The Art of Healing

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A few years ago, I was going through a major transition and having such a difficult time understanding the spiritual shift that was occurring in me. Someone recommended that I read a book called "The Four Agreements". I don't really read books because my attention span outside of art is equivalent to that of a fruit fly near wine. So, the idea of reading an entire book was truly overwhelming. I got the audio book and listened over a few days as I traveled to and from my daily endeavors.

The book was poignant, simple, provocative and honestly life changing. I don't know that I was ready for the wisdom the book had to offer at the time. Transition is distracting and much of what I heard was lost in translation. By the end of 2017, I was spiritually drained making it very difficult to produce work and practice proper self-care. I deemed 2017 "The Year of Letting Go".

After a very stubborn bout with pride, fear and over protectiveness of myself, I started to see a massage therapist, energy worker and intuitive life coach AKA Magician named, Gabriela of Catalyst Massage & Coaching; who recommended that I read...you guessed it "The Four Agreements". I decided to read the book again. It was a completely different experience this time around. Half of it, I didn't even recall reading the first time. Learning to adapt these four principles to my everyday life has truly been a healing experience.

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Each session with Gaby has been challenging (in a good way). This work has forced me to face myself in ways that I never have before. Many things that I was in denial about or not even aware of have come to surface and I am dealing with them head on. Love, money, career, family, relationships, and more have all been a little stunted because of wounds that never fully healed. In addition to the agreements, I am making healthier decisions overall. I've had to make a lot of changes in my home and work space through the art of Feng Shui and spiritual guidance. My lifestyle has changed drastically; from the food I eat to the company I keep. I am naturally a very intuitive person and I know I'm heading in the right direction with proper guidance and self care.

The art work I’ve been producing in the last few months is very different than anything I’ve created before in a very cleansing way. I feel clearer, cleaner and happier. I continue to see Gaby for maintenance as she keeps me on track when I start to fall off and holds me accountable. In letting go, I’ve realized I am making room for newer, healthier everything. I am no longer holding on to anything that brings me pain, confusion or sorrow. Healing is necessary for me to live my best life, so this is what I will continue to do.

If you are feeling pain in any way whether it is physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional, you might need some healing. Healing takes time, takes courage, takes letting go and acceptance. We are all a work in progress, we are all a canvas, what we paint is truly up to us. I'm so grateful to Catalyst for getting me through some of the most difficult life work I've had to do yet. When I say I am better because of the work I've dedicated myself to, I mean it with all my heart. If you are in or near CT, willing to travel to Stamford and you are truly ready to make change for the better, call Catalyst. The only way you will regret it is if you are not ready and willing to heal.


The Art of Letting Go

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When I was seven years old, my parents were divorced. The aftermath has lasted a lifetime. I know you are probably wondering what this post has to do with art, stay with me. My parents’ divorce was the first of many disappointments I would have to face in this life, but it was also the catalyst for so many beautiful things to come. During and after their divorce, I needed desperately to understand why this happened to our little family. I was a quiet child and often found it difficult to form the appropriate words to express what I was feeling, I began to find solace in drawing (read more about that here) Twenty years later, I was facing divorce again but this time it was my own. I found solace in paint.

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During those life changing circumstances, I had to let go of what I thought in order to gain what I knew to be true. 2017 was an entire year of letting go for me. I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. From my kids becoming young adults, to my home of twelve years, expectations, lovers and even close friends, I had to let them all go. It’s scary, it’s sad, it’s painful, it’s overwhelming, it’s necessary. In all of that letting go, I realized that I was making space for new memories, new goals, new friends, new love, new art. For the first time in my adult life I can focus almost solely on myself. That is exciting and terrifying all at once.

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There is an art to letting go. It requires a blank canvas, maybe some new pencils, brushes and paint. It requires patience with yourself and your environment. Evaluation of all that you’ve been holding onto and painfully honest answers why. Silence, concentration, breakage, raw emotions, acceptance and execution are all required in this process. My life is kind of like a blank canvas right now. I am starting over in so many ways and there are days when I just sit and stare at the canvas waiting for something miraculous to happen. Most days I realize that I am the miracle, and no longer do I need to hold onto anything that doesn’t help to create a new masterpiece of these pieces.

