Tag Archives: spiritual

Exhibiting at Roots & Wings (Windhoek)

I am excited to be participating in this upcoming group exhibition, together with many other interesting artists! Curated by Frieda Lühl.

Roots & Wings

Come to the opening on the 10th of November (6pm) at the Project Room, to see how different artists have interpreted this theme. Or, if you cannot make it to the opening, the exhibition will be on view till the 25th of November. It is not long, so do not miss it!

Address: 32 Jenner Street, Windhoek West, Namibia.
Opening hours for the duration of the exhibition:
Tuesday to Friday: 9am – 1pm, Saturday 10am – 1pm
Enquiries: info@frieda.co.za

Unfortunately I will not be present at the opening, but I hope many of you can make it!

 

‘Let’s be more adventurous’ she whispered

Lying awake at night I saw myself painting a huge canvas entirely black and immediately I thought how dark and depressing that would be… and dismissed the thought.

Then I remembered that some time ago I promised myself and the universe, that if I get any clear inspiration, I would trust it and follow it. So the next morning I took a 100 x 100cm canvas and started to paint it black.

It did not feel dark or depressing… it actually felt comforting, calming and very rich in its smooth deep blackness. Not at all as bad as I had imagined.

While painting I got the following insight:

Sometimes the darkness is not as bad, as it first seems...

Sometimes the darkness is not as bad, as it first seems… (Text added digitally to the photo.)

Then nothing. No new idea, no insight as to how and if to proceed. I hung the canvas on the wall and waited.

Yesterday I heard the kudu softly calling me.

Paint me! Remember, we have a long and special history together…

(When I was about three or four years old, my father worked in the field and my brother and I explored the near-by hill. I was the one who spotted the kudu, very close by. It did not run away immediately, which these wild antelopes normally do. How exciting… a tame kudu!

So what do little girls do? They wanna go and cuddle and play with any nice and tame animal…

Fortunately I had my brother follow close on my heels. We were really unbelievable close to this wild animal and it did not make any signs of running. Being older and already more knowledgable about the wild, my brother noticed strings of saliva running down from the kudu’s mouth. A sure sign that the kudu had rabies and was dangerous. This also explained why the kudu seemed so tame…

Immediately he grabbed me by my arm, softly, but urgently told me to back up and run. I was not very happy about this, as I already was so close to touch this cute and majestic animal. But, fortunately big brothers can be very persistent when they are about to save your life. 

So we ran. Down hill, all along a fence. Chased by a rabies infected kudu.
It is a common symptom that animals with rabies appear tame, but then also attack you… We ran for our lives.

My brother was faster and ahead of me. I realised that the kudu is getting closer and my short little legs had no chance against his (or hers). Somehow I realised that I could slip sideways through the fence and hope that the kudu will continue with his downhill chase. It worked…

But now the kudu got closer to my brother and my brother was getting close to the corner of the camp, with another fence right in front of him. He duck through the fence and at the same time the kudu lifted into the air with his powerful hind-legs to jump over the fence…

Another thing which happens with kudus who have rabies, is that they get weak. Usually they easily and gracefully jump over fences, but now they do not manage the height and get horribly tangled in the wires. Caught with its legs by the wires, this kudu came crushing down to the ground where my brother had just climbed through the fence. It fell partly onto my brother, but fortunately he could quickly get away and was not hurt.

My father, who was already alerted by my screams that something was wrong, came towards us and once he has ensured we are save, he put the poor kudu out of his/her misery.

This was a pretty unusual childhood encounter with a kudu and probably one of my very earliest, clear and lasting memories. And it made a huge impression on me… )

So yes, I do remember. Also the first time that I was asked to paint your portrait. I answered in my mind.

Ok, so will you paint me again?

Mhhh. Ok, maybe with white on black, that could look cool.

Ok.

What do you think of this?

Kudu White on Black (Detail)

Kudu White on Black (Detail)

Uhh, I like it. It is pretty. But…. hey let’s be adventurous tonight, otherwise we are finished so quickly… and black and white are so… mmhh, boring? Let’s just try something crazy…

I don’t know. I am scared. You look so pretty, what if I will mess that up?

You might, but wouldn’t it be fun? And anyway… if you do mess it up, you can just paint another one like this again, can’t you? Common, let’s just be a bit wild tonight… I dare you.

