My call to morning:
drinking dark coffee,
listening to birds sing.
My call to morning:
drinking dark coffee,
listening to birds sing.
To those of you who read this blog, thank you for the encouragement (you know who you are). I’ve been putting off posting this for almost a month. It was the kick in the ass I needed!
THE WHO AM I PROJECT? Finding myself through the layers of my own baggage, bullshit and fear
Something of a Prologue
Today I begin
a challenge beyond my brain;
one to reach my soul.
From the beginning I am asking that this be a dialogue. So please follow the blog from the site directly and not just Facebook or Twitter (comments on those sites don’t translate for a blog). I suggest setting the notifications to once a week. I want this to be a shared journey and not just me yacking at me (I already do that).
I did it – I made my “ASK” (thank you Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking). That was my first big risk on this journey, the second is this post! Please post comments and ask questions, I would love this kind of communication and sharing. And lastly if you see a post that means something to you, share it (anywhere and everywhere).
So here it goes. I am making a declaration. I am going to commit one year to self-exploration and writing a book documenting my journey. I have been thinking about this for quite a while and after reading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin I see it is time to do something different. I know this certainly is not a new thing, but I am inspired by the idea of a yearlong dedication and research of and to one’s self. I started my journey in March without realizing it. I had challenged myself to commit to 3 things for 3 months. Honestly, I was not sure I could do it. The reality is that with a few glitches here and there, I was successful…until the discovery of a brain tumor that is. I admit my priorities and commitments moved elsewhere for a bit but here I am back on track.
I ask myself: How am I going to do this? What is my end goal? Do I take it on all at once or do a month by month thing? How do I assess myself as I go? Is it a “Happiness Project” or something else? I had all these questions. I am not a psychologist or a researcher. I am not a doctor or a professional writer. But, I am ready to share my voice, to commit. I love the idea of dedicating a year to self. So what the hell….I will give it a shot.
The expedition I am embarking on is one of truth and self-discovery. For years I have been fighting myself in so many aspects of my life with no idea why. I have taken classes, read books and seen a shrink. All of this work has helped. I now realize the wall I keep hitting is me. Over and over, as I start to move forward believing I am on the right path that voice in my head steps in and says; are you sure? Is that what you really want? Maybe you’re just on the bandwagon again.
So, in spite of the doubt and questions I commit one year to writing a book for me. I will examine my choices and decisions. I will do the things I say I want and explore why I have a self-sabotaging (or self-punishing) pattern.
Each month will have its own goal…yes Gretchen, that’s your inspiration. What would this entail? I will start with a list (by the way I love lists)! Here is a quick draft of my monthly commitments.
It’s a start. As soon as I know May, June and July I’ll let you know. I will get more specific in my intentions as I go from here, but this will serve as a good platform to dive in. The working title is “THE WHO AM I PROJECT? Finding myself through the layers of my own baggage, bullshit and fear”. It is an extension of an art project I have been organizing over the last year. However, this is more personal since I am the subject. The art project asks the question of all who experience it (more on that later around month four).
The reality is that I have somehow lost track of who I am and what I want for my life. I do know “who” I am but not in the existential way I am seeking. I want to know why I’m here and my purpose in this life. I want to find passion and heart in all that I do. The only way to really accomplish that is to truly understand myself and to figure out what I want. For me this starts with why. Why do I continue to get in my own way? Is it that I really don’t know what I want or is it that I have told myself so many conflicting things over the years that I’ve confused my soul? Is it that I honestly don’t have the ambition or drive? Is it that I deep down know my purpose and it terrifies me? Or is it that my need to know WHY is my problem?
Even as I write this I’m thinking…this is silly? Who the hell is going to read or connect with this? At the same time, do I really care? What if no one reads it, but I have answered a key question in my life; if that’s the case then nothing else matters. I am a person filled with ideas and longings. Yet, despite what many think of me, I am also a person who I believe gives up easily. I don’t love challenges and I absolutely despise being bad at things. Failure is unacceptable so it’s better not to try (I don’t really believe that, but it is my perception of how I’ve lived). I’m not sure where it came from, but I have this deep seeded notion that I should somehow know how to do things (all things). I should be a natural and if I’m not, I’ve already failed. I know it’s not true and yet this is how I judge myself. I envy people who thrive in challenge; whose goals are to get better and better with ambition and enthusiasm, the ones who enjoy learning and failing until they get it right. I want to be that person. I wonder though if that’s who I am. I hope so. The goal in this yearlong exercise is to answer my question and teach myself how to embrace and accept who I am. I know I am smart, strong, and sometime courageous but truly believing it is what I crave most.
