Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Sacred Gathering: Little Altars Everywhere

“Rituals create moments where living becomes art. Poets, writers, painters and musicians aspire to heightened moments of awareness, times when they feel they have something unique and inspiring to give the world….We all have this instinct to create beauty, distinction and meaning in our lives….”
~ Alexandra Stoddard

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Photo: Jenn Grosso #littlealtarseverywhere

To me the ritual of creating an altar, setting intentions, bringing together all the pieces and thoughtfully setting it all up, is a creative act. It is a mindful practice that teaches us to slow down, see beauty and honor the sacred within everything around us. It can be a very personal creative act, or we can share it with others and help to inspire as well as re-inspire ourselves.

In a previous post, I had invited everyone to send me their #LittleAltarsEverywhere pictures and  I would share a follow up post, and here’s A Sacred Gathering: Little Altars Everywhere on the Be You Media Group‘s blog. I hope all these little pockets of sacred spaces inspire you to create your own little altars, and should you capture them in a photo hashtag your altar photos #littlealtarseverywhere (Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook)  and join all of us who share our sacred spaces.

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Photo: Jenn Grosso Travel altar-in-a-tin

Gratitude Altar

Photo: Jenn Grosso Gratitude Altar

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The Secret Life of Frida Kahlo

A Where Is My Guru #BookGuru review of F.G. Haghenbeck’s “The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo – A Novel”, by Jenn Grosso originally posted on the #WIMG Blog.

“Have the courage to live, because anyone can die.”

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Frida Kahlo, known today as one of Mexico’s iconic revolutionary painters, as well as an inspiration for who the title “Patron Saint of the Arts” has been most sweetly bestowed, teaches us that despite all our challenges we can live life passionately and fully. From poor health, a near death trolley accident at the age of eighteen and constant physical pain, to an intense but turbulent marriage, Frida shows us true strength and determination.

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“I suffered two grave accidents in my life…. One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego.”

F.G. Haghenbeck takes us on a wonderful and colorful trip based on the known events of Frida Kahlo’s life, and has embellished them creating this intense work of fiction to show us all the different facets of Frida. We experience Frida, as the incredibly fragile woman who constantly struggled with her health and heartbreak; to the passionate and willful rebel who consumed everyone around her through her eccentric personality, love of her culture and cuisine.

Even though fictitious, I feel as though I have experienced little intimate glimpses into Frida Kahlo’s actual life. I have felt through these pages, her complete desperation and her constant struggle to simply carry on, but that at her strongest, Frida conquered her world. Through it all Frida turns to the beauty around her for strength and with brush to canvas, she poured herself into her art that has inspired beyond her time. Frida says she has always painted to “allay her fears and pain”, and left behind not only a legacy as an artist but also as a feminist, political fighter and someone who lived her beliefs without apology and without hesitation. Larger than life, being Frida was her ultimate work of art.

 “Then maybe something of me is coming through in the salt. To live life, you have to season it.”

Tune into this Friday’s Where Is My Guru Radio Show for more of The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo and how Frida has inspired me on my own journey.

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Be You Media Group’s Artist of the Week: Jenn Grosso

I’m so excited to be featured as this week’s Be You Media Group Artist of the Week!

I believe we all have something to share in our lifetime, something that’s uniquely from ourselves. So share what inspires you, what brings you alive, because maybe without you it might never be seen in the unique way that you can share it.

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I’m happy to have had the opportunity to share my own creative process and what being an artist means to me. Check out the post here.

I create because I’ve always felt a powerful and constant need to create, a drive to outwardly express what’s going on inside of myself. I create because this is one of the ways I make sense of my world and my struggles. I see my creative process and expression as being intimately tied to my spiritual practices; they are two sides of the same coin. Being an artist, a student of spirituality, a yogini and meditator, are all tools that I use for my self-development that propel me forward on my life’s journey.

My influences and inspiration come from everywhere and in every possible media. I believe that everything has beauty, and proceed through my days with my eyes, mind, and heart open to receiving. Through my time in nature, connecting with other artists and people, through music, reading and research, I never run out of inspiration. I just have to take the time to see it, to feel it and process it.

