Posted by: Beth | 2011/10/10

Week 6 – Recovering a Sense of Abundance

This week we are asked to really look at our ideas around God, money, and creative abundance.  This week may feel volatile.  After the anger that I went through week before last I hope not, but at least I know I’m growing.  This week in our morning pages we are asked to write about the god you do believe in and the god you would like to believe in.   I’m realizing that is a little harder than it sounds as the God I believe in as evolved over the years.  That is definitely going to be more than a one day assignment for me.   I love it when she says:

Looking at God’s creation, it is pretty clear that the creator itself did not know when to stop.  There is not one pink flower, or even fifty pink flowers, but hundreds.  Snowflakes, of course are the ultimate exercise in sheer creative glee.  No two alike.  This creator looks suspiciously like somone who just might send us support for our creative ventures.

How very true her words are; I wanted to add an exclaimation point at the end of every sentence!  As you expect God to be more generous, God will be able to be more generous to you.  I love it!  Ask and you shall receive as the Bible says. 

What is luxury?  What constitutes pampering?  Did any of the examples speak to you?  The one that spoke to me was about TIME.  He has denied himself the luxury of time:  time with friends, time with family, above all, time to himself with no agendas of preternatural accomplishment.  His many former passions have dwindled to mere interests, he is too busy to enjoy pastimes.  He tells himself he has not time to pass.  The clock is ticking and he is using it to get famous.  I totally identified with that paragraph.  I may not be using my time to get famous but I am using it to get somewhere I hope to be in the future.  I have very much fallen to the vulnerability of all artist, even very famous ones, to the shaming, “I should be working” side of themselves that discourages creative pleasures.

What gives us true joy?  That’s something I’m going to have to work on this week.  I’m really not sure at the moment!  I think it’s taking pictures.  I am really enjoying that but is that true joy I’m not sure.  I’m going to have to think on it.

Bottom line – Julia is telling us to  question whether we’ve put a limit on God and what we allow Him to do for us.  She sums it  up nicely when she says:

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do.  When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.

THAT sounds like heaven to me!  What about you?

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Posted by: Beth | 2011/10/06

Photography Class 3 – Rant and Narrative

Part of my creative endeavor as I go through the Artist Way study this time is my photography classes at LSUS that I am taking.  I’m learning a lot.  I really am.  But I am not getting out of the classes what I had hoped to get out of the classes.  The classes have been cut from four months to 8 weeks because of budget cuts.  There is too much material thrown at me every class.  There is not time to absorb the material, work with the material, come back and go over whether we actually learned the material.

Sometimes I feel like I am the only student really trying to learn to use my camera to take good shots.  I feel like other people are not really trying to do the assignments.  They make snide comments about how I must have more time than they do.  No, I’m making time because I PAID to take this class to learn to take better pictures!  I wonder why they are taking the class at all!  I know one already considers herself a professional photographer although she’d never taken any pictures at all prior to having her baby last January and admitted she doesn’t know how to take any pictures that are not outside.  (What???)  Her and I rubbed each other wrong from the very first day of class. 

It really bothers me that the whole class period is spent throwing information at us and then we are given a homework assignment.  I guess that’s how college is.  I had forgotten that; it’s been so many years since I’ve been to college.  But once I DO the assignment, then I want feedback on how I did.  What did I do right?  What did I do wrong?  What could I have done different to have had better composition?  Or gotten a better shot?  There isn’t any of that in this class.  The pictures we have taken (of the people who bothered to do the assignment) are quickly looked at and we are asked if we have/had any questions about the assignment and zoom, we are on to the next power packed cram session of knowledge.  I could understand this if it was a large class and there were many people’s homework assignments to go through.  But there are only six people in my class!  I have learned though and that IS why I am taking the class; so I’m just thinking once I finish the class I will be able to read my camera manual and it will mean a lot more to me and I will be able to teach myself what I thought I was going to learn in this class.

Anyway, now that I’ve finished ranting…  our next homework assignment was to do a narrative; to tell a story using 3-7 pictures.  It had to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Once I got back to class the following week with my completed assignment I found out that the real purpose of the assignment was to make us have to set-up or “stage” a story.  Well, I didn’t get that from the instructions so I just watched all week for an opportunity to present itself to tell a story with pictures.  Oh well, again I thought I did well on the assignment and again there really wasn’t any feedback to tell me how I did or what I could’ve done better or differently.  /sigh  But here’s my narrative….

