a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

ok so maybe this will be a monthly space.  who knows.
it appears i have deeply disappointed someone though.  someone who, unbeknownst to me, had put me on an (undeserved) pedestal.  she sent a heartfelt and strongly-worded email explaining that i had no right to put myself out there as some sort of "spiritual, earth mother goddess, telling people to follow me like some sort of Pied Piper of the soul."  Whaaa??? wait.  take a deep breath.  I am me.  nothing more, sometimes less.  and never not ever have i offered out anything but what my life has entailed…never once expecting to be considered as a Goddess.  (though i like earth mother a bit, without any woo-woo attached).  it was because i said the F-word in a post.  the F-word.  and if you knew me for reals and in person, you'd know i said that and much more the past year, while i wished death and boils upon many an attorney and soon-to-be-ex. Hardly goddess material…hardly someone you'd pick to emulate.  i would hope.  if you had a choice, I'd say Pema Chodron, or Karen Maezen Miller.  But i would bet my last fig that they've each let go with a resounding curse from time to time.  maybe before they became who they now are, maybe we'd all be surprised what a nanny-cam would show.  But Who Cares?? This has been, i will say, a difficult year (to underscore an understatement).  it has been a year in which i fell down a rabbit hole, met a dark queen, had tea with a mad hatter, came within inches of committing a heinous crime, lost my mind, found it, lost my soul, refound that, was grabbed by the ankles and spun, kicked the Spinner and became re-grounded and centered.  once the spinning in my head stopped.  so.  somewhere in there, i was supposed to be a goddess?? i haven't even shaved my legs in so long, i'm not sure it's even possible anymore.  so this is a big fat group apology to anyone who felt that i was to be the leader of the pack…i will sometimes end up ahead of you in the battle, but i cannot lead you…you are the sole someone built to lead yourself.  that's how it is intended.  if you look at my battle, and my ease, and see something you can take away from it all, so much the better.  i care deeply about all of my friends, and even some not-friends.  but….i do not purport to be a Pied Piper of your soul…of your life…that is your journey and your decisions and it will all be okay in the end - if it's not okay, it is not the end (love that movie!).
so move along - there's nothing to see here…just a woman in her pajamas, who's slightly impressed, yet confused, that she had that kind of impression on someone, but slightly sad that she disappointed (yet another).
In all of this swirling nastiness that was my year, i did learn to be grateful for the ugly bits, as well as the bright & glittery ones…i learned that I can still stand, even after all the dodgeballs were lobbed at me, and that the Outer crap does not need to dissolve the goodness inside…that it can actually make the Good gooder, and make determination more determined.  i learned to lift my gaze, step over, and move forward…making certain to wipe my feet before proceeding.
right now, i have a date with my Perfect Stepdaughter, who has grown into the most beautiful and smart and amazing woman, and is bringing muffins for brunch.
walk beside me.  we'll both learn.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

a rebuilding

a conversation with a wise woman:  we are, each of us, built for our purpose - built physically, mentally, endurance-wise, personality traits…all of it.  To say you dislike something about yourself, or feel ashamed of something - it's saying you disregard and disrespect your purpose.  A carpenter doesn't hate his hammer or saw.  these are his tools, and he pays them no time once he's set about his purpose of building something…he doesn't sit and stare at it, wishing it had a blue handle instead of a red one.  you have been given the tools (your Self) to be used for your purpose.  stop looking at the details of the tools…get busy building!

