afraid of heights…

Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.  ~ John Lennona97765_g269_10-canyon

the new year is here…and finally for me, i can feel it.

As I have alluded to, i changed my life last spring.  I wish I could have written aloud to others during this past 8 months journey, but it was simply too personal.

But today, on this morning, i feel like I have poked my head out of the dark…that I have crossed a huge chasm- HUGE…and I am looking back at it with astonishment.  And all of the fear and apprehension of seeing it looming ahead for so many months is gone…and I am lighter because of it.

I have learned some things about myself:

  • I am capable of doing what I set my mind to
  • Being separate from people is more about emotional distance than physical distance
  • I don’t control everything, nor is everything my fault or responsibility
  • Having time and permission to create is essential to my mental health
  • I need very few ‘things’ to be happy
  • I can spend an obscene amount of money on groceries, if I don’t keep track!
  • Its OK to ask for what I need and its OK to say ‘no’ to what i don’t want.

I have also learned that before one of these epiphanies, I tend to get really emotional- like crying-in-the-produce-section-of-HyVee emotional…embarrassing, as I am counting my items, thru tears, to see if I can use the ‘express lane’.  But that is another thing I have learned…feel your feelings…nothing wrong with that.

One of my daughters has the quote above tattooed on her feet, and she has repeated it to me on and off thru the past 8 months.  Until recently, I am not sure I really understood this part of my life correctly.  And who knows? I may not have it figured out now either…but the first major chasm is behind me

Aside

standing still

So grown up!

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.  The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  This is the day your life really begins.  ~Bob Moawad

The weather was suitably windy yesterday, Journi and I were home by ourselves, and she asked if we could maybe go fly a kite.  At first, i was phrasing the suitable “no, Journi, not today” response in my head. It was in my mouth and almost out there, and I thought, “why not!? Its a gorgeous day for it and really why not?!” So we retrieved the kite, got in the car and voyaged to the soccer field.  I was a bit concerned about how it would go, because our last kite flying day was a group effort, with her mom and her grampa.  But you know, are you just going to wait for everyone else to make your day!? So we braved it alone.

Look at that perfect kite holding technique!! What a pro!

After getting the kite all unwound, and strung out, attaching the tail (key requirement we learned last year), Grama ran up and down the soccer field, with Journi running along side.  It probably looked a bit ridiculous…just couldn’t figure out how to get the wind to take off with the kite.  Finally i stopped running, took a breath, figured out which way the wind was blowing and stood still, with just a bit of string fed out for the kite. (Journi liked the running better.)  Sure enough, the wind blew up behind us in a gust and lifted the kite up a bit.  We fed string out bit by bit until it was high in the sky.

Journi was so tickled feeling the tug of the kite, as the wind played with it, swooping and diving.  I discovered that we needed to work on ‘holding technique’ after I raced across the field after the string spool a few times.  Holding both ends of the spool, with her thumbs touching her chest seemed to work best.

I felt a bit smug as cars drove by and stopped to watch us flying our kite.  “yes, look at us- outside enjoying the day, making a memory” 🙂

standing still

Almost exactly a year ago, i wrote a post (read it here) on the first time flying a kite with Journi, beginning with the same quote above.  It seemed only fitting that I start with that quote again.  I re-read that post this morning and I am stunned at how far we have come!  Journi is so much bigger, and more able in all that she does.  My own children were in different life places a year ago and have grown wiser.  And I too, took this past year to stand still, listen to the wind, to my own heart, and claim the best day of my life.

back away…just back away from the weapon, ma’am…

On Friday, I went to work for the morning.  I am not really “off” in the summer- I have to put in a certain number of days during the summer.  The days can usually be when I want, unless there is a specific event that I need to be present for.  So anyway, I went in to work for the morning. I was working on scheduling students for fall classes.

Understand that I am an artist; I do not think in straight lines, or in a linear fashion at all.  My thoughts are sort of like a screen saver, a flash over here that randomly disappears, until another appears over there, and then another that overlaps, and then they both fade…well, you get the idea.  Thinking in straight lines makes my head hurt.  But I muster it up for a few tasks in my life, and master scheduling is one of them.  I was scheduling away doing fine, until I realized that there were 52 students scheduled into one section of Spanish 2, and that because of how the puzzle was together, I didn’t know what to do.  I tried several solutions, none of which worked.  I hit a wall.  I decided it was time for lunch.

