Yoga: 98 Percent Self-Development, 2 Percent Movement

“Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.” – B.K.S. Iyengar

Mind and body are inextricably linked like meaning and purpose. The body is made up of cells, cells are made up of molecules, molecules are made up of atoms, and atoms are fundamentally empty. Quantum physics tells us that electrons blink in and out of existence. What we call the body, then, is fundamental emptiness blinking in and out of existence.

“All matter has been proved to be reducible to energy,” wrote Paramahansa Yogananda in chapter 49 of his book Autobiography of a Yogi. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; only transferred. Interesting. It would make sense then that invisible spirit is invisible energy, transferring in and out of visible form.

Because our problems cannot be solved and must be outgrown (Carl Jung), we must outgrow our problems by changing the thinking that created our problems in the first place (Albert Einstein). We could call this maturity. This includes changing our thinking about our relationship with spirit, or pure consciousness. Yoga’s greatest legacy is to impress upon the world that we are pure, eternal consciousness, and it is this eternal consciousness of which we evolve. You cannot take your investments with you to your graves, try as baby boomers might; all you take with you is the evolution of your soul. If you are aware of imagination and dreaming, why is it so challenging to comprehend an invisible consciousness from which we emanate? We couldn’t experience awareness without consciousness. What self do you think you’re developing?

“But such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants,” said Thomas Paine, “is the liberty of appearing.”

That two percent movement, nonetheless, is important.

Discovering the opiate receptor on the surface of cells in the early 1970s launched the late Dr. Candace Pert’s career as a bona fide bench scientist. The opiate receptor is the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are among the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters (peptide hormones) that transmit electrical signals within the nervous system to reduce our perception of pain. Pert was an internationally recognized neuroscientist and pharmacologist who published over 250 research articles. She made significant contributions to the emergence of mind-body medicine as a legitimate field of scientific research in the 1980s. During this time, Pert discovered what she coined the “molecules of emotion.” It turns out that every emotion we have has a neurochemical equivalent called a neuropeptide. Every emotion creates a neuropeptide.

Internalizing unresolved trauma causes the body to store neuropeptides in organ tissues, for often decades, until dis-ease manifests. Healing, or the resolution of trauma, frees stored neuropeptides to move through the bloodstream and be metabolized through the body. Science has also discovered that mechanical receptors on the surface of cells are stimulated by movement. In yoga, we call stored neuropeptides from unresolved trauma, or “scarring” in the tissues, samskara. We know that movement frees samskara, meaning that movement helps to resolve neurochemical (that is, emotional) trauma. Movement encourages healing.

Along with healing, exercise boasts numerous other physiological health benefits, including: 1) stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); 2) sharpens cognition; 3) increases neuroplasticity (connection between brain cells, or the formation of new neural pathways); 4) stimulates neurogenesis (birth of new neurons and brain cells); and, 5) increases the number of mitochondria in cells. V02 Max and strength training, in particular, elicit a higher than average mitochondrial count in cells, which increases the capacity of mitochondria to generate energy. Think high-performance athletes. Mitochondria perform like a team. They are known as the powerhouses of the cell. The brain has the most mitochondria in its cells. Cellular respiration converts oxygen and glucose in the mitochondria to adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the molecule that transports chemical energy within the cells. When practiced responsibly, asana (steady, comfortable positions) generates energy while reducing inflammatory markers in the body. As we age, the capacity of the mitochondria to produce energy slowly decreases. Exercise in general is important because it gets us breathing and oxygenating the cells, while yoga in particular moves energy without increasing inflammation. Yoga, thus, helps the cells to continue generating energy and slows the inflammatory aging process.

In terms of breathing, we take in air predominantly through the nose on the face. The zygomaticus major muscle found in the face on either side of the nose running along each cheekbone—the blush line—is responsible for smiling the mouth. The next time you catch yourself genuinely smiling, notice and track the movement of energy in your body while bi-focusing your awareness on the breath. As mentioned, mechanical movement stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman said that BDNF is like “miracle-grow for the brain.” Anything that makes you genuinely smile sends BDNF to fertilize the frontal brain, which in turn increases concentration and cognition. Cognition is a fancy word for perceptual, sensory and intuitive (or extrasensory) awareness. The conscious mind. Exercise in general also conditions the body, while yoga stands out in the crowd as a life-affirming activity because it drops our awareness to the mind in the heart.

