Friday, August 31, 2007

My Sacred Life Day 12

I was visiting one of the now 146 blogs I visit every day (now what has to change here!?!) and Dawn put forth the idea of picking several words for your day. I thought it was a great idea. I picked:
Overwhelm

Tired

Anxious

Ok, so something has to change. I know that I need to slow down and spend more time alone, more time processing things and less time running around at home, around town, and all over the Internet as well. More time to walk, read, sleep, and create. Less time answering the phone and responding to the various and sundry needs that are presented before me each day. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do that as yet, but I feel I MUST do it and will come up with a plan. That's my goal.

When I lose perspective and can't see my life as sacred, I know beyond a doubt that it still is. One of my favorite quotes that I've ever, ever read---since I first read it one month ago---is from Carla's "other" blog, Women at Rest:

It's called "When Breathing is Enough" and it is here:

"Never mind trying to be extraordinary, phenomenal, brilliant. There are periods in life when it takes every scrap of what's left of one's energy just to sit upright.

Be gentle with yourself today."





Maybe someone besides me needs to hear this today.

UPDATE: Another quote, this one from Mary South in September's O Magazine:

"Seize the day if you must, but do so gently and never, ever shake it. All days are not alike, and some of them are just not meant for seizing."


~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Sacred Life Day 11

My sacred life today is about chickens and trust.

First, this is for Kikipotamus the Hobo, by request:



Unfortunately, my darling Clementine is deceased, but Izzy, Trixy, and Tallujah are going strong. All but Izzy are laying. Izzy laid for two years straight, so I guess she's due for a break.

Forgive the unflattering views. They look much better when they are out in their coop or in their play area, rather than standing above their...umm...their own bathroom. Reminds me that I've got to get those girls to pose for a recent picture!

LoveHubbie is going to have my yesterday's breakfast for dinner tonight because he got so jealous after seeing the picture I posted yesterday...so Trixy and Tallulah are going to give us our dinner tonight!

The second part of my sacred life today is focused around trust. I have a housekeeper, Jennifer, who is really a friend, and is a great deal like me. Perfectionistic. Full of integrity. Before she cleans my house (every three weeks, and today was the day) I take about three hours to "get things ready"---and it takes that long. Really. Not because I'm such a mess or maybe I am but things are out EVERYWHERE!! Two adults, no kids, BIG MESS!

I pick up ALL of the stacks of books on the floor plus anything else left on the floor so that her employees can find the floor to clean. I swap out the towels and the sheets and wash them, exchanging them for clean ones. I put all kinds of things in drawers that are just unwieldy, like open salt cellars, my many face creams and aromatherapy oils (sitting out and would have to be moved), the "magic stones" and prayer beads and energy stones I leave out, etc. I toss out old flowers, and clean out the vases. I pick up all of the stuff in the garage that has accumulated, like all of the junk from both of our cars since we gutted them this weekend. I've given up cleaning my studio before she comes so she just has her employees work around my mess. Anything that is private---like little notes, signs, open journals, bank statements, bills, Jennifer's check, etc. I put somewhere else discreetly so that it stays private! I clean off the dining room table, close LoveHubbie's roll-top desk---shoving the overflow inside at the same time...Actually, we're slobs, and thank God we have Jennifer in to deep-clean so that the whole house doesn't go to pot and we don't get buried in our stuff!

The point is, I can trust Jennifer, and she and her employees always do a great job. Trust is a big deal with me after my recent past issues with my best friend, an unscrupulous consultant referred by an impeccable friend, and my friend-of-30-years-turned-Internet-stalker.

Last night, we had the first break-in in our neighborhood ever---ever. It was at our next-door neighbor's house, and the door was kicked in and then the door frame ripped off. She called us immediately, so we raced home, but all was okay here. Her place was okay, too, other than the items of value they stole from her and the sense of violation she will live with for a while. And the door and door frame, of course. We are all grateful.

I thought about how hard it is when people violate your trust...but today I'm thinking about how great it is when people really are worthy of trust....and that would be Jennifer...THANKS JEN!

It feels really good to still be able to trust...



Learn more about My Sacred Life Project by visiting Carla Blazek's blog.

~Picture of Our Girls and Our House by LoveHubbie Mark

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Creative for a Month 14th Day

Today I wrote.

Journaling. I started two exploration-type lists. One is called "My Sacred Tools", which is all about what tools I use in my quiet times to help me to center spiritually. The other is about how my many years as a fundamentalist Christian affected me emotionally, spiritually, physically, and intellectually. These will end up as blog posts, eventually, but it was great just to think, process...and write...I've missed this type of time, and it really was all triggered by the hours of reading I did last night.