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

1. Tree fell on car. 

2. Got tree off of car. 

3. Used a chain saw to cut up the tree. 

4. Loaded the wood into the truck and onto the curb. 

5. Final clean-up and damage assessment.

Bad thing about this was that the neighbor’s (whose tree it was) homeowners said that since the tree was alive and not dead, it was considered an “Act of God” and they were not required to pay for the damage.  What is insurance for anymore?  My son only has liability on his car so his car insurance will not pay for it.  They are renting their house and still waiting to hear from the homeowner’s insurance of the rental house.  But they sure don’t have the money to replace the car if no one is going to help.  He can’t put a new back windshield in because of the frame damage to the trunk and both sides.  If it weren’t for bad luck sometimes I don’t think my son would have any!

The good thing about this was that they were not IN the car when the tree fell since the baby’s carseat was full of shattered glass and a tree limb pierced right where the baby would’ve been sitting.  And we got a truckload of firewood out of the deal.  And I got a photography assignment….

Posted by: Beth | 2011/10/04

Week 5 – Artist Date & Synchronicity

I’m really loving my artist dates this time around!  And it seems like all of a sudden I’m having a lot of synchronicity in my life.  Synchronicity- that principle that C.G. Jung loosely defined as a fortuitous intermeshing of events.  I still like the word serendipity better but it doesn’t matter.  They both mean the same thing.  Wikipedia says synchronicity is the experience of two or more events, that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.  When something coincidental happens that causes something else to happen. 

All the synchronicity that happened to me this week is complicated and hard to explain.  But let’s start with the fact that I left a Scentsy catalog with someone who placed an order with me at the medical center back in August.  After that, someone I had never met called me and placed an order with me in the middle of September.  Then I went in for a doctor appt and this really nice young airman did my intake to my appointment.  She never expressed an interest in Scentsy and I didn’t bring it up although I carry my Scentsy bag with me everywhere and it’s unusual for me NOT to bring it up.  When the order came in and I went to deliver it to the medical clinic, it turned out it was the nice young airman who had ordered from me sight unseen.  When she saw me she said, “OH, I’m so glad it is you!  I’m so glad it is you!  I saw your Scentsy bag when you came in for your appointment and I just kept thinking too bad I already ordered from someone because you were so nice and I would’ve rather have ordered from you!”  Since I had never met her when she placed the order with me and then met her after the order was placed but before it came it and we liked each other I am going to say it is synchronicity that we met each other by phone before we met each other in person and did not even know it.  Other people may not count that as synchronicity, I don’t know.

The next episode of synchronicity is really complicated.  Let me set the stage here.  Domino #1 – Back in the late 90s I made a trip to Houston with a friend.  I had some female issues going on and the friend’s sister wanted me to see a Holistic doctor friend of hers.  This doctor explained to me about the electrical meridians in our bodies and how he could tell if something was wrong with me by testing these meridians.  I was quite skeptical but I believe in reflexology so I was willing to give it a shot.  He tested me by handing me a metal cylinder to hold in one hand and something I held in the other hand (don’t remember now) and having me stand on this metal plate.  Small doses of electricity traveled through my body and supposedly told this doctor what was wrong with me.  He gave me some homeopathic hormone drops and some yam cream to use.  I thought it was the biggest waste of money I’d ever done!  I went home and proceeded to use the drops and the cream as he had instructed me.  I NEVER FELT BETTER IN MY LIFE!!!  When I ran out of the drops I was quite upset that my friend had been fired from her job and dropped off the radar of my life.  I didn’t know her sister’s name and I didn’t know the doctor’s name.  I attempted to find a Holistic doctor in the Houston area and I couldn’t find him.  I tried to find one here and I couldn’t.  I eventually gave up and life went back to how it had been pre-Houston visit.

Domino #2 – Fast forward to 2010.  I have fibromyalgia, and other various health issues.  I don’t react to prescriptions like other people do and even the military insurance company told me I needed a Homeopathic doctor that believed in natural remedies instead of one that wanted to throw pills at me.  We looked for a Homeopathic doctor within 200 miles of where I live.  We couldn’t find one.  The only one listed had given up his practice here and gone to Florida to treat Geriatric patients.  We hit dead end after dead end.  I again gave up and life went on.

