Friday, October 22, 2010

Etsy's Native American Forum Founder & 2010 Anniversary Sale

My recent drive across country had a few surprises and some treasured moments. One surprise was seeing a pickup truck at a gas station with huge moose antlers in the back (presumably attached to an out-of-sight moose).

A real delight was the opportunity to meet with Joni Stinson, founder of the Native American Forum Thread. Started in November 2009 to celebrate Native American month, the forum is currently running in its sixth edition on Etsy. An exciting promotion and sale of Native American-inspired items is running from November 1st to 21st to celebrate the Native Forum’s first anniversary. (Find these items on Etsy by clicking the search bar at the top right of any page, click on “All Items”, and type “NAPromo” into the space.)

Now a highly-respected venue for promoting Etsy artisans’ favorite Native American or Native American Inspired work, the Native Forum is lively and fun. Participants from around the world join in, we love bacon at our virtual parties, move the on-line campsite regularly to new fabulous locations (currently “located” in Fossil Creek, Arizona), and are learning Cherokee words. The forum generates amazing opportunities for spiritual and artistic growth and healing, too. Many special friendships have been formed, both on-line and in-person meetings. Check out the current thread at Native American Forum on Etsy.

Joni and her Beaded Owl Necklace

Having seen some pictures of Joni Stinson before we met, I knew what she looked like. What I didn’t realize is that this beautiful, petite woman had the deepest voice I could imagine! Must be like a Lioness sounds when talking! We met near her home in Omaha, Nebraska. Joni emerged from her car wearing one of her spectacular handcrafted beaded necklaces, with a beautiful turquoise blazer complementing the exquisite colors of the long rose-themed piece. Everything about her was glowing color and warmth.

Joni is a descendant of a red-haired Irish mother and Creek-Cherokee father. She learned the Native American art of bead weaving from her paternal aunts, who wanted to make sure she was becoming well-grounded in her Creek and Cherokee heritage. Over dinner, I learned that Joni started selling her own handmade beaded pieces several years ago after attending Native American festivals, creating her own niche for reasonably priced, high quality, Native American artisan-crafted jewelry. She has also supported and nurtured hundreds of talented artists through the Native Forum thread!

The Native Forum’s November anniversary promotion provides exceptional opportunities to obtain handcrafted artisan items directly from the artists for your holiday gift giving, at prices ranging from $5 to $500. We will also be offering prize giveaways of many beautiful items. Joni contributed these starry earrings for one of the prizes ...
Native American Dangling Star Earrings by Joni Stinson

The Native Forum’s November anniversary promotion provides exceptional opportunity to obtain handcrafted artisan items directly from the artists for your holiday gift giving, at prices ranging from $5 to $500.

We will also be offering prize giveaways of exquisite artisan-made items.

Kokapelli Suncatcher by HandyAnn

Additional temptations among the handmade artisan items and prizes from some of the participating artists include the delights featured here!

Be sure to check out the participating artists and prizes for great handmade art by searching “NAPromo” on Etsy between November 1st to 21st. Bring some special joy to your holiday gifts!

More than 30 Etsy artists are participating in this event. More information will be available in coming days, so check out my shop page, and watch for info on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Practicing Compassion Every Day for Transformation and Health

Autumn is the season for letting go. This is a time for reflection on where we are at this moment, what we have experienced that brought us to this place in our journey, and to ponder what inner work we can do that will lead us to where we really want to be. Just as the leaf is released from the tree, or the raindrop drops from the cloud, Fall is a time for learning detachment, letting go, and to not be attached to the outcome.

A recent conversation with a dear friend provided an unexpected opportunity to consider the importance of compassion in our daily lives. I have found that practicing compassion has brought ease to my heart around difficult personal relationships. And I find that I frequently have to work at compassion every day.

We each carry pain and hurt deep in our hearts. Perhaps from difficult childhood experiences that color our adulthood …rejections (real or perceived by us) from someone that we love and from whom we
wanted love from in return  … loss of someone or something that was held in close and of great importance – a job, a home, a precious animal companion.

[Kuan Yin is the dearly loved Goddess of Compassion and Mercy, cherished in many cultures worldwide. Embodying compassionate loving kindness, her presence calms those who suffer and brings peace to the heart. ]

This pain and hurt lodges deeply within, and continually calls out for our attention in many different ways. Many can manifest physical conditions that have some relationship to these hurts. Others find themselves expressing anger and bitterness in relationships – at work and at home. Holding on to emotions that are better let go brins a feeling of what I describe as a “tension in the soul” that brings an edge, like a paper cut, to our daily existence – a hurt that is not incapacitating, but one of which we are always aware.

To me, Compassion is a deep feeling of spiritual love, loving kindness, and acceptance of a person or situation for exactly what she/he or it is (or was). Compassion is much more than pity. Genuine compassion for another actually begins within - with love, forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves.
Meditating on compassion helps us observe our emotional, spiritual, mental and physical processes that are connected to holding on to behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve us well. Walking (or “moving”) meditation, when we are moving and open – especially along water – helps us move into an altered state of awareness that enables us to perceive messages from what is around us. Paying attention to our thought processes and the joy of movement often leads to experiencing creative problem-solving. A sitting meditation is a receptive, universal posture that aids us in accessing universal wisdom and learning. This posture teaches us how to wait, listen, and observe what is being revealed (A. Arrien)  Messages may come through our dreams, as our unconscious delivers information to our awareness.

Blue and pink are the color rays carrying compassion and love. Working with potent crystals such as Aquamarine, Rose Quartz, Rhodonite and Clear Crystal will help you focus the energies of compassion, healing, and transformation in meditation and dreams.

Practicing compassion means stepping back from a powerful hurt and examining the thought processes we engage in around this particular experience and/or belief that we are holding onto “for dear life” - regardless of what carrying this pain has created in our life. A clear-eyed, open-hearted review of the experience or belief will usually show us outdated beliefs and attitudes that we can address, work to release, and change into a powerful transformation of how we view the world.

Challenging? Absolutely. This is a vitally important practice that changes us, and radiates outward to change the world.

Suggested Resources:
Arrien, Angeles, The Four Fold Way, HarperSanFrancisco, 1993

The Dalai Lama on Compassion

Schlitz, M, Vieten, C, and Amorok, T, Living Deeply The Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, New Harbinger Publications 2007