GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Thankful Thursday August 5 2021

I’m not sure I like the whole bullet list of gratitudes format.  It feels forced like I’m making a grocery list.  Something to check off without really thinking about it.

I am thankful for a lot of things this week. They all kind of flow together though.  The weather has been cool so I’ve been cycling more.  In cycling more, I’m riding farther and the group ride I do was a lot easier than it has been in the past.  I know the weather makes a huge difference but I hope that I’m getting fitter as well.  

Some of my cyclist friends are also artists. One is curating the Free Little Art Gallery in Edmond, and another artist friend (not a cyclist) visited a second Free Little Art Gallery in our city.  It’s rather close to my house, so I rode my bike to visit it with the intention of dropping off an Artist Trading Card. I forgot the card but discovered a Little Free Library nearby too. 

I wanted to add some miles to my ride so I stopped by a geocache, which was my 500th find. With that and my 21 mile ride on the weekend, I’ve been able to mark off 2 of my goals for 2021. I had forgotten I made goals when I got a paper planner for the year. It’s been interesting revisiting them.

Community has been a theme for the week and I’m thankful for my artist book club group.  One of our group will be moving to Italy so we had a small feast and discussed the chapter of The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp we’re on, enjoying her company before her grand adventure.   I was anxious that it would be a rather somber gathering, but we’re all excited about her move. “My friend in Italy” has a nice ring to it.

What are you thankful for this week?


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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.


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Cycles of Depression

I’ve been feeling down lately. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never experienced it. I’m restless, easily agitated, I want to be included but I want to be left alone. I want to be recognized but I don’t want attention. I don’t feel anything. I go through the motions of life, smiling when expected and trying to appear as normal as possible to others. I really just want to go to bed and sleep until I feel something.

I was diagnosed with depression and general anxiety disorder almost 20 years now. I’m a lot better than I was at that time but I still feel like I’m on the edge of a chasm, trying not to fall back into the darkness.

I know this feeling won’t last. Little things seem to be magnified out of proportion during this phase. Everything is personal, even when it isn’t. I feel like I could disappear and no one would notice.

These are the times when I stop writing on my blog. I don’t want to share about my fighting depression. That means I’m not perfect. Which I never claim to be, but like others, I strive for perfection even though I know it’s unattainable. Maybe that feeds into the voice that tells me I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough.

It’s a struggle.

I know it won’t last. It will flip like a light switch. Almost in an instant I’ll feel like myself again. I don’t know what will trigger that but it will come. Until then I’ll retreat into myself. Get my work done, speak only when spoken to, try to look for the little things that make me smile.

Depression lies. I’m not going to fall for it but I accept this is a part of me.


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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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Thankful Thursday 2021-0715

This week I read that the only thing we should be thankful for is being connected to all things.  I’m trying to remember that but it’s nice to notice the little things.

  • I am thankful for the butterfly I noticed on a flower in my front garden
  • I am thankful for the basil harvested to make pesto
  • I am thankful for encouraging cycling friends
  • I am thankful for noticing challenges and approaching them differently
  • I am thankful for cycles of activity and rest


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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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Thankful Thursday

In brainstorming ideas for posting, I remembered that a group I was in (Way back on iVillage) would post Thankful Thursdays.   I vaguely remember starting that tradition on my blog but time got away from me, as it does, and I didn’t keep with the posts.

Today is Thursday, so what better time than to return to it.

  • I am thankful for being able to begin again.
  • I am thankful for quiet office spaces.
  • I am thankful for free birthday sandwiches.
  • I am thankful for deep breaths.
  • I am thankful for the courage to try new things.