Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Many Questions, Same Answer

For a while, everything I read, heard or saw reinforced the idea that walking, meditation and yoga are the answers to multiple problems. Need to lose weight? Walk, meditate, yoga (WMY). Need creative ideas? WMY. Need to kick depression? WMY. Need to lower blood pressure, avoid diabetes, or lower stress? The answer is still WMY. The overlap is always there.

This past week or so, I've been reading about synchronicity, releasing body trauma, and creating more vivid writing. (By the way, my boss asked me, "Do you ever read anything for fun?" I thought I WAS!) Again, I find overlapping answers to these situations.

To release body trauma, become aware of your body sense, what your body touches, hears, smells, sees, etc.

To add sensuality and realism to your writing, drill down into your writing and tell me what the characters touch, hear, smell, see, etc.

To become aware of synchronicity, start noticing what your body touches, hears, smells, sees, etc.

It is all connected. The questions lead to the same answer. And I'm sure that if I start to walk, meditate and do yoga, I will notice what my body touches, hears, smells, sees, etc. And vice versa—if I start noticing what my body touches, hears, smells, sees, etc., soon I will be walking, meditating and doing yoga.

I feel as though I have uncovered a secret to the Universe. It's one of those, "It's so simple, how did I never see it?" moments. I sit and look around and feel peace within.

I am a person who has always lived more in my head than in my body. I've tried different things to become more physical. But the connection just wasn't there. Today, I feel a major shift in perception. I think, "By Jove, I think she's got it!" I think this time it's for real—no, more than just THINK—this time I feel it in my body and my mind. I've found the way in to this body of mine—just look around, notice what it feels, touches, hears, smells, and sees. Move when it needs to move. Sit when it needs to sit. Flex and stretch when it needs to stretch. I am safe. I am home. I am at peace. All is well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Things I'm thankful for today:
  • Finding a new blog, Ripplespeak
  • Reading creative blogs, Magpie's Fancy, Far Away in the Sunshine
  • My journaling friends, Norma, Sandi, River
  • Learning about releasing body trauma by reading Peter Levine
  • Noticing synchronicity
  • Working at a university
  • Bright blue autumn skies
  • Naps
  • My fountain pen
  • Notebooks
  • Writing morning pages
  • Texting with my friend in CA
  • received my gift from Glenda--a CD of George Strait singing Christmas songs--fun!  Thank you!
The feeling of joy bubbling up inside—it's been a long time coming!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Artist’s Way Check-In

Recently I joined an on-line group to work through the Artist's Way. I was so excited that I would be able to have company as I worked my way through this book. I've had the book for years and made multiple tries to get all the way through. Usually by week 5 or 6, I would get derailed and then give up.

The on-line group ended unexpectedly. Some of the members are still planning to work through the book. We plan to stay in touch either on our FB connection or through each other's blogs. I have posted in both places, and then realized that I need to post on my own blog. This will help us stay connected, keep me accountable and keep me going.

We have reached the dreaded weeks 5 and 6. Some of us have stumbled. Thanks to our group and the encouragement we find, we realize that stumbling, taking time out, and/or struggling are all a part of the process. They are not reasons to quit. They are reasons to share, to draw strength from one another and then to step back into the flow and continue. I think this may be one of the biggest lessons I am learning—just keep going, stick with the program, and try, try again.

So, here I am. I do my Morning Pages. I have continued this discipline/task/treat since I first learned about them years ago. I have done slivers of Artist Dates; I need to find more ways to add fun to my life. I watch for synchronicity. I record my dreams more often, both night dreams and daydreams. I play with images and words. I read, ponder and share.

With the help of my friends, both on-line and real life, I continue on The Artist's Way.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I won!

I won! I won a gift, a new blog to read and a new friend! Yesterday, I found Serendipity Cottage, a blog by Glenda. She offered a gift to the next person who became a follower and changed her number from 133 to 134. I became a follower and left a comment—and I won! Yay!

