I Sing The Song Of Myself

Standard

Looking myself in the eye in the mirror is never easy for me.

watermarked-WIN_20160620_155235

In the past seven years now, I have undergone several miscarriages, which lead to a dark depression, but not as dark as other times in my life.  I have a chronic illness.  I carried one very hard-headed baby to term.  I lost another in the second trimester–and with that lost any chance of ever having another child at all.  I have felt stymied in this house with no place to do my ‘normal’ Yoga routines (after 7-8 years now, is it still right for me to call them normal?).  My usual refuge is water, achingly hot bubble baths that I would soak in until the water turned too cold for me to stand any longer has been taken from me (no bathtubs capable of such acts exist in this house.) My normal wandering through various shops and stores and places curtailed not only by my youngest child, but also by my physical limitations.  My eyes have turned on me so that frequently reading is not an enjoyable process for me as it used to be.  My hands ache for needles and yarn–that my toddler gleefully grabs and throws skyward.  Not to mention, anything that requires anything like counting or that I need to pay more than no attention to…is screwed before I actually cast on.  Hats are interminable disasters of late…and I lament that fact.  The lack of hats.  The lack of knitting joy and peace.  I have never before lived in any dwelling, house, apartment, cabin, tent, whatever, that my incessant use of smudges and incense has not altered the aroma of, if not forever, then for a very long time.  I cannot make a dent in this house.  I use essential oils on my mattress and sheets every time I make the bed…and within 24-36 hours all scent is gone.  And yes, I use the good stuff.  Honestly.

I have sort of given up on things physically returning to normal with my body.  I have to face the idea that this is the new normal.  I also have to face the idea that my physical health is in my own hands, as my physician enjoys telling me how pain doesn’t mean anything other than I’m getting older.  He also told me that I probably would not need my thyroid meds after one year because I was on so low a dose, this after I explained how I had not only not improved after a year, but that things were getting worse…then after the blood test, after a trip to the pharmacy, I discovered my dosage had tripled.  So when I say my health is in my own hands–it is.  I am the only one actually listening and paying attention.

I no longer wish to fight.  I seek ease.  I seek surcease.

I know in this household my normal positive foundation is struck over and over again.  Trying to remain in the light and the compassion is more difficult here than I expect that it should be, but there is nothing to be done with that.  People are what and who people are.  It is not my job to change anyone.  I fight to keep my focus on the positive.

The other day I looked in the mirror.  It is my tentative habit these days to try to look in the mirror and to see myself.  Not just to check my hair, or my skin, or some part of the whole.  I try to look myself in the eye and smile, if nothing else.  I am not yet strong enough to take a selfie every single day, so this is the best I can do at the moment.

I am finding success with it, in what for me are unusual ways.  I got out of the shower the other day and I looked into the mirror and I realized something clear as day.  I love my body.  I have scars, from childbirth, from illness, from cats and accidents and other things.  My hair is still falling out; my fingernails aren’t growing; my toenails shatter at the slightest touch.  I have lumps and bumps and wiggles and jiggles for which I have no appreciation.  When I take in the parts, I am displeased, to put it mildly.  When I step back and I look at the whole, I realize…I am happy.

That is a brilliant start.

It gives me hope.  Maybe one day I will stop judging myself completely and just be happy in my own skin, in a way I have never been happy since I was give or six years old.

This is a daily practice for me.  This is a moment to moment practice for me.  It takes time.  It takes work.  It takes dedication.

And guess what…I am worth it.

How about you?

Oh, Space

Standard

I am grateful, so grateful, for all the changes our home is undergoing.

From redoing the boys room, to reorganizing the kitchen and basement, to cleaning up the living room (which doubles as the toy room)…it has been a journey — and one not yet complete…

But I am so happy that there is a new energy within this house and that things continue to evolve and shift in such wonderful ways.

watermarked-Scan_20160504 (6)

background piece create by my oldest son Nikolas

Today’s Art

Standard

I don’t actually have much to show this week.

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks lately…and there is still a great deal of work to be done.  Add into that, no one here is feeling all that well lately.  Between summer colds, allergies, injuries and the rapidly shifting energies and weather…it’s been rough.

You may have noticed there was no video last week.  I wasn’t feeling all that well…and I have a great deal of work to do off-line.  Lately that is where I have been focusing more of my time, off-line.  I have severely cut back on social media, leaving every facebook group I don’t actually participate in, disconnecting from media I don’t actually use, letting go of connecting and liking and everything of that nature.  Originally the backing off of social media was not just so I could focus more on home and hearth, but also so I could focus more on my work.  As I sat with things, I noticed–again–that all things are interconnected for me.  If I let go of having to appear online and like things or not read things or whatever, I had more time for other things…like painting, like re-organizing the linen closet, like sorting through the storage area in the basement, like re-doing the bedrooms…

watermarked-Scan_20160718

Years ago, when my two oldest children were little, I began to study Waldorf homeschoolling and Waldorf philosophies…and I found a lot of kinship with the ideas that came up.  I had long wanted to create that Home as Sanctuary and the studying that I did led me to many ideas that supported homemaking as an art form.

