Saturday, July 31, 2010

Not So Invisible Support

I view myself as the "go to girl."  The person who people come to when things need to get done and know it will get done.  I like it. I love that feeling of being supportive and helpful.  Yet, when it comes to myself, I'm not so great at asking for that support. I just hate to bother people. I don't want to impose. I'll tough it through.  I'm learning the value of support, and truely the importance of support.
A couple of weeks ago, I really needed to shovel out (and I do mean shovel out) my studio space.  I have some big theater projects coming in the next season and I just could not see myself crawling over a huge pile of patterns all year, while complaining. "I really need to clean this place up."  With the support and urging of some close friends, I set a date to spend the day shoveling.  My friend Suzi offered to send me cell text messages of encouragement.  I took her up on the offer.  In the back of my mind I kept thinking. "That's cool, but I don't think I need that."  The day I chose turned out to be the hottest day of our summer (hopefully the only one).  As I was eating  breakfast, the first of the day's texts arrived.  Upbeat, encouraging, and a real butt kicker.  It wasn't what Suzi said that kicked my butt, it was the reminder of the comittment, the feeling of completion, how easy it will be to work in a clean studio.  I was on the verge of "weaseling out", and that first text  and her support, got me in the studio working.  Throughout the day, I got texts just at the points when I wanted to quit.  Not only do I so hate cleaning and organizing stuff, the room was getting progressively hotter.  We celebrated the progress, Suzi encouraged me to continue on.  End of the day, it was hot as blazes, I wasn't finished, but I had a plan of attack and scheduled a day to complete.  Which I did, and I now have a clean space to enjoy and create in.  Just the ease of walking in there is wonderful.
So, a huge shout out and thank you to Suzi for her support on this project. It really made the difference.

This week, I was feeling like this Campaign is rounding the home stretch.  For whatever reason, I was feeling like I was complete.  Maybe a little bored? I think I keep saying the same thing over and over. The projects are sort lackluster.  I don't know.  I saw my friend Patty, and she presented me with this very cool coffee mug that had a very simple message printed on it.  "Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself."  Patty told me that it was an early celebration present for the completion of  The Campaign.  What she said next to me was as powerful as the mug's quote.  "When you're done.  I'm going to miss your blog."  In that moment, I realized I'm so not complete here, I had more I wanted to do.  In fact, I've had some ideas as to how to continue The Campaign and perhaps expand it.  (More to come on that, stay tuned.)  I didn't ask for Patty's support, but I know it's there, and if I ever needed anything, she and has been more than happy to help me in anyway she could.  Thank you, Patty!

These are just two examples of support that I experience in my life.  I have attracted so many wonderful people in my life.  I know that are they are people of such wonderful, compassionate and supportive character that they would never consider it a bother to respond to a request of support, as they willing offer and provide it to me all the time, I'd even say on a daily basis. 
Community and unity are things I place a high value on in my life.  I'm beginnng to see that asking for support, when I need it, is as important as providing support to others.  It's helps all parties involved an opportunity to grow and evolve as people.  Providing support to someone, allows us to take a step up.  Asking for support from someone, also allows us to take that step up.   I've found both steps, bring me closer to all those wonderful people in my life.
I'm proud of the support I've created in my life.  I couldn't do what I do without all of you.
I want to say thank you to all of you who are in my life.  I treasure your friendship, insights, love and support.
My project this week is a heart shaped lavender wreath.  It hangs outside my front door, and really smells  great.  Evertime I walk by the wreath, it will be my reminder of all the support I have in my life.  It's just a matter of reaching out and asking, because I know it's there.

Are you at asking for support?  Are you more of a giver or a taker or do you have a balance?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Until next week...create to feel great!
42 projects complete 10 to go!

Mickeygirl Update!
The Atomic Queen of Cats, is home from a four day hospital stay.  She is slowly transforming into the Mickeygirl we knew before all her illnesses kicked a year ago.  The down side, is we have to limit close contact to her for a month.  We get an hour a day and after than, we have to stay a foot away from each other.  We're figuring it out.  Welcome back, Mickeygirl.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag!