Check out Glenda's blog; I think you'll like her. I read through several of her back entries and she sounds like someone who would be fun to know. She's talented, she's funny, and she is also generous.

She likes painting, photography, vintage stuff, garage sales, and so many more things that I also like. Today she mentioned a book that I want to read—I have already been looking for it and just haven't found it yet. And she has already read it!

Drop by her spot in the blogosphere and say Hi! She'll be glad to see you. (I'll be waiting by the mailbox for my surprise gift!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Balance or Harmony?

One of the tasks in Week Two of The Artist's Way is to make a map of all the areas of our life: Spirituality, Exercise, Play, Work, Friends, Romance / Adventure. First, you draw a circle, divide it into 6 sections, and then draw a dot representing where you are currently in this aspect of your life. When you connect the dots, you can see if you are well balanced or if some areas are totally lacking. The intent then becomes to increase the parts that are lacking and become more balanced.

I read somewhere once that we should try to achieve harmony rather than balance. At different times in life, some areas take more precedence over others. The dominant areas will change, just like the melody and harmony in a song. I still think the idea of mapping out our life areas is valid, because it lets us see if the smaller areas remain in harmony or if we have neglected them altogether. We can still nurture them in small ways even when other areas are demanding big chunks of our life. This keeps them alive and contributing. And maybe we can learn ways to trim back the time-hogs!

Doing the Artist's Way is making me aware of how many pockets of time are available to slip in some creative play. And slipping in all those different slivers of creativity is bringing my life song back into harmony and balance.

How about you? Do you try to achieve balance? Or harmony? Do you think there is a difference?


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Happy Dance List

Today, I feel happy! Not sure why—and after coming out of a long, sad spell, I am just thrilled to feel this way! Starting last night, I have just felt like doing the Happy Dance! This morning, I have been blog surfing, which has added to my happy feelings and given me ideas for things to write about. On Zazazu's blog, she writes about lists and how she loves them. A few of my other favorites-of-the-moment, like Days at Buttermilk Cottage and some others had a grouping/listing theme today. So, here is my Happy Dance list today:

  • Starting the Artist's Way group
  • Sunshine
  • October starting—it's my birthday month, and I've always felt like it is just the most beautiful month of the year
  • Turning leaves—red, orange, gold, gorgeous
  • Warm air with a crisp edge
  • My granddaughter sewing and loving it
  • Dancing
  • Snickerdoodles
  • Feeling the stirring of fresh beginnings
  • Reading blogs—they feel like interactive magazines or letters from pen pals
  • Revival meetings at our church this week—Brother Danny Whetstone is an amazing preacher!
  • My African violet that started blooming after I had given up on it
  • Writing
  • Reading about people restoring decrepit old houses and turning them into warm, welcoming homes
  • Vintage stuff
  • My growing collection of woven picnic baskets
  • Actually getting something written that I can post—and then posting it!

Hope you have a Happy Day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Artist's Way Group

I was reading Rebecca's blog, Voyage of DISCOVERy the other day and found a link to a new on-line group that is going to work through The Artist’s Way beginning 10/1. I am so excited about this. I have wanted to do this with a group and I’ve always missed out. And when I try to work through the book on my own, I tend to fizzle out after a few weeks.

For those who aren’t familiar with The Artist’s Way, it is a book by Julia Cameron. She outlines a twelve week/twelve step program for unblocking your creativity. It involves morning pages, artist dates, and different exercises and practices for each week. You would also need a copy of the book.

Here’s the link:

Let me know if you join. I think it will be fun—and hopefully productive!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Family Speak

Tess at Life at Willow Manor has a wonderful entry about the made-up language that families use, those words that become commonplace and unnoticed until someone uses them in the company of strangers. The entry and the comments are well worth reading. They made me laugh and think about the words my own family uses.

We ask for hang-goomers since my young nephew (who is now an adult) couldn't say hamburgers.