When I walked into my house, from the dogfood I was stepping on, it appeared that Journi had decided to empty the dogfood dish all over the library.  Everyone was home, and no one seemed particularly concerned.  I looked around …my house was a disaster…dirty dishes on the counter, toys all over the livingroom, breakfast cereal boxes still on the table, and of course, add to this that there was dogfood on the floor…that there were dogfood crumbs stuck between my sweaty toes as I picked my way thru the kitchen. (oh yeah,  i forgot to mention it was in the 90s temperature wise too)

Is it fair to say that my day was spiraling?  I wanted to cry, to scream, to fight…

So I had a little time-out in my bedroom…took a breath, picked up the dogfood…can I mention that no one had even moved in the livingroom?

And I made up my mind to spend the afternoon doing what I wanted to do.  I Kool-Aid dyed some wool and some llama…gorgeous blue, purple and crimson.  I went to my studio and built some clay slab pieces that I have had in my mind for some time…they turned out beautiful.

The schedule nightmare is still there, and will be there when I walk in again next week…but I channeled my frustration and anger into creative energy, was able to overlook the mess in my house until I was ready to deal with it, and the bonus is I was able to get thru the day without killing or maiming anyone…so a win-win, right?

how to begin.

the only joy in the world is to begin…~ Cesare Pavese

beginning…i have trouble beginning.  Of all of the creative parts of a project, beginning is the toughest part for me.  I can go thru preparations, gathering, mulling, but the actual STARTING…that sticks me.

Once i start, its gravy.  I can see all the things that work and don’t work, what falls apart, what worked better in my head, what LOOKED better in my head, and it is energizing to actually SEE in a concrete sense what i have been seeing in my head, what i have been theorizing.

So how can you get yourself to START?

Here it is- step by step

1. Put your hands on your sketch or if you have no sketch, close your eyes and picture your finished project in your head.

2. Gather your materials and put within reach in your work space.

3. Picture your finished project in your head.

4. Deep breath…reach up high, and reach down and touch your toes.

5. Picture your finished project in your head.

6. Pick up each of your materials and put them each down.  Do this several times.

7. Picture your finished project in your head.

8. Put everything away for the day and go for a drive…just kidding 🙂

Actually, this is the sticking point- do it! Put pen to paper, start writing, or pick up your paint brush, or put the clay in your hand – but it is time to try to make what is in your hand match what is in your head…

and here is the deal…if this project was going to go easy, you would have already done it- so be prepared for 2 or 3 or 27 false starts or practice/trial runs…in fact, try to figure out how NOT to make it work first- trying the beautiful floaty, ethereal idea you have in your head first may be what is stopping you flat.  So test your ideas out on trials first and see how it goes.  Get those out of the way!  Don’t even attempt to make the first thing you try the Golden Finished Product.

I have, at times, been paralyzed by the fact that i only had enough of a certain material…i didn’t want to waste it if the project didn’t go right, so i just didn’t begin.  In this situation, practice with a lesser equivalent of your coveted material, or pull it out of your project- its a problem.

once you know what will work and what won’t, that beautiful floaty ethereal idea in your head will begin to take on concrete dimensions in your head, AND in your workspace.

Go forth and conquer!

keep on tryin…

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.  The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  This is the day your life really begins.  ~Bob Moawad

We took Journi kite flying on Sunday.  It was a cloudy day, a bit cool and windy. The soccer field seemed like a good place, wide open, grassy and flat.  As we unwound the string and got ready for the first attempt, you could see Journi’s dismay at the usually stable predictable adults in her life.  “what in the world are they doing!?” 

She loved the kite, but couldn’t grasp why we wanted to run around a field with that pretty thing on the end of a string.  And run we did!  (well, not me…i took pictures)  Michaela ran up and down the field, tugging the kite behind her.  Even tho’ it was windy, the kite didn’t seem to be taking off…just hovered at about 6-8 feet.  The kite crew reconvened and checked the equipment once more… aaah… the tail…who knew that putting the tail onto a kite could make that much difference!?  (i know…those of you who are aeronautic masters are just shaking your heads at me)

Once the tail was in place, the kite soared, taking up all of the string and sailing high and to the south of the field, until it was just a speck in the sky.

What are you working on right now? What is your immediate goal?  If its not flying kites, what is it? Are you seeing something in your dreams that you are itching to paint, build, create? 

You have to keep trying…this is yours alone, if you don’t do it, no one will.

If things aren’t working out how you envisioned, can you change your vision? 

If not, are you missing some critical piece- equipment, knowledge, experience, education- ? 

What can you do to get by?

There may be  a few  (or many)  failed attempts on your way to making what you envision for yourself…but those are a necessary part of the process…they can only improve the vision…

and…sometimes you have to do what you can, you have to get by, until you can do what you want or what you envision…

but you have to keep on trying…

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