I don't know why reading stimulates my creativity so much, but it does.



~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark and then altered by Me using rudimentary PSP skills

Today I Am Grateful for My Sacred Life Project Bloggers!


Thank you to each one of you, for blessing my life, for your encouragement and comments on my blog, for the beauty and authenticity you share on your blogs, for making my life richer!

Love,

Olivia

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

My Sacred Life Day 10

What a rich process this project is! I am today one third of the way through the month of this project, and as Kelly has written about before, I find my life changing as I look at my ordinary life and see the blessings and sacredness it offers, trying to cull what is significant for this blog.

First I want to share the card spread I got today. My intention was praying for "soul sisters":



This reminds me that:

1. I need to be looking for mentors and role models, attuned to possibilities here.

2. To shift the energy here, I NEED more solitude. It is hard to find, but for me it is necessary. Processing what happens to me generates the energy that moves me forward in life, and more importantly, that keeps me from getting caught up in a type of cultural centrifugal force that first captures me in its movement, and then drags me down...down...down to where I feel like I'm circling a spiritual drain.

3. I need to work. WORK. Work at visualizing and getting excited with positive expectation towards what I want. Spiritual community. Rich spiritual community. Positive, loving, intelligent friends. Similar to Exactly like here, in the My Sacred Life community :) But in my local, non-virtual life, too.

Cool.

And then, I wanted to share something fun that started off my day RIGHT. I first had a quiet time, and wrote extensively in my journal. Then, I had a lovely breakfast. This was Castellana pasta with fresh tarragon, tomatoes from my garden mixed with olive oil, French salt mixed with lavender, topped with my chickens' eggs:



Decadent? Indulgent? Actually, I am switching my focus from "losing weight" or "releasing weight" to "reclaiming my beauty", which is scary for me.

First, I got rid of my scale.

Then, I stopped thinking about food all the time; I naturally eat healthfully, and love food...I just have, in the past, eaten to nurture myself and focused too intensively on this as a sole way of finding nurturance. I demanded from myself to stop thinking about dieting and decided to get sustenance and pleasure from food, and forget about losing weight...while at the same time, not overeating...

So I allowed myself this lovely breakfast. I would have felt guilty before, but not today. I am reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert with Deb from Spiritual Anecdotes. I am enjoying myself! And expecting in the long run, that if I keep my choices healthy, refuse to overeat, and develop OTHER sources of pleasures...then the weight will take care of itself.

Of course, this is not a popular plan.

But I like it, and alternate between knowing that it will be successful, and occasionally being scared out of my mind that I'm going to be 250 pounds (again) and in a wheelchair (again). But this feels right to me. I'm a different person now than I was then, and am strongly motivated to push ahead this unconventional way, knowing in my heart that it is best for my body...and my soul.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Creative For a Month 13th Day

Today I feel a need to "take in" by reading and thinking and processing instead of expressing something outwardly, although I may write in my journal later on.

Still, I wanted to do something creatively different, so I finally updated my Blogger profile. To suit my contemplative mood, here are some gorgeous pictures from LoveHubbie I'd like to share with you tonight:





~All Pictures by LoveHubbie

My Sacred Life Day 9

Adjustments. Today I am grateful for adjustments and the sacredness of change...that change can occur at any time. In an instant. Now. Or now. Or even now.

Today I had a chiropractic appointment, which of course aligned my spine. But my chiropractor, Dr. Suzan Kudick, always adjusts my attitude too, somehow---giving me a jolt of positivity and perspective on whatever is going on in my life at the time. I went in dragging, and came out, well...pretty happy. She always does this. She is one of those like-minded people I pay to see (see my post on Spiritual Loneliness), but who speaks the same spiritual language as I do and is a real treasure.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Creative For A Month 11th & 12th Day

Yesterday and today I was creative in slightly different ways.

I did a lot of art to deal with my emotions, not being concerned with how it looked. It looks ok, though. I'll put up pictures when I'm done. But that was nice, not caring about the result, but being more involved in the process.

I took my old "Could Do" lists (I save them, can you believe it?...and I'd lost my current one) and ripped them up and then collaged them. Probably the best thing one could do with a "Could Do" list.

