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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Curb Art I

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“Where’s my dang book?”

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I’m not going to blame chemo for my forgetting where I’ve put something.

I’m not going to blame ‘aging,’ either.  Cuz that’s something everyone might want to get out of their heads.. it just convinces you that you become forgetful as you age.

I AM going to blame ‘choosing to come here and be human.” But then the benefits far outweigh my misplaced book I was reading, so maybe I just won’t blame anything at all.

“Here, book. Here, little bookie bookie…”

Portrait of a Nana (aka How to be an Artist)

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Oh precious children.  Yesterday I felt pretty crappy. I asked myself “What do you need?”  I needed a grandkids fix.

Courtney said she’d bring them over… She’ll do anything right now for me. And really? She’s pretty good that way at the best of times. But in amongst her final deadline of pulling together her magazine, in a week where her usual support systems with kids during this 14 hour/day work week are flailing (and others stepped in!), she brought Evalee and Lainey over.  Pretty thoughtful, me thinks.

I knew just the fact that Court and the girls were coming would energize me enough to be ‘okay’ while they visited. Oh, it’s true, I did debate that with myself, but the option to visit won.

And oh, the visit was delightful… look what evolved! Drawings! Including a portrait of me by Evalee! Amazing in its finished product, but also so amazing watching the process!

 

 

But first, photos of the little ones in the studio.. drawing and visiting.

Look at Lainey.. so involved in her drawing, a drawing now brightening my fridge and my day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And she’s also so talented at ‘posing’ for photos..
just like her big sister.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I  asked  Evalee if she’d like to draw a portrait of me.  She pondered that as I pondered that drawing portraits is one of the techniques many artists are most afraid of.

I said, “You know, doing portraits can be tricky, but it’s a great thing to try out and it can be fun.”

I didn’t need to say that. I wasn’t finished before I realized her “pondering’ was really her observing me  as she made the plan. Pencil to paper, she began…

 A circle for the face. Eyes.. with eyeballs!  A smile added.

And then, Courtney and I couldn’t quit smiling as we watched her figure out how my arms were being held.  I was posing one hand resting against the side of my face.  She drew that hand.. and it’s curious where it came from and went, since her arms begin at the side of the head!   She placed the other arm.

Then, as an observant artist does, she got off the chair, and glanced under the table to see how my legs and feet were sitting.. and sure enough, she drew them cross-legged, just as they were.

Observing me, pencil tapping her chin, she then announced, “teeth!” and added those.  “Oh.. your hat”… and on went my little cap.   And finally, ears.  (Because my ears definately show up these days). “Oh they’re a little funny,”  she said with a smile as she drew them.  But unlike the adult artist, ” a little funny” was perfect. I thought she was finished, and I had phone call…and  I came back to see she had also included the telephone!

I couldn’t help but notice how much:

1. Evalee got right into the zone with the process.

2. how she felt parts of the drawing were quite accurate and she liked that.

3. how she felt parts of the drawing weren’t quite accurate and she liked that, too.

4. How it simply was not a big deal to draw a portrait of her Nana.

  • No second guessing the choice.
  • No fear.
  • No words playing in her head that she ‘can’t’, she’s ‘not good enough’, or that she really ought to ‘clean the house first’ or she should do something ‘more productive, or that makes money, or is an otherwise good use of time.’
  • No hidden limiting beliefs she’s acquired as the result of what others have said about what an artist is, or isn’t.
  • No words of one (or more) person who’s opinion she respects who has subtly suggested she steer away from her creativity, or out and out said she doesn’t have what it takes. (Ringing bells? Teachers of the past? Loving relatives?)
  • Nothing that has her misinterpreting even supportive comments because she’s become far too sensitive as a creative being.

Oh, how I wish for all of us that we could create like Evalee.  And even more, I wish for the ways to support her and all children to be their natural and amazing creative selves without developing the blocks and barriers that so often lead to children not believing they are creative beings, inspired thinkers, and intuitive wonders.

And on that note, I’m going to share this now. Because, in truth, it has led to a most exciting adventure in writing about how we really can support the children.  It’s turning into a workbook!  No, it’s turning into a novel….   Soooooooooo delighted where this is going. More soon!

Oh phew, I found fun in going bald!

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Paying attention is part of this process for me. Watching for opportunities to think differently… and here’s what happened!

♫ Who’s that person in the mirror? ♫

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Here’s what I found myself singing today.. out loud, for goodness sakes!

