Friday, November 30, 2012
Today is November 30th.
It is the last day of the month.
Many people on Facebook took the month of November and expressed one thing each day that they were grateful for.
I participated . . .some.
I was very inconsistent and probably only managed to make a "gratitude" comment about 1/2 of the days.
But that doesn't mean the thoughts were not being felt by me.
I saw this video today and it brought tears to my eyes.
(Of course, that happens a lot to - I am a first class boob - but regardless . . .)
Take the time to watch it.
Listen with your heart.
The poignancy of it speaks to the soul.
I spoke with a friend recently -
He had helped me with a task that for him was very easy.
For me - it was a struggle.
It was not that I couldn't have figured it out -
but time was tight and I had been unable to complete the task.
I said thank you. . .many times over.
He was surprised and wondered if I was sincere.
I asked what I could do for him - the answer was nothing.
Why did he want to help me?
What did he want from me?
Was this possible?
Have we become so jaded in our lives that when we express gratitude it is not believed?
When someone steps in to help us or gift us with time or service -
are we so jaded that we are looking to find out what they want from us?
I know that I am frequently more than willing to extend a hand of support to others and I expect nothing in return.
Why could I not believe that someone was willing to do that for me?
It made me stop and think.
So often - we relate our gratitude to big things.
Or to big events.
And yes - it is imperative that we are grateful for the big things.
But what about the millions of little miracles that occur each and every day.
Yes - MIRACLES.
We are surrounded by them.
The simplicity of gratitude is often overlooked. . .
The changing of the seasons.
The feel of the rain as it falls.
The sound of my windchimes as they sing their song on the breeze.
The smell of my home.
The ability to see.
The ability to hear.
The ability to breathe.
The ability to read and learn and grow.
The ability to get up when I have fallen.
As life continues to change in my world, I want to remember to remain grateful.
I vow to notice the little things. . .
The simplicity that creates this thing called life.
I vow to remain in the moment.
I vow to reflect my gratitude to those who are in my life -
and to those that have returned to my life . . .
who have supported me;
laughed with me;
cried with me;
lifted me; held me and
I will honor those things and those people that have participated in the journey that has brought me to this point.
And to each of you I say . . .
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Does any word create such a wide range of emotions?
Excitement. Fear. Dread. Fear. Happiness. Fear.
Anticipation. Fear. Pressure. Fear. Joy . . .oh and don't forget FEAR!
Yet - how often do we avoid the change -
and often the wonderful rewards that come as a result of change?
Right now -
I am going through all kinds of change.
Some of it by my choice.
Some of it as a result of other's choices.
Most of it very exciting -
All of it scary.
But the main lesson I have learned from this is to be open to the change.
Overall - change can be very good.
Years ago, I remember learning that life is constantly in motion.
We are either moving forward or we are moving backwards -
we are never stagnant.
If we aren't changing and growing for the better . . .
well . . .we are going in the opposite direction.
And the only way I can find to make sure that I am going forward is to keep dreaming . . .
keep reaching. . .
Which, of course, then brings us back to the subject of fear.
my art business is going through a major change.
It will be good.
I feel confident that it will be great!
It started as a dream.
And the dream is beginning to become a reality.
But it is scary.
Because it has caused me to make some decisions to let go of things that I feel confident about.
Things that I am comfortable with.
But I am choosing to let go of the comfort and continue this journey forward.
Stay tuned - I promise to share details when I can.
But in the meantime - I will keep dreaming.
And envisioning where this journey of change will take me.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
What is enough?
Who gets to determine what is enough?
Is it a particular quantity?
When it comes to our personal lives -
our needs to do, to be, to accomplish . . .
Who determines what that looks like?
Is there a particular income, height, weight, accomplishment, number of hours worked in a day, number of hours slept at night, hair color, eye color, fashion sense, belief, moral code, etc., etc., etc,
that help us reach the point of saying . . .
I've done it.
I'm good enough.
As a woman -
I struggle with this every day.
I open a magazine and I am met with the images of young teen girls made up to look like adults with tiny little bodies and perfect skin and hair.
I go to the movies and see women who manage to do it all, who look perfect, who wake up with perfectly combed "bed hair" and manage to keep it together.
Where is the sense of reality?
I have spent the last several months identifying who I am.
Who I was as a teenager.
Who I have become today.
Am I enough?
I talk with my friends and hear the tales of their journeys as they struggle with the same thing.
I go to social events and listen as everyone talks about how perfect everything in their life is.
I greet a friend or acquaintance and ask "how are you?" -
they answer by telling me they are "great", "just fine", "really good".
But are they?
Do they feel as if they are enough?
Recently, as I have been processing my divorce, I have found that many issues have emerged for me.
Issues that I have buried.
Issues that I didn't even realize I had.
Issues about self-worth, self-esteem and purpose.
I'm not going to go into the whole mess and process that has been wrapped up in this part of my journey -
but let me just say . . .
I'm beginning to believe that I am enough.
Just as I am.
I may not have the perfect body.
My hair may not be thick and full and lustrous like the commercials tell me it should be.
I have stretch marks, and scars and imperfections.
Some days I am happy and driven and positive.
Other days . . .I am not.
But regardless -
this is me.
