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The State of My Union 2016

I’ve been putting it off you know. That look back, that summation of last year. Undaunted, I launched into my new year claiming my words and feeling the boldness of clean slates. I faltered but stood again. But I tripped when I reread my last years goals.

In my letter to myself in the future, I was sure I’d have written great big important pieces by now and gotten smaller ones published. I was supposed to emerge a leader and organize myself and others. But all I could see was that I’d failed myself, my year’s intentions were blown.

Seeing others’ New Year last year wrap-ups made me wince. Then I read fearless leader of the Self-Made Society Caroline Kelso’s Letter to the Union, her borrowed version of a last year wrap up, and I kinda liked that format. A state of my union address. I knew I still needed to be able to leave last year behind in a clean and organized fashion. I’d write a blog post as a breadcrumb trail leading to my future and back to my past. So I figured I should get to it. And now I have.

I’d like to think that last year wasn’t a complete waste of time. I need to separate out the wonderful from the weeds to make final sense of it so I can let it go and start again. Here goes.Sanctuary decorations 2015 on Shalavee.com

Acknowledgements

I started the year out right by searching for the right therapist for the work I needed to do. Mainly to build my dragging self-esteem, claim my value, and step confidently into the person I know I already am. So much progress was made towards that effort. A therapist is the only person who has no stake in you , completely third party neutral, so you can truly trust them to tell you the truth. Especially when that may be harder to hear.

My esteem has been raised immensely, I’ve claimed my value in many ways including artistic talent, friendship worth, and self-respect.

I made many new friends online and off, met up with some new friends, joined challenges online and was a part of artistic and heart helping communities. I worked hard on those connections and they have bouyed me in ways I didn’t expect. Came out of hiding and they joined me. I’ve been vulnerable, asked for support, and I’ve been generously given what I’ve asked for and more. Beginning to believe I can do more of that. Fiona's room on Shalavee.com

My work on my cognitive distortions reduction has helped decrease my anxieties immensely.

I said yes to teaching a blogging workshop. That turned out way better than I’d thought it would. And then I had to acknowledge that as an accomplishment which I did.

Artistically, I painted a floorcloth, decorated Fiona’s room to my satisfaction, participated in a couple of creative challenges, a gift exchange, continued to blog three days a week and a month straight in October, decorated a house for Christmas tour, asked to meet with event decorators, pitched an idea for a class to teach and was asked to submit a proposal, discussed teaming up with owner of Moonvine and my friend Pama next holiday season to decorate houses, and showed up to help a creative workshop function. And opened that Etsy shop.Farm to Table Dinner at Turnbridge Point in Denton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

I showed up for me and I showed up for my community taking pictures, writing, and sharing my process boldly so that others might benefit from this. Here are the pictures of my neighbors Steve Konopelski and Rob Griffith‘s Turnbridge Point Bed and Breakfast and the Farm to Table Dinner on the back lawn.

And I reopened a bank account for myself. I do my work before I look at emails and social media most of the time. And I asked for a little more support at home to get what I can accomplished from being more proactive to asking for kid coverage from Mark.

2015 was about turning up the volume on my purpose, continuing to do the work, showing up for me and my community, family, and friends, and slowing down towards the cessation of the negative thoughts. One step at a time, one moment at a time.

Grieving the Losses

2015 did not see me get published as I’d hoped. I tried and tried and gave up submitting for a while as my skin wasn’t thick enough. I did also realize that I’d been submitting to the wrong places. And that felt like something good from it all.

I spent most of the year avoiding that Etsy shop which made me feel badly all year. I amended that here in 2016 but the avoidance was torturous.

And I had a very sad and bad experience putting my trust and my artistic worth into someone’s hands that I shouldn’t have. But where I lost, I grieved, and I gained three times as much moxie and wisdom.

I didn’t do the major writing I’d hoped to do to create an e-book to gain readership or write another newsletter. I never felt like I had enough time to delve into anything larger.Small work in small chunks is still work though.

I didn’t read a book or finish my online branding course. I didn’t go on vacation or have any major downtime for myself. And I seem to be maintaining the same overweight I’ve had for some years now.

I am still not earning any money regularly for myself however that bank account I did start has what I have made waiting for a blog make over.

Eamon and Fiona at Martinak on Shalavee.com

Synopsis

I guess I was still waiting for a “Eureka” to tell me what my life was supposed to be about and how I was going to go about achieving that. But meanwhile, it would seem I’ve already been creating that life one good choice at a time. I’m cautious and creatively prolific and I think that this next year will show that all of my choices were leading me to discover the right path for me. Not the path that I think I should take but the one I’ve been blindly leading myself towards this whole time. It takes as long as it takes. And seeing all that I really did achieve in 2015 makes me realize the devil and the proof is in the details.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Blogging For the Love of Me in February

On Monday I am beginning a month of intention. I decided to shape the month of February’s posts around “Self-Love”. Self-discovery and positivity is often my mode of thinking and I’d consciously like to spend this month supporting myself in this work to become a fuller happier person. Asking questions and pondering the answers is often my way of taking care of me. Re-evaluating my goals, purpose, and methods keeps me aligned with myself. The first post will be a State of the Union address from me on what I felt were the triumphs and the regrets of 2015. A letting go to move forward. I think writing it helped me more than I thought it would.

