It’s Valentine’s Day, or as I like to say: HEART’s Day! Either way, it is a Happy Day, and is my favorite time of the year, since I am known as Mars “The HEART Lady” after all! Often I find myself going on what I like to call: Heart Hunts, where I find favorite heart shaped treasures, especially a few days after Valentine’s Day, when they are on sale! This year is a bit different though, instead of finding heart shaped treasures, I have found something that I’ve been looking for with all my HEART for the past 9 months, and dreaming about for the past 48 years!
I do believe in miracles, in divine timing, in manifestation prayers with the Universe, and synchronicity for sure! I like to say that the “best is yet to come”, and in this situation I could never have guessed the exact timing of it happening on my favorite day of the year, and on my nine month anniversary living in New York. I have found my next Home Sweet Home in Colorado! I will be starting a new chapter and adventure on March 1st! I feel as if these past nine months were a very challenging gestation period, and I have finally given birth to my dream. Living in New York was only a temporary plan, a bridge, a transitionary time in my life, due to the unfortunate circumstance of having to leave Sedona unexpectedly during the height of the pandemic. Some wonderful memories have been created during our nine month family chapter, but now we go back to our preferred areas. For 45 years we have lived miles apart, my brother on the East Coast and me on the West Coast, or in that direction! I’m sure there will be future visits to look forward to.
Ever since the summer of 1974 when I took a cross country trip throughout Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, I have wanted to live in Colorado one day. It found it’s way into my heart and never left. I visited many times, but the timing just wasn’t right for a relocation. I guess the Universe always knew I would live there one day? I have always loved the quote by Marsha Norman: “Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.” and my own quote: “Dreams are flowers that bloom in your soul”. I have been Colorado Dreamin’ for so long, and now all is coming to fruition and blooming! I know it won’t be perfect, many things are not the same as they were 48 years ago, but the Rocky Mountains are still there in their majesty, and that is where my heart wants to be.
This week I took time to remember Thich Nhat Hanh after his passing at 95 years old, by watching many of the beautiful ceremonies around the world, honoring his lifetime of powerful teachings on mindfulness, peace, and revered Buddhist principles.
My life has been enriched beyond measure after learning about and listening to a wonderful interview with Thich Nhat Hanh and Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday in May 2013. I have since read many of his books and wonderful quotes about peace, joy, loving-kindness and compassion. His teachings will live on in my heart eternally, and his legacy will continue to inspire many more hearts and minds worldwide. When you listen to him speak you can’t help but notice that his heart was overflowing with love, joy, compassion and kindness. His heart smile will live on eternally to remind us all that to love one another is of utmost importance in living a beautiful life.
I will include links to the interview that touched my soul, to his Buddhist centers at Plum Village and Dear Park Monastery, and a podcast that I enjoy listening to called: “The Way Out Is In” curated by his Monks at Plum Village in France, it is very enlightening and meditative.
I have shared some of my favorite Thich Nhat Hanh quotes designed with my original HEARTwork and a link to my book: Mars Mindful Moments that include some of his quotes and others.
Here are some links to the interview, podcast, and writings by Thich Nhat Hanh:
A list of all books and calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh can be found on the Plum Village website at: plumvillage.org
My current favorite book is a thought provoking gem of a book entitled: TRUE LOVE ~ Here is a link to check it out on amazon: https://amzn.to/3HhxXp9
Celebrating this 365th day in 2021 with some of my favorite creations in this collage! Original Acrylic Paintings and Digital Art Creations by MARS, completed in Sedona, Arizona and New York. In early 2021 while living in Sedona, I was inspired to paint three canvases, entitled: New Dawn/Inauguration, Blossom Heart, and Hope Springs Eternal/Jacaranda Tree. I also completed a project in New York entitled Rock Art Abstracts, and did a few other digital creations. Not included in this collage are a few fun watercolor paintings attempted in an en plein air autumn workshop.
Now I am looking forward to 2022 to see the next 365 days of inspiration that arises in my heart & soul! See you later 2021…..it has been challenging for so many, let’s hope 2022 will be a year filled with abundance, prosperity and pandemic free.
Mother Nature has begun to put on a spectacular show of her true Autumn colors here on Long Island the past few weeks. This visit to Mill Pond was breathtaking and rejuvenating for my soul. It has been many years since I have experienced Autumn on the East Coast in New York State. I grew up in Buffalo and fondly remember scrumptious autumn colors there, but it has been almost 5 decades since I lived there. My GPS encouraged me to move to the West Coast in 1977 after a massive blizzard. I lived in Southern California for almost 3 decades, never looking back except for annual family visits to Buffalo, and on Long Island. I also lived in Portland, Oregon for almost 8 years and enjoyed beautiful autumn colors especially at the gorgeous Japanese Gardens.
