I recently read an article about gratitude. It suggested that not only does gratitude increase self esteem, but it also improves your health and helps you cope better with past traumatic events.
I do a lot to feel gratitude. It's part of most every project I do. The Artist's Way, 100 days, it's honestly in every day of my life. It has not always been this way though. I used to have the "why me" complex. Felt like everyone and everything was against me. Like I was oh so important that everyone would be focused in on me... in a bad way. I did not consciously change that thinking. I just began to express and feel gratitude and it washed away. Pretty cool.
I work with a person who is totally focused on himself. Nothing goes his way and it's all a complete conspiracy. I can't even imagine how deeply miserable he is. It's very frustrating for me to even hold a conversation with him, and after months of trying to get him to see all that is good, I have given up. I do not let him bring me down. I simply stay away.
I think that sometimes we have to put up these barriers. I let in those that are good at their core (not to say they don't have trials), and those that are nowhere near where I want to be emotionally-- I shut them out. In the Christian religion, it's stated that two of the same beliefs shall be yoked together... basically that if your belief is strong, do not closely tie yourself with a nonbeliever or they will drag you down. I am not a religious person, but I am totally down with that concept.
I recently have grown very close to my sister in law. Our religious beliefs vary greatly, but our spiritual and emotional beliefs mesh completely. In her, I have found a friend, a sister, almost as if we share the same soul at times. I am grateful to my brother every day for bringing her into my life. And I am grateful for the little things... text messages, cell phone call plans, snail mail, every possible way I could communicate with her. Not a day goes by that we do not make contact.
I hope that we can all feel gratitude. That we allow ourselves to relish the joy in our lives, and to be grateful for little things when the big picture is not perfect.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I recently read an article about gratitude. It suggested that not only does gratitude increase self esteem, but it also improves your health and helps you cope better with past traumatic events.
Posted by Robynsart at 7:28 AM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Posted by Robynsart at 9:46 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This picture was taken at Koch Farm in Tualatin. The farm was homesteaded in 1938. And last year they sold out for an industrial complex. We always went there for u-pick berries and flowers. I called the owner on Saturday and asked if I could take pictures, as they had recently all moved out and started a new farm about 15 miles away. I took about 30 pictures of the old farmhouse, the trees, their barns, their old equipment, and of 2 cows that for now remain. Being there, in total silence, reminded me that life is about change.
When I first heard about the sale, I could not understand how they could just sell out and move. They had made that land what it was. They had been there for generations. This was their history and their life. After I took pictures, and walked around, I was not so upset about it. I know some of the members of the Koch family, but not very well. They picked a plot of land, and for the most part all still live on it. Their location changed. Their livelihood did not. They set up shop on their new land and have crops ready... corn, green beans.
I was not present for the process, but I've only heard positive remarks from the Koch family members. They have chosen to embrace change. Make the best of whatever comes their way. I listened while I took pictures. I learned from this family that occupied the land no more.
Change is ok. Change is necessary. When change occurs you can embrace it or fight it. They chose to embrace it and go on with life. If only we could all be so graceful in life...
Posted by Robynsart at 4:47 AM
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I wonder where these tracks go... I am sure they lead to someplace magical. I have always had a need to get away. To escape my present reality, if even for a day.
My ex mother in law understood this, and every so often we would run away. We had responsibilities, so it would take planning, but we would pick an area and off we would go. One time we went to the Oregon Coast. We saw tons of covered bridges on the way, explored new restaurants. And we wrote in travel journals. Inner exploration has always been a necessary component of running away for me. Last time I saw her she brought up that travel journal. She had written "I'm writing in this because Robyn said I have to!" but she wrote... and she can recall her feelings easily during that journey.
Another trip, we went to Sisters. Sisters is a cute little tourist town in Oregon. We happened upon this motel called the Tom Tom Motel. It looked like a total dive... "I am not staying at the Tom Tom" I had told her. But the price was right, so we did. It turned out to be the most magical place! Each room was decorated differently, ours was all fish, and it even had an aquarium in the room! The owner also served us breakfast in our room each morning we were there. They had a lovely courtyard area with a bench swing and flowers. I've never been back, but I remember it fondly.
