Fingers In Paint

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She started out as a blonde, but was the victim of a large green splat, so she went with the flow, and decided to go greeny-blue. Faceless right now, but because of a serendipitous mess, she’s the inspirational start of a four part series that I’ll call The Elementals. She will be called Water Woman. I am excited to be painting again!!

Last night I painted the pages below. She is finished for now, but isn’t fully complete. I’m letting her rest before I revisit her. I know that she’ll need finishing details and maybe a bit of collage work. I really want the roses in her hair to stand out more, and her facial features need softening and highlighting. She is my first two-page project in several months, and she has been very fun to work on. I had painted her eyes in at least three times, and covered them up again, and then closed eyes seemed to be peeking through the layers of cover-up paint, so I went with that, and felt like it was really the right expression for her! She reminds me of a Mother Mary sort of being, and I feel very happy when I look at her.

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And lastly for today, my nine year old daughter, and painting partner extraordinaire, painted a portrait of me, which I am in love with. Painting with her is much better than painting on my own! Closing out the year with simple tranquility and family time, and enjoying it immensely.

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Free Bird

Certain days beg me to go, and I feel hollow-boned and light. All feathers and air. Flighty and restless.

But then there are days like today, solid, steady, that soothe the rattling energy of my mind, quieting me and reminding me that really I’m all dirt and snail shells, roots and red sandstone, hungry for wild, white Columbines.

I am Earth and Air, a whirling and tumbling of the two. A stay, and a go. A dig deep and a time to go. Earth Bird, desert wren, of burnt orange Autumn leaf and pine. Petal eater, and drinker of diamonds from cold, crystal streams.

My dream to fly North, and to build a tiny nest under a cold wind from the East, is coming true. Mystery has heard my call, and has finally answered back.

I fly, and stay, once more and soon.

Honey In the Veins

Claiming the blended path of the thorn, releasing the old way that wasn’t truly ever mine, and entering into a blood-pact with myself, precisely over the part of me that beats with life.

And my heart, it says…

Stay here…
Stay here…
Stay here…

My year of less is nearly complete.

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Me and the Eagle

I always feel a little unsettled the day after a major holiday, even if it was wonderful. A bit drained, lazy, but also sort of lost, as if my tether has come untied, and I’m not sure what to anchor myself to next. I seem to measure my life by holidays. I think this is due primarily to my work schedule, and the fact that a major holiday generally means a paid day off. And, I usually take the day following a pagan holiday off, too, because of this drained feeling I get the day afterwards. That actually adds up to quite a bit of time off, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that I am very unhappy in my job.

I’ve worked for the same organization for nearly fourteen years, and although I’ve been able to change jobs within that organization about every three to four years, it’s never been a satisfying or fulfilling arrangement. It’s a secure job, with decent pay and great time off, benefits, and flexibility, but it’s a very exhausting place to work. Just thinking about it makes me have heart palpitations, and so on my days off, I try my damnedest to avoid the thought or topic of work.

About a year ago, I had a pretty severe “nervous breakdown” sort of episode. I basically fell apart for the first several months of this year, and have spent the majority of 2014 trying to rebuild myself. I learned that it is possible to pretend that life is ok, and to get from day to day, especially if one doesn’t think very far into the future. But, once thoughts extend out to things such as long-term goals, long-term aspirations, or the frighteningly taunting topic of dreams, pretending is no longer possible, and the reality of the situation can really bite one squarely in the ass.

I’ve been reading a book called “E-Squared,” a book about experimentations with the Law of Attraction. Each chapter of the book is basically the author’s challenge to the reader to dare the Universe/Cosmos/Mystery/Great Unknown/whatever to support you in what you need or want. The chapter that really changed things for me was a chapter about demanding (yes, actually demanding) that the Mystery show her/his/its support for you. The challenge was to demand a sign that will show you that you actually are significant in this great mess. And not just any touchy-feely, oh-how-nice sign, but an actual monumental thing that is going to literally be the thing that proves it to you. And the thing that would prove it to me, after all this pretending, would be for my significantly awesome Other to say, “Let’s get the hell out of Dodge, like you’ve wanted to do for 14 years.”

It was a long shot. An absolute improbability, because my Other is very much rooted in this place, even though he does not like it much. I have convinced him several times to move, and each time he has been on board for two or three days, or even two weeks, but he’d be full of anxiety and doubt the entire time, and then, once I was sufficiently excited about leaving, he’d change his mind, say it was all too uncertain, all too strange and new and different, and he’d put on his grown-up hat and say we’d better stay. Sometimes he’d even be the first to half-heartedly suggest a move to some new place, but I’d know he was only trying to force himself to save me somehow, because he’s known how I’ve changed these past years, how stifled and domesticated I’ve felt, and he’s truly wanted to help me feel better. Each time, I knew he didn’t really mean it. But, the stability of our life here has always won out, probably as it should, but it’s killed me a little more each time, until I came to the point where I had trained myself to stuff it down, stick it out, and say this is it. This is as good as it will ever be. 

