Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Making a Mandala with my Church

I have an exciting mandala commission with my old family Church here in Ottawa! Above is the begining of the project. It will blossom over the next week as I work on it. What a way to heal. I hope to write more on this.

Here's the text from the Church bulletin:


This December, the parish council has endorsed an exciting Church art project. Russell Maier, a long time parishioner and professional artist, is in town for the next two months. He wishes to fulfill a dream of involving Epiphany in building a grand mosaic mandala out of photos of everyone in the Church.

Mandalas are an ancient tool for healing and restoration. Russell, back from Europe for health reasons, realizes that community is also important for healing. Over the holidays there are many others in our Church seeking healing. As we embark on this art project together we ask for your prayers for all those individuals and families in need of healing and restoration in our Church community. The project is a beautiful way for us to come together as a family and shine our love, acceptance and prayers for all those experiencing trials amongst us.

"Two years ago, I stood in the Church that I have been a part of for 15 years and marvelled at the tapestry of generations around me-a weaving of threads that I am a part of and that I have watched grow and evolve. I thought to myself, if only I could capture this artistically. My work is with mandalas-- an ancient spiritual art form that weaves shapes and symbols together into visual prayers. You see them in all religious traditions- including grand rose windows in Catholic and Protestant cathedrals. The mandalas I make are mosaics of collaboration. I invite people to contribute their piece to make the whole. The image you see on the front of the bulletin is a co-creation with hundreds of people from around the world who have sent in photos of themselves beaming peace."

With so many of us flowing through the Church over Christmas it's the perfect time to get everyone involved in making a mandala that captures our community. Over the next three Sundays leading up to Epiphany we invite you to pose after Church for your picture. Everyone is invited. Join us as a couple, as a family or alone. All we ask is that you send your love! All these photos will then be assembled into a mandala of the church community-- a reflection of the body of Christ here at Epiphany.

To make the project viable we are selling a limited edition of fine

art mandala prints. The full colour 16 x 20 prints will be 65$, 55$

before Christmas and 45$ for a second print.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thanks for the Stroke

Photo: A road in Italy-- Out of the Shadows towards the sun...

Ok... That's seems a crazy thing to write. Two months ago, as I agonized over having to return to Canada I had next to no gratitude for what was happening to me. Half of my body was numb, and I was being wrested away from my art, my career and my love. I was forced to abandon all and return to Canada-- to my parent’s house.

Being here has hardly been easy. I’ve been dealing with some major issues. These dark areas of my living go way back. Putting them to light with them here has involved massive amounts of stress and inner work/conflict. Talk about intense.

But truly good things seldom are easy are they?

And of course if you really want to heal and to shift from decades of encrusted life patterns, well, you need a major shake-up to do so. Only a week before my mini-stroke I actually thought I was super healthy. I was completely oblivious to the massive life force drain I was imposing on my body.

Let me emphasize that: Completely oblivious and ignorant.

This is where my gratitude begins. The stroke was my wakeup. Looking back, I can't think of any other way that I could have woken up from my arrogant oblivious ignorance to my deleterious ways of living-- regarding everything from my ways of eating, sex and money. Ways that I actually thought of as healthy all my life.

Now, with some distance, I see how crazy fortunate I was to have this trans-continental incident happen to me. It unfolded as I traveled across Italy, France and England in a web of crazy beautiful connections with people who guided me on a true road to healing and integration. That healing road led me back to Ottawa.

I've now had two months now with my Mum and Dad here in Ottawa. I am really thankful for not only their help to return, but for this time with them. I have had a chance to get to know them in a whole new way. A time to bake cookies with my mum, go for walks with my dad, to tell old stories, find out more about my family and just share how the day went. And like any healthy family dynamic it has also involved tension, arguments, and sadness. Perhaps, I am most thankful for this. As a kid, I had a bad habit of walling myself off to exchanging emotions. Being so close to my parents has compelled me to face personal shortcomings/issues that I would rather never deal with. I am thankful for this.