a theme, lately.  It has been a rebuilding year for me.  and the "re" prefix means there was un-building and destruction that came ahead of the need to build again.  I have found great joy and deepest pain as the structure of "me" was brought to it's foundation this year.  i know it sounds dramatic.  i know i've endlessly confided in some of you.  but there was quite a bit more that never ever saw the light of day…some things that had no way of expression.  And they sat within the walls, festering and attracting vermin in.  so, the walls had to go.  with each blow of the sledgehammer, i fought and kicked and was not at all spiritual and zen about the whole thing (to misuse the word "zen").  I knew it was essential.  i knew there would come a time of rebuilding.  but.  but. but.  it was difficult.  yes, i am aware that i faced problems that some would snicker at, and be happy to trade for.  but they were MY problems in MY reality.  not everyone has to face the same tragedy or loss or difficulty in order to fall.  not everyone has the same tipping point where they just lay down and say UNCLE.  and i suspect that most of us will (or have) reached that point in our individual lives.  and what we do and where we go from that lowdown point is up to us.  it truly is…there is no thumb keeping us down.  but there are many hands to help us up.  and there, from the bottom, is where we find our strength…where we realize that we can grasp the edge of the hole and hoist ourselves up and swing a leg over, then crawl away from the edge, stand up, and walk.  and there, from the edge of that hole, as we swat the dirt off, there is where we realize that The Worst has happened, and from This Point Forward - nothing not anything can harm us or bring us back to the hole…we have the power to climb out….it was all an illusion that we had to stay deep.
So today i swing a hammer and rebuild.  i spend a quiet day with my Henry, then meet some women for a night of community…hands helping one another up.  and cupcakes.

Friday, November 06, 2015

my heart belongs

I belong in the woods.  i belong where wildness can be tamed…but just.  i belong where make do and handmade and hand built all meet.  i belong where the label of Pioneer Woman is not about selling recipes and cookware…where it's about beekeeping and growing vegetables and canning and sitting by a fire at night slow stitching.  i belong in the woods where your enjoyment and your exhaustion comes from sustaining your life…where snowshoes are the latest fashion, and Carharts are dirty.  where things sometimes go wrong, but things feel just so right.  maybe a dream version?  possibly.  but i know how my heart clutches and the tears flow when i think about, dream about, read about a nice little cabin in the woods…not too close, not too far…not too big, not too small.  decorated with handmade rag rugs and essentials of daily living…not too rustic but not too modern.  and definitely with a big soaking tub. i ask myself why, then, have i chosen my current address?
I returned to the piney woods of New Hampshire two months ago, after an absence of a few years.  I couldn't not.  I just couldn't not.  it was the woods that called me.  yet more.  it was the True Hearts that called me.  and yet more.  To leave was a loss so deep.  to drive away was as difficult as i remembered. to stay would be folly.  wouldn't it?
i await some answers.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

dream on

yes, it's true I have a thing for Steven Tyler.  Sorry. That may spin your head.  But this song - whether or not Steven & I had an invisible relationship - has been my personal fight song…my mantra…my push-through-it-till-your-shoulder-aches-then-kick-it song….Dream On, dream until your dreams come true.  I mean, what's not to embrace?
The lyrics:

Everytime I look in the mirror, all these lines in my face getting clearer/ the past is gone/ it went by like dusk to dawn/ Isn't that the way, everybody's got their dues in life to pay?
I know nobody knows/ when it comes and where it goes/ I know in everybody's sin, you've got to lose to know how to win.
Dream on, dream on, dream on
Dream until your dreams come true.

what's not to love?  Dreams aren't always "name it and claim it."  Dreams sometimes are an easy clicking together of forces and events that make you wonder What Just Happened There?  But sometimes they move slow, and need A Lot Of Hard Work.  But if it's your dream, dream on until it comes true.  However long that takes.  Whatever groundwork needs to be put in place.