Taking care of your home as a form of art, raising your children as a form of art, your home, your children as an expression of your love, your devotion…that right now is where I am.

Yes, I have that stack of prepared substrates with ready backgrounds.  Yes, I have a stack of mail art cards that I need to finish and mail out, as the deadline is quickly approaching.  Yes, I have art journals and various projects in many states of finishing, not finished, bare sketches, half-finished canvases…so on and so forth…I also have online courses and workbooks and lectures in various states of undress, redress and again bare outlines…with new deadlines that do not necessarily happen this year.

It’s July, nearly August.  This is my year to Deepen my connection with myself and my world.  This is where my heart is today.  This is where my art lies today.

Will I have more product to show soon?  Yes.

Will I have more to talk about soon?  Of course.

Right now, I am nestling into the spaces that I have abandoned in my illness and my depression.  Like a caterpillar hidden away in her cocoon…the goo I have been for so long has finally gelled and reformed…I am slowly, so slowly, working my way out of that cocoon.  I am not rushing.  I am in no hurry.  Perhaps all will be revealed in time; perhaps not.  I will share as I feel as I continue.

watermarked-Scan_20160718 (2)

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

 

College

Standard

You can find the most interesting subjects when you start trying to find inspiration to create blog posts.

The one that most sparked my curiosity this week is:  if you could go to college, with your tuition paid in full, what would you study and why?

watermarked-Scan_20160608 (3)

This is actually a question I have been playing with lately.  My partner is about to graduate from his MBA program…and I will be able to flee the house gleefully periodically — and I have been saying for months now I wanted to take some classes — I just wasn’t sure what sort of classes.

I don’t want to be gone from the house for long.  I am not looking for a degree program (am I?).  I don’t want to commit to three evenings a week…or anything complicated like that.  I do not have the stamina to push myself to take a class, make the time to do the work at home, fight the kids, work on the house, and yada yada…I know my limits.  I know how many spoons I can (hope to) count on every day when I wake up.  I don’t want to push myself…I just want to explore … different things.

When I was younger, and I took that year off after high school, I always expected to go to college to get a liberal arts degree.

Life happens.

I was in the process of filling out paperwork for a nursing program…when I met an ex…and left that behind.

I took a job where attending college was literally impossible due to scheduling (every week you get a schedule–every day of that schedule was different–and it was a different schedule every week–).  I did take some correspondence courses, because at that time that’s all there was, hoping to do more once I changed to a different position in that same company…or quit that company all together.

When I did leave that company, I went to massage therapy school.  I had a two-year old daughter then…and I became pregnant with my oldest son while I was there.  I graduated, but I didn’t take the test to get the certification I needed to actually work as a massage therapist.

I have taken a lot of singular classes over the years, online, correspondence, whatever.  I have never pursued a single line of study.

What I want to do right now is take a single class on a single subject…as I peruse the community college catalog that shows up in our mailbox, I find myself … really uninterested in writing classes…in knitting classes…in art classes…Maybe a spinning class (as in spinning wool into yarn on a spinning wheel)…I own a spinning wheel –that I think my kids have screwed up, but since I put it together and only started to work with it before we moved in here I have no clue how to tell or how to fix it…which really hurts my heart when I see the poor thing shrouded for its own protection in the basement…

All of that aside, what am I interested in?

watermarked-Scan_20160701 (4)

I always wanted to undertake a study of the Jesuit faith.  Until I learned that the only way I would get the position I was after was if I had a penis.  I don’t–nor do I have a desire for one…so I let it go.

I have studied religion and spirituality literally my entire life…and I have often entertained getting a degree in it…but if I have to face the same hypocrisy in class that I do in  spiritual institutions around me…I know it’s better I study on my own and let the degree go right on past me.

History is something that I have studied for decades, something I still have a passion for and an interest in, something I study on my own all the time.  My issue lately has been that the winners write the history books–and the books are not always accurate.

Why would this be an issue?

Because every college student I have ever talked to, no matter what program they are in, talks about how their classes lack real-world application.  You study what you are given…you write about what you are given…or you don’t make the grade/pass the class.  And every time this issue is brought up to whatever college, they don’t care, for whatever reason.

