Saturday, July 30, 2011

Christmas In July

Christmas in July.  I've always thought was sort of funny.  I believe it was started by retailers to get folks thinking early.  When I worked in retail, I would do Christmas in July displays and get flack from customers for pushing Christmas on them.  For crafters and diy gifters, like myself, Christmas in July makes sense.  It is getting a head start. This year I felt like I wanted to do Christmas in July.  I'm here to announce that I have started my Christmas gift making.   In this, here's an odd puzzle.   How does one stay in the moment while planning for the future?  How do we stay present and not so focused on the future, so much so that all we can see in the future and how great we think it will be, while the present is neglected?  It is a mind twister.  On one hand we want to envision our future and take steps towards it.  While on the other hand, there is plenty o' stuff to deal with in the here and now.  Eventually, the future will be our here and now.   Anyone else, getting a headache trying to figure this one out?
In the movie Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman's character says that he never made a plan in his life.  I've often heard it said that if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit that target every time. Yikes!  This is complicated.
I like to think that one way to work through this puzzle is to view it like cooking a huge dinner. (Like a Christmas dinner)   There are things in the oven that are cooking away and don't need our attention right away (the future). There are pots on the back burners of the stove (future soon to be here) and there are pots on the front burners that need our attention.(the here and now).   Now we can't cook everything on the front burners all the time. We need those other burners and the oven to help us out.   As we move along and allow things to cook and develop in our lives, we sometimes move things around on our stove.  A smart cook checks on all the goings on the stove top and oven.   I think we can do that as well with our lives.  Like a great cooked meal, if we are smart and tend to the elements as needed, they will all come together and be wonderful.
So, as I'm working through Christmas in July, I'm in the moment working on a project and thinking about my relationship to the receiver of my gift, and when Christmas does roll around, I'll be able to enjoy that season, hopefully, with an ease and relaxed state of mind. For me, Christmas in July isn't just about getting a start on my gift making, I'm also using this mind set for other things in my life.  Working towards and bright and joyous future- not just at Christmas time but year around.
How will you use the ideas of Christmas in July to create a bright and joyous future for you right now.

Until next week...create to feel great!                          
41 projects complete 11 to go.

The project of the week...what else than painted Nutcrackers.  I stumbled upon these guys in a clearance bin.  I love Nutcrackers and have always wanted to paint I have two!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

When The Game Changes

I often heard it said that the only thing in life that certain to happen is change.  If this is true, then why are there so many folks afraid of change?  Is it that change is viewed as the ultimate "I'm not in control here!" moment.  Or is there fear that we won't be able to handle the change. Or is it the fact that it shakes up our comfort.  And let's admit it...cats aren't the only creatures who love and seek out their comfort on a moment by moment bases.
Yet changing things up and creating positive changes in our own life is good.  It's still scary.  There are still the unknown elements that are out of our control. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable.  And yes there is that element of what if I try this or make this change and it doesn't work out for me?   So, do we stay afraid of change or embrace it and welcome it into our life?  I think we cannot help but in embrace it as a fact.  I mean really, when you look at change in a very basic form, we experience it everyday, even if we knowledge it our not.  When we wake up in the morning.  It's a new day.  That's change from the day before.  Even if you feel that the new day is more of the same it isn't.  That's what I like to call small scale change. A baby step for those who have trouble embracing change.  Try on the thought that every new day is a day for change in our lives.  No matter how small.  With a little daily practice, soon you'll discover your are getting comfortable the change, and maybe ready to create other- bigger- changes in your life. Just like the new day, change in our lives is forward moving.  Let's make it a positive forward movement.   Oh, and here's something for control freaks...getting comfortable with change and making and embracing change as part of your a great way to stay in control of you.  It also helps to know how to react when changes come at us that we don't like so much.
This week's project is sort of a toss back to when I was a kid.  Embroidered dishcloths with retro looking kitties.  In my weirdly wired mind, they symbolize how awesome change can be.