We talk about monkey neck sweaters since my then four-year-old daughter begged me one day "Please, Mom, please. Don't make me wear those monkey neck sweaters. I hate having them up around my neck!" No more turtle necks for us—or monkey necks either!

This same daughter always asked for a little snack between meals to "tidy-me-over." She thought that was what Grandma said.

My aunt was always so sad to hear when a woman had to have a hector-mector. I think it sounds much less serious and more fun than a hysterectomy, don't you?

When I was a young girl, my three-year-old cousin had to stay with us for a few days while her mom was in the hospital. She was not a happy camper. Uncle Harold promised her that he would come back for her on Friday afternoon. All week, she kept saying, "Is it Pidey acker noon? My daddy is coming on Pidey acker noon!" So anytime after, when we were waiting for something that we were sure was coming, we would say "It will be here on Pidey acker noon!"

Right now, I have a four-year-old granddaughter and a three-year-old grandson, so I know that we will soon have more goodies to add to our vocabulary. How about you—do you have your own "family speak?"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

These are some of the things I am thankful for on this Thursday in September:


  • Crisp weather
  • Easier breathing
  • Reading blogs
  • Vintage treasures
  • A granddaughter's excitement about learning to sew
  • Sweet three- and four-year-old grandchildren and their extravagant love
  • Feeling the family love
  • Books
  • Writing
  • Warm sunny days
  • Laughing with friends
  • Friends who write
  • Sewing patterns on sale for $1.99!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Group Writing Practice

I belong to a Journaling Group, a Fiction Writing Group, and have been attending a new Mystery Writing Group (even though I mostly read mysteries rather than write them). People sort of understand the writing/critiques groups, but they always ask why I would want to journal in a group. Since our group is going through another transition period, a time when even some members are asking why we do this, I wrote down my reasons. And in the process, I gained clarity and inspiration myself! So I thought I'd share this with the blogosphere.

We are a writing practice group.  We practice writing. We write. We practice. We share and we learn.

We write together to share the energy and new ideas that other writers bring.  We journal to learn how to respond to different prompts, how to pull up memories that may be hiding under the surface, how to write using all the senses, how to see things from other perspectives, how to keep putting the pen to the paper even when you think you can't, how to share the joy of writing, to share the energy generated, to just be with other members of our tribe who understand this compulsion to write, write, write. 

Try it—you might like it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Listening to My Body

Friday, June 11, 2010—where has this year gone? It seems like yesterday was January 1st, and now the year is half over. Then we shivered in the below zero cold, wished for warmth and didn't believe that it would ever come. Now we swelter inside oven-like heat with 100% humidity and wonder if we were ever cold!
In the last few weeks, I have discovered Zhan Zhuang, the practice of standing still, which seems to be a precursor of Tai Chi. I discovered this through the blog, Voyage to DISCOVERy; the author has links to Zhan Zhuang video clips and I practice along with them. I have also read Geneen Roth's new book, Women, Food and God, which advocates listening to your body.
The combination of these two things has led to greater body awareness, to ways that I am hunching my shoulders, twisting my legs, or curving my spine. I find myself coming back to center during the day in quiet moments. I also feel more stamina since following Zhan Zhuang, and I am able to breathe easier.
One of the ideas that Zhan Zhuang advocates is practicing outside, close to trees. I am really more of an inside girl—I like nature in theory, and in practice I am squeamish around bugs, heat, plants that make me itch, breezes that blow my papers around, etc. This morning, I decided that I would take my Zhan Zhuang practice outside in the early morning; I would greet the dawn and fill my lungs with fresh air. I stepped outside in the lightening darkness, performed my warm up movements and assumed the position of stillness. Within three seconds, I was a morning feast for the mosquitoes! I could almost hear them calling out to their friends, "Hey, guys, look—it's breakfast!" I could see them flying around and feel them biting me. Right away, I incorporated Geneen's advice to listen to my body, which said, "Run back in the house! Now!" I did. Then I resumed my Zhan Zhuang while pondering that age-old question: Do they have mosquitoes in China?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Passion and Joy

What do I feel passionately about? What makes my heart sing? Today I do one thing that brings me joy.

