Journal page #19…
Two days fraught with anxiety brought on by my own lack of mindfulness. No journal pages and no progress on the house. Loss of sleep and busywork that has little to show for it.
Nobody to blame but myself, but mistakes happen and it’s okay when they do. I just need to learn (or relearn) from it and move on in a more intentional way.
I need to remember that my anxiety is a living entity that can be controlled, but never eradicated.
And one of the symptoms of my anxiety is that I tend to take personal responsibility for everything. Then the depression hits because I can’t do enough.
In a group situation where a problem is brought up, I think it must be me.
Someone says they need to talk to me about something, I wonder what I’ve done wrong.
Something needs to be fixed, I try to figure out what I should be doing.
Sound familiar to anyone else out there?
The specific situation that triggered my anxiety this time?
The border crisis, of course.
I have a lot of friends who are social activists. I have conservative friends and liberal friends. I have friends who rant and rave, and friends who quietly go about making the world a better place (I have to say that I like them best). I do believe that it takes all of us working together to get things done. but it doesn’t seem like we are doing a very good job of that right now.
This post isn’t really about what’s happening in the world right now. I’m aware of what’s going on in the world.
But the sky is not falling.
Bad stuff is happening.
And worse stuff than that.
That’s not new.
Good stuff is happening also.
That’s not news. It doesn’t sell or raise ratings.
My anxiety prevents me from taking responsibility for the world.
I can live with that.
In fact, it’s the only way that I can live.
I’ll take my philanthropic advice from Mother Teresa…
So, I’ve blocked a lot of folks on facebook. I’ll continue to use it to keep in touch with friends around the world, but not to be told that I don’t care about the poor children because I’m not hysterically posting hateful words (and yes, I was accused of not caring).
The news is off for now.
And I’m going to focus my attention on my actual neighbor that is in danger of losing her family’s home because life has been particularly challenging.
And I’m going to take care of myself and my family because I do care.
I care an awful lot.
I’ve worked on the canvases.
They aren’t done yet, but I have gone and gotten a new phone, cooked part of Easter dinner, thought about cleaning house and bathed a dog.
I also played games with the family, took a nap, cleaned two offices and am writing this blog post.
So, this weekend was not a total loss.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about working on the canvases while doing other things I didn’t actually want to be doing.
But, to be honest, when I was doing the fun stuff, I didn’t think about them much at all.
They aren’t going in the in the declutter box as I’d previously threatened if I didn’t finish them this weekend. I will get them done.
But, I also going to start filling up a box with stuff I don’t need anymore. Not the above pictured box (that’s just a picture of one off of the internet). I have an actual box that I’m going to fill up. That just makes more sense to me…filling up a real box.
It appears that I’m really getting my life together. I have a plan and everything.
Life is good.
Can’t sleep Saturday night and now it is Sunday morning.
Most of my world is sleeping and will awaken with the sun.
Pulling out a canvas…adding a bit of this and removing a bit of that.
Becoming frustrated and putting it to one side.
Pulling another one off of the top of the stack.
Determined to make something happen.
To actually finish something and not to walk away…giving in and giving up once again.
Then, I am staring at these two works in progress that were once two singular blank canvases…
Two canvases that, in turn, were painted and repainted, laid aside, placed back on the easel, a brush stroke here, a change there…
and now upon study and contemplation in these early morning hours have suddenly and quite obviously become one…
Destined without plan to go together.
A before and after perhaps?
The meaning is still unclear.
The symbolism still to evolve into something real or at least understood.
But it appears that tonight I am staring at two moons that are staring back at me…
for the sun and light and enlightenment.
But further discernment will have wait.
A small victory.
Light shining from an artwork worked on in the dark.
Perhaps that is enough to allow sleep.
When I was a kid, I read all the time.
Unless I was drawing.
But mostly I read.
In college I stopped reading so much because there just wasn’t time.
After college I started reading a little bit more, but never as much as when I was a child.
And then I had kids of my own.
I continued to read, but not for myself…for them.
During the great declutter of last month we placed all our books on the table.
We got rid of anything that we weren’t going to read again, were never going to read or that was readily available with our new library card.
And then there were these books:
These I pulled out as books I had acquired because…
well, because they “spoke” to me. They had content that I thought could help me become more of the me that I want to be.
They cover topics like art and fear and creativity
and life and peace and spirituality
and so much more.
And they have been sitting on the shelf…some for a long, long time.
Some I started and never finished.
Some have never been opened.
Now they are all in one place – by my chair in the living room where I often end up sitting and watching television because it’s easy.
I will see them when I go to sit down.
And I will no longer ignore them.
I am going to read them.
