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ART, POETRY, LOVE – THE MAGIC OF JOURNEYS

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Jackson Square

Neala Luna Photography - Jackson Square
Collection of books found at the base of a tree. Believed to be owned by a homeless person who fled as I approached.

“Old books exert a strange fascination for me — their smell, their feel, their history; wondering who might have owned them, how they lived, what they felt.” ~ Lauren Willig

“There’s Beauty in the Breakdown” – A to Z Challenge 2016
Continue reading “Jackson Square”

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A Sub-par Reality?

backtothegrind

Journal entry: 18th July 2014

I have to say, it has been less than a week since I came back from the most meaningful two weeks of my life and I am having some difficulty settling back in. I’ve always understood that there is a HUGE difference between doing what I want to do and doing what I have to do but I’ve never felt the difference this acutely before.

Adjustments and change have always been a bit tricky for me to navigate and I’m aware that it’s not ok to crawl into bed at 7pm just so I won’t be alone with my thoughts. I wake up early as usual, all excited about my day and raring to go at 4am. Then I remember that I have to spend most of my day in an un-fulfilling role, and I hide under the covers until I absolutely have to drag myself out of bed.

Those two weeks felt more real to me than this reality. While I understand that it will always feel more rewarding and fulfilling doing what I want to do instead if what I have to do, the experience was so much more than that.  I remember, on our last day, as we were having breakfast together for the last time, most of us were thoughtful and a bit sad. We all already knew that our lives were forever changed by this experience.

As we talked about what we each be doing the next day I had shrugged and said “Oh well, back to the real world.” Then immediately realized how incorrect that statement was. My life, my world before the Creative Retreat, now seems like the false one. My life has changed in ways I never would have dreamed and my reality before those two weeks  seems unreal to me now. 

Today 20th September:

I am still having dreams about writing, being around our workshop table and having excerpts to read. In the dreams I hear Professor Funso’s voice: “You must think about what it is you are trying to say.” Then ‘Aunty’ Merle says “But what you really mean by that?”

I wake up with words I have to write down which I quickly forget when thoughts of the office weasel their way in. But I am writing every day.

This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Not just because of what I learned about writing but also because of the incredible people I met. I will never forget how it felt to meet and spend time with people who share this singular passion. We were all storytellers and it was an honour to have met so many brave, talented, interesting, warm and inspiring people.

Those two weeks have left an imprint on me. In so many ways. Since then I have added more value to my life by including more creative and purposeful endeavours.

Here’s to changing my life degree by degree.

What Do Children See?

I know I owe my readers a few posts for the A to Z Challenge but I just had to share my new article on Upful Journal:

A few minutes before Maracas Bay, I stopped at a little roadside stall which sold savoury sweets and pickled fruits. I said hello to the lady and the two young boys with her, asking for my usual pepper pineapple, and ordered a potato pie from her TODAY chalkboard menu. While she ‘went in the back’ to make the pie for me, the older boy, probably around nine years of age, looked up at me.

“You reaching as far as Maracas Beach? I could get a drop?”

My first reaction was surprise. I was a stranger to him! ”Where’s your family?” I asked.

“Here, but I just going there by my grandfather,”

The rest of my story can be found here. I hope you enjoy it and do explore. Upful Journal, an independent online journal with the vision of uniting Trinidad and Tobago as a community based on a mindful, positive, compassionate attitude and way of living, is all about sharing – sharing views, insights, expertise and opinions, but with a positive spin.

I will be back later tonight with my missing W, X and Y posts for the A to Z. Cheers!

Love and Light,

Luna

 

Christmas Moments 2012

At Mum’s home.

My cousin took me for a drive through Snug Harbor Estates. It’s a whole neighbourhood that goes all Griswolds for Christmas. It was absolutely beautiful. Photos alone don’t do justice to the overall feeling seeing 15′ candy canes and beautifully decorated trees. I felt like a kid again. 🙂

Christmas won’t be Christmas without Ralphie. There’s a TV channel here in West Palm Beach that is showing 24 hours of A Christmas Story! Of course an Indiana Jones marathon is on as well. All I need now is A Charlie Brown Christmas, Love Actually and Home For The Holidays and I’ll be set.

Broccoli, Cauliflower & Spinach baked in Cream of Mushroom Sauce, Kale & Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce, Roasted Potatoes, Caramelized Carrots and Fresh Salad – Mum’s and my contribution to the Family Christmas Potluck. It’s no wonder I’m already hungry. Hoping to hold out until one when the family gets together. 🙂

Merry Christmas to you and yours. 🙂
Luna

Like Mother Like Daughter

Snapshot of a section of my Mom’s bookshelf! I’m in West Palm Beach for Christmas with family, using my Mom’s dinosaur of a computer to post. But no worries, I like dinosaurs. Off for our morning walk! Have a great Sunday folks!

