Pretending

Week 4: The Artist’s Date

This week’s outing ended up being a combination of the end of chapter one’s exercises. The assignment is to write down 5 imaginary professions to try out and then to pick one. So, the first time that I did this exercise, I picked being a florist. The second time a garbage man/person. This time I went with “pretending” to be an artist.

I honestly wasn’t sure what it is exactly professional artists do, so I decided to go to the place where I have seen their fruits (a local art gallery that I had only glanced by at). I imagined that if I was an artist, I would want to have a card with me and introduce myself to the host/hostess. As I entered the building that was set up more like a mini mall, I was disappointed that the gallery was closed (after all it was Monday). I peeked in the windows of the gallery and its neighboring floral shop, but was saved that many paintings were displayed throughout the middle of the little building’s walls. I took my time studying the technique and styles of the different artists.

It wasn’t until I got to the back of the hallway that I found an artist whose technique and colors caught my attention. Two of her pieces were just about life size and told stories. One painting had many different stories of hope. I think that they were articles of different people that made up the bigger picture. The other was the story of her journey that highlighted all of the people who had made an impact on her life. I imagined this the healing properties of this work–almost like a journaling exercise. This seems like a concept of art that I already enjoy.

Next, I wanted to drop by and pick something special out for my artist. I dropped into one of my favorite discount stores and soon found charming aprons in the kitchen accessories. None of them were quite right, but I thought that a smock is definitely something that a “real” artist would need. All along, I was feeling a little silly because I realized that I still haven’t taken ownership of the title of artist. It sometimes seems like it is a title that someone else must bestow upon you. For now, I feel completely comfortable calling myself a creative.

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Elida Field Bio/webpage

Art on the Boulevard Facebook page

Natural Resolve

Week 3: Morning Pages

This week, Morning Pages seemed more natural. My son returned from a two-year mission and I had a lot of processing to do. My week was very busy (in a good way). It felt like I was living a “real life.” Instead of spending a lot of my free time working on my pages, blogging, or creating, I was visiting with a lot of other people. It was a week of celebration and reunion. Because my son had been away for two years, I was nervous about how things would pan out. Would he be different? What were his plans? Had he outgrown our family? Would he still want to be around us? Would he think that we had changed? Would he be disappointed? All of those thoughts were going through my mind and making me anxious.

The morning pages helped me to see which of my thoughts were rational. I could see that I was in my head a lot and needed to be aware that my thoughts are not me. Also, it helped me realize why I was feeling nervous and let it go. Affirmations were a great tool once again for this step.

The overall biggest difference like I said was that Morning Pages felt like second nature. They were there like an old friend. I could unload and tell my concerns without feel like I was burdening someone and do it again the next day. Morning Pages are more than blank pages to fill. They are a loyal companion for you through the good and the bad.

Week 4: Morning Pages

Looking back on the week I only remember a blur. Nothing in particular stands out to me in with the pages themselves, and I only missed one day. I did, however, notice an overall productivity all around me throughout my week.

Projects that were left undone for months and sometimes put off for years came together (a sort of tying up of loose ends). My patience for redundant situations as well as behaviors and attitudes wore thin. My attention somehow shifted. Anything repetitive became unacceptable. However, this was not a feeling of unease, but of decisiveness. I understood what was important and did not get in my own way with my tendency to hang back on important decisions.

I knew that in some instances that I was going to need to be strong–not to let other people into my head. Peoples’ opinions and judgements did not quite have the same importance to me. You know that space that can be fleeting for a recovering “people pleaser?” I felt brave, but not in spite of fear because the fear itself had vanished.

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Life Awakening

Week 3: The Artist’s Walk

I didn’t realize until working on scheduling these walks that in my mind, I don’t look forward at all to the winter landscape. All week, I had been holding out for a day with heavy frost so that I could bring a camera to capture some beautiful pictures. Even though a lot of the northwest is still green, things are soggy and brown as well. Nature doesn’t seem like she is at her best.

For the first time this week, I slept in late and had a jarring start to the day. I looked at my clock realizing that it was already 10 am. If I didn’t get out now, the sun would be up melting away that beautiful frost. Turns out that I had the best of both worlds.

As I made my way down the first street, the sun was warm enough to take the edge off of the cold, and the frost was beginning to melt causing showers of frost pellets as birds flew from the trees. I walked on looking for leaves covered with crystalized frost. I headed to the most shaded street that I could think of to try to get some pictures. That street was amazingly sunny that morning, but my trek had taken me farther from home than usual.

Walking back home was where the magic happened. I heard the quacking of ducks. I wasn’t expecting nature to be in full swing. I crossed over to the other side of the road and looked down to see around 20 plus ducks swimming around in the marshy wetlands below. I saw the movement of a shy raccoon heading into a burrow to remain hidden from a human’s view. I noticed the chirping of birds and realized that these little creatures are also eagerly waiting for the warming of the sunshine.

I was not the only one taking full advantage and immensely enjoying the crystal clear blue sky and appearance of the sun. I must remember how uplifting it is for the spirit to be out on foot on the good earth.

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Rediscovering Me

Week 3: The Artist’s Date

This week my inner artist was screaming for supplies, but I decided that even though I went to find the list of items needed, I wouldn’t settle for less than a magical date. I decided to go down to the shops in Old Town Battle Ground to see what was new. I parked my car at one end of the strip and planned to walk down one side of the street and back up the other. I didn’t get far before finding a great vintage shop called Rusty Glamour.