I will be using my blog to work through a lot of these theories and challenges. At least one weekly post is going to be dedicated to this work. We all need to be heard and I believe that there is something inside each of us that everyone needs to hear. I believe this about myself, but I have been unable to figure out what voice to use; which one is the loudest, which is the one I thrive in and enjoy the most. Is it my visual art, poetry, writing, theatre or something else entirely? Being heard as an artist seems daunting and almost impossible. My mind goes directly to how I make money as opposed to exploration and fun (which is why I became an artist to begin with). When did I start denying myself the fun in art? I am an artist. For me, this has many faces and forms. I am certainly not limited in the creative use of what I do unless I take no risks; I’ve never been willing to risk enough to fail. I never had the confidence. That is the intent of this book, to find that place inside of me willing to fail for freedom.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope you will join me on this exploration of self.
I woke up today, did my yoga, took my shower, had my oatmeal and my luscious rich morning coffee. The air was perfect. A slight breeze wafted through the windows and the sun glared just high enough on the glass to glow but not shock my eyes. There was a healthy silence; one saturated with calming energy and a peaceful fullness.
My husband wandered in with his coffee and sat down next to me. He took a deep breath and we smiled in a silent understanding then closed our eyes for just 5 more minute before we had to start our busy days.
These are the times I acknowlege the gift of my new home, the comfort of my couch and the security I have built in my life.
Walking down the village main street of Cold Springs. It smells like vacation: a faint scent of firewood and river tides. That sticky cotton candy smell a dropped ice cream cone gives after sitting hours in the August sun. An Elvis tribute artist plays at the Silver Spoon Cafe drawing us back to simpler days. There’s an air of excitement. Fireworks tomorrow; I envision children running up and down the street with sparklers as energetic mutts chase their tails.
I smile silently. My heart is quiet, beating softly as we hold hands like high school kids just discovering the twinges and jitters of true love. By the river’s edge he points to look up, the stars reel quickly toward the horizon. We watch as they disappear in the distance one by one behind the silhouette of the Storm King hills. Our closeness is silent, our lives content.
A window is not
just a look out to the world;
it opens as well.
There is a quiet hole within me where I go when I am not at peace; a place so deep my heart is unable to penetrate. Empty and alone on a ledge of my own creation I contemplate my future or as it feels, the lack thereof. I collect only calculated memories to replay reinforcing my anxieties; seeing only my mistakes and regrets and leaving behind successes and accomplishments making them meaningless and insignificant.
This is often my mirror, the only one I am willing to see; the glass filled with failures and pain, opening old scars and revealing them to prove to myself I am not enough no matter my reputation or how many affirmations I repeat.
My greatest nemesis; my own mind
My biggest defeat; the fantasy of my imminent failure.
OK. I’m writing because I feel myself on a winding path again. A bit unfocused and spacey. It is the most annoying place my brain takes me to. I feel exhausted and yet I’ve had enough sleep and it seems I cannot accomplish anything but the basics. Have you been there?
I have been busy I won’t lie, but still there are things I want to accomplish. I have been taking 2 classes and finding the time to do the work in between feels anxiety ridden and almost impossible. I get lost in the minutiae then get blocked because I’ve lost not minutes, but hours. I just can’t tell if my expectations are too high or if I am actually being, not lazy but undisciplined.
It just seems I have backtracked again, or is it that I have so much I want to do that I am overcrowding my mind. I just don’t know. This maze is getting in the way of my freedom…so how the heck do I stop throwing up the darn obstacles and blocking my own way? I have plans people! Am I alone out here?
Hmm….thanks for listening/ reading...oh whatever!