My hair is a fright (no pictures) with dark roots, frizzy blond ends and a style that makes me look like a sheepdog. I have a hair appointment Wednesday. So today I put my hair up in curlers. For me, that was a creative way of dealing with my problem. My hair felt bouncy and light and I could see without it hanging in my eyes. It took a while, but I figured I was being creative, so I justified it. It still looks bad, but it feels great! I usually don't mess with my hair at all, comparing it to all the worthwhile things I'd rather be doing. So I had fun :)

My Sacred Life Day 8






















I am so, so grateful today for my feet.


A few days ago, I'd hurt my right foot in some odd way that I never quite figured out. Well, I guessed it was a bone spur, but had to wait the whole weekend to get to see a doctor. In my mind it was a bone spur, and I needed surgery, wouldn't be able to walk for "up to a year" (which I'd read was possible somewhere, probably an unrealistically long estimate), saw myself as an invalid again, pictured myself in a wheelchair again and 250 pounds, etc.

Then, last night, the excruciating pain and the red spot disappeared suddenly. For no reason. And so I walked gingerly on it, fully expecting it to come back. After all, we never knew what it was, and it could easily come back, I thought. Walked on it all day today and all is well. So far. Now at last, I see myself walking again, healthy, legs no longer swollen, feet supporting me in my journey. Which I could have seen, of course, from the very beginning.

I get a little nutty when I can't walk. I am very active, and walking helps me so much to stay balanced. I could kick myself that I let my imagination go crazy at times, though.

So, tonight, I have happy feet. And I am truly happy to have feet that support me, and that have supported me for over half a century.

Having Trouble Keeping Up?


Is anyone, like me, having trouble keeping up with all of the wonderful new blogs in Carla's "My Sacred Life Project" and/or Karen's "Creative For a Month Project"?

If so, here is an idea for you: Go to Bloglines and set up a free account (Bloglines is a blog reader), and then subscribe to each of the blogs listed on Karen and Carla's web site. It's easy to set up (about as much trouble as checking each blog daily), but then it's super-easy from then on. I am going to have a separate folder for each project. Then when people post new posts, only the ones that are new show up. HUGE time saver, plus, you can save posts by checking them to comment on later so that you don't miss anything. I didn't know why I didn't think of this before.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spiritual Loneliness



I wanted to write something about my current spiritual life. Annie had written about how she feels alone on her otherwise rich spiritual journey. Rebecca has written about her aloneness too. I love my spiritual life, but I yearn for others to connect with in real life. Annie wrote that the only people she connects with spiritually are in her virtual community online and those people she pays to see, like her naturopath. Exactly. How. I. Feel.

I have been praying for a while about finding spiritual community after reading “Trust Your Vibes” in which Sonia Choquette discusses the importance of what she calls “soul support”. Oh, how I long for soul support! This online community is rich, rich, rich with soul support and is my lifeline to positivity, encouragement, and edification. But there are times when I want to go to, say, a lecture (which Annie wrote about) or when I want to discuss something with someone using my voice, that I feel impatient to meet people in the flesh.

Rebecca wrote about how thinking about going to a church leaves her cold. I feel the same way. I can never again even go somewhere where I feel the people around me want to take my spirit hostage. I spent years as a younger person looking for a church to interpret and define my beliefs and will never do that again…still…I wish that I could lasso up all of the people whose blogs I read and put them physically in one place with tables and good food and soft couches and blankets and pillows and fresh flowers and actually talk with them, hug them, and feel one with them.

I do feel one with different people in my daily life, but it’s a difference feeling one with like-minded people.

Does anyone else feel this way?

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

My Sacred Life Day 7

What this pictures stands for is reading time, one of the most enjoyable activities I know to do, and something truly sacred to me. This weekend I am turbo-incubating and thus getting to do it a lot!

LoveHubbie and I started a wonderful project about six weeks ago, reading a book together each night. We each got a copy of Shark Dialogues, and have read together almost every night. We don't read aloud, but read separately while sitting together in our nook and then stop at the end of each chapter and talk for a few minutes about what we read together. Thus, we experience the story together. As an added bonus it makes us feel like we are still a part of Hawaii (since this book is a novel about several generations of Hawaiians, incorporating the Hawaiian culture and the current struggle for sovereignty).

It is a part of my everyday life, but I haven't ever done this with anyone before, and it is truly special to be sharing this with him.

Special econo-tip if you want to try this: buy used from Amazon---for example, you can buy two copies of this book used at Amazon currently for $.93 and $.94; then when you add the shipping it comes to less than $10 for two books! I get many of my books used for pennies at Amazon and even with the shipping fee I end up saving a lot. Or, of course, you can check out two copies of a book at your local library.

~Picture by Me

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Sacred Life Day 6

My natural progesterone, which keeps me sane through menopause. I am grateful every day for it.

