It’s one of my favourite Instagram tags. I choose my tags based on truths, not popularity. An every morning, every night moment of practicing gratitude attitude has been something I have practiced for the past three years. It helped lift me out of the mire my ‘superwoman’ life doused me in. it takes very little and it feels very good. In fact, it lights me up and calls for breath.
In one of my earlier posts I shared the mantra that works for me. To it, I add little details. For example this morning, I found myself expressing gratitude for my pup that was curled up next to me understanding everything I say, think and feel and trying her very best to meet my many needs, but especially, my need for love. I also expressed gratitude for my home. The birds were singing outside my window, my bed was feeling super comfy, and although the sun has been scare her, it is a comfortable temperature, just
perfect for getting into the garden.
When I steep in gratitude, I don’t find myself wanting for things. I have what I need and that leaves me in a state of calm grace. I do find myself attracting, things though. Things like warm smiles, conversations with strangers, good ideas, and more enough…be it a small unexpected check in the mail, a heart-shaped rock, or a rainbow on a walk with my dog.
This is also the attitude of the people I met in Bali. They were happy in place. Satisfied with the beauty of their tropical paradise. Through daily prayer and their Hindu traditions, they have found gratitude and satisfaction. Their way of being is good for earth, good for health, and
good for each other.
I urge you to make time for the daily gratitude attitude. Put it into your prayers or make it your prayers. Let life know what it is doing right for you so that it can continue to do it. Let appreciative inquiry shape everything you do. This one simple act will change you substantively.
I am the curious sort who loves to really understand things, but the more I find out, the less I seem to know. My knew questions include:
Does money enrich a life and make a person feel good if it’s been earned through psychological manipulation? I’m leaning into it must, because wouldn’t a person quit doing what they’re doing if it didn’t? And if they didn’t quit under those circumstances, but persevered because, well, money…then how could they live with themselves? So, if it feels good to psychologically manipulate another for money doesn’t that make them a psychopath? Or something like that?
I went to a ‘business’ conference last weekend, because I wanted to find out how to start my own business. It was a shit show. Seriously. It was pay to belong to my tribe because I’m God-like and know best or you are not who you say you are. It was shame, it was shunning, it was WWII you must wear a black ribbon but those of you who follow me get white. It was practiced fake tears and Oh poor you, I feel your pain so follow me, it was Machiavellian, it was corrosive.
Did I learn anything. Sure I learned a ton and I learned how easily a group of wanting, needing people can be turned, how easily they will follow, how badly they want a tribe, and how much they will pay for belonging. Belonging. Such a basic human need. Not. Being. Met. in today’s society. But money will buy it.
It scared me some, excited me a little, amazed me a lot. As usually I found beauty as well. It was there in the stories of the attendees. They were kind people, loving people, people trying to get by a little bit better than they are now.
This morning I awoke with one puffy eye and some knowing.
I knew there was something missing from Tony Robbins’ definition of success. Doing what you want when you want where you want how you want sounded more like the petulance of a tweenaged child than sound advice. I wanted it doused in gratitude and love before it was given out.
I knew that I needed to tell someone I trusted something I’d been holding before it dragged me down. The telling divided the weight in exactly half and made it bearable.
I knew that I was NOT responsible nor meant to feel responsible for the words and action/inaction of another soul so when that stuff came my way, I put it back where it belonged.
I knew it was okay to ask for some help and to give some help.
I knew I could continue to forgive and rationalize pretty much anything but that it was okay to acknowledge my own boundaries and my, values, and my beliefs.
I knew that the guy with the really big camera we saw on our walk was someone who knew what he was doing by the way he was listening to the trees, looking through them, and focusing all of his attention on the magic the forest held secret. He wasn’t just a guy with a really big camera, he was a sorcerer, manifestor, photographer, or whatever label you’d choose to apply.
I knew that the beavers, two of them, that had shown up unexpectedly on a different walk belonging to a different person, were there to guide and show the way to that person and I did my best to help him see it.
I knew that my friend was as right as she’d ever been; right to her very core when she said we were blessed to live where we do and that it was a sort of utopia. Having traveled some, I knew that most people could find that sentiment where they lived, and that if they did, Earth would be better off.
I knew that Elon Musk was alright when I saw his picture of this quote in his feed; Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life. Picasso. I would still encourage him to spend time in the forest every day, too.
I knew that a grateful person, a loving person, a caring and generous person, could walk in Tony Robbins’ quote with grace, but a greedy, seedy, self-serving person could make it ugly, ugly, ugly.
I knew, as I walked in the woods and mulled all this over and chattered with my friend about our dogs and the nuances of our lives that my guiding quotes, the ones I continue to share with others will remain: Be the change you want to see in the world. Ghandi and Beauty will save the world. Dostoevsky
My eye is still puffy, despite antihistamine. I suspect the lesson is either that I can rest it a little today after I check my bed for a spider or that I should look out of my left eye when taking pictures or analyzing life.
I love to see new places. Variety gives my life the colour I crave. A few years back I was gifted this most wonderful adventure, and sacred it was. It was an otherworldly, dreamlike treasure trip to an unspoiled place. If you ever get to go, please leave it that way; leave it beautiful and unexploited and spiritual.
