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This is where I've been in between my clinical work with clients ~

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Oh my gosh, I have been absent for far too long from my beloved blog. My absence has not been due to laziness, lack of interest on my part, being in a pissed off mood at the blogging community or a churlish attitude in general.  Here is the true unvarnished, un-spun, authentic deal ~ I have been ill, very ill, for a very long time.  For over two years now.  I have shared about my Unwanted and Un-invited Bastard Buddy Vertigo (BBV) who swooped in for an extended visit and decided not to depart, right?  Well, nine months ago a new uninvited health hazard Bastard arrived on my doorstep and the BBV invited him into my home and my body.

All of this is to say, that I have been fighting, literally, for my ability to remain in my physical self on this Earth plane.  However, when I finally hit the lowest of my low a couple of months ago, I chose to re-claim my healing and to stop looking outward to supposed “experts” such as Western medicine and naturopaths, etc., who were not helping, to say the very least.  I also made the decision to place the focus of my energies on my spiritual practices and return to my creative writing and visual art, both of which spark my will to live and make the most meaning in my life.  Throughout this entire journey, I have continued to work and provide psychotherapy services to adolescent youth and their families.

I have missed my little blog.  I have missed being a part of the blogging community and the connections I have made here.  I maintain a Facebook account using my legal name, however, due to the nature of my professional life, am not comfortable co-mingling the two worlds.  What I am hoping is that now that I have taken this step of writing a post today that I will be more active once again with my little blog.  Most likely not daily but more frequently than once every quarter.

I am thrilled to report that my creative writing is on fire and there is much movement in that area.  There is goodness in this world and even though my faith and spirits come and go and I am a fickle creature, I do believe that my struggles are not in vain.  Sending out love, compassionate caring and peaceful energy in these early morning hours this Saturday morning.

that’s what Natalie Goldberg, my favorite of all time writer gurus says, just write.  Just do it, man.  or in my case, woman.  Put pen to paper.  Finger tips to keyboard.  Pencil to cardboard.  Fingers to the air.  Just do it.  Right now.  Right here.  No excuses.  No stopping.  No monkey mind.   That’s what Goldberg calls that part of our brain that distracts us and pulls us right and left up and down and then all zig zaggy.  When all the time, our original intention was to sit down and write out a page or two or ten or the poem of our life.

This Saturday evening, I am attending a Literary Salon.  Sounds fancy, huh?  At least it does to me.  I joined a local writer’s group earlier this year, it could have been last year, it was in the dark months of winter that much I remember.  I am not much of a joiner in the way of joining groups.  I used to be.  A joiner of political groups.  I railed against all sorts of human injustices and fought hard for human and individual rights for a long long time.  And then I grew weary.

Back to my current subject of the fancy sounding upcoming Literary Salon.  I am excited.  Nervous.  But more excited.  The event is being held at someone’s home whom I have never met.  And here’s the really cool and brave part, I volunteered to read some of my writing.   The organizers were looking for 10 volunteers to read 5 minutes of their work.  Since most of my essays are more than two pages long, I quickly decided to read a few selections from my body of erotica poetry.  That is, until I spoke with the main organizer who informed me that there will be children present.  Good to know.  So onto Plan B.  or Actually C.

I have chosen four other poems to read and have been practicing the timing of the reading and introduction to the pieces to fit within the five minute allotment.  Five minutes goes by really fast!

This will be good for me.  Meeting other writers.  Being inspired by their work in progress.  Sharing a part of myself that has been dormant for far too long.

So I have returned to my roots and busted out my beloved guru’s books, Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind.  They have inspired me for many years and continue to remind me of my first love ~ words, writing and the telling of stories.  Utter bliss.  Just write.  So right.

already here.  the day that was yesterday that was meant to be the other day so that I could write a post on my blog today two days ago.  but it, the day, or more aptly put, the days already have passed.  so quickly.  they are gone.  history.

And so it is

that I am here in this moment writing that I am still here in the blogosphere.  That my blog is always in my heart and never far from my conscious thoughts.  Even when those thoughts and ideas and emotions and happenings and daily minutia and big deals and little ordeals don’t make it onto the screen ~ I am still here.

And so it is

that autumn has returned to the Land of Already Freezing Ground North Land.  The past few days have gifted us with glorious sun.  Golden sun rays that followed weeks of record rain fall, and record windstorms and flooding.

And so it is

that the sun is loved and beloved and cherished

by me.

Big news ~ that little diddy.

