Sunday, April 22, 2012

Soul Restoration

I have spent this past week in several hours of self-reflection as I answered the guided journal exercise.  This is the first exercise in the Brave Girls Club Soul Restoration 2 online course which I started last Tuesday.  I, like other class members, tend to over think the answers as if we are being graded by some cosmic headmaster and the fruition of our future dreams and visions depend on saying "just the right thing."  Oh, I wish it were true.  I wish that just by writing down over and over again that I am achieving balance and letting go of old hurts that I can wake up tomorrow or the next day with it all figured out.  I do believe with all of my heart that the laws of attraction bring to us what we ask for.  But what if we ask for the wrong thing?  What if we don't have a clue what we really want? The what ifs will make us crazy.

I wish I had a way to do a word usage generator on a handwritten document.  I have a feeling several words would float to the top of the leader board:  Balance. Abundance. Letting Go. Family. Friends. Peace. Harmony. Fairness. Equality. Healing. These are definitely the things I hope for - for me... for my family.  But is this enough?  How do we ever know?  I guess that's part of the discovery process.  Being open and receptive to whatever the Universe wants for each of us - and being flexible - allows the abundance to flow to and through us.  At least that's what I intend to attract!

I can't wait for next week's class.  I can't wait to see where this path is leading.  Now if I could only find the motivation I need to start writing on my dissertation chapters!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Change sucks

but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), it's necessary.  I found this unattributed quote tonight and it seems to sum up how I've been feeling lately:

“As I look back on all that's happened..growing up, growing together, changing you, changing me -- there were times when we dreamed together, when we laughed and cried together. As I look back on those days, I realize how much I truly miss you and how much I truly love you. The past may be gone forever..and whatever the future holds, our todays make the memories of tomorrow. So, my lifetime friend, it is with all my heart that I send you my love, hoping that you'll always carry my smile with you, for all we have meant to each other and for whatever the future may hold.” ~Anonymous.

All relationships change.  It's inevitable.  The inevitability doesn't make it any less painful.  But, I've weathered worse... and, in reality... what I'm feeling may be nothing.  It may just be a series of missed opportunities, of exhaustion and life getting in the way.  I hope so.  However, no matter what, I will keep this quote in my heart.

Onto a slightly different topic... I've started a new online class called Soul Restoration 2.  We're in the first week and the assignment is filling out 14 pages of prompted self-reflections.  Wow... It's not easy writing for just me... and keeping the authenticity and honesty flowing.  I don't know about you, but I find it easier to be authentic with a presumed audience that with my own self.  Is that weird or normal?  I had to go back through the sheets and refine some of my responses because I felt I was trying to please a phantom reader - you know - say what you think they want to hear?  I think I've been trying to write my responses based on what I think I want to hear. Ok... that's making me dizzy!  I have to start just writing from the authentic center of my soul - pain, ugliness, harsh reality, and all.

Anyway - the end result of this journey should be a mixed media vision journal of the life I want to have.  I guess I have to work on being open and receptive to what the universe has in store for me...instead of what I think I want it to say.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I just needed to get this off my chest...

I am feeling very vulnerable today.  Well... actually, it's been a few weeks that I've noticed old insecurities creeping in. It reached a pinnacle of self-pity last night as I watched the Lionel Richie special and bawled my eyes out because I felt like I was in mourning over our relationship.  I guess that happens when you feel more connected to someone than they show* you that they are.  I let my imagination run to the "she must be mad at me... I am a bother to her... I've done something to screw up our relationship" cesspool and drink deeply.  I don't want to.  I really don't want to be that insecure, needy, codependent, passive, self-centered person anymore.  I don't want to need validation that our love and connection are solid - but I do.  There... I've said it.  I need to know that I am thought about sometimes; that she turns to tell me something or ask my opinion about something and realize that I am not sitting there just like it happens to me most days.  I need to know it's ok that I sometimes screw up and say the wrong thing.  And what I really need is to stop putting so much responsibility on her.  Maybe that's why she is so silent right now.  I suck too much energy out of the room.  So... what will be my affirmation today?  "I am sucking less energy?"  Or, "I let go of my relationships and let them be what they will be" knowing full well that if I believe this, let it go, that I risk a change so drastic that I might never breathe again?  But isn't that what unconditional love means?  Isn't that what I preach to my clients each and every day?  I have to let go. I have to stop expecting others to show (*aka PROVE) that I am important in their lives.  "I am open and ready to receive love in whatever form it chooses me. I let go of all strings and conditions."  Hmmm... still have to work on that affirmation.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reflections on Lent

