Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Goodbye Piano by Raphaella Vaisseau


Music played a special and sometimes complicated part of Dad’s life. In Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Dad enjoyed playing high school football and was good at it. However, his older sister Florence was intent on becoming a concert pianist, so his Mother moved them to Rochester NY for Florence to attend a music school for a year. He easily made the football team in Rochester too, until the coach learned he’d only be there one year. This disruption in his young life was something he spoke of often, wishing his Mother had let him stay in Fergus Falls with his older brother Homer and their grandpa Hale for that year.  Nevertheless, he accepted it and tried to focus on the benefits in the experience whenever it came up. Over the years, as it came up again and again, we talked of forgiveness and what could have been. 

Although Florence did not reach the heights of fame as a concert pianist she wished for, she did work in music her entire life as a college music professor, organist, and teacher. Mom and Dad sang in the choir in every church they belonged to. Music was always a part of our lives.

Our young family didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents were inventive with what we had. One of my favorite outings and favorite memories was driving around town singing 4-part harmony to songs like “When you wore a tulip” and other classic songs of the day. 

When Dad’s hearing started declining, it was music that was the most difficult for him. Melodies were distorted, and he couldn’t be sure he was singing on tune. He continued to sing at church, but no longer as a member of the choir.

After my Mother passed, I moved in to their home to care for him. He kept his songbooks by his favorite chair in the family room and I’d often hear him singing songs to her as he flipped through the pages. And, especially in the final months of his life, if he was feeling down, I’d encourage him to play the piano. He readily agreed, and it always lifted his spirits.

All of this being said, today was another momentous goodbye as his beloved piano was moved out of the house and on to wherever it will go from here. I thank God for music every day, and know that Dad, Mom, Florence, and all the beautiful souls on the other side are singing in harmony forevermore. Life here on Earth moves on. Goodbye piano. I love the gift of music you gave to Dad. Thank you.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Friday, May 11, 2018

Teacher Appreciation Every Day by Raphaella Vaisseau - Heartful Art

The Life You Live 8x11 Heartful Art poster by Raphaella Vaisseau
The life you live is the lesson you teach. These words could be a companion piece to Gandhi's "Be the change you wish to see in the world." What we do, how we're being, what we say ... all these things are sharing who we are and what we're up to in life. This saying can inspire us to align with our highest expression and motivate us to make wise choices.

As classroom art, teachers can create lesson plans that explain what it means for students to be in alignment with their values, to "walk their talk" so to speak. I think Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson would like this quote. It's profound, yet simple.

My work with Heartful Art is to provide people with words and colorful art to inspire, motivate, and encourage thought and reflection. Whether you are inspiring yourself, your family, or a classroom of students, Heartful Art can play a part. Every day I appreciate the creativity, resourcefulness and dedication of teachers, and I continuously strive to proivide tools to assist them in their work with our children. If you are a teacher, during this Teacher Appreciation Week in 2018, and all year long, know that I thank and appreciate you.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dreams Are Good For Us by Raphaella Vaisseau - Heartful Art

If ever there was a dreamer who made his dreams come true it was Walt Disney. In following his bliss, he created worlds of fantasy and joy for all of us. He told us, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."

It does take courage. It takes focus and allegiance to our intentions. It takes commitment to the act of dreaming itself, and to not getting sidetracked by what appears to be reality, or real obstacles ahead of us. The transcendentalist author of Walden, Henry David Thoreau, wrote, "I have learned this, at least, by my experiment, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

Dreaming is an art. It doesn't mean it has to be difficult, however. Move forward, yes, but consider it may be more about believing than action. Many any people have written about the etheric nature of dreaming. Others have written about the importance of keeping dreams alive. Two beautiful poems by Langston Hughes speak to this: Dreams and The Dream Keeper. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Allow yourself the luxury of dreaming. Go to where inspiration springs forth within you. Spend time in nature, meditate, practice free-flow writing, and spend time imagining what it feels like to have the manifestation of the dream you are seeking. Abraham-Hicks describes this process as writing the script of the movie you want to see and then watching it, over and over again.

