Is it still sacred? Important? Cherished? If no, then Let it Go

“If it’s still sacred to you — and only if — then keep holding on.” This article by Danielle LaPorte summarizes my thoughts exactly on life as of late (although her writing tends to allude to letting go of a relationship and I am not focused on culling anything of that nature).

People, objects, hobbies, behavior, mindset, even my own self-perceptions: this is my filter for what stays in my life.

Playing small? That is absolutely not sacred, nor the life I want. Playing big and bright? Yes, please ‘n’ thanks.

It’s not easy, but being completely intentional and aware seldom is. It actually hurts like hell and makes a person question if they are ever doing the right thing. It’s not easy to do the right thing for YOU, you know. However, it IS refreshing and scintillating even in the tough spots – and leaves room for nothing but a bigger, bolder life. A few years deep in intention…a few years of being aware of what I cultivate in my life…and I no longer recognize my life compared to where I was before. In all of the best ways! It’s a beautiful feeling to realize that. We have all of the power in the world to fulfill our purpose.
I’ve given up blindly following old habits and old sparks if they no longer serve my higher goals, bigger vision, and well-being. I’ve learned more about myself than I thought was possible, just by mindfulness of that still, small question with the hugest of possibilities: Is it moving you forward and helping you create your best life? Simple, but seldom easy.
I don’t believe in shrinking. There is no satisfaction to be found in trying to fit a previous version of ourselves, or someone else’s ideas of what we should be. I really believe we would all be brighter/more fulfilled if we followed our own compass.


Some Beginning’s End


    I twist the ring on my finger self-consciously as I walk, feeling the detail and its weight on my flesh as much as in my mind. I question whether it belongs there, knowing full well it doesn’t – my defiance in wearing it anyway raising waves of foreign emotions to surface.
    One kelly green karat surrounded by a halo of white sparkle. Designed exactly to be worn forever, and I want to do just that. Now estranged, floating on that finger. Heavy and so glittery shiny…lacking the significance it once fronted and stirring strange emotions. I didn’t expect a reaction; I just wanted to wear it.
         Never an engagement ring; no longer a wedding ring. No symbol of love. Not a representation of forever. It really always has been just a shiny reminder to seek what I truly need to live the best life possible. Realizing that I will never settle for less again. That some things should be absolute signs of a misstep on our paths, and not be ignored or taken as challenges to overcome.
     Sometimes there really is a point where “No” is the right path. Sometimes it takes awhile to come back around to it.
    Somehow, defiantly, I can’t leave it sitting in the shadows of a jewelry box. I don’t care what they will say or think…I have no illusions about what it means. I bought this ring with my money, my own sweat and tears and efforts. And I’ll allow it to sparkle in the light, drawing the attention it demands and raising any feelings it may. From my right hand.

The Six-Word Memoir

I’ve been very active on one of my favorite web sites lately:  It’s a great place to glean artistic inspiration, meet like-minded individuals, and sign up for (and send) happy mail…usually snail mail. I absolutely love it here.

Lately I’ve started hosting a series of swaps at swap-bot based off of the idea of the Six-Word Memoir (see for more info!). Essentially you sum up an experience in six words. It can be small or large, specific or illicit. I love the challenge this idea poses and the endless possibilities of only six words.

Today's Memoir
Can you tell that I just finished reading a book with small-village folks who talk kind of funny (Wolves of the Call, by Stephen King)?

50 Things I’m Striving for by 01/01/2013

In striving for simplicity in 2012, I’ve cut back on a lot of the demands of life and found a little more joy therein. But now that the year is over halfway through, I’ve decided to join up with some soul sisters at and commit to a list of 50 things I’d like to see myself accomplish by year’s end.

True to my nature, my list is full of anything but simple notions. I’m already intimidated…but there are ways to *simplify* it into digestible tasks. I’m going to revisit my list every week and see what I can check off, revise, and plan for. I’ve heard a lot lately about how the best way to accomplish your goals is to write them down…we shall see.

