Gail Gosschalk was born in London in 1981. She trained at the Wimbledon School of Art before studying Fashion design at Northumbria University. Work with trend agencies led her from New York to Paris, where she worked as a freelance illustrator for eight years before moving to Rome in 2011. As clients, she counts Hermès, Gieves & Hawkes, Unicef and the French Natural History Museum. She regularly exhibits her personal work in London, Paris and Rome.
Our dream, the desire that is in our soul, did not come out of nowhere. Someone placed it there. And that Someone, who is pure love and wants only our happiness, did so only because he also gave us the tools to realise our dreams and our desires.
When you are going through difficult times, remember: you may have lost some major battles, but you survived and you’re still here. That is a victory. Show your happiness and celebrate your ability to go forward.
Pour your love generously out onto the fields and pastures, down the streets of the big city and across the dunes of the desert.
Show that you care about the poor, for they are an opportunity for you to display the virtue of charity. And care, too, about the rich, who distrust everything and everyone, keep their granaries crammed with grain and their coffers full, but, despite all that, cannot drive away loneliness.
Never miss an opportunity to show your love, especially to those close to you, because we are always at our most cautious with them, for fear of being hurt.
Love – because you will be the first to benefit. The world around you will reward you, even if, at first, you say to yourself: ‘They don’t understand my love.’
Love does not need to be understood. It needs only to be shown.
I caught a video replay of the Olympic Women’s Finals Soccer / Football Game. It felt so emotional; “my two countries” were playing against each other.
Cultural adjustment plays out in plateaus for me; there are challenging moments, and then it levels again. It’s summer. It’s hot everyday. I live in a culture that takes no breaks even in the heat. The toll rears its head in the form of heightened homesickness.
There’s no real “Cure” for the feeling that has been a constant companion in the life of a multi-culturally raised person. Revisiting familiar places and situations helps.
During Obon, I’ll visit my grandmother in Tokyo. My aunt, uncle, and she will whisk me off to her home in Yamanakakou 山中湖, one of the 5 lake towns around Mt. Fuji. I went once as a child, when my grandfather was still with us. It’s probably been about 30 years. I can’t believe she kept the place; she had to sell their house in Tokyo after he passed away several years ago.
When I told my adult students today where I was going to go, they expressed their envy! It is indeed a very luxurious possession, a summer home around a famous lake.
Crocodiles, alligators and caimans are all similar to each other, so this page combines the three, and addresses caiman, as well as symbolic alligator meaning and crocodile meaning together. Alligators and crocodiles are in the same family and their main differences lie in their color, their habitats, the location of their teeth, and the shapes of their jaws. These differences should be keenly noted in your totemic observations. The differences that stand out will be the traits to pay attention to, as these outstanding features will lend meaning to these creature’s messages.
These steely-eyed prehistoric predators hold ancient associations with many cultures. The word crocodile is from the Greek word, kroko deilos, which in some translations means, “pebble man,” referring to the animals’ scaly exterior. The term may also allude to the croc’s “water dance,” which is an event produced by male croc’s seeking to woo their mates. They emit low vibration groans while attracting a mate. The vibration of their mating calls makes the water dance upon their scaly backs. The end effect of this water dance looks and sounds like pebbles dancing on the water’s surface. This speaks to me about the importance of being creative when calling new partnerships to us. It also reminds me of rhythm. That pebble-bouncing of water droplets is a audio-rhythm of delight, a shimmering cascade for the ears. It talks about using all of our skills to attract the right people into our lives, unorthodox methods are sometimes the best way to forge connections/relationships.
Some keywords to consider in relation to alligator meaning and symbolic crocodile meaning:
These reptiles have highly acute senses. Crocodiles have amazing hearing and mothers can hear their babies while still inside their shells. As an animal totem, these animals represent fierce protection. Mothers will transport their young to water in pouches in her mouth and she will guard them like ferociously.
Alligator meaning and crocodile meaning talk to us about keen vision too. Their pupils widen at night, allowing them better vision and they can see very well underwater. That they can see underwater is a big totemic lesson. It tells us that we too can see clearly through our most ambiguous dreams, and perplexing emotions. The pronounced eyelids have the perfect camouflage, their scaly skin. The alligator encourages us to look but not be seen.