It’s also been a restful place to consolidate my furious learning, my health, and my dreams. I’ve been reading and researching and implementing like crazy. Not only is my energy stabilizing and my health returning, but so too is my release of the old fears and patterns. My fingers and tongue still are a bit numb, but if anything it’s a reminder to keep pressing forward laying down my new healthy patterns, and stay away from the old ones.

Wow. I am so grateful to be able to shift. These three fears of Blood, Sex and Money that I have been writing about would have easily and subconsciounsly persisted for the rest of my life. They would have cut short my life expectancy by a decade or two or three. They would have undermined everything I did. I would have passed them on unconsciously to those close to me and to my children.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Supra Sexual Co-creation

As an artist I do a lot of creating. As a male, I create in a certain way. I am good at conceiving an idea, powering ahead with a plan and just making it happen.

In my life I've had some beautiful female partners that I have artistically co-created with. However, I look back and see a disturbing pattern of imbalance. I allowed my particular energy and my ambition to overrule their feminine energy and wisdom. The art and dreams always happened, but... more in my way than our way. Alas, the moments that then manifested always contained a certain intrinsic dis-harmony.

I beleive this had to do with my excessive faith in the male way of doing things, and my lack of understanding of the way femine energy works and contributes. I don't think this is all my fault, we live in a world where the masculine energy has dominated the femine for a looong time. We... I... am just waking up.

While I was in Italy something profound happened. My sleeping eyes fluttered open for the first time.

I had been asked to orchestrate a human spiral mandala dance at a weekend Oneness Festival in Ossopo, Italy. My lover, Peggy was with me from Germany. I busied myself the first day with my characterisitc running around, planning and organizing. I was wary of involving Peggy in the busy activities. Why? Well, because in the past when I had involved my partners in creating, that dis-harmony had always resulted. Subcounsciouly I wanted to avoid it.

But, at the end of the day Peggy came up to me and said "Russell I'd really like to help you". I was touched. We had a long talk where I shared my fears and she reassured me. For the first time ever, I truly let a woman in to co-create with me.

I could feel the shift, because it wasn't easy! I had to stand back in order to let her stand beside me.

We had alot to conceive that next day-- no one there had ever organized a spiral mandala dance before! Nor, search as I might, could I find anything on the Internet. I really had no clue what I was doing, or how it would happen. But Peggy, soft spoken and reserved, had some intuitions.

"Why don't we try this Russell?" Her ideas were fantastic. In fact, they were so much better than mine, that I just had to shup up, and let her flow. Working together in the middle of the field, she figured it out as I nodded my head. Then with her having set the direction, I set to work with my energy, oratory and manifesting powers. I went about bringing together the people and equipement we needed to pull it off.

The Spiral dance was a fantabulous success. Peggy did her part. I did mine. Magically, we co-created a ceremony that profoundly symbolized the harmonious working together of male and female.

200 Italians, holding hands male/female/male/female (Peggy's idea) danced a grand spiral for the Festival's closing ceremony. In the center was a man drumming and a woman singing (Peggy's idea). The centre shape of the spirale, laid out with wood, was the ying yang symbol (Peggy's idea). All in all it was a profoundly symbolic in a way that I simply could never have planned. In then end it, with the drums and the singing and the chanting, it was a beautiful beautiful experience that moved people to joy and laughter and tears.

The moment has echoed on. Similar spirals have since happened in Berlin and Assisi. When I regain my health there will be yet more.

I beleive that my health crash is actually connected to my past dis-harmony. According to a Chinese medical practitioner, I have a significant yin energy imbalance-- hence the numbness in one side of my body. Yin, the energy that is missing, is of course the female energy. Part of my healthing includes restoring this balance, finding harmony, inside and out.

Working with Peggy was a startlingly beautiful taste of the POWER of this Supra Sexual co-creation where the man and woman are conscious of how to energetically work with each other. As My dream of Paris unfolds, I must now grasp these insights consciously. If I keep creating the way I have, its just not going to be good for me.

