Still a birthday.

When I did my Full Spectrum training with the LA Doula Project earlier this summer, we spent a portion of the second day looking at ways to support loss. Dr. Ivy Margulies of Angels Born Still came in to talk to us about doing bereavement work. It struck a chord and I knew I wanted to really go deep with this aspect of birth support work.
 
I’m starting the October session of StillBirthDay to learn more about working with families when pregnancy outcomes are not as planned or hoped for, and to support them when they suffer a loss.
 
This is hard material but I think it’s something that every doula should be prepared for, in case a family needs that support. Or in the very least, have someone to call. They’re enrolling for the October session if you are a birth worker and looking at doing this work. 
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Take action

When I said “this is 2017” yesterday, regarding racism in America, it was not with any sense of surprise or shock. It was said because for some reason there are people out there who are still surprised and shocked by this, and I wanted to grab their attention.

If you’re still grappling with the reality of race in America and your Free To Be illusions were shattered in November and you don’t know what to do with your feelings and your privilege, I recommend Nice White Ladies as a place to start learning, start listening, get called in and figure out how to get out of the way.

If you want to know what actions are going to actually help people of color in this fight against racism, systemic bias and systems of oppression, I recommend Safety Pin Box. They amplify black voices and offer actionable items that white people can do to support black communities and activists, right now.

SURJ has local chapters that work in conjunction with partner organizations for accountability in the fight for racial justice.

It’s okay to be where you are. It’s okay to have room to grow. It’s okay to be on a learning curve, to be overwhelmed, to do it wrong, to get called out on that, and to have feelings. Don’t stay stuck there. Keep going. We really need all of us to be standing up right now.

 

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No. You move.

This is America. This is Charlottesville, VA.

This is 2017.

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photo credit: Aaron Baldwin https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155409752001183&set=a.10150318348141183.440721.634531182&type=3&theater

“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say.

Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.

This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, YOU move.”

J. Michael Straczynski, Civil War: The Amazing Spider-Man

Please don’t be silent in the face of this. There are literal Nazis marching down the streets of American cities and American citizens have been killed for resisting them.

Now more than ever, it’s time to speak, to stand, and to act.

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Adulting #109

The NYT had an article about “how to wear rainbow hair and still look like an adult” in it this week. It was a fluffy piece of clickbait and boiled down to, “if you’re over 30, you should use pastels.” Subtext: “how dare you take up space if you are over 40.”

Folks, here’s how to wear rainbow hair and still look like an adult:

Have rainbow hair in whatever the fuck value, hue, shade or tint that you want. And be an adult.

There ya go. Aren’t you glad we had this little talk?

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A little dotty…

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Still getting dotty over here at the Little White Cottage On The Hill, but enough time has passed that I’m starting to feel comfortable about breaking out the “good” paints and the “good” canvas (read, bigger than 6×6). Things are starting to gel more and more and I’m growing into my own aesthetic. Practice is good. Putting your butt in a chair and churning out a lot of mistakes helps more than anything. And I’m still making a lot of mistakes, just having a different relationship with them than I was three weeks ago.

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Tools help too. Compasses and protractors and rulers and chalk and pencils and the right brushes and the right paint, those all help. But none of them help if your butt isn’t in the chair.

Butt in chair applies to other things too. I signed up for a 6 week doula mentoring group and it has been SO good.  In the last few weeks we’ve tackled so many things in this journey to become better doulas, to find our unique voice and style… I’ve learned so much and made some incredible connections. There’s been a lot of inner work around this group, journaling, thinking, not so much “go design a website/here’s how you business” but very much “why is this scary to you, go deep with it, what is holding you back?”  And believe me, none of that works unless your butt is in the chair.

There’s no ONE way to be a doula and no one way to run a doula business of course, though certainly there are some who would really like people to believe that. Having the freedom and the space and time to truly decide what kind of birth worker I want to be, to grow into that person, that is liberating. And a lot of work!  Sometimes really challenging work. One of the things I struggle with personally is crippling anxiety around new situations and people, so my doula mentor has had me “tracking my tigers” (which is an exercise from the most marvelous book Birthing From Within by Pam England) to see if I can’t get some traction around them.

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I mean… THAT is terrifying, right? Right there, big scary tiger. How’d you like to wake up to that face? I wouldn’t! But I carry a bunch of them around with me every day. Provider meetings, client interviews, coffee with other doulas, networking… big scary tigers with large teeth.  Digging in to those fears, facing them, asking what is so scary, what’s the worst that could happen, it’s helped me so much.  And sometimes it makes those big scary tigers not quite so scary anymore.

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I can handle that. I mean, this tiger is totally manageable, right? It is.