Because alligators, crocodiles and caiman’s are associated with water, we’re also talking about seeing clearly into emotional worlds. These creatures ask us to dive into our emotions and seek fluidity, healing and cleansing in these realms. Gators and crocs also ask us to utilize our dreams for emotional understanding. Call upon these creatures when you’re in a crunch emotionally, or are unclear about how to heal yourself, or if you’re having disturbing dreams. These creatures are fearless, and their energy is extremely forthright. They strike clarity into our lives when we call on them. Moreover, these creatures represent an equal balance between earth and water. With their help, we too can become grounded, and settled in our emotions.
Let us consider the rough, bony covering of the alligator. It is armor and can deflect bullets; however, his underside belly is soft. This speaks to us of duality and balance: the rigid and the vulnerable, the push and the pull, the mighty and the meek, the obvious and the hidden.
Alligator behavior bears heavily on the implications of this animal totem. They are precision in motion. They remain hidden, poised, and held in a show of ultimate control. They waste no movement. Once they have seized their prey, they will roll under water, hiding their catch under a log. This speaks of preparation, “stewing.” Alligators are timing personified. We would do well to learn from them to make our choices wisely and, once made, allow them to take their course.
Temperature is very important to the reptile. Temperature represents a measure of activity. In some cases, as with the alligator, a higher temperature will ensure a male offspring, and a cooler one, a female. This calls our attention to our environment. We could ask ourselves if we are living in agreement with our surroundings. Are we fighting elements in our lives? Or, can we do as the alligator does and keenly adjust ourselves in harmony with our conditions?
In the Hindu chakra system, the crocodile governs the sacral chakra (Svadhisthana). This is a developmental energy, as the sacral chakra is a power-center of creation. The crocodile in this chakra encourages creativity and balance. This chakra-crocodile goes deep into our emotional core and resurfaces with dynamic creative power. Read more about chakra animal symbols here.
Symbolism of the great crocodile parallels in several aspects with its ancient brother, the shark. Both rulers are amazingly strong, silent, cunning, and fearless. Both have highly effective skin and perpetually regenerate their teeth.
In many Native American tribes, alligators are symbols of status and power. Because it is easily comfortable on land and water, many tribes consider them as creatures responsible for creation. The alligator is a mediator in many Native legends, because it emerged from primordial waters in creation myths and brought forth the sun and the earth.
Mayan legend tells of four crocodiles supporting the entire world - keeping it’s delicate balance in-tack by the strength of their backs and with fierce determination. The alligator appears in Mayan astrology too. In their zodiac, those born under this Day-Sign are instinctively superior and sensitive to criticism. Those with the alligator animal totem should examine their fears, both conscious and subconsciously. People born under the alligator/crocodile sign of the Mayan zodiac also have access to incredible, primordial power. They are open to new beginnings, and often see opportunities where others see nothing.
The Egyptians so adored the crocodiles, they named a town after them: Crocodilopolis, where these creatures were worshipped and adorned with bedazzling gold and jewels. The crocodile god, Sobek, symbolized ultimate power, protection, and fertility to the ancient Egyptians. Sobek was one among several gods responsible for weighing the souls of the dead. In this light, we can’t overlook the symbolism of discernment, judgment, authority and guidance in conjunction with the crocodile and the role of Sobek in ancient Egypt.
At the crux of caiman, alligator meaning and crocodile meaning is their prehistoric status. These creatures are ancient, and have evolved very little over their reign beginning over 50 million years ago. These creatures represent a deep, abiding connection with the Mother (Nature), and perhaps that’s the most profound wisdom they have to share. When the alligator or crocodile make an appearance in our lives, we are bound to ask questions like:
What’s the best way I can establish harmony in my life in order to survive and prosper?
What’s the status of my relationships? Am I making a way for others to be their true selves? Am I my authentic self around other people?
What’s my emotional status? Am I clear about what I’m feeling?
What am I creating lately? Have I given birth to anything new?
Call on the alligator/crocodile/caiman for help in each of these areas, because they are highly equipped to assist in clarity and productivity in each instance.
I studied at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, USA for one semester. It is a school that was founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher.
He wrote a book called Dharma Art. The book summary on Amazon reads as follows:
"Dharma art" refers to creative works that spring from the awakened meditative state, characterized by directness, unselfconsciousness, and nonaggression. Trungpa Rinpoche shows that dharma art provides a vehicle to appreciate the nature of things as they are and express it without any struggle or desire to achieve.