Things I learned during my Lenten fast:
  1. This isn’t a new year’s resolution.  It’s a disciplinary practice to make us think about our priorities.  
  2. Relapse happens.  The point is not to give up when we blow it but to figure out how and why we continue to make that “priority” more important than our commitment to our spiritual practices.
  3. Every time you think about your “forbidden” thing you have the opportunity to think about how this thing takes over your life and your other commitments.  It’s not so much that you quit a bad habit or take on a healthier one – what do you do with the time you would have spent on this?  What do you do with the money you spent on this? Are you more consciously aware? Are you willing to spend your time and money on something that brings you closer to your spiritual self instead?
  4. Has my “fast” moved me to be more thoughtful in my practice or use of that priority I gave up?  My fast did not stop me from getting incensed at the political stupidity that has been running rampant.  It did not keep me from feeling ashamed of the people who still believe that by sharing we lose.  Yet, I have stopped letting every idiotic, prejudiced, ignorant political attack rile me to the point of rage.  I have learned that no one listens to ranting – it just makes them look at you like you’re a crazy person. I’ve been rereading a lot more of the quotes attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi lately.  
  5. I have also learned that the reason I get so riled up has a lot to do with my own feelings that others think I’m unintelligent just because I think we should all have the same rights and privileges.  My own feelings of inadequacy and insignificance contribute to my anger about a lot of things.  Self-affirmation is a daily practice that has to happen long past 40 days.
  6. I have learned that I am guilty of the sin of generalization.  I thought I was good at carefully wording my thoughts to avoid this. Evidently, I don’t do so well when it’s a group with whom I wholeheartedly disagree.  I have been working on not lumping “all conservatives” into the same pit and I continue to work on not letting the over-generalization of “us filthy liberals” make me forget all that I’ve learned.
  7. I have been reminded that I am in control of my feelings and, therefore, can choose how I express them.   And, although I am in charge of how I feel and respond to anything – I am not in charge of the outcome.  Ever.
  8. I think the biggest lesson for me is that it is absolutely ok to be passionate.  It is absolutely ok to act passionately.  And it is absolutely, 100% OK for me to share that passion with others.  The part of the lesson that I still have to work on is that it’s absolutely ok for your passion to differ from mine. 

I hope your Lenten season (whether you participated in fasting or not) has been a beautiful and meaningful time of self-discovery.   

Palm and Easter Sundays 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Challenge 64 and other random tangles

Happy Friday on this next to the last day of March.  I am the Diva's challenge this week is for everyone to use the same string - 8 (quasi) special right triangles (one 90º and two 45º angles).  I was sitting in an all-day training this week when I created my tiles.  I've said before that Zentangle helps me focus and opens my auditory processing so I can retain more of what's being said.  Therefore, I didn't pay a lot of attention to what I was drawing.

The top one was done on an actual tile and the other two in my sketchbook.  Of course, at some point (after lunch) I just started tangling on a random string in my sketchbook (which for some reason only scanned as a portion:

I had to take a picture of it and resave to get the whole thing:

Uhm.... no matter how I turn it it looks a little phallic.  Oh well... probably had something to do with the lecture on how psychotropic medications effect the body...  :-)

I'm looking forward to my grandson's visit this weekend.  It will be a wonderful whirlwind of 2-yr-old activity here.  I hope everyone has a weekend that is filled with your favorite things to do, too!