My Dad, I know he's resting in peace or kickin' butt in heaven, when he was home, use to sing around the house.  One of the favorites was a World War I era song, that the only words I can remember are "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile smile smile." Men going off to fight in the war sang it.  Men with troubles larger than I hope I'll never have to know. Yet,those words still sound great and bring me comfort.  For me,  it's all about putting worries aside, all the junk and crap and stuff of the world in one place and moving forward.  Sure the worries, junk and crap and stuff are still there, but smiling through is a positive force.  It is movement.  It's not letting that stuff get to you or bring you down. Being strong and positive through difficult times, whatever they are for you.
Singing itself is a very powerful vibration to the human mind and soul.  We'll listen to and retain the message communicated to us through music longer than one that is simply spoken.  When we are doing the ones singing, it is even more powerful.  I hear people all the time say. "I just don't sing.  I can't carry a tune in a bucket."  Oh, who cares how you sing, as long as you are.  I love singing and making up songs as I go through my day.  It lightens my mood, it helps me remember things and it's fun.  It really does help me put what worries me aside.
With all this said, stuffing troubles in a bag, is one way of dealing with worries and negativity.  Yet, it seems like taking all this stuff and putting it in my old kit bag, might be out of sight, out of mind, way of thinking.  I'm still dragging that stuff around.  Sure I'm smiling, but I'm dragging around a heavy load.
How about before stuffing them into a bag and allowing them to take up space and weigh you down, take that worry and turn it into something useful for you or someone in your life?  I know it can be challenging to set worries aside. Maybe looking at every worry is an opportunity to create.  To learn about yourself, create something amazingly positive, and move forward and away from the worry.  All it takes is one step away from the worry.  And then another step.  Soon you are down the road.

I've had a bit of a worry this last month or so.  My beloved Mickeygirl was diagnosed with hyperthyroid condition, they thought it might be masking a kidney condition.  I have gone down this road with her brother Jack the Cat, who passed last summer after battling the condition and me for five years. With Jack the Cat, it was a pill twice a day.  Mickeygirl's vet suggested the radiation treatment, if we can get her to respond to meds.  Radiation treatment has a high cure rate.  She has to spend four days in a hospital cage, away from home.  All this has been weighing on me.  And I confess, I'm a little worried.  Last week, her Vet told me that her thyroid is stable and no signs of kidney trouble, so radiation is going to be great next step.  I have mixed feelings.  I'm still a little worried about her and we aren't through the woods, but this coming Monday, Mickeygirl will become Atomic Cat!
In order to pack up my troubles in an old kit bag or in this case a Trader Joe's shopping bag, and prepare for Mickeygirl's hospital visit, I made her some things to take with her to be comfortable.
A foam pillow cushion, with her name on it.  2 high powered knitted catnip mice.  1 fleece blanket (in case she gets cold) and 4 cans of her favorite food.
I know my girl will be fine.  She's a brave, smart, survivor.  I did all this for me.  To ease my mind.  It was my way of having the illusion that I was in control of something that is so out of my control.  With that, I think that's why we worry.  In order to have that illusion that we are in control of something that is out or our control. Once I set my mind to creating a comfortable experience for Mickeygirl, I relaxed and a calm fell over me.  A reassurance that she's going to do great.  She's going to heal fine.  I stopped my need to be in control and worry cold in it's tracks.
I've come to see worry as the path that leads to the road to Crazy Town with a stop at the Negativity Mall, located just inside the gates of Crazy Town.  Those are tempting places to hang out, but I'm working on staying away.  I've said this before, the process of creating, anything, is forward movement.  The process of creating something positive is positive forward movement.  Once that cycle gets rolling, it feeds on itself in a good way.  Providing energy, clarity of thought, any number of good and joyful things.
So, like the song reminds us to "pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and smile smile smile."  A kit bag, traditionally carried all the things we needed in life to live.  So, by using that worry for creative material and creating something before packing it in the bag, makes it even more useful. I have a feeling it also makes the bag lighter to carry around as well.  That works it for me.

Is your old kit bag (or Trader Joe's shopping bag) full of stuff (like worry) that could be turned into something that would move you forward and add to your life, and make it easier to smile smile smile?  What will you create with all that stuff? ( I know you have it, cause all God's children got stuff.)
Until next week...create to feel great!
41 projects complete!  11 to go!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Create This Day