~Picture by Me

Creative For A Month 9th & 10th Day

Yesterday I finished my last unfinished collage from the spring, called "Opening". This is what it looked like before, here to the left.






This is what it looks like finished!


So now I'm ready for something new.

I've also been writing daily, although I have yet to set regular writing hours. It is easier and easier to make art and to write, a welcome change. Now, though, I am ready to explore new ways of being creative...kind of branch out.

I hurt my foot (again) in some weird way that makes it almost impossible for me to walk, and in addition I feel pretty withdrawn, like sleeping and curling up with books and being waited on hand and foot by a love genie. Unfortunately LoveHubbie doesn't do sick too well and is not a happy love genie, especially today.

On top of it all I lost my "Could Do List" (euphemism for "To Do" List that doesn't fool anyone---let alone me) and my Daily Habits Sheet when I was out yesterday. This could be a good thing.

So here I am, kind of stuck trying to figure out how to get through the weekend in SO MUCH PAIN (until Monday when my doctor's office reopens)...seems like the perfect time to use what is going on with me (remembering Leah's migraine) and to look for new ways to be creative, especially while turbo-incubating (since that's what I feel like doing anyway).




~Pictures by Me

Friday, August 24, 2007

Displaying the "My Sacred Life" Button in Blogger

This post is for those of us in Carla Blazak's My Sacred Life Project, now numbering 17+ people. Since my comment on Carla's blog was incredibly confusing and sparse, I thought I'd repost better and detailed instructions here for installing the "My Sacred Life" Button in Blogger. The button was designed by the amazing Karen Smithey, of Art in the Garage, who also designed the header for happyluau.

Note that these steps will only work in Blogger:

1. Go to "Layout".

2. Go to "Template", then choose "Add a Page Element".

3. Pick:

"HTML/JavaScript
Add third-party functionality or other code to your blog"

4. Paste the code in from Carla's post on 8-23. I would put the code here, but I can't get it to display properly; I don't have the HTML skills. So, given that, look at Carla's post and find the code in the center of the post. It starts with a "less than sign" and the letter "a" and ends with an "a" and a "greater than" sign. Cut and paste it into the "Content" section in its entirety.

You can leave the title blank if you'd like, or put one in.

4. After you make sure it works (display it by saving it and then using "View Blog" to be sure), position the logo wherever you like by dragging and dropping it in the right hand column.

It will display the button and link to the post on Carla's site.

Hope this helps!

My Sacred Life Day 5

Today I wanted to share with you something I like to do every day in my quiet time. I love and collect inspirational card decks. Currently I'm using an oracle card deck from Sonia Choquette called "Trust Your Vibes". I am very eclectic about my spirituality; still, I have only recently and very cautiously incorporated Sonia's work into my regimen, primarily because of my bizarre fundamentalist Christian background with taboos against oracle cards, intuition, anything remotely seeming "psychic". I'm glad I did, though, because I've been able to be blessed by this card deck, which is truly wonderful. I have also read the book that the deck is based upon, with its emphasis on self-care and on trusting your intuition and your body. This process has brought life to parts of me that had been dead for years as a fundamentalist Christian. I had no idea how to listen to my body, or to trust my feelings, or that there even was something like intuition. Practicing these things has helped me to feel safe in my body, and helped me to trust in a benevolent Universe.

I chose this for My Sacred Life because when life is love-based instead of fear-based, it seems that everything works together to demonstrate that love in some way, including things like these cards.


Anyway, so here was my "spread" this morning:



First you set an intention or think of a problem. My problem was how down and crappy I felt.

The first card indicates the attitude or frame of mind with which to approach the problem.
This card was "Cloak Yourself In Light"---this refers to energetically surrounding yourself with light, positivity, and self-love.

The second card shows the best way to shift the energy.
This card was "Back to Basics"---this refers to self-care and meeting your basic physical needs---for me, I knew my diet was all out of kelter, so I decided to eat a diet of live raw foods during the day to cleanse and to break some of the goofy cravings I've been having lately. It is just too amazing how much better I feel after a day of being good to myself dietarily!

The third card suggests what you're overlooking.
This card was "See the Solution"---this refers to visualizing what you want, something I'd been neglecting today, being so mired in my "down" feelings.

The whole oracle card process was a shot in the arm, and a push in the direction I needed to go. Spirit does this for me---and of course for us all---every day, if we will just have eyes to see!