Now it has been five months since I have made New York my temporary home, ever since having to leave my home in Sedona, AZ this past May. It has been quite the adaptation to say the least! Next week is daylight savings time, not something I’ve been used to for almost 8 years living in Arizona! Hopefully my new full spectrum lamp will help add a daylight effect for the dark days of winter coming! I have no idea where my next adventure will take me, I await the Universe to reveal all the details! In the meantime, I am grateful to experience this glorious nature here on Long Island.
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” Helen Keller
I have been inspired to photograph and digitally paint these lovely rock specimens compliments of Mother Nature! I discovered a sweet neighborhood park that has various sized rocks along the river bank, and began photographing them for their interesting and unique markings. I am used to the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, and these are nothing like them, these are New York grey rocks! I have found several that are heart-shaped or with heart markings that of course excited me, being Mars The “HEART Lady”!
I am enjoying the first week of this beautiful autumn season in New York, and continue to explore and become inspired by my new area. The trees are getting ready to show off their true colors of the season, but for now I paint these sweet rocks! I am grateful for this healing gift of inspiration from Mother Nature! Click on the images to purchase prints on Fine Art America.
Today is the last day of August 2021, it doesn’t seem possible that summer is coming to an end already, and autumn will begin in 22 days! This has been a summer I will never forget, living on Long Island since mid-May, having to adapt to the hot, humid, and almost hurricane weather! It has been very challenging for me after living on the West Coast for 45 years and being accustomed to a very different climate. Somehow I have survived, and even at times thrived! In the past few weeks I have discovered a lovely nature area where I have been able to capture some amazing sunset photos. The best part about it has been seeing Heart Clouds in the sky each time I have gone there, reminding me that I am still the HEART Lady, just not of Sedona anymore! I am MARS “The HEART Lady” of NY! Heart clouds are still following me wherever I go! It brings such joy to my Heart-Soul, a word I have adopted as my own.
My Heart and Soul are one, so I have joined the words together to form a union, since for me they surely belong together. My Heart-Soul experiences many different emotions, sometimes joyful and sometimes sorrowful. This past summer has been filled with both emotions, but mostly sorrow, and feeling wounded to the core. But, I hang on dearly to the moments when I feel joyful and happy, knowing that I have the capacity to feel both, and hopefully will feel the later more often than not. For most people it takes a long time to adapt to major life changes, moving to a new city, adjusting to a new environment, and being out of your comfort zone, are all very difficult. Most of the time, these past 3 1/2 months since moving from AZ to NY, I have been in survival mode. I have been so very homesick most of the time, grieving the loss of my home, and feeling down deep in my heart-soul that I want to go home, but it’s not possible. I have good days and bad days, but at the three month mark I noticed I may have turned a corner, and now I feel much more accustomed to my new life and environment.
Taking it one step at a time, I have been getting familiar with the area, networking, meeting new people, getting my library card, and happily discovering neighborhood parks to enjoy moments in nature. I found a lovely bench, a tree that I will adopt for all the seasons to photograph, and a perfect spot to take amazing sunset photos. And best of all, the Heart clouds have found me! This evenings sunset photo with the giant heart cloud in the sky, was surely a moment of serendipity that delighted my heart-soul. I believe the Universe is always at work designing our lives with a touch of serendipity, it’s always there, you just have to look for it.
At this juncture my life feels very complicated! I think many of us have periods of time when life can be mysterious and complicated. When you add on the uncertainty factor it can become overwhelming for planning or decision making. These three words have similar meanings for my life right now. The word mysterious is similar to uncertainty, since it means: unknown, disguised, unclear, but also with a twist of serendipity which makes it a bit enticing to me. The word complicated causes me to feel perplexed, and sometimes stressed, and without clarity since the outcome is unknown or uncertain. The word uncertainty, causing fear, lack of control, doubt, confusion, and as with the other words, meaning without clarity, and with unknown outcomes.
I am at a crossroads in my life and need to start taking some reconnaissance trips for exploration of where my next home will be, but I hesitate to make the final plans because of these alarming Covid-19 variants still causing so much uncertainty. Making any travel plans outside of the country is even more daunting with all the different protocols changing continually with Covid-19. Let’s face it, planning has been challenging during this entire pandemic!
