compassion

THE LOVE SERIES #8: How Love Works

This 8th installment of my Love Series came to me during my morning meditation. As I was imagining myself as a big ball of love, spreading love to each person I met, this image popped into my head. I like it because it helps to remind me that each small act of love I do ripples out and reaches much farther than I can see.

How Love Works: The Ripple Effect. (Also, how infectious diseases work just FYI.)

© 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

Hummingbird Heartbeat Poetry Book Complete!

It’s finally done!

When we started trying to conceive and then got pregnant in 2014, I started to write poems about my journey to help make sense of and document all of the momentous changes that were taking place. I even published one of the poems on this website! Since then I have collected, edited, and arranged the poems into my first poetry book titled Hummingbird Heartbeat: Poems of Pregnancy and Beyond.

The poems begin 8 months before conception and end a few months after the birth of my daughter. Here is the description:

“In this new book of poems from author Angelle Conant, she bares her soul and chronicles her first pregnancy full of ups and downs with wit, honesty and joy. It contains insights and stories from the early days of waiting for a little blue plus sign all the way to the birth of her daughter and beyond. But it is more than just personal anecdotes – this book of poems is an essential companion on the journey that is pregnancy. It will comfort and enlighten while simultaneously normalizing all the changes that are taking place within a pregnant woman’s body, heart, and mind. With each poem, an illustration shows the stage of pregnancy at which it was written. As the woman’s body on the page grows with new life, so does our understanding of a pregnant woman’s journey. In her unique and wise voice, the author speaks to the universal themes and experiences of bringing new life into the world. If you or someone you know is pregnant, this is the book for them. BONUS! This book also contains an appendix full of positive affirmations for pregnancy and motherhood that were created and used by the author.”

If you do procure a copy, I would love to hear your thoughts via email or a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you’d like to be notified of any project updates, please subscribe.

A Poem for My Mother

I wrote this poem for my phenomenal mother.

ON MOTHER’S DAY
If my mother was a heart
she’d be curvy and full
and soft ‘round the edges

She would be oozing love
(sometimes a little too much)
and she’d smell of earth & roses

She’d be the deep red of knowing:
passion, love, loss, pain,
the interconnectedness of all things

She’d have cuts and scars and nicks
(perhaps that’s why she oozes so)
And she’d have healed, time & time again

She’d beat in time to the Universe
ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum,
Steady and loud and unafraid.

© 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

THE LOVE SERIES #7: L’Amour Art Car

Well, she’s finally done. The L’Amour Art Car is complete!

C’est fini! (Translation: It’s finished!)

There is a reason it’s been a while since my last Love Series post – this baby took me a month and a half to complete and was a serious undertaking. Now she gets her very own Love Series post.

The L’Amour art car is fully electric and covered in over 250 (!) quotes, lyrics, and poems all about love. Here’s just a little taste:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. -Martin Luther King Jr

We accept the love we think we deserve.- Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being A Wallflower

“I love you.”
“I know.” – Leia & Han, Star Wars

There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them. – Mary Oliver, Moments

At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song. – Etta James, At Last

For a full list of all quotes included on the car and more pictures and information, visit the L’Amour Art Car page which can be found HERE.

This car is my daily driver, so if you’re ever driving around Houston, be on the lookout – you might just spot me driving my kiddo around and jamming to some love songs! 🙂

[UPDATE: I just got word that I’ve been accepted to be in the 30th Annual Houston Art Car Parade! 🙂 It’s April 8th at 2pm – Hope to see you there!]

 

A Poet Responds to the Election

AN ELECTION RESPONSE

I sit here
in my room
alone.

Silently protesting.
Meditating.
Calling on Ghandi
and Mr. King.

I send out light
& love.

I see the fear
& I feel the sadness.

But there,
far in the distance,
I see a twinkle.
It’s warmth
draws me in.

I pull it closer
& it begins to expand.
The light is brightening
& growing larger
& larger
& even larger yet.
It is nearly full –
reaching its full capacity.

It explodes
into billions of dots of light.
It envelops me.
It holds me.
It comforts me
& strengthens me.

It is hope.
It is joy.
It is love.
It was here all along.
I just had to look for it.

Original sketch. Marker.

Original sketch. Marker.

© 2016. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

The Positive Affirmations Coloring Book

Well, it’s finally here – I’ve published my coloring book! 😀

I started the rough draft when I was pregnant with my daughter and SOMEHOW I’ve managed to finish the rough draft, final draft and publish it while caring for a rambunctious one year old.

OMG. IT'S REAL.