The question above comes from a month-long series of questions posed by Kathryn Antyr, the Collage Diva, on her True North Arts blog. I have been answering these questions on my own, and as I wrote today's answer, I thought, Hey, that's a blog entry! So here it is.

What do I feel passionately about? What makes my heart sing? Today I do one thing that brings me joy.

Right now, I feel passionately about fellow bloggers who can write about daily life in a way that makes my heart sing. Gigi received a gift—a beautifully wrapped, creatively wrapped gift. She photographed it and wrote about it in a way that just made me feel like I was right there with her as she opened it. The person who wrapped the gift, Sande, has a blog about gift wrapping (go figure!), and she writes about wrapping gifts in a way that makes me alternately think Hmm—maybe I should try doing this! and Oh, my goodness—these are exquisite—beyond anything a mere mortal could do. The gift wrapper also wrote about how important blogging is to her because expressing our words is what is most important. And when we express our words, someone will hear and respond. And this is what is important.

Reading these blogs nearly makes me weep. To think that these people exist, that they think like this, that they are willing to be who they are and then share that with the world. It makes me weep with joy, with relief, with recognition, with hope.

I want to be a part of this group. I feel the same way when I am with my Journal Group. As the women and lone man read, I think, Oh, I am so privileged to be in this group. Each person brings beauty, fun, freshness, and humor to our group. Each one is so different, yet in vital ways we are the same. We all love to write, love to share, love being able to say what is on our minds and in our hearts.

That sounds a lot like bloggers, doesn't it?

So, today, one thing I do that brings me joy is to read my favorite blogs. The three I mentioned above are just a small sampling of my favorites. Even the ones listed on my sidebar are a small sampling which needs updated. I encourage everyone to read and connect and enjoy—share what you can bring to the party—then we will all participate in the joy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Month of Love

Several blogs are devoting their entries during February to the topic of love. Love in all its forms: romance, family, friends, love for pets, passions or treasures. Love for February, for life, for beauty. Since my mind kept going blank when I searched for a topic to write about, I decided that I could write about love. Then my mind went blank again.

At lunch today, I was reading another of my million books about writing. Naked, Drunk, and Writing, by Adair Lara. She says to just write—sit down, type in a sentence, then type another one, then another one. Soon momentum will take over. She isn't the only one who says this: all writing books and authors give this advice. Just sit down and write. I listen, nod my head, and avoid sitting down and writing.

Instead, I started web surfing, reading some of my favorite blogs, and discovering new ones. I read that this month is NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. Bloggers are encouraged to post an entry every day during February. In Becca's Byline, I read that people are writing about love during February. Christina at Soul Aperture has written beautiful entries about love that stir my heart. I read great posts that were only a paragraph long. (That isn't likely to happen for me—I'm way too wordy—even when I have nothing to say!) Then I closed my browser, opened a Word document, and started this post.

So—love. That's a big topic.

I tell my family and friends that I love them. My co-workers tease me about ending my personal phone calls by saying, "I love you!" They say, "Gee, we aren't supposed to tell clients THAT!" Or, "Gosh, she never tells ME that!" I don't let their teasing deter me.

As a child, I rarely heard my parents say, "I love you." Mom and Dad just weren't comfortable voicing their love. They didn't go in for hugging or kissing either. I loved being hugged, kissed, and hearing that someone loved me. When I had my children, I told them that I loved them—frequently. I hugged them. I kissed them. As an adult, as I and my parents grew older, I decided to do the same with my parents. I started to tell them that I loved them, to hug and kiss them. At first it was awkward; however, they quickly came to expect and enjoy being more demonstrative. I'm glad for that. They are both gone now, and I am so thankful for all the memories of the hugs, kisses and I love you's that I did get.

