It’s already started… The Facebook posts stating it’s MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holidays,
I celebrate Christmas in a secular sense. We spend time with family on Dec 25th, opening gifts, having a special dinner. I don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus as the SON of God; we celebrate Yule. Midwinter; the longest night of the year – when the days will slowly lengthen. The rebirth of the SUN, and the beginning of the Light side of the Wheel of the Year.
So all these “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” buttons, pins, posts & taglines are a bit presumptuous, since the Pagan customs were borrowed & adapted to fit the Christian model.
And we even celebrate Yule a bit untraditionally. After reading The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore, we have a lasagna dinner on Yule, and there’s a few zombie ornaments on the tree. It’s really a great holiday read if you’re into zombies and mayhem on Christmas.
If the fireplace is cleaned off, we’ll build a fire and make s’mores but the last few years it’s been easier to make them in the microwave. There will always be s’mores!
I honestly don’t care if I’m told Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Blessed Yule. Since Hanukkah fell early this year, I’m curious to see who may say Happy Hanukkah in December.
But it is the HOLIDAY season – multiple holidays of many beliefs in a relatively short time span. The spirit of Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, and whatever other names it may be called are the one in the same – Hope. Hope that there will a tomorrow, bright and shining for our children and our children’s children.
If you believe yours is better than the others, how secure are you in your beliefs?
While Thanksgiving is a day specifically set aside for thanks, I have worked on developing a spirit of Gratitude in my daily life. It’s made such a tremendous impact!!
Still, for Thanksgiving I’m truly grateful for my family and the friends, both old and new, that are a part of my life.
I’m going to get back into the habit of my Thankful Tweets again on @GentleSoulArts. It’s easy to be thankful one day a year, but to find things everyday, even when you’ve had a total crap day, will really change your life.
I had planned today to clean up and organize the bookcase we use for our DVDs and gaming consoles. That project has expanded to dusting and straightening up the whole living room.
I’ve come to the realization that the accumulation of “stuff” is an attempt at filling some need we have on a deeper level. Maybe that’s not news to anyone, but I’ve been floored by the idea!
I can’t say exactly in the past what need I’ve been trying to fill, but now I recognize that it doesn’t work, no matter what marketing and ad companies say. I won’t be happier with product X, or live life more fully with product Y.
I believe appreciation & gratitude is the best place to start at filling that need. If you are grateful and appreciate what you have, in the present, you don’t have the desire to accumulate stuff.
I’m developing a whole new outlook on things!
Just now I was plugging long working on recording an art journal page when my Bloggie did it’s “beep beep beep” noise when I normally press the ‘stop record’ button.
“Huh, that’s odd”, I thought – It has a full charge, or did last week and I haven’t hit the annoying 30 min mark when the Bloggie automatically turns off, so I peek up and see the error “Not Enough Memory on SD Card”. Oh, I guess I didn’t delete the previous recordings when I downloaded them to my laptop. Dang…
I was in the middle of a creative groove. I could go along and keep working on my art journal page, but this spread was specifically for a video. So I stopped and checking that my Chromebook (not the ‘proper’ laptop which is really a stationary monster in the bedroom) has an SD card reader, grabbed it to have some tea in the Comfy Chair in the living room.
My creative groove was busted, or was it? How many times have you been in the middle of something awesome, and had to stop, change, switch directions?? What was your reaction? The typical negative “I can’t believe this!? This ALWAYS happens to me!!” or did you embrace the shift with curiosity and/or acceptance? While I’m not in a painting creative groove, I decided while I had my chromebook, I’d write a quick blog post. Still creative, just in a different way.
I’ll check out the SD card, delete the old files, and go back to working on the art journal page. It’s a good opportunity for the paint to dry.
Wow - the last month has flown by!
After I took an online art journaling workshop, I began Googling the topic and looking for other people to connect with.
My creative world EXPLODED!!
I’ll try to keep things sequential in terms of who I “met” but I’m not promising anything.
It was really cool to discover another Art Journaler in Oklahoma. I ran across Blade The Artist Biker back in June 2010. I remember the 1st UStream show I watched was right before my birthday and I was hooked!
