Confessions of a Craftaholic

Tag: inspiration thursday

Inspiration Thursday

 

 

I went in a spiral today, instead of the usual straight lines.

I decided to challenge myself this morning, and so I’m going to challenge you. What can you do in the morning, to make your life a little more happy, and a little more interesting and inspiring?

My normal routine was wake up, make coffee, drink coffee and eat breakfast while I catch up on emails. This morning, I made my coffee, ate my breakfast, while listening to Bob Marley. I wrote in my journal this morning. I did things a little differently.

What can YOU do to do things differently?

The way you start your morning is a good indication of how the rest of the day will turn out. So you can choose to wake up with a smile, and with your faith and inner peace on your side, or you can choose to wake up and think about all the things you have to worry about, about all the things that bother you, and then lead a miserable life and alienate the people around you that love you.

Happiness is a choice. You make the choice in each of your every day actions. Every day, wake up and be happy to have another day of life, it is truly a blessing. Wake up and be happy for things you might not think of, like the place you live in, the car you may drive, the children you have, the spouse who loves you.

No more suffering. Today, I choose to be happy. So I do things differently. I listen to music, I write in my journal, drink my coffee, and am inspired by the tunes of Bob Marley and the writings of Jal Ad-Din Rumi.

How will YOU do things differently?

 

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Inspiration Thursday

Today, I remembered my post a few weeks ago, when I promised myself I’d be working in my art journal more, and helping you with journal prompts. So this week’s inspiration thursday is hopefully not going to be alone and lonesome, and will be the second in my weekly series of journaling and journal prompts.

This week I created a spread based on a conversation I had with someone. I was chatting with someone about the things I’ve endured as a child, and as an adult, and something they said, really got to me. The woman blurted out, wow you’ve been through hell! And to that, I said, well I suppose I have. Anyway, it made me proud of me.

I may not be perfect, but I know I’m a good mother, and I know I’ve come out of what I went through in a positive way.

Things I am proud of: my daughter Dakota, and the baby in my belly, my art, my blog, and my poems, my marriage, and my art group.

I mean….I don’t like to brag, but you know…I feel like I came so far, so very far in life.

When  having this conversation, the woman asked me how I came out of it in such a sane manner, and I told her the truth; I do not know if I believe in god, but I do know that I felt at times like something was carrying me through it. It could be the owl spirit. It could be some idea or notion of a god. Or it could be my determination to just get through it. Somehow I had convinced myself that I was meant to get through that hell alive. I knew it. I had to be strong. I had to be tough.

Anyway, I got through it. I didn’t just get through it, though. I have a child that I do NOT ever strike not ever not for anything in the world, nor do I need to raise my voice at her. I am not repeating the cycle in any way.

I married ONE person-my soulmate. I told him once that I think I’ll be like Yoko Ono if heaven forbid anything ever happen to him. You just…can’t have what we have, twice in one lifetime. At least, that’s how I feel about it.

I am proud of myself for breaking the cycle, and for not following in the stupidity that I was raised with. I am proud of myself for standing up for myself.

Anyway, I know I’ve been awful chatty lately. I normally stick to the art and that’s that. But lately I just have a lot to say. It could be my being pregnant that did it.

What things are YOU proud of? Why don’t you work in your journal today, and write down the things you’re proud of about yourself and your life.

I wrote a poem, actually. I hope you like it.

To the person who hurt me the most,

I

used to be

afraid of you

scared and

I actually believed you

when you told me

I was nothing without you

worthless

without you, yes

I

used to be used

to you

your threats and your way of making everyone around you

walk on eggshells

I used to be used to you

and the way that you’d make me cry

I used to be used

to the feeling of being alone

I used to be

and I used to be used to you

and the feeling that perhaps you where right

that perhaps

I was

worth nothing

and when you’d call, I’d

jump and answer the phone

in fear of you

I used to be afraid of you

and the way you’d prance about

with a belt around your neck

and your threats

and your angry way

I

used to be

in fear

of you

BUT

I

I’m not used to you anymore

and your phone calls to me, with your empty promises and falsey broken heart

do not make me

afraid of you

anymore, I

found

strength where there was no strength, I

found hope where there was no hope, I

found something within me,

that gave me

the strength to move on, and that something

 

is the absense

 

of you

 

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Inspiration Thursday

(note: photo by Rita Rivera)

A person never truly gets over the pain of losing someone. You may or may not know, that my brother passed away when I was sixteen years old. He and I shared the same father, very curly hair and brown eyes.