OMG. IT’S REAL.

There are two ways to procure a copy:
1) On Amazon HERE. 

OR

2) you can get a FREE PDF version by subscribing to my website HERE. 

If you do buy a copy or subscribe, I’d love to see any of your beautiful creations! Send them to me via email: angelle@lonestar.life or via Twitter: @angelleconant.

This book is for the world. I hope you enjoy. <3

[UPDATE 8/17/2016: Here’s one of the pages I colored. Motherhood – the struggle is real.]

One of 2 fill-in-the-blank affirmation pages in the coloring book.

One of 2 fill-in-the-blank affirmation pages in the coloring book.

THE LOVE SERIES #2: Acts of Love-ism

Though this Love Series has been brewing for years, it is the most recent terrorist attacks that have broken my heart and urged me to start this series now. When I read about these attacks in France, I felt dismayed and helpless.

So this is me helping in my own little way. This is me saying, “I’m so sorry, France. My heart breaks with you. I’m here for you.”

This is my act of Love-ism.

#2 in THE LOVE SERIES.

#2 in THE LOVE SERIES. Click the image for a clearer, larger picture.

© 2016. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

THE LOVE SERIES #1: Introduction

Today begins an idea that has been brewing for literally years. When I was in high school, I was given the assignment of creating a mission statement for my life. Being the over-achieving, perfectionist I was, I agonized over the assignment for days. I fell far down the rabbit hole and had a near existential crisis before realizing that there was only one true answer for me: LOVE. Try as I might to create a more ‘traditional’ mission statement, the only thing that rang true and was all-encompassing enough to satisfy me was simply: LOVE. Love, I thought (and still do), was the reason for life and a straight and true guidepost for any and all quandries. (Later I would find out about the nuisances of loving vs caretaking/rescuing someone). The teacher printed all of our mission statements out and I still have mine to this day.

Exhibit A. She's a little worse for the wear, but still kicking nonetheless.

Exhibit A. She’s a little worse for the wear, but still kicking nonetheless.

LOVE has been my mission and guidepost ever since. It is the thing that drives me, motivates me, moves me and inspires me. Two years ago, when I began my creative journey in earnest, I thought up an idea for a series of LOVE expressions. That idea has fermented for two long years and is now being brought to life.

This LOVE SERIES will be a collection of art about love. Love that I see. Love that I experience. Love that I feel needs to spread. Any and all iterations of LOVE that I come across and wish to express in an artistic way.

Along the way, if you have an ideas, questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me via my “Contact Me” page or in the comments section. If you’d like to receive new posts in your inbox, please subscribe here or in the sidebar.

It is my sincere hope and wish that these pieces might brighten the world in some way and bring our focus back to LOVE. For love is, in my opinion, the reason we are here and a great balm for our weary souls. So it begins…

#1 in THE LOVE SERIES.

#1 in THE LOVE SERIES.

© 2016. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved. 

Why Am I So Afraid of ‘Hard?’

What do I have against hard? Ever since my daughter was born, all I’ve been looking for is easy – the path of least resistance. I’ve shunned hard hard. So what is it about hard that I’m so afraid of?

My dear husband makes my life harder in many ways. I’m a neat freak, he’s…not. I love veggies and tofu, he… doesn’t. I’m a saver, he’s…not. But sharing my life with him is so worth the ‘hard.’ There has been so much joy and healing and fun and unconditional love because of him. And it’s only the beginning.

My daughter makes my life harder too. But she is so unbelievably worth it as well. Owning a home makes my life harder but it’s worth it. Being a stay-at-home mom, in many ways, makes my life more difficult, but it’s also worth it. Breastfeeding. Cloth diapers. Co-sleeping. Trying to get my daughter to nap on her own. Cooking unprocessed, whole foods. Eating low sugar. Self-care. Exercising. Meditating. Creating memories. All of these things require substantial effort and make my life ‘harder.’ But they also, in many ways, make it much easier at the same time. And they’re all things that I have chosen consciously and created within my life. And they are all worth it. And somewhere along the lines of exhaustion and fatigue, I’ve forgotten that hard isn’t a bad thing. I’ve forgotten that just because the path is hard doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path for me. If I’m presented with a hard path and an easy path, the universe isn’t telling me to take the easy path just because it’s easier. Giving birth to my daughter was hard but so worth it. So worth it, in fact, it didn’t even register as hard. It registered as a challenge but one I was happy to meet. And somewhere along the line I have stopped being happy to meet these challenges. All I want is easy. All I want is effortless.

