Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wisdom from an 8 Year Old

"You can't erase the past, but you can create a beautiful future."                   ~Michal Madison 


Wisdom from an 8 Year Old


I love Paije. She walked into my booth last Memorial Day weekend, when I was displaying my paintings at Art in the Park. Her mom and little bother were with her. I watched as she moved slowly from painting to painting, taking them all, as if she were memorizing each face, each brush stroke, deep inside her. She’s just eight, but the past two years have brought pain that is overwhelming. She doesn’t have a dad. She used to have a dad… but things changed. She's learned early that bad things happen and life goes on. Sometime we feel as if left us in the wake, trying to stay afloat.

 Soon after we met, I started teaching her art lessons. She wanted to learn how to draw eyes and faces. (I couldn’t say “No” to that!”) She soaks everything up like a dry thirsty sponge. Our plan is that she draws me one of the things that we are working on together at class,  and the rest of the week, she can draw whatever she wants, whatever her soul desires.

This past week she brought this drawing to me titled “Tears of Time”.

If you look closely you can see words, emotions, filling the iris. She’s also started writing something that goes with her art as well. She liked that I did that on my website and Facebook. (She’s one of my most avid fans via her mum’s account.)

 Here are her words:
     The tears of time keep falling and falling from looking in the past.
     All of the sad memories that have found her heart and eyes and soul.
     The tears will fall until she falls asleep.
     Then she will forget for the night.
     And the tears of time will come back and it won’t stop.
     But she can stop it.
     She knows with God and her family, she can get through this.
                                                                         ~Paije, age 8, September 2014

Art heals. Art helps us deal with the chaos that is going on inside, the stuff that doesn't make sense. I love being part of that process in a child’s life. Paije’s favorite painting of mine is “Shadow’s of the Past” (at top). I understand why. She has a print to remind her that, while we can’t make the bad stuff that has happened to us disappear, we can focus on the good stuff, on the light, on what is going right in our lives today. That is where we find hope to carry on, hope to get through the pain, the loss, the heartache. Paije realizes the gift of being surrounded by people who truly love her. The strength that comes from having Creator in her life.

Today, I hope you find the joy and beauty that are around you, the gifts that are in your life, the strength that carries you forward.
Surrounding yourself with art helps. Here’s where you can purchase mine: Ten percent of every sale is donated to Childhelp so that children who have been through extremely hard times can find hope. Thank you for buying my art and being a part of making Hope Happen!

Exquisite Blessings,
~Michal Madison

Friday, May 2, 2014

Connecting with Your Inner Child Tips


There is a little child in each of us. Are you good friends with that small one? I think for survivors of childhood abuse and sexual assault it's more difficult to connect. Well, I can only speak for myself. But I have had other survivors say it was challenging in the beginning.
My trauma therapy on Wednesday was great. I truly have the best-for-me therapist on the planet. He's so patient and wise. He had a few suggestions for connecting with my inner child that I'd like to share with you.

(I'm going to be using "she, her" as pronouns just so reading is easier. This in no way discounts the male survivors. This is for you too.)

Make a Deal. I told you how my inner child has been disrupting my life. Showing up in the middle of my busy-ness and demanding attention. Well, we've made a deal. I'm going to make time for her and she's going to let me get my stuff done. Two days in and things are going well.

Make Time for Her. Actually block out a certain amount of time in your everyday schedule to spend time with your little one. Pencil her in. When she knows you're going to show up and really be there for her, she'll open up and you heal. If you keep pushing her away, she's going to maybe hide for a while, but eventually she'll be back and she may be more demanding next time.

Listen. Let her tell you her story. One way to do that is by journaling. Actually let her journal. I'm right-handed, so I'm letting her write with my left hand. It's fascinating how that works. Not only does it look like a young child's hand writing, it sounds like a small child also. She really shows up. She says things and uses words I wouldn't to describe what's going on. No one was there to listen to her as a child. Now is her chance to be heard. This non-dominant hand journaling really works. Give it a try.

Do What She Wants... for a change. Did you love to color as a child? Get a coloring book and some crayons. Some days she may just want to curl up in a tight little ball and hide under the down comforter. Let her. Did you love stuffed animals? For me, my stuffed animals and my blanket, with the soft satin edge, were my friends. I didn't trust people. But, I felt safe with my stuffed toys. In my last counseling session I was feeling really small, much like a child in shock. My therapist gave me a stuffed animal to hold. I was clinging to it like a two-year-old. Finally I felt secure enough to talk again. The amazing thing is that it's actually my feeling "safe enough" that is allowing the small part of me to show up.

I'm making progress. I hope these things help you connect with your inner little one. What else has worked for you? I'd love to know.

