Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oh Yes, You Can!

During a recent visit with my SoulStorm sisters in the Pacific North West, I heard myself describing my usual pattern of resistance, resistance, resistance…… fear-facing then FINALLY DOING whatever it is I’ve avoided. This is a long standing pattern, a game that I’ve perfected and it truly is entertaining because usually what I am avoiding is something that ends up being pretty darned cool. Often I amaze myself in the end. I may or may not ever return to the “feat” but the simple fact of “knowing” that I did something that I didn’t think I could is confidence inspiring. (It sometimes doesn’t take much…..!)

I shared with my sisters that I was gifted my Grandma Ruth’s sewing machine, which is super cool, but I don’t sew! It’s a beautiful piece because it was hers; I know she spend numerous hours crafting and creating. She made me the coolest Cabbage Patch-ish Kid, complete with her own clothes. I lovingly named the doll Patience Ranae (that probably says something right there!) Having the machine in my craft room was a wonderful connection to my grandmother, though I never planned on using it.

Then, one Halloween, a certainl little girl insisted on being Jessie The Cowgirl. Since she’s super tiny, no costumes fit her. I have the ability to come up with creative visions and solutions, the challenge is completing the details and steps to get to that vision. I tend to take short cuts, as many as I can get away with! I could see the “perfect” costume in my mind. I then went and found milk cow material, old pants, a brother’s white shirt, felt, fabric paint and glue. It all worked really well until the makeshift chaps fell off the pants.  Whoops! They were going to need stitches. Real stiches. And there sat the sewing machine. I swear it was grinning. I avoid situations that pose much of a challenge until I can’t avoid them anymore. This was no different. I sat down and under my mother-in-law’s tutoring I was able to whip out one cool costume! That was two years ago and I haven’t turned the machine on, but I know if I needed and/or wanted to, I could do it. At this time, I don’t have the drive or desire. Maybe it will come?!

This realization and pattern emerged when my sisters and I sat down to create dream catchers. Our gifted, gorgeous teacher, Rachael Rice, generously shared her support, guidance, suggestions and supplies and delicately lead her novices in the art of weaving a dream catcher. To be honest, I was pretty content on the bench, chatting with friends about Nine Star Ki and Feng Shui. Oh sure, I watched, in wonder and awe, as fellow sisters spun and circled their crafty goodness. I don’t remember who vocalized the invitation (thank you to whoever said, “Your turn Robyn, get down here!). Having shared the sewing machine story and recognizing that I’d put this off for as long as I could, it was time to jump in. I’d watched a video on making a dream catcher about a year ago and though it looked super cool, I avoided it. I prefer to learn in person due to my non-dominant hand (and brain?!?!) This made knitting, guitar and violin playing and anything with direction and motion a true challenge. I hear the words, I can watch videos, I can read the words, but something gets all combobbulated in my brain and what comes out…….is a gigantic mess! I’ll admit it’s easier to find an artist on who has honed her skills, I’m happy to pay her!

What ensued is the treasured piece shown above, my very own dream catcher.  It means a great deal to me, on so many levels. It represents the connection and synergy of amazing, powerful, gifted, talented, generous, FUN, beaming, light-filled women who support and inspire me.  It also symbolizes my willingness to stop, observe and shift habits, beliefs and patterns that no longer support me. It is a visual reminder that when it is time to stop and try something new, I know I’ll be just fine. Powerful dreams were woven in this piece, the fact that it was hand crafted amplifies this. I understand the magic of creation and why being an artist is an honor. In old times, when we were less inundated with careers, technology, and chore lists miles long, there was time for developing our special, unique talents. When the harvest was complete, when the tribe’s welfare was ensured, beings had time to specialize. Items weren’t bought with cash they were traded for, ensuring value, necessity, and aesthetic appreciation.  It’s been easy for me to become a mass consumer because my time, talents and energies were not invested in the creation of the goods I sought. I certainly have a deeper appreciation of what I am bringing into my space as well as a deeper level of reverence for artistic hands.

