Saturday, April 23, 2016

On Being Assertive

Last night I fell asleep thinking about the need to be assertive. This has always been an issue for me. Immediate reactions are usually with too much emotion and I worry about coming across as bitchy, whiny, or wishy-washy. 

Wishy-washy is how I think I most often come across. I’m so worried about offending someone or making them angry, that I hem and haw over the issue so they write me off. I walk away from situations in which I know I am right, but I don’t have the – hutzpah – to stand up for those rights and demand customer satisfaction. And that can be costly when I’ve paid for something that turns out to not be up to my standards.  

Then there are times when I bottle it up so when I do say something, there is anger in my voice and I sound, even to me, bitchy. My bitchy tends to be whiny, so again, I’m not listened to nor do I get satisfaction. Once again I walk away feeling disrespected and not getting customer satisfaction. And, of course, I blame myself; that I’m not good enough. How do they know I won’t fight and argue for my rights?

There are times, especially when making phone calls, that by the time I finally get to a real person, I am so frustrated with all the automated phone messaging processes I am dissolved to tears and can’t talk straight. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all a ruse just to keep customers away. Hey, once they have your money, what do they care!

I’m also afraid of retaliation if I say something someone doesn’t like. My information is out there, people will know where I live, and that makes me nervous. 

I admire people who speak up for the rights and demand good customer service. My brother has no qualms to demand satisfaction and if he doesn’t get it, he’ll raise his voice and cause a scene. I envy that courage, but that’s not me. However, it does show he demands and gets satisfaction. I know there are many who are willing to do this. But why should we have to? (OK, don’t get me off on corporate America.)

It does seem that more and more we have to speak up. I’m tired of being a push-over or feeling like companies take advantage of their customers. I’m tired of advertising promises and the products not living up to those promises. I’m tired of having to stand over workers to make sure they do a good job when something is ordered from a big box store and they hire out contractors to do the job (Home Depot, Sears, etc.). 

So, back to me being assertive and it started yesterday with the Chinese food I bought the other day. I always get takeout and the first day, I thought it tasted funny and that maybe it was just me. I usually like the food from this place very much. Yesterday, I heated leftovers and it tasted just as bad, and when I cut into a piece of chicken and found tin foil, my stomach turned and I couldn’t eat another bite. 

What do I do? Do I call them? But I was in work mode and didn’t want to leave the house. I figured they’d make me bring in the piece with the tin foil to prove what I said and that they’d give me a hard time and make excuses. Also, I’ve heard horror stories of what places do if customers complain about the food. I hemmed and hawed for an hour, then picked up the phone. Of course, she was really nice as I explained I found the meal awful and inedible. I am a regular customer and I did say that if this had been my first meal bought there, I’d never go back. She understood and said she’d make it up to me the next time I come in. I felt better.

However, this is a local place and I am known. How will I be treated when I go to Home Depot and complain about the carpet installers? This one is a huge issue and I have a list of problems and things not right. The install happened in March and I’ve been debating how to handle this one for a month. I’ve called the installation company twice and they came back once. Then once they found out I wouldn’t give them a 10 rating, I’ve not heard another word. Plus, I don’t want any of those people back here at all!

Being assertive doesn’t mean I have to throw a temper tantrum or cry – although, for some reason, that’s what you have to do sometimes (and  I can’t help myself because I cry easily when I’m frustrated). Next week I will go to Home Depot and quietly explain my issues and my feeling of not being respected in my own house. 

Will it matter to them? I’ll see, but at least I will have told them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Mother’s Legacy

This morning, two days after my mother’s birthday, and two days after my usual slump during this time, I get a revelation. I thought of it as I was journaling about what Annette does for her daily routine for exercising. What I love is that she doesn’t tell me what I “should” be doing. She talks about what she is doing and that inspires me to do something. The light bulb in my head flashes on.

What Annette does isn’t something I can see myself doing. Others tell me of their morning routines and that’s not for me, either. So, what is? What can get me out of this chair periodically to do physical movement (besides fingers across a keyboard)? What could become a Sasha routine? 

