GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Making things simple

Yesterday morning as I got ready for work, I decided to not wear makeup because I was planning a cycling workout in the evening. I didn’t want to have to remove my makeup before I showered after the workout, knowing it would be intense & I’d sweat more than I would during a casual indoor ride.

That leads me to think of how can I simplify my routine so I have more time to do things like write, paint, sketch, and practice Spanish on Duolingo. A full face of makeup daily is a place to start. Today I’m wearing a moisturizer with some foundation powder and tinted lip balm. Simple. No mascara, no eye shadow, no eyebrow gel. It will be a quick wash when I go to bed and I won’t have to scour my eyes to make sure there’s no residual mascara to make my eyes darker than they already are.

Next, I thought about my wardrobe. How can I simplify it? I’m due to go clothes shopping soon (the last time I bought jeans was online at the start of covid in 2020 when many retailers shut down to in-person shopping) I thought about switching jeans for leggings but no. I like demin, and I want to experiment on altering pockets to make them larger. So sticking with jeans, and my favorite year-around booties (BOC Sabelle lace-ups) so maybe simple t-shirts and sweaters for layering, maybe some scarves. Mix and Match, but have a few ‘extra’ things for going out (those would be full makeup days as well).

How can I make art regularly a simple practice? Last night, after my workout & shower, I needed to get my Steal Like an Artist Journal 30-day challenge completed. I have a bunch of 5×7 (ish – maybe more like 4×6) cards that I’m going to create something on every day. I really didn’t want to sit in the dining room /studio so I grabbed a few cards and a travel art kit I created to carry with me to work, plopped in front of the TV to watch (listen) to Big Bang Theory reruns while I created a face with watercolor crayons and used some scrap paper to glue a shirt. These cards aren’t intended to be masterpieces but a practice to get the creative juices flowing.

Tonight I’ll meet for a knitting group and since I’m in-between projects decided I’d continue my simplicity theme and crochet some cat hats to use up some of the yarn I have stashed. I think it will be quick to work up some to put in my Etsy shop, which is on my list to update & utilize in 2023.


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The week time doesn’t exist

It’s the Wednesday between Christmas and New Year. The office is quiet because most people saved their time off to take in this weird limbo time. I’m working on cleaning my desk, preparing spreadsheets for 2023, and organizing my computer files. It’s only been 2 hours. The day drags on.

I may run errands at lunch. I don’t want to spend money though. I have some extra cash from Christmas but a goal for 2023 is to be mindful of purchases. I don’t currently need anything and may in the future so I’ll save the money to buy what I need when I need it.

I have art videos I could watch, but that feels wrong when I’m at work. I doubt anyone would care, again, no one is here but still. I watch videos during my lunch break. I could request some Postcrossing addresses but my postcards and stamps are at home.

I’ll check the holiday schedules for next year and try to save time off to take during this in-between week.


A Creative Life

I’m still feeling out of sorts (it’s been a long few months) but I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment earlier. I’m looking at ‘creativity’ as something to produce a tangible product. Something to put in my Etsy shop (I have one but I’ve never finished setting it up) or a service to offer. This morning as I was looking through my bookcase I noticed the Ernest Holmes book Creative Mind. I bought it while going through a local church’s Science of Mind classes. I was expecting an artistic book and was disappointed it turned out to be about spiritual law and connecting with Source. I’m really drawn to New Thought but I spiral around it, or maybe orbit around it is a better term? I come close, but then drift away and come back, drift away. I’ve done that with my artistic projects as well.

What if I use the word Artistic for drawing, painting, knitting, and the word Creative for connecting with Source, Secret Messages, looking for Hope and Joy in my daily activities? That makes a HUGE difference in my mindset.

I can be creative without being artistic. The pressure is off. I already feel like a weight has been lifted.


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Adventures in Painting (a shed)

Oh it was a busy weekend! First I road 30 miles, my longest distance so far, in training for a 33 mile ride in November. A ride I signed up for next month has been changed to a virtual only event, so I wonder if the November ride will follow suit. Get your vaccine people! So that afternoon I was pretty immobile. I did not get my normal post ride headache. I started to get a headache so I would grab some salt and put it under my tongue. I did that every time I felt a headache starting, which seemed like most of the afternoon, but it didn’t go into full blown migraine mode. Maybe I’ve solved the post ride headache mystery.

