GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life

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Trying to find my Niche

Do you ever feel like you’re called to do something but you don’t know what it is?  I feel like I want to share my life experiences but I don’t know the best way to do that. 

I want to share my cycling journey and thought I’d try YouTube but I tend to forget to record video when I’m in the moment.  I’m not coordinated enough to record while I ride, I just recently managed to grab my water bottle for a drink while riding my road bike. Normally I have to stop to grab a drink. 

I started a podcast months ago, made one episode, and then think “Oh, I should record this” when I think of something deep or clever.  It’s usually not a good time to make a recording with a lot of background noise.  When I finally have quiet time the thought has passed or doesn’t seem relevant anymore.

Maybe I’ll try recording podcasts while I ride.  It may keep me from pushing myself too hard, I don’t want to be gasping for breath as I’m trying to talk.  Maybe I need a script.  Speaking off the cuff is a challenge for me.  I’m good at listening, but not good at speaking out loud about my thoughts, feelings, or needs. 

I thought I’d drop TikTok but I like the option to upload multiple short videos, or record in the moment when I remember.  I can now post 3-minute videos.  The introductory cycling journey video I posted (and subsequently deleted) on Youtube was 2 ½ minutes.  So maybe TikTok is more doable.  

I spend more time agonizing over these little details than actually creating. 

Then there is always the blog.  I can type quickly and post easily here, so maybe I should really start with the blog consistently and see where that goes. 

Consistently.   That’s my word of challenge.   What is preventing me from being consistent?  Where am I consistent in my life?  What do I want to be consistent with now?  What can help me achieve consistency? 

Slowing down.


Being in the moment. 

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Hello July 2020

Half of the year is over, and I really hope that the remainder of 2020 isn’t as crappy as the first half.

I decided to keep me focused, I’ll set some goals and revisit them throughout the month.

July Goals:

Art – Make some smaller mixed media pieces on bristol or cardstock.  Something that could be easily shipped worldwide, and get my Etsy shop stocked.   I honestly forget about Etsy, although I’ve purchased through the site.

Movement – BIKE and GEOCACHING!  There are a few caches within my current riding stamina limit, and there are plenty of caches near the lakes that I could get while riding.  I’ve returned to yoga in the mornings, although not constantly, and I notice when I sit too long I get uncomfortable.

Spirit – I’ve been reading Tosha Silver’s It’s Not Your Money and I have a few more weeks to go in that.  I’m going to start reading Julia Cameron’s Finding Water next week.  I may use my blog to sort my thoughts on it.

I’ll check in my goals mid-month and update.



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It’s too early to think of a title

I just finished my morning coffee and I’m thinking about things I have planned this weekend.  The writing group is meeting and another group is starting to work through The Artist’s Way.   My mind wandered to morning pages, blog posts and why do I write.  Do I really want to write?  I used to keep journals until I read through some of my mom’s when she passed.  I don’t want to leave daily rantings and bitching behind for my family to read and think “Wow, was she really this unhappy?”   I systematically started shredding mine, although there may still be a few left in my closet.  I need to shred those as well.

I guess I need to remember I’m NOT my mom.  But I’m probably more like her than I want to admit.

As I was pondering journals and posts, I realized I have 30 mins before I need to get ready for work – why not just write a blog post.   I grab my little Chromebook that is drying to bleed cyan and here I am.   I’m not sure where my train of thought was going.  It seemed like a good substantial post until I started typing.  Now I’m not sure what my point was.

I need more coffee but I’m out of creamer.  I haven’t yet developed a taste for black coffee.

I guess I can count this as a stream of thought writing, although it’s not in longhand in a spiral notebook.  I did have a point to make before I sat down to write. I should really work on drafts in Word before posting.


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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.


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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.

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Spring ahead

Monday after I got back from South Carolina, I finally caught the respiratory infection / bronchitis that has been going around the office,  I spent 2 days mostly sleeping, then another 4 days sleeping as often as I could.    I’m starting to feel more like myself and now I get to play catch up with office work and house work.

It also means everything is back to a normal routine, I haven’t sketched much so I’ve been listening to creative podcasts for inspiration and maybe some challenges to participate in.  The weather is getting warmer, albeit rainy, so I’d like to get out to geocache. I’ve been reading a lot, one for a book club that meets in a few weeks and the other because it was mentioned in a podcast and once I started it, I was hooked.  I may do reviews on them.  I don’t feel educated enough to do book reviews, so maybe not.

I want to dig my bike out of the garage.  I want to start taking the dogs on walks in the evenings.  I want to start doing yoga again (I don’t know what happened after January). I want to clean up the flowerbeds.

But right at this very moment, I need to get ready for work.


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Travel Memory – Visiting my dad

When I was around 12, I would visit my dad and stepmom in Washington state.  I travelled alone, flying to Denver and switching planes, continuing on to Sea-Tac.  

I don’t remember having anxiety about travelling alone to my dad’s.  Being a minor, airport staff would help me making flight transitions and I never worried what would happen if I missed a flight.   This was well before 9-11 and the TSA checks so flying back then was a lot simpler.

I would stay with my dad during the summer, and fly back home to get ready to back to school. I had my 13th birthday there, with a huge Filipino feast.  No matter how much I try, I can’t make pancit like my stepmom.

I enjoyed these trips and visiting my family in the Pacific Northwest.  Nothing bad or stressful happened, other than the fact as I was heading home meant the summer was over.


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Ukuleles and Languages

Coming up on 4 years ago, I bought a ukulele.  A little blue Kohala that was on sale. I bought a beginners book with it, and didn’t really do anything more.  I looked up some videos online, downloaded and learned the chords for In My Mind by Amanda Palmer. I never learned consistent strumming patterns, and the uke spent most of its time on my bookcase collecting dust.

Then I bought another ukulele.  A Mitchell ukulele, regular brown wooden looking.  Something that didn’t look so ‘childish’ as my blue Kohala.  It did sound a little better, it had different strings, and I switched between the two as I dorked around with a few chords.

About a year ago, I saw a local ukulele group does workshops and jam session.  I took Little Blue and fought my social anxiety to join in.  I was told my ukulele was okay, for a cheap one but it would sound better if I put new strings on it.  Also the little phone app I used to tune my ukulele was crap and I needed to buy a tuner that clipped to the head.    I bought the tuner, and a couple of uke books the group used and never went back to another session.  I have them on calendar and maybe one day I will.

A few months ago, I decided it was silly to have these instruments if I wasn’t going to use them, so I looked up some more videos on YouTube and started with some basic lessons.  I followed along with Cynthia Linn first lesson learning Three Little Birds.  I’m still working on strumming patterns, but now I’m more comfortable playing than I have been in the 4 years I’ve had my ukuleles.  I can sing while I strum the songs.  I’m not comfortable singing in front of people, but I have no problems with it while I’m home with the puppies.

I was thinking how learning ukulele, and music is like a language.  Then my brain fell down the language rabbit hole and why had I given up on learning Dutch and Spanish with duolingo.   Part of it was I just stopped practicing, losing interest perhaps?     But I couldn’t deny the progress I had seen practicing ukulele consistently for a month or so, maybe it’s time to get back into practicing languages as well.

I’ve restarted my Dutch and Spanish tress on Duolingo, and it has changed since I last used the app.  It seems like the intro circle on each has been crazy long!  I don’t remember there being levels to each circle and I was getting annoyed, but I supposed repetition is key for learning anything.

I thought I’d incorporate the languages in my sketchbook. I’ll write my Postcrossing cards in Dutch and Spanish, if I get an address of someone who speaks those languages.  I’ll learn kids songs in those languages to play on my ukulele.

It all comes full circle.