Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 16,216: Magic Rocks and Mermaids

A magic rock message from a magical mermaid. I don't know how she does it, but she always knows what I need to know. These colorful reminders will keep me company on my nightstand until the next delivery of wise words arrives.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 16,215: The Having and Eating of Cake

I am inclined to feel guilty over the fact that I have not posted since Monday, but in my defense (if only to myself for myself) this was an unusual week ... one that has me reconsidering my plans and goals for this year, my work, my business, my life.

When I travel the internets for inspiration, I find a healthy abundance of amazing women who have cast off their otherwise uncreative full-time careers for full-time creative self-employment. I heartily applaud them and thank goodness for their stories, how-to's and, most especially, for blazing that trail for others. And yet at the same time I long, hunger, and thirst to hear from and connect with those who, for whatever reason, have decided (or had the decision made for them) to continue working at their full-time job while, in tandem, sustaining an artful business. (I include the healing arts here with the creative). The more disparate their job is to their craft, the more desperate I am to meet them and hear about their journey.

After nine years of doing my job full-time from home, I must return to an office setting for the majority of the work week. My routine has been turned upside down. It was easier to make the transition from my day job to a nightly/weekend business when they were both occurring in the same location. Okay, no, that's not true. It wasn't easy at first, because it felt like everything was clamoring for my attention at the same time. I had to put very clear boundaries around what I needed to do and when I would do it. But once I crafted a solid (but flexible) plan, it helped having everything in one location.

Now that I am back in a traditional work setting, I return home feeling depleted and devoid of the inclination to update websites, blogs, Twitter/Facebook pages, or my Etsy shop ... much the inspiration to create anything. The weekend has arrived (granted, my first since this new chapter began) and I still feel some measure of apathy toward doing what it takes to maintain a thriving business, although I am less motivated to chuck it all. Thank goodness for small favors.

I will try to convince you (and me, both) that I don't have any choice in this matter. Yes, I have a child who is less than three years away from starting college. Yes, my income matters and, quite frankly, a regular paycheck becomes me. Not to mention that living hand-to-mouth can be creativity killer. Since I don't have to worry about how my family's bills get paid, the energy that would have been misspent fretting can be directed toward creating/offering whatever I feel inspired to share, rather than pandering to what would be most profitable.

In truth, I know full well that I do have a choice and I'm free to stay or leave, but my dirty little secret is that I really like my job and I am also very good at it. Yet in no way does it completely fulfill me nor fully reflect the many facets of who I am and what I can do. Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop gives me balance and a venue through which to share gifts that may otherwise go ungiven. I will even go so far as to declare that it makes me better at my job as a result. Maybe the greatest display of sacred selfishness is to settle for no less than having my cake and eating it too.

But after a week like I have had, I wish to be pointed in the direction of a mentor, a role model, someone, anyone, who shares this "dualing" path with me. I want to know how you do it all in a given day. Bonus points if you are in a relationship and/or parenting on top of it all. I want to know what you do for yourself to keep your energy up. I want to know how you transition your focus from the work that you do to your business. I want to know how and when you find and make time for you and, best of all, doing absolutely nothing at all.

I can't be the only one and I can't be in this alone. Please contact me! We're all in this together.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 16,210: Mandala Monday

A fresh new mandala is ready for you to download here. Happy coloring!

And a fresh new routine for me this week! I am going through some ch-ch-ch-changes. Even the good ones can bring with them feelings of stress and insecurity, so I am trying to be gentle with myself when I resist rising to the occasion and I am reminding myself (often) that 80% can be perfect for me.

I took a big leap this morning by getting up well before the birds and working out. Making it the first order of business made sense until my alarm went off. But I did it and I must admit that I feel great for it. It really does set the tone for the whole day. Now I just need to keep it up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 16,205: Wishcasting Wednesday

(Another favorite lomo from my archives: Ripley, OH, March 2009)

Where do you wish to make a difference?

Who among us on some level doesn't want to don the cape and take the world by storm? I think we are kind of wired that way to a greater or lesser degree. You know ... go big or go home.

My wish is to make a difference with me. When I make a difference with me, it flows out to my family. It flows out to the people with whom I interact in my work. It flows out to the people with whom I do business. It flows out to the people with whom I interact virtually. And let's not forget the blessed random ones with whom I connect so briefly.

On a day to day basis, my circle of influence may seem very small ... until I remember that those I touch go on to touch others through the course of their day. And, of course, those touched go on to touch others too. And so it flows.

