Entries from: March 2007

Feelin It

March 13th, 2007, Comments (13)

Despite my silence, things have been going better this week. And you know what's helped enormously? Making that commitment to myself to make art every day for at least 30 minutes with no pressure to finish something or to make something "good." But just to get moving. And I've been doing just that. It's funny, because I'm at work 24/7 this week and half of last, so I haven't had access to my camera to record what I've been doing. I picked up my camera at home last night when I had a bit of spare time. I took a couple pictures last night and then my batteries ran out before I could upload them. Doh! But it's ok. The art I've been doing, they are no masterpieces that will blow your mind. But you have no idea how good it has made me feel to follow through with it. Perhaps I feel especially proud because I haven't been posting what I've been doing to keep myself accountable as I do with art-every-day-month in Novembers. I've only been accountable to  myself.

I haven't always felt I'm all that reliable when it comes to commitments to myself. If there are others involved, if someone is depending on me, I'm always much better. When I trained for and ran that marathon, what kept me going was all the people I'd collected money from and the little girl I was running in honor of. I couldn't stop or give up. But I don't always want to have to depend on guilt/fear/expectation (imagined or otherwise) to keep me going...yes, it's great to know what works for me, sometimes I really need that. But what would it mean to do it with only me keeping score? I feel teary thinking about it. Perhaps it's no coincidence that my camera ran out of batteries.

So, what have I been doing? Well, I started a piece one day and worked on it over the next two evenings for at least a half hour. Then I started something else last night and finished it tonight. And last night, I went to the local bookstore for my artist's date. I sat in a chair with a bunch of wedding books to look at the gorgeous arrangements of candles and flowers. The flowers especially inspired me. I went there to get a little moleskin notebook for another FW exercise and it set off a spontaneous artist's date that was loads of fun. I've also been drawing and painting and playing in this new mini sketchbook.

Still feeling teary and emotional, but I'm less bothered by it today. Last night, I got little shivers of joy when the fiansor told me he'd been thinking about it and he wants to write the score for a string quartet to play when I walk down the aisle. (He plays the violin among most every other instrument and enjoys writing music.) I was so touched. He said, "that way, it will be our song." Sometimes, I feel like he's not into all the wedding details. We had our tasting recently, so we had a chance to talk about a lot of things, like music and invitations and decorations. He had opinions (he always does), but I thought that was as far as it went. Knowing that he has been thinking about it and wants to put such a lovely personal touch on our ceremony makes my heart sing.  Man, I love him.

I feel so sentimental right now. My work is ending, a week from tomorrow. Today, I took the girl I've nannied for for the last 6 years to go for her road test. I sat in the back seat while she drove and passed it. She drove us home and I had this moment of sadness. At the same moment she said, "You've driven me for the last time! That's so sad!" As much as I'm ready to move on, I'm not torn about it, it's still sad and I'm starting to feel that bubble up. I'll miss the girl, my boss, and the adorable dogs that I've spent every day with. My boss is going to be the officiant in my wedding, which is special and I'm sure we'll stay in touch, but you know. Changes, changes. Life is changes.

Ok, I think I've been all over the place in this post, so I'll end here. Life is good.

I am accomplished times 50

March 13th, 2007, Comments (12)

I saw that Kelly had put up a list of things she had accomplished already that she was proud of. This is one of the FW exercises, to write 10. Cameron wrote that she sometimes asks her students to write 50. I didn't know if I could do it, but I decided to give it a go. Of course, some of these things are more significant than others, but they're all things I'm proud of.

