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Rock Aching Against Water

Original art and blessing by Connla Freyjason; Thrud from a previous render by Daniel P. for Iaconagraphy (Thrud image only available at Red Bubble by clicking this image; opens in new tab)

I have spent most of my life attempting to emulate the famous Bruce Lee quote “Be water, my friend”, but for the past two weeks, I’ve felt more like the rock than the water: rock aching against water.  Most of you already know that we’re in the midst of selling our home and attempting to find and buy a new one, and I’ve said before: moving is hard.  As we go deeper and deeper down this tangled path, however, I’m discovering more and more every day that those three words are really too mild of a statement for precisely how difficult this entire scenario actually is.  “Be water, my friend” went flying out the window, leaving nary a feather behind, somewhere around June 11th, and it’s been all uphill from there!

For a moment, let’s talk about what that quote means, before we talk about its opposite.  In full, Bruce Lee said:

“Don’t get set into one form; adapt it, and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.  Empty your mind; be formless; shapeless–like water.  Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup.  You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.  You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.  Now, water can flow, or it can crash.  Be water, my friend.”

Basically, what this means it that you shouldn’t get locked into patterns; that you should basically learn to “roll with the punches”, and somehow keep landing on your feet.  It requires being mindful of your environment and surrounding situations to the point that you can easily “change your shape” to fit that environment and those situations–the way water becomes a cup, or a bottle, or a teapot.  It implies that you are adaptable; that you can take virtually any situation and “make it your own”; take command of it; know when to flow, and when to crash. Ultimately, “being like water” means being completely open to the fact that there are infinite possibilities open to us; it means being hard and soft at the same time; it means accepting the possibilities of success and failure equally. It is to believe that anything can happen, and that it actually might.  From a Heathen perspective, it means being comfortable with the ebb and flow of Wyrd, rather than afraid of that ebb and flow.  When we close ourselves off to all of that, we remove any chance for a sense of accomplishment, relegating ourselves to a constant state of feeling stymied, trapped, out of control, and basically doomed.  

And that is where being the rock, instead of the water, comes into this discussion.  Rocks don’t typically move.  They are static entities; their shape is their shape, and they aren’t exactly legendary for adapting.  Instead of adapting, they break and erode.  Generally, with a rock, “what you see is what you get”, which is why we have phrases like “written in stone” and “set in stone” to denote things that are unchangeable or immutable.  Rather than changing its environment, a rock is changed by its environment: moss grows, or the rock is broken apart by rushing water, or eroded into sand.  “Rock people” (as opposed to “water people”) see Wyrd as something which is likewise set in stone, and they live in an environment of fearing that Wyrd.  It is a life of feeling as though something unknown is constantly impending, and almost every creature alive fears the unknown.

Up until June 11th, I was doing a fairly decent job of “being water”, instead of “being rock”, with this whole home-selling-home-buying scenario.  I had dutifully packed up most of my office without batting an eye, looking upon the whole affair as the first key to a new future in our lives together. I was, in fact, actually excited about the whole thing.  I had begun shopping around online for potential new home prospects, and we had already toured a few open houses. I began embracing the whole concept of “mobile home living” and the “mobile home lifestyle”, which honestly tugged at my California-born heartstrings in ways that I couldn’t even begin to readily describe to my partner or anyone else.  I began feverishly creating home-plans (complete with decor motifs and furniture placement) at Roomstyler, and researching everything I could find on home makeovers (including fantastic accent wall treatments).  I resolved that I was going to become the “ultimate house husband” upon moving to our new locale, complete with all that such entails, right down to making sure dinner was on the table promptly at 5:30 every day when my Beloved gets home.  And I was super excited about all of that.  Wyrd would take us where we needed to be, and I had ultimate faith in the Gods in bringing us there.  So what changed?  How did I suddenly go from “water” to “rock”?

Prepping for our first open house, on the heels of our favorite future home prospect being pulled from the market, while suffering from the worst outbreak of pustular psoriasis we have ever endured started my downhill slide.  Still, I tried to remain hopeful, as we went that Wednesday to tour two other home prospects, the first of which we were both absolutely in love with.  Cat-in-tow, we went to tour two properties, both of which had promise, and I immediately came home and sat down the very next day and started plugging in our furniture and coming up with decorating motifs via Roomstyler.  Yes, I was terrified about where my health was taking me, but I kept reminding myself that soon our lifestyle would be way more laid back, and that somewhat helped me through. I continued to pray nightly (as I always do), even as I put my job on hold because I couldn’t write or even make art through the fever and the itching and the fear.  I tried to keep my chin up, and wade through the itching, the pain, and the knowledge that this could be the outbreak that ended both me and Michelle, and remain hopeful. I tried to stay water, my friends.

