December 4, 2013

word of the year...


I was never good at making (or keeping) New Years resolutions. But choosing a word for the year? That felt right for me.

In 2012 my guiding word was nourish. And it was a wonderful word which served me well that year. (Actually, it's a good word to focus on all the time, in all areas of life, but I digress...)

My word for 2013 has been clarity - and holy wow, has this been a year of clarity for me! I can't even begin to list the ways.

These words chose me. I didn't choose them. They came to me out of the blue, hitting me on the head, demanding to be chosen. And this has happened months before the actual beginning of the year.

So I wasn't surprised when my 2014 word-of-the-year landed in my lap, out of the blue, when I wasn't even thinking about words of the year or anything related to the concept.

It happened about 2 months ago. I suddenly, simply, completely knew what my word for 2014 would be.

It chose me. And it wouldn't let go.

I started to blog the word before now, but I didn't. I've told a few people already, and posted it in a forum or two. I don't feel the need to keep my year-word secret, or close to the vest. For me, personally (although it's different for different people) my word in no way loses 'power' when I tell what it is.

If anything, it becomes an even stronger force in my life when I speak it, write it, share it with others.

So I'm saying it here, now...

My word for 2014 is INTEGRATION.


Integration.

And so it is.






December 2, 2013

in the shadow...


In the shadow I sit, tv flickering, candles glowing, tears flowing.

Breaking apart. Breaking open. Breaking free from expectations and guilt and shame.

Opening to the unknown, to what's to come. Feeling my hurt, my joy, my strength.

Breathing: surrender, accept, release, trust.

Breathing this mantra of my soul.




September 1, 2013

my father's passing...


I had planned to do a blogging challenge of a post a day for 30 days during the month of August. But I didn't finish - and that's okay.

Blogging needed to come to a stand-still for me for a while because my family's situation - which has been a major factor in my life this whole year - became even more of a priority.

My post last Thursday was written on the day that the decision was made to call in hospice care for my father.

By the next morning, his condition had drastically worsened.

Hospice came onto the scene officially that Friday afternoon. My brother changed his plans to take a week-long trip out west, and instead went to my parents' on Saturday so that he could be there. Saturday evening my father was transported by ambulance to a lovely and caring in-patient hospice facility in the county where my parents live.

The next evening - a week ago today - early in the evening of Sunday, August 25, my father passed away.



My father was 87 years old (a couple of months away from 88)... he'd lived a long life, he'd spent the last many months in a great deal of pain, and I know he's at peace now.

Thank you to everyone who called, posted facebook comments, and sent emails and messages of condolences and love and support for me and my family.

It means more than I can say.

In memory of my father... with love for him, with gratitude for him...





August 6, 2013

choices...


Recently I was involved in an in-person group discussion where a statement came up (more than once) about choices. As in... "we have no choice but to _____." And immediately, that pinged something inside of me.

We do have a choice. We often have more choices than we realize.

There are certain situations which come along in life and offer no good choices (or choices we would want to make).

There are some life circumstances where there truly is no choice (but those are rare in a lifetime).

Otherwise, we have choices.

In the conversation I mentioned, if it had been phrased as "we have no choice but to _____ unless we want _____ to happen" ... well, that would have been more on target. Even then, though, there would have been other choices that could be made to avoid the other-thing happening.

Sometimes I feel like I have no choice about something. Sometimes I don't see the choices which are available. Sometimes I don't know which choice to make. Sometimes none of the choices are things I want to choose.

But still, except in certain circumstances, there are always choices.

I have a choice. You have a choice.

And when I make a choice... I own it. Even if I later feel I made the wrong choice, I still own the decision as being my choice. I'll sometimes ask for input or advice or intuitive hits or guidance from others - but still, it comes down to making my own choice.

I own the choice. And I own the consequences of that choice.

If I ask my husband for his advice or input about something, and he gives it to me, and I end up making the choice or decision he was in line with, and then it doesn't work out the way I planned or I end up wishing I hadn't made the decision - I don't blame him for it. I don't say "well, you told me..." or "I did this because you thought..."

No.

One thing I do is own my decisions and my choices.

And I really don't like it when someone tells me that I (or we) have no choice.

Because really? The vast majority of the time, that statement simply is not true.

Realize you have choices.

Make your own choices.

Own your choices.

And please don't try to tell other people they have no choice.

'Cause usually they do. As do we all.

March 11, 2013

caring less...


For so much of my life, I've cared too much about what other people thought about me. What they thought of me as a person, about what I said, what I thought, what I did, how I looked, what I created, how I came across to them. Just... everything.

There are times when caring what others think is important.

But a lot of the time, caring what others think gets in my way and stifles me and keeps me playing small. I won't go into all the ways this has impacted my life over the years, but it has.

As time has passed, as I worked on gaining more confidence in myself and showing who I am, as I've grown older and realized it truly doesn't matter so much what others think of me - things have shifted.

These days (and for quite a while, really) I'm caring less.

I still have times when I care too much what others think. But I know I care less than I used to. And a few days ago, it struck me how very much I care less than I used to.

I've been taking Flora Bowley's Bloom True e-course, a class about intuitive painting - and painting on canvases large enough that the thought of them intimidated me at first. I'd only painted on canvas once in my life, and it was smaller than a page in a notebook. And I'm not a painter. And I can't draw. But this method of painting, intuitive painting, really called to me. The sound of it felt freeing. It felt like being able to play with paint, and express myself through paint, in a way I've always wanted to do... but felt I never could, because I can't paint things or people.

The 5-week class recently ended, but I'm behind and only on week 3. But I was right - painting this way has been freeing for me. I can't even express how much I'm loving this class. (and how grateful I am to have access to the course materials for a few more months, so I'll have plenty of time to finish going through the course)

Since I'm only on week 3, my canvases aren't finished. But all along, I haven't cared how they look. For me, how they look isn't the point of why I took the class.

But even though I'm not finished with the paintings, I realized several days ago I wanted to go ahead post a picture of at least one of them.

Most of my life, I would have been too scared to do something like this... but when I realized I wanted to post this draft of the painting here, it struck me how very much I'm caring less these days about what other people think. Not only about what I paint, or what I create - but also caring less than I used to about what other people think of my opinions, or how I do things, or the decisions I make.

Caring less about what other people think of me and who I am.

Then I remembered... over a year ago on my blog, I posted a picture of an art journal page I did. It was the first time I ever tried to draw a face. (not counting smiley faces!) For most of my life I would have never done something like that. And yet I did it.

Remembering that art journaling page, and how I posted it, made me realize how this process of caring less really has been happening for a while.

And it is a process. I care less now than I did when I posted that art journaling page with the face. I cared less then that I did the year before.

I'm still in process. I'm still not where I want to be with this. But I'm in such a different place than I used to be.

There are times to care what others think, and I don't want to lose sight of those times because that would mean being a person I don't want to be.

But when it comes to being myself... I'm caring less what others think about me.

It's a good feeling.