I have already proclaimed my love of summer in Oregon, a couple of times in this blog, and I just might do a few times more before the summer of 2010 is one for the ages.  Yet in working with the idea of being present, really any time is a great time and any day is a great day.  It is, after all is said and done, what we make of it.  We are only given so many days in our lives.  We don't know how many.  Personally, I think if we knew, we would either never relax in pursuit in whatever we pursue or waste even more time than we do now in worry and negativity or whatever.   I think the trick is to savory every single moment we have, no matter how many we are going to get.  For me, summer makes it easier to practice this.  I have been known to waste a summer day or two wishing for more perfect, less hot weather, that sort of thing.  The key words in all this life for me is awareness and practice.  As opposed to perfection and perfect.   I'm beginning to see the more I stay focused on the present, no matter what, worry and future casting is becoming less and less a part of my life.  I'm seeing myself become more align with what is and what is happening for me.  The gifts are many, the negativity and negative surprises are fewer and fewer.  Yes, I still have unpleasant things to deal with in my life, but I can deal with them and move on, with a lesson learned and a heart full of joy.
Last weekend, I had a present moment gift given to me in the form of an excellent day.  My husband, Broadside, suggested we go to the lavender farms in our area, as they were all having a Lavender Festival.  (It's moments and suggestions like this that I love him for so very much).  We decided on what farms we want to stop at, and headed out for a drive in the country.  It was a classic, beautiful warm summer day.  When we arrived at our first farm choice, not only was the farm lovely and quaint, a lady from the herb society was starting a free class on making lavender wands and baskets.  What fantastic timing!  Lavender, a lovely day and a craft class! I felt like I won the lottery.  Broadside, was content to sit on the shade, while I crafted away.   I was so excited about this new craft, I picked a huge bunch of lavender to take home and play with the new craft.   Our next stop was a lavender farm, where we sat staring at a vast expanse of lavender, while eating hot dogs, lavender cookies and drinking lavender lemonade.   While talking with one of the farm owners and my creativity pumping, we can up with the idea of Lavender Lemoncello. (I'll let you know how that turns out, as good Lemoncello takes about a month to make.)  It was a wonderful day, that has stayed with me even as I write this post.  It helps that my house smells like lavender.
So, not all days can be filled with crafts and lavender farms, and yet, we can still create a wonderful day each and every day.  It's all up to us and how we create the days we have. How we react to some of the "creative supplies" that are presented to us on any given day. I know I write a lot about staying in the present and using our creativity to kick our lives up a notch.  I do this because, it's important. It's key to a joyful forward positive creative life.   All we have is now.
Last December, I was reminded of this concept, when Mickeygirl was deathly ill.  I spend weeks tending to her, and driving her to the vet.  It was a draining and emotional time for me.  My moments were spent, when not tending to my dear friend, praying and asking to see the miracle in the moment.  There were many given to me, including on every drive to the vet, there was some visually stunning moment, that took my breath away or some insightful stranger, it helped me see the beauty in this very trying time of our lives. (Mickeygirl mended.)  These were moments I will never forget.
I'm here to proclaim that there is beauty to be created, noticed and learned from in every moment.  Be it a wonderful day on a lavender farm or driving a dear friend to the vet or paying the bills and doing the laundry.
It's all here for us. I'll say it again...All we have is now.
What will you create with this day and the "creative supplies" that have been given you?
Until next week...create to feel great
40 projects complete!  12 to go!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What Do The Dalai Lama and The Dallie Lana Have In Common?

In writing this post's title, I mean no disrespect to The Dalai Lama.  I love his teachings.  I've also spend way too much time in the company of people who quote (and mis-quote) him. Some of these folks, take it all so seriously and what to make want he says more complex than they really are. Certainly, The Dalai Lama is to be respected and learned from, I would like to think he would say the same thing about you and me. So, no dis-respect to The Dalai Lama. Or to The Dallie Lana, the over coddled, very pampered Siamese cat I work with at my part-time office job.   I don't think it's an accident that they share a birthday.  Her owner didn't know this fact, when as a kitten, and with some help from me, her name morphed into The Dallie Lana.  So, this week was The Dallie Lana's Birthday.   From my previous posts, you know I love to honor the cats in my life, and on their birthday's especially.   Dallie is one of those special cats.  You can see it in her eyes.  I sometimes see the same look in Mickeygirl's eyes.  It's a wisdom.  It's a "I know what I'm talking about, 'cause I've been there done that" look. (Please feel free to insert- eye roll or "crazy cat lady" any time, while reading this blog post.)  I feel we can learn a lot from animals in our lives.  I don't dismiss them, because they don't communicate on the same level as we do, I learn from them.  Lessons on love, both giving and receiving, handling what life tosses you with dignity.  I've learned the fine art of relaxing, and the benefits of being silly, really silly and to act it out like nobody is watching. Animals have helped me grieve some deep loss, and celebrate some amazing wins.  So, many lessons from animals.   I learned this week that alpaca's wool is being used to help soak up the Gulf oil spill (not the wool they use for yarns, whew!  The wool, they usually toss out), so the alpaca's are helping in this huge mess.  Animals want to help us to be great people.
The Dalai Lama speaks of peace and love.    Living with my cats bring to that place of peace and they certainly give me love, and I to them.
The Dallie Lana, is an unusal cat for her breed.  She's smart and sassy, and yet sweet and loving.   It felt right to honor her birthday.  For The Dalai Lama, well, I made a flower arrangement and lit a candle, while saying a prayer for peace and joy for the world and myself.  "Well, what did you give to The Dallie Lana?" You might be asking.  I made her a cat stratching box.  From recycled cardboard, wallpaper and fresh organic catnip.  She was overwhelmed!
Ringo Starr also turned 70 this week.  All he wanted was for people to wish peace and love.
Maybe it is because I focus on this Campaign each week, that my aweness of peace, love, happiness, joy, had become hightened.  I'm seeing it more and more from other sources, and more and more if it is coming into my life.  I often tell the clients I work with that what we focus on we bring to our lives.  I know it's working on some level here with me.