Kirkus Star – Between Bodies Lie

I am celebrating! Returning home after a week in Boston on business, I finally got to hug my best friend and congratulate him on receiving a fantastic Kirkus Review for his first novel, Between Bodies Lie. I am so very proud of him. I am proud of the book too in a strange way. I remember him writing and editing for the greater part of a year and being excited when he finally printed the first manuscript. I took photos of the first manuscript that day to mark the moment. Going from the first to the third manuscript and then finally seeing the published work as ‘real live book’, I feel as if it is a living breathing person too. My friend laughs at me when I hug ‘Book’ and hop about in glee. But seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and wrote my own review a couple of weeks ago. 
Now he has a Kirkus review AND a Kirkus Star! As one local bookstore owner said today: “Kirkus (est.1933) is one of three major U.S. publications dedicated solely to book reviews. A starred review is quite special, reserved for fewer than a fifth of all books reviewed.” I could not have wished for more for him. Congratulations my friend. I know how hard you worked for this and you deserve all the success Between Bodies Lie will bring. I look forward to seeing you grow as an author as you write your dreams, idea after idea, chapter after chapter, book after book. Well done. I am so proud of you.
The Kirkus Review of between Bodies Lie

A disillusioned writer travels to the tropics in search of inspiration in Blanc’s emotionally astute debut novel.

Cristobal Porter is a British writer whose work is in decline. With each novel garnering less critical acclaim than the last, the author spends more time looking out of windows than he does writing. Badgered by his publisher and tormented by a difficult first relationship following the death of his wife, he retreats to an unnamed island in the tropics, where civil unrest lurks beneath the surface of everyday life. On his arrival, Porter uneasily slips into society following his introduction to the slick yet lascivious American diplomat, Jack Kaplan. Kaplan’s wife, the enigmatic Ana, is a patron of the arts, and Porter finds himself lingering at the edge of her cocktail party, staring at the backs of artists and well-heeled expats. While Kaplan dismisses the art scene, Ana finds a kindred spirit in Porter, and a bond tentatively forms between them. Porter goes about his book research but is almost immediately encumbered by the unannounced arrival of Nadia, his dangerously seductive young mistress. As his yearning for Ana grows stronger, Porter recognizes a growing intimacy between Nadia and Kaplan. When Ana finally learns of her husband’s affair, she draws Porter closer, but a tragic secret from her past rocks their budding relationship. As the plot unfolds, the whispers of uprising grow louder. Blanc is supremely sensitive to the trials and tribulations of the creative process; he writes with the wisdom of an established author grown weary of the literary scene. Some readers may consider the depiction of an emotionally disheveled yet unconventionally dashing novelist to be somewhat clichéd, but that thought is far outweighed by Blanc’s brilliantly detailed study of human connections and disconnections, in which even the most indiscernible movements of body, mind and heart are painstakingly recognized and charted.
A masterfully written exploration of the beauty and cruelty of love, as sharp as it is sensual.
Click here to link to the Kirkus Review

My First Very Personal Ad

A few years ago I started following The Fluent Self blog, hosted by the inspiring Havi Brooks. I’ve always wanted to create my very own Very Personal Ad, but didn’t trust myself enough, or trust the Universe enough or was probably just plain lazy. Until today. My Studio is very important to me and I’ve decided that I won’t do her (or myself ) justice unless I make a commitment to her (and to myself) once and for all.
So here it is: my very first Very Personal Ad:
Here’s what I want:
A beautiful two or three bedroom house or apartment that:
Is a true home for me and for my studio.
Is open with lots of natural light and a garden
Is easily accessible for students and clients and has good parking.
Is safe and secure.
Is a space which inspires and helps me and Luna Surya Studios to grow
Is in good working order with a pleasant landlord/landlady.
Is available from the beginning of August 2012
Ways this could work:
Search for my new home on real estate websites
Ask all friends to keep a look out
Post What I Want on the Yoga, Dance, Art and Conscious groups I belong too on Facebook
Go through the classifieds
Follow up on all leads
Keep working on my Dream Home / Dream Studio Scrapbook
I’ll play with…
Focus and Will – I keep in mind what I am looking for and what I want
Research and Commitment – I explore every option and all leads
Creativity and Vision – I have an open mind and will be open to possibilities
Faith and Trust – My new home is waiting for me and it’s exactly what I want and need.

