REPORT A PROBLEM
I did it. I visualized it, I eased into it, giving myself little 10 minute projects such as gathering last year's tax records, looking at just one bank account...and I'm almost done. I felt shame that I wasn't keeping up with my business. I just was so demoralized at negative numbers, I didn't want to face the reality. So I didn't. Now, I've learned the lesson. I like feeling on top of my game. I like feeling responsible. And the numbers are reflecting an up tick in my business. I have a big month coming up. Trying new things.
A Sunday with Elizabeth Gilbert. She honed a pathway to a creative life. Take away: You can steer your life into a bold and beautiful thing by making choices out of curiosity rather than fear. Six letters to write:
Thank your fear. It's always been there to keep you safe. Dear Name. I am your fear....write a letter from your fear to you.
A letter to you from your enchantment (magical side, mystery) and why you're important and what you need.
Permission. "the arrogance of belonging", I'm included, the want to see your handprint on the wall of life.
Dear Name, I am the authority. I am the principle and I….
Dear Name, I am your persistence. I deserve some credit. Write a defensive letter from your persistence.
Trust. To My highest creative life, I am Name. and here is why you can trust me. (What are you going to do with inspiration?)
Divinity: Dear Fear, I am Name and right now, this is your divinity speaking (the big Self)
We had to sit with a stranger, write our letter for 5 minutes and then share the first three, Then find another stranger and share the last three. Great experience.
My child will be 36 years old in a few days. The honest overview: The good: I loved him like life in his early years. There was nothing more important than interacting with him. We played well, we appreciated our bond. I took him into nature often. The Bad: I failed to sustain his confidence in life by getting divorced, by fighting with his father. I failed to heed warning signals by my fiancé that there would be trouble ahead. I married anyway. Then my energy was divided into making life alright for J. and appeasing my husband. I'm sorry.
With a magic wand, I'd be 35 years old, single, have a love-loss infused armor around me, I'd know that life is a huge invention, adventure; a constant source of miracles happening each time two strangers met and exchange ideas. I'd have a very clear view of the things I can change, and an even clearer view of what is my business and what to leave alone. A basic understanding of all of us on a life journey of choices, rewards, disasters, obstacles. A miracle that billions interact daily on the planet and we each decide our own fate.
Now that I don't need attention, now that I'm settled with this one activity in my life-the store that sustains my life; now that I've decided and resolved the issue of unnecessary drama in my life; now that I don't believe there's a guru or a religion that's going to bring me enlightenment, now that I am not on a quest to fill up a hole in my life, now that I know my happiness is an inside job, now what? Isn't it time to start a fulfilling project? Or, travel? or focus on what wants to come in?
Ego is an amazing drive. It is the beaming light within us that pulses: "I'm here, I'm important." It's only now that my ego has been soothed and insulated from potential harm that it can calm down and stop flashing. I can allow it to relax. And now, especially when I see it in others I can view it in my own experience. I can remember making decisions about my life and telling everyone about it (look at me!) I remember asking questions of speakers-just to call attention to myself as the most interested, engaged person in the audience.
I think I'm done with therapy. I'm rehashing. I'm boring the therapist and myself. I've really got no issues to deal with. I can handle stuff on my own. I hesitate because once out, it's harder to get back in; the problem will have to be really big for me to justify seeking assistance for it. I can't imagine, short of terminal illness diagnosis, that I'll need help. It's been good. I feel stabilized in my new stance of reality based reinterpretation of my life. An accurate view of who I am and where I've been. I feel mature. Done.
What is important now? Taxes and birthday and tomorrow's store event. Effective time management: spend one hour cleaning store, arranging tables, set up. Spend rest of the day doing the taxes (this is a big blank scary void-which is why I can't seem to tackle it.) Do what you can. The tax lady will tell you if you didn't do it right. You are not going to get arrested for doing it wrong. Do anything, but stop worrying. Get a great birthday card for Jay and put a check into it. Done. He never gets you anything! Over it!
Yesterday was such fun! The studio was packed with artists--all my favorite people--who finally got to know one another! and customers who hopped off the Gallery Hop Bus to see the store! There was a lot of excitement. I was prepared with postcard sized ads that people took with them. Bravo you! and some snacks and teas. We all had a good time. In the past, I had fantasized about bringing these artists together over a meal, a gratitude dinner- but this was the way to do it, with each showing their wares in the same place. DaDa!
