Transformation into the Hotel Artist

May 25, 2017

TODAY I’m taking action, and I feel both exhilarated and nervous about doing it. 

After discussing every possible positive and negative outcome with trusted friends and fellow artists, I finally decided to change my Instagram username from @catrains_collage to @thehotelartist. Although a small action on the surface, there are so many uncertainties that continue to swirl in and out of my thoughts.

  • Will my 13.8K Instagram followers stick with me?
  • Will my followers realize that I’m creating art IN hotel rooms every night after my day gig, rather than creating art to decorate hotel rooms?
  • Will I live to regret this change, and want to change back in a month?

Although still wrapped in unknowns, my intention with this change is simple…

1. To tell more of my expanding story as an artist, and specifically how I integrate my passion for art into a traveling day gig by taking my art studio on the road with me.
2. Ultimately I want to be interviewed by creativity podcasts where I can share my unique art story for the purpose of inspiring others to figure out how to transform their day gigs into an asset for their passion, rather than something that holds them back.

I already have one booked for June with The Lucious Living Podcast with the lovely and talented @bohorustic and @embraceabundance (Betsy and Laura) and I’m hoping this will be the first of many!

What to know how I transform hotel rooms into art studios?

I pack VERY heavy. I  travel with two – 50 pound suitcases, one full of paint, brushes and canvases, and the other with my professional day gig clothes and job supplies. As a result, I have been joyfully creating art at night from hotel rooms across the country for most of 2017, finishing more canvases on the road than I previously completed in my home studio when not traveling on the weekends.

 What I pack in one of these two, 50 pound suitcases!

The biggest surprise I’ve experienced from creating art in hotel rooms is that I now look forward to leaving Monday morning for my traveling day gig because I know at the end of each day I’ll be spending many hours with my hands covered in paint! Ahhh….  

Can YOU relate?

I’d love to hear how YOU integrate your passion for art, writing, sewing, etc around YOUR day gig.  
Please share in the comments to inspire us all to find a way to make this seemingly impossible mission, possible!

So until further notice, I will be known as Catherine Rains, The Hotel Artist, and @thehotelartist on Instagram. Only time will tell how my art story will evolve from here, and what the next chapter will look like.

All I know for sure is that I needed to take this action to find out, even if it turns out to be the “wrong” action! No matter the outcome, I’ll learn from this action, in which case it won’t be a mistake.

P.S. I’m open to ALL suggestions of podcasts where you think my evolving story might fit.

If your podcast referral lands me an interview, I will gift you a large archival Art Print of your choice as a gift!

 

 

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Stress identifies whats not true

April 20, 2017

This quote really got me thinking . . .

“Stress is the alarm clock that lets you know you have attached to something that’s not true for you.”
Byron Katie

As much as I hate to admit it, I am often stressed, mostly (or all) self imposed.

I’m constantly running from my day gig to my art biz, pushing to get the most out of every moment. From 5am to 10pm, I’m getting stuff done, checking things off my super-human to-do list, rarely feeling like I’ve done enough by the end of the day. Can YOU relate?

After reading this quote, I felt compelled to look at the meaning behind my stress, and what this could be saying about what was not true or good for my being.

But how do I stop, or not do something when EVERYTHING on my list seems important, necessary, and non-negotiable?
How can I be ok with doing less, and not getting it ALL done?

 

Then I stumbled upon a passage (a Divine answer to my inquiry) from new favorite author Tosha Silver where she shared the concept of moving through life with ….

…ease and effortlessness.

Ahhhh…. just saying these words out loud made my heart sigh and my shoulders relax.  So I started saying these words over and over again as I reviewed my daily lists and calendar.

EASE & EFFORTLESSNESS

Ahhh…. there comes that sigh again.  I’m only in the second week of using these words as a moment-to-moment reminder, and already there’s a huge difference in how I’m relating to my to-do list, and what I’m not getting done.

When I feel the need to power through my list, I say these words out loud – ease and effortlessness – and at least half of the time, my pushing stops.  Then I take a full breathe, smile, and choose to be fully present with the task in front of me.

The result of this new practice?  I’m not getting as much done. I’ve missed a few days posting to Instagram, and I haven’t done art EVERY day. I’m STILL contemplating what to write in my next newsletter, which I abandoned a year ago, and have no idea when it will go out. Did the world fall apart because I didn’t get it ALL done? Did anyone even notice, other than me?

The biggest change is the realization that I’m doing enough, no matter how much I get done, AND that I am enough, no matter how many items get checked off my blessed list.