~Pictures by Amazon and Me

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Sacred Life Day 4

In my nook where I have my quiet times and read, I keep an object that symbolizes where I am in my life. For the last 3-4 years, I have kept this small statue, as it has represented safety and more to me:



Then, lately, since my 50th birthday, I retired the Safety girl to my curio cabinet and replaced her with a beautiful fairy made by Stasia, whose work I love. I have several of her labyrinths, but have never been moved to purchase a fairy before until now. I bought this lovely fairy from her ebay shop
as a second. She had a crack in her neck, and was a "second", but that only made her more special to me. In addition, I could bid for her and get a real deal, which since I'm super-frugal, really appealed to me. She's sort of like me---I like to see myself as "flawed, but thus...a real deal" :)



In this picture she is standing at the base of roses from our garden, given to me by LoveHubbie, beautiful and fragrant roses that he calls "the best roses I've ever grown".

I noticed that from my late 40's to 50 there was a big change, and the two figures embody this change in a way words can't.

~Pictures by Me

Creative For A Month 7th & 8th Day

Yesterday I finished another collage, plus I had a very productive writing time. Here is the collage:

Before:


And after:


Because of how much I accomplished during my writing time, I decided that I need regular hours during which to write. I can make that happen, and as I complete various obligations, that time will grow.

I was really inspired today by Leah, who creates even when she has a migraine, which I would have called the ultimate creativity blocker...but then, it's all in how you see things and what you do with those things, isn't it?

~Pictures by Me

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One in Four Read No Books Last Year


This is the title of a news article that came out in today's paper---these are Americans, not people in undeveloped countries! Can you believe this? What do you think? How limited must a life be when your entire world is limited to your own experience and what you view in the pop cultural media? When books are free at public libraries and people CAN read, what in the world is going on? Is anyone besides me disturbed by this?

What do you think?

UPDATE: This was in the comment section following the above article:

"Only one in four didn't read a book? I'm a librarian and I would have guessed only one in four had read a book. I'm betting many in the survey said they'd read one if they'd only touched one. To illustrate what we're up against: Libraries offer a variety of materials in addition to books including DVDs. I've lost count of the number of times I have overheard parents say to their children that they couldn't check out books: they could only have movies.---T. J. Aug-21"

~Picture by Me

My Sacred Life Day 3



This is my water sanctuary, otherwise known as my bathtub. I live alone with LoveHubbie, who only uses it once every couple of years, so it is truly mine. A day without a bath is a tougher day than necessary, because it is so luxurious to simply sit and enjoy the warmth and the water.

Actually, I view my bathtub as really extraordinary, but it qualifies as an everyday sacred part of my life, because I use it daily and it feels precious to me. I know that fancier bathtubs probably exist, like those with bubbles and other fancy accoutrements, but this bathtub is my favorite...I don't like bubbles and such. Just lots of warm, deep water.

I grew up in an authoritarian home sharing a small bathtub with many family members. When I was 16 my father came into the bathroom to measure the water in the tub (we were allowed to pour two inches only) and discovered that I was over the limit. Way over, by three inches...so he forbade me to ever take a bath in his house again. For the next two years I took showers only.

So now, many years later, I take real satisfaction at having my own very, very nice bath. Since I've left home, I've only gradually, over many, many years, learned to escape my upbringing and many of the uncomfortable choices I made on my own as a young adult. Only in mid-life have I felt free enough to discover who I am and at last finally had the courage to begin to be that person.

~Picture by Me

The Courage To Choose the Positive, Even People, Even When They're Related to You


Wednesday, August 22, 2007
It takes far more courage to focus on the positive than on the negative. We have been conditioned by our culture and the mainstream media to focus on what could go wrong instead of what is working well. What we focus on expands. So have the courage to remain positive whenever possible.---Dr. Christiane Northrup

Isn't this true? Our culture is so negative that in order to be positive-as-a-lifestyle, we must be counter-cultural. What do people think of and say about people who don't worry---at all? It always takes courage to be different, doesn't it?

I have come to the conclusion that, with the second less-than-half-of-my-life before me, I no longer want to waste time in close relationships with people who have a committed lifestyle of complaining, whining, always seeing the negative side of things, catastrophizing, creating drama, etc. That will require ending some of my relationships, and require not giving other relationships a chance to renew for nostalgic and familial reasons. And that will take some courage on my part.