Ok, I trust you. And yes, I need to remember that I can always start over again. Art, like life, lets you start over and over again, as long as you are breathing. Mistakes can happen and they do. But it is not the end of the world and often they lead to amazing new and unexpected results.

So, yes, I dare…

(Untitled (Kudu on black background), Acrylic on canvas, 100x100cm)

(Untitled (Kudu on black background), Acrylic on canvas, 100x100cm)

So this is the kudu at this stage of our dialog… I think we leave her like this. Maybe, we will rather start another adventure on a different canvas.

And till we do, I am enjoying her presence. We are having fun, like girlfriends do, giggling and enjoying the neon colours we used, her prettiness and weirdness, marveling at the world, laughing at our vulnerability, fears and constant search for the elusive perfection… And think: who cares? When we can just be pink or turquoise or whatever we feel like? We should be more adventurous and less scared of making mistakes.

Rainmakeress

Rainmakeress by Imke Rust Graphite & Acrylic on paper, 105 x 120cm

Rainmakeress by Imke Rust, Graphite & Acrylic on paper, 105 x 120cm

Rainmakeress

Woman is water. Woman is moon.
Woman is flow. Woman is life.
Woman is earth. She is the giver of birth.

                                              She is the rain.

Some time ago, while thinking about one of my favourite subjects (how we can manifest rain) I scribbled down the above thoughts. That led to the large drawing (at the top) of a woman becoming rain.

I do believe that we must find the rain within us. I do believe that we are one with everything around us, the rocks, the animals, the people, the clouds, the invisible waves of sound, light and information, the ocean, the air and everything else. Whatever is out there, is a mirror of what is inside myself and we do attract into our lives, that, which we put our awareness on and what we feed with energy. Because it is all there. And all is One. And that One is God.

So, if that is true, then it follows that similar to being able to attract like-minded people, we can attract (or manifest) like-minded energy and ‘states of being’. To understand this better, lets take an example, lets say I want more kindness in my life. Then I just need to focus my attention on that part in me, which is kind and choose to be more kind in my everyday life. Suddenly I will notice more people around me being kind. They probably have always been kind, but I did not consciously realise or notice it. Also, I will most likely avoid people who are not kind. And my kindness will very likely inspire somebody else to be kind in return.

Similarly, it should be possible to place our awareness on the qualities of rain and what comes with it and then attract it into our lives. If we have a drought, we can ask ourselves, which parts of us have we let dry up? Did we let our passion, our flow, our life become dry and stale? Are we contracting ourselves out of a fear of lack? Have we lost touch with our moistness, our fertility and our giving part? Have we somehow stopped the cycle of water, by damming up our feelings?

If we can find where we are lacking within our own spirits, then we can start rectifying our energy and thoughts. We can focus our awareness on those things which matter and which are favourable to attracting rain. What is rain for you?

I associate it with joy, with lightness, with wetness, abundance, creativity, life, freshness, growth, water and so much more. So when trying to evoke rain, I focus my attention on these things. I imagine how I feel when it is raining, I try to taste, smell, feel and hear that sensation of rain. Can you imagine it? Can you feel the feelings that you have when it is raining? Try and stick with those feelings for some moments. And then, in my case, with my associations of rain, I try to consciously incorporate those things more into my life, or send a silent thought of gratitude and appreciation to these things when I notice them.

Practically it means, when I wash my hands (for instance), I am consciously enjoying the water and in my mind saying thank you for having this water and how much I appreciate it. And I try to fill my life and heart with more joy (do something fun), with freshness (place a fresh flower in my space), life (go out and enjoy the plants, animals or people whom I meet) and creativity (the best of all, create something new, an artwork or a meal)… I do something fresh and exciting. If my life has become stale, I try to find ways of being and feeling more alive – like getting up from the computer and dance.

You can try this yourself. Maybe you do not immediately succeed in creating real rain, but I do believe that you will immediately feel better and changing the atmosphere will sooner or later lead to the ideal conditions for rain to come.

