Do you suffer from lack of sleep due to a racing mind?
As you may recall, I decided about 6 months ago to take on a part-time position with a local health food store, and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made because of all the great information and people I am exposed to weekly.
I enter into many conversations with customers about problems sleeping because ‘their minds won’t turn off’ and the incessant loops of thoughts keep them up at night, or, they can fall asleep, but they wake up with this loop of thoughts preventing them from going back to sleep.
We all have thousands of thoughts moving through our minds daily…some of them are really mundane, while others are profound.
I’ve found that if you are not pulling out the mundane thoughts, like unwanted and scraggly weeds, your thought-garden gets too clogged up to allow the profound and life-enhancing thoughts any room to grow and go to seed.
One method that works for me is dumping what I hear in my head on paper for about 25 minutes and then throwing the paper away.
What do I mean by dumping what I hear in my head?
Literally, for 20 or 25 minutes, I sit at my dining room table with a pad and pen, and write down what I ‘hear’ going on in my head. I don’t judge the words, I don’t try and think about what I am writing. I just get out the random thoughts.
If I am nervous or tense about something, I usually do this exercise at night before I turn in.
Did my heart just skip a beat? Is that ok? What do I need to make for Cam’s next dinner so that she doesn’t have to worry about cooking while she is getting to know her new baby? What can I use instead of aluminum foil so she can reheat a Mexican casserole in the oven? What can I do to get rid of the hundreds of curly worms in the basement? Does that weird smell in the basement have anything to do with the worm bin? Did Shayne feed the worms this week? Do I need to let him know where to plant the new Hydrangia? Do I need to tell him how deep to dig the hole? Should we amend the soil?
And this goes on and on for 20 more minutes as you watch where your mind goes, and what is it is currently preoccupied with. I usually crumple up the paper after I am done and just throw it away.
Sometimes a question or observation will pop up that needs more attention, but usually the stuff I am worried about, or that is on my mind, are things that will be taken care of when the present moment has the energy and inclination to deal with it.
Once those thoughts that keep you up at night are weeded out of your mind, you can sleep.
The looping happens because you are habitually thinking about things that you most likely have no control over in the middle of the night, and they just need to be pulled out and briefly examined.
I often find that the answers to my looping thoughts will quickly come up to the surface once I give them a little life on the page.
I believe it has something to do with acknowledging them…like a little kid that is constantly trying to get your attention. Once you acknowledge the thoughts…they quieten down and stop aggravating you to tend to them.
Over the years, with this practice, I have noticed a profound peace as it pertains to the chatter in my mind. By pulling out the weedy thoughts, I have developed a sense of trust that the answers to my questions will be answered when the time is right.
Now I trust I will know what to do when the situation that I am worried about actually shows up in my physical experience.
This also helps you cultivate within yourself a deep sense of patience. With patience, trust in the natural flow of life happens naturally and your mind relaxes and stops provoking you to pay attention to it.
When I first started experiencing long periods of time where the voice in my head was quiet, it was startling. It happened rather spontaneously about 5 years ago.
I remember calling my brother wondering whether or not I was beginning to experience dementia. The chatter in my head was silent!
When I was living in Chattanooga, I was first introduced to this practice of writing down what you hear in your head and leaving it on the page.
After doing it for a while, I noticed that my sense of worry about the future diminished greatly, and I was able to focus on what was immediately in front of me instead of projecting thoughts into the future.
By remaining present, and focusing on what is immediately in front of me, my future has taken care of itself, and I find that I am for the most part, happy and content with a sense of deep fulfillment. I laugh a lot, and feel much more grounded.
If you are plagued with a mind that likes to poke you while you try and sleep, I hope that this little exercise helps you get your sleep back…stay with it and watch what happens!
Have you ever considered how to buy post earrings when shopping for them?
One of the neat things about purchasing earrings from someone who handcrafts them are the options available to you with regard to post size and placement.
Standard, commercial posts that you can buy in a department store will most likely measure about 3/8 of an inch long.
That is great if you have standard ear lobes…but not everyone is made the same, are they?
My ear lobes are pretty fleshy. When I made post earrings for myself, I use 1/2 inch posts instead of the 3/8 inch that are standard. I need that extra length for a comfortable fit. I don’t like the butterfly nut to be at the edge of the outside of the post.