My copy of the book is in storage. In my hazy memory of the contents, I thought the writing addressed “style” and how “inner style” informs “outer style.” My best shot at remembering the title was Dharma Style.
I was wrong. But why couldn’t it be “dharma style”?
I have been pondering “style” recently - the width and the depth with which it may be carried out. It’s actually a discipline and takes constant study and analyzing to evolve.
My Buddhist studies have been in the Zen school of thought, but I would like to look up more of Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings. Tonight I have come across the following excerpt of his.
The Majesty of the World is Always There
Look at the sun. The sun is shining. Nobody polishes the sun. The sun just shines. Look at the moon, the sky, the world at its best. Unfortunately, we human beings try to fit everything into conditionality. We try to make something out of nothing. We have messed everything up. That’s our problem. We have to go back to the sun and the moon, to dragons, tigers, lions, garudas (mythical birds). We can be like the blue sky, sweethearts, and the clouds so clean, so beautiful. We don’t have to try too hard to find ourselves. We haven’t really lost anything; we just have to tune in. The majesty of the world is always there.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche “Helping Others” Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala
Just as Germany once had Paul, an octopus that successfully predicted the outcome of the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament, so too does Japan, with an octopus that has predicted how many medals Japan will bring home from the 2012 London Olympics. Taking place in the city of Takatsuki, in Osaka Prefecture, on Wednesday, the octopus named Takotencho (“octopus manager”), predicted that Japanese athletes will win 25 medals this year, the same count as at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The event was held outside a popular shopping center in the city, and Fusaho Izumi, the mayor of Akashi, was present to put the octopus in his new fish tank. Witnesses report that Takotencho swam around the tank for a bit to get used to things, and then finally settled on the left side, which was meant to indicate 25 medals. The German octopus astounded soccer fans around the world two years ago. Its predictions of all of Germany’s soccer team matches at the World Cup, even their third place finish, turned out correct. It even successfully picked that Spain would take first place over the Netherlands in the final match. Well, many of Japan’s athlete’s preparing for this year’s games, and expectations that the nation will do better than in the Beijing Games, lets all hope that Takotencho’s predictions come out a little low. http://japandailypress.com/octopus-predicts-japans-london-olympic-medal-count-295615
Last night (early this morning), as I was preparing to sleep, I witnessed a huge centipede slinking across the corner of the carpet under my futon. It was red and glowing. Alarmed, I went to get a glass with which to capture it for outside release. When I returned, it was nowhere in sight. I immediately looked up the symbolism of the mysterious creature, and below is what I found.
Centipede and Millipede *Ted Andrews/Animal-Wise Keynote: Movement into new psychic connections and relationships. Protection against psychic deceptions. In China, the centipede is the archenemy of the snake. Many folktales tell how thte centipede saves a person when a snake attacks or how it’s apperance warned individuals snakes were near. To the Chinese, the centipede is also considered one of the five noxious creatures because large centipedes (yan-yu) are poisonous: “If their dried seed falls into what you are eating, you will die.” Efforts to expel them from human communities were performed on the fifth day of the fifth month, thus time of power. It was also believed the @#%$ could destroy them, and thus should be studied as well. “Hundred leggers” and “thousand leggers” are arthropods like insects and arachnids, part of thousands of many-legged creatures. The name means 100 legs and 1000 legs repsectively, but they do not really have that many. Most centipedes have 15-23 paris of legs, one for each segment of the body. Millipedes have two pairs of legs on each body segment. Young millipedes are born with three pairs of legs, but the number of segments and legs increase with each molt. Legs provide stability and enable forward movement. Animals with legs a predominant feature often show us how to increase stability and move forward in our endeavors more successfully. For those whom the millipede is a messenger, successful movement in all endeavors will come with age. These are often “late bloomers.” Like insects but unlike spiders, centipedes and millipedes have a pair of antennae. All creatures with antennae reflect increasing psychic sensitivities and perceptions. Because they are also nocturnal, it will be important to pay attention to dreams when the centipede appears as a messenger. Dreams will become increasingly prophetic and clairvoyant, providing great insight and inspiration. Many centipedes are also blind, and this an be a reminder to trust our inner perceptions and not outer appearances. Trusting in our higher perceptions will help us succeed in our endeavors and activities. When male centipedes find a female, they touch antennae, and the male then follws the female. For those to whom the centipede appears, relationships are often based upon strong initial psychic connections not easily explained in other ways. When the centipede appears, it is not unusual for a strong psychic connection to occur with someone new shortly thereafter. Both need damp environments, the millipede more than the centipede. For those to whome either is a messenger, it is important to have their own creative environments. Damp environments are symbolic of creative, psychic, and emotional areas. Finding an environment, supportive to their creative and psychic sensibilities, will be necessary for their health and well-being. Although both are many-legged creatures, there are some unique differences. Some centipedes produce silk, usually only used during mating and