Although ease and effortlessness is not quite an integral part of my being, I’m committed to using these words as I move through my day, and life.  It’s my loving next step to treating me with the self-care I deserve.

So how about YOU?

What causes YOU stress, and how does this identify what is not good or true for your sweet soul?

Sometimes just acknowledging what doesn’t work can be the trigger for finding a path that better serves our deepest heart’s desire.

Please share, either here or on Instagram, to inspire us all to recognize stress for what it is, and to find new ways to find our truth buried behind it.

 

 

 

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8 teachers that changed my life

April 15, 2017

What well known teachers have taught YOU profound lessons, even though you may never have met him/her in person?

I have had numerous teachers over the years, but 8 of them have had an extraordinary long term affect on the person I have become, and who I continue to evolve into every day.

My all time favs are listed in the chronological order of when they rocked my world and opened my eyes to an expanded truth.

1. Shirley MacLaine – Out on a Limb

This is the teacher that started my inner exploration many years ago.  I had owned Shirley’s (we’re on a first name basis in my brain) book Out on a Limb for several years without reading it, and then suddenly I HAD to consume every word like it was food for my starving soul. I heard Oprah say that she attributed the beginning of her spiritual awakening to this teacher and book as well  – sweet to know I share something in common with Oprah, in addition to the way we see the world!

2. Shakti Gawain – Creative Visualization

Shortly after I woke up to my spiritual truth by reading Out on a Limb, I found Shakti’s work, which led me to visualizing my life’s vocation as a career counselor, and eventually an MBTI trainer.  I wasn’t qualified for this career on paper when I visualized the qualities of the career I desired, but the Universe found a way to manifest it in a manner that I would never have known how to do on my own, and in a far better form than I had imagined.

3. Abraham/Ester Hicks – Ask and it is Given

While listening to Abraham speak through Ester at a live event many years ago, I used the techniques “he” talked about to instantly manifest an art exhibit before this one-day program was even over!  To say the least, this immediate and effortless success got me hooked on reading everything Abraham wrote.

4. Eckerd Tolle – A New Earth, Stillness Speaks

I considered Tolle’s books as my “bible” for many years.  They taught me to see  EVERY moment as my destiny, and that I only needed to look around me to know my purpose.  Just like the teacher before him, this once again changed everything, expanding my vision of how to live my precious life.

5. Byron Katie – Loving What Is, A Thousand Names for Joy

A natural next step to learning from Tolle was Byron Katie, who provided practical steps to fully appreciating everything that showed up in my life, especially the “bad” stuff.  I spent nine extraordinary days absorbed in “The Work” with Byron live in L.A., which took place just 2 weeks after the break up of my 31 year relationship.  Learning from Byron during this tumultuous time felt like the Universe was personally holding me as I grieved, guiding every step of my healing process.

6. Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat Pray Love, Big Magic

I read Eat Pray Love shortly after I found myself suddenly single 10 years ago.  As I read about Liz crying on the bathroom floor after her break up, I was actually crying on the kitchen floor myself! This book was my guidebook for moving through this unknown grieving process, and gave me tremendous hope that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Much later I read Big Magic, and adored learning how to integrate my beloved art into my spiritual practice.

7. Michael Singer – Surrender Experiment, Untethered Soul

When I saw Michael speak on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, I instantly knew that he was the next teacher on my path. Both of these amazing books provide practical guidance about how to surrender to what shows up in our lives, no matter what it looks like on the surface.  I have read these books several times, given them as gifts to many of my friend, and am currently reading Untethered Soul for a second time with my husband. Of the 8 teachers, Singer is my all time fav (so far!).

8. Tosha Silver – Outrageous Openness

A dear friend recently suggested I read Tosha’s sweet book of real life stories about surrendering to the Divine, and what can happen when you do. I’m currently reading this beauty, joyfully learning from every delightful and insightful story.  Although new to my circle of favorite spiritual teachers, I can already tell that these profound teachings will sink deeply into my soul and be the next step in my awakening journey.

So about about YOU?

What well known teachers have helped YOU grow and become who you are today?

Please share, either here or on Instagram, to help us to get to know each other better through the teachers that have guided our awakening journey.

Maybe we’ll each find a new teacher to learn from in the process!

 

 

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How do you live today as if it were your last day?

April 12, 2017

Talk about a life altering, head spinning question, this is the grand mother of them all!

Ever since I first heard a variation of this question spoken by Christopher Reeves in a Superman movie years ago, I’ve been contemplating my response to this guestion.