I don't need to stay gone long. But I do need to explore, to take chances. My body, my soul, is yearning for such a trip right now. I went alone and explored both weekend days last week, but it was only for a couple of hours. Not long enough to recharge. No planned destination, or perhaps just a general area.
My first husband was Air Force. We moved every 6 months to 2 years. I did very well in that environment. Perhaps I am a traveler. I get stagnant if I sit still for long. I need to plan a solitary trip!
Posted by Robynsart at 4:43 AM
Monday, November 24, 2008
Posted by Robynsart at 5:12 AM
Posted by Robynsart at 4:48 AM
Friday, November 21, 2008
Today I am going to ponder. I am going to breathe and attempt to take the day slowly. Not sure how that will pan out at work, but I will be a gentle soul today.
Evening yesterday was spent making journals. I got two completely made, and I have four more ready that need to be sewn only. I will have many more made by the end of the weekend. It is good for my soul to stay busy. But more important than staying busy is HOW I am staying busy-- by creating.
Hoping for a productive weekend for us all.
Posted by Robynsart at 5:43 AM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Many days my journey feels like this photo... climbing, climbing, up and into darkness. I know it will lead to wonderful, beautiful things. But what a long climb! I am old enough to know that anything good takes hard work. And that tells me I am working towards something fabulous!
My dad called me last night. He sounded great! His latest surgery was a success and he said he feels so much better. We talked about everything from health to politics, to child-rearing. If my journey ended tomorrow, it would have all been worth it because of this reclaimed relationship with my dad. I've written a lot about our relationship. But I realize I have not written a lot about him.
He's retired Navy. He was a cook. And a damn good cook he still is. Dad looks like a member of ZZ top, and he has (I think) 20 something tattoos. He had side jobs while he was in the Navy... making and decorating wedding cakes. He made the cake for my first wedding. A beautiful cake... 3 tiers I think, with a fountain and stairs. It was gorgeous. These days he takes photos of sunrises and sunsets. I should get him to send me a couple so I can share with you. I will definitely ask him about that.
Dad has mellowed, and has a lot of insight about life. I think of his journey as more like a rollercoaster... but one where he had to walk up the track a lot... climb the steep parts. I don't know this for sure, because we've never really discussed it, but perhaps he had a bit of swimming against the current. He is not perfect, nor has he led a perfect life. But I think of him, and I see him with wonder in my eyes. He is amazing to me.
Dad and I did not have a lot of contact before last summer. And that's all water under the bridge... I've written a lot about that. But it is so awesome to me to see how many of the same viewpoints dad and I have. We both know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can't moan about the past. The past is done, and it is what it is. And every single step we have ever taken has made us who we are.
And we... all of us... are amazing!
Posted by Robynsart at 4:44 AM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Today I woke up so tired. But it's off to work, then make dinner, do laundry, hopefully make a journal. Then bed. So I had better get over being tired! My pain level is remarkably lower today. Hopefully it will stay that way!
Yesterday, I saw a girl I know. She had a breast augmentation. Now her breasts are HUGE. Seriously. She has a tiny frame and these things are as big as her head. And, for whatever reason, seeing her made me start thinking.
Knowing her, I knew she must have had the surgery to keep her man interested. And I was wondering to what lengths I would go for such a goal. Would I go under the knife? Perhaps when I was in my 20's. But now? No way. In fact, all I would do for anyone other than me is all the same stuff I would do for me. Watch what I eat, exercise, meditate, apply natural looking makeup. There is nothing to gain from plastic surgery. Don't get me wrong, I don't judge others for it... (this all came up from a comment the augmentation girl made to me). I think there certainly is a time and place for augmentation of any sort. Sometimes, breast augmentations are to make clothes fit better, or to boost self esteem. And as far as rhinoplasty, face lifts, botox, etc... my opinion is that it has it's pros and cons. Someday, I may see a personal need for it.
