This blog post is about ways to make life a bit easier when you are living with chronic illness. The goal is for these to be practical tips that can help all different kinds of “Spoonies,” or Chronic Illness Warriors. And for these tips to be free or at least affordable!
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Hello and Happy New Year!
I know we are all glad that the unnamed last year is behind us. But I also know that just because the clocks and calendars have changed that doesn’t mean that the proverbial puzzle pieces will suddenly fall into place. Along the same theme, this fact means that we don’t ever have to wait for a new year, month, week, or day. We can choose change at any moment.
This quote that I recently came across helped my perspective greatly:
“Don’t stress so much about settling on a path for 2017. The division of time into years is a human invention, and the fact is every moment of every day is another opportunity for resolution and growth. So when the fireworks fly, relax and enjoy the moment. The rest will come to you.
- Beau Taplin
Know this: I am all for new beginnings. However, our calendar was created by us, by humans. That’s why it’s flawed. (Flawed: always 365 days, except not. Because every 4 years we have 366 days- an uneven calendar. We couldn’t separate time evenly.)
Yet! We have something even better!
We, in all its glory, have…days. Days! They happen one at a time. And they are clearly very real because we turn in a circle and the sun “sets” and “rises.” This means something very important for us: we never need to a new calendar to make changes. (Especially since the typical “New Year resolutions” don’t tend to last long.) We don’t even need a new month or to start over on Monday.
We were given the immense blessing of a simple thing that we call a day.
And no, tomorrow isn’t always kinder than today. But we can be. We can choose to be kinder as every new morning approaches. Whether our day begins while it is still dark or whether we let the sunbeams shine across our face and wake us up then, in that moment, as we slide from a subconscious state to being conscious of ourselves and of the world around us, we are handed a choice. A choice to be kind. And who does that start with? Ourselves – we have to be kind to ourselves. And honest. Don’t get me wrong; kindness does not mean we let ourselves be entitled or allow ourselves to be selfish. Our kindness needs to come with honesty.
Go through life armed with kindness and honesty and you will find ways to make the world a better place simply by being yourself.
And that makes for a pretty good life, I would say.
To be uniquely you. And to impact the world by doing so.
So instead of saying Happy New Year, I will say to you: Happy New Day! (Whatever day you choose that to be.)
A week and a half away!! Check out this sneak peek video!
Today is the last day of August. Which means tomorrow is September 1st. Which means the day after that is Friday, September 2nd. Which means I have two weeks until the art show.
This is where I start screaming.
But really. As exciting as everything is, it is also very stressful to get so much art work and planning and organization done for the show.
Plus, earlier today I shattered one of my sculptures. I mean SHATTERED. Glass and polyurethane everywhere. And I was barefoot.
Sometimes art does not go the way you want it to go. Sometimes you have to take a break and do something else for a little bit. Run an errand. Take a drive. Meditate. (I seriously had to stay calm. Not an easy thing to do.)
To top everything off, I've stopped sleeping. Well, not completely, but pretty much.
Not sleeping is exhausting. Seriously.
So I apologize for not writing as regularly this month as I should have. But know that you guys have been on my mind and heart and I've wanted to write, but just not really been able to put everything into words. And I don't mean to complain about everything. That's not what this blog post is about. I just wanted to be honest about where things are. And doing an event like this one is hard! But hopefully worth it.
Yes, there is still so much to do, but I am determined. Everything will get done. There is a schedule and I am adhering to it so far.
I am excited to meet some of you at the show in just two and a half weeks now. There will be so much to see and do and be apart of. I truly cannot wait for you guys to see everything. So many people have been so helpful.
I was just on the phone with a friend and I realized that it was in the middle of September a year ago that I came up with the idea for this show. I don't remember the exact day, but for all I know, the date of the show could be the exact one year anniversary of the idea. Regardless, it's pretty cool to have it happen in the span of one year. People told me that it could not be done, that I was aiming too high. But there is a God who had another plan. Planets practically aligned for some of these things to happen. If only I had the time to tell the whole story. But maybe I will : )
Thank you for journeying along with me and I cannot wait to see you at the show!
