On Mantra

Mantra and its practice are part of ancient Vedic tradition first developed by wise spiritualists who connected the sounds of the natural world around them to a greater universal energy. They saw sound and its vibrational quality as the audible manifestation of the energy to which we are all connected. They recognized that no matter who or where in the world a person is, if one sit’s quietly long enough, one can hear those connective sounds, and not only that, but can achieve peace through the concentrated practice of listening and repeating them. The sages began to mimic such sound patterns that they heard as a form of meditation, achieving a greater sense of clarity, awareness, and transcendent peace. This same concept, thousands of years later, can be appropriated to bring us closer to our highest self and to achieving what we most desire.

Traditional Mantra Meditation uses existing Sanskrit hymns and chants that have been shared and practiced apart of Vedic tradition. These mantras are typically vocations towards certain deities for blessings specific to them. The sounds of these prayers said in repetition are meant to induce a deeper meditative state, such as when a lullaby soothes a child to sleep. The linguistic nature of traditional mantra and the quality of their sounds works to quiet mental chatter and fosters a peaceful environment for the body and mind to exist. Examples of traditional mantras are: Om (ohm): The simplest to repeat, yet a powerful acknowledgement of connection between all beings. Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu (lo-kah sah-mah-stah sue-kee-no bah-vain-to): Asking for peace and contentment for all living things. Om namah shivaya (Ohm nah-mah she-vah-yah): An acknowledgement of the power, beauty, and unique perfection of another being.

Personal or Unique Mantra is another way of approaching the practice and benefiting from it. Just as is true of thoughts, there are no right or wrong mantras. Rather, your mantra is based on personal experience, and holds power as an individual and unique expression of what you most desire. Whether it be aimed at manifesting security, deep connection, pervasive self-confidence, or release from suffering, the only requirement of mantra is that it is authentic.

Spend a half hour with your journal, preferably in the morning when your mind is fresh, free-writing about what it is you desire at this moment in time. Without over-analyzation or personal judgement, let it flow freely. Writing it down will help you to gain clarity on what is most pertinent for you in the current moment. Decide which idea, goal, concept, emotion, etc., it is you want to focus on first. Once you have a sense of it in your mind, turn it into a declarative statement. Imagine you already have what you are looking to attract as part of your reality.

The Personal Mantra is an individualized expression. A concentrated effort to help you achieve stillness, and peace and ultimately aids in creating your optimal reality. Whatever that is for you at this moment, is right. As a side note, you can have multiple mantras at the ready, however when meditating with the mantra, it is important to repeat only one at a time in order to focus your energy towards one thing instead of smaller efforts towards multiple goals.

Mantra Recipe

  • 1/2 hour spent alone journaling about what you seek to attain
  • Refinement of what speaks to you as the most pertinent to focus on
  • Written declarative statement
  • 10 minutes daily quiet time sitting or walking slowly to repeat your mantra
  • Try incorporating mantra into your meditation practice and pay attention to what arises

Mother’s Day

Practice kindness gather love ~Proverb

“All living beings have been your mother in a former life” say Buddhist teachings that encourage altruism toward others. On Mother’s Day, we practice learning to see all beings as our mother -or whoever cared for us when we were young, in order to shift toward a kinder way of being. The more we engage in this type of contemplation, using rebirth as a metaphor, the more we develop a sense of equanimity, and are better able to relate with compassion and empathy.

Bodhicitta or the Thought of Awakening is the aspiration to realize enlightenment for the benefit of others. “The jewel that is the seed of pure happiness in the world and the remedy for the suffering of the world.”  Enlightening beings, called bodhisattvas, altruistic heroes of the mind, seek to generate the thought of awakening and then maintain the thought as they fare on the Buddha path. In Tibetan Buddhism, bodhicitta is said to have six causes: 1) Seeing All Sentient Beings As One’s Mothers,  2) Remembering Their Kindness, 3) Repaying Their kindness, 4) Love,  5) Boundless Compassion, and 6) Altruistic Intention.

Dreamworld

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I love your silence. It is so wise. It listens. It invites warmth. I love your loneliness. It is brave. It makes the universe want to protect you. You have the loneliness that all true heroes have, a loneliness that is a deep sea, within which the fishes of mystery dwell. I love your quest. It is noble. It has greatness in it. Only one who is born under a blessed star would set sail across the billowing waves and the wild squalls, because of a dream. I love your dream. It is magical. Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery. Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the world, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are the unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love.

