2013

photo by RLHyde from Flickr Creative Commons

photo by RLHyde from Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a new year. I didn’t post very often in 2012 and I think I can do once a week this year. Mondays will be a good day to do so.

What inspired me to blog when I started had something to do with the Misty Look Theme photo. I loved the stone bridge over the water of the quiet stream with the autumn colors and willow trees nearby and the gentle path. It is similar to the landscape in my interior world. When I see the new earth in my mind’s eye, it isn’t pastel and bubblegum colors with cartoon unicorns, rainbows and butterflies. Instead it’s a more grounded, classic beauty.

When I logged in last week with the intention of taking up blogging today, I was informed that Misty Look had an updated theme. It was now Misty Lake and I did not like it at all. It was the photo that disappointed. If I were more tech-inclined and patient there might have been a way to use the previous bridge photo with the Misty Lake theme.

The old theme can still be used but in the future the code will be unsupported. I’m not sure what that means but it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to be surprised with so I looked for another theme, chose this one and then spent time on Flickr searching for a festive photo that I would be allowed to use.

It isn’t a big deal but I could have easily just given up. Not bothered. I’m not sure what I’ll learn or who I’ll meet because of my new re-commitment to blogging. This will likely be a more sane and calm year than last although it has it’s challenges as well. Right now the snow is steadily falling here and I’ve managed to complete the first of my blog posts of the year.

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Directions

The Co-op was really busy today, just like a weekend. I walked over to get some organic produce and got the heck out of there rather than looking for replacements for the items on my list I couldn’t find. I have refined my diet so well this past year that there is no need for me to make resolutions in that area.

The past year turned out to be better than I ever expected and I did achieve some of my goals but no way in the linear steps I’d planned. One of the best improvements was my abilities with the specialized diet I need because of a health situation. Another improvement is finally coming up with a budget I can work with, something that has eluded me for decades. The organization of my living space is another long-standing challenge that has become easier this year. I can’t quite say how I got here but it feels good.

However I did it, I’m intending for the same grace to happen this year regarding organizing the information I need to run my life. Yeah, I have a fancy, expensive day-planner but I don’t really use it. I waste a lot of time looking for passwords and other things because I simply don’t take the time to write things down in a manner that I can retrieve later. That sort of information isn’t really meant for the mind to file away when we have all this high and low tech help.

The other two things on my list for decades–once again–exercise and drawing. I will begin with the information organizing first. This past year, it worked better for me to go deep into improving one thing at a time. In fact, overall, uni-tasking is more conducive for my success than multi-tasking.

I know what directions I want to go in and for me it’s enough that I’m accountable to myself.

Suddenly Lighter

Two of the most challenging things about blogging for me is my password and thinking of titles for my posts. When it comes to the actual writing, I just ramble like I talk. I don’t have to look at anyone’s blank expression or rolling eyes or smirking face here either.

After weeks of feeling like I was moving through molasses, things seemed to open up today and be a lot easier. I guess I could do some research to see if there was any planetary activity going on. Just kidding.

First of all, it has felt like Friday all day instead of Thursday. Out of nowhere I got up early and while waiting on laundry to cycle, I planned a budget for the next eight months. That is a miracle. Never have I been able to figure out a budget that I could stick to or that made any sense. You can scoff all you like that I’m not even into it for 24 hours, but the thing is that I have never found any software or templates that made any sense for my particular weird situation. (And I’m not going into that now.)

I have the Quicken starter edition. I got it less than two months ago and it doesn’t do what I was looking for. Likely when it comes time to need a new one, I’ll let it go.

After looking over free planners and software yesterday evening and this morning, not too far into the quest I found something that works for me. Nothing to download and I could customize it to my own unique needs. It’s a simple spreadsheet and didn’t take too long to fill out.

Basically what I have to work with is the money to live on for the next eight months. So I divided that up in a way that seemed beyond my abilities before. It simply doesn’t work anymore to not keep track of things but really, I have trouble with organization and it was all too overwhelming. Until this morning. So while it may be simple for you, I am feeling like an accomplished genius right now. Now my mind can rest until I need it for something else.

Other things were easier for me today too but this is major for me. Something that has seemed so complicated for decades just fell into place.

I’m sure it happens for other people too. WooHoo!

Writing What I Feel Like

It’s Thanksgiving. I haven’t been feeling well so I stayed home and slept most of the day. When I woke up I felt like making meat loaf and now I’m waiting for it to be ready to take out of the oven. It’s only the second time I’ve used this particular recipe and this time I didn’t leave out any of the ingredients so I’m thinking I’ll really like it.

