Saturday, August 27, 2011

Making The Tough Choices

"Did you ever have to make up your mind?
You pick up on one and leave the other one behind?
It's not often easy and not often kind.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?" ~ John B. Sebastian

That quote is one from one of my favorite songs, from my childhood.  I know they are talking about deciding about which girl to date or whatever, but  the words hold a lot of truth for other things as well.
At the beginning of this year, I made some very firm commitments to myself.  Not New Years' resolutions.  Firm commitments.  Meant on changing my life or how I was conducting it.  Stress reduction and it's effects on my health were on the top of the list.  I know a lot of folks make that commitment or desire less harmful stress in their lives, but I wanted to see what would happen if I really worked on stress reduction. Being a person who just loves to do and loves to do for others, I knew going into this that this would be a huge challenge for me.  I knew some elements of my life would have to go or at very least put on the back burner.  I knew that this change would take some real awareness.  I'd have to learn to say, "No."  And be okay with whatever came after that "no". Sounded easy enough, I guess.  I also thought that in the back of my mind, I could always "fudge" just a little here and there- look like I was holding to my commitment, but really not.  With that mind set, I started getting little "tests" of my resolve.  The people who are part of my life support group/system, were not about to let me get away with playing at this commitment.  This commitment, I has challenged me to my core being and on just about every level of my life.  I can honestly say I haven't been playing at it, I've been making the tough choices in order to keep this comittment.   I can say, I'm stronger, happier, more creative and my outlook on life is clear and clean.  Noone that I have had to say no to, so thinking less of me and tossing me out of their lives.  I still do a lot, but it's in a much more thoughtful manner. The things I am doing for others, is like a gift and not a "I have to do this."  I guess this is what setting boundaries is like.  The bigger piece here is that I'm allowing this new part of me the time to take root and grow in, what think, is health soil.
I've said no to things, some things I've really wanted to do, but knew that they also contained high levels of stress and maybe not the best idea for me.   I also struggled with the thought of letting people down and the dreaded thoughts of being a lazy self-centered good for nothing. (how's that for a negative mind set?)
Through these months, I've been thinking that there is nothing wrong or bad with taking care of myself.  It doesn't have to be such a struggle. Yet sometimes it just is.  At least the John B. Sebastian and The Lovin' Spoonful wrote their playful song to help all of us struggling to make the choices that seem right for our lives.
How are you with making and keeping commitments to yourself?  How do you feel when you say no to one thing and leave something behind?

Until next week...create to feel great!
45 projects complete! 7 to go!

This week's project...knit stitch markers.  Sort like jewelry for knitting.  Made with beads and jump rings.  Very cool. Once I got started making these I couldn't stop. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Floating My Cares Away

In my search and pursuit of the art of the saunder, I made an appointment for a new business called "Float On."  What Float On offers is a 90 minute float in an isolation tank.  I have been curious about these tanks for years.  I took them up on a Groupon offer.  I had no idea how amazing this experience would be.
First it wasn't anything like the movie Altered States. In fact, I think that movie gives people the really wrong idea of the benefits of a float.   The guys who run the service are funny and cool.  They are so mellow, in a way that I wish everyone, including myself could be.   They welcomed Broadside and I as we walked in.  They showed us around and let us chose our tank.   Once all instructions were given, I shut my door, showered and got into the tank.   I thought I'd hate the darkness, the calm, the quiet.  It took a bit to get use to the surroundings.  Before I knew it, I didn't know anything.  And soon some soft music was playing to signal me my time was up.  I guess I was in there for 90 minutes.   I showered, dressed and walked out into the lobby.  There was such a relaxed state of mind and body.   I cannot begin to describe it.  All I know is I will float again.   I slept so good last night.  This morning, I'm still in a very wonderful relax state.  Like better than a vacation.  My mind is clear and feels strong.   My skin feels fantastic.
The owners of this business are really doing a public service.  If stressed out, negative people could float, I can only imagine how great the world would be.   The owners really give back as well.  They believe everyone should have the opportunity to float, so if you have no money, a person can volunteer 4 hours and earn a float.  That is amazingly generous.
So, I don't like to plug or advertise, but the folk at Float On are doing their part to banish negativity and I really hope they grow and flurish.   If you live in the Portland area.  Do yourself a favor and book a 90 minute float at Float On.  I'd be surprised if you walked out of there feeling anything less than relaxed and happy.

Until next week...create to feel great!
44 projects complete  8 to go!

