Saturday, August 20, 2011

Taking Baby Steps

It is Saturday morning.  Yesterday was the first day of school.  For the first time in years, I didn't come home completely wiped out.  I woke up this morning around 7:00am, all on my own.  There is such a sense of peace inside me.

Since this peacefulness is such an anomaly for me, especially around the beginning of a new school year, it made me wonder.  What's different this time?  The answer came to me immediately.  I'm finally taking those baby steps toward my dreams.

Each day I find myself doing at least one thing to nurture my creative soul.  For me, it could be writing, painting, or photography.  It could even be cooking a sumptuous meal or planting an herb garden.  Whatever it is, each of these are baby steps towards realizing the life I truly want to live.  When I envision my perfect life, these are all vividly present.

The peace also comes from being myself and knowing that others are just being who they are and there is nothing you can do to change that.  I now focus on what I want from me and don't worry about what I want from someone else.  I no longer worry that someone can't make an important decision that involves me.  It doesn't bother me anymore when someone makes the decision to say something hurtful about me. 

I know my truth.  I know what is important to me and the path my life is now on will take me exactly where I am supposed to go, even if I just take baby steps for now.  Before long, those baby steps will turn into long, graceful strides.  Soon, I'll break into a full run and the world will open up. 

Looking back, I've learned so much.  Every heartbreaking, painful, or beautiful experience has led me to right here.  And it is from right here that I take each new baby step of my incredibly fulfilling life.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Teacher Face - Day One

Today was the first day back to school for me.  No kids yet, just the traditional rah-rah meeting from our superintendent telling us what a great year we'll be having.  There were staff meetings in the afternoon and I worked in my classroom for about 20 minutes and then had to leave.

All in all it was a fairly easy day.  But I came home with the first signs of "teacher face".  You know, teacher skin has a gray cast to it, my eyes look tired and bloodshot, there are dark circles forming under my eyes, and my hair looks dull and lifeless.  How is this possible?  Is it starting already? 

Normally I don't notice my teacher face until at least a couple of days into the new school year.  Quite frankly, I forget about it every summer.  During the summer I rarely wear makeup and usually look fresh and younger than my age.  I like the way I look.  But once school starts, it's a different story.  It happens every year.  One day I look in the mirror and it scares the hell out of me.  I always look at my reflection and wonder who that ragged old woman is looking back at me?  I don't recognize myself.

It always makes me this what you are supposed to look like at the end (or even in the middle of) the day?  But over the last few weeks, after spending hours in my studio, often without breaks, I never got "teacher face".  I didn't get bags or circles under my eyes, my skin looked fresh and peachy, a smile was constantly on my face. 

Teacher face or studio face.

Haggard old woman face or fresh peachy smiling face

Makes me wonder.....

Morning Tranquility

It is early morning.  This is my favorite part of the day.  The hot cup of coffee next to me warms my hands when I take a sip, the aroma awakening my senses.  Everything is still except for the slightly off-balance ceiling fan circling above my head. 

This is the way a day should begin, every day.  A gentle transition from slumber to slowly waking up, stretching your body, taking time for quiet reflection, eager to see what the day will bring. 

I resist the urge to turn on the tv to catch up on the news from the past evening.  It is usually negative anyway and if it is something important enough to know, I'll find out eventually.  Instead, I sit here and think, and write.  I dream of the day when this is how all my days start.  In fact, I can have them all start like this, but for now my quiet time will be limited since I do start back to school today. 

There has been a major shift in me the last few years.  I am finally putting into action all that I have learned about living the life I want, making it mine, making it happen.  By starting each day with this quiet time for gratitude and reflection, I feel confident I will continue on the path of living an authentic and fulfilling life.

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On Turning 45 Years Old

Today is my 45th birthday.  Last night at midnight, my daughter and three of her friends came to me in my studio and sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  This morning I woke up to a handmade banner that Caroline and her friends had made and hung in the kitchen.

All three girls had made birthday cards for me, the coffee pot was set up, and the house was spotless.

My phone has been going nuts today with phone calls, text messages, and Facebook notifications from people wishing me "Happy Birthday".  This afternoon the girls are taking me to see the new movie, "The Help".  It's been a great day and it's only early afternoon.

