Tag: creativity

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

Change happens. What we do in response to it, how we handle the emotional fallout, is often more important than the event itself.

Before Thanksgiving, my husband loaned his “project” car, a 1990 Jeep Wrangler, to his nephew.  Scott, being the endlessly generous man that I married, offered it up easily. Intuition suggested to me that it wasn’t the best idea in the world. I kept my thoughts to myself. People change. Right?

A MECHANICAL WORK OF ART!

Scott's JeepThe Jeep was my husband’s baby, his pride and joy. It has been his one and only creative outlet and escape from life’s weighty responsibilities over the last three years. In that time, he turned it from a well worn vehicle into a gorgeous piece of mechanical art! (At least that’s how he sees it.) Fresh paint and replaced parts, it was the inspiration for birthday and Christmas gifts from the whole family. On nice days, he’d take it here and there, just for the sheer pleasure of driving it. Otherwise it sat in the driveway for him to admire and work on on nice days.

Scott’s generosity swung around and bit him in the butt. Leaving the parking lot after work, Nephew flew around a blind corner at a high rate of speed and T-boned a truck parked in the lane. All parties involved were fine. The Jeep? Totaled. To make matters worse, we found out about it, 10 days after the fact, from our insurance agent.

CHANGE MOVES IN AND SETS UP SHOP

In a flash, “change” moved in and set up shop. Our plans for the day were lost to emotional turmoil and endless phone calls. When we woke up that morning we had no idea that such an occurrence would take over our week before Christmas.

As I listened to my husband’s end of the conversation with the insurance agent, I knew exactly what had happened and I was spitting nails angry.  It was not a surprise to me. Forty one years old and notoriously irresponsible, the flashes that he was growing up swayed Scott more than they did me. The adrenaline started pumping through my veins like  Shanghai Maglev.  I made the bed, did a load of laundry and washed the dishes in the five minutes he was on the phone.

Scott’s response? Total self-control. He dove straight into his head, pushed his feelings as far away as possible, and started a to do list in his head. I knew he was heartbroken and angry, and I knew in time he’d wake up to his feelings. He was not, however, ready to face the onslaught just yet.

He hung up the phone and decisions lined up awaiting navigation. On the surface, the decisions involved dollars and cents and boiled down to how we could recover the loss financially.

The underlying choices, however, would determine the long term fallout and the ability of those involved to learn from the experience and move on.

NAVIGATING CHANGE

The love of old vehicles runs in the family! My son’s purple VW is behind Scott!

This event was did not create serious life altering change, but it carried with it many of the components necessary to learn, or practice, dozens of life’s lessons. Change is like that. It shuffles the deck, deals, and then waits for us to play our hand.

My biggest challenge was navigating my anger. I was only indirectly affected and so my path was somewhat nebulous. My anger was not. I was hurting for my husband and suffering his loss, even while he was largely unaware of it. I knew it would come home to him in time, but for me it was immediate and present.

Unexpressed anger is a slow burn. It can lead to depression, illness and a growing sense of powerlessness. It sucks the life right out of us and leaves us wide open for future difficulties. Inappropriately expressed anger damages relationships and innocent people. It spills out in passive aggression, sarcasm, irritability, without diminishing the initial anger.

ANGER IS NORMAL

Anger is a normal healthy response. Allowing it, owning it and finding an appropriate way to put it to good use is the challenge. Anger helps us protect ourselves and set boundaries.  When anger arises, if we take time to experience it fully, it will direct us to the issues that need to be addressed. If it doesn’t call for an immediate response, it is best to let allow the adrenaline rush to dissipate enough to recover rational thought. We perceive things differently in the heat of the moment.

PROCESSING ANGER

As I sat with my anger, the following thoughts and feelings arose.

  • How irresponsible! (I value personal responsibility in myself and in those I keep close to me.)
  • How self-centered! (I value thoughtfulness and caring that goes beyond what is in it for me.)
  • How disrespectful! (Scott is deserving of respect from the nephew he practically raised. Inherent in this is appreciation and gratitude.)
  • Fear. Will Scott set his own boundaries? Will he take appropriate action, or will he sublimate his anger and let Nephew off the hook. This always comes back to bite us both.

