NO. Just no.

Today I woke up ready to do it all.

I wanted to de-clutter the house and move all this sh!t outta here.

Then I wanted to catch up the laundry, finish packing up the winter clothes, do all the dishes, mop the floors, clean the windows…

and mow the yard and hack out the weeds and finish the flower beds and…

Photo by Gemma Evans on UnsplashNO.  Just no.

The words “bipolar” may never have been officially written down in any medical records, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t live here – in a relatively mild form, but still something that needs to be acknowledged.  The doctors have known it and I have known it.  I just spent so many years without insurance that we’ve skirted around the issue.

As past history has shown this is all probably a reaction to dealing with some hard stuff last night and being really down.

And if I give in to the mood and don’t deal with it intentionally, it could start cycling and that’s just not fun for anybody.

So instead of trying to do it all and failing miserably and being miserable and making everyone around me miserable…

This is today’s list:

  • Sort the mountain of laundry in the hall and work on it – taking care to fold or hang up everything as it finishes in the dryer.  No more piles everywhere.
  • Pick up obvious trash laying around and remove it from the house.
  • Gather all of my art card supplies that are scattered about the house and organize them in order to work on them.  This will clear numerous surfaces and help the overall appearance of the house.
  • Make some handmade paper from the plants I started drying last fall.  They are officially dry and shedding all over the studio. If it works, store the dried plants neatly away.  If not, compost them and try again another time.  I need to stop pushing art making to the bottom of the list – only to be done when everything else is finished.
  • Tidy up the paper-making station when done so as not to add more mess.
  • If I come across anything to de-clutter, add it to the box (after I put away the clean laundry that got dumped there when trying to clear the table for a family meal).
  • Remember that tomorrow is another day and don’t stress about what isn’t on this list or what is on the list and doesn’t get done.

And lastly, before I move on to other things…I found this quote while doing my morning reading and thought it quite appropriate following yesterday’s post…

Just knowing you don’t have the answers is a recipe for humility, openness, acceptance, forgiveness, and an eagerness to learn – and those are all good things. Dick Van Dyke

Peace.

I Don’t Know

I had another post in mind to write today and it was even a little bit funny.

And then a bit of real life entered my little world and this post is in response to that reality.

I don’t know.

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.

I don’t know why some young men die and some don’t.

I don’t know why someone who is doing a lot to make the world a better place gets cancer.

I don’t know why some people work so hard and can’t make ends meet.

I don’t know why life isn’t fair.

I don’t know what to say when the people in my life are hurting and struggling with difficult situations.

I don’t know how to make it better or explain it or make the pain go away.

I’d like to think that there is some master plan and that all the pieces work together in a way that would make sense if I could see the “big picture”.

But, sometimes I think that if I had a bird’s eye view of the world, I would  see a million card tables covered in unfinished jigsaw puzzles because the dog ate some of the pieces.

That maybe it doesn’t make any sense at all and it just is.

I don’t have any words that make any of it any better.

Sometimes it just hurts and we cry and we scream and we get mad and we feel guilty…

I pray that my faith is strong enough to keep me upright so that I can support those that I love.

I pray for wisdom to know what to say and when to remain silent.

I pray that I am present for those that feel alone…even when I know that we have to do the hardest things by ourselves.

I pray for hope that when we can’t see the light, we can at least see the faintest twinkle of the stars in the darkness.

And I try to make peace with what I can and cannot do.

And believe that we are not all in this reality alone.

Peace.

Addendum:  So I typed this post and headed off to my cleaning job – not realizing that I had failed to hit “Publish”.

As my daughter and I were driving into town, she did that “magic” thing where music from your phone plays on the car radio.   I don’t pretend to understand most electronics.   The mystery of it all is too much for me.

Anyway, she subscribes to some kind of service that sends you song selections that you might like and you pick and choose what you enjoy.

