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Monthly Archives: October 2013

New Pathways to Well-Being

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New Pathways to Well-Being

I am not much of a middle of the night blogger. But seeing as I am staying the night in the hospital, I tend to wake up as suddenly as I doze off. I have few hours yet until it is morning and the silence is stunning. Thus, I take advantage of the opportunity.

I just had my tonsils removed and am quite comfortable with an assortment of liquids as well as pain relievers. And yet, my mind is still busy. The silence encourages my thought processes. I have two things on my mind: my physical being and my physical environment. The two of these culminate into one theme: my small business. My role as a writer, my ambitions as an artist, and the family’s desire to become more involved in alternative agriculture.

I think about how this spring I began exploring my understanding of my physical being through writing.  Well, then I got sick. My throat inflamed terribly. A little ironic, I think.

Just a bit later into the summer, amid deadlines, my husband’s surgery, and my continuing illness, I said,

It is a small step in bringing order to my life.

I’m through with waking each morning feeling bad in some way.

I’m through with abusing or neglecting myself.

It’s up to me to know when to say when.

And so, that is why I am here recovering from surgery. Four months of reoccurring throat pain became a great barrier. I spent my days feeling bad. I neglected my garden, I struggled to juggle projects, I couldn’t let go of material things, and I couldn’t move on.

I literally, I could not move on into what the future had in store for me: a space for my office studio. I was told about this opportunity to gain a space the day after I cleaned out my home office. It felt like the universe was fast at work. I was granted access just after July 4.

But here it is October 9th and I have yet to move in. Why? Because the universe was at work in other ways as well.

Here I have access to space in which I can do my work as a writer and as an artist. I had wanted it so badly. But then I came to realize the building has the exact layout of my first apartment. I stumbled. I stumbled back into a time when I felt like my life calling was to be a writer and an artist. I stumbled back into a small sliver of my youth in which I loved being myself.

But, I was only 18 and had so much to learn at that time. It was eerily surreal that this new space recalled many incidents of this time in my life. Some good, some bad. All true, because I was living a true existence. That was until I got derailed, began a pattern of self-sabotage, and soon was unable to pay my bills. It didn’t take long for me to totally abuse my entire physical existence, after all I was only 18.

And perhaps now, I get a chance to do it differently.

Sure, I was scared to make the move into a similar place.

But I know have the courage to say, once again, “That was then, this is now.”

I begin to have a sense that the life I envision is possible.

I think about an article I read this morning about the art of making a living as an artist. 

I think about the business plan I developed one year ago, and how I have the opportunity to revisit that again now.

I think about how far my writing has come in the past year.

I think about a project I am working on now, helping a farmer and local foods activist friend develop her vision statement for an application.

I keep thinking about what she wrote about the growing population of would-be farmers that are prepared to unleash their creativity, but just need assurance that their dreams and plans would be possible.

I think that term farmer could be replaced by any of my potential titles, and she still would have been able to include me in that statement. After all, there are so many possibilities ahead!

And so many ideas floating around in this head of mine.

And more than ideas, but passion as well.

Perhaps in overcoming this barrier of pain, fear, and disconnect, I am better able to pave a new pathway within so that my own great ideas can connect with my true passion in order to freely engage with my own physical environment.

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Bittersweet Surrender

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Bittersweet Surrender

How bittersweet autumn can be. The leaves glow with brilliant color, before cascading to the ground.  The feeling in the air is nothing short of electric. We delight in the dynamic change, and let go of our hopes for warmer days.

On days like today when the light is brilliant, the wind is fierce, and the leaves are flying, I find myself caught in the dynamic space between awe and sadness.

I think perhaps in that space, is where surrender resides. As I raise up my arms to my sides and close my eyes, I let the sensation surround me. Feeling as though I could fly, but well aware I would land on my face if I tried.

I keep my feet on the ground, grateful for each step I take.

I breathe out, letting go of what I no longer need to carry.

I call my untruths into the light and call them as such.

Knowing that in doing so, I will no longer be under their spell.

I will no longer believe that I am a contributing problem in any given crisis.

I will no longer react to crisis as if I am responsible for their existence.

I will no longer turn anger in toward myself when I struggle with something I don’t know.

I will no longer think that there is something wrong with shedding tears.

I breathe in, gaining a truer sense of myself and reality.

I will feel the sadness that surrounds my losses.

