Why do I blog?

Not that long ago, I was just in a world of hurt. Emotionally. Battling depression, struggling to just get through the day.  I remember walking my dog and seeing people golfing, or running, or walking their dogs – they looked SO happy. Not just happy, but in contrast to my brokenness they looked SO happy. You know what I mean?

And, just doing little things like managing myself at work on a daily fashion – that completely drained me. I tried so hard, but kept coming up short. I wasn’t connecting with anyone. How could I connect when I hated my own thoughts. I hated these stubborn dark feelings that were my near constant companion. It all made me…sad.

I remember trying to talk to people. How could I unload that kind of baggage? I resented even having to carry it. Let alone trying to burden it onto someone else? So, I tried, probably shared too much or nothing at all.

“The Wounded Heart “by Dan Allender (http://thepathlesschosen.com/) taught me we are not made to heal alone. This doesn’t mean not having your time of solitude. It is talking about being isolated, cut off where no one could help you.

It was one night I was journaling, but couldn’t find anything new to say. So sick of my season, I didn’t want to chronicle it in any way. I couldn’t even cry. That meant accepting my place – and I was fighting it with as much dignity as I could muster.

Then, I got online. I googled something like “how to overcome childhood abuse.” All kinds of things were found. A lot of blogs. Hmmm…a blog? You mean people actually write down what happened to them and share it online? Intriguing.

I have to admit – it was like a glass of cool water. I was not alone! And, some blogs gave words to my experiences I could never find in myself to express.

Soon, I found Melody Ross’ blog. Brave Girls Club founder. I’ve mentioned her a few times. I was absolutely moved by her sharing. Rawness, no shame in her game…I started changing. She describes her pain as so intense she had to retreat. And, how a bird, when it is wounded, heals fastest and best, when it’s set in a safe box, with holes to breathe – untouched for a period of time. http://melodyross.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/you-will-fly-again.html

Some people blog about Jesus, some blog about being angry with God, some blog to help people, to create a network, on and on.

Blogging helped me do three things – three things I was in desperate need of being able to do:

  1. Figure out what I would say if people were listening
  2. Get more comfortable with not saying everything right
  3. Learn that everyone hurts, everyone has things they grapple with

Nowadays, I blog because simply: I love to write.

And, I thoroughly enjoy reading other peoples’ blogs. Because they took a risk and shared, I was found on those dark, lonely nights in my fight – I was found.

And, I hope my words help someone on a dark and lonely night. You are not alone. And, it will get better if you let your voice speak.

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The art of sound

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/soundings/artists/9/works/

Camille Norment. Triplight. 2008. Microphone cage, stand, light, electronics, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/soundings/artists/9/works/

One of my favorite sounds is quiet.

But, honestly, I tend to hear everything, yet can hardly tell you what so and so said about an hour ago. I get distracted by the hum of the a/c, the click of someone’s tongue when they’re talking, the ever present cell phone tunes and beeps, the way my friend laughs without taking a breath or that one bird in the tree that sings the same way every morning on my way out the door, when a loved one’s voice begins to  sound only  like droning.

I was a musician when I was younger. I learned to train my ears to hear not only what I was playing, but to listen to fellow players next to me. It was never just about what I was doing. It was about how all of us worked together. This created the art of sound. And, to this day, I can’t NOT hear every player around me unless I am intentional about tuning out, rather than tuning in to the world around me.

It’s so lovely when we have reached a place in our maturity, where we are aware of the things around us. No longer so self-absorbed that all we do is hear ourselves, our thoughts, our fill-in-the-blank.

I think because of the storminess in my soul off and on, I’ve been more acutely aware at times of every piece of thing around me. When I get to the point where everything is noise again – I go to my favorite sound: quiet. But, up to that point, I get impatient, anxious, distracted, and crave food for no reason at all.

On exhibit right now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is Soundings: A Contemporary Score.

