Thursday, August 28, 2014

Trying to 'Gently Go' Forward...

Dear Friends,
I am sad that August Moon has come to an end...and though it has come to an end, that doesn't mean that my struggles have come to an end...

Sometimes, digging deep with writing out what I'm struggling with in my life can bring out other issues hiding in the subterranean depths, not to mention the fallout of trying to cope with the aftermath of facing these issues. This could be why I am not a diarist or regular journal keeper - dealing with the fallout can be exhausting!

But I will say that the gentle guidance of Kat throughout the August Moon series was helpful to have on the journey since I tend to be hard on myself a LOT, especially in regard to unfinished creative projects...

So imagine my delight when I actually finished a project that I recently uncovered, an old project I had cut out to sew over two years ago:

In the process of making a little tote bag - the photos for this project were taken with my iPad... 
An old project COMPLETED! Can you believe it?!?

 An inner pocket to hold just about anything that strikes me...

This has prompted me to return to some 'raw books' I prepped but never finished, which was also about 2 years ago:

 The fun part will be decorating the covers, after assembly...

And in keeping with my wish for Creative Companions/Cohorts, I joined a private mail art group, which was unrelated to August Moon but the opportunity came up while in the midst of it. It is an intimate group of less than 10 people, and intimate groups are something I like being part of, but I am starting with connecting just to the leader of the group and I have a seed of an idea for the first mailing to take place next week:

Let me see how this idea will unfold...

There is another connection I've made through August Moon and a possible connection that might take place, and these budding connections are giving me hope that I really can build the circle of like-minded creatives and the support I need to continue my journey on the path toward a creative career...

And this creative career path has been a very long time coming. EACH and EVERY time I take a skills test or business quiz, ARTIST comes up EACH and EVERY time! This includes one quiz I took just the other day at this site. It was called the 'calling card' quiz, which helps you figure out your 'calling', the thing you're best at and, needless to say, ARTIST came up first in a list of 3 qualities, followed by SOCIAL, then REALISTIC...

Color me so-not-surprised! ;)

But living a life as an Artist is not an easy one and the myth of that is continually being perpetuated. I have some ideas about why this might be, but while I continue to ponder my personal theory, why not read this blog post from Seth Apter about his thoughts on why we are so reluctant to claim ourselves as Artists...

In the meantime, I will look toward finishing this little project that I began a few weeks ago, so it won't sit around for 2 years waiting to be completed:

I've shared a few pics of this Project In Process at my Facebook page already, but it's not quite complete...

And I will work on being kind to myself as I 'gently go' forward as August turns to September and Summer turns to Fall...whether that little project is completed or not! ;)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The End of August Moon and The Start of..?

Many thanks to all of you who continue to stop by and read here at my blog. Lately, I've been writing for August Moon, instead of sharing my creative projects, but that will change soon, especially since August Moon is now coming to an end...

The final prompts of August Moon are:

Gently Go
Do It Now
Here's To Your Future!

So let me commence upon on these final prompts before I return to my regularly programmed schedule of creative project sharing...

This prompt begins with the question:
"How will you start the journey? If you're anything like me you have spent the past two weeks gathering information about yourself and now you're itching to do something. I invite contemplate the path ahead from a place of greater self-compassion. What sort of trust would this require?"

Self-compassion is not easy for me, probably because I had many expectations placed on me as a first born child (another story for another time) and I continue to push myself to this day.

Neither is trust an easy thing for me and that has been a constant for much of my life. But at least I can say that I am getting better at letting my life unfold at it's own pace, which I think is a form of self-compassion and the letting go that goes with the unfolding is a form of trust I'm getting used to.

Life has not been particularly easy for me these past months of 2014 and my trust in the Universe has eroded because of it, along with my manifesting mojo.

Sometime last week, I came upon yet another blog post about 'lists like prayers' and I'd made a copy of it as something to try out as a practice for myself. Come to find that I've been making quite a few lists with these August Moon prompts!

And watching as some of the items on my August Moon 'lists' are beginning to germinate, I'm starting to think that if I can keep a sense of playfulness in what I want to manifest, along with a 'lets see what happens!' enthusiasm as I create some new lists for my life, then I just might be able to regain my old manifesting mojo, which has been sorely lacking these past few months.

Then maybe my trust in the magic of the Universe will return.

"What if there was no need to wait until you're 'perfectly formed'? Don't wait until you have it all figured out. Pick something easy, something scary. Just start. And keep going."

My own life coach has advised me to 'start where I am' and to 'begin imperfectly' on a regular basis, so I think I am doing okay with both concepts in some aspects. I finally put up my folding table in my workspace, despite my workspace being a cluttered mess, which is certainly 'imperfect':

...and I try to chip away at the clutter, starting where I am, so I can return to teaching some workshops in the new place I now call home.