Here's to Connecting ~ mm

And here's my website Michal Madison Art. Ten percent of every sale goes toward not only ending abuse, but helping heal children who have been abused. Maybe if they can start connecting with what's happening they won't be having to do all this work as an adult. They will be free, happy and healthy. Inside and out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Want to Really Love Her... I just don't know how

Why is it so hard for me to connect with my inner child?

I Wish I Loved Her...

I Want to Love Her. I Don’t Know How.

I have trauma therapy today. And wow do I need it. I woke up feeling yucky. Headache. Allergies. Often when I feel physically weak, I feel emotionally vulnerable. The mirror I passed in the hall revealed I was walking around biting my lower lip. I put an end to that, but only God knows how long I’d been doing it.

The other day my girlfriend asked me why I was acting like a little girl. I hadn’t even realized I was. We talked for the next few hours. She held me. I cried. So many things are going on inside of me. So much “stuff” is surfacing. Often I feel like I’m on a roller-coaster. While I love roller-coasters at amusement parks, these emotional ones? Not so much.
I guess I’m noticing it more now that I’m healing. Most days, I feel on top of the world. Excited about living. Free. Happy. More alive than I’ve ever been. Then suddenly in the midst of my day, as a highly functioning adult, I can collapse. Regress. Become like the vulnerable child who was wounded.
It’s taken me a long time to even like my inner child. I love children. They are drawn to me like a magnet and I to them. But my inner child? I have a hard time with her. I tend to treat her like all the other adults in her life did. She gets in the way of me living my life. She needs me at the most inopportune times. I feel badly for not loving her unconditionally. I want to love her. Sometimes I feel sorry for her. But, honestly, I don’t have a strong relationship with her. I think when I form one, I’ll be a lot farther along on my healing journey. It’s just that I don’t trust her. She doesn’t trust the adult me either. And why should she? I’m not always there for her. I don’t love her unconditionally.
While intellectually I know that nothing she did, as a child, was her fault. For some unknown-to-me reason, I still blame her. Just like the adults in her life did…for the abuse. (I know… It’s Wrong!) She was such an over-sexed, seductive child. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking, of course it wasn’t her fault. How could she have known anything different? Actually it was all she had ever known. That’s just sad. Really I want to wrap her up in my arms and hold her. I just don’t know how. I don’t know how to love that wounded child inside of me who is crying for my attention and love. The child inside who didn’t have any safe place to turn as a child. Well, that’s not entirely true. My aunties loved me. But, I don’t think I ever really felt safe as a child.
That unsafe feeling followed me through life. Even now, I don’t feel entirely safe. There is still a scared little girl inside of me. Maybe that’s why I can paint frightened, sad children so well. They are me. I am them. Still.
One day I will love the little me so much that she will be completely free. It will be safe for her to grow up completely. She won’t need to show up in my adult life and wreak havoc. Until then, I am learning to be patient with both parts of me: the adult me and the little me, who haven’t quite connected.
You can visit my gallery and see all the different versions of little me. Maybe you’ll see your little self in their eyes also. Every sale helps today’s wounded children start their healing process. Worthy cause. Art you love. It’s a win-win deal.
Here’s to connecting with and loving our inner children!

Copyright © 2014 Michal Madison Art, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Now That's Just Creative Genius at Work. You Can Do It Too

Don't wait for good things to happen. Get out there. Be Creative


I have stacks of fashion magazines at my house. They're full of fun ideas. I enjoy designing clothes, as well as painting. And I use old magazines for art collages. So I keep them around.
I was browsing through an old Elle magazine and happened on an article about fashion designer Kenneth Cole. He inspires me. Not just his elegant designs, but the way he uses this platform to share what he stands for. As we know, the beginning is one of the best places to start when we want to understand the magnitude of where someone is today. So let's go back...
"It's 1983, and Cole, who planned to launch his collection of women's shoes during New York Market Week, doesn't have the budget to rent a hotel suite to display his wares -- let alone a showroom. Plan B involves borrowing a friend's production trailer. But the 28 year old can receive a parking permit only if he's actually filming a movie. So the designer changes the name of his company from Kenneth Cole Inc. to Kenneth Cole Productions, tells the city he's filming a full-length feature called The Birth of a Shoe Company and sells 72,000 pairs of shoes in under 72 hours."
Now that's creative. Today Kenneth Cole is a $1 billion empire. It just shows me what our creative minds can do.

