life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....
I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to grieve my losses, to laugh long and hard, and to learn how to live a full magnificent life with heart failure. I am honoring my creativity, and exploring all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say....."Don't talk like that!"


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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Story


“There's a deep cultural presumption that creating something out of grief somehow makes it all even out in the end. That presumption does such a disservice, both to the creative practice and to you.  We need art. We need to create. It's part of being human. But creating something good out of loss is not a trade, and it's not a cure.  Pain is not redeemed by art. Creating something out of what was is no fair trade for not being allowed to continue *living* what was. There is no fair trade.  Creative practices can also help you deepen your connection with what is lost. Death doesn't end a relationship; it changes it. Writing, painting, and other creative processes allow the conversation that began in the life Before to continue in the life After. The stories we create are a continuation of love.”
~Megan Devine

So many of my friends and family felt like my creativity was going to help me through this.  I thought the same.  But the “attempts” I was making at creativity were horrible!  In the past, the work had provided instant gratification  (well not necessarily “instant” but gratification) .  When consumed with a round of grief I would hole up in the studio certain that creating something, anything would help, but it did not…and the work was bad!

As I learn to separate my grief from creativity it begins to feel like I have found an old friend, I am recovering a part of me, and I am experiencing a new kind of love. My art was a big part of us. My creative work is beginning to be a part of my story not an expression of grief. “Take these Broken Wings” and “Reaching Higher” were both accepted in the Nude Nite Exhibition,  They were my first attempt of telling a story rather than expressing grief and it feels like the Universe has responded.....yes!

"Blackbird"  Beatles

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Messy!


Lately, I have been wondering how much energy I spent making me and others think I was organized, in control and quite structured.  I think it was more of an act than me.  I held on to everything mentally, emotionally and physically and some of that is not always a bad thing! I spent so much energy hiding everything that I did not think others would not like.  For the most part, it worked!  

One of the things I am learning, that Skip’s death is teaching me, is how to let go, even when it is difficult, hurts, and the absolute last thing I wanted to do. I am learning to let go of things that do not serve me even when it is uncomfortable.  

I am starving for simplicity and peace but accept there will always be parts of life that are messy and will command my energy…it’s ok!

"Learning to Fly" Tom Petty

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Spiritual by-pass


You create your own reality
Meditation
Set your intention
A negative attitude is the only real disability

“Hidden inside this seemingly encouraging advice to take charge of your emotions, and therefore your life is the culture of blame. It's the avoidance of pain clothed in positive, pseudo-spiritual speak. It's the presumption that happiness and contentment are the only true measures of health.” ~Megan Devine

This is spiritual bypass! I learned that experiencing pain, could be accomplished by splitting between the head and the heart--trying to surpass being human by becoming more intelligent.  The way to get through the pain of being human is not to deny it, but to experience it. To let it exist. To let it be, without stopping it up or holding it back, or approaching it from my intellectual side.

Suddenly losing the person I spent most of my life with, my partner, best friend, lover, father, fixer of things and the one man that could also make me nuts and I still loved because he and life is real. And life is not always easy.  The measure of a good life is surviving it!  Sometimes it is easier to allow the pain than to intellectually resist it. Sometimes being with that pain is kinder, softer, gentler, and easier to bear--even when it rips you apart.

I am learning that I am not failing to be a "spiritual" or "emotionally intelligent" person.  My need to feel my pain is a sign of emotional depth and skill. Empathy is my own feeling with myself, feeling with others--is a real-life and reality, it is not easy.
"Holding on to Memories" Corey Tynan

Monday, January 20, 2020

The most powerful tool...


I do not trust my instincts anymore.  Grief and anxiety are tricky combinations of confusion.  Chronic vigilance seems like the only route to take.  I want to protect me, my family, my friends, loss is waiting for me everywhere, I have to be prepared this time!

I am learning that simple acknowledgment is my most powerful tool! It does feel counterintuitive, but somehow being honest with myself about how I actually feel in an uncomfortable situation or moment changes it.  I just have to tell myself the truth…”This is fear, I am afraid of more loss”…It does not always stop it, but it “softens” the blow and slows my raw emotions from running amuck.
"Catch the Wind" Donavan

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Working on it...


Anxiety is such a huge issue in grief, who knew?  I am learning that feelings of anxiety are normal for those who have survived sudden, intense loss or trauma. Although I have never had a fear of crowds, doing art shows, gallery openings, teaching…but inside this grief, any unknown and the whole world feels unsafe except for the little home that Skip and I spent more than 40 years in. Anywhere else requires I maintain a constant vigilance: searching for early warning signs of trouble, guarding against more loss. I mentally and emotionally rehearse what I would do if I were faced with unthinkable trauma AGAIN.