On the 22nd, that prospect we were in love with sold to another buyer.  I tried not to let that get me down, as my health was improving (however slightly), and instead focus on the other prospect we had toured.  The more of our furniture I crammed into the houseplan of it on Roomstyler, the more cramped it became, but I found “work arounds”, and kept plugging away.  “It’ll just be cozy”, I reminded myself and my partner; “and we love cozy, right?”  Meanwhile, we scheduled two more open houses, and I watched my Beloved work her tail off while I had to sit humbly by and try to “pray away the pain”.  I began to feel guilty that I couldn’t do as much as I had done around the house previously and internally beat myself up about that fact.  I began to pine for another property we had found that is totally our dreamhouse, but also totally un-financeable.  I began to hear the Princess Leia quote from Star Wars: A New Hope replayed over and over again inside my head, only with a real estate theme: “The more you tighten your grip, the more mobile homes will slip through your fingers”.  Except our “grip” didn’t feel tight at all; instead, it felt more and more like “one hand clapping”: an appendage constantly reaching out for what it wants, yet only grasping air. My downward spiral from “water” into “rock” had officially begun.

I am officially breakingeroding, and turning into sand.  Where once I sat out in the swing to watch the bunnies and the birds, and it would bring me peace, now I sit out in the swing and watch the bunnies and the birds to hide my tears.  What will life be like in a place where I can no longer hear the coyotes sing?  All I want to be able to do is look out my window and see a tree, and it doesn’t even have be my tree; it just needs to be a tree!  All the while I am constantly reminded that I am a financial disaster, living on the good graces of the people who love me, and cannot help with anything whatsoever except maybe a little housework here and there, and right now, I’m not even fully able to do that.  I feel like a piece of dandelion fluff blown on the wind; some magical thing, perhaps, to the eye of a child, but when it’s all said and done, wherever I come to land I will grow into a weed.  And weeds are a nuisance; they leech all of the good away.  My nightly prayers have begun to feel like something I say by rote.  Where once there was faith behind those words, now that faith has been replaced with a very definite desperation.  I still sing galdr, yet each time I do so, I am reminded of the two homes previously that I have tried to “galdr into existence” for us that have gone to other buyers, even as our own prospects grow ever more slim. I am spiraling ever deeper into a pit of despair, and I’m having a very hard time finding a way to climb back out of it. No longer caught up in the ebb and flow of Wyrd, it has instead become a wave which I fear will drown us all.  

This morning, I pulled Uruz for my daily rune-draw.  I do this every morning, asking the Gods to tell me Their intentions for me this day: how should I live; what should I do; to what should I put my energy?  Immediately, the blessing for Thrud which I had been led to create weeks ago popped into my mind, and most especially the line: As rock as it aches against water.  We don’t tend to think of the pain the rock endures, as it is broken apart by rushing water, until that moment when we have become that stone.  As Heathens, the words “the strength of mountains” sound like a fantastic thing to have; like something for which to actively strive.  That’s all well and good until one is actually asked to endure; then and only then does one realize just how tough it must be to be a mountain!  

So how does one go from being “rock” back to being “water”?  

Flip that switch in four steps:

  • Restore hope via gratitude.
  • Give yourself permission to believe in miracles; in infinite possibilities.
  • Define your ultimate possibility.
  • Ultimately believe in your ultimate possibility.

The first step is the restoration of hope.  That’s the “thing” I lost a good grasp on, starting around June 11th, and then pretty much totally on the 22nd.  As this proverbial stone has continued rolling downhill like an avalanche, things have come to feel more and more hopeless. And, as in that famous quote from the TV series Lost, “hope is a dangerous thing to lose“.  Perhaps the easiest way to flip our brains from a “doom cycle” back to a “hope cycle” is via gratitude.  Being grateful for the things around us provides the rational mind–that part of the brain that tends to be the “doomsayer” in the first place–with evidence that good things can and do, in fact, happen after all.  I end every day, no matter how shitty, with a litany of gratitude to the Gods for every single good thing that happened throughout that day, no matter how small: everything from “thank you for that heron that flew by my window this afternoon at two o’clock” to “thank you for time with my Beloved and Kili”.  So, clearly, I have a relatively decent “gratitude system” already in place, yet here I am still: a rock, instead of water.

