Saturday, October 1, 2011

Practically perfect in every way....

Welcome Fall and welcome to October. I didn't think you'd ever get here! September, with all of its busyness, felt like it lasted 30 months rather than just 30 days. On to the 31 days of October.

This has been a near-perfect day....

No alarm clock.... ah, Saturday...

Crisp fall weather with lots of sunshine...

A nice easy pace to the day's puttering....

Decorating the house for the new season....

Tomato soup (homemade....) and grilled cheese for dinner...

And now, an evening spent tucked up in bed with a new book.

What a great day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Take care of you - Part 2

I learned a few lessons over the past week. One - don't go back to work until you really feel better. Two, sometimes thing take time.

I took Monday off and spent it quietly - resting, puttering, cocooning. It had been a difficult start to the day but after overcoming my sense of inertia, a pretty good day. I should have stayed in the cocoon. The rest of the week was ugly -- tiring, frustrating, weepy ugly.

I pushed myself too hard and really didn't listen to my body and mind telling me that I needed more time away. Time to rest. I realize now that I was emotionally and physically exhausted from nearly six weeks of hectic work and home schedules and from dealing with (for me, anyway) a lot of change. In the grand scheme of things, it would be too embarassing to list them out here. I would probably be met with --- "That's it? That's all you've got going on?" And, I admit, it is frustrating when I'm not as strong as I think I should be --- able to juggle it with ease. I've spent the majority of the weekend at home - venturing out only twice since Friday night. I've slept - a lot. And I've tried to get my groove back. I'm starting to feel better - more like myself. Thank goodness.

I'm grateful for having the time and space to just be still. Helen is 13 and pretty self sufficient. She was able to take care of herself when I went to bed at 7:30 one night. She is able to get herself up and at'em with little help from her Mom. Of course, she still needs a ride home from Quick Recall practice..... I'm grateful for a husband who worried about me and gave me lots of TLC this week (if not a lot of help with carpooling). I'm grateful for the self-awareness that comes with age, maturity and experience that can recognize (eventually, anyway....) when it is time to stop, put the brakes on. And I'm grateful that I've learned a valuable lesson, sometimes it takes more time than you think.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Take care of you....

It was a lovely weekend – the first in a long while where we had very little on our plate. I climbed in bed early on Friday night, all jammied up and read until I fell asleep. My idea of Heaven. Saturday, I spent time doing my “Martha Stewart housewifey” things and had a date with Jim. Helen was on a sleepover and Jim met a friend for brunch so I had the whole house to myself on Sunday morning. Church and dinner with friends wrapped up the weekend. On paper, it was near perfect.

Why then did I feel out-of-sorts as bedtime approached Sunday night? Why was I snapping at Helen unnecessarily and generally being a big grump? A low-lulling headache was partly to blame but there was something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I woke up in the same funk, saw Helen off to school and called in sick. I slept several more hours and awoke to an overwhelming feeling of inertia. Don’t get me wrong, I love bed. I love snuggling up under the covers, I love sleeping in my bed (and not sleeping), I love reading and writing there. It is one of my favorite places. But this feeling was different. Instead of not wanting to get out of bed, I couldn’t get out of bed. Big difference.

After several pep talks, I started with just sitting up. Literally - “Just sit up”. After that, it was just shower. Just get dressed. Slowly, but surely, I made my way into the morning ahead. I got myself out the door to run a few errands. While driving along, I realized what was going on. I hadn’t spent any quiet time – alone, with my art, my thoughts – in weeks. And, it was catching up with me. It had caught up with me.

I came home, armed with a new jar of ModPodge, and sat down at my art table. I had been playing with some images over the weekend and played with them some more today. They are drying now waiting for me to touch up some of the edges that will inevitably poke up. I love doing my collages. They release something in me that is fulfilling, satisfying and nurturing. I look at my latest work and see the same answer that I discovered in the car. I need time to myself. I need time to recharge, be creative, be quiet, be alone.

I’m starting to feel better. I still feel really tired and not quite myself. But, it’s better than it was this morning. It is easier to push myself into the day – still at a quiet and intentional pace – and really take care of myself. I’m amazed that my need for quiet time can have such a negative impact on my sense of well-being. Amazed, relieved and a little undone by it, actually, all rolled into one. Field hockey has been cancelled for today so I can stay tucked up at home, in my cocoon, for the rest of the day. I’m glad for that. I need it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What does healing feel like?

We had a healing and wholeness service at church tonight. Before moving to the various stations that had been set-up, I spent some time really listening to where I felt like I should go. I lit candles for my friend and her two sons at one station as a way to send healing energy their way. At the Wailing Wall, I wrote a message asking to be freed from whatever it is that keeps me from having a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. I asked Jud to wash my prayer beads and to soak them in baptism waters. And lastly, I sat for a healing session. That was the most interesting “stop” and is still with me several hours later.

I said to Carol, the “healer”, that I had been really trying to work on those things that were keeping me from being healthy. I said that I felt like something was holding me back and that I wanted to rid of it. She asked where it seemed to manifest itself and I said my shoulders and chest. As she laid her hands on me, I felt a cool sensation. She leaned over and said to me, “Not only are you trying, Anne, you are succeeding. You are Whole and you are Beloved.” She instructed me to let go of those things that were holding me back. I took a deep breath, exhaled just as deeply and tried to let it all go. Then it ended.