But always and in all ways, it begins with me. Am I being kind to myself? Have I nourished myself? Am I compassionate with myself? Am I forgiving myself? Am I helping myself? Am I being peace?

It is only when my tank is full that I can be of any upliftment or assistance to anyone else. It begins and ends with me for me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 16,204: In a New York Groove

(Lomo from my archives: Ripley, OH - March 2009)

Despite the temptation to take even more pictures of the snow in which we now find ourselves buried, I have resisted and decided to dig through my photo archives instead. Ache. I haven't had my Lomo LCA out and about since August. As in six whole months ago. Sigh.

The good news is that I will be dusting it off and loading it up for my trip to NEW YORK! I am delighted that I can confirm my attendance at Jen Lee's Integrate: A Voice and Story Retreat. Things should be thawed and budding for this April adventure. It will be the perfect time for a spring getaway, except that I'm not so much getting away as finding my way back to my words.

At various times in my life, I have written prolifically, but the last couple of years have proven to be a painful dry spell (as has been reflected here). I am counting the days until I get to meet this wonderful city that so many love so much ... and meet this talented woman whom I admire so much ... and get reacquainted with the writer in me whom I imagine, after prolonged postponement, has much that she wants to say.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 16,203: The View From Here

This is our third winter storm in the last two weeks. It has been predicted to be the worst of the three. I kid you not, the words "snow bomb" were used in the forecast. The drama! Five to nine inches is anticipated to top what was leftover from last week, which should leave us with about a foot of snow when all is said and done. We've certainly gotten off easy when compared to other areas of the country, but still no matter how hard I try to look at the bright side. So. Over. It.

Since it is a holiday, I am gratefully off of work today anyway. But as we all know, the business of Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop never sleeps, so I have been working a bit of magic behind the scenes to get up to speed with all of the cool kids.

You can now follow me on Twitter where I put heavy emphasis on the business of gratitude. As you might've noticed, it has been a resolution this year to amp that up. (No matter how long winter lasts.) Hey, what doesn't gratitude make at least a little bit better? And, last but not least, (drumroll please) you can also become a Fan of Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop on Facebook. At last check, I was still at zero, so I'd love it if you could show me some love.

Mandala Monday

A fresh new mandala is ready for your to download here. Happy coloring!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 16,202: Happy Valentine's Day

I had a bit of a funkitude last week. This home stretch of winter seems to kick my butt every year, despite my best attempts to load my medicine bag in advance with all sorts of tools and tricks. Instead, I medicated myself with naughty things like junky food and junky television, which aren't necessarily the recipe for the end of the world. But day after day after day of malnourishing choices add up ... and not just on the waistline.

The New Moon arrived last night at 9:51 p.m., but I felt the tide turn early in the day. I (finally) had the good sense to put myself on a flexible 3-day juice feast. By flexible I mean that I can eat other things, but the juice consumption must come first. Thankfully, what happened (and usually does) is that I was content with just the juice and things that were good for me. With some coaxing from my husband, I even made it back to the gym after a two-week long absence. When I went to bed last night, I suddenly felt, ahhhhh, better. Just better. The feeling of slogging uphill and upwind through wet cement began to fade away and a sense of lightness was awaiting me when I woke up. Today I'm hoping for a duplicate of yesterday. And tomorrow, despite the forecast for, gulp, more snow (and a lot of it, for Pete's sake) I cross my fingers for a triplicate.

I am setting aside time this weekend to play with art for art's sake. It's been a long time and it feels messy and fun. But love, love, love is definitely at the top of the day's agenda. Like Sally for Linus, I'm all hearts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 16,198: Today I Am

I am carrying ten pounds more than six months ago.
I am powerless against baked goods.
I am avoiding exercise since joining the gym.
I am not flossing on a regular basis.
I am an artist who is making more trouble than art.
I am afraid that winter will never end.
I am aware of how ridiculous that sounds.
I am even more afraid of growing old alone.
I am loathing my chin hairs.
I am easily distracted.
I am prone to apathy and reticence.
I am uncertain what reticence means.
I am certain that I want a drink before dancing.
I am aware of how pathetic that sounds.
I am wondering if I'm ready to stop eating meat.
I am missing the hummingbirds.
I am embarrassed that I haven't shaved my legs in a really long time.
I am already sad about my daughter leaving home for college.
I am still regretting that I never went.
I am brave today.
I am scared.
I am delighted.
I am distraught.
I am all of these things.
I am nothing at all.
It is February.
The longest month with the fewest days.
And today is the 16,198th day of my journey.
I accept and give thanks for it all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 16,196

How much these two make me smile or full-on crack up every single day. That's a brand new bedspread and they'll tell you with their cattitude that I bought it just for them. They prop themselves up against MY pillow to cuddle and clean each other all the live-long day. Tansy and Garrett were sweethearts at the shelter years ago and not a whole lot has changed. Always nice to have someone to depend upon ... especially if they can get to those places that we can't reach on our own.