Good morning! or at least that’s how I felt as I stood on the doorway snapping these pictures. Oddly this day was the day we discovered we are now the local bird sanctuary. Earlier in the day a dove that was, shall we say, not having a good day sat on that very birdbath in the above shot in what seemed to be shock. Her feathers were askew and stiff as a statue. Her eyes were wide. I again like with Mr. Blue grabbed the telephoto for a better look.
Up close I could see a cut on her side, a swollen chest and a not so symmetrical wing that seemed more to be hanging then resting. I brought my husband Scott out yet again and we discussed next steps. I called the wildlife lady again, I believe we will be getting to know one another well over the next few years, and set up a time to bring the lopsided lady over (I have no idea if it’s a girl, but since I decided Mr. Blue, our last bird story, was a Mr…why not).
The little lady made her way to the ground and wandered the yard. In the meantime the birdbath became a play-date for everyone else. I swear in the 20 minutes I stood there at least 50 birds came and went, splashing and luxuriating in the aqueous coolness while the sun obligingly danced on their feathers. It was such fun to capture them in their revelry.
The photo above reminds me of when I was about 5 and my cousin and I used to share a bath. It was fun and gratifying. I loved the water as a child. If there was a pool I was in it. A bath was like the playground, especially since in our apartment there was only a stand-up shower in the corner of the bedroom. The bath was a place to create adventures, be saved mermaids and sing to our hearts content. It was the best darn pool Barbie had. I love seeing these two little guys full of joy and satisfaction; it moves me. It reminds me.
So much for not being a bird lover…just another reminder of personal growth and learned appreciation for the world around me.
Oh, and for the little lady, she was dropped off yesterday to the rescue lady in a box. She seemed good with being caught, I think she knew we wanted to help. I did say I hope Mr. Blue would let others know they would be safe with us…maybe he heard me.
Good luck Miss Lolli!
One of the things, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy in my new home is birds. They are everywhere. Our property is as much theirs as it is ours. There was an old bird bath tucked in a corner when we bought the house. When we first discussed it, my attitude was, toss it. My husband was reluctant and decided in his yardscaping madness to place it in perfect view of our kitchen window . He cleaned and filled it up. By the end of the day the birds were in it; drinking, splashing, and bathing as intended.
To my surprise as soon as I started watching these beautiful creatures of multiple colors and features, all of a sudden it became one of my favorite things in our new home. I found myself happy and honored to share it. I even clean and fill the bath myself.
Recently a huge bluejay, we’ll call him Mr. Blue, started visiting and often. He seemed to be taking over and moving in. After a couple of weeks we were in the yard cooking out with friends. I noticed a strange protrusion at the top of and under his beak. He came so close and stayed long. My friend Pam and I felt he was trying to get our attention. He flew closer to the top of the fence and looked at us, pecked a bit, obviously annoyed or disturbed with his issue. We couldn’t help but believe he was asking for help. We talked to him and he looked at us then flew back up into the big pine.
Over the next 2 days my husband Scott and I paid special attention. Mr. Blue was staying close, not leaving the yard. He had found a branch in and cozied up in a hollow of one of the big pines by the bird bath. He’d fly down every 15 mins or so to drink.
We were worried. His behavior seemed odd. I grabbed the camera and the telephoto lens. We made our mission to get a close and clear enough shot of whatever it was affecting him. We did. It was a growth of some sort. Poor baby, he looked so tired. Through the lens we could see him closing his eyes. He was weary.
We went online to see what he might eat. I put some berries and chopped veggies hoping to help, then called a wildlife rescue. I was told unfortunately, that if he was still flying there was nothing we could do. She said as long as he can eat he will survive.
My heart broke knowing it was just be a matter of time. That there was nothing I could do but make sure he had water and pray he’d eat some nuts and berries. It’s funny how we adopt these creatures. They become part of our home and our routines. We care for them as if they know we do, well knowing it is we creatures ourselves who need to love.
Its been two days. I miss him. His trust, his rocket blue sleek feathers and his quiet moments at the birdbath where he let me get so close. I can’t help but pray he gets better and returns, but know more likely that he’s not coming back. I hope his spirit will bless that birdbath so that others know it is a safe haven and a home.
Good luck my dear Mr Blue, thank you for the time.