If I could go to college for a degree program, if time was not an issue, if money was not an issue, if child care was not an issue, even knowing what I know about art school, I would want to go to art school…I would want to focus on art history and abstract art…but I would also want to take as many foundational classes as possible–portraiture, figure drawing, whatever else would be required and would add to my knowledge base…even if afterwards I threw everything I had been taught out the window…I would want to go just to see what I could learn…and to see how I could improve myself in all areas, not just my artistic skill.

If I could go to college for a degree program, if time/money/child care were not issues, even knowing what I know about MFA programs, I would want to work my way through an MFA program…for the experience more than anything else.

If I could go through collage…same as above…same codicils and so forth…I would seriously want to go through a liberal arts program, with a focus on psychology, philosophy and history going on in the background…and that is where I would build the basis of my own work. not just going for the experience…those are fields that I would use to parlay into my career in some manner…letting go of the art school and the MFA–the liberal arts with focuses on psych and philosophy, with a minor in history…that’s is truly what I would love to do.

I don’t want a degree in psych.  I don’t want a degree in philosophy.  I don’t want a degree in history.  I have always sought after is a well-rounded education…and as best as I have ever found, the liberal arts nomenclature serves that purpose.

My grandfather, after many heart issues, with no short term memory at all, went back to college in his 70s and graduated (don’t know what for–don’t need to…just know he worked hard and he accomplished his goal)…so I am not without hope that one day I can actually go to college for some program or another…more than the “some college” designation that I currently have…

What about you?  How would you answer the same question: if you could go to college, with your tuition paid in full, what would you study and why?

So, I’m A Winter

Standard

It is summertime here.  The heat is HOT.  The humidity…I swear it is not as bad as it usually gets around here…but it sure isn’t lovely.

watermarked-Scan_20160527 (4)

I grew up in AL.  I remember getting kicked out of the kids and told to go play until called…and not immediately dying from it.  I don’t remember being viciously attacked by an enormous number of insects…mostly of which seem invisible…you have the bites all over, but you never see or feel them happening–or at least I don’t.  When I was a kid, we had to be outside…because no one wanted to have to go get their own switch to get beat with…we didn’t sweat our butts off, languishing in a pile under one of the trees…we went out…and tried not to kill each other…or we tried to avoid each other…to the best of our abilities…and of course we avoided the fire ants that were everywhere because, you know, we wanted to actually survive to adulthood.

 

Now, I know I am sick–I have chronic issues, so I know I am not a pillar of exemplary example…but the heat and the humidity hit me like a ton of bricks.  I can fight it for awhile, for the sake of my toddler, because he needs to get outside every single day — for everyone’s sanity…but I can’t handle it for long.

 

On Fridays, when I take the kids to go get their brother and run errands, by the time I get home, all I want is a tepid shower and some ice cold water to drink until my insides cool down so my outside relaxes.

 

I am not a hot weather person.

 

I am a winter person.  Hands down.  I have been for … decades … forever.  Give me snow…piles of it, three feet of it…please.  Not around here, but where I grew up (not AL, think WV, think MD) … snow…and lots of it.

watermarked-Scan_20160527 (3)

 

I can deal with layers of clothing, sweaters, shawls, blankets, slippers, hot drinks held to warm the hands, lots of baking–fresh cookies and breads.  I don’t do all that well with wet damp and chilly…my joints doth protest…but winter…give it to me.

I guess this is why when Fall comes around, I get hit with the “Spring Cleaning” bug…and when Spring comes around, I am ready to burrow inside the house and hermit it out until the cold comes back.

 

This year I have been pushing more–the cleaning and cleaning out has been a  year-long process…every month I work on something else, purging out the old, inviting in the new.

 

Now I have a three-year-old who loves chocolate chip cookies–who is such a finicky eater, he makes me when I was his age look like a voracious eater (I was picky picky picky)–and I have to bake during the heat…because he loves the cookies…thankfully I have a bread machine and I don’t have to heat the whole house to have fresh bread…so I have to do what I can when I can…

 

Usually I wait for cooler weather to do anything…I have my own rhythms and my own cycles–almost always contrary to where I am and those around me…but I am ok with that.  I have spent a great deal of time trying to do things for others, the way others want them…and it took me decades to understand why nothing worked for me…because I was doing their things their way…instead of doing my things my way…the past couple of years I have been working even harder to block out all the old garbage and only listen to my own body, to my own heart and to my own inner rhythms and musics…

 

Which is why when summer comes, I hide in the house, grateful beyond words for the gift of central air and having fans in every room to move the air.

 

Which is why when winter comes, I perk up, looking for the new and the different, wanting to be outside, ready to go and be and do.

 

It took me this long to be ok with all of that.

watermarked-Scan_20160701