I hadn’t been shopping for old/new finds for quite some time, so coming to the vintage clothing section was a pleasant surprise. They had unique pieces of clothing perfect for any one with a sense of style. I found a flowing skirt and a couple of scarves so reasonably priced that I couldn’t leave without them. If the other pieces that I loved had been my size I would have went home with a lot more. My inner artist has been nagging at me due to how drab and boring my own wardrobe is, so how wonderful it is to have found a little shop that has a fresh idea, yet is affordably priced. I got a skirt and two scarves for only $30. To me these were a bargain. How often when you go looking for a bargain you find stuff that looks like it was a bargain? This wasn’t the case for me today. I expected the prices to be much higher on each item.

I ran into an old friend and caught up with her for several minutes until her daughter started getting impatient. The cashier/owner was also more than helpful and gave me the rundown on all of the other vintage/antique shops in town. She didn’t mind me taking a picture of my favorite corner of her shop either. It is a great feeling to have a clerk that is not rushed and is there to connect for a moment as a fellow person (something that department stores or online shopping cannot and will not offer).

Something that I realized after my time walking up the old section of town is that I am a country girl at heart. I love the feeling of being connected with the people and the spirit of the community. I also love the products and essence of what comes from that area. Those country finds help me remember where I come from and what makes me unique.

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Resolve

This year, I have committed to writing three long-hand pages of brain drain daily that Julia Cameron named The Morning Pages.

Week 2: Morning Pages

This week was hit and miss with getting my Morning Pages in. I think that the adrenaline had worn off from the mere pace of week one and my body was tired. I got my first day in and then over-slept the next three mornings. After the third time, a little guilt started to creep in until I set myself straight. The thing is, this tool is never intended to induce guilt. So, when I felt that inner disappointment rearing its head, I set it straight right away. I reminded myself that I am here to strive for excellence not perfection. I won’t get trapped back into the perfection cycle. No. Never. Every day that I get these pages in benefit me. Even if I am not getting the optimal benefit, I am benefiting nevertheless. I did try to figure out what was going wrong.

Reflecting back, I realized that the week was filled with resolving issues. My mind was alert and active and was able to analyze and execute tasks quickly. At work, I had to be prepared to be out of the office for an entire week, so there was much to do there. I finished with just enough time for my Artist Date.

I also had several ongoing issues that had been concerning for a few years that presented themselves during my Morning Pages. In the affirmation section, I was able to see what my part and realized the action that needs to be taken as well. A couple of years ago, I got into the habit of saving the last third or fourth of the final page to write an affirmation. I believe that my mind needs closure at the end of all of that brain drain. This week, my affirmations were quite special and on one particular day it was as though I was more of a scribe than a writer. I love those days when the flow is so completely clear. My resolve is strong and I am excited to see what comes from my new found understandings.

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Natural

Week 2: The Artist’s Walk

This morning got off to a slow start, but being that I am on vacation, that was okay. After my morning pages and meditation I got my walking shoes on and was out the door into the frosty air–cold enough to snow. I worried a little bit about slipping, so walked on the road.

I was feeling a little bored with the familiar route, so I took off in the opposite direction. I hoped that I would points of interest to photograph. As I walked along the road, I noticed a few dilapidated sheds that I hadn’t before. Next, I came to the new construction. I found myself curious as to why I never think about change (even a change of house) until I am out and about on a walk. A walk can be a transition space that helps you realize what changes you are ready for even when you aren’t “ready.” It is a magical time when on foot when you slow down and really notice life around you. Many times, a writing piece will make itself known to me while I am out walking. Thoughts that seem so insightful. It is one of the rare times that 100 different things don’t seem to be competing for my attention (media today has become very much a part of our lives with a barrage of information, etc). Walking is a time when I am in touch with my creative mind with little or no real effort.

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Well Spent Time

Week 2: The Artist’s Date

My artist date started out a little chaotic. Just like everyone else, I feel fitting in these extra tools can be a challenge. Honestly, I feel a lack of creative energy or inspiration half of the days. In the back of my mind, I have this idea of what the Artist’s Date should look like. I think that I should be dreaming up amazing places to visit, amazing awakenings, and amazing stories to tell. However, I am realizing that this is my critic’s little nasty voice, not necessarily my artist’s inner desire.

To get on with it, I thought that I was going to have to forfeit my date because of a commitment until I got the call that those plans were canceled. Literally, I had just enough time to get off on the next exit and turn around in order to head back into town. I thought that I would start my time at the craft store looking for the materials that I needed for my next project. I then went to the natural food store for a salad (one needs fuel). Just getting started, I googles scrapbooking stores and couldn’t believe that the only search in my whole city was at an address that didn’t sound familiar. I could see that it was on the river and thought why not drive down to see what I could find. My GPS took me down the old Evergreen Highway and into a upscale neighborhood (not the place for commerce). The houses were a mix of old and new, but all pretty beautiful. In the back of my mind I had thought that I was bored with my area and couldn’t possibly find anything new and/or interesting. The house with rock walls surrounding the edges of the property beaconed to stop and photograph, but it was the type of neighborhood with gates–maybe next time. I wondered what the people did that lived in these houses. Then I remembered that I was looking for the “scrapbooking store.” When the map took me to a house on the corner of the street I realized that many people are now running their businesses right out of their own homes and apparently some are doing really well.

My artist eyes had gotten their fill and I was ready to end my time with a trip to target for fresh kitchen towels and washcloths. My kitchen always seems prettier with a pretty, unstained towels. As I drove into target I noticed that one of the stores that I like for work clothes had signs all over the window that their merchandise was 70-90% off. How lucky could I get? My inner artist had just been telling me that my wardrobe was looking a little shabby (and not in the chic way).

So, did I feel magic happen on during this time?  Absolutely! My time that could have ended with the first hour went on for two more hours and I ended up feeling special and listened to. This week’s date was about the time spent… Time unquestionably needed.

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