GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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React or Respond

A few days ago, I posted on IG a sketch of one of my favorite personalities.  I was anxious as I hit the “share” button, but what the hell!?

I noticed a day later that the personality reposted my sketch! The first comment on her repost was “This disturbs me”.   Granted, I’m not an Artist… I’m an artist.  I sketch for myself, and I enjoyed doing this.   I was thrilled that it was reposted.

My reaction was “Fuck you” and after looking at this person’s profile (who is a photographer, hence also an artist) I blocked them.  Then I thought about my reaction.  Why would I block them?  To keep them from seeing my other sketches?  I post it for people to see.

So I unblocked him, and thought about why he would comment at all, if it truly disturbed him.  To get a reaction out of me?   What would that prove?   Why put the energy into the comment?

Then I thought about something I have seen before “Love it or Hate it, the purpose of art is to elicit a response”  I elicited a response (more likely a reaction) from this stranger.    I didn’t react back.   I didn’t respond, apart from this post.

Since I’ve started studying A Course in Miracles, I’ve been watching how I react or respond to situations.   This whole situation could have caused a huge grievance which I would dwell on over and over periodically for months, or even years.  “Remember when you posted that sketch and that one guy commented…”

But I don’t want to have that darkness lurking around.  I’m letting go of his comments, and of the other comments saying they liked my sketch.  Detachment.

 

 

 


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One Week 100 People 2018

I did a thing!  I saw on Instagram there was a OneWeek100People sketch challenge March 5th – March 9th.  Which is really only 5 days, and not proper week, but time is relative.  My goal was to sketch 20 people a day.  It sounded like a lot at first, but as I got into it, it was fun! I began looking forward to sketching each day. I sketched from TV paused screen, photos in my phone of family, Instagram friends, google search for mug shots, magazines I have around the house. I did some faces, some urban sketching style crowds.  I finished a day early to boot!

My sketches aren’t great, but they are fairly recognizable.  My oldest son mentioned wearing his ‘waffle shirt’ in the sketch I did of him from a photo of his 21st birthday.  I learned what watercolors make a variety of skin tones, and which ones don’t work out so well.  I learned shading more is sometimes better than less, and that noses are weird.

I’m not freaked out about adding people to a sketch now.

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Normal is an Illusion

I’ve been waiting for things to “get back to normal”.  After my mom passed away, after my son enlisted in the Marines and left for boot camp, after my son called saying he was coming home from boot camp after 2 weeks, after my Mom’s birthday without her on Earth…

There’s always something else to cause feelings of uneasiness.

So I’m not going to look for Normal anymore. I’ll accept the things that cause disruptions in my daily life, a broken dryer heating element, traffic in the morning with the annoying LED billboard truck I seem to get stuck behind, winter or severe weather I have absolutely no control over.

Normal is an Illusion.

I wonder if my meditation and yoga practice has directed me towards this epiphany.  I think it’s an epiphany I’ve had many times before, but forget about.  It feels like I’ve been here before, knowing that life is a series of ups and downs and there is nothing consistent except inconsistency.

 


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Obligatory End of the Year Post 2017

If I’m not consistent with my blog posts, I am consistent about doing a year-end post.  Unfortunately, those were all on my previous blog and now lost.  Probably for the best.

I noticed on my Facebook Memories for Dec 31st, there’s a common theme of “this year sucked, I’m ready to get it over with”.   I could say this year is no different, but instead of focusing on the bad things that happened, and there have been a LOT of challenges this year, I want to focus on the things that were good about 2017.

  • I started with a new company in January 2017, finally getting out of the unstable oil & gas industry.
  • With the various deaths in my family, my cousins & I got together for a dinner for the first time ever.  I would like to this to become a regular thing.
  • I’ve also become more at peace with death and dying, and how people grieve in their own ways.
  • I started sketching in public and now our little group is an offical Urban Sketchers chapter.
  • I started geocaching again, and recently hit my 230th find.
  • We got our 2nd corgi, Vision.  It’s been fun to watch him & Jarvis play and wrestle.
  • My daughter self published a book.
  • My oldest son returned to school for automotive maintenance.
  • My youngest son enlisted in the Marines.
  • I finished 21 books.
  • I finished 2 sketchbooks.
  • We have a roof, food and water, and clothing.
  • I’m reasonably healthy.

I’m sure next year’s Obligatory End of the Year post will have a longer list.  I’m going to work on focusing on the good that happens daily, and keep a daily Gratitude Journal.

I was thinking of what my focus word will be for 2018, and I did one of those quizzes that analyzes your Facebook page, and the word given to me was Family.  That is fitting for 2018 so I’ll stick with it.

So farewell 2017.  I’ve learned a lot from you and look forward to 2018.

Happy New Years Y’all.

 


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The Inevitable

Two weeks ago my mom passed away.  I thought I was ready.

