I’m A Work In Progress

I’m a work in progress.

It’s taking longer than I thought. Both the unfolding of me and our life transition.

I grasp at lovely things, as if they were branches that will keep me from going under. Until this household move, I had little idea that I thrive on aesthetics, taking in beauty as if it were air.Grab a branch

Since our old home is on the market, loaded with charm and sacred, secret spaces, it needs daily care. I’m constantly, gardening, cleaning, giving it love. But, I’ve given all my love. 

 

Artist Supplies

I don’t paint anymore. I haven’t worked in the studio for weeks, and weeks. I had no idea this transition would totally take out my practice. Everything is out of place. This isn’t good for an artist. We get irascible when we don’t work….no one wants the business end of a stalled artist.  With the exception of Tuesday mornings with my dear teacher, painting does not happen. I’ve started daily ink drawings for Inktober. It’s something.

So, as I often do in times of uncertainty, I look for the lesson. Am I learning patience? Am I learning faith? Is it both….or more? Yes, I’ve considered it’s me. It always is, you know? Not always me, always us…you. We get in our own ways. Continue reading “I’m A Work In Progress”

The Middle

(I’m on summer vacation! These posts are re-posts. I have discovered a need to re-fill my creative cup. Looking forward to bringing you new and improved posts in the fall. I hope you enjoy these selected writings! Search topics of interest on my site for more related articles.)

“Every giant redwood was once a seedling. They don’t get to skip that part.” –  Sue Fitzmaurice  (click to Tweet)

There’s a recurring theme lately. People are in transition. Life is full of cycles and we’re sometimes called upon to reinvent Life transitionourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to growth, breathe life into our dreams, be a catalyst for positive change…but let’s face it….it’s more than terrifying to be a seedling.

You. Don’t. Get. To. Skip. That. Part.

Seedlings are itty bitty small in a big, big world. Seedlings get stepped on, drowned, and their tender little stems are pickings for things like…well…wild pigs. Seedlings are vulnerable. Not all seedlings make it but they try, because  the prospect of being a giant Sequoia is quite enticing. Sequoias are strong, long-lived and have a fabulous penthouse view.

I’ve had a fairly varied and interesting past. (Notice I did NOT say “colourful.”) Every decade has brought transitions – new places, new relationships and sometimes, new careers. Interestingly, what was learned from the old situations bolted onto the new transitions quite nicely, kind of like Legos. Just because we leave a job or relationship behind doesn’t mean the skills and knowledge we have aren’t transferrable – THEY ARE!

I will tell you a secret. Often, during transition, there is a long expanse of time that is the “uncomfortable middle.” (click to Tweet) It is not the creamy, fluffy, goodness. This is the place where you lack direction, uncertainty becomes a way of life, the answer or direction often does not reveal itself as quickly as our fast-food appetites would like. This is not a happy place, but a place of exploration, possibilities and change. It is an uncomfortable crevasse. It’s the very thing that can send you running and screaming back to the comfort…back to the known. To get past the middle you need a serious dose of courage. You have to trust the process, your God and your gut. Continue reading “The Middle”

The REAL Picture

Not a REAL picture

The REAL Picture

There’s a lot of information in the webosphere and a lot of should do’s and should be’s. It’s almost like we’re being told how to live a life; like we wouldn’t otherwise know how! It’s easy to get the impression you’re not cool enough, clever enough or happy enough. Hmmm….let me tell you –

There isn’t only one way to live and there’s certainly not only one “right” way (click to Tweet). People will try to control you by telling you so – think organized religion and retail marketers. I guess there are some “wrong” The Real pictureways to live – but none of us here are encumbered by such poor behaviour and devious deeds, right? Sure, occasionally we stumble, that’s why I write and you read it – we share little human foibles – but nothing serious, nothing, ahem, pathological – right? Sure, it’s right. I have the utmost faith in you. Continue reading “The REAL Picture”

It’s Going to Be a Great Day!

This is not the real delivery guy
(This is not the real delivery guy)

It’s going to be a great day.

That’s what it said on the top of the delivery sheet.

A handsome, young man who was expecting the worst…you could tell.

He told me he had to remind himself. His mantra was on the top of every work order for every day…because, “One bad customer can ruin your whole day.” He had 20 deliveries the day he saw me, and he was all business. From my corporate experience, I suspect he was on some kind of PIP – performance improvement plan. Maybe people had complained and he was REQUIRED to write it at the top of each work order. It’s an educated guess, informed by the fact he told me, “Honestly, I should’ve refused this delivery, so they could send a smaller truck,” as soon as he arrived.

Not a good way to win friends and influence people. Continue reading “It’s Going to Be a Great Day!”

Wanting What’s Best

The best thingJust because we want it, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for us.

You may want to read that again.