Recently I had a friend visiting me from Namibia and I could try out another idea which I had, based on the idea that we are all rainmakers. Also that especially as woman, we embody the fertility and giving part, which I associate with rain. Combined with freshness, creativity and some real water I simplified this idea so that it can be better understood. I painted a dark rain cloud on the body of my friend and then splashed it with water, so that it will drip down and draw the colour with it, creating a visual idea of rain. I had so much fun with that last part, that I forgot to take photos, and only in the end, when you could not see the ‘rain’ that well anymore, I took a photo. I do think the action is more important than the ‘prove’ so I hope you enjoy the ‘before and after’ images anyhow.

Rainmakeress: Cloud painting on body and adding water to let it 'rain' (Imke Rust)

Rainmakeress: Cloud painting on body and adding water to let it ‘rain’ (Imke Rust in cooperation with Wiebke Volkmann)

What are your believes about rain? Do you maybe live in a country, where you would much rather see more sun and less rain? You could apply the same ideas to create a more sunny life for yourself.

Have you ever tried making rain? Or done a rain dance? Prayed for rain?
What were/are your experiences?

My New Year’s Resolution and a Gift for You

The Muse - by Imke Rust

The Muse – a self-portrait I have done this time a year ago while at home in Namibia.

The end of a year is the time when most of us take stock and plan ahead for the new year. Many friends are sharing their intentions, hopes and dreams on social media.

I, too, really want the next year to be awesome, but find it so difficult to put my desires into concrete shapes and words. My inner need to get more focussed has built up pressure in the past few days and my inability to focus has filled me with fear.

Today I decided to at least look through the things I have done in the past year and came upon the following text which I have written in September. It reminded me of a valuable lesson by which I have lived most of the past year, and probably should just continue to use as my motto in the next one, till I can fully embrace it.

I am sharing this with you, in the hope that it might inspire you too. Here it goes:

Sometime in 2013 when I felt really sick and depressed, and that already for a few months, I had this talk – with myself, or my higher self or God, well, that thing which sometimes answers you, by putting brand new and outrageous thoughts into your mind.

It went something like this:

Me: I finally want to be happy! And healthy!

It: Well, then just be happy and healthy.

Me: But I cannot. Cause I am depressed and my body is aching. Did you forget that I have a broken back, and ten other health issues on my plate on top of it?! Are you saying that it is my thinking and believes causing this?! It can’t be, because I have been trying to do all the right spiritual stuff and be positive and all that shit… and still here I am, feeling miserable, wanting to give up, but even too scared for that…. So?

It:      Just be.

Me (getting agitated): Grmpfff – I just told you, I am not. And it would be lying if I said that I am happy and healthy. And I will not lie. It is of no use.

It: No, just be. Breathe.

Me: Hä? (That is German for WTF?)

It: You know, how the world and you are trying to live by the Nike slogan: Just do it! ? That is ok, sometimes that is a real great advice, but right now I am giving you a new slogan, and yes, it sounds outrageous, but try it: Just be.

Me: Hey – hmmm, an improvement on the Nike slogan? Great, I like that! And it is even shorter than the Nike slogan, and less is more, so this is quiet cool.               I will try it.

And so I did.

Whenever I felt stressed, insecure or anxious, I stopped myself, took a deep breath and told myself: just be.

The beauty is, that in that moment I realise I am. I am everything, I am stressed or insecure, but I am also Imke, a human being, a woman, a creative spirit, a lover, a daughter, a friend… And I am part of this universe, I am love and I am kindness.

I (we?) often forget to firstly ‘just be’. Being is all we need to do.

There is nothing I need to do to be better or more accepted. We often put doing before being. When we remember to be and let our doing flow naturally out of our being, we start to live a more honest and happy life. We gain more strength and confidence in our actions, because they are fuelled by our true being and not by what we are told or tell ourselves we need to do.

Try it. For me it helps taking a deep breath, sometimes closing my eyes and then feeling into being. Consciously feel how I am being. Alive. Present. Aware.

It immediately calms me and gives me new strength. And it puts my fears of not doing enough or being perfect enough into perspective. I hope it might be the same for you.

And as a special gift I have created the image below and would love to send it to you in high-resolution so that you can either print it or use it as a screen-saver to remind you of this simple New Year’s resolution.

Just email me at imkerust(a)iway.na (Note: Please replace the (a) with an @ sign.) or leave a comment below and I will hurry to get it to you asap.