Sing to the tune of “Who’s that knocking at my door?….. Barnacle Bill the Sailor”
(You might have to be as old as faerinthian to remember that tune)

♫ Who’s that person in the mirror?

Who’s that person in the mirror?

Who’s that person in the mirror?

Oh Look I see

It’s only me

The alien in the mirror ♫

Be Brave. Be Blessed. Be Bald. Be Beautiful? Be Who?

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My daughter bought me a card for my birthday. It reads:

Be Brave. Be Beautiful. Be Blessed.
And inside it says: Be You.

“Be Brave”   The card has played out in my mind many times over the last several days as my hair began to fall out, and I woke each morning wondering if today would be the day to shave it. Each day, as it thinned, I put it off. I have thick hair, even after the short haircut. It was a bit amazing I could be losing so much hair, and it still looked ‘okay.’

Each day, I thought, “oh my Gom*, this is going to take a lot of bravery.”  I’ve been in awe of those who’ve experienced this and the amount of bravery it takes to suddenly look so different. To suddenly have to go out in the world, and know people don’t know how to respond because they don’t know how you are feeling about it all. To suddenly be noticeable where you weren’t before. Yes, even with the scarf.  To suddenly be labeled ‘sick.’  For some, to suddenly trigger that innate fear of cancer that they may have.  To suddenly face your own previous perceptions of those you’ve seen bald, or in chemo caps. To suddenly have a visual look that will require me to pay attention so that my own underlying thoughts aren’t playing havoc and telling me I’m sick.

I am not sick. I am simply doing some preventative maintenance.

“Be Brave” I would tell myself.

“How can I make this fun or funny?”  I’d also ask myself. It’s a question that, for me, has allowed some miraculous shifts in the past. But the only funny thing I could find was that I couldn’t come up with anything funny.

“Be Brave.”  Today I knew was the day.  And so, I pondered if I’d shave my head alone or invite someone to help. I chose alone, but gave myself permission to call someone to come over if needed.  I kept my daughter on standby on the phone, and yes, she got a few calls during the process!

It was good to do it alone. It was quite the experience and alone, I could notice the thoughts.

1. As I pulled chunks of hair out and cut areas to make shaving easier, I thought, “This is like a worst nightmare.”  You know the ones… the ones where your hair is falling out in chunks. Or a horror movie. Yes, it felt a bit like that. It was a really really ugly experience as I started. Physically ugly. Like monsters in movies ugly. It wasn’t something that made me cry.. it just made me want to get that straggling mess off my head.

2.”Be brave,” I’d whisper to myself.  The electric shaver didn’t take the hair right down to the scalp and I was all stubble. My daughter said, “You’ll need to use a bic razor.”  She knows these things. Her husband shaves his head sometimes.

“There are no words to describe this” I said over and over and over to myself.  Apparently, I’ve since found words, by the look of what I’m writing.

3. Make it funny:  As I started to get a ‘smooth’ surface, things started to shift.  I noticed slight bumps on each side of my head and I decided they are Genius Bumps.  That made me laugh. There’s never been such a thing that I know of, but I decided I have them.

I decided to become an advocate ensuring that anyone over 50 who loses their hair gets a free and magically simple facelift to go with it.

4. Be Blessed:  I noticed I look like an Alien. This triggered thoughts of my night sky magical connections and my belief in this universe and other life and other realms and the ‘oh so much more than what we see.”  I was reminded of how blessed I am that I don’t just believe in all of that; I know it as my truth.

5. Curiousity:  I was fascinated by how big my little ears look.

6. Be Beautiful:  And as I continued to shave my head, I thought “Buddha.”  And I thought about the laughing Buddha in my yard, and about the philosophies of Buddhism that I think have more truth than fiction compared to many religions. I thought of the Buddhist understanding of the beauty within.  I repeated, “I have beauty within.” It gave me something to say besides, “there are no words..”

And I wondered why Buddhist Monks shave their heads.  (Later, I researched.. here’s a link to some answers.)

7. Be Blessed:   AND this led me to remember a bizarre experience many years ago.  A friend asked me to go to a psychic fair with her. I said I’d go, but I wouldn’t have a reading unless something revealed I ought to. I don’t believe there is any value in fortune telling psychics. I feel sorry for them, because they are often gifted.. and if they used those gifts to help others learn to connect to their guides and higher selves, that’s empowering.  But those psychics doubt anyone believes them.  So they tell the future, and people are in awe when they are right, and they tell others and their business grows.