Personal need though... I don't think I would ever go to those lengths to attract someone else. What would be the point? Or to hold onto someone else? No way!
These thoughts don't usually even occur to me, but seeing her yesterday... for whatever reason, self-analysis was the result. Not the self-ridiculing kind of the past. But a complete acceptance of my physical form. What an interesting occurance! I have turned a corner in my life.
Posted by Robynsart at 4:48 AM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I returned to the specialist yesterday. My nodule has not grown, therefore, he said it cannot be the cause for my pain. He said it is not 'remarkable'. His theory is that all of my pain is from acid reflux. He said all of my symptoms point to that. I got a prescription, and I am willing to try it.
Honestly, I'm not convinced. But I am willing to try. If this is not relieved within 2 weeks, however, I will make an appointment with another doctor. I've never had a problem with acid reflux before, so hey, maybe it is what's going on. We will hope.
I'm also considering many different alternative routes. A friend of mine here goes to a naturopath, and he's covered by my insurance. Also, I will be looking into specific meditations, more reiki, etc.
I did not go in yesterday in hopes of him scheduling a thyroidectomy and letting it go at that. But I also did not go in thinking we would be 'trying' something altogether different. He did tell me that if this Rx does not work, I may need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist to figure out what's going on in there.
I was venting to a dear friend last night. And I was telling him how it had affected me. How I was unable to communicate. And I got so angry. Not like me. I don't like relying on others, and I do not like not knowing what's going on inside.
As I typed that, something clicked. I need to go inside. It's MY body. I need to meditate, journal, whatever it takes, then present my case to whomever. Or perhaps I won't have to... possibly it's healing I can do myself. I will meditate on this throughout the day.
Posted by Robynsart at 4:42 AM
Monday, November 17, 2008
Posted by Robynsart at 4:45 AM
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Today we went for a hike and on a picture taking trip. I took close to 400 photos. I had such a beautiful, exciting day. And this weekend I made 2 journals. Several photos and both journals have found their way to my etsy shop already! I feel so productive!
I hope that all of you had amazing weekends as well.
Posted by Robynsart at 7:30 PM
Friday, November 14, 2008
I sit here this morning, blank. I have a touch of the flu and am pretty blah.
I have some fabulous ideas for journals, and hopefully this weekend will include making them. I also checked out my latest photos I took and I was pretty pleased with what I saw.
I got a call from my sister-in-law last night. My dad has another blockage and has to go back in for surgery... probably another stint. So I called my dad and he seemed a little anxious. He said they will keep me posted.
Anyway... nothing really to say today. I hope everyone has a fabulous Friday.
Posted by Robynsart at 4:36 AM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Yesterday I wrote about my pain. My pain is very distracting... at all times but first thing in the morning. In the morning I can think, write, create, I can blog! I do believe that I'm on the right path and will find some answers soon to get rid of this pain. In the meantime, I trudge along.
Last night, I received an email from someone wanting to buy a photo. Not even one listed for sale on Etsy. I did a happy dance, let me tell you! I made my first photo sale! And the buyer connected me through my blog. How happy is that?? I immediately twittered, then texted everyone I know to share my joy.
Today feels like a new day... a new era. Things are shifting, and it's time. It's time to bloom and flourish. It's time to be open to possibilities. Time to spread our wings. I can feel it. Can you? I am so excited.
Posted by Robynsart at 4:51 AM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
About a year and a half ago, I went to my primary care physician for allergies. She did a basic exam on me and found an enlargement in my thyroid. This is how it all began. I had an ultrasound, and was found to have a multi-nodular goiter. Thyroid function is normal, so it was not alarming to me or my doctor.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. New insurance, new doctor, and they wanted to test everything, so I went in for a complete blood panel. Still, thyroid function is normal. All bloodwork looked fine. But, a referral to an endocrinologist was ordered.
So, October 7, I went to the endocrinologist. He suggested a fine needle biopsy. He stuck 4 needles into the lumps, and told me that there might be some soreness for up to a week. That's when the problems began. I was tough through the biopsy. Nothing to numb my throat, but I made it through.
