Spoken word performance. I really love this.
I am procrastinating, right now, even as I write this.
What I want to be doing, is working on some watercolor sketches for the focal point of some art I have made. I’m actually not sure if watercolor or acrylic would be the best medium; and if I use watercolor, whether I will apply it directly to the surface or collage another layer. Probably collage.
The point is, I mean to be working on art, not blogging. And here I am, blogging.
I have also started another set of cards for my mailing list. I’ve worked my way from the Z’s up to the C’s. There’s about a page of names, maybe 30, left to send. After this I will start replying to the cards I’ve gotten in return. It will be a lot fewer items, but it will be real letters, not the sort of generic cards I’ve been sending.
None of which is getting my art done.
In a minute dinner will be ready, another cause for procrastination. I love me some chicken wings. Nice and crispy from the oven. So good.
So now the question is, did I procrastinate or just wait until after dinner to avoid getting paint and food mixed up? I think the motivation is to procrastinate. Or is it the lack of motivation?
After food, I plan to get out my pearly watercolors and some sketch paper, and try out making loose flowers. The idea is to lay down general color, then go over them with Pigma pens to sketch outlines and details. Kind of Traci Bautista style but not really.
Dinner is ready so I will go eat now. Food is good. Then art will be good. Then writing cards will be good. Life is good.
I missed Recovery International today. I woke up in time if I didn’t need a shower, but I had a job interview in the afternoon so I felt like I needed to be a little more careful with the personal care.
Job interview went well. It was about half an hour. I think they just want to see that you know what it means to dress for an office. I am only looking for temp jobs that are actually temporary so apparently that makes me highly desirable as an employee. Most people are looking for temp-to-hire whereas I have a job, I just need to do some other work while I’m on leave.
I attended a group mentoring session with SARK this evening. She mentioned me by name, which was flattering. It was just a hello but it was like “oooh, someone noticed me”. We worked with Shakti Gawain’s method of creative visualization. I got stuck on the first step. You start by deciding on something you want to manifest. The caveat for us beginners is, pick something you find relatively easy to believe in. Well. The things I want are not so easy for me to believe in.
For example, I would like a boyfriend again. I can be pretty specific about what I’m looking for: Tall, around 6′ to 6’4″. Long hair; this is negotiable, but hair not bald or buzzed. Prefer blue eyes. Good job. Able to pay for things for me; I have had several relationships where I was the high paid one and I am tired of paying for everything. Smart. Gets me. Likes to go places ranging from the museum to Europe to nice restaurants to faires and cons. Likes to drive; I have done a lot of driving for boyfriends in the past. I’m 55 so he should be 45 – 65. Healthy; I am not ready to be a nursemaid to an old man. Adventurous. Maybe an entrepreneur. Likes book stores. Likes cats. See? Darn specific. But I find it hard to believe such a person, if he exists, would be interested in me. I am not pretty or hot. I think I might be a little boring. My worthiness is in question. So I find this hard to believe in.
I would like to manifest a gym membership, and the commitment to follow through with it. I know I have enjoyed working out, but right now it feels like such a hassle. There isn’t a place near home. I don’t want to have to come home to shower so I have to carry toiletries and clean clothes with me. They don’t really offer classes at a time that’s convenient for me. And if I get called for work, I won’t have time or motivation to go. Oh yeah, and if I’m deployed, I need a membership that is good basically nationwide. If I have time to work out while working 12 hour days. Feels like a lot of roadblocks, I don’t really believe in this either.
Education. My own place again. To work in mental health. Leading groups, public speaking. More cats. Buy a house. All kinds of things I want that just don’t feel doable. This isn’t supposed to be the hard part of visualization. Manifesting now that could be difficult, but finding something you believe is possible? That should be cake.
So I will continue working on it. I mean, there has to be something that’s reasonable to visualize. Something that is a stretch but doesn’t seem impossible.
