Common Sense 1:1-7

“Do not put your fingers in the mouths of donkeys. Do not drink chocolate milk when listening to a joke. Don’t go down in that basement. When someone begins a sentence, “Don’t take this the wrong way,” walk away, and delete their number. If you’re going to apply eyeliner on your bottom lid on a hot day, apply powder before and after to make it stay put. Check your slip upon leaving the ladies’ room, because bustles are not a thing anymore. If you always remember, even on your worst day, that you are loved, your good days will multiply, and verily I say, so will your blessings.”
-Common Sense 1: 1-7

the 8 Blessings

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via GIPHY. Thanks, GIPHY! <3

I love this GIF so much! Just for fun, googled “humanity” quotes. Goodreads’ top one was this:
“The Seven Social Sins are:
Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.”
-Frederick Lewis Donaldson, from his sermon at Westminster Abbey,
London, on March 20, 1925.

So to positively language that, what would be the 7 acts of good karma?
Wealth with meaningful contribution.
Pleasure with heart-connection.
Knowledge of the heart and mind.
Commerce with conscience.
Science with humanity.
Worship with service to the less fortunate.
Politics with principle.
And one for good measure…
Life in living color and lots of play.

All Best Wishes,

Kanta

Responsibility and Freedom

“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” -Esther Lederer (pen name, Ann Landers)

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Gautama Buddha

Anger is a natural, God-given gift of energy to remedy a situation. If we do not take positive actions, and instead, allow our anger to fester, we have misused the gift. This involves taking personal responsibility for maintaining our dignity and our boundaries. If someone has shown us disrespect, tried to help themselves to what is ours, or otherwise caused us harm, it is up to us to discern, consider, and then take appropriate action, which may require engagement, its opposite, no contact, or a myriad of other reasonable variations. What is unreasonable and counterproductive is to stay stuck in icky angry or sad victim poses, playing the “spiritual” martyr, the “justified” rager, or the “long-suffering” wisher and hoper.

Prayers in these circumstances are most effective when they have to do asking for wisdom and courage.

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Sure, affirmative prayer for peace is important and helpful. It can help is be part of the peace and contribute our share of love and peace to the energy soup we all swim in. But it’s a freewill universe. Anyone who has ever grown up with an abusive, alcoholic, or seriously mentally ill parent will tell you that you cannot love or pray someone into being the person you wish they’d be. Nobody achieves enlightenment on demand and on the timetable of others. So, it makes practical and spiritual sense to recognize people as they are right now and do the best you can to be your strong, fierce, loving, compassionate self, neither hating nor enabling haters. And once you’ve done what you need to do (or have decided you don’t need to), you get to take your attention elsewhere. That’s freedom.

 

Happy World Emoji Day!

As an artist, writer, and performer of transpersonal guided imagery, I recognize the power of archetypal symbols in helping us better communicate with others and with deeper layers of ourselves. So, Happy World Emoji Day!

On this sacred occasion, may we all find joy 🎉, love and compassion ❤️, and self-acceptance. Because people who feel like poo 💩 try to project that on to others 😈😾👀 and the karma comes back around, to do that just is silly 😜, and not in a good way. When we know we’re OK, 👍 we can more easily see 👁others as OK too and we can all be happier! May we find purpose and launch each day with our inner fire 🔥, the desire to be our best and contribute our best ✈️, whatever our gifts we may have to offer 👯👳🏾👮🏼👷🏼🏃🏽✍🏻. May we feel connected to our intelligence 🤓and to the vast Intelligence of the universe 🌞🌟the Great Mystery, that Love ❤️❤️❤️ which we find it convenient to call God. May we allow that Love to inform our choices and to inspire us to delight in our world 🌎 in all its beauty and glorious diversity. All creatures bright and beautiful 🌻🌺👈🐸🐯🐝🐜🐴🐊🐠🐣and our brothers and sisters of all colors 🎨 and cultures 🎎. May no one be regarded as alien 🤖👽, less than human, or treated as such 😱😭, for our prime directives are love and respect 😍🙏 and we are all connected 🕸. We may be human, but we can aspire to our birthright as expressions of That LOVE ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ from which we come and to which we will return. 😇👑. May we learn to surf 🏄🏼 the weird parts and celebrate the good 🌞.
Respectfully 🎩, Kanta Bosniak 💐