Speaking of life… Cells move towards signals that affirm life, and away from signals that threaten life. The Biological Imperative implies our ‘drive to survive’ as individuals and as a species. Cells teach us that we are inclined towards love. The mind is like an organ that secretes thoughts (Sally Kempton), while the brain is an organ that secrets chemicals. The brain secretes chemicals in response to thoughts secreted by the mind. Cells move towards love signals and chemicals, and away from fear signals and chemicals. Your cells want your love chemistry as intensely as you do.

“Love is the ultimate nutrient for a living organism,” said developmental biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton. “Love exceeds food.” Love produces all of the growth chemicals humans need to thrive. That is why Paramahansa Yogananda covered Giri Bala, the non-eating saint, in chapter 46 of his book Autobiography of a Yogi. She employed a yogic technique to recharge her body with cosmic energy from ether, sun and air. She didn’t eat but she loved to cook. Read the book. Lipton’s career spans over five decades of applied research, including peer-reviewed bench science, and counting. The field of epigenetics was founded upon his discoveries.

Relevance? With epigenetics, what runs in families is behaviour.

Mirror neurons have been directly observed in primate species, and are essential for imitation—a key element of the learning process. Mirror neurons fire both when an animal acts and observes the same action performed by another. Translation: We mirror the behaviour of others. We call this the “monkey see, monkey do” phenomenon. It turns out Tony Robbins knew what he was talking about when he said, “You become who you hang out with.”

Growing beyond body-as-a-machine model… The path of self-development isn’t necessarily mercenary, but it does require that you understand you are a soul, an eternal being—pure consciousness—inhabiting a temporary physical body. No one is saying anything about a god; “God” is neither singular nor fathomable. All spirituality asks you to do is lighten up and get over yourself. You can lose a job, sure, but you can’t lose a calling. Purpose cannot exist without meaning.

Cosmology suggests a winding down in the cosmic clock that physics can track. Astrophysics, for example, has calculated that the Milky Way galaxy is set to collide with Andromeda galaxy in approximately 7 billion years. The facts, although currently irrelevant, are interesting. Tachyons likewise, from the Greek root meaning “speed,” are hypothetical particles thought to move faster than light. To this day, tachyons remain an intellectual curiosity. Legend, however, speaks of tachyon chambers used in Atlantis to heal people of undesirable imbalances instantly—hundreds of thousands of years ago. The aphorism “out of the blue” comes from physicists’ understanding of the quantum field. We can’t see the quantum field in the same way that we can’t see spirit (or tachyons…), yet quantum mechanics is the most verifiable science on the planet. Quantum physics, in fact, tells us the new origination story: we literally blink in and out of the blue. Matter, visible particles; energy, invisible waves.

Because we can’t calibrate without awareness of political history, Ghandi (leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule) said that the real leader of the movement was the “small, still voice within”—operative word, still. Who’s been telling us not to listen to the small, still voice within?

“That’s what happens when you meditate, that’s what happens when you do yoga, that’s what happens when you become mindful and reflective,” said Marianne Williamson, 2020 US presidential candidate. “You hear the call of the Ages, as it rushes through your veins. The whispers of your ancestors, the whispers of your descendants. The whisper of the heart is the only proper guidance system.”

Personal development is generally not comfortable, but why wait until you are confronted with a life-threatening illness, disease or accident to start being better than who you were yesterday?

On the one hand, intuition is thought by science to operate with pattern-based logic, while on the other hand intuition makes no logical sense. Self-development, to that end, teaches us how to reliably interpret our intuitive hits and impulses. The biggest problem with PTSD, on that note, is that hypervigilance is often mistaken for intuition. If fear (drama, crises, trauma) pushes BDNF to survival centers in the brain, while love pushes BDNF back into the growth (or intuitive/conscious) centers of the brain, it’s imperative that trauma survivors be supported within loving environments—because consciousness heals. Remember, cells move towards signals that affirm life. The health of the cell is also regulated by the cell’s environment, not genes, meaning that health is not typically an expression of genetics; rather, health is predominantly an expression of environment. Only one percent of disease on the planet is related to genetics.

Accordingly, three types of environmental stressors cause dis-ease in the body:

  • Traumatic (physical)
  • Toxic (chemical)
  • Thought (emotional)

First, injury or bodily assault would constitute ‘traumatic stress.’ Second, stress hormones, inflammatory markers, and improperly cultivated food (GMOs) that inflate inflammatory markers would fall under the category of ‘toxic stress.’ And third, ‘thought stress’ would imply the quality of one’s attitude and thinking, meaning one’s outer circumstances indicates the quality of one’s thought patterns. Thought obviously compounds chemical stress, and (like vata dosha in Ayurveda), is the king stressor.