~Ben Okri, Astonishing the Gods

Earth Hour

Earth Hour 2017. Around the globe, millions of people, businesses, and landmarks annually set aside this hour to host events and switch off their lights, to shine a light on environmental protection and action. This year Earth Hour is at 8:30pm March 25th 2017. There’s never been a more critical moment for the world to show solidarity for and a strong commitment to fighting climate change. Coordinated by the  World Wildlife Foundation and other volunteer organizations in an ongoing effort to achieve massive environmental impact by helping change laws, lives and our planet. There’s still so much more to do! Take Action. #lightinthedarkness

Mindful Mandala

Daring Dahlia: From The Flower Mandala Project

 If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ~Buddha

The Artful Blog recently posted new images throughout the Art Practice Site, some of which are part of a new ‘Flower Mandala Project’ in bloom. The beginning of a five season project encompassing: Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring. The goal of the project, being Jungian in nature, is to resonate aesthetically and as a meditation tool, to be both mystical and mindful. Based on an archetypal depth psychology premise Carl Jung illuminated: exploring the mandala as psychological expression of the human psyche and totality of the self. #artfulagenda #seedcenteroftheself

Follow The Artful Blog on Facebook for future updates and insight into the project and other things of interest related to both the site and blog & more.

Farm Sanctuary Gala

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On The Farm “Meet Your Friends at Farm Sanctuary” Print

One of the artful prints featuring Farm Sanctuary residents, custom designed for Tracey Stewart’s book Do Unto Animals by illustrator Lisel Ashlock, and available exclusively from Farm Sanctuary’s online shop, which carries everything from Plant Powered Active Wear to Youth Apparel to Home Goods to Edibles and Advocacy Materials. Farm Sanctuary, a place of healing, love, and happiness for both residents and guests, where precious animals like these reveal how their strengths and personalities triumph over their pasts, and become wonderful ambassadors for transforming hearts and minds about farm animals just like them. #fortheloveofanimals

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Gene Baur & Friends At Farm Sanctuary

The Artful Blog’s favorite animal welfare organization, Farm Sanctuary, with co-chairs Tracey Stewart and Emily Deschanel, will host their Annual Gala at the renowned Beverly Wilshire Hotel on 12 November 2016 to celebrate 30 years of rescue, education and advocacy for farm animals, the largest population of abused animals on the planet. Farm Sanctuary, with a 26-acre Los Angeles-area shelter and sanctuaries in Orland California and Watkins Glen New York, works to educate people nationwide about farm animal abuse and the adverse effects of factory farming on our health and environment. Jon and Tracey Stewart will also be opening a location at their New Jersey farm in Spring 2017. #celebrateprogress

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Gene Baur & Original VW Westphalia Serving Vegan Hot Dogs

Honorees Kat Von D and Crossroads Kitchen will be celebrated for the contributions they have made to improving the lives of farm animals -and helping others to live a more compassionate lifestyle. With Kevin Nealon serving as host, the evening will feature a 100% plant-based dinner, live entertainment, and a farmer’s market-style gift station. Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur, who was recently selected by Oprah Winfrey to be a part of her SuperSoul 100 and who TIME magazine calls “the conscience of the food movement,” is a native Angeleno, hailing from the Hollywood Hills. As a nod to his days traveling across the country selling veggie dogs at Grateful Dead concerts, Baur’s original VW Westphalia van will be serving vegan hot dogs at the 30th Gala. #oldschoolstyle

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Sign At The Entrance Of Farm Sanctuary Watkins Glen New York

Tickets now available. Can’t attend? Consider sponsoring the event or contributing to this wonderful organization by creating a Legacy Gift. Join Farm Sanctuary to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living. #bethechangeyouwanttosee

 The Artful Blog recommends picking up Baur & Stewart’s wonderful new books for yourself & gifting too!

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Living The farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day by Gene Baur (Author), Gene Stone (Author), Published 2015. Winner of a Books for a Better Life award! Gene Baur, the cofounder and president of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, knows that the key to happiness lies in aligning your beliefs with your actions. In this definitive vegan and animal-friendly lifestyle guide, he and Gene Stone, author of Forks Over Knives, explore the deeply transformative experience of visiting the sanctuary and its profound effects on people’s lives. The book covers the basic tenets of Farm Sanctuary life -such as eating in harmony with your values, connecting with nature wherever you are, and reducing stress, and offers readers simple ways to incorporate these principles into their lives.

