Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Gift of Fatigue

Sitting here on my couch with a sleeping pug to each side of me, I am doing my best not to feel grouchy about my progress in life as of late. Yes, I know. Who's the judge of my progress? Who's defining what is good use of my time? Who's defining success? I know who (and I'm sure you all know the answer to that one as well). And she can be very judgmental crab.

I am not a person who has a lot of energy. I am working with a body that has very low adrenal function and I am tired/exhausted most of the time. I wake up tired. It's very frustrating. Little daily stressors send me over the edge in terms of energy drain and I often find it difficult to concentrate. Often something will strike me as interesting and I'll think to myself, "I'd like to explore that but I'm just so tired." I do have energy bursts depending on a number of factors but mostly, I literally have to force myself to leave the house to go do things that I'm incredibly excited to do. Like I said, very, very, frustrating.

I have tons of interests and things that I'd like to explore but what I have been doing most often is listening to others teach. I am a huge podcast junkie and my absolute favorites are Nan Akasha and Lisa Hayes. I also enjoy David Neagle and interviews from Conscious Media Network. Hundreds of hours of interviews with some of what I believe, are the most amazing minds on conscious living. I am sure there are more and if you have a favorite, don't hesitate to post it here. I'd love to have more to explore.

In any case, as all students of the Law of Attraction know, there must be a gift in everything that happens to us. I'd never really thought about the gift of adrenal fatigue...until today.

The severe lack of energy that I've been experiencing for a few years has caused me to be ok with being still. I've learned to be ok with just sitting and listening to my own thoughts. I've learned to be ok with sitting outside on a summer day watching how blades of grass respond when there is a slight breeze. And there is another gift. I am quite content to listen to others teach me what they know for extended periods of time. The previously mentioned list of individuals has helped me through a number of situations in my life and also helped me to rewire my thinking. I feel I am becoming a better person from the collective knowledge of all of the many teachers in my life, from podcasts, to books, to friends.

And so, that "forced" stillness has indeed benefited me tremendously. I have been able to be taught and had time to ponder these teachings and absorb them into my life. I've been "forced" to draw boundaries for myself. Fairly strict bedtimes and other times to rest are something that I've had to honor and make a priority in my life. I am not someone who will ever be answering emails at midnight, no way, no how.

I have to believe these years of "downtime" will serve me well. I feel through nutrition and energy work (and any other suggestions), I will be able to regain that lost vitality. I think I was just meant to take it all in for a while instead of running around like a crazy person, trying to multitask and juggle 50 different things in a day. I simply can't. I guess I am just supposed to be a patient student for a little while longer. Lucky me :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

AEDM Day #22

Today's inspiration comes from a child's holiday drawing. My friend's daughter, Tiana, always draws a holiday themed picture for her mother's cubical wall and they always make us smile. This time of year a "hand turkey" made it's way to our office and we all smiled at it's whimsy. Bright colors, happy clouds, the drawing of a joyful six-year-old little girl. Earlier in the month, another co-worker had mentioned that we never do any fun, group, cube decorating anymore. In the past we've done things such as everyone bringing in a childhood photo and hanging it outside our cubes by our name tags. It served as a reminder that every one of us was once sweet, innocent, and unencumbered by doubts in life.

As I looked at Tiana's drawing I thought about the first time a grade-school teacher showed me the magic of using my own hand to draw a turkey for a Thanksgiving project and how talented I felt with my new tool. It came to me what our new, silly, cubical project should be, everyone make their own hand turkey.

So far no one else has done it and I haven't been so great at promoting the idea but I still have two days to get the ball rolling :-)

Even with such a simple project I still fought the judge of my adult self. Do male and female turkeys have the red gobbler? I started to Google and was instantly disgusted with my need to know for sure. I made my drawing, simple, colorful, and with kissing turkeys. I am a hopeless romantic. What can I say?

If you are so inclined, let your inner child out and indulge in a carefree hand turkey of your own. If you do, I'd love to see it. It doesn't matter if you are a child or an adult. It's almost impossible not to smile in the presence of our four-feathered friends.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

AEDM Day #20

Ok, so my Art Everyday Challenge has turned into Art Every Several Days Challenge but I just splurged on a new laptop so it is my intent to blog more often now that I'm no longer confined to my spare room. So it's Saturday at 1:00pm and I have not created any art as of my last post. I did however venture out to Kaarma Last night for Indian food and to watch my belly dance teacher, Shannon, and the Pepper Lotus Tribal Dance Troupe perform. One word...exquisite.

