Saturday, May 28, 2011

Staring At The Blank Page

I'm love the idea of always learning something new.  It is the best way I know of to bust the blues.  I especially love being able to take an art class.  Last week, I took a silk painting class.  I love painting and dying fabrics, but I really never know what I'm doing and so the outcome, sometimes isn't all that I love. I figured the class would give information and in this case with painting silk, knowledge is powerful.
As part of the class, we were working on this hoops with silk stretched on them.  Once the instructor said, "the best way to do this is to just start playing and painting."  The white hoops took control of me.  I sat staring at these cheap little blank hoops.  My mind flooded with my own words that I challenge the people I coach.  Words like, "what's getting in your way of creating what you want here?"  Or "What would you like to do here?"  I mean it was a blank space to play in.  I was blocked.  I looked around at my class mates, they were busy painting.  They weren't blocked.  They were having fun.  They looked like they knew what they wanted to create here.  I didn't.  I felt blocked and stupid.  I felt blocked and embarrassed. I felt like I wanted to just go home.  I closed my eyes, as I didn't want to see the white fabric laughing at me.  I heard the instructor again. "The best way to get use to how amazing paint on silk is, is to just jump in."  I opened my eyes.  He was smiling at me.  He was right.  It was time to jump in. I asked myself again. "What would you like to do here?"  Well, paint on silk or better yet learn to paint on silk.   Play.   No where in those words was paint the greatest silk painted hoop the world has ever seen.  I jumped in.  Not know what I was painting.  Just allowing the paint and the silk to talk to me (the silk did start to talk, once it stopped laughing).  I was amazed at what I learned that night and what I created.  I didn't want the class to end.   I came home charged up and wanting to cover everything I own in hand painted silk.  My 3 hoops are great reminders to me.  To trust I know how to paint or write on the blank space that is given to all of us everyday. Also, it is okay not to know what I'm going to create.  Lastly, it is really okay to play.   There is so much learning in playing.

My theater projects are coming to an end for the season.  For me, it is one less time consuming thing on my schedule.  As I look towards having some unscheduled time, I sort of panic, a bit.  What to do with this time?  I'm never a loss for projects and things that need tending to, and yet, I'm longing to do something with some meaning.  I'm not so sure what this looks like, I'm in the discovery phase.  I'm staring at this blank space.
I'm excited.  I'm open to what I can create for myself.  When painting silk it takes only a drop of color to fill the space.  A small drop and wow!  I'm going to see how putting out a small drop of color in other areas of my life will fill in the space.  I'm thinking drop by drop something fantastic will be created.

How do you approach the blank page?  Does it scare you or block you?  Or do you just jump in?

Until next week...create to feel great!
32 projects complete 20 to go.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Avoiding "The Crankies"

There are times in life when we are just plain cranky.  There are just some days, I wake up and I'm feeling cranky.  Some babies have days like this.  It usually means that something is "off" in our world.   We are getting ill or our body hurts or there is just too much stress and junk in our lives and we are weighed down by it.   I usually can snap myself out of being cranky by acknowledging it and looking for the source of the cranky mood.   It's like weeding a garden.   When the little young weeds begin to appear, it is much easier to pull them out than the older better established weeds.  The roots are deeper and they are really down want to go away.  As Voltaire so nice put it in his work, Candide- "This is the best of all possible worlds.  But we all must tend our gardens."   And has RuPaul's Drag U professor Morgan McMichaels as put it..."Check yourself before you wreck yourself."  Outside forces, events and people can effect our moods but we are the only ones responsible for the shifting of our moods.  It is being aware of what triggers your mood.  I recently discovered that there are certain businesses I simply can not deal with. Or if I do, I have really steady my mindset.  Most big box stores have this effect on me.  I don't shop at them, and when I do, I have to be very well rested and fed and watered.   (I haven't been to a Costco in years or Ikea.)  I admire the folks who love and live to shop at those places, I just can't.   It ruins my mood and it's not worth it.   There are some people I have to interact with in my life that do the same thing for me.  I have to be hyper aware of my mindset and hold it in my mind as I interact with them.  It takes energy and awareness to avoid "The Crankies".  It's worth it.  Here's some good news, on the other side of this coin is a relaxed state of mind,and a flowing state of being.   I don't know what to call it, as it means something different to everyone.  I do know it is not being cranky.   Person can't "do" cranky.  It's "being" cranky.  For me the state of being is always in the moment.
Being cranky.  Being happy.  Being positive.  Being joyful. 
I started this post by saying some days I wake up being cranky.  On that day that is my truth.  And yet it doesn't have to stay that way, unless I want it to.  When this happens I start pulling weeds, in order to see all the beauty that is growing in my garden.

How do you avoid "The Crankies"?   What shape is your "garden" in these days?  Is it in need of some weeding?