And so it is

that I am pleased to write some words on this first day of October.  to write some words on any day actually.  just glad.

These past few weeks have been an exercise in cravings, delayed satisfaction, impulsive choice making, setting aside, procrastination, misplacing my mojo, re-discovering my mojo, percolating, marinading, and popcorning ideas, thoughts, theories, plain silliness, deep convoluted thinking meanderings and missing my blog. 

What I have been up to and the revolving re-occuring topics in my head have included, but have not been limited, to:

the hour and minute combination of 11:11 and the significance I have ascribed to this time

~

Spring Fever, which morphed into Sunshine Fever, which changed to Restless Life Syndrome

~

loving my job, total dissatisfication with the same job, searching for new job, applying for new jobs

~

retirement preparedness, freaking out that I have failed, as in utterly, to formulate any such plan,

vesting, vacillating between commitment to stay for 3+ years to wear this retirement vest, back

to freaking out at the thought of such a long term commitment

~

health issues, tipping over, milestones in sleeping upright, off low sodium plan, back on,

yo-yo eating plan

~

poor body image, hating, shameful feelings, attempts to embrace my physical self

~

vacations, destinations, monetary commitment toward vacations, gratitude for abundance

~

Setting aside, walking through, moving around, navigating life’s detritus, waking up, being amazed,

feeling flummoxed, groaning disappointment, side-splitting hilarity, tears of pain and surrender,

loving and receiving affection

Man alive!  No wonder I have been absent.  That there is whole hella lot of living. 

Yes, indeed. 

Do you remember those little label guns?  The kind with the revolving alphabet and the colorful strips of label tape?  You would spin the alphabet to the desired letter and then press the trigger, which would cause the letter to be stamped onto the tape.  The letters would be raised and felt all bumpy when running your fingers over the finished product.  Once you had spun and punched out the desired word or words, you would pump the trigger a couple of times to make the tape long enough to cut without spoiling your last letter. 

Then came another part, the part of peeling the backing from the tape, leaving the adhesive so you could then position the label wherever your heart desired and then press it into place where the label would live happily ever after.  Or until you decided to replace it with another label or somebody rubbed the bumpy little ridges too much and dislodged the brightly colored identifier. 

That is when the fun would come to a screeching halt or if that sounds a little too dramatic when discussing the life of a label, that’s when the adhesive hell would begin.  The hell of removing the sticky white-ish adhesive residue crap that the once merry and useful label left behind.  You see that is when the polish remover would come galloping in to the rescue to make the world right again or at least less sticky. 

This morning I was thinking about labels.  That human need to categorize most anything and everything that comes down the pike, around the bend, over the hill and in our dales.  I think naming, labeling and categorizing serves to help make sense of our lives, our worlds so to speak and in making sense then we feel safer, less vulnerable to the largeness of life. 

What I am pondering today is whether the labels I have chosen ~ spelled, punched and stuck to the walls of my psyche ~ whether they are helpful or harmful, clarifying or stigmatizing.  What labels might need to be re-named, revised or simply done away with.  The worst that could happen would be some sticky residue left behind, right?  And I know where I keep my polish remover.  Truth be known, I always had a little crush on the label gun and those bumpy little letters so even if the revised label ends up not fitting, there can be as many do-overs as needed.

Some days you are the hammer and some days you are the nail. 

And then some days you are the gorgeous piece of art displayed from the hammered nail. 

Some days there is enough beauty to go around to everyone.  More than eye candy.  More like heart and soul candy.  Savor those days, my friends.  Savor the beauty. 

Some days.

This past weekend, I had the honor of attending a mesmerizing performance at the local art center.  The story line centered on the friendship built between two men who hailed from different cultures and social contexts.  Two men on a stage led the audience on the journey of their friendship through the years against a backdrop of gorgeous and breathtaking photography and video.  One of the men was killed in the pursuit of his passion, wildlife and outdoor photography, and the remaining friend wrote a book which was subsequently adapted for the performance art piece. 

In the play’s program the director wrote about the “shallow and deep simplicity of friendship.”  He likened friendship to a river that we “often cross shallowly.”  He wrote that “[T]oo often we fail to see it [friendship] with the significance it deserves.  Simple friendship has depths that cannot be plumbed.” 