I've probably spent more time looking out this window than doing anything else. The leaves in full bloom, trees arching over the tops of the glass, glistening water reflecting on the rooftop in the deepest night. In the winter, the trees turn bare and leave reflections on my bedroom floor as the sun descends. Throughout it all I've spent many hours simply sitting on my bed, in awe of simple beauty and light.
Many people may think that dreams are sprung from intense reflection or drudging work, but oh so many of my dreams erupted from this window, these trees, this glass, that water. Simplicity may seem like our greatest enemy, but it's my dearest friend.
Simplicity brought my walls bare and caused me to find a way to adorn them.
Simplicity caused me to stay enclosed in a color palette and focus on shade rather than color.
Simplicity decided to take hold of my work and bring out the natural details that all too often go unnoticed from our busy human eye.
When people stare deeply into my sketches, entranced by details, all I see is simplicity. I see each stroke, all alike, all in uniform. They see detail, but I see simplicity.
Would you like to know how the mind of the artist works? It takes the littlest of things and attempts to expand its beauty. The artist aims to take the glimmers of beauty she finds, and magnify their impact, so every commonplace person can see.
I've said before that an artist's main job is to make intangible emotions, tangible: real. And that's what I'm doing. As I stare out that window, clearing my head, calming my soul; I'm finding the emotion, identifying its imagery, and dreaming up a way to bring it to reality.
Never begin to think that you're purpose or dreams are too simple, for it is out of simple things that beauty and greatness grow.
Ok, sorry guys, I know I got off track on my schedule...I'm working on it.
So art. And life. Yeah.
Seriously, I am exhausted. But a good kind of exhausted I guess. Sometimes if doesn't feel very good, but I remember that I am tired because I am working so hard on my art and that makes me feel better. However, there is such a thing as working too hard.
Yesterday I was in Fort Worth for 12.5 hours. About 10 of which was spent in the studio or getting supplies. I did get to set stuff on fire, so that's good. Got a little overheated at one point (not during the fire part, surprisingly); as many of you know I am very heat-sensitive. But I managed. It was a productive day.
And yet I didn't feel like it at the end.
That's the problem with a perfectionist mindset.
You can't ever do anything "right" because you can't do it all in one day. I guess when you struggle with your self-esteem and believing in yourself, you can be pretty hard on yourself in the process of a project. Today, I have decided to rest. Trust me, I planned on doing a lot of hard work today, but that just wasn't going to happen. (I'm surprised I am even up for writing this.) I had to pull my car over in a parking lot after a midmorning appointment today and take a nap because I felt unsafe to drive. That's the amount of tired I'm talking about.
Sometimes we just desperately need a day off. And I have learned before and am continuing to learn that that is okay. Self-care and self-love is not selfish.
Here, buy the shirt:
I am sure that if people genuinely took better care of themselves, we would live in a much happier world. People who take care of themselves are more productive, more joyful, and much nicer. Self-care can involve little things and small acts that tell yourself that you are worth it. I'm not saying go crazy and spend all your money on yourself. Self-care is about being wise and gracious with yourself. If you do something in the name of self-care that will cause you distress later, it doesn't count. Sometimes just giving yourself permission to take a power nap is what you need.
One of the important things about self-care is that at the end of the day, you can't regret it. Let yourself be loved by yourself.
As I work towards this wonderful art show, I am having to be nice to myself even when I don't want to be. I want to be that tough boss or teacher that convinces you to run the extra 4 miles at the end of a long day, just so you can accomplish more. And sometimes that may be necessary. But I don't want myself or any of you to be drained and burned out with life.
Learn to care for yourself. You're worth it.
