September 27, 2017

a pace that feels right...

Sometimes it seems like I'm not productive. That I move like molasses. Or that I need to do nothing but rest (because spoonie).

Then there are times like this week, when I'm working on creative projects and house tending, and the novel-writing is happening and I'm painting and I'm getting things done - BUT - I have this feeling inside like I need to hurry, go faster, get things done more quickly.

Feeling like I'm in some sort of race.

Only I'm not. My time on earth can end any day, as is the case for anyone and everyone, and so if I'm in a race, it's a race against time in that way.

But otherwise, I'm not in a race with anyone or anything.

And usually, when I feel this way I know it's my anxiety at work.

Also... even though there are times when I truly am in a race against time, that's not the way I want to live my day-to-day life. It does amp up my anxiety too much. It does feel uncomfortable for me.

My natural pace is not (usually) a quick-and-fast pace.

And that's okay.

Except when the comparison-itis kicks in, which it sometimes does, especially if I look around too much online at what others are doing and posting and producing and being-successful-at.

So then I once again remind myself: going at my own pace, at the speed and time that suits me best, really is okay.

It is okay for me to go at my own pace. It is okay for me to go slow, to not rush. 

Last night I sat with the three wisdom cards I made, an exercise in an artist-and-monk class I'm taking.

When I made the cards, I asked the questions, I painted watercolor backgrounds, I chose and glued some collage elements... And then, when all were finished, I turned the cards over to see the questions - and see how each front spoke to the question on the back.

I finished the cards several days ago and I keep returning to them, sitting with the questions, sitting with the answers.

The living of those answers is guiding my days.

And the living of those answers reminds me that it's okay to go at my own pace.

Last night I painted, playing with watercolors on a journal page. And earlier in the day I wrote - because I'm finally (finally) focusing on one novel instead of the back-and-forth starts-and-stops I've had all year with so much indecision of which book to write next.

I had to choose, because I was getting no more books written otherwise.

But now that I've chosen, and now that I'm writing this story, I don't have to rush or hurry. I'm doing my best to ignore the go-faster feeling I'm starting to feel when I sit down to work on the novel.

I can go at my own pace. With writing. With painting. With the house-tending.

With everything.

Time here on earth is not limitless, but it's better for me to go at my personal pace than to try to rush.

It's okay to go at the pace that's best for us.

It's okay to just breathe and create and wash dishes and laugh with a friend - and not rush.

(I've been blogging along with Effy this month! (although I haven't been blogging nearly everyday - but that's okay!) Want to check it out? Just click here.)

September 19, 2017

the tug of doing or resting...

As I (slowly and gradually) combine my blogs again and move posts from my Subtle Harmony site to here, I'm at the point of this post - which I'm moving here and re-posting below, because although it was written in mid-September 2015 there are so many things that apply to right-now-time too.

Like the new moon energy (we have a new moon this week too).

And how I was doing some decluttering because the donation truck was coming through the neighborhood and we wanted to have some boxes of donations ready to be picked up (and yep, that happened this week too).

And how I was wanting to work on work/site/shop/moving-posts stuff (I'm doing the same thing again, now and over the next few months, making changes yet again - different changes, but still changes, and in the same areas as I wrote about in the post I'm re-posting below).

And - the tug of doing or resting. Yes, definitely I'm feeling that right now!

Coming across this post again, this post from almost exactly two years ago, has been like deja vu for me (except for the weather)... as well as being a reminder that sometimes self-care means not doing. 

Here's that blog post I wrote, originally published on September 15, 2015...

Do you ever feel a tug between doing and resting?

I think we all have times of experiencing this.

It can happen when we've got a ton of stuff to take care of, and we feel like we need to get it done...and yet we also long for a nap or relaxing with a good movie.

It can happen when our mind is flowing with new ideas for projects or plans or redecorating a room...but our body is telling us to slow down, take a break, rest.

Sunday evening was like this for me.

The new moon - and its energy of setting intentions and looking at beginnings. The air cooler than it's been here in months with the hint of the first taste of autumn on the way - and the freshness of the fall-like soft breeze stirring my own energy to do.

A part of me wanted to get to work on the beginning steps of shifting my blog to a new online home, craft more items for my Etsy shop, and declutter closets to gather things for the donation truck coming through the neighborhood this week.

