This is a woman whom you are going to want to know by the end of reading this. I mean really look at those paintings?
I saw Flora’s work once on Pinterest and that once was enough for me to know and fall in love with it’s spirited, vibrant and down to earth movement of paint. She leads these sensational workshops which I was privileged to take part in a few years ago at Call of the Wild Soul where she infuses movement of body and paint, intentions and letting go in the most beautiful way. Flora is an incredible teacher and woman and I have been so looking forward to releasing this INterview so you can fall in love too! Check out her offerings at the end oh can’t wait!
Flora Bowley is an internationally celebrated painter, workshop facilitator, top-selling author, visionary and inspirationalist. Her soulful and transformational approach to painting (and living) has inspired thousands of people across the globe to “let go, be bold and unfold” as they move through fear and welcome joyful spontaneous expression back into the creative process. Combining twenty years of professional painting experience with her background as a yoga instructor, massage therapist and lifelong truth seeker, Flora infuses her teaching and painting style with a deep connection to body, mind, and spirit. This unique fusion offers up a truly transformational experience—one that honors intuition, self-discovery and the perfectly ever-changing present moment..
Lets think about yoga for a moment and allow it to guide us through the first three questions:
What does your inner wisdom want you to take in/absorb/feel with your inhale?
I believe that our souls possess a divine wisdom that is always present, but it is our constant work to remember, honor and act on this wisdom. Inhaling seems like an ideal time to tap into this kind of remembering — remembering that I belong, that I am forever connected to all things, that I am right where I am supposed to be.
What does your inner wisdom desire you to embrace/know/honor in the pause?
For me the pause is about presence. I believe cultivating full presence is one of the biggest gifts we can offer ourselves in terms of being fully connected, aware, and rooted in gratitude. So often our busy story-making minds are writing their own versions of what is actually happening at any given time. I think for me the pause is becoming present and letting go of the ‘story’ and just being in the beingness, if you will.
What does your inner wisdom say you need to release/make room for with the exhale?
I am constantly working to let go of rushing, over-doing, and my tendency to get ahead of myself which can all be boiled down to a feeling of not enough-ness. In the exhale, I am letting go of not enoughness and accepting that whatever is happening is actually just right, and accepting that I don’t need to be a super woman every day!
What are you saying YES too?
A friend recently asked me: “What feels like low hanging fruit to you right now — like what feels reeeeealy easy and doable without a lot of efforting? I LOVE these questions and have been thinking about them a lot. I’m happy to realize that what is lighting me right up right now are also the things that feel easy. For example, I am taking the year off from traveling to teach in my Portland studio. Being on my home turf feels extremely nourishing and easy, and as a result, I feel super lit up about it. So that’s a full bodies YES for me — rooting down, letting people come to me, not feeling like I have to run myself ragged traveling all over the world. I am also loving the collaboration work I am doing with various people right now. I am a natural collaborator, and I love the magic that happens when people come together to share ideas and cross-pollinate their inspiration to birth something new. That is really lighting me up these days.
What are you bow down, kiss the ground grateful for?
Gratitude is a practice I have incorporated into my life in many ways. I just recently made a list of 100 things I am grateful for, but I could have kept going way past 100! I truly feel that my life is blessed, and
staying connected to gratitude allows for even more goodness to flow in.
One thing I am really grateful for is having parents who loved and accepted me in all my quirkiness. They encouraged me to explore what I really loved, and instilled in me this idea that I can do anything. I’m also forever grateful that I am able to do work in this world that I am truly passionate about and that makes such a positive impact in the world. To me, this is the dream.
Tell me how you rise up in fullness?
A huge piece of rising up in fullness is about trusting myself — trusting my instincts, my intuition, my inner wisdom, my curiosity.
When I can come from a place of trust, it becomes easier and easier to make bold choices and fully own my voice and style. The second piece to rising up is about staying honest about what feels truly inspiring and interesting to me in any given moment. This means not allowing myself to get caught up in what other people want or expect, but honoring the fire of inspiration instead. When I do find myself trying to people-please, there tends to be a real staleness in my work — it’s like you can feel the inauthenticity.
What projects have come out of when you have rose up in your fullness?
My workshops are a really good example of rising up and staying true to myself because I bring in a lot of aspects of my life that are not just about the painting process. I incorporate ceremony, intention setting, movement, music and community — all things I am passionate about. In these ways, it is a really holistic body-mind-spirit approach to the creative process that comes directly from my own life experience. Its been really affirming to see so many of my interests swirling together to create a really unique offering, and I think it’s what has set me apart in a lot of ways. Its such a natural offering for me because it is simply who I am.
What supports the true expression of your authentic self?
Health. Vitality. Getting my heart beat up everyday!
If I can connect with my physical body, breath and movement, the leap to connect to intuition
and something greater than myself is much easier.
If I am not moving my body and feeling kinda sluggish, it’s much harder for me to access my creative process and find my flow. I exercise a lot, I do yoga, and I often dance while I paint. It all feels really connected to me.
What kind of lover do you want to be to yourself? What love are you giving to yourself?
My word for this year is nourish and it really sums up where I am at and why I am choosing to stay home this year. I got pretty burnt out from over-doing and over-traveling, so I had to recalibrate and reevaluate my priorities. I am loving myself these days by being really gentle, nourishing my spirit and doing a lot self care. I no longer see self care as indulgent. I am learning to accept it as the foundation I need for everything else in my life to “work.” Getting massages, eating healthy food, going to yoga and connecting to nature are all important parts of of this foundation.
What are your tools and teachers? What have you been learning from them personally?
This might sound ridiculous, but I got a dog in June and she has become one of my great teachers in this lifetime — teachers do come in many forms! She has added so much love, snuggles and more time outside every single day. Time with her is just such a gift. In addition to my dog guru, I have always considered the women in my life to be some of my greatest teachers. The depth and wisdom I find with my peers and friends is immeasurable — so much mirroring and reflecting, woah! Finally, I would say my personal painting practice is one of my greatest teachers. Even after twenty plus years, I learn something new every single time I step up to a blank canvas — never a dull moment.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?
This circles back to the very first question about remembering, because for me, this is what life is all about. Remembering why I am here, recognizing my gifts and figuring out how to share them with others.
I also believe we are all here on a healing journey in one way or another. For me, it’s about learning to love myself and others in a much deeper and bigger way.
I’d say that’s my mission in life.
Want some monthly inspiration to nourish your creative soul? Check out Flora’s up coming series: Studio Diaries!
This May she will be releasing a beautiful monthly subscription offering videos including painting exercises, interviews, live studio painting sessions, yoga and holistic nutrition videos.
We can’t wait!
Also try her ground breaking workshop Bloom True!
‘Bloom true: the E-course’ presents a groundbreaking and transformational approach to painting (and living) that celebrates intuition, connects body, mind and spirit and allows unique and expressive paintings to emerge naturally and authentically.
The next Bloom True E-course will begin on June 1st, 2015. Registration for the course is now open.