He was such a cool guy. I always looked up to him, even though his loud music annoyed me. My mother did a good job of keeping us apart, but he still had a special place in my heart. I love him. I miss him.

You know, he was the one person who understood me, who “got” me. You know?

I’m going to share a poem I wrote for him. I was thinking about how time passes, and over the years, you fear forgetfulness when mourning the loss of a loved one. You think, I just don’t want to forget the little things. So this poem is about the little things.

It’s called, “A Dirge On Forgetfulnesss”

 

I

think of you

eighteen years later, I

am almost haunted

by you

johnny

eighteen years later, I

remember the smell of your colonge down the stairs, you

always left a trail

and your

loud music, I

must confess, I

try to remember the little things

 

I wish I could show you my daughter, she

reminds me of you

just a bit

 

 

and johnny

I

wonder where you are

do you know

what life is about,

tel me the secrets that lay beyond the grave

tell the path to enlightment

tell me if there is a god in heaven

tell me Johnny

tell me

years later, I

remember your New Jersey accent, your

curly brown hair cut short, your

sad

eyes and

that tattoo on your arm, I

thought it made you look so cool…

 

Johnny

I write scores and scores of dirges for you,

so as to not forget

the little things

I don’t want to forget

how much I looked up to you, or

how cool I thought you were

I

don’t want to forget

that it rained that day that we buried you

that I wanted to be buried with you

 

So Johnny, these dirges I write for you

in hopes that you also

don’t forget about me

where ever

you may roam.

 

 

 

I wrote the things I did, because as a child, I would always think about my grandmother (who passed on when I was just about 5 or so), and think about how she must be sitting somewhere with all the secrets to life and spirituality. As a child, I marveled and wondered about life after death.

If you’re thinking about death today, or mourning the loss of someone, why not write about it in your journal? Draw, write, collage, and reexamine how it makes you feel.

Death has a funny way of bringing out feelings you never thought were there.

 

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Inspiration Thursday

Today, I had something particular in mind, and I wanted to talk about it. Most of my faithful readers know that I’ve been more open lately about the abuse I went through growing up. What you don’t know, is that abuse permeates every aspect of your life, even as an adult.

I wanted to share a poem with you today, and I hope you like it. It’s rather dark, and it sort of….goes there. But it’s the best way to illustrate what I’m trying to tell you.

This one is called, “I am not the guilty party”

I used to feel guilty

for the way you made me feel

I

looked at my spouse, and his

seemingly perfect relationship with his

less then perfect mother,

and I

felt guilty

for the way you made me feel

I used to think that what you said was my fault

that what I felt was wrong, and

I

was just rebellious and somehow

I must have

deserved it

all

I

felt shame

shame that others who bear the same maiden name as I,

deny

deny

denial and ignorance

must be bliss

out of shame they deny

But I

am not ashamed

of how you made me feel, I

am not ashamed to say

that I was angry

and I was sad

and hurt

by you

and your hurtful words and your

wooden spoon and your

threats to me,

“I’ll kill you one day…..”

blaming your marrital woes on a

10 year old girl, and

telling me

“don’t you dare tell your father”

don’t feel guilty, I

don’t, I

didn’t do anything wrong

I

was not

the guilty party

no

and I can declare aloud

there is no shame in me

for what you made me feel, I

will not deny

and if denial

means having a relationship with you

denial is something I do not want, you see

I

am worth more

than denial, I

am worth more

than throwing myself

under a bus

I

am not

the guilty party

So this poem is because I just feel like I have no reason to be ashamed or guilty. Don’t say sorry to me, when I tell you about my past. Why should you be sorry, was it something I did? While I very much appreciate your wanting to show empathy, do not tell me you’re sorry, as no one has died, and I did not make any mistake. The only tragedy was the mistake my parents made with me, that will cost them a relationship with me.

I will tell you I have relations that went through similar problems, with the corporal punishment. They all choose to deny what happened. All of the sudden, their parents are perfect.

Well, nothing has happened to my memory, and I know what happened.

I choose a few things today.

I choose to be happy, because I have a wonderful husband who supports me, and a wonderful daughter who is smart and loving, and another baby on the way, another extension of my love for my husband and his love for me.

I also choose to not deny it anymore. This of course, means I can’t have my parents in my life, as they choose to deny what happened, stating that I was simply rebellious and am spreading lies. Why someone would want to lie about nightmares and childhood trauma, I have no idea.

I also choose to not be ashamed of it. Yes, this happened to me. And no, I’m not going to cower in shame about it anymore. I am not the one who has done anything wrong.