It’s important, however, to understand that not all stress is harmful. Eustress, for example, would be considered appropriate (exercise/yoga), and enhances biology; distress, to the contrary, would encompass the three inappropriate stressors listed above, and diminishes biology. You cannot thrive and survive simultaneously. Survival chemicals inhibit organ function and suppress the immune system.

Fortunately, the qualities of the heart—appreciation, love and compassion—have been found in scientific studies to “relax” DNA strands and enhance immune function. DNA isn’t responsible for genetic expression; it’s responsible for genetic blueprint replication. Mitochondria create the energy necessary to replicate genes, and then the environment within the cell influences how those genes express.

Imagine what would happen if we were collectively encouraged to monitor our thinking and think only life-affirming thoughts. Yogananda said we could wipe out nearly all dis-ease on the planet. Science confirms this thinking.

In Yogi Bhajan’s Five Sutras of the Aquarian Age, he stated that there is a way through every block. Vibrate the cosmos, he said, and the cosmos shall clear the path. I suspect in the latter statement that Yogi Bhajan meant love. Vibrate love. Emanate love. Be who you are. In that space you will rendezvous with opportunities to help and be helped—the fruits of self-development. Truly, self-development is a selfless path.

Nevertheless, if you insist on being selfish, be selfish about feeling good. Esther Hicks said, “Love is the conscious allowing of alignment between me and my inner being,” the small, still voice within. It’s the difference between feeling good and feeling bad. Hicks said our inner being isn’t looking where we’re looking when we’re feeling bad, and that’s why we feel bad. In other words, when our inner beings agree with us, we don’t feel bad. Keeping in mind that you haven’t a clue what you’ll find when the appetites of the soul merge with the force of ego (Caroline Myss). Shame is a call to humble yourself.

Although science hasn’t caught up with the inner being, or the commander in the command center for that matter, it has caught up with (as previously introduced) the molecules of emotion. Neuropeptides created from love chemistry are protective, whereas neuropeptides created from fear chemistry are ultimately destructive. (Think genetic expression.) Oxytocin, for instance, is a cardioprotective peptide hormone and neuropeptide, produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and released by the posterior pituitary gland. Oxytocin plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction and nursing; however, kindness, love, affection, warmth, and appreciation in general have been shown in peer-reviewed science to produce oxytocin. Oxytocin softens and expands artery walls, lowers blood pressure, thins blood, and gently flushes away toxins. Bottom line? We can only produce oxytocin from feeling good!

And you know what feels good? Living life on purpose. How can we live life on purpose, though, if we don’t know who we are?

Even the 54th verse of the Tao Te Ching underscores the importance of self-development. Focus on your craft, which also happens to be your contribution and ties into your purpose. Lao-tzu sums up virtue and selflessness in the following passage:

Generations honour generations endlessly.
Cultivated in the self, virtue is realized;
cultivated in the family, virtue overflows;
cultivated in the community, virtue increases;
cultivated in the state, virtue abounds.

Live as if your parenthetical life makes a difference. That’s meaning. It’s your perception of life that has no meaning. Cleanse that connecting link, as Carlos Castaneda put it. Improve the world by improving yourself. Circumstance dictates dharma; passion powers purpose. What are you passionate about that you can give away? Lao-tzu lived during the warring states period of ancient China approximately 2,500 years ago. His legacy lives on in the Tao Te Ching. The meaning of your life is to give it away.

With virtue in mind, Ramana Maharishi said, “Our own self-realization is the greatest service we can render the world.” So, the next time someone asks, ‘what is the nature of the spiritual path?’

“Three words,” Caroline Myss responded in an interview with the Catholic Reporter. “Tell the truth.”

The World’s got a fever, and the only prescription is more Dale Chihuly

Arts & Finds (NICHE magazine)

Dale Chihuly is to blown glass what Art Spiegelman is to comics. The medium of glassblowing wouldn’t exist the way it does today without Chihuly, the pivotal figure and go-to historian in the field. Some people ski for fun, but the man who never tires of the possibilities of the blow pipe blows glass. Glasswork is play, and Chihuly is the universe’s play thing.

