The way UP is Down…

For years I was on a quest.

I was determined to discover that HOLY GRAIL we call CONTENTMENT…

Back then I believed that the HOLY GRAIL would be found in some change outside myself:
A new promotion or job,
A new home,
Some hiking trail to explore,
A new relationship.
I also channeled my restless nature in physical exertion and a full diary.
I was goal-driven, and achievement-focused.
As long as I was busy, all was well.
To slow down made me painfully aware of the discontent that trailed me like a twinge.
I had a hole in my soul that was so large, I could never imagine finding a way to fill it.
So I kept busy in a effort to dull the pain that the giant hole in my soul was causing me.

The movement, planning and physical endurance came at a price.

In my mind there always seemed to be just one more summit to scale.

For me, there was no neat finishing line when the effort and struggle stopped.

I lived in constant fear!

When my husband left me alone to raise our four children by myself, that was when I was forced to face my fears head on.

I had four children who desperately needed me to make some sense out of the ciaos they were experiencing in their little lives.

It was at that time in my journey that I finally stopped and decided to take a really good look at the inner mountain that had driven me for so long.

I was forced to acknowledge that I had become addicted to the drama of my life.

Drama always gives you an inspired peak experience.

And that can become extremely addictive.

BUT…

The high I felt was always followed by, “what now?”

 I was trapped in a crash and burn cycle – the drive to be more, do more.

I faced the feeling I most wanted to avoid.

What was its wisdom trying to tell me?

Behind its signature ‘twinge’ lurked fear: having to prove something to myself time and again.

Who would I be without the story I had created about my pitiful life?

What if I never accomplished anything important in this life?

Was I enough as I am?

I’d forgotten to enjoy this moment, now.

I had turned my back on this one simple truth:

Experience is what makes life meaningful –

Not the giddy ascension to a future time, promising peace and contentment.

Success and fulfillment are not the same.

I stopped moving and welcomed the full force of my restlessness.

I channeled it into my creativity.

I started painting and writing.

zentangle owl

 

 

 

I began to explore the world through a creative lens instead of the DRAMA driven lens I had lived with in the past.

The inspiration from all the ups and downs in my life still live on in my memories.

I use them to tell my story.

My hope is that my experiences can serve as inspiration and encouragement for those who are living a similar experience to my own.

I encourage and support others to rewrite their own stories as well.

We all have the power to change our story, transforming past hurts and wants into the living wisdom they are.

We can become the change we seek.

Diving into our creativity is rich medicine – so often disguised

(as it was for me)

as RESTLESSNESS.

Creativity is a tool to thrive in life’s uncertainty.

Real lasting change often happens in small steps over time.

Feelings are the language of soul calling us home – to embody our full-blooded human nature.
To ignore them is to be cut off from the neck down.

I’ve changed the story that the answer is ‘out there,’ anywhere but ‘here’.

I am what I seek.

Now I relish ordinary life as the adventure it is: out with my kids, among neighbors, enjoying the culture around me.

Jeff and Tyler stacking it high so the Steers have food for the winter.

Jeff and Tyler stacking it high so the Steers have food for the winter.

We are all storytellers, making sense of the grit – and gift – of being human.

I don’t have to create drama to remember that.

And when I forget – again – there is a map to reset my inner compass:

The way up is down.

The Backdrop for “Off Their Rockers” a school play that my kids are performing in.