Restoring hope should begin to pave the way for a restoration of the belief in infinite possibilities.  In other words, giving oneself permission to honestly believe in miracles.  Two weeks ago, I wholeheartedly did; now, notsomuch.  I believe that was the true turning point for me, with going from water to rock.  One can only be told so many times that something is impossible before one actually gets with the program and realizes that something is, in fact, impossible. And once we reach that point, miracles cease being a possibility.  The permission to believe in them is officially revoked.  Author Marianne Williamson, famous for her books on alternative spirituality, including A Course In Miracles, has this to say about giving oneself permission to believe in miracles:

“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love–from a belief in what is not real, to faith in that which is.  That shift in perception changes everything.”

Breaking that down from a strictly Heathen perspective, believing in miracles means understanding, accepting, and (most importantly) allowing the concept that all of those infinite possibilities–all of those miracles–are not utangard, but instead, innangard.  In other words, miracles aren’t something that happen to someone else out there in the big somewhere elsebut are instead right there, waiting for us, within our own circle of influence.  We fear what is outside our circle of influence, while we love what is inside our circle of influence.  When all of those infinite possibilities becomes things which are outside of that circle of influence–when we have that “one hand clapping” feeling that I described earlier, which makes us feel very out of control–we come to fear those possibilities, rather than love them.  The further we push possibility away from us, the more we come to fear it, and the more out of control we subsequently feel.  

So the third step is to define your ultimate possibility.  Your ultimate possibility should be the best possible outcome, based on the good things already being detailed by your personal “gratitude system“.  By basing the ultimate possibility on things which are already happening within our present circle of influence, all of those infinite possibilities become innangard, rather than utangard. My ultimate possibility, therefore, would be an attainable home that is sustainable by me, even given all of our health issues, which will require me to show off my interior design skills in effectively homemaking, because that is the “part of this bargain” which is actually within my circle of influence.  I cannot buy us a house; I can’t make that happen.  But I can make it a home. I cannot control whether or not there are trees in our yard-to-come, but I can learn to garden and grow things inside as well as outside. Home-buying is outside my circle of influence; it is utangardHomemaking, however, is something at which I excel–something I have always longed for the opportunity to actually do–and is therefore inside; it is innangard.

The final step, then, is to believe ultimately in that ultimate possibility.  Believing ultimately means that you put your heart and soul (all four parts of it!) into making that ultimate possibility an ultimate reality.  In my case, that means that rather than pinning all my hopes and dreams on this specific property, or that one, I instead put all of that energy into learning and preparing to do all of the things that are congruent with my ultimate possibility.  For example, if I want to be able to look out my window and see a tree, I need to start learning how to either plant one, paint one, or otherwise create one, rather than sitting around crying and moaning about “please, Gods, give me a tree!”  If I’m so obsessed with having “a room with a view”, instead of pinning everything on a specific property that has that view (which could just as easily slip away as not), I need to be developing creative ways to make a room have a view.

Ultimately, Wyrd is neither shaped for us nor set in stone: it ebbs and flows and changes with our every breath and our ever-changing attitudes.  When we trap ourselves in a cycle of hopelessness, then that becomes our Wyrd.  Instead of running like rabbits from shadows in the dark–from those things which are outside our circle of influence–we must come to realize that such behavior simply calls our worst fears to us.  By living our lives that way, we are literally bringing the worst possible Wyrd into existence.  Instead, we must focus on those things which we can control–those things which are inside our circle of influence–and take charge of those things.  Be grateful for them, and then do something with them and about them.  Even if it requires the strength of mountains; even if it hurts, like rock aching against water. 

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Turning Balderdash Into Galdr-dash

Prayer and design by Connla; Background paper from Samsara (upcoming); photo mask from Notions: Masked 1: Ornate (upcoming); twine twizzle and jeweled bird skull from January Gathering: Winter Wonder: WinterTime (currently available); ravens from The Graphics Fairy; masked image Odin and Bifrost by John Bauer (open domain).

