aging, middle age, Personal Retreats

Back From the Depths of Distraction. A Return.

It’s been a long time.

I know.  Boy, do I know.  And I am sorry.

Like Catholic guilt, I have probably thought about and lamented over ignoring this blog about once or twice a week.  I feel like this little place on the web, a huge part of who I was/am was let go,  like something I inadvertently dropped down a well, and I was panicked I would never be able reach down far enough and find it again.  I don’t know why.  A combination of things, I suppose.  But tenacity and guilt and the desire to write again has brought me back.  A resurrection, of sorts.

So much has happened in the 3 or 4 ( or could it be more?) years since I stopped writing.  Here is a quick run down of some things in my life that transpired in that time, not in any particular order.

I filtered through some friends. (Blog fodder)

Gained some new ones.

Had the self -love to let those filtered ones go.

Traveled to Italy, Paris and Greece.

Went to the Louvre (crossed off my bucket list)

Went to the top of the Eiffel tower.

Found my 2 biological brothers (100%!) (Part IV coming soon) and the rest of my biological cousins.)

Lost 3 relatives.

Lost my sweet cat, Fletcher.

Gained a new dog, Wrigley, AKA Cuddliest Dog In the World, a Golden Retriever.

Lost Xander 3 weeks ago. (ugh, best dog IN THE WORLD) This one is fresh, folks.

Became a grandma to 2 boys.

Gained a wonderful, sweet Daughter in Law who reminds me of a young ME. (Love you Gabby!)

Lost 40 lbs. (thank you KETO!)

Fulfilled a dream at 50 and opened my first art studio with a business partner.  Gained knowledge, insight, confidence and finally the balls to go solo.

Benefited from a therapist.

Weathered a marital rift that healed like a broken bone and now it’s stronger than ever.

Learned how to navigate through water without drowning, and without doing the crawl.

Grew my hair to my waist.

Pushed 3 birdies out of the nest (well, not exactly pushed.  But they are on their own now.)

And my kids are GOOD.  Such good people whom I love more than my own life, and through all the trials and tribulations of growing up, I think they love me just about as much.

Turned 55 this year and it feels really good.  Wisdom and confidence has gone hand in hand for me with aging and I l can’t help but love it.

What has been going on in your life?



Personal Retreats

The need for a personal retreat

I joined Kathryn Antyr’s online class Personal Retreats over at her True North Arts Workshops.  I feel like this is something I really need.  I’ve been feeling the cumulative affects of stress brought on by a strained relationship (not doomed, just very strained and stressful-sometimes on a daily basis) and I’m seeking out a method in which I can create some moments of solitude, serenity and a bit of simplicity a few times a week.  

Kathryn suggests first of all we set up a little altar or ‘sacred space’ consisting of objects which remind us of relaxation and spirituality, or anything else which brings us closer to the feelings we hope to achieve through our personal retreat.  I set up a sacrecd space on my art table where I can see it every day.  It’s in my bedroom, a place that’s warm and cozy and just happens to be my creative space.   I kept it simple and chose a few smooth small stones from the shore of Lake Superior, my buddha, a few candles, my Eiffel Tower and a photo of my dog.  These items bring me to a calm state of mind when I look at them. 

I’ve given a bit of thought to  my objectives for having a personal retreat.  My goal is to carve out a few hours a week where I can spend some time doing an art journal and give attention to my thoughts an listen to my soul.  I seriously need quiet time and to just breathe, but not to breathe in the sense of inhaling and exhaling.  For me, breathing has more to do with having time away to myself where I don’t have to answer to anyone or meet anyone’s needs except for my own.  For the short time I allow, I want to focus on me.  I don’t believe I’m being selfish.  I realize that every woman needs to nurture herself  first before she can go on and adequately nurture others.   

If you, too, are feeling stressed, and need time away, you don’t have to leave your home to find some peace.  Just carve out a space for yourself and allow it to happen. 

Today, my husband was gone all day at a meeting.  The house was peaceful and quiet.  I played Ray LaMontagne softly and sat in front of my little altar of serenity and planned a journal page in my new Moleskine sketchbook.  The candles were flickering and I could hear the dog snoring.  It was very calming to my nerves.  I’m supposed to have Friday to myself, too.  I plan on art journaling in my new Moleskine sketchbook.  It should be a very good day.

Here's my little altar of serenity.