Thursday, December 17, 2009

Remember When I Was Sane?

Not just partially sane, as in functional. But, really clear and (seriously) high on life. Wow. Those were a few killer years. As I look back, I think a few things...

Well, it took me a while to figure... but I believe that was just me being un-depressed. Completely happy and satisfied. Not only that but eager and excited to get up every morning. It was almost disgusting how well adjusted I was. And there was certainly negativity in my life, changes, lost loves, all the usual stuff. But I was in such a calm and learning space. I would be upset, journal it out and move on. Just really healthy.

Similarly, when I reflect on those years, I think about what the magical combination was to bring about such clarity. What was I doing then that I'm not doing now? It pretty much comes down to The List of Sanity. I was doing all of those things with regularity. Especially the exercise and people parts, probably my most challenging items. I had to admit finally that connecting with people on a regular basis (rather than avoiding them as is my natural inclination) is very healing for me. Supportive.

During those days, I went to see a band weekly (dancing, music) where a following of friends had formed (connecting). I also would walk the beach at least 2-3 times a week (great exercise, meditating, nature). As many days as I could, I would spend mornings at the coffee shop w/ my journal. I was also just starting up my business, so I was in super-creative mode... along with the excitement of realizing my dream of starting my business... this all added up to some very magic time.

Seems pretty simple when I lay it out this way. It is, really.


Now let's get on with it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day Off

Ok I give up. I need a day off. I was trying to feel lame and guilty about not wanting to move or go anywhere today... but no.

I certainly have errands and walks and whatnots that should be done today. But really, I've been working hard every day for a week. First preparing for, then showing in a holiday craft fair. As I like to say to my workaholic boyfriend, it's ok to take a day to do nothing. It's called rest.

so I am now officially having guilt free r&r.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Go Outside

So simple. But so difficult to do from The Cave. The whole idea of cave dwelling is to stay in it. It's dark and comfy in your pjs all day. Who wants to deal with anyone out there? not me.

My plan has been working so far on the Go Outside point. My daily routine has been to leave the house for a dog walk before noon (ok almost daily, but it's pretty much a routine anyway). I am only going somewhere pretty to walk the dog. I don't have to prepare or look cute or think much about it. I choose places that will be mostly deserted, so no human interaction is necessary. It is only to go outside somewhere pretty. It's not such a difficult task.

And let me say that doing this alone lightens my mood more every day. I try to be meditative about it, not thinking but just looking at the trees and clouds an birdies. Trying to soak it all into my soul. I breathe deeply and try to move all the parts of my body. It feels great.

Afterwards, I might have an errand to run on the way home. This helps me pick a part of town for my walks, and also makes me feel like I've really gotten things done. Home by noon? Lookit me! I remember to pat myself on the back for all those days I couldn't leave the house at all... waking up baby!

I am really making this a priority on The List. I need to get a good daily routine set up now, before the rains and the real darkness. I really believe that going outside, going into nature, moving around... these are key in the first steps out of The Cave. Just stepping out to the back yard, facing the sun and standing for a few minutes can really make me smile. Smelling the grass, hearing the birdies, warming the face... that is good stuff. It's called being out in the world.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stupid Money

Already the fear is starting. How will I make up for my lost income? It's winter, my slowest time for sales... of course I knew this when I quit my job. I know I'll be ok for a few months. And so far I've been able to stave off that stupid fear of money, and instead have felt eager and hopeful for all the possibilities coming. I still feel good.

But that icky feeling of not being able to make it on my own creeps in. And pokes me when I sleep. That fear and preoccupation with income can really upset my creativity and power overall. I can get so involved in the business side of things that I don't do the actual artwork. The basis of all my good intentions and happiness. Sigh.

But no. I won't give in. I have a few good months of creative and healing work to do before the whole money thing comes into effect. I have yet to start meditating regularly, and that will help MUCH in my peaceful and clear outlook.

Anyway, I just got a call from one of my retail stores for an order. I have another week of playing with art before my last craft show of the season. The sun is still out and so the dog walks are easily a daily routine. The house is full of food, the bills are paid. It is all very good.

Monday, November 30, 2009

First Day

I had a nightmare last night about getting my job back. I was having interviews and got the job... but they wanted to pay me sub-minimum wage. I was quite upset and running around trying to talk to the boss. Then I realized... I don't want this job!

And so now I don't have it. My last day was the day before thanksgiving... so this would be my first work day off. I cannot express the joy and freedom I feel. The sun is out and coffee is brewing. My body, after days of laying around and eating, is quite eager to go for a walk with the dog.

It's a great day!!

I'll talk breifly about why I quit my stupid dayjob. See, I have a mildly successful art/crafts business wherein I travel to festivals and try to sell things that I make. I don't quite make a living at it, but it's always growing. My goal is to make my biz pay all of my bills all year round. Every other year or so, I run out of money and get a stupid dayjob. Some have been fun and creative in some way. Some much less so. Such as this last job. A fine job by many standards. Good pay, somewhat flexible hours, nice employers, quality small local business. However, not a hint of creativity to the job, nor was it remotely related to anything I care about at all. I did learn a lot about different aspects of running a business. I mean, this was a good job for what I needed at the time. But, ever since my first day of work I've been looking for a way out...