I cannot begin to describe the pain and discomfort I have felt since that biopsy. There was bruising, and that went away. But after the bruising, came a constant 'lump in my throat' feeling. And an ache that is with me constantly. Many days it's so uncomfortable that I'm in tears.
And here's where the weirdness comes in. A side effect has been difficulty with expressing myself. I've had reiki done on my throat chakra. Still, it is with me constantly. A heaviness and pain in my throat. And at most times, the tears are just around the corner. I'm not a crier, though, so I fight that off. I do not like feeling vulnerable. I do not like weakness... in my self, anyway.
Oh, the endocrinologist sent me an email saying he did not get enough cells to test, but he was not going to worry about it, and he will check it again in 3 months. That was fine, until all the pain. So, I'm going back to see him next Monday. And at times, I think it's all in my head. But, the pain is somewhat dulled with Excedrin... I only take that about every 3rd day though, I don't like taking stuff for pain.
There is a possible thyroidectomy in my future... or perhaps some psychotherapy is in order??? I'm at a loss here. I don't feel like I am myself. And sometimes, I wonder if I will ever return to feeling like myself.
Posted by Robynsart at 7:35 AM
I almost forgot! Thanks to all of you who critiqued my photos! And thanks to all of you who visit my blog! The winner of the drawing is Geoff. So, Geoff, let me know whether you'd like the 8X10 print of "The Wise Tree" or a journal.
I think I will have another giveaway... I just need to concoct a reason for it!!
Posted by Robynsart at 4:49 AM
As most of you know, I'm doing the 100 day Co-Creating your reality challenge. One of the tools I chose to use was a vision board. I went to the craft store and bought a poster size foam-core board and cut up tons of magazines. I have pictures on there that depict most of the things I want in life... from a home to furnishings, to pictures that (to me) show organization, exercise, relaxation, etc.
My vision board has been added to over the past weeks. And I keep it on an easel, so I can see it all throughout my day. And yes, having a visual does help. I'm that much closer to attaining the things I want. And getting rid of things I don't.
It is not all-inclusive, though... I tried to cover my bases and put pictures on there for everything. But I had not planned to do an etsy shop, so it's not on there. I also had not planned to walk through my home and start to get rid of clutter. I took DVD's to my work and sold a bunch, am taking VHS tapes. We never watch them, but in the recent past have packed them into boxes and moved them from home to home 3 times. When we do move, we are setting up room by room, and I'm a minimalist more and more, so all the decor that we do not use is going bye-bye. It feels good.
My etsy shop can be found at www.robynsart.etsy.com and so far I have a couple of photos and my journals on there. I am expanding my selection real soon. I'm thinking about adding some milk bath for the holidays, and possibly some microwave neckwarmer things that I make. If you've been to my shop, thank you! If you've not visited yet, I urge you to check it out. And either way, check back to see what I'm up to next.
Part of this journey feels like a roller coaster ride. I have no idea what's around the next corner, but it's sure to be thrilling, and I'm ready!
Posted by Robynsart at 4:36 AM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
That's a catch phrase at my work... when one person asks another what they've been up to, many times they say "living the dream." But it's a pat answer that really means nothing to them.
Each moment I am closer to living my dream. Sometimes it feels so far away, but I know the baby steps I'm making. I know the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into those steps, no matter how small they may seem. My toil is a reward in itself.
When I was younger, my dreams relied on others... I wanted what they wanted-- both for me and for themselves. I allowed myself to think their chosen dreams/goals were mine... no wonder I could not muster up any enthusiasm!! Now that I'm older, I have my own dreams. They do not rely on anyone else to become reality. And, I've realized that my dreams coming to fruition do not cancel out anyone elses dreams. In fact, the closer I get to attaining my dreams, the more I should be able to enrich the lives of those around me.
Dreams are an amazing thing. Once we have them, no-one should be able to take them away. And my belief is the more we focus on them, the more we are drawn to those who are like-minded.