1. Graduated with distinguished honors from art school.
2. Finished massage school even though I wanted to quit. I worked through it and I'm glad I did.
3. Surviving sexual abuse as a kid and traumatic medical tests that scarred me in many ways.
4. Worked through my struggles with an eating disorder and now have a healthy attitude towards food.
5. Kept some kind of diary or journal since age 6.
6. Helped raise my siblings.
7. Worked hard at becoming more assertive.
8. Showed art in many locations and sold some too.
9. Developed an art style that speaks to my heart.
10. Finished a marathon (26.2 miles!) for charity (raised $3500 for Leukemia research.)
11. Acted in high school and college theater.
12. Sang a song I wrote for a friend's cd of all of his friends' music.
13. Flew across the country alone (twice) to attend a retreat when I really needed it.
14. Lived with a family in Madrid for one month at the age of 15 as an exchange student.
15. Paid off my credit cards and I just finished paying off my car.
16. Have money in savings.
17. Maintained and am still maintaining and growing a wonderful and healthy relationship with the fiansor (going on 6 years).
18. Put in notice to my job to pursue my dream job.
19. Asked for help when depression hit hardest.
20. Stuck out my tongue at George Clooney on the set of the Perfect Storm.
21. Sang karoke in front of a big crowd.
22. Taught my brother his abc's when I was 3.
23. Survived an extremely painful surgery at the age of 10.
24. Was a nanny for the same family for 6 years, becoming part of the family.
25. Cut all my hair off (like a buzz cut).
26. Went skinny-dipping.
27. Died my hair blonde.
28. Danced on a bar.
29. Drove a duck boat.
30. Read at my cousin's memorial service.
31. Studied reiki I and II.
32. Led groups (and myself) through art-every-day-month (4 years) and blogging the Artist's Way.
33. Painted murals in homes and offices.
34. Learned to properly snowshoe in Maine.
35. Made a movie with my best friend of our wild and crazy trip in California.
36. Danced at an all night rave on a mountain and saw the sun come up.
37. Put together a website for a yoga teacher friend.
38. Forgave my ex.
39. Forgave my dad.
40. Forgave my mom.
41. Learned how to apologize.
42. Learned how to ask for what I want. (This is an ongoing process.)
43. Raised some very precious kitties.
44. Taught a dog how to jump through a hula-hoop.
45. Survived a breast tumor scare (it was benign.)
46. Learned how to nurture.
47. Made it through Tuesday's opening and a bunch of other ones.
48. Learned how to laugh at myself.
49. Had a star named after my step-brother who passed away at 23 of a brain aneurysm.
50. Designed a banner for my new art website.

Ahh, feels good to write that all out! :-) Try it out for yourself! 

An Unopened Letter

March 9th, 2007, Comments (14)

Checking in: This week was a little tougher for me and little more challenging, but all is well. I think I'm especially ready for next week's Uncovering a Sense of Balance! As part of one of the diving rods in Finding Water, we are asked to search out inspiration from those creative souls who have gone before us. I did a little bit of looking for a biography, not finding the one I wanted and then I thought over the books I already had, some really good ones on women artists. I remember loving a passage on Emily Carr. This reminded me of another book I have in my possession that is just loaded with inspiration, and I mean loaded. I highly recommend it. It's Gail McMeekin's The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. The author interviewed many women artists, writers, designers, teachers, etc to put together a guide to unleashing your creative power. I have marked up this book with notes and underlined passages and circled quotes (the marks of a book well-loved). And in the margins of the first chapter I found a poem I wrote a few years ago that fits nicely with the Poetry Thursday theme of "red" I think. And it also seems appropriate at this stage of my journey, as I continue to open my heart. I think being open to inspiration and synchronicities is all about opening up your tender, vulnerable heart, speaking your truth, and loving the process.

My heart is an unopened letter,
it has stories to tell,
shall I read it to you?
Shall I take out the
letter opener,
a shining blade,
and cut myself

I may bleed to death
from the open wound
or I may be dried
to dust inside.

I'm not squeamish
or afraid of  blood,
I'm ready for
this flood.

Steamed with anger,
I open
like a mussel shell
I open
like a hot flower
full of secrets,
I open
like a treasure box
I open
my lips
I open
like a lion's yawn
I am open
I am open
for a moment.

Tears and Other Inspiration

March 8th, 2007, Comments (13)

I'm feeling teary today. It's annoying because I'm not particularly sad about anything, but when anything touching comes up, oh my word, the tears start flowin. Geez Louise, American Idol is not sad, damnit! Even though I'm laughin my butt off at the Office and 30 Rock, I'm still tearin up in between laughing. Hmm, this feels like PMS. Tearing up at commercials, wild, pulling my hair out cravings for chocolate...well,  I certainly hope it's pms! ha!

Anyways, I'm trying not to let the tears bring me down. Yeah, sure, I can cry and still find the good stuff all around me. Like all the 17's I saw today. They were everywhere! And the chubby robin who visited me to say, "Hey! I know it's fuckin' cold out, but spring is coming! It is!" The dogs keeping me company. Getting to go into work a little bit late today. A trip to the library to pore through folio sized books of Chagall's art followed by a vanilla birthday cake bubble bath for my artist's date. Yummy. And I just got loads of inspiration from the wonderful blog of Evelyn Rodriguez. So, if you're needing a little extra inspiration today, here are some wise words from her 40 days of everyday inspiration:

"There's no need to stalk, chase or hunt Her. The other day I said that. She is a constant, enigmatic lover. I really mean the constant part. She comes to You , over and over. Do not even be on high alert. Stressing that you'll miss something significant doesn't aid Her. Don't go sleepwalking through your life is all...