Grids: mind maps that show me where my thinking leads me. Energy toward positivity and toward negativity. The center four squares are GOOD-where my thoughts can generate new ideas based on creativity,"wouldn't it be fun to..." and then put these into action. The BAD:ideas based on fear and extrapolation, "I'm doing it all wrong, maybe I should give up, I'm sick of failure." Mental complaining, no generation of ideas. The UGLY is when I blame someone else for my lack of contentment; where I jump to action that takes me away from my goals. Fixing the impossible.
Today I finished up my taxes. At least my part of doing my taxes. It feels wonderful to stuff all those forms in an envelope and file them away!. Done. My anxiety is 25% less now. I can't let fear and anxiety stop me from moving forward, from tackling new challenges. Just work through it. Don't put it off. Success feels so good. Maybe I have to remember the feeling of success. I'm talking to my ex while I'm typing. He's so boring I can type instead of listen and still not miss anything. Tedious. I can barely stand it.
Hurray! I did it. I put myself out there, took a risk, stretched myself. I taught painting at a nearby senior center. End result was that they all had fun, I got some money and an invitation to return. She said I was a natural. Good job, me! It makes me happy to try new things. Better than just sitting still. Also, my assistant will start teaching next Wed. I'm making oodles of money on the school program. Also, I've overcome my fears about tracking money. I'm starting 2016 this week. Overcoming is my mantra! Somehow I have new confidence.
Anxiety. Learn to embrace it, not avoid it. Learn to treasure the jolt of adrenaline as a sign of aliveness; proof you're really living. Nothing can be gained in the comfort zone. That's the zone of stagnation, coasting. This is a brave pep talk I'm giving myself, as I watch my world shrink and I acquiesce, resign a little from life. I'm like a bicyclist who stares at the pothole and inadvertently guides her bike to what she's avoiding. It's the end of life that's got my attention. I need a new dream, a fun dream to keep me going.
I'm watching a PBS special on American Parks. Landscape architects brought beauty into the cities. They built the Emerald Circle around Chicago. People flocked to the open wooded spaces from the city. Do the parks still exist? One wonders if anyone notices anymore. There's no excitement to go into wilderness anymore. Everyone is staring at their computers, as am I. We are losing touch with nature, with the earth, with the creatures that live there. I'm not sure there is a god, but he would be so sad to see humans turn their backs on his daily, grand creations. Sad.
Gratitude: from my sister, I got intimacy. From Paula, I got acceptance, from Nina, I got maturity and wisdom, from Mom I got art and I got nurtured by what she gave (it cost her a lot.) From Dad, I got the value of humor and the nurturing I needed as a kid, fun stuff. From Ingrid, I got athleticism. From Mary, I got listened to. From T, I got computer instruction, expanded perspective, hope and despair, from J, I learned to put another first, learned of another's vulnerability, from T I learned how to laugh at myself. Thanks all.
We all have our little crazies. I'm visiting with friend and her daughter. Daughter has jars and envelopes and bottles of elements that with make her healthier. Friend has her hours of chanting. I have my compulsion to write 100 words a day, and staying in my pajamas for as long as possible. T has his herd of cats to keep him from living a normal life. My son has his avoidance of a commitment to anything which will keep him out of relationship. My sister is captured by things she can shop for, usually related to ornamentation. Everyone copes.
My friend is being so kind and generous with her time and her hospitality. A great bed in a room by myself. Meal after meal she shares with me. It's a lot to have a guest at your home. The responsibility seems endless and burdensome (to me.) I want to get better at hosting. Finding fun things to do. Making the right meals that provide leftovers for the next day. Having some movies on hand to let guests sink into relaxation. I will work on this. It's an art like anything else. You try things, you improve. It's all good.
I've been bored all day long. When I don't have the spark that comes with meeting a challenge, the focus and purposefulness that comes with stress, then I'm slightly out of my comfort zone. I'm searching, waiting for something to grab me. I think, "if I had a good audible book to entertain me, I could settle into a task and be content." I need to be entertained. I used to be ok with my own fiction. I'd relive an interaction, or plan a dialogue in the future. I don't have any internal adventures anymore. Good. But boredom is discontentment.