Domino #3 – In early 2011 my husband picked up the book “The Field – The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe” by Lynne McTaggart out of a bargain bin somewhere.  This is a very scientific book and NOT at all something I would normally read.  But after hearing my husband talk about bits and pieces of it I picked it up and started reading it before bedtime.  This book deals with the Zero Point Gravity Field and delves into Quantum Physics and other scientific areas I’ve never really had an interest in.  But at the same time if this book is to be believed than scientists have been performing experiments that prove the reality of a realm that hitherto had been the domain of Eastern mystics.  A book which gives scientific proof of the paranormal.  (Which I’ve always had an interest and ability in.)  Psychic activity, remote viewing, the power of prayer and homoeopathy are all discussed.  The energy found in the vacuum – or the zero point field – seems to be the key to all sorts of unexplained phenomena: ESP or remote viewing, homeopathy, energy medicine, spiritual healing, and even the homing instincts of animals.  Lynne McTaggart follows the life and work of disparate physicists, pioneers in the area where the paranormal meets quantum physics.  Even Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “The Field is one of the most thought-provoking reads of 2001!” 

Domino #4 – As most people who know me know, I am very supportive of my children and have never missed any of my daughter’s roller derby matches.  It just so happens that one of her team mates (and her husband!) are chiropractors here locally.  They have become very good friends with my daughter and my extension friends with me.

Domino #5 – I restarted The Artist Way study and have been using my artist dates to indulge myself in ways to help me destress and take better care of myself in addition to letting my artist child play so I made an appointment with this chiropractor to see if my back being out of alignment was causing the bursitis in both hips that the regular medical doctor wants to give me steroid shots to fix but can’t explain to me why I got it in the first place.

Domino #6 – While at the chiropractic appointment (which helped the bursitis TONS by the way) somehow holistic healing came up and I mentioned the machine I had been treated with in Houston all those years ago and how I’d never been able to find anyone with such a machine again.  How or why it even came up I can’t remember now!

Domino #7 – The chiropractor tells me that they have that machine THERE in their office!  The other doctor (not her husband) owns it and mainly uses it to treat friends and family.

Domino #8 – As I’m checking out, and my chiropractic friend is checking on getting me an appointment with the other doctor, one of the ladies from the office tells me that she doesn’t understand why the doctor charges so little; that most people who own that expensive equipment charge well over $1000 for a session (a session takes over an hour). But this doctor’s session is actually quite cheap and I can afford it!  [Pulled from the web.]  Biomeridian testing measures electrical resistance at established acupuncture points along those meridians to determine if they are balanced, stressed, or weak.  Even before symptoms show themselves, this helps to identify where the body is most in need of support.  Healthy tissue in the body has a certain rate of conductivity.  Stressed tissue has more conductivity and weakened tissue has less conductivity.  [No, that is not us in the picture, I got that off the web too.]   🙂

Soooo…..  with all the coincidences allowing it to happen, I make my appointment for the following day to come back and have a reading by the doctor with the Biomeridian machine.  I don’t think it’s the exact same machine as was used on me in Houston but it is close.  As the doctor checks the various electrical meridians in my body he explains as fascinated as he is by the science of it that he just can’t get most people to understand that it is not quack medicine.  I am refreshing to him that I have benefitted from such a machine in the past and because of my study of reflexology and various other alternative health disciplines I understand what the machine is doing.  I’m even more enthralled when he finishes and the machine gives its report.  Without going into my specific medical information let me say that what the machine said is the #1 thing wrong with me is something that my medical doctors have also said is wrong.  In fact I have another test scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to recheck that same issue!  But medical doctors are saying there is nothing that can be done for it.  The #2 thing the machine says is wrong with me is another thing that has been addressed by medical doctors but after throwing pills at me they think I am better.  The #3 thing the machine says is wrong with me is something I have brought up to doctors and they have dismissed out of hand.  Very interesting!