And another part of me wanted to simply sit and breathe in the cool air. Relax.

Not do.

I knew my body needed rest. Rest, for me at that time, was more important than site work, crafting, or decluttering.

So, with windows and patio door open to let in the almost-autumn breeze, I diffused bergamot and frankincense in the oil warmer, lit candles, turned on fairy lights. And let myself relax.

In that moment, this was self-care for me.

Self-care is different things at different times. It's not always resting and candle-glow and essential oils. Sometimes it's being active, doing a certain something, eating a specific food.

The important thing is to check in with yourself, be aware of what your spirit is telling you and what your body is telling you - what do you need in that moment? What is self-care for you at that time?

That's true self-care.

It's not the same for everyone. It's not even the same for you all the time.

And sometimes it's doing - and sometimes it's not.

(I've been blogging along with Effy this month! (although I haven't been blogging nearly everyday - but that's okay!) Want to check it out? Just click here.)

September 15, 2017

something I know for sure...

Sometimes it feels like my life is lived out in this quote:

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.” ~Michel Legrand

So today's prompt/nudge from Effy's blog-along - What’s something you know for sure? - got me thinking about this quote, because while the above quote is true for me, there are also some things I know for sure.

To keep it short and simple, I'm going to mention just one thing, something I made into what was one of the first art journaling spreads I ever did, several years ago.

Even though I have times when I doubt this, even if I sometimes think this can't be true after all, deep down this is something I know for sure:

I know it for sure about me.

And I know it for sure about you.

(I wrote more about this here. And - I'm blogging along with Effy this month! Want to join in? Just click here.)

September 9, 2017

autobiography and creating...

I've had a few days away from blogging during this month's September blogging challenge as my energy has been taken up with weather and family and personal happenings.

As soon as it became obvious Hurricane Irma would mean evacuations for some of my family members - including my 88-year-old mother who lives in an assisted living facility on an island off the Atlantic coast - weather once again became a focus for me.

These days I give myself a lot of room, a lot of space, a lot of permission, a lot of grace, to release things, or back away from things, when that's what I need to do for my self-care, my joy, my well-being, and/or my life-stuff-happenings.

Before deciding to do the blogging challenge, I gave myself lots of gentle permission to skip days if needed, or stop altogether... just taking it day-by-day for myself. And that's what I'm doing.

Today I'm still texting and talking with family and friends who are in the path of, or being impacted by, the storm. I'm still keeping an eye on the weather news. I'm still wondering how our weather here will be effected. We don't get hurricanes where I live, but our weather can be impacted by them (with rain, high winds, tornadoes) and sometimes we'll end up with a tropical storm or tropical depression from a once-hurricane... and that's looking increasingly possible for us with Irma.

What's going on with the weather is very much on my mind and in my heart.

But I'm back to the blog (at least for today), and I'm posting something about today's nudge/prompt:

Share something you’ve created that feels like it’s a part of your autobiography.

There are several different things that fall into this category for me - things I've written, things I've painted, things I've made - but the first two things that immediately jumped to my mind are two particular paintings. I couldn't quickly find a photo of the full canvas for the first one (part of it can be seen as the header/graphic on the home page of my Subtle Harmony site), so I'm going to share a bit about the other one.

This one...

The photo was taken at the beginning of February 2015. Some of the painting was done in the weeks of January and first few days of February that year, but most of the many layers and components of the painting were painted in 2014 over a period that spanned much of that year.

That year was a year of dealing with the grief of my father's death in 2013, and the change and grief of my mother's move several hundred miles away and her entry into the world of an assisted living facility, and the grief of the changes in some family relationships.

That year was a year of a long physical recovery after a fall in January 2014 injured my right hand (and I'm right-handed) and my leg.

That year was a year of facing more losses-to-come as my beloved brother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. (He passed away 14 months ago.)

Painting, and especially painting on canvas as I stood in front of my table-top easel, was (as it continues to be) solace for me and joy for me... even though sometimes there were so many emotions and tears spilling from me that didn't exactly feel joyful. Still, though, painting was where I turned. Painting was one of the main things helping me keep myself together.