I am signed up with a group called Succulent Wild World, which is the brainchild of an author called SARK. She teaches about the Inner Wise Self, which many people think of as their Higher Power but for me it is Intuition. One of the activities for this month is to write a letter from your Inner Wise Self and share it. So here I am, sharing.
One piece of backstory so this maybe makes more sense: my parents died when I was 19. My mom had cancer, my dad had a heart attack a month later, and they had been divorced for 7 years at that point. I used to say, “The first thing they do together in years, and I can’t do it with them.”
Here is the letter:
Dear Alive Allison,
You are here and alive. You did not die with the others, stop acting like you did. You deserve to have a life and to live it fully. You are needed just as you are.
Free yourself from fear of failure and survivor’s guilt. You did not kill your parents. Their deaths were the logical conclusions of their lives. It was about them, not you. It wasn’t done to hurt you. It’s normal to outlive your parents.
So take off the shroud and take up your superhero cape. Fly away into love and adventure. Life is available to you, make it a good one.
Now I’m old, it’s been 35 years since they passed. I have done a LOT of grieving and I don’t really need to be overly gentle with myself at this point. I am no longer sad in a daily way that I lost them. It’s still sad, but there is distance from the pain, it’s not visceral any more.
I used to compare it to losing a tooth. Do you remember losing your teeth as a child? At first there is a hole and it is tender and you keep poking it with your tongue even though it feels weird. Then the skin toughens up and you can poke it without getting that tingle. Eventually another tooth takes up the space, and it’s different but it becomes normal. Now obviously with a death you don’t just replace the person you lost, but life has a way of filling in the gap until it isn’t noticeable on a regular basis. If you think of it, you notice it; but you are no longer thinking of it constantly.
So this is the theme for me this week: move past my parents’ deaths. It happened. It’s sad that it happened when I was so young. And yet, I seem to have let it prevent me from doing some things. I wonder if it had anything to do with me breaking up with so many serious boyfriends, though I also wonder if that is a result of being bipolar. I wonder how much of my settling for jobs rather than pursuing a career is out of fear of taking the risks that lead to success.
Fear of taking risks. I heard of a friend’s brother who won $8000 at a casino and lost it all. I though, I’d never lose that much money because when I got to that amount, I’d walk away. Truthfully, I’d never get to that amount, because I wouldn’t bet the amount of money it takes to get there, and I’d probably walk away happily with $100. I wouldn’t take the risk. You don’t win big without betting big, and I need to learn to bet bigger.
Now obviously this is a calculated risk. I can’t afford to lose $8000 so that kind of risk is not for me. However, I can tolerate a little rejection, so taking the risk of, say, showing my art might be reasonable. I can live with not everybody liking my work, and I can even live with the idea that some of my art is just plain bad. I am still learning.
All of which is to say, I need to stop letting fear stop me from doing things I want to do. I may not have a safety net any longer — really, who does at 54? — but I can’t spend the rest of my life standing on the ledge. Sometime I have to grab the trapeze and fly.
I went to a holistic fair at the local Unitarian Universalist church today.
First thing we did was walk the labyrinth they have there. It really is a meditative practice. You go around and back and forth and you finally reach the center. This particular labyrinth had a cluster of huge rose quartz rocks in the middle. Truly I mean rocks, they must have weighed a solid pound each, maybe more. They were rough hewn. I felt like they were lonely, like people don’t get out to visit them often enough.
The idea is, you walk from the outer world to the inner world, then you circle back out. This one was laid out with rocks so to be completely honest, we just stepped over the “walls” to get out, we didn’t circle back out. Then we saw some paths through the woods that we decided to check out. Trees had grown over the path so it was pretty covered. It’s winter in Texas so even though it’s not terribly cold out, the trees were bare and the ground was covered with their leaves. The branches met over our heads and created a sort of tunnel through the woods.