This song by Sam Smith came on the radio.  I’ll just post the lyrics and you can listen to it somewhere if you are interested…

Pray
I’m young and I’m foolish, I’ve made bad decisions
I block out the news, turn my back on religion
Don’t have no degree, I’m somewhat naive
I’ve made it this far on my own
But lately, that shit ain’t been gettin’ me higher
I lift up my head and the world is on fire
There’s dread in my heart and fear in my bones
And I just don’t know what to say
Maybe I’ll pray, pray
Maybe I’ll pray
I have never believed in you, no
But I’m gonna pray
You won’t find me in church (no) reading the Bible (no)
I am still here and I’m still your disciple
I’m down on my knees, I’m beggin’ you, please
I’m broken, alone, and afraid
I’m not a saint, I’m more of a sinner
I don’t wanna lose, but I fear for the winners
When I try to explain, the words run away
That’s why I am stood here today
And I’m gonna pray (Lord), pray (Lord), maybe I’ll pray
Pray for a glimmer of hope
Maybe I’ll pray (Lord), pray (Lord), maybe I’ll pray
I’ve never believed in you, no, but I’m gonna
Won’t you call me?
Can we have a one-to-one, please?
Let’s talk about freedom
Everyone prays in the end
Everyone prays in the end
Won’t you call me?
Can we have a one-to-one, please?
Let’s talk about freedom
Everyone prays in the end
Everyone prays in the end
Oh, and I’m gonna pray, I’m gonna pray, I’m gonna pray
Pray for a glimmer of hope
Maybe I’ll pray, pray, maybe I’ll pray
I’ve never believed in you, no, but I’m gonna pray
Songwriters: James John Napier / Jose Angel Velazquez / Larrance Levar Dopson / Samuel Frederick Smith / Timothy Z. Mosley
Pray lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Clay Music Corporation
I turned to her and asked if she had read what I had written on the blog and picked out this song for me.
She said no.
Maybe it’s a coincidence?
Or maybe not…

 

 

Complicated Contradictions

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash
Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

“Every mind is a clutter of memories, images, inventions and age-old repetitions. It can be a ghetto, too, if a ghetto is a sealed-off, confined place. Or a sanctuary, where one is free to dream and think whatever one wants. For most of us it’s both – and a lot more complicated.” Margo Jefferson

 

I came upon this quote a few days ago while browsing for quotes to use on my art cards and such.

It has stuck in my head and bounced around in there and provided me with much fodder for thought as I pondered why I found it so intriguing.

Several blog posts about it have been started and abandoned since.

Obviously, more thinking was required…

Today, I realized, is Friday and I had promised my daughter that I would do a journal page.  We actually mutually committed and challenged ourselves to create one page each week.

As I was working on this page (using stuff found on the floor of my studio)

0330181559

all the thoughts about the quote came together and the meaning (for me) became clear.

You know, one of those “aha” moments when something perfectly obvious actually becomes obvious…

I’m complicated and a mass of contradictions…which does not make me unique because the same can be said of everybody…

But, I am a uniquely complicated mass of contradictions unlike everyone else in the way that I am a complicated mass of contradictions.

Yes, I know…complicated.

I continually struggle with reconciling the conflicting aspects of my personality.

Am I a minimalist or a bohemian when it comes to decorating? I seem to de-clutter and then re-clutter in an endless cycle.

Can you be a vegan who longs for bacon?  I mean, can you really love Esther the Wonder Pig (www.estherthewonderpig.com) and buy an Easter ham for your family?

and so on and so forth…

And what happens when reality collides with the ideals?

When neither the minimalist room or the cluttered room provide a home…

when perceived open-mindedness is revealed to be less than true…

when dreams wither and are lost because perfection inhibits their development

Then form has become more important than function and appearance becomes more significant than the goal.

I am a work in progress.

I am a story still being written and a canvas still being created.

I am my past, my present and my future.

Sometimes I huddle in the dark, afraid and sometimes I embrace the light and move forwards and often take a wrong turn and get lost.

Who I am right now will not be who I am when this post is finished.

The journey I am on requires patience and grace and acceptance.

Patience with my inconsistencies and missteps,

 grace for the fear and failures,

and

acceptance of my limitations.

We are all glorious creations who should find joy in this messy, complicated journey that we travel.

And I hope that we all, with patience, grace and acceptance, find peace along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Work of My Hands

“The real enemies of our life are the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ifs’. They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future.  But real life takes place in the here and now”  – Henri Nouwen

 

I wanted to put in a garden this year.  I had hoped for a greenhouse.  I’d planned on building numerous raised beds and filling them with the compost I was making and then planting seeds.  I’d intended to have all my existing beds weeded and dug and ready for spring.