Because of my reading of “The Field” I understand about different substances having a specific frequency and water molecules retaining memory even if the solution is diluted infinitely.  So when the doctor puts a base solution on a metal plate and sends frequencies of specific homeopathic medicines into the base solution I understand exactly what he is doing.  Do other people think this is quack medicine?  Yes, I know they do.  Do I think this is quack medicine?  No, I don’t.  I will gladly take the drops he has prescribed for me and I think this will help me in ways that traditional medical doctors cannot.  Is it a placebo effect?  I don’t believe it is because I never expected the hormone drops to help me the first time.  For a placebo to work you have to actually believe the sugar pill will help you and I didn’t.  Actually I wish the medical doctors were not doing the test Tuesday because I’d like to give the homeopathic remedy a chance to work before my medical doctors retest.  But I guess that is okay because the medical doctors say you cannot improve this issue so it will be all the more proof positive later when I actually do!

This is why I say it’s like the universe stacked up the dominoes and this week I knocked them all down!  It took an awful lot of “coincidences” to bring me to the point where I find myself today!

Posted by: Beth | 2011/10/02

Week 5 – Recovering a Sense of Possibility

There’s really a lot of information tucked into this chapter this week.  How very telling that Julia starts off the chapter saying our chief barrier to accepting God’s generosity is our limited notion of what we are in fact able to accomplish.   I feel I am a pretty good Christian (I’m sure every Christian in the world does so isn’t that a matter of interpretation? ) but I needed the reminder of exactly how powerful God is  and how I need to stop unconsciously setting limiits on how much God can give me or help me.   I needed the reminder that creativity is a spiritual issue.  Any progess is made by leaps of faith, some small and some large.   I needed the reminder that God is unlimited to supply and everyone has equal access and I’m not depriving anyone else with my abundance.

I’ve really been fighting the process this time.  I’m not sure why.  Last time I had no problem reading the chapter and no problem writing my morning pages but had a problem with making myself do artist dates.  This time I’m really struggling to get the chapters read.  I’ve been running behind and reading the chapter at the end of the week instead of the beginning.  I know, bad teacher!  LOL!  But I refuse to beat myself up over it.  It seems like as soon as I sit down to read there are a dozen different things that need my attention.  The dogs need to go out, one of the kids call, a customer needs advice on an order, the toilet is running, etc.  It’s always something!  So I’m running behind in my reading.  Then I’m not doing real great with my morning pages either.  I feel like I have so much to do that I stay up to late trying to get things done and then hit the ground running in the morning and have just not made morning pages the priority I need to make them.  I vow to do better on this.  I’m not having any trouble at all with my Artist Dates this time though.  When it’s time to do the reading or the morning pages my creative child says, “Do we hafta???”  But when it’s time to go do an Artist Date, my creative child says, “Yay!!!  Let’s go have fun!”  LOL!  Last time I had trouble with the exercises in the chapter and the tasks at the end of the chapters.  This time I’m not having any issues with those.  Interesting how my rebelling is taking such a different form this time than it did last time. 

I had a real spell with anger this week.  Remember back in week 3 when I said there hadn’t been any unaccustomed bursts of energy and sharp peaks of anger, joy, and grief.  I didn’t have any anger to use as a fuel.  Woah boy, I made up for that this week.  The last couple days I have just been angry at the world!  Wanting to lash out.  Wanting to HURT someone.  Of course I never would but I was just downright PISSED!  I’m not sure why.  It really came out of nowhere.  But I wrote in my morning pages I felt like I was going to explode and acid was going to rain down on everyone within a 10 miles radius!  As I read this chapter (that I should’ve read at the beginning of the week) I saw that I was caught in what Julia called the Virtue Trap.  I have not been giving myself downtime.  Without it, the artist in us feels vexed, angry, out of sorts.  Yeah, I’d say that fit!  I needed the healing of time alone.  Without pressure that I needed to be doing something else!  Haven’t gotten that yet, but I got enough things done that I felt I could push off the pressure cooker long enough to take some much needed time for myself.  Julia really got me this week when she said, We want to be generous, of service, of the world.  But what we really want is to be left alone. Oh yes!  Please just leave me alone for a little while!  I did have quite a bit of synchronicity this week too which was quite interesting.  It’s kind of complicated so it deserves it’s own post.  🙂

One thing in this chapter I haven’t tried yet that I intend to try this coming week is to experiment with the two-step process of asking for answers in the evening and listeing for answers in the morning when I do my morning pages.  Being open to all help.  I’m going to use that as an incentive to get myself to actually do my morning pages every morning this coming week.  All in all, I think I am moving right along in this process.  How are YOU doing?