This concept has been building for some time, but I haven’t been able to get past setting up a schedule. I won’t stop working when words are flowing. I can’t interrupt focus on a job at hand. Setting up a time-related schedule will not work.

I’ve been so tired lately, extremely tired. Even after a good night’s sleep, I still feel tired. I can’t think clearly when I’m tired. And I find I’ve been getting angry easily. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for a long time. Wait! Doesn’t that signify a lack of oxygen to the brain?

Duh, and haven’t I had intense training in energy and breathing? I know what I need to do! I have known for a long time. I just couldn’t figure out how to get myself to do it. Once out of practice, it’s so hard to get back into it. 

The words of Annette and Nan talking about their daily routines and how they work at keeping themselves healthy seep in. Here are two successful, self-assured women who discovered what works for them. I don’t have to do what they do. I can do my own thing – and I already know to do it!

The revelation this morning is about how Ma and Margaret changed rules to games to make it more interesting for them. I’ve always admired that. They’d take popular games like croquet, Yahtzee, and Parcheesi and make them new and fresh. What I admired, too, was their commitment to play by rules. They may have changed the rules, but rules still needed to be followed. Their games were not cut-throat competition. It was important to play fair and encourage other players. These were values that were instilled in me from an early age.

I never realized just how much that concept was imbedded in me. As a young girl, I wasn’t interested in exactly what other girls were. That was probably why I wasn’t popular in school. I seldom want to do things just like the next person. I never have and never will. 

So, here’s my mother’s legacy come into play once more. Exercise: I can’t and won’t do it like everyone else, I’m not about to parade my body up and down the street – at this time (although I miss walking the woods or beach,) and I won’t waste any more money on gyms full of good-looking, hard bodies. That means it must be under my terms and something that I am willing to do.

I can do the Tai Chi form, get on the air walker, or Tai Chi dance in between projects. I can take a break from the chair, for instance, after the morning journaling and first writings. I can get up in between each part of the newspaper work: calendar, editing, and writing my weekly column. When I go outside to put up the birdfeeders, I can get in some fresh air movement.

Thank you, Ma, for showing me it is OK to do thing my way. 

I have a plan and I will start it today!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Emotional Dip – I wish I could sleep for a week

The men in orange were here yesterday to clean up the yard and it looks so much better. My pretty flowers are now in flower boxes, so, why am I not feeling happy? There isn’t anything wrong, so why do I feel… deflated?

It’s taken me awhile to figure it out. I am mentally exhausted, my energy drained. It’s coming up on a year (Mother’s Day 2015) that the whole house selling/buying/moving situation started. An entire year of extreme ups and downs, and it’s not over. I want to not have to think about anything. I want to just lie down and sleep for a week. 

I can’t, though, not only because it’s unreasonable and my body and mind would not let me, but it’s not over. There is still much to do before I can finally settle down. Yes, huge strides have been made and I am satisfied with them (except for the carpet install), but I still can’t be fully settled until the house is the way I want it, and I want it done so I don’t have to worry about projects later. 

However, these ongoing projects, one right after another, have me constantly on edge. My mind is always thinking and planning and worrying, and that’s on top of the normal type of living that goes on.

Maybe, too, it is because yesterday would have been my mother’s 87th birthday. I miss her so much! For so long, all house decisions were made together and now it’s all on my shoulders. Sometimes the weight of it all is too overwhelming. Even when we didn’t agree, there was someone to talk with and help with the decision-making. Feedback and second opinions are important. 

There are days I am so mentally fragile. Sometimes I swear Pele, my beautiful kitty, is the only thing that keeps me going. How silly does that sound? But it’s true, sometimes. She needs me and I need her.

I know – I am not fragile; I am really quite strong.

This week the garage will be started. This will be a major change to the property and a welcome addition. It will be nice to get the stuff stored under tarps under the deck inside a structure. There are also items in the back bedroom that will be moved out to the garage which will free up space in the house. And, I’m looking forward to parking my car out of the weather again.

