Schwellenangst

0129171753I found a new to me book at the thrift store the other day. ( I was hunting for wedding decorations, not stuff for me!)  I was hesitant to purchase the book seeing as how I’m working at curtailing the amount of stuff entering and taking up residence in my home.

I decided that this book was a worthwhile purchase though.  It is full of wonderful words, most of which were unknown to me before.

I believe my life will be all the better for having found and read this book.

For example, I now have a word to describe my current journey to redefine, rethink, re-imagine and reflect during 2017…

   Schwellenangst (noun, German) Lit. “threshold anxiety”‘ fear of embarking on      something new or entering a place.

This word is perfect for summing up how I feel about embarking on this new phase of my journey…more ruthless de-cluttering,  contemplating the changes that may be necessary and anticipating what will be happening.   Challenges are good, but change is hard for me.

Nevertheless, I will be dealing with my schwellenangst and moving forward into my next reality.  All shall be well.

A word for my decision to leave Facebook for a bit…Aeolist (noun, English) a blustering windbag of a person who only pretends to have inspiration or wisdom.  These are the type of people I am choosing to avoid for a while.  Those folks who believe that if they cite enough sources, “facts” and isolated examples in loud enough voices with a sufficient amount of foul language and name calling, they will change someone’s mind and all shall be well.  Their opinion is, of course, the only correct one and everyone else is an ignorant, uneducated, trailer-dwelling moron who has no feelings or concern for anyone else.

I just don’t have enough sizfleisch (noun, German and English), literally “sitting flesh” or posterior; the ability to sit through, tolerate, or persist in something difficult or severely boring.  I’d like everyone to take a deep breath and reread the story of Chicken Little or maybe Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

At this point in my life, I am more interested in developing querencia (noun, Spanish), a place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where you are your most authentic self.

So, here is tomorrow’s project – The Dining Room.  Keep in mind before viewing these photos that there is a wedding happening in two weeks and there is tons of stuff everywhere as a result.  There is also laundry and who knows what else!  I’m dealing with it tomorrow.

Deep breath and sigh.

All shall be well.

It’s going to be okay.

One thing at a time.

One day at a time.

Querencia.

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Ugh.

Or maybe Yuck.

One word to describe the way I feel physically and emotionally.

I’m still tired and coughing.  It doesn’t help that the weather is changing every hour.

Hot enough to wear a t-shirt and shorts going barefoot one day.

Then a t-shirt, flannel shirt, sweater, jeans and socks the next.

Can’t the temperature be relatively the same for at least two days in a row.

Cedar and mold and dust…all at the same time!

We’re all carrying rolls of toilet paper around.  I’m too cheap to buy Kleenex.  I’m very into multi-purpose home supplies right now.

The studio has stayed clean.  I know it’s been less than twenty-four hours, but I’m going to cheer myself on with a win anyway.  I was able to find everything I needed for my art class today without rummaging through piles of stuff.  That felt good.

This second class that I’m teaching is older kiddos…junior high and high school.  I’m really enjoying it, but they are all super-talented.  A couple are more naturally talented than I am.  At least I have more experience than they do.  It’s going to be challenging to keep up with them!

Today on the home-front we sorted through wedding stuff and got a lot of it boxed up into some sort of order.  New lists and more lists – things we forgot and things we didn’t think of.  I think it’s going okay (except when I start panicking and lose it!).

The bridal shower is tomorrow and guess who forgot to get a gift.

Then we just have two more weeks until the big day!

I’ve made a decision to leave Facebook for a while.  I just can’t deal with the drama, the arguments, the name-calling and the total suspension of respect for differing opinions.

If you read my posts as they are shared on Facebook, you can continue to do so.  I will not be getting notifications of comments or “likes” however.  To stay in communication, you will need to log on to faithacrestudio.com and “follow” me here.

This was not an easy decision.   I’ve “unfriended” a lot of folks that just couldn’t let up with the continually negative posting. I kept thinking people could or would calm down and relax a little.  That maybe we could start sharing our daily lives again and keep in touch about the little stuff – the little stuff matters too.

We can’t live in a constant state of fear, panic and readiness to battle every anticipated tragedy.  I know this because I’ve been doing it since childhood and my body is worn out.  I’ve shared this before.  For my health and sanity, I just refuse to do it anymore.  I’m bowing out of the front lines.

When you wake up every morning looking for the next horrible thing that has happened, or more likely the next horrible tragedy that hasn’t happened yet, you miss out on the simple beauty of the everyday.  We see what we are looking for.  I am choosing to look for hope and joy.

I’ll still be here…sharing my stories and my moments.

Our stories and sharing are what is most important right now.

The goodness is still present.

There is still hope.

The steps we take in our daily lives will always have more of an impact on the world than any march.

Little things matter.

Our love matters.

Never stop believing that.

