My LifeBook Experience Today

When I purchased LifeBook 2018 last year, as part of my wedding gift from friends (gift cards are great), I was hesitant and tentative.

I had done two years of LifeBook prior to this year…and then there was a two, perhaps three-year gap…and I am one of those people who didn’t really miss it all that much.  Every now and then I would think to myself, I would genuinely enjoy having a class that came to my inbox every Monday again…giving me a focus and a plan and something to do when I couldn’t think of anything else…

But…I have a lot going on…every day.  I sign up for free online workshops, the kind where you get video lectures/tutorials every day for a week or a month or whatever…and I never have the time to sit and watch or listen to them.  I have bought stand-alone classes that if I fight hard enough I can skim through the videos—which means I am doing something else while the video plays in the background and I listen—and look up if something catches my interest.

Now, there’s LifeBook.  You can see from my blog…I did a few lessons.  The lessons I did felt good to me.  I have ideas for things that coincide with Sarah Trumpp’s monthly Yoga offerings…but other than rough sketchy doodles in my written journal—nothing has yet come of that.

I do have a few lessons that I started yet and haven’t completed…although I watched, as best as I could, the videos…I haven’t done anything LifeBook related since the fifth week.

In February, I knew I would be having surgery and spent that entire month in a state of breathless…waiting…and worrying…and worrying some more…and not sleeping…but worrying some more…and prepping for after surgery as best as I could.

March was the month I had surgery…and I was pretty much out of anything for three weeks nearly completely – and after that have simply been slowly trying to find where I want to be and what I want to do now.  I still have to take things slowly and carefully—even though certain people seem to be ridiculing me for “being overly dramatic” the whole thing.  To them, I say, please…let the doctors put you to sleep, give you a catheter, cut you open in three places to shove medical equipment up inside—and then apologize for the bruising afterwards because they have to really shove to get the equipment in—and then cut out a large piece of you and have to cauterize all the veins and arteries and tidy up all the other bits—without damaging anything else around…and take those bits they removed out of you through a whole other ‘door’…and see what you feel like for the next few weeks, few months…when medical personnel tell you when they went through it they needed 8-12 weeks before they felt nearly like themselves (as at least five nurses and DOCTORS did to me), I don’t think I am ‘being a baby’ or ‘trying to get attention’… I am actually recovering and recuperating and dealing with the issues that come from having had major surgery—it will take me as long as it takes me to heal, to not hurt from surgery, and so on…you have no right to tell people it’s all in my head when you have no idea what is actually going on anyway…

And now…off my soapbox…

Back to LifeBook…after about the third week of my surgery, it felt good to sit and watch the lessons from LifeBook, even though I wasn’t up to doing any of them.  A few weeks ago, however, I started to get cranky.  One reason I had decided to try LifeBook again this year was the emphasis on healing practices.  Yoga is great; Sarah Trumpp is great; I knew there would be one Yoga lesson per month.  It’s not enough for me.

Although I deeply love and appreciate the guest teacher’s and their lessons, I am learning…I should just buy the Tam version of LifeBook every year and let the rest go because I am not really getting a lot out of anything lately.  Now, there are some lessons that I love…and I respect and appreciate all the teachers and all the work that goes into these lessons.  I have come to realize…this isn’t what I want to do.

I hit a plateau where I wasn’t learning anything new…although I will say the lessons I love best are where I learn something, whether it is an art technique or a quote, or if it is just enjoying listening to the teacher talk…my problem revolves back to…I’m doing someone else’s work and not my own.

I know there are ways to take the lessons and do them in my own style…however, the issue for me—and this is my issue—not an issue with LifeBook, or the teachers, or Tam, or anything like that…there isn’t enough substance around the theme—not the yearly theme, the monthly theme, that sort of thing.  There is no toehold in many of these lessons for me to say, ah, yes, this is where I can dig in to further my own process of healing…and right now when I am literally physically healing and having to redefine limitations and ambitions…the healing process is of a higher importance to me…in different ways than it was four months ago, or six months ago…

I have shifted…my body has shifted and is still shifting…my brain has shifted…my desires have shifted…my plans have shifted…my ideas have shifted…and although I can see the light on the Path…I am not certain which direction I am heading…there is a fog yet, as details filter through my heart and my subconscious, bubbling to the surface.  So much is changing for me, within me, around me…and I am still deciding, still making choices…still pondering.

I do not feel the need to hurry at this moment.

I make changes, big ones, like deleting the family website and moving everything over here to this site when the mood strikes and everything feels right.  Other things, like classes I am creating, I am not fighting.  I am writing.  I am finding my footing.  I am moving slowly and luxuriously and enjoying the process rather than rushing through everything.

