Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A quote that resonates

"It's not the goal that changes our lives. It's the actions towards the goal." --Jessica Abel

Thursday, March 15, 2018


For some reason I don't quite understand, I've become fascinated with shoes. I know that lots of women have a gazillion pairs and wear them all but that's not me. I don't spend much time at all looking at my feet or anyone else's. I like anonymous shoes on my foot: mostly black whatevers that are soft and comfortable.

But I'm currently very intrigued by shoes as art objects and I'm putting them in a new series of paintings called Shoescapes. Here are a couple:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Listening to my wiser self and not my wounded child

This weekend I had planned to be in San Francisco at a workshop with good friends. Ticket purchased, catsitter engaged. Then Wednesday morning I woke with a cough and a tickle in my throat. Okay, I said to myself, I'll take my potions and be right as rain tomorrow. But I wasn't. I wasn't any worse the next day and I wasn't any better. I clearly had a virus. And I had a dilemma. Do I go anyway and if I get worse, just suffer with it? Or do I stay home and take good care of myself and spare the others any contagion and forego some really good times with people I love? 

There's a child self in me who does not like changing plans. She also doesn't want to miss out on anything she likes to do. And there's a frugal side of me that didn't want to pay $125 (!!) to cancel the ticket. (The other charges I could get refunded.) Those two voices were pretty loud Thursday morning and they tried to overrule my body and my wiser self. A few years ago, I would have listened and agreed with them. This time I didn't.

I made myself get online right away and cancel the ticket. I texted my friends that I wasn't coming. And I settled into taking care of myself. Friday morning I woke up and was no worse, and I flirted briefly with getting a ticket and flying down anyway but I didn't. I accepted that this was the best choice and relaxed into it. I'm glad to see that I'm better at listening to my wiser self.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Looking at time and relationships through a new lens

In the Marie Kondo tidying-up philosophy, joy is the determiner. If the object doesn't bring you joy, let it go. However, this seems a lot easier to do with tops and shoes or knick-knacks than it does with relationships, yet I think there is something very important to consider here. As I continue on my quest for increased spaciousness in my lift, discernment around how I'm spending my time is coming to the fore. And that's where relationships and joy comes in.

You may be familiar with creating a relationship circle diagram in which closest relationships go in the inmost circle. Your friends go in the second circle, your acquaintances in the third, and then folks you meet casually go in the fourth. My good friend Sage recently did this but she used the time factor in creating the circles. The inmost circle had the people she spent the most time with and moving out the least time. I liked that idea but it was missing something for me. So here's what I've been contemplating for both time and relationships:

Circle 1 is time well spent. When I spend time in this person's company or on this activity, I always come away satisfied and nourished. 
Circle 2 involves a meaningful experience. AA meetings, some work relationships, occasional friends with whom I share an interest or activity, people I meet at a workshop or retreat.
Circle 3 must involve a compelling reason. My dentist, a meeting with a new client, an opportunity to experience something new or something longed for. Many of the social invitations I receive don't pass this test. I don't feel compelled to partake. I'd rather be in circles 1 or 2. 

The best times are when all 3 circles overlap. I want that to happen more.

How can you identify the best ways to spend your precious time?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Apropos of school shootings, homelessness, and other social illnesses

"Not fixing what's broken--that's a conscious and deliberate choice. It's a choice to be cruel."

Carol Zoref, Barren Island

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Failed Starts

Eighteen or maybe twenty
small pots on the hearth
The brown of the dirt
the same as the shadows
on this cloudy February day
Failed starts, she said
and I did not ask
if onions or herbs
flowers or food
For it should not matter
what doesn't work
in our lives
And yet more often
a life is defined
by the claims
that don't pan out
the investments
in love
that don't ripen
that don't yield
the hoped-for return
than it is
by the sweet successes

Friday, February 16, 2018

Changing my schedule, changing my conditioning

As I move towards working less (I work now about half-time), I've bumping up against some very old conditioning: do your homework before you play. This was a rule in my house growing up. We came home, got a snack, and settled in to our homework (and chores) and then if there was time left over, we could play or read or do whatever we liked. I was a kid who enjoyed learning and who enjoyed studying so this was not a hardship for me. And it served me well with my parents, with my teachers, with my professors in college. It also has served me well in my various careers and is undoubtedly a big part of the success I've had.

But now it's a habit that doesn't serve me so well. It shows up in the driving need to complete any and all paid work before I can paint. So I spend my mornings and early afternoons "in the office" and then have no creative energy left. In fact, my best studio time is early morning when I'm freshest. This is something I've been trying to change for years, and this is the year I intend to break that old conditioning and create a new conditioning that serves me better.

With the help of my great life coach, I'm starting a new schedule in which I have play time between 9 and 11:30 every weekday morning. I can do anything I want except paid work during that time. I'm excited about this possibility, of increasing my comfort with free time, and seeing what can arise in the studio.

What old conditioning are you considering letting go of?