 Every one of us has something amazing to give to this world.  What is it that you are longing to share? What do you have to give that is unique to you?
Cole could have thought: "I'm poor. I don't have the backing to do this. I'll have to wait until I have the money. Besides, there are so many shoe designers. Who's going to buy my stuff anyway? What's the point?" I don't know if those feelings/thoughts ever even came into his mind. If they did, he, for sure, didn't let them stay. He didn't sit back and didn't wait for his ship to come in, he swam out to meet it.
Cole does way more than design. He's an activist. He uses his fashion ads to declare his truth. He stands for something and he's not afraid to let people know. I respect that! He invites conversation with others, because he wants to know where others stand on social issues as well. He knows that when we talk about things, share our thoughts, we grow. We get somewhere.
Yes, there are other shoe designers at New York Market Week, but there is only one Kenneth Cole. He got creative. He figured out a way to show the world what he had. The world is a better place because he's in it.
There is only one You. So what's stopping you from following your heart. Make your mark on this planet. Live your passion. Life will inspire you. I promise. And you will inspire others.
Want to see what I love to do? Visit Michal Madison Art. 10% of every sale is donated to Childhelp. Creating safety for children and ending abuse is something else I'm passionate about.
Find what brings you joy. Follow you bliss. Life is too short to be anything but happy. When we're doing what we love, we make a difference in the lives of others. It just happens.
Here's to making a difference in this world~ mm


Copyright © 2014 Michal Madison Art, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Me? Like a Screen-Printing Nun who Transformed Modern Art and Changed the World? Are you sure you have the right girl?

"There will be new rules next week." Corita Kent


Have you ever received a compliment that was so big you didn't know how to take it in? Here's mine. It came in a text message  from my wonderful friend the Honorable Judge Mary Elizabeth Bullock after she received my painting "Hope":
“Michal, you are the sweetest, most talented and gifted person I have met since the loss of a very dear artist friend of mine, Corita Kent. Corita was in a convent for many years where she began her amazing art. Like you, she had the soul of an angel. Your kindness gave me hope, hope in today, hope for tomorrow and importantly – hope in human kind….”
To fully grasp the depth of this compliment I’d like to share with you Corita Kent (1918-1986), the screen-printing nun who transformed the path of modern art. (Wouldn’t you like to be known for transforming something? Me too.)
Corita lived with passion. She took what she was given, a tiny art department and some students, and turned it into a global center for design and printmaking. She became pals with Buckminster Fuller. IBM was a client. Activist. Artist. Positive (She was unapologetically positive). Life inspired her. She gathered ideas everywhere she turned: from the Bible to the streets of L.A. She shamelessly copied her artistic contemporaries’ style (Andy Warhol, Shephard Fairey). And under her fearless artistic direction as an art teacher, the Los Angeles Immaculate Heart School became legendary (1947 to 1968). Buckminster Fuller said her art studio was “among the most fundamentally inspiring experiences of my life.”

In the late 1960s, Corita became even more of a social activist, focusing her art on civil rights and the Vietnam War. That rocked the boat for the religious leaders at the school. They didn’t like it just as much as they disapproved of the rock music she played during art class. Corita was a mover and a shaker. When the Catholic Church wouldn’t change with the times, allowing women more freedom, she left (1968). I love that she stood strong for what she believed in. I really admire that.

 Kent was a nun who established herself and had a prosperous profession. She even was the cover girl for Newsweek. She illustrated the Love stamp for the U.S. Post Office (1985). She’s painted the famous Rainbow Swash mural on a gas tank which has become a local landmark in Boston. I think it is the largest copyrighted art work in the world. Oh & they appropriately honored her, renaming the art studio at Immaculate Hear College Corita Art Center.

 I think each of us longs to change the world like Corita did. And we can, by doing whatever it is that we do best and giving it our all. If you need some inspiration, I'd love to create something especially for you, or you can choose from my collection at Michal Madison Art. Ten percent of every sale goes to making a difference in the lives of children (Childhelp). I guess that is something I have in common with Corita.

I hope you have a magical day filled with unapologetic positivity,

Mary Elizabeth Bullock, I don’t even know how to accept a compliment of this magnitude, but thank you from the bottom of my heart. Corita Kent inspires me. Thank you for introducing me to her life and her art. I love you. You make me feel like gold.

Thanks to Alisa Walker, Richard Howe, David Blazer and Google (Don't you love Google?) for the great information on Corita Kent.

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Copyright © 2014 michal madison art, All rights reserved.

Cats & Kids


What if they could all choose where they wanted to live?

Sid adopted me about four months ago. He showed up. He stayed. My home has become a cat haven… When I moved into my condo over two years ago I inherited a mama cat & four six-week-old kittens. They were living on my patio. It was the perfect cat-lady-starter-kit on my door step. I found a home for one kitten, but that still left me with four. Everyone, Riley, Tobi and Tate, got sprayed at four months. Well, everyone except Neytiri (the mom). I couldn't catch her. Then, I watched in horror as she got pregnant. Again! Everyone got locked inside. No boys allowed.

