Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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My Mother’s Eyes

socs-badge

Badge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

I have my mother’s eyes. Her soft hazel, sometimes sad, patient eyes. I’ve often wished I had darker eye brows and lashes, like my daughter, so I didn’t have to wear eye make up.

My daughter has beautiful green eyes, and beautiful, full lips. But she complains about her nose being too big. I tell her she is beautiful.

She tells me I am beautiful, and I wonder what she sees.

Many years ago, in a rebellious stage, I went without make up, even at work. Then someone described me as “that woman with no eyebrows.”

And I started wearing make up again.

I don’t remember my mother ever wearing eye make up, just lipstick. My dad always liked the natural look. He complained when I started wearing make up as a teenager, especially the blue, or green, or purple, eye shadow.

I know he thought my mother was beautiful with her soft red hair, that never went gray, just lost the red, and her soft hazel eyes with no make up. He adored her. Dad hasn’t changed much in the house since she died in 2008. All my mother’s angels, maybe 1oo of them, still stand watch around the living room.

Today is my mother’s birthday. Her soft hazel eyes watch me with love, even though they know all my secrets now. She still loves me.

Here’s a story about my mom:

https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/257/

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Post was: “I/eye/aye.”

If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/03/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-2115/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!


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My First Art Show

Tree lady  w 2 hearts

Last weekend I went to my first art show as a vendor. For set up, I got to follow the sign on the front door of the the old church venue saying,

“Artists enter by side door.”

I’ve been an artist since I was  10 years old, but this was the first time I’ve gone in the special door. It’s the first time I’ve put my visual art out there for sale.

“What if I don’t sell anything?” whispered the voice of self-doubt. “It will be so embarrassing!”

“Shut up! That’s no way to talk!” responded my critical parent voice.

“Be positive! What if you sell a lot of your work?” said the nurturing parent. “I’m proud of you for doing this, no matter what!”

“Okay, as long as something sells,” said self-doubt.

I put in a lot of time creating art, matting prints, and painting angels and mermaids on rocks and shells to be included with each purchase. I ended up selling a few pieces which covered the $75 for the space, plus art supplies. And I have plenty of leftovers for the next show or to go in a gallery!

The “Tree Lady” (above) and the healing angels (below) sold. But not the larger pieces.

IMG_0918    Comforting Angels

And the original of “Delivery,” a practice piece on scrap wood, sold.

Angels w baby

Delivery

I learned a lot from this first art show, like art is subjective. Some of the prints I thought for sure would sell didn’t. Small pieces of original art sold best. People admired the three larger paintings, but didn’t want to spend that kind of money, which I can understand. So for next time, I’m making a few prints of the larger pieces.

Seeing other artists’ work provided a feast of delight and inspiration.

But the best part of all was not about what I sold.

The best part was about what I gave away.

I’d brought with me paper and plastic bags for the art I’d sell. One bag came from my mom’s bedroom, the bedroom my father hasn’t changed in the several years since she died. I go in there now and then to look for things I can convince Dad to donate or get rid of.  The bag from Mom’s room was a lavender paper bag with handles. While sitting at the art show, I rummaged through the tissue paper in the lavender bag. At the bottom, I found a little, pink, crocheted purse. Or so I thought it was a purse.

IMG_0948

(It actually turned out to be a holder for those personal sized Kleenex packets.)

I put the little pink purse in the basket I’d brought the painted rocks in, and put it on the table thinking someone might like it.

A couple hours later, a little girl, who looked to be about 5 or 6, came by with her parents. She stopped to look at the painted shells, lingering on each one. Then she came to the little pink purse in the basket.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“I think it’s a little purse,” I said. I could tell she liked it by the way she admired it and worked to figure out the button clasp.

“That’s for you,” I said. “My mother wants you to have it.”

My words came out spontaneously.

The little girl smiled and thanked me politely as did her mother. They figured out it was a Kleenex purse, and said she always had trouble finding tissue at school, so it would come in handy.

The brief and powerful connection with the little girl and my mother’s pink Kleenex purse made my heart sing. It was as if my mother had been there all the time, watching quietly, waiting for the chance to be part of my first art show.


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Simple Therapy

Many years ago, one of my clients told me another client said my therapy consisted of two things: Deep Breathing and Making Lists. That was an oversimplification of course, but sometimes we get in a rut. I incorporated more active listening, which by itself can be therapeutic, with other therapies, broadening my cognitive-behavioral work.