These words and the strong thought and emotion provoking dialogue between these friends have taken up their fair share of my head space this week.  Gotten me reflecting on the unremarkable and the remarkable aspects of my everyday friendships and the sustenance that each relationship brings to my life.  There are the friendship brooks and creeks, burbling and percolating along; the ones that mirror huge crashing waves of both ecstasy and despair; the streams that fill to overflowing in the spring and freeze up tight in the winter; the deep broad still lakes mirroring back who I am and the lay of the land; and ponds, some spilling over that may one day become a lake and other ponds that have shrunk and are in the process of drying up from seasons of drought. 

Some are ripe for plumbing the depths with the hope of revealing new treasure.  Others already plumbed, some with slightly disappointing results and others that inspired a big huge shazaaaam.  Not all friendships are meant to be plumbed but instead are transitory in their very nature ~ their gift made richer by their impermanence. 

I love the meandering creeks and eddies, the written word and the performance art pieces that live on in lively and quiet debates  ~ the internal plumbing of the soul, psyche and heart.

My recent medical diagnoses has required me to change my eating habits. Drastically. As long as I can remember, salt has occupied its very own food group at the base of my food pyramid. Other foods were mere vehicles for my favored and craved after salt. I now take in less than 1000 milligrams of sodium daily. So as one might imagine, this shift in diet has not been without some grief and overall loss of appetite.

The change in diet and my faithful following of the doctor’s orders has rested solely on fear. Fear of being permanently plagued with the unbearable vertigo and the loss of what has been up until recently, very keen hearing. My desire to not lose my ability to hear and having endured severe bouts of vertigo for months on end have been the impetus and motivation, which in turn has fueled my robust adherence to this new eating lifestyle.

Changes take some time to grow accustomed to. That, along with the immediate revocation of my loved longed for and lusted after salty goodiness, basically stopped me dead in my tracks when it came to cooking anything tasty for myself or wanting to cook for myself. When cooking for others, I continue to cook with salt and have not required my friends or families to adhere to my strict new diet needs. But when it has come to my cooking to sustain myself that is exactly what I have been reduced to ~ cooking and eating to live and to survive; forget the thriving and enjoyment.

Up until this weekend that is. Today I am cooking a pot of white bean soup that is much lower in sodium than I would have formerly prepared but still has more sodium laden ingredients than I have been allowing myself. I think this is okay. I didn’t go hog wild ~ just enough to make the soup tasty enough to make me want to dip my spoon in more than once or twice.

The delicious savoriness is enveloping my little abode while the soup perks away in my slow cooker. Chunks of bright orange carrots, carmalized yellow onion bits, diced fresh shiny green jalapenos, a bit of browned salt pork, two dusty green bay leaves and a healthy dose of deep red cayenne pepper mingle with the white beans, all bathed in a splash or so of beef broth. I tossed in a dash of ground nutmeg just for kicks. So far, smells delisio.

Comfort.
A reclaiming of my kitchen.

If you were here, I would ladle you up a hot bowl of white bean soup.
Comfort.
Comfort with a spicy kick.
Oh yeah, baby, time to get back in the kitchen.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the idea of creating time in a box. My post today includes additional notes I jotted down in my personal journal to help me toward creating my very own time in a box ~

On Joy the Baker’s blog, she posted about her time in a capsule project that she and a friend undertook. They each placed several mementos in a box with attached notes about the item and then wrapped the box and tied it with twine to be opened 7 years in the future. I like this idea. And have been thinking about it for a couple of days.

What is keeping me from creating my time in a box? For it is clear that something is preventing me from doing so. I get excited; feel the excitement viscerally and then… nothing. I put on the brakes. Get stuck. Glued in place. Paralysis sets in.

A very familiar process that has been repeated multiple times in multiple ways throughout my life but with the same result ~ a stymied creative spirit, a damming of creative juices and subsequently a pervasive depressed soul.

So what can I do that can move me toward action, if only a baby step or two?

Time Box Items

1. A lock of my purple hair to remind me that even in my 50’s I still have a sense of stylish fun;

2. A copy of my paystub so I can remember where I was working in 2011;

3. A photograph of my living room or a portion thereof to help me remember where I called home;

4. A photograph of my art supplies on my long birch art table to help me remember that I was an artist even when I was not producing any tangible pieces;

5. My adoptive Mama’s salt shaker, the clear glass one with blue paint circles and metal cap to remind me that this was the year in which I made a major major change in my diet and went super low sodium;

6. A self taken photograph of me so I can see how I have changed in the ensuing 7 years;

7. A photograph of me with my daughter, the grandkiddos, and the rest of my clan to keep safe in a box for 7 years even though I cannot guarantee their safety in the world outside.

So here is proof of artistic life.
One baby step at a time.

November 2018
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