The action I took:

  • I decided to share some of my thoughts with Nephew. In other words, I told him directly that he had better man up, take responsibility for his actions, and make it right. When he gave me the runaround, not unexpected, I called him back to responsibility and then let it go.
  • Then I through my support behind my husband. I listened and I encouraged him to hold Nephew responsible, but to take control of how things played out with regard the vehicle. In other words, to do what was best for him, not Nephew.

DISSIPATING ANGER

My anger has dissipated. I’m over it. As for my husband, he’s navigating his part of the equation in his own time and way. He has the more challenging obstacles to overcome, but he’s holding his own. His loss is eking out in bits and pieces. It will take time and he’s learning every step of the way because he’s holding the experience loosely.

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha:Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation

We get into problems with change and anger when we hold on too tight. When we try to make things happen, force the issue, fix the problem now we operate in a reactive state. We’re wrapped up in our emotions and unable to see the bigger picture. Taking time to breathe and slow down the process results in better decisions and less lingering discomfort.

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Late Blooming Writers In Action – 2014 Work in Progress Blog Tour

Late Blooming Writers In Action – 2014 Work in Progress Blog Tour

My Writing Space 2014
My Writing Space 2014

I was inducted (abducted, lassoed, hoodwinked, invoked, sideswiped, challenged, and above all honored) by my blogging friend and ever present source of inspiration, Laurie Buchanan, into the 2014 Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour. Of course I was humbled to be noticed, let alone invited to share a glimpse into my behind the scene writing endeavors.  It was an act of faith on her part to even assume I had any “work in progress”, but the biggest problem with my writing is that at any given moment I have “works in progress”…many…dozens…lost somewhere on my computer by next week. My challenge very quickly became finding one worth sharing!

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the post of the person who tagged you  (check – Thank you, Laurie!)

2. Write a blurb about — and type the first sentence of — your next book’s first three chapters. (Yikes!)

3. Tag four other writers to do the same. (Can’t wait!)

So….

I have three books in progress and the two I’ve already published that I want to un-publish and re-write. They’re terrible. The majority of my writing is an ongoing attempt to make sense of my life from a psycho/spiritual perspective and universal ideals.  My perspective and understanding is at best a work in progress and ever-changing so I find I no sooner get a book underway than my thinking evolves and renders it inadequate – a partial truth and I struggle to live with partial truths or I daresay I wouldn’t be on this journey!  My biggest challenge is to let go of a work knowing it is insufficient and incomplete! That being said here’s what I’m working on:

(Instead of writing about three chapters, I will be writing about three books in progress – maybe you can help me decide which one to complete!)

1. Walking Between Two Worlds – Trauma & Transformation – A Memoir of Sorts: The tiny snowflake that landed on my nose when I was five is as mysterious to me today as it was then. It is still beautiful, still miraculous, still takes my breath away. So too with Love Divine. Mysterious. Ever Present. With Us. Always. I’ve walked in both worlds. Walking between them has been the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. 

2. The Art of Aging – As menopause begins, so too does the process of becoming a wise and dangerous old woman. Recognizing and embracing this process embodies  the art of aging.

3. Reaching – A Collection of Poems –

It's the little things that spark the creative spirit in each of us!
It’s the little things that spark the creative spirit in each of us!

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my life,

I shoved my hands into the black soot of death and

reached through the bitter haze of unspent emotions,

to find fragments of me, inert, motionless and suffocating.

In addition I’ve been writing for a living most recently for iSeniorSolutions.com.

I now tag…

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden – Sage Woman Chronicles Associate Faculty Member of Chochise College, Writer, teacher, Reiki practitioner and author of the children’s book Scottosaurs the Little Dragon, Lucinda lives in Arizona. Her blossoming as a late blooming writer is a delight to behold. Her dedication to the craft and to life itself is an inspiration to me.

Joan Z Rough – One Rich Life – Joan describes herself this way: “Wife, mother, grandmother, writer, blogger, gardener, artist, healthy food nut, loves all creatures, especially dogs. Addicted to books, good movies and the grandkids. Believes in being positive, choice and taking responsibility. Easily overwhelmed by it all, but never bored. Laughing and smiling all the way.” I can’t wait until she publishes her book! (I will let her tell you about it.)

Eric Mondschein – We hear too little, in my opinion, of heart matters from men over fifty. That’s not the only reason I love reading Eric’s blog posts, especially his poetry and reflections on his life growing up in the late fifties. My husband and I both enjoyed his book Life at 12 College Road and I highly recommend it!  Dr. Eric S. Mondschein is an author and education consultant. He has a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the American University, a Master’s degree in delinquency prevention, and a doctorate in law and education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. What he did with all that education can be found on his website!