In closing this week here's a quote from The Dalai Lama (not a misquote, thank you very much.)

"As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery…we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger and attachment, fear and suspicion, while love, compassion, and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness. "

And from Ringo Starr..."Wishing you Peace and Love." 
I asked The Dallie Lana for a quote, but she was sleeping off a very instense catnip high.
Until next week...create to feel great!
39 projects complete!  13 to go!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Traveling Through Life

It's been an interesting week for me.   I wouldn't say especially eventful. Although, teaching Mr. D. how to make rice and pancakes, was not only fun, and I would put it in the event category.  This was one of those weeks where a lot was going on, and a lot was tossed at me as I ran by, and when I stopped for a moment, a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings surfaced up.  It was one of those "what the hell am I doing here? (meaning- what the hell am I doing with my life?) weeks.   I have those every so often. Sometimes, I don't control them. They simply decide to show up and camp out in my head.  At first I embrace these thoughts and feelings, like a old friend.  I invite them to hang out, I sometimes serve tea.   Then after about two days.   These thoughts and feelings turn into the really bad house guests, something in the vein of the house guests from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Once I've allowed them to settle in, it's all I can do to get them to pack up the trashy R.V. they have parked in front of my house and get them to leave.  Not soon after, I start feeling like I'm living in the trashy R.V that is park in front of my house.  I'd drive off in it only I can't find the keys and I know the battery is dead ,radiator is busted, and the tires are flat.
That was sort my week, this week.  Not great for a Campaign touting creativity for banish negativity.  Yet there is and always is, this focus.  And the focus of this Campaign helps me rise up, so to speak.  If only to keep myself aware of all the gifts that we all get showered on us at any given moment of the day.  And now, looking at, this week there were many.
As a fore mentioned, I had the wonderful opportunity to teach Mr. D how to cook pancakes and rice.  It's all in prep for his life, and I feel great being a part of that.
Thursday night, I went to an event for The Busted Foundation, called Bowling For Boobies.  It was a fundraising event, and also celebrated a dear friend and amazing person and contributor to the world, survival from breast cancer.  It was organized by young adults in the hip hop community.  It was amazing to see old friends and the energy for these "kids."  My friend's son and a very talented and socially aware hip hop artist, was there, he is now grown to adulthood, well into his 20's.  He hugged me and said it was great to see me.  He also said he never really thanked me for giving him his first drum, it set him on a path, and support his love of making music.
I not blogging to brag here.  I blogging to remind myself and others, that there are amazing gifts every moment of every day.  When I'm allowing the negative thoughts and feelings to camp out in me, I can miss those really great gems of life. 
To round out my week, I got a reminder of R. Buckminster Fuller. When he was in his 30's, he was penniless, had no way to feed his family, was drinking and thinking about suicide.   He instead decided to embark on an experiment to find what a single individual could contribute to changing the world and benefiting humanity.  With that as a focus, he created and contributed some fantastic things, and had an amazing life.  I think he spent the next 53 or so years doing this.  Now that's what I call a Campaign.

With some encouragement, I'm embarking on adding yoga back to my life.  I have three yoga studios within walking distance of my house, one at the end of my block.  When I discovered that for yoga, you can not only have cute outfits, but mats and a bag to carry the mat in, yoga might be fun to explore again. The project this week is a yoga mat carry bag.  This week's bag is for Mr. D.  (I have mine almost finished.)  He's a constant source of inspiration and it's my way of supporting him in taking healthy steps.  So, surprise, Mr. D!

So, on this weekend, we as a nation celebrate so many freedoms.  We have the freedom to create the life we want.  One moment at a time.   We have the freedom to choose, a trashy R.V. full of negative thoughts and feelings parked in front of our house or the great R. Buckminster Fuller life experiment. What's it gonna be?  You get to choose.

Until next week...create to feel great!                                              38 projects complete! 14 to go!

P.S. For the record, I don't have anything against R.V.'s, R.V. camping or traveling.