Thursday, December 17, 2020

Follow Your Dream - Heartful Art by Raphaella Vaisseau

Raphaella Vaisseau at 5 years old with mural she painted in Kindergarten
My Kindergarten teacher at Munger Elementary in Duluth, Minnesota in 1953 told me I was an artist. She asked me to paint the mural that's behind our class in the photo to the right. Every day at my Heartful Art Gallery in Asheville, NC, I share with gallery visitors that it's probably because of this teacher that I feel I am in "perpetual kindergarten" as I create my art and work in my art business. Growing up, my parents acknowledged my artistic talent even though being practical they also said, "You can't make money with art." A college degree was required in my family so as a Senior in High School I picked the fastest degree available and became a dental hygienist. It wasn't until much later in my life that I saw an artist making money and the childhood myth I was taught by my parents was shattered. I was at an art fair in Los Angeles and the artist was Vicki Leon who creates amazing glass sculptures. She had long lines of buyers waiting in line with arms filled with $400 pieces of art. I was shocked. I stood in line as well and when it was my turn I asked her, "What's different about you that you don't seem to have poverty consciousness?" She shared a few things with me, and then I asked if I could volunteer at her art shows over the summer to learn her way of being. She agreed. I did. And at the end of that summer I started my own art business painting flowers and blessings on greeting cards. Six years later, in 1997, I quit my executive secretarial job and moved to Ashland, Oregon to live my dream as an artist. That was 23 years ago.

When I read a quote from Abraham-Hicks in this morning's email, I was inspired to share my story. Actually, a few more stories as well. When I shared my dreams with my ex-husband and said, "I'm going to do this or that," he'd say, "I bet you won't." And, I remember saying to my Mother as a young girl, "I want to sing on the radio." Her response, "You can't, you weren't born in Hollywood." Her saying that to me was like cold water thrown on my face and on my dreams. At the time I didn't know how to process it, but years later, while driving on the LA freeways with my friend Rob Hanson, my song came on the radio and we heard it!!! It was on an NPR station and they were showcasing local singer-songwriters, which I was at the time. To say that experience was a thrill, and a HUGE confirmation from the Universe is an understatement. We screamed and hollered in the car as we listened and I told Rob the story of what my Mother had said to me all those years ago. I sang on the radio after all.

It wasn't always easy for me to break away from the traditions of my parents and their goals for me and forge my own path in life, but I am so glad I did.
-Raphaella Vaisseau

Friday, June 5, 2020

What kind of reality can we create together? - Heartful Art by Raphaella Vaisseau

As a student of new thought and the law of attraction, I'm called to contemplate the times we're currently living in through the lens of how we can create a future where we all can win. Facing not only the Covid 19 pandemic globally, but the urgency of race relations in my country, I want to use this time wisely and do my part to create a better world. It's not enough to watch it unfold. At least for me it's not. I am a conscious creator who believes in the power of creating my own reality. Millions of other people do as well. We can do this.

Knowing that pushing against anything makes it stronger, the way conscious creators can most effectively execute change is through imagining and believing in what we want, how we want it to look, and see it that way. However, in times like these, as awareness is exploding, I am now embracing a combination of learning, action, and imagination as the best path forward in lifting myself and the people of the world into a reality more aligned with justice and happiness for everyone.

Through inspired action I am committed to creating my own reality which can in turn impact and transform the people whose lives I touch. I've known for decades that we are all at unique points in our awareness and understanding of our own purpose in life and how we are manifesting it. We can't tell by looking at another person what their experience is, what their reality is, so best not to judge. Instead, I strive to give the benefit of the doubt and focus on my own integrity of action and reaction in any situation. Back in 1975 I embraced the notion that Earth is a giant school where we're all taking different courses and learning in our own ways.

Do what you can with what you have where you are - Teddy Roosevelt
Still, as I've matured in my awareness, I find moments where it's important to step up outwardly and do what I can to help in a more direct way. For me, this is one of those moments. Nevertheless, while taking action I am attuned to my own vibration so I can monitor and realign as needed, keeping in mind that what I focus on I bring more of to myself. Also, I keep in mind Abraham saying, "You didn't come here to fix a broken world. It's not broken." OK. So, you might ask, if it's not broken, what's all this I see?

Balance, possibility, awareness. We learn from each other. We learn what to do and what not to do. We learn how to take care of ourselves and how to take care of others at the same time. We learn how our speech and our choices affect others, how our actions impact our daily lives and we learn what we're creating as a living context if we are awake enough to know it. Life is beautiful and magical when we know we each create our own reality. It's all in how you look at it. An example of this is George Floyd's six year old daughter Gianna saying, "Daddy changed the world." This is the truth.

Although there have been many times since Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012 (and, I know, for the past 400 years) that I sadly watched the news of yet another black person senselessly murdered, it was on May 8th after Ahmaud Arbery was killed while jogging that I started waking up about white priviledge. That's the piece that's new for me. In my Instagram and Twitter feeds, white people have been speaking up more and about white supremacy and the responsibility of white people to change the conversation in their own families, workplaces, and within themselves. An avalanche of news and events followed that ignited a mass of white people to join with the Black Lives Matter movement. It's been heartening for me to see the diversity of cultures and colors of the protestors.

As people have been waking up, I've seen people make rules about how to awaken, how to protest, and how to unlearn. I've heard "if you're a white person, don't join in the chant of 'I can't breathe' when you protest" because it's not for you to say. They've said, "if you post a black square, don't use the hashtag #blacklivesmatter because that will distract from the work" or "if you post a black square you have to do all of the other things required of being an activist or you don't get to post a black square" and on and on. This is called taking someone else's inventory, and it hampers the process of awakening. Remember, we are all at different places in our process in life. We all have different lessons to learn. We all have different roles to play. We are all a part of the dance of life. And, conscious creators do things differently.

What I'm choosing to do in this time is threefold: (1) learning how to do it better; (2) writing to my local elected officials, especially the mayor to encourage alignment with the Obama Foundation's My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge (launched in 2014), and enact Campaign Zero's 8 policies of that have decreased police violence by 72% in cities that have done so; and, (3) envisioning a world where everyone can win, a world of peace, justice, and love, and a world where we all keep learning how to let life get even better for each and every one of us. What is your vision?
- Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Empathy in a Time of Uncertainty - Heartful Art by Raphaella Vaisseau

Today is March 31, 2020. Most of us have been staying at home for awhile now as the people of the world come to grips with the pandemic of Covid_19. Anna Galland posted a tweet over two weeks ago on March 16th that I came across today and I feel it's still relevant: "You can safely assume that everyone you talk to today has *something* going haywire personally ..." All of us, around the globe, are finding ways to cope, discovering new ways of being, and for some, enduring the day to day challenges of saving lives. I think we can all agree that gratitude helps. Empathy does too.
     I'm reminded of a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?" Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Merriam-Webster goes further: "Empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner."
     A friend in Denmark, Melinda Knudsen, offers empathy counseling through her company, Empathy Catalyst. A student and practioner of nonviolent education, Melinda offers empathic support and communication coaching to groups and individuals around the world. A perfect skill for the challenges we face during this unusual time of our lives.
     As Anna reminds us, "Be kind. We're all figuring this out." If you're struggling, Melinda may be able to help. Find her on Facebook.
-Raphaella Vaisseau