new navigational

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

back on the crescent beach - the lobster boats hummed out of the harbour this early morning - spring is finally here

Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging.
Tara Brach  

I've been careening through life these last few weeks, few months ... it's been difficult to turn off those feelings of overwhelmedness, the feeling that my creative life (who am I kidding - my life life because it truly is all one) has become like a runaway race car, careening crazily at top speed, all over the road, into the ditch and back out a few times. Me with my hands gripping the steering wheel (?) and hanging on for dear life. One crazy, big, fabulous, scary project rushing into the next one - no pit stops, no rest stops, no time to really think. No time to catch my breath.

But Hey ! it's all good isn't it ? shouldn't it be ? isn't this exactly what I wished for ? isn't this exactly what I've been working so hard to achieve ? isn't this what I want ? ... uh ... hmmm ... erggh ... I think so.

I'm of two minds over this situation, which is no surprise as I'm of two minds about most of life's situations 'cause I'm a died in the wool fence sitter. There's a huge part of me that says to myself daily hey girlfriend ! wow ! you've become kinda popular, dare I say successful, desired, wanted and that feeling/thought is amazing and thrilling no question. It makes me feel happy and tremendously grateful. I'm also proud of myself because I've worked hard, deliberately and intentionally to get to the place I'm at today. In fact I'm exactly where I wanted to be, maybe even a little bit ahead of where I hoped to be.

A desire is anything but frivolous. It is the interface between you and that which is greater than you. No desire is meaningless or inconsequential. If it pulls you, even a little bit, it will take everyone higher. Desire is where the Divine lives, inside the inspiration of your desire. Every desire is of profound importance with huge consequences, and deserves your attention.
Mama Gena 

But ... there's another voice, that stressed out, rushed, panicked, wants to have more control voice that keeps whispering to the mad passionate creative empire building voice pardon moi ... but is this really how you want to feel ? In my spare time (insert exaggerated wink here) and while I work I soak up everything I can about personal and spiritual growth, either reading or listening to audio books and/or youtube chats (Danielle Laporte, Gabby Bernstein, Beth Nicholls, Brené Brown, Eckhart Tolle .... and on). We're a society that propels ourselves forward with our to-dos, our goals and dreams - I know I have my hand up high waving from the front row on this one - but I've been noticing two common, new to me, themes keep cropping up in all the lessons and learning I've been paying attention to. That instead of focusing on the what, the where, the who in relation to our dreams and goals ... why not try instead to instead focus on the HOW do I want to feel ? and does this line up with my VALUES ?

The HOW and the VALUES - these 2  words are sticking with me as I move forward in my quest to steer this big ship called Susan's life into brand new creative + directions. HOW do I want to feel ? and does this line up with my VALUES ? (projects, places, relationship, etc). I'm feeling confident that I've stumbled upon two most excellent new navigational tools. & Oh my dear Rumi xoxo

What you seek is seeking you.

embracing my abyss

Friday, April 25, 2014

scenes from my recent explorations & adventures in nature

busy, happily, steadily embracing my own abyss ... or trying to embrace it ;-)

Your degree of resistance around something will be proportional to the amount of power waiting for you 
on the other side of that resistance.
Barbara Stanny

what she said ... Lisa Congdon's recent talk Embrace the Abyss & Other Lessons at Typo:International Design Talks

WOW !! Madam Universe has been pummelling me with creative goodness + plus de personal growth lessons ;-)

gaining sight

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

my favourite dog Oliver / daphne in bloom outside the kitchen window / on the crescent beach again / my geranium love / afternoon tea in a favourite mug / my constant companion, my constant comfort Oliver again on the pillow topped printer / Virgil has the best sleep poses / stems & roots in water (for Rachel) / daphne stems in a vase / oh my, that project 

Do Your Best

This was the phrase growing up in my house. It was the motto that started to stand for everything. As I've gotten older, I realize it sort of goes hand in hand with "you win some, you lose some." It's a reminder that things are not always going to work out. You're not always going to get that "A" or make the team or hit a homerun. And you cannot control that. But you can control how much effort you put in. You can "do your best." I love a simple message that holds a lot of weight and has the power to stick with you. Elise Blaha Cripe - from her Make29 April product launch

I've lost sight over the past year. Misplaced it, put my sight in that special place for safekeeping and then promptly forgot where I put it. Things have been so very busy here at the teak stopped desk really since the end of summer last year – a just when I feel like one big thing is winding down another big thing arrives, a kind of non stop, rushing, not enough hours in the week kind of busy – I've been meaning to find my sight again. My I've lost sight, I better try and find it again has been top of my to-do list day after day ... but it always seems to get bumped.

Lately Madam Universe (of course devil that she is) has been forcing the issue, upping the ante to such a staggering height that I've had no choice but to find my sight - to gain some perspective - my own perspective. Why am I doing this thing that I do ? How do I want to feel ? Am I feeling those feelings ? and if I'm not feeling them ? what's up with that ? and what changes can I make in my creative life so that I feel more of what I want to feel ? This paragraph from Elise's April Make 29 project's product "do your best" was another gentle bonk on the head from Madam Universe.

