GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


Leave a comment

Dedicate – Halfway

We’re just past the halfway point in Dedicate, a month-long Yoga With Adriene yoga practice.

It’s hard to believe I’ve stuck with this for over 2 weeks straight.  I’m still working on the best timing for me to meet the mat.   Mornings are better than evenings.  I don’t like getting up at 5:00 am so I’m going to work on switching up my normal morning routine.  Instead of taking care of the dogs, coffee and toast while browsing online and doing my DuoLingo language lesson, I’ll try taking care of the dogs, yoga, coffee while getting ready for work.  I’ll see if there will be time for DuoLingo before getting ready for work or I can do those after work or on my lunch break on my phone.

I’ve noticed I’m less sore in my ankles and knee but more sore in my arms and shoulder.  I think about my posture as I’m standing in line at the store, and how I’m moving as I walk through a store.   My flexibility is slowing getter better, but it will be months still before I’m as flexible as I was when belly dancing.

I feel more patient, content and less rushed through out my day.   I’m less anxious about things, I think.   Guess I’ll see how that is when I’m faced with something that causes me anxiety.

I’m looking forward to finding more of her videos and sessions to work on once January is over.   She has so many on YouTube, it’s just a matter of where do I want to begin!

Namaste.


Leave a comment

Hungry Vs Habit

The other day my mother-in-law was in town running errands, so in the evening after I came home from work we all went out for dinner.

I was fairly hungry at dinner and ate way more than I should have. I’ve been working on mindfully eating so I was aware of my indulgence and embraced it.

The next morning when I woke up, I was not hungry but started my normal routine of making coffee and toast.    Luckily my brain was awake enough to realize what was happening.

Brain: Why are you making toast? You’re so NOT hungry!  Why don’t you wait until you’re actually hungry to eat

Me: Well, I just usually make toast when I wake up.  It’s a habit.

Brain: But you’re NOT hungry right now.

Me: You’re right.  I’ll take some peanut butter crackers to work and I’ll eat them when I am hungry.   And I’ll take my left overs from dinner for lunch.

Yes, there were leftovers even after eating an enormous amounts of food.  American portion sizes are ridiculous.

Anyway… I caught myself in an eating pattern out of habit rather than out of hunger.   It’s a small victory although I did mindfully mindless eat a whole small (4″) chocolate cream pie while watching Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Today I have a geocaching group meet up at one of my favorite restaurants.  I’m not hungry right now and I don’t expect to be hungry at the restaurant.    Being aware right now is a huge accomplishment.

Doing daily yoga has helped with being aware and connected in the moment but I’ll save that for another post.

Namaste.


Leave a comment

Learning a New Language

A few years ago I discovered the app Duolingo, and thought it would be fun to learn Spanish.   It’s something I could use daily in the job I had then, and the one I have now, and I’ve always wanted to learn a 2nd language.

I’ve gotten pretty far in the course, but with the old Duolingo system of having to practice to keep your circles gold, I was spending more time reviewing past lessons than learning new ones.  So I eventually stopped.   I’ve seen with returning that once your lesson is gold, it stays that way!  You’re constantly adding on what you learn so you’re always reviewing. I’m enjoying the new system a lot more.   So much so that I decided I’d learn Dutch.

Dutch is a fun language.  “Ze zijn zijn zons” has been my favorite sentence so far and my favorite word is constantly changing, most recent from slagroom (whipped cream) to handschoenen (gloves or “hand shoes”).  It’s helped reading some posts online from Dutch friends, but don’t know any Dutch speaking people personally or IRL.

Friday night I went to my cousin’s birthday get together. He has learned Spanish and a lot of friends are native Spanish speakers.  I noticed at the party half the room was speaking Spanish, the other half English.  Everyone was friendly and I had a great time but it was just so obvious that Spanish is more useful in my life right now than Dutch.  So for 2019 my goal is to finish the Spanish tree in Duolingo, become conversational (forget fluency!)  I have a GoComics page set up for Spanish comics to follow, I know there’s the Duolingo podcast and I’ll look for more when I have time today, plus I know we have a few Spanish radio stations I could set up.

I’m sad to leave Dutch behind for the moment.  I thought I could learn both languages simultaneously but that didn’t work out for me.

I’m not giving up my Nijntje videos though!

Namaste.


Leave a comment

Use it or Lose It

Use it or lose it…

I’m not referring to the paint tubes I still want to go through and ditch the duds.   I’m talking my body.

I signed up for Dedicate, 30 day yoga journey with Adriene. Today is day 4 (Jan 1st was a Welcome Day).  The yoga sessions are gentle, and mindful.  There’s opportunity for modifications.  It’s all very self-centered, meaning I’m constantly checking my awareness of my body and how does this feel, can I move deeper or is this my limit for today.

After Day 1 I was kinda sore but not bad.  This morning, the bottoms of my heels hurt as I was laying in bed.  My butt was cramping as I was driving home from my cousin’s birthday get together last night.   My body is screaming  “What The Actual F*&K!!”

