This city has given me so much already! It has awakened a bounty of creativity in me, and a deep sense of courage, and been the scene of a journey towards coming into self-trust. Many call Bologna a mother-city, and now I know why...⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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For a long time I didn't consider that the geographical place I resided in could have such a waxing or waning effect on the potential happiness available in my life. But I've found it to be true that the literal walls you dwell within, the culture you live within, the language you generate your thoughts within are all boundaries. They are all bubbles containing potential for certain outcomes, but their invisible confines also keep out and block others.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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A certain way of being and thinking is possible in one place, in a way it isn't in another - and just as all manner and variety of other beings need exacting conditions to thrive, so do each and every one of us. And those conditions might not necessarily be present where we happen to land when we're born. If we're lucky enough, we can change our environment and choose somewhere that allows us to dream again. To carve out the life we so deeply long for. The Italian way of life has been the making of me, just as you said it would, D! Grazie di cuore Bologna... /

In my experience, getting to know your inner art connoisseur requires getting to know what makes you tick on an aesthetic level. After all, visual art enters through the eyes! May it then stir the emotions and rock your soul, but it is, at least at first, a bit like love: a question of sometimes unexplained and otherworldly attraction at first sight!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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So what art is to your taste anyway? How do you even begin to navigate the unfathomable nature of art and the sometimes overwhelming breadth of modes of creative expression? Will it be a sculpture or a painting? A tapestry or a ceramic vase? And even when you’ve chosen for example ‘painting’ as your ideal, or even just ideal starting category, what will it be - classical or abstract, romantic or realist?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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The good news is, you don’t have to worry about all that to start with. All you need to think about to begin with is what lights you up. If standing in front of an object made by a pair of human hands, thought and felt into existence by a human mind and heart: then you can be sure that this material object has something very special to offer you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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In my experience, choosing art shouldn't be about weighing up pros and cons, it should be about feeling - about becoming sensitive to what opens you up - not just to the world around you: but to the possibility inherent in your own life./

 

tories and popular narration, Igor Sibaldi writes, can vibrate at a particular psychic frequency that has been long-known for it's spectacular ability to breakdown space-time limits between the mind of the author and that of the reader. 'The story, as you read it,' he says, 'is always now, and it lives in you, and you live in it...' ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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This is the way I feel about great art, and I would argue that as a work of art unfolds in your heart, there is no space-time limit between the mind of the gazer and that of the painter. For those brief moments, two can become one!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What works have art have moved you deeply or made you feel connected?/

Sometimes it can feel like we're reaching out to hold our own hand when we're creating something, when we're in that "flow" state creatives talk so often about. Drawing, singing, dancing, cooking, anything where the mind stops its constant babbling and we can settle into Being there is a chance to feel present in oneself. A chance to come to know oneself in the quietude that rests when we do so.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What in the world gives you that feeling?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀/

'That pure surge of pleasure, flash flood of joy--to find the electric jolt of the outside place that corresponds to the inside--that's it.' - -- Frances Mayes, from Under The Tuscan Sun/

I think a lot about where I belong, it's a human condition I think to be constantly in search: perhaps in search of a partner, a home, to be loved, to find happiness...⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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But I found that the harder I looked, the more what I stalked simply shied away and retreated to the shadows. The more I stressed and strained, cried and begged to belong or to be accepted, the less I felt either.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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At least for me, reaching a place where the 'outside place' corresponds to the 'inside place' was found by submerging myself so deep down in the ocean of my 'inner-ness' that I could not longer even make out the chorus of shouting about what I SHOULD 'be' or 'be doing'.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I think you know when you've found where you belong when you breathe a breath that makes you realise you've just been shallow-breathing until now, just treading water. Here, you can rest your head and let the tall walls around your heart crumble down. It's a feeling that there's nowhere else in the world you'd rather be. That anything is possible: no limits on dreams!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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In that place: the smallest of moments, the most everyday moments can fill you with happiness that smells as sweet as honeysuckle nectar! But most of all, it's a place where you can simply BE. The purest, most natural, free and unencumbered version of yourself.⠀⠀/