I've decided this before, but oftentimes reneged on my decision out of what I saw (at the time) as compassion and kindness and even love; it has never---never---worked out for me. Why, oh why, do I invite these folks in over and over again? Once again I'm having to learn this lesson, for what I hope is the last time.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Creative For A Month 6th Day


Today I spent lots of time with my art, just fooling around, which was nice. I had no dedicated time---too busy---so I just did it while everything else was going on. My satellite tv repairman ended up needing to stay 3.5 hours instead of the hour we'd planned, and I shared some of my work with him, helping him with questions and then returning to my art; this was new and different. Art is what I usually do alone, in secret :)

I like this better.

Being attuned to the need to "make it happen" every day causes me to be alert to opportunities to be creative in ways I would never have thought of.

And today I went for a walk, discovered a labyrinth, and on it found a toy soldier that I will use in my work. I don't think I would have seen it at all before.

I can tell that something is opening up in me.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark, Maui

My Sacred Life Day 2


This is my much-loved, well-used, sort of ugly, always-a-little-dirty tea cup. I drink tea all day from it every day---black tea, green tea, herb teas, etc. The handle broke and LoveHubbie glued it back together. It's still hanging in there after many years. I think it was a free gift from Amazon in the late 1990's when they were just getting started to say thank you to me for keeping their stock prices up being such a good customer. It says,
"biblioholism: the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire, and consume books in excess."

It is sacred, special, and soothing to me. I dearly enjoy and am grateful for the delight of tea-drinking.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Creative For A Month 5th Day

I've finished two of my four collages.

Here they are before:


And now after:


and



I used all kinds of found objects, from dryer lint, to lavender, LoveHubbie's old car antenna, aluminum foil, a wine cork, an old hotel card, an old scarf, avery old dried rose, an old earring, fingernail polish, tissue paper, a dryer sheet, and lots of Mod Podge.

It really feels good to finish something!

~Pictures by Me---wish I could do better with these!

My Sacred Life Day 1

I've decided to participate in Carla Blazek's My Sacred Life Project. Carla started this a couple of days ago, writing:

"Finally, today I decided to start a new bloggy project called My Sacred Life. Every day for at least a month I'm going to post a photo from my daily life. Today the photo was me, but it may not always be me -- it might be my altar, a candle I'm burning, my dogs, the garden, a friend, a book I'm reading, nature, something I did, someplace I went, something important to me, or, who knows, maybe just my morning bowl of Cheerios! The idea is to creatively connect with the holiness of everyday life and I also need a gentle little kick in the butt to turn OFF the game of Hearts and other shadow comforts and start writing again."

I love this idea, and am excited about it. So to start it off, I'm going to post a picture reminiscent of my previous post "Crack":



This is a freshly laid egg from one of my three chickens--Isadora (except we know it's not from her because her eggs are big and white), Tallujah, and Beatrix. Both of the latter two girls lay brown eggs, and are both currently laying, while Izzy is currently abstaining. So this egg belongs to Tally or Trixy. It definitely qualifies for "Everyday Sacred"...I love my pet chickens and enjoy the eggs they create from the organic food we give them.

Well, so now I have two projects running concurrently: "My Sacred Life Project" and "Creative for a Month Project". I enjoy the idea of connecting with the holiness in everyday life. I especially love the idea of melding sacredness with creativity and ordinariness---I'm psyched! AND looking forward to a fantastic month of learning and growth!

~Picture by Me

Are You A Word Nerd?


Brad Shorr defines a "word nerd" as:


  • Someone who enjoys learning new words.
  • Someone who, when confronted by an unfamiliar word while reading, looks up the definition.
  • Someone who may keep a list of favorite words.
  • Someone who is fascinated by the nuances of language, especially the history of words and the shades of difference in meaning between similar words.
Umm...yes, that's definitely me. So if it's you, mosey on over to his site, Word Sell, Inc. and grab a free badge if you're so inclined. He has another site that I really love, called Scrambled Toast, that is all about humor, fun, and words, and it truly appeals to word nerds. Subscribe to either, or both, and HAVE FUN!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Real Birth Day


Today is my real birth day, and I am 50!

These are some special talismans that LoveHubbie and I took to Maui for my big birthday celebration this summer.

Crack


I read this in my quiet time today and wanted to share it with you in its entirety, because it really affected me deeply. It is from Mark Nepo's "The Book of Awakening". I have a special blog reader in mind that this is for, although hopefully it will touch each reader in some way. My thoughts are with you, with many blessings, and great peace:

"The Chick Being Born

Every crack is also an opening.

When in the midst of great change, it is helpful to remember how a chick is born. From the view of the chick, it is a terrifying struggle. Confined and curled in a dark shell, half-formed, the chick eats all its food and stretches to the contours of its shell. It begins to feel hungry and cramped. Eventually, the chick begins to starve and feels suffocated by the ever-shrinking space of its world.