 

My second assignment in my photography class was to do a scavenger hunt to find various objects or “words”.  Many of the words were subjective or open to interpretation.  We had two weeks to do this assignment so, over the span of numerous outings, I found 52 of the 55 items.  I was disappointed with my performance overall on this task.  Well, no, I guess the proper way to say that, is that I was disappointed with my teacher’s reaction to my performance on this task.

Glow

Actually… truth be told, I was originally very excited about this assignment.  I was excited to go to class that night.  I was excited to see how I had done on the assignment.  I thought I had done well at finding the various items on the list.  I knew all my photography wasn’t the greatest.  Like “glow” was blurry and not a very good shot.  But I’m still learning my camera and I couldn’t ask a strange little girl to hold still for an extended period of time while I worked with camera settings and learned what I needed to set the camera on for the dark conditions at the skating rink as she proudly held her glow sticks.  (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)  I guess where I messed up was I thought that part of the importance of the assignment was not just in how “good” your photographs were but also, in how creative you were in finding and interpreting the words on the list.  After all that was part of the importance of the first assignment.  Although all my photographs were not superior I thought some of them were actually quite good and I was looking forward to getting some feedback on the differences.

I was anxious to go to class that night to show how creative I had been in interpreting the words and getting photos of my interpretations.  I expected some input on what I had done wrong in some of the worst pictures and what I had done right in what I thought were some of the better pictures.  But that’s not what happened.  First, other people in the class did not even attempt to find most of the words and I think the most anyone else did was maybe ten.   So when I turned my assignment in to be reviewed by the class, the teacher quickly whipped through my pictures and commented most were over or under-exposed and then he pulled my memstick out of the computer.  That was the extent of my feedback and I was quite disappointed.

Golden Hour

The other students commented that I was an over-achiever, which I guess is true.  I always have been.  But at the same time I am paying for this class.  I am paying to learn how to manipulate my camera and take better pictures.  Yes, some of my pictures are worse right now then they were before I started the class.  But that’s because I used to take everything on auto settings and now I’m having to actually think for the camera, or myself, however you want to look at it.  When I turned in my pictures I included pictures I knew were not the best quality and some I definitely wouldn’t want to brag about to friends.  But I didn’t feel it was fair to the assignment to just turn in the absolute best shots I had gotten and pretend I didn’t find the other words at all.  Evidently that’s exactly what the other students did.  There has been far more in the class about people editing their pictures than I would’ve liked.  I took the class to learn how to take GOOD pictures WITH my camera.  Not decent pictures I can fix later with photoshop.  😦

 
The pictures that got the most comment that night were pictures people had edited.  Pictures they over-saturated in photoshop making the colors look so surreal it looked more like an abstract painting than a photograph.  One girl took two awesome pictures of an apple.  One on an old dilapidated front porch with the whole picture black and white except the apple, which was red.  And the other was an apple sitting in the middle of a deserted intersection in downtown Shreveport late at night.  Yes, they were fantastic photos.  I will be the first to say they were.  But first, they were both photoshopped and second, if I took the whole two weeks to only try to get one or two pictures I’m sure I could’ve been much more creative than I was. 
 
Oh well, I did the best I could on the assignment and that’s all I can ask of myself.  If you are interested in seeing all the photographs I took for the assignment you can see them at my Flickr Stream here –
Posted by: Beth | 2011/09/25

Week 4 – Recovering a Sense of Integrity

I finished up Week 4 today and here I am writing at the end of the week instead of the beginning of the week again.  I need to see if I can get that turned around.  I reviewed my notes from last time I did this chapter and I’m finding that I’m still having the same issue I had before.  I’m not doing very good at keeping a week to a “week”.  I think I did better with my morning pages and artist dates last time.  So I really need to step it up in those departments.  Having an easier time with the tasks this time around but I’ve actually (gasp!) moved beyond being a perfectionist and I’m perfectly happy with choosing half of them to do and getting them done.   I don’t even feel guilty anymore for not having the time to do them all.  That is MAJOR progress for me.  I can see the growth in myself although I didn’t finish the study last time and I’m struggling to keep up this time (even though I’m supposed to be leading the group!)  I’m so glad that I have understanding people that live lives as busy as mine is!

