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I woke up one morning to find my life upside down and scattered across the floor and as I experience my emotional response I have become curious about how different people make sense of their lives.

After the Growing Older exhibition in 2015 I have felt struck by the heartfelt stories shared.

 I will be travelling to different parts of the world carrying out artistic journalism.

I am looking to connect with you and your stories. I would like to hear about your experiences and how you make sense of your world.

Essentially I will be exploring what it means to be human, the range of emotions we experience from negative to positive and how we make sense of them. I will be hoping to gain understanding of the fundamental human experience; what shapes our logic, hearts & minds.

Throughout the project I will be collaborating with established bodies/ communities that are similarly asking these questions.

I hope to stretch my creative work and will share the process as I reflect throughout the journey.  With much learning from my last couple of exhibitions, I will exhibit my collection of works in stages.

Similar to the Growing Older work I will have a particular call for interactive participation.

My journey begins by travelling my homeland, Scotland, throughout September 2016.

I will share this explorative journey right here with you.

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The Passing Of The Lost Lands

An abyss falls within, an unwelcome weight,

Sets itself in pulling down into a darkness where the other lost await.

Each soul is crying in heaviness of grief,

There is hope though for pain to fall away …like a leaf.

It just takes time for each soul to find their own special way out,

Be it to crawl, to climb, meditate or shout.

Whatever is needed is the path they must take,

Finding what is right and giving their heart a shake.

The abyss can cause us to fall, be in the dark, or it can be a path where the soul can more fully awaken,

Though which it will be no-one can know, nor can we know the general time taken

…whether this abyss is a temporary cloud or not?

Qr whether it’s setting itself in and one becomes caught?!

This darkness though is an opportunity for growth,

Tis in here that seeds are planted and change made is an oath.

For in times ahead the light will once again appear and shine,

Hearts will feel familiar fulled by all that is divine.

Stacie Amelia ©️

But who in the world am I – Alice In Wonderland

But who in the world am I – Alice In Wonderland

In order to begin exploring the labels that I attach to my sense of identity I must begin by exploring what my sense of identity is, what I am attached to and the stories I give behind that. This is the beginning of a very interesting journey, I have had conversations with people about their emotions, their clothing, their families, their bodies, their health, their preferences and dislikes as well as what they feel is morally right and wrong (their stance in life), their gender identity and expression of ‘self’

I learned whilst studying both social sciences and early psychology about how as we grow up most of us have a need to find a place of belonging and how this creates a sense of ‘me’ and ‘them’ how we wear metaphorical badges be this clothing, hair styles, attitudes, material items, how we have our house decorated, how we tend to our gardens all the things that give each of us an individual sense of identity but also as sense of belonging with others.

Us humans are very necessarily social creatures, compared to animals we are quite vulnerable on our own particularly as very young children when we are completely unable to defend ourselves safely and effectively for a good number of years. We are not like ducklings taught to swim by our mothers and then free to go, not like kittens who can stand within a week or so and then within 8-9 weeks live independently as long as there is a source of food. Not like horses whom are born walking rather quickly, we are utterly defenceless, helpless and completely reliant on attaching to a caregiver for safety.

This makes us hugely vulnerable and makes us attach to a sense of felt identity, feeds a belief system which in turn feeds our sense of identity, of belonging or not. The latter has serious detrimental effects on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. As we grow we are exposed to each of our cultures, our wider societies, our closer communities… expectations are given to us very early on from our families (which were previously placed upon them or based in their sense of achievements or fears) all of which contributing to this experience of our sense of ‘self’.

(bookriot.com sourced 20th November 2018 10:46)

Drink me, eat me. You will be better, faster, thinner, stronger, wiser. Believe me and you will be with the right crowd and experience happiness, fulfilment, disbelieve them or you are fundamentally wrong and will suffer incredibly.

(pageturner.net.au sourced 20th November at 10:50)

So who are we? Each of us? What is this sense of self made up of in each of our circumstances? What has informed our feelings and our physical, emotional and mental growth?

(Stacie Amelia ©️)

I’m taking some time in this process of change that I’m facing right now in this chemotherapy to really reflect on my own sense of ‘self’

I have no hair, my eyelashes and eyebrows are beginning to thin, what is my sense of face and appearance? what changes am I noticing?

First I have to find a sense of who I feel I am in order to begin exploring each label deeply to find of this really is ‘me’ or a mirage? I need to explore who I think I am to discover if this is really who ‘l’ am.

So I begin my journey….who is ‘me’? I also ask you…who are you?

I am working on collages, creative journals and some sculpture to explore this.

(This is an image I created a long time ago back in 2004/5 when I first began contemplating this idea of ‘self’ ~ Stacie Amelia ©️)

Update

Today I’m feeling much better since my initial round or tablets but it was rather taxing if I’m honest and quite the experience, I don’t remember knowing anything quite like it. It’s doing the job though (feels that way anyway won’t know until after the second round in December and I have my bloods tested). I am pleased with my choice however as arduous as it was/is. I was not one of the mild symptom crew it was pretty full on but worth it so I’m ready for the next round. Wondering how many others there are out there going through similar big changes and what they may be? What’s your story and how are you making sense of it?

