If you're anything like me, the end of the year is a whirlwind of decision making. You decide what you want to do 'next year'. You decide what worked for you and what didn't work for you. You experience regret over opportunities left unexplored. You experience a sense of pride over what you accomplished. You feel spent, and yet, excited about what the new year will bring.
In that weird 'one foot in spent and one foot in excited' place at the end of every year, I resolve to do way more than I can ever actually possibly do. I sign up for classes. I plan projects. I write lists of things I want to experience or accomplish. I'd have to be three people (or maybe a dozen) to actually do all the things I want to do in the course of 2014.
While there have been times in my life that the way a lot of my list gets abandoned before the year is out made me feel like a failure, I have come to terms with it. I get what it's about. I know that I make these lists and resolve to do ALL THE STUFF out of a place of optimism and love for what I do.
I've already gotten a sense for the things I thought I wanted to do that I probably will not be doing. Daily photographs, for example. Not going to happen. A class I signed up for turned out not to be my style at all, and another turned out to feel like 'more of the same', so I won't be investing a lot of time and energy there. I wanted to be a lot more social in 2014, and I will, but in a much more limited way than I'd planned - closer to home, less fraught with bus schedules and travel woes, no packing required.
I spent an hour writing this morning. It's one of the things I want to do in 2014 that I'm pretty convinced I will keep up with. Daily writing. Morning Pages a la Julia Cameron, but adapted to suit me so I'm not rebelling against prescribed numbers of pages or page sizes or word counts (because I do rebel and if I'm rebelling, I just don't do it at all!). I thought I was going to use all the prompts and programs I'd lined up to support me in my journal writing, but that's already proving not to be the case. I have enough to explore in my own inner landscape without the prompts. I know the prompts are there if I need them, but so far, there's been no need.
I wrote about the 'no thought' flavour of my home life. I wrote about how everything here feels seamless right now. I wrote about how I am completely 100% in my own skin at all times in my primary relationship. I wrote about how good it feels to feel like my relationship, after a long nine years of struggle, has finally gelled into something with enough wiggle room *and* rooted-ness to work.
I also wrote about the the things that were making me anxious. After a very difficult year of interpersonal and family stuff, my libido is pretty much a goner and I hate that - I love feeling sexy and full of desire. When I don't, I feel a bit deadened and that always, always impacts my creativity. A big waste of money in the form of an expensive indulgence that I am finding disappointing. Our finances (we wanted to consolidate our debt and that didn't go as planned). Upcoming dental bills. Therapy bills for three.
The usual. First world problems. Nothing dire.
And I started writing about how much it sucks that I make all these plans for the year and so many of them get shelved so early because I over-commit or want too much or feel a manic, unsustainable excitement in the final weeks of the year and I realized - hey! I bet some of my people are experiencing the same crash - the same omgdoom, I'm over committed AGAIN and there's no way I can sustain this and I suck and woe fail.
So here I am. With a gentle nudge in the direction of your own rightness and likeability and worth. It's *okay* to reassess, even as early as this. It's okay, too, to feel the crash, the let down that inevitably happens as the year begins and you realize that, at the end of the day, nothing has really changed - you are still you. You have entered the new year with the same foibles and flaws. You have all the same challenges and limitations. The calendar flipping over from one year to the next can really set us up to feel like everything is going to be different somehow, but it never is, and that, too, is okay. More than okay. It's perfect.
That we get so excited is proof that we are alive. It's proof that we are optimistic and that we are full of passion. Take that proof and run with it in the direction of what really matters. Let go of what doesn't without beating yourself up over it. Invest where it make sense to invest. Give yourself to the things that give back to you. No slogging, baby. Slogging is for martyrs. If it's a slog, let it go. Embrace joy. Embrace ease.
(Written as much for me as for you)
We've got this.
I want 2014 to be the year I blog my face off. I want to be back in touch with my soul. I want to shed the armour I built up in 2012 & 2013. I want to extract all the thorns I've been wearing for self-protection. I want to let them fall to the ground. I want to risk. I want to be open. I want to trust. I want to write when the spirit moves me to write without feeling like I'm walking a tight rope of propriety or non-offensiveness or TMI.
Fuck the fear of writing, of self-revelation. It gets me no where. It gives me a headache. It renders me voiceless and small and dull and boring.
I declare 2014 'The Year Of The Blog". I will be coming in here often and with no holds barred. I will be venting my spleen and waxing poetic. I will share my art and my process. I will share my dreams and my fears. I will share my disappointments and my triumphs. I'm not interested in having a 'niche blog' that only covers mixed media art. *Yawn*. I'm not interested in using my blog to 'market' myself. I'm interested in using my blog for self-inquiry. I'm interested in writing because writing is good for me. I'm interested in connection, in being out there, in dreaming out loud.
It's what I do best.