My project this week are some cute relaxing slippers.   It a mix of design that I've been working on for my new charity crafting donations to The Pink Slipper Project.   These are great because usually crotchet or knitted slipper are way too soft for me...these have a cute fabric covered sock liner for stability.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

If You're Happy And You Know It...

I made the coolest discovery this week!  There is a society for happy people!  It is actually a secret society (shaking my head here saying What the what?).   This wonderfully fun society has declared the month of August as Happiness Happens Month.  That's a month worth celebrating!  They have set out three objectives to follow for the month (and really all the time).  They are:
1) Recognize and express happiness
2) Listen to others talk about their happiness
3) Don't rain on other people's parade

They operate from the stance that if you recognize and express even one little tiny tiny bit of happiness in your life, it will grow and grow into a huge huge whole lot of happiness.  It makes me giddy thinking about the possibilities.   It was my feeling when I started this Campaign that folks would peak a little bit into their creativity and pull something out that they could use to banish negativity from their lives.  If everyone did just the smallest of these steps...negativity would really have the huge place it does in the world and might even go away.  With negativity out of the way...Wow! we could do so much more in our lives and the lives of others.
So, the idea of taking the simple act of recognizing and expressing that you just might be even a tiny tiny bit happy and having that grow...that idea really appeals to me.  I've seen this idea take root and grow in my own life.
August seems like the prefect month to begin on this project (if you haven't already).  The days are bright and longer.   There are harvests from the fields coming in.  There are events everywhere (if you live in Portland, Oregon- you can't go to a park on a weekend without running into a production of a Shakespeare play).
There are a lot of things to look at to be happy about.   This group suggests taking the Happiness Challenge.  What we do is write down one moment from our day that was happy.  Only one small moment. One word or thought.  Write it down on a calendar.  In 30days it will be filled with happiness.  I love it!  Are you with me on this one?  I think it is time to proclaim that we are happy.  I know I am.  How about you?
Until next week...create to feel great!
43 projects complete 9 to go!
If you want to check out the Secret Society of Happy People they can be found at

Project of the week....Poochie Bags!   These are the cutest and sweetest and most fun bags to make.
They use fat quarters or fabric scraps and sew up so quick it is mind blowing!...great gift bags or lunch bags or Kindle bags or almost anything bag.
I made these two and now I can't stop making them...I'm thinking holiday themed bags for gift giving.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Coolest Person I Know

I like to think of myself as a person who looks at her life.  What is going on in it. What I want to create with it. I don't often dwell or live in the past.  I don't often hang on to the past.  Or at least I like to think I don't.  I do enjoy the thrill of a new insight into my inner workings.  I coach people to go after and embrace those insights about themselves that can get in their way or help them move forward.
Honestly, sometimes, I can be a bit of a smarty pants about myself and what I know about me and other things of life.  Many years ago...a college room mate told me that she thought that I thought I was pretty all that.  She thought I operated from the fact that I thought I was the coolest person in the world.  I'd never seen myself that way. I was just being me.  It was the first piece of feedback I can remember ever getting.  A part of me was embarrassed and a little ashamed of myself.  I took those words to heart and I shifted myself to fit some one's perception of me.  I closed off a part of myself.  Those words were pretty damaging to me.  I hid for years.  Instead of looking at the feedback that person gave me as feedback, and looking at the parts that might be annoying or less than favorable (if there was any), and using it to better myself, I closed down and hid. I spent my time hiding a major part of who I was and trying to figure out how people wanted me to act and be in their presence. I even went so far as to wrap and hide myself in a huge layer of body fat.  It wasn't until about five years ago, when I hit the age of 50 that I embraced what I call the "cool" side of me.  And looked at myself and asked, "Really?  What is so wrong with me thinking that I am the coolest person in the world?"  There is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing.  In fact I wish everyone in the world would also think of themselves as the coolest person in the world.  Now I'm not saying the most self-centered person in the world.  Or the most selfish person in the world.  I'm saying coolest. I'm talking about an image of being in the moment cool.  Confident in what I know about myself, my talents, my knowledge.  Knowing that I can use all that I am to benefit others.  It is an ease and easy going attitude that because I'm confident in me, I know I can handle life and what comes to me.  Being the coolest person you know...nothing wrong with that.  It's well...sort of cool.
Are you the coolest person you know?  If not, what can you do to take a step towards the cool.
Until next week...create to feel great!
42 projects complete 10 to go. (10! are you kidding? That's so cool- okay I'll stop with the cool)

This week's project is an up-cycle, I took and old with holes leather jacket and turned it into a wallet/small pocket book with coin purse.