Six babies were born exactly two months later. I loved & hugged on those babies every day. They were good therapy. All but Feisty found a new home. I was down to five cats. Finally Neytiri & Feisty were also spayed & everyone was free to go back outside. Suddenly, my Neytiri disappeared. I searched to no avail.

Then just before Christmas the condo HOA said I needed to bring all the cat food inside because they were afraid I was also feeding stray cats. I was thinking: of course I am. They’re all stray cats and you should be paying me to feed them.  I've cut down on the cat population by spaying six of your baby makers! Anyway, the food came inside, but the slider stayed open enough for my kitties to come in & out. That’s when I realized I had two other cats. Max. The biggest black cat I've ever seen. Not fat, big as in 44” from his nose to his tail. His body is over two feet long. I think he's part panther. Love that big guy. And the adorable green-eyed ginger kitty Sid.

The biggest shock was waking up to a raccoon, looking at me, at night. Yes. In my house. The slider it's now locked in a position that only a cat can fit through. Raccoon problem solved.

So back to Sid. I got him neutered. He got his shots. He became a permanent fixture on my couch.
A couple of weekend ago. My girlfriend & I hear a couple talking outside.
Woman: "Look. It's Joker. He's looking at me. He's inside that house. Joker. Come Joker. He's not coming to me. Why won’t he come? He’s just staring at me."
Man: "That cat is no good. Leave him. Come on. Good riddance."
Woman: "I can't believe he just left me. Oh well."
And that was that. Away they went.  We stepped into the living room. Sure enough. Sid, aka Joker, is sitting at the slider looking out. I ran outside to see if I could catch them, but they were gone. I never even saw them. I wanted them to know I didn’t “steal” their cat. The slider was ajar. They could see that. And Sid wasn’t about to leave. They haven't come for him. I guess he's really mine now.

Many of you know, I also take care of my neighbor kids. Since this happened, I’ve been thinking, I bet I'd have a few of them permanently living with me, if they, like cats, could just go where they wanted and stay; where they were loved and fed and cared for. But they can't. I'm glad they at least know they can come here and get hugs and love and food, if they're hungry. They know I care deeply about each of them.

There are children all around us, just like my kitties, who are starving for love and a safe place. That's one of the reasons why I support Childhelp. It’s also why Trish and I started Butterfly Dreams for survivors. When you buy my art, 10% of every sale will be donated to ending abuse. It's a win-win for you ~fine art and a worthy cause. Here’s the link: Michal Madison Art

Tobi, Tate, Riley, Feisty, Max, Sid and I send love and thank you for helping make a difference in the lives of children.

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Copyright © 2014 michal madison art, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Awareness

April. Child Abuse Prevention/Awareness. Sexual Assault Awareness.

Child Abuse. Sexual Assault. They've both touched so many of us. Changed us. Haunted our lives. Fearlessness became fearfulness. Confidence shattered. Insecurity grew. Second guessing became second nature. Adrenaline surged. Fight or flight became every response. We have endure one of the most horrific crimes imaginable. We survived.

Years have passed since the trauma was an actual event. But not a day passes that we don't feel traumatized by what happened. Sometimes it's only a brief fleeting thought. Other days it's too overwhelming for words. Our body remembers and rehearses the pain. It takes our breath away. We break down. We break through.

Bravely we face every day. Courageously we fight for the freedom of our souls. We cry out to Creator. We scream "NO!" We ask "Why?" We pound pillows. We kick heavy cushions. As we release the inner rage we become lighter. Our very existence becomes an inspiration to others. We become an Unstoppable Force for Goodness. Truth. Justice.

The wind whips around us. Nothing knocks us down. The rain pours on our parade. We dance in it and march on. In the depths of our spirit is an unquenchable flame. We are truth-tellers. We bring hope We empower others. We live love. We walk with grace. Once again we're fearless. Confident. Brave. We are Survivors.

In this newsletter you'll read on Victim's impact statement "Why? Daddy Why?" The wound go deep. You will learn the Signs Children Manifest when Being Molested. Share them with other. When you recognize a child is being hurt, do something. You will discover ways to empower children. Your eyes will be opened once again to the truth and pain of abuse through poetry by Penny Smith. You'll read words from our the CEO/Founder of Butterfly Dreams, and find out what's on our agenda this month.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it for you.

~ Michal Madison

Here's the link to the April 2014 edition of  Butterfly Dream Abuse Recovery Newsletter...