Then when the garage is done there will be fixing the back deck, making a small farmer’s porch on the front of the house so the house isn’t a plain rectangle, redoing the flower gardens to put in curves and a front walkway. A pretty front walkway helps make a house inviting and I want my home to be inviting. Sounds like the work will continue through the summer.

I have to stay strong and keep pushing for what I want. I will make this place as close to my dream house as possible. The goal is comfort and beauty. It will be a house Sasha-fied.

Friday, April 15, 2016

What The Muse Mean to Me

For the second morning in a row, I pay attention to The Muse right off the bat before I finish my journaling. She used to come more at the end of my journaling, after I wrote about the day before. The writing often seems to call her. I usually have to siphon off stuff (I love the word “stuff,” it covers so much) from the day before to allow new inspiration. Now yesterday and today, she is at the forefront. (And, for me, The Muse always is feminine.)

I try to settle into routine, but she won’t let me and I learned a long time ago if I don’t pay immediate attention, she disappears. When she arrives, she is screaming, “Pay attention NOW!” A thought this morning as she grabs my attentions is “Am I spoiling her?” That was immediately followed by “Or I am totally honoring her?”

I believe it is honor and respect; two most important virtues. If this higher power Muse honors me with her presence, then I darn well better give her the respect she deserves. After all, why should I think she is here only for me? Maybe she mentors others. She needs my full attention when she is here and the information pours into me faster than my brain can process or my hand write or fingers type. That’s a challenge, for sure.

But what does this mean? What does this Muse mean to me and how does it work?

Mostly, when people think about “revelations” or God-inspired, higher power messages, there is a coming down from above feel. And I feel that. However, it’s not just a flowing down and into me feel, and it’s not just coming into my head. These feelings reach my heart and mix with who I am… or is it my heart rising to meet the inflow? (Be gentle with me. This is the first time I’m actually writing about it on this level.) 

What I do know is that I feel it in my entire being. There is stuff coming up from my well (that part deep in our beings – like the bottom of a well – where years of stuff gets buried) that merges with my heart and then that mixes with the stuff coming from above and then it pours out of me onto a page. 

Maybe one cannot come to the light without the other. Maybe it’s the Light of higher beingness that shines light into the well to release the emotions buried there. Maybe it is all that and much more. 

Who am I to try to say? But I am trying to explain it. These writings I do are from me and yet mix with something higher than me. The Muse arrives and the inner spark ignites into a flame, a short firestorm and then, it’s gone. Until the next time.

Some of you have been the recipients of the flash fire times as ideas and suggestions gush forth out of me. A comment made the day before or I may have read something or seen something on TV and the following morning the avalanche lets loose. And these moments are not just about me. There’s a higher purpose. I have to share, I have to.

It’s exciting and I am filled with joy. Thank you.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Working Past Self Doubts

How can I possibly be thinking about starting another book when I’ve stalled on the last one? But this morning I am doing just that. Yes, there’s a tug-of-war in my mind about it. The old self critic is screaming in my ear: Who do you think you are? You’ve failed at the last one, why do another? Why will this book be different? What make you think you can make a difference; that anyone will care what you have to say? You are not a professional. You have no letters after your name. “Nobody likes you,” (this last comes in the voice of Gollum to himself in the movie “The Lord of the Rings.”)

Yep, that nasty critic, but I have better mental blocks to him now. “I’m not listening, not listening,” (again, in Gollum’s voice). I have a goal, a purpose. I can make a difference. “I have to write, I have to” is my motto, “If I didn’t write, I’d die or go crazy… or worse…” And yes, I’ve been saying that for years. Writing has been my salvation.

The concept of a memoir has been stirring for a long time. Yes, there is that, who do I think I am, and I’m nobody, but I have a message to tell. My stories not only help me heal, they also help others. It’s not about telling someone what to do. That’s not my job. It’s the storytelling that allows others to take whatever information they will and make it work for them.