Living the Farm Sanctuary Life also teaches readers how to cook and eat the Farm Sanctuary way, with 100 extraordinarily delicious recipes selected by some of the organization’s greatest fans -chefs and celebrities such as Chef AJ, Chloe Coscarelli, Emily Deschanel, and Moby. Coupled with heartwarming stories of the animals that Farm Sanctuary has saved over the years, as well as advice and ideas from some of the organization’s biggest supporters, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life is an inspiring, practical book for readers looking to improve their whole lives and the lives of those around them, both two-and four-legged.

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Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better by Tracey Stewart (Author), Lisel Ashlock (Illustrator), 2015. The more we know about the animals in our world and the better we care for them, the better our lives will be. Former veterinary technician and animal advocate Tracey Stewart understands this better than most -and she’s on a mission to change how we interact with animals. Through hundreds of charming illustrations, a few homemade projects, and her humorous, knowledgeable voice, Stewart provides insight into the secret lives of animals and the kindest ways to live with and alongside them. At home, she shows readers how to speak “dog-ese” and “cat-ese” and how to “virtually adopt” an animal. In the backyard, we learn about building bee houses, dealing nicely with pesky moles, and creative ways to bird-watch. And on the farm, Stewart teaches us what we can do to help all farm animals lead a better life. Part practical guide, part memoir of her life with animals, and part testament to the power of giving back, Do Unto Animals is a gift for animal lovers of all stripes.

Delightful Derian

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John Derian Company Storefront New York

John Derian Company Inc. was established in 1989 to house Derian’s designs which are handmade in his studio in New York, that employs a small staff of artists to assist with production. The retail shop carries an artful assortment of antiques, imports, quilts, table linens and a line of stationery, alongside his now-iconic decoupage wares -sourced from old and rare books, a process that credited him with elevating the decoupage technique into fine art, and collections from artisans The Artful Blog admires most like Coral & Tusk & Astier de Villatte. An ever-growing business, the John Derian Company empire reaches far and wide -in addition to the four stores he owns in New York and Massachusetts, his products are sold by more than 600 retailers worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, ABC, and Gump’s in the United States; Conran and Liberty in the UK; and the fabulous Astier de Villatte in Paris.

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Pergola Home New Preston Connecticut

The artist, designer, and avid collector of things, is releasing his first book, the John Derian Picture Book and will launch it with a signing event October 1st 2016, at one of The Artful Blog’s favorite New England boutiques, Pergola in New Preston. With its picturesque location, Pergola focuses its lens on the wilds of nature in a cultivated environment of home. The artfully displayed combination of uncommon plant material, aged terra-cotta planters, weathered antiques, botanical books & prints, Derain wares of course, and a variety of natural curiosities, offers a highly sensual shopping experience for home & garden, while product collections shift with the seasons. Relationships with the region’s premier specialty growers and greenhouses and a network of local artisans, and antique sources from around the world, adds texture and interest to the harmonious product and plant mix therein. The signing will be from 2-5 pm followed by an invitation-only cocktail reception in the garden behind Pergola, the front room of which will be filled with Derian’s products, including some signature works.

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John Derian Company New York

Derian is America’s leading practitioner of decoupage, the art of cutting and pasting paper images, combining painting & collage, beauty & utility. The designer uses color reprints of 18th and 19th-century images and pieces them together under glass, often in combination with reproductions of antique calligraphy. The result is a growing product line over the last 25 years that includes plates, vases, trays, paperweights, cachepots, wall hangings, desk accessories and more. Derian’s enigmatic works and artistry have been featured in national and international publications, such as The New York Times, The World of Interiors, Elle Décor, House & Garden, Country Living, House Beautiful, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Victoria, Garden Design, Martha Stewart Living, O (Oprah), O at Home, The New York Observer, Time Out and New York.

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John Derian Picture Book by John Derian, Published by Artisan Books, 2016.  Now, for the first time, comes the book John Derian fans have been waiting for. Culled from the thousands of images that have appeared in his biannual collections, here is an astoundingly beautiful assortment of more than 400 full-bleed images in their original form. From intensely colored flowers and birds to curious portraits, hand-drawn letters, and breathtaking landscapes, the best of John Derian is here. The result is an oversized object of desire, a work of art in and of itself, that brilliantly walks the line between commerce and art, and that is destined to become the gift book of the season.