Happy tangling!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

No challenge this week -

other than setting up a new computer.  I have to rebuild all of my bookmarks and other stuff (and get used to a new keyboard) so I don't have time to tangle this week...

I'll be ooo ing and ahhh ing over everyone else's offerings, though.

Happy Tangling!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Challenge #61 UMT v.II Golven

Mariet's tangle pattern, Golven, is this week's challenge from I Am the Diva.  My tile was actually started before the challenge was posted.  I've mentioned before that I often tangle during church services to keep my mind from wandering and my butt from squirming in my seat (back row center of the choir loft - pretty noticeable!).  I rarely finish one and this one was no exception.  I took my tile home and forgot about it until Monday when Diva posted her challenge.  The center just beckoned to be filled with Mariet's waves.  Love the tangle and I will definitely be using it again!

Happy Tangling!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Challenge #60 - Duo Tangle v.III Cirquital/Munchin

Wow.  Two tangles I've never used before.  Sometimes I am really not up the challenge of using new tangles or using only one or two specific tangles.  I almost passed on this one.  But then I saw a technique on the Pinterest boards that piqued my interest.  I am including a picture of it here because the visual is better than any explanation I could give:

So, anyway, I was thinking about the challenge and got the idea to use an outline of my hand for the challenge. The original intent was to color it with this technique but I had the forethought to scan it first. 

I printed out a copy and colored it - and hated it.  I thought, "maybe it's because I don't have much of a border around the edges (I used a Strathmore 5x7 Drawing Card)."  So I decided to draw another string, use the same challenge tangle patterns and then color it.  I'm still not fond of the results - and I forgot to scan the black and white version first.  

I understand the concept.  I just didn't achieve the effect I was hoping for. I will keep practicing.  Until then - Happy tangling!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Challenge 59 Update

I got bored tonight so I decided to color my mask.


I like color but I don't usually use it because there's just so much pressure figuring out what color I want to use where.  It's a little easier when I limit it to two or three colors - this time I used the "colors of Mardi Gras" - gold, purple, and green.  I used both Marvy and Tombow markers and played with the blender.  

I really appreciate the nice comments I received on my black and white version.  I have so much fun and one of my challenges is to avoid comparing my work with others.  It's so hard when we have been raised to compete.  It's sort of another part of my Lenten journey this year.

I was going to write about that last night when I posted my black and white Mask.  I was too tired to think but I decided to share tonight if you don't mind.  This year I decided to give up talking about, reading about, thinking about (way harder than I thought) politics.  I did this not as some sort of self denial but as a way give up being angry, disgusted, and frustrated all of the time!  We'll see how this goes.  I'm pretty opinionated and can get pretty darned emotional (which includes screaming at the TV).  It's only day 3 and already I've been tempted and challenged.  But I'm riding the mute button to avoid getting sucked into news stories and I avoid reading anything posted online.  Maybe by Easter I'll either not care anymore or succeed in channeling my anger and frustration into something much more productive!

Tangled blessings to you all!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Let the good times roll!  I haven't worked on a zentangle inspired art piece this detailed in awhile.  I'm not completely satisfied with it - as always, when I try for a specific outcome it never quite turns out like what's in my head.  But that's ok. I like it anyway.  Since Shrove Tuesday has actually passed and we are now squarely into Lent, I suppose I can give up that need to control this outcome, too.

I was going to write about Lenten  journeys but I'm tired and I wanted to get this posted.  So happy tangling and blessed journeys.

Monday, February 20, 2012

In between challenges

I've been reading a blog lately by Dan Pearce called Single Dad Laughing.  You can find the link over on my favorites list. Dad wrote a post recently called "Who's Life is it Anyway."  I don't think I've ever seen so many comments as the result of a single post - it really hit a nerve with me and, obviously, with a lot of others, too.  Due to the response, he's following up with a series on what happiness - or more accurately - what the choice to be happy means.  I encourage you to read.

After getting some major work on my dissertation proposal done this past week, I am ready to work on the next Diva challenge - Mardi Gras!  I can't wait.  New Orleans is one of my favorite cities.  I'm also doing some more work on my "visioning" ZIA.  So I'll be back...