I have not climbed physical mountains, nor have I accomplished some great world feat. My accomplishments have been within. Just overcoming low self-esteem and self-hatred is huge. I know how to deal with negative emotions, know when to be OK with myself, know when to just be, and know when to push forward. Am I perfect? No -- and I don’t have to be. I just have to be me, be as good a person as I can be, enjoy life as best I can, and help others when I can.

And so, I attempt to take 60 years of living and over 20 of serious writing to describe this treasure hunt of the self to love who I am. I’ll admit, I’m still feeling a bit discombobulated, but it’s coming together.

Titles, organizing subjects (it’s not your normal memoir), where to start, when to end, how many chapters – the myriad of challenges to roadblock the start. 

I’ve been studying emotions almost my entire adult life. And while analyzing my own self, I also pay attention to others and their dealings with life. As I said the other day, I am seeing this self-study as a unique journey. This exploration is my purpose and I believe that my life experience and training is giving me – permission, if you will – to write this book and share my findings. I am not a professional. I am a peer… and yes, there is a part of me trying to explain what I’m doing.

But maybe I don’t need to explain it. I just need to do it. Hopefully, my stories will not only help me, but will help you find your way, too, when you are struggling. At least in this morning’s journaling and thinking, I’ve come up with title: “Digging for Gold Within Myself: a personal journey to help me, help all.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Subject of Weight

A conversation early this morning has me thinking about my weight. Weight is a huge subject in today’s society in relation to health, image, others’ perceptions, and a myriad of other issues. I know how I feel in my mind. I am OK within myself. If and when I make changes, it will be my decision.

I have learned to accept who I am and I actually like myself these days. I am not perfect; there is always self-work to do, but it is mine to do. What are hard for me are other people’s attitudes towards overweight women. It’s hard when I am looked at as if there is something wrong with me, that there’s something to be fixed. I know there are those who look down on me and the comments that are supposed to “help” me make a “better choice,” just make me feel bad and not accepted for who I am.

I wasn’t always overweight. I was always on the small side when I was young. The weight didn’t come (and stay) until after the birth of my second son. It seemed like no matter what I did, I didn’t get thin again and at one point, my second husband complained the weight I did lose made my face too skinny. I couldn’t win.

As the years passed and I worked on self-improvement, I recognized that part of the weight issue is a defense mechanism. Being overweight means men won’t hit on me and wives won’t be jealous. I can be a friend without worry that the friendship will be misinterpreted.

People tend to leave overweight people alone… and there are time I like that.

I also realize comments like, “If you eat that, you’re gonna get fat,” make me want to eat it (or more) just because of that attitude. There was always something in me that wanted to rebel and do something opposite from what others dictated.

I know people like me for me and not because I’m beautiful on the outside. That can be a two-edged sword because physical beauty sells. We all know that. Advertisers have used pretty girls for years to sell their products.

Our entire lives have been filled with the media forcing into us what should be and what shouldn’t be. Beauty and skinny sells. And even though I now know this, the picture in my mind of what beauty is so ingrained; it’s hard to not to continue to see that as the only beauty. 

More work is needed and more discussion. There is more to say.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Exploring Emotions – a Unique Journey

I am an explorer, an explorer of a unique place – my own mind/soul. My travels take me over mountains, into dark caverns, and I look into the deep abyss. I stand on ledges and exclaim at vast, beautiful vistas and I crawl into claustrophobic holes where I feel the life will be choked out of me. I dig in the muck at the bottom of my well to see what stirs within so it can be released into the light. I wander mazes of emotions trying to put words to the unnamable.

Who do I think I am? How dare I explore these places on my own? What right do I have to think I could possibly be a better person by doing this, by standing up to declare, “This is who I am!?”

Some people go the route of studying other people’s emotions and psyches: social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors. I felt I had to understand my own self; that somehow, by understanding me, I would understand the world around me. I wanted to know why I felt such and so, why I never wanted to do exactly what others were doing. I wanted to know why I was different, why I didn’t fit into what seemed like normal situations. I wanted to know why, while growing up, no one liked me (or so I believed).

