You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2012.

Wow, these past weeks have been crazy! Trying to get things ready for all my upcoming projects, juggling physical therapy and acupuncture appointments, and keeping up with life about has me exhausted! So here is just a brief update with what is going on:

Inspiration Deck Card Swap: got my deck the other day. I am humbled by all the creative souls out there. It was such an amazing project and I really hope that another opportunity like that will come around again. It is incredible to be getting creative pieces and uplifting messages from people all over, strangers that you have never met — it makes the world feel a bit less intimidating.

30 Days of Lists: ends today (sort of). I definitely have not been doing a list a day, but then again that’s not required. The prompts are provided daily, but since you can download the full list at any time, there is no time requirement. So I’ll try to finish those today, but the beauty of this project is that you can do whatever whenever. In fact, if you are interested, you can still register!vi have enjoyed taking a closer look at things I don’t think about a whole lot, and it really opens up new channels. This is one I’d definitely do again.

SouLodge: starts on Monday. I have been trying to collect supplies for this. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, but not in a bad way. The supplies list gives me a bit more of an idea but it is all still so new to me. Still, I’m so excited to be participating. Of all the classes I’ve signed up for so far, this one is probably the most personal.

21 Secrets: also starts on Monday, but runs through the end of the year. With no set time frame, this one is by far the most relaxed. This one I think will be the best overall, as it will give me something to do all year while the other classes are more of a creative jump-start.

Abundant Wild Life: starts in a few weeks. This one will begin as SouLodge is ending, with a bit of overlap, so it winds up being perfect. I got all of my supplies for this class, and I’m especially excited about this one. This will introduce me to a whole bunch of new mediums that I never really knew about or considered, and who knows what I will learn about myself! This begins April 30th, so I still have a bit of time to build up the anticipation!

In others news, I just found out this morning that something I’ve been trying to keep on the DL was announced in the newspaper yesterday. No, it’s nothing big. I agreed to do a karaoke song for a fundraiser, but because I’ve never really sung in front of people before, I’m nervous as hell. Plus, I agreed to this before my car wreck, and I’ve been so preoccupied with dealing with everything that it really snuck up on me. Oh well, I’m honestly surprised it took this long. And I’m not alone, and I’m far from the main act, which is good. Just might need a glass of wine ahead of time.

I’ve always loved reading, so when I learned at a book club in town I was thrilled. Never mind that I’m one of the youngest people there, it’s still exciting to read new books that I haven’t discovered yet. This month, we read Watership Down by Richard Adams. This is the second time I’ve read the book, but the first time was when I was in middle school so it’s not exactly fresh in my mind. Still, it’s a phenomenal book and a modern classic, so if you haven’t read it, you need to find a copy now.

Without spoiling too much of the book, it is the adventure story of a group of talking rabbits who are trying to find a new home. It’s a thick book, so you can imagine they have quite a few adventures. Interlaced throughout the narrative are stories about the great rabbit that started it all, much in the similar style of Native American folklore tales. Sometimes it’s easy to forget you are reading a story about a bunch of rabbits, although Adams does a good job of staying true to bunny mannerisms (which, if you’ve ever watched a rabbit for a period of time, just enhances the story that much more). As great of a story that it is, the way the story is told is just incredible. There are times when, for no apparent reason, Adams goes off on a bit of a tangent about something, such as the moonlight, or a description of the Downs, and it stirs something inside that almost made me have to step back for a minute before continuing with the story. His descriptions are so vivid that you can’t help but see yourself in the story, as a bystander watching life play out before you without creating any disturbances to the flow. By the end of the book, you are so connected to the characters that you feel as if you have lived beside them the entire time. And even though the story takes place over a matter of weeks, you feel as if an entire lifetime has been lived before you.

In case it isn’t obvious by this point, this is one of my all-time favorite books. There are very few books out there that I can say have touched me so deeply, moved me so profoundly, and this is definitely one of them. In a way, it’s a life-changer, although perhaps not in the way as others such as C.S. Lewis. It may not make you think about how you live your life, but in my case at least, the story went so deep into my soul that it almost became a part of it. I finished the book last night, and right now I almost feel at a bit of a loss as what to do next. It is so tempting to just pick the book back up and start reading it again. I feel like anything I read or do at this point is not going to live up to that story, as if anything I try to do next will just be a disappointment. Music doesn’t sound the same, other books just look forlorn sitting on the shelves, as if they are saying, “Don’t bother with me, I’ll just let you down.” Still, the beauty of books is that each one has the potential to transport the reader out of everyday life into a new world, to create a temporary escape into a new reality where problems are solved by other people and the weather is always perfect. So I will continue to read books, to find new lands, to connect with new characters, but when a book comes a long that is this profound, I find myself a bit reluctant to leave the world behind that I have come to love so much. And out of respect for the book, I will wait a few days before embarking on a new adventure.

