Mid-Year Check-In With My Word Of The Year

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A few times this year, I have had to stop and figure out what I had chosen as my word of the year, figure out where I had written it down, figure out, again, why I had chosen that word—or why it had chosen me…

My word for 2017 is, of course (if you’ve been reading along all this time), is Reclaim.

I actually thought it was a different word…deepen…but then again, I think the two are related.  they compliment one another.

Being sick so much of this year has given me all too much time to reflect on a great number of things.

I reached an epiphany in my online art classes—I have seriously had enough of them. I don’t particularly care for the communities which surround such things—at least not the ones I have seen—and I am by no means pointing to one particular person or group and saying, you suck, because I am not. I simply do not enjoy the feeling of some of these groups, even when they are couched in terms professing love and acceptance and compassion…because nearly every time I run into that well where someone is basically saying to someone, me or anyone else, I like what you did, but…and then the tear down begins—and some of these people have made an art form out of being loving and supportive, caring and nurturing, while being back stabbing passive-aggressive beasts…which is one reason that no matter how hard I try to want to take more art classes, in person and/or online…every time I try—I get fed up and I want something else. I have even tried free classes, free whatevers…and I basically balk at every one because something there does not feel genuine to me, it does not feel authentic to me.

Please note—before you get your panties in a wad—this is how I feel. These are my feelings, my words and my perspective. It has nothing to do with anyone else except me. So thank you for understanding.

Does this mean I am giving up art? No way. I love my paint. I love my pens, my pencils, my markers. I have discovered that all is not what it is cracked up to be compared to online classes versus what I can learn on my own. I have gone to an art gallery and been mesmerized. I have borrowed my daughter’s books on manga and I have been tantalized. I have fallen into stories of late where pictures are again being painted on the inside of my eyes. And I have again (and again and again and again, over and over, throughout the years) come back to that advice that I have been taught that says—who cares what anyone else is doing? Play with it and see what you come up with. And so I am.

It’s an interesting space to be in…since I have a ton of sketches I have done in the past two years that I still need to paint out—and I do fully intend to do so…i was actually working in that direction when I got so sick this last time. But there will be changes being made…slowly I am certain…but they are coming.

One thing that kept coming back up while I was sick was how much I have missed my knitting. I have several UFOs sitting around. (A UFO is an UnFinished Object, in knitter’s speak) Sheesh, I have been waiting to finish this one top-down sweater for something like two years now. I haven’t touched it in two years, except to move the bag out of the way now and then. But, while I was so sick that I couldn’t move, I started ogling yarn porn…which consists of lots of time on ravelry, digging around, adding projects to my queue that I want to do some day. It also made me think about the stack of knitting patterns that I have had written back in 2007…and yes, they are still sitting here. I think I have only test-knit two o the patterns. It struck me that 1 I am insane enough to actually want to knit a wedding ring shawl – you know, a huge shawl that is so light and knit from such thread-like yarn, incredibly intricate in design, and yet it can be pulled through a wedding ring…yep…and I am not that much of a lace knitter really…charts are difficult for me to follow…2 I want to test knit as many of those original patterns as I can and get them up for sale. One particular project is about a particular shawl and I have most of the work for an actual study course leading up to the creation of a shawl—a workshop, not a knitter’s workshop per se, but more of a spiritual quest—and that is where I seem to want to be heading.

It’s not about the knitting. It’s not about the painting. It’s about the intention, the heart and soul, the love, the connection to Self and to the Divine…and that is the basis of my work, of my life…

Because as I have sat here, with the herd of what I call (thanks to Firestarter by Stephen King) my migraine migrant herd of bellowing stallions—all of them centered in the middle of my face, tearing around in my sinus cavities, ripping things to shreds with sharp pointy lava-made hooves, pondering things—for nigh on a month, ya’ll– it struck me that I had somewhere along the line lost my grip on what I hold dear and holy—which first of all starts with Home as Sanctuary…having relied on people while the youngest was a baby…and relied upon them more once I had then gotten sick and then depressed after…things happened…and that depression has been a hard thing to shake…I know I am not done dealing with that … but I have finally reached a space where I am able to deal with it instead of being laid out and laid low by it…which means I can start working, however slowly (especially at this very moment with this constant croup attack ongoing) I may go, to take back all of the tasks that I have been unable and/or unwilling to do—minus the chores of the teen-ager/s, because I am not about to deny them the ability and the responsibility of being responsible and of pitching in to help out to make this an actual family and not just a bunch of people who happen to live in the same house at the moment.

