GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Connections

This week’s  Faery Oracle card is The Star Faerie. Her message is to remember everything is connected.  Not just on earth but in the universe as well.  That was a fitting message for the week as I’m working through The Artist’s Rule. 

I’ve been feeling very alone lately. Disconnected may be a better word. I’m around my family and co-workers so I’m not in solitude. On a group ride recently, I didn’t know anyone so I didn’t have someone to chat with along the route.   Being alone in a group is a very common feeling for me. 

Monday is a day for connections. The book discussion meets in the late morning, and then I ride with a group of women cyclists.  It reminds me that I’m not alone, even if I feel that way. 

This week I’ll look for ways I’m connected with others, nature, and the universe.


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A French Pantoum

I’m in a 12 week study group reading The Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Paintner. On week 5 one of the assignments is to create a poem using the French pantoum form. After free writing what “conversion” means to me this is my poem.

Change is Constant
turn around
being made new
something out of nothing
turn around
putting feelings and thoughts into something tangible
something out of nothing
alchemy - transformation
putting feelings and thoughts into something tangible
being made new
alchemy - transformation
change is constant


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Facing the Challenge

Every week I pull a card from a combined deck of Brian Froud’s The Faeries’ Oracle and The Heart of Faerie Oracle.  This week is from The Heart of Faerie, The Challenge. 

During my bike ride Saturday I accepted a challenge, although I hemmed & hawed about it.  I had two options for my route.  A 13 mile out & back I’ve ridden plenty of times before, or do a lap around the lake, which would be around 17 miles.  I had never ridden on the west side of this lake, but I was feeling good, keeping my heart rate in the “green” led zone on my cycling computer. 

I thought the lap was doable but new and unfamiliar.  It was early enough there was very little traffic.  A few fishermen here and there, people walking and other people on bikes (not the cyclists I expected to see but later I learned there was an event happening the same day) This would be the best time to try something new.  But still, something new. That’s scary.

I was on the trail near the lake road, and a car passed.  The license plate contained the number 555.  I’ve been noticing triple numbers aka Angel Numbers a lot more this year.  As I looked down at my cycling computer, I had ridden 5.5 miles.  Okay, time to face the challenge and ride around the lake. 

I rode the lap without incident.  I stopped for a few bike photos, and as I headed back home a car passed with the license plate containing 888.  Another wink from the universe. 

I realized that I would have my longest ride if I rode a few more miles.  So I meandered through the neighborhood, taking “the long way” home.  The total ride was 18.5 miles.  

I’ll continue to look for challenges throughout the week, listen to my inner voice as I face them, and messages of support from the Universe.


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Oh Bloggy Blog

The last week has been busy. Beginning December 1st I started my friend’s “Present To” prompts. (Check out @Secretmessagesociety on Instagram) My first word was TRY. So I had been thinking about making a TikTok video, and it seems the prefect time to give it a try.

I’ve discovered trying to convey my thoughts in 60 seconds or less is a challenge. I don’t want to post more than 1 video a day, really. Maybe two, a challenge or duet, and then a more serious ‘what’s on my mind’ one. Then last night it dawned on me, I can use my blog in tandem with my Tik Tok posts.

Today I pulled the prompt Invite. Ooh, this is a loaded one. When I think of invite, I think of a party invitation and I quit having parties 15 or so years ago. The last party I tried to throw myself (35th birthday, I believe) no one showed. They RSVP’d they would be there, then closer to the date things would come up. I get it, but it was a really casual come and go thing. Nothing to start or end at a specific time, or meeting a restaurant or pavillion. So I quit celebrating and became more of an introvert than I already was.

After some thought about this prompt I realized I don’t have to extend an invitation to others, but to myself. I invite myself to find joy in every day things. I can invite myself to a moment of stillness in a busy day. I can invite myself to complement a stranger. I can invite myself to seek unity and love instead of division and fear.

What will you invite to yourself today?


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Lessons from the Mat

We’re approaching the end of the month and the last few days of Dedicate – Yoga with Adriene.   I’ve experienced some good days and more challenging days on the mat, but on “Drop” I couldn’t finish the video.