I recently had someone ask me if I enjoyed my job. The main reason for this question was not because of anything in particular regarding the job itself, but rather because I was finding other things to do outside of it. This isn’t the first time this has come up, amazingly. Besides working at the clinic, I have two home-based businesses that allow me to bring in additional income while having fun and meeting new people. I realize that most people would say that they have hobbies and passions outside of work, mainly family, social life, and vacations, but when it comes to my life, I feel like there is so much more out there that I want to discover, something that is missing.

I’m almost afraid to use that wording. People read things like that and think that I’m not happy or that I am dissatisfied with my life. That’s not true. I love my life right now, I thoroughly enjoy my job, I’m truly happy. But I feel like there is a part of me that hasn’t been developed yet. I have spent literally my entire life reaching this point, getting through school, arranging my life solely for this purpose. Now that I’ve achieved this goal, I feel as if there is a part of me that I don’t yet know. My career is only one part of who I am, only one facet of my personality, one small piece of my soul. The rest has been suppressed, pushed down, put on the back burner so to speak so that this one part could come to being. Sometimes this is necessary, and in my case, getting through school required me to pour everything I had into this one sole goal in order for me to succeed. For me to explore other avenues would have been overwhelming, most likely to the point of either sacrificing more during school or possibly getting frustrated with my other explorations to the point of giving up. I can’t necessarily say that this suppression was a bad thing for the time being, but now that I am done with school, I have the time and freedom to seek these out, and my heart is begging for that chance.

My life will not be defined by one thing, and not everyone is happy about that. Some are afraid that I have worked my whole life just to find another path, while others worry that having outside passions somehow means I am less dedicated to my job. Neither of these are true. Just because I seek out another part of my soul does not mean that I will turn completely against another. It simply means that I am still defining myself, still learning who I am at the center of my being. It is possible that following some paths will end sooner than others, not a lasting journey but no less important. But if I don’t explore those paths, I will forever feel as if I am missing something, as if my life is incomplete. I don’t expect to excel at every endeavor I seek, but if I never try, I will always wonder “what if.” It just so happens that I have had the opportunity to explore many facets at once in a way where they will overlap and intertwine in such a way that I feel I will learn more from the transitions than I would from taking each individually. At some point, my husband will be facing deployment and we will be dealing with our first major separation since school. During school, I was too busy and overwhelmed to notice the separation, but now that we have actually been able to live together for awhile, now that I am not continuously stressed, this will be different. It may be no big deal, but I’d like to have a better idea of who I am as a whole before he leaves rather than finding him gone and feeling lost or empty. I have the opportunity to take 3 consecutive soul-searching/art/expression classes before he leaves, and I cannot help but feel there is a greater design in all of it, in the way that everything has fallen. I’ve learned to not question a strong heart feeling — when I feel especially pulled in a certain direction, I have found there is a reason, and usually one I could not have imagined on my own.

There are some people who are perfectly happy being completely defined by their work. I have nothing against these people, don’t think any less of them, don’t find them shallow or superficial or incomplete. For those people, that is their soul. They have discovered who they are and have found that they have one thing that truly expresses their soul. I am not one of these people. That doesn’t make me any less dedicated, nor does it make them any less complex. It simply means we are different in our ways of expressing ourselves. This is the beauty of being human, the freedom to express our hearts in one way or many. But we must be allowed the freedom to explore ourselves, just as we must respect those on their journeys. We must understand that expressions are different, that Van Gogh was no less an artist that Michelangelo, or that Bach was any less of a musician than Chopin. Life is a series of journeys, and we are all travelers.

Sleepy

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Smiling for the camera

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Cuddlebugs

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My first physical therapy appointment was yesterday. I learned that my right hip and lower spine are out of alignment, which is a big reason why the pain has kept coming back so strong. The good news is that she was able to manipulate it back into place, but now I have 6 more weeks of physical therapy in order to correct that and everything else. I’m a little bit relieved to know that there’s more going on than just a muscle spasm, but at the same time, this moves my estimated recovery time from 8 weeks pain free to 12 weeks therapy, with no estimate of when the pain will go away. Not to mention she is pretty convinced I have a deep bruise where I have been feeling the pain the most. Needless to say, I’m rather sore today.