This time I’m finding that as I do my morning pages my real feelings, and my official feelings, those on the record for public display are really much more in tune with each other than they used to be a year and a half ago.  Once I got the toxic people out of my life I am who I am and I’m proud of who I am.  There are still some feelings of course that are not displayed just because there is no need to hurt someone’s feelings needlessly or because I’ve learned that just like what someone thinks of me doesn’t matter, what I think of others doesn’t matter to them either.  I guess that fits in with the clarifying perceptions and losing misconceptions Julia talks about. 

I don’t know that I have really hit any kriya, a Sanskrit word meaning a spiritual emergency or surrender yet this timeAlthough I recognized what it was and have experienced it in the past I’m not real sure I experienced it in the context of this study last time either.  But I fully expect that I will sooner or later in this progress.  

Julia says one of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers, and belongings.  I’ve definitely been doing that for quite some time.   (Watching an episode of Hoarders will send me running to throw something away too though!  LOL!)  Julia is right; there has been tension and relief getting rid of some of the crap that just cluttered the house!  I am developing a real adversion to clutter lately!  I find myself getting really cranky now if clutter starts to build up in the living room after I have worked so hard to de-clutter it!  It’s really nice to be on the other side  of knowing there is another kind of change, slower and more subtle, accumulating daily whether you sense its presence or not.  I am a walking testiment to this change that has occurred gradually over the last year and a half.  She is right that I did not recognize the changes and shifts in my attitude as healing.  But I can look back now and see that a lot of healing HAS occurred.  

Dreams will become stronger and clearer, both by night and by day.  (This has been true again!)  You will find yourself remembering your nighttime dreams and by day, daydreams will catch your attention. Fantasy, of a benign and unexpected sort, will begin to crop up.  (I don’t know that it’s fantasy so much as me imagining what my wonderful future is going to be and bringing good things into my life by imagining them first.)  There may be bursts of spontaneous singing, dancing, running.  (Yep!)  You may find your candor unsettling.  Your tastes and judgments and personal identity, will begin to show through.  Yes, I am a totally different person than I was even a year ago.  I am happy inside my own skin, I love who I have become, and I really like myself!  Something my family would do their utmost to destroy so they are not given that opportunity anymore.  And I am really HAPPY! 

Now the big assignment this week was Reading Deprivation!  I did okay with it.  Not fantastic.  I still read my email.  I didn’t read before I went to bed.  I didn’t get on FB every day last week.  I didn’t have the TV on a lot.  But life was busy and I actually didn’t have time to miss it the way I would’ve in the past.  So all in all I would say this chapter showed me how very FAR I have come since I began working with this study last time.  This is a good thing!  It makes me excited to see where I will be another year from now.

Posted by: Beth | 2011/09/19

Week 3-1 Artist Date

By definition an artist date is a block of time especially set aside and committed to each week to nurture your creative consciousness, your inner artist.  It’s supposed to be a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.  You do not take anyone on this date but you and your inner artist, aka your creative child.  No friends, no spouses, no children, no taggers-on of any stripe.  Well, as I have said to someone else since we started this adventure together….. as creatives, we just can’t seem to help breaking the rules.  After all what are rules made for but to be broken?  LOL!  None of us like being put into a box!

So for one of my Artist dates I decided to break down and pamper myself.  I made a massage appointment and thought of how relaxing it would be to let someone work the kinks out of my muscles while I listened to quiet, soothing music and let my mind wander freely.  Perhaps letting my artist child free to roam the halls of my mind as I relaxed.  It somehow didn’t end up working that way.  Turns out my massage therapist was very unhappy with her Scentsy consultant and although she had the warmers she had decided to no longer have anything to do with Scentsy because her Consultant could never seem to get her order right.  Soooo, instead of relaxing in peace and quiet I ended up discussing the ins and outs, new things and old things, all things Scentsy during my massage.  We talked throughout the whole massage and I didn’t really ever hit my relaxation zone, but hey, I picked up a new Scentsy customer!