And really, truly, it is a very good life. I have wonderful friends. A pretty house, an amazing yard, which we’ve done all on our own, every plant and tree and twig and seed planted by my own fingers. But it’s never felt like this was where I was supposed to end up. And being here has felt like an ending, kind of a sputtering out, a withering away. Not a golden years type situation, but rather just a place to…well, those ellipses say it best. It would be a life that ended in ellipses…a low flame fizzling out under a cold bucket of water.

Not the passionate life of wind, wildflowers, and big skies I always dreamed of.

Settling for something is necessary sometimes, but it should only be for a while. It should only be a temporary arrangement. Settling for the rest of time is a slow, sad death. Yes, it is that quiet desperation we hear so much about.

So, back to the book. The experiment was to last 48 hours. It was about 20 minutes before my experiment was set to end, and I was thinking how stupid it all was, and how I couldn’t believe I was actually reading such a book. You know, tarot is legitimate, but the Law of Attraction? Lol. 😉 Well, my husband called right then (he was out of state on a hunting trip) to say that he was really ready to move this time, that he was applying for a transfer with his company, out of state. He basically said that he was tired of just existing.

Yes, tired of just existing. We are in our forties. No time to lose. It’s time to do what we want, where we want, and enjoy life and each other.

We should hear within the next couple of weeks if the transfer has gone through. If so, it means that I will be able to quit my job this summer. If not, he’ll put in his request at the next opportunity. It will happen eventually. We will buy an old fixer-upper of a house in a tiny little town, live totally on the cheap, hike and hunt and fish, eat all our meals home-cooked (because I won’t be exhausted and drained after a shitty day’s work), and have time to live a slow, sweet, and simple life. No more commuting, no more crowds. Clean air, bright skies, white snow, cold wind, mountains of family time, and wildflowers aplenty.

And the cards tell me it is so, and that’s assurance aplenty for me.

“And when it’s all said and done, I’ll usually find, that me and the Eagle are of the same mind.” ~Steve Earle

The Things We Realize

So, there is this thing called overspending, and it appears that I have it. Ick. Actually, I’ve known for many years that I am an emotional spender, much the same way I am an emotional eater. It is very easy to justify something just this once, or because I deserve it. Because, after all, just this one tiny thing will make me feel so much better! Just this one little thing will help me get through this beastly day!

Until that day turns into weeks, months, years, and decades. And the credit cards and the scale let you know that it isn’t just one little thing. It’s a huge heap of just-this-once stress relievers that really didn’t relieve any stress at all.

I am not the type of spender who can’t pay her bills, luckily. In fact, oddly, I feel more in control of money when I have less of it. The higher my income got, the more stressful managing the finances became. Why, I’m not sure, except that perhaps I just didn’t know what to do with all of this money that seemed so much at the time like a lot of…well, extra.

And the eating…I am not even sure if others would consider me to be chubby, much less fat. I am relatively good at regulating my weight, but tend to go on eating sprees…and NOT eating sprees…that are probably very unhealthy for my body, as well as my psyche. I do not consider myself to have an eating disorder, although when I do diet, I tend to obsess about how low I can get my caloric intake. Almost like a challenge to myself, albeit a very terrible one. But I am by no means skinny.

So, because I’m not bankrupt, obese (or skeletal), I’ve not truly considered the fact that I have any true issues in the areas of spending and eating. Until I gained over 30 pounds in the course of six months (with the excuse of, oh, I’ll just dump this weight at the end of the year–which is usually quite an easy thing for me to do), and until I looked up my “private” credit card balance and realized that in that same time period, I had spend nearly $3000 on…ummm…books, tarot cards, and Starbucks…

Hmmm. This might be the sign of a problem.

So. As I mentioned, this particular credit card was my “private” card. My husband knew about the card, but had no idea what I was spending, although he did notice my tarot cabinet filling, and then overfilling, quite rapidly.

I mentioned this issue to a friend in my local pagan community, and she, surprisingly, explained that she does the exact same thing, but has done so on a far more dramatic scale, unfortunately. She said she has such strong urges to spend, that she simply cannot think of anything else, until she spends money on something…anything…

And here I thought I was the only one.

She said that she will watch those tv shows about people who hoard, and gets terrified that she will become one of them. And then she goes like a madwoman through her things, trying to find as much as she can to get rid of.

Uh-oh…me, too.

There are other things, other “symptoms”, one could call them, but they are more mundane. The interesting thing is that it all seems very normal, until one day you’re in over your head, far deeper than you even realized, and the credit card statement, or the scale, show that you’ve got double the debt you though you had, and that you’ve gained 15 more pounds than you’d realized. And you see that wow, you really didn’t have the control over this that you thought you did.

I wonder how often this happens to other people, people who wouldn’t qualify to be on reality shows about hoarders or shopaholics or whatever other extreme behavior, but who still truly do have a problem. I’m glad I’ve realized mine early on, and that I haven’t put my family into more debt that we could reasonably handle. Or that I haven’t jeopardized my health in such a way that irreperable damage has been done.

I’ll be writing more about these challenges, how I’m facing them head-on, and what books and resources I’m utilizing along the way. After understanding that I’m not the only one, I now really do believe that…well…I’m really, truly, not the only one.

The mind is such a funny thing. Such a delicate, intricate, amazing, and puzzling thing. Forty is still proving to be such a journey in mystery.