I’m writing this on a Wednesday, and as my keyword for the year is Mindful, I’m quite mindful of the fact that Wednesday is Odin’s Day, from the Old English Wodnesdaeg, meaning “Woden’s Day”.  Since one of his kennings is “Galdr Father”–“father of incantation”–I thought it would be very fitting today to talk about turning balderdash into galdr-dash.  In other words, I want to talk about the words we use, how often we talk, and our tendency as a race of beings to speak just to be heard, or in order to have something to say.

Face it, we’re living in a world right now where everybody has an opinion on something, and most people unabashedly do not keep those opinions to themselves.  Once opinions have been voiced, other people then feel the urgent need to vehemently express their own opposing opinions, and what started out as a snowball rolling down the proverbial hill quickly turns into an avalanche!  

While I try very hard to keep (political) opinion out of my social media marketing, and even my conversations, I do find myself having a tendency toward a constant need to say something (say anything, even, sometimes), just to keep the proverbial ball rolling, at all.  It’s the nature of the beast: if you don’t keep your Page updated, keep newsletters flowing, etc., not only your marketing but indeed your financial stream (such as it is or might be or become) comes grinding to a halt.  But ultimately, isn’t relationship-building far more important than any post reach, number of subscriptions, or even sales figure glaring back at us from our computer screens?

When we feel the need to talk just to be heard, or because we like the sound of our own voice, or even because we really like it when that post reach exceeds 1,000, the words we are speaking and the posts we are making are merely balderdash:

balderdash: senseless talk or writing; nonsense; foolish words or ideas.

Wouldn’t we build more relationships and accomplish more good in this world if they were galdr-dash instead?

galdr-dash: words of power, and with real meaning, intended as incantatory, while they may or may not maintain such a tone.

I don’t care what your faith-base is, words have power.  This is even acknowledged in the Christian Bible:

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse.  A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds.  A word out of the mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything–or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.  This is scary: you can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue. –James 3:3-7, The Message

The things you say–even when they’re typed–can change a person’s whole world in an instant, for good or for ill.  So what if we were all a little more mindful of how we use our words?  And what might it actually mean to intend them as incantatory?

incantatory: a written or recited formula of words designed to produce a particular effect.

To intend your words as incantatory means looking at their intended purpose–what they might bring into being in this world–rather than simply “spouting” them.  It breeds mindfulness.  For example, when I say “I love you” to my beloved, I’m not just saying three tiny words, off the cuff, the way most people say those words a thousand times a day to a spouse or lover: I’m saying them with the purpose of reaching her heart, and kindling something inside it, which then wells up into the outward sign of a smile on her face.  When I say “have a nice day”, it’s not just some off-handed nicety, but instead intended as a blessing which I hope will have the end effect of, in fact, causing the Powers-That-Be to bestow on the person that I am greeting a pleasant day.

Because I’m actively trying to put this into practice in my life (and urging you to do likewise!), I find myself quiet often, especially at social events.  If I don’t have something worthwhile to say that might actually bring some good into the worlds of the people with whom I’m communicating, I tend to keep my mouth shut. This may make me come across as shy, or perhaps even sometimes a bit stand-offish, but I promise you: I mean well.  And I am trying my best to bring this into practice in my social media interactions and marketing as well.  If something isn’t worthwhile, I simply don’t post it, numbers or no numbers.  So far, it seems to be working well.  This is also another reason for the newsletter becoming a monthly rather than a weekly offering:  if I don’t have truly worthwhile things to put into your inboxes, which are going to effectively make your worlds a better place, I have no right to be in your inboxes in the first place!

So, I urge you to give this a try in your own lives: before you speak, consider the purpose of your words.  Will they heal the person to whom you’re speaking? Will they bring more light into this world, or more darkness?  Might they lead to a firestorm of opposing opinions?  I’m not saying “don’t cause fights” or even “don’t fight”, because sometimes fighting is actually necessary to promote Light and Right in this world of ours, that’s a simple fact of life.  I’m not even saying “always be kind”, because too often kindness can be seen as weakness, and taken advantage of. What I am saying is to make sure your words count: that they be empowered, and intended to actually bring something Right into being.  If they can’t, won’t, or don’t do that, practice silence.  You never know what wisdom you might find there in that quiet space….

 

 

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What I Learned Yesterday….

Base paper, elements, and word art, all from the January Gathering: Winter Wonder: A Winter’s Tale, by Taliesin. Layout by Connla.