The world was introduced to Chihuly in 1941, and Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington in 1964. He became mesmerized with glass during a weaving class after weaving glass into a tapestry, and a year later he accidentally blew his first glass bauble in a basement with a blow pipe and melted glass. Chihuly says this must have been an act of fate because glass isn’t that easy to blow your first time. I swear I just heard Christopher Walken demand over a loudspeaker, “More Dale Chihuly, please.”

Chihuly liked blowing glass so much that he enrolled in the Harvey Littleton program at the University of Wisconsin. His studies continued at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he went on to establish its glass program and taught for over a decade. In 1968, Chihuly spent nine months working at the Venini glass factory on the island of Murano in Venice, where he quickly adopted a team approach to blowing glass that remains integral to how he works today. Teams range from six or seven people up to eighteen, and Chihuly prides himself in having more than a hundred of America’s top talent at his disposal.

In 1971, Chihuly founded the Pilchuck School of Glass on a tree farm in Washington State and has led the revolution in the fine art of blown glass since. A car accident in London in 1976 left Chihuly unable to blow glass for six months, but it turned out that Chihuly enjoyed delegation and overseeing as much or more than working at the centre of the action. Because the ideas are Chihuly’s in any given Chihuly project, he began to produce sketches to convey ideas to his team. His sketches are an art unto their own and accurately portray his visions, while the finished product is a reflection of Team Chihuly’s talents and skills. Glass can be free blown or mold blown, but Chihuly says glassblowing is a spontaneous medium if you let it be.

Chihuly’s curled glass tentacles grow as spontaneously out of fire and sand as the curly hairs grow out of his head. Chihuly’s work is undeniably Chihuly, like a stamp in the earth wherever he travels. Working primarily with glass, plastic, water and ice on any scale, Chihuly says it is light that makes these materials spring to life. One time a Chihuly water installation of glass spheres dried up with the pond they were decorating. For a moment I thought the spheres sprung to death until it occurred to me that the glass was gone because people took it. Imagine how much those pieces are worth, and how much those people treasure their free Chihuly art.

First and foremost a colourist, Chihuly explores concepts and colour palettes fully. After his mother’s death, he blew through The Black Series, which came to him like any other series, through visions and memories. Like any other concept, he explored it fully. This work is quite possibly an expression of how Chihuly viewed his mother through his art, the black a reflection of his mourning and the emptiness he felt as a result of her passing.

Often inspired by his own art collections, Chihuly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, starting with the trade blanket Cylinders and the Navajo Baskets in the 1970s. The Baskets evolved into the Seaforms, and the Seaforms evolved into the Persians. The Venetians are totally different, though, and the Chandeliers evolved out of the hair on his head. Other well-known series include Macchia, Niijima Floats and Fiori. Chihuly is also celebrated for magnificent architectural installations, like the Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem exhibit at the Tower of David, which attracted more than one million visitors. Twelve to fourteen hundred pieces of glass compose many of Chihuly’s sculptural wonders, and installations often take several days to assemble. One can only marvel in the magnitude of works like the Crystal Mountain and Blue Tower in Jerusalem, the Sea of Glass at the Bellagio or Chihuly over Venice.

In 1995, Team Chihuly began to create sculptures at glass factories in Finland, Ireland and Mexico, which were then installed over the canals and piazzas of Venice. If this were my story, I’d call it Installing My Art in Venice: How Cool is that? Many awards and honours have been bestowed upon Chihuly, including eleven doctorate degrees and a prestigious, solo exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palaise due Louvre in Paris. Chihuly glass has been exhibited in hundreds of museums, galleries and hotels worldwide, and homes are certainly not exempt from gleaning more Dale Chihuly.

There’s something so natural and delicate about Chihuly’s work; sometimes it breathes and sometimes it exists in a world of its own. Whatever it is, it makes us happy. Contemplative, yes, but we must be happy in contemplation to attract anything good in life. Perhaps Chihuly’s art is the secret to The Secret… The world doesn’t need more cow bell, no; the world needs more Dale Chihuly!

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Article originally published in the Spring 2013 edition of NICHE Fashion Magazine (Vol 01, Issue 02). To view the original article and browse NICHE magazine, please click the following link:

Girly for Goddess, Goddess for Goodness

I closed the year, once again, watching cheesy romantic Christmas comedies on Netflix—my favourite, of which, may just be Just Friends starring Ryan Reynolds. He always makes me howl.