Every once in awhile, something pops onto my radar regarding astrology. Today is one of those auspicious times. There’s a Sagittarius Solar Eclipse and New Moon. I’ve noticed New Moon’s are good for beginnings. In fact I began this blog during a New Moon almost a year ago and had fun with it until summer when I craved being out in the sunshine.

The internet reading I’ve done indicates this is a special Solar Eclipse. I’m not going to explain why–you can take my word for it. Or not.

Wherever the Solar Eclipse falls in a natal chart, is an area where it’s like a graduation now. Where more can be possible and restrictions fall away. Of course, these things aren’t handed out on a silver platter. I’m a believer in responsibility and self-authority.

Anyway, it happens to fall in my fifth house. Yes, I’ve had a natal chart professionally done. The fifth house is generally referred to as the one of creativity, fun, love, etc. Now that intrigued me. The information is often presented in a dry and serious manner. Doing a quick internet search, I found information about the fifth house that is more juicy and inspiring. The information is by Dana Gerhardt and she helps explain it by writing about the film Chocolat.

Very timely for me to read. There are many, many things I appreciate in this life. Right now I feel fortunate that this information is helping me to notice a fresh start. And I’m really looking forward to the meat loaf too.

Leaping

Will the net appear?

This could be called a crazy day. I made an impulsive choice, something I used to do quite a bit more often a long time ago. It’s been my m.o. to get ahead of myself, set myself to be a fool and I’ve done it again. It’s a learning opportunity and scary enough that I won’t write about it here until it’s over and then we’ll see.

So I guess I might be writing whistling-in-the-dark-posts for awhile. All my relatives that have passed on might be rolling their eyes next time they check in on me. Like I was supposed to grow out of this right after adolescence.

Actually with my health challenges, it may not work out so well at first but I can keep practicing and eventually get it. I’m not trying to tease here–I am too excited to write about anything else and I wanted to keep my daily blogging habit.

Basil Seedlings in Empty Sushi Roll Greenhouse

a promising beginning

basil seedlings/empty sushi roll greenhouse

These are basil seedlings–my “garden” for 2011. They were germinated in an empty sushi roll container that I carefully washed. I poked needle holes into the clear top but they weren’t large enough to make a difference so I left the lid on loosely and lifted it several times a day to let more oxygen in.

My apartment is not at all good for growing things but the seeds came free in a magazine subscription offer. The magazine is the first time ever I’ve been offered a senior discount (I’m 56) which I noted with amusement. Having a bag of potting soil and some decorative pots, I stuck a few seeds in one. That didn’t work out so well, mostly because of watering–making sure the soil stayed moist enough yet not washing the seedlings away. The best little “greenhouse” I ever had was a children’s educational toy which for lack of space I’ve long ago donated somewhere.

Soon the seedlings will need to be transplanted and the pots they’re going to be in aren’t really large enough. I may be harvesting the leaves when they are still quite small.

Last summer, I dried some leaves on a little bamboo mat, stored them in a corked glass container, then used them in early winter. There’s several seeds left so this might turn into an enjoyable little project for me.

Home Frequency

Well, this is an odd little sort of post that might have you rolling your eyes if you continue reading.

I ditched my goals and schedule today. Yes, I’ve been doing well considering my health challenges and no, I had no real reason. I’m thinking maybe it’s because of the new moon tomorrow. Through the years I’ve noticed that the full and new moons really do affect me. Usually before a new moon I’ll feel kind of empty like something is over, no matter what kind of strategic plan I’ve tried to overlay the natural flow of my life with. Then I sometimes get a wild hair to begin something new a day or two in. In fact, I began this blog on a new moon back in December.

Anyway, I missed my core home frequency. I’ve been stretching myself, traveling the land of objective reality more and building up stamina in focusing and I was feeling a little homesick. So, I gathered in on myself, puttering around in my pajamas and taking naps. It felt great. In a calm, relaxed way. This was before I knew the new moon is tomorrow.

Lately, I don’t get to travel and so I traveled in spirit to places around the country that I felt at home in. It was summer in those places, when in real life they are expecting this huge winter snowstorm right now. It was like my real home base except more hopeful and lighter than the last time I intentionally checked in during my waking hours.