Reflections And Making A Step

Very recently a long time friend of mine turned up at the Community Art Studio with the above gifts. A little hand decorated box filled with some shamanic love. I have been lost for words other than thank you for some time. In this past week these have played a beautiful part in preparation for my treatment and general healing.

Beautiful. Thank you Joy 💖

I have taken some of the little trinkets that accompany this bottle with me on my travels and I have used them to meditate and reflect deeply. The biggest gift from this is to trust in the now, the here and now and also to trust that whatever will be will be. Life has its own unfolding pace.

So a little update from my treatment:

It was a little stronger for me than assumed but I had prepared for this as I am aware just how medication sensitive I am. It will be different for everyone. It was quite heavy but not drastic particularly the second evening, much nausea and fever but all manageable. I am preparing for my last tablet of my first round in an hour or so and I’m feeling grateful for the opportunity to be afforded such a chance to slow down or halt progression of this autoimmune disorder. This morning I awoke to my hair falling out small at first (already had signs yesterday) then as I was about to take action a couple of rather large clumps came away

so suffice to say I’ve taken the lot off and there are patches of bald skin and small spikes of hair remnants. So far I still have my eye lashes and eyebrows may this continue 🙏

Looking far better today than I have others. Less facial sores anyway.

In a quirky way this has given me a gateway to begin exploring the artist formerly known as Stacie.

For some time now I have been exploring the labels that we humans attach to ourselves in order to create a sense of our identity and I have been wondering if we were to start removing some of these what would be left, would we be who (or even what) we thought we were?

So I begin with removal of my hair, challenging what society tells me is beautiful, what I should be aiming for so that I will be viewed by others as beautiful and desirable. The Buddhists have this approach as a main way of letting go of attachment and a sense of pride, to see the illusion of the myths we accept.

At first sight it felt shocking and shaming but I took myself off and washed my head and looked again and saw something different. I saw a human being…as is. Acceptable hair or no hair. Hair became meaningless other than what I had thought of it in the past.

Over time I plan on taking away some of the labels I use to identify ‘myself’ may this expose some of my own habits and ways in which I have used and attached myself to words, feelings or things to describe my own concept of ‘self’.

What is this?

As with the first gift of three waters I am learning to let go then to go with flow.

As with the second gift of the three waters I’m trusting that whatever this self is it will flow strong amid all of the changes that are consistently shifting every moment, beginning with my treatment and letting go of the hair as it once was understanding how temporary it is and how it will change again, many many times.

As with the third gift of the rivers may this path lead me to a less attached more honest sense of whatever this self is and may that bring a sense of freedom and joy.

Everything begins with motivation, intention then a first step.

I hope by just being and sharing with you that some of you may explore some of your own questions.

D-day

Finally today I begun my chemotherapy it has been a long time in the waiting, many hurdles none of my own making however the day has been and gone the first two pills taken. I have not been one for medicines as previously mentioned but I just have to believe this will make a difference. I had been coping with my illness rather well and had been accepting and adapting along with it, even in times of needing to use a wheelchair. Lately however it has been a different story. I learned I had a small window before progressing into a Secondary Progressive diagnosis. It seems my immune system has been attacking me a little harder than initially anticipated. Adaptions have had to be made and considered so this chemo treatment has been very important in the coming. It is the best treatment to date which should (all going well) halt any progression for at least four years and by that time there will be other more advanced stem cell therapy treatments available. It’s also quite a commitment to make, not only is the medication very targeted in shutting down my auto-immune T & B cells it’s is also altering my DNA repair structure and I’m committing 18 months of my life to alteration and healing. It’s no big deal really it’s just 18 months and soon enough I should be able to travel which I very much look forward to, it just holds off other potentials.

This evening I just took a moment and swallowed both pills with the intention of them being a positive influence towards any future possibilities.

The delay has been quite harrowing and chemo at this time of year isn’t quite what I had imagined being the best of scenarios in terms of bugs and infection but I hope for the best and accept whatever arises.

We have entered winter, I love this season as much as I love summer. In fact for the very first time ever I have deeply appreciated autumn, it’s colour and it’s gifts. The falling of the leaves and the sense of healthy change. The benefits of the delay mean I have been able to get myself around a bit more and travel and visit places of interest, more time with my camera which in itself is a very healing thing. I’ve begun focusing more closely on this art project as many of you will have seen and have a few works quietly going on in the background. Also have a collaboration of work (eventually) with another artist and I am looking at putting together an opportunity for gathering and talking about life. I am also currently looking for the right place for the first exhibition of a series. These exhibitions will involve live installations and will very much invite the visitor to become immersed in an experience, hopefully evoking emotion and reflection.