So here goes….

If this were my last Wednesday on Earth, I would…

1. ….  spend half of the time sitting in the presence of my dearest friends and family, simply enjoying their presence, sharing a few smiles, laughs and memories.

I was with my best friend Cristina as she spent her last week in physical form, and this is exactly what she did. I asked the Universe afterwards to grant me a similar experience when it is my turn to say good bye.

2. …. spend the rest of the time simply BEING with my loving husband, along with my own soothing company, gently giving gratitude for the amazing life I lived as Catherine Rains.

Since I probably won’t know which Wednesday will be my last, the more important question is….

How can I live THIS Wednesday as if it were the last one?

Because the reality is that it could be.

Therefore, from this day forward, I commit to spending time EVERY day in the presence of someone I love, even if by telephone, BEING fully with them, appreciating their sweet essence.

 

If this were YOUR last Wednesday on Earth, what would be YOUR number ONE priority?

Please share, either here or on Instagram, to help us all prioritize so that we can live everyday as if it were our last.

 

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I am at peace when _______________.

April 10, 2017

How would YOU complete this sentence?

I am at peace when ______________.

You might expect me to say that art makes me feel at peace, and occasionally that’s true.

However, creating art can also leave me frustrated and full of self-doubt.

I LOVE to cut paper and throw paint on canvas, but just like anything else in life, what I adore sometimes wears me out as I push through issues that my art forces me to face.

I am ALWAYS at peace, however, when I quiet my inner voice, and witness what is before me without words floating through my brain, narrating and labeling everything I see.

Just writing this reminds me to quiet that inner voice RIGHT NOW, and let go of that voice, if even for just this moment.

To fully HERE, without thoughts or words streaming through my over active-brain, is my definition of peace, AND heaven on Earth.

It’s the kind of peace I have complete control over, and is a choice I make moment to moment, whether consciously or not.

So today, I commit to quieting my mind as often as I can remember. Then tomorrow and the day after that, I’ll make this commitment again, in the hopes that this practice will one day be a habit that takes no reminder!

So how about YOU?

I would love to hear how YOU define peace.
Please share, either here or on Instagram, to inspire us all to welcome more peace into our everyday moments.

This sweet bird, a detail from a large collage painting that will be released this summer, is a visual reminder to welcome peace into every moment.

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Creating a sustainable daily habit

March 18, 2017

On February 12th, 2017, I asked what YOU wanted to add to your daily ritual.

In response, many of you publicly committed on Instagram to adding all sorts of beautiful habits to your lives, including meditation, writing, yoga, painting, reading, sketching, singing, playing an instrument, figure drawing, and so many more soul expanding activities.

I committed to creating art for at least one hour a day.

This was a habit I had sustained for 324 days in 2016, even while working a day gig that required frequent overnight travel.

Then life and my day gig took over, and I broke this daily habit. Once I stopped, it felt like climbing the tallest mountain to walk into my art studio.

So I didn’t, for over 2 months.  I had a million excuses why I didn’t have the time or energy, but the truth is that I wasn’t making it a priority, and the longer I didn’t do it, the harder it was to jump in and do even the simplest project.

I missed creating art EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

In order to push myself back into the studio, I publicly declared on Instagram, along with many of you, that I was going to start, again, even though I had no idea how or where to begin.  As a result, I’ve been happier than I can remember being in over a year, AND I have created 7 new pieces of art for a new collection!

In the process, I’ve learned something important about how to turn daily creating into a sustainable habit.

Instead of forcing myself to do art EVERY day, which is what I did in 2016 to keep myself going, I’m being much kinder this time around. I’m allowing for “days off” from art if my day gig really needs my full attention, or if my brain feels fried from travel and my soul is screaming “DO absolutely nothing”. I’m working on listening to what I really need, following what I hear, and sometimes substituting other forms a self care for art, like meditation, journal writing, or naps!

So I HAVEN’T actually created EVERY day since February 13.

I’ve done something even better.

I created art for 30 of the past 35 days, when my both my body and spirit were open for the experience.  Although my intention is still to create EVERY day, I’m being so much kinder to myself this time around. Hopefully, this small adjustment to my daily ritual will transform (almost) daily art making into a long term sustainable habit.

So how about YOU?

I would love to hear how your self-commitment is going?

What have YOU learned in the process of adding a new daily habit to your life?

If you didn’t commit to a new ritual a month ago, what have you been thinking about adding NOW?

Please share, either here or on Instagram, to help reinforce the commitment we have collectively made to follow what our hearts are calling us to do.

