Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 17,191 Gratitude: Relief

The wind blew.  The rain fell.  The gloom persisted.  I tried to cheer myself up with some coloring in my journal.  As I scribbled and smeared, doors and windows appeared.  It dawned on me how lucky we are here in southwestern Ohio to be directly impacted so little by something so big.  I felt a wave of gratitude for my solid home, stocked cupboards, and responsive furnace ... for the electricity and clean water that flow as needed, so often taken for granted.  I didn't have to wonder or worry today about these or graver things ...  but a lot of people did and will for awhile.  The only thing I can say is help if you can.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 17,190: Illuminated and Updated

The western edge of Sandy laid upon us today.  Enough to make it blustery and dreary, but not enough to thwart a fleeting but spectacular sunset that turned the tops of the trees to the east a fiery gold.  These are the small graces that shouldn't be taken for granted ... being at the right place at the right time.

I don't know if you know (and if you don't follow me on Facebook, you probably do not), but I renewed fourteen expired listings in my Etsy shop over the weekend.  One pendant sold that afternoon (thanks again, Denyce!) and another was selected for a Treasury.  So happy and honored!  Anyway, I think I have three more pendants ready to be listed when it gets bright enough for me to snap some pics.  And I believe I have 54 crystals still sitting pretty in the queue awaiting their embellishment.

Although it's a very big goal, every sale for the foreseeable future will go toward the possibility (fingers held and breath crossed) of me going to Kathleen Prasad's Reiki III class at the CARE Foundation in February 2013.  It would be an amazing opportunity to practice with the animals at this wild and exotic animal sanctuary in Apopka, Florida.  After my long summer hiatus, this is a great incentive to get me back into my workshop, happily tangled in wire.

In closing, my daughter is safe and sound after Halloween festivities at her university.  My husband is home after more than a week away, working long days out of town.  And this new normal is starting to feel more, um, normal to me.  For all of the above and far more than I have the time, space and typing speed to include here, I am deeply grateful.  (How about you?  Do share!)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 17,188: The Problem with Preciousness

I am prone to circle-turning, much like a dog in its bed, compelled to go round and round before I finally feel the all clear to dive in.  Sometimes I succumb to the dizziness borne of the thousand things I'll swear I "need" to do before a project can begin.  Inevitably, I end up saying screw it for another day.  Where (and when) she'll stop, nobody knows ...

I consider myself to be making progress in my rotational recovery.  If I am alert enough to recognize what's happening before the circle-turning gains momentum (or, if I'm lucky, before it even begins), I can coax myself right into the deep end.  (You do know that all of the good stuff is waiting in the deep end, right?)  But the impulse to hold the creative process as something precious and rare is and may always be there for me.

So today, for the first time in over four months, I needed to prep the cover for my next journal.  I pulled out my collage supplies and took the wrapper off the new sketchbook.  I felt that old, familiar urge that lies dormant in my belly start to wake up and catch on to what I had hoped to sneak past it.  Oh no you don't!  I heard it wail.  Not before you ... 

And so, as quickly as possible, I slapped the first glue-laden image down.  And then the next.  And then another.  I took a breath and then patted myself on the back.

Preciousness of process is a joy-killer.  Its mission is to keep us stuck in our heads instead of moving through our hearts and hands.  Art is meant to be a part of everyday life.  There are no shoulds beyond showing up and proceeding directly to putting out.  The circumstances are perfect just because you are there and willing.  Don't buy the lie that later is better.  It's not.  Or that you don't have the right supplies ... or, quite frankly, the right, period.  You do.  Okay, let's be honest here, what you create might turn out crappy.  But, then again, it might not.  The real crappy is how you will feel if you put it off.  Again.  Everything else is fixable.

