New Art Journal In The Making…

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I have this crazy idea—and I think I am actually going to do it…since it has been coming to mind so much, so frequently over the past few weeks. I am not too sure where the idea originated…but it keeps creeping in.

I want to take a lot of the art work –not all of it—that I did last year, that I did on mixed media and/or watercolor paper…and I want to use those pages to create an all new hand-bound art journal.

Last year was the first full year I dedicated myself to painting. I did a lot of work. Some of it good. Some of it…needing more work.

Never fear—I scanned every single piece I did…so there is a copy of it somewhere. I have files saved and backed-up and safe…hopefully…

However, this drive to create that journal keeps –poking at me poking at me…

I have gone back, in several different journals, and re-worked pages completely…turning them into something completely different than what it started out to be…every time I do that, it feels so good…

Do you know—it is not the re-working old art that bothers me, believe it or not…what is actually holding me back at this point is…I am halfway through filling up my very first hand-bound journal that I made for Book of Days with Effy Wild…awhile a go…last year I didn’t date a thing –plus, when I first made that journal…I was so afraid to use it that it took me awhile to start working in it…not to mention, I didn’t really do all that much classwork in this book…I didn’t really get into using this journal until this year—when I started to do my own thing…and that’s when the pages in it began to fill up.

I have that journal. Plus I have so many other journals—journals, altered books, all different sizes—some square, some rectangular…and I am in love with the circular and semi-circular journals I have seen online in recent months…

Do I really need to bind another book of my own? One I know will probably just sit there until who knows how long before I get around to using it.

In short—oh yeah…I know it is just a matter of time before I start digging up my old portfolios from last year where I have everything stored…then I will decide: what size am I creating…a multi-sized page book, or do I create different books for different sized pages?

One question leads to another…always…

Once I reach the point where I am creating the cover…I want to use what I learned in Lorraine Bell’s 21 Secrets Spring 2015 lesson…with what I learned from making the BOD journal (called Ocean)…and create a different journal all together.

The first thing I want to do is create a stronger, more interesting cover. I want to make sure that the cover is stiff…but I also want to create a more patchwork effect – for the outside…and then I do believe I either want to do a hidden binding—or a more ornate binding…plus I will need to ensure that my fold-over flap is a lot bigger than the one I did for Ocean…I thought surely six extra inches on the fold-over flap to close and secure this journal would be enough—but this journal is half-full at this point and I am in shock that so much of the fold-over has disappeared as the journal has bloomed.

Now…do I collect and assemble my pages first…or do I work on creating the cover first?

Just A Conversation

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Have you ever had a relationship—be it friendship, work relationship, romantic relationship, familiar relationship…whatever the case may be—where you feel as if you are speaking up, speaking clearly, being understood by the other party—and then they open their mouth and you wonder what planet you are on because the other person is so far away from being on the same page as you are you might as well be in outer space?

You: I had a lovely time. I really enjoyed myself. Let’s do this again.
Them: You were so miserable. You never even left the hotel room. We’re never doing this again.

You: The way to fix this problem, as seen in this example right here, is XYZ.
Them: There is no way we are ever going to come up with a solution to this problem.

And so on and so on.

I am sure we can all sit here for the rest of the week and toss some similar type of discussion into the ring.

Trying to have a conversation with someone who can’t hear you, can’t understand you, whatever – and yes, in some cases saying they won’t hear you and won’t understand you can be very valid, for whatever reason…it gets really old.

Sometimes there is no way around that person. That person is your boss, your business partner, your room-mate, your spouse, your child, your parent, your best friend….whoever it may be. What do you do?

In a work environment, you can document everything. You can go to their boss. You can go to HR when it gets too extreme. You can find another job.

But – what if this is your parent—your child—your room-mate—your spouse? What if you are committed to staying in touch with that person? What do you do then?

I really do not have **the perfect solution** that will magically fix every problem we have with every person. Some days, I swear, if I had such a solution, I would bottle it and sell it for $1 a bottle…and nothing more…can you imagine…

Anyway…

What do you do?

When you have tried to talk to this person, about anything, and they never seem to hear you—they never seem to get your point—they always turn it around, turn it into something else—whether they turn you into the bad guy or not…what do you do—to save your own sanity?

The first thing that I did was – change the way I was speaking to the other person.