Lindsey McDivitt – A talented writer with a unique focus, Lindsey shares and reviews positive aging picture books with older characters who show the positives of living a long life, on her blog A is for Aging.  In addition she shares strategies and Intergenerational Resources that can be used to strengthen the connection between generations.  She holds a degree in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Minnesota and worked for 25 years in long term care settings, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and the community. Her love of Children’s literature and its power to shape values and beliefs has helped create a new mission: “to help all generations see older adult as valid and aging as the valuable stage of life that it is. She is also writing children’s books doing just that!

Tag your it! (I hope you’ll participate but I won’t love you any less if you don’t! It’s a busy time of year and its always difficult to get everything done. If you’re looking for connections with like minded people it may give you a boost, but please, feel no obligation.)

I Honor You Robin Williams

I Honor You Robin Williams

What Dreams May Come

 

ComCreativity yearns and churns,

Stretches and aches, bogged down

by the relentless nagging, driven

by the ardent and fierce tingles

of sinuous standings.

 

Almost unbidden, in a moment

of neglect, it erupts and breaks free

bursting forth in weightlessness,

Sucking in the  lifeblood of release

to dance wildly across a kaleidoscopic

field of endless imaginings.

Robin Williams

 

Until, abruptly, without warning,

the vat of endless energy lies empty,

spent, gone, leaving only a repugnant

void where boundless possibility

once lived.

 

A vacuum remains. A deafening

silence. Nothingness. The pot is

stirred. Nothing. Then Despair and

the churning begins. The questions.

The doubts. The push of the whys,

the hows, the wherefores, the if onlys,

bathed in the foaming, frothing, noxious

weight of self-incrimination, the debris field

of stunning incompletion.

 

Actor Robin Williams in a scene fr. the motion picture "Good Morning Vietnam."Creativity. It yearns and bends and burns.

Endlessly. Until…it doesn’t and then

the weight of it kills.

RIP Robin Williams

 

I cannot yet rejoice for the gifts left behind by the creative genius of Robin Williams. There were so many, but in this moment they pale in comparison to my deep, almost familial awareness of, and sorrow for, the pain he must have suffered. I know that kind of pain, some version of it at least, though I could never claim to know what must have driven him in the end to give up. I do know that you take it until you can’t anymore.

DoubtfireGiftedness is a blessing and a curse. Who hasn’t recognized the underbelly of a leaning, a talent, the dark side of our greatest joy. I suspect the more gifted one is, the darker the shadow. One cannot always walk in the light. One cannot always handle and direct such power with grace and wisdom. Sometimes it is bigger than the one who is holding it.

Depression. It kills. It maims and destroys. It’s not an upper middle class flu to be satisfied by a prescription of antidepressants. It is dark and virulent. It is insatiable in its desire to lay its victim beneath a blanket of darkness, leaving behind no windows, no reason, no answers.

Intelligence cannot hold sway over depression. Altered perspective cannot turn its head. Intentional action will never be a guaranteed win. It is not within the power of the victim to slay this demon, as it is often too big, too overpowering, too debilitating to manage. Alone.

Alone. The worst part of carrying this beast. It renders one entirely without connection, without resources, without guidance. No matter how enormous the gift, the intelligence, the creativity, the joy and desire to live. Sometimes it wins. Sometimes only death brings release and relief. Blissful silence. Perfect peace. An answer at last.

Today I cry for my loss, our loss.  I cry for the toll this still too often unmanageable disease has wrought on some of the most gifted among us.  It seems an uneven exchange for what they have given to us.

Spaces

Spaces

Helle Summer houseI began to think about “spaces” this morning after reading a post by Laurie, one of my favorite bloggers. She is blessed with an abundance of courage and enthusiasm for life. She and her husband recently picked up and moved from the Midwest to Boise, ID. This is a popular and growing trend among boomer retirees.

Laurie continues to entertain her followers with her adventures and today she announced that she has a new temporary home in Boise, in a lovely carriage house. Her enthusiasm was palpable but it carried with something ore than simply living in an interesting place. The “something more” was captured in these words: “My writing space is phenomenal!….this gorgeous view has triggered a spurt of fiction writing.” 