Hmm, what am I celebrating today? The fact that I'm not letting myself squirm my way out of going to yoga class tonight. But I'm telling you, people, it's cold here. Maybe even too cold to be lying flat on the floor somewhere that requires to me to get to by car. Getting in the car means going outside. Going outside means getting cold. But I'm reminding myself of how much better I'll feel after I go to class and how lousy I'll feel if I miss it. So I'm halfway dressed and ready to go which, as far as I'm concerned, is halfway there.

In the possibility of a snow day tomorrow. Okay, really, I'm a bit tired of it all. February can hurry up and be overwith as far as I'm concerned. We have a complicated relationship, this month and me. But the idea of the three of us being snowbound at home together for the day is appealing. So, okay, fine, let it snow. Again. But don't be stingy with spring either.

Thermal underthings. Flannel sheets. Wise words from a friend. Patience with an ever-changing gameplan. Cup after cup of hot tea.

All of the men and women who have been working so hard this winter to keep our streets (and, for that matter, parking lots and walkways) clear of snow and ice so that we can go about the business of going about our business. Just imagine what things would be like without them? I know that I'm prone to taking for granted that when it snows, the township trucks will swiftly come around to plow and salt. There are a lot of things like that that I take for granted and I'm trying to wake up to that fact and pay closer attention to all who contribute to my/our day-to-day good fortune. Thank you!

Mandala Monday

Ready to download here. Happy coloring!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 16,195

(From my photo archives: 12/21/05)

The time spent with my sister, niece, and their wee-huahua, Leo, last week as my sister recuperated from surgery. I was the official company-keeper and holder-of-the-fort. There was a lot of tea drinking going on. (Stash peppermint tea saved the day in keeping nausea at bay.)

Week 1 of the test launch of my feng shui e-course. Everything has been coming together so smoothly and the lovely pilot group has been so supportive. They are providing excellent feedback that will help to make this program even better when it is ready to be launched publicly.

In the "wishiness" of attending Jen Lee's Integrate: Voice and Story Retreat in NYC, April 10-13. Yes, I guess I've been making a lot of retreat wishes lately ... a sign that I am sorely in need of some creative restoration and renewal. As much as I would love to attend Squam by the Sea in October, a dear friend will be in town from California at the same time and I do not want to miss her visit. Jen's NYC retreat will, in many ways, be a lot more feasible for me to attend. Besides, I have never been to New York City before, unless you count the layovers in 1985 when I was on my way to and from Italy. Yeah. You're right. Those don't count. It's too soon to know if I can commit to this trip, but I love basking in the juicy what if's.

Sunshine today! We only caught a mere whiff of the storm that blasted the East Coast. Despite the big deal made in advance, our snowfall came to a mere three inches. Okay, maybe four. Only two hours north, they are dealing with five times that much snow. The sun today should help it to melt in time for another front to move through on Tuesday. This doesn't bother me as much with bright blue sky in between.

My daughter for keeping her chin up for her basketball game today. I won't go into the gory details here, other than to say that we all know what it feels like to go into a situation with the odds stacked high against you. It is easy to wonder why we should even bother. But part of growing up and being that grown up is taking a deep breath and showing up anyway. Sometimes in life, despite being scared and feeling desperately ill-equipped, we have to rise to the occasion. We need to pat ourselves on the back more often when we do, if we aren't getting those pats from others. Simple bravery in our day-to-day lives is bravery nonetheless. Go forth and be wonderful, whether anyone else recognizes it or not.

What is making you feel most grateful today?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mandala Monday, Etc.

A fresh, new mandala ready to download here!

Exciting day here at the Workshop ... the pilot group for my feng shui e-course begins the nine-week journey around their home today. I look forward to offering this course for public consumption after they have given me their feedback and I've tweaked things accordingly. Stay tuned!