I've been meaning to 'pick something scary' for awhile now and that is to make some videos for my blog. Now while I can attempt to 'begin imperfectly', the mere thought of figuring out how to edit and save a video for loading into my blog is almost too overwhelming for my little brain! But I will see what I can do before the end of this year...

"What if what you are doing right now was actually your destination? What would that mean for your journey?"

The idea that 'what I am doing right now is actually my destination' is not a particularly happy one - I am living in a place that doesn't reflect a lot of ME, I am surrounded by more than my own clutter, and I am making NO MONEY right now, despite choosing MONEY as my Word of the Year...which makes me think that I should change my WOTY as suggested by Kat herself in one of her blog posts from July!

If I just looked at 'what I am doing right now' and attempted to judge my journey on that, it does not look promising, but when I look at all that I've written so far and see some connections I've made, both through August Moon, along with connections I'm venturing to make elsewhere as a way to manifest what I need in my life right now, I think my current journey is looking a lot brighter.

And that is making me feel a lot better about where I am in my life right now.

"Fast forward a year...write a little love note to yourself from yourself a year from now. What does your one-year-older, one-year-wiser self have to say to where you are now?"

I don't often write letters to my past self, or even my future self, but after reading an interesting 'letter to my 20-year-old self' at a blog I recently discovered, it made me think twice about writing letters to oneself altogether...

And I just might write a letter to myself and keep it tucked away until Kat prompts us to open that letter...but in the meantime, here is something I should know this time next year, that I think you would like to peek at:

TO: Creative Beast of  2014
FROM: Creative Beast of 2015

"Oh, you Creative Beast you! Once again, despite all obstacles, you have managed to keep your wits about you and survive many challenges big and small. This is due in no small part to your creative problem solving skills, skills that many would kill for since so few actually have them to use in their own lives. (Case in point: those 'negative energy suckers' aka 'fringe dwellers' that occasionally make an appearance in your life - but the upside in having to put up with these fools is that they provide some great material/stories/Aesop's fables you often entertain your friends with!)

You've managed to bring in much needed money to your new household of two with your sewing and art skills by teaching some wonderful and enthusiastic students, as well as sewing for some wonderful women who actually LIVE OUT OF STATE, something you would never have thought was possible, but when fun, engaging and interesting opportunities spring up, you always know which ones are the RIGHT ONES for YOU.

You have a small but trusted group of creatives who are also following a creative entrepreneurial path so you now have the support you need to continue forging a creative business with all the fun, engaging and interesting challenges that come with self-employment and you do love fun, engaging and interesting, but not difficult, challenges!

There is much more I want to celebrate with you, Creative Beast of 2014, but Creative Beast of 2015 knows that her blog readers have only so much time to read, and Creative Beast of 2015 also knows when to keep an audience on the edge of their seats, hungry for the next chapter, so be sure to stay tuned, one and all, for the continuing adventures of the Creative Beast in 2014!"

"Keep this letter somewhere safe. I'll remind you to open it this time next year. You have my word of honor there will be glorious surprises."

I think I will write out this letter to my future self and I will keep it safe until it is time to open it and see what magic has come to pass this time next year...stay tuned so we both find out what has come to pass!

***   ***   ***

What about you, dear friend? What letter would you write to yourself, one year from today? What encouragement would your one-year-wiser self share with you that you could use in your life right now? Better still, why not try writing a letter to your younger self and let her know how proud you are of the challenges you both have survived? It might just bring more courage to face what is ahead of you today!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stylish Space, Impossible Dreams and More With August Moon

The following prompts are brought to you by Kat McNally, lovely hostess of August Moon 2014 and writer at the blog 'I Saw You Dancing'. You can still sign up to receive daily prompts in your email to 'write your way to an amazing life' HERE and you can also request the prompts that you are most interested in - you can journal them publicly or privately, it's your choice!

With that said, my interest was piqued when this prompt came to my inbox:
Outer Space

Then I was pleasantly surprised by this prompt, when I read the full explanation behind it:

With Thanks

And then this prompt arrived in my email:

Dreaming The Impossible

There's lots of juicy stuff to explore here, so let me begin with my thoughts on the first of three prompts for this blog post...

I read those words for the August Moon prompt and for one wild moment I thought we would be pondering Extraterrestrial Life in the Universe, which would have been fun for me since I have a secret love of exploring the Universe beyond Earth...I've also expressed a keen desire to be a Storm Chaser, so maybe that's not much of a surprise to any of my long-time readers*...

But then I looked further into the prompt:
"What is the perfect space for you? We’re going to take a step back and look at the space around us...wherever our true work gets done and the magic happens...What would your perfect space look like?"

If you have been reading here lately, you will know that I am not happy with my lack of a decent studio space to work in and you might know what a challenge it has been to really make it happen...

Though I can say that I managed to add a 'work table' into my creative space since my last rumblings of dissatisfaction:

And it didn't take long before this table was covered with clutter, but that's another post for another day...