Normally, if we were going to blog today, it would be written by one of the artists who worked on this quarter’s Gathering–Duncan, Daniel, or Taliesin–but after the twelve-plus-hour-day I (Connla) pulled yesterday, I felt it was a little more important to talk about what I learned from that experience, and maybe talk a little bit about how it relates to my own personal process (because your personal process is important, and maybe introducing the concept, and talking about how to work on it will help some of you).

Let’s talk about the concept of process first.  The dictionary defines it as “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end”.  Bruce Lee, who I celebrated as my hero in my artist journaling page today for Determined to Shine’s 30 Days of Artist Journaling, described being in one’s own process like this:

“The truth is that life is an ever going process ever renewing and it [is] just meant to be lived but not lived for. It is something that cannot be squeezed into a self-constructed security pattern, a game of rigid control and clever manipulation. Instead, to be what I term “a quality human being” one has to be transparently real and have the courage to be what he is.”

Now, a lot of us live by the standard of “I am a work in progress“, but what if, instead, we lived by the standard of “I am a work in process“? Let’s look at the definition of progress, and then I’ll get back on track with what I learned yesterday (which is what I promised to write about in the title of this post).  

Progress: forward or onward movement toward a destination.

And that, my friends, is what yesterday definitely was for me: constant forward or onward movement toward a specific destination, that “destination” being completing the official public release of The January Gathering: Winter Wonder.  Yes, there was a process to getting that done, but by about 3:30PM yesterday afternoon, I was no longer in process, but I was in progress,  and believe me: there’s a definite difference between the two, and the latter one (progress) sucks!  I started my day early–7:30AM, which may be a little hard for those of you who know me best to even fathom–and I worked diligently, running pomodoro after pomodoro (for more on that, please do check out the work and offerings of Racheal Cook ), so it wasn’t like I didn’t “schedule well”.  I had my “eyes on the prize”–getting all of this published and out to all of you, and available for sale; my final specific destination–from before I even went to bed on Tuesday night!  But about five minutes into trying to publish the first set of Word Art, I realized we had absolutely nothing for the gallery on that product that actually showed the word art being used, and I suddenly had to switch from progress to process,  and that basically threw off my entire day: to the tune of I finally reached my specific destination at 8:45PM last night, and I was not at all pleased about that!

So, what did I learn yesterday, apart from the important lesson of “check your CT inventory before you start trying to publish assets”?  When I was actually playing with the assets, and using them to create examples of what could be done with them, I was in process, and time seemed to slip past me, effortlessly.  Once that work was done, and it was back to the grind of actually creating the listings (which is a very slow process), I returned to a state of being in progress, and the work became tedious and exhausting.  Yesterday, I learned to either do everything in process, instead of in progress, or don’t do it at all.

This goes along with another recent personal epiphany: planners make me feel icky.  Planners are certainly all the rage right now, especially in the papercrafting/digi-crafting world, and I have really, really tried to hop on that bandwagon, but every time I start trying to tediously plan out my life with one, I get butterflies in my stomach and I just feel this sense of general agitation. And yesterday helped me figure out ultimately why that is: planners force us to live our lives in progress, rather than in process, because every deadline we write down becomes a destination we’re working towards, and we focus on that (those specific destinations in time) instead of on the steps we take to get there (the process).

I’ve really tried to start off 2017 in process, rather than in progress: Allyson Bright’s offerings over at Determined to Shine have really helped me with that, and so have Leonie Dawson’s Shining Life Workbooks, but yesterday put me back a notch. I got so focused on my destination (read: deadline), that the process of getting there sort of fell by the wayside, and that was literally painful.  My day more or less became this determined, slothful plod, instead of an excited, triumphant race to the mountaintop, and nothing successful/good ever happens to us when we get in that place; when our minds and spirits go there.  It’s like another famous Bruce Lee quote (this one from Enter The Dragon, which maybe you’ve seen): 

“It is like a finger, pointing a way to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”

Yesterday, I reached a point where all I was focused on was the finger–on the deadline (the destination); and literally on my fingers typing, typing, typing, clicking the mouse, and hitting publish–so that by 8:45PM last night, the only “heavenly glory” I could even see anymore was “whew, that’s done”, when where I should have been mentally/spiritually was in a place of pride that this glorious set was now out there and available for other people (meaning you) to express themselves with it, too.  So, short of more effective scheduling (which puts us right back in that planners-are-my-life-mindset, which is precisely where we don’t want to go), how does one avoid getting in that place of being in progress, rather than in process?