Dancing is one of my favorite art forms and I have been involved in dance of some form all my life. My mom has always loved to dance and still does. She used to dance with my friends and I in our living room and teach us some of her favorite moves. I started at nine years old taking tap and jazz, later getting involved in ballet, admittedly predominantly for the shoes. I spent fifteen years with the same teacher and during that time, joined her local dance company. I was involved in that for several years and during my last six months in that area, I substitute taught dance to children for her school. It was extremely rewarding. And I suspect it's much easier to teach children who are doing something they love to do.

So when I moved to State College, there was a little bit of a hole in my life where dance used to be. Sure we'd go out and dance but it wasn't quite the same. Three years ago when I was going through a divorce, I decided it was more important than ever to bring dance back into my life. I started taking salsa and tango lessons from the Penn State Ballroom Dance Club and met so many amazing people, from all over the world, who are now my friends. We became a little family for a while. It was an amazing time in my life. We still keep in touch but most have moved on. Which is something that always happens living in a college town. It's very transient. Thank goodness for Facebook so I can keep track of them.

So for three years, salsa has been a staple and I love it. It's energizing, sexy, and just plain great fun. It's simply not possible to be crabby while salsa dancing. I loved tango too but I left that behind for a while. It may make a comeback. But let's bring it back around to my latest dance fascination, belly dancing.

I've been curious about it for some time. I wouldn't say I'm overly girly but I definitely love plenty of girly things. I truly do not mean to oversimplify it's meaning or cultural history, but for me, belly dancing was one of those art forms that had it all, sensuality, beauty, and costumes that jingle and sparkle. I think I was a crow in a former life. I also found that it was a dance form that women often did together and I loved that. In salsa, an opposite-sex partner is pretty much a requirement but in belly dancing, you can be alone or in a group. It's very empowering and great for bonding with other women. I've only had two formal classes in my friend's yoga studio but I've already been bitten by the belly dancing bug. I have to admit, as my friend Jen put it last night, it appears deceptively simple in it's beauty. We purchased finger cymbals (zils) and started to practice. I can walk and use them, but I cannot turn my wrists, walk and use them...yet. Such is life. Sometimes things seem deceptively simple but they require a little more effort than we previously believed. And that is good. It's good for us to be challenged.

So here's a little homework if you so choose, find a new art form that empowers you. Try several in fact. I like to have some that challenge me to practice and gain competency through experience and others I love because I can let my mind wander as shapes and colors pour out of my pencils and paints. Most importantly of course, have fun and let me know what you come up with. Maybe I'll give them a try myself :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art Everyday Challenge-Day 14

Day 14? What happened to the other 13 days?
Yes, I know. I'm getting a little bit of a late start on this. November is Art Everyday Month is hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas and is a way to challenge yourself to be creative, in some way, everyday. My friend Marie had such a great time with it last year and is doing it again this year. With her encouragement, I am getting in on the fun :-)

So I will mostly be blogging about this challenge this month.

I signed up Thursday, Friday I got some strange flu that lasted through Saturday. So here I am Sunday ready to go! The humorous thing was that what I was most inspired to do was draw mandalas using the Reiki symbols that I have learned in training. But because they are sacred symbols, I cannot post them. *sigh*

So I drew a pattern for my intent to have positive forward movement in my life. It was not my favorite but that's ok. The other two were done a couple of weeks ago.

The first one is to inspire love in all areas of life to flow freely to me and the second one was to inspire abundance and prosperity.

I love to draw mandalas, at least that's how I think of them. They are a way to let my mind wander and let the intention guide me to choose the colors and shapes that I put to paper. It is so calming and therapeutic.

Give it a try if you never have and let me know how it felt for you. What came up? What emotions or blocks surfaced, if any? And most importantly, HAVE FUN with it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Expanding My Creative Comfort Zone

Gosh, I've been busy. Since my last post, I started working on some new, dare I say a little "out there," ideas in my art, started a store (Pandora's Gallery) on Zazzle, and have joined my dear friend Sylvia in co-authoring a book on crystals which will most likely be out by spring of 2012. How exciting! I've really been focusing on actually DOING all the things that I'm drawn to do rather than dismissing them to the, "I'm not good enough to do that," or the "I don't have the time," category. It's really been difficult for me to train my brain to override all of those limiting beliefs and just say, "What's the worst that could happen?"

And yet, oddly, I still feel as though there isn't not enough forward movement in my life. I keep looking for something to create some vastly different lifestyle change, knowing that I would probably panic if it actually happened. It's funny how we try so hard to avoid experiencing change and yet we crave it so desperately. I once heard someone say, "It's not that we hate change, it's that we hate BEING changed." I have to agree. When change happens in a way that causes us to feel out of control, we fear it. The funny thing is that we never know what's around the corner and the only healthy way to handle it is to calmly accept it. Ugh.