Trust that you have a built-in radar for inspiration...

Whatever your complaints are, your resistances, your avoidances, your limitations, your constraints, your frustrations - what if they actually were the necessary ingredients for the alchemical recipe of creation? Whatever you have to work with, why not entertain the thought that those are precisely the threads that She needs to weave Beauty? That our travails is the travel (etymology of the word travel comes from travail)? That's the way of Her open road?"

So, yes, my emotional self, this is the fodder for my inspiration. I'm off to create a bit before I crash. Despite my urge to drown myself in chocolate ice cream today, I did my best to take care of myself today and for that I get a star on my forehead. Hehe.

Oh, before I forget, the opening went well. I did some networking, handed out some business cards, saw some cool art, ate some cheese, and was super duper happy to get home afterwards and get into flannel jammies.


March 6th, 2007, Comments (13)

I've been noticing a lot of talk about fears as I pop around the FW group lately. Fears about failure, overcoming fears, struggling with fear. There are ways that I know how to tackle my fears and that usually involves finding a way to get started (which for me is the hardest part) and then there are some other fears that I'm not quite sure what to do with, except to just face them head on even when I want to run in the other direction.

I have an art opening tonight, three pieces of art in a bigger show of women artists celebrating Women's History Month. It's in a gallery at a college in the city, a cool space, it's exciting. I haven't told all my friends and family about it and I'm not sure why. I did tell some people, some people will be coming, which is very nice. I feel anxious about it. I really don't like art openings, which is unfortunate, as I do like to get my art "out there" for people to see. It's like I want to put it up and then run in the other direction.

It's not that I'm extremely shy. I'll introduce myself to people fairly easily, I'll talk to almost anyone. But put my art in the room and I want to hide in the corner. I don't like to talk about my art, I'm not eloquent when I have to explain what it's about, I feel embarrased and ashamed, I imagine that people are thinking the worst possible things about it. It's silly, I know. Most people aren't going to be standing around talking trash about my art, but this is the stuff that pops into my head. It's very uncomfortable. Ugh.

I need to re-frame this, see it as a possibility for fun, for meeting other artist's, for networking, for receiving support from the friends who come out, for seeing other great art, for practicing at being a business woman. And then later, I can take my introverted self home, give myself a pat on the back and then curl into the couch with my fuzzy kitties and some soft, warm jammies. Why does it have to be so frickin cold and windy tonight. Gah!

Checking In With Week 2

March 4th, 2007, Comments (6)

Week 2 has ended and week 3 has begun. I posted about week 3 a little bit over at the Finding Water blog, but I haven't talked much about week 2 here, so I'll do that. I did my mp's every day. This has already become an important part of my day. Somehow it provides a grounded way to start my day and helps me feel more connected to myself and my surroundings. Good stuff. I did my artist's date, which I mentioned in an earlier post. It was fun and simple and I'm glad I went. I've got some ideas for some more adventurous ad's, but they'll take a bit more preparation. I didnt' do my weekly walk which I feel irritated with myself for skipping. I did a little bit of walking, but none of it alone or peaceful.

Diving Rods:

She is 30 years old, it sounds funny to her, this age because she feels ageless. 30 used to represent something to her, the age at which she would have everything lined up in a neat row. Certainly in some ways her life is much more lined up than ever before, but neat rows? No, neat rows are not for her. She lives in a cozy apartment with her fiance and their cats, all fuzzy and cute and completely different.  She's a bit of a slob, she doesn't pay too much attention to her looks  or what's fashionable, she hasn't had a haircut in 6 months, she keeps putting it off even though it would probably make her feel better if she just got it done. She just had her eyebrows "done" for the first time last month. She's not a girly girl. Yet, she's recently discovered a fascination with purses. It's hard for her to justify spending so much money on such a small item, but she has a few now and loves them. And jewelry, she's started to love jewelry, in particular necklaces made by artists, unique items with soul. She wishes her space was more clean and clear, but she never seems to get to that point. She gets overwhelmed easy and loves her alone time, but she also has a really big heart and she loves fiercely. Art is where she finds joy and peace and where she is able to express that still small voice that sings deep down. Art is where she sings.