In the meantime - happy tangling!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Challenge #57 - UMT v. 1 - Sanibel

I realize that my post for Diva's challenge is nearly last minute. It has been a full-moon sort of crazy week. It started last Sunday when I found out that a dear friend's 12 month old grandchild died suddenly in a choking accident. I struggled all week with the thoughts of losing a child - no matter what the circumstances or age of the child. Today I was able to finally sit down with my soul-brother (Shane's step-grandfather) and spend some time - sharing, crying, venting, and even laughing. It really did my heart good to see him. I hope I was a blessing to him, too.

Before I went to meet Tom, I wanted to create something tangible to remind him that I was thinking of his family. I had bought some "drawing cards" today on a whim so I started tangling using the grandchild's initials as my string. I was able to include several "S" patterns, including Sanibel, for Shane and several "T" patterns for Tom and Tita (Tom's beautiful lady and Shane's grandmother). It felt good to draw while holding this family in my heart. Inside, I included a poem by John O'Donahue. Fra. O'Donahue was an Irish Catholic Priest who died too soon but who left some of the most beautiful words behind to comfort and bless us. I share the poem below. I hope and pray that you who may read this will never, ever experience this kind of tragic loss. Yet, I hope that you will find blessing and peace in these words.

For a Parent on the Death of a Child

No one knows the wonder
Your child awoke in you,
Your heart a perfect cradle
To hold its presence.
Inside and outside became one
As new waves of love
Kept surprising your soul.

Now you sit bereft
Inside a nightmare,
Your eyes numbed
By the sight of a grave
No parent should ever see.

You will wear this absence
Like a secret locket,
Always wondering why
Such a new soul
Was taken home so soon.

Let the silent tears flow
And when your eyes clear
Perhaps you will glimpse
How your eternal child
Has become the unseen angel
Who parents your heart
And persuades the moon
To send new gifts ashore.
~ John O’Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Challenge #56 Non Dom v2

Back in the Spring, Diva challenged us to use our non-dominant hand to create a tile or Zentangle inspired art piece.  Once again, we are challenged to create a complete tile using only our non-dominant hand. For me - it's my left hand.  I can actually write a little with my left hand.  It comes from years of self-preservation - my mother was a leftie and if I sat on the wrong side of her at dinner we'd clash elbows!  Anyway - drawing is a little trickier.  I found that despite my best efforts (that would be with brows furrowed and tongue sticking out) my hand would shoot off in odd directions spasmodically.  It was actually pretty funny.  Interestingly, I seemed to only be able to work from left to right.  When I use my right hand I am not that "linear."

I tend to tangle when I need to focus.  If I have to sit and listen, I find that tangling helps me focus and absorb what I am learning.  I discovered that tangling with my non-dominant hand interfered with my auditory processing.  I was listening to a lecture online this week and, as usual,  found my attention wandering. I figured that I'd work on the challenge to help me focus... uhm... yeah... not so much.  I had to stop so I could "tune back in" to the lecture.  I suppose it has to do with dominant hemisphericity.  Hmmm...that could be an interesting study someday.

Happy whole-brained tangling!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Challenge #54 Purple

I love purple... I wear purple a lot ("when I grow old I'm going to wear purple...") - it's a color that makes me happy.  I was delighted when Diva chose purple as this week's theme.  So much so that I created two offerings:

Background using Tombow Purple and
Marvy Le Plume Violet Watercolor Pens

Color added with Marvy Le Plume Violet
Happy Tangling!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy New Year - Challenge 53

New Year - new beginnings.  I don't believe in making resolutions.  I try to avoid setting myself up for failure whenever possible.  However, as some of you know, I am working on my dissertation towards completion of a doctoral degree in psychology.  So - my resolve is to get past the blocks I've encountered up until this point and make significant progress in the coming weeks and months.  Zentangle is and will be a very large part of this process!  Here is my homage to Diva's "Undine" - SO glad to be back!