Posted by: Beth | 2011/09/19

Week 3 – Recovering a Sense of Power

Interesting that when I look back to last year when I did this study I snagged at Week 3 then too.   It took me two weeks to complete week three last time too.  It was a different time of year and yet I didn’t have time to read the Chapter; and I tried to continue writing morning pages and didn’t do real well at that either.  Makes me want to relook at the Chapter and see what I am really snagging on.  I don’t really remember anything specific in the Chapter raising a red flag so maybe it’s just the actual process of digging around in my thought processes that I’m snagging on.   If anything I think it would be the parental shame issue.  That was a biggie for me.  Where last year I still felt like I was right on track after I read the chapter, this year I didn’t have the emotions Julia predicted.  There weren’t any unaccustomed bursts of energy and sharp peaks of anger, joy, and grief.  I didn’t have any anger to use as a fuel.  But I agree that anger is a map that shows us where our boundaries are.  It shows us where we want to go; points the way.  Or perhaps even better shows us where we DON’T want to go.  I did learn the first time I did this study that anger is a loyal friend that tells us when we have been betrayed or when we have betrayed ourselves.  I agree that it will tell us that it is time to act in our own best interests.  It is action’s invitation.  And I learned to actually listen to mine.

Next she covers God and synchronicity aka serendipity.  I’ve always liked the word serendipity better.  I guess because it’s one of those words I looked up as a kid just because I liked the sound of it and didn’t know what it meant.  I don’t find answered prayers are scary.  I think last year I did, so that shows my growth.  Though I still agree with Julia Cameron when she says possibility is far more frightening than impossibility.  I’ve known for a long time I am more afraid of success than failing.  I was told for so many years by my parents that I would not succeed that that is an acceptable outcome.  If I do succeed than what will be expected of me?  What if I can’t deliver more than once?   By the measure of your faith so shall it be delivered to you.   All this also fits into a scientific book I am reading called The Field:  The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe by Lynn McTaggart.  It’s not the kind of book I normally read so maybe it is synchronicity that I am reading it at all.  But it’s interesting what scientists have discovered about a force we are all able to tap into.  They’ve proven it exists.  I wish someone else I knew had read it as I’d love to have a serious conversation with someone about the book.  It underscores the principal – Never ask whether you can do something.  Say, instead, that you are doing it.  Then fasten your seat belt.  The most remarkable things follow.  I found this to be true with my quit smoking journey and I haven’t had a sickerette in more than twenty-six months now.  I’m finding it to be true with my Scentsy career.  I can’t tell you how I am succeeding when I have a hard time getting people to actually book parties but somehow I’m doing wonderfully at it. 

Next there is a section on shame and I took this next part from my entry last year because it hasn’t changed a bit!  “I definitely endured childhood shaming as I think many, if not most, people of my generation did.  This explains why the act of actually finishing a piece of art is fraught with internal shaming.  This whole section is very pertinent to my situation.   My needs for recognition were routinely dishonored teaching me that putting anything out for attention is a dangerous act.  I must learn to create my own safe environment and protect my artist child from shame.  I simply cannot allow the first negative thinking to take hold.  The antidote for shame is self-love and self-praise….  It is “God’s will” for us to be creative.”  I’m still very good at the detachment or numbing out; but how many years did I drag home the invisible bone?  Uh, that’d be about 48 years before I said no more and became true to myself.  Yeah, I was a slow learner on that one!  Now I realize it was my families’ loss when they decided they didn’t want anything to do with me when I became true to myself.  It definitely was not MY loss and if they don’t realize the loss they sustained… well, that just makes it all the sadder for them.  And happier for me because I don’t deal with their BS anymore.

There is a section on dealing with criticism and then an exercise to restore the person we abandoned – ourselves.  Wish I knew where the journal was I used last year when I answered the Detective Work questions and did the tasks in each chapter.  I’d like to see how they are different now.  But I’m not hunting for it.  I’m letting the process go forward on it’s own merit and maybe later I’ll dig up the old book and compare the differences and how I’ve already grown.  Then Julia talked about growth and it’s erratic movement; two steps forward, one step back.  It occurs in spurts and you will lie dormant at times.  Do not be discouraged, think of it as resting.  This explains this past week of wanting to move forward with this whole process but just not getting it done.  It was definitely a week of sluggishness.  Julia says to practice being kind to yourself in small, concrete ways…. If you do one nice thing a day for yourself, God will do two more.  Be alert for support and encouragement from unexpected quarters.  Be open to receiving gifts from odd channels.  Experiment with solitude.  Make a commitment to quiet time.  Several times a day ask yourself how YOU are feeling.  Listen to your answer.  Respond kindly…. baby yourself.  Yeah, I’m still working on that part.  🙂

