Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: art

Piqued

Twas a good week, finally. Yay.

Steph was back in town – we walked the neighborhood, watched Elizabeth Gilbert on Super Soul Sunday (highly recommend) and took selfies with Carter Cash.

Balance to the Universe restored.

I booked a flight, pretty much on a whim, to visit my friend Chelsea in Denver. Hi Chels!

We still have absolutely ZERO plans for Halloween. Maybe b/c we have to be up at 6am the day after.

And I’m getting some quality home alone time while H is at a math conference with his best friend.

Here are a few links for you this weekend:

7 Strange Questions That Help Your Find Your Life Purpose. While I’m so over the self-help culture and how it’s exploded into a black hole of lists to make you feel bad about how you’re living your life, these questions are funny and thought-provoking. Enjoy.

Found Shoestring Adventures (total weekend warrior porn) because they interviewed on of my fav bloggers ever Jillian Lukiski. She’s a metalsmith, blogger and photographer who lives and breathes nature, takes amazing photos and writes like a banshee.

“I make what I make because I live in the interior West and this space has carved my spirit and my life. This is the land I know by heart. These are the mountains I hike and run and ski. These are the trees I know by name. These are the wild animals I watch and cherish and hunt and fish and witness and take into my own life cycle on a daily basis.”

My college roommate and I knew this, but coloring is soooooo relaxing. I can just smell the crayons now.

Some straight office/productivity advice: don’t answer emails that lack questions.

And a little combo of hippy and good advice – do it anyway.

“At one point, she (Cheryl Strayed) was talking about uncertainty, about how to keep going when you don’t know how, when you aren’t sure of the outcome, about how to take that step when the deck is stacked against you: she said that you have to say a prayer to the god of doing it anyway.  You have to take a deep breath and go for it even though you have no idea how it will all turn out.  You have to find that teeny bit of faith so that you can take the very next step.”

I usually don’t link to funny videos, but H and I couldn’t stop laughing at this kid:

 

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If Nothing Is Permanent, Then Anything Is Possible

If nothing is permanent than anything is possible.

This concept came to me via the podcast How She Really Does It where Koren Motekaitis interviewed Kelly Rae Roberts. Kelly Rae was exactly my age when two major things came into her life – a running program for a 1/2 marathon and being swept up in art making. At the time she was a social worker, burning out on the job and in the past 7 years has left that career for one where she is a full-time artist.

Now I know there’s no silver bullet, but don’t you think that’s interesting the Universe popped that podcast into my ears this week?

Because I’ve been thinking about my job and my life. I am feeling like I’ve grown too big, like my shell is too tight and it’s time to find a new home. Like I want to do something new. And I feel like I’m suffering from “impostor syndrome“. Did I dupe everybody? How could I want to move on from a job that I basically fell into? Do I ever deserve this gig? And aren’t I being horribly ungrateful to look this gift horse in the mouth…?

I mean, the pay, the flexibility and the network I’ve built – that would be a lot to give away to start over. Starting to feel a scarcity approach from myself – like I need to hold on to this position in almost a desperate way, because what else would ever beat it? What if it disappears?

At the retreat, someone mentioned that that you can grow up (bigger) or down (deeper). I’d never heard it put this way, but it resonated with the images I had for my year – that I not only wanted to grow tall like a tree, but I wanted to grow roots, a solid foundation.

Then a colleague called me up with an idea for responsibilities I could take off his plate. Responsibilities that could expand my role. And I thought up a very simple series I could create to spotlight my clients, which I started on today.

So, maybe it’s not about going bigger but deeper.

And as Kelly Rae said in the podcast – if nothing is permanent, then anything is possible.

Have you ever thought about growing *down*? Is there a place in your life you’ve gone deeper instead of bigger?

Intuition Ignition

I spent a good part of my 5m run with a friend picking her brain about visions, goals and aiming for what you want. 90-day plans. Being direct and clear with dates and measurements. How does she know? What do I do next if there’s silence in my head when I ask? What kind of warning shots (as she calls them) can I send out? What am I looking for?

On Monday I had coffee with another awesome friend; I found myself talking about the same ideas. He posed the whole “if you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?” question. My answer comes back “I would do this“. Sit and have good conversations with someone I really like. Just show up and listen to people. Help them. Create art…

…but that seems soooooooooo indulgent, I said.

As we talked, I realized that I’d been skirting something in these conversations. Essentially, I was complaining about not receiving any intuitive hits, about the silence on the radio dial. Instead, it seems, I’ve been ignoring my intuition, because the request just seems ridiculous.

And here it is: I just want to sit and create all day. Create what? I have no clue, but I can tell you at the basic level it feels like – doodle in journal, glue things to paper, sketch out a poem or two. Nothing drastic, probably nothing worth keeping, but the action, the sweet feeling of cutting paper and holding a pen and putting something down, is what my soul seems to be craving.

And then all hell broke loose at work for a day. I felt manic; talking to people, dealing with drama. I am proud of myself for handling it with an even attitude, but by the evening I was spent. A glass of wine, a bathtub and bed were my answers.

Today I woke up with that old feeling of panic – the thought of answering emails and going to a coffee meeting made me want to cry. I felt exposed, too sensitive, and really wanting to go hide out alone.

And then I left my keys in the unlocked car, IN THE IGNITION.

So I called out of work tomorrow. I’m taking the day to recharge and indulge myself a little. So much of my horoscope encourages introspection and envisioning the future. So much of it asks me to focus on myself and rest.

The ache to take a trip alone is back. To get away, to be in silence, to walk streets I don’t know and sip coffee in new places. It may just be what I gift myself for my birthday.