Something else that has come back into the spotlight of my heart is…my writing. And that feels good. Not to mention, now there is a new element to things. The artwork. I lack the skill, I lack the ability to draw the exact same face/person/creature exactly the same time after time, so don’t expect anything as prosaic as a comic (my oldest has expressed an interest in such though…so keep an eye out for that…), but I can feel something coming. Some of the old spark that I used to have when I worked with Heather Blakey and the SoulFood Cafe.

Now that SFC is no longer  running, although all the prompts remain up for those who are interested, the idea of doing a journey, of using the format of the Hero’s Journey, or perhaps now the Heroine’s Journey because it feels more authentic to me in my space now, to create something along those lines, in that tradition…I can see it happening. What am I saying? It is happening. I have my first selection written up—I just have to type it up and post it. (That’s a spoiler alert for you.)

The things that mean the most to me are coming back into play…and it feels good to stretch out my broken tattered wings again and to feel the warm winds of the summer stroking them. The sunshine and the moonlight gently bring health back, filling in the broken places. The breeze carelessly rushing by, knocking loose the cobwebs and the detritus that have for so long held me back. The rag has been taken from my eyes and even though I am still blinking in the harshness of the rediscovered light, I am starting to see once more. I am heading towards that Light, the Flame that is my Heart, the Divine Light within…and that is where I shine.

And yes, I am more than willing to share that light as I move forward and have more to share.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me.

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Word Of The Year Check-In

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I have certain check-points written down in my daily planner…my planner is more for recording what I did and to keep track of appointments than to have a set schedule for any and everything…schedules and I do not always get along, for any number of reasons.

April 1 had a big note of WORD OF THE YEAR CHECK-IN.

I actually had to stop and think…what was my word again…and when it hit me (deepen), I actually laughed because even though I haven’t given the word much thought, it is exactly what I have been doing all of this year.

I am deepening my connection, my relationship and my commitment to myself.  With my health issues, instead of fighting all the time, instead of pushing my stuff, my needs, my pain, aside for the well-being of others…and to circumvent toddler tantrums…I have started to take stands and to move forward…and amazingly enough…

Taking that moment to scoop up the clots of dog and cat fur that congregate like living little dust bunnies in every corner and along the edges of every wall in the house and tossing them into the trash…so satisfying.

Making sure that at least one day a week on the week-end the entire family gets outside together and walks their booties off…even if that means going to the Eyeball Park (Laumeier Park–there’s a huge eyeball statue that both boys love) and hitting every single Poke stop there is to hit, twice–has reaped huge benefits for me physically.

During the week, I have made more time, when it is warm enough, to go outside…and take the small boy with me and let him loose.  Sometimes, like today, that means we step outside and watch it rain from the safety of the carport and/or front porch.

I am stepping away from 1 social media — which I have been very clear about this entire year.  I am on instagram, but mostly for family.  I am on pinterest, but it’s for me…and most of my stuff is on private boards, except for the stuff that belongs to the family and/or me.

I do not spend a great deal of time online anymore.  I am back to knitting.  Last night, my daughter brought home Lauren Graham’s latest book, Talking As Fast As I Can.  Guess what?  I read the whole thing last night.

That is my plan…getting back to being me…which includes knitting more, reading more, writing more…and since the small one is not so small (he’ll be five in August), I figure it’s time I started pushing the whole school thing a bit harder…going up against a hard-headed second-generation Scotsman…oh, yippee skippy.  So, getting him into things can be a lot of give and a lot of take…finding his groove isn’t always easy…but I recognize his mind and I know, once he gets going, all I need to do is feed the monster of his curiosity and let him follow that where he will…and that makes me SO happy…

One thing that happened in March is I started journalling again…I haven’t actually done all that much of that since this past October, so it made me feel so happy again when I picked up the pen and started writing…and that leads into me writing fiction again…and that feels even better…

I am also embarking on a huge spring cleaning effort in the house and of the house…we have new plants and trees planted outside.  I have been purging all sorts of things…and have plans for more purging…I have started to rearrange things.  There is more to rearrange.