I used to be terrified of change. TERRIFIED. Change always meant something bad in my mind. Change meant I was about to experience lack in some way. But as I continue on this path, I've seen so many amazing things happen. Things that I originally labeled as "bad" grew into beautiful opportunities to learn, grow, and gain. It was a magical realization to find that change could mean abundance.

Sure. I am a graphic designer and I do write this blog. But the idea of co-authoring a book or coming up with a strange art idea and putting it out there for the world to see, and ultimately judge, was really stressful for me to wrap my brain around. In July, I took a four-day workshop with Jim Donovan (formerly of Rusted Root) called the Summer Rhythm Renewal (I promise to write a post about this amazing experience). As an affirmation during one of our drumming/chanting sessions, I vowed passionately that I would not be afraid of life anymore. Now realistically, I can't get rid of all fear but I can however be more conscious of what I'm afraid of and why. Can this thing that I'm afraid of really hurt me or is it my ego trying to keep me safe? Meaning of course stuck with the same familiar behaviors that are classic me. A friend of mine posted something on Facebook about learning to move out of your comfort zone. I replied that I'd have to check with the borough, but I was pretty sure I was zoned for comfort. But in truth, I am pushing myself out of my comfy nest little by little. Verrrrry gently.

What little steps have you been taking to move yourself out of your comfort zone?

Baby steps are still steps and so I'm proud of myself for taking a little bit of a plunge here and there. Speaking of getting wet. Why don't I tell you a little bit about my new artwork

I'm really interested to hear your thoughts. Be nice ;-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Following the Feathers

Either I heard or read somewhere that feathers were a sign or a gift from the Angels or guides that are watching over you. So feeling a bit displaced as of late, I've been collecting feathers when I see them on my walks. Many blackish-grey ones, small to medium in size. They sit on my desk and around my home. When I look at them, they remind me that I am guided and protected.

But as of late, I've been asking for quite a bit of guidance and the feathers started to show up more often. This past Sunday, while practicing drawing a sacred symbol for my Reiki ART class, I received a message. I was looking for a place to sit outside to practice drawing the symbol and prepare for my level three attunement and decided to sit in the shade over by some rocks and trees. As I sat there drawing, the wind began to pick up and I felt the instructions, "There is something behind you that you need for your attunement." I have learned at this point to pay attention to such instructions and so I began to stand up to look. As I was turning around, I felt, "It's a feather." So I looked around at the ground and almost directly behind me, under some little plants was a large black feather! I laughed and thanked the guidance and kept the feather with me the rest of the day.

A day or two later, I was walking the trail behind my office building and spotted another feather. Dusty and black but this one was 11.5"x2.25" in size. A big one! I thought, "Wow, they keep getting bigger." "Maybe soon I'll see a white one." Thinking more of traditional Angel imagery. So now we come to today.

Normally I walk with my friend Marie, but she was unavailable so I was going to be walking by myself. Another friend volunteered to go with me but I very strongly received that I was supposed to go alone today so I decided to listen. I gave myself a spray of my Angels of Light aromatherapy and I was on my way. As I was walking, I started getting that I was supposed to go off the path I usually take. I took a sidetrack to where a semi-permanent structure used to be but that felt incorrect. As I continued to walk, I was asking for guidance and signs and little pushes to get me where I need to be to reach my life goals. I told them all, the Angels, guides, everyone, that I believed they were looking out for me and that a way would be made.

As I continued to walk, I heard a screech from a hawk, I looked up and there was a hawk, screeching and soaring as if trying to get my attention. I looked and where the hawk was circling, the fence to a cow field was open where it's usually closed and locked. I asked the hawk if I was supposed to go down into the field. I felt a "yes" so I walked down in this field in 90 degree weather wearing a long hot-pink gauzy skirt to the place this hawk was circling. By now it had disappeared. I looked around for why I was called there and on the other side of an electric fence was a beautiful white fluffy feather.

That was it! But the problem was it was just out of reach. I walked a little further in search of a way to reach the other side of the fence. But the electric wire ran all the way down and the grass was uncomfortably high at that point as well. So I asked the wind to blow it over to me if I was supposed to have it (being too specific about how I wanted the Universe to handle the problem). But no wind came. So I thanked the hawk for the feather and the sign and thought maybe it was a sign that things were coming to me but just out of reach for the time being. Maybe I was supposed to go back later with more tools to get it or maybe it would be blown on the other side by then. That conclusion felt off but I gave up and left the field and started walking on the path toward the woods. I noticed another fence I could have climbed over but that felt wrong and unnecessary too so I kept going.