I'm still frustrated by having to squeeze my old 2-bedroom, living room-as-collage-studio home into one small space.

And I'm not much happier with the way the rest of this new home looks, since there is very little storage space and my dear boyfriend brought a LOT with him, especially since he has yet to grasp the fundamental principles of 'cleaning and clearing' to make space in ones life for BETTER THINGS.

But with the idea to muse on what my 'dream space' would look like, I realize it's time to stop grumbling and time to be kind to myself with each tiny step I accomplish toward making my studio a functioning one...and it's time to start dreaming a little and focus on what I DO have in place already.

Just today, before I sat to write this post, I stumbled on a list I printed from a blog a few years ago and I think focusing on this list will help me to appreciate the space I live in.

Now to list a few things that would make my heart sing for a wonderful creative studio and/or home:
  • Less clutter!
  • Lots of shelves/bookcases to keep books and art supplies organized 
  • A painted wall or two
  • A worktable that can accommodate 4-6 students for at-home workshops
  • Colorful curtains that can adjust to allow lots of light or block too much hot sun!
  • An altar space for my studio AND my home
  • Special storage space (that we don't have to pay for!) for our beloved Christmas decorations
  • Fresh cut flowers
  • Art on the walls
If I can keep this list firmly in mind, then it might get easier to take those small steps and turn them into bigger steps until my dream spaces come to fruition...I'll be sure to report back when it happens!

At first I thought this was a prompt on sharing gratitude, which I am always happy to do, but when I read the further explanation of this prompt, I became rather giddy:
"What do people thank you for? What do they like about you, compliment you on? How do you surprise and delight other people?"

It's rare for me to extoll my virtues, but over time I have become aware that I am/can be a potent force in the lives of others and I've been able to hear the compliments that come my way as a means to glean what my 'superpowers' might be. So here is a little list of how I bring happiness to people who cross my path:
  • I am CREATIVE (this comes as no surprise!)
  • I INSPIRE others with my creativity - the word "inspire" comes up around me A LOT...
  • I have a great sense of HUMOR
  • I am an AMAZING LISTENER (sometimes it baffles me just how much people will spill when they first meet me!)
  • I am a great ENCOURAGE-er, what's usually known as a 'cheerleader' or 'coach'
  • I am STYLISH, when I make the effort, something I don't have much opportunity for these days
Now if I could just parlay some of this into more teaching opportunities, then more people could be 'surprised and delighted' by me and I think we could use more pleasant surprises and delight in the world, don't you??!?

At first I thought this prompt was going to be about more manifesting, but then I continued reading:
"What are the stories that limit you? It seems that we all have these stories...Who would you be without that story?"

"I am a poor Hispanic, raised on the wrong side of the tracks, doomed to live in poverty for the rest of my life"

That is my limiting story in a nutshell...

Or maybe it's 140 characters?? ;)

There are a few limiting stories that plague me, but this pretty much sums them all up. And the sad thing is that I didn't have this story when I was a child (do any of us have such stories as children?!?), but it crept up on me as I grew up and observed the world, and the adults, around me.

The dominating portion of this story is not even being a person of color, but a person of NO WEALTH...

Living in the suburbs of Los Angeles, with Hollywood as your 'backyard', it's hard not to notice the 'conspicuous consumption' around you, which begins in high school and goes on and on and on.

Being in the presence of 'people with money' is hard for me - I find they whine about really petty things that I can't relate to and I am often in the presence of such people since they are the 'fringe dwellers' I've written about in recent blog posts.

I am someone who has learned to do a lot with less, to make-do, buy used cars, make my own clothes, be thrifty and frugal, use coupons, find bargains in thrift shops and flea markets and, recently, I've learned how to spend my money (and Time!) in ways that are meaningful to me - books, art supplies, art workshops, museums and art retreats.

But let's face it - being frugal, using coupons, learning to find bargains, learning where all the best thrift shops and flea markets are, learning to live 'within ones means' and learning how to spend money in ways that are meaningful to you, are just not cool things people are interested in...

But then again, maybe I've just been a trailblazer, WAY ahead of my time:

Yes, it does seem that this economic crisis is being felt by just about everyone and people are adjusting to this situation that will not be leaving us anytime soon.

This TED Talk really resonated for me as I watched it since it jibed so much with how I've always lived my life...I guess that makes me a PRE Post-Crisis Consumer!

So with this in mind, if I really am a trailblazer in this new world-view, then I can change my old story to this new story:

"I am a TRAIL BLAZER, a pioneer in living a frugal life of meaningful value which brings me satisfaction and JOY!"

And in keeping with my frugality, it's less than 140 characters! ;)

***   ***   ***
Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading! Be sure to check out what other August Moon participants are writing back at "I Saw You Dancing" - there is a lot of wonderful, juicy and inspiring writing happening out there!

* - If I have any long-time readers left! It does seem that my blog world has changed dramatically in the past few years, but I think the blog world is undergoing many changes indeed...