It could have been my secret. No one would need to know or care that I was arguably lazy and slothful today. But this is what I dreamed of all those years when I was overworked, had so many demands made on me and felt like I was backed into a corner. Being pecked to death by ducks. Running the gauntlet in lead boots and a heavy back pack. Having a varied chorus of yammering and yakking people wanting my attention. From one extreme to another. If I wouldn’t have been so ill and almost died, I would never give myself permission to rest now.

It’s fear of my future that pushes me to reinvent myself most days. I am not sure if I need to reinvent myself or remember who I really am–it’s more of a survival thing. And some days it’s a genuine appreciation and curiosity about life that gets me going when I have the energy. But today I chose to rest and also really want to show up here at my blog again. It was a good first day of the second month of 2011.

Observation and Fatigue

My acrylic painting has just been stored and I’m not going to show it to anyone until I do much better. It’s scary starting with art again after plus thirty years. This week I’m trying to schedule an hour daily to focus on it, even if it means just showing up.

This morning I hid the painting after calling it finished, stored my paints, etc. in an easy-to-get-to place but off my computer desk and recognized that I might best learn to draw again in some sort of structured way. I got down my 1985 copy of Bert Dodson’s “Keys To Drawing”.

When I lived in Boulder County Colorado, I liked to go up to Nederland and spend the day. I liked the altitude and being by the big reservoir. Having spent the first 17 years of my life with the Mississippi River nearby, it felt unnatural to be so far from big water in Colorado.

Once when I was wandering back to town and near the shelter area I saw a small group of people drawing. It was a class and usually I’m very shy and reserved but not this time. After chatting with the art teacher a bit, she told me that she was self-taught and had learned from Dodson’s book. So I bought one and put it on my shelf where it sat and was moved to three different apartments in two states.

As scary as it is, I don’t learn when I don’t even try–hence the scheduled hour daily now. (Honestly I couldn’t think of another word besides hence).

I began looking through the book after clearing up the disappointing painting project and was drawn to a little section about observation and fatigue. If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know I’m interested in rejuvenating from burn-out and fatigue.

Drawing is more about observing the object being drawn than the medium on which it’s drawn. Dodson says fatigue is inevitable and often comes on before we realize it. One sign is a sudden awareness of time. Another sign is awareness of distractions. He says at these times it’s best to stop. Wow. I have never seen this information before and it easily translates into a tool for the rest of my life.

Now many times, I have to slog my way through something just like we all do. It is useful to be conscious of the increase in tiredness though so I can make the good choices that are available to me. With drawing, as I walk the fine line of overcoming my fears and also taking care of my health this is a micro-detail that will serve me well.

This sudden lack of focus and anxiety about time also happens when I’m reading or on the computer. He didn’t mention hunger, but sometimes I feel suddenly very hungry. Dodson recommends when drawing, to select areas of interest in the subject and concentrate on them first to bunch up both energies and time. The rest of the drawing can then be treated with simplicity. Kind of like being wise in prioritizing my activities.