 

 

This Grateful Season – SoCal Fall

We know I complained like a baby about the heat the past few months. Some days, it felt unbearable. Others it was so perfect in the gray of the morning that you’d never know it’d be boiling hot by noon. I get it. We live in the desert. I live where we take full advantage of the water diversions of centuries and one day that water could run out.

But yesterday I took the above picture – 80s, sunny, with crisp leaves on the ground. Today it was rainy and “cold”. It was bliss. And with that I drank tea, did my work, cleaned my house and collaged a bit. And boy, did I need that.

As this Mercury Retrograde season slows me down, I’m hoping to have more days like today over the next few weeks.

 

Life Isn’t a Support System for Art

Last week, before I left for my road trip, I finished Stephen King’s On Writing. I’d borrowed it from friends a few weeks before. Somehow I started reading it without any intentions to and it grabbed a hold of me again. This is one of only a few books (less than 5) that I’ve read more than once.

I’ve noticed my tolerance for crappy books is down and my need for reading is up ergo I have permission to quit books. Gasp. This used to not be granted to me by me. Oddly, at the same time my interest in rereading books increased. Tried and true, I guess?

King draws you in with the bits of his growing up, being a younger brother, writing at his desk in High School. This time around his whole near-death experience went by in only a few pages. Poof. In my memory of the last time I read it… and when was that… the description of his pain and recovery dominates. It’s conversational. It’s funny. And it’s educational. I learned practical advice that I don’t get by writing here in my room, alone. Like, how to delete as many adverbs as possible. But also advice you can apply to any pursuit – life, really – of starting small and being smart and working hard.

He also seems wildly in love with his wife, which I just adore.

Note that I’ve never read a single Stephen King novel, but I like this book. It makes me want to read his novels, but I do feel a class issue there for me as a reader – that his novels are somehow unworthy of my reading time – which you’d think is an opinion this memoir would alter, being so well written, but no…not yet anyways.

Maybe I just need to start with the right one…  Any suggestions?

____________

p.s. After I published this, the space on the side of the “published” bar had a Stephen King quote – I kid you not! Funny universe, really funny.

All Signs Point To – Create Now!

Inspiration finds you, really, whether you’re looking for it or not. I mean, you can be looking for it, but you may find it somewhere you least expect it. “Just think really really really hard about it and then forget it,” Don Draper tells Peggy in “The Wheel”, season one finale of MadMen, describing his creative process.

My DreamLab class is going through the guideposts of Brene Brown‘s The Gifts of Imperfection. I was cruising along, loving everything that is coming together in my head about my life, all those tidbits in the mixing pot, and then last week – BAM – derailed.

Last week covered cultivating creativity, faith and intuition – all important markers that I’ve lost track of in the past 5-10 yrs. (Dang Saturn cycle.) I recognized the faith and intuition pieces immediately, turning them over in my mind to reintegrate. Creativity, though, talk about a shame trigger.

My experiences of the past 9 years have included so many art wounds that I can’t untangle them. Scratching the surface of those history-lines sent me into an emotional panic. Too much weight. The issue isn’t whether I think of myself as creative, it’s that I starve myself of creativity.

This week my therapist asked me about drug/alcohol addictions. My extended family has a history of alcohol abuse, but my immediate family has been addiction-free. She pointed out how my self-control has probably kept me from having any issues – since feeling even mildly out-of-control is terribly uncomfortable for me. Add to that the understanding that I’m predisposed to these pitfalls – I obsessively monitor my indulgences.

But not with art. Not with writing, blogging, photography, journaling, and especially, music. I hold back. I do everything else first. I have some warped belief that if I allow myself to do creative things, the rest of my life will be swept away in a tidal wave of irresponsibility.

So not only did I have DreamLab bringing me “art wounds”, therapy bringing me “addiction & control”, I tuned into this podcast from Karen Walrond. Honestly, previous times I’ve found her stuff on the web, I didn’t fall in love. This time, though, her voice warmed my earbuds and I was smitten. And now I find this post

“All you need to do to be a writer is write.  You don’t need to wait until you’re grown up, or go to university or anything.  You just need to write, and write, and write.  You need to make a point to keep on writing.  Actually practice writing…

Later on, I was thinking about this exchange, and I realized that the same is likely true for just living life: I mean, it doesn’t take a diploma or a formal education to live, and there’s no reason to do anything proactively in life, really, if you think about it.  You could just let it wash over you, and just reactively deal with circumstances as they come.  However, it seems to me that the way to learn to live life best is to actually practice living — challenging yourself to do more, or learn more, and to be more, you know?  Purposeful living.” ~Karen Walrond

None of that’s new to me – writer’s write, runner’s run – but again that theme of practice vs. perfection – that life is in the doing and the being and not the end results. That I’m drawn to creative blogs, photography, and journaling repeatedly, even though I’m not practicing it myself.

My perfectionism, my people-pleasing, my dissatisfaction seem to be ways that I muffle that creative urge.

Creating is the best way I can see to skirt around myself and make my way through on this journey. ~Glad for Art

Here I am 3.5 months later, still not really doing any of that, but it’s there. The urge to create, to express myself, to heal.

“If you decide to trade in your authenticity for safety, there are a few things to keep in mind. Your unexpressed ideas, opinions, and contributions will not just go away. They are likely to fester and eat away at your worthiness. You may experience the following: anxiety, depression, overeating, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief.” ~Brene Brown

Experiences in the past 9 yrs had me trading in my authenticity and controlling myself by withholding creativity. It’s a damaging cycle. I know the antidote is as follows, and I know it’s going to be an uncomfortable ride: as Jamie wrote here, I don’t need huge swatches of creative time, I just need creative time NOW.