There! Out into the Universe! See you very soon, my new Home 🙂 
(Thank you Havi)

Let Go

Earlier this week I was feeling very lost. I’m at a crossroads in my life and there are many decisions to be made. I was uncertain about where I am supposed to go and who I’m supposed to be. Happens to most of us at least once in our lives. I couldn’t wrap my head around the meaning behind everything that is shifting and changing, and found myself worrying and feeling heavy and small at the same time. I had to write about it. I had to let it all out, somehow, and my post on Monday was me doing just that.
The next morning (yesterday), I woke up with a smile and a song in my mind. The song was All I Want by Toad the West Sprocket.

Nothing’s so cold
as closing the heart,
when all we need,
is to free the soul.
It was time to listen to my heart and trust that everything would work out. It was time to stop obsessing and worrying about trying to change the things I couldn’t. I had a great day yesterday. I chose to effect change where I could and put my heart and soul into projects and goals. I finally pushed my office into recycling our plastics and carried away two huge bags worth to the drop off point today. Everyone promised that we’d stick to the plan and do our best. I volunteered our office as a drop off point for the Breaking Bread Food Drive organized by the Namaste Foundation seeing as there were no venues this far west. I decided that if I have to put my Studio on hold at the end of August then I’ll make a commitment to my Studio to really work hard until then. We’ll go out with a bang! 

This morning, there was another beautiful song in my head when I woke up. Let Go by Imogen Heap. It’s been slipping into my mind all day. Slipping in there in the middle of a design calculation or while talking to a client, reminding me not to worry.

So let go, just get in
Oh, it’s so amazing here
It’s alright
’cause there’s beauty in the breakdown
It gains the more it gives
And then it rises with the fall
So hand me that remote
Can’t you see that all that stuff’s a sideshow
Such boundless pleasure
We’ve no time for later now
You can’t await your own arrival
You’ve 20 seconds to comply

Perhaps the song was a confirmation that I made the right choice in surrendering. There’s a wonderful feeling which comes with letting go of worry. There is a freedom to it. The Tao Te Ching says: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”

That’s how I feel right now. Sometimes I just have to quiet down, let go and trust. Surrender and go with the flow, knowing that even if I can’t see the bigger picture, I am going where I am meant to.

Luna

Clear Out & Clean Up!

Today is Clear Out and Clean Up Day! After moping around my house for three days, missing my best friend whose only abroad for sixteen days, last night I gave myself a stern talking to: “No more of this silliness Luna. Neglecting your chores, projects, or nutrition is not going to bring him home any faster. Tomorrow morning you are waking up early. There is much to be done.”

Bonnie
Boogie
I’m happy to say that by 5:30am I was out of bed and sitting on my balcony with a cup of green tea, saying good morning to the birds and my best friend’s bonsai and bougainvillea. I sat in the sunshine for about thirty minutes writing down an odd dream to speculate about later. After a healthy breakfast of whole grain cereal with bananas, almonds and raisins, I set about clearing my shelves in the fridge. I have three roommates and we share a massive fridge. Yet somehow my shelf and crisper drawer never seemed to be enough room. So determined to ‘make it all fit with room to spare’ I started clearing out. Into the garbage went the contents of store bought dips and salsa that were probably sitting on my shelf since my birthday lime in November. Despicable, unforgivable and gross!

I set the bottles to soak in some steaming hot water with the intention to use them for my own fruit smoothies. Yes folks, it’s back to business and I’m restarting my fruit smoothie a day routine. Happily I ‘discovered’ packs of almonds slices, croutons, dried cranberries and muesli at the back of my shelf. I took most of my vegetables out of the crisper and moved them onto my best friend’s shelf. It’s a psychological plan I guess, so instead of seeing his empty fridge shelf I’ll see iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, pumpkin, and green beans. I’ll use his shelf for the next few days to store my veggies. (His shelf is also at my eye level so positive visual veggie reinforcement is my plan.)

A warm bath followed with a full body scrub. It’s time to start back pampering myself. I’m getting ready to visit my sister’s baby who lives an hour away. On weekends when I go to see my little nephew, he is the best part of them. There’s fruit stall close to their home which is always well stocked with fruits and veggies which don’t deteriorate as fast as those from the grocery store. An added plus to today!

So really and truly, I have no more excuses for moping about. I’m making the best use of my time (or least planning to), I’m stocking up on healthy foods (no more Hershey’s sundae pie), and scheduling some me-time (swimming in the pool, giving myself a pedicure, yoga and meditation), and some fun time (dance class, liming with the girls and visiting my nephew). I’ve got a stack of books on my bedside table and some Scribbles to edit. Right! Down to business.

Have a brilliant Sunday dear readers, and a wonderfully productive week!

Luna

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