When Other People Grow

Relationships are constantly changing, people grow and it isn’t all in Grace, all the time.
When people are behaving dysfunctionally and we call them out, they aren’t going to change simply because we know what they’re up to. First they must have an awareness and then they must want to change and this is all a process.
We all know what it’s like when the dynamics of a relationship change–adjustments have to be made.
What surprises me is when someone I’ve looked up to and consider an expert, one who handles everything in an awesome and cool way, ups their game and the usual prickly, uncomfortable, awkward energy is broadcast just as it is from us lesser mortals. Especially when they don’t achieve instant mastery of the new growth they are incorporating.
People striving really hard and striding forward at a brisk pace–well, I try to stay out of their way. People becoming more assertive and empowered can be quite unpleasant to be around and while supporting them in theory, I like to back away and give them space and dodge whatever might be flying around. I tend to walk on eggshells around them and watch to see if it takes.
When I make these kinds of evolving changes, I am somewhat sneaky about it, rather apologetic and hope I don’t make too many waves. The amusing thing is that it often isn’t noticed in the outside world very much. I also need to be careful that I don’t judge myself for not having the awareness sooner and feel embarrassed that others were aware of my previous shortcomings. Of course, these other people aren’t paying that much attention–they have their own stuff to pay attention to.
I’m not totally clear about what my point is here. I am an empath and can feel how it feels when other people make these changes (when I’m not careful) and I’m noticing it more lately. It’s distracting and it takes work on my part to come up with an appropriate response.
One thing I’m not, is fast on my feet when it comes to verbal communication. Not being on the same wavelength as many folks, it often takes longer for me to process what they’re saying and how it jives with what they’re energetically broadcasting. As a conflict-avoider I certainly don’t want to push any buttons.
So back to the recent encounter with a professional who apparently has made a great leap as far as goals go–the person who prompted this reflection–I am reminding myself that it’s all about them and not so much about me.
It’s confusing, almost like dealing with someone who’s possessed, to have new territory and rules when you haven’t gotten the memo, to find oneself in a new landscape when you don’t have a map. When a business stays open during remodeling, there are usually “pardon our progress” signs. Heck, I often (as an over-explainer) verbally tell people “please excuse my mess”. Not so with many folks.
This person is someone I’m paying and it seems to be like “figure it out yourself– hop to it!”
One of the major breakdowns for me when hiring professionals to assist me with managing my life (and yes, I mean Doctors and anyone–I give all due respect, but I am in charge of my life and they work for me) besides running out of money, is when it becomes about their timetable and pacing and reputation regarding my progression or lack thereof.
It isn’t about them. It’s about me.
The clarity about this latest instance isn’t here yet. I want to move my focus to what is within my own power to do and change instead of having this hangover my day.
Not being a mind-reader, I’ll live with the mystery and unknown of how this is going to turn out and just take care of my part in it. Which now seems to be the above-mentioned giving space and using care with my response.
It could be that people are way more resilient than I give them credit for. I just prefer civility and kindness and patience in a real and not surface, phony way.

The Art Room

Yay me! I’m following through on bringing more artistic expression into my life. No matter how long it takes.
I’ve noticed that even though the morning is an awkward beginning for me, whatever I engage my mind in, I’m in that mode for awhile. When I write “morning pages” in longhand it activates that part of my brain and then it’s easier for me to read and comprehend what I’m reading.
That’s not so good for me physically though, if I want physical accomplishments that day. Which I certainly do.
So yesterday morning, after I was finished writing, I gently tore myself away from the sticky track of words and began coloring in my coloring book.
The coloring book calls for colored pencils. I got the book at an art fair held in a local park this summer. The one I chose was Wetland Critters. The artist is Sue Coccia. It’s difficult to stay within the very intricate lines. I can feel how good it is for me although I don’t have words to describe that.
When I was finished, I intended to do some needed maintenance activities in my apartment. Instead I wanted to mess with the painting I’m working on now–an old stone bridge and it’s reflection in the water. I took advantage of the ease energy of doing it while it was available to me. Frankly I’m overwhelmed by approaching artistic expression after more than 35 years.
The process felt good but the painting looks too splotchy and ill defined now. My hands tremor but I think I’ll get a tiny brush and use dark gray dots to define some of the areas. And I’m still wanting to paint people.
I’ve been diagnosed once with ADD. Also random, exasperated people have accused me of having ADD when I wasn’t being who and how they wanted me to be. Unless they’re paying me or supporting me, I don’t care anymore.
And I don’t label myself although in my research (I love to research for solutions–thank you, internet) I have found techniques that are useful to me.
One of the descriptions I’ve read–and it’s like how my brain works–is that if the brain were a house, and numbers were like an upstairs bedroom and words were like the kitchen and social interaction were like the hallway, most people could just walk from room to room. Some people with so-called ADD can access those rooms but it’s like they can’t just walk through the doorways. They have to get a ladder, crawl out a window and place the ladder against the outside of another room, climb up and crawl through the window.
That’s how it is to varying degrees and I’m learning to improve this (one of my many, many projects) and that’s why many goal setting techniques recommended for the masses do not work for me. When my schedule is somewhat flexible, I need to consider what I’ve got going for me–and which room I’m in.
When I have commitments and obligations to other people, I am very, very conscientious, considerate and dependable to the degree that I can manage. I work harder at it than most people, often to my detriment.
I am a survivor and I have a certain kind of intelligence that has gotten me this far, even with the lack of information and support about the best way for me to navigate in the world.
And when I get better at my own navigation, I’ll be someone who understands what it’s like for many other people who are struggling.
Things are not as they appear. And I have a huge, huge clue about how it’s not wise to judge other people.
And I guess that’s of way more value to me than people who are now appearing to be way more functional than me in the 3D world. Bless them, I’m glad many of them are operating so efficiently.
So when I find myself in the art room of my brain, I’m going to play. Even if it looks like I’m making a mess.

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