The next day my mother-in-law was in town and helped paint the shed that was built last month. I think we have about 90% done. I’ll work on the trim this week and my husband will paint the top sides that I wasn’t comfortable painting on the ladder. This was the 1st time in over 30 years that I painted that wasn’t an art canvas. My mom’s voice was in my head loud! “You’re dripping paint, watch what you’re doing”. “You’re getting paint everywhere” “You’re not doing that right, you’re just making a mess”. Every time time a drop of paint landed on me, or the ground, BOOM there’s my mom. I kept reminding myself paint was getting on the walls and we bought WAY too much paint so it’s not like it was being wasted if I dropped some.

I was on the edge of an emotional breakdown. Comments made were hitting a bit harder than they normally would. I tried to explain to my husband, but was told “Don’t be X, be Y instead”… and repeated questions about what color the doors would be, I had to get away and hid in my closet for a bit. No more than 5 minutes, I don’t think anyone noticed I was gone, or upset.

I’m glad to have a quiet day today, prep for the beginning of next month and have time to myself. If you’re struggling today, you’re not alone. Let’s take one moment, one task at a time, pause to rest when needed and if you’re able to have a self-care day enjoy you’re favorite activities.


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Pause and reset

It’s been a busy weekend. Another longest ride (so far), yardwork, meeting and discussing art and the creative process with friends, laundry. Then it rolled right into the 1st of a new month. The first week of the month is my busiest time. Reports to go audit, files to upload, I always feel rush even when I’m not. The first day of the month is the worst because I put so much pressure on myself to power through it all. When the first day of the month falls on a Monday when I have a zoom book group discussion and need to leave work early to make a women’s bike ride triple that pressure.

I’ve noticed I’m sleeping less. I’m staying up later to get things done in the evenings that get pushed aside because other things need to be done as well. I’m relying more on coffee and caffeine.

I feel like I’ve accomplished more but at what price? I’m a bit light headed, I’m always wanting to take a nap, I’m slipping on healthy eating habits choosing junk food for quick energy and crashing.

Today I’m pausing and resetting my schedule.


Losing track of time

I’ve had a few Thankful Thursday drafts that were never completed. Now it seems 3 weeks, maybe a month, has past.

I started writing in my journal “Matters of Consequence” that my friend, Mandy, started doing. I’m not consistent with it either, but along with my Thankful lists, I’ve felt a shift in my life towards being more present.

I’m also working on a meditation practice. I spend 10 mins in the morning and before bed practicing Heart Coherence meditation, using an Inner Balance training device from HeartMath. I purchased the device myself, so this is NOT a sponsored post but my own observations. Working with the trainer on level 1, I could drop into and maintain coherance easily. After a few weeks, I bumped up to level 2. That was a challenge. I could easily go into ‘medium’ coherence but acheiving ‘high’ coherence was difficult. After about a month now I’m around 70% high coherence during my meditation times. It’s suggested to move up levels when you are 80-90% high coherence.

But what I’ve really noticed is during my commutes to and from work, I’m less irritable, more “go with the flow” (FLOW is big word the last month), and noticing more.

I recently completed Sktchy July’s 30Faces30Days lessons in Procreate. I learned so much! I’m taking a break from sketching on my iPad now though, but when I feel the urge to return I have a lot more techniques in my bag of tricks. I’ve signed up for the Inktober Portrait Challenge for October. I can’t wait to learn techniques and tricks for ink drawing. I think I’ve attempted Inktober the last 2 years, maybe 3, and never get through the end.


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Gratitude & Cycling

My last post was on the edge of despair and depression.  Luckily,  I know that it doesn’t last, and while things may not be sunshine and lollipops, I will return to a more even keel.

Riding out the storm can be a challenge.

I’ve focused on things I’m grateful for, remembering to surrender everything to Divine Source and return to my art journal to keep my hands busy.   I also still want to make this blog more than a sporadic rambling when I’m procrastinating something else.

An email group I was on a very long time ago would have Thankful Thursdays.  I’m going to reinstate that beginning tomorrow.   I’m still working on revamping my morning routine to include yoga and meditation (sorry Morning Pages, but I’m over you) and would like to include art or writing a quick post.

Oh, today is my Cycleversary.   A year ago today, after going to a wine tasting my artist cycling friend Mandy hosted, I dug my box store hybrid bike out of the garage, aired up the tires and went out for a ride.  Since then I’ve ridden 143 miles, purchased a road bike (so much faster than the hybrid), and have completed a few virtual races (93 miles total).

I’m still working on building up the courage to ride on main roads.  I noticed and may have posted here, that while I’m walking cars give me more room than when I’m on my bike.   I also need to learn how to fix a flat tire.  I haven’t experienced it yet, but I’m sure it’s inevitable.