My daughters teacher approached me and asked me if I would be willing to paint the backdrop for their upcoming school play. They are doing the musical, “Off their Rockers” in March, so the teacher needed a backdrop that would look like the inside of a rest home. So I purchased two canvas drop cloths that were each 6′ x 9′ and started to paint. Here are the pictures of the process and the finished project. I will post a follow up when they actually do the program and have all the kids in place with the backdrop. But for now. Here is the REST HOME COMMON ROOM.   IMG_0068             You have to look close, but you can see how I have used a charcoal pencil to trace the picture onto the canvas.   IMG_0070           The next step when I am painting a mural of this size is to paint the biggest areas first. For me, it’s just a “mind” trick. I feel like I have made a ton of progress when I get the big areas in, because you can start to see the picture emerge around the painted areas. IMG_0054             Once you start to fill in the images, the project starts to get fun. IMG_0057               If you look close you can see that I have painted the glass in the fireplace surround, and the light in the corner now has some color on it too. IMG_0058               Now we have the rocks on the fireplace, the hearth is blocked in, and the rug has the boarder completed. The vases on the mantle are also starting to take shape. IMG_0067               This is the first of the two canvases to be finished. If you look close in the bottom left corner, you can see the shape of part of the coffee table. That is just there to make sure that I line up the two canvases correctly when we sew them together to make one big 6′ x 18′ mural of the Rest Home.   So… Now lets watch the second canvas take shape…   IMG_0072             Here is the couch that will be facing the fireplace when the two pieces are sewn together. You can also see that the French Doors in the background are blocked in and just awaiting the detail to be added. IMG_0075             I just finished the coffee table and the sofa table behind the couch. The beauty in the picture is my daughter helping me paint the squares on the boarder of the rug. IMG_0077               We are almost finished. I need to decide what kind of art work I will put in the frames on the walls, and then I need to add the details to the room around the corner that will add even more dimension to this mural. IMG_0081               Here is the second canvas all finished. Now lets see them side by side. They are not sewn together yet, and still need a few touch ups now that they are side by side, but for the most part this project is finished… and it only took me 18 hrs. IMG_0084               Don’t mind the clutter, I tend to get a little spread out when I do these murals. But, that’s all just part of the creative process! I would love to hear your thoughts about this project in the comment section below.          

From NOW comes a day that is WON

I’ve been called the “Woman who never quits.”

Funny, but it seems to capture all the vigor and verve of self-sufficiency,
achievement
and hard core measurable goals
which marked my passage and intentions upon entering the decade of the 90s.
I graduated from High School on May 5, 1990. I was ten foot tall and bullet proof back then…
But then life decided to knock me down to size.

When I was in my early twenties I was determined to change the world.

I wanted to make quantum leaps in financial gain, to publish and to produce.

Now, as I am in my mid-forties, I realize that the better triumphs have not come from reaching these goals but in the shadows and nuances of missing them.

When things have not gone as planned

( which has happened a lot in my lifetime)

And I was forced to stop in pain and confusion, I may not have understood it at the time, but it was in those moments of failure and pain that I was actually learning and growing more than I could ever have known.

It was those very failures that helped me discover how very dependent I really was upon my external world.

I needed the “Push Back”  from life to help me see meaning so that I could eventually discover the deeper purpose behind the seemingly meaningless failures and pain.

But… In those moments of “push Back”, I was able to become acquainted with the Angels that surround us.

Because I have discovered that for every beast in the wilderness, there are angels in attendance.

have you ever noticed that just at that point when you are whipping yourself for failures…

Someone comes along to remind you of some difference you never knew you made?

 

In my twenties…I was looking to “win them all”.

But in my forties, I now understand that the far greater impact came from “winning one”.

When I’m feeling most unlovable, some angel appears to whisper in my ear.

Yes,

I am dependent upon my angels.

As I look back over the past thirty years, I can so clearly see now that it was during those unspeakable moments of pain that the  beauty of Gods grace and Love were manifesting themselves to me on a very personal level that would eventually change EVERYTHING about my life.

I stand as a witness of the fact that Angels abound when least expected.

During my years as a Correctional Officer at the Utah State Prison,I spent my days surrounded by people who were street-smarts and who’s supposed hard hearts  had led them to create a lifestyle of crime.

Yet somehow, in that horrible place I came to understand that each and every person alive shares a desire for honesty.

We all feel fear.

And we all carry a deep desire to be loved and to love.

The choices a person makes, no matter how dark and unforgivable can not ever change or diminish those basic human desires.

So how can we live in this world that is so full of pain, and not get swallowed up by it all?

I have discovered that the road AWAY from self-absorption is to look outside of our self and see if we can make a difference for someone else.

When I am throwing a pity party, the quickest cure is to help someone else.

 

It can be as simple as telling the store clerk that she has beautiful eyes.

It can be as time-consuming as sitting with a lonely widow and letting her recall stories of her past..

Truth be told, often I’d rather whine and complain.

I am dependent upon the needs of others to move me out of myself.

I have also discovered that I like myself better as a human being rather than a human doing.

Talking to roses can sometimes be better than speaking to thousands.

Giving myself permission to “be” rather than “do” remains a daily struggle.