Blade has produced a UStream show nearly weekly for a million years (well, I think 4 .. I don’t know how long he was on air before I met him) and it’s a really fun time to hang out. It’s not a ‘how to’ show but more of watching him work, chatting about world events, and always laughing. He’s recently started $2.00 Tuesday Tutorials if you’re wanting instruction.
However, he’s always there to encourage you to PRACTICE!
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Blade and his family in person (I’m sure his equally creative wife, ArtMom, is my long-lost sister), and I’ve made a few guest appearances with my family on his show. My boys often ask “When are we going to Blade’s again?”
He’s worked hard to make art accessible to others and is very involved with art leadership in his community. I’m so honored to account him as a friend and not be considered food if stuck on a lifeboat.
I started a new intuitive painting earlier this week. I laid down some molding paste for texture, letting myself go as I scribbled & scraped the white medium against the white canvas.
After a few days of drying, I sanded down the most prominent peaks and started painting. With a light blue watercolor crayon, I wrote some feelings out: “I’m afraid”, “Trust the Process”, “Flow” and selected some acrylic paints to start adding color.
I didn’t think too much about my color selection. I always tend to pick blues & greens, with a dash of yellow. As I touched my brush to the canvas, I felt my shoulders tense up, the reins being pulled on my creative freedom. WHY? David and Lachlan are out picking up Michael and would be home soon. My ‘studio’ is the corner & end of the dining room, which is the far end of the rectangular kitchen/dining area and a major thoroughfare in the house. Am I afraid once they’d get home I’d be snapped back from my creative trance, so why bother going there to begin with?
I have a very limited time for large-scale creativity. My day job work schedule is draining, and when I do have the energy to create, I continuously hold back.
Writing doesn’t seem to be as bad, and I’m hoping instead of scheduling specific topics on specific days in my “to do list”, which I then tend to postpone ad nauseam, I just write my topics with open ended dates and when I feel the urge, or have a few moments to write, I can pick one at random.
But still, I hold back. What would I look like, wildly free, abandoning fear and the sense I should maintain a presentable & safe face to the public? What if I made the word “fuck” a regular part of my vocabulary? I feel that may be as fake as smiling when inside I want to scream & cry. What does my authentic self look like?
So much to think about and paint out.
But still, I hold back.
In my recent studies of about creating your reality and what you attract, I’ve become fascinated with observing the actions of other (and myself). I’ve noticed over the last few weeks, it’s so much easier to slip into a complaining mode, or negative attitude, if not outright complaints.
I notice my first thought of the morning is usually a negative – I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to go to work, I don’t have time to do whatever is I wanted to do that morning. Then the kid’s negativity is added – they don’t want to get up, they don’t want to go to school. The drive to work is usually pleasant enough, but the negativity starts again once at work with phrases like “The weekend didn’t last long enough”.
How often do you use a negative to describe things? Can’t, Didn’t, Don’t, Won’t …. I can’t do what I want because of <fill in the blank>, I didn’t get through my to do list today, I don’t have enough time in the day, I won’t be able to afford it.
Of course, sometimes negatives are good – I can’t pass by a child in need without helping, I didn’t get hit by a bus, I don’t have termites in my house, I won’t spend the evening watching TV when I can play a board game with my family.
It’s all about perspective. It seems the majority of people I run into would rather complain about what they don’t have, instead of being grateful for what they do have (but that’s another blog topic), or complain about the actions of others as if THEY had some control of them. I’ve also discovered if you don’t play into that mindset, the complainers tend to leave you alone. They’ll still moan & groan to each other, and maybe within earshot, but you can separate yourself from it pretty easily.
My challenge to you and myself this week is to notice how much you complain for a few days, then spend the rest of the week shifting away from it. Find positive things to share instead of having a bitchfest, Make note of how differently your week goes and please share in the comment section
Once I became interested again in drawing and capturing what I see, I recalled a friend of mine mentioning she kept an art journal. I started searching online and (re)discovered Suzi Blu I’m not sure exactly where I first ran across Suzi but I already had access to her Ning site. I saw that she was offering a Goddess and Poet course that spoke to me, so I signed up.