Kanta Bosniak Folk Art Gallery Chapel: Boho Chic Your Wedding!

wedding susan and david kiss

adapted from my article “Artful Weddings in Floyd” in Floyd Magazine

When planning a wedding, the first thing most couples consider is the venue. Ideally, just as home décor matches a couple’s lifestyle and tastes, so should the setting for their ceremony reflect the couple’s preferences and aesthetic. Settings can be elegant, grand, and formal, or rustic, laid-back, and relaxed. I love the entire range of weddings and enjoy the variety of beautiful venues in the area. One of my favorite experiences was a day in which I officiated a large formal wedding the afternoon at a winery and then changed my white clerical scarf to a tie-dyed one for an intimate evening wedding in a butterfly garden. Both weddings were lovely in their own way.

Whether in an outdoor setting or an interior space, the venue ideally serves as a sacred space that reflects what inspires the couple, makes them feel good, and reflects their values. For many couples, simplicity is an important value. Or others, fun, uniqueness, and adventure rank high on their list.

Couples getting married for a second time, coming to Floyd for a couple’s getaway destination wedding, or those who simply want a meaningful and beautiful ceremony for a few close friends and family members, and those who want to balance affordability with fun and festivity may choose to have a relatively private ceremony and follow up with wedding announcements and a party at some later time.

All of these elements come together in a down-to-earth, homey, playful, colorful, and quirky venue for unique elopements and small weddings. I’m happy and grateful that after 46 years of teaching meditation, 45 years of exhibiting my art in venues around the country, and seventeen years of teaching individuals and groups about how to create sacred space for prayer, meditation, and ceremonies, I opened an art gallery, bookstore and small wedding venue in Floyd, VA that demonstrates in a very practical way what I’ve been teaching and writing about. Churches have art in them. Why not an art church?

In the Kanta Bosniak Folk Art Gallery, visitors will find a funky and fun environment rich in vibrant art that has been created to inspire and entertain:
Mandalas- circular designs that represent wholeness, completion, and harmony
Icons – portraits the symbolize development to highest potential and using one’s gifts in service to others
Hearts, symbols of love and relational happiness
West African Adinkra- inspired pictographsfor positives such as the power of love, community, abundance, linked hearts
Madonnas- love, compassion, caring, tenderness, the constant presence, immediate accessibility of Divine Love and help in any circumstance
Crosses and Medicine Wheels that represent the vast loving power of God that is always working in our lives and relationships.
Quotes from Scripture and spiritual love poems, and more.

The art environment creates a fun event atmosphere and as well as a great background for wedding photos!

The notion of an art environment as a setting for workshops, teaching, coaching, and guided imagery has been by décor and designing platform for all of my adult life. Within the last ten years, it’s come together with my love of weddings.

For me, weddings are a complex and beautiful art form. I truly love weddings. All kinds of weddings, inside, outside, formal or boho, modern or retro, weddings in my own venue and in venues created by others. To put on a wedding is more than a little like putting on a theatrical production. So many art forms come together in creating a wedding! Setting, stage, entrance and exit from stage, art design, costume, music, flowers, and more. Nine years ago, I had the pleasure of designing and coordinating all aspects of an art-themed wedding. From paintings placed on the wall in the venue to handmade, one-of-a kind- jewelry for the ladies in the bridal party to the floral concept and table décor. I had such a wonderful time that the bug bit me. It was only a matter of time until I had created my own venue, and I absolutely love it!

