Boundary Setting for this Busy Bee

bubble-bee-e1503110500249.jpg

I tend to be one of those women who do too much. Since I retired from my 30 year career, I find myself exploring new activities that keep me busy. Too busy. Why do I do that? Maybe I just have so many different interests. Someone told me I’m a Renaissance Woman. I like the sound of that, but I want to make time for the things that are most important to me and I can’t do everything.

I went to a couple of political meetings and a local tree alliance. Both worthy causes, but what about my art which I have been neglecting? Okay, so I published my book and now I need to market it, but my painting muse is jealous!

butterfly mermaid in progress

She’s been waiting in the wings, saying Hey! What about me?

I’m going to work on this by Saturday!

Almost two weeks ago, I started volunteering at a nearby elementary school helping first graders with reading and enjoyed that, but three days later I came down with a head cold that is still with me, teaching me humility after saying, “I never get sick.” It didn’t help that I wasn’t getting enough sleep, staying up late on the computer…

One good thing I did a few months ago was to get back into yoga classes. It was in yoga class that I learned the chant: From now on, I send you only love.  I said it to myself in the mirror. It felt good, especially after I stuck out my tongue and laughed with myself.  I want to keep doing yoga once a week. Plus, I’m getting back into walking and will keep swimming when the waves aren’t too rough.

But I have to be more careful about taking on new things. So, I’m going to say this again: I’m not going to take on anything new.  No new projects until the following have happened:

1.  I’ve satisfied my painting muse (and finished my butterfly mermaid)

2. September is passed.

I’m helping a friend organize an event that takes place in September which is also the month I plan to visit my son and son and granddaughter. in the mountains. I’m so excited and have to stay well for that trip which means I need to get off the computer by midnight.

If anyone asks me to do anything new, my answer will be,

“Let me think about it and get back to you.”

Even if I really want to do it, I’m going to wait before I respond, to give myself time to evaluate.

With writing, I sit a lot which has caused some problems for me. So I don’t want to add any activities that are mostly sitting. If I take on anything new, after September, it has to be something healthy, fun, and physically active that gets me off my butt!

Like this:

girl swimming thumbs up

Photo from Pixabay

 

Advertisements

Questions To Overcome Obstacles

I’ve been posting a lot on “Anything is Possible” but realized it’s time to get back to “Loving Me, Too.”

Here’s something that’s been waiting patiently in the wings:

Susan’s post: http://www.gardenofedenblog.com/atoz-blog-challenge-o-for-obstacles/

asked these questions which I felt compelled to respond to. I’ve done so in a stream of consciousness style with just a little editing.  The  questions were great prompts for helping me take a look at my life.

What is preventing me from living a larger and more loving life?

There’s this thing called time. It goes faster and faster each year. You’d think I would have more of it now that I’m “retired,” but there is so much I want to do. Get to the question. It’s not just time, it’s fear, too. I need to look at each activity and evaluate it’s value. Some things have to be done. A related question is: What would living a larger, more loving life look like?

In what way am I not living in what remains of my life, as authentically as possible?

I seem to be outgrowing some people and activities that have been obligations for many years. I’m just starting to step back from those and stepping into more creative activities with more creative people, like my volunteer work on the Forest of Dreams mural and rock painting. I used to want to take up rock climbing. Now, I’m taking up rock painting. I want to do more of that and more work in and with nature.

In what way do I collude in oppressing my own self? Especially as we know that time is no longer infinite as we thought it was.

I have this sense of obligation, a historically over-developed sense of responsibility. My “good girl” is firmly entrenched in my personality. She has served me well in some ways, but she has held me back, too. I don’t want to be a bad girl, I just want to be more, me. I want to continue to grow spiritually and mentally in ways that don’t feel like “busy work.” I don’t want to be on a committee. I want to help children learn to read, and I want to paint more and swim more and take more walks in the woods. I want to make time for these things.  I will stop colluding in my own oppression by taking my time in responding to requests to engage in activities that don’t feel like me. I will ask myself, is this how I want to spend my time? Is this the best use of my skills and talents? God gave me the talents of drawing and painting, but I did not value them much in the past. God gave me patience. I want to use that patience with children and animals.

So, now, I need to ask myself: What am I going to do about it?

Just answering these questions over a month ago has made a difference. I’m painting more and I’m not on any committees.  Lot’s of ideas and possibilities in the works!

Here’s one of my recent paintings on a piece of scrap wood. I had called her “Umbrella Angel.” But someone pointed out the whale’s tail. So she’s my first whale’s tail angel.

Whale's Tail Angel #1

 

 

Coming Home to Art

JoAnne painting rabbits

Painting bunnies in the Forest of Dreams

I  did it!  On the 1st day of June, at the age of 60, I made a leap of faith by cutting back to one day a week at my counseling job. Accepting my new-ish husband’s offer of financial support so that I could spend more time following my creative dreams has been scary. I was the super responsible bread winner for over thirty years, during my first marriage, and then as a single mom. Could I trust a man to support me?  But weary of the  burdens of growing paperwork in the mental health field, I  knew it was time to honor my own needs. God gave me creative talents, but I had not valued them, or maybe I needed to learn some things before coming back to the creative arts. Either way, I’m more thankful than I can express.

The synchronicity of perfect timing affirmed my decision. At the end of May, as my leaping day approached, I won blue ribbons for writing and sold one of my original paintings along with a couple of prints at Silver Arts, part of Senior Games. It was also in the second half of May that I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference and got valuable feedback. And in May, I started working on the community mural, A Forest of Dreams. Support of my artistic skill flowed freely, nurturing my decision to follow the call back home to art.