A birthday is a good day to stop and reflect on life.  After 45 years, I feel as if I am learning a few things.  For example, now I go with the flow and don't get my panties in a wad over stupid things that are out of my control.  Now, there is the occasional driver that might get a few words from me, not that they can hear me, but still, they know.  And when standing behind the woman at Old Navy who wants the clerk to return 20 items, then ring them back up again with her two pair of flip flops just so she can get a discount while I stand behind her with ONE coffee mug, I now choose to simply, but loudly, set my coffee mug down and walk out.  She knows, too.

These days, I find myself calmer and slowing down.  I am taking time for me, quiet time, time to do nothing or anything.  If I want a glass of wine at 1:00 in the afternoon, then I will have one.  If I want to take a nap, I do.  If I want to stay up until 4am working in the studio, I do.

When my kids come to me with relationship problems, I tell them to just be themselves and quit worrying so much.  It will all work out.  "It is what it is" has become one of my key phrases that I use almost daily.

The majority of my time is spent in my studio creating.  Although I love the positive feedback I am getting, I no longer care if anyone else likes my work, because I like it and I'm doing this for me.  I'm doing what feels natural and right.  I've never been happier than right now.  Nurturing my creative side has breathed new life into me.  It brings calm to me.  I finally have that internal peace that I have been searching for. 

Next on my agenda is my health.  I'm already very healthy, there's just way too much of me right now.  If I want this good health to continue, I need a little less to work with if you know what I mean.  Starting tonight there will be 30 minute walks, every night.  There will be even more stretching and toning.  My diet is already fairly healthy, so it's just about affording healthy food.  Of course, there is the wine, but wine is good for you, especially red wine.  See, I'm on track!

So here I am, settled in a new home, two kids that make me proud every day, surrounded by people who love me, working in the studio like crazy, doing what I love, and finally just being one hundred percent "me".  I'm happier than I've been in years.  I'm looking forward to see what the next 45 years has to bring because the first 45 have been pretty great.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One of the Best Days E*V*E*R*!

Tuesday afternoon, a little after lunch time and I am already in the midst of one of the best days ever...

I woke up this morning feeling rested and refreshed despite dreaming about being on a boat with George Clooney, Matt Damon, and a dog with chicken pox.  But that's another story.

After getting out of bed, I stretched, had a cup of tea, and gradually woke up.  I had a couple of errands to run first thing this morning, but after those were done I headed to my new studio.

A little over a month ago I moved into a new house, well it's an old house from the 1950's, but it's new to me.  One of the best parts about this house is the Florida room in the back of the house.  With its southern wall made of floor to ceiling windows, it's tile floor, and partially bricked walls, it makes a perfect studio.  For years I have been wanting, needing, a studio....a place where all my stuff could be out and I could escape and create.  This place is perfect.

(No, it's not a real dog.  It's a stuffed wolf.  Yes, I have several.  I like them.  Be quiet.)

The studio, Laughing Horse Studio, is a mess right now, but that's good...that means I'm working.  And that is why this is one of the best days ever.

For the last few weeks, I've been spending most of my time in here.  I have two work spaces set up.  One is more of an office area where I do research, print things off my computer that I will incorporate into my artwork, or just pay bills.  The other is my drafting table where most of the actual creating happens.  But I'm totally surrounded by all of my stuff....all the things I have been collecting for years, just waiting for the day I'd have my own space to create something unique with them.

It feels so amazing to be doing this.  It feels natural.  It makes me happy. 

Today has been so great because this is the type of day I envision myself having every day.  Waking up feeling refreshed and excited about the day ahead, wondering what I will create today from a blank, white canvas.  Knowing that I can go to the bathroom whenever I like and as many times as I need to.  Eating lunch when I am hungry.  Taking a nap if I need one.  Blare my music.  Dance between projects.  See a finished product and know that I created it. 

You know when something is right.  You feel it deep within you.  Every cell of you resonates a primal knowing.  You are exactly where you are supposed to be doing exactly what you are supposed to do. 

It feels good.  Really good.

(By the way, I came up with the name Laughing Horse Studio after I saw a road in New Mexico called Laughing Horse Road.  I thought it would make a perfect name for a studio.  I think it fits.)

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