I have nothing earth shattering to begin with today, though, so sorry for the anti-climax. Hah! I started the New Year off with a gorgeous spread for Moonshine, and then I sat down to play in Life Book. (Snapshots below!) I did a bunch of written journaling that helped me really nail down what my word of the year (EASE) means to me and how to go about getting more of that into my life. I made a huge pot of homemade beef stew and a loaf of French bread in my new bread maker (oh my god, fresh bread!). I tidied. I puttered. I planned.
Moonshine 2014 #1 - The Open Door
Life Book 2014 Warm Up
Life Book 2014 Lesson #1 (In Progress)
It's been really cold here. We open the door to let the dogs out, and BLAST! Icy wind comes barreling through the house like a runaway train. The air feels hostile and it hurts to breathe. The ice storm we had Christmas week took out one of our beloved trees, and the backyard looks like a tornado hit it, what with all the fallen branches all over the place. It's been too damned cold to get out there to do anything about it, so we've left it there, looking sad and ruined.
I have to venture out today, and I'm grumpy about it. It's therapy day (every Friday at 1!) and I don't drive, so I'll be bundling up in layers for a walk. I'm hoping my nose doesn't run because I HATE THAT and I'm planning on treating myself to a manicure when I'm done. Then home to heat up leftovers for dinner and get some more work done.
My inner landscape is weird lately. I had to make some difficult decisions over the holidays that left me feeling like I shut the door on adventure and fun. I opted for rooted and comfortable instead. There is a sense of relief over this choice because it is totally in alignment with what I need right now, but there's grief, too, because letting go is never easy even when we know it's the best possible choice we can make. Despite this grief, despite the regret, I am content. I have eased into being at peace with the life I've chosen. I've fully embraced my desire for uncomplicated, for no stress, for home base, for the devils I know. Being here, now. Being in it and fully committed with no 'outs' or 'ifs' or 'buts' or 'maybes'.
In this life I'm making.
Hello, lovely tribe o' mine! I was really swamped with the live show yesterday (which you can watch here, if you're so inclined) so I didn't have time to make the announcement re: our awesome giveaway! I'm here today, though, and THE WINNERS ARE!!!
I'll be e-mailing the winners with their class info just as soon as I hit 'publish' on this post!
YAY!!!!! (I love a good giveaway!)
In Other News
Moonshine started on New Year's Eve and the first class is already posted! BOD starts on Jan 6th (that's Monday!). Life Book started on New Year's Eve and Tam has us gently entering into the Life Book waters with a beautiful first lesson!
I'm SO INSPIRED by all the new things starting up! My head is absolutely spinning! And you? What have you started your year off with??
P.S. Coupon code moonstruck gets you Moonshine for $49 and coupon code bodalum gets you Book Of Days for $40. Shhhhh - it's our little secret. xo
P.S. Again! Here's a photo of my new BOD cover
Hello, my luscious ones! I am so excited for 2014 that I can barely contain myself! I'm all hip wiggles and puppy squees and so totes happies!
I want to share the joy, so I'm having a fantastic giveaway! I have THREE SEATS in both Moonshine AND Book Of Days to offer up!*
Here's how to enter!
(Multiple entries are allowed! Complete all methods of entry for maximum impact on your chances of winning!)
1) Share the link to this post on your Facebook and come back here to say "I DID IT" in the comments.
2) Share the link to this post on Twitter and come back here to say "I DID IT" in the comments.
3) BLOG about this giveaway and come back here to say "I DID IT" in the comments.
It's that simple!!
To read more about Book Of Days 2014, click here!
To read more about Moonshine 2014, click here!
*If you already purchased one or both, you can give your seat to a friend!
Contest closes on December 31st and the winners will be announced during my live show on January 1st at 1 p.m. EST. Can't make it? No worries! I will be e-mailing the winners personally!
I used random.org to generate the winner for my stencil giveaway (which includes a photo-tutorial, so check it out here!) and #74 was the winner!
PAM WEILER!! YOU WON!
I'll be forwarding this information on to Lisa over at Artistcellar so she can send your stencils off to you!
There will be another giveaway on my blog next Monday (how does a bundle of BOD + Moonshine sound to you?) but you have to be signed up for my newsletter to get the info. Go here to make sure you're signed up! See you on Monday!
I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the Artistcellar Signature Series Stencils blog hop for Jill K. Berry's latest release! These stencils are funky and fun and perfect for adding background texture to any piece.
As I looked over the stencils, I realized that one of them made me think of a maze - an impossibly twisty, turny maze - and that, in turn, made me think about how life can be both maze-like and amazing at the same time.
Here's what I did:
First, I gathered my supplies. My page is done in my Dylusions journal and I started it off knowing I wanted to use an awesome technique I learned from Dina Wakely using a watermark stamp pad (in this case, I used Perfect Medium) and Pan Pastels.
My first step was to apply the Perfect Medium through the stencil. I found it easiest to use one of the Distress Ink applicators from Ranger.
Do you see how the Perfect Medium picks up the Pan Pastels boldly and vividly in comparison to the untreated surface? Scrumptious, right?
Extra heavy gesso = extra scrumptious texture. Just watch the drying time.