There is no greenhouse.  Two raised beds are built but not filled with soil.  They lean against the side of the house. There are weeds in my garden beds.

I ought to have gotten more done.  If I’d gotten these things accomplished, I would be ready for the garden that I had hoped for and envisioned…

But now, today, I have a choice.  I can work with what I have here and now and choose to place my seeds into soil…

or leave the seeds

in their packages

in the shoe box

on the shelf

in the cabinet

in the dining room

in the dark

where they will surely not sprout and grow.

How many other aspects of my life does this same thought process apply to?

Brushes not dipped into paint create nothing.

Blog posts not written can’t be read.

Cards not created and mailed can’t be received.

Art cards not imagined, created and shared can’t be found.

How often does my fear of imperfection or failure or rejection keep me from trying?

I have all the “seeds” I need both literally and figuratively…

seeds and soil and canvases and paint and ideas…

I also have fear and anxiety and doubts…

It is my choice to make…

Dwell on the mistakes and rejections of the past?

Anticipate with fear and anxiety the future?

Or do the work of my hands in the here and now with the potential to bring a little hope and beauty and light into the world?

Today I choose to believe in the potential of the seed to sprout and take root and grow and bless the world.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Practice of Gratitude

gratitude

I have a good life.

It’s not perfect (but neither am I).

Sometimes I forget to remember the good things…and I focus on what’s not going the way I want.

I can have unreasonable expectations.

Which is not to say that there are not sometimes reasons to be unhappy and dissatisfied.

But I want to look on the bright side more often and be grateful for all that is good in my little corner of the world.

So, I have made this book out of my handmade paper and I’m going to write down 1,000 things that I am grateful for.

I got the idea from one of the many books that I sorted out to finally read.

IMG_0475

 

 

Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite book ever. I didn’t read it all the way through.  I kind of skipped around and read bits here and there.  It had some really good stuff and some simply good stuff and some stuff that was a little too flowery and preachy for me. For now it will stay on my shelf because it has a bird on the cover and I really like birds.

glen-carrie-513355
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Still, it was worth browsing through for the idea a making a list of stuff I’m grateful for.

A thousand things is a lot.

We’ll see how it goes…I’ve gotten to 42 without too much effort.

I’ll keep you posted.

Until then, I hope your day finds you with things to be grateful for…

Peace.

here i am

try

That quiet voice has been an important part of my life lately.

It has been a constant when other, louder voices in my head have kept up a continual chant of negativity.

Every day, I have thought about sitting down and writing here.

I had planned to.

I just didn’t.

And then it got harder and harder.

The voices told me that I was a failure as a blogger because I wasn’t writing regularly.  That maybe what I had to say wasn’t worth writing about.  That it was ridiculous to share these thoughts and vulnerabilities with complete strangers and the world.

And so I didn’t write…

day after day…

the words circled in my head…

both things I thought about sharing and doubt about the worthiness of those things.

here I am

I’ve been working on art cards a lot lately.  If you don’t know about them, you can find information here:

unearthedart.wordpress.com

One of the quotes I’ve been using says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”  -Brene Brown

vulnerability

truth

courage

Today, the quiet voice is the one I choose to listen to.

Nelson Mandela said that “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

I don’t feel brave…I am afraid all the time.

But today I am writing…

I share my vulnerability because it is my truth and there are many who are struggling in the same way I am and maybe my voice can make a difference.

When you are depressed, sometimes all you can accomplish is one little thing.

It may not be big or even that important.

You just have to do one thing.

And then take that “win” and try one more thing.

And nuture the quiet voice that is named “hope”.

The quiet voice is the voice of truth.

All the other is just noise.

Today I have written here.

And I shall make more art cards trusting that quiet messages of hope will find their way into the hands of those who need to hear…

 

 

Letting Go

It’s been so long since I wrote that I had to log back into WordPress

which means I had to find my login information

which meant rummaging through my desk

which is a huge, neglected mess.

I’ve spent the better part of late November and December sitting in my chair and ignoring most of my life.

I did the essential stuff (some of it).

Thanks to my family we decorated for and celebrated the holidays with success.  I’ve just felt rather distant and disconnected.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life, but as my wise husband pointed out, “You can’t spend so much time thinking about life that you forget to live it.”