The journey of self-discovery takes a tremendous amount of courage. What if I don’t like what I see? Sometimes I don’t. What if the findings scare me? Sometimes they do. What if I dislike myself more? What if some of the horrible things that were said to me and about me in the past are true? What if there really is something wrong with me? I refuse to let that happen! I work through all the self doubts and fear. It isn’t always easy.

Why do I do this? Because I want to understand; I want to understand who and why I am. And by coming to terms with who I am, I am able to be with others and understand who they are. I am able to see both sides of situations even when I don’t personally agree. My inner eyes have opened wider.

I have learned what it means to be a sensitive and be proud that I am capable of feeling. Yes, I have to set boundaries to protect my soul. I avoid certain situations because the damage to my inner self would be too great. However, the knowledge this work has done for me is – freeing. Am I perfect? No. But I am better and I am happy.

The work continues as it must. Living means it’s an ongoing process. The study of emotions is fascinating. Now I look at it as going on a treasure hunt. The treasure isn’t always pretty, but the discovery is oh, so interesting.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Another Step Forward in Studying Emotions

I study emotions; in myself and others. I analyze my feelings and look into the reasons and how to better myself. Why do I feel such and such, and if it’s a negative emotion, how can I change it. 

I talk with other people and in listening to them, I am curious about their emotions and how they handle stress. I want to know why people think they way they do, and not from a standpoint of right or wrong, but in trying to understand human being-ness.

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked if I had heard about Brene Brown. I hadn’t and I looked her up on the web and listened to one her TED seminar/videos. I was impressed. I immediately ordered three of her books: “I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)” about shame, guilt, and empathy; “The Gifts of Imperfection” about embracing who you are; and “Daring Greatly” about courage and vulnerability.

I put them in order by their published dates with the first one in 2007, 2010, and 2012. Ah, this was during my time in Bradford when I had stepped back from self-study to promote my art and writing career. That explained why I hadn’t heard about her.

I began reading the first book. Some are things I already know, but there is quite a bit that I find refreshing and it’s bringing me into greater understanding of who, why, and what I am, and how I want to go forward with my life. This will also help me in dealing with others and it’s bringing out the healer in me. (Yes, many of the various studies from the past were in the healing arts.)

Shame is the big skeleton in our closets. Brown says no one is without it. It’s a teaching mechanism and it’s used as punishment that is used from the moment we are born. Shame is an emotion and because everyone feels and experiences it differently, the subject has been difficult to address. Plus, people are not comfortable talking about shame. They may eventually talk about all other emotions, but shame runs deep.

I grew up with low self-esteem. It has haunted my entire life. In my teens and 20s, I actually hated myself. It wasn’t until I started reading this book (and I’ll be turning 62 this summer) that I come to understand low self-esteem develops from shame. It’s the shame of never feeling good enough, of not being accepted by peers, of not fitting in, of being odd, ugly, fat, shy, that there is something wrong with me – the list can go on. 

There’s no one to blame. It’s something that gets ingrained in us. I’m sure if I could go back and ask my parents why they “shamed” me, they would be appalled I would think such a thing. That’s certainly not what most parents intend and, of course, I can’t help but think about my own kids…but I didn’t know back then. I didn’t understand any of this.

I’ve spent years overcoming the “old” me: taking many courses and workshops, doing a lot of self work, and learning to work towards what I want. I even went so far as changing my name to escape that old image. I have come a long way and I am not the Debbie of my past.

Poetry was my salvation. Poetry, writing, and art helped me find myself. The self work often comes in spurts. I will read or hear something and then I will think about it, write about; sometimes for weeks or months. There are times when I have to read or listen to a point over and over before I get it. And all the time, I am becoming a better person, a more self-assured person, and I am happy.

Now I am learning low self-esteem comes from shame and I’ve just touched the tip on this subject. This is a whole new territory to explore. I am in my first few days of writing about it and I’m excited (and a bit nervous) to see where this will take me. Goodness, how can one talk about shame? What will people think if I admit my secrets?