In jewelry, a mm or 1/8 of an inch can make a big, big difference in comfort or fit.
For your butterfly ear nuts, you can adjust the size of them (the tightness or looseness) by slightly adjusting the two “wings”. I usually use a small pair of pliers to do this. When I send out my post earrings, I make sure that the ear nuts fit snugly, but not so tight that you might bend the post when you put them on or take them off.
Another thing to consider when buying post earrings is where is the best place for the post to be soldered to on the back of the earring?
If a woman has stretched piercings, placing the post on the very top of a fairly substantial pair of post earrings may not be that attractive. If the post is soldered too high, the earring will sag down, highlighting the fact that the piercing is stretched. Nobody wants to highlight any part of their body that is sagging!! Especially around their face!
No, a better placement would be to solder it closer to the middle, which allows the top portion of the earring to cover up the stretched out piercing. For many woman, as we age, skin starts to drift down and get looser (ok, I’m talking sagging here!). Especially ear piercings if we survived the huge earrings in the 80′s that were so popular!
When communicating what you want in a pair of earrings, it helps me to know what your particular issue is. I like to problem solve so you can feel comfortable knowing your earrings are going to complement your features and not detract from them.
If you have multiple piercings on one ear, you can buy a mixed pair of earring studs from me too…just let me know what you are interested in doing, and I’ll get you fixed up! I have a friend that has around 6 piercings in one ear, and I use the 3/8 ” post size for those.
If you are considering purchasing a pair of Post Earrings from me and want to discuss fabrication further before you order, email me! stacie(at)stacieflorer.com
Three weeks ago today I came home from the hospital after having a total hysterectomy via the Da Vinci Robotic System.
Thought I would write about this experience via my physical, mental and spiritual perspective thus far…and if anyone else that happens across this post is contemplating a hysterectomy via this method, I hope that my candor about my own experience will be helpful in your own research. So…warning…this post is pretty candid!
The surgery itself was a breeze. I had 4 holes punched in my stomach, measuring about 4 mm each. They inserted robotic arms in my lower abdomen and the surgeon controlled the arms from a computer station away from my body. Everyone that had anything to do with me during my hospital stay were tender, professional and very caring. They truly love what they do and it showed.
My surgery lasted about 2.5 hours…I was in recovery for a couple of hours, then I was wheeled up to my hospital room. I had a catheter and oxygen almost up until the time I was discharged the next day. Overall…the experience of surgery wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. I was fairly comfortable (as comfortable as you can be with a catheter) and was able to ride home fairly well with a pillow around my abdomen for support.
As soon as I got home, I took a shower and went to bed. Getting up and out of bed has been the most challenging part of this whole experience. Shayne gave me his hiking pole and that helped a lot, but for the first 10 days or so, he had to put his arms around me and lift me up to a sitting position. No core strength at all!
I think the scariest hurdle I had to jump was using the bathroom for the first time after surgery. Since I have a vaginal cuff, there is the risk of popping the sutures if you get constipated. For some reason, that warning in my discharge papers really made me nervous, so as soon as I was home, I started sucking down some soluble fiber in pretty vast quantities to insure I didn’t get constipated. It took about 4 days before my intestines came online and worked again…but the ‘event’ turned out not to be as stressful as I had feared.
I think the best way to describe how my lower abdomen feels is ‘wonky’. Things were moved a bit and now, this week especially, they seem to be trying to find their final resting place. I still need a couple of naps per day. And I am taking pain meds on an as needed basis. I can usually motor through the day ok without any pain, but at night, it tends to get fairly rough. Sleeping with no pain meds happened once this week at night, and at 3am I was awakened with pain and a general feeling of being very uncomfortable.
My belly feels very different…from a physical standpoint. My uterus was about the size of someone 3 or 4 months pregnant. Now that its gone, even though I still have a swelly belly from the surgery, I can definitely ‘see’ the difference, as well as feel the difference. I really do feel lighter. People that have visited me say that I look lighter…I think that is more from an energetic perspective, though.
The decision to have the surgery was surprising. I initially went to my gynocologist because I was having post-menopausal bleeding and discharge. I have been post-menopausal for 7 years, and when you have something unusual happening down there, it’s good to get it checked out.
