Gettin’ Creative In Japan

1) Kintsugi Class:

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I took a Kintsugi class in Tokyo. Kintsugi is a traditional art form where one repairs broken pottery with gold.I fell head over heels with the practice and its philosophy after artist @emilymcdowell_posted about it. (Her meme is in the middle there.) I just adored the idea that brokenness can create beauty. I knew I had to give it a try, so I did 🙂 Check out the pottery in the borders there to see my results!

2) Lake Kawaguchiko:

We were about to embark on a boat across the river to see Mount Fuji in the middle of a snow storm, providing some incredible photo opportunities! I was pretty proud of my edits on these two specific pictures which I made while in line to board the boat:

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3) Kyoto:

I didn’t really need to edit this very much, but I was proud of the angle:

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4) Cherry Blossoms:

And of course, my beloved cherry blossoms — the reason I came during March in the first place! Special thanks to my sister for two of these photos.

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To see more of my Japan photos, check out my public Facebook album:

1) Tokyo: Kintsugi Class (Japanese art), Senso-ji Temple, Imperial Palace, Shinjuki, Mohri Gardens etc…2) Mt. Fuji…

Posted by Sheena Vasani on Sunday, April 2, 2017

I’ll be sure to write more posts about my incredible experiences there one day. For now, I just want to enjoy and be in the moment.

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Happy Women’s Day

The beautiful hands of the one who created me:

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I drew this simple design on my Mom’s hand on Valentine’s Day. The act held special significance. My Mom is an Indian Hindu widow from more traditional times, widowed young when I was just a child. Tradition holds that once a husband passes, a widow must no longer beautify herself the way she did during his life. So for years my Mom wore white Indian dresses.

You can imagine, then, that to apply henna – usually used to adorn brides- on a widow would be an outrage to the traditional, older types. Shameful even. Especially on Valentines Day.

Yet with the passage of time and the growth of willful, rebellious, authority-defying children in the US, my Mom slowly sheds away what I view as many disempowering customs of old.

And so, mostly unbeknownst to my Mom (she just thought I wanted to doll her up in honor of the day and play with henna) that’s exactly why I did it.

Here’s a toast to my brave, progressive Mother, who often can’t see her brilliance as clearly as I do. The world has been cruel to her as it has many Indian women of her generation and even mine. Being from different times, cultures and countries, we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye but she tries. And for this, I am so proud.

And to every Indian woman like her throwing off the cultural shackles preventing our gender from flying… Thank you. You give me hope. And a future.

Happy Women’s Day.

“Mistakes” are actually the unexpected beautiful quirks that transform your planned semi-copy into You

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Painting this taught me again how sometimes “mistakes” are actually the unexpected beautiful quirks that transform your planned semi-copy into You.

That butterfly in the middle was a mistake. I accidentally applied too much black paint when I tried to replicate a very complex, intricate, and elegant design by somebody else. I thought I screwed up the painting and I gave up on it because I was disappointed. (“I paint to feel happy and relaxed, you dumb canvas. Not to feel like a failure again. Eff art! I want pizza.”)

I came back a little while later in that all blobbed up, brainless, relaxed-I-can’t-possibly-screw-up-my-life-any-more-so-let’s-eff-up-more-and-have-fun-with-it playful state, and lo-and-behold, hideous black blob trying to be somebody else began metamorphosing into butterfly.

But I didn’t notice what was happening because I was so absorbed in my blobby, brainless, happy state just playing away. Suddenly failure metamorphosed into playful, inspired experimentation.

The ceramic paint marker I abandoned after using it on a series of failed Christmas gifts (failed, because I forgot to dry each mug in the oven after and so the designs washed off after the first contact with water) I realized I could use to draw the intricate interior.

The supplies I received as gifts from two “failed” relationships added the sparkle and the color. My sister’s love on a day I felt anxious and sad added the gold (Sharpie pen paint).

The desire for validation created the black blob, but it also led to surrender when I once more failed to make up for past scars on my self-esteem by trying to be the perfect somebody else.

And as I stepped back to view the result – tired, bloated, but happy – I saw how long- ago heartbreaks and disappointments sought a canvas to create beauty instead of more pain via self-destruction.

I guess this piece taught me on an even deeper level that it’s not the canvas – the finished outcome – but the story behind it that creates the meaning, far more valuable of a thing than how perfect the piece turned out to be. And it’s that, to be honest, the story – the art’s story, your story, my story – that is why I doodle, why I write, why I do anything.

And when I remember it’s about the bigger story of me – us- the why and what did it all mean…I guess failure and success can’t really apply.

Now onto the next mind f***. I mean, piece.

Painting Away Pain

Painting another canvas as a form of meditation. I’m trying to teach myself to focus on the process vs outcome – to relax and enjoy the journey – as I create both art and my life. So many self-critical thoughts emerge but once the brush hits the canvas, my mind goes blank and surrenders. Painting away old pain, you could say.