So, my first post on love is to remind you to tell people that you love them. What will the second post be? Will there be a second post? I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow and see what happens when I sit down and write that first sentence.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where does free time go?

What happens to free time on the weekends? It just seems to disappear. During the week, I can squeeze tons of stuff around my workday. I do morning pages, log a few minutes on the elliptical, do laundry, post blog entries (sometimes—I'm not diligent about that!), call friends and long for the weekend when I can devote more time to these activities.

What happens? The weekend comes, I sleep in, I run errands and spend time with hubby, go to church, nap when I can (not during church!)—and before I know it, the weekend is over and I haven't spent any time doing any of my imagined activities.

I heard of a friend of a friend who used to believe that the weekends were totally his time to spend as he wanted. He would stay up until after midnight and then get back up at 4:00 or 5:00 AM, so he could enjoy his free time. He got a lot done and loved every minute of it.

I think about that for a little bit. And I know that I will never be like that—no matter how much I change my thoughts, change my perspective, or try to be more productive. It just ain't gonna happen! I like my sleeping in and napping too much!

I guess I should just enjoy my weekends and free time no matter how it turns out. Go with the flow, since that is my word for the year. If I really want to get in some writing, exercise, or visiting, I can slip them in in small slices, just as I do during my workweek.

I did manage to create a Full Moon Dreamboard collage this weekend. I have been creating these, along with Jamie Ridler, even though I haven't taken pictures, posted and linked them yet. This Full Moon was the Wolf Moon, and Jamie said as we pulled images to ask what we are yearning and longing for.

I love the time I spend collaging. I like looking back at my creations. When I started, I worked in a small notebook, about 5x7. Then I started using a giant sketchbook, maybe 11 x 14, filling one page at a time. Now I fill a two-page spread, and even that is becoming too small!

My husband doesn't understand why cutting, gluing and pasting give me such a thrill. He worries that I'm regressing to a second childhood! LOL I just smile and keep cutting and pasting. I love looking back at what I've created. The pictures satisfy me in some way that I don't understand and can't express.

So, today is Monday, and I'm back at work for the week. I will squeeze in as many creative moments as I can this week. Maybe squeeze in a nap some evening. And the weekend will be here before I know it!

I will have to make time to watch a least some of the Super Bowl this weekend—our Colts are playing. I hope we can make it Win #2! Go Colts!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Simple Things

I read Christina's blog Soul Aperture and feel such deep happiness. She has a way of highlighting the ordinary and making me realize how beautiful daily life can be. I love her posts on simple things and I finally decided to list some of my own.

  • Listening to my four-year-old granddaughter request a book from my "book room"
  • A big pot of chili cooked by my husband, ready when I get home from work
  • Books and my book room
  • Email from my daughter
  • Heated seats in my car when the outside temperature is 16 degrees!
  • Sunshine
  • Phone calls with dear friends
  • Blogs—I love reading blogs!
  • A free bookmark included in my latest book purchase
  • Getting a copy of "The Big Tidy Up" after 30 years! This was a book by Norah Smaridge that I read to my children when they were little. We all loved it—and recently it was re-released—and now I own my own copy! (You can find it on Amazon.)
  • Reading The Big Tidy Up to my granddaughter
  • Covering up with my FuzzyWuzzy (like a Snuggie) in the mornings while I write in my notebook

I love the way reading one blog leads to another leads to another, etc.—and before you know it, you have discovered a site that makes your heart sing—and you are not quite sure how you got there—and you are so glad you did!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What Makes Me Happy

Friday evening, my husband and I spent time with our daughter, her husband, her two daughters, and her son who was celebrating his 22nd birthday. We ate at O'Charley's and had the best overloaded potato soup that I've ever had. We laughed, we hugged, we reminisced about when Randal was born.

This made me very happy!