A good day. A risky day that went fine. We started our art cart into the schools. Hollie is the teacher and she did a really good job. She knows how to address the classroom with authority. Ok, Listen up, she said loudly. Then she calmly talked about the first project. Then she was able to pace the projects, calmly saying, OK, we'll go to the next step when everyone is ready. She had authority, like she had played teacher her whole life. I never played teacher. I have no idea how to conduct the leadership of kids. I'm learning.
I'm happy to be here. I've seen so many gorgeous new sights in California. Should I live here? I could live here. I could live in Canada, where community and government are admirable. I could live close to son. I could spend the rest of my days deciding where I want to live. Or I could give up my home and live in an RV and travel about like a nomad--not defining home as a place but a perpetual state of mind. Does seeing the beauty of this world trump the comfort of having neighbors and pets and house?
I'm a good guest. I don't have any real demanding habits or necessities that have to be worked around. I'm good with surrendering and being happy with what events befall me. I wonder what it would be like to be a nomad on a permanent basis? Surrendering your will? Do you forget who you are if your will or desires, interests don't find expression? If you have to stuff your individuality, do you lose yourself; your individuation? It would be surrendering the ego. Can you have ego strength and not exercise it? These are hard questions; but interesting to consider.
I'm almost caught up to my neuroses of writing this marvelous 100 words. I think it clears my head. Maybe this is the same thing as writing a diary. Our local museum had entires from several journals from past years. People used to record the weather, the mundane activities for the day. It's like saying to yourself (or pretending to the world) I'm D. and I'm still here... here's proof. We need to have our memories written because there are so many days in a life, they run into each other and it's the same as forgetting. I get it.
There is no way to give you what I want you to have. There's not even a name for it. It's the awareness, the consciousness of potential. It's the relief that one feels to sit on the yoga mat in a hectic day, it's a fragrance of apple tree blossoms that wake you out of problem solving, it's the music that opens your heart again or the sunset that makes you forget everything while you feel blessed to have seen this moment. It's the opening to the soul, I think. It has to do with perspective and contrast and balance.
cont: It feels like there's a spark of the divine at work. A shift of consciousness that is subtle yet visceral. An energy force from inside wisps through you and changes you. Maybe it's a bit of heaven on earth. A lesson that we create our own blinders, and our dramas and our addictions. I want for you sparks of freshness that knock you off your path, briefly, for enough time that you at least question the status quo. See yourself and others too, caught up in the circle, being good and prosperous people, but asleep to choices and experiences.
As my solo life gets simpler, I have more time to reflect. It's surprising how complicated lives are. There's a delicate balance of so many things, the fast pace and the relaxation, the higher self and the base self, the forward thinking and the past reminiscing, the societal self and the private, individuation, the inner self and the outer. There's a balancing thread that runs through me. A centering, suspending, reliable scaffold that holds me up, helps me find the balance. I can't name it. I've just become aware of it recently. It's not faith, it's intrinsic...in my DNA.
I've decided not to say more; I know I have expressed my desire and have invited my son to visit me, or to let me drive an hour to visit him one evening while he is in my vicinity for the purpose of attending a wedding. I know these things--I will not see him. It will confirm to me that he feels no attachment to me or any importance in our relationship. I know that his demonstrated indifference will break my heart. I know life is sad. And, that relationships end. That they can not be sustained without reciprocity.
I tend to doubt the bonds of family, now that my sister and I don't speak. Now that her children and her husband shun me. Now that I reexamine Mom's bitterness toward me. And Dad's condemnation of me over our differing political views. But, I never thought I would lose my son. And yet, I never thought I would lose my sister either. So I'm open to life's variations, and surprises. I know I'll go on. For a time anyway. I'm inured from injury to the heart, but I have stamina of mood. I can go on and still manage.
Can I write a book? Of course. It may never be published, it might be rubbish and boring, but I can write it. I want to write it from the person I am now. It will be fiction, loosely based on my life, but with the plot twist of a sort of comical way to face death. There's always that. The measure of the present against the shortened future. Or the past...that secret past I only just discovered, only just woke up to. I'll let it seep in like the discoveries did and make the soup that is me.
How to write a book. Google? Anyway, I'll entertain myself with it this summer, while there are no TV programs and it's too light to go to bed. I'll write a 100 words here and 100 words of the book. Along with my work at the studio and the art cart and the norc gig. I'm going to be very busy. I'm happy when I'm busy. I don't need a vacation when I have projects--projects are like a vacation for my mood. A focus, a goal. I guess I'm not comfortable with just being. There needs to be more.
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