We went inside to check out the vendors. They seemed a little pricey to me. Or as the Brits say, proud of their goods. We looked at hemp infused coffee and keto creamer. They wanted $70 for about a pound of coffee, just a little high. I mean that to sound understated.
There was a young man who had made some wands. I asked him about them, he said he made them from wooden beads and adhesive. I feel like the actual stick part, not the handle, was made out of resin so it must have been the adhesive, which I suspect is glue sticks. He wasn’t exactly outgoing.
There was a woman in African or Carribbean dress who made statement necklaces. She had a huge piece of different stones as the focal. The beads on the necklace were quite large, maybe an inch in diameter. These were solid pieces but a little too big for me.
Another woman had body creams and candles. I would have bought some of the Ms Coco body cream but I couldn’t find it except in the tester. She also had quite large tea light candles, the size of the palm of my hand. Some were just scented, others had plant material, crystals, or other inclusions. I felt like she was the most reasonably priced of everyone.
There was another jewelry vendor there. She had lovely crystal point necklaces. The points were probably an inch in diameter and a good 2 or 3 inches long, very clear. I would have believed they were glass but they were quartz. Or amethyst. She also made pyramids and pendulums that were designed to clear an area from electro magnetic pollution. It was interesting. But again, a little high priced.
I got a reading from a lady named Sherry. She called it a wisdom reading, not a sort of fortune telling. I’m fine with that. It’s a little blurry, everything that she did. Her technique is to attune herself with me and contact my higher consciousness. She put oil on my palms and had me inhale it and pull up an image. I got baby dolls, particularly the kind with painted on hair. Then she asked me to listen to my heart and tell me if there was something my inner self wanted to let go. I said “weight”. I felt a little self conscious about that, since I am a fat person and weight is always a politically correct answer for me. But I couldn’t change the word, I couldn’t turn it into anything else, so I had to go with it. She said weight is often related to emotional states, and that the body often uses weight as a form of protection. On the physical level, toxins and other things can be caught in fat as a way of keeping them out of the body systems. On an emotional level, stresses cause the body to hold onto fat. So there could be both health and mental health reasons for letting go of weight.
She put more different oils in my hand, had me breathe in and out, and asked me for a memory. I remembered the day the priest told me that my father died. It made my heart hurt. I felt great loneliness. As we worked, the loneliness morphed into sadness. I felt sad for the little girl who lost her parents. Sherry had me remember the scene in detail and I remembered how Judy had been so upset and even teary eyed on my behalf. The sadness literally caught in my throat and stole my voice. Eventually it dissipated and there was a sort of release.
Sherry then shared an image she had for me, one of those jewelry boxes with the little ballerina in it. I don’t know if they still make them. I had one as a child. She said, my higher self wanted me to dance with freedom, not stuck in one pose like the ballerina. She asked what was stopping me. I told her, fear. Fear that if I fail, there’s no safety net. I don’t have parents or siblings to help me out if I get stuck. I have to do it all myself so it feels like there’s no room for mistakes. She had me visualize something that means strength to me (tigers, of course) and absorb the strength of it into myself.
So what I take from this, is that my parents’ deaths have affected me in ways I am not fully aware of. After all this time, I still make choices and behave in ways that are underscored by that experience. And maybe it’s time to find a new way of being. Just maybe, I can find a safety net and take a risk to do or be something more than I currently am.
As we approach the end of Hurricane Florence, we are going to have to deal with the aftermath. That means damaged houses, lost jobs, community clean up, and displaced individuals, among other issues. People will want to help. Here are a few thoughts about that.
Don’t give used stuff. People don’t want your old clothes, and someone has to wash, bleach, iron, sort and transport that stuff. It’s not free by the time it’s all done. And it’s not uncommon for bugs to become an issue while it’s being stored. Give money instead. That way agencies can buy things that are needed based on demand.