Is there one little tiny change you could make in  your life that might result in bring you more joy and lightness?
Until next week...create to feel great!
40 projects complete!!!  12 to go (the not so dirty dozen!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So I Think I Can Dance

"Human Beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intone in the distance by an invisible player."~ Albert Einstein
My summer, so far, has been centered around more lessons about being in the moment and how to move forward in that moment.  Anytime to work on those lessons is a good time, for me summer seems to avail it's self to the lessons and provides many a classroom.   In my "studies", I came across the above quote from Mr. Einstein.  It inspired me to look at the question of "how to be in the moment?"  as a dance.  A dance that can and will change it's tempo. The dance idea feels more creative to me.  It was also inspired by my brother-in-law Douglas, who was a very gifted and creative designer in his own time.  Sadly, he passed away all too soon and way to young from a long illness.  Doug would call me on Sundays to ask me what I was creating?  We would talk for about an hour, mostly about design. Sometimes about life and events.  As he got closer to passing, we would sometimes talk about what he was feeling and going through.  During one of our last conversations, we talked about the challenge I have staying in the moment.  He joked and said with a word of caution for me.  "Oh, don't wait to start dying to figure that one out.   Because that's all I can do right now is be in the moment.  It's a wonderful dance. I wish I'd started it sooner."  
"A dance?" I asked.  "What sort of dance?"
"A Strauss Waltz for me. The tempo is wonderful and the perfect pace."
The Blue Danbue was played at his memorial.
This week was so much about me to doing this "I'm in the moment dance", by Friday, I had no projcet of the week! I had lost track of time! I had a couple of ideas.  I made a couple of attempts and everything failed.  I was forcing and pushing to complete something.  It felt odd and out of step.  I kept thinking that maybe I didn't need a project.  I certainly did my share of creating this week, but really nothing new.  This morning, I discovered that I was stepping into the moment, and not brining the fun to my project of the week idea. I decided to clear my mind and dance a bit around my studio (I tried a waltz and some salsa with Gus).  Sure enough...I was ready to create some fun.   I painted a little wooden bird house for Mickeygurrl's bird garden.  I also put together her Bird Table- a wooden bird feeding station.  
I'm thinking being in the moment and bringing the fun equals a magic time.  This week it did for me.

What tempo is your "I'm in the moment" dance?   So,do you think you can dance?
Until next week...create to feel great.
39 projects complete  13 to go.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Cosmic Dumpster

I have lived in this great old house for over 16 years. I have 16 years of memories, projects and gatherings in this house. It was a fixer upper when we moved in.   16 years later, it's still a fixer upper.  We moved in and got busy with life. That life didn't involve a lot of fixing up.  A lot of stuff got moved into our basement 16 years ago and got added to. We both held on to the most ridiculous stuff.  Thinking it made us unique and quirky. Last spring, our basement flooded. It actually, had been taking on a little bit of water here and there over the years. This spring's flood was 2 inches, and just enough water to create mushy moldy boxes of stuff.  Enough was enough, it was becoming an energy drain.   It was musty, dirty and packed with junk making it a real challenge to not only see what we had, but move around in there. I hated to go down to the basement. Time to do something about this.   I think most of my friends were tired of hearing me talk about my dirty moldy basement. It wasn't so bad that I lived in fear of the Hoarders TV show crew showing but at my door, but left for 16 more years or less, they would have had a show down there.   I knew this was going to be a big messy project.   I approached it like that.
I looked at my calendar and scheduled the time.  Ordered the 20 yard drop box dumpster (yes it's big), gathered up supplies- hazmat suit, gloves, goggles, face masks.  
This week was the week!  I was woken up early on July 5th from the dumpster company saying they were on their way.  Once the dumpster was dropped of in my drive way, I suited up and got to tossing.
The dumpster quickly filled up, I made great progress.  On day 3, I got hit with this huge wave of emotion.
It was overwhelming.  Sadness and anger swelled up in me.  I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, as I'm not one to hold on to things, once I decided they need to go.   I stopped for the day and took a long hot bath.  With the dumpster almost 2/3 full and my basement really empty, why was I so angry and sad?
I just allowed myself to feel without attachment to why or how I got here.  I was just there.
The next morning a very good friend of mine came over to help me.  She loves this sort of project and I needed the support to finish up.  And we did finish up!  The basement now looks great.
In that sea of moldy mushy boxes, I found one box that contained several antique plates, I had forgotten I had.  They were oddly not touched by mold, they had not aged.  I was happy to see them.  These items will be brought upstairs and displayed, as they are were important treasures.  They deserve to see the light of day after all these years.
I sat on my porch this afternoon and looked at all the stuff in that dumpster.  It was massively beautiful.  All the colors. All the odd mix of stuff in my past.  It occurred to me that I had held on to all that junk from my past, hoping I could make sense of my odd past one day. At some point, I felt I needed all that junk.  I was allowing that junk to help define me. I now feel like keeping all that stuff from the past did nothing, but hold me back. It sat there and got moldy.  Serving no one and doing no one any good.  It certainly didn't bring me joy.  It was source of frustration.  It become an excuse for not moving forward. As extreme as this sounds, it felt like I all I deserved in life was moldy basement. I feel like I took a huge step forward not only in my basement but for me.
My sadness and anger gave way to joy and liberation.  My current life is still a very colorful mix, but it is forward moving and not growing mold.  Much healthier.  I didn't expect the intense insights, I got from cleaning out a dirty basement.  I'm so glad I took the time to this.   I sure you it will not get filled up. I'm enjoying the empty space to move around in.
Are there items, attitudes or mindsets from your past that you are holding on to?  Are they serving to bring you joy in the present? Or are they just sitting there taking up space in your life or worse yet sitting there just getting moldy?  Are you willing to let them go?
I'm counting this as a project of the week...  As it really was a project and I had so many insights.
So, 37 projects complete 15 to go!
Sorry no photos this week.  It would be too shocking!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You Say You Want A Revolution