Half-way toward the woods, I saw another tiny feather and I felt, "What you want is available to you now." "That feather was a gift and is available to you now." "Go back and get it." I protested saying that it was too hot to walk all that way back and that there wasn't a way for me to get it right now anyway. But the "voice" quoted my favorite wealth affirmation from Nan Akasha saying, "I follow my bliss and the Universe opens doors where there used to be walls." "I know out of nothing and no way a way will be made."

I groaned, hot and disgusted by the thought of having to go back but I listened. I picked up a stick thinking maybe that was the way to reach it. I also noticed that the other fences seemed to have plenty of space under the final electric wire. Maybe I could stick my hand under and get the feather. So I walked down to where it was and I quickly realized that the stick wasn't going to help and there was an extra bottom wire on this fence. UGH! I stood there trying to think. All the things I had rationalized that I needed to receive the gift were not going to work. Just then, I looked at the piece of fencing that was just to the right of where the feather was. And there was, a perfect Stacy-sized hole, big enough for me to climb through. So I squeezed through and upon reaching the other side, I picked up the feather and began to laugh. I reluctantly squeezed back through to the other side. Oddly, it seemed tighter, as if I were going back to a world I would have rather left behind.

As I was walking back to the main path carrying my gift, I began to laugh like crazy. All the ways I could "think" of were not the right ways. And then right in front of me, a way that I hadn't previously seen before, was made known to me. A solution that was right in front of the goal, in a way that was the perfect fit for me. I said to whoever was listening, "You guys are funny."

I walked the rest of the trail feeling energized in a way that seemed divinely guided. The colors of the forest seemed brighter and I thanked the hawk, the forest spirits, and the Angels for the gift and the lesson. And I lovingly spread Reiki energy giving back to all of them and beyond.

Think about similar signs you may be receiving in your life. If you feel divinely guided in some way, even if it feels completely silly. Follow it, see what happens, and share your story with me. At worst you may come back to the office drenched in sweat and dusty from crawling around under fences in a cow field, but no one seemed to notice. Not sure what that says about me but I suppose I can live with it ;-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The New Face of Pandora's Compass

What's the best you can hope for in creating an image to represent your newly forming holistic identity? How about having one of your best friends, who is also a phenomenal artist create an image that perfectly represents what you've envisioned? Well that's exactly what happened to this lucky girl.

Joan Koester who is my beloved friend of 14 years is an amazingly gifted artist. Her work features a range of mediums including paint and graphite and the subject matter varies from expressive human form and faces to animals and natural settings. Her art is ever changing. Always flowing with what is moving her at the time. My favorites are those of female faces with quiet, contemplative smiles. The women, in particular, always seem to have a beautiful strength. The other side of her work also has a marvelous humor. I have to laugh when I come across the occasional "mad dog" when looking through her portfolio.

There's a little back-story behind the new lovely image that I am honored to have representing Pandora's Compass. It involves manifesting and allowing the Universe to provide. It's also a lesson following your own intuition and being open to receive.

As I was pondering a visual to represent Pandora's Compass, I spent a lot of time online looking at images of Pandora, stories and even tried my hand at drawing something myself since I am a graphic designer. But comically and perhaps sadly, I am not really a fan of my own drawing style.

So about two weeks prior, I said to my friend Marie, "You know what would be perfect? I would LOVE to have Joan draw something for me. Her style is exactly what I'm looking for." Marie encouraged me to ask but I did not feel that I should. I remembered several years ago, Joan mentioned that, in general, she didn't care for trying to create work that she wasn't feeling drawn to create. She is more of a spontaneous artist. So I of course wanting to honor the way an artist works, said to Marie, "Maybe the perfect image already exists in her portfolio." I checked on her Facebook fan page and she had a couple beautiful choices that I was instantly enamored with. And this was just small representation of her portfolio.

Joan and I later had lunch with some friends and she graciously said that I could use one of her images and we made plans for me to look through her portfolio soon. I shared with her what I was looking for which was a loving, woman with some sort of earth gift or spirit.

New Year's day in the evening, we got together to watch The Secret again. She brought her work and I looked through it unable to choose because I loved so many. Then we got to the image you now see in my blog. She explained she'd been thinking about Pandora and had drawn three versions. They were all beautiful. I ended up purchasing three different images. I couldn't help myself.

So in the end, the perfect thing that I had hoped for in the very beginning manifested. A beautiful drawing of Pandora from my beloved friend. And from her side, she had been hoping for some extra money to come her way. She wanted to purchase some equipment for her computer. So she had also manifested what she needed as well.

It was a great beginning to the new year. Both of us feeling revitalized with a new sense of resolve all over again from watching The Secret. Art, abundance, successful manifesting and a nice cup of hot peach tea with my dear friend. Now what could be better than that?

If you would like to see more samples of Joan Koester's amazing artwork, please check out her Facebook Fan Page.