    1.    Write a weekly blog post (or more).
    2.    Design my brand, web site, Etsy shop, blog, etc. for my stationery company.
    3.    Find a print vendor for invitations.
    4.    Find a print vendor for loose leaf stationery and envelopes.
    5.    Earn money doing what I love. Goal: $7,000
    6.    Finish reading The Dark Tower series.
    7.    Team with another site to offer printable freebies (wedding side).
    8.    Team with another site to offer printable freebies (stationery side).
    9.    Create original art every day.
    10.    Learn about stones/crystals.
    11.    Learn about astrology.
    12.    Print business cards.
    13.    Create marketing collateral (wedding).
    14.    Contact vendors from our wedding with business info and collateral.
    15.    Visit a new place for a day or weekend trip.
    16.    Take Business Goddess course.
    17.    Exercise two or more times a week.
    18.    Use the materials I have to create art (destash and save $).
    19.    Find a side job.
    20.    See good friends from out of state (Thanksgiving?).
    21.    Shampoo all carpets in house.
    22.    Paint bathroom.
    23.    Refinish piano.
    24.    Sell/go through Aunt Verona’s costume jewelry.
    25.    Wedding pictures to disks. Disks to family members and bridesmaids.
    26.    Write again, weekly – poetry, short story, etc.
    27.    Lay crescent blocks and create berm(s) in backyard.
    28.    Host a fajita party.
    29.    Learn better photography.
    30.    Actually take all of the e-courses I’ve purchased.
    31.    Create a business page on Facebook.
    32.    Post twice a month on ^^
    33.    Meet and build upon my tribe.
    34.    Save money and schedule my husband’s tattoo session.
    35.    Beginner’s hoop dancing/fire dancing. ^v^
    36.    Share my artwork with the world.
    37.    Enjoy a new year’s eve with my sister.
    38.    Have a garage sale after completing the Goddess Haven course.
    39.    Take the dogs for a walk 3x or more a week.
    40.    Reconnect with friends.
    41.    Skype with Alyssa (Portland) and Kirk (St. Louis)
    42.    Find creative ways to save money.
    43.    Host a family holiday?
    44.    Work on strengthening intimacy of marriage.
    45.    Go disk golfing.
    46.    Cut hair to a “me” style after my sister’s wedding.
    47.    Start playing guitar again.
    48.    Conquer sewing pile.
    49.    Reorganize paper crafting supplies.
    50.    Create earring frame for bathroom.
    51.    Refinish deck (yep, 51…I know. Can I try any harder at this, haha?)

Feeling ambitious and a bit unorganized, I guess for today at least I’ve started with #1!

Letting Go, (Struggling Against) Looking Back

Sitting at my work desk today, my big step (my great, huge leap) has begun to sink in. Finally, it’s starting to feel like a reality. I am leaving my day job, on principal alone. Not merely on a whim, though; I have to leave because the environment is interfering with my ability to be a sane, level-headed, self-sufficient, and happy person.

I start to wonder if there are stages of realization, as there are stages of grief. All of the different emotions I’m feeling – sadness, grief, questioning if this was the right decision, and sometimes – rarely but increasingly – the relief just washes in like a flood. I have taken a jump of faith and I believe that things will all work out for the better; it can only improve from the situation I have been in. But now I have to figure out exactly what that means I will need to do.

My last day is tomorrow. I put in that notice two weeks ago…already! …quitting a job to which I have poured out my heart and soul and effort (and time and love and…practically my life for the last 7 1/2 years). I now have one full work day ahead of me (I thank the universe for the paid holidays I can still take advantage of). It was not easy. It took me weeks to finally commit to this (and a tremendous, supportive push from my husband). I will have to explain more of the background to the situation when I’m further away from it (and I don’t feel sick to my stomach thinking of it), but I know in my core that this was the right decision.

I had been going home every night and crying for hours, assaulting my family and friends with pleas for ideas to help “fix” the situation. My body wouldn’t sleep without a sedative. Feeling like I was losing myself, I couldn’t go in to work without anti-anxiety medication. I hadn’t had a normal digestive tract for weeks. I couldn’t find the energy to look for another job; I couldn’t even cook dinner or paint or garden…my favorite things to do. Every week was a cycle of surviving until Friday evening and relaxing for a day, then tensing up and dreading Sunday night and the inevitable return to my own custom-tailored version of hell on Earth.

I tried to look at it from different perspectives. I tried extreme self love and taking a few days off to re-evaluate things. I gave my employer every benefit of the doubt, every chance to rectify the situation with the exception of staying in their employ to train my replacement and be let go (i.e. letting them walk all over me). I had to take it into my own hands and face the truth. As I found out, doing what’s right for yourself is not always easy, or what others suggest, or even what comes naturally. Sometimes you just know and have to fight so hard against the “shoulds”…beating yourself bloody like a salmon en route to spawn.

Even though I know it was a good decision and Scott and I are prepared to face a life on one income for awhile, I just keep getting hung up on how hard it is to let go of the idea of this job at its prime, even when it has now become so toxic and destructive. The memory of the good things and my accomplishments, and the thought that if I just tried harder, it would have worked…

It is a human fault of mine to care beyond reason, and I know that this see-saw of emotion is probably just an echo of the back-and-forth momentum of the last few weeks. I kept making a decision, sure that I would show up the next day and finally be able to settle things. The problem was, the next day came and there were different options on the table. Day after day, endless back and forth. It seemed like a game of cat and mouse where I was presented with the option to chase my tail endlessly and no opportunity to catch the mouse (I found out it was stuffed with sand, anyway…so that may be for the better).

It swung my compass around violently so many times that I know it will take awhile to recalibrate completely and see everything clearly again.

Have you ever made a really tough decision through the confusion of a negative circumstance? How did you deal with the aftermath of doubts, and did everything turn out for the better?