Part of the description includes something I relish reading:

“While these artists approach sound from a variety of disciplinary angles—the visual arts, architecture, performance, computer programming, and music—they share an interest in working with, rather than against or independent of, material realities and environments.”

With discipline, these remarkably talented people have learned to work with their environments. If I can find a way to translate that to my own life, I really believe I’d know what Paul meant in Philippians 4:11 when he said he had learned in whatever state he was in to be content.

I’m not sure that working with my environment would mean contentment, but I can see how embracing where I am would produce a creative work in me that I would never know had I not embraced.

I invite you to take a stroll through Soundings, and see if your mind isn’t challenged to see things a little different. The art is unique and I can’t help but wonder about each artists’ story.

Can you make a living as an artist?

photo credit: Linh H. Nguyen via photopin cc

photo credit: Linh H. Nguyen via photopin cc

Let’s find out, shall we?  The remarkable thing is art is wherever we see it or put it. Whether we write it, paint it, capture it, film it, sing it…

Practically speaking, to make a living doing anything you have to showcase your skills and talents. A portfolio.

I intend to put my I’m tired’s aside and prove to myself how badly I really want this.  Dig IN. Unabashedly create my portfolio with the spark I had when I first learned art was inside of me.

To begin with my discovery, the two women here are most certainly making a living from their art:

maya-angelou

 

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” ~Maya Angelou http://mayaangelou.com/

artbanner-resized

 

“She was inspired by the styles of the past and created pieces that tell a story today.”

~Jeanne Oliver

http://jeanneoliverdesigns.com/ quote on her eCourse: Creatively Made [Rediscovering the beauty of your gifts] http://www.jeanneoliverdesigns.com/item_142/Creatively-Made-E-Course.htm

What would you dig INTO?

a poet’s portfolio

medium_2881778314

photo credit: pfv. via photopin cc

A Poet’s Portfolio

“In the winding of the day, as thoughts become my lists,

I settle into the comfort that my heart’s words will persist.

Confronting defeat with power and skill,

Never allowing my faith to sit still.

It’s a lonely walk when I am looking for my way,

Wandering the trail, turning my back on dismay.

While in the quiet the loudness abounds

Of the questions invading the peace that surrounds.

Examining my heart to read its script,

Thankful for the pages left unripped,

Noting their tones of suffering and doubt,

A thread of resilience soon stands out.

As the stories pour forth scars and mistakes,

Soon it is clear where my little heart aches.

A faint flutter of foreshadowing is there,

A picture being painted of what’s worn from the tears.

A ragged edged line from my pain to the strain,

Softens so slightly, as the sharp gaps are tamed.

In the calming of my urge to valiantly ignite

A powerful plot against the evils in the night,

Runs a golden stream of peace and release.

Where the wicked schemes are overcome

By the only Hand that can undo what was done

But, not in the way my cravings cried for

Yet, in an inexplicable way that miraculously restored.

Gave back to my soul what was stolen for lust,

And crumbled the enemy’s trods into dust.”

~Melissa Stroup, author

It is a beautiful moment, then day, then weeks, then months, then year – when you can look back at your life and see the transformation. I am fortunate to know God. To call Him my Redeemer. My portfolio is one filled with forgiveness, strain, struggle, suffering, joy, newness, love…

On your journey, never give up on your portfolio. It is unique to you. It’s your story, but also it’s what’s happened after your story. The next story. And, the one after that.

What you see is what you get, right?

Have you ever met someone and thought, “Hmmm…what are you really about?”

Because they were elusive or unclear or in denial or – and this I think is probably more understandable – they just didn’t seem like they had come to terms with themselves yet. And, you’re in conversation with them, trying to hang in there, but you’re more and more unsettled because the words spoken just are not matching up. You can’t quite put your finger on it, or maybe you can.

But, in the end, you shy away.

I admit it. I was like that for a long time. Not in a deceiving way, but in a hey-I-think-I-see-myself-just-as-I-am kinda way. Boy, was I wrong.

