GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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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.


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Burritos and Bad Ideas

Last night I made a mistake.  It was a tasty mistake and I enjoyed the process (Isn’t that the important thing?) but the aftermath was another story.

Sunday evening, my husband went to the grocery store for cereal, asking if I wanted anything.  Frozen microwave burritos sounded good and I haven’t had them for a while.  Sunday evening, I ate 3 of them (serving size is 1) and slightly regretted it as I had a mild case of heartburn as I went to bed.

Last night I figured I would eat 2 burritos, then wait a while and go ride my bike.  I haven’t ridden since Saturday and I try to not go more than 2 days without a ride.  But as I sat down, watching TV eating the burritos, I thought maybe I really do need another rest day.   I did yoga in the morning.  My left hamstring is sore so maybe I overstretched it.  It felt good to sit.  I decided to heat up another burrito (this would be #3).  

It was so tasty, and I love the texture of the tortilla when it’s slightly grease-soaked from the chili meat.  As the next episode of Big Bang Theory started, I knew there was less chance of a ride.  I didn’t really want to ride in the neighborhood and I was less inclined to load my bike up to ride at the lake.  May as well heat up another burrito. 

There were 2 burritos left.  Heating up one seemed pointless, like leaving 1 Poptart in a bag instead of eating both.  So I heated up both (Burritos #4 and #5) 

5 burritos. 150mg of cholesterol.   I’m not even going to look up the calories.   If I thought the heartburn Sunday night was bad, it was nothing compared to Monday night.   But I can’t say I regretted it completely.   They were so good. 

I’m not hungry for breakfast and didn’t bring anything for lunch.  I’ve got some chicken salad, wheat crackers, and miso soup I can have if I get hungry. Truly hungry, which may not be until this afternoon.


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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.

Consistency. 

Being in the moment. 


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Wasting time

I have plans. Really, I plan to spend time creating artwork for my very empty Etsy store. I plan to finish the canvas painting I started pre-pandemic. I plan on riding my bike, talking walks, working in the flowerbeds.

Then I sit down. Once I sit down when I get home from work, it’s game over man.

I’m thinking of incorporating a timer. Sit down for 15 mins. Enough to transition from work to home mentality. Or destress from my commute. Then back up & at ’em.

Resting and self-care are priority, but when resting becomes sloth. Going down the rabbit hole, I looked up what exactly “sloth” means in relation to the Seven Deadly Sins. (I am an enneagram 5w4 by the way)

In Ancient Greek is was “Acedia” meaning lack of care. Listlessness, no f*s to be given, an inert state without feeling. It’s easy to see how it was synonymous with depression when brain chemistry wasn’t studied.

I don’t come home listless, or without feeling. I end up sitting and playing Animal Crossing or scrolling TikTok.

The Next Day:

Last night I managed a good balance of doing and resting. I wanted to make some apple crisp to use up the apples I had bought in bulk. They were a bit too mealy to eat. I found a simple recipe with ingredients I had on-hand. As I sat talking with my son about dinner plans (he grabbed some fast food) I knew if I kept sitting, nothing would accomplished. I forced myself to start peeling the apples while he ran to get dinner. I sat and ate after the apples were prepped, and then after eating, finished the apple crisp. As it baked, I played Animal Crossing for 30 mins. The timer for the oven doubled for my ACNH timer.

After I cleaned up the kitchen, I sat at my art desk and worked on an 8×10 mixed media piece. Maybe I’ll ‘multi-task’ listening to podcast with my art time. I have a lot of podcasts in my ‘to listen’ queue.

Tonight I’ll plan a few other small things to keep from spending all evening sitting around. It’s been over a year since I last geocached.