As an artist, I’ve never been able to confine myself to just one medium. I experiment and have experimented with so many, although I always seem to come back to photography, painting, collage/mixed media, and writing. Truth be told, I’ve sometimes gotten down on myself for not picking one medium, for not being more “focused” and getting really good at one thing. How my passion, curiosity and desire to explore and learn has held me back as a “successful” artist, but then I remind myself that these are the qualities that in my opinion make me an artist to begin with. I’ve realized that I can’t just stick to one thing, for me that isn’t conducive to making art. My life IS my art, day in and day out I create with how I see the world around me, by how I honor its beauty in all the little ways that I do, and share this with others. That is my art, the medium becomes irrelevant.

Through every action I am creating; I create my mindset, my environment and my future. To me this is the most fantastic creative act of all. To create ourselves! My art is simply a by-product of this. All of my experiences are a part of my creative process… and so my whole life is dedicated to finding inspiration, to being inspired and to inspire others.

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Inside Out Heart: An Ode To Being Too Sensitive

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“Nobody understands me, I’m really sensitive.” ~ Iggy Pop

Have you ever been told that you’re too sensitive? That you wear your heart on your sleeve, or that you’re an open book? Well if so, you’re in good company. I’m a sensitive person, like mega sensitive.

I usually go through my days feeling like all my emotions are on the surface of my skin, potentially spilling out uncontrollably at any moment, and threatening any appearance of normalcy. Now, I’ve given up on normal a long time ago, but that constant overwhelming sense of complete vulnerability can sometimes be a lot to handle.

I’m that person that you see in public looking completely absorbed in her own thoughts with the look that I must be going through some heavy shit, and maybe I am, or maybe I’m having a regular moment with the volume turned up high. I’m of course the type of person that cries at every movie.

It doesn’t have to be a sad movie either, happy endings and I’m in tears of joy. An awesome song playing in my headphones, talking a walk along the river’s edge appreciating the beauty of Mother Nature, or even sharing an awesome moment with someone special and yup, I’m on the verge of waterworks. If I’m having a bad day, feeling misunderstood, or there’s some tragic story in the news, its Niagara Falls and I’m in a puddle totally losing my shit.

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“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve gone through most of my life feeling like no one really understood me. That I must really perceive things different, if everything seemed to affect me so much more than everyone else.

As a teenager, I really believed that there must have been something wrong with me on the inside. I began to voraciously read on different topics in psychology, like bipolar disorders and even schizophrenia. I realized that I wasn’t plagued with anything that I could find written about in books, and that maybe I was just an over sensitive freak.

And I went with that, feeling the ever present separateness that was me and everyone else. It seemed like such a burden and inconvenience to have all my delicate and vulnerable bits right on the surface all of the time.

I used to believe this was a major weakness and that in order to be normal; I had to stifle my sensitivity. I mean who knows where this model of ideal stoic strength originated from, and why it’s been so highly praised in human history, but being “too” sensitive can definitely be frowned upon.

So I carried the tough girl persona for so many years, burying my emotions, I was tough as nails on the outside. But on the inside, it was a totally different story. Luckily my inner world found vehicles of expression through my art, journal writing, yoga, meditation, music and dance.

It was through these mediums that I expressed the inexpressible and inadvertently saved my life. Who knows where I’d be today without my art, writing and spiritual practice. I shudder at the thought.

With time and dare I say wisdom, I’ve come to realize that being too sensitive isn’t a weakness after all. That I can build on this and actually utilize all these feelings I’m constantly bombarded with as a positive force in my life. On a creative level, I can use this excess of emotions and pour myself out on canvas or paper.

This constant sense of intensity has been a driving force in my desire to learn and discover everything that I possibly can. Catapulting myself into all kinds of things that I might not have otherwise felt motivated to do, these vehicles that help me deal with these inexplicable happenings inside have become not only my art, but my path for healing.

Mending my perception that there was something wrong with me, my spiritual practices have taught me to embrace my inner world and sit with discomfort and love the parts inside me that I thought in the past were ugly and weak.

These days I embrace the fact that I am too sensitive, that I do wear my heart on my sleeve and am indeed an open book. I’m good with feeling vulnerable. For the times that all these feelings become too overwhelming to deal with, I know to turn to my different practices as cathartic outlets.

My hope is that for anyone that has ever felt different for being too sensitive, that you can reclaim your inner strength through this and laugh in the faces of those who criticized you for being too sensitive.

It’s ok to be too sensitive, it’s better than ok. Through this vulnerability we are stronger. Let it pour out, and come what may.

“Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, just keep going. No feeling is final.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Self-portrait by Jenn Grosso. Yes, I'm really this emo.

Self-portrait by Jenn Grosso. Yes, I’m really this emo.

Originally published on YOGANONYMOUS.

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