The Studio

This room does not reflect who I am…

Or maybe it does represent the “me of the moment”…

It might be more accurate to say that this room does not reflect who I want to be and who I am intentionally trying to become.

I am so frustrated (and angry) at my lack of sustainable progress towards living a simpler, clutter free life.

I claim to want to make more art and this is what my studio always looks like!

I am adding a fourth word to my new year “slogan”.

That word is “Redefine”.

I am going to rethink, reimagine, reflect on and then redefine my goals and the plan of action to get there.

I want to make more art.

What do I need to do to make that happen?

Today, I attacked the studio.

A box of stuff is going to the thrift store…crafting and art supplies that I have outgrown and that no longer fit my style.  Leftover bits and pieces that were saved because I might be able to use them for something.  Things given to me that “might be useful”.

We had a bonfire.  Boxes of old art, old journal pages, letters, art cards, miscellaneous papers, leftovers, notes and so much much.

Those papers represent the past.  Guilt, things undone, friendships that are no more, items that have lost their relevance to who I am becoming.

Towards the end of the clean-up, it became easier and harder.

Easier to let go of things…

Harder to deal with the emotions of the change.

I survived.

I suspect there is more that could go.

I believe their are a lot more possibilities now than there were this morning.

I am excited by that notion.

I am drained and weary and a little afraid.

This is now…

What Now?

No writing the last few days…just a lot of thinking and a bit of keeping my mouth shut and some reevaluating my life.

This flu bug just keeps hanging on.  No fever, not really sick, but not feeling well either.  Lots and lots of coughing that’s threatening to become bronchitis.  I’m sure some allergens are responsible also.  I’ve been trying to take it easy and just do the really important stuff, but mainly thinking….

Thinking about the other night when I went into my studio and realized that my work table was once again so cluttered that I couldn’t actually use it.

One of the things on it was an old visual journal from 7 or so years ago.  It’s part of a box that I packed away about a year ago because I couldn’t make a decision about what to do with them.  And then I brought the box back out because there was an empty shelf in my new studio. Sigh.

I started paging through it.  There wasn’t actually much in it as far as original art went. There were a lot of articles about creativity and quotes.  There were some collaged pages using images and words from magazines.

I decided it wasn’t great stuff.  I reread the creativity articles and decided that they weren’t all that important.  You can find millions of articles in that vein on the internet.  I started copying some of the better quotes into a new journal and then realized that these can also be accessed anywhere anytime I might suddenly need a quote.

Then I came across a page that featured the words, “I need a pause button”.  I wrote about that just the other day right here in this blog.

The next page dealt with the issue of clutter…

And the next, dealt with finding time for creativity in the midst of life.

I burst into tears.

This journal is over 7 years old.

I’m still stuck in the same spot.

Sure, I’ll grant that I’ve made some progress.  There have been steps forward and steps backwards.  That’s how life works.

But…I have not changed my life significantly.  I am essentially still working on the same issues.

Insanity, right?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

I took the journal and went to the center of my labyrinth that I am constructing in my yard (it’s technically just a couple of circular rock piles, but let’s not judge…work in progress) and set the damn thing on fire.

We could be generous and say it was a ceremonial gesture ritually symbolizing significant change and hope for the future.

Let me be brutally honest.  That’s not what happened.  I was just a pissed off and enormously frustrated woman destroying something that I had previously found significant.

In reality, that journal was just another one of the hundreds of things that are in the way of what I claim to want.

So, it turns out that this year’s motto…Re-thing, Re-imagine, and Reflect…are the correct words for change.

I haven’t come up with any grand solution or any new plan.

It’s just very clear that the old ways aren’t working well enough.  I don’t have time to piddle around with these changes.  I’m not going to live forever!

For now, I’m sticking with sorting through things.  Hopefully, more ruthlessly and with a clearer understanding of what needs to go.

This thinking can’t just apply to belongings.  In fact, “things” are the least of my worries. Old habits, relationships, emotional baggage, and choices all need to be brought under the microscope.

What is beneficial?

What brings joy?

What is worthy?

What brings me closer to the life I envision?

Ugh.

Reality checks can be brutal…

and painful…

and enormously helpful.

Thoughts from the Shower

It’s easy to believe in an absolute truth when standing in a crowd of those who believe the same thing.

When we are children we are taught in black and white, right and wrong, good and bad.

At some point we should grow up and start experiencing the potential truth of other values. In part, I am referring to value as it exists in art.  Value is the lightness or darkness of tone or color. There is a whole lotta gray out there between the black and white.

If you spend all of your time in the same place you’ve always been…the coffeehouse, the workplace, the congregation of fellow believers, your neighborhood, your comfort zone…you are not challenged.  Absolute truth is comfortable.

If you hear something over and over again, you’ll tend to start believing it.  That happens in our childhood when we learn basic values from our parents…our family…our people.