A little Distress paint through the stencil in added some subtle detail.
Tape runner really simplifies my life.
I doodled around the slips of cardstock with my Faber Castell PITT Pen.
And then coloured in the scallops with my Uni-ball Signo Angelic Color pen in white.
Washi tape to frame the whole thing.
VOILA!! Pretty, right? I love how the maze-like stencil perfectly sets up the sentiment!
Want to win a set? OF COURSE YOU DO!
Comment below and I will draw a name to win! Please make sure you include your e-mail address in the space provided so we know how to reach you!
When you're all done here, check out the other aMAZEing artists who are playing along!
12/7 Artistcellar www.artistcellar.com/wp
12/8 Kecia Deveney http://www.lemoncholys.
12/9 Sketchbook Challenge/Jill http://sketchbookchallenge.
12/10 Brian Kasstle http://apaperbear.wordpress.
12/11 Mel Kolstad http://reliefpress.blogspot.
12/12 Kim Rae Nugent http://www.kimraenugent.
12/13 Jodi Ohl www.sweetrepeats.blogspot.com
12/14 Effy Wild www.effywild.com <-----YOU ARE HERE
12/15 Tamara Laporte www.willowing.org/blog
12/16 Jane Davenport http://janedavenport.com/
12/17 Chris Cozen http://chriscozenartist.
12/18 Guadalupe Brizuela Cabal http;//guadasartplace.
12/19 Jill Berry http://jillberrydesign.com/
This is a repost of a lesson in Moonshine: Boot Camp, but I've edited it to apply to all art forms.
Hello, lovely fresh, new, green-as-grass artist/writer/sculptor/musician/poet/photographer!
So, you want to be an artist, and you've just started out with hope in your eyes and passion in your heart for your chosen art form. Perhaps you've begun a practice - sketching or painting or writing or composing. Maybe you've done a few things by now and when you look at your fresh, shiny 'body of work', your heart sinks a little bit. You may be giving yourself a stern talking to. You may even be going all GORDON RAMSEY on yourself. (Curious what I mean by this? Do keep reading!)
Practicing any art form is hard at first. We need to develop our skills, develop muscle memory (or carve out new pathways in our brain meats). We need to begin seeing or hearing or thinking in a new way.
And hard not just in the skill-building sense, but in the hard-on-our-self-esteem sense. Doing anything we're new at comes with a double whammy of omg, I suck at this stuff + omg, look at that <insert the flaws you perceive in your work> stuff. Neither is good for the budding artist within us, or the tender five year old self we all carry at the core of our adulthood.
We've all experienced our Hell's Kitchen inspired inner critics going all Gordon Ramsey on our asses over how badly we suck as we are beginning. Let me ask you this: how do you feel when you watch someone bash themselves about the head and face for sucking or getting it wrong or hating their own work?
Like crap. Because this is tender territory. Our inner five year olds are thinking "OH NO! IF SHE'S CRAP THEN I MUST BE CRAP, TOO!" Our budding inner artists get really, really scared to *try* because we know we're new, and we know we're probably going to suck, too.
We need a little Julia Child infusion. Julia Child would never swear at us for breaking an egg. She would just move the class into omelet making with grace and humour. She would never freak out at us or swear at us for burning the filet. She'd throw her hands up and say THERE'S ALWAYS THE SALAD...
So, let's ease off on ourselves. Let's save the really hard stuff for when we've mastered the basics. Let's remember that we are NEW. Let's remember that we get to practice and practice doesn't mean 'perfect' or even 'passable'. It means PRACTICE.
Let's practice with a sense of fun, of play. Let's not yell at our budding inner artists for *trying*. Let's not traumatize our already tender inner five year olds with smack talk. Let's not label our early attempts as 'failures'.
I want you to take this in. Bookmark it. Make it a habit to watch it regularly. I'm down to once a month or so, but when I first started making art, I was watching this *at least* weekly.
Watch it daily if you need to:
Perfectionism BLOCKS Progress
When I first began I *sucked at everything*. I sucked like crazy. I couldn't draw what I saw (and I still can't) to save my life. I had to learn every skill I've got and then I had to practice. I knew I sucked, but I *was okay with it*. I was lucky enough to know that suckage is inevitable when you are a beginner.
If I'd expected to be perfect or even good out of the gate, I would have quit because perfectionism blocks progress. It sets us up to fail.
Because, listen: Perfect doesn't exist. Even when (as in portrait making) we measure every facial feature within an nanometer of its existence, there is going to be something *off* in our final product. And guess what? THAT'S AWESOME! Because it is in the flaws that character shines through. It is in the slight crookedness of a grin or the wonkiness of one eye that our faces achieve their humanity.
Compare, for example, a mannequin to a photograph. Mannequins are perfect. They are also creepy. They are imitations of life, and they feel like imitations.
So, forget perfect. Go for progress. Progress moves us forward. Every time you practice, you are *bound to get better*. A first attempt will suck, but it is also medal-worthy, because DUDE! YOU TRIED! And you are going to keep trying until you are HAPPY with what you produce.