Was I using words that were too big? Was I not being specific enough? Was I providing too much detail? Not enough detail? I simplified the way I spoke to this person. I worked hard to be as succinct and as clear as I could be at all times.

I finally began to minimize the conversations that I had with the person.

That one factor can be very difficult, especially if this is a friend or a family member, but it was the only way I could come up with to stop arguments, to stop feeling horrible about being unheard and dismissed and the only way to stay sane.

I don’t care if this is the “ideal” solution, because this is the solution that works for me.

It is not a perfect solution. It does leave a lot to be desired. But what I desire is my own stuff. I want to have a decent fulfillment for both sides conversation…but the other party has made that impossible over the years. So the wanting it is all on me. That is my stuff to deal with there.

Being frustrated about not being heard, no matter the situation, is again, my expectations and my own stuff. I have to find a way to handle it that is best for me. And still be as gentle and compassionate as possible to all parties involved.

What alternatives have I chosen to utilize, keeping in mind this is outside of the work environment?

I journal, a lot. I write things out. I draw things out. I paint things out. I collage over lots of writing that I do. I burn my writing, a lot. I write it down, dig it out, tear it up and let it go. Over and over and over again, until I find my own equanimity.

Before we moved into this house, I had Yoga to turn to…I had long hot baths by candlelight…I had a peaceful back porch to sit on and watch things grow, or flit by, or hop by…watch children and dogs play.

I am at least slowly returning to my knitting…but it is hard to knit aggressive energies out these days. I used to be good at it…I could focus on my knitting, be in a conversation, and let my fingers just fly…but I am not so coordinated at the moment.

What do you do in situations where you are not heard by someone else?

How Goes The 365 Project…

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So originally I chose to create some sort of flower image every day on an index card…and not even two months into it—I found out just how much I dislike creating on index cards.

Truthfully, my real issue is creating something half-a**ed real quick, without much thought…that drives me crazy—and I am actually working on that by doing timed – but more primitive faces—although I do tend to go back, say, when I am on the phone or if I have a space where I can work on something small quickly…then I go back and add color and other things to these sketches.

Carla Sonheim, in her last class of her Kids Week Art Class, taught a quick Modigliani portrait style…and I totally fell in love with it.

However, my floral a day went from index card—to altered book art journal—to altered book art journal. I actually do draw flowers of some sort every time I sit down – I always end up doodling flowers —when I am ‘required’ to sit down and create flowers though…it sucks the joy right out of it for me and I stop…

The other thing about me is—I will seriously doodle the exact same type of flower every single day for no real reason other than I can…and maybe next time I undertake such a project I should just sketch that single flower every single day for as long as the challenge lasts…and I think I shall have to put that on my to do list…draw the same flower over and over for a set number of days…

I also got jammed up and stopped trying to do the flower a day thing after I had my little lost weekend in April…it took three months for me to catch up on things after being gone for not even three whole days…and it completely disrupted my schedule and work flow—to this date…so that is a contributing factor as well…

Well, the 365 project did not run from June to June…but I am ok with that. I learned quite a bit from that experience…and one of these days, when things are more settled, and my youngest is willing to work with me more … I will set up and try a 365 challenge again.

For right now, my only 365 challenge is to get out of bed and keep breathing…breath is life…

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What Is Missing…

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It took me awhile to figure out what is genuinely missing in my life.

Then I read Sheri Ponzi‘s bhakti practice of creating hearts.

That’s when it started to hit me…I have lost that connection, that spiritual depth, in my life.

There is something about where I am right now that has literally sucked the joy, pleasure and soul from my existence slowly over the past five or six years.

It was one of the slow innocuous things. Little things slip away and you forget to miss them.

Without the foundation of the little things, when the bigger things begin to falter, there is nothing and no one there to help catch you—and before you know it—you are flailing around.

I have slowly been reclaiming those lost little bits of myself, like little shards of my soul shattered all about, hidden out of sight lest they offend people—people that I don’t know and could care less about…

I am coming back into myself. Bit by bit.

I do not mean to intend to create hearts as a devotional practice. I deeply admire Sheri’s practice, but that is her practice.

I do intend to put more of my own self into my work.

