take a walk through your year

This guided visualization takes an embodied approach to reflecting on the past year.

The holidays are a sensitive time. In the liminal space between this year and the next, there’s more time to think and to feel. For some of us, this time is full of joy and connection. For others, it’s a more difficult time – perhaps the dull soreness of old scars, or an absence laid bare. For many of us, it’s some combination of both.

How might we bear witness to all of this, for ourselves and for one another? To hold it all, without trying to fix any of it.

The word “solstice” comes in part from Latin, to "stand still.”

Take a walk through your year

The days are getting longer, one minute at a time. But before jumping ahead to 2019, I hope you have a chance to hold still. To acknowledge all that you’ve moved through this year – the highs, the lows, the lights, the shadows.

We’ve all completed another perfectly messy and beautiful revolution around the ever-spinning pottery wheel of life. Before diving into the year ahead, how might we take a step back and see how far we’ve come?

Through all the ways we’ve broken open and all the ways we’ve healed apart, this year has shaped each of us into who we are today and what we bring to the year ahead.

I’d like to share with you this guided visualization, a more embodied approach to reflecting on 2018. This brief adventure (7:49) is best enjoyed with a journal, a pen, a blanket on your lap, and mug of hot tea :)

Thanks again for walking with me on another year on this incredible journey. Under gallery lights on the Bay, among the redwoods of Mill Valley, and along the waterfronts of Williamsburg. From your phone and your computer, in all the places you are in the world – thank you.

Have a restful + festive holiday, and best wishes in the New Year!

are you my people?

I came to an event to check out the space. I was surprised by what I found.

“Untitled (Grit/Bowery MTA)” Photo by Bernadette Cay

“Untitled (Grit/Bowery MTA)” Photo by Bernadette Cay

As an artist, I’m always on the lookout for interesting places to show my work or to host events in the years to come. I’ve always wanted to visit A/D/O, a trendy event space (owned by MINI) in Brooklyn. One of the artists I admire had a massive sculpture installed there this past summer. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for an excuse to visit the space, trusting that the right event would come in due time.

A few weeks ago, I met a guy at a cafe who mentioned the space, which reminded me to check out the website. I found a seminar series on Design and Research. The next event? “Pray for Me: On Religion and Spiritual Fictions,” the last event of the year for that series.

Intrigued, I bought a ticket.

The event was more glam than I expected. Red velvet curtains and candles along an industrial chic stage – very Madonna. Coupled with smoke machines for an other-worldly look, this was way more of a production than you’d ever see in SF for a panel on a Monday night.

Happy to note the look and feel of the space, I had accomplished my mission for the night. Then the panel started.

The panel, moderated by an egregious French lady, included a hipster Christian pastor, an academic, an architect of religious spaces, and a software engineer.

Over the past three years, I’ve been poking my head into more creative communities than I can count. Like the Ugly Duckling searching for its mother, I’ve been implicitly asking of each group, “Are you my people?” As I’ve become clearer on who I am – and as my Inner Compass has gotten stronger – it’s easier for me to tell.

As soon as the panel began, I *knew* I had found my people. The audience, the panelists. The questions, the stakes. The panelists (especially the pastor and the academic) for a hot second inspired me to go to graduate school, perhaps to study philosophy, history, and world religions.

Of all the conferences, conference rooms, book signings, poetry readings, art openings, art classes, talks, retreats, workshops, eye gazing, holding hands in circles with strangers, Bali, and even Burning Man.... what was different this time?

So clearly recognizing that my interests are not just in creativity and personal growth, but also in the big “s-word”: spirituality.

I walked home that crisp November night, chilly yet feeling fully seen.

“Love and Belonging.”   Acrylics and permanent marker. From my 2017  book ,  Something More: A Working Professional’s Search for Creativity, Purpose, and Peace

“Love and Belonging.” Acrylics and permanent marker. From my 2017 book, Something More: A Working Professional’s Search for Creativity, Purpose, and Peace

#VenusOnMars Artist Talk

Show notes

  • Gaia Toscano, Art Advisor at SFMOMA Artists Gallery, welcomes the audience and introduces the gallery, the artist, and this body of work.
  • Space travel has captured our imaginations as a blank canvas for a better world. “Is that canvas really blank? How might we paint a different future?” [3:40]
  • #VenusOnMars is a metaphor for balance–within ourselves, with one another, and with the world. [4:47]
  • Zooming out and looking at the future from a different angle, starting with the question, “How do you want the future to feel?” [5:30]
  • How I explore that question through two groups of paintings: The Geometric Group and the Kinetic Group. [7:15]
  • Sharing the creative process behind these works. How #VenusOnMars is a constant state of rebalancing. [12:45] 
  • “How do you want the future to feel?” Leaving the audience with this powerful question towards a softer, stronger, and more beautiful future. [14:45]

A working professional's search for creativity, purpose, and peace

I recently launched my book Something More: A Working Professional's Search for Creativity, Purpose, and Peace. I'd love to share with you the author Q&A led by Majo Molfino, women's leadership coach and host of podcast Heroine.fm. The event was held on February 8, 2017 at the tea room of The Center SF with over 60 people in attendance.

This book is for you if you’re thinking about...

  • Pursuing your creative calling while working full-time
  • Exploring your many different interests, while navigating the purposeful and the practical
  • Going on an inner journey, either while working or by taking a sabbatical

After ten years of not making art, I started making art again while working full-time in Silicon Valley. My adventures took me to the bare wooden floors of yoga studios, the white walls of art studios, and even to an anarchist bookstore and the city dump. Through it all, I found the core of what was looking for all along: a true feeling of self-acceptance.

You can find the book here.

Show notes

  • Starting to feel restless after five years of working in tech. Felt that I lacked self-efficacy. Gradually realized this feeling was related to my creativity. [4:15]
  • How I decided to take a sabbatical. Responding my desire to grow and to recharge. [8:40]
  • How I worked on creative side projects while working full-time. Taking art and writing classes on evenings and weekends. Making art or writing during the evenings and early mornings. Managing expectations. [10:22]
  • As a daughter of immigrants, managing cultural beliefs that influence my decisions. [14:25]
  • Reconnecting with my body to better manage my inner critic and listen to my intuition. [16:57]
  • Recognizing privilege. Moving through denial and guilt. Recognizing that it’s possible to have gratitude and desire something more. [21:13]
  • Managing my inner critic through meditation and journaling. Overcoming perfectionism through deadlines, faith, surrender, self-acceptance, and service. [23:10]
  • Reclaiming 10 years of my life. Learning from the experiences of older women. Seeing how this questioning affects all aspects of my life, including purpose, partnership, and parenthood. Making decisions with intention [29:02]
  • Fully accepting my many interests. Being flexible about how I make money and express my creative and analytical sides. [35:40]
  • Reaching a feeling of true self-acceptance. Makes it easier to manage my many interests. [38:08]