I have retrocalcaneal bone spurs that have caused bursitis.  A large one my right heel and a smaller one developing on my left.  Then 1 ½ years ago I broke my right foot. 6 weeks in a walking boot cast cause my left knee to get a bit weird.  And I have a bit of arthritis. I’ve never felt my age as much as I do with my ankles and knee.

Drop had a lot of standing and balancing positions.  I can do them for a bit, but one-legged downward dog, with my weight on my right foot wasn’t not going to happen no matter how much I peddled through my heel.

I stopped the video, frustrated with myself for being in pain, and cried on my yoga mat.  

The theme of the day was Drop something that doesn’t serve you.  I wasn’t dropping anything but holding on to it as my identity. The girl with the bone spurs, the girl who walks with a limp until I stretch out or my body no longer registers the sensation of pain.

I skipped the next day “Power” because I decided I needed to embrace self-care and give my ankles a rest day.   I returned this morning with “Dedicate”, luckily no downward dogs or balancing poses. I feel back on track again.  I guess I wasn’t technically off track, just pulled into a depot for a few days for repairs.

I don’t expect this to be the only lesson I learn on the mat.  Just the first of many.

 

Namaste.


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Everyday Mindlessness

The other day my husband asked if I’d stop by the store to get some butter, so he could finish preparing the meal he was cooking.   No big deal, I was near Target so I’d stop and pick up a few things.

3 things total, to be exact.   The butter needed to finish cooking, some vitamins as I was running low on my current bottle and some stroopwafels, because Target is the only place I can find them in Oklahoma City and they’re usually on sale.

I scanned the items with my Cartwheel app and discovered discounts for the butter and vitamins.

I go to the self check out and make my purchase, grab my receipt and bag, and start heading back home.

As I’m driving, I realised I had no idea how much my purchase was.  I didn’t pay attention at all when I finished my transaction.  I honestly had no idea how much these 3 items cost me.

How many times do we go through our lives without paying attention?   Have you driven some place and couldn’t remember anything about the drive?  Eating potato chips and realize you finished the whole bag.

Guess this is why it’s called Practicing Mindfulness and not Perfecting Mindfulness. 

There’s always an opportunity to practice.

Namaste.


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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.


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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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Going back to church

Funny – I thought I had a draft saved but now I can’t find it.

Sunday I went back to church.  I decided to join the 9:30 Spiritual Enrichment class on the Old Testament.   I guess it’s safe to say I grew up in a Pentecostal church (the church I’d go to when I stayed with my grandma during the summers), so I was taught the Bible is literal.  Even the church I went to with a high school sweetie was more literal that metaphorical.  The church I’m attending now is metaphysical and looks at the Bible completely differently.  It’s fascinating, but I feel like I’m trying to learn another language.

I spent at least 10 mins deciding what Bible to take, if I was going to take one at all.  In the churches of my youth, it was almost mandatory to bring a bible.  It would be referenced during sermons, and of course in ‘Sunday School’.   I have a Green Bible, I think I picked it up at Half Price Books. I thought it was interesting as it has an environmental slant.  Then I have the Lamsa translation monstrous Bible I bought when I was going through Foundations in a Science of Mind church.   The bible was barely touched and the spine isn’t even cracked.

Turns out my 10 minute deliberation was pointless, as there were handouts with the readings and the metaphysical meanings & discussion points.

It was very interesting and it was the 2nd week of the class so I don’t feel like I’m trying to play catch up.

The service also had one of those “this is a sign” moments.  Ever since I was a child, I’ve been curious about Lot’s wife’s name.   When I asked at the Pentecostal church “Children’s Church” I was told it didn’t matter because she disobeyed God, no more questions asked.  My mom placated me by telling me when I die and go to Heaven, I can ask for myself.

But during service on Sunday, the Reverend mentioned the story of Lot’s Wife turning into a pillar of salt.   I’ll take it as a sign to keep going and giving this a try.