I think about how my mom was at my age, and how different we are.  I can sit on the floor and play with the corgis, no problem.  I lay on the floor with them when they’re in a chill mood sometimes.   My mom never sat on the floor. “I couldn’t get back up”   She had back problems, degenerative disk disorder, so I know there was pain.  But she never moved for the sake of moving.   On the weekends she’d “go shopping” (browsing) at thrift stores or Walmart.  That was the extent of her exercise.  No daily walking, particularly after she retired. She couldn’t do it.   Her mindset was “I can’t”.   I see myself falling into it at times, but I’m able to recognize it and think “is this me or my mom speaking through me?”

I wonder if Mom had started a practice of walking around the block, or at least up and down the street for 30 minutes regularly if she may still be around.

I’m going to start moving more and keep moving.  I may be sore, but it won’t stop me.


Leave a comment

Sketch In the New Year

Last night my husband and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant for their special New Year’s buffet.   I mentioned I wanted to sketch my dinner to get used to sketching in public without the local chapter of Urban Sketchers to act as a buffer.  Oh, you can read about our new chapter in Jan 2019 issue of Drawing Attention  

I was too hungry to sketch before eating, but after I was finished, I decided I’d sketch the plate of naan we had on the table, along with my empty chai cup.   I’ve sketched in public before, and have had people come up to me, but never when I’m on my own.  A few of the workers stopped as they passed by to see what I was doing.   No one screamed “OMG THIS WOMAN IS DRAWING THIS HORRIBLE PICTURE”, no one made me stand up to share my work with the whole restaurant, no one really even spoke more than a few phrases in passing as I drew.

Drawing in public is scary to a lot of people, but based on my experience, we create that fear. There’s no phsyical danger in it.  No one really cares what you’re doing, they’re too concerned with themselves. You could be on your phone, or in your sketchbook.  Which is more rewarding?

IMG_20190101_191316_746


Leave a comment

Showing Up

20181231_154739

Since I have a quiet day at home,  I decided I’d work on a canvas that has been hanging on my painting wall for months now.  I believe it’s my last unfinished larger canvas.  I spent 2018 concentrating on urban sketching so my canvases were neglected in favor of sketchbooks.

It was a frustrating painting session. My acrylic paints are an amalgamation of tubes collected through the years.  Some may easily be 30 years old or close to it.  I went through them, maybe this time last year, and got rid of ones that were impossible to squeeze out.   I need to repeat that process.

The bottles of craft paint, most inherited from my mom when she passed, have separated and are so runny they make for a nice wash, but nothing more.  I’ll go through those paints as well.

I intuitively selected a palate, and began working the canvas.  I tried to let go and just fall into the colors but I noticed little bits of brush hairs dried into the previous layers of the paint.  Cheap chip brushes.  Why don’t I use better quality items?  All these cheap brushes are crap and I should get rid of them with the crappy dried up paints.

Uh oh…. I’m starting to slip.  I like some of the colors I mixed.  A nice brick-red that reminds me of dried blood.   I color up the happier brighter colors painted months ago with the bricky blood-red.  That should have been another sign.

I sorted out some more paint and this looked like shit.  Really, brown shit of overmixed paint.  Ugh.  Do I actually enjoy this?   If I did, why do I only paint every few months.  Is it something I want to enjoy?  Why do I paint?  What’s the point of any of it?

I put the mucky brown paint brushes into my water bucket, and grab the spray bottle to try to wipe down some of the uglier colors.   I’m not sure how but as I turned to put the spray bottle back on The Caaarrt (aka the Ikea Raskog) I knocked over the bucket of water.

20181231_154727

I’m done.  I’m so done.

I have the towels washing now.  I’ll take a break for a bit, and maybe grab a glass of cream sherry and I’ll spend New Years Eve cleaning out dried up paints, supplies that I have collected over the years but never used.

I showed up today, even if the end results were a minor catastrophe. I’ve learned what I want to concentrate on and what I’m ready to leave behind.  So it was worthwhile.

 


Leave a comment

Farewell 2018

I’ve tried to look back at this past year and see what I’ve accomplished.  Nothing really stands out.  I started playing ukulele then quit when I cut my thumb and couldn’t strum without pain.  I have sketched more, and completed 1 sketchbook, maybe 2.    I cut back on the postcards I’ve sent through Postcrossing, but I did geocache more than previous years.

But my habits are very consistent…  constantly check Instagram, constantly check Facebook, started checking Twitter again.

I’ve decided my mantra for 2019 will be More Sketchbook Less Social Media.   Instead of setting my phone on my desk, I’ll set my sketchbook out and doodle when I need a break from spreadsheets.

I’m also going to buy fewer books and read the ones I have purchased.  Kindle First, BookBub and the selection of books for less than $5.00 on my e-readers has provided me with plenty of reading material.   I completed my Goodreads book challenge goal for 2018 (First time ever!), so there’s another accomplishment for the list, but as of today I have 627 books in my “to read” shelf.

Back to the ukulele, it’s easier to catch up to where I was but my skill level is still pretty raw.  I fell into the same madness as I did with sketching… if I can’t do it perfectly the first time, I don’t want to try.   I saw a video on holding the uke in a specific way, and it’s uncomfortable for me.  If I can’t hold it ‘the right way’, there’s no point to playing it.  I may going back up with the ukulele jam group here. Maybe.

Art, Books, Music.  That’s my focus for the New Year.

Namaste.