I already figured out that people’s unhappiness is what brings out anger, bullying, and such. Now I am starting to understand where the unhappiness comes from. Oh, not the exact issue because we are all different and all have different triggers. 

We may have similar stories and feelings, but it’s not exactly the same. I can’t tell you what you are feeling. I can only understand that you feel so. It’s not easy to put words to emotions and when people feel bad enough, they may act out in negative ways. 

So, how do we get better? It takes courage to even admit we are struggling. There is always that, “I don’t want to talk about it” stubbornness. What will happen when we do talk? Will others understand? Will they hate us or make fun of us?

There will be those who will deny similar feelings, but most will relate. It takes courage for all of us. We have to create a better world and that takes courage, admitting vulnerability, and empathy.

I have taken dozens of workshops, read hundreds of books, learned various meditations, and spent a lot of money on many self-help and healing classes. Poetry, writing, photography, and art were my salvation, but the self-study goes on. I’m excited to find where this next step will take me.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The 1960s vs. Today

I woke up this morning thinking about the ideals of the 1960s. How did we descend from an era of promoting love not war into a society overwhelmed by violence? Or it seems we are a violent society because the media hounds us with all the horror going on in the world.

I was young during the 60s so I wasn’t actually a part of the revolution. However, that decade played a huge, dramatic part in our culture. It was a time of awakening, of people finding their voices and uniting to bring freedom and awakening to the world. It was a magical time.

But what happened? The decade passed and it was like once that big hurdle was crossed, it all died away. All the passion and peace and love just dissolved as time went on. Those revolutionists of the 60s worked hard for a belief. They made tremendous strides, but the generation coming up behind them didn’t continue the work. The plateau was reached and instead of pushing higher, the momentum shifted – but what it shifted into, I don’t know.

Did the old hippies grow up and become the “establishment” they earlier despised? Once the musicians of the 60s earned fame, did their goals change as they became more business-minded? Did they become ruled by the music industry and lose their passion for changing the world? And yes, when people grow older they want to settle back and relax.

They young people coming up behind them didn’t fully understand what the adults before them went through and accomplished. Big business got bigger. The media turned more to promoting big business and the issues that so inspired the previous generation were written off. The government made a few changes and people felt an accomplishment was made. 

Apathy set in. What was hard-fought was abandoned. People turned from peace and love to… I don’t even know. The music that so changed the world… died. That’s not saying there isn’t good music now, but something is lost. It’s like we’ve slipped backwards.

Technology and big business took over, too, as people became wired in to the internet and social media. Cell phones and iPads have taken away people’s identities and causes. People are looking down instead of looking out and forward. Humanity has given way to robotics and machines.

Technology has put a leash on people. People are controlled. This is a generation where people isolate themselves physically from others as they become so entrapped by electronic devices… until something in them snaps and they do something horrible.

So, what does all this mean?

Even some of the music has an electro-techno background; an unnatural beat designed to pump people up (supposedly for dance), but that kind of beat is also hypnotic, a brain-washing tool making people further succumb to numbness. People are losing the ability to think positively, to think for themselves, for the good of all things. And they don’t even realize it. (Well, most don’t.)

Think about it. Think about what the media feeds us. Think about what some of the music is telling us… Is that what we really want for ourselves? Do we want to be mind-numbed and controlled? That’s what’s happening on many levels.

The 60s served a purpose. People came together and were awakened. It wasn’t perfect (drugs are never the answer and is also a means of controlling people no matter the generation). People need to start waking up again. It’s time to start saying NO! again. Violence is not the answer. What’s going on now-a-days is horrendous. WE are human beings. 

Let’s bring compassion, peace, and love back into our lives! Say no to violence. Say no to control. Say no to media brainwashing.

Side note: This is such a huge subject which I am only barely touching. People need to start waking up again. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Hole in My Life

A good part of my life has felt in limbo for over a year with the home selling, searching for a new home, downsizing, the actual move, settling in, and renovating. My entire art career was put on hold except for the newspaper work and a couple of photo commission projects. I’d been saying that 2016 will be the year for changes and now I am ready to put new fire in my art career. I am ready to get back to “Living the Life of an Artist,” as stated on my blog.