Still, breathing techniques can be helpful in times of stress:

https://joannesilvia.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/remembering-to-breathe/

Our ever-available breath can help us accept the things we cannot change or even give us courage to change the things we can. Have you ever taken a deep breath right before going into a challenging situation?

Making lists can also help us change the things we can. Lists help us organize and prioritize. List making gives me clarity when my thoughts are all over the place.

Here are a few of my favorite lists:

Things to do today. Ideally this should not be a long list, but if it is, be sure to prioritize.

  1. Go to work √
  2. Call Dad’s doctor √
  3. Schedule Vet appointment √
  4. Drink lots of water.  (needs work)

Things I’m NOT doing today.

  1.  I’m not taking down the Christmas Tree,
  2.  I’m not worrying about when to take down the Christmas tree. (Maybe I’ll put valentines on it.)

Things I want to accomplish this week/month/year. Be specific and realistic.

  1.  Spend 1/2 hour a week sketching
  2.  Spend at least 4 hours a month painting, and
  3.  Paint at least one picture that explores ideas for my book cover.

Things I’ve accomplished. Your list is likely a longer than you think.

  1. Graduated from  college
  2. Got two extraordinary kids through high school
  3. Worked on forgiveness
  4. Painted the bathroom

Qualities I am was looking for in a partner.

( Be careful what you wish for. “Must Love Dogs” landed me quite a pack.)

 

Things I’m not going to consume:

  1. sodas, except an occasional diet soda

( This list has gotten shorter over the years.)

Foods I will only eat on my birthday, and holidays, ………or when I’ve had a really hard day,……or on some one else’s birthday. Or special occasions.  And only in moderation!

  1. cake
  2. potato chips
  3. Ice cream
  4. cookies

Things I’m going to consume more often:

  1. Green Leafy veggies: kale, collards, arugula……
  2.  Water
  3. Foods with Indian Spices
  4. Quinoa (still figuring out what to do with this)

Ways to say no:

  1. Maybe later. NO.
  2. No thanks,
  3. Been there, done that, don’t want the headache.
  4. Sorry. I’m allergic to that.

Ways to stall for time:

  1. Let me think about it.
  2. I’ll have to get back to you about that.
  3. I have to check my schedule.
  4. I have to go to the bathroom!

Things I’m going to buy with my income tax return:

  1. Put all of it  some of it on the principle of my mortgage.
  2. Buy something for the house that will make life easier.
  3. Go to the movies.

Things I want to do when I retire:

  1. Write more.
  2. Paint more.
  3. Read more.
  4. Teach kids (or adults) to read, write and paint.
  5. Putter in the back yard.
  6. Take a walk every day.
  7. Visit Yosemite, then head north!

Things I like about myself:

  1. Honesty
  2. Open Minded
  3. Artistic
  4. Conscientious
  5. Natural
  6. Always Learning

That felt pretty therapeutic to me.

Do you like to make lists?

 


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path  opening up to lake

Take a step toward opportunity.

     I was thinking about acceptance and the Serenity Prayer this morning right before I came upon a news story about a “fast food worker” telling the CEO of McDonald’s she can’t feed her kids on the $8.25 an hour she makes after 10 years with his company.  She had accepted this job for 10 years. Now apparently her hours have been cut since she made the public statement. The article did not say anything about whether she had asked for a raise previously or about her performance. The CEO’s response, that he had been with the company for 40 years, was not only dismissive, but rude. He didn’t say how much he made. He should have taken her name and said, “We’ll look into your history and work performance and get back to you.”

     My recommendation to the employee would be to ask this question: “What do I need to do to get a raise?” The employee needs to sit down with any supervisor who will give her some time (by asking, when is a good time to talk?) and ask if it’s possible to get a raise and how can she do it. If she is told “it’s not possible,” (which I wouldn’t believe) then it’s time to find another job. It’s human to want to share that you are struggling to feed your two kids, but the focus needs to be on: How can I change this? instead of “I can’t….”

Acceptance doesn’t mean we have to like it. But when we  catch ourselves thinking, “I can’t…,” we need to focus on changing the things we can. What are the small steps you can take to improve on a situation you don’t like? Small steps can add up to big changes. The things we can change fall under two categories: our thoughts and our actions. Thoughts make up our attitudes and beliefs. We can always tweak our thoughts for the better.  Our actions include changing our clothes, our our tone of voice and how we breathe. In any situation, we can always take a deeper or longer breath, well unless we’re under water, then we can kick our feet and swim to the surface. (That’s what I get for questioning my “always.”)  Taking a deeper or longer breath can help  calm us into wiser decisions or give us strength to face a challenge. But we can always pray and we can ask for help when we need it. How we ask for help makes a big difference.  If we only criticize what’s wrong, we are less likely to get help.  If we ask, “How can we make this better?” we move toward a solution.