to capture prey. They are active predators of insects, spiders, and worms. Their front pair of legs acts as claws and all have poisonous glands in their jaws used for paralyzing and killing prey. Centipedes often remind us to be careful of what we say and how we say it. Millipedes are found under stones and in moist soil and leaf litter. They avoid the light, feeding upon various plant materials and soft decompsing plant tissues. They discharge strong-smelling secretions that may be repellent and poisonous to other animals. Centipedes and millipedes alert us to new psychic environments and connections and to new and previously unrecognized psychic relationships. They also appear to alert us to any possible pitfalls within those relationships. Theirs is the energy of quiet protection in psychic exploration. Blessings, Cinnamon “The power and ways are given to us to be passed on to others.” ………..Fools Crow, Ceremonial Chief, Teton Sioux
What is the difference between happy people and unhappy people? Of course, it may be very obvious, happy people are happy while unhappy people are unhappy, right? Well, that is correct, but we want to know what are the things that these people do differently and that is why, I have put together a list of things that HAPPY people do differently than UNHAPPY people.
1. LOVE vs. FEAR. Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.
2. ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE. Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can definitely change it by accepting that it is there and by understanding that there might be a reason for its existence. When something unpleasant happens to them, they don’t try to fight it, knowing that this will make the situation even worse, but rather, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this?How can I make this better? and they go from there, focusing on the positive rather than on the negative. They always seem to see the glass half full no matter what happens to them.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”Buddha
4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. No matter if they talk to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a multi billion company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel like there is something unique and special about them.
They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity and respect, making no distinctions between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain
5. MEANING vs. AMBITION. They do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives and because they get a sense of purpose by doing so. They understand that “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life” like Wayne Dyer puts it, and they care more about living a life full of meaning rather than, what in our modern society we would call, living a successful life.
The irony here is that most of the time they get both, success and meaning, just because they choose to focus on doing the things they love the most and they always pursue their heart desires. They are not motivated by money; they want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the world.
6. PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. Happy people would probably agree with Carl’s Jung theory on resistance: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”. They don’t criticize the absence of the behavior they want to reinforce, but rather, every time the behavior is present, even if it’s not that often, they know that by praising the person and the behavior, they will actually reinforce the positive behavior.
When a parent wants to make sure that his 7 years old boy will learn to always put the toys back in the box after he’s done playing with them, he will make sure not to focus on the many times the child won’t do it, criticizing him and his behavior, but rather, every time the little boy does put the toys back, the parent will praise him and his behavior and that is exactly how he will reinforce the positive behavior, and in the end geting the wanted results.
7. CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. Happy people will see PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lies many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.
8. SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS.They do what they do not for themselves, but for the good of others, making sure that they bring meaning, empowerment and happiness in the lives of many. They look for ways to give and to share the best of themselves with the world and to make other people happy.
”Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.”Buddha
9. ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. They have an abundant mindset living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.
10. DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. These people don’t really care about being realistic. They love and dare to dream big, they always listen to their heart and intuition and the greatness of their accomplishments scares many of us.
“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Goethe
11. KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self love, self forgiveness and self acceptance.
12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No no matter where they look, no matter where they are or with who, they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.
13. PRESENCE/ ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. They know how to live in the present moment, appreciating what they have and where they are, while still having big dreams about the future.
“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are.” Eckhart Tolle
14. POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens to them, they always seem to keep a positive perspective on everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.
15. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMING. They take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. Happy people understand that the moment you choose to blame some outside forces for whatever it is that happens to you, you are in fact giving all your power away, and they choose to keep the power for themselves and taking responsibility for everything that happens to them.