I’ve gotten all of my art supplies for one of my workshops. I’m really excited to be learning new techniques and mediums. As of now, I’m quite partial to oil pastels and bristol, but I haven’t tried much else. I really need to learn to slow down in my art. I am so impatient that it’s hard for me to take the time to focus on details. Then again, I’m okay if the little perfect details aren’t there, I’m just in a hurry to see the final product. I want to draw or paint things that look real, like landscapes or animals, but I can’t seem to slow down enough to emphasize the nuances, such as the details of the fur, feathers, or grass or sea. I’m definitely okay with taking a more abstract approach, I just have to slow down enough to work on that as well!

The start of Daylight Savings Time has to be my least favorite day of the year. I’m not a morning person, so asking me to get up before I’m ready to is already a challenge. Still, if the sun is up, I can manage a little easier. Now, I’m having to get up before the sun, and this is a struggle. The only time that I’m a morning person is when I’m camping, and then I’m pretty much just a no-sleep person in general. When I’m in a nice comfy bed, my alarm and I become mortal enemies bent on the destruction of the other and there is pretty much no amount of coffee that will kick my butt into gear. As much as I enjoy more sunlight in the evening, I loathe getting up in the dark even more.

On a related note, I’m loving the picture circulating Facebook of a Native American with the quote “Only the government would take a foot off the top of a blanket and add it to the bottom and think that they had a longer blanket.” EXACTLY.

My back is still giving me problems. I’m having more decent days where the pain is minimal, just in time to have it flare up so bad that standing becomes a painful impossibility. I seem to cycle between periods of time where a heating pad is sufficient to days where only Lortab can bring the pain down from Defcon 3. My doctor has told me that I still need to give it time, but she is going to send me to physical therapy sometime soon so I’ll be adding that to my list of treatment regimens. It’s frustrating to think that I could be dealing with this through the first part of April even if it’s just a muscle tweak, even more so that this is all a result of something that I had no say in.

I’m hoping I don’t get way in over my head here, but I’ve signed up for yet another art class. This is an online workshop through Squam. For those who haven’t heard about it, Squam is a series of art retreats held biannually in New England. I have been trying to get out there for two years but it’s not cheap, and with travel expenses, it just hasn’t been possible. But now they have offered their first online workshop and I am so excited to be a part of this. So now I’m signed up for two art classes, one that runs 4 weeks and the other that will carry through the end of the year. The is so much more cool stuff out there than I realized and I feel I am just beginning to touch the surface of what is available. I am so excited to see what else is out there.

Updated: just added a third workshop. Maybe I’m just crazy, but I’m excited. I feel especially drawn to these, a tiny inner voice saying, “You need to sign up.” So I did. There’s a reason for all of these, and even though they overlap, somehow it just feels right.

Links to my workshops:
21 Secrets Art Journal Workshop
Abundant Wild Life Workshop
SouLodge

I finally got my new car title. Thankfully it was a lot less expensive than I was expecting. I sent of the title to my old car in almost two weeks ago, and I cried at every step, from signing the title over to mailing it at the post office. Every step felt heavier and harder to take, but lighter after moving forward. It was a bittersweet feeling, putting the new license plate on, finally solidifying this next stage of my life, but that’s what life is — a series of steps and stages, and we can either take those steps and move forward or we can stand still and watch life pass us by.

I had my second acupuncture appointment yesterday. Learned a lot at myself and about life in general. First of all, I nearly passed out again, this time 5 minutes into it. According to her, this is because my chi is moving too fast when opened up, which makes sense given my tendency to hang onto things, not let go like I need to. We don’t always think that we are affecting ourselves this much, maybe just adding a bit more stress by holding onto something that bothered us, but it’s pretty incredible the physical effects it has on our bodies. This might seem like common sense, but we don’t always recognize when we are holding onto something, and I don’t think many realize just how powerful that is. Anyway, she added a couple of different therapies. The first was infrared, which I’m not entirely sure what that is supposed to do other than accelerate healing. Then she added light therapy. The basic appearance of this looks ridiculous. To an outsider, it looks like someone shining a mini mag light through a long sci-fi style crystal dagger. It’s much more complicated, and I can’t even describe it well enough to fully allow others to appreciate its complexity. The light itself is special, and it is shined through a prism with a color associated to the pertinent chakra. The prism barely touches skin, and when it does the narrow point end is still rounded enough that it doesn’t feel sharp at all. The only thing I can say is that if you have never had this done, go try it. She used this on my back and everywhere I was having problems it felt like multiple tiny sharp pins running along my spine. Then, came the most dramatic response — I literally felt my back open. My doctor had told me I was showing signs of degeneration, specifically narrowing of disk space. I’m convinced that those areas opened up yesterday. I literally felt as if someone had gently stretched my spine and, like a bendy straw, opened up the compressed areas. She also used it on my third eye (look up chakras if you are lost), and I barely felt anything (another sign of my stubbornness and hard-headed-ness). She moved it to my throat chakra and it was better than any muscle relaxer. It sounds crazy that shining a light through a prism cold have such a profound effect, but it was truly incredible.

