Saraswati, #sheleaps and painting real life stuff

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My public #sheleaps challenge in collaboration with the Practice Movement Studio is well underway, and for 21 days I have decided to paint real life stuff! Paint the ordinary, you know… my life! My life, which I think is far from the ordinary since I’ve literally taught myself to see the beauty in the mundane thanks to my art & yoga practice… but I digress…

Here are some of my paintings so far! :) Most of which where taken on my trip last week to stunning Alberta!

Whenever I start a 21 days or 100 days or leaps, I always call on the goddess Saraswati (picture below). Saraswati is the emblem of my Art & Yoga Studio, and I call on her when I start a new project !

In yoga philosophy, Saraswati is the goddess of communication, self-expression and truth. She helps you float on and into any challenge.

In yoga philosophy, Saraswati is the goddess of communication, self-expression and truth. She helps you float on and into any challenge.

But before the Alberta stuff….Day 1 his is my backyard!! ( a wee bit more tropical than Cow Bay, it might be wishful thinking after all! This is what I look out too from one of the windows of my art studio.

But before the Alberta stuff….Day 1 his is my backyard!! ( a wee bit more tropical than Cow Bay, it might be wishful thinking after all! This is what I look out too from one of the windows of my art studio.

Day 2 is in Alberta! My mother in law has the most awesome flower pots!

Day 2 is in Alberta! My mother in law has the most awesome flower pots!

I painted those from there!!

I painted those from there!!

She also has the most awesome cactuses!!

She also has the most awesome cactuses!!

Then I started taking pictures, and painting that!! THAT’S REAL LIFE PEOPLE!! lol

This next one might be my favourite!!



Love , love, love where this 21 days of painting is taking me! Places I never thought I would paint before. Not sure why I resisted so long to paint more real life stuff.

Off leaping I go on painting real life I go!

Exceptionally proud of everyone on this quest!

E.x o




To paint the ordinary... here we go!

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It’s Day 9 of my public #sheleaps challenge! and ps.... I am doing it too! 👊🏼

( my third 21- days #sheleaps this summer... woot ! woot!!)

For many years now, I have been resisting painting "still life" and "real life" stuff. Its easy for me to paint magical realism.


I paint what I imagine.
I paint my dreams.
I paint magic gardens where leaves are blue and pink.
I paint women with whales in their bellies and little girls that fly with eagles and bubbles.
But since I believe that magic is found in the ordinary and the boring, for this 21 days, I am challenging myself to paint the ordinary!
A constant thread for us SHE QUESTER : what you resist, it's there that your soul can grow.
I can’t wait to show you my “still life” paintings on this blog, later this week !
Remember #sheleaps -the moment you want to stop, that’s when the real work begins.

Love you so much!

E .xo

SHE LEAPS: Challenge begins August 5th!

21 Days of "SHE" Leaps

#sheleaps

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.- Lao-Tzu 

Jessie Redmond Photography

Jessie Redmond Photography

This summer, I sat down and wrote my priorities, values and feelings.

 In a nutshell, this is what was rising in me now…

My priorities

Being present for my life, then my family life.

Stay healthy with running, yoga and dancing. Painting SHE. Holding space for myself + students. 

Radiantly alive, loving and giving of my light. Knowing my spark. 

I value:

Magic, Beauty, Connection with body, mind, soul. Dancing. Unrestrained living. Passion. 

I feel: 

Enthusiastic , Grounded, Powerful, Tenacious, Refreshed. 


After doing this mini soul inquiry exercise, I decided on my #sheleaps challenge. My #sheleaps challenge idea is heavily inspired from my SMALL DAILY ACTS OF BRAVERY philosophy. Watch the episode with this title on my CBC documentary here: 

Back at the beginning of the summer, there was a soul whisper telling me to go plunge in the freezing ocean water for 21 days in a row ( crazy! made no-sense!!). Another whisper (that one was more like a scream!) was that I wanted to be offline for 21 days. So technically I had two SHE LEAPS set out: ocean plunge and digital detox

AND I DID IT! 