The Kanta Bosniak Folk Art Gallery Wedding Package includes:

Rev. Kanta Bosniak custom wedding services. Interview and personalized ceremony.
Use of the Gallery Chapel for the ceremony.
Folk Art Marriage Certificate by Kanta Bosniak
Fresh Floral bouquet
(optional) Basic Photography. 6 photos, edited and emailed to you. If you have your own photographer, that’s fine too!
12 wedding announcement postcards.
All for $350.00!

By necessity, hours are as unconventional as the venue. Because of wedding responsibilities, coaching, and writing, I can’t really have hard-set hours. The gallery will be occasionally be open by “happy-stance,” (look for the “gallery open” sign), but primarily by appointment only. If you’re considering the Gallery Chapel for your upcoming ceremony and would like to make an appointment to see the venue, please give me a call at (540) 577-8854

gallery open sign outside

Your Virginia Wedding: For Out-of-State Couples

I love Roanoke and New River Valleys and apparently, so do couples who want to wed. The entire area is getting a good reputation as a place to visit and place to get married. We have natural beauty and an attractive blend of old-time and artsy charm.

Many couples who met at college and now live somewhere else want to return to the area for their wedding. When I interview couples, this is a biggie for them. If they are meeting me in person, I can see their eyes light up and their whole demeanor change when they begin telling me their love story and how they met at Virginia Tech or Radford. I can even hear the smiles over the phone, if they’re talking to me from their home state. This place makes such an indelibly positive impression that the couples are excited about coming back for their big event and about bringing their families and friends here to celebrate.

If you are planning a wedding from out of the area or out of state and you have found me before you’re found your other vendors, please know that when you book with me I will be happy to recommend photographers and other folks whose help you’ll need to make your wedding day go smoothly.

“Behold: I Set Before Thee and Open Door”

Behold: I Set Before Thee an Open Door” is the biblical quote written on the seal of my alma mater, Germantown Friends School. I have always loved this quote and it reminds me of the beautiful words spoken by author Joseph Campbell, which you’ll find at the end of this blog.

I keenly remember when doors started opening for me. They already had, truth be told, but the whole process cranked up so dramatically at one point that I had to really pay attention. Getting to do a solo show and be Artist-in-Residence at Omega for two summers (1999, 2000) was life-changing. I fell in love with my students, many of whom had never picked up a brush, and were now finding the courage to express themselves. I taught “Visionary Art” and “Creating Sacred Space,” (in other words, individual prayer, meditation, and self-motivational environments).The absence of judgement was key in creating comfort and safety to engage, as was the establishment of a sense of appreciation and reverence for the Source of all creativity. The first thing we did in class was a short affirmative prayer and guided imagery. Then, all Heaven broke loose. Everyone got to be themselves and to make art that was not imitative or derivative, but which came from within. The joy was palpable.

During that first summer, opportunities started opening up to do art events and workshops at the A.R.E., Unity Churches, UNCW, and all over the place. Magazine publications, interviews. It was nuts, in a good way. It was exciting to experience the demonstration that when you keep saying “no, thanks” to things that don’t feel right for you, and “yes” to things that do, doors open. As Campbell said,

“Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

3 Years

A Big Thank You!

Thanks so much to Wedding Wire and to the wonderful couples I have worked with for making me Wedding Wire’s highest rated wedding officiant in the entire region. I am especially aware that because we are all so busy the time it takes to post a review is a precious part of a bride or groom’s day. That so many have shared their time and their kind words means a lot to me, professionally and personally. As a wedding minister, I have the privilege and pleasure of getting to know the couples I work with and being a part of one of the most important and special days of their lives. Whether I never see them again, or we stay in touch and I get to see their families grow, there will always be a connection in heart and mind, which I deeply appreciate!