Be mindful, my friend. (Yes, that may sound a bit like Master Bruce, but that’s me talking, not him. hehe)  What does that mean?  To be mindful means to be fully conscious or aware of what you’re doing: not where you’re going; not your final destination; not the moon or the mountaintop, but the steps you are taking to get to that destination.  The deadline to publish yesterday is but one of many “destinations” I tend to focus on on a pretty much daily basis. Others include the deadline for newsletter each week, the deadlines for paying my bills, and the deadlines I have set for myself, in regards to such things as guest-blogging, effectively networking, and generally becoming my definition of “successful”.  I’ll confess that up until the start of 2017, I’ve spent far more time focused on those destinations, than I have on the process of the steps taken to actually reach them.  The consequence of that? I’ve spent a lot of time honestly depressed because I haven’t reached the destination yet: it’s about as useful as being homesick for a place you’ve never actually been.

Regarding mindfullness, Bruce Lee said:

“Discard all thoughts of reward, all hopes of praise and fears of blame.”

Reward is just another destination; so are hopes of praise and fears of blame.  If you live your life doing anything because of what you’re potentially going to get out of it (financial gain, hope that other people will think what you did was good and lay praise on you for it, and/or fear that people will think what you did absolutely sucked and will be totally willing to tell you that, too), you are going to live your life in a constant state of worry, depression, and anxiety.  Let me say that again, more succinctly, so you will remember it and take it forward with you, in your own life:

If you live your life doing anything because of what you’re potentially going to get out of it, you are going to live your life in a constant state of worry, depression, and anxiety.

Ultimately, I make art not because it might get me to any certain destination (whether that be financial solvency, self-worth gained via the praise of others, or my own particular definition of success), but because I literally have reached a point where I just can’t help it!  Where things “go wrong” and switch from in process to in progress is when the feeling goes from “I just can’t help it; I need to create” to “I have to ___________”.  “I have to” is destination-focused; it’s progress-oriented, rather than a process.  Which brings me to the other very important lesson I learned yesterday:  When art becomes something someone else is doing, that art often becomes “I have to” instead of “I need to”.

Now, I have total faith that everyone who is working here at Iaconagraphy is here, designing, because they need to make art, the same way I need to make art.  If they weren’t, they simply wouldn’t be represented here.  So don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to remotely imply that anybody here at Iaconagraphy is here for any other reason besides the self-same reason that I’m here, which is because we all have a need to make art; we just can’t help it.  What I am saying, as the person “running the show” (note: I really am not comfortable with that term, but it’s the best one I can come up with right now), elected as the spokesperson for the whole of Iaconagraphy, is that I, personally,  have a tendency to switch the focus from process to progress when faced with not publishing my own work, but instead someone else’s. Which is part of why we’ve reduced the releases of upcoming Gatherings to quarterly, rather than monthly, but how else to avoid this ongoing dilemma? I mean, we’re a conglomerate of artists, all of whom need to make art, and therefore, deserve to have that art made available at the end of the day so that those of you who also need to make art have resources available to do just that. This isn’t just “my gig”….

Which brings me to the last (and maybe most important) lesson I learned yesterday: I need this to be my gig right now.  That isn’t to say that there won’t be some very valid “guest spots” coming up in future weeks and months, but that is to say that I have at least one “bundle” that I’ve back-burnered at least three times since December, in favor of releasing other people’s work, and in favor of meeting other deadlines, and it’s starting to burn a hole in my brain–and in my soul.  Every ounce of creation that I have done since December has been self-expression (i.e., artist journaling and digi-scrap) with things others have created, when what I really want to be doing–and what I need to be doing, the way most people need to breathe or to eat–is creating the assets to say what I need to say (and to give you all what you need to say what you need to say).  When I leave that process up to everyone else, or even when I give that over to everyone else, art becomes a destination; a deadline; art becomes progress instead. And right now, I need that to stop happening.

Thank you for taking the time to read (what wound up being) a very long blog entry.  If it helped you learn anything about your own process vs. progress, I’d love to hear about it!  Feel free to comment below, or come on over and respond on our Facebook Page.  Or, better yet, take a dive into art journaling, and make a page about your own process vs. progress, using the awesome assets in The January Gathering, and share that with me and the world!