That was 9 months ago. So as I see it, I lasted a good long time. All through my busy festival season and beyond. And as predicted, my endpoint came. The point where I can no longer do the job pleasantly and feel sane when I go home. So I'm done. As I have been with other jobs before. This time though, I felt more like I had to defend myself to others who might not know me very well or understand my philosophies on work.

I refuse to live my life trudging along at a job I hate solely to make money. This is a core belief in my life. I will put freedom above all, and gladly give up stability to achieve it. 

Doing this job felt like I was a failure at my goals. Suffering at this dumb job for months, solely to pay off my credit card and make up for slow show sales, went against everything I believe in. Yes, it was a decent job and not totally horrible. But to me it felt like being choked. I couldn't breathe.

And now I can. Aaaaaaaah.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wake Up Call... Reminder

Can I just take a moment to count my blessings? Whew. I just found out my cousin has died from a heart attack at the age of 36. That could have been me... as last year, at the age of 38, I too suffered from a cardiac event. I mean, 911, bring me back to life and all that. Serious stuff. It's good to have the reminder that people die from these. Worse than death, though, would be if I were now less able. You know, sickly and tired all the time... or had to have a special diet or a bunch of meds. Eesh. I shiver at that.

But, not only did I not die. Lucky enough, if you hear the entire story (which I'm working on essay-style), but I feel perfectly fine. I recovered in 2 weeks and have no after effects whatsoever. The doctors said they could find nothing wrong with me at all... aside from that one little clog.

So here, I'll express my deep thanks for this blessed life. It really is. And whatever I'm here to do, it will be done. I take none of it for granted.

Monday, November 16, 2009

So Far, So Good.

I know I just started this Winter of Awakening thing... but I'm off to an excellent start if I say so myself. Something inside me is very determined to make magic this winter. And I can feel it coming on.

I'm going to rearrange my home routine. Very important, as I am a creature of habit, usually bad ones. My plan is to make better use of my time and prioritize my mental health. My daily routine should look something like this:

A.M. - Coffee and journal/blog time. Out of the house well before noon to someplace pretty for dog walking (rain or shine!) Stop for misc errands on the way home.

Noonish -  Eat lunch, clean up some part of the house briefly.

P.M. - Work on the Project of the Day for 3-5 hours.

OK so this is mostly applicable for when I'm done with my current job. For which I have just submitted my notice. Step one of my sanity routine lol. However, this weekend I got a nice start. I've taken the dog out to a natural spot both days, so that's a good step.

I'll note that just taking the dog to the beach for an hour has done a few things on my List of Sanity: moving around, going outside, going into nature, and arguably meditation (if we agree that staring at the ocean, breathing deeply and thinking very little will count).

The List of Sanity

Right. First things first. I have a list of things that keep me sane.  I have found that if I actually do ALL of these things simultaniously and regularly, I am much more than just sane. I am a vital, powerful and joyful person who really gets things done. I'm not sure why it's so hard to do them sometimes, I've quit trying to figure that out. At this point, the important thing is to figure out how to DO them. Got me? Think less, do more. Anyway, here's my list (in no particular order):

  1. Create
  2. Go outside
  3. Go into nature
  4. Move around
  5. Listen to music
  6. Connect with people
  7. Eat decently
  8. Journal
  9. Learn
  10. Meditate
  11. Play
 As we go along, I'll elaborate on each one. The important thing to note for now, as you can easily tell by looking over the list, is that many of these things can be done together at the same time. Simple things... that seem oh so difficult from The Cave. Just stepping up to do ONE of them will help move you along to other items on the list and maybe even a smile. Trust me on this.

Get started, woman!

Ok, well I've decided I need a new blog. Wait, I started some entries in my journal while I was still contemplating posting them... let's see...

Pre-Blog Blatherings

Well, while I'm waiting to figure out a better title for my new blog… I'm writing in my journal. I'm starting this blog to do two things:

One: I've decided that this will be The Winter of Self Improvement for me. I'm going to use this blog as a sort of journal to chronical my progress.

Two: I want to reach out to people who might be stuck at home and depressed, what I call 'cave-dwelling', and share my tips and rules for getting un-depressed and back into the world.

I like this idea. I've struggled with depression most of my life, and while I'm not a trained professional or anything, I know what has worked for me. I know what it feels like to not want to leave the house or answer the phone or engage in the world whatsoever. But, somehow I've managed to become a fairly vital person with a business and some ambition. I understand the importance and power of just being sane. Hahaha (I don't know why, but that last sentence struck me as funny). But, believe me, it's an ongoing challenge. I think I seem pretty stable to the Outside World… but it's taken lots of practice.

Ok well I just woke up. My thoughts are all over the place… I'll try to organize my ideas better in the future. For now, I'm trying to come up with a better title than The Winter of Self Improvement. Although, that's the one that is sticking… I'm sure there's something catchier I can produce.

Oh and I also need a good fake name. I'm trying to be somewhat anonymous here, as I discuss some very personal problems and processes. Hm… nothing. I'll work on that too. Perhaps another cup of coffee is in order.

[here I will insert a video of Jackie Greene's "Don't let the Devil Take Your Mind"]