Truth.

It has become evident during the last few months that this depression and accompanying anger is bigger than I am.  I’ve made the decision to start up therapy again and attempt to deal with the emotions that I work so hard to ignore and deny.  They are a part of who I am and many of the manifestations that  I have been working so hard to deal with and overcome are residuals of my childhood.  I can’t continue to just deal with the physical clutter without dealing with the emotional clutter also.  And I can’t do it alone.

I’ve visited a church a couple of times in the past weeks.  During the first visit the message could have been written directly for me.  I both hate and love when that happens.  Entitled the “Unexpected Christmas” it dealt with letting go of things and allowing time for grief and coping with the unexpected.

I guess that’s what I’ve been doing these past weeks…grieving the losses and the unexpected and the memories of the past.

It’s both the forgiveness  and the letting go that I’m struggling with…both for others and myself.

A continual theme of any decluttering show or feature is that the hoarding and clutter started with a loss and the person got stuck.  I now see that this is true for me also.

I’m a pretty insightful and resourceful person, and I’ve made progress.

And I hate to admit that I’m not strong enough or just plain “enough” to get through this.

But I’m going to ask for help and start seeking answers to the “real” problems and not just the side effects.

Every year I develop a saying that I use during the New Year to focus on my journey.  This year will be the year of “Being Grateful and Letting Go”.

I plan on writing more about that tomorrow.

I plan on writing tomorrow.

 

Hopefully Hidden

 

treats

Today’s post shall be short because I am hungry.

And there are Rice Krispies treats in the house.

My sister bought them for my kids.

I love Rice Krispies treats so much.

They can’t live here with me.

I ate one…maybe two…

I’m lying.

I ate a lot of them.

Then I gave them to my daughter to hide them from me.

Tomorrow I shall talk about my problem(s) with food.

Now I will finish making my salad and my bowl of fruit

because that is a better decision

and will make me feel better in the long term.

1119171710

Hopefully, the Rice Krispies treats are hidden well because night-time sugar cravings are the worst.

 

 

the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad yesterday…

alexander

When I woke up yesterday, I knew it was going to be one of those days.

It wasn’t a bad day because bad stuff happened although I did have to decide what kind of health insurance to sign up for as open enrollment ended today.

It was a “maybe I do belong in a psych ward” kind of day.

It was the kind of day which reminds me that I’ve got a problem.

I can call it depression or anxiety or whatever.

When a day like yesterday happens, it’s quite evident that there is a definite physical component to these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

There are other reasons for it including a not great childhood and miscellaneous other “traumas”.  There’s been therapy and meds and lengthy “good” stretches and not so great times.  Stress makes it worse and there’s been an abundant supply of that lately.

There are reasons and explanations and theories and things that help and things that don’t.

Basically, these days are a part of who I am…and I don’t say that lightly.

Most days I can do a pretty good impersonation of a normal, functioning adult.  And I can convince myself that it is truly who I am.

Sometimes I actually am a normal, functioning adult.

Some days, it’s just really a struggle.

Time and life experience (a polite way of saying getting older) have shown me that I’m not alone in this.  There’s a lot of crazy out there pretending to be okay.

 

Late last night as I was sitting in the front yard, I looked up and saw the moon nestled among the stars.

And I felt tiny and small compared to what I saw above me.

But suddenly, not alone at all.

I was looking at the stars and the moon

And they were looking at me.

And this is what I finished and hung on the wall the day before.

And I thought about how it wasn’t just me…alone.  I was a part of something larger and more complicated than I could possible understand.

But occasionally there might be serendipitous reminders that I should just hang in there and wait for a better day because there is always a better day….

often a tomorrow that became a today that left me wondering what the hell had happened yesterday!

So, in conclusion I’d like to think that yesterday can serve a purpose and that something good can come of it…

If you’re ever feeling lonely and alone and like nothing really matters,

just look at the moon.

Someone, somewhere is looking right at it too.

It could be me or any of a million other people.

You are not alone in this journey.

There are other people walking the same path facing similar struggles and pretending on most days that everything is just fine.

And some days it is just fine or okay or even fantastic.

Don’t give up on the person you are becoming.