I will go softly into this day... with my dreams in my heart, and success on my mind.
Posted by Robynsart at 4:32 AM
Monday, November 10, 2008
I meant to post this weekend but life happens... then this morning and I had connectivity problems.
This is my 100th post!! And to celebrate it's giveaway time!
As you know, I'm taking a photography class. I would like some critiques. So... scroll back through my blog... comment on one or two of my photos. Tell me what you like, what you don't. I want marketable photos. All critiques will be appreciated. And each one will get your name in a hat for a prize.
So, what's the prize? Go to my etsy shop (link to the right)... there you can see an 8X10 called "The Wise Tree". You can choose that or a journal. I will pick a name tomorrow evening, and get the info from the winner on Wednesday.
Thank you for reading me! Thanks for sharing this part of my life with you.
Posted by Robynsart at 1:59 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
This week has seemed so long. Work has been slow so the time spent there has seemed never-ending. I have had a lot of time to network on Etsy and figure a few things out. And I have done a bit of creative writing. So, some good has come out of it.
I am looking forward to the weekend! For my giveaway, for one thing! The very next post will be the giveaway post, so stay tuned! Also, I am so looking forward to sleeping in :-). I am a morning person and I get up at 4am every week day. My work day starts at 6:30, but I absolutely love a slow, relaxed morning to prepare for my day. On the weekends, sleeping in may only mean til 7, but I always feel like I've gotten so much sleep.
This weekend, I hope to put more photography on Etsy. I am really enjoying my new camera, and seeing the results so quickly. So many of you have been very encouraging about my photography and I am grateful for that! I am taking a photography course, so hopefully the technical elements of my photos will improve.
When I was in 3rd grade, there was a girl named Norma in my class. She could draw very well, and when she showed the teacher, she was told that yes, she had a lot of talent, and she should possibly consider art school after she graduated. I did not understand! She had skills, we could all see that, so why would she need to go to school for it? I now understand. Natural talent is a wonderful thing, but one always has room to grow. And, as an adult, I may not choose to learn in 'normal' environments, but still, everyday I learn.
In fact, I wonder what I will learn today?
Posted by Robynsart at 4:39 AM
Thursday, November 6, 2008
With the election over, so many are talking about change. I've heard many people optimistic about the change that can now occur. The question I ask is this: many of the changes I've heard people refer to are personal change... why did it have to wait? Are we not each responsible for our own change?
So many people I know are followers. And they live their day to day feeling helpless, held down by the man. But the power is within! We want a new job? Go out, gain the skills, and get it! We want to stay at home? Great! Do your research and do all you need to do to attain that. We want a new car? Save up, shop around, get it. We want to pay off debt? List it all out and make a plan, get advice if needed, and pay it off.
None of it is easy. And it's not instant. That's another thing... we live in an instant society. We want it all and we want it NOW. And if we don't get what we want instantly, we throw tantrums that would make a 2 year old take notes. I am not pointing fingers here. I am guilty of the wanting change but not working towards it mentality.
But today... with the air of hope, we should each begin our own personal change. I honestly feel that if each person worked on themself, then we would be a more cohesive, happier nation. If we each tapped into the power within, imagine all of that power as a group. It's a pretty amazing thought.
Today I am going to continue to work on some of the changes in my life. I am going to be mindful, and present, and take baby steps. And it won't be instant. But I will get there! The change will be mine.
Posted by Robynsart at 4:45 AM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I sit here, blank this morning. Yesterday was a difficult day for so many reasons. And as soon as I awoke this morning, I was dreading today. So... I already put it out there, today is going to be an awful day. So, now it will be.
Time to change that! I so often forget that the power is within ME... it does not belong to other people unless I give them the power. So. Today I am in the driver's seat. If conversations are occurring that will affect me negatively, I will not participate. I will not own any fault for things that are not mine... I will not be made to feel bad about other's choices.
Some days, I am around the most awesome people who motivate and inspire me. Others, I'm around negative, hateful people. I need my force field. I wrote about my emotions the other day... they have been getting the better of me, and I need to take them off of autopilot.