Sadly, hearing a potential future plays havoc with a person.  It can create fear and uncertainty, and a disconnect to the possibility of creating their own lives. People can be stuck in a waiting game, instead of just living.  They might believe that one day they will be rich and simply wait for that.  Or they are frightened that the psychic was unable to ‘see’ past a certain age.

Please don’t let fortune telling psychics mess with your lives, dear people. You are too precious and too powerful to be disempowered this way.

Anywayyyyy, I wasn’t drawn to any of the psychics until we sat down in the lobby with a coffee. A fellow came out and joined us. For some reason, I asked him what he knew about the Zoroastrian religion.. a curiousity from my time of living in Iran.  He began creating shapes with his hands and held them up to me. Much to my surprise, I began telling him what the shapes meant.

Okee dokee, that made it worth doing a reading with him. Afterward, I threw away the tape of the reading because nothing was recorded except the background noise of the fair itself.  Instead, I felt we travelled together to other realms and other lives. I won’t go into it all here, but a ‘Chaldean’ connection came up, amongst other things. All in all, it was an otherworldly experience that felt like ‘home.’

However, when we came ‘back’ to the table, he said, “Go shave your head and come back to see me tomorrow. ” Prior to that, I think he was surprised where our ‘reading’ went. That statement, though, seemed demanding, and being the rebel when someone demands something of me, I thought, “Ya, No. No head is getting shaved.”

My friend had a reading with him later that night, and hers was oh so typical fortune telling of ‘beware of this’, ‘you will be doing that’, ‘and by the way, I can’t see past your husband’s 40th year.’  She spent years in fear, and her husband did die at 40, and I suspect she might still be watching for those things to beware of.

Me? I was walking three feet off the ground for days. Not a first. A feeling I love.  Like a door to an otherworldly space is open for a little while.

We stopped at a spirit bookstore and I asked if they had anything about the Chaldeans. The young boy oddly said, “No, you don’t need to read about Chaldeans. You need this.” He handed me a set of books called “The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East.”

It was $60 back then and I said “I’ll get it later, I can’t afford it right now.”  I put the books on the shelf.

He picked them up and put them in my hands and said, “Buy these.”

I laughed and said, “I will, but not today” and put them back. He handed them to me again and the dance continued.

Finally he said, “These books are $20 today.”  I shook my head and said, “Okay then, I’ll buy them.”

After I paid for the books, it was his turn to shake his head as he said, “What the hell just happened?”   I told him and said, “Look, if you’re going to get in trouble for this, I’ll pay the $60.” He said “No. Please just take them.”

That set of books had a huge impact on me… affirming many of my beliefs where no other books or teachings had, and triggering others that felt possible.  It was like having a grand philosophical conversation with myself and the writer, theorizing, doubting some of his statements, questioning my own, and moments of absolute “yes, that is truth.”

It’s a set of books that I’ve never parted with.  It is based on research by a number of professors who travelled to the Far East in the late 1800’s. Their experiences were so bizarre that, at first, they didn’t dare publish or share the information with their university peers and students. It was published first in 1926 and occasionally since then.. and by the time it was re-published in the 90’s, not a single participant in the expedition were still alive. How I would have loved to talk to them.

And so, remembering the night sky, Buddha, “Go shave your head,” and remembering that set of books and their content, turned my nightmarish head shaving into a very spiritfull and connected experience. One that I’m now curious to see what does evolve with this newly shaved head.

I just now got out the books and randomly chose a page. Here’s what it says:

14. The Masters do go out among the people and the people do appeal to them for help very often and the condition which they are under is corrected almost immediately. The help given is only to show a better way to accomplish than that which they are using at the time. They do not go out and preach and proselyte at all. They walk among the people and the people who recognize them may ask for assistance in any way they wish – for healing, food, raiment, or shelter and they receive it. But they are shown that they, themselves, do it and not the Masters. It is not what the Masters have that they receive but the people themselves  have built up that which is brought to them through their own attitude of thought; not what someone else has but what they have and what belongs to them. It does not necessarily follow, however, that you must appeal in order to get assistance. “

On that note, I’ll just say one more thing.  I look in the mirror tonight and I do not recognize me.  I notice my eyebrows are also falling out. I look bewildered at myself and say, “Who are you?”

And then I remember the phrase on my birthday card.  “Be Brave, Be Beautiful, Be Blessed… Be You.