It’s been too long and I apologize. I’ve been sidetracked…in Bali! If you follow me on instagram you know that already from the pictures. The trip just came up. A can’t refuse it flight price popped up on the screen when I least expected it and when the universe does that for me I say YES! And suddenly, there I was walking in the rice paddy’s near Ubud, viewing the temples and getting to know the Balenese way of life, listening to the pounding surf at Bingin Beach, barefooting it on Gili Meno and snorkling next to a big old surprised sea turtle.
How glorious the sun felt on my cold, rain glazed skin. This winter was harsh on Vancouver Island! I was pale before I left and olive skinned girls just feel like something is missing when they are pale. It was quite a change to be in the intense, humid heat and with no time to prep the palid skin, I admit, I got a little burnt. No worries, Mate. Did I mention that Aussies are everywhere in that part of the world? Canadians aren’t.
We flew down on this new Chinese Airline called Xiamen with a few other Canadians taking advantage of the deal but Bali is a long way away from us Canadians. Twenty hours of flight each way from Vancouver. The dateline does essentially cancel the travel time out. Your butt, however, may not agree with that rationale. Mine definitely felt all twenty hours and it wasn’t super appreciative.
Bali isn’t a very big island and it’s populated. Traffic is heavy, but unusually polite. We witnessed no accidents but saw some gaping scrap wounds on the limbs of scootering tourists. It’s people are truly beautiful. Lovely to the sight, lovely to the heart. They are full of gratitude and ease, and are friendly and helpful. The island is struggling with the huge influx of tourism these past few years. Sewage smells, bottled drinking water, a ridiculous plastic product problem, and poorly planned development are visible symptoms of this. The beauty of another time can still be found, but you have work to do to find it.
For me, Bali did not trigger a soul connection the way the sacred valley did. Perhaps it was timing. Perhaps I should have visited longtimeago. I was twinged momentarily in Ubud as I gazed on the jungle as the sun lowered its gaze, and in the hot sun one day when when I found a moments salvation in the shade of a tree on the high side of the gorge. Bali just didn’t pull me into it’s arms, perhaps too many are asking too much of it already. Even places need boundaries.
Today I’ve downloaded LisaSonora’s 2017 30 Day Journal project. This years theme is Journey. I have participated in her journal projects for the past three years, replacing my morning pages with them, and I’ve always received gifts of personal insight and knowing as a result. Needless to say, I encourage you to do the same.
And yes, more snow here today, and it will continue to accumulate apparently. It’s beautiful but it limits my ability to get out and around! Yesterday’s artist date, I like them to fall with regularity on Saturdays, was me in the driveway building snow people. That’s something I haven’t done since my kids were small and it included round balls, twigs and carrots. Yesterday I explored the quality of the snow and how I could manipulate and sculpt a face into it. Time flew! My snow people look exactly like they should after a one off try, and this morning, they are veiled in those big angel wings that fell last night. I just might go outside and do the same thing for a little while today.
Find some interesting things you have around your home. Lay them out and observe the lines, patterns, colours, hues… Once you know them, assemble them several different ways. When you know the one that makes you feel pleased, photograph it. I love the camera on my Iphone6! Apps I use repeatedly to alter and enhance my work include Snapseed (indispensible), Effects Studio, and DistressedFX. None of these are difficult to use and the results are just so much fun!
It’s been an odd day. I was supposed to be resting but….
⇐ This is how it felt.
Men. Misogyny. Mistrust. PTSD.
It was a struggle to get back up after I “broke down”. I’m not quite there yet and today was a reminder.
I had a rough sleep. Nightmare. Bad stuff happens to me in the night and wakes me in a state of panic. It takes a while, still, to calm myself and get back to sleep. And then, acid reflux. Almost as bad as a nightmare because it hurts for real so much. It’s stress related.
Yesterday I was told that my disability coverage may end soon. That’s obviously a big issue for me. I have a mortgage, debt exacerbated by having to pay for my care, and the regular day to day expenses of life.Scary stuff. I am working two days a week and barely managing it. I’d have to go back at least four days to make ends meet and well, that’s not something I can think about right now.
But back to today. First, a lovely young woman courageously shared her story of depression and her mother’s bipolar disorder.Second, in a phone call I was told the Woman’s March was stupid. Obviously by someone who had never been sexually assaulted or had experience in being the recipient of mysogyny. After a third, personally troubling bit of information, I lost it. Breath couldn’t hold me together anymore. I felt the inner shaking, spinning, and fear take me over. I didn’t fight it. I cried. I allowed it to happen and to pass. Thankfully, I was at home and not at work.
After a cup of tea and some quiet time, I ran to my studio and got into the paint. I always tell my students to climb right into their books when they read, to lose themselves in story. I do that when I paint. I just paint. No plan. No agenda. Just paint and see what happens. Today it was a little bit of a thing. Red. Orange. Black. Fiery colours that come out of me when I’ve experienced panic. It was a little bit of a thing that reminded me of an email I’d received that morning. I’m on Chris Cade’s list. Today, he’d forwarded something. A little lesson in saying…fuckit…When I’d read it, I was somewhat taken aback, but how serendipitous to receive it today; on a day when I needed permission to let things go.
I’ve kept my heart open by listening with the taps open.