Covert Narcissists and the Gift of Goodbye

Beware the Covert Narcissist, who wears a mask of altruism, selflessness, and kindness, while hiding an angry victim mentality, sense of entitlement, and belief in his or her superiority.  This person will likely be a doctor/nurse, minister, teacher, counselor, energy worker, or in another other “healing and helping” professional. Narcissists like control positions in life and the covert variety enjoy the control but want it to be seen as selfless service.

He or she will befriend you and pretend to support your endeavors, but will, in fact, be jealous of your successes. Be aware of signs that your time is less valuable than his or hers and complaints that everyone takes advantage of him or her. Someday that complaint will be made about you. The Covert Narcissist is always scanning the landscape for people and situations to support his or her angry victim narrative, and if you happen to be in that landscape, eventually your number will come up.

When the devalue phase arrives and the mask comes off, you’ll be astounded by the crazy, not the least of which will be the Covert Narcissist’s oblivion to it. Listen to the rant, describing you, and you will be hearing a projection of his or her shadow self. No true healing individual or friend would attempt to harm you or cause you pain. You cannot transform this person and it is not your responsibility. Your best alternative is to give the gift of goodbye. Your subconscious mind notices that you value peace, happiness, and genuine kindness and will support these qualities in your life. May your life be ever more filled with joy and lovely people with whom to share it.

Blessings,
-Kanta

Robbing Resentment to Pay Happiness

I’m not going to call resentment Public Enemy Number One. That dubious honor is reserved for the belief in separation. He who believes himself to be separated from, rejected, and hated by a God he believes will judge him will stop at nothing in his desperation. The belief in separation gives birth to self-loathing, projected self-loathing, despair, the desire to cause others to despair, envy, predation, and a host of ugliness. We humans are all capable of saying no to this enemy. This is the whole purpose of spirituality, prayer and meditation. Not to remind God of our love. As if God were a narcissist who needed buttering up!.. But to remind ourselves that God loves us. The purpose of spiritual practice, whatever path you’re on, is to destroy awful illusions.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

The subtler the form of illusion, and the more it seems to be mutated from raw hate and self-hate, the tricker it can be to see it for what it is. That part of us that believes in separation does not always parade around with a hate flag. Sometimes it shows up disguised as resentment. Coulda, shouldda, wouldda, but for circumstances outside my control. So I will dwell in what could have been or what might be, and never take the responsibility to actually take steps in the present toward my goal. The unspoken rest of the thought here is “because whatever I do will be unsupported or even opposed by the forces that be.”

In other words, resentment can be traced directly back to belief in separation. It’s a hate and despair parfait. Looks better than flat-out rage, and maybe tastes a little smoother, but it’s not all that different in its molecular structure. It’s just another form of the same poison. Each of us has our own way to God and each of us has our own way to deny our connection. For those whose way to deny is resentment, the antidote is responsibility and appreciation.

I’ll close by sharing a yummy bit of poetic wisdom in the form of astrological musing by author Rob Brezsny. It showed up in my email today. I happen to belong to that group of birthday boys and girls who naturally tend toward having a resentment challenge. Cancerians are the poster people for it, until they man and woman up, take responsibility for their lives, realize how loved they really are, and begin to live in gratitude. We all have some of this tendency to resentment in us, Cancerian or not, so I’m sharing this short blurb as the good and universal medicine that it is, You can find Rob at http://FreeWillAstrology.com and on Amazon, by searching his lovely book, “Pronoia.”

“CANCER (June 21-July 22): Once upon a time, weren’t you the master builder who never finished building your castle? Weren’t you the exile who wandered aimlessly while fantasizing about the perfect sanctuary of the past or the sweet safety zone of the future? Didn’t you perversely nurture the ache that arose from your sense of not feeling at home in the world? I hope that by now you have renounced all of those kinky inclinations. If you haven’t, now would be an excellent time to do so. How might you reinvest the mojo that will be liberated by the demise of those bad habits?” -Rob Brezsny

May we all remember that we are loved and worthy. May we be open to inspiration. May we take inspired action towards our worthy goals.

Blessings,

Kanta