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If you adored being creative as a child, and then circumstance and other people's expectations caused you to lose your connection with that part of yourself in adulthood; know that you can rediscover this part of yourself!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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In my case, rekindling the fire of creativity has only deepened my love for art and my admiration for the artists I've come to know and cherish.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I had worried that I would be judged for wanting both. Both to celebrate and cherish other artists and cultivate an arts project, and reignite my own creative journey. And that still may come to pass...⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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But what I've come to realise is that the life has a funny way of curving you back around to forks in the road you've come across before. Time is not necessarily linear. A road left untrodden, can still be.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I've rediscovered what joy can come in allowing what's inside to flow out! Whoooosh!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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May anyone who has known that feeling once before, and wishes to capture it again, throw off the weight of expectation and the cloak of fear, and put pencil to paper once more!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀/

 

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Sometimes it really is just about laying one brick after another. I've found that the things worth doing are most often long-term projects. Projects that wax and wane just as the silver moon hanging over us does in the night sky.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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You may have lain down your tools (paintbrushes, expectations, hopes) for now, but they can be picked up again. Each month with the coming of the new moon is an opportunity to begin again. To re-cast the threads of something left unfinished and gathering dust in the corner. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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The Bridge of Tiberius (Italian: Ponte di Tiberio) in this photo has been standing over the river Marecchia in Rimini, Italy since around 20 A.D. And it's building bridged the reigns of two Roman emperors. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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And here we are now in 2020 and it glistens still, shimmering on the rippling water below; still holding up people and their dreams as they put one foot in front of the other towards their destinations. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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So don't give up on dust-laden projects so long as they still catch your eye or quicken your heart. Building lasting change takes good time: but the results are worth falling and getting up again, however many times it takes.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What projects have you left unfinished that you know deep down mean something to you to complete. How might you overcome whatever it is that is blocking you from doing so?⠀⠀/

Leaning out of a flower adorned window just enough so the early morning sun touches my face is somewhere I want to be, somewhere I know well...⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Waking up to birdsong and flapping wings against diamond-hatched glass; climbing green leaves and swinging petals framing far-off hills, is the stuff of a childhood that remains.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Everywhere I go I look for that feeling, as much as it is an image -- coloured like a still-life canvas -- it's really more of a feeling, and a treasured one at that. Surrounded by a sense of peace, delicious quiet, and the promise of a day spent close to nature, yet protected from the harshest of the elements, is sometimes just where I need to be!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I search for images such as this one, in life, in photographs, in other's work, and when I can I let them flow from my own hand, because it makes me feel a certain way. And whilst living in this urban jungle I can't recreate that childhood scene on my doorstep, I can still bring it close enough to taste the feeling that memory leaves in its wake, each time it visits. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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An image such as this can bring that memory back each and every time, and at the same time it pushes me to make decisions that get me closer to living that as a reality again!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What images always capture your heart? And how does keeping them near you keep you on the right track to claiming your heart's greatest desires for your future?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀/

So much wisdom comes from above. From people long gone but whom have left behind entire maps of the world: literary, imagery, huge architectural feats, and more. My teachers have each shown me a part of the puzzle that is to be solved to live an authentic and fulfilled life. John Donne was right, none of us are islands, we are each '...a piece of the continent, a part of the main...' and I take comfort in getting to "know" people who just like me, have walked here before. They went on to make something wondrous of their lives. It gives me hope that I may strive to do the same in my own individual way!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I used to feel my potential crushed before the colossal giants of history, but upon reading their diaries, their poems, and their literature and seeing the first tentative sketches of a master painting: I know that they too were once full of doubt, reaching out for inspiration and mastery with searching hands. They too started out with a blank canvas, and stoke by stroke and colour by colour, they made coherency and meaning out of once seemingly disparate elements.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Which historical figures have inspired you most?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Photographed and painted images have a far more potent and complex effect on our sensory experience than we might expect. Chosen with care, you CAN bring a feeling of sanctuary into a room in your home that may lie miles and miles from the sea, or a lake of any kind. I have many images of the expanse of the sea in my sacred places.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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And on some nights, it's enough to open the door to the breeze coming in from the Mediterranean and look up at Prussian-blue waves, to feel that sanctuary envelope me entirely.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What gives you the feeling of sanctuary?