I've been so blessed in my life to be able to, for the most part, work at pretty much what I've chosen to do.  Not to say I worked at my Dream all these years.  But during the many years that I needed a stable and good income, I chose to work at a traditional job that provided that.  I was prudent, rather than leaping out in a wide expanse of Who Knows What.  neither choice was right or wrong.  they were just two of many choices floating around the atmosphere.  i chose safe and solvent.  as years went by (like dusk to dawn) (couldn't resist) I saw that my time was dissolving before me, and my youthful sense of immortality began to trail behind me.  it was time to leap.  the important thing to note is that i had a tether.  i had an income stream to support me as i lept.  if the universe missed the trapeze toss, then my partner's income would catch us.  and so i had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to go wildly forth into the great Will-It-Work.  the first attempt was a short-lived crashing, exhausting disaster.  well, not so much that as an eye-opening trip through reality.  There is so much to running a business.  so much more than lighting some incense, cupping some chai tea in your fingerless-gloved hands, and splashing paint on a canvas that people will fight over to buy.  ummm. not so much.  so i regrouped.  took another year in standardized corporate work, but spent every spare moment figuring out what went right, what went wrong, what i liked and what i disliked about the whole Dream.  Then, i went to the edge of the limb, flapped and made it! about 3 feet.  and floated/plummeted/floated.  once again.  Dream on.  But this time, i stayed in my studio.  and i researched and dreamed and just made art for my own soul.  and some of the Best Art Ever came from my heart and actually made it onto the canvas.  And. I. Was. Happy.  So i learned that 1 person will soon die if they try to market their work but also create it but also make sales calls but also do the administrative end of things but also make dinner.  I learned that i really didn't like weekly art fairs and all the physical set ups and take downs and the hot and cold and rainy and not to mention getting to meet some of the rudest people ever.  so i approached galleries.  and lo! i was picked up by one, which turned into two and then just enough.  and my work traveled up & down the east coast and to the west coast.  i even had a buyer in Japan.  and a few in Canada and Australia.  I learned that i like to do the creating.  and making a website is part of that creativity for me.  and i loved going to show opening where i got to ditch the sweatpants and dress up.  and drink wine.  and talk to interesting people who aren't wearing fanny packs and insisting they could make that at home with their craft club.  (and if you are one of those people - STOP IT.  just stop it).  (again - Stop It.)  But the pressure to have New Work sometimes is daunting when you've come pretty close to saying all you had to say.  So I backed away and tried new materials and techniques.  and again found success.  After a few rounds of the post-party depression, i just stopped.  i had nothing left.  Except - teaching other Starting Outs how to start out.  I developed a Business Boot Camp workshop geared specifically for creatives, but useful to any small biz dreamer.  they left the weekend with a viable business plan, a website and a logo & corporate identity…all jacked up on caffeine and high hopes, i released them to their dreams.  Can i say: I. Love. Doing. That.  But i didn't love all the follow up hand holding that was needed - if after 6 or 8 months you still haven't ventured to the edge of the limb to at least see what the Great Sky has for you, then you aren't ready.  and i can't make that happen.  only you can.  i still do consultations and mini camps for requests, but walked away from the business of Business.  and now?  I am in reboot.  i am working at the Very Same job i worked at before i got married (the first time).  I am living the same life i lived then BUT with a big difference.  I know to keep dreaming until my dreams come true…to not give up, to plan prudently but know when to flap my wings.  I know what's all smoke & sugar, and what's good hard work.  I know what I like and don't like, and I am building my 3rd business as we speak.  it is a slow grow, which makes me happy.  i know now that Things Will Get Done.  they will get done when it is time for them to - not before, and not after.  so i don't feel anxious or rushed, neither do i lag.  i listen, i work, i build.  i trust my gut, i listen to my body.  when i can, i do.  when i can't, i don't.  i am grateful for the aches and pains that help slow me to a thoughtfulness.  i am grateful to be who i am and where i am.  although i wouldn't turn down the lottery.  i am grateful for the friends and helpers i've met along the way to today.
i am most grateful for Dreams.  and Steven Tyler.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

the space between

I love my job.  but if that's all life was about, i'd slit my own wrists.  i love my house - the tending and mending and painting and decorating.  but a house that isn't a welcoming home is just a pile of wood.  To me, life - rather Life - is about the spaces between…how i relate and move about this world…how i look for change and blessing to give out and to take in…which one is harder for you - giving a blessing, or receiving one?  I bet you said "receiving."  we wouldn't be friends if you couldn't bestow blessings upon those who swirl into your life.  but receiving?  that's a whole new experience and ball of twine.  why is receiving so hard?  does it make us feel like we're seen as incomplete or needy or selfish or or or?  then why should we bestow a blessing upon another if it makes us feel so oogly?  we aren't trying to make others feel bad, yet when they try to bless us, we have mixed feelings.  feel worthy.  be grateful.  period.
so, now about those spaces in between.  it doesn't have to be this OR that…there doesn't have to be a distinct line of demarcation…there's just a fuzzy space between the seen and unseen…the things that come with an attachment to the eye and hand and body, and the unexplainable things that move through us…that surround our hearts while we move through our days doing the tasks expected of us and that we need/want to do…that ethereal mist of what some call spirituality, some call mindfulness…it's about setting your eye just a bit higher, so that the task of making supper suddenly becomes the task of making supper plus the joy of making a little extra for a tired neighbor…it's about watching my neighbors care for my lawn when they know i'm not able, and feeling so so grateful…giving.  receiving.  the space between.  when you slow your day down just a notch, you'll see the things that are important.  things that can only be seen without using your eyes…the distinctly different smells as i walk with Henry through the woods - autumn leaves, now crunchy underfoot and their musty wonderful smell…the gamey smell as we walk past the fox den…the chill dampness near the lake.  all would be missed without setting an intention to walk in the space between…between performing the task of walking Henry and going out to experience the woods with my best companion.  Rumi says to "Close both your eyes in order to see with your Third eye." the space between what is seen and what is felt.  may you travel there today.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