Much goodness is flowing in with the simple observation of my patterns and the recognition of opportunities that are presenting themselves to me. Simply saying “YES” to what’s here, taking that teeny, tiny step. Moving forward an inch at a time and learning oh so much in the process. It’s almost silly when I think of what pressure I was putting on myself by setting out to take leaps and bounds. I’m good with accelerated change but I’m better with the conscious, creative, organic process of enjoying the actual journal. It’s starting to make sense.

What are you saying “YES” to right now? What are you trying, experimenting or dipping a toe into? I’d love to hear and share your journey! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She Schools Me

Small steps, I continue to take them. Varied and random, I’m looking at the scope of my days through an entirely new lens.  While I still harbor large dreams my focus of late is simply observing the patterns I’ve created, while at the same time allowing soft, subtle changes to roll in.

I’ve long lamented about my perfectionist/workaholic tendencies. I realize that they’ve caused me more frustration than support. I was brought up to work hard, push limits and accomplish goals. For a long time, I held the belief that “nothing comes easy” and “if it is to be, it’s up to me”. Hard work pays off. Make it happen and don’t count on anything. That served me well enough until about three years ago. I can’t pin point the exact moment that I realized I was completely miserable. For all the hard work I put in, seldom did I allow myself to relax and enjoy any rewards or benefits. Truly, that’s not a way to operate but that's what I knew.

As I’ve begun the initiative of taking small steps toward change, I’ve noticed that some of my personal instincts are in direct contrast to what I wish to experience. The observations have been many, though I’m still not taking gigantic jumps forward. I feel the power but for the time being I am more focused on being aware of how I operate.  I tend to gather, collect, ponder, contemplate and have a lot of plans in my mind. I often don’t muster the energy to actually DO anything, other than what HAS to be done. It’s funny isn’t it? I think I’m a hard worker and that I do a lot but really, I don’t! I do more thinking than anything and therein lies my personal challenge.

For example, I will study a subject, gather information and ideas, collect like crazy and then I stall out. I do not actually move forward. Here's an example: I still have an on-line art class to complete but I have all the materials ready to go. I have a plethora of books on the subject but not one piece of art to show for my gathering. I put it off, "I'm too busy, not in the mood, too tired, I don't want to make a mess and only have five minutes to work on it, not worth the clean up time......" You can then imagine my surprise and realization when I returned home to find that my very neat, tidy studio had been ransacked! The picture above gives evidence that a little artist helped herself to my stash! She jumped in and did what I've been wanting to do, helping herself to all supplies within her reach (and tonight she showed me how she was able to get the ones that were not, via bar stool). She’s a brave one. Without assistance she followed her artistic muse and produced above masterpieces showcasing tracks, tape and snowflakes, (note the image of a Furby and a pilgrim hat!)

One could easily look upon this as a child’s way to pass time on a Sunday afternoon, though I choose to see it as much more than this. She schools me, she inspires me to take that next step, uninhibited by petty fears and sneaky resistance. With her example, change is FUN, easy, playful and most of all natural. Applied to my intentions, this would look like writing to my heart’s content, submitting articles to my favorite publications, using those acrylics and paper scraps and simply allowing myself a creative outlet.  This would be where I find the rhythm to invest my focus and forget what it looks like to anyone on the outside of my body/being. This is the space that I’ve been wanting to jump into for a very long time.  Oh sure, I can hide behind the excuse of being too tired, too busy, too uninspired, to sapped to actually do anything or………I can just throw caution to the wind, pour and smear the paint, throw on the tape, make a mess of the craft room and “play”. My daughter is showing me how because I’ve forgotten. Someday, when she’s older, perhaps she will fully understand the impact she’s having on my life. Her passion is infectious, her creativity boundless, her confidence impressive. I want to be like that. It’s not too late.

I have a portable set of water colors and a moleskin journal. I’ve collected tons of images and ideas. My next step is to fill the pen with water and put color to the page. It’s silly that I’m this resistant. One day I’ll likely chuckle about how far and long I’ve carried these items around and not ACTUALLY even used them! I’m not expecting to create a masterpiece, I feel that I’m living in one.

My next step is to use those water colors. Who knows, perhaps I am the artist I've always wanted to be. If not, I'll sure have fun finding out I'm something else.