I’ll keep repeating “Be You” and I’m sure I’ll start to recognize myself.

In the meantime,  “Masters?  You there?   Could use a little help here…”

~smile~

~~~~~

Gom: not a spelling error. A philosophy that I’ll post more about soon.

ps. Not brave enough to post a photo. Not brave enough to go out even! Although I have to tomorrow…. oy.  “Be brave, be brave,” I whisper.

My Philosophy on House Cleaning just got Swept out the Door.

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OH NO, it seems that, as of today, I might have to entirely change my philosophy on housework. You see, up until this morning, this is what I believed:

I couldn’t read ’12 secrets of highly creative women” because one of the first women spewed that it is important that our homes be clean and tidy before we begin to create.  Okay, she’s rich, famous, and I’m sure someone is cleaning up before and after her constantly.  An outrageous comment, I felt, because it gives power to one of the biggest blocks that creative women have:  They feel their home must be cleaned before they can create, or before they can even take any next step in planning their lives.

It is true that we can feel clearer when our homes are clean and uncluttered.  In the early 90’s, though, I worked very hard to give up the concept of ‘clean house, then create.”  A mom, working full time, a pottery business on the side;  insisting my  home be clean before creating, or even creating our adventures,  would be a very big fat block to ever having much fun.

And now I help people all the time to gently get past that barrier  – which is not ‘just’ about cleaning and clutter.. there’s so much more to why people have a hard time showing up to their creativity:  The ‘clean house’ syndrome is really just a symptom of the “I can’t get to it” malady. Another part of that ‘clean house’ syndrome is that the person is simply trying to prevent the guilt they know will come, because they’ll feel like they should be cleaning, or attending to family, or ‘doing something productive’,  rather than creating.

We’ve all been there, right?

(Oh please please.. if all of these things are playing havoc with you, let me coach you!)

Once you look at it logically, though, our homes are never fully clean. And if they are, they aren’t going to stay that way. (Especially if you’re a crazy brush -throwing, food-dropping kind of creative that I can be when in the zone.)  Waiting til your home is clean is basically saying “I am not going to get to my creative projects.”

There’s another factor in this clean house syndrome that plays havoc with many a creative being.  When things are not in our view, we forget about them. Our minds say, “oh good, it’s done!”   This explains the stereotypical image of the messy desk of a creative, and the clean desk of the ..other people.  Let me tell you, if I completely tuck away bills, idea files, or a new project in the making, it’s finished. (Yes, my mind will even decide those bills are paid.) I will never remember, or get to those things again.  (There are ways to keep things visible and look less messy.. but not going there in this post.)

(Note to anyone who isn’t ‘getting’ what I’m talking about… please be compassionate to those around you who do have the messy desks. And please try not to be jealous when you realize they are highly creative beings, too, kay?)

So, I help people not clean.  I give myself permission not to need to have a clean house before I get to creating, or adventures, or writing or inspiration or life.  I do like to have a clean house, but the key is, it’s not a prerequisite to getting to other things.

AND THEN MY WHOLE PHILOSOPHY GOT ROCKED TODAY!!!

My home has been pretty neglected the last few months. Any time I was feeling well enough between two surgeries and now chemo, I wasn’t going to spend doing a serious clean on the house.  I spent that time doing soul feeding things like hikes, road trips, paddleboarding, playing with grandkids, family, friends, events, painting, potting.

Yesterday my family all came over to clean my house for me. The humiliation of them really seeing all the dust was worth every second. While I laid in the hammock with the grandkids, they not only cleaned, but they decluttered and organized.  When I came in, it felt so great.

By evening, I was feeling extremely well.. this, on the days that I ‘should’ be feeling my worst after chemo.  I even stayed up and wrote a whole children’s book which I think has great potential.

This morning I woke up, feeling awesome.  I had almost my full energy, no tummy troubles, and by 9 am I’d answered long overdue emails, cleaned some areas that the family hadn’t gotten to, AND came up with some wicked outlines for new courses in the Fall. And today I playfully created my new blog header!

I called my brother and daughters and said, “Hallelulah, I’m healed! It’s a miracle! All I needed was my home cleaned!!”   None of us failed to mention: “Why didn’t we do this 4 months ago??”

So. I don’t know what to do about this!  Whatever will I do with my philosophy now?

And I think they may have put the bills away.  Oh well!

{Thanks, Sue, for putting the clean machine of you and fthe rest of amily together!}

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