I say all this, in part because I frankly needed to vent. And in another part, because if something like this happened to you, don’t be ashamed. Don’t deny it. Declare it.

Art is amazing tool for healing. You can take all the anger, all the tears, all the sadness and grief, and turn it into art. Make art with it. Write about it.

I’ll close with another poem, a nice fluffy happy one. I should note, all of it is true.

This one is called, “I can tell you a story”

I can tell you a story

about when it happened

when my

eyes opened and I

saw the light of dawn

I could tell you a thousand stories of how my

hope was restored and

I could see again

I could

from my hands I show you

with my art I teach you

the secret to my happiness

the secret to my

ability

to love, it

lies in my paintbrushes and paint, in my

glue and paper and things

My friend, one day out of

sheer desparation and

frankly, boredom I

stole my husbands paint brushes, I

found myself

beside myself

painting my pain

writing my life, and I

felt like

I had become

free

and then that night

I kid you not, I

dreamt a dream I became an owl

I awoke to the feeling of wings on my back, and I

remembered the owl by my window as a child

he

always

kept me awake at night with his

hooting and hooting, and he hid

so well.

So I took it as a sign and continued to make art

and I remain

to this day

on the path

to myself.

 

 

 

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Inspiration Thursday

 

What does it mean to you, when you think of moving on? I was working in my art journal, and I found myself writing about moving on. For years, I found myself angry, and still in pain over what I went through growing up. I would blame, and become angered, that my mother could act the way she did, and that my father could just sit there and allow all that to happen to his daughter.

It almost felt comforting to be angry, in a way. It was like I was punishing them for the damage they did to me.

I realize now, that the only person I was punishing was myself and my family. Being angry at things from the past only ages you, and makes you miserable, and alienates those who love you.

When I gave birth to my daughter, I decided that I wanted to be more serious about my goals, about what I wanted in life. The process of writing, of painting, collage work, and even sitting and crocheting truly was what made me discover a nother part of myself. I realized I had the power to heal myself, through my art, and so I did.

There was a time in my life that I thought I would never find love, or have children. What I have now, is because I chose to move on with my life, and not stay sitting in misery. I chose to look toward the future, as my daughter looks at the ocean in this picture.

I really have no advice for you, when it comes to moving on. What I can tell you, is that my art, my husband and my spiritual path was what truly empowered me. Often times, in speaking to an atheist, they will tell you that it is not the religion or spiritual path that heals you, but the faith YOU put into it. It’s sort of empowering to think about. YOU contain all the power you need to heal yourself, and your art? Your art is a part of that. Your spiritual path can be a part of that. Your family can be a part of that. But you alone contain all you need to heal yourself.

When all else fails, turn to your art, and just….let go. Just take a deep breath, and let it go.  Paint, draw, write, and just….let it go.

 

 

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Inspiration Thursday

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
-Rumi

I decided to use a quote today, because I found it so inspiring.

A lot of times, you know, we decided we want something. We come up with some fantastic idea, or goal, or thing we’d love to achieve in life. What happens AFTER you’ve chosen this thing you want to do?

We start to think too much. We go through the process of deciding how the heck we are going to get there. In this process, rather than just have the blind faith, the “size of a mustard seed” we choose instead to start thinking in what I tell my husband is a most human way of looking at things; we start to think of all the NOs. We think of all the can’ts and won’ts.

It’s true what Dr. Suess said: anything can happen…anything can be. And it can. My husband, being a taurus and a New Yorker, is quite a speptic. It’s easy for him to think of the “yeah, but what if….”

I rather tell him no to worry about it. Neither should you. Let the universe attract what you want to yourself. Worrying, and thinking of the NO, will only attract more Nos.

I used a picture of my daughter today, because I’m reminded of a passage in the bible, where Jesus is talking to others, and says to them, that we must come to him as little children.

Perhaps he said this because children truly are examples of blind faith. They totally trust that what they want will eventually come to them. At least my daughter does. She is convinced that we are going to move to a different apartment, and get a dog AND cat. She knows it. It’ll happen one day, she says. And it will, perhaps because she’s informed the universe of what it needs to attract to her.

I take such an example from my daughter. I do. We learn barriers as adults.  We learn to put up fronts and barriers and blocks, to dream up ideas and then the reasons why no, to be sceptical….we say, “life has taught me this”. But life hasn’t taught you that. It was simply your response to some let down or other. Somewhere a long the way, we become heart broken. So we “protect” ourselves by putting up fronts and barriers so that even while we communicate, we are putting up barriers in between ourselves and what could be a new friend. Or a new job. Or a new door of opportunity.