That said, today I am grateful for the opportunity to remember how natural it can be for me to dive in and create.  It can be for you, too.  Come on in.  The water's warm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 17,187 Gratitude: Mending

Mangy dog sounds funny ... until you have a mangy dog.  Our nine year old greyhound, Phoebe, has had a rough go of it these last few months.  It started with a little patchy balding on her thighs that became increasingly more expansive and alarming.  Anywhere that her tongue could reach became bare as a baby's bottom and somewhere between hot pink and bright red.  We had her at the vet the minute the problem started, but it was misdiagnosed and then, again, misdiagnosed upon a return visit a few weeks later.  Allergies it was not.  As a result, we had been giving her prescription medication that made the problem far worse rather than better.

Thankfully, we were referred to a specialist who put her finger on the real issue ... adult-onset demodex.  It's often referred to as red mange and stems from a suppressed immune system, with her thyroid as the root cause and, thankfully, not cancer - although further testing may be needed.  We've been assured that she isn't contagious to other animals or people.  This doctor has helped us to get her care and recovery on track.  The treatment protocol is rather heinous.  I will spare you the details.  It's potency and potential side effects scared me at first and to the point that I was very resistant to proceeding.  Making peace with it and finding my way to yes has been a tremendous learning experience for me.  In faith.  In trust.  In letting what needs to be, be.  Yet another reminder that sometimes the only way through it is through it.

Of course, her medications are supplemented with Reiki treatments.  For her.  For me.  For our whole family.  It's been an important reminder that Reiki isn't intended to replace conventional care but rather to support it.  Despite how she may appear in this photo, this is a tremendous improvement over just a couple of weeks ago.  Her fur is starting to grow back.  Her appetite is returning.  We are trying hard to get some much needed meat on her bones before winter comes.  In the meantime, I am grateful for all of the love that surrounds her ... especially from her pal, Garrett.  May we all be so lucky to have someone lovingly sit by our side as we mend.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 17,179: With Childlike Wonder

I have completed re-entry after a visit with my puppeteering Wonder Twin, who is wrapping up a two week tour at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.  The timing of it gave me an excuse to give myself a birthday getaway and the chance to let my inner child out to play.  I got so much more than I could've expected.  A room full of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer characters nearly brought me to joyful tears.  Also had the good fortune of getting to see a performance of the The Ghastly Dreadfuls ... truly a highlight of the trip!  Margaritas and carne asada tacos from here and honey-soaked goat cheese balls here, all savored outdoors and in good company, took me to my happy place.  The High Museum and Piedmont Park Botanical Garden left me infinitely inspired.  I've come home with my stomach still sore from all the laughing and my creative cup overflowing.  I couldn't be more ready to dive into my personal new year and explore what wants to be born.

For dear and talented friends, playful adventures, and tapping back into the childlike wonder that is always available to us all, I am so very grateful.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 17,171 Gratitude: Saturn and Such

So much to tell you since my last post ...

Saturn moved out of Libra on Friday, October 5.  He and I had been doing the astro tango since September 2007 when it moved into my Virgo Ascendant.  It's my spin that most things (be they planets or people) have about as much power over us as we give them, but here I am on the other side of this extensive transit, humbled.  My sharpest edges are smoother.  I am more flexible and less attached.  I have learned to sit down, shut up, and listen.  And now, five years older, a little wiser and with everything surrendered into hands far more capable than mine, I welcome the sense of lightness and ease that is settling in like the sun breaking through after thunderstorms.  I made it.  And I am better for it.

On Saturday, October 6, I turned 47 years old.  I drew the Angel Cards above.  It was supposed to be just one, but they stuck together as they sometimes do.  Humour and Delight ... I don't know that I could've chosen a better theme for this next journey around the sun.  The older I get, the more that I am drawn like a magnet to opportunities for playfulness and fun.  Laughter keeps us limber, inside and out.  Bring it on. 