Before Christmas, I had the greatest fortune to connect online with some creative and driven women I greatly admire. Each of them offered their readers an opportunity to ask them a question. And I took all of them up on their offers and am excited to share the tremendous gift of their insightful answers. I have much to speak of and quotes galore from Caroline Kelso , creative solopreneur and queen of the Made Vibrant community, on the subject of Confidence. A special interview on creativity and motherhood from Anna Lovind , creator of the amazing online course for creatives called the Creative Doer. And an insight on the business of community through an email list from Kory Woodward. My blog is important to me I just want to progress it in a way that feels organic and real.

heart wreath on Shalavee.com

I am also committed to another Creativity Bootcamp from That Curious Love of Green for the month of February. This time around instead of being hard and critical of my creativity and productivity, my intention is to offer my creativity an honorable place to grow and to encourage those happy little inklings and what ifs to have their spotlight this month. I’ll be putting myself to more quick draws and quick collages if nothing else. And this should see the Etsy shop gets a few more pieces in it by the end.

I hope that you will join me in self-discovery and reverence for this month of self-aimed love. And if anything that I share hits you broadside with an “Aha” of note, let me know somewhere somehow. Here in the comments, on Facebook, or on Instagram. Somewhere. Thank you so much for reading what I write!

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Turn Off Your TV

We killed our cable tv a year ago. Our $60/month fix had us watching only 2 hours a week. New baby put the kibosh on my Downton Abby and the Walking Dead watching and the husband was just using it for zapping therapy. It was an addiction that needed to be shaken. And so I returned the cable box.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to a bit of escapism. I was a visual media major in college because I draw immense pleasure from a well written and well shot movie. But that’s just a fraction of what’s on television. Regular television is selling a different story.

TV Industry

Consider that the TV industry is a business. They need to sell advertisements to pay the bills. They need you to stay watching to see those ads. I married a guy who was working in the news industry when I met him. This finally brought the best and last perspective. “When they own the information they can bend it all they want” John Mayer sings. And in the last ten years, they’ve decided to bring this news to you 24/7. As if it was necessary.

turn of your tv on shalavee.com

Chemical Addiction

The widespread addiction to television feels a little serious. The jolts of adrenaline that tragic or scary news provide is one part of the addiction. We are craving the anxiety followed by the on demand brain chemicals production of cortisol and dopamine . The cortisol being produced is directly related to the epidemic obesity problem. People are also addicted to the release of the dopamine in their brains. People are exhausted by this up and down and yet feel that’s normal. That weird waiting for the sky to fall feeling when there’s a storm coming or a shooting tragedy has occurred has become a norm. A necessary part of the day. Why? Who told us that’s what we’re supposed to choose.

Know It All Addiction

And the need to be the first to know and to know everything and form and share an opinion on it, that is another facet to this television addiction. The ego is running that part of the show and the television industry knows it.Their feeding those who need to be all up on in it. But the information rarely truly has any direct application to our personal lives.

Why is the concept of mass TV addiction so surprising? It’s been well cultivated. Made to believe we’ll be missing out on our given right to entertainment, we cling to our cable boxes for dear life. Last vestige of hope for relaxation or distraction from our stresses. Giving it up is insanity. And I think it would prove what’s more important to you when you don’t have to plug in regularly. Like family and self-betterment activities.

These actions lead people away from their true selves and their families towards a self that is concerned with approval or thrill disguised as necessity. Describing how the daily practices of petty arguments, television, and politics take us away from being truly alive and joyful in our existences, the great humanitarian and scientist Dr. Oliver Sacks said of his refusal to follow the news,”This is not indifference but detachment — I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future. I rejoice when I meet gifted young people — even the one who biopsied and diagnosed my metastases. I feel the future is in good hands.” He sadly died this year of that cancer.

turn off your tv on shalavee.com

Regain Perspective

If you want to regain hope and get a new perspective, turn off you TVs. There’s something bad going on here in the world and our complacency implicates us. The people doing the most wrong, the ones who are commandeering the media’s attention with their terrorist attacks, know exactly how much power the media has and they use it in really bad ways. If we were to break our addiction and stop feeding the beast, some good would happen. Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Less television means less anxious people. People capable of making their own choices.

So I say, become un-addicted to the news. Turn it off. If you can, kill you cable. See what happens when you unplug. You are only the puppet to the broadcast networks when you turn it on and watch. And I’ll bet you will have a more memorable experience reading a book to yourself, your kid, your grand-kid, or even the dog.

Television
written by Nick Lowe

At the end of every working day
I hurry home as fast as I can
grab myself a bite
’cause since you left me I’m a lonely man
I crack out a can of something
settle down in my chair
from that moment ’till the spot disappears
man, I could be anywhere

I’m pluggin’ in my…Television
Turn it on…Television
Tune it in…Television
‘n everything…Television
I’m lookin’ at…Television
Just like a cat…Television
that little set…Television
It never quits
Let me tell you I don’t care what’s on if it’s happy or sad
don’t give a damn if it’s good or bad
I’ll sit and watch it ’till it drives me mad
just as long as it’s on I’m glad

Now everybody that I used to know
they never come around no more
I don’t go out either
’cause I ain’t got nowhere to go
You see my best friend has been livin’ in
ever since you’ve been gone
all I gotta do is activate that tube
and I don’t have to miss you no more

I’m pluggin’ in my…Television
Turn it on…Television
Tune it in…Television
‘n everything…Television
I’m lookin’ at…Television
Just like a cat…Television
that little set…Television
It never quits
Let me tell you I don’t care what’s on if it’s happy or sad
don’t give a damn if it’s good or bad
I’ll sit and watch it ’till it drives me mad
just as long as it’s on I’m glad


If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

photo credit: Trash on TV via photopin (license)

photo credit: old tv stuff via photopin (license)

photo credit: too close. via photopin (license)

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