I knew I had fibroids, but during the ultrasound, I saw that they had actually grown from the last time I had that test done. They couldn’t see my left ovary, and one of the fibroids was pretty large. I was having some other issues too, that shouldn’t really be happening for at least 100 more years (haha)…and when my doctor suggested we discuss my options, I was surprised at how receptive I was to having them finally removed.
It had been suggested to me before, but I always said no. This time, my body said yes, because I immediately responded to the idea of doing it. My mind was like, “What the hell? You don’t believe in surgery unless its life-threatening!” but something clicked and I was not in any way apprehensive about doing it.
I only had two questions that gave me any pause about this decision,
- How do they take the uterus out? Through the holes? Or through my vagina?
- Am I grounded when they hook me up to the robot? Is there any way that it can do what it wants to instead of the surgeon directing it?
My doctor, a man about my age, was super cool about explaining how it worked, and I was amused that the only thing I would ever give birth to would be my own reproductive system.
I was initially worried about the size of those fibroids coming through my birth canal, but he assured me that a baby’s head was about 10 cm and my fibroid-riddled uterus would fit.
I tried to find as much humor in this experience as I could. That is my way of dealing with the unknown, generally.
And he assured me that he was in total control and that I would have a grounding pad on, so that was very reassuring. The idea of getting electrocuted did give me pause…
Mentally, I felt like the decision was right for me. And I still believe that it was the right decision after the fact.
This perspective is not as easy to articulate as the other two are.
I feel like this part of my life is a pivot point. Physically removing my womb has had an impact on me on that deep soul level. It doesn’t have anything to do with my lifelong decision to not be a mother to my own children. I was good with that decision long before I even went into menopause.
Our reproductive organs represent life force energy…the place in our bodies where we as women have enough energy to make and support a baby. Did I just remove a vital part of my own life force?
I don’t know yet.
Who am I without my reproductive system? And what value does, or did, my reproductive system have to me now, at this stage in my life?
I just don’t know yet. This is the part that will take time to understand and come to terms with.
I don’t think it is any coincidence that my creative output as it pertains to jewelry has been about the growth cycles found in nature.
It is all connected, I see that now. I also recognize that I have entered a new phase of my own growth cycle.
I wonder about what is ahead…and I wonder about what new insights I will uncover as I continue to process this.
Thank you for all your well wishes on Instagram and the nice emails…
Dancing Buds, Sterling Silver Earrings by Stacie Florer 2017
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Elizabeth Appell
As I look out my window, I see OLD trees starting to form buds in anticipation of longer, sun-lit days and warmer weather.
It occurred to me that those trees, at least most of them, have been around longer than I have; yet, they still produce buds every year, with the promise of blossoming.
It isn’t about endurance. I believe its more about trust. Trusting in the wisdom of the seasons, and that just because one year passes, doesn’t mean that the season to blossom is permanently over.
Our culture perpetuates this myth that blossoming is only for the young. But nature insists that blossoming happens when the right environmental conditions are met, regardless of age.
Ahh…isn’t that wonderful to contemplate? Just a little turn of the mind…a bit of noticing about the reality that just IS when we slow down enough to really notice our lives and our place in the natural process of living.
I have a scraggly lavender plant that I have been trying to keep alive inside my home while winter gives way to spring. The environmental conditions are absolutely terrible for it…no sun as my house is rather dark; no wind to strengthen her so I lightly stroke her leaves whenever I pass by on my way out the door. I can give her warmth; I can pretend there is wind, but I can’t possibly replicate the natural environment she needs to thrive and grow.
I am just giving her enough to stay alive, but her potential is on hold. The way she looks reminds me of how I feel when my environment is not allowing me to thrive.
Do you know what your particular environment must be to bud, unfurl and lean towards the light?
Forming your root system
For this stage in my life, I knew a few years ago that I needed a stable, physical place to form my foundation. After living on the wind, a home was now necessary for me to put down a root system. I was ready to land.
For many, many years, I lived like the annual. I had a shallow root system, and most of my energy was being put into seeding those I came into contact with new ideas that were potentially mutative for them.
While I was ‘on the move’, I befriended so many that were in places of transition. Energetically, this pattern of acquiring experiences with people that were undergoing tremendous change kept repeating itself. I noticed it, and took note.