Trying Is Winning
Learning to create things that make us happy is an exercise in trying. We will produce a lot of crap, but it is COMPOST crap, not shit-on-the-bottom-of-our-shoe crap. It is the kind of crap from whence roses grow. Let us honour that. Making crap leads to making not so crappy leads to making things we love. Trying is winning. We're all winners.
The Art Of The Reframe
If you start channeling Gordon Ramsey, try conjuring up Julia Child instead. To Gordon's "WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?" respond with "THERE'S ALWAYS THE SALAD".
Do Not Do
Try it and see if you don't find yourself easing up a little bit...or a lot.
You would not expect a five year old to master anything out of the gate. Like a five year old trying something new, you have permission to suck. Sucking leads to not sucking with time, patience, and practice. Humour and kindness.
Humour and kindness.
I'm looking forward to 2014 with a fierceness I can't even begin to express. I don't know if it's because I'm so excited about what I've got planned for next year or if it's because I'm ready to be done with this year, but wow. FIERCE! And it feels amazing!!
Next week, I'm checking into a bed and breakfast for 4 days and 3 nights to spend some time in complete solitude while I work through these awesome workbooks by Leonie Dawson. I'm doing both the biz and life versions because FUN and it's good to have some separation between my life and my creative business. I've already chosen my word for the year - it's "EASE" - and as I'm planning the year, I'm keeping that word in the forefront of my brain.
Classes I'm Taking
I'm taking SouLodge this year and will be journeying around the medicine wheel with Pixie Campbell (as I've done now for three years running). My intention for this class is to increase my level of awareness of the natural world around me and engage my own wise council within.
Information about SouLodge is available on Pixie's blog, which you can find here. Just click on the COURSES tab to find the luscious menu of offerings. (This is an affiliate link!)
Mindy Lacefield has another beautiful year long offering called Wild Surrender. I was in her True Free Spirit class last year and because everything was downloadable, I'll have it on my hard drive forever! Mindy's style is quirky and whimsical, soulful and deep. Her teaching style is generous and truly kind. To sign up for Mindy's class, join her NING network, click the 'join' button for the class and make your payment. Voila!
Julie Gibbons is offering this gorgeous looking exploration of mandalas. I had to have it because I've been loving doodling lately and this feels like an extension of that. Julie says "The Mandala Magic 2014 programme will follow Kellogg’s cycle of twelve archetypal stages, in which all of our life experiences are said to be experienced. As we fulfill our potential towards wholeness, we revolve around the twelve stages of this cycle, meeting our true self stage-by-stage. The initial prompts for our journey together are provided in The Mandala Workbook by Susanne F. Fincher. (You don’t need to purchase the book for the purposes of undertaking this journey. The programme is designed to be self-contained and to encourage your unique, personal creative response.)" I am really excited to explore mandalas in 2014!
This workshop by Donna Downey is something she mentioned to me when I took a class with her in person in the summer. You will, no doubt, experience sticker shock when you look at the price, but broken down, this class costs about $14 a week. I love Donna Downey hard - a fact y'all already no doubt know - and I know that I will learn so much from her - especially in the area of product usage and product driven techniques. I can't wait!
Also Open Now
As part of my efforts to prepare for 2014, I've been cleaning off my hard drive. All those classes I purchased and didn't finish get put on disk for later viewing. All the art I made and photographed gets stored in my Flickr account and my Dropbox. All the stuff I collected throughout the year that I no longer have any use for gets deleted. I defrag and optimize as a final touch.
I do the same on my Mac, but the only thing I store on there are video files from the classes I'm teaching so it's a lot easier.
There's something inspiring about creating space - even digital space - for what I'm dreaming up for 2014!
Twenty thirteen was mostly very good to me.
I made a lot of progress in my creative business - nailed down the format I find most enjoyable for my classes, figured out that I'd rather have fewer students + more time + deeper connections over oodles of money any day, found a good balance between work and life, made a taxable income.
I attended five festivals this year and expanded my soul tribe to include lots of beautiful people.
I threw myself, heart and soul into therapy.
I turned 45.
I grew circumspect - started thinking about the difference between private, personal and public content and tweaking my writing style accordingly.
I established a small, trusted covey of tribe mates who get me, who I get, with whom I can be completely transparent.
I was more social than ever before, and though I still find it challenging (my inner introvert is very annoyed with me!), I am enjoying face-to-face friendships.
I got over feeling like I needed to be universally liked to consider myself a success, because no one gets to do this work AND be universally liked.
I stopped wondering if people liked me and started asking myself if I liked *them* before investing a lot of time and emotional energy into building relationships.
I started to disentangle myself from other people's stuff <-----hard, hard, hard but I'm definitely making progress.
I booked a trip to Glastonbury (with a side trip to see Tam) for April/May 2014
I developed Moonshine (which I love, love, love...)
I dumped NING in favour of easier-to-navigate AND less expensive self-hosted private blogs as my teaching platform <----best business decision ever!