This point was driven home this week when I had a conversation with a friend. She was wondering how to deal with some “crazy spirited” extended family members. You know the old saying,”You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family?” Sorry, Mom, I don’t mean YOU! Anyhou, convinced large family gatherings would fill her heart, she was wrestling with the idea of her unwieldy and unreliable “attendees.”  She dreamt of a large family gathering and, of course, that was the family she had to work with. Just because we want it doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Imagine hosting a family gathering where you issued straight jackets like party favors at the door.

I remember when I worked in corporate. I’d apply for advancement positions. I did it because I wanted it…or sometimes, I just wanted to be the chosen one. Honestly. I just wanted to be selected…competitive much? All the demands that accompanied the position, well, those might not be for me, but I wanted to be the pick of the litter. This addictive desire got me into tight, unhappy spots on more than one occasion. My ego made my bed, then I had to be the one to lie in it! It’s taken some time, but I’m so over it.

What do you want? Is it your ego or inner-child doing the begging – or is it your heart’s desire? How would you know the difference? It’s worth taking some time to think about, me thinks. Sometimes, our best information comes in times of contemplative silence. (click to Tweet) Continue reading “Wanting What’s Best”

Fair Weather Thinking – Part I

finding possibilities(Part 1 of a 3 part series  – “Fair Weather Thinking” is designed to help you identify more possibilities in your life by helping you clear the path of mental and physical debris that can cloud good decision-making. This series is presented in 3 distinct parts – Own Your Stuff, Set Clear Boundaries and Take Care of You.) 

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”         ~Thomas Merton

When the skies are clear and the weather is fair, it’s easier to see the stars. Stars are light infused inspirations – they remind me of possibilities.

Possibilities are the embers of hope – the kindling for the fires of our lives, that ignite potential and meaning (click to Tweet)  Continue reading “Fair Weather Thinking – Part I”

Much Ado About Much To Do

A lot to doI was exhausted last week and I’m still exhausted. It sounds so trite and whiney and passé….but, its true. Hmmmmmffffff!

I like to believe I’ve learned a few things in my life, one of them being the benefit of balanced living, but when opportunity knocks – you should probably answer the door. And, when you say you’re going to do something, you’d better darned tootin’ do it – especially if you’ve made that commitment to someone else. Between the two, a person ends up…well…busy.

Lucky for me, opportunity’s been beating down my door lately…and for that, I am extremely grateful. Also, lucky for me, some people value whatever “that thing” is I have to offer, so they request assistance from time to time. The challenge becomes how to take advantage of cool things that come my way, while still trying to maintain some semblance of balance. I have to say THIS to balance:

“When you depart from me sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.”                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                             ~William Shakespeare

Oh, and gratitude…let’s not forget that. Gratitude may (and should) be the MAIN focus of it all.

I’m over-committed; I should be committed. (click to Tweet) Continue reading “Much Ado About Much To Do”

Chills and Thrills – Why You Should Do What Scares You Most

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 7.00.23 PM
The Scream by Edward Munch

Cheap thrills, chilling thrills, new thrills, known thrills…I’ll take ‘em all.

Sometimes you have dreams of thrills, sometimes thrilling dreams – but stepping off the edge from time to time makes us feel ALIVE.

It’s fun to push your boundaries. If you’re not a risk-taker, you still might stretch just a little – in a “mostly safe,” but somewhat thrilling way. Safety is a drug that stifles fear AND creativity. It feels cozy and comfy and s-t-u-c-k. Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

We rest quietly in the clutches of comfort…letting it seduce us into its predictability, and as we marinate there, we find it ever so more difficult to venture out. We get stuck in a rut, become depressed, agoraphobic, stagnant. We know it isn’t right, we can feel the rub. Still, that fear will stop us in our tracks and we don’t forge new territory – at. all. Do you have a safety habit? Need a 12-step program?  Continue reading “Chills and Thrills – Why You Should Do What Scares You Most”

Procrastinate Much?

ProcrastinationLast night I was driving to San Francisco with my dog and realized we were no longer in the car. Our car was rolling down the road, way ahead of us. I said, “Oops, the car is getting away from us…we’d better hurry to catch it!” The next moment we were safely in the car again. Then, once more, I looked up to find the car ahead. The third time this happened the car veered right and stopped by a bunch of construction workers under an overpass. We had to pull over quite quickly to catch up to it. Dangerous dreaming. I wonder what it meant? Continue reading “Procrastinate Much?”

Bone Tired

Bone TiredThis is a re-post from May. I’m not “Bone Tired,” but this time of the year, I reckon some of you are. I hope you enjoy and take a deep breath ~m

I’m bone tired.

It’s been a crazy couple months doing the thing I love most…and I am still bone tired.