I have a beautiful woman awaiting me in Paris. Our hands are outstretched to the other. There are grand planetary projects waiting to be manifest. They are going to need some serious magic.

Can you say "Supra Sexual co-creation " Russell? Yeah? Ok now... How about standing back a bit, and letting the women do her magic?

"Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and
gravity, we shall harness...the energies of love. Then, for the second
time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."

Pierre Theilhard de Chardin


The Spiral Movie Project


(I should also add that the idea of doing the spiral was from another woman too! (danke Marion!) I am just the man in front of the women folks!)

More from Babara Marx Hubbard on the topic.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Deleting the Old Russell: That iPhone Dream...

I sit in a cafe typing on my iPhone this morning. Flipping through my old writtings I came upon a post about my iPhone dream: To let go of my Macbook, consolidate all my work online, and orchestrate all my art and projects on my iPhone.

High five Russell!

I am living this dream!
Given my last post on my Paris Dream, this is quite encouraging. It is a nice reminder that despite all the challenges I am going through now, the Paris Dream is now hurtling towards me, as surely as this one has. I just have to keep, keeping on.

I am really proud of myself for abandoning my laptop. But, I knew that when I did so, it would have consequences I couldn't imagine. I was basically terminating a fundamental 20 year old life pattern that went real deep.
Real deep. Sure enough, my mini-stroke occurred just after I closed the lid on my MacBook for the last time. The Crazy amount of work required to make the shift literally short circuited me.

My laptop, the Internet, and the nice glow of my screen were an easy way to distract myself from facing major issues. It was a comforting drug to flip it open and work each day with a cup of coffee. I could get so distracted and taken away so easily. The technology easily served to further the vices that festered from my three major fears that I have been writting about-- in general the disconect from my body.

Working on the laptop was a massive mind activity. As my consciousness flowed to my head my body would be forgotten. My posture would stoop and I would forget to eat. I would get in a space where my blood sugar was low and I would be wired on nervous energy. I'd give my self a boost with coffee. Not good. Then when my energy was too low, my focus would wane and all the interesting links and people to e-mail easily distracted me from essential money making activities.
As I sprinted down the final lap to getting rid of the laptop, everything reached a frenetic pace, all my vices were exponentially magnified and I totally exhausted myself and crashed.

A laptop with wireless is a powerful tool. But in the end, what it does for you is inevitably a reflection of what you bring to it. A good friend recently pointed out "Russell if you are well, your work will go well." Indeed, as inside, so outside.

This is why realizing my need for healing is important I believe. It enables me to shift, to move into creating with a much healthier and integrated self. This in turn upgrades the vibe I will put out as I rise again to interact, create and love.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Leave a Little Love

Ok Russell... Where ever you go, where ever you are, don't forget to leave a little love.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Art Catalogue: From Fears to Dreams

Ok! My latest art catalogue is now online.

This contains my work from Smithers to Slovenia. If anything strikes you, drop me a line and I can direct you to the larger photos of the paintings. I am happy to work out creative payment arrangements also. Prices are in dollars.

I haven't done this before, but many of my Simple Series paintings, although sold are still listed. My dream is to revisit this series from a studio in Paris. The paintings are a delight to repaint-- changing or adding the smallest details can shift the meaning 180%. Thus, if you would like comission one at a size that works for you, I am up for it.

I have been writing about my Dream of Paris and my Fear of Money. This would be the perfect illustration of the connection between Fears and Dreams. If I can conquer my fear of Money, then I can sell my art, and realize my Paris Dream. Yeay!

Winter 09 Maier Art Catalogue

Fearing Money

An old 2005 painting of mine. Filled with alot of darkness and fear.


So, I have managed to write about two of my three Big Fears. The one's that have caused my dis-ease.

There's one more: Money.

We all know those new spirituality books talk about the grand abundance of energy and money out there-- we just have to ask for it, to attract it, close your eyes and send out the right vibes! There's truth to this-- but easier said than done. You see, as an artist, this is one really tough thing to do: Asking for money for doing stuff that by definition you love to do.