Our friendships bloomed so quickly…a great sudden burst of energy! I loved it! But either I would move or they would move..and the great thrust of pent up energy was gone again.
For the time, it was correct for me to live like that.
But when it was time for me to change my environment, I felt it in a very deep way. I couldn’t seem to replenish myself for the energy needed to keep producing those seeds from shallow roots. Instinctively, I knew it was time to work on my own root system.
Over the last year or so, I have used my energy in a much different way. It is so much slower than before!
I met a few people my first year..mostly those in my neighborhood. Close to my rooting system…I didn’t venture out that far from where I was most needed energetically. Although many of my friends and family did visit us…and that was quite novel!
As those people in my life that have been so important to me while I was on the wind traveled through, I watched where they wanted to congregate for communion in my home.
In those areas, I have developed the environment to help support conversations and closeness. I am using gorgeous crystals from my home state of Arkansas to help amplify those areas energetically as well as choosing paint colors to promote warmth, security and safety.
Where they sleep while here, I have lovingly attended to developing a cozy place for them to rest and recover.
My jewelry studio environmentally needs some help..I have noticed that I haven’t quite tweaked it to where it will support my deep rooted desires creatively..but that will continue to develop slowly before it is ready to bloom.
And I’m ok with the longer timeframe. I am struggling with getting rid of the shallow rooted way of thinking about my work environment!
What does your physical environment reflect back to you regarding your own root system? Is it shallow like the annual, or deep like the perennial? Or somewhere in-between like the biannual?
All three of these root systems have a purpose…but what happens when your particular root system no longer works for you and you stop thriving?
Your nights probably become shorter (sleep issues anyone?) and the desire for a new environment starts to really take hold (daydreaming replaces night-dreaming).
As to the flip side of this notion, I have observed friends that have very deep root systems, but they are no longer able to form new buds and bloom. The old ideas of themselves are dying within; and its time for them to put their energy into forming new life seeds and reproducing their essence elsewhere.
Sometimes, a deeply rooted being provides much shade for those around them, and those people aren’t interested in stepping into their own light at the expense of losing the shade that you may provide. That can be a very difficult transition to make.
There is a time for many where it is now correct for them to take to the wind and see where they land to start anew. Shallow rooted plants often produce the most gorgeous, life-infused blooms!
I know what it is to ride the wind…to live with a heart-quickened existence. Possessions are light, keys are few on the keychain and total immersion in experiences is vital as great amounts of energy are collected to produce something new.
Shallow or deep, or somewhere in between, all of them are necessary to us as we continue to evolve and grow.
But blooming requires so many things…and none of them are dependent upon the age we are! Our roots just have to support our intentions, and our environment must nourish and support our ideals…and then the buds will set, and we will be in a place to unfurl.
Simple, but not easy!
That my mother ended up with these earrings is no accident…I believe I have been designing jewelry that would appeal to her for the last 12 years.
When I was a little kid, I knew one way to my mother’s heart was via archeology and anything old. The patina of a thing was like candy to her…and it rubbed off on me.
I remember one Christmas when I was about five years old and excited to ‘make’ my mother’s gift. I couldn’t buy anything…so handmade was a necessity growing up.
I found some pictures of Holly Hobby in a magazine, and cut them out. I pasted them on some blocks of wood that I found in the garage. I then tried to ‘patina’ my creations with ink, dirt and some strange variation of other ingredients readily available to a five year old on a mission that included saran wrap, too. I am sure it was horribly executed, but there was a feeling that I was trying for that I am pretty sure I’ve been exploring my entire creative life.
These earrings were challenging. I had to solder the brass bar on to the top of a disc that I had distorted with sandpaper and my chasing hammer. But I loved the end result and must say that these were my personal favorites of the year.
My mother came up to visit this summer and as soon as she saw them, I knew they were hers. They look fantastic with her striking gray hair and they fall elegantly down her neck. She tells me she always gets comments on them when she wears them, and that makes me happy–as she has also shared with me that as she has gotten older, that she feels like she disappears when in groups of people.
I know that feeling of disappearing…I’ve heard so many mature women remark upon the fact that they often feel invisible when socializing, and maybe that is why bright colors and striking jewelry become more important as the years add up.