I will feel the power I have to heal myself.

I will accept others as they are.

I will see what it is to love myself.

I will let go of what holds me down

and move forward with solace.

I will trust that the winds of life will take me onward.

Being Drawn In

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This past weekend, I stood in silence. Staring at a small selection of drawing supplies. I had wanted to buy some artist pens. Mine had dried out. Mine that I bought eight years ago, to illustrate an archaeological dog burial.

Clearly, it was time for some new drawing tools. But there were no pens to choose from there.

I almost walked away.

But I kept looking.  Maybe I missed something.

Maybe… I could buy some pencils.

My inner critic’s voice began, “We have boxes and boxes of pencils at home.”

“Yeah, but not pencils for drawing.”

“How can a pencil NOT be for drawing.”

-Hush-

I looked again.

I was almost in tears with the thought of buying them.

(Treating myself to art supplies can be a pretty intense experience.)

A small “artist pencil kit” caught my eye.

Three pencils, a kneaded eraser, two graphite sticks, and a woodless pencil.

$7.49

And cue the critic:

“You’re going to spend almost ten dollars on something you don’t even need? Something that the kids are going to break, the dog is going to eat, and you are going to lose!?”

“Yes, Yes I am. Because I want to draw. Because I need to draw. AND it comes with a tin case.”

So now, I have a brand new set of pencils to entice me when I get that little whisper of a sense that I might like to draw.

Brand new drawing pencils

Brand new drawing pencils

And how glad I am. For I got that sense tonight, when I couldn’t sleep.

I started thinking about leaves.

Again.

This all started late last week when I was walking down the road with my two boys. We took the back alley on the way to the bakery. I had spent most of the week feeling under the weather and was quite unaware of the autumnal changes taking place outside. Lesson one in complementary colors

“Wait! Wait! Kids! Come here!” I called out. They must have thought I found a frog or a grasshopper, because they sure came back quick.

“Do you see how the color of the leaves is so yellow? And it makes the back of that building seem more purple than it ever has before?”

My oldest, interested and sure it must be some kind of magic, replied “Yeah, I do! What’s that about, Mom?”

“What colors make purple?” I ask.

After a little thought and some guessing, he came up with “Blue and Red”

“Yes! Is there any yellow in purple?”

“No….” (He says it in a voice that shows that thinks he might be getting tricked.)

“And that is why the yellow and purple make each other stand out so well!”

And thus began our seasonally appropriate lesson on colors.

IMG_0334And several stops on the way to the bakery.

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IMG_0336 And a trip to the park. IMG_0349And some lessons on photography.

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And a photo session that became what my son called the “Color Catch”

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And left me thinking of leaves and trees.

And thinking of times when I was learning my leaves and trees.

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And so, here comes that whisper.

Draw.

It’s caught on something.

Draw leaves.

It’s drawn to a time.

A time when I took certain routes around the campus of Southern Illinois University, just to visit certain trees.

I may have been dating a forestry major.

But to tell the truth, I was in love with the trees.

So I started thinking about my beloved tulip poplar.

Just outside the Liberal Arts building.

I’d visit it everyday.

I miss the unique blossoms and the strange seed pods.

But I remember the leaf shape so well.

A few image searches left me longing.

Wondering how that tree is now.

Leaf Study Tulip PoplarAnd drawing the shape and uncovering the vein pattern.

I was suddenly grateful that I was treated myself to those pencils this weekend.

I needed them, for not just any pencil would do.

Memories of my wonder that exists in leaves continued to grow.

I thought of sweet gum.

This spectacular tree can have any range and combination of colors at any time in the fall.

It was a childhood favorite of mine. 750px-American_Sweetgum_Liquidambar_styraciflua_Fruit_Context_2500px

We had one at the house where my dad lived. Each fall, I would collect the funny round, poky, seed capsules and deposit them in hoards in the backyard. I loved them. 800px-Sweetgum_Seed_closeup

Come spring when my dad mowed the yard and found those caches of prickly seed capsules… well he didn’t like it so much then. But, I bet it would give him a big laugh now.

And so, I gave my try at playing with pencil shading the beautiful leaf shape and delicate intricacies of the seed capsules.

And was quite pleased with the process. Sweet Gum

And quite delighted to rediscover the joy of being drawn into to nature, one smooth graphite stroke at a time.