Visit my Etsy shop to view more designs like these and buy when the canvas is done: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HerSoulExpression. You can also email me at hersoulexpression@gmail.com if you wish to make a purchase.

From my soul to yours,

Sheena

There is a Difference Between Scar-Expression & Self-Expression

I want you to find me sexy. (Sexier than his new girl, most definitely.)

I want you to validate my views. (Because I can’t trust myself.)

I want you to think I’m smart and successful. (Because every second I’m reminded by this and this Person’s accomplishment that I am mediocre, at best.)

I want you to think I’m wise and charitable. (Because if I’m not that accomplished, at least I’ve got that whole Spiritual thing going for me, right?)

I want you to like me. (Because it’s so damn hard to like myself.)

—-There is a Difference Between Scar-Expression & Self-Expression

By Sheena Vasani

 

Green Sky

I wrote this last year during a stressful time I feared losing a loved one. I stumbled upon it again today and was grateful for the reminder.

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I went for a walk. It’s been a hard week. I needed guidance.

An hour later, my search led me back to where I began – nowhere. I found nothing.

Defeated, I stood still.

Surrendering, I bared my heavy heart to the heavens, looking up only to find a green sky.

In the Hindu tradition, green is the color of the heart chakra.

Gently, Rumi’s “only through the heart can you touch the sky” whispers to me. I smile and understand.

Be still. Go in. Stop running to the outside. Face your heart and let her speak. Let her break, so that she may break open to receive love. There lies your answer.

Love is always the answer.

Letter to a Stranger: Published in The Elephant Journal

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http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/02/letter-to-a-stranger/

Dear Stranger,

I don’t care about you—I care about You.

I don’t care about the small you that you think you are, that volatile sense of self the world has fed you, where you’re riding high on greatness one day and in the dumps the next, feeling abandoned by all. Your friends, like the 15 minutes of fame, adoration, societal approval, gone the next moment when the feelings fade, and something better walks along.

I don’t care who you are in relation to everybody else—the status you may hold, the money you may have, your looks, the influence, or even whether or you’re considered a “good” or “bad” person. I don’t care if you’ve gone to jail or if you’ve just won the Nobel Peace Prize. I don’t care about what the world thinks of your potential, or lack thereof. I don’t care how far along or behind you are on the rat race, how together you seem.

I care about You, the you with a capital “y,” and who you are now as you journey through the paths that life bring at whatever pace you may need.

I like you for who you are now, not what you can be—although I know that you are capable of so much. I care about your heart, that fragile beautiful diamond whose value has not always been recognized in this cold, shut down world with all its messed up priorities and ways.

I care about that heart pain, about how it’s broken pieces feed your mind’s lies that you are not worthy, not loved, not enough, and I wish I could take them away. I care about those memories that shattered your innocence and belief in the world and yourself, in the beauty of your dreams, and I wish I could erase them all.

I care about that moment your heart closed—when he abandoned you, when she said no, when the fist met your face, when they laughed at you, degraded you, insulted you, or simply did not notice you. And I wish, I so wish, I could have been there, to catch your fall. I care about the child you used to be, how the world wasn’t there for that kid.

How the world now judges you for the physical manifestation of those mental scars when what you really need, when all you ever needed, is/was love.

I wish I could apologize on behalf of everybody.

I care about your soul and essence, the million tiny beautiful and not-so-beautiful things that make up the story of your life and the masterpiece you are. I believe in you and your innocence. I believe in second chances, that the burn was not the end but simply a part of the necessary fire in the never-ending growth of your phoenix soul.

In short, stranger, I believe in You. I love You.

If there is one thing you must take from this it is this: there is at least one person in this world who doesn’t give damn whether you’re the most successful, beautiful, together person in the world or that the only thing you accomplished today was getting out of bed. Who doesn’t care what the world might think, or what you’ve done, how many mistakes you’ve made, how many you’ve hurt out of your own in pain.

She still believes in you. She still loves you. She believes in your light, your purity, always.

You are loved.

Making the Struggle Count for Something Beautiful

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Today I felt quite soft and vulnerable so I doodled on a seashell and my hand for a few minutes. Still felt sad after but at least the pain was used to make beauty. I was glad for that. Because sometimes that’s all we can ask of life. That even if happiness is impossible to permanently hold onto, just make the struggle count for something beautiful. No matter how small.

And so today I am sad and scared and uncertain. But these little doodles, insignificant to all but my soul, saved the day. Because while I’m not happy, it meant something – namely that there’s more to life than being happy. There’s meaning, there’s beauty.

Maybe that’s enough.

Through the Fall, We Fly

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They told me to walk following the arrows and signs of other’s streets
Don’t look down, just up
And so I listened and I swallowed your maps and I looked both ways and up and up – what a good girl! – I even ran to get there faster faster faster
Following all the directions, running the race, ran ran ran

Until I fell into the forbidden Down
And stared it straight into its face
Only to find in that loud silence my voice once more
An xo and an arrow
Love now the guide, not you

Why didn’t they ever tell us that down there lies the true path we’d all been looking for?

-Through the fall, we fly