I am currently in the process of growing out the hair color on my own tresses and embracing the silver…this upcoming year I turn 50. I have no interest in looking like someone in her 30’s or even 40’s…I just want to look like me. The me that I am now…without having to cover things up or fuss over what is…
50 comes with a certain patina that I have earned by living well…and I’m excited about this next stage in my life.
That, along with something purple and red, and a kick ass pair of long earrings should do the trick…hope you have a great New Year!
Active waiting…how often does this show up in your life?
As a butterfly waits for its wings, while in the chrysalis stage, it is in an active stage of waiting. Or a pregnant mama, as she readies her environment for the arrival of her baby, she enters into a state of active waiting.
Waiting isn’t necessarily ‘doing nothing’. For things to transition from one state to another requires active waiting, and it can be a difficult rhythm to adjust to, especially from a creative point of view.
Our culture tells us to ‘get out there and make something happen’, but this often leads to stress and frustration if the timing isn’t right.
I have a Dogwood tree in my backyard. This fall, the tree produced loads of beautiful, red berries. I watched the birds flitting to and fro on the branches, but they never touched those luscious looking red berries. They appeared ripe to me…but I admit I don’t know much about Dogwood berries…
Then one day, I looked outside and heard a bunch of birds chattering. I mean, it was loud enough for me to respond to it with a quick walk to the window. My full tree of red berries was being devoured by a group of Robins. In an hour, they had stripped that tree of all those berries.
How did they know that TODAY was the day to eat those berries? What impulse did they follow that led them to decide Today is the Day the Dogwood Berries Get Eaten in their little birdie brains?
I figure it has something to do with recognizing that TODAY those berries were at their optimum nutritional capacity for the birds to convert to flying energy. Animals are so attuned to their environment, to the ‘tells’ of when to use energy for action, or when to conserve it.
Nature is all about the right timing. Animals have a built in time-keeper that alerts them to the right time to eat, sleep, mate and reproduce themselves. We have the same time-keeper within us, when we slow down and stop ‘doing’ things that we compulsively do because we are not aware of the right timing of action for ourselves.
I was talking to a friend the other day about their habit of offering unsolicited advice and the frustration and anger they feel when ‘no one listens to me’ enters into their mind.
In my life, I am beginning to recognize and understand about the right timing to give wisdom and knowledge away to another so that it can offer the most help in moving that information along the human chain of understanding.
It’s really simple…the right timing is when someone ASKS you for it.
When they ask, the framework of a mutually satisfying exchange of information has been built, and that energy of that particular flavor of information is in its optimal state to be ‘digested’ by the one that receives it.
Maybe the Dogwood tree sends out some sort of ‘Eat my berries’ signal out into its environment when its ready for its berry seeds to be ‘deposited’ further afield by those flocks of fast moving birds. I don’t know exactly what the mechanism is…but I sure enjoyed watching the effects of it this fall.
I see so much online in the creative community about taking flight, getting your wings and so forth…but remember that it takes time to grow those wings, too.
And nothing fosters disappointment more than trying to fly with unfurled wings.
How did I start to recognize my particular tells when it comes to right timing?
I started with understanding the concept of trust first, and what I trust, and what I don’t.
I discovered that I had a belief about NOT trusting in life that had to be worked on in depth. It took about a year of active waiting to start cultivating this level of trust. I had to start with faith first…and life taught me to trust it. This last year has been an amazing incubation period for me as a result.
Then I moved towards understanding where in my life impatience and compulsive action-taking seems to show up the most.
I also started asking myself what are the usual results when I ‘jump the gun’ in whatever area I have the most frustration and anger around.
I started there…and discovered that when I try and force something to fit into my contrived schedule, I experienced the most frustration.
Our immediate environment is always communicating to us about right timing. If you are cooking and forget to set the timer for a batch of cookies, your nose will tell you when to take them out of the oven. Usually, the first whiff of cookie goodness you get is a tell that the timing is forthcoming to take them out of the oven, right?
Or when I’m hungry…I am starting to only eat when I am in response to what my body wants. Sometimes I don’t want to eat until 10pm! Normally, one would be conditioned to think that this is a terrible time to eat…but why fight what my body is telling me it needs? I experimented with this a few months ago, and I felt great. When I started eating again around the prescribed ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner times”, I started having digestive issues again.