 

⠀⠀Sometimes I get completely "lost" in a drawing these days. but oftentimes I still feel melancholy about all the years I hid away my creative side, locking it in a box marked 'warning: don't touch'! But then I remember that things come to us in their right time, I like to think it's 'divine time', although I don't subscribe to any religion. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I'm no longer a believer in the tortured artist archetype; I don't believe that suffering is necessary for art's sake. But it's clear that what we live through can be food for creativity.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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From my own recent experience I've learned that creative fruit tastes better when it's picked ripe -- neither unmatured nor rotten. Mine was at the risk of rotting because I worried what other people would think of me and if they'd judge me. But living like that is not living.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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So if you, like I did, feel the sudden calling to return to your own creative roots, then your tree is ripe for harvest. Go forth and revel in inspiration and let any anxiety about what others think, or don't, flow down the sinkhole with your spent brush water! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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How did you get back to your creative roots?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

These shells shine with colour and splendour even though their owners have long since departed for distant shores, just as many works of art and books literature do. They endure, never waning, never fading.

Explosions of colour leading down to a watery edge is soothing for the eyes and the soul! For me, a walk in the garden is a tonic unlike any other.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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We can't always be surrounded by the vast watery horizons on one side and ancient trees rooted into Mother Earth on the other. We can't always feel grounded, calm, or in tune with our innermost selves...⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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But even in a high-rise building, the grey depths of winter, or on the edge of our seat in the company office for the 5th late night this week...we can keep these places close to us in another way. We can feel how it feels to BE there, just by looking at a work of art that transmits what we most need in that moment. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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So whether you find comfort in flowers, high seas, the outstretched wing of a soaring bird, a Palladian villa, the caress from a loved one, or like me, a stroll in the garden adorned with windswept leaves...find a way to harness the power of images in the space you're in right now: however bleak it might seem.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Choose a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, or a sketch of your own making, and be sure that when you most need it, your paradise is only a glance away. And that those feelings you so miss, can be recaptured within its framed borders. But not only that, you can trust that each time your longing draws you to look, you bring the reality closer and closer to you.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

 

We all need sanctuary. You can find it wherever your soul feels protected and shielded from the onrush of contemporary daily life. Away from the phone, computers, cars and TV, sanctuary is like dropping out of the time-space continuum, stopping and looking around at what IS right now. But really looking, and not just with our eyes.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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When I pad around a garden -- mine or someone else's -- or I bring my pencil to the page, my wooden spoon to the cooking pot, my head to the curve of a shoulder, or my nose to a rose! I find sanctuary.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Where do you find yours?

It's been a long time since I picked up a brush or a pencil in any real way, that is, with any true conviction or self-belief. I have carried a shyness about "being seen" with me throughout my life which has further intensified my admiration for artists. Because to make art and release it into the public realm means to show up in the world, to make vulnerable your soft underbelly.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Without be conscious of it, I've been waiting for someone else's permission to be who I am, to show up in the world. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. But being "allowed" to shine, that is, having permission to simply inhabit your authentic 'expression of self' in all the kaleidoscope facets that make you up...is something we can only give to ourselves. So we need to stop waiting for other people to tell us that we're "enough". It's OK to be as we already, naturally ARE:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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"All of me over one true me", as @molgiofficial so elegantly put it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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So that's what I'll be doing from now on: dancing to my own tune, surfing the tips of the waves on my own ocean...⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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What about you?⠀⠀⠀⠀Walk your own path, straight to the ocean. Don't be pulled this way and that by passing storms, interruptions, falsities or delusions. Keep your sail in, measure your stars between your own finger and thumb.⠀⠀⠀

We all have our own stories to tell, dreams to live out. Sometimes I find myself looking back at myself in a mirror, a photo, reflecting back on myself through a work of art that either I or someone else made. And it's at these times that I come face-to-face with how authentic I have been...or not. Sometimes this cosmic meeting with oneself, in the world of the unseen, can happen through the visual world; as though it were a veil that need only be lifted to glimpse the beyond: that is to say, the workings of our lives behind the stage curtain. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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But to lift that veil you need to see it first, you need to know it's there. That's why I love art, because in the moment in which you think you've been captured, it's actually you that has recaptured your own essence. And it's here, on this bridge between the seen and unseen which art inhabits, that you can rediscover yourself, and rekindle your dwindling fires...⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


 

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