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.

 

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Lifebook 2018 : Week 2: Bear Of Compassion #2

My second bear from Tam’s lesson.

I love that I was able to doodle…even if I didn’t paint everything out the way I wanted to (I am talking to you wing on top the middle wing on the left side there….)   She’s cute.  She’s sweet.  She’s the background on my phone now…

I’m happy.

Week One Lifebook 2018…Continued…

 

I’ve talked about this one before, when she was just a sketch…

There ‘should’ be all sorts of doodles all over the place…and before I started to add paint and color, there were…it was quite chaotic.  By the time I started to work on finishing the background, I decided I would feel better if it were all just painted over and left to lie beneath the paint.

My symbols here:

The Rabbit, which has been forcing its way into my life for about two years now…technically the love affair with bunnies started even longer ago…with Br’er Rabbit when I was a little kid…and moved into a pet bunny when I was a slightly older kid…and then a few years ago my angoras that I developed the allergy to their hay so I had to let them go (I placed them with a rabbit shelter–I didn’t just turn the poor boys out or anything).

The Peacock (that shape at the throat), this is another that has been here a long time and always seems to push itself forward in more recent years.

The Raven (that feather in the hair), half of my Totem animal team…where would I be without the Raven?

Mushrooms…do you see the name of my blog here?  Alice in all things, even if it is my Alyce…but mushrooms are a big thing for me in and of themselves and really, other than Alice’s tale, because they aren’t really plants–they aren’t really animals–they are something else entirely (fungus)…the whole concept of mushroom…it grows on and consumes the dead–a necessary thing to keep the world revolving…they cross-over, between the worlds, they bridge the gaps between things…and that is why they call to me.

Her word is ‘homecoming’…which fits in with my own word of the year, ‘settle in’.  With a bit of flowery flourish at the end.

This is the first one I drew, following Tam’s style and lead.  The original plan was to draw things in Tam’s style and then do it again in my own style–but things have been so convoluted…it isn’t working out that way.  All I can say though is…it is helping.  The exercises, not the art, are really helping.  The art solidifies the healing aspects (although, to be clear, you don’t have to do any of the healing bits if you are a part of any of Tam’s classes–it can be all about the art for you.)

 

Week 1 Lifebook 2018

 

So, I have already talked about this piece before.

I am a bit entertained that to me the inside of that circle sort of looks like the British flag, and it was supposed to be flower petals that didn’t really pan out as nice fat petals…and I had to stop messing with it before I totally screwed it up…

This was the making marks warm-up lesson of week 1.  Nothing fancy or elaborate.  I could have skipped it, but it felt disingenuine to do so.  If I watched all the color theory videos and everything else again, there was no reason to skip the warm-up exercise.

 

A New Year In Life Book 2018

I feel so far behind in Life Book…

Lessons are released on Mondays…I manage to download the lessons Monday…if I am lucky by Wednesday I have started to watch the lessons.  Usually, it’s Thursday.

I told you, we have a lot going on this year.  Mondays used to be my day to recuperate from the weekends when everyone is here.  Now, there is no rest until about Wednesday…and it’s not that restful because there is so much going on all over.  No rest for the wicked, I know.  I feel as if I have no breathing room at the moment.

Add into that LifeBook…and although I can get pretty cranky about some things…this is my breathing room.  Not the art per se…although I love that part…it’s the actual healing aspect of it…which is why I decided to come back to Life Book this year.

The picture above is the first art piece of LifeBook this year, just a mark making exercise.  I don’t think I could have been any more cranky making something if someone had pissed gasoline on me and set me on fire.  Seriously.

That’s not how I work.  That’s not how I want to work.  The chaos and the noise of it made my head hurt.  Grr.  Ya know, I fought my way through it…and I mean it…I fought my way through that…because I knew meeting the resistance where it was was going to help me on down the line.

Guess what, it didn’t really help.

However, I did learn I don’t have to do that stuff at all –and that is what helped me.

This is my initial sketch for the main lesson of Week 1…my original intention was to do things the instructor’s way…in this lesson, Tam…and then interpret the lesson in my own way, using my own style…

except that it took me two weeks to complete this piece (pictures forthcoming after I bring out my baseball bat to threaten the printer/scanner a bit).

One the one hand, I let things dry completely before moving ahead.  I thought about colors.  I thought about intentions.  I put in everything Tam asked us to put in…all the doodles and everything top to bottom.  When you see the finished piece, remember that…by the time I finished her, all that stuff was gone because it made my head hurt.

HOWEVER, in all of that, I found a new space, a new equanimity, a new ground upon which to stand.  Tam said one thing during her video, something about liking to put wings inside clothes, in strange places, that she liked to add the element of the surreal because it spoke to the artistic part of her brain…and that comment, that concept, it reverberated through my brain for two days before my heart digested it and gave it back to me in methods that I could fathom and envelope…and a whole new level of experience has been reached.

I said (mostly to myself, I guess) that Life Book 2018 for me was not going to be about the art.  I do not want to make art that looks exactly like Tam’s.  I want to learn new things, yes, but I want to expand and explore my own style more.  Life Book for me this year is all about the healing process.

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Lifebook week 3…just a sketch, but getting there…

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This is my initial sketch of Tam’s lesson for Week 2.  I don’t know why I didn’t post any pictures of my pieces inspired by Andrea Gomoll’s lesson.  I will post the completed pieces…when they are done and after tussling with the printer/scanner…

This is my Bear Of Compassion…I have another sketch already started too…since this one is bigger than I want (I couldn’t put the wings on it) and it’s tilted sideways like he’s standing on a hill or something…but this lesson really hit me hard…especially where I was at the time.

So, the whole I’m learning art thing…no…this is all about healing, about self-compassion, and about creating some space for me to breathe into, just for myself.

Thank you for that, Tamara Laporte…and all the teachers of Life Book this year.