 

 

 

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When has rejection been a blessing?

March 12, 2017

Can YOU relate to this stunning quote by @lokelanizablan ?

“As I look back on my life,
I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good,
I was actually being redirected to something better.”

My first big rejection at age 24 taught me to trust the higher wisdom in all the rejections that were to follow.

At that point in my life, I had already had 3 professional jobs, hopping from one to the next trying to find the one that truly fit who I thought I was, the one that would make my heart sing.

After months of searching and interviewing for my 4th professional position, I thought I had finally found the perfect job.

I was hired to be an event coordinator for a museum in Southampton, New York.  It looked absolutely perfect on paper, as if the Universe had just given me the greatest gift.

On my first day of work, I was told to take a train into New York City (2 hours away) to meet with the fundraising committee of the annual event that I would be helping to organize. I ironed my suit the night before, and set my alarm to get up at 5am to catch the 7am train.

The next morning I awoke to the sound of the train leaving the station (located less than a mile behind my home), not the alarm. To my horror I realized that my alarm had failed to go off.  This had never happened before. Now what?!?!

No worries, I could still drive to the city. Twenty minutes later I was zooming down the road, with plenty of time to get to the 10am meeting.

An hour into the trip, my car broke down on the highway.

How could this happen? It was a new car. At this point, I was beginning to feel like something odd was happening, like I wasn’t meant to attend this meeting. But I focused all my energy on solving the immediate problem – I needed to get to New York City, and fast!

I hitched a ride to a gas station to get the car fixed, and called my new boss to explain the situation (alarm didn’t go off, car broke down). I told her that I’ve called for a taxi, and should arrive to the meeting very close to 10am, maybe a bit after depending on traffic.  Her response was not to worry, the meeting wasn’t that important, my attendance wasn’t critical, and to go home.

So I got the car fixed, and drove home.

The next morning, I showed up early for my second day of work at the museum, and within 15 minutes, I was fired.

My boss explained that “oversleeping” on my first day was a bad sign for the future, and they couldn’t risk this potentially happening again.  None of my explanations counted, I was fired, period.

To say the least, I was devastated by this rejection.

At the same time, something in the back of mind whispered…

  • this job is not for your highest good.
  • you were fired so that you would keep looking for something that matched you EVEN better.

With no other choice, I started my job search again, and within three months found the job that would set in motion a career path that eventually led to where I stand today as an MBTI certification trainer, a career I’ve dearly loved for the past 30 years.

And of this all happened because I was rejected, and thereby redirected into a career where I could make my highest good contribution.

Have YOU found that a rejection ultimately supported YOUR path?

A simple YES in the comments, either here or on Instagram, will tell us that you can relate.

If you feel inspired, I would love to here the story behind your YES as well!

 

 

 

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What makes you feel most alive?

March 09, 2017

How would YOU complete this sentence….

I feel most alive when______________.

 

The first thing that popped into my mind was…..

…..when I’m creating art, holding a paint brush or cutting paper for a collage painting.

But then I realized there is a much deeper level to this answer, one that goes way beyond the obvious.

I feel MOST alive when_______________

…I choose to take a step back and witness my life from my seat of consciousness, which is where the “I” part of me lives.

This is the part that witnesses all that is happening in my life – events, thoughts, emotions – and isn’t pulled into thinking that those things are the real “me”.

I am most alive when I witness all that is happening in my life, as if I’m watching a movie, with full awareness that I’m not the movie, but rather the one who is sitting back and witnessing what is happening to the woman called Catherine Rains.

When I remember to be the witness and watcher of my life, I am at peace with ALL that is here, whether it looks “good” or bad” on the surface, and I KNOW that all is truly well in my world.
It just so happens that creating art helps me to get to this divine place more often, but it also happens at ANY time of the day when I choose to step back and witness where I am, what is happening, and not be attached to any of it.

So how about YOU?

How would you complete this sentence……

I feel most alive when__________________________.

Please share (either here or on Instagram) to inspire us all the find new and expanded ways to full embrace the beautiful life we’ve been given.

The picture for this post is a detail of one of my favorite 3D collages “This moment is my destiny”, which inspired today’s question.  To see the full image of this piece, follow this link.

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What are your 2 favorite movies?

March 07, 2017

If YOU were stranded on an island for a year, and could only bring 2 DVD movies with you for entertainment, which 2 would YOU choose?

My darlin husband and I discussed this fun topic over a bottle of wine this past Saturday, and were not a bit surprised that our choices were polar opposites, just like we are in many ways.