I paid for my university toiling away in remote forests doing hard manual labour. That made sense. It is easy to feel entitled for getting money for something that is obviously unpleasant and hard to do. To ask for money for something that is a reflection of your self, the embodiment of your passions and was a joy to produce... well, that is another matter.

It means you need to get over some old and fundamental ideas about self-worth and the meaning of money. Is money really the root of all evil? This is definitely a subconscious value that comes with growing up in Christian Canada. The consequence is that if money is bad, then it would be impure to ask money for doing pure work-- like things that you love to do! This subcouscious residual belief is a big barrier for artists. Myself included.

I am getting better at this though. Slowly. Its a matter of seeing money and art in new ways, of learning to... well... Love money. Something Christian in me wants to say that that is a sin! Yep... I think that's the Bible verse: "Love of money is the root of all evil". Indeed, this value runs deep and subconscious in me. I have only to look at my return and health. If our moments are reflections of what is inside us, then to return to Canada without any money is an existential snapshot of what is inside me.

But money is simply energy. There's nothing wrong with it! Really, my mind just needs to convince my heart. To be scared of receiving or asking for it or balancing it out in your life, well, that's not healthy or good. Like the rest of Creation, if you can love it (but like everything, not too much!) then you can integrate it into your being.

If I am honest with myself, I have never wanted to look at and account for the money that has come my way. Just like being afraid of Blood and my inner workings, if I can't look at this, then, this part of me gets shut in the dark and gets sick. To come to Love something casts this darkness away. Then rather than money being something you flee from, it becomes something that propels you.

Man... all this stuff is sooo simple and obvious sometimes I feel like a fool writing about it! :-( But, this is important for me to get out.

OK... All that said, the point of this post is to actually do something about this fear! I haven't updated my art catalogue for a year. NOW... I am posting here my updated art catalogue!

(see the next post!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Nourishing Roots

Some grapes from campsite of mine in Italy. Healthy and full of vitality-- well nourished by their roots.

Today something special happened. The Church where I grew up here in Ottawa, invited me for a special healing and annointing ceremony. There were only three people there, but special people. The minister was joined by two men from the congregation that I had known since I was a little boy. One had been my Sunday school teacher.

I said some pretty critical things about my upbringing in my last post. I had meant to qualify them by making clear I wasn't blaming, or judging my upbringing. I hope that came across. There's a distinction between blaming and becoming conscious of. You just can't blame these things. Butyou can become conscious of them-- and thus become free of their hold. We are all a product of where we came from-- our roots. I happen to have had a Sunday school Christian upbringing. This is just part of who I am.

The three of them said some special prayers for me and annointed me with oil-- oil that had been blessed by the bishop and all the Church community.

Community is important. Despite having lots of support and even community behind me on my journey through Europe, I didn't have my root community behind me-- this community of all these families and neighbours and people that I grew up with. I kinda just took off with my head down.

I feel like I am being called to do some big things. It feels really daunting right now because of my energy level and my health. Linda, the minister, commented that leadership doesn't happen alone. Its happens with people. Truly, the more intertwined with others the leadership the more potent it is.

The blessing was an important and very big step for me in this way. Acknowledging one's roots, and being nourished by those roots is... well... trees make it pretty obvious don't they?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Dream

That's about enough intense dig-deep fear excavation for the moment. Let's switch to Dreams! There's nothing like speaking your dream to make it happen. Or writting it publically.

I have watched in awe so many times on my journey as my dreams, one after the other would materialized around me.

There's nothing like being ill to compell you to rexamine your life. And your dreams. I've been listening to my biological heart and my soul's heart. So let me do put their words out:

My dream is to restore my body by facing my fears. I dream of integrating my body, finances, spirituality, sexuality and career into One harmonious and joyful living of my artistic calling. I dream of having the support of my family, my community, and my country behind my calling. I dream of returning to Paris to be with my love Abby, to flourish, to love, to heal, and to paint and to prepare for the coming Spring.

That is my Dream.