Okay, Merry Kissmas tops the list of titles, too, but I realized in the middle of watching Just Friends that I had to marry Reynolds. I vaguely remembered him being a fellow Canadian from Vancouver, so I figured I had an in. Shockingly this was the first time it had occurred to me to look up his birthday and lo and behold! He’s married, to Blake Lively no less. It felt like a faint shot to the heart. I can’t compete with her, I thought. She’s gorgeous and rich. I felt disappointed for a solid twenty minutes before settling back into nobody land. Alas! The search continues.

In all fairness, Reynolds is a Scorpio born on the cusp of Libra, so we probably wouldn’t be overly compatible anyway, but… here’s the thing about Blake Lively: she’s a Virgo born on the same day as an old friend I credit for turning me girly.

Before I met, we’ll call her Princess, I remember being in Whitefish, Montana, with my sister at a bar on the strip that my uncle frequented. I want to say the Remington. I had been drinking and there was this gorgeous guy with perfect teeth hitting on me. Meanwhile (if I remember correctly) his friends were holding up a sign behind my back about him shitting himself on the slopes after a hard bail snowboarding—though I didn’t learn that until later. The sign read something like, “You shit your pants.”

We’ll call the guy Barry. To his credit, Barry had the balls to ask me out. I appreciate men who have the balls to ask me out on a proper date, regardless of how I respond. Before going out with Barry, my sister pleaded with me to wear eyeliner. I savour dolling up on occasion, but I tend to reject the societal notion that I have to wear makeup (or straighten my hair) to be presentable. My naked face is my naked face; likewise, my curly hair is my curly hair. I may have been wearing mascara and sparkles the night I met Barry, but I wanted him to know what I looked like without. These are the things men need to know. It’s ideal to date a man who likes looking at your real face.

At Mayfair mall before Christmas, on that note, a young woman with an accent working at a skin care kiosk caught me off guard with samples on my way out of Sephora. While I stood in front of the woman reading the ingredient list, she asked me probably five times enthusiastically, “If you could change one thing about your face, what would you change?”

I don’t know how many times I read “petrolatum” before I finally heard the question. I looked up and stared into her pretty, seemingly vacant face. A pregnant pause ensued.

Actually, now that you ask… I’d come back in my next lifetime with rich, altruistic parents who positively reinforce me, but next time I’d be an Aquarius born on January 19 instead of a Capricorn. We’d live in the tropics and my skin would be bronzed all year round. I’d look like my girl crush, but with thicker, curlier blonde hair and green eyes instead of blue. Of course I would have skinny ankles, too, but now I’m breaking the rules. We’re not even talking about my face anymore.

“Nothing,” I finally answered. “This is my face. I wouldn’t change anything about my face.”

What, was I supposed to ask the seedling if her magic products could tend to an unforeseeable future?

The conversation was funny considering I spent my entire Christmas vacation off work researching retinol creams.

Nonetheless, my response left the young woman speechless. She was too young to recognize I pulled a Samantha Jones on her ass—this after a cashier at Sephora urged me to use the three bottles of Josie Maran argan oil I purchased on points to tame my frizzy mane. Wink, wink. Too bad for me that fuzzy hair went out of style, again. If only I could leave the mall on a Friday without feeling ugly. I use the argan oil to soften my hands and cuticles. Last time I checked, my hair doesn’t respond favourably. I understand that I wouldn’t likely win the model olympics, but I’ve been a hopeless observer obsessed with personal beautification for as long as I can remember. Beauty care is that double-edged sword that does and doesn’t discriminate.

“What’s your accent?” I asked the young woman at the kiosk before parting ways with her and the petrolatum-infested sample of face cream I’d never use.

“Russian,” she responded.

“I love Russian accents,” I said honestly. “I could listen to women with Russian accents talk all day.”

It was the truth. And though her question may have unwittingly diminished me, her silence did not.


From NICHE magazine, Inspiration Issue May/June 2013 (Vol. 1, No. 3)
Arts & Finds: Andrea Stajan-Ferkul
by Jill Lang



Art Therapy for the Soul – Let the Divine Feminine Guide You

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” – Leo Tolstoy

Yes, complete is the delusion of beauty since goodness can never be unnecessary. Superfluous maybe, but true art only exists in the divine. Lest we forget artist as universe’s play thing (not adhering to the bondage of Piscean misconception, of course); the artist is meant to joyfully and uninhibitedly create. Some of us were put here for a reason, you know.