I cherish:
-My adorable, fuzzy kitties
-My apartment that feels like home.
-The fiansor
-My car in working order and paid off
-My body and my health
-Having a room of my own
-Quiet time during the day to do as I please
-The white noise in my bedroom
-My oh-so portable laptop
-Being so close to so many major roads and able to walk to get coffee, but in a home that feels quiet and woodsy.

My censor is named Ms. Primworthy, her hair is perfect, she looks at me down her nose through her sharp glasses. She is dressed in crisp, expensive clothing. She's a snob. Nothing is ever good enough. She says my work is sloppy and amateurish. Sometimes I get so angry with little Miss Perfect, but she has her positives. When she's balanced out, she can help me to see the little details that I might otherwise miss and push myself to look at how to look at things from a more professional angle.

I also have someone in mind to ask for help from for a great brainstorming session. I want to make a more formal date for this, hopefully next week will work for her.

All in all, a good week, here's to a week of creative goodness, synchronicities and inspiration. Speaking of inspiration, Marilyn pointed out this blog with these amazing posts about everyday inspiration. I've had to read them a little bit at a time, there's a lot there to take in, but so worth it!

Bringing in the Beauty

March 1st, 2007, Comments (17)

I've had a strong urge to bring more beauty into my life lately. I've been treating myself to flowers and instead of letting them rot for months after they die like I usually do, I've been replacing them with fresh flowers. Fuschia spray roses, orange and purple tulips. At the grocery store, I spent a long time wandering around in the flower section admiring the delicate baby's breath, the soft blue hydrangeas, the splashy red gerber daisies...so much color. I have some pretty vases too as I just love colored glass, so it's good to put them to use. So now I've got some tulips that I spread out, some in the kitchen and some in the front room on a window ledge where my bad boy cat Tabbers can't reach or chooses not to try to reach (he likes to eat plants, so I need to keep them all up high.)

The morning after I posted the "Waiting for Spring" image below, I was writing my morning pages and heard a chirping. Looking to my right, out the glass door a couple feet away, I saw a bright red cardinal hopping around and chirping as if it was trying to get my attention. It made me laugh. He seemed to be saying, "hey! look! You don't need to tie red bird ornaments to trees! I'm right here!" There have been many other fun little synchronicities too, some which would sound pretty silly if I said them out loud (or wrote them here rather.)

Today was full of business-y things that needed doing. My office/studio space was such a disaster-zone, that I could no longer walk through it, so there was some major cleaning and then some major filing, then some computer work, and errands to pick up printer ink, working on a total re-vamp of my art website. I was getting all frustrated with it and then something clicked today and I'm really loving it. It's a lot of work and it's not as fast moving as I'd like as I'm not skilled in photoshop or dreamweaver. I only know some of the tools and the rest I need to figure out as I go, which involves a lot of trial and error...it's sort of like translating a passage of a foreign language you know only a little bit of, so you need to spend a lot of time looking up words to understand, which makes the process verrrry slow. Despite those frustrations, I'm moving forward. I need to have some patience with myself and what I can accomplish in a day.

I also went on my artist's date today, a trip to The Container Store. I've been feeling the need for some organization in my life and although I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, I decided to just go and wander. Plus I had a little bit left on a gift card from ages ago that I could use. I was most excited to look at their collection of boxes. I love boxes. I can't explain why this is, but I've always liked them, especially little ones. When I was a teenager, I had a top drawer of my dresser devoted to little boxes. They were all empty, I wasn't saving them for any particular use, I just liked them. When I moved, I had to get rid of them, I just didn't have the space in my first little apartment. But I've noticed recently that I've started, very slowly to collect little empty boxes again. Perhaps this time, I can put them to some use.

So, I admired all the container store's teeny boxes, clear ones in every color, others covered in rich tones of silk shantung, others made of paper, others in metallic gold. I didn't buy any little boxes, I prefer to keep them when they come to me for free (part of a gift or a purchase or something or someone's unwanted stuff), but I did get a portable file box for my art business files, some pretty files to spice things up, some acid-free archival bags and two binder type portfolios with acid-free sleeves to keep art in when it's not framed.

And later when I got home, I put one of my little empty boxes to good use as a business card holder for all the artist and crafter's business cards I've been collecting at shows, fairs, and open studios. Good stuff. Tomorrow night, the fiansor and I are going to our food tasting at the place we'll be getting married in October. This is definitely going to be one of the highlights of the whole wedding planning experience. Next, I need to sit down and figure out our guest list and collect all the addresses for save the dates. Oy! Not so fun. Ok, off to bed for me. Sweet dreams! Or as my mom would say, "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite!"