To try, to do my best and to not worry or care have my personal self worth wrapped up in or have expectations about the outcome. Just keep on doing my best

miss amygdala

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mr. Comfort & Love - Oliver hang in' with me at the TTD* - strategic planning, discipline & respite my secret ingredients

All freedom comes from discipline
Anne Lamott

This new big, thrilling, terrifying project will take up most of my time for the next 3.5 weeks. Due date/deadline is mid May. I've wasted needed nearly 2 weeks just to wrap my head around the enormity of the project, especially the technical issues, a coffee stained botanical collage piece that when in it's final state will be 12 feet x 5 feet - ya huh ! I did say feet. That and the fact that it's not only for a dream customer, a company on my top 10 in the world wish-to-work for list (maybe even my top 5) but the final piece will hang in a brand new prestigious & absolutely dreamy location has me freaking out on the hour ;-)

No pressure there here. I'm not sure what's up with Madam Universe lately but she been sending me opportunities for growth non-stop – those big kind of personal growth opportunities. The ones you immediately think (inner eye roll) Nooooooooooooo ! I can't take any more of this personal and/or spiritual growth shit - aaarrrgggghhhh ! stop ! please ! I can't take it Madam U. But of course that's not really how I feel, if I can get Miss Amygdala to shut up for 5 mins I have moments of pure, bliss, joy and excitement at the prospects on my plate. And about the lessons I will learn. I am thrilled by so much of this project yet I am wrestling the fear of it daily, hourly – the fear of failing and possibly failing miserably. Each time that fear bell rings I'm faced with a choice. I can choose to let Fear come at me like a charging bull, knock me over and paralyze me (which is like blowin' on a feather if you get my drift) or I can stop, have a deep breath or 2 or 5, give Fear my best talk to the hand look and practice using some of my new tools and coping skills to shrink and minimize the fear so that it's still there but it feels instead like mojo fuel, excitement & challenge.

The bad news is - you just have to do it. You sit down and you commit to having your butt in the chair for a certain amount of time
Anne Lamott

Though this project is a lot about creativity it's real lesson(s) is how I choose to deal with the pressures of the job. And there so many lessons embedded in this opportunity I've yet to really wrap my head around them. But I have come up with a few strategies & coping skills that have been helping me approach this project differently:

• writing out a strategic plan/schedule, working backward from the deadline -  work back schedule.
• scheduling in plus de breaks, R & R, changes of sceneries, rewards, even a shift in projects - that old adage a change is as good as a rest is true. Plus my goal each day is to never work more than 3 hours straight without getting up and leaving my desk and for a minimum of 15 mins.
• breaking a big project down into smaller bites. Only thinking about the bite in front of you, the current step - the small picture. Try not to think about the large & scary monster - the big picture, the end product.
• allowing a generous/padded amount of time for each task or smaller bite. In the recent past my expectations were often dashed (adding lots more stress) because I would estimate poorly and not give myself enough time - always feeling like you're falling behind is the kiss of death.
• scheduling in a few free days in a 21+ day project - use them to recharge & rejuvenate. Do something fun.
• stop working at 8/8:30 pm at the absolute latest. Read fiction or watch NetFlix to unwind - ahhhhhh !
• when Miss Amygdala comes a callin' - leave my desk immediately and do something pleasurable. Go make a pot of tea, go outside with the dogs, write in my journal in the chocolate brown nest bedroom.

Miss Amygdala's here right now, nattering away at me as I write this. So I'm leaving, I'm going outside (it's one of my scheduled FREE days - woo hoo !) to rake & clean my flower beds, organize my planters and pots, I've already been cooking' up a storm and I'm going to have a fabulous free day Sunday - wishing you the same ;-)

*teak topped desk

the beach is back 2

Friday, April 18, 2014

Just back from my morning power walk on the beach, the ice is now officially gone & sweet Bee leaves today & I'll miss her

Be steady and well-ordered in your life 
so that you can be fierce and original in your work.

Gustave Flaubert

Working non-stop a go-go, almost*, on the project, ya know the one I mentioned a week or so ago, the big (literally - it's 12' x 5'), very scary, extremely thrilling, dreamy, jagged steep mountain project.

*I am making sure I take the time every day to have R & R breaks (ritual and rejuvenation, rest and relaxation, recharging & reminders). Reminding myself - that I can do this, that I do deserve this amazing creative opportunity, that I will do my best, I always do ... & finally, reminding myself that there's a pretty darn good chance that I'm gonna kick ass ;-)

I couldn't resist - I was a mad, crazed teenaged Elton John fan, he was the soundtrack of my youth -  from fav album Caribou


Thursday, April 17, 2014

great Kurt Vonnegut quote found on Pinterest (sadly unknown maker), Chloe lace dress I LOVE, and lace-ish jewellery

I'm super inspired these days by lace and a cream/ivory/coffee/kraft neutral colour palette - my pinterest board here