Beauty delights the sight and lifts the soul, which is why we should surround ourselves with beautiful things no matter the circumstance. Canadian fine artist Andrea Stajan-Ferkul believes in the essential beauty of women and understands that women feel better when we’re beautifully dressed. What a woman wears is an extension of herself, art and woman alike an expression of the divine. If you haven’t heard already, the divine feminine is going to save the world, on paintings, in your clothes and all around you. If you haven’t done so already, get acquainted.

While she’s always been creative, Stajan-Ferkul never intended to be a fine artist. She studied illustration and design, and then worked in the fashion advertising industry before shifting her focus to fine art. When everything turned digital, she reassessed her direction in life and stumbled upon emitting a new signal. She let go and trusted in all that is good in the universe, and poof, the universe opened a portal to painting. Fashion just happened to be her niche.

For those of you afraid to leave your 9-5, take heart; in this world, you only struggle as much as you want to. Brilliance exists to be received, fine artists like Stajan-Ferkul exist to receive it. Her work is not exclusive to fashion, though it remains a recurring theme in her subject matter. “The painting subjects intrigue me the same as they do you,” she said. Her works reveal an aesthetic genius that captures heart and bravado all in one breath. She’s that woman, and through her, so are you.

Indeed the dresses on dressforms seem to live and breathe, leaving the viewer to wonder about who wears the dress. Has its woman recently stepped away? Something of her personality or perfume lingers. She’s human, this woman, delicate yet fierce. She represents anyone. You can’t help but envision yourself in the dress…

Stajan-Ferkul believes that beauty exists in contradictions and says it can be found in the powerful aesthetic of glamour, as well as the charm of imperfection. Many of her fashion-centric works reflect this perspective as she explores perception of style and elegance as a whole, and its role in contemporary life.

As a staunch supporter of all that is good in the world, I found it challenging for the longest time to get comfortable with paradox until I discovered judgment surrounding contradictions exists only in duality. Of course the beauty of art is both divine and “unnecessary.” There’s no rat race to get to it. Divine beauty transcends the truth/ego paradigm and cannot be defined in the bounds of black and white. This basically lets us off the hook for being first creative, and second materialistic. We are material beings on a material plane. Let’s take a moment to celebrate via the creation and appreciation of art. Foolish consumerism notwithstanding, obviously we’re ‘allowed’ to collect beautiful treasures. Beauty, after all, is an experience. We’re supposed to treasure experience, right?

Vintage illustrations like Puttin’ on the Ritz and Uptown Girl allow the viewer to experience the wild and hypnotic nature of women, and reflect on an era of glamour when illustrators captured the spirit of the movement. This is what a woman looks like when she feels sexy. This is what she feels like. She remains live yet still as her emotions dance about her on the canvas. Your emotions dance about you. Sit back, relax; she’ll take you someplace good.

The white ballerina-esque dress in Beautiful Mess assumes the beauty of imperfection and is exactly that: a beautiful mess. We begin to understand and embrace the divine order of chaos as we’re swept away in its seductive play. Personally I would like to prance through airport security in this dress.


Cocktails in Emerald City features a rich, green dress worn by Michaelle Jean (former Governor General of Canada) at a cultural event at Rideau Hall in Quebec where Stajan-Ferkul had the honour of exhibiting her artwork. “While looking radiant in a magnificent emerald green ensemble,” said Stajan-Ferkul, “it was her inner radiance that struck me most, graciously moving the spotlight off herself and onto my paintings.” Imagine floating into a room flush with admirers like a goddess. She has no legs, but damn, that’s a nice dress.


Stajan-Ferkul has spent years exploring colour and texture, and mixing traditional art processes with mixed media techniques. In the beginning her paintings were more illustrative, but over the years her focus has turned to fine art. Small works have grown larger and larger, with featured works ranging from 30″x60″ to 36″x40″. Life size pieces can be found setting rooms and holding spaces around the globe.

While art and styles collaborate in their timelessness, her emphasis is always on bringing the emotional and intuitive elements of the theme to the piece. It’s as if each piece is a mirror reflecting back at you your own unique fabulousness, the experience curiously therapeutic. Did Stajan-Ferkul just crawl into your psyche and somehow make you feel good about yourself? Yes, this is exactly what she did, and she brought her pillow bed with her. Fine artist by day, Stajan-Ferkul is a true art therapist by night.