I've been trying for days weeks to come by here, but blogger has kept me out.  Then tonight, just as I was about to abandon hope, the door flung open. So here we are.  A cup of chai tea at my elbow, a handsome Chug chomping on his bone...and us.
So the last we spoke, I was becoming appalled with the amount of time I was spending, neck bent, with electronics.  And I realize that Henry is a dog, but his amazing brown eyes spoke of hurt and loneliness...he needed more attention.  And that made me realize that there needs to be a moderate middle...too much out-and-about swung to an arc where I stayed in and tapped on the computer.  Back and forth the pendulum swung.  Too much. Too little.  So I made a decision that I would plan just 1 outing a weekend.  And the other day would be spent keeping the house tidy and the laundry done and shopping for food, and then generally slacking about.  But starting...next weekend.  I'd already booked my calendar full.  And I saw the folly in it all...the half enjoyment, knowing the clock was ticking to have to run to the next thing.  When my separation and divorce was grinding through me, it was absolutely necessary to keep busy.  Very busy.  Just to keep my mind from taking a turn down a dark street.  Busy, busier, busiest.  And I highly recommend that.  I do.  Some will say Be Gentle With Yourself, as though you should soften your eyes and live in a drowsy, slow fashion.  But if you are able, get very busy right away.  I was admonished to slow down and process everything...deal with the emotions.  Yes, it is like a death. But it isn't a death.  You'll still run into the bastard when you least expect it, and usually when you look like death sucking on a biscuit.  He will have some version of Barbie hanging all over him.  It will happen.  And while you're deciding if you should punch him in the trunks or just act all cool and thank him for the STD, he'll pay for his gigantic sirloin steak and wish you well.  So no, it is not a death.  As far as processing anything, I have all the facts my brain needs to understand: one year ago, two weeks before Christmas, the man I married 15 years prior came home and advised me he was planning to proceed with a divorce action. This was while we were eating a superb meal that I had spent quite some time concocting.  In fact, I was still wearing my orange apron, if I recall.  The fact that I didn't destroy the apron afterwards is a testament to my love of orange.  So, the short version is - no, there is nothing to process.  It became clear very quickly that he was kicking his life to the curb, and my foot was stuck in the webbing of it.
But this is all old news.  Lately? I'm still struggling with my studio.  Or rather, my brain's refusal to cooperate at the table. It has been a source of extreme frustration.  When you identify as an artist, and you cannot produce art...what then??  Are you no one? Or are you becoming someone else? In my mind, I have created the most amazing work of my life.  But I have no energy to bring it to life.  I sleep. I sleep. I stare at Netflix movies slack jawed and constantly in the evenings.  It seems that I have spent the past year running...first from a bad marriage, then from the loneliness of my heart, then from my inability to bring forth what if feel would be the best work of my life. There used to always be one more thing to wait for and THEN I could make art.  But that attitude changed.  And I don't feel that's the case now.  Just not feelin it.
I'm starting a new business venture called YourGreatSpace.  I'll be doing organization in people's businesses, warehouses, homes and garages. Which I love. I put my OCD hat on and everything gets put in a proper and pleasing place.  I'll also be corralling paperwork, and have a kick-butt system. The website is in-process www.yourgreatspace.com
And that is the long version of my life in a nutshell.