My goal for this year is to ride 300 miles, so I better get on it! That’s only  5 miles a week so it’s completely doable for a 2nd-year beginner.

Until next time, wash your hands and wear your mask.


2 months later

What day is it?  What month is it?

I don’t get out that much to begin with but with “shelter in place” and social distancing rules, I feel like I’m in a weird limbo.

I’m not into talking on the phone.  Zoom meetings aren’t the same as meeting in person. I feel on stage on a video call.  People watching isn’t the same.

In the beginning, I was overwhelmed with all the Draw With Me videos and live streams. I’ve managed to consistently watch Stefan Bucher draw his daily monsters on Youtube.  I don’t contribute much to chat.  I’m not an open person, but now I feel even more closed up.

I bought a Switch Lite and Animal Crossing New Horizons.  I’m reading Providence by Max Barry.

Maybe soon I’ll be able to meet with friends at a bar or coffee shop.


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My Mind is Numb

I want to be consistent with this writing thing, but when I sit down with my laptop, I don’t have any ideas.  A lot has happened in the last 3 days.  Worried mama type things. Spontaneous crying.  My son had an incident at work. A fall causing a seizure, or a seizure causing a fall.  No one saw what happened. A phone call from the paramedics asking what hospital I wanted him to go to will haunt me.  I arrived at the ER expecting to see him unconscious, hooked up to machinery. He was standing, putting his shirt back on. One side of his face was covered in dried blood.   A cut on the side of his head. I know head wounds bleed a lot. A fractured vertebra we found out about later.  They took him for a scan.  I heard on the intercom “Code Blue in CT Room 1”  I knew it was him.   He doesn’t remember much from the hospital, and virtually nothing after the second seizure and was medicated.

Luckily, he’s back to himself now, despite random bouts of nausea and vomiting. (I honestly don’t need to hear your explanation of concussion symptoms. I’ve been given more advice on concussions (which he was NOT diagnosed with) than a pregnant woman gets on childrearing.)

The coming week will be busy.  The next few months my routine will be disrupted.  I don’t care about any of that, as long as he’s okay.  I’m trying to not hover like a mama hawk. Technically, he IS an adult.  I’ve hugged him more the last 3 days than I have in the past 3 months.  He knows I’m worried.  Luckily, he tolerates me.   I hated when my mom treated me like a child even when I was in my 30s and 40s.  I honestly don’t think she ever saw me as a functioning adult.  I’m working on giving him space but being available if needed.

I know moms who have lost children. I can’t even begin to imagine what they have gone through.  I feel like my worry is, insignificant? compared to their experiences.  And I feel guilty.

I’m focusing on catching up housework, and laundry.  I went out for a while and sketched.  I’ve mowed.   I decided to write although I feel this is more of a rambling stream of consciousness.   Maybe getting it all out of my head will help.  Or I’ll just go clean out the fridge.

 


Facing Fear

I turned 50 recently, and with that, thinking about what I miss out on because I’m afraid.

  • Afraid of what people may think
  • Afraid it will be too difficult
  • Afraid of being uncomfortable

I’ve seen 2 rabbits in less than 24 hours.  One last night in a yard as I was riding my bike (facing a fear) and one this morning while driving to work.  The one this morning was laying in the grass easement next to a busy divided highway.

A quick search on the metaphysical meaning of Rabbit mentioned facing & flushing out fear.  Wow… that’s exactly what I’ve been contemplating lately.

I had taken some Soulodge courses with Pixie Lighthorse 6 years ago or so, and I’m certain Rabbit was one of them.  I’m sure I have the lessons saved on my external hard drive at home.

This past weekend, I put my fear aside.  I went alone to a knitting group for the 1st time.  I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured if worse came to worst, I can sit in a corner and focus on my knitting.   I really had a great time. It was a small group and everyone was friendly.  I managed to get a good chunk done on a sock (now finished).  I’m planning on what I want to start for the meeting next month.

Then in the afternoon, I went to a writing group.  I know I’m a sporadic blogger and would like to change that.  This group was very inspirational and I had a lot of ideas brewing for upcoming topics.  Maybe I’ll adventure more and try my hand at poetry.

In the evening – still the same day – I went to a wine tasting for cyclists.  I’m not actually a cyclist, but I do plan on getting there.  The women I met were very encouraging, which instigated my 1st ride last evening, where I saw Rabbit.  Facing my fears after stories of falls and crashes.

Everything comes back full circle.