However, 2016 did not start off with the big bang I envisioned. The reno work was still holding me back. Now we are into April and I still need the garage built to give a little extra storage room so I have inside space to move around and create.

I also had to take into consideration where I want to go in my career. I waited for that burst of enlightenment. It didn’t come. What I did realize is that what I have been doing as an artist is what I want to be doing. Yes, there is room to improve and grow and I am willing, but the words are still the same, those words that describe me.

It was time to restate my career intentions. I’ve done a couple new ads and I’m working on updating my website. (I do all the changes to my website template before sending all off to Dr. Bob to install said updates, so be patient awhile longer as I perfect how I want the site to look.)

But something feels missing. Artist, author, editor, photographer; yes, I have multiple realms in which I work, so what is missing? I feel there is a hole, a dark abyss.

I had a great conversation with my building contractor yesterday about the path to enlightenment. Last week I had Facebook chat with a new friend who asked if I knew about Brene Brown. (I looked her up and she has written books and has done lectures on subjects which I am very into – emotions.) I always find it refreshing to have deep conversations with men because it doesn’t happen often. (My ex used to tell me that’s what I have girlfriends for.) 

This morning it hit me. That hole that is in my line of what I do is… spirituality. When I think about everything I do, the Who I AM, it’s always artist, author, editor, photography. I am not one without the others. This is who I am. BUT! I am spiritual and even though I say gratitude prayers every night, spirituality is not something I promote. But that is the hole… or what fills the hole.

Hmmm, very interesting… and I’m not sure where to go with this…


This IS part of who I am. It IS who I am. I trained and studied for many years various aspects of spirituality and healing. I may not be physically doing massage any more. I don’t have a Tai Chi class at the moment. I’m not leading support groups or meditation classes. But it is still in me. It comes out when I talk to people (whether they or I know it at the moment). I always know it’s there. It’s automatic. It’s what I do; who I am. It’s that certain trust I put in higher power, Great Spirit, Great Creator, God, Buddha, whomever, that when I open my mouth (outside of my own personal whining, ha ha) the words that come forth are not only just from me. There is something greater that works through me. I trust in that greatness.

And every once in a while, I have to be reminded that that greatness works through me. Thank you.

The hole in my life – isn’t really a hole – it is oneness with all that is. It is the wonder and awe of life. It is something bigger than we can imagine and only once in awhile do I get a glimpse. Wow.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Name, a Brand, and an Ad

Tomorrow is the deadline for to place an ad in Kearsarge Magazine. I have the wording, but I wanted to do a new picture from the one I’ve used on my business cards that past six years. It’s time for a change. I’m struggling and it’s depressing me.

I’ve considered pictures of my drawings. I’ve been taking new photographs, but I’m missing something. Nothing is quite right and I don’t know exactly what I need to be doing. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around what I need and want.

And, of course, there’s still the fear of what if I choose the wrong one? What if I choose a picture and two weeks down the road I come up with something else? How do I brand my business? Marketing is certainly not my forte. 

I did work on updating my website this week and I’m still in the initial phases. How much do I change? Do I do a total overhaul or just make sure information is up to date. Do I keep the old stories of who I am and how I got to this point in my life? (For people who don’t know me). Do I make it totally new? (To give those who have seen my website and story something new).

I do plan on putting new pictures on the site, but I’m feeling stuck. It doesn’t help that in the changing from PC to Apple, my photos are off somewhere in never-never land and to find them is such an effort… and then they are in a read-only file and I have to move them to some other program and it all just messes with my brain and I get frustrated and give up.

Am I whining? I’m sorry. I just want to do my work without all this hassle.

On a good note, I’ve been invited to give a talk about what I do this week and I’m very excited. It’s hard for me to get up in front of people. I will read some excerpts from my books, a couple of poems, and talk about “Living the Life of an Artist.”