Posted by: Beth | 2011/09/09

Week 2-2 Artist Date – The Alphabet

Our first assignment in my photography class fit perfectly with my need to find a creative artist date.  So…  our assignment was to find the alphabet letters naturally occurring out in the world without actually using the letters on signs, billboards and such.  That sounded easy enough.  Part of my goal was to try not to use trees because trees naturally make a lot of the letters and made it too easy for certain letters (like Y).  Basically by using the camera to “see” certain situations we also learned to “see” more without the camera at the same time.  It was harder than I expected it to be and I learned a lot about looking beyond the surface.  It took me more time and driving around than I expected but it was interesting at the same time exploring our city looking for the “hidden” letters.  Only two of my letters were duplicated by other people in the class.  My L and my O.  Otherwise, I think my letters were unique when our assignments were reviewed last week.  I took pieces of other things and made them objects of art within their own right.

 

Posted by: Beth | 2011/08/28

Week 2-1 Artist Date

I’ve secretly thought of myself as a photographer for years.  I love to take pictures.  I always have.  And I’ve taken some really good ones, considering my lack of formal knowledge and training.  I’ve even had some newlyweds tell me I’ve taken some better wedding pictures than their paid photographer.  I had bought myself a film SLR right about the time digitals came into being and I never used it a lot because digitals DID come into being.  So I really hated to pay all the money for an SLR again.  But I’ve upgraded through at least four digital point and shoot cameras.  Hubby has encouraged me to take the next step and even I had to admit I really had outgrown the point and shoots a long time ago.  S0 about a month ago I went and splurged on something that I’ve wanted for a long time; but just really hadn’t wanted to lay out the money for.   

Canon T3i DSLR

After attempting to shoot my daughter’s last roller derby game (fast action + low light = hard to take pictures even with a better camera!) I quickly realized the better camera did take better pictures; but in order to get the best pictures I had reached the limit of my knowledge.  As we entered Week 2 of Julia Cameron’s 12 week study I decided to do something else I’ve wanted to do my entire life and I have never done.  Yes, I added something else to my already overloaded schedule!  (There’s just sooooo much I want to do and so little time it seems to get it all accomplished!)  I signed up for a photography class at… where else but LSUS!!! 

First Art of Photography for Beginners class

So on August 15th I took my trusty new camera and joined five other students in The Art of Photography for Beginners class.  Even with their just being six of us in the class we run the gamet from the very basic of beginners (I’m not sure they’ve ever taken pictures before) to someone who probably knows too much to really be in this class (they very kindly helped me set my new camera for RAW images).  My knowledge is old.  Technology moves fast and I haven’t really worked with manipulating photos since I wrote my website in notepad back in the late 90s, early 2000s.  I know I haven’t since my mother died in 2008.  I’ve taken pictures but just cropped or shrunk images for emailing.  So I didn’t even know the file format had changed from TIFF to RAW.  There’s one person in the class who just began taking pictures last January and already charges people to take their pictures.  Good for them!  I’ve taken some great pictures for people but I’ve never been brave enough to charge for my work, I don’t know why.

Tony Reans, local photographer and artist, begins to instruct us on DSLR cameras

I know I can take some good pictures but I hestitate to call myself a photographer because it seems like everyone and their brother are running their own photography business now.  I oilpaint so I know about lines, and light, and shadow, and that kind of thing.  I want to learn about F-stops, and apertures, white balance, and ISO settings.  I want to learn to manipulate my camera to take the kind of images I want it to take. 

I did learn right away that I am what is called a “purist”.  I believe a photograph only qualifies as a “photograph” if you took it with your camera and did not “make” it in a photo shop program.  I crop pictures, and I shrink pictures, and I may take some red-eye out.  But I’ve never enhanced colors, I’ve never whitened teeth, I’ve never put an object in a picture that wasn’t there to start with, I’ve never removed an object out of a picture that WAS there to start with.  I’m not saying that stuff should never be done.  I’m just asking when does a photograph quit being a photograph and cross the line into something digitally made?  Digital-art I guess if you want to call it that.  But don’t show it to me as a photograph you TOOK, when it is something you made with a program!!!  Guess my age is showing…

 

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