So... before I go to work, I am activating my force field, and I will be filling it up with happiness, hope, and optimism. Sorry, no room for anything else! And... I really need to get to that place where my force field is automatic. That might require a change of jobs though... one never knows what the future holds.
Posted by Robynsart at 4:40 AM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I am still doing my 100 days. It feels like this road in the picture... windy, where you can't tell what is around the next corner. This picture was taking on a picture taking exhibition on Sunday, along a historic highway. It made for a beautiful day. Around each and every corner was a site more beautiful than the one before... just like my 100 days.
I am doing my 100 days with my sister in law. She's not doing it online, but she is with me nonetheless. We send a lot of texts... texts to check in, texts to encourage. And so far, it's pretty amazing. We will be out of touch, then text one another at exactly the same time. Or I will send her a text of gratitude and she will tell me how much she needed exactly that.
Since I've done the Artist's Way several times, sometimes I use terminology that you become very familiar while reading Julia Cameron's work. Crazy maker. Synchronicity. It's so nice to be able to respond to her rants about a very troubled, meddling person with a story about crazy makers from the book.
Crazy makers pry into your life. And they pick things apart. They criticize every aspect of your life... sometimes in the sweetest manner. They say the meanest things with a smile on their face... often leaving the recipient reeling. Once you can identify the crazy makers in your life, it is so much easier to deal with them. So, we help one another out.
Update on my lost sister. Lynda is still lost. Still no contact. Lynda, if you see this, please just leave a comment on here, or send me a quick email... I love you.
Life is interesting. It's such a windy road. Sometimes there are roadblocks, detours, or accidents slowing your travel. But it's always worth it!
Posted by Robynsart at 4:53 AM
Monday, November 3, 2008
Before I begin, this is post 95. So, by the end of the week will be my giveaway.
I am a rational person. I am generally on an even keel. My moods don't sway. I can get angry, if provoked, but I usually need reason.
Yesterday, though... my inner bitch was raging. I could see myself swirling out of control, and I could not really control it. Well, I controlled it some. Anyway, I don't know what the deal was. I am hoping it's pms. For the male readers, sorry if that bothers you... but it can be a real thing. I was in control enough to not verbalize all the crazy thoughts in my head, but man, was I driving myself nuts!!
Today, much better. I knew I needed a good night's sleep. And I started the day with some physical activity and positive thinking. I think the trick is just not letting it in... like a bad house guest... once they are there, it can be hard to remove them. However, if you have some advance notice then you can prohibit them from coming.
So... my no vacancy sign is up, I am at peace, and I am ready to conquer the world. Yesterday we went on a picture taking expedition, looking for waterfalls... I will start tweaking the pictures. There are some I LOVE that I will definitely be putting on Etsy!
*raising glass* Here's to a very creative, sane week! *clink*
Posted by Robynsart at 5:07 AM
Saturday, November 1, 2008
My friend Connie from www.dirtyfootprints.blogspot.com challenged me to write a blog post about being brave. Her challenge was in response to a post I had written about fears... and one she had written as well.
Yes, Connie... we are brave. Every moment of every day. We are brave when we go to work, when we do our jobs, when we choose to create, and when we choose to make a difference.
But more specifically, I will talk about me. It seems so difficult, because won't this be like bragging about myself? We are taught modesty from a very young age. But... here I go.
I was so brave at the age of 14 when I planned my mother's funeral. I was brave when I moved from the only home I had ever known when I was 18... I packed up my belongings, and got on a Greyhound bus. I moved from South Texas to Idaho, and shared an apartment with my brother.
Recently, I have been brave with putting my art up on Etsy. I am brave daily when I post my thoughts on here.
My family and I were all brave when we stopped on the 4th of July to assist a family whose vehicle was broken down hours from home.
I am proud when I think of all of these instances. As we all should be. We are brave way more often than we even realize.
How are each of you brave? I am sure that you'll be surprised by the many examples of your own that you can come up with.
Posted by Robynsart at 8:41 PM