Birth work really brings home the necessity of doing your own inner work. Having guidance while I get out of my own way to do that work has been priceless. The Los Angeles birth community continues to amazing me with how supportive and welcoming it is, and in how the people here genuinely want to rise by lifting others.  I feel really blessed to be a part of it.

So people keep asking when I’m going to put those turquoise earrings in my shop. The truth is, I’m not sure. It will be soon. Ish. I promise! And I’ll let you know here.  I’m not pushing it. I think part of this new journey, this new Maia Rainwood journey is to Do It Wrong and have no fucks for what experts tell me I must do. I solemnly swear that I will not update regularly, not blog consistently, not stress if the muse isn’t with me for a few weeks, not worry about constantly making content for other people to consume, not worry if I miss a few sales because I didn’t update the shop every week, whatever, blah blah blah. I don’t think that’s the kind of artist I am or even want to try to be. I think I tried that already and it almost drove me crazy.

I do promise to put my butt in that chair and see what happens. I like doing it wrong a lot better. I like being relaxed and letting it flow. And it’s my party, so I will do what I like.

So yes, at some point there will be some canvases available, some original paintings and maybe even prints. More jewelry.  I have some enamel, ceramic, silk, and other mixed media pieces cooking that will blow. your. minds. I’m hitting the Pasadena Gem Show next week to see if there’s anything I just MUST have. Who knows what I’ll find?  There are other Things too. Other ideas and other rabbit holes I want to fall down, to pursue single mindedly, in this journey of making and becoming.

We will see where it all leads. In the meantime, I hope where ever you are, it’s good. I hope whatever you’re doing, that it gives you joy.

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Joy is a worthy pursuit. Thanks for hanging out with mine.

Posted in Birth Doula, dot art, Life, mandala art, Mental Health, The Artist, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Well this is coming along!

I got a ton of these 4×4 mini canvases to practice on. Some of them may be going up in the shop soon but, I think not this one. Lucky Cat seems to think we should keep it!

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Working on some other things on the jewelry bench this week – small shop update coming next weekend.

Tomorrow, may your neighbors be considerate and not scare your dogs and cats with M80s, may nothing that is on fire land on your roof, may no wildfires break out in the canyon behind your housing tract (we’ve already had that happen in the last week) and may your hot dogs, BBQ, potato salad and holiday pies be plentiful and delicious.

Have a good 4th!

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How’s your foundation?

So a couple of posts ago I was talking about sucking badly at doing new things. I’m happy to say that I’m not sucking quite so hard anymore. I feel like I still have a long way to go to get where I want to be with painting in general and dotillism specifically.  The technique of making dots consistently and having them do what I want is getting a lot easier. When it comes to composition, color, and understanding my medium, I feel like I’ve just barely begun the journey.

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Last night I had a bit of an epiphany that made me slam the brakes on the whole process for a minute. I was trying to figure something out about working with acrylic paint.  I went online to try to find the answer and found a trove of stuff that I’d basically just leapt past in my excitement about making pretty dot pictures.

Things like, oh I don’t know, basic color theory.  I had a total lightbulb moment last night about “blue and yellow make green.” Which is a little embarrassing at this stage in my art game, but there you are. Because it’s not just blue and yellow, it’s actually “which blue with what yellow makes the right green?”  I’ll be spending the next week and change mixing paint and filling in boxes and figuring out how to make green, orange and purple. Boring? A little. But also exciting in an exploratory way and still all about the love of creation.

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Foundational stuff.  Reining in my impulse to leap to the finish (which is my problem with pretty much everything I do in life) and starting at the beginning. Getting to know the medium. Figuring out how to work with it.

In a lot of ways, I did that earlier this year when I retrained as a birth doula. I did it with my jewelry business when I closed it and then re-opened slowly, softly, just doing one thing and taking each step with deliberation.

I thought my word for 2017 was “me” but we’re 7 months in to the year and it seems to be shaping up into something along the lines of “Slow the fuck down and pay attention.” I’m pretty okay with that.

We live in this social media driven world, especially as creative people there’s this constant need to be producing content. Beautiful, finished content. It can make us rush past the fundamentals and try to present this fully realized vision, when in reality we’re still cooking.  There’s nothing sexy or particularly marketable about still cooking, is there? How can you maintain a sexy social media presence when you’re still sweaty and in your apron with seven pots boiling at once? Talk about pressure. Y’all know how I feel about “fake it till you make it” (lies!) and I think this is the same thing. The pressure to fake it is strong. It can make us build crappy foundations with paper thin veneers laid over them.

That never holds, does it?

I guess what I’m coming to is this idea that it’s okay to put the brakes on all that and check the foundation. Is it strong? Is it solid? The realization that there’s no shame in taking 3 steps back and fixing the weak spots (or even lighting it on fire and starting over) is… overdue.

You are not the product. You are the process. So relax. Slow the fuck down. Take a deep breath.

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