I think I have pretty much stopped doing all the guided art class work I have before me. The intuitive stuff – that still thrills me and speaks to me…but honestly, I am not doing much of that either. I am busy working on my own things…with the exception of the Red Madonna Queen of the Cosmos canvas I spoke of recently...but most of that is intuitive technically as well…

I have fallen into someone else’s habit of waiting until things are right, until the time is right, until this happens, until that shows up, or we have this…that sort of thing…and that is not my usual thing. I have spent far too much of my life missing the present because I had to live for the future…well, I do not trust the Future…I could get hit by a car the second I walk outside—or considering where we live, a stray bullet could ricochet through the house and hit me…or my body could decide enough is enough and stroke out…no one gives us a guarantee of tomorrow…and I have long disliked living for a tomorrow that I have no guarantee of…

When I started to let go of that crippling belief—that as soon as everything is ‘right’, as soon as we have ‘enough’ here, as soon as we do enough that, some of my health issues began to right themselves. I have a long long way to go…I went from fifteen+ years with CFS into AFS…and that is a long fight to rebuild your body … but to have that surge of oh, I feel…better than I did before…after so long of nothing but pain and dis-ease and pure exhaustion on all levels…a little better is like reaching a whole new mountain top…

With this in mind, I have decided to start writing and posting it here on this blog…originally I had planned to start posting everything to a separate blog reserved just for prompt responses and whatnot, especially with an eye towards where Wednesday Prompts is going in the next year or so…but as I sat with it…it felt–disingenuous…so I decided the best thing to do would be to keep posting everything to the same main blog here and let all the other things go…

Yet, Evangeline and I are working on an Oracle Card a Day reading blog, found here…and now I have this other blog.  I will be honest…my heart is not in the project in itself–but I am all in if it encourages Evangeline to work with something that interests her.

What to expect from my writing and prompt responses?

I get at least three different writing prompts in my inbox daily – plus some weekly—and others just show up sort of randomly…plus, it’s not as if I don’t have my own prompts that show up every Wednesday here on this blog.

What does all of this have to do with bhakti?

In order to honor the Divine…I must honor the Divine within me…the Divine Spark within me swirls up from a Gypsy heart—full of music and dance…which have slowly been creeping back into my world…I am the Story-teller and the Artist…and all that I do, I do for the Divinity within and without.

It is the same as all other lessons—you can love no other, above or below, until you truly love yourself. If you cannot love yourself, then you do not love what the Great Divine has created…it’s that whole double-edged sword thing.

I hope you enjoy witnessing this journey of mine. I never know where it is going to take me…sometimes not even once I get there…lol…

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Oh, Morning Pages

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Julia Cameron suggests writing three pages of stream of consciousness writing first thing in the mornings.

Three pages.

I have always had issues with morning pages in one way or another.

Please, do not get me wrong—I highly recommend morning pages…and I do write them…sometimes I have to do them differently than the original assignment or suggestion by Julia Cameron.

My issues with writing morning pages flip-flop.

Originally, I decided to write until I was done…that could take all day, off and on…or it could take hours in one sitting…which was doable long before my youngest came along—not so much after he got here.

Then I decided to limit my writing…to twenty minutes…and yes, when I am on a roll I can indeed write more than three pages of hand-written gobbledygook in twenty minutes.

But…that wasn’t what Julia said…and I can be a stickler for the rules when I want to…so I went back to three pages…and three pages only.

Except – in the past year, I have begun to notice this trend with myself…I am using those limits to stop myself from really getting into things…as in…I will write junk junk junk junkety junk junk junk…and then on page two near the bottom I start to get into something good…or maybe it’s the middle of page three…and as soon as I come to that last empty line of page three…oops, gotta stop right there because I have reached the limit…it’s over…done…

There are a number of reasons to do this, for me anyway.

I do not want to commit to paper what is really in my heart. I don’t ever want to re-read it. I don’t want my kids to read it. I don’t want anyone else to read it.

Better—I do not want to have to admit what is in my heart that wants to come out. I don’t want to face the truth or deal with the truth.

And that isn’t good.

I have been avoiding too much for too long…and it is time to stop.

So—I will write two or three pages at a time, regardless of day or night. I write what is on my mind. Then I let it go. Whoever reads it years from now, if it still exists, because after so long I usually destroy my journals anyway, so be it.

For really big stuff…I write in my journal—then I write in an art journal – and then I collage and paint all over it in order to transmute it.

Take a practice. Adapt it to your own needs. Make it what you need it to be.

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