I grew in confidence as an artist and a teacher (by leaps and bounds!)
I sold a painting I didn't even intend to sell and realized that it was time to start offering prints (look for my Etsy to open up in 2014).
I filled four art journals and made a lot of art on watercolour paper.
I dragged out my easel and threw some paint on canvas.
So much shiny...
I navigated (and continue to navigate) a lot of really hard stuff - some related to my history as a survivour, some related to having been bullied in my childhood (and how that impacts me today), some related to my intimate relationships, some related to parenting - and I started to focus on self-care and self-empathy more than ever before.
I let go of relationships that didn't feel good or right for me and nourished relationships that are soul fortifying.
I became less trusting in 2013, but that's a positive thing when you consider where trusting before trust was earned got me in the years prior. I lost a bit of my Pollyanna shine, but I gained better boundaries, so it's a good trade off in my books.
I laughed a lot. I cried a lot, too.
Mixed nuts. Emphasis on the nuts. :)
Moonshine. Oh, my heart, do I love this program.
Book Of Days continued to be amazing.
Life Book 2013 was *wonderful* AND I was invited back to teach in Life Book 2014!
I was invited to teach in 21 Secrets - the course that began my teaching career back in 2010!
I took classes in person with Joanne Sharpe, Donna Downey, and Dina Wakely.
I got myself a kick-ass therapist.
Festival season was amazeballs.
My beloved and I stayed together despite separating twice (and we are getting stronger every day).
I had zero visits to emergency for asthma - a first in a decade. I've finally found the right combination of meds!
I booked my first self-directed retreat!
I could list the low points, but that's a list I'd rather not post. I'll be doing Leonie Dawson's Create Your Amazing Year while I'm on retreat, so there will be lots of time to assess where I've been while I plan the year ahead.
Onward! Upward! Forward, aho! :)
Check in tomorrow for a "Looking Forward" post. :)
So on Saturday, I posted this, and then went about my day. Then I came back to it to read the comments and I realized that there was something on my list of "wants" that I could do for myself. I could retreat. Why not? People do it all the time and though I have not been one of those people, I could easily become one of those people.
I thought about what I wanted a retreat to look like, and quickly discarded the idea of one of those intense yoga or wellness retreats. I didn't want a guided retreat, either. I wanted a few days in a pretty room with a nice tub and delicious breakfasts. Bed & Breakfast!
I did my research, read reviews and found one that had availability for Sunday through Wednesday, made arrangements to pay in full from my PayPal account (so my retreat would come out of my business budget instead of our household budget), paid and got my reservation confirmation...
I'm telling that all very matter of fact like, but the truth is, I hovered over the 'reservation' button for a long time. I added and removed four days and three nights to my shopping cart about five times before finally committing. A retreat like this isn't something I'd normally do for myself. It's expensive. It's self-indulgent. It's so 'not me'. I'm a camping kind of girl, not a 300 thread count sheet kind of girl.
But I wanted this. Badly. I wanted it badly enough to commit, to pay in full, to confirm with the proprietor over the phone.
On Sunday, I went shopping. I bought myself two new pairs of cozy pajamas, some cheese and crackers to snack on, and a luxurious set of bath stuff to enjoy in the stand alone whirlpool tub. I made sure I had enough money in my account to get a massage. I packed up my travel art kit and my journal and I was ready. Went to check in at 5:20 p.m., and there was no one there.
Called the number on the front door. No answer.
Waited till six twenty. Nothing. Called a few more times...
Dragged all my stuff off the front porch and back into the car and came home.
I had a good cry, and said a few choice words to the universe. WTF, Universe? I gather up the gumption to make this happen for myself and THIS is what happens? I get stood up? I felt really, really sorry for myself. I felt hard done by. The Manfingy took the girlkinder out to see a movie and I indulged myself in woe-is-me and this sucks moose balls for at least an hour before I ran myself a hot, bubbly tub, got in, and let myself soak it all away.
Manfingy and I curled up on the couch and watched World War Z, which was awesome, by the way, and went to bed ridiculously late.
I still haven't heard from the B&B who has $396.37 of my hard earned money in their PayPal account. I am worried for them - there must have been some kind of catastrophe. And I'm worried for me. I can't do my much needed retreat without getting a refund.
But I'm hanging on for dear life to the one thing that's so, so true right now - a shiny beacon of true: I deserve this little getaway and I hit that 'buy' button, and I was ready to make something indulgent and special happen for myself. I did that.
We're going to call that progress.
EDITED TO ADD: Just got off the phone with the proprietor of Frederick Street Inn. She made it right with a free night and a complimentary massage treatment. Retreat is back on - Monday to Thursday of next week.
I could have been a bitch about it, but it didn't feel right. As soon a I heard her voice, (she was mortified!) something stronger than my annoyance and disappointment kicked in.
These things do happen - though this is her first time forgetting a reservation. I'll bet dollars to donuts she won't forget again. Like, ever.