Until next week...create to feel great.    31 projects complete 21 to go.
This weeks project is another Swap-bot craft project.   My partner's profile said she likes coffee and teas, so I created a fabric coffee sleeve and a envelope style tea bag carrier.  I hope she likes them.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Cool Down Victory Lap

As busy as I have been in the last six weeks, this past week been a lot less filled with busy.  A good friend reminded me that I've been running a marathon and marathon runners don't just stop, they cool down. She reminded me that I can't just go from running a 100 miles a minute with my hair on fire, to a complete stop.  She's right.  Time for what I'm calling- a cool down victory lap.  With this mind set, I've found my self, stepping easily into the moment and staying there.   It's a sweet spot.  No struggle, lots and lots of great insights, lots and lots of great conversations with great people I love so much.  Meeting new friends.  In the "lots and lots of great conversations with great people" category, a flood of amazing thoughts came to my mind this week.   Here are my highlights-

Wooti- doesn't like getting
his picture made. 
 In a conversation around negativity, a friend commented that our culture loves the victim. We do. Our entertainment industry is so focused on victim hood.  Once we are no long a victim the attention shifts to the next victim.   Later in my week, I meet the most amazing dog I've ever met.   His name is Wooti.  His momma rescued him when she was in Ethiopia.   He lost a leg from an injury and now runs on 3.  While we were having coffee outside on a fantastic sunny day, people were coming up to meet Wooti.  He is beautiful, wise and loving. A person can not be drawn to him.  Not one person, said, "Oh, poor Wooti.  You lost your leg."  They celebrated his story of survival and finding true love.  They all walked away, after meeting him, with a lighter energy and a smile.  I'm still feeling Wooti's magic.  I think of him or look at his photo and get chills and smile bigger than I've ever smiled.  I feel sorry that Wooti had to go through what he went through to get to where he is now, as I don't think any creature, animal or human, should have to suffer in any way.  And yet, we do.  And yet, here's Wooti.  Not a victim, but a celebration of life and how to turn it around for the positive.  Woot tells me that we don't have to celebrate the victim.   We  get them and us to a place of healing, in order to celebrate the good in life.   If Wooti were a human, people might be tempted to call him a hero.  I think that word gets used to much.   They would call him a survivor.   I call him magical.  Or Wootman the Amazing.  I feel everyone has that magic, once we shift from focusing on victim to focusing on the magic of transformation.

Honesty you celebrate the victim?- Maybe just a little?  Do you like being celebrated as a victim?  We all have times we sit on the pity pot.  I'm not taking about that.   I'm talking about placing our focus on victim.  The idea of victims.  How can you get them or you to a place of healing, in order to celebrate all the good in life and run your victory lap?

Until next week....create to feel great!
30 projects completed!  22 to go!

Another hard to photograph project
My project this week was an easy one and honors...animals.  It came from this packaged craft.  So, cool. Engraving art.  Inexpensive and any one can do this.  It's sort of a paint by numbers kind of craft.  Perfect for me this week.  'Cause aferall, I'm running my cool down victory lap!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shakespeare Kickin' My Rear

I've been working on a huge costume project.  It a production of FORTINBRAS by Lee Blessing.  I've been looking forward to creating this show since September.   I cut my creative costume "teeth" on designing and building big shows. This is Lee Blessing's take on what happens after HAMLET.  It's a comedy, and a good one at that.
For whatever reason, this show has been a huge challenge for me.  It challenged my attitude, my creativity and my resolve.   My attitude and love of costuming dropped and left me about 10:30 pm last night. This morning the stress broke me.   It was photo shoot day. To be followed by first dress.
In my broken state I checked with myself.   I had let pain and fear of the costumes not being good enough or the right thing get to me.  My dear husband, Broadside, listen to me patiently as we walked to get some coffee and I cried.  He put his arm around me and said, "You've been saying it's a little tense at the theater and people have fallen down on their jobs. You've let their energy get to you."  Later that day, one of my kids (who is working the show), said to me, "If you want things to go badly and you focus on it, it will go badly."  I got fed my own medicine, in a large dose.  This afternoon, the actors got into costume.  The energy shifted to one of happiness, joy and relaxed excitment.  One actor said. "now we have a show!"
When stressed it's so easy to slip into negative and fearful thoughts.  Negativity loves tried, overworked, over extented and not taking care of ones self.  We sometimes get in that state of mind.  It is when we are in that state of mind, we need to call on our support system.  I'm lucky to be married to a man who understands theater.  On this show, I'm lucky to have one of my kids (grow up and making me proud), and a group of fun loving actors.  I'm greeted with love and good energy from them, even under the most tense situations.
The show is going to be good.  The actors are some of the best my city has to offer.  I'm finally relaxed enough to be proud of my work, my creations.  Out of the 30 plus costumes, I have two the need a little alterations.  Not bad.
I usually don't use my costume work as a project of the week, but I built this wonderful hat, and folks have been asking to see a bit of my design work.

How does the energy around you effect you?  When you get stressed where does your attitude go?

Until next week...create to feel great!
29 projects complete! 23 to go!