It feels like August. You know about August? After the dog days of summer you just don’t have it in you, no piss, no vinegar. Plants are turning brown…who cares? Dog-hair dust bunnies on the floor…keep on shufflin’. Bone Tired is the kind of tired where you send out a search party for your energy and your sanity. (click to Tweet, if you’ve got the energy) Has anyone seen my memory? Thirsty, but too tired to fill the cup. Yep, parched and I guess it suits me. That’s the kind of tired I am…bone….tired. Continue reading “Bone Tired”

8 Operating Procedures for a Well-Lived Life

I’m  not an expert at accessing joy. I’ve tripped into the well-lived life, for sure. I remember a few stumbles I’ve taken Life Manualalong the way, that made the trip more joyful, more meaningful, more full…but I’m well aware I have a long way to go. Basically, I’m half-baked.

I awoke Thanksgiving morning with a realization in my heart.

Life is hard for some people.

It’s just difficult. I am grateful I’ve found my way through…and grateful for the hardships I’ve endured that lent some perspective and, basically, gave me operating instructions for how to do life differently.

Still, my heart is sad for those in a place where they have no, or little, access to light and joy. I know it’s a journey they must take for themselves and they have to find their own road map….but I wish I could help every single one of them. Continue reading “8 Operating Procedures for a Well-Lived Life”

6 Steps for Surviving the “Angsty Middle” of the Creative Process

Creative process, change, transitionChange is like an Oreo cookie. There’s a crispness to the beginning and end…but the middle is sticky and gooey.  I suspect it’s the same with the creative process.

It doesn’t matter what you create…

There’s that angsty little bit in the middle. It’s sticky and gooey,  but it isn’t all that sweet.

Our creative processes, like the muse that drives us, are uniquely ours. We can mould, form, write, compose, paint, sculpt, but for most of us, there’s that little bit in the middle where our hearts are stricken with fear and we think we’ve effed it up.

It’s a little eerie and quite coincidental that a year ago this month I wrote a post called “The Middle.” In it, I offer tips for dealing with change in one’s life. As someone who has worked extensively with human behaviour, I‘m waaaay more comfortable with managing life transitions than creative ones. In “The Middle” I explored how our takeaways from  life transitions are transferrable to other events in our lives. Now, I’m thinking they may be scalable, too; scalable down to the creative process. Continue reading “6 Steps for Surviving the “Angsty Middle” of the Creative Process”

Illuminate Your Fear

Donald Neale Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Several years ago, I began a quest with a pledge of fearless“fearlessness.”  When I segued from the corporate world to work full time as a writer and artist, I made a pledge to do my work courageously and without care for what people might think of me. It’s easy to be fearless when you feel you have nothing to lose. (click to Tweet).

Next month I have an event and am fraught with insecurity and doubt. This is the polar opposite of fearlessness. I’m not sure when I decided I have “something to lose” because clearly, you all know, I’m out of my mind and might as well put it all out there – there IS nothing to lose. Today a friend gave me encouragement to move forward fearlessly, and that’s when I realized I had, once again, breached my pledge to myself. Continue reading “Illuminate Your Fear”

Techno-coloured Funk

Technology challengedSome people respond to technology very well.

Some people stink at it.

I’m going to have a nice, brief, honest rant here…

Those of you who don’t use email, text or turn on your phones DRIVE ME NUTS! We have business to do here…

Don’t. Be. Difficult.

I realize being technolocially challenged can be a generational thing, but hey, my parents use bill pay. Thankfully, I’ve NEVER witnessed my mother whip out her “checkbook” at the end of the sale to slowly draft a “cheque,” only to have the clerk process and return it to her…perfect signature in place. Thank you Mom, for not embarrassing the family. Continue reading “Techno-coloured Funk”

A Gypsy Soul

Gypsy soul, travelI have a gypsy soul.

I want to live in Virginia…Charlottesville to be exact. It boasts historical, white-spired buildings, beauty abound and some nice culture.

I can also picture myself in Paris, sipping espresso at a café. I’d write in my journal and nosh on a croissant in the morning…take in a museum in the afternoon…paint until the sun rose. I’d have stimulating conversations with my circle of friends at the brasserie.

Perhaps Carmel by the Sea would be nice. It may be a little cool for my tastes, but the flowers stay fresh year round, there are plenty of specialty shops, boutiques, good art, divine food, and they do have a few sunny days. Hmmm…romance. Continue reading “A Gypsy Soul”

What’s Your Problem?

What’s your problem?Art Problems

Yeah, I know you have one. Or you ought to. I currently have an issue I’m working out….more often than not, I work on it in front of you all! Not this one…not yet.

Cat got yer tongue?

Truly, we all face different challenges at different times in our lives. Full-time artists have different challenges than part-time artists. Self-employed artists find various challenges, but so do artists who work for design firms or studios. The challenges we face are unique and personal. Continue reading “What’s Your Problem?”