Have Courage and ask the right questions!

God, grand me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference…..Amen.


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When Looking for a Soul Mate, Be Happy with You.

Do what makes you happy.

Do what makes you happy!

(It’s possible to find your soul mate when you stop looking.)

      At the beginning of each year I make a collage about what I want in my life in the  new year. The tradition was started by a church member one New Year’s Eve, and now continues as part of our annual Epiphany Party for the family and friends of Good Shepherd Church. (All are welcome!)  After my divorce, my collages always included something about a soul mate, or at least a compatible partner, along with pictures and words representing good health, creativity, healing and nature. Collage making has always been great fun, even when I took it too seriously.

   I made a collage booklet once in a workshop about manifesting your goals. I dedicated a whole page to manifesting a partner who would be compatible with me. He had to love dogs. So, I had a magazine picture of a guy and his dog running toward a photo of me and my two dogs. I had a picture of a man and a woman gazing at a beautiful mountain. I wrote in colorful markers about all the qualities I was looking for in a soul mate. The workshop facilitators said we would be amazed at how fast our dreams would come true if we just believe. I believed fiercely.

     So, as the years went by, I started to wonder what my soul mate was up to. What was taking him so long?

     Becoming tired of fretting about my soul mate, I worked on turning the whole thing over to God.  I tried not care.  Books about about the advantages of being single helped. Look at all the great things single women have accomplished. Just look at Mother Theresa, for example. I realized that it was quite possible to be satisfied with being single. And I had learned the hard way that it’s better to be single than to be with someone who adds a lot of stress to your life. Yet, I still wanted a compatible partner. In time, I became gentle with myself. I realized that wanting a partner was a natural thing and quit beating myself up about it.

     While  trying not to look for my soul mate, and keeping my eyes open just in case  he came along, I decided to explore what made me happy.  I tried out for some plays that I was not cast in. I went to the monthly “hippie drumming” event of the Saturday African drum circle. This led to free form dancing and chanting and feeling completely accepted. I experimented with a bit of improvisational dance mobbing on the street with some of those same people.

Have fun with Positive People.

Have fun with Positive People.

     I volunteered for clean ups at the lake where my daughter and I got to see lots of turtles and an alligator who kept looking back at us while swimming away from our canoe.  Instead of avoiding romantic movies completely,  I learned to enjoy a bit of romance vicariously, from the safety of my recliner.

    In little ways, I started to create space, to make room for my soul mate.  I got rid of stuff  in my garage, saying to myself,  someday the right man will make this his workshop. (Now it is completely full of my soul mate’s workshop stuff.) I put two lawn chairs next to each other in the back yard where my soul mate and I would later sit and talk by the fire. I hung a ceramic heart in the relationship corner of my living room according to a bit of feng shui I heard somewhere. The most important thing I did was to make room in my own heart by forgiving those who I felt betrayed by. The forgiving was not easy. It was a 10 year process.

Do what you love.

Do what nurtures your spirit.

      I didn’t know then what I know now. As I was getting ready for my soul mate, he was getting ready for me. Maybe he wasn’t doing this consciously for me, but he was working on personal growth and development in some really important ways. We were each working on ourselves as individuals. We were learning the lessons we needed to learn to be ready to work on ourselves and our partnership together.  It took longer than I thought it should have, but in retrospect, the timing was perfect. (That’s why our book is called: Perfect Timing.)

    So, while you’re waiting, work on YOU! Before you can find the right person, you have to be the right person for yourself.  Be the best, happiest, smartest you that you can be. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Be healthy. Explore what gives you peace and fulfillment. What are the constants in your life that have always brought you strength?  Work on that project you didn’t have time for when you were distracted by someone who wasn’t right for you. Nurture friendships with positive people. Work on forgiving those who have hurt you, even if you need to keep them at a distance for your own well being. Most of all, love yourself! Look in the mirror and say, I love you!  I know it might feel strange at first, but do it anyway.  Experiment with looking in your own eyes and telling yourself how beautiful you are. It gets easier with practice.  Don’t worry about the timing. God has great plans for you!

          And Be careful what you ask for. Now I have 5 dogs.

A dog can be a girl's best friend.

A dog can be a girl’s best friend.