Believe in your dreams. Dream fantastical dreams, filled with promise, harmony, functionality, joy, and prosperity. Dream it real. We all are dreaming our world into further expansion, whether we are aware of it or not. The more we believe in the beauty of our dreams, the more beautiful our world will manifest.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Raphaella Vaisseau, American Artist, Women in Art 278, Jan 2017

I'm happy to share that I am included as a featured artist in the Jan 2017 issue of Women In Art 278 (p. 38), an international art magazine that showcases female artists from around the globe. Featured are my watercolor and mixed media floral paintings. See the entire issue and more online at art278.org. Thank you to Editor-in-Chief, Liesl Marelli, for thoughtful commentatry on politics and artistic expression in this issue.
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thank You and God Bless You, Jose Fernandez - by Raphaella Vaisseau

My parents are grieving today, especially my Dad. As you may know, Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins pitcher, died this morning in a boating accident. Besides his talent, this young man expressed so much joy, on the field and off, it was infectious to fans, and in particular, to my Dad. Baseball has a huge piece of Dad’s heart. He recently shared with me he gets depressed when baseball season ends each year. Last night he spoke again about how much he loved the game, and told me he started playing when he was 3 years old by hitting rocks with a stick in a field in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Fernandez was his favorite player and he watched every minute of any game he pitched.

Both Mom and Dad loved the story about Fernandez coming over on a boat from Cuba when he was 15 years old. According to a story I read today in the NYDN, “Fernandez, who became a U.S. citizen last year, defected from Cuba to the United States with his mother and sister after three failed attempts resulted in jail time. He escaped by boat, leaving his grandmother Olga, a woman he called the ‘love of his life,’ behind. While crossing the rocky waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Fernandez jumped in to rescue a woman who had fallen overboard. It wasn’t until he reached her that he discovered it was his mother.”

My Mom and Dad are in their mid-90s so they have experienced a lot of grief in their lives. Even still, today’s loss of Jose Fernandez will be especially missed by Dad as he watches Marlins baseball and wishes he could see this young man pitch just one more game. Rest in peace, Jose. You have given much to many, not the least of whom is my Dad.
September 25, 2016, Raphaella Vaisseau

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This means something: liberty and justice for all - by Raphaella Vaisseau

This means something: liberty and justice for all. Think about it. Liberty is “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” (… or religion, color of skin, sexual preference, handicap, etc.) Justice means fairness and “using laws to fairly judge” with impartiality and respect for people. All means “everyone,” the whole of us, every member of our society. Black lives matter.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New 11x14 Worthiness Poster Now Online - Heartful Art by Raphaella Vaisseau

Years ago, early in my conscious spiritual journey, I did an exercise to increase my sense of worthiness. Not my worthiness, but my sense of worthiness. We are innately worthy. This was the 1970s, I was living in an ashram, and I was devoutly studying soul transcendence and higher vibrations.

The exercise was to repeat a phrase 100 times a day for 32 consecutive days. Doing this supposedly laid new track in the subconscious mind for the intended affirmation. A big fan of positive thinking and using affirmations to lift my vibration, this was one of my favorite exercises.

Here's how I did it: I sat at my dressing table with a mirror in front of me. (Note: This exercise can be done without the mirror, but in the case of "I am worthy" I felt it would be important to see myself and feel the words and meaning as deep within me as possible.) I gathered ten pennies and ten dimes and put the pennies in a pile to the left of me and the dimes in another pile further back, also on the left side of the table. I was ready to begin. Looking into my left eye, I said to myself, with feeling, "I am worthy" and moved a penny from the left pile over to the right side. As I said the words again, I looked in my right eye, and again moved a penny from the left pile to where I'd placed the first penny. Again to my left eye, and then my right. After doing this ten times, and all the pennies in the pile on my left had been moved to the right, I moved one of dimes from the left to a new place on the right of the table and began again with the pennies until I'd repeated the affirmation another ten times at which point another dime was moved to the right. Using the coins allowed me to not have to keep track of the number of times I said the affirmation. I could move them from side to side without even taking my eyes from my reflection in the mirror. When all the dimes had been moved from the left to the right, I had completed 100 repetitions.

Two more things about this process are (1) before beginning I would write out my commitment, date it, and sign it, and (2) after I completed the exercise each day, I would check it off on a chart I'd created and labeled for this purpose. I had learned the 32 consecutive days was important, and if a day was skipped, I was to start again at the beginning with a new agreement and new chart. This is a powerful, powerful process. Each time I wrote out a new affirmation and made a commitment to myself to do this to lift higher, I would immediately feel the results.

I highly recommend this technique and the "I am worthy" affirmation to anyone recovering from eating disorders, addiction, to anyone with self-esteem issues, lack of self-confidence, or simply for fun. It it sounds interesting to you, give it a go. We are in this together. I support you as I support myself.
-Raphaella Vaisseau