Dear Ancestors

My Grandparents, Richard Frank Cobb & Alicia McLaughlin Cobb

My Grandparents, Richard Frank Cobb & Alicia McLaughlin Cobb

Ever since I was a little girl I had the innate feeling that there were angels watching over me. My grandma Alice passed away four years before I was born and I always felt a strong connection to her even though I had never met her in person. I have been told that she was a quiet woman but stern. A woman who took care of her family first and made sure they took care of each other. I was named after her and though I am not very quiet these days, I am very quiet by nature and stern. I'd like to think that I have some of the amazing traits of my late grandmother as well as many others who came before me. I've never been the type of person to focus too much on the past but when I became a mom I realized that I needed to know some of my history so I could understand better where I came from and so that my children could do the same. Being an artist has also formed a very strong connection to those who came before me because utilizing my gift and fulfilling my purpose is a way of honoring their memories. I've already written a little about those that came before me in a previous blog. This is a letter to them...My ancestors.

Dear Ancestors,

I honestly don't even know where to begin because I have so much to say. I don't know you because I never met you, but I do know you and I have met you. I've met you in my dreams, in my daily conversations with God and the universe. I've met you in the eyes of my father and the womb of my mother. My voice, my tears, my brushstrokes, my visions, my spirit, they are all a beautiful compilation of you. When I am near water I can hear your voices whispering in the tide and shouting through the waves. In the sunlight on my skin I feel the warmth of your love and the burning desire of your souls. Sometimes I don't feel human because you are so near to me that I am floating on a cloud watching the world with you. But that is what makes this life such a beautiful experience. I am human and I am here; I exist during a time that you all have created, I exist because of you.

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Sankofa Symbol

If I haven't learned anything else in this lifetime, I have learned this... I have a responsibility to serve purpose without expectations. There are gifts that have been given to me that are special. Gifts that perhaps were yours and you never had the opportunity to utilize them because of your circumstances so you asked for them to be passed down. Perhaps I am your Sankofa, your hope, your light. Perhaps I am supposed to fulfill a promise that you all once made to yourselves, to your families, to God. I don't take any of this lightly; it is in fact the heaviest responsibility I've ever carried in any of my lifetimes. The difference in this lifetime is that I have you all and the amazing people that I believe you and God conspired to place in my life right here with me helping me carry it through.

I feel you communicating and pushing me consistently. There are moments when I do and say things without explanation. Knowledge and wisdom that I posses that I can't comprehend. There is a miracle in the ability to hear that which the world around me has tried so hard to silence. I hear you, I feel you, I see you and I honor you. I pray that I make you proud and that I have in some way began the journey to healing that our bloodline deserves. Your work, your struggle, your darkness and pain was not in vein.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything that you've done in order to create a more promising future for everyone that came after you. I am so proud to come from people of strength, courage and humility. I don't know all of your stories, I don't know what you had to endure in order to survive in your lifetime. I do know that I am better person because of you. I ask that you continue to guide and strengthen me in the moments, hours, days and years ahead so that I can one day be the beacon of light you all have been for me.

With love,

your Sankofa, Alicia

Opportunity Knocks

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Have you ever looked back and wondered how everything happened so fast? In those moments I wish that I kept a journal to have documented every crack, window and door that has opened ever since I jumped off of that cliff. I have been so busy that even on my "slow" days I am still busy with my next project. I log onto my social media sometimes just to catch up with my progression because I forget to take pictures on occasion.

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When an opportunity passes you by and you don't realize it until much later when it can't be revisited, it is not a good feeling. When I decided to become a full time artist it was a very spiritual decision, a total leap of faith because there was no plan. Everyday opportunities to do what I love for a living were passing me by and I knew that if I just did it, just believed in myself and had faith in my journey opportunities would continue to come and be mine for the taking.

It is impossible at this point to list them all but here is a synopsis of the opportunities that have knocked and I answered:

January, 2015 I took two weeks off of everything to decompress from the job that I had just resigned from and prepare for the journey of a lifetime (It was the first time that I took an actual vacation for myself.)

