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Monthly Archives: January 2013

“Recovering Senses of Connection and Strength”

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Relationships are always dynamic. Especially the ones we have with ourselves. I think that is important to remember as we move through life. We often have fond memories of times past and great expectations of times ahead. But in reality, all we really have time for is now.

And now, a pattern seems to be emerging. I seem to be getting stronger. Better able to balance. Day by day, habits emerge. My relationship with myself is growing. There has been a lot of work to do. Resting. Nourishing. Grieving. It has been a wonderful experience to have the blog as a mode of connection. Even more, the unyielding support I receive from friends, family, and readings.

The past weeks of Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way have focused on Recovering a Sense of Connection and Recovering a Sense of Strength. My relationship with this particular reading has changed. It’s not so much on the page now. It’s part of my life now. Life happens in ways that I then connect to Cameron’s writing and say, “Hey, that sounds familiar!”

Senses of connection emerge in friendships and professional relationships, through my writings, and within my physical being. The prerequisite for connections is receptivity. Or simply listening. I’ve been listening to myself. Not just my heart and soul, but my body as well. I attribute this awareness to my yoga practices. I have begun to feel and amend the unsteadiness that resides in my hips. I have begun to feel the burdens that I allow to ride on my shoulders. I set free the frustrations and anxieties of a 13-year-old girl who was stuck in beginner gymnastics due to her inability to do a cartwheel.  My courage to do the upward bow pose brought me closer to my physical being.

Upward bow pose. Note this is NOT me!

Being more connected to my physical being has allowed me to be more in tune to myself. Less and less am I finding myself feel as though my experience is becoming victim to my physical ailments. Instead I notice patterns. Patterns I can be part of.

This morning I took the time to do a few yoga poses and stretches to some wonderful and powerful tunes (Pistachio by Lisa Hannigan and 9 Crimes by Damien Rice). I found myself connected to my heart and smiling, just because. That is the beginning of habits emerging. That is building strength, day by day. The mantra Julia Cameron provides for the week is, “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.”

In addition to listening, risk taking is a integral element of building connections. The question arises, “What would I do if I didn’t have to do it perfectly?” The answer is, “A great deal more than I am now.” Taking risks and eschewing perfectionism are difficult tasks for me. It’s all too easy to get stuck in habits that prevent chance. I tried to explore such difficulties in an earlier post on the excuses I am making in setting up my Etsy shop. Then, yesterday I beat those excuses, and took a chance and set up shop. Its not perfect. But it now exists. I can build it. It can grow.

Cameron provided some wonderful insight to this phenomenon.

Indulging ourselves in a frantic fantasy of what our life would look like if we were real artists, we fail to see the many small creative changes that we could make at this very moment. This kind of look-at-the-big-picture thinking ignores the fact that a creative life is grounded on many, many small steps and very, very few large leaps.

Baby steps. Oh yes, baby steps. Remember how far they can take us.This morning I have a meeting scheduled. A meeting in which I can be myself: an artist, a professional, a creative human being. These affirmations from The Artists Way will be my reminder.

I am a talented person.

I have a right to be an artist.

I am a good person and a good artist.

Creativity is a blessing I accept.

My creativity blesses others.

My creativity is appreciated.

I now treat myself and my creativity more gently.

I now treat myself and my creativity more generously.

I now share my creativity more openly. I now accept hope.

I now act affirmatively. I now accept creative recovery.

I now allow myself to heal.

I now accept God’s help unfolding my life.

I now believe God loves artists.

Artist-Way

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setting up shop… someday

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Excuses, excuses. Aren’t they convenient?  They seem to pop up just in time to save us—or harm us.

I find that I am making excuses. Becoming aware of them as barriers is quite interesting.

I want to open my Etsy shop. It’s been several weeks now, but I keep making excuses.  These excuses grow exponentially. Here they are in the order of their eruption.

  • I’m not ready. First, I need to make some more jewelry.DSCN7834
  • Before I can set up shop, I need to photograph my designs.
  • I need better photographs. I will wait for a good day with natural light .
    DSCN8074
  • I’ll go buy a full spectrum light bulb.
  • Now, I need to find my lamp.
  • Ok, so maybe I could post the pictures I have. But, I need shipping supplies.
  • I need cute shipping supplies, afterall—this is an Etsy shop.DSCN8066
  • I need to order more supplies to have on hand to meet orders in time.
  • I need to pay my bills before I order supplies.
  • I need to sort through that pile of paper before I pay my bills.
  • I need to catch up on my chores before this weekend. (Its our anniversary.)
  • I don’t want to set up the shop before or during our anniversary weekend. We might go out of town.
  • I need to wait until I order and receive my supplies, to make new designs and to take pictures, because I have worn all my “new” designs and they don’t look “fresh.”
  • I should sort the feathers I have first, just to see what I have.
  • I could write a blog about all the things that are keeping me from doing what’s good for me and my business.
    DSCN8068
  • What if I mess this whole thing up?

Why is it we come up with excuses to keep us from doing the things we want? Do you find yourself doing the same thing? Doesn’t it just seem silly?

And then we remember “If it is worth doing at all, then it is worth doing wrong.” Then I panic, I don’t want to be a bad shopkeeper! I want to look like I know what I am doing!

Don’t we all…

this. is. why.

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Why? Its a silly question as much as it is a serious question. Why write? Why write a blog?

I haven’t posted in a week and it began to bother me. “I should write something.”  Uh… why?

I am beginning to embrace and practice to resist those “shoulds” that circle around in my consciousness.

I am beginning to believe that I shouldn’t have to do something unless I want to. And that I have the autonomy within myself to want whatever it is I want.

I write when I want to write. But why write? Because I have something to say.

But why write a blog? Because I have something to share. Sometimes I don’t have anything to share, yet. So I read, instead of write.

I read when I want to read. But why read? Because I have something to learn.

But why learn? Because it helps me know what it is I have to say.

But why? Because I am human. Because I am creative. Because I create.

If I was a cat, I wouldn’t wonder why. Cats have no need for existential thought, they know that they are the center of the universe.

Neko, my business associate.

Neko, my business associate.

 

the smallest steps take us the furthest

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Each of us is on a path. Sometimes we stray from it and we must remember it is never too late to turn around.

But what about when turning around means breaking down? We find ourselves at the bottom. Shards of glass scattered around us. We are spent and exhausted, knowing that we must get up and move. Move on.

Today, I look back at that place within myself and see how far I’ve come. The sun came out today, just for me. The wind is calm today, just for me. The snow glistens today, just for me. My heart listens today, just for me.

The world doesn’t seem so dark. It is as though I conquered something inside. I am standing tall. But I still remember.

I remember that fear and pain. I remember the sadness and grief. I remember the guilt and confusion. I remember feeling paralyzed. I knew that if I got up and ran, those shards of glass would find their way into my flesh.

Before I could even get up, I had to look at the pieces scattered around. I didn’t understand how it all fit together to begin with. I didn’t understand how it all fell apart. The idea of picking up the pieces was completely overwhelming.

I started with baby steps. When infants learn to walk they are excited and cautious. The bump into things. They fall down and cry. They try again. They squeal with delight. So did I.

I had to learn to walk again. Not so much in a physical sense, but emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually. I had to learn to breath again. I had to find my balance again. I had to care for my soul again. I had to find my path again.

Now that I feel like I am on my path again, I realize I am not alone. I am alive, just the same as you. I am human, just the same as you. I look back and expect to see the mess I left behind. Instead I see a story of strength, endurance, beauty, and triumph. A story I am glad to have overcome. A journey I am glad to be able share. Now I know just how far baby steps can truly take us.

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