When I left my parents home, to marry my now husband, I had a lot of NOs. A lot of these NOs were taught to me. I was told that I couldn’t make it, that I couldn’t succeed as an artist, that life would be difficult for me, that my husband would get tired of me….all these things were floating around in my head like little terrible ghosts, or like the floating heads in that one episode of “Charmed”.

It took me years to realize…that if I continued to believe the NOs, my life would simply end up a statistical no. One big no. I didn’t want that. I gave birth to my daughter, and I wanted to be an example to her, of what it is to come out from the ashes, rise yourself up, and become the person you want to be, rather than the person that someone else tells you that you should be.

It really is about loving yourself enough to realize…you ARE worth your goals and ideas, you CAN make things happen-step by step by step. Nothing happens overnight.

I’m still on the path. I may not be there yet. I’m still working on me, to make my life what I envision it to be. You can do it. If anyone come come out from a negative place into a positive one, it’s you. I did it. In fact, I’m still doing it; slowly walking the way, to enlightenment.

In this path, use your art to empower you, use your journal as your memoir. Years later you can look back, and see how far you’ve come.

 

 

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Inspiration Thursday

I’m such a jersey girl at heart. You know, growing up, my view of friendships was….different than what it is here in New York City. That’s not to say that New Yorkers are rude, just….scattered.

Living in new York City makes for strained friendships; people are so busy making their dreams happen here that they seem to forget what is important: love and friendship.

It reminds me of a passage in the bible the says that without love we have nothing. While I am not religious, I do believe that. Without love, we have nothing.

And it’s not just our love of art, but love within friendships and family. Nurture friendships and community. It is truly so important. Without that we are just little drones walking about, like robots. What separates us from animals is our need for community.

My message to New Yorkers and city dwellers is to take time to seek out a community. Take time for people. Call a person. Send them an email, and ask them how they are doing. You never know when you too, will want someone to call you, contact you, and see how YOU are doing. It’s karma. You can’t expect to flake out on a friendship and then expect the person to be totally okay with you.

Nurturing friendships is good for the soul. And good for your art. A friend can give you advice, give you an idea for that project you’re working on, or even be a source of inspiration when you just feel blocked.

How do you nurture friendships? If you really have to ask, then you are in serious trouble. Just kidding. Nurture a friendship by calling a person. Go out with them, ask what they are up to. Don’t just call them when you need a favor, or need their opinion.  Treat a person the way you deserve to be treated.

Friends are so important and having a community is important.

Nurture a friendship today.

 

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Inspiration Thursday

It seems that lately I haven’t had to post a quote, as I have really had enough to say just on my own.

This week is no different. This week I want to chat with you about finding inspiration everywhere you go, and responding to hard situations.

Life is hard sometimes. We are in an economic time when I see Engineers and stock brokers working as EMTs. It is indeed a hard time for everyone. In these times, we often find outrselves split between our art and our responsibilities. Life gets in the way, we say. Times are tough, so we put our art on the backburner.

In the times when you are down it is important to seek out your art. Seek it out as a lover seeks his beloved. In this time, this is when your art becomes truly a statement of you, as you allow your worry and stress to become your inspiration to create. Allow that which stresses you, to become the subject of your art.

Write, paint, draw, whatever. Do it. Make it a priority.

How do you find inspiration everywhere? You can find it in the grass, in the flowers, in your daughter’s smile….everywhere. Life is good. Give it a chance.

Let the pretty flower you saw become the subject of a painting, or a card, or a poem. Let life inspire you, just in the everydayness of it. Then you’ll find that you can create, in good times and bad. In stress, and happiness.

Art shouldn’t be about selling a product, about consumerism and “buy it now”.  No. This is not art then. This is not creativity. Granted, I believe in a good product review. And if I find a cool product or store, I do share. But creativity is about being creative. It’s not about selling someone’s product.

When you step in to my classroom and take a class with me, I do not do all the work for you. I love to teach you how I did something, and then I always prompt my students to create their own statement. That’s just the way I work. I teach you how I did something, step by step, and then….make your own statement! Do you own thing! That’s art. That’s creativity. That’s the flow.

I love to teach. I really do. It’s so much fun to meet with people, and teach them how to make embroidered whosawhatitsits, or jewelry somethings, or whatever. It’s so much fun.

Art is like love. A friend of mine once told me that a person loves based on what their human idea of love is. So everyone loves in a different way. So then, to me, Art is the same. We all approach art based on what we have been taught, or what we have learned creativity to be.