Then we start venturing out into the world.

By high school, we are usually full-on challenging our formerly held “truths” – the truth of our parents.

I don’t believe that means we are always thinking for ourselves.

It often means that we are just taking on the beliefs of the crowd we are in.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong.  As humans, we need others.  It’s nature.  It’s science.  It’s who we are.

There can be safety in that crowd, that herd, that gang of like-minded individuals. Comfort even.

But there is even greater danger.  Danger to those that are not in the “in crowd”.

In the next couple of days, if you look around you and find that you are in a crowd that believes in the same “truth” that you do…

Make sure that you have shone an intense light on the truth that you are espousing.  Have you thought it through?  Are your thoughts your own?  Are those thoughts comfortable?      Are you challenging and redefining that truth?  Do you feel the need to “defend” it? Are you comfortable and safe?

If you consider yourself a champion of the oppressed, the different, the marginalized, does your protection apply to all people who believe differently than you?  Does everyone matter?  Did you decide who was worthy of your efforts or was it a group decision that you threw your hat in with?

It’s not brave to stand in a crowd and defend your “truth” in the safety of numbers.  A majority of voices doesn’t define what is true or good or right.

Truth is not found in argument, in protest, in noise, in conflict, in chaos, in darkness.

Truth is when you are alone, in contemplation, in intelligent thought, in light…

Make your voice known.

Share your truth.

Make the world a better place.

Recognize that truth, as you understand it may differ from the belief of the person standing next to you.

Rejoice and be glad that you are able to stand next to and with someone that you do not agree with.

That is freedom.

That is these United States of America.

 

Last Night

Last night I started to think that survival might be a possibility.  My fever broke…and returned…repeatedly.  I lost count.  The congestion started to clear.  I was coughing.  A lot. I decided to try  spending the night in the recliner so that hubby might sleep.  Someone needed to.

As always the ever faithful Matilda, the basset was by my side.  Sleeping is her best thing. She only does three things well:  sleeping, running away during walks to make new best friends and eating.

She does other things.

No.  She doesn’t really do anything else.  Just the three things.

That’s really all she does unless you count whining and baying at 4:30 every afternoon because she’s ready to go on a walk.  I don’t really count it as a separate activity because she only does it so she can go on a walk and run away.  It’s an essential component of activity number two.  Not a separate activity at all.

Anyway, last night I carried (lugged) her to the recliner and we both kind of fell into place. She’s a pretty hefty chunk of dog.  That’s a result of activity number three which includes the sub-component of stealing every possible bit of human food that she can gain access to and she has miraculous skills for a dog of her height and breadth.

Where was I?

Oh yea, she landed in place right beside me.  I must have dozed off for a bit because when I woke up I was perched on my side on the arm of the recliner.  One leg was thrown over onto the sofa next to the recliner.  Matilda the basset was snoring loudly and contentedly on the other 98% of the chair.  She also had all of my Very Hungry Caterpillar comforter.  Life can be unfair at times.  Unless you are Matilda.  She seems to have very few problems at all as far as I can tell.

There wasn’t really a reasonable way to get out of the position I was in.  If I rolled forward I would end up on the floor.  Well, the top half of me would have hit the floor.  The brain part, mainly.  That seemed a bad idea. I couldn’t get up because I couldn’t get a foot on the floor.  I tried rolling back into the chair, but Matilda didn’t wake up enough to move.  Or maybe she woke up enough and it just didn’t seem to be her problem.

I’m betting on the latter. That’s probably why I like her so much.  She’s very confident about her own self-worth.  She just assumes that she’s worthy of love.  She doesn’t try to be anything other than what she is.  She’s a Basset hound.  She doesn’t try to be a normal dog and bother with silly things like fetching a stick or paying any attention at all to you when you call her.  She doesn’t try to be a watchdog and guard and protect our home.  She does no tricks to try and please you.  She is who she is.  She sleeps with me every night. She is loyal – as long as no one within her hearing range opens a Cheetos bag.  This would include most of the subdivision.  Distinguishing the sound of a Cheetos bag must be something only a Basset can do.  All chip bags sound pretty much the same to me.  Other than Cheetos, I’m pretty much her favorite thing.  That’s okay.  We all have our price.

We are friends.

We accept each other’s faults.

We like each most of the time.

Sometimes we disagree.

We aren’t mean to each other (on purpose).

Sometimes we screw up (she steals my food and I get mad at her).

We work it out.

I finally wiggled back into my 30% of the chair.  She protested…a lot.  We worked it out. She kept the blanket.

I couldn’t get to sleep for a while.  I started thinking about friendship.

I thought a lot about friendship.  The friendships I’ve had.  And the ones I haven’t.  There were a lot of revelations, realizations, aha moments…  It turned out to be a pretty good therapy session.  I cried.  A lot.

