This week deals with recovering a sense of identity. At 49, I have a strong sense of my identity. I know who I am, but is that who I want to be? Is who I am now, what I truly am or where I’ve settled? Those were the questions in my mind this week.
The readings present “dangers” to discovering who you are, both outer (poisonous playmates and crazymakers) and inner (skepticism). You have to be aware of these because they don’t want you to change; they like you just the way you are. My favorite portion of the readings was about paying attention. This is a practice and an “art” that I want to cultivate more of in my life.
The exercises that I found most helpful to my creative recovery were to examine where my time goes along with people who are supportive or not supportive of those tasks, and a “Life Pie” exercise that pointed out areas in my life that were getting or not getting attention. Both had me draw out these ideas in a pie chart. I found this helpful because the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” is true. New work and new dreams mean adjustments.
Greyhounds aren’t the only 4-legged members of our household; but I don’t think I can refer to Twinkie as one of the “kids.” She’s more of our “grande dame.”
In 1995, during my daughter’s preschool Christmas program, Santa made an appearance. He presented all the precious children with little bells and told them, “If you make a wish and ring the bell, Santa will make your wish come true.” There was an audible gasp from all the parents and grandparents in the audience. Guess what my daughter wished for? And that’s how Twinkie came to live with us.
When Twinkie was little, she was feisty. My daughter and her had a love/hate relationship. You couldn’t get one over on Twinkie, because Twinkie had a memory, and Twinkie was patient. If you stepped out of line, Twinkie would deal with you, now or later. I used to get annoyed because she would always get in front of me and STOP. I decided that I would teach her a lesson and just walk into her. Well, I did, and she bit me. She didn’t say it, but the message was clear, “Hey genius, I’m standing here!” I didn’t do that again. Guess Twinkie didn’t get “schooled” that day.
Now, Twinkie mostly sleeps with occasional breaks to eat, visit the litter box and discipline the houndies. We live with a kinder, gentler Twinkie…or at least an older, sleepier Twinkie. I still give her, her space.
Frigid January is the perfect time to read this book that tells the story of the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition. An epic tale of exploration, adventure, endurance and for some, survival, it’s a tale of folly, pettiness, heroics and humanity. This is nonfiction that reads like fiction. Jennifer Niven makes the characters and their individual personalities and conflicts come to life. Do you have a favorite nonfiction book that reads like fiction?
While traveling through Alabama, two New York boys are accused of murder. One of the boys has a cousin, Vinny, who is a new lawyer. Vinny, accompanied by his fiance, comes down to defend them. This is a lighthearted comedy that brings a couple of brash Italian Americans into the Deep South and the contrasting characters and cultures are fertile ground for comedy. It’s also a tale of the underdog coming out on top. What’s your favorite comedy?
I once saw a decorative pillow made from a button down shirt.
Scissors (I used a rotary cutter and board)
Pillow Form (not shown in picture below)
Note: This top will make a 12″ x 12″ pillow.
1. Cut the sleeves off the top and separate the front from the back.
2. Cut the front piece 1″ larger than your pillow form. I used a 12″ x 12″ pillow form, so I cut my piece 13″ x 13″.
3. Cut 2 pieces 13″ x 8″ (remember, these are proportioned for a 12″ x 12″ pillow form). I used the sleeves. These two pieces will form the envelope back of the pillow. With each piece, fold one of the 13″ sides under 1/4″, then turn under 1/4″ again for a neat hem. Neatly top stitch hem into place.
4. Pin pieces, right sides together. Stitch around the pillow cover using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″.
5. Turn right side out and insert your pillow form. You now have a great new accent pillow.
Paloma came to us after my daughter left for college. Sadly, we lost Paloma after having her for only six months. I think of her often. Paloma was a big girl with a big personality. Paloma was a jumper and Paloma liked people (not a good combination). Paloma lived in the moment. She was joyous. She loved quickly and easily. She changed who I am. Even though her life was heartbreakingly short, she lived well. I hope I accomplish in my life what Paloma did in her’s.
Snapware Paw Print Treat Containers
Super cute, durable, easy to open, airtight and with an opening large enough to get your hand into. Fabulous!
Clorox Toilet Wand
These are wonderful to have around for quick clean-ups. Pop one of the disposable heads onto the handle, clean the toilet, release the head into the trash. Done.
Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover
This removes any kind of eye makeup easily and completely.
Seattle’s Best Level 4 Coffee (Henry’s Blend)
My favorite coffee!
The readings and tasks this week are about establishing a sense of safety so you can explore your creativity with less fear.
I decided on some affirmations (positive statements of positive beliefs) that counteract my “censor” (that nasty, internal critic). I spent some time on this because I wanted the affirmations to be short and specific so that I would actually use them.
My favorite tasks (and the most revealing) were to identify 3 old enemies/monsters to my creative self-worth; write out one horror story from my “monster hall of fame”; then, write a letter in my defense.
Generally, I’m an easygoing and understanding person, so this series of tasks was fun because I could lay it all out and not be nice or understanding. It actually helped me lighten the situation in my mind; allowed me to see the humor in the situation; and ultimately, allowed me to have a truer understanding of the situation.
I’m not sharing my personal stories with anyone. That’s the most powerful aspect of this journey for me. By keeping my work private, I have the freedom to be completely honest without having to explain or justify my feelings. For now, that’s what makes me feel safe.
Part of creating a space to work in involves finding places for all the “paper” things that inspire me. Here are some of my storage ideas:
3-Ring Binders – Are great for holding pictures and articles that inspire me. They’re also a great way to save space. Here’s what you do: Take a pile of magazines you’re holding on to because there’s an article or picture you like. Tear out the images and articles you find inspiring. Then, put them into a beautiful 3-ring binder. Now you have everything right at your fingertips and a big pile of old magazines, gone.
Magazine Files – Are great for storing magazine and books you want to keep, neatly and by category.
Hanging Files – Are great for patterns and pattern pieces. When you’re working on a project, grab the file and you have everything you need.
How do you store the things that inspire you?
You’ve heard the expression, “It was like watching a train wreck.” This is like reading a train wreck. For me, the power of this book rests in the characters. Each is tremendously flawed, yet so carefully and intimately developed that I was left with an equal measure of understanding and disbelief. Because of this wonderful and thorough crafting, as often as I found myself saying, “Oh! Please, don’t do that!” I also found myself saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”