Did plunging in the ocean everyday make me feel enthusiast, grounded, powerful, tenacious, refreshed? YES, instantly! Was it everyday that I wanted to dip my body in the freezing ocean? Nope. But fuck it! I did it anyways. (Let it be known that I live 2 minutes away - the ocean is very accessible!) 

Did going offline for 21 days make me present for my life and family life? YES! Was I a clearer conduit for holding space to the women that mattered most. YES. Did it reclaim my time, and allow me to paint more? Fuck, yes! In times of solitude, I get to connect with the magnitude of my authentic self. Deep work and much less noise - that was the 21 days SHE LEAPS pilgrimage I was really seeking because I know what I value:  magic, beauty, connection with body, mind, soul. Dancing. Unrestrained living. Passion. 

Btw- it scared me to do both. The ocean plunge is the one I thought I wasn't going to finish. One day, there was a thunderstorm, and I went so far as to think it was too dangerous to take the plunge. But REALLY, it was just my inner critic putting me down. I just waited for the lightning to subside, and hop(!) I went. They're is something powerful in witnessing  my fearful train of thoughts and going beyond my fears . I realized that the days I resisted the most, are the days I needed my plunge THE MOST. As the days went on, it got easier and I stayed longer. I tried to not scream or make big movements when I took the plunge - I just went in and kept repeating the mantra "I've got this".

The digital detox is obviously tricky since my livelihood depends on me posting my art and writings online. But if anything, I wish I could have taken a longer Instagram sabbatical. To my surprise, it was easier than I thought. It was lovely to reclaim my time. I really didn't miss it and realized how much I had been craving my own magical kingdom of thoughts and sacred expression. This time alone - without so much screen time - lead to a complete restructuring of how I use my social media channels and how/when I spend time on the world wide web. 

#sheleaps is a public challenge but I see the SHE QUEST participants (YOU!)  as luminaries for it. Whatever it is you choose, you are ready! Here are 10 SHE LEAPS potential ideas

  1. 21 days of making veggie or fruit smoothies

  2. 21 days of painting flower power ( I am gifting this class for free only for SHE QUEST and art lovers of this group! - please email me if you would like your code!) 

  3. 21 days of journalling in the mornings for 5 minutes.

  4. 21 days of breathing/yoga exercises (review all videos so far).

  5. 21 days of no make-up.

  6. 21 days of pulling an oracle card. 

  7. 21 days of going to the beach - rain or shine.

  8. 21 days of making wild flower bouquets.

  9. 21 days of singing mantras.

  10. 21 days of nature walks - rain or shine. 

What will be your SHE-LEAPS? 

Rules: 

1) Starting Aug. 5th, Do one thing everyday for 21 days! One small daily act of bravery. Use #sheleaps and tag me @estelle.thomson and @thepracticemovement.ca for your chance to win a 4 month SHE QUEST MEMBERSHIP ( sept, oct, nov, dec) AND one month unlimited yoga at the new studio in Dartmouth “The Practice”. The more you post under the hashtag #sheleaps, the more chances you have to win.

2) Really do it! It will be easier if you answer the soul inquiry questions above: What are my priorities?  What are my values?  What do I want to feel? On the days you don't want to bother, go back to your intention behind your small daily acts of bravery.

3) When we commit to something that is aligned with our priorities, values and feelings our spirit SOARS with gratitude & delight. Yes! This is a rule. Works every time.

Jessie Redmond Photography

Jessie Redmond Photography

Start with 5 minutes a day of something that perhaps scares you and /or makes you nervous. Your SHE-LEAPS have the powerful potential to become an ingrained daily ritual for the life you truly want to live.

The Practice Studio and I cannot wait to see your LEAPS!! Announce before Aug. 05! 

Estelle xo