Sometimes I think about my life if I had never gotten married and had children, almost as a fantasy. And when I’m in a dark place, so weary,  tired and run-down, it seems like a wonderful fantasy. But thinking about it now when I’m only slightly weary and exhausted, it just seems sad and devoid of the chaos and mess of life. This life that I have, that I have chosen for myself and created consciously, it’s hard but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mission San Jose

It is time for me to stop choosing the easy path simply because it is easy. Sometimes that will be all I can do and that’s okay and forgiving myself for that and being gentle with myself will be the hard part. Because even when I take the easy path there is always a hard part that goes with it. So no matter what I choose I’m taking the easy/hard path or the hard/easy path. Writing a book while being a stay-at-home mom to a rambunctious 1 year old who doesn’t seem to want to sleep without her mom next to her will be hard. But it will be so worth it. Unschooling my daughter for the next 17 years will be challenging but it will so be worth it. Making time for my self care is freaking hard but it’s worth it. And making time for dates with my husband is hard but worth it. Making time for friendships and family is hard but worth it. It is time I stopped running away from hard.  It’s not something to be afraid of – it is something I have chosen consciously, to create a life full of love, chaos, fun, mess and even challenge. Because an easy life, though seemingly wonderful at times, is boring for me and not the life I will choose for myself. This is the life I choose – time to go live it.

Open Letter to An American Teenager

One of my teenage relatives was recently having a rough time of things.

This is what I would say to her (and my high school self).

Dear Teen,

I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear and already know: life isn’t fair. And sometimes, I think, a teen’s life can have extra bits of unfair-ness. First, there is school. Don’t even get me started on school. You can read about why school sucks here, here, and here. Then there is the fact that you’re almost sort-of an adult but not really. You are given tastes of freedom and independence but none of the trust or respect to go with it. “Be an adult. Stop acting childish” but also “Listen to me. Do what I say. You live under my roof, you have no rights.” This is in addition to the pressure and expectations of everyone around you: friends, teachers, parents, relatives, your church, your culture, the media, etc. And as the cherry on top are all of the ‘normal’ things in life that suck: trauma, abuse*, hardship, death, etc. What I’m trying to say here is that, generally, a teen’s life can really suck. And when your life has a tendency to suck, you tend to have a few bad days (or weeks or months or…).

This is for those times. The bad days. First, I’m going to give you some advice my mom gave me (yes, parents do actually know something from time to time): you can’t change anyone but yourself. Another gem from the old lady: what other people think about you is none of your business. And lastly: don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides (this includes the crap people post on Facebook). These three statements have profoundly changed the way I look at myself and the world. 

IMG_20160229_111901

© 2016 Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved. 

Secondly, when I’m having a bad day, I know it’s time to get back to the basics:

  • FOOD :  Am I eating often enough? Am I eating good, healthy foods? How can I prevent ‘hangry‘ moments?
  • WATER : Am I drinking enough water? How can I always have water accessible to me?
  • SLEEP : Am I getting enough sleep? Is it good quality sleep? How can I improve the quality of my sleep?
  • MOVEMENT : Am I moving my body almost everyday? Is it enjoyable? If not, how would I enjoy moving and strengthening my body?
  • OUTDOORS : Am I getting enough time in the sun (and therefore, Vitamin D)? Am I getting enough time in nature? How can I get outside more?
  • MEDITATION : Am I spending enough time alone? Do I make time to deal with my big emotions? Do I make time to get in touch with myself and figure out who I am and what I want? Do I listen to my inner wise voice?
  • SELF-EXPRESSION : Am I making time to express myself in a way that feels true to my soul? Even if I’m not going to share it with another living person, it still needs to be expressed.

What I’ve just listed is essentially radical self care. And contrary to popular belief,  caring for yourself is not selfish. It’s like they say on an airplane: you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else put on theirs. And let me tell you – self care isn’t easy. Change takes time and you will fall off the wagon. Be kind and gentle with yourself and just get back on. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or get creative.

And if all else fails, get some perspective: read a book, make a list of what you’re grateful for, help someone else, give back, focus on what you do have. The world is so much bigger and more beautiful than high school and you are stronger, wiser, braver, and more resilient and powerful than you know. Hang in there – I promise you it will get better.

Oh, and one final thing:

YOU ARE VALUED.

YOU ARE NEEDED.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

YOU ARE LOVED.

All my love,

Angelle

*If you are currently in an abusive situation, I urge you to seek help. Please call one of the hotlines on this page. You will get through this. You will survive.

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