The question is…..what to do in the meantime? I want to make plans, but I don’t want to get excited, and then have to cancel them. Travel insurance only goes so far, and with Covid-19 there is very limited coverage. Staying put and being on hold is so frustrating, and just adds to the feelings of being uncertain and out of control. Thankfully I have my creative outlets that allow me a way to express myself, as in this digital painting I have entitled: It’s Complicated! All the scribbles and lines represent my mind attempting to make decisions in this time of uncertainty. The white hearts represent me surrendering to the reality and offering loving-kindness and compassion to myself and the entire world. The blocks that have no scribbles represent hope and clarity.
Eventually we will get beyond these uncertain barriers in our life and start planning and traveling like we used to do before pandemic life changed everything in 2020. Patience is a virtue, and we are all becoming pros at being patient living with this uncertainty. I look forward to the day when hopefully we will be able to see all the positive outcomes that will arise out of one of the most uncertain periods in our history.
I have used these two words on so many occasions in my 68 years, usually when I am going through a challenging situation and feel it would be a good idea to let go and trust the Universe, to have F.A.I.T.H. (Fearless Attitude in Thy Heart) that all is happening as it should, in Divine Order. Lately, I am wondering if this is the best course of action since my life has seemingly gone off the rails! I don’t even recognize who I am anymore, especially when I look in the mirror! Is it really possible that all is actually taking place in Divine Order? Is it happening in the right timing, in the right place, and for the right reasons? I have always believed that adage, but now I am beginning to question everything. I begin to wonder where the heck my Angels are, have they gone on hiatus? Up until now I have always felt protected and confident that things would work out as they should. Now I am in a state of mind that resides in a mindset of constant skepticism, which is opposite of my usual daily optimistic nature. I feel as if I am totally out of my comfort zone. As a matter of fact, for the past five months, I have forgotten what it feels like to be in my so-called comfort zone! I really hope one day I can recreate that feeling, since it is where most of us, including me, like to reside. Yes, sometimes it is necessary to take risks, make changes, and temporarily get out of our cocoons, and comfort zones for growth and accomplishment of challenges that we hopefully can overcome. But we are often happiest when we can get back to our comfort zone and feel a sense of normalcy once again!
That word, normalcy has not been used a lot lately, since we have been living with uncertainty since March of 2020. It continues to haunt us, the damn pandemic, unfortunately it has not disappeared yet as we had hoped it would a few months ago. It looks like there will finally be new rules enacted to enforce most of society to get the vaccinations, since this is after all a public health crisis. It has been so politicized, and now those that did the right thing by getting vaccinated when it was their turn, are now looking at the selfish portion of society ruining the possibility for herd immunity to eradicate this virus once and for all. Before we all have to go back into lock down, and the economy free falls again, let’s make these new rules mandatory with big penalties if not followed precisely.
I got a bit sidetracked with my own personal reasons for writing this blog, but the annoyance with the segment of our population that doesn’t have the intelligence or compassion to do the right thing makes me go off the deep end. I have zero patience for anyone or anything these days! My life has been in turmoil, I can’t seem to feel grounded, and I continue to feel abused by everything and everyone who I come into contact with on a daily basis. I have bombarded myself with listening to healing videos, uplifting podcasts, reading inspirational books and quotes, saying positive affirmations, writing in my gratitude journal and still I can’t seem to find myself, my me anymore. The sadness is overwhelming at times, and it morphs into deep pain and sorrow in my soul. I looked up the word SORROW, and am not surprised by all the synonyms that come up for the word. I also looked up the antonyms and liked those words much better! For now, I am living amongst the multitude of words that define sorrow, but I hope soon I will be able to turn the page into antonyms. I need to start a new chapter as soon as I finish this grieving process. I have to feel what I’m feeling, that seems like the only way to move forward. I don’t want to be sad and angry anymore. I need to find forgiveness in my heart and soul for those that have done me wrong, who have caused me to be in this horrible predicament, and that, and those who continue to abuse me to the core on a daily basis.
a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others. Mental suffering caused by loss, disappointment, etc.; sadness, grief, or regret.
I am waiting for the miracles to come, the new beginnings, the new chapters, so I can put this sorrowful one behind me forever. All I can do is my personal best, leaning into the uncertainty of life, one day at a time, one step at a time. Before I know it my destiny will reveal itself, all in Divine Order, I just have to have F.A.I.T.H – Fearless Attitude in Thy Heart.
For me, oftentimes the word HOPE takes on different meanings based on various life challenges. Today, and in these past few months, I find myself in a predicament not of my choosing causing me monumental life challenges to deal with that I will “hopefully” overcome soon. I am thinking of each letter in the word H.O.P. E. as a meaningful word in and of itself, that resonates for me in my life right now:
Helpless, Optionless, Perseverance, Equanimity.