In all the good, bad and ugly -
and I am enough! We all are.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012
How many times do we think . . .
what difference can I make?
These last several months, we have been bombarded with political ad campaigns, messages, slanders, accusations, promises and more.
People have become angry and emotional.
The tension that surrounded me was very uncomfortable.
Good friends were not speaking to each other because of differing opinions.
Combine that with other issues and it became a rather stressful situation.
The election is over - and I am not going to talk about my feelings on that here.
They are my feelings and my opinions and that will be reserved for other venues.
But I heard some people talk about their decision to not vote -
they stated that their individual vote would never make a difference anyway. . .
And that did bring up a lot of feelings about the difference a single person can make . . .
Years ago, I was at a leadership conference.
One of the speakers had been instrumental in changing national laws on the education of children with disabilities -
His child had been diaganosed with autism and he fought for the rights of his child.
He said he had been asked, many times, what he was bothering and fighting so hard.
People told him he would never make a difference and he was just wasting his time.
He answered them with the following quote:
"if you think you're too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with a mosquito." (african proverb)
That quote resonated with me
How many nights had I laid in bed hearing that unmistakable high pitched squeal that only a mosquito makes.
I throw the light on and look like a crazed woman as my eyes dart around the room trying to find the beast - like it is huge and easy to be seen;
unable to go to sleep because of the anxiety of it all.
But it confirms the truth of this statement.
We spend a lot of our life wishing for change.
And we try to change things within our control - our haircolor, our hobbies, our address . . .
But the bigger issues - we tend to wait for someone else.
We figure we are too small and unimportant to make a difference - it's someone else's responsibility.
We tell ourselves we are not good enough; we are not qualified enough; we are not important enough.
When I heard the quote in this piece of art (which was shared with me by a dear friend),
it resonated with me as truth just as the quote about the mosquito did.
It reminded me that by doing what is important to us -
by following our individual passions and our individual heart -
by listening to that inner voice -
we have the power to create change . . .
Change in ourself; change in our home; change in our community; change in our world.
And by moving forward in a positive direction, we have no idea how many lives we can influence for good.
In fact - when we stop and really thing about it, it is kind of awesome - isn't it?
So what is your heart trying to tell you?
and more importantly . . .are you listening?
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Remember when we were kids?
We would sit in our grade school classes and the teacher would ask us -
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
I don't know about your class -
but in my class, the answers were BIG things.
No one said - I just want to be ordinary.
We had BIG dreams. BIG hopes. BIG desires.
We didn't think about how much money it would make or what others would thin of our choices -
We lived by our dreams.
As for me. . .
I fantasized about being a ballet dancer.
I wanted to twirl on my toes and wear flowing skirts or sparkly tutus.
I wanted to be singer - not with a rock band -
but with a big, full swing orchestra.
And even when I was young, my dream would have been to dress up in 40's style vintage dresses and sing classic American dance standards for a band like Duke Ellington or a jazz band like Ella Fitzgerald.
(Truth be told - I still have this fantasy!)
I dreamed of being a Broadway actress.
Doing that meant I could combine all of my passions together.
I wanted to perform in classic musicals like West Side Story or 42nd Street.
The more dancing the better -
and I did get to perform in some amazing musicals when I was younger - just not on Broadway.
But I miss that part of my life and will find a way to return.
I dreamed of working in the Peace Corps -
living a life of poverty in a remote village in a jungle and selflessly helping others.
I dreamed of being a police woman like Angie Dickinson was on tv.
Or a lawyer like Perry Mason.
I dreamed of being the perfect mom who had a whole group of children and never got ruffled like Mrs. Brady.
I dreamed of being a cool, hip musician mom like Mrs. Partridge. . .
But I never, ever dreamed of being an artist.
I tried art in grade school.
I tried it in high school.
I thought I had no talent whatsover and that feared stopped me from even taking a class.
If I drew something or tried to be artistic, I would cover it up and not let anyone see.
I would only try if I was hidden in my room - and it almost always ended up in the garbage.
I didn't get the courage to try to really explore art or painting until I was well into my 30s.
And even then - I was scared to really try.
I used patterns or only painted in solid colors and let someone else do the detailing for me.
I didn't even utter the phrase
"I am an artist"
until 10 years ago.
It took me that long to say to myself,
"I don't care what it looks like - I am going to paint for myself."
And when I lost the fear - life began.
What is preventing you from trying to do . . .?
It's time for a fresh start.
It's time to explore those dreams and make them happen.
It is time to LIVE.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Regardless of what you call it-
fall or autumn -
I call it beautiful!
My favorite time of year -
I love it!
And I think we do it pretty well in Oregon.
Sometimes, the rain that comes in this time of year is a little tough to take.
But it also seems to wash everything clean -
and then when the sun peeks through,
the colors are more intense and glisten.
And the colors - oh the colors!
God and Mother Nature prove that they are indeed the best of all artists!
|This picture was taken at about 10:00 pm while walking the dog. The street light cast an ethereal glow . . .so pretty.|
|This color of gold warms my soul!|
|My view every day as I walk into my day job. . .|
|A favorite tree of mine - year round. Such a beautiful shape and color.|
|Even the shrubs are putting on their best.|
|Beautiful berries on the dogwood tree.|