Finally, its own growth begins to crack the shell, and the world as the chick knows it is coming to an end. Its sky is falling. As the chick wriggles through the cracks, it begins to eat its shell. In that moment---growing but fragile, starving and cramped, its world breaking---the chick must feel like it is dying. Yet once everything it has relied on falls away, the chick is born. It doesn't die, but falls into the world.

The lesson is profound. Transformation always involves the falling away of things we have relied on, and we are left with a feeling that the world as we know it is coming to an end, because it is.

Yet the chick offers us the wisdom that the way to be born while still alive is to eat our own shell. When faced with great change---in self, in relationship, in our sense of calling---we somehow must take in all that has enclosed us, nurtured us, incubated us, so when the new life is upon us, the old is within us."


What is struggling to be born in you?

I SO am the chick in the egg, and I know what I need to do...I just need to do it.

Getting Creative the Last Two Days


Well, the last two days have been interesting. I've continued to work on my four collages, making progress.

I've found that I work differently, especially slower, thinking that I'm going to be sharing my art with others. I've never really done that before. I sort of got over the abject fear hesitation and am currently just pretending that I'm not going to be sharing them with anyone, so that I can continue to work authentically. I expect that this is a big hurdle everyone must face sooner or later when they first decide to share their work.

Yesterday I went on an Artist Date...remember those from Finding Water? I'd not been on one since we finished our twelfth week! I was with LoveHubbie while he was working in another town, and I'd brought my novel-start that I've been working on for months. So while he was working, I walked and walked, reading my novel-start and remembering, then reading a little more and walking some more, trying to immerse myself in the story I'd wanted to create.

I decided that one character is now out, and I'm going to delete her from everything. Plus I got some other ideas for the rest of the novel, especially what voice sounds best for the main character to use. It was great walking and thinking...walking and thinking....

I decided I want to bring back the Artist Date; it's a great way of being creative.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Getting Creative

I'm getting creative today. Here's my office, which has become a studio:



Here are my current works in progress:



As you can see, I have a long way to go. I've been working on these for months, a few minutes at a time, but with this dedication of daily creative time, I'm looking forward to making them into something meaningful. I tend to work on multiple projects at a time...

UPDATE(LATER): I worked on my novel for about a half hour, which was what all I had, but was full of ideas, had a very productive time. Great writing time.

~Pictures by Me

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Creative Every Day For A Month

So Karen is working on an experiment, committing herself to creativity for a month. She has been joined so far by Jessie and Leah. All of these gals are from my previous Finding Water community. I'm thinking about doing this also.

What it means is that participants commit themselves to doing something creative each day. Jessie is going to do a painting each day. Leah is going to create a piece of art each day...and be relaxed about it, which really appeals to me. Karen is going to post her art, and include creative writing.

Ok, so now I've talked myself into it. I'm...willing...to do something creative every day. However, I want to be flexible about what it is. I want to think out of the box and learn to be creative in new and different ways, especially when I "don't have time". I want to explore creativity! And then share my results here.

I also want to be relaxed about it. I'll be going from not making time to do anything intentionally creative to being creative daily, which seems like quite a distance. I want to avoid pressure and struggle. But still make the commitment, and then rely on inner guidance to show me what to do that day.



~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark, a photo of one man's creative dream, the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm in upcountry Maui

My New Blog Header

Do you like my beautiful new blog header? It was designed by artist extraordinaire Karen Smithey from Art in the Garage! The reason it is askew is due to me---I was unable to install it in Blogger; you really have to tweak the HTML template all over the place, which is beyond my level of expertise. Karen is going to fix that up for me too :)

Karen made each of the "Happy Luau" letters out of pictures from my web site that have sweet memories for me. I wasn't sure what I wanted, so she came up with this creative idea, and I love it! It took a boring Blogger template and made it into something truly special.

She also designed a favicon for me of a palm tree that I am equally delighted with.

Thank you, Karen!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Your New Story


"When you let go of your past, your present truth emerges. It takes a lot of energy to carry your history with you all the time, and it clouds your connection to the Divine. So choose to become extremely curious about your new story, in what God has in mind for you now and for tomorrow. Then decide not to let your past define you anymore. Retire the old saga and move on. If you slip, and find yourself looking backward, stop by saying, "That's the old story of me. Let's talk about the new one."---Sonia Choquette

I read this in a brief, stolen quiet time I had today, and it touched me, just at the right time. I was impressed with the idea of how effective applying it would be, especially with respect to "victim stories" and "I have a problem with _____" stories, both of which really drain energy. I am going to apply this today.