February, 2015 I applied to create art in two different public art projects (I had never created public art before). The maximum number of designs per project was four, I submitted the max for both in hopes that at least one would get selected for each. Two were selected for both.

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March, 2015 I traveled to New Orleans, LA to attend "La Fete" which is an annual body paint convention where body painters unite to teach and learn from one another. I met a lot of other people who are as passionate about body paint as I am. They became an addition to my already growing body paint family. While at LaFete I received a call from one of the public art projects I applied for and found out not one but two of my designs had been chosen. When I got back home from LA I found out the same for the other project I had applied for.

April, 2015 I spent the entire month between Stratford and Stamford completing the four public art projects I was chosen for in March. I successfully completed all four by the deadline.

May, 2015 I was asked to lead my very first sip & paint for a fundraiser benefit for Power of Five which is a non profit of five ladies that raises money for scholarships for local high school kids in Bridgeport, CT.

June, 2015 I hosted my very first sip & paint event along with my studio partner, Janelle Gordon in our studio at the American Fabrics building in Bridgeport, CT.

July, 2015 I participated as a featured artist for the second time in New York City Body Painting Day hosted by Andy Golub. My model was an amazing young lady by the name of Grace. I painted a portrait of John Lennon backed by vibrant colors provided by sponsors, Kryolan. The image still circulates as one of the highlighted images from the event.

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August, 2015 I continued to host Sip & Paint events privately and in studio. I was approached by a good friend who asked me if I might be interested in teaching art in an after school enrichment program in Bridgeport. A few weeks later, I was approached by another friend who wanted me to teach art in her after school enrichment program in New Haven. I sad yes and started teaching in both programs within two weeks of each other.

September, 2015 my body art was featured in a two page spread of SkinMarkz Magazine which is a very popular online face and body art magazine.

October, 2015 I flew to Atlanta to attend Living Art America's 6th annual National Body Art Championships and to hang out with some of my painty peeps. I wanted to see what competition was like because I was trying to decide if it was something I wanted to do. I was actually handed the opportunity to assist a painter in the emerging category thanks to my friend Joy Monroe.

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A couple of weeks after the competition I took a much needed break and flew to Barbados to visit my good friend Markiesha. I spent a total of eight days exploring the island, meeting people, eating, drinking and being merry. I also had the opportunity to interview on a popular news program called "Good Mornin' Barbados". This opened up the opportunity for me to share more about body art and what I do on an international level.

November, 2015 I was introduced to the CEO of a company that is doing amazing things to build Bridgeport back up and end homelessness in CT

December, 2015 I was hired for my first gig with this organization and I've continued to work with them throughout 2016 creating murals and other community projects.

There is a lot that has happened in between all of the above and throughout 2016 I've continued to grow as an artist and entrepreneur. I've met amazing people and built beautiful relationships and alliances that will continue to help me to grow.

A pic of my model, Brian Cobb performing at competition

A pic of my model, Brian Cobb performing at competition

Fast Forward to present day... I recently had a very cool opportunity. Most people who know me, know I'm about my business and will contribute much time and energy to see it's growth. I entered to compete into The North American Body Art Championships for the first time. I usually would not enter into a competition because I thought that competing might take away from my passion as a body painter. I couldn't have been more wrong and I am so glad that I answered that knock on the door telling me to go ahead and enter. It was an exhilarating experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Being among some of the worlds top body painters was an honorable reminder that I worked really hard to get there. We placed in the top ten out of 26 which I felt very proud of, seeing that it was my first time ever competing.

I know now after many different opportunities, there were times that I was so focused on what was in my line of sight that I never even heard the knock on the door. Opportunities are endless and each one would have probably taken me into a different direction in my life. I'm kind of glad I wasn't paying as much attention as I do now. When you hear it, you can choose to answer the door or let the opportunity knock. If you choose the ladder you could miss out but you could also be dodging a bullet. Either way I usually choose to answer and decide whether or not to walk through once I know what's on the other side. Yes it's risky but I believe it's worth it.