I am a sucker for the tug of time.

I do not wish to go quietly into the next decade.

I’ll admit to needing bifocals and estrogen but I have no intention of aging.

I’ll trade exercise for cheesecake and Chardonnay.

I’ll forgo naps for too-late parties and choose time with my sweet spouse over a bursting bank account.

I’ll arrange to throw my old self away, to molt the dry skin of complacency so I can discover what is new to be learned and experienced.

These are intentions, not goals.

Some days I live intentionally– other days, unintentionally.

We’ve all been in that knee-jerk, where-did-the day go mode.

I need daily reminders to pay attention to what I intend to create: a life by design and not default.

By realizing my dependency on life as my teacher, my greatest wisdom comes from just plain showing up today and living NOW.

From NOW comes a day that is WON.

 

Reset Your GPS (Gratitude Positioning System) For Cloud 9

One of the things I love the most about our modern technology is the invention of the GPS device.

No matter where you are in the world, it will give you PRECISE directions that will allow you to drive directly to your chosen destination.

Have you ever wished that someone would invent a GPS that would help you navigate through the emotional twists and turns in life like the GPS?

I know that I would pay really good money for that device!

But lets stop for just a moment and really think about this idea because I believe that we already possess inside ourselves this very device.

 

It is powered by Gratitude.

When you encounter situations that make you feel YUCKY…

That is a good indicator that you have taken a wrong turn, and that you require a course correction.

And when you encounter moments of pure bliss, you are obviously on the right road.

Our inner GPS is probably just as accurate as the man made device, we just don’t trust the inner GPS like we do the man made one.

But what if you could learn to trust your inner wisdom more?

How do you think that would affect your daily experiences?

Imagine for a moment that you walk into a room and feel that strange sense of foreboding…

But instead of ignoring it like you would have in the past, you take that as a sign that you might need to take a detour before you end up off course,
so you immediately begin to “hone in” on the reason for your unease.
You spot a friend that is always dragging you into her drama,
( and you have promised yourself that you will no longer be her unwitting victim.)
You instantly know that the uneasy feeling is because you know that there will be an encounter with her.
SO…
You have two options.
#1 Leave the room.
#2 Decide to face this problem and make any necessary course corrections that will once and for all eliminate this “bump in the road” from your life.

 

Learning to listen to your own inner GPS is a skill that will literally take your life from uncertainty to cloud 9 almost over night.

From birth to this point in your life, you are an beautiful blend of your combined life experiences.

They are the events and interactions with others that have defined you,

from childhood games of playing house in cardboard boxes

to tumultuous adult bedroom alliances.

Each scene of your life blends with the others to create your road map–or at least the map that defines you.

It is kind of like the story that you’ve scripted so far.

Your story is, in fact, just a story.

The beauty of the life you live is that you can “COURSE CORRECT” your story any time you want!

You are the cartographer of every scene in your life.

are the one who gets to choose how want to be in your story.

Which direction want the story to take,

And how want to interpret it.

In other words, your entire life is based on your scene translations.

Unfortunately, you can’t see into your own future.

So it is not always clear what the consequences of your decisions will be or how you will hold the resulting outcomes or stories in your mind.

Like many people, you probably define the subsequent experiences as either “good” or “bad.”

You judge yourself as “wrong” or as having made a mistake if things don’t work out the way you intended.

This is where listening to your inner GPS can make your life blissful…

 

A GPS navigation unit on a road leading to a question mark symbolizing finding a route

 

Defining events that occur as good or bad presupposes that you are a casualty rather than a power player in your own life.

The truth is there are no mistakes in life, but there are choices.

Admittedly, some of your choices have been or will be better than others, but the beauty of having the ability to choose is that you are in charge of what happens to you.

 

And with every choice you make, for better or worse, there are lessons to be learned and personal growth to be attained.

That is really what your life and being in relationship are all about.

The more you learn and grow, the more confident a person you will become.

Take time to reflect on your key life experiences.

These events and your responses (or thoughts, beliefs, and ultimately, choices) to these events have led you to become who you are today.

Your thoughts became your beliefs, and your beliefs became your life path.

Now it’s your choice to redefine the experiences and if necessary, make a few course corrections and begin a whole new journey to create the enviable new life you desire.

Reset Your GPS for could 9!