There is something powerful about spaces, both the ones we live and work in, and the ones that show up unexpectedly in a quiet moment, or between activities.  Our homes are more than an artistic expression of who we are, though they are that. They are filled with energy. Sometimes this energy is positive and creativity inducing, sometimes the opposite is true. Too often we choose to ignore our sense of this energy, if we even notice it at all. Instead, we choose spaces out of necessity, circumstances, budget constraints, practicality, thinking perhaps we have no choice, opting not to notice.

Does your living space inspire you, energize you, invite you to expand yourself, your creativity, your life?

As a highly sensitive person I have lived more by the sensory field around me than by my brains. (My husband will testify to that!) It has not always been the case. I tried for many years to do what “everybody” thought I should do, and/or what was good for everybody else. Be practical. Be responsible. Be normal. Buy a house with enough room for the kids and the aging parents. Make sure it’s in a good location, good school district, and with good resale value. Above all, it must be affordable.

What about the feel of the house?

The spaces that dot are days, those moments when nothing is demanding our attention, either from the inside or the outside, are an opportunity to discover our interior space. Our interior space will not demand our attention, but it is there waiting and always present. It too is a source of powerful energy. It is the place where our truest self resides, our creative, soul self. In just the same way we often block these spaces from our conscious awareness. We override them with activity and to-do- lists. We stuff them down with food or mind numbing activity.

What is lost when we avoid our interior space?

Tuning in to the “spaces” in our lives, both on the inside and the outside, is an essential practice when engaging in the transformation process. Every thing we need to know exists within us. We simply have to choose to pay attention to the signals and clues that are already present and waiting for us.

Getting it Together after Fifty

Getting it Together after Fifty

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I think we pretty much all are in agreement by the time we reach fifty and sixty: Life is not a simple thing! In fact, in many ways, it just becomes more complex the older we get. The good news is that we now have a rich arsenal of experience upon which to draw as we face each new challenge. We are better equipped to find the meaning and purpose in our day-to-day existence and we finally have the mental and emotional time and freedom to do so.

This chapter in our lives is a work in progress, just like every chapter that has gone before. We think about things, struggle with things, grow and change, evaluate and discard and it’s all good. Here are a few of the things I’ve been thinking about. I always enjoy your thoughts and value your feedback. Sharing the journey makes it richer for all of us.

From my blog:

The Life of the Creative

What Do You Long For?

Childhood Memories & a Naturopath

Zen and the Art of Aging

On Huffington Post/Huff50:

Keeping Up Appearances: Who Would we be if we Quit Talking About Aging?

A New Way of Looking at Aging

Dream Large with Pinterest

Dream Large with Pinterest

A month or so ago, Pinterest was not anywhere near the top of my “to do” list. It wasn’t even on it! I was standing in defiance of the latest social media trend that threatened to steal even more time from my day and suck more life out of what creativity I had left! Curiosity, however, got the best of me. (Not to mention the constant nudge of the savvy social media gurus who haunt me.)

I have to chuckle to myself now as I remember the running commentary in the early Pinterest days, mostly by men, about how it was a platform for “girls” and “mindless creatives” (really, is there even such a thing??). How very little such commentators know of the vast and powerful creative force! Now, I’m happy to say, bah humbug! And smugly be grateful I’m a female born with the gift of being able to see something beyond the linear horizon. I invite you to do the same, if you have not already.

Pinterest is the perfect venue upon which to create a dream board, for your work, your project or your life. I attempted several dreams boards, or vision boards, as some call them in the old fashion cut and paste way. I even completed several small ones but I always felt limited by my choice of pictures. I do not buy magazines, particularly the ones with the most beautiful pictures (also more expensive), and I never took the time to track down where I might find free magazines. Pinterest offers, absolutely free, access to the unfathomable array of photos and graphics that only it can assemble and make available at our fingertips. (Think of all the trees we’re saving as well!)

Creating a dream board will fire up your creativity and help you obtain a new perspective on things. If you are unfamiliar with the basic concept, you will find more info in an article by Martha Beck, who is a huge proponent of vision boards.  I urge you to give it a try. And now Pinterest makes it so easy! Using a virtual venue won’t give you the feel of scissors, paper and glue, but it will give you plenty of visual inspiration.

You are welcome to visit the meager beginnings of my dream board. You might want to follow it because it is going to be awesome (at least to me!). Maybe it will inspire you too.  Please send me an invitation to yours as well. I have no doubt you will inspire me!