I love the 4th of July.  Every year, I'm glad that the founders of our country, sat in wool coats in a hot stuffy room and pounded out the details that laid the foundation for our country.  Some folks  might say, these men did this to protect their own interests.  All were rich men.  All had land and holdings to protect.  I'm still not ready to dismiss what they did because they were a bunch of rich white guys sitting around in a room fighting to protect their holdings and attempting to get away from paying taxes to a King.   These men all had their baggage and junk.  They weren't angels.  Yet they were smart and educated men, taking a stance for what they believed in and protecting what they had built.  They were doing some risky stuff in that room.  I find all their stories to be an inspiration.  The 4th of July for me is to celebrate all that came out of that room in 1776.  Sometimes we have to take a chance and do something different- shake things up to change things up.
I'm simplifying things a bit here when I talk of the founders.   I do this to get my thoughts going.  To get the core of the story and get the inspiration.  I think what would have happened if they had said, "I'll pass on this opportunity. It's too risky.  I'll be uncomfortable.  I don't like the others involved in this process."  And a hundred other excuses- that I'm sure some used.   Just sit there, not doing anything and getting more and more angry at the oppression that England was heaping on them.
I'm glad those men took the chances they took.  I respect any one who takes a chance and moves towards a direction that is not just in their own self interest, but just might benefit others.  Anger and frustration can be a strong motivator.  It can also eat us alive.  Again, it what we do with this anger and frustration that matters.
I started this Campaign out of anger and frustration.  Angry and frustrated with myself that I wasn't doing anything about the negativity I saw in me and the world.  For me it wasn't good enough to just be angry and frustrated. I had to do something anything.   Now I'm not under any delusion that my little Campaign is shaking the world on a grand scale.  All I can count for is me, my attitudes and reactions.  I'm happy to report that it has and is changing me everyday.  I'm happier and freer feeling overall everyday, since embark on this Campaign.  I'm certain more tapped into my creative and the effects it has on me and my world. It has revolutionized my world.
Is there something you've done in your life that you feel has revolutionized you?  How would you like to revolutionize your life as it is right now?
Happy Independence Day!                                                                 
Until next week...create to feel great!
36 projects complete!  16 to go!

This week's project are some nice red, white and blue crocheted dishcloths.   I've crocheted for years and years (I don't love crochet as much as knitting, but I love it's speed), but I've never made a dishcloth.  Guess it was time!