Of the four words, the most important word is equanimity, since its meaning is allowing me to somehow seek “balance” in my topsy-turvy curve-ball of a life right now. The word perseverance is a daily mindset that I am somehow finding the courage to practice, moment by moment. The first two words: helpless and optionless are how I authentically feel, but I am doing my personal best to remove these negative words, since repeating them only causes me to ruminate about my unfortunate predicament, which is totally out of my control.
The uncertainty of life has always existed, but in the past year enduring this horrid pandemic, we all had to experience uncertainty up close and personal. We realized nothing is in our control, except our attitude and perspective. My hope is we will not forget all we learned going through this period of discombobulation of life as we knew it. Even with all the grief and economic hardship, we found new ways to work, live and stay connected with each other. Some of these new methods will probably become the new “norm”, and that is a good thing. It makes me think about the old saying: “every cloud has a silver lining”. It has been cloudy for way too long, now we can see some rays of sunshine at the end of this tunnel! We all deserve congratulations for getting through to the other side together. As all of us get excited about returning to some sort of normalcy after the pandemic is over, life continues to throw out curve balls for many of us. I never liked the saying: “It is what it is”, but I’ve come to realize when it comes to living with acceptance in the “now”, those five words say it so succinctly. I love listening to The Beatles song “Let it Be” and use that phrase on a daily basis to get through to the next moment.
Personally speaking, I am going through a horrible feeling of displacement since I had to move unexpectedly out of my rental home, it was sold a few months ago during the pandemic. That’s why the first two words within the word “HOPE” begin with helpless and optionless. I was unable to secure a new place to live in Sedona, and had no other options in the time frame I was given to move, so I felt helpless in such a predicament that was entirely out of my control. I felt so safe and comfortable in my home sweet home, especially during the pandemic, and for the past five years. Sadly, I had to sell most of my cherished belongings, and when I allow myself to think about it, I feel such sadness and grief, it just breaks my heart. Thankfully, I had one option to move across the country to New York, to temporarily stay with my family to ride out the rest of the pandemic. I am so grateful to have a safe place to live, to enjoy special milestone birthday celebrations with my brother and nephew, and most of all, I have to trust in the Divine Timing of it all.
Speaking of divine timing, I could never have imagined what is occurring right now in Sedona, Arizona. Somehow I feel as if the Universe saved me from having to experience what my dear friends are having to endure, my whole heart goes out to them. Last week’s historic heat waves, and now a disastrous wildfire that is way too close to home. The uncertainty of being on ready status to leave their homes, and the health hazard of breathing toxic air from the smoke is such an awful out of control predicament to be in. I pray everyone stays safe, and that the monsoon rains come soon to clean the air and put out the fires. Even though I am thousands of miles away, I read the Facebook community posts, see frightening pictures of my previous hometown, and I can’t help but feel that awful sense of fear that they must be experiencing.
In my life now living on the East Coast, it’s been six weeks since I have been in my temporary home in New York, and needless to say, it has been quite the adaptation for all of us. Thankfully, I am good at adapting, and knowing in my heart that this is only a bridge to my next adventure, I am trying to make the best of it. The big question every morning when I wake up is: “where is my next home sweet home going to be?”, and so far I am coming up blank. It is a very odd feeling, the uncertainty, the not knowing, the “optionless” feeling, and all I can do is wait and listen for answers to come.
I am slowly finding my way to stillness and quiet moments of meditation, learning to keep my perspective positive, and open to whatever feels right. And again, that is where the word “equanimity” as part of the word “HOPE” fits in so perfectly. It reminds me to keep calm during this time of feeling so uncertain, and offers me the ability to stay centered, balanced, and somewhat grounded in my current circumstances. I have to be patient and trust that Divine Timing is happening behind the scenes, and there will be a new home awaiting me, in the right place, at the right time, and I will feel like myself once again. In the meantime, I am writing a gratitude journal daily, and am so grateful for all the love and support I am receiving from dear friends and family.
One of my favorite quotes by Marcel Proust is: “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
In honor of Helen Keller’s Birthday today, here is my favorite quote of hers, and it fits perfectly for my life right now:
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”
Mars Sedona “The HEART Lady” saying farewell today at the Sedona Artist Market Gallery! Thanks for all the Love & Fun over these past 4 years, you will be missed! And most of all, thanks to all those who are enjoying my unique art creations in their homes! Time to share some photo memories from the beginning, middle and end! I wore my favorite Paris shirt and scarf for both photo shoots in 2017 & 2021! (along with a mask for an iconic pandemic photo memory!)