I think I’ll share…

in a couple of days.

For now, let’s start with…

Friends are important.

I’m not really very good at friendship sometimes.

And sometimes I don’t believe that I am deserving of friendship…of love.

This all probably causes a goodly amount of stress.

But, things can change.

I can change.

Life can be better.

Peace

 

I wrote

I wrote a blog post on Friday.  If I recall, it was actually fairly interesting.  I’m not sure though because I don’t remember that much about it, it never posted, and has disappeared somewhere out there…

Today sucks.

That’s all I’ve got.

I’m pretty sure that I have the flu – and that we’re all coming down with it – one after another.

As a result, I’ve lost a whole weekend of wedding prep.

It sounds like the dog just stole something off the kitchen counter.

I’ve managed to have a screaming fight with almost everyone in the family.

Marriage is hard work.

Children are hard work.

And I don’t feel very good about the way I’m handling either of those right now.

Mainly I just plain don’t feel very good at all.

The car has a flat tire

The dog ate the wooden part of the new toilet paper dispenser.

My son’s car broke down on the highway.

I don’t have a plan for class tomorrow.

And lots of other shit that I can’t share here because I don’t actually share everything.

Some days suck and I still have hope.

Today I just have a headache.

 

Reality Check

So….what’s been happening since my last post?  Too much it seems.  And that’s not a new situation.  It seems that my body is sending me a reality check…via my eyesight.

And that has certainly caught my attention.

Here’s what’s been happening.

It all started mid-summer.  Remember mid-summer around here?  It’s okay if you don’t.  I can barely remember most of it and I was the one living it…a short re-cap:

Two of my oldest kids moved out on their own.  We were preparing to enroll our youngest in private school (after homeschooling all of our kids for the last 20 something years).  My sister had surgery that turned into a medical disaster of long-term duration.  We were in the middle of numerous renovation and just plain fix-it projects around the house.  We were caring for a seriously ill dog.

Am I forgetting anything?

Probably.

Let’s just say that I was feeling pretty stressed.

I noticed that I wasn’t seeing very well.  I figured that my eyeglass prescription had changed.  I was really busy.  I put off going into the optometrist.  Things didn’t get better.  I started moving my glasses to the top of my head and doing everything up close.  I started watching television without my glasses.  With my eyesight, that means I was listening to the t.v. and not actually watching it.  I started having headaches.  Driving at night was almost impossible.  I started avoiding the computer…important stuff like email and the budget.

I lived with it.  I pretended that everything was fine.  I didn’t really tell anyone. That’s what a “good” mom, wife, person does.  We soldier on.  That’s what I was raised to do.

At the end of December, my husband and kids dragged me to the eye doctor to get my new glasses.

During the exam (which I failed miserably) the doctor commented that my script hadn’t changed all that much.

Hmmm.

Interesting – since I can’t see much of anything…everything’s blurry.

We ran through the test again.

And that’s when I noticed it.

I was trying to read the whole line of letters.  And I couldn’t.  When I tried to focus on one letter at a time, they were going in and out of focus…rapidly.

When I mentioned it, the doctor said “hmmm”.  It’s one thing for me to say “hmmm”.  It’s another thing altogether for the doctor to say it.

Long story short (too late, I know!) it’s not my eyes at all.  It’s my brain.  I’m now seeing a neuro-developmental optometrist.  And having Neuro-Visual therapy.

I’m a reasonably smart person.

I don’t know crap about any of this.

Yet.

I’m learning.

There’s a lot of big words.

Basically, I’m stressed. Not “normal person I need a spa day” stressed.  I am apparently in constant “flight” as in the fight or flight thing.  I’ve heard references to this before from a psychiatrist when we were figuring out whether I was depressed or anxious (or both).  That’s why I take an anti-anxiety med.

I’ve lived with this for a while.

I write about it here.  I’m trying to live a more intentional life. I’m looking for joy.  I’m decluttering crap.  I’ve been working on it…I really have.

Apparently, I’m not doing enough.  Or I’m not doing it right.  Or….I don’t know right now.

I do know that this has all gotten my attention.  We talk about stress.  I know stress is bad.  I know it.  But I didn’t really know.

I knew that stress could cause problems physically.

I knew that it could happen…someday.

But this is scary stuff…right here and right now.

My body is tired and running too fast and things aren’t working right.

Right now, we are at a fixable point.

So, it turns out that my new slogans for the new year were spot on.

Rethink…

Reimagine…

Reflect…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 1, 2017

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Brainstorming New Year thoughts on the first page of a new journal
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The beginnings of an “inspiraton” wall in my new studio
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A new quote for a new beginning of art-making
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a canvas finally finished…almost…trying to figure out what’s behind the door
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a new canvas ready and waiting…

Happy New Year!