded in reality yet as accepting of life’s ups and downs as it is appreciative of its simple magical moments and profound beauty.
The “place that I live from” was brought to my attention in another form recently when one of my workshop participants was nervously anticipating whether she would be able to adequately express herself creatively. She confessed that although she was looking forward to the class, for some reason it was “striking a bolt of fear through her being while at the same time making her feel excited and hopeful. Crazy what a piece of paper and a pencil can do!!!”
My response to her was: “just breathe... that ‘bolt’ means something is ready to come up and be released, so the timing is perfect. This workshop is a creative and gentle exploration of yourself and the world around you. No need to worry about anything.” Relieved, she responded by saying “thank you for your kind and reassuring words. I really appreciate you and the place that you live from.”
Student MandalaMy client only needed those few words to be able to trust and follow through. By doing so she had a fabulously transformative experience, cycling through her own unique process and creating a beautiful mandala full of meaning and symbolism, a perfect reflection of her beautiful self … she allowed herself to also ‘live from that place’.
Just as the cardinals and the kestrels know instinctively how to breed, raise their young and care for each other, we too can live in harmony with these natural cycles of play and work, creativity and contentment, being kind to one another and just trusting … because a period of rest must follow a period of hard work as surely as the sun shines again after a rainstorm and spring follows winter. Nature is demonstrating to us all the time that this ‘place to live from’ is not optional, it is necessary.
PeonySo my question for you to ponder as we ease into the lazy days of summer is: where is the place you live from? Is it a place of balance, of harmony and contentment? Or is it discordant and feeling out of sync? What do you need to do to bring yourself back into balance again? What small signs and ‘nudges’ is Nature demonstrating to you right now that really resonate and can help guide you back to centre? What simple deed can you do for no other reason than to be kind? I would love to hear what little wonders and delights you have been noticing this season so feel free to drop me an email, post on my Facebook page or drop by the studio for a visit.
This summer trust your creative process, especially if you have been feeling timid about trying something new such as mandala making or drawing lessons.  I can assure you, the most common feedback I hear is: “you are so encouraging CJ. You have given me so much confidence in myself that I never knew I had”. With our Headwaters Region revving up for the Pan Am Equestrian events in July, I am busy myself working on a series of ‘horse stories’ (a.k.a. new pieces!) to share in my next newsletter. In the meantime, I wish you joy and contentment as we bask in the warmth of the Sun and enjoy Mother Nature’s waltz with her Green Man.

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 Green Man Speaks"
The Green Man or ‘wild man of the woods’ is an ancient symbol of seasonal fertility. Although of pagan origin his carved image is often seen in medieval churches as a human face made up of leaves with branches and vines bearing flowers or fruit that sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils and other parts of the face (see detail).
Most often associated with the Celts, many cultures interpret the Green Man as a figure of rebirth and the cycle of growth each spring and summer. The best way to envision him is as the male consort and companion to Mother Nature – in other words, nature personified as a man. His potent male energies are at their height during the Summer Solstice when trees and vegetation are full of strength and vitality.
This mixed media piece from my White Collection pays homage to the Green Man. Positioned at the very centre he mysteriously peeks out amidst the entwining roots of the trees which he is the father of, whispering his fertile messages of Nature’s mystery and magic.
Original Art:  24” x 24” Mixed Media on Canvas, $750
Monday July 13 from 1-3 pm, Hornings Mills
$10 donation to the Red Tent Fund

In the Red Tent you can be the woman you want to be ... Please join us in the tent! For more info visit and sign-up for our mailing list.
ART IN THE ROUND Intro to Mandala Making
Book your own session anytime this summer for groups of two or more. A great gift idea or a fun Girl's Day out!
ONGOING Drawing Sessions - "Seeing With New Eyes"
Sunday and Wednesday afternoons from 1-3 pm

Build 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.
Sat. July 4, 2015 from 10 am to 3 pm

Take a magical journey around the Wheel of the Elements to discover your own unique elemental symbols.
$85 per person
Select Saturdays throughout the summer - July 18, July 25 & Aug 1
Let’s be honest, coloring is fun no matter how old you are! Let your inner child re-discover a new take on  this old past-time. Choose from a selection of some of my designs and colour away! A new design every time.
$25 per person


Sat. July 11 & Sat. Aug 8, 1-3 pm
Take your doodling to the next level! Discover the calming activity of creating Zentangles as you find inspiration on the beautiful grounds of the Alton Mill and in the tranquil atmosphere of my studio.
$30 per person
"The Moon Tree" Pendant
The balancing energy of my signature piece "The Moon Tree" can now be yours to wear. Pendant on 16" leather cord, $30.00 each. Available at my studio or can be mailed. Please email me with your order request.

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 to help you find solutions.

MARI® Mandala "Soul Symbol" Interpretation
Explore the 'language of your soul' in a one-on-one self-discovery session. The MARI system provides a visual and symbolic snapshot of what's currently going on in your life, allowing you to access your own inner wisdom and achieve more clarity. You already have the answers within you. Sessions by appointment in my studio at the Alton Mill. Visit my website to learn more about this fascinating process.
"The moon and sun are travelers through eternity. Even the years wander on. Whether drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."
~ Basho
Copyright © 2015 Dancing Moon Designs, All rights reserved.

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