 

Wishing you a blessed and amazing 2015 filled with joy, love, health and abundance!

Just be.

The Rise of the Phoenix

Peacock Medicine by Imke Rust (Ink on paper, 20x20cm)

Peacock Medicine by Imke Rust (Ink on paper, 20x20cm)

Many old traditions believed that a person is guided and protected by specific animals throughout their lives. Not only the American Indians had totem traditions, but all over the world people believed in the power of spirit animals.

Some of you might already know from my last blog post, I have been doing an online Totemic Arts Apprenticeship course with the wonderful guide-ess and teacher Emelie Archer Pickett, discovering my totem animals and how to work with their lessons and ‘medicine’ in our lives. We cannot choose which animal will be our totem animal, they choose us, according to our life lessons which we need to learn.

Believe in totem animals or not, I really think that at least considering them and their messages in our lives can help us find alternative insights and solutions to problems and added wisdom. Long before I have heard about totem animals, I often looked at my cats and thought: what would they do in this situation? (Usually their advice was to lie in the sun, stretch and roll over occasionally, watch the birds and most importantly: stay calm – unless you are hungry, in which case you go eat and then return to the sunny spot – a huge life lesson for me!)

Ok, now I have found out that we have a foundational or main animal as totem, supported by a whole gang of 11 other animals. There are many different views about this, so just stick with me on this one.

I call these animals my gang or circle, and the leader is a rather shy, sometimes grumpy black leopard…

During the course I found out that the peacock is a possible member of my gang, too. Sometimes we have resistance towards certain animals, or we wish for other animals that are not part of our totem make-up, ’cause they seem so impressive. So even though some of the teachings about the peacock resonated with me, I was not really convinced. Resonance to anything is usually a good sign that you are on the right path and to start further investigations.

Or you can just ignore it totally. Which is what I did.

Some weeks ago, I felt stuck in a certain situation in my life and I looked to my black leopard for help, but as usual the shy lady was withdrawing into her cave instead of coming out and being fierce (which is what I hoped for from my totem or power animal). But I learned that black leopards are pretty elusive and misunderstood… and well, they are the smallest of the large cats, so they might sometimes really be safer off in the cave or on a tree. (You can see a picture of her snoozing in her cave here)

Ok, I could not tempt her out of that cave and I had to go my own way. Which lead me past the communal rubbish yard. In the corner of these eyes I noticed a large frame in between the bins.

I just looooove old, discarded stuff like that. Cool stuff which one can possible re-use or recycle, and so I went for a closer look. It was an original oil painting of a peacock. The painting was in a perfect condition, just the frame was damaged on one corner. (At least it seemed that the leopard has lend me her eyes to easily spot the prey.)

A peacock… well, well – animals have strange ways to make themselves noticed in your life. And as an artist, I could never ignore a painting like this!

Found Peacock Painting by S (or V?) Wolters. Undated

Found Peacock Painting by S (or V?) Wolters. Undated

So I rescued the peacock and painting from the dumpsters and took it home, knowing I will now have no excuse to not look deeper into this totem animal. I also wanted to share my findings and excitement with the fellow tribe of people who are doing the course with me.

When I opened up our Facebook group’s page, the first thing I saw, was a picture of a peacock with the person who posted it saying: I just found out that my totem animal is a peacock – any other peacocks out there? And while I was writing about my experience, another person also shared that she found out the peacock is one of her totems. Three peacocks in one day… not bad. I just love considering this to be signs from the universe.

What is a peacock’s medicine you might want to know?

Here are some teachings: For one the peacock most resembles the descriptions of the phoenix, so it is considered a symbol of death and resurrection. The Peacock can also help you on your spiritual Path, and breath new life into your walk of faith and they can increase your self-esteem levels.

The bird is a symbol of integrity and the beauty we can achieve when we endeavor to show our true colours.

(Showing my true colours is the reason, why you suddenly get to read so much about totem animals and other magical stuff, visions or fun ideas from me.)

Because of the many ‘eyes’ on its tail it is connected to wisdom and vision – i.e. ‘seeing with a thousand eyes’.