Suzi introduced me to Moleskine journals, luscious Prismacolor pencils and the idea of push & pull when doing a journal page. I enjoyed her quirky personality and the videos featuring her dog Gigi. I also learned about The Sketchbook Project from her videos. I had planned on taking the Petite Dolls course, but in journalling I discovered my style is very different and went off in my own direction. I didn’t keep up with Suzi’s blog and I know there have been things happen between Suzi and some of my other art friends in the past which I’m not privy to, nor do I care to be. Suzi is still at the very foundation of my experiences, and I feel she’s a friendly, welcoming guide to begin the Art Journal journey with.
The very first pages of my flip through video are from the Goddess and Poet course.
I am not a morning person Well, I think I could be but I enjoy sleeping too much. I’ve noticed I have this bizarre game I play in the mornings, with my alarm.
I have 2 alarms. My Fitbit Flex is set to 6am. It buzzes and usually startles me awake. I set my Palm Pilot alarm for 6:15am. When my Fitbit goes off, I decide if I want to eat breakfast at home or pick something up on my way to work, does my hair NEED to be washed, or can I pull it back in a barrette. Then I adjust my Palm Pilot alarm accordingly – either 6:30 or 6:45am.
Of course, I’m halfway awake and deciding when will my alarm to go off. “How much time I have?” I check the alarm: “Okay, I have 10 mins.. 7 mins… 5 mins…” It’s really a complex and sad process.
I have discovered that if I don’t have my Palm near me, or another alarm other than the Fitbit, I do wake up. There is no snooze button on it, and it will continue to buzz every minute until I get up.
Maybe using only the Fitbit, I could become a morning person.
Re-framing my anxiety into excitement was a very challenging but rewarding process.
Friday night I went to help a friend set up for an art show and I’m so glad I got there early. I got a sweet parking place next to the event site (a really cool old church). I did have some concerns about parking in a ‘no parking area’ but others said they had parked there as well. I kept peeking out the windows to see if I could still see the green color of my car. Because it was the “First Friday Gallery Walk” in the Paseo District, lots of cars parked along the edge of where I had parked, and the streets all over. No worries about me being towed!!
I met my friend, who I had only known from online, and her co-host for the art show and helped set up. It was really a lot of fun and during a bit of a break I chatted with one of the contributing artists. I wish now I had prepared a piece for the show myself, which was a fundraiser for Oklahoma Mother’s Milk Bank. I bought an event shirt (my contribution) and left around 7:15 pm. I didn’t stay for the whole event because I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and I was getting hungry.
I walked around the Paseo a bit before I left, after deciding since I was already there I should check it out. It was neat but I only went into a few galleries, since I was at my limit of stimuli.
Saturday I visited my mom and a friend that lives on the South side of town. Mom and I went thrift shopping. I picked up a framed Van Gogh’s Sunflowers print. Now I need to figure out where to hang it. We had lunch, then i dropped her off back home before visiting my friend. We chatted for about 3 hours. I had a blast!
Sunday though, I had to recoup. I had planned on taking the boys shopping for school clothes since it was Tax Free Weekend, but decided 8% wasn’t enough savings to deal with going out 3 days in a row (You’re welcome, Oklahoma State Sales Tax). I stayed home and caught up on laundry. I was irritable and restless. I think in future, I’ll find a way to do some mini-recoveries the day I go out so that I don’t feel so out of sorts later one.
The last big event was Monday morning, when I accompanied a co-worker to New Hire Orientation. My department has a 30 min time slot for our portion of the presentation. I have done the presentation once, nearly passing out, forgetting what I was going to say and generally being unsure of myself. That was over a year ago. I know this is a skill I need to work on (speaking in public — well speaking out loud in general) and I’m determined to accomplish it. I didn’t have the nerves I would normally have prior to NEO but maybe because I knew it wasn’t my turn to speak. I’ll go with another co-worker next month, and I believe I’m scheduled to solo in October.
Still working on little steps… and slowly making great progress!