Don’t donate canned goods. They also have to be sorted, packed, shipped, unpacked and distributed. I’m told a 69 cent can of beans can end up costing $3.00 by the time all that is done. Plus it takes manpower that might be better spent on other tasks, like debris removal. If you want to run a can drive, please give the bounty to a local food pantry where it can do the most good.
Do give money. First of all it allows agencies to buy what they really need. The American Red Cross might supply beds to displaced survivors but they need cots and blankets to do that, which wear out over time and need to be replaced. Second, many agencies give out gift cards or pay utility bills, which are obviously much easier to do with cash.
Do give blood. Not only is there likely to be an increased need, but blood drives in the affected areas have been cancelled so supplies may be down throughout the region. If you can’t afford a cash donation, giving blood is a good move.
Now maybe you’ve decided to give up this morning’s latte to help disaster victims, but what can you do with that $5.00? You’ve heard all the stories about charitable organizations where 90% of the money goes to internal expenses like executive salaries. If you decided to help, no doubt you want the most of your money to go to the disaster. A good site to check out agencies is National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster . Their landing page is all about helping Florence victims. Another good list of options is this one from Fast Company. Notice the emphasis on giving money or time.
All of which is to say, please give but be smart about it. Give what people need and choose responsible organizations. Be wise and be kind. Your heart will be happier.
Thursday was my travelling day. My roommates took me to the airport, so that was a good thing. Plane was on time. There was even an empty seat next to me, which is a relief for a fat girl like me. I wasn’t crowding anybody. The landing was amazing, I almost didn’t feel it at all. Then I got to Atlanta airport. The airport, according to the announcements, is the busiest passenger airport in the US. It was actually pretty easy to navigate and I even got some bad Asian fusion food there. The problem is, I arrived at 3:30 and the bus to the facility didn’t arrive until after 7:30. We got to the facility about 9:00, had an orientation briefing, grabbed a box dinner and made it to my room about 9:30. Just about passed out.
Today my day started at 6:00 am. I sometimes don’t go to bed until then, so this was very early for me. There was coffee in the room and I managed to get breakfast before going to my first meeting. Meetings started at 8:00. I actually dozed off a time or two during the lecture, I’m not sure what I missed. Then we began the other processing. I went to security and had to re-key my badge. I went to lunch. Then I went to IT to get my laptop set up. We used our badges to log in to the computer. Guess what? My badge didn’t work. So after waiting almost 3 hours to get to IT, they couldn’t even help me. Then the intranet went down. At 6 I left IT without my laptop working. I made it back to campus in time to grab some dinner. Now I am in my room, watching the Weather Channel, cooling off, catching up.
The room is actually not bad. The facility is a decommissioned air force base, so the rooms are like a dorm. The walls are painted cinder block. There is a tv and wifi. I have a full-sized fridge, a microwave and a coffee maker here in the room. I share a bathroom — well, toilet and shower, there is a sink in my room — with one neighbor. I haven’t met her yet and possibly never will. The bed is tall enough that I have trouble getting into it.
Tomorrow my first meeting is at 6:00 am, so that means getting up about 4:30. People who arrived Wednesday are already shipped out, so I wonder if there is a plan for us to be gone by tomorrow night. Maybe not until Monday, I could wish. In any case, Florence is still active and they won’t know where to send us until the storm abates.
Right now they know of 5 deaths associated with the storm. Almost a million people are without power. Many more are without water. How ironic, storm surge is causing widespread flooding but people are lacking potable water. Storm should last until Sunday morning, raining the whole time. The wind, while strong, is tolerable but the water is causing a LOT of damage. Florence was a cat 4 a few days ago and dropped to a cat 1 before making landfall. People didn’t evacuate, probably because they felt like it wasn’t going to be as severe, and now there are people on their roofs calling to be rescued.
For myself, I have posted in a few sites what’s going on, and of course blogged here. I am going to do my morning pages, lol, my not-morning pages, laying in bed. It’s 9:15 and I should be asleep soon to get up early.