It seems my regular attention to writing has waned as we have gotten busier this semester. One of the reasons I started this second blog was to have a place to put thoughts awaiting contemplation; a place to park decisions that needed mulling over; a place that would offer some sort of commitment to getting away from the fray to think.

So, this week, amid the joyful business of December, I offer a meditation opportunity about specific ways in which we can care for ourselves.

We have a crazy, busy life full of lessons, friends, family, animals, projects, and the like. It is a life that I am proud to have built with Todd. It is better than we planned when we sat for hours, as newlyweds, playing the “what if” game. Much more joy…much more effort…much more love.

I am so happy to spend my days with our children, but I draw my energy from quiet and creativity. Three kids, homeschool ,part-time jobs, and a husband who’s the Dean of Students don’t offer many moments of either. So, I find myself, at times, overwhelmed because I am in need of a quiet moment to rejvenate. I need time to be the learner and time to quietly recharge my emotional strength and enthusiam.

This week’s meditation is one of thinking about ways to care for ourselves so that we are able to give our best to others. But, an additional task I have assigned myself is to put some of these ideas into practice. When I practiced yoga years ago I studied the art of living yoga as well as the practice of asana, but our teacher often reminded us that thinking about yoga is not the same as practicing yoga. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Thinking about doing the dishes is not the same as doing the dishes. Duh! But, those words have stuck with me a long while. I think about and plan art projects, blog topics, and time alone to rest  all the time. It’s the practice that trips me up most often.

So, this week, while I am thinking about caring for myself, I will be attempting to put into practice some positive changes as well. Instead of waiting until I have my whole plan organized, I am going to act this week. I will try to get up and have coffee before the kids come down, practice the guitar, go to Nia, and take a few minutes to sit quietly in the dark with the Christmas treelights each night before bed. Sounds simple enough for starters.

How will you care for yourself this week? Just make a small commitment. Call a friend, go for a walk, turn off the computer, or ask someone else living in your house to take one small task off of your chore list.  Give yourself some care.

Namaste, Jeannie

 

 

Thanksgiving, for me, really isn’t about Saints and Strangers (though it is about Cowboys for some in our family). It isn’t about a glamorized feast of the past or about turkey and dressing It isn’t about eating enough to be fortified for Black Friday. I planned a huge menu, yes, and we will enjoy the feast, but truly it’s about thanks. As I filled the cart yesterday I kept asking myself why we insist on making this holiday about excess. Isn’t Christmas excess enough? Couldn’t we just enjoy the excess of time we have on this day to spend together? Wouldn’t a simple meal be enough to deserve thanks? Isn’t every meal worthy of thanks? But, I bought the extra. I’ll happily fix the feast. There will be more people at our table than me. Some of them are relying upon turkey, pumpkin pie, and all the rest to make the holiday feel right. Can I really just decide for everyone? I think this is a conversation that our family should have long before I am standing in line with a thawing turkey next year. For now, I will be grateful that we are able to provide this feast and that we can spend this day together. I will try to extend this gratitude into the coming holidays and the new year.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order,
confusion into clarity….It turns problems into gifts,
failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing,
and mistakes into important events.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melodie Beattie

If you are reading this, I am grateful for you. For something you said or done or caused me to do…I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving! Namaste, Jeannie

The Woman I Am

Some say I am a strong woman
Some tell me I am a brave woman
Some think I should be more of a woman
Some will tell you I’m a good woman
While some think I’m not much of a woman
Or at all like any woman they ever knew
And that I could be so much more

But all I am is a woman
All I am is my woman
I am the woman I can be
The one I want to be
Not the one I should be, could be, would be
Not so much more, too much like, or nearly so

Absent Wryta

Recently, I was asked if I use art to convey my personal sermon. If you know me, you know that the word “sermon” is not one I would normally use, but in light of its intended meaning here, I’m going with it. Sermon=message.

 

My personal sermon is best described through the two types of art I utilize most…photography and drama. I use photography to document and explore how I see the world and how I approach life. I find satisfaction in photographs that hone in on fine detail, ones that choose just the angle to make the whole of that person or object shine through. It isn’t always the “best side” of a person or the flawless petals of a flower. No, it’s the parts that make the character apparent, and often ignores the cookie-cutter standards of beauty set forth in the media.


The second medium I use all the time is drama. I am director of a small community children’s theatre and I am steadfastly unmoving in my vision for this program. We average casts of nearly 100 kids because no child is turned away. I believe we will find that interesting, flawed face in every child…not the perfect voice, body, intonation found in other programs. But that isn’t what we are about. We are not about the product. We are about the process. We are about taking the child where he or she stands, with what he or she has to offer. Sometimes it doesn’t work the way an artistic director would wish, but it always works in the way I wish to see to world and the way in which I wish to share my vision with the world. Children who are proud of their work, their creativity, their authentic exploration into their unique and valuable offerings to a community that often turns away imperfection.

 

1. Rocking babies to sleep

2. Pancakes

3. Reinventing myself

4. Being defined by things OTHER THAN my messy house

5. Marathon homeschooling

6. Seeing the forest despite the trees

7. My connection to the Light inside of me

8. My belief in namaste

 

What are your Superpowers? You know you have AT LEAST 8! Play along at Magpie Girl!

Today…if I had nothing else to do I would jump in the car and drive West. I would stop every hour or so and take a photograph. Then, before turning back toward home, I would make copies and mail them to myself as postcards.

What would you do on whim?

My muse doesn’t speak to me in words. She is there in the movement in my heart. She is in the rustle of the leaves and the sound of the rain. She is there in the spark of life in every being. I can see her. She is easy to ignore. Because she doesn’t shout  to me to STOP, I often forget she’s there. But she is not weak, just patient. She shows me what she wants me to see when I my mind is quiet, even for a moment. When I remember to expect her, she is there in mind’s eye, waiting with her gifts.

Where you invest your love, you invest your life.

Mumford & Sons, Awake My Soul

But men labor under a mistake. The better part of a man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed…laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.

from Walden by Henry David Thoreau

(three weeks in row for Thoreau…can you tell what I’m reading?)

Namaste

I know whom I can TRUST.

I know that these children are a GIFT to me.

I know that I am in LOVE with someone in love with me.

I know that I am doing the RIGHT work right now.

I know that life is unpredictable and each day is a unique opportunity to LIVE.

I know that all of us deserve RESPECT and the right to just BE.

I know that my place in this world is INSIGNIFICANT and INDISPENSABLE.

I know that I have the POWER to control my reaction to my circumstances.

What do you know?

Namaste…

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