I have learned to be who I seem to be. Which only meant facing who I truly was. Really, really seeing myself. Why I do things. What I actually do, not what I tell myself in my pretty head I do. You understand, I’m sure you do. It’s normal, after all.

I work in an eLearning role currently. It’s a lot of fun and I have the opportunity to write, do grown up drawing a.k.a. light graphic design, and work with incredibly smart people. Sometimes they deliver PowerPoint files to me and the title is something like, “Such and Such Overview.” And, I open it up, thinking what I see there is what I’ll be getting – an overview.

BAM! It’s chock FULL of rabbit trails, graphs, screen shots I cannot read and so many details it could hardly be called an overview. Now, I do not say this in any kind of criticizing way. I can hardly contain the flow of my own thoughts onto paper. I always commend these SME’s for being able to CAPTURE the lines of thought about a highly technical role and put it onto paper. Even if I am a little lost in reading it.

My challenge, should I accept it (which, of course, I do because I like the pretty, pretty paycheck): revise the training to truly be a what you see is what you get online experience. And, that our learners go away with an authentic education – meaning, expectations were set in the beginning introduction and supported throughout the modules. Not shying away.

Turns out, most learners are visual.

This helps explains the growing demand for online training in the first place. I mean, even in an instructor led training, don’t you get totally bored if they drone on and on with no visuals? Not a single picture or video?

That also explains why we are drawn to those people that are just real. They have no qualms about being themselves, they’ve accepted who they are and how they are, and without any pretense…they are present.

I have turned to Melody Ross, founder of www.thebravegirlsclub.com, on more than one day – why? Because she is authentic. What you see is what you get. And, I want to be more authentic. It’s such a beautiful place to be.

This is one of my favorite posts by Melody about marriage. Talk about wondering if what you see is what you get! http://www.melodyross.typepad.com/

And, now that my dog, Cleo, is persistently staring me down wanting my attention – I wish you well on your journey of being authentic.

Dreamers are everywhere…I hope

photo credit: schaaflicht via photopin cc

photo credit: schaaflicht via photopin cc

One of my favorite things to do is watch people. As an artist, I find it endlessly fascinating all the refined and rough details about people around me. The creases around their eyes – from worry or laughter? The shape of their fingers, the strength in their forearms, the way they walk, how they carry themselves. Everyone to me is a story waiting to be written.

Recently, what I’ve noticed is the craving in others’ eyes for more. Not the more that’s traditionally known in our society of more money, more luxury, etc. Maybe because it’s what I’m feeling, too. But, I see highly intelligent, hard-working individuals, hulled up in a work space – conversing, interacting, emailing, IMing, etc. But, when I look in their eyes their hearts are not in it. The hunger for more heart.

So, I turn the conversation to something like: “If you’re always afraid to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” There it is – that glint. It’s the spark of touching on a heartfelt place, rather than the drone-like, SOP driven technical space we live and work in because let’s face it, it pays the bills!

Hooray! I love my bills being paid! I love having amazing benefits. I know I AM FORTUNATE.

I see people get quiet, think for a minute, and answer with the atypical corporate response. And, it’s like a breath of fresh air to me!

I call it the human factor. In a world of policies, processes and what’s-the-fastest-most-efficient-way-to-do-this…the dreamer in me craves taking my time, really getting lost in the creative brainstorm, trying a technique just to see how I like it. Having the time to start over. Wishing my coffee talks with my colleagues where we drill out these ideas we have, ways to achieve new things, how to accomplish what we are not doing that needs to feed our souls – wishing those were deemed as important as our regular meetings to review what we’re doing wrong and how to make it better.

Yet, it’s still in all of us to be a bit of a dreamer. At least, I’d like to think so. Maybe I feel less lonely if this is true.

large_6894576799photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tweedledeedesigns/6894576799/”>Cut To Pieces</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>