Ideas for self-care:
Take a bath
Take a nap
Clean your desk/room
Buy yourself a nice cup of coffee and have some chill time
Eat a scoop of ice cream
Paint your nails...or a wall
Clean your sheets for a fresh night's sleep
Take yourself out to dinner
Buy yourself a new exciting book to read for fun
Watch your favorite TV show
Cook yourself an organic dinner
Have the glass of wine
Go to a museum and look at beautiful things
Hold hands with someone (but don't try that with a stranger)
Get a massage
Get a pedicure
Journal how you feel and don't judge yourself
Play with play dough
Read your favorite children's book. (If you need a suggestion: What do you do with an idea? by: Kobi Yamada)
Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are beautiful
I try to keep my life in perspective. You know, have a 20/20 sort of vision when it comes to my life picture. Specifically, I have an actual 2020 vision for that exact year.
Sometimes it is hard having a dream that goes that far out, but I just patiently wait...just kidding, I’m not very patient. But I’m working on it!
So the story about my 2020 dream comes from a very general dream that my best friend, DeLane, and I have about owning a coffee shop/art studio together. We are both creative, although in different ways, and we love the culture of sitting and drinking tea or coffee and having quality time together. What led to a 2020 vision, was that - and this is literally the story - I was driving past a small veterinary hospital and they were announcing that their anniversary was going on that year in 2015, for like 20 years or something big. And I had the thought...that is so aesthetically pleasing to have your big year anniversaries be on a number that ends in 5 or 0. I gave it some thought… and the more I thought about it, the more I liked that idea.
Seriously, this is how I make decisions.
Not the little ones, just the really big, life-altering ones, apparently.
I called up DeLane and said, okay, what do you think about working towards opening our shop in 5 years. That gives us time to save up and get ready and establish our lives a little bit, but it’s not so far in the future that we would lose track of the vision. She agreed, strangely, that the year 2020 seemed like a good plan to open our coffee house/art studio shop.
And so my mind went racing.
Okay, I have 5 years to go. I need to get my life going and figure things out and get a plan. As I was heavily dwelling on these thoughts, my art was thrown away and the dream of this blog and my art show came together in my mind.
I thought, “that’s perfect!” I can do an art show in 2016, build the blog meanwhile. Work at work. And then. And then. And then. There was so much involved. So many ideas.
Before I knew it, I had a whole outline of possibilities for things to do and line up in between then and 2020. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in planning out every detail of your life. I agree with the old saying, “When we make plans, God laughs.” So I am open to things changing and the possibilities of new and different ideas. But having a general idea of where I am going has helped me to stay focused and get ready and be persistent.
Also, along with all of this, I have felt content, mostly, and able to accept the flow of life. Because although I am not planning every detail or every last second, I have a broad sense of where I am headed. (And to Colorado, no less. That is important.)
Along with this vision, I felt like I needed to stay where I was, in Texas (unfortunately), until it was time to move forward with the plan of putting the shop into action. And although I do not like Texas, I have felt reassured in many aspects that there are good and important reasons why I am where I am.
(Now, when I say I don’t like Texas, don’t freak out if you are a Texan. Just understand that I am very, very, very warm natured. I sweat in the winter. So being in Texas...especially like right now, when it’s summer, is really not ideal for me. Also, I have allergies in Texas, but none in Colorado. A lot of people would say that is a big enough sign to move. And...I love the snow and the cold and the mountains and the healthier lifestyle and my friends that live there. So, I hope that all makes sense and no feeling are hurt.)
While staying here, I have connected with some important people in my life that I know I was meant to meet with. I feel like staying here has been the right decision so far and I look forward to see what all happens with my life in Texas. And the fact that I love quite a few people down here, makes it easier to stay. If I didn’t have such amazing people in my life, I probably would not feel as adamant about staying. The people we have in our lives make a word of difference.
So why are you where you are in life? Do you have something you are working towards? What are your dreams and visions?
I would love to hear your stories and share life together!