I am not speaking ill of LifeBook in any way, please understand.  I shall continue to download the materials…watch videos and read PDFs as I am able…and if struck by the LifeBook Muse, I will do the work…otherwise…I shall enjoy the show and let the rest go.  I shall find other outlets, other medicines to soothe my ills, and just be me.


Have You Heard Of A Flow Journal?

The other day I was wandering around YouTube…seriously…just wandering…

I found this video:

which leads to this video:

Basically, it’s an art swap.  You make one of these journals filled with all sorts of ephemera and send it out, trade it with a partner…and then you both make art from what you find in your new journal.  It’s a challenge…and a partnership.

I am slowly getting back into working in my journals, doing my own art, slowly but surely again (yay!)…and this sounds like an incredible idea.

Would you like to play along with me and swap flow journals, set ourselves up with an art challenge?

If so–my email is listed on the sidebar…or respond to this post.

Having someone else on board would help keep me accountable and moving forward

My Ranger Dina Wakley Media Journal

This is a “multi-surface journal for mixed media”.

It comes with fifty-four pages of varying materials—a cotton rag watercolor paper, heavy brown kraft paper, unprepared (as in no gesso, just soft cloth) canvas, and burlap.

I follow several artists on YouTube and one day I got a notice that someone (I forget who at this point, I’ve watched so many videos about the journal) had put up a new video…and I went to watch it…the person was in the midst of doing a series of videos about working in her Dina Wakley media journal.

I was hooked from the moment I saw the closed journal.  Something about the burlap strings hanging out all over made my heart SING…even though I personally hate working on burlap…at least I have in the past…

The journal is listed as 8 inches X 10 inches on every website I have seen it on; however, on the book itself it says “cover measures 7.75” by 10.25”; pages are 7.25” x10.0”.”

The cover is a nice matte black.  If you are looking for an envelope to keep bits and bobs in—you have the wrong journal.  If you are looking for an attached closure—you have the wrong journal.

The journal has four sewn-in signatures.  There is more of the watercolor paper than anything else.  I love the burlap strings…except when they come off.  Hanging out of the book all over, that for me is cool…having to pick up the strings…and pry them out of my cats’ mouths—not so cool…

I have an issue with the kraft paper.  In the one video I watched of Dina Wakley talking about her journal, she talked about how much she loves the brown kraft paper.  The kraft paper in this journal is nice.  It is thick and heavy.  But—there simply is not enough of it.  I was a bit miffed to see that the kraft paper was used as the outermost page of the first and the last signature…and then that front page and that back page were glued down to the inside covers of the book.  I know the brown inside covers give the journal a nice clean look.  I know gluing the first and last pages to the cover strengthens the journal…but…there goes two pages of brown kraft paper that I cannot use.  And yes, I have a piece started on the front inside cover.

I started working on the front inside cover because I wrote my intentions for the journal down there in pencil—then decided I didn’t want anyone reading what I had written…and I painted over it…which was fun…I am not done with it…and I have no deadline to finish…I am just enjoying myself…which is part of the point of this journal for me.

The watercolor paper has an absorbency I am not used to…but I am enjoying it.  Right now all I have done is play with acrylic paint in it.  Tomorrow I am planning to work some watercolors on the watercolor paper and see what happens…

I have no clue what I am going to do with the burlap pages…but I know I am going to use them.  The canvas pages are easy…it’s just canvas paper…I have used that before.  Maybe I will gesso or prep the pages first…I am not yet certain.

I do think, as of now, my plan is to work every page as a single entity in and of itself.  In many of my journals of late, I only work one side of the page, in case someone wants to remove one later and frame it…as my daughter swears she is going to do when I die and she (and the boys) inherit all my journals…that is why I started doing things that way.  But I don’t think I’ll do it in this journal…this journal is for something else.

Since I found this journal on sale, I bought two more of them…because I do love them that much.  In fact, I have started bemoaning the fact that buying the materials to make a larger journal like this myself is not cost-effective for me to do…although while searching online I did find out that there is a larger size of this journal available: a 10 inch X 14.25 inch one…and none of the stores I tried even carry that size online, much less in store…so the 8X10 I have now, and the two other ones I ordered are what will have to tide me over for a bit.

But…another thing has come up in relation to this journal.  I am having so many more ideas about things I can put into my hand-made books.  Things I hadn’t thought of as “appropriate” before.  But that burlap…and I am telling you, that burlap is something that makes me cringe when I think of painting on it…but the challenge of it also entices me…but thinking of what I can include in my hand-made books…that has my brain nearly exploding.  One thing I have grown certain of lately is…I am a book artist…and I have my friends Tracy and Julie and their wonderful and encouraging comments to bolster and buoy me along.  So many things are coming in the future…I can’t wait to share…but have to until I have something to show.

Thanks for listening.

Until next time…