I am learning that this problem, rather than helping me feel safe, is becoming a perpetual fear creating a small, hard, painful life that isn't safer than any other life.  I see it and with help I am working on it….
"Her Diamonds"  Rob Thomas

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Its like a game, if we look at our emotions from a different perspective.


Ouch!  This one is kind of a poke in the eye!  It is much like a lesson I learned in the Artist’s Way.  Some of the ugly feelings I have, especially jealously, is not just a crappy emotion but a clear signal from the Universe pointing me in the direction I need to go and the action I need to take to get there.  It was easy once I understood the concept.  For example, I wish I had a studio like hers is telling me to get into my studio, clean it up make mine functional. It is like a game...a puzzle..a scavenger hunt... all the information is right there in our emotions if we look at them from a different perspective.

This quote hit me the same way…just so you know…apparently, I have a lot of unhealed places….


"Games People Play"  Joe South

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The cha-cha is good!



And that’s life!  A spectacular few weeks of creating, being accepted into Nude Nite, doing a 21-day house purge class…and I have had some stuff to purge! Even beginning to work on the studio so I can work in there more….Not to worry I will not make it too clean and organized… OMG that would be impossible!  So many great things happening and I get a nice little smack in the face having to do with these ugly, for lack of other things to call them “blood bruises” I keep getting on my arms and now my lower legs (they do not hurt, they are just ugly!).  Ed thinks it might be a steroid problem, but Doc coming to look me over this afternoon and see what they mean and what we should do about them…Personally I think it is just time for another “medicine dance” the cha-cha is good!

"Chilli Cha-Cha"  Jassica Jay

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I am in…I am in…


I am in…I am in…happy dance...I am in…both of my art pieces were accepted!

In the weirdness of this different life, there is much “old” that I want to hang on to!  The question that I chronically have to ask myself is “Am I physically and/or emotionally strong enough to do it?” Last night I got an email that answered part of that question. 

Most of all, I am telling the world I will not go down without a fight. 

Not fighting against a disease, I am fighting for a meaningful life!


"Don't Give Up" Herbie Hancock, John Legend & Pink

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Anyone but me...


This morning it occurred to me that this is the first time in my life that I have no responsibilities to anyone but me.  I have the income to live a modest life without having to work, the children are happily grown with their own children and then, Skip is now gone…It is just me. No cooking, cleaning or laundry if I do not want to, no answering to anyone else about where I am (although this one is still not a big deal, I am almost always at home) and the list goes on and on. 

This is a very new and sometimes frightening situation, one that I had always dreamed of in earlier days of child-rearing, working and managing a household. Now that I have this incredible freedom  I honestly did not recognize it and am learning how to enjoy it.


"Anticipation" Carly Simon

Monday, January 13, 2020

...and my age isn't helping either!


"If your mind isn't what it used to be, you're entirely normal. You're not crazy. You feel crazy because you're inside a crazy experience. It makes perfect sense that your mind doesn't work the way it used to: everything has changed."  ~Megan Devine

I love this woman!  She has made me feel like I am not alone with these miserable changes.  I am not going bonkers, but then I do not think I was ever typically normal and my age is helping any either!  Not trying to push through or get “better”.  I am learning how to accept gratitude and surrender to grief as I need to.  


"In My Own Crazy Way" Rod Stewart

Finding my Strength


I have been taking a decluttering class online.  The title was “Get Rid of 99 Things in 21 Days”.  After 40 years in one house, it is scary amazing how much stuff we had amassed.  Like the rest of my life, I learned well how to hide my imperfections.  My way of maintaining the semblance of calm and organization was simple...hide it.  Under beds, in closets, in cupboards, it looked good but underneath it is was a frustrated, mixed up, unorganized mess of emotions and stuff.  Most of it is stuff I really do not even want of need, but there seems to be an underlying fear of not having or being enough….still!

So, as I heal from my own grief and loss, I can also heal some of my other issues.  The grief still makes it difficult for me to go out into public (you know around lots of people, I have no idea what that is about, it just is) this class is giving me tools to “fix” some of my clutter frustrations, and the time in my most comfortable environment.  Surrounded by love and memories.  I am not hiding from the world I am finding my strength.

"Celebrate Me Home"  Kenny Loggins