I’m about a third of the way through the 30 Days of Lists project. I had grand illusions of making this awesome art journal, but in the end, I’m using a Field Notes book and various pens. At least I was able to customize the notebook — it was a limited edition Dry Transfer set — but beyond that it’s pretty plain. Still, there’s no wrong way to do the project, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. You can still sign up if interested, and I highly recommend it.

Wow, what a busy past few days! I haven’t gotten a chance to update with all the fun things I did this weekend, so apologies for that. I’m fighting a cold on top of everything else so I’ve spent most of my free time lying on the couch.

Friday evening: NatureWorks
This is one of my favorite events of the year. Every year, Tulsa has a huge art show and sale to benefit nature projects around the city. Artists from all over the country (and Canada) come and show off their work, all devoted to nature and animals. There were close to 60 artists this year, ranging from painters to sculptors to everything in between. The open show is Saturday and Sunday, but Friday night they have an invite-only preview, typically for buyers and patrons. This year, I was able to take a few friends and it was a blast. I got to see some new artists as well as a few old favorites, and one of the sculptors I had the privilege of meeting at a prior event and it was good to talk to him again (I was surprised that he remembered me). We all went out to dinner after that at a Japanese steakhouse, and I got to eat sushi for the first time in a long time. Delicious!

Saturday: OKC museums
Saturday, my husband had a field trip for one of his classes, and I was allowed to tag along. The trip was to the Museum of Osteology in OKC, a museum dedicated solely to bones and skeletons. If you blink, you will miss it — it’s a tiny two story building — but the collection they have is impressive. They’ve got fully articulated skeletons for over 300 animals, including a humpback whale that hangs from the ceiling. They also are responsible for processing skeletons for many other museums and zoos all over the country. Definitely worth checking out. After that, we went to the OU campus to check out the Museum of Natural History. Holy cow, that was impressive! They have an exhibit documenting the Earth’s history from creation through the dinosaurs and after, and the way they have it set up is so cool! You start at the beginning and walk through a series of rooms documenting each stage of history. The only confusing part was that you don’t just walk up one side and down the other — you have to check out everything on both walls before moving forward or you will miss something. And some of the rooms have stuff in the middle or off to the side, so you’ve got to be paying attention, but still the set up is amazing. They have a couple of fully articulated dinosaur skeletons, huge ones at that. Once you get through the ancient history, they have an exhibit discussing how museums collect and preserve specimens, an exhibit showing the differ ecosystems in Oklahoma, and another documenting the different ancient people who lived in this region. The only room I was disappointed with was the one entitled “World Treasures” or something along those lines. It had a lot less than what I would have expected. Still, it was an awesome day, and the entire trip cost less than $30 for two people (excluding travel and food). So if you are ever in OKC and want something to do other than Bricktown, look these places up. You won’t be sorry.

In other news, I finally got the settlement for my car, and while it wasn’t much given the age of it, I got more than I was expecting, which was a blessing. I go back for round two of acupuncture tomorrow, and it has done wonders. I had an incredibly painful night Thursday after a big dog twisted my back, so much so that I almost couldn’t stand up, but by Friday the pain was minimal. Hopefully after a couple more treatments I will finally be over this.

Life will throw us curveballs. We can be afraid of them, dodge them, try to avoid them, but in the end we only wind up striking out. Curveballs are no different than any other pitch — they have equal potential for us to win or lose. That means that the only way to handle them is to face them head on and make a home run out of whatever life throws our way.

You can’t always make something good out of a bad event. That isn’t failure. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still an opportunity ahead. They say “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” but that doesn’t change the fact that you are still in a tunnel. But if you only focus on the tunnel, you will miss the light. All you can do is keep moving forward until the light obscures the darkness.