My sweetie choose “Young Frankenstein” and ANY Star Wars movie.

By the way, I’m not crazy about either of these, but have watched them several times simply to keep him company as he enjoys what he loves, and usually fall asleep in the process!

As for my choices, my all time personal favorite is…

“Out of Africa”, followed closely by “Gone with the Wind”.

If I could sneak in a 3rd movie it would be “Wizard of Oz”.  The last line in this classic – “You always had the power to go home” – tugs at my heart EVERY time!

I have MANY additional fav movies like “Dirty Dancing”, “Dancing with Wolves”, “Billy Jack” (really dates me!), and “Begin Again”, but nothing compares to my top two in terms of making me feel like I just won the lottery when they happen to appear on television. I probably should just buy these so I can watch them anytime, but I just thought of that option this very moment! Amazon here I come….

So how about YOU?

What 2 movies would YOU joyfully watch over and over again for a year?

Please share (either in the comments below or on Instagram) to inspire our movie choices, but more importantly, to help us to get to know each other a wee bit better through the types of movies we love!

I truly can’t wait to hear what you choose!

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What do you appreciate about you?

March 05, 2017

It’s self-appreciation day!

Yes, it really is, at least in my world.

So what quality do YOU appreciate about YOU?

I thought about how I would answer this question for quite awhile today, and then remembered that I had asked a similar question months ago on Instagram.

Back then my answer was that I appreciate my kindness.

When I thought about this again today, I realized that my answer would still be kindness, but its more.  Another layer has been added to my self appreciation, and it better describes who I am and what I offer to others.

Amazing how hard it is to publicly declare what you like about yourself, but here it is…..

I appreciate the way that am (usually) totally present for those I love when they tell me their story.

I have been told that I make others feel truly valued and deeply loved by my full attention on what they are saying or doing.  By loving others with my whole being, the giver suddenly becomes the receiver, and the circle is complete as I unexpectedly feel valued and loved in return.

So how about YOU?

What is ONE quality that you deeply appreciate about YOU?

Please share (either here or on Instagram) so that we can appreciate and get to know each other at a much deeper and more soulful level.

 

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How do you know when you are happy?

March 04, 2017

How do you KNOW when you are truly happy?

What are the tail tell, undeniable signs that you’ve reached this joyous place?

For me its when I say one of two phrases.  Either …

I LOVE MY LIFE

or

I. AM. HAPPY.

These words seems so simple.  Yet I KNOW I’M TRULY happy when I say one of these things completely out of the blue, without thinking about it first.  These words literally just pop out of me, and it always takes me by surprise. Like I’ve just been given the sweetest gift, one I’ve given to myself.

When those words spontaneously appear, it ALWAYS makes me pause and ponder what is happening in my world that would prompt just a joy-filled exclamation.

I’ve been saying I LOVE MY LIFE a lot lately.

Why?

First, creating art every day is once again a priority.  Even though some days I only create for 30 minutes, that is enough to fill my heart with joy, and set the tone for the rest of the day.

Second, I’ve been focused on quieting my mind MUCH more often.  When a stressful thought comes up, I smile and realize that the opposite of that thought could also be true.

Then I gently quiet my brain and sigh with relief.  I’m not perfect at this by a long shot, but I’m seeing a noticeable difference in how I feel, and a sign that its making a difference is how many times I catch myself saying…

I. AM. HAPPY!

So how about YOU?

How do YOU KNOW when you are truly happy?

Please share (either in the comments below or on Instagram) to expand our vision of what happiness looks like, and how we can tell when we get to that joy-filled place.

 

 

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What is YOUR secret message?

March 02, 2017

Yes, it true.

Your highest self sent this message to you today, and only YOU can read it.

Look closely, it really is there, waiting for YOU to find and follow it.

So what is YOUR sign telling YOU?

My message is simple, and has appeared many times over the years.

I obviously have a hard time hearing it, and consistently following through.

It’s always some version of the following…

Quiet the inner chatter – just for this moment.
Stop the constant pushing and striving.
Deeply be in the astonishing life I’ve been given.

Simply typing these words, and reading them out loud to myself, my heart sighs with relief.

Day by day, moment to moment,
I’m changing how I live in order to hear and integrate this profound message.
I’m listening, adjusting, quieting, AGAIN.

So how about YOU?

What hidden message is your highest self telling you today?

Please share (either in the comments below or on Instagram) to inspire us all to see the signs being constantly sent to us, and  to follow these beloved messages.

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