I have much enjoyed the opportunity to get about and meet strangers, making lovely connections, listening to their astonishing and profound life stories. Getting to know people around me better and hearing about their lives too, how each of them have made meaning from their circumstances. Learning that nothing is so black and white and there are many endless ways to perceive, feel and react or respond to a given situation. It has been a privilege to listen and an opportunity to grow personally.

As previously mentioned soon I will begin public invitations for people to take part. There will be varying opportunities for this to happen, online video submissions, surveys, Skype/alternative and face to face interviews being a few to name. I am very much looking forward to this.

Within the Community Art Studio some people are sharing their stories and I am deeply moved to hear them, people make sense of things and make choices about this in so many different ways. Our very humanity is a work of art all on its own. Our beingness in the company of others is enough to influence, a shift, big or small, good or bad, helpful or unhelpful whatever the outcome our very existence affects others and also our environment.

I have felt deeply touched by life of late, I have felt inspired by so many others and in turn I have had some very beautiful things spoken to me. I’m moved and honoured and grateful for all of it.

We touch people mostly without touching them: We touch them with our words, with our smile, with our eyes, with our courage, with our madness, with millions of different ways! What are we? We are contacting beings without contacting!

~ Mehmet Murat ildan
Touched ©️
I have started a board on Pinterest where I am collecting many different ways that reflects how people feel and consider their lives. The following are some of the ones that stick out most for me with regard to my heart opening and personal sense making from within this work:
And mostly from all I have discussed within this blog and from my experience so far exploring this work the following is the most significant:

Countdown Commences

Ok here it is the official poster for the art journey I am undergoing in exploration of different meaning making, how each of us make sense and meaning from our lives 😊🙏

Public engagement shall begin over the next couple of weeks, looking forward to it 😃

What makes us all who we are?.

My task in this journey is to begin stripping away the layers and conditioning whilst learning what this ‘I’ ‘me’ paradigm is all about. How attached I am to things and ideas and how that creates the life I experience whilst being curious about what could be experienced differently. Gentle curiosity

Love by Jeff Foster

Love is not a feeling.

If love were a feeling,

it would come and go,

like in a great drama.

Love is not a thought.

If love were a thought,

it would have an opposite.

Love is too small to be contained in thought.

Love is not a belief.

If love were a belief,

you would doubt it.

And who would believe that?

Love is not a state.

If love were a state,

you could enter or leave it.

Or fall out of it.

Love is not an experience.

If love were an experience,

it would begin and end,

and you would long for its return.

Love is not something you find.

If love were something you found,

you could lose it too,

so you’d have to cling to it for dear life.

Love is simpler, kinder, closer, less dramatic.

Less urgent, more present.

Love is the space in which everything appears.

Every thought, every sensation,

every feeling, pleasurable and painful,

blissful, boring, erotic, gentle and intense,

all are held in love’s vast embrace.

Yes, YOU are the space for it all,

spaciously intimate with every breath,

in love with every beat of the heart,

every sound, every smell,

every sensation in the body,

every moment of life.

Feeling like you’re in love

or not feeling like you’re in love,

either way, you are in love

with the bliss and the boredom of existence,

with the certainty and the doubt of it,

with the pleasure and the pain,

with the success and the failure,

with the seeking and the resting,

with every sacred movement

of this astonishing dream-world.

All that can be held, can be lost.

All that you can gain, can be taken away.

All that you can build up, can turn to dust overnight.

All that can be created, can also be destroyed.

Only love remains. Only love.

Not a feeling, not a thought, not a belief,

not a state, not an experience,

not something that you ‘have’,

not something that you’re ‘in’ or ‘out’ of,

not something that you ‘get’ from others

(despite the romantic myths we are sold),

but the endless embrace of all of this.

Love is you. You, before you were named,

before you were even born.

You. You are the One.

The One you have always sought.

The unsilenceable call of the heart.

The cry from deep within.

The fragile silence in the middle of the night.

You will never abandon yourself again.

~ Jeff Foster

Here We All Are, Here and Now

Loch Ness you deliver time and again, a genuinely special space.

So I have had the wonderful gift of amazing profound teachings this weekend on retreat. Made deep connections with people (both here and elsewhere) Spent time contemplating and learning what this human life is and a framework from which to take forward exploration. Offerings also of such beautiful music and words.

(Ken Homes)

Back where this artistic exploration begun in 2016. How the wheel turns.

I have met the most wonderful heart kind individuals and spent an evening in the company of a three people whom were strangers until the sharing of their incredible life experiences tonight, learning our shared connectedness in different places, a wonderful hand cooked meal and pudding I am truly grateful.

We are all so unique yet share much. I am moved by each of the stories I have heard and felt this weekend as well as the benevolence, I need time to process it all before articulating fully my personal reflections in a blog post. I just wanted to share the depth to which I am feeling connected to our shared yet subjective humanity.

Gratitude 🙏

I will be looking again at the aims of this artistic journey, the motivation and clarifying more thoroughly what questions I am really asking in my exploration as I move forward.

Feeling truly gifted, seeds planted and others well on their way growing 🌱🌸