And all's well that ends well. I get my retreat at a reduced rate PLUS massage, and those of you who were looking forward to my blogging about it can look forward to that, too.
You know how you can tell I'm struggling with stuff? I don't blog.
Where once I poured my every single thought and feeling out of my fingertips and into the world for all to read, these days I'm much more circumspect about what's happening in my personal life. I take it to the journal (written or art). I talk to my therapist. Some of that is because I'm terrified of judgement (aren't we all?), but some of it is because this current stuff is weird. It's not really *my* stuff, and that makes it nearly impossible to talk about without sounding cryptic. So I don't. And the blog sits here waiting for a time when I have something OTHER than other people's stuff to process.
I'm struggling with knowing what's mine to carry and what isn't, and I have been having a lot of trouble extricating myself from the sucking vortex of feeling responsible, wanting to fix it, needing space (because without solitude, I wither) but feeling guilty for wanting it...
Can you relate? Please, someone, tell me you can relate.
Yesterday, I sat on my therapists couch and she asked me "Where are you? I feel like I've lost you..."
And I could totally see where she was coming from.
My every journal entry over the last four weeks has included the words "but how do *I* feel?" and "what do *I* want?" and I've been having a lot of difficulty answering those very basic, simple questions. There is REALLY BIG STUFF HAPPENING in the lives of those around me - some of it good, most of it awful - and I'm lost in it. I'm lost in *them*. And as a result I feel like I don't have access to my own stories right now. I have my kid's stories. I have my lovers stories. I have stories about how the projections of their stuff ONTO me impacts me, and stories about how wounded people lash out and I've been doing a lot of ducking and covering and resenting the fuck out of them for it, but I feel like I have no stories of my own.
How do I feel?
Anxious. Tired. Resentful.
Hopeful, but wary.
Full of love and empathy but fragile, too, and like I might be very close to running on empty.
Frustrated. Easily triggered. Manic one day and bottomed out the next.
What do I want?
Everyone else to be okay so I can be okay. (Oh, so codependent!)
Space. Time. Respite. A retreat.
To run away from home.
To wave a magic wand and make it all better, even though none of it is mine to fix.
To be stronger than I am. To be above it all.
To be less thorn and more rose.
To feel safe.
When I stop including what's happening with everyone else in my life, what is the story of me right now?
I love my work and I'm so excited about 2014.
I have an amazingly supportive tribe.
I am a hopeful girl.
One of the barriers to my feeling safe right now is the guilt I feel about being okay when no one else is. I also have a lot of guilt about being very quick to stand up for myself when people snap at me or project their stuff on me. I know it's hard to be mindful of other people when you're in a bad place, but I insist on NOT being the punching bag/place people dump their projections. And that's hard because I want to be soft and empathetic, but that leads (right now while the people in my life are learning how to own their own stuff) to being run over with other people's stuff.
Either I stand up or I roll over.
I'm never okay with rolling over.
A friend of mine (Bob!) posted this link on my wall today and it was the inspiration for this outpouring of words into the world. When I can sit in it out loud, I am doing myself a huge favour, because I'm no longer sitting in it alone. Those that can witness, will witness and those that can empathize will empathize. I don't want to suppress and deny and go dark and quiet while everyone else deals with their stuff. I want to keep gently nudging myself back to declaring
I am here.
I need space to feel what I feel, to want what I want.
Things aren't great right now, but that's mostly because I have crappy boundaries and I've taken on too much that isn't mine to take on.
I'm working on it.
Sitting in it.
I am here.
So, if you read my newsletter, you know the flu was an unwelcome guest here. It arrived on Thursday and stayed until Monday with every man down except one in the little house that could. Being a tender little flower (cough), I got the worst of it, though Manfingy had a few scary moments himself (what with the PASSING OUT AND GOING BOOM and all, ffs!).
I took a week off work (thanks to the flexibility of working for myself!) and did nothing much except watch movies and do some couch art. I figured I'd share today!
Couch Art Kit
First, let me tell you what's in my couch art kit!
On a shelf right beside the ass groove I have carved into the red leather couch that fits my ass and ONLY my ass, I have stored the following essentials:
A small bottle of: clear gesso, white gesso, matte medium (Liquitex)
A pouch full of Faber Castell Pitt Pens (Bold) and another pouch full of Faber Castell BIG BRUSH Pens
A pouch full of pencils in various weights + erasers, sharpeners, and blending stumps. There are plenty of cheapo mechanical pencils in there, too.
A pouch full of prompts I got from taking Soul Comfort + scissors + glue sticks
A container full of Pigma Microns in various weights + Sakura Glaze pens in black + Unibal Signos in white and Unibal Angelic Color in white
My Koi watercolor kit
A red, blue, and yellow in 1 oz fluid acrylic (Golden) plus two High Flow acrylics (Nikel Azo Gold + Quinacrodone Magenta) + Titanium white + Titanium buff + Yellow Ochre.
