Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cloud Eagle: A Historical Recording from the Seasonal Singers of the Jemez & Zuni Pueblos

Cloud Eagle CD Art
In October of 2014, I received a request and the subsequent honor of having my original painting "Seek" chosen to be the artwork for the historical recording of "Cloud Eagle" by the Seasonal Singers and Dance Group from the Pueblos of Jemez and Zuni.
Cloud Eagle CD Art
The Seasonal Dance Group dances their traditional Buffalo, Corn, Rainbow, and Eagle dances and "Cloud Eagle" is the very first album capturing these songs after 24 years of this group. "Cloud Eagle" is also the very first recording in their tribal history.
Cloud Eagle CD Art
From group member Glendon Toya: "Our project is mainly to promote our culture through song and dance. Being that my family comes from the Tribes of Jemez and Zuni and us speaking the only languages of our kind in the whole world, we cannot sit back and let our culture and language fade away. Many people in our tribes will benefit through this CD, it will bring happiness and knowledge into homes. It will make people suffering from illness’s sit up and enjoy these songs. We strongly believe that the drum beat wakes up the spirit within us and we can be healed of depression, stress, etc. Imagine being in a place and you hear a drum at distance, your heart is going to hear and lead you to it. We see it all too much. The Grandfather Drum as we call it is a healer."
Cloud Eagle CD Art
About the choice of this particular painting, Glendon said, "This to us represents the 4 directions of life also the 4 seasons. We can seek out to these 4 directions, but we will always be who we are and we will always be protected within."
Cloud Eagle CD Art
Of note, one of the songs from this recording, "Living in the Moment" was recently awarded a 2015 New Mexico Music Award. The Zuni Pueblo Seasonal Singers are: Lawrence Toya, Glendon Toya, Delvin Toya and Riley Gachupin.

Please scroll down this post to see videos of the Seasonal Singers and Dance Group from the Pueblos of Jemez and Zuni.
Cloud Eagle CD Art
"Seek" by Stephanie Smith.



"She is (I AM) Light" is about the acknowledgment and acceptance of our full radiant selves. It is about healing, self-love, and  having faith that we can become whole again. During this process, our armor begins to crack and will eventually fall away as we begin to embrace that which we have resisted most: Our Greatness.

(06/18/14 Note: Several months after completing this painting, I read a The Bhagavad Gita and learned about the concept of the Atman which may be defined as, "the spiritual life principle of the universe, especially when regarded as inherent in the real self of the individual." Hmmm...)

The Six Guardian Mandalas are representative of our never having to do the work alone - angels, ancestors, and spirit guides are always around us, gently nudging and guiding us along our path to becoming our whole, true selves.

This original painting "She is (I AM) Light" is currently available for purchase. Please contact me for details.

Part of my artistic evolution during this project has been to document and share my creation process:

"She is Light: Who I Am But Only That Others Can See" New Major Work In Progress 
"She is Light" Work In Progress Part 2: Drawing Her In
"She is Light" Work in Progress Part 3: Mantras, Affirmations & Blessings
"She is Light" Work in Progress Part 4: "I am That"
"She is Light" Work in Progress Part 5: Perfection at Our Core
"She is Light" A Work in Progress Part 6: A Layer of Protection
"She is Light" Work in Progress Part 7: Awaiting the Next Vision
"She is Light" A Work in Progress Part 8: I Get Busy
"She is Light" Work in Progress Part 9: I Stop Caring What Other People Think
"She is (I AM) Light" A work in progress Part 10: The Double Helix Eludes Me
"She is (I AM) Light" A work in progress Part 11: The Helix Prevails!
"She is (I AM) Light" A work in progress Part 12: The End is in Sight
She is (I AM) Light: A Work In Progress Part 13: Putting it Into Words
She is (I AM) Light: Part 14 The Origin of My Mantras
She is (I AM) Light: Part 15 The Guardian Six Completed
She is (I AM) Light: Part 16 Ok, now that's done... now what?
She is (I AM) Light: Part 17 It's all over but the shouting, I've come to take what's mine
She is (I AM) Light Part 18: First Friday Comes, and Goes...

You can also view all my photos from this project on Flickr.  

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Celebrating 5 Years as an Ex Smoker

Spirit Guides and Angels

Celebrating 5 years today as an ex-smoker.

Looking to quit? Tell yourself it will be easy instead of hard because your mind believes what you tell it. I wholeheartedly believe this because for me it was easy. I quit cold turkey and never experienced any cravings or withdrawals. Notable factors surrounding my quitting included drinking a ton of water and sweating profusely the few days prior which likely helped with withdrawal of the toxins from my system. I also really wanted to quit and towards the end, was choosing to be very conscious of every action- from the horrible taste, to the way it burned my throat on each inhale.

My habit was to light up each morning when I woke. That morning, August 2nd 2010, I took out a cigarette and looked at it and said to myself, "I could light this, or I could go for a walk." I chose to go for a walk. When I returned, I said, "I could smoke this now, or I could just be done with it." And that was that.

Changing a habit means changing your behavior. What if you make yourself get up at 3:00am to smoke? Would you like it as much? What if you made yourself walk backwards around the block every time you lit up? This might sound silly, but just see what happens when you shift the habits surrounding your habits.

Can I tell you about the elephant that used to live on my chest? Within just a few weeks of quitting, I noticed how much easier if was to walk up a big hill by my house. I said that it felt like there used to be an elephant sitting on my chest that had finally got up and left.

It is sometimes common to gain weight when people quit smoking. My weight was stable for a year after I quit. I began to gain weight after a year and then within a year and a half after that, was at my heaviest. I know that I was stress eating a very poor diet and quite sedentary. Being peri-menopausal for an eternity probably wasn't helping.

In October of 2012 I began taking a few yoga classes here and there. In June of 2013 I cut almost all refined sugar and refined flour from my diet and began to focus on eating more fruits, veg, and whole grains. In 2014 I set a goal to do yoga once a week. I finished the year having done it between 1-3 times a week. In 2015 I set a goal of twice a week, and with yoga teacher training, have surpassed that.

The last time I was on a scale, I was down roughly 35 pounds from my heaviest. It could be a little more than that right now. I've gone from barely fitting in 2XL clothes to L and XL. The inches lost through yoga have been quite dramatic.

I can honestly say that at 44 and at my heaviest, I had literally and completely given up. I would look in the mirror at my naked body and think to myself, "I guess this is just going to be how it is forever." I moved like an old person. Lacking body awareness, when walking, my foot didn't always go where my mind wanted me to place it.

One of the key factors in deciding to try yoga was seeing a 71 year old woman yogi move like a 40 year old. I thought to myself, "There must be something to it if she can still move with such ease." Thankfully, I was right.

I'm writing all this to let you know that you have choice. That you can change. That you aren't alone. That you have the power to do it. That sometimes it will be challenging but that the benefits will greatly outweigh any temporary discomforts.

I do believe that change is easiest when you really want it. Do you want it? Yes? Then now is the time.

With much love,
Stephanie Smith 08/02/15
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