This month we start painting.  One wall at a time.  Seriously–one wall at a time.  All the marker and crayon gets removed.  The smaller boy has promised not to color on any of the new paint (fingers crossed he sticks to that…) and in the moving of things during the painting process…more stuff will go…more stuff will be moved…

Is this a lot?  Nope.  I still have so many spoons per day to use…and sometimes I wake up thinking I have five spoons and find out I only have one…so I am not holding myself to any hard-core schedule.  One thing, one day, at a time.  That’s my motto for this project.

But then again…I think that holds for every day.

 

 

2017: My Word Of The Year

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I have had my word of the year since October.  I wasn’t really casting around for one yet back then, but this one word kept coming up.  Reclaim.  Reclaim.  Reclaim.

So, I let it keep coming at me for a few days.  Let it drift through my brain, my dreams, and I knew…it was the right word for me this coming year.

A reclamation.

I could go into a great many details, give you lots of stories and tidbits that prove I have totally lost myself–but I think I am going to let that lie and not air every little detail.  It’s difficult enough to admit that I have lost so much of myself.

Let us see where this year takes us, shall we?

The Final Word Of The Year 2016 Check-In

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My challenge and my inspiration for 2016 was to Deepen…

To deepen everything…my experiences, my connections, my knowledge, my commitments…

I did not set out specific challenges or activities in which to do this, but the Universe did provide ample opportunities to do so…

I feel that I have lived and embodied this word this year, through unconscious actions and activity, if by nothing else.

I am looking forward to using what I have learned and gathered in this year as we move forward into the coming year.

Word Of The Year Check-In

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Deepen.  This is my word for this year.  Every time I stop to think about how this word is working in my life this year, I am awed by the changes that are going on.

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I do not think of my word of the year every day.  Not even every week.  In fact, months can go by before I stop and think, hey, look how this coincides with my word of the year…

This is August.  The third quarter of the year.  How is Deepen working on me right now?

Such amazing changes and shifts have been happening.

A new website in the works.  Updates to the family website happening.  Changes to the way I am working with and on my blog.  Changes at home, slow but sure, cleaning and catching up with … going on five years of things waiting for me to recover from pregnancy and have the facilities and faculties to take care of things myself.  My health is improving.  My work itself is changing, deepening, with things lining up in ways they haven’t in many many a moon.

I think the most exciting things I can say are…I am coming back to me again…not a reclaiming, because I am not the person I was.  I am not the person I was two years, not five years ago, not seven years ago, not ten years ago.  I am the same, but I am different.  Sometimes it is strange for me to stop and think about how I am again (still) heading in the same direction–but with different energies, different ideas about the same things, different focus, a different center, a different foundation.  This also sheds the same light on the other shift, in my work.

For six years now, I have had my NaNo2010 novel sitting there waiting for me–and I know what I want to do with it–I simply haven’t known how to do that.  Now I have a much clearer idea of what to do and how to do it.  If I can make this work, I have a book…literally, so many patterns, of knitting patterns that I wrote and created in 2007– and this is something I have longed to test knit and put out into the world.  Although since I created all the patterns, my idea on publishing has shifted to wanted to publish one pattern at a time.  Most of those patterns are shawl patterns, because I was in no way prepared in 2007 to create hat patterns, which lately has been something I genuinely like and appreciate–even if I have trouble knitting hats around here at the moment.  I need to test knit the patterns as they stand now.

It’s also an evolving thing with my art.  I keep saying I want to unlearn what I have learned in my classes, but it is not that I regret the classes I’ve taken or plan to take.  What I need to do, I have come to realize, is let go of the — rules that I accept as law–and I am in no way accusing any teacher I have had at any level of saying this is the only way this can be done–but for whatever reason things get stuck in my head and it becomes–this is the only way this can be done.  I hadn’t realized until recently that I haven’t been painting or working in my art journal as much, because all the fun has gone away.  I couldn’t do this like that because it’s not the ‘right way’…I couldn’t do that because it’s not the ‘right way’.  So I am working on … doing things my own way rather than the ‘right way’.

I also want to start working on different techniques, for different things.  I don’t want to start talking about what I am doing, or what I am planning to do.  However, I do plan on making more books, binding my own books…and perhaps I will be making them to sell.  Which is not anything I ever thought I might do.  But the idea of it does feel pretty good.  We’ll have to see.