I’ve been asked how hard it is to write and share personal details of my life on this blog…
(and the tears start now)
To be sure, some of what I have written has been difficult to share. Some of what gets typed never gets published. Sometimes the mouse hovers over the publish “button” and time passes…and more time passes…and I take a deep breath…and “send” what I have written out into the world. And I worry that it sounds stupid or that I shared too much or that nobody will read it or care.
One of the things that I know to be absolute truth (and there isn’t much that fits into that category) is that, as human beings, we are called to share our stories. It’s why I once believed that I was called to the pulpit as an ordained minister. Now, I tell my stories here to a different audience.
I don’t know who needs to hear what I have to say…that I struggle daily with the uncertainty of whether I have value and purpose and am deserving of continued existence.
Writing a blog is an interesting thing. To sit down in front of a screen and keyboard and “talk” to an audience that you can’t see. There are no reactions, no head nods, no eye contact that allows you to gauge how receptive your audience is.
You just have to believe that your stories…
and by extension, all of our stories – of our experiences, successes and failures, the documentation of the steps we take are what matter.
The relationships, the sharing, the moment when our being on this planet for just another day makes sense…that’s why I write…
– for myself and for someone out there who might be needing to hear what I have to say
– someone I will probably never meet
– someone who is wondering if their story matters
We are all important and we are all part of the story that is being written every moment of every day…
sometimes by what we do (or don’t do), by our words, our brush strokes, our act of kindness, our prayers, our presence.
Some of us accomplish big things that attract attention and praise…
most of us will never be noticed or acknowledged or even know that what we did today mattered…
So, let’s try this –
Tell your story today. Share.
Let someone know that the “words” they wrote (or are writing) in your life matter.
And (most importantly) if someone who was a part of your story has somehow disappeared in the midst of all the busyness of life, find a way to let them know that their words are important..
That they matter.
They made need to hear it.
Tell the story.
P.S. This is not at all what I sat down to write today. The words just took on a life of their own and this is what happened. Life and stories are funny that way…
Monday. The first day of another working week. A fresh start. A new day.
Today, I am battling the effects of a couple of new medications. All I want to do is sleep.
This could be a side effect that will eventually go away or it could be a sign that the new anti-anxiety med is working and I just need to adjust to not being in a perpetual state of anxiety. This feeling could actually be “normal”. Maybe I’m just relaxed. It feels like I’m moving in slow motion. When you’re not “normal”, it’s hard to know. I guess time will tell.
I do know that the words are not flowing well today. That could be the meds or it could mean that there just nothing much interesting to write about. I am working on developing better habits though, so I think I shall write anyway. If I miss one day, it tends to lead to missing two…and then weeks have gone by.
I’m starting to realize that developing those habits and creating a routine is an important part of living an intentional life. It’s hard to be intentional when there is no plan. This is an obvious realization, I know…a true slap the forehead, duh moment. Better late than never, right? At least I finally figured it out and now I can start applying it to my life.
I’ve “played” with the idea of planning out things before. I’ve set up cleaning schedules and errand days, and written out menus. I’ve spent hours on developing the routines and then dedicated about the same amount of hours executing them. They never became habits. Just dreams that never became reality.
So, I’m rethinking habits. And writing down some plans. And not trying to implement them all at once.
There is a plan for maintaining the house so it is more of a home. Today is “living room day”. I’m not going to try and clean the whole house and recover from the weekend. I’m just going to clean the living room. Then I’ll try to pick up as we go through the week. And clean it again next Monday.
I’ve spent some time figuring out the mess that is our budget and am almost ready to start paying down the debt again. Life got so crazy that all I could do was try and keep up with the monthly bills. Time once again to work on being debt-free.
A huge load of donations is waiting by the door to be delivered to the thrift store tomorrow. Much of the pile is wedding stuff. There is a bit of household clutter mixed in. The hallway is passable again!
Speedy the dog is not being donated! Of the four canines, he is the good dog right now. He just walks around wagging his tail and waiting for someone to pay attention to him. The only time he barks is when another dog has taken the bed he believes to be his or when he has to wait in line for dinner.
Two projects are active in the studio and two more canvasses have prep coats on them waiting for inspiration. Making a habit of spending time in the studio is a priority.
Just works in progress. Not very interesting so far. The textile project gets worked on while watching t.v. My sister comes over several evenings a week and we watch British mysteries. The canvas is slowly coming to life. I believe a bird is going into the little box in the lower right corner. Maybe a window or a door. Not sure yet.
This week. A new week. I’m hoping it will be slow and slightly boring…just building routines and habits.
This month has been full of “firsts”:
Yep, I think it’s a good week to have a quiet week. Here’s hoping.
May your week also be filled with only good things!
I 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.