A bin full of Derwent Inktense + Caran D'ache Neocolor IIs + Peerless watercolors
A small container of brushes (Simply Simmons)
A water container
A black ink pad + alphabet stamps
A spiral sketchbook
It sounds like a lot, but it looks like this (and it all fits into a tote bag for arting on the go)
With that kit, I spent the weekend doing stuff like this:
Fun, right? Lots of Joanne Sharpe inspired doodles, some Dina Wakely inspired experimentation with symbols and murky colour + contrast, a pretty Micki Wilde inspired girl - all in one weekend, all because I created this space for non-work related artsy fun.
And you? Do you have travel and/or couch art kit? Tell me about it! Better yet, blog about it and share the link below!
See you next time!
P.S. In case you missed it, I opened a bunch of things for registration for 2014 over the last few weeks, and I'm teaching in a couple of things, too! Click the graphics below for details.
*Laughs* It's been a little while since we touched base, eh? We're moving headlong into winter over here in the little house that could and that's meant that a) I'm mostly on hiatus (with a few things left to do for Moonshine), b) cosy days under quilts with puppies & a good book and c) the unfortunate visit to our house by a stomach virus that slayed us all and left us weak as kittens. For the past week or so, I've either been suffering with it, or assisting those suffering with it.
Your coupon code is glitterific for $20 off.
Join me for 13 moons of art journaling, mixed media art making, and writing in a community of spiritual creatives. $99
Twenty five video + PDF lessons PLUS Moonshine Boot Camp.
Immediately upon purchase, you will have instant access to Moonshine Boot Camp - a mini workshop that focuses on faces PLUS a bonus bookbinding tutorial so you can bind your own art journal if you wish.
Beginning January 1, 2014, two video and PDF lessons will be released every new and full moon throughout the year in our private on line classroom.
Each moon, from new to full, we will engage our own inner wisdom through art journaling, painting and free-writing. While this class does not have a specific focus on healing, we will work together to foster self-awareness & self-inquiry, portrait painting, art journaling techniques, intuitive painting, and written journal keeping.
New Moons will be dedicated to intuitive art journaling with an emphasis on knowing where you're at, and what you want to focus on during that moon cycle. Full Moons will be dedicated to composed (planned) paintings (in the art journal or on a separate substrate) with an emphasis on acknowledging our own inner wisdom, gratitude for blessings & messages received, and developing our artistry through intentional creativity.
Throughout each moon, you will be encouraged to check in with yourself on paper by using the writing prompts provided.
Do a little or do it all - it's entirely up to you.
Use coupon code effylove for $20 off! Begins January 6th with a bonus live video show on January 1, 2014. Click here for details
Book Of Days: Self-Guided
I have heard from a lot of people that they are sad they missed the last session of Book Of Days Premium. I love that there are those of you who like working in a self-guided manner (at your own pace be that tortoise or hare speed), so I've set the last session up in all it's 18 week long glory as a self-guided experience. You get it all minus the personal interaction for a much, much reduced price.
Also Open Now
Hello, sweet taters! I got home from my class with Dina Wakely on Saturday evening completely SPENT and ready to sleeeeeeep for a thousand years. Eleven hours of arting is a long, long time! I learned so much, though, and on Sunday, I applied a lot of what I learned in a few art journal spreads. I knew I was going to want to share that work for Swoon, but there was no way I could do both art time + make a post.
So, here I am today!
This is what came out of the two classes I took with Dina at The Art House Studio on Saturday, November 9th ("Facebook" + "Beyond The Ink Pad")
I also did a video for you of a painting I made for Moonshine
In Other News
The most recently completed session of Book Of Days Premium is now open as a Self-Guided experience for $30 or more (pay what you can!)
Woo Hoo! YOUR TURN
I had so much fun playing along with Tamara LaPorte's stencil blog hop! In case you missed the video and photo tutorial, it's over here!
I used random.org to decide our winner!
#51 in my comments list is:
Congratulations, Carrie! Lisa and Tam have already gotten word that you won! So excited for you, hon!!
Thanks to those of you who played along!
You've still got a few chances to win, so visit these lovely artists and get your entry in!
In Other News
I'm opening up the last session of Book Of Days Premium as a self-guided, play as you can experience. News on that will come out this week. Stay tuned! MWAH!
Hello, Glitter Tribe! We Swoon today! I love this feature on my blog because I get to see what you've all been up to throughout the week! It works like this: create a blog post about something shiny that you did this week, be that a piece of art, a journal spread, something you wrote, an epiphany you had, a photograph you took - anything that makes you swell with pride. Pop the link in the Mister Linky below and we will all come visit. You can do some visiting, too, and get a gorgeous eyeful of what other people are swooning over! Fun, right?
This week's edition of Swoon was an easy pick for me. I worked on a composed painting of Demeter for Moonshine this week and I really loved the way she turned out. This painting is a 'paint over collage' that started with a black and white profile portrait. Her hair is made with paper napkins, crinkled up and glued down with satin varnish. Her face is mostly acrylics with a bit of Prismacolor pencil thrown in.