I am a bit excited about the making and binding of books though.  My oldest son is actually excited about me making him his very own book for his upcoming thirteenth birthday.  A special request: a red book with red pages.  Red is his favorite color.  My daughter has several books that I’ve made over the past couple of years.  My youngest…well, he has plenty of other things right now.  When he is older, I know he’ll get his share as well.

It does feel so good to have my feet firmly back on my own solid foundation though.  That is something I have been missing for…such a very long time now.  I couldn’t actually pinpoint how long it’s been so long.  Decades.

There is so much going on, so many changes, inside and out.  I am excited to see where things go for the rest of this year.

 

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Word Of The Year, First Official Spread Of 2016

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This is an interesting spread for me.  Working up the background wasn’t so difficult.  I wanted the focal images–the trees and the face–to be free, open, scribblly even–little did I know.

I grabbed my trusty Bic Cristal black pen…and I actually scratched in the forms very quickly.

Then I added colors…charcoal, paints, colored pencils, a bit of marker…then I sprayed it with a matte varnish…and got ticked.

There should be five distinct designs in those trees.  I put them there myself.

That pen line straight down the center of the face–I worked hard to eradicate and hide that line–and it was gone…until the sealant hit it…

So…oh well…I feel good and I got my point across…

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I had fun here.  Eyes bigger than the face.  Lots of layers.  Pen scribbles clearly showing through…it was fun…

Now–trees…what do trees have to do with Deepen…

Have you ever heard of the Dig Tree?

A few years ago, Soul Cafe Food was my lifeline…the site may not be active anymore — or maybe it is and I am no longer there to notice– but I still return to peruse and wander…I am still inspired there to write and to create…I am eternally grateful to Heather Blakey, as well as all the other artists that I met on my journeys there.

 

Do You Realize 2015 Is Nearly Over?

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There are roughly seven weeks remaining in 2015.

It is rather hard to grasp that concept right now.  I cannot believe this whole year just flew by.

For the past two years, I have kept track of the year via LifeBook–a brand new lesson every single week in my inbox that says Week XYZ…it is easy to see where I am in the year…except that this year, I have sort of been missing the whole..hey it is X week of the year…only X more weeks to go…

For some reason, however, the concept hit me this weekend…only about seven more weeks…

I am certain in no small amount that there are a couple of reasons I have been eager for 2016 to arrive.

I have plans of my own already in place and ready to go for 2016 (to be revealed later, in December)…I am waiting until the beginning of the year to sign up for the one single class I am taking next year–unless something so powerful and overwhelming arrives I can’t stand it and I just have to take it…it happens…it happens a lot…but at least what I am looking for has shifted and balanced out enough I can see what I need and can work my way through wanting things that won’t really do me all that much good.

Which brings to me the gist of this post today…

A word of the year check-in…

Do you know–I actually forgot what my word was for this year?  I was on pinterest, looking for things to put on my 2016 word of the year board –I think I started doing this in 2014–but I saw my 2015 board and was a bit blown away by it–because it was so unexpected–don’t ask me why it was unexpected–but it was…

My word for 2015 is Expand

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Have I “expanded”?  Have I grown?

Oh, I think I have–by leaps and bounds…especially in the past few months.  There have been such amazing leaps of faith, phenomenal shifts, changes in habits and patterns, new dreams and wishes, and a solid path leading me to be more open where I am–which is rather difficult for reasons I won’t air in public.  Learning to be vulnerable in a space where vulnerability is not just chastised, but is beaten back and ground down…it’s not easy.  But I am working every day to find my way.  Even as I am daily forced back into the little cage of the Past which cause others to have certain expectations that they are unwilling to release, I work and work to find my own way, in my own way…and I am getting there.

It sounds odd to write that–but it is what it is.

I would love to say my health has improved along the way…and surely it has, in drips and drops.  Some days are good days.  Some days not so much.  Add in all my other daily tasks and a toddler with the energy to fuel a thousand suns…and there you have it.

My heart, Grinchy thing that it had been coerced into becoming, has indeed grown and grown, opening up like a lotus flower, as I sort things out and remember who and what I am on a daily basis, as I remember why I made the choices I made.

My art and my work are still evolving and expanding…and I am enjoying that journey.  I can say that with ease and confidence.

I sometimes enjoy looking back over the past few years that i have utilized a guiding word of the year, to see how they segue one into the next…how they build upon one another…and how by each year’s end I have come to embrace that word as it has embraced me.

2016 is something to look forward to…just as 2015 has been…