I had visited her in the hospital for 3 days prior, seeing her mostly unconscious, bruised from IVs and the respirator on her face (she had very thin skin from sun damage as a child and would bruise easily just brushing up against something).

She had degenerative disk disorder and arthritis in her hip which made sitting for any length of time uncomfortable, even when she was younger.   In the hospital, she would try to toss and turn, but was so weak she could barely move.  We would shift her around as her breathing shallowed indicating she was in pain.  She’d settle down and breath deeply for a while, until that position became uncomfortable.

She had congestive heart failure, had a heart attack 17 years ago or so, continued to smoke afterwards.  She had COPD and breathing problems over the last few years, and kept smoking.  I think cleaning out her dresser & purses, we found 5 packs of ‘stashed’ cigarettes.  She told the doctors she only smoked 2 cigarettes a day.  It was closer to a pack a day.

She also lost her eyesight to macular degeneration. She had told me it’s hereditary but I can’t recall anyone else in the family with it.   I honestly think it had more to do with sitting in a 900 square foot house, windows and doors shut, with a haze of cigarette smoke lingering in the air.

In the hospital she was in pain, annoyed with the respirator and during one days when she seemed more conscious (although I still doubt she knew who was who) wanted to go home.  I wanted her to recover and go home, but I think part of me knew it was the end. I thought I was ready.

Part of my anger in the grief cycle is why didn’t she take better care of herself.  Why continue to smoke after such drastic health events. I never saw her exercise for the sake of exercise.   I really don’t understand it.

I know everyone dies, and no one lives forever but Mom could have lived another 15 years easily.  Well, maybe not easily if she had no desire to change her lifestyle, quit smoking, move more, eat healthier.  I’m not sure how many fresh fruits & veggies she ate.

As I am approaching 50 years old, I’m making a serious commitment to moving more, eating less sugar, and more fruits & veggies.   I’m not going to live forever but when I’m 72 yrs old, I’ll be able to get out and continue to geocache, hike and be social.

As much as I love my mom, I’m not ready to become like her as I get older.

 

 

 


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Broken again (sort of)

I’m actually healing but last week my left knee was very painful.  It was hard to transition from sitting to standing/walking, but once I moved it would feel better.   After work one day I went to the store to pick up healthy joint supplements and pain relieving cream, and as I was walking out to my car, my knee popped, and I couldn’t put weight on my leg.  I was stuck at the edge of the cross walk, and a car was trying to turn into the handicap space.  I waved at him to park and he waved at me to walk across.  But I couldn’t move, shuffling baby steps that were excruciatingly painful.  I think I yelled “JUST PARK!” at the guy, which he did.  Getting out of his car, he tells me he’s had problems with his feet too.  I explained it wasn’t my feet, my knee popped and now I couldn’t walk.  He wished me a nice evening and went on into the store.

I managed to put weight on my sore knee leg if I tippy-toed, and I managed to get to the car.  Which is a manual transition.  I need my left leg to shift.  To fully engage the clutch, I have to straighten my leg…  luckily the store is only 2 miles from my house but that was the most painful 2 miles I’ve ever driven.

I get home, call my oldest son to come outside and get the shopping bags, bring me the crutches from when I had broken my foot, and take me to the after hours clinic.  After a 2-3 hour wait, I go back to see the PA.  She pokes at my knee,  it doesn’t appear to be any bone issues. I haven’t fallen (apart from tripping over Vision and breaking my foot in July), nothing hit my knee…   She explains a x-ray wouldn’t show what’s wrong with the ligaments and tendons, so there was no point in doing one since the bones were fine.  I’m prescribed some anti-inflammatories and pain meds and told to follow-up with my primary care physician.

Next day, call to get into see my PCP (same clinic after hours, just a different side of the building).  Again, pokes at my knee, bones are fine, probably the ligaments or tendons.  She can’t put an order in for an MRI until I have an X-ray.  Which I was told only 12 hours earlier would be pointless .  I get the x-rays and of course, nothing wrong with the bones. A touch of arthritis and a bone spur but other than that, everything is fine.  I’m told I’ll be called for an MRI within 72 hours – since it was Thursday, it wouldn’t be until the first of the next week.

Well, I’m not getting an MRI.  I don’t feel like paying whatever it will cost me, since I have a high deductible on my medical insurance and they only cover ‘well visits’ 100%.   I’ve been icing my knee, taking the anti-inflammatories and if it starts getting sore, usually with a turn or pivot, I try to stay off of it for a bit.    Plus, if I opt for the MRI and they tell me it’s a strain or sprain and to RICE it (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) then I’ve thrown away money.

I think part of the problem with my knee is having walked awkwardly while my broken foot was healing.   I’m more mindful of how I walk, and sit.  And I need to walk more.  I’ve sat around too much lately and I can feel the difference.