Here she is:
First, texture porn! This texture was achieved by crumpling up the tissue napkins, gluing them down in an overlapping manner, and then brayering over them with a layer of Golden fluid acrylics in Fine Gold.
That glow you see on her cheeks and around her profile is the same Fine Gold paint that was used to achieve the shiny detail in her hair.
The shading that formed her cheek and jaw line was done with Prismacolor pencil in Black Raspberry, which I scrubbed out with a wet brush. The shading around her face and hair was done with a generous application of woodless charcoal, which I blended out with a tortillion (or blending stump).
I'm really pleased with her.
Hello, sparkly shiny people! I'm so pleased to bring you this video of a spread-in-the-making in which I used the lovely stencils from Tamara Laporte's new stencil sets! I also took some photos of my progress so you can see the spread happen step-by-step, too.
I love these stencils because they make embellishing a spread with whimsy & lovely words easy peasy!
I used gesso to stencil and it worked really well, but I can imagine these stencils working beautifully with sprays or heavy body acrylics, too!
Here's The Video
Yummy! I'm working in a Dylusions journal for this spread.
Lots of yummy tape, glued down with satin varnish.
White washed the whole thing with a thin layer of white gesso.
Added paint and blotted it away.
Added a photograph, more tape, and lots of doodles + the text.
This is my favourite little slice of the spread:
Now, I know you're going to want to win these, so do yourself a favour and LEAVE A COMMENT!!
The contest closes on Sunday, November 3rd, and the winner will be announced on Monday, November 4th!
When you're done here, check out what these other fabulous artists are doing with Tamara LaPorte's AC Signature Series Stencils!
Hello, darlin! It's been a rollercoaster ride over here, but I have been loving having the coping skills inherent in art journaling. I honestly don't know what I'd do without my creativity practice. Probably go batcrackers crazy and run around town in a toga. Or something. Thankfully, Kitchener, Ontario will be spared that particularly horrifying spectacle because I know how effective art journaling is for self-soothing and self-inquiry.
Do you find the same? How do you use art journaling when crap gets real? Do you keep your practice up or do you let it fall by the wayside?
I've always been a 'create when things are hard' kind of girl. When I was a practicing poet, I wrote reams and reams when things were difficult and almost not at all when things were good. Art journaling has shifted the way I deal with things, though, and now I have a way both to cope AND to count my blessings.
It's awesome. Truly.
I have a bunch of stuff for you to consider below:
First of all, I'd like to invite you to Come Swoon With Me!
Every Sunday I put up an invitation to all of y'all to come share whatever made you swoon this week - what I call 'your shiny'. I've made a commitment to visiting all the links every Wednesday evening in my down time so I can leave a little love. I'll do this for as long as it's feasible given the number of links, so if you have something to share, create a blog post and pop link in the Mister Linky. I'll be by this evening to peek at what you've been up to. I've got an entire BOD Retrospective up for your perusal if you'd like to see!
In case you want to see what I did this session, here is a video slideshow!
|Book Of Days 2013 Session 2 Slide Show|
In Other News (And Networks!)
I'm appearing in Tam Laporte's stencil blog hop on FRIDAY NOVEMBER 1st, 2013. You might want to sign up for RSS updates from my blog so you can see what I did with Tam's delicious stencils.
What I'm Taking Next Year
It's time to SWOON! I love this feature on my blog because I get to show you what was shiny in my week, and I *also* get to hold space for what was shiny in yours! Create a blog post about something you were really proud of this week, be that an art journal spread you created, a meal you cooked, something you wrote or an epiphany you had, then come back here and pop the link in the Mister Linky below so we can ALL come swoon over YOUR shiny!
I am so pleased with my body of work for this session of BOD. I created a retrospective video slide show for you so you can see pretty macros of all the spreads I did during this session. I'm also including a stills gallery so you can linger a little longer over each piece if you like.
I shall be around to see you all on Wednesday, so try and have your link in by then. xo
I have had one of those really intense weeks of digging around in what's happening in my life. I could have written about it, but it felt monumental enough for a vlog. So here! Have a vlog!
To summarize: Living with people who are living with depression is difficult and your well being depends on your willingness to acknowledge that and do some serious self-care around it. A lot of difficult feelings can come up - feelings that might make you feel guilty ON TOP of everything else. Let me tell you, my darlin' - you are not alone. You are allowed to feel what you feel even when you are surrounded by people who can't share in your feelings. If you are delighted, you serve no one by pretending you aren't. If you are frustrated or feeling like the doom and gloom around you is contagious, you have the right to take yourself for a walk or throw yourself in a hot tub of rose scented water.
There are lots of resources available, too, for those who are living with people with depression. I typed the words "Help, I'm living with depressives!" in a moment of desperation and Google returned more search results than I could shake a stick at.
I painted this hummingbird of joy over the course of a week. It was my way of self-soothing when I was surrounded by the blues.
Right click to 'save as'. Do what you like with it. Know that you have my love and empathy.