Not that painting and writing are easy. I’m not fast. I don’t think I’ve ever been fast at anything. But when I paint or write, or play my guitar, I lose track of time. I become absorbed in the creative process that feeds my soul.

I’m not sharing all this to toot my own horn, though it’s okay to do that. I ask you to celebrate with me, and to know, this:

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”  Mary Ann Evans/George Eliot

Later this week, I’ll write  more about the Forest of Dreams Mural in “Anything is Possible,” and I’ll share that post here on “Loving Me, Too.” Thanks for reading and for sharing this journey with me!

Kicking the Self-Doubt Gremlin’s Butt

gremlin from pixabay

A little monster from Pixabay

Last night, I went to the local awards ceremony for Silver Arts which is part of Senior Games. I didn’t even know Senior Games includes not only an art category, but also a literary category, until a couple months ago when the Silver Arts coordinator stood at the door of another art show handing out applications for Silver Arts.

At the show last night, there were so many beautiful paintings without ribbons, it wasn’t hard to accept that my two paintings did not get any ribbons. Then I went to the literary arts table and discovered that two of my three entries had blue ribbons next to them. What a nice surprise!

 

Dreams of Wild Communion Problem Step Dog

I found out later that there weren’t many entries for the literary arts categories. And though   I saw that there were other entries for my categories of poetry and life experience, because there were second and third place winners, I heard the whispers of the gremlin of self- doubt telling me my ribbons weren’t that valuable because there weren’t that many entries.

Then, this morning, I woke up trying to figure out what this dream meant:

I was sitting on a couch in a room with a few other people. From the floor, two young boys pulled on my skirt. It was my favorite comfortable knit skirt. They tugged and wrestled with with it. I told them to stop, but they ignored me. They pulled like naughty puppies having a tug-0-war. No one intervened, so I had to – before they pulled my skirt off of me. I yelled at them as loud as I could, “STOP IT! STOP IT!

I got up, pulling my skirt back into place. I felt angry and close to tears, but calmed my voice enough to tell the boys, very firmly: “When a woman says no, it means NO!” Then I went in the other room, and the dream shifted to something else. It seems that after I calmed down, I was making other plans with a friend.

In bed this morning, I tried to imagine what this dream was about, besides the no means no  message which by itself is important.

While still in bed, I looked at Facebook from my phone. Many people had congratulated me on winning two blue ribbons at the Silver Arts event which of course I had to post on FB.

The self-doubt gremlin came back with a vengeance:

Now everyone thinks you’re such a good writer, and it’s such a big deal, but what if there were only three entries? That’s not a big deal. You’re an impostor! Stop building yourself up like you’re so hot. You probably shouldn’t have even posted that on FB since there weren’t a lot of entries…….

The little boys in my dream, trying to pull off my favorite skirt, were like self-doubt gremlins assaulting my hopes and dreams. So, I say to you again, gremlins:

STOP IT! GO AWAY AND LEAVE  ME  ALONE!

WHEN A WOMAN SAYS NO, SHE MEANS NO!

YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!

THOSE ARE MY BLUE RIBBONS,

AND I WON THEM FAIR AND SQUARE!

I’M A WRITER, AND I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR BUTT!

 

PS: Here’s my winning poem. It’s dear to my heart.

https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/dreams-of-wild-communion/

Set Your Intention… Go with the Flow

Creek Currents

Have you ever found yourself drawn to a place?

This past weekend, I was drawn into the funky little art and antique district one block from my church.

Castle Street Mural

A friend messaged me about an open house in the art district with Christmas carols and a Christmas Tree Lighting scheduled for Sunday evening. When I emailed the lady in charge to find out if our choir might join in the caroling, she excitedly wrote that her carolers had cancelled and asked if our church could provide carolers.

Perfect Timing strikes again!

Since I love to sing, especially in small informal groups, I sent out messages asking people to come caroling with me Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, there was supposed to be a yoga class in this same art and antique district on Saturday morning at 11. I like to sleep late on Saturdays, so 11 am  was perfect for me. I’d seen the invitation on Facebook and clicked “maybe.”

Saturday morning, I couldn’t find the event on Facebook to check the address, but thought I had a pretty good idea idea where it was. I figured they’d have a sign out or something.

I walked around the shops and art stores, asking about the yoga class, but couldn’t findMuddy Muse Window it. There was a fitness studio, sandwiched between a couple of the shops, but it was closed. No yoga signs.

What I did find was a delightful art studio, called “The Muddy Muse.” They had tables for working with clay, earthy pottery and colorful paintings on “scrap” wood, which I like to use.

I believe I’m going to take a painting class there in January. I’ve been intending to take a painting class for  two years.

 

So, even though I didn’t find the yoga class, I found exactly what I was supposed to find. I enjoyed  walking around the art and antique district and talking with creative people. It was all about going with the flow on a Saturday morning.

 

Sunday evening, a handful of people from my church met in the art and antique district to get ready to sing carols. We wandered in and out of the shops to get warm, admired works of art and sampled spiced cider and cookies. When it was time to sing, we were a little hesitant, but  standing in front of a shop called “Every Good Thing,” we started singing anyway. A small crowd  gathered to encourage us, and a  couple visitors joined in the singing. We found our voices and sang from our hearts, warmed  by the  sense of community.

Music TC

Musical Ornaments, by JoAnne Silvia

Isn’t it interesting how we’re drawn to things?

Sometimes we find exactly what we’re looking for.

And sometimes our heart’s desire finds us.

Set your intention, go with the flow, and watch for little miracles.

And big miracles too!