My bags are packed

I’m going on a trip. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m ecstatic about it. Elated, even. This is the big one, I just know it.

I’m going on a trip. Around the sun. And guess what – you’re coming too!

This trip – what we call 2012 – is going to be a great one. Chock full of good memories, rich experiences, and adventures! What every good trip needs! I’ve set my intentions for the year and have decided that it will be great. I’m going to do my best to make it so. Every. Single. Day.

In all honestly, my 2010 and 2011 were amazing. In 2010, Scott and I went to Tahiti and he proposed! We then spent a feverish three months planning our wedding. 2011 played host to our wedding (amazing!), road trips galore, our first music festival. We even hosted our very first Thanksgiving!

All-in-all everything was awesome. But I have this nagging little voice telling me that I haven’t been being honest with myself. We did so much. We did so much. But I personally feel like I didn’t take the time to savor any of it. I have this tendency to always look forward and forget what’s laying in my lap! I have this tendency to over-plan. Everything.

It’s so easy to get caught up on the shoulds. Those nasty litle things have no place in my life (I’m working on it), but there’s something to be heard in their whispers. Because they tell us what feels wrong, what needs adjusting.

I know it as much as the next person – New Year’s resolutions fade quickly. It’s hard to keep your eye on the prize, because when it all comes down nothing really changes just because we’ve encountered another January 1. I wanted to form a resolution; I wanted to choose a word for the year; I wanted to have something concrete to aim for. How else was I going to conquer the world and still have time to make a meal plan for the week?

That’s just the thing; it’s a ridiculous idea to put so much pressure on oneself. Especially considering how easy it is to fail. So, it’s become apparent to me after the rush of the holidays has torn apart my once-methodically clean home. After I relaxed for two weekends in a row (mostly…). This trip around the sun is going to be magnificent and filled to bursting, but mostly…mostly this trip is going to be SIMPLE, no pressure, and as-it-happens.

Dream a Dream, Make it Good

Dreams – the waking kind – are a peculiar type of torture method. Usually the ones we’re truly caught up in require us to exercise our more practical side if they are to become reality. They aren’t so glamorous once we see them below the clouds. Kind of scary to consider how strong our dreams and passions can be – and how very confusing.

They push and they pull. They work with and against each other. They lure us this way and that. Then, as soon as we’re sure we’ve caught the one we want to pursue, it slips back into its own realm; airy, immaterial, difficult to grasp. Hard to see. Near-impossible to defend our prior convictions for.

How to run after the dream that keeps shapeshifting?

Am I a/an…teacher? writer? artist? photographer? production mouse? cook? driver? librarian? editor? poet? musician? success?

Dealing with the Shoeboxes

…My thumb drives have simply become digital shoeboxes, full of art files and photos. They sit dormant until I bring them up on my computer screen, at which point they cry out to me, “Don’t forget about us! We’re so awesome!”

But honestly, there are some really good pictures. There’s a lot of potential on these drives. Harking back to January 4, when we got the foosball table from my mother which we STILL haven’t used…I remember that deep down, my favorite photos are always the ones getting their blur on…The Forgotten Foos Player

2009 – The Year of Joy

Joy – something I haven’t experienced in a long time. I know a lot of people say this, but I haven’t been truly happy in such a long time. I take things too seriously almost all of the time, and I think it has a lot to do with not taking time out for me. Instead of just shrugging things off, I can’t get my mind off of them. I let it bring me down. I’m not a very positive person to my co-workers or even friends sometimes.

I’d like to try to have a smile on my face as often as I can, and hopefully become a more pleasant person. The discipline ties into this more than would appear. Despite the word discipline’s reputation, it is going to help me be more joyful. The discipline is in not worrying and keeping my mind off of the trivial things in life – so I can focus on the fun stuff!

2009 – The Year of Discipline

…and the Year of the Ox! (I’m an ox…in the Chinese tradition)

In the past few years, I’ve really let my expectations of myself slide. Well, rethinking that – I don’t know if I ever really had expectations or if I just arrived on Earth programmed to try hard at things I enjoy (almost everything). I never struggled in high school or early college with what I wanted to do. I just knew and went with it. But I know that it took effort, it wasn’t all just letting it roll by.

I don't remember which site had the theme 'contained' this week
I don't remember which site had the theme 'contained' this week

Lately I’ve gotten lazy. Whether it’s my art, writing, relationships, or the housework…I’ve felt like I’m not doing anything whole-heartedly anymore. I say I’ll do something later, and that later just keeps getting pushed further and further until it’s a month later and I still haven’t done one thing (that probably would take me 5 minutes to do in the first place!). I make excuses for why I’m not going to paint tonight, or why I didn’t write yesterday – even though I want these things so badly it bleeds. I don’t really consciously do much of anything, and I want to be more aware and more gracious in my everyday actions.