Totem fun: Phoenix or the Peacock Eyes. (Ink on paper, 20x20cm. By Imke Rust)

Totem fun: Phoenix or the Peacock Eyes. Not exactly a thousand eyes here, but a start… (Ink on paper, 20x20cm. By Imke Rust)

You can connect to or use this animal medicine through meditating on the specific animal, wearing or surrounding yourself with images or objects of the animal or its colours, paint them or alternatively incorporate their lessons in whatever way makes you happy and feels right to you. There are no rules.

Even though most of the peacock lessons resonate with me, one stood out: the rebirth or phoenix aspect. Why? Since this bird (painting) got rescued from certain destruction, risen from the death and now has started a second life in our kitchen. A real phoenix!

Now he is playing with the other members of the gang, adding its strength and beauty to the mix. 😉

Totem Fun (Imke Rust, Ink & watercolours on paper, 20x20cm)

More totem fun (Imke Rust, Ink & watercolours on paper, 20x20cm)

Connecting the Dots

I am on a mission to connect the dots of my life to finally figure out some important things. As part of that, and for some fun learning, I enrolled into an exciting course learning about totem animals and how they can help and guide us in our lives.

The course gives so much food for thought. Even though I initially I enrolled in the hope of ‘just some creative fun’ to add spice to my serious soul search for deeper answers, the course has completely drawn me in and provided such a lot of serious and exciting insights.

Between happily jumping into the fun world of the animals and wonderful kindred human souls who are part of the course or tribe and drawing back in resistance to so many different issues, I have managed to delve deep and hold on to this crazy ride.

I am trying to really let myself go with the flow and allow things to happen. And that is what I want to tell you about.

Black Leopard Sleeping

Black Leopard. Sleeping

Ok, so my main foundational totem is the black leopard. I guess I need to write much more about that at another time, but now I am onto something very different and more immediate. I had been thinking about how the leopard pulls its prey into a tree, to keep it safe from other bigger predators. Two other totem animals of mine move into trees (or live there) for safety.

Then it struck me, that I had a vision about myself as a tree two days ago and because it was so striking I made a small painting in my sketchbook about it.

I felt as if I was a tree growing from the top downwards, with the bottom trunk and roots missing.

The tree could not bloom or produce leaves until those parts eventually grow and connect it with the earth and its nurturing soil and water, its hold and steadfastness. A place to be.

Floating Tree

Floating Tree (quick sketchbook drawing)

I took a photograph, in order to be able to share it or continue working on it in a digital format. When I downloaded it, I realised that there were still a whole bunch of other older photographs I have taken, but not downloaded yet…

Interestingly they were mostly of trees – treetops in the mist and a wire baobab tree that we got as a gift for our wedding. And of the bottom of my coffee cup, where the residue has left…. You guessed it: the shape of a tree floating in the air.

Coffee grounds tree

Coffee grounds in my mug:  can you see the floating tree?

Wire Baobab from Namibia

Wire Baobab Tree from Namibia – another photo found still on my camera

My favourite tree is the Baobab. So I looked up its symbolism. Its protective, nourishing and healing and can survive in harsh climates, because it stores water in its trunk. It is also a symbol of strength…

It is also known as the ‘upside-down tree’ – according to myth, the gods planted the tree upside-down in error.

Which reminded me of my initial version, of the tree growing from the top to the bottom and also about something I created just over a year ago, when I felt depressed and generally pretty lost:

Sometimes the world seems upside down

Sometimes the world seems upside down

These are so many dots connecting and I will have to ponder about the lessons that entails. So I decided to write it down. While writing, I thought I could just as well post it as a blog. I thought that this is probably a bit too spiritual and way-out for my main art blog and I decided to post it first on my Baobabs, Magic and Art blog.  And then it struck me that even the title of this blog adds another dot to connect to the mystical tree…

And it led me further to another poem and image, which I had made and posted on there in June last year:

trying to grow new roots

Trying to grow new roots
In a foreign land
With my feet on unfamiliar ground

Trying to become grounded
Return to the earth
And feel at home

Drawing strength
From below
From belonging

I have no roots
Here
Yet

© Imke Rust

And hopefully I will eventually find or grow my roots so that this tree won’t be floating around in uncertainty anymore, but will find its place and grow into a big nurturing, protective, creative and healing tree. 🙂

Wishing you a beautiful start to the week!