There's so much more to share with you  ... the thousands of birds that take flight over our neighborhood every single morning ... the magical hike at the local nature center with a dear friend ... the new Royal Blue Chalcedony ring that found me ... how great it was to have my daughter home for my birthday weekend ... my swanky new glasses ... the gift of brownies from Boston ... the list of rebirthing blessings goes on and on.  May it suffice to say that my well is full.  Gratitude fuels me as I move forward into this new chapter of my life.  Again, thanks as always for sharing it with me. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 17,162: What Is and Isn't My Business

This Full Moon in Aries precedes my rebirthing.  October marks the start of my new year.  I've discovered that an empty nest provides a lot of time for introspection.  Pen-to-paper journaling has provided me with tremendous comfort and clarity lately.  One recent entry in my tattered notebook continues to resonate with me, as I hope this portion of it will for you:

"I know my (day-to-day) job can be challenging but I also see it now for what it really is -- one of my greatest blessings.  Through it, I've learned that everything that I do (by desire or necessity) is as fun as I make it, even what may otherwise seem mundane.  Maybe me being me (as in the best of me) doing this (or any) job with joy means something bigger than what I actually accomplish through it. 

It's easy to remember this with my heart work (Reiki, wire-wrapping, etc.).  I don't do it for the sole purpose of making money.  I'm doing it because I love being of service.  It feels really good.  My joy and sense of well-being compound through what I make and share.  From there, everyone is free to 1) be a recipient of the product; 2) be inspired/uplifted by what I've made or done (and thus move forward to make or do what feels good to them); or 3) just enjoy catching a whiff of my joy and taking that forward with them in whatever way they choose.

There may be direct, monetary benefit through my creation or service, yes, and that is wonderful and appreciated because 1) it helps me to buy supplies to keep doing what I love and 2) it helps me to buy other things that bring joy to me and others.  But what kind of payment comes from inspiring and uplifting others?  Well, I guess what I've always called karma points, but referring to it as such minimizes if not demeans what's really going on.  We can't even begin to understand the impact that our actions and attitudes have on others -- and this includes our work in the world, and who/how we are through it.  This to me is sacred commerce. 

My mistake over the years is buying into the belief that I have to monetize my offerings in order for my business to thrive.  I've not given enough credit to those things (like the mandalas to color) that are offered purely for the love of it.  Yet I've received messages of appreciation from people who have been impacted by them in powerful ways.  Yes, these mandalas take time, but when I choose to see them as a gift, then any sense of them being a hassle disappears.  Making the process playful, I thrive ... and so does my business. 

Sometimes I will receive feedback (appreciation) regarding what I do, but sometimes not.  When I don't, I need to remember that my feeling good and having fun through the process was as much an offering as the creation itself .  I can trust that those who need to find what I've made and/or tap into the joy behind my making it will have benefitted.  I don't ever need to know who has been touched. 

So here's a great example of this at work.  A friend shares her day-to-day on her blog.  She's not charging people to visit.  She does share about her work for which she charges, but it's gently woven into the mix and never feels pushy because it's part of her life and who she is.  It makes her feel good to write and share photos about the whole of her journey.  Family and friends around her benefit from her feeling good from this activity.  People who connect with her through her blog are inspired try some of the things she is doing.  Some even contact her to buy her creations or sign up for her e-courses.  Others may send emails of gratitude instead.  New friendships are forged and opportunities take shape.  Others may never comment or contact her, but the energy of appreciation for who she is and what she does is there, just the same.  She knows that her PayPal balance is not the indicator of her success.  She knows that she is an irresistible magnet, drawing to her those who need what she offers, which is the example of a life joyously lived, first and foremost. 

When we do what we love, feel good and have fun -- heck, when we do ANYTHING while feeling good and having fun -- we serve the greater whole and we open ourselves to abundance in all forms.  So, to recap, serve yourself first by doing all that you do in joy.  That's the part that is our business.  What isn't our business is what happens from there.  We can't control it and, frankly, we shouldn't want to.  If the success of our business or career is hinged solely on sales (promotions, advancement, etc.), we've missed the point.  Even attachment to positive feedback can be a joy killer.  When we remember that who and how we are day-to-day is infinitely more important than what it is that we do, we discover that our vocation can be a blessed disguise that frees us to truly, deeply touch and impact the lives of others.  And that's what it's all about." 

And for journal entries such as this, I am so grateful.