There was a period of time that year when I couldn't do much painting because of my hand injury. During that time, I tried to paint with my left hand, or tried to find some way to hold my brush for at least a little while, or sometimes just painted with my fingers.

It was a few months before I could actually wrap my fingers around a brush (or pen or pencil) again, but still I found a way to paint. And once my hand was recovered enough to hold objects like paintbrushes again, I painted more and more.

This painting is autobiographical for me because it encompasses all of that for me: the memories, the grief, the injury, the tears, the trying to heal (emotionally and physically), the processing of all the feelings, the trying to be okay in the midst of everything, the giving myself permission to paint just because I love it and no matter how it looks, and the wanting to believe that all will be well.

The paintings I do on the canvases at my table-top easel are intuitive paintings, and I just let myself do whatever comes. Whatever color seems to want to be painted. However and whichever way the brush (or my fingers or whatever) seem to want to move.

I don't paint at the canvas for the painting to look a certain way.

I paint at the canvas for the process of it, for the doing of it, and for joy of it (even if I'm releasing some tough emotions at the time).

This painting holds the energy of that time, that year, in my life. It holds my energy. It holds my tears and my hopes.

And that's why it feels like it's part of my autobiography.

(I'm blogging along with Effy this month! Want to join in? Just click here.)

September 5, 2017

what makes me feel weird or different or isolated...

Today's prompt/nudge from Effy's September blog-along is: What is something you struggle with? What battles are you fighting that most people know nothing about? What’s something about you or your life that makes you feel weird, or different, or isolated?

My past few posts have mentioned a few things I struggle with (such as my severe anxiety), and battles I'm fighting that most people know nothing about (such as the impact of my health issues on my life), so I thought I'd go to the last question in the mix: something about me or my life that makes me feel weird, or different, or isolated.

Actually, there are a few different things that make me feel weird, different, and isolated.

My extreme degree of introversion, for example, combined with being shy (which isn't the same as being introverted) and having social anxiety disorder.

My spirituality of being not either/or... which means I'm a blend that makes some people shy away from me because I'm a Christian but makes certain Christians claim I'm not really a Christian. And it can be hard, and feel lonely, to be in this space.

(For the record... I consider myself Christian because of my lifelong, and very present and strong, relationship to Jesus, not because of any particular church-going-something-or-other. If I had to choose one single "label" to place on myself about my spirituality, it would be to call myself a mystic Christian.)

And then there's the thing the above quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson means to me...

"I dip my pen into the blackest ink, because I'm not afraid of falling into my inkpot."

To be honest, I do have times of being afraid of falling into my inkpot, of falling and not making it back out.

But the main thing - for me - about this quote is the meaning I give to it about going to the dark and the deep places.

I'm not afraid to go deep.

I'm not afraid to explore and examine the shadow.

I'm not afraid to take a good honest look at the difficult questions and the difficult stuff.

I am afraid of bad things happening, and my fear and anxiety can have a big impact on my life.

But in terms of my life, I'm not afraid to do hard and honest self-reflection.

I do shadow work as well as light work.

I have tough conversations with people in my life when it's time for those.

I sometimes say the things no one else in the room wants to say.

(And this can surprise people sometimes, because for so much of the time in my life I've been, and often still am, the "quiet" one.)

I'm a truth-speaker.

(And sometimes that means I become the scapegoat.)

I value deep and true authenticity to such an extent, that I'm willing to risk losing and letting go.

(This means I've paid a price and lost relationships and let go of friendships.)

I'm willing to look at the deep recesses of my own self and my past, and feel the pain - looking the ugly stuff in the eyes, remembering the things I'd rather forget, and finding ways to heal all of that crap.

All of this can make me too much for some people.

Too intense.

Too sensitive.

Too rebellious.

Too eccentric.

Too difficult.

Too emotional.

Too hard to get to know.

Too hard to relate to.

Too weird.

Because of all of this, I do often feel isolated... especially since my extreme introversion combined with social anxiety, can lead to somewhat long hermit-like times in my life.

But one thing I've learned - and I try to remember, although sometimes it's easy for me to forget, especially when I'm feeling too isolated or alone - is that there are more people out there who are like me.

And I've also learned that we all feel weird or different, in our own ways.

We're all in this together.

(I'm blogging along with Effy this month! Want to join in? Just click here.)