~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Risk To Bloom


"And then the day came
when the risk to remain
tight in a bud was
more painful than the
risk to bloom."
---Anais Nin


~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

All Around the Blogosphere for 8-13-07

Today I wanted to share with you some interesting things from around the blogosphere.

First, a lovely photo from LoveHubbie:



Second, condolences to Karen, who creates lovely art and has had more than her share of trials and tribulations lately. Visit her blog and art!

Third, from Unusual Business Ideas That Work, 42 Money Facts That Will Rock Your World---WOW! Who knew?

Fourth, more prayers for protection for the Hawaiian Islands, with Flossie getting closer and closer!

Fifth, an incredible ID theft book that everyone should read. Friends of ours just became ID theft victims and are trying to rebuild their lives. The Wall Street Journal has a new book out that is short and sweet but gives you all the pertinent information you'll need to protect yourself as much as anyone CAN protect themselves. It's called The Wall Street Journal Complete Identity Theft Guidebook: How to Protect Yourself from the Most Pervasive Crime in America. The best less-than-$15 you can spend, if you read it and put it into action. Buy it here.

Lastly, well, another picture from LoveHubbie:



...to lead and end with beauty...

~Pictures above by LoveHubbie Mark

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More Gratitude, Celebrating


So grateful for a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest, a weekend, and LoveHubbie's good physical health! Today I will celebrate...

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Random 8


Well, this meme has been going around the Internet for a while, and I've decided to jump in and participate, responding to Jessie's post. We're required to post the rules first, then our answers:
  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and they should read your blog.
I am going to follow the way of several bloggers, and let 8 commenters tag themselves. So if you'd like to participate, leave a comment below:

1. I am reading Shark Dialogues with LoveHubbie, an incredible novel of historical fiction---about Hawaii. We each have a copy and read together each night. I look forward to this "best time of the day".

2. I write my "1"s with a huge serif and cross my "7"s---the European way. I trained myself to do this during a summer accounting job in 1980.

3. I have a date with myself at a local coffee shop to read and write every three weeks when I have my house cleaned. I drink a cup of jasmine tea. That's where I wrote this.

4. I feel slightly guilty about having my house cleaned. But not guilty enough to not have it cleaned.

5. My favorite television show is the old (2001-2005) HBO series "Six Feet Under", a show about a family living over a funeral home. I just bought myself a gift collection of the series. During it, I made friends with death, in a way. LoveHubbie and I are going to watch it together this fall.

6. I love people...but I like to spend 14 or so hours per day alone and about 2-3 hours per day with others.

7. I LOVE pedicures. Yet I've only had 2 pedicures before in my life---jeeez, I can't believe that! I plan to have more pedicures soon.

8. I've been married 3 times (LoveHubbie is #3).

Ok, come on...eight readers please comment and let me know you're going to post this meme on your blog---or if you don't have a blog, post a Random 8 here! Let's play!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Heart Attacks and LoveHubbie

Sorry I've been out-of-pocket lately; LoveHubbie had his one year anniversary of his first heart attack last week and many things have been going on. Unfortunately, LoveHubbie may have had his second heart attack today...we're not sure yet. So tomorrow he goes to the doctor to find out. If I had known about it he would have been in the ER and we would already know and he would have had treatment. But alas, I found out many hours later...LoveHubbie trying to protect me, he says...

Anger, sadness, grief, frustration...

Meanwhile, here is one of his beautiful photos:



UPDATE: LoveHubbie apparently didn't have a heart attack, just a "vasovagal incident":

(vasovagal - a transient vascular and neurogenic reaction marked by pallor, nausea, sweating, bradycardia and rapid fall in arterial blood pressure which can result in loss of consciousness)

So we're very glad, but he's going to be having more tests over the next several days to see just what shape is heart is actually in.


Thank you to tinker and hanna for your comments and caring :)

UPDATE #2: We made it through another day, and LoveHubbie goes to the doctor tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you to Scott, Leah, and Kelly for your caring posts!

UPDATE #3: LoveHubbie had his tests today and his heart is fine! The good news is that he was taking two different blood pressure pills prescribed for his heart attack last year. He has been vigilant in taking them, but in the interim, he has gotten better, so that they have been lowering his blood pressure dramatically, and putting him at risk for problems from the medications! He no longer needs to be on ANY blood pressure medications! We went out to dinner tonight to celebrate.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers, so much.


~Picture by Me