A Summer Journey


Upon reflecting on my time off this summer and having several clients ask me how my summer went, I decided to share a bit in the newsletter. First, I have to say I was shocked at how easily and quickly my time filled up with "things to do." I hear from retired folks that they became so busy after retirement they don't know how they ever worked. Well, my time off started off that way. I got so busy trying to catch up on projects, clean things in the house, painting the fence, and so on, that I soon wondered how I ever before had time to see clients! Then I got sick. Very sick. For about three weeks. Apparently our bodies do that when they have had enough and we don't listen. That slowed things down considerably but added to my anxiety to accomplish things during the time I had decided to "take care of myself." We are very hard on ourselves and, for the most part, have unrealistic expectations about what we can accomplish in a day or a week, or a summer. In addition, we carry around all sorts of beliefs and rules about who we are, what we SHOULD be doing, how to do it, and even think we know what other people expect or require from us (without having an adult conversation about it.) There is nothing wrong with beliefs and rules unless they are not your own or they no longer are serving you in the highest and best way. It is good, though a bit unnerving, to question our habits, patterns, beliefs, and attitudes. It means we can't play victim or blame others so much. We might need to determine a different way of having our needs met or our goals realized. We might have to change ourselves. Yikes! I believe the reality that I am going through menopause plays a role as well. We hear about mid-life crisis and about a reorientation of our priorities and choices at this time of life for both men and women. I admit to the foggy brain and the sense of uncertainty in these days but also feeling a shifting into a larger place of freedom and possibility. There is a process of "accounting for my past" going on and a realization that the time I have left in life is precious and should be vital. I have found myself asking myself "What will I regret not doing the day I die?" Mostly I think I would regret not being true to myself. That isn't a selfish thing because it is about recognizing the best way I can serve in this life and how my presence and skills can help in positive ways in the world while also honoring my body and my well-being. We all have grown up with messages from others about how we are not good enough or not smart enough, or why we should or should not act in certain ways. But then those "others" can take off because we take over. We seem to gladly take on the job of berating ourselves, limiting ourselves, and shaming ourselves. Maybe I can't control what others think or what they believe about themselves but I can challenge my own inner self talk and stop adding fuel to a fire that should have been stomped out years ago. We simply cannot offer to others what we do not have ourselves. We can be kinder and more compassionate with others when we can do so for ourselves first. I felt like I had "failed" myself this summer. I did not attend to my art to the degree I wanted to. For me, not honoring the creative energy that moves in me through painting, sculpting, writing, and teaching is what I will regret when I die. I realized working another job was not the thing keeping me from making art. The story is more complicated than that. How do I give myself permission to do what calls most deeply to my soul? How do I create boundaries that allow me to create in the way I create without making others around me feel abandoned or ignored? How do I prioritize the mundane/practical things that need done in life and include my own creative work as part of my journey? How can I stop shaming myself or feeling guilty for needing so much time alone to let the spirit guide me? There are a hundred questions. There are a hundred reasons I am not honoring my deepest self but blaming my schedule anymore can't be one of them. This cultural habit of "being busy" all the time is a phenomenon. We almost worship the person who is busy or we think our value and worth is tied into what we can produce or how well we multi-task. Studies have shown multi-tasking actually makes us less productive. Being busy is not the same thing as being productive. Being busy just depletes us. I am excited about exploring ways to be single focused, set goals, work less to produce more, and streamline, de-clutter, and put self-care as #1 on every to-do list. As I muddle through this fall season I am seeing in retrospect the harvest I gathered from my summer time off. While it was not as I imagined it, much fruit was bore. Life is created by a lot of baby steps. Here is a list of some of my harvest items. 1. I got our back yard fence painted 2. I decided to leave the Millworks studio and did so (and am pondering opening my own joint art and wellness studio where I can show my art, see clients, teach classes, and support other artists in the community by having receptions and classes for them.) 3. I started The Artist Way (Julia Cameron) book and 12 week program doing morning pages and artist dates and loving it! How did I never do this before? 4. I completed a commissioned work of art and held an unveiling ceremony and it was an amazing process! I also just completed another commission piece...yet to unveil! 5. I started two online art classes to learn from other artists and add to my techniques and inspiration. 6. I spent some time taking care of my medical appointments, menopause process, and taking care of my body. 7. I spent a great deal more time in nature and remember how and why it has been such a healing, inspirational and safe place for me. I grew up with such strong environmental awareness and concern for our planet and the animals. I think out of years of witnessing the demise of so much of our natural places by our own hands that I was feeling shut down and helpless. This time tapped into that resource in me and a renewed sense of my connection to Mother Earth and why my artwork includes elements of nature. I gain a great deal of support from nature. 8. I cut my hair and am loving the sense of a new chapter in my life. (Letting the grey being the highlights and adding low-lights instead) 9. Feeling more empowered to say "no thank you." and not feel as if I have to do or act upon every idea that comes in my head. 10. I committed to this longer term process of being human and knowing it is a journey. I have other things I am changing, pondering, re-orienting, clearing out, re thinking...but all in good time. At this season of late harvest, what have your harvested this past year in your own life? It is time to celebrate whatever gains, changes, successes, or growth you have obtained. No matter how small or how grand. Take stock and feel good about it. In peace, Lori

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      2133 Market St. Suite 218
Camp Hill, Pa  17011

 

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