I say, do you own thing. Always. Never imitate. And seek inspiration everywhere. Look for it in the trees, in the subway train, in the birds chirping in the early morning, in your cup of coffee…..

Art is everywhere, and art is everything. Think about it: an artist created the CD layout for that band you like. It took an artist to design your computer (esthetically). It took an artist to design the bottle of perfume in your cabinet. When you realize this, you realize art is everywhere, and inspiration is everywhere.

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Inspiration Thursday

Today is once again quote less. I warn you though, it is a bit of an opinionated post today. But it’s my blog, right?

I wanted to say two things: I am both a feminist american woman, AND a stay at home mother, both of which I am proud of.

Now, being a feminist doesn’t mean to me, that I go back to work after only three to six months of being with my newborn child. It means that I chose what was best for me and my daughter, and what was best for her, was for me to see her grow up, to be with her, breastfeed her, and truly be her mother.

Children are only small for a short amount of time. Spending eight hours in an office, and three or four with my family each day, does not sound right to me.

I say this because the other day I had picked up a book at a swap, about women empowering themselves, and becoming their dream, which in the case of the writer, was just a silly office executive. I’m sorry, but that is NOT my goal career. Nor, it is just to ridicule the stay at home mother and bash the idea as archaic when it is not.

I understand though, for my friends who’s husbands don’t work, or who don’t have husbands….I get it. Of course. You have to. I don’t. My husband works, and I choose to stay home with my kid. Because I love her. I’m not thinking of my silly career that really can end at any moment, because anyone can lose their job at a moment’s notice, or become ill and not be able to work. Shit happens.

Please don’t think that I’m pooping on women who work though. I’m not. I know that there are circumstances that may lead you to have to work. But I will say this: with ALL the issues I have with my mother, and believe me, I’ve got some….my own mother (who prides herself in being a career woman) stayed home with me for the first three or four years of my life. Even her, the math and science teacher with whom I am nothing like.

I say what I’m saying based on a status update I saw on facebook, of a buddy of mine. She wrote about how too often “feminist’s” view on family, children, and a stay at home mother, is wrong.

It is wrong for another woman to say that I am making a mistake, simply because I choose to put my daughter before my own pleasures. It is wrong to say that it doesn’t “make financial sense” for a woman in this age to stay home. I love my family, and I love the baby in my belly, and I can’t wait to stay home with her/him and take it to art museums, and to the park, and libraries as I do with my little one, Dakota. This makes me happy. It does.

One cannot make the judgement that it is a religious culture, because trust me, I am not a religious woman whatsoever.

When I wake up in the morning, I go and make my coffee, eat my boring raising bran with almond milk, and about an hour later my daughter comes creeping in, and sits on my lap. She smiles and we snuggle. We play those silly facebook games together. She watches a movie while I make breakfast, and we eat breakfast together.

This is my life, and I love it.

And it is WRONG to judge, or to say that I am less than, simply because of my choice to stay home and raise my children. I made this choice myself.

I love my family, and it is because of my husband’s support that I even decided to take myself seriously as an artist. I view my husband as my equal. We lead our family together. Both of us.

It is because of the birth of my daughter that I then decided to truly pursue my art-because I wanted her to be proud of me, I wanted to show her how far a girl like me could come, so that she could see how far she can go also.

I don’t buy her baby dolls or barbie dolls and thankfully, she does not ask for them. She likes the color pink. And she likes to fancy herself a princess. But she loves robots, and trains also.

And let me get this straight for you: no one tells me what my place is. I CHOOSE my life, not because I am a woman, but because the life I lead makes me happy.

So today’s message? Choose the life you want because it makes you happy, and because it brings you peace.

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Inspiration Thursday

Toay I decided I wanted to talk to you about inspiration.

What inspires you? Do you even feel inspired right now? Sometimes, as artists we feel the inspiration, but as mothers, wives, friends and spiritual beings, we may not always. We tend to find ourselves pulled between our responsibilities and our inner selves.

Inspiration…..

It can come from anywhere. Anywhere!

Inspiration can come from necessity, it can come from desire. If you need something, make it. If you want something, make it. That’s my philosophy. I love to make what I need, rather than buy it.

My message to you today, is seek out your inspiration the way you seek your spirituality, or the food you will eat. It is just as necessary for an artist to make art, as it is to eat, and exersize.

Seek out your inspiration. Look at your children. When I feel blue, or when I need a boost, I look at how my daughter sees life. I go for a walk with her, and talk, just listening to how she sees the world is so inspiring. Don’t let yourself get sucked in with all the crap life deals you sometimes.

Seek your inspiration. That’s my message, short and sweet.

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