What I’m left with is this…. Am I really healed? Was she sensing something in me that I’m not picking up on my own radar? Or, were her words reflective ones intended to spur my sub-conscious into action? I have spent a good deal of time – the last year – working on myself through my work with during The Artist’s Way and my focus on self-care but no real weight loss. It’s only been in the last week or so that I have given up Diet Coke, for Heaven’s sake.

Am I healed? What should that feel like? Am I reading too much into her words? These are the thoughts weighing on my mind before the start of a new week.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

You can't rush a good thing!

I learned a valuable lesson today about rushing things that are important. I've been spending quite a bit of time working on collages lately. Something about cutting out images that match what is on my heart and gluing them to paper is very therapeutic and comforting. I'm hooked.

I'd been working on my latest collage for about a week. I'd spent time here and there picking out images, arranging and rearranging them on the page - trying to get everything just right. Today I woke up with a plan --- not much housework, lots of self-care. I have a busy week coming up and thought a "take it easy" day would be a great way to transition to the hecticness of Monday.

In my rush to get busy relaxing, I felt like I could just "knock out" gluing down my collage pictures and move on. I rushed to my work table and starting gluing --- hurriedly. In my hurry, I messed up the collage. Mind you, none of them will end up in the Louvre but they are art to me - an artistic expression of what is on my mind and my own creative outlet.

I didn't respect my art today. And, I ended up with something that wasn't even close to the original vision. The other collages are a source of pride and enjoyment when I look at them. This latest one - the hurry up and finish it so you can get busy doing other relaxing things - is not in the same category with the others.

It's a mess. I nearly tore it out of my pad and threw it away. After walking away from it and coming back later, I've decided that I'm keeping it. I want a visual reminder of what happens when you rush through things that are important. I want to look at it and consider all of the other important things in my life that I rush through --- that don't end up staring back at me from a page.

My goal was a work of art - what I got instead was a lesson.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Still Here...

Another dry spell on the blogging front. I really need to get over the notion that each post has to be NYT-worthy and just get some thoughts down. With that in mind....

I've spent the last few days at home. It's spring break but with Jim's new job and other uncertainties, I didn't plan a trip for us. Instead we've taken it easy at home, shopped at some new stores and eaten lunch out. Today was a total self-care day: massage this morning, reading outside in the sunshine and a nap this afternoon.

Tomorrow, it's back out into the world. I have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, I have loved being at home and the self-imposed isolation has been restorative to my soul and well-being. On the other hand, I know that I'm going to start getting bored AND stressed out thinking about all of the work waiting for me at the office. Tomorrow and Friday -- then it's a few more days off. I think it's the perfect way to transition back in.

I did the collage on today's post a week or so ago -- right after I came home from a conference to my husband still unemployed, my house destroyed from one of his home improvement projects and a feeling that I couldn't "take one for the team" any longer. I saw the tall trees and the teeny-tiny little person in the middle of all of it and thought "Perspective". It really spoke to me in a way I couldn't put into words. It's amazing what staring and focusing on the picture has done for me. That and a good cry and some meditation. And a few days off.

I'm still here..... and with a renewed perspective.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Getting back on the wagon...

I haven't posted anything in over a month. Why? Part of the reason is fear. Fear that I don't have anything "good" to say - meaningful, powerful, profound. Part of the reason is because -- let's be honest -- no one is reading this but me. So, what's the point? It's not like anyone is missing my posts. But if I want to express my creativity and keep track of the things I'm holding myself accountable for, then I've got to post. I need to post. I need to get it out, profound or not.

I've been working on another liturgical stole. This one is for the husband of a dear friend who is a Presbyterian minister. I have said to myself that I will publish the pattern. I've made one other stole and received tons of compliments. I also received several suggestions that I publish a pattern for it. It would be cool to have an official pattern with my name on it - on Ravelry. So, what's stopping me? I've already got it written out on paper. I just need to type it up and post it.

Last Friday, I got my hair done. While I was waiting for all of the chemicals to do their thing and hide my gray, I noticed two very career-oriented women getting their hair done. One was talking on her cell while the stylist tried to wash and cut her hair. The other had her iphone plugged into an outlet in the stylist's station. Her hair was full of highlight foil and she, too, was talking away. She told her stylist that she needed to make one more call and delayed doing so only when he said that waiting might make her hair too light. She looked at him skeptically but let him remove the foil and wash her hair. I was sitting there, watching, wearing my yoga pants and a "Life is Good" t-shirt. They were both dressed "to the nines" in stylish career apparel.

For all of the stress and chaos in my life, self-inflicted and otherwise, I sat there pleased with my career choice. I'm grateful that I have a job that pushes me, a life that keeps me constantly juggling but I still have enough balance to turn work off long enough to get my hair done. Work has been challenging -- I'm struggling with managing folks and just wanting to be left alone to do my own work, not to mention an incredibly difficult personnel issue --- and home has been challenging --- Jim has come home from yet another difficult day and prepared me for the fact that he might get fired tomorrow. But I still have those moments of taking a deep breath and just sitting in a space of balance. Today it was passing up on a walk to get some much needed additional sleep and embracing how good it felt to wake up later, but rested.

Tomorrow is Friday. I'm nervous about the day and all that it holds. I hope that, no matter what happens, I'll remember to find that little space of balance. And that I'll curl up in it and embrace.

There... getting back on the wagon wasn't so painful.