As I was writing this, my dog, Sadie, started jumping on my leg, letting me know it’s her time to go pee. So, I stopped and responded to her own right timing. As it is especially cold outside right now, I didn’t have to wait for her to smell around stuff for 10 minutes before she finds just the right place to scent mark. We were in out and in in mere minutes! And while I was out there, life showed me again to trust it, because it gave me an idea about how to edit this post.
So, for me, this idea of right timing is about cultivating trust in life itself. Its about deciding to go with the flow, as my mother-in-law says, instead of forcing the flow.
There is a divine sense of inner peace and tranquility that occurs when I trust in life’s rhythms and ignore the often strong temptation to act with impulsivity and impatience.
I am part of life itself…and life has its own timing as far as where my energy is best spent.
But it requires active waiting…and patience, with a dose of will power to NOT act before its time.
“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” rumi
I had to move and interact with garden to know it.
When we bought this house, I stood in the backyard and just breathed deep. I felt like I hadn’t had a proper deep breath in decades. I told Shayne that this house was ours…I could breathe here. And over the last year, I have been rediscovering what it feels like to be in sync with my environment — to breathe deep every day, and to notice all the beauty and life that surrounds us.
I’ve entered a new phase in my professional and private life. I’m all about integration these days. It’s about living slow and deliberative. It’s about noticing and responding to the vast changes that occur minute by minute in this life.
I’m into cycles…and embracing them in their time.
My jewelry is about capturing the feelings and impressions of my life now…I want more pretty. I want more softness. When its time for hard edges, I will embrace them too…this winter there will be more hard edges but for now, I am relishing the soft lines and fuzzy features of my home yard. Of my private park..my sanctuary.
I made my debut appearance in Roanoke last weekend where I showcased this new phase of noticing and translating into wearable art jewelry. I had a great time, meeting lots of new people and noticing all of the beauty around me in the form of faces and smiles and laughter.
I have a lunch date tomorrow with a new friend, with more promises of get togethers and social activities for the future.
I have neighbors that I adore…I now have teenager friends that I attend their school functions and am excited to watch them grow in their own creative endeavors. It’s a wonderful new phase of my life…community. Belonging. Growing while rooted. It was time.
And its time for me to show back up here, too. I took a year off. It was needed and I am so appreciative to have been able to do it. To just be for a while. Not having an agenda. I struggled with it until I felt like ‘doing’ again…I’ve been immersed in my Human Design work over the last year and am looking forward to becoming more involved with this system of self-awareness moving forward.
Life is good…and sweet.
Why do I make jewelry? To align my desires and beliefs about living a meaningful life with my business goals of producing personal adornment infused with meaning and intention.
The vehicle that I have chosen to use to explore this amazing journey between an idea and a real, 3-D object is via my jewelry. I want all parts of the process, from thinking about it–to making it– to offering it for sale– to teaching it to be a singular experience for both myself and the future owner of my efforts and ideas in metal.
Soul to Substance was a name that was given to me during a contemplative and solo walk in the woods when Shayne and I were traveling around the United States a couple of years ago. We decided to spend a few months in Arkansas, where we both grew up, and we found a vacation house to rent in Hot Springs Village. It was in the summer, which is a beautiful time to be in Arkansas, although its really hot.
There was a trail nearby, called the Mourning Dove Trail, that I liked to walk with Sadie daily. It is a special, special place for me. I was out walking the trail by myself, stopped by a small creek and experienced one of those moments where you have such clear and sudden insight into a BIG idea that it throws you back for a moment in its stunning simplicity and meaning.
After Sadie and I left the creek, as I was walking, it occurred to me that the clothes I had on my body, the shoes and socks on my feet and the glasses on my face all began as an idea in someone else’s mind.
We are literally surrounded by ideas by way of anything and everything that has every been crafted, manufactured or built. I like to tell my nieces that if you want to be a mind reader, then read a book. That is nothing but ideas and thoughts from someone you might want to learn from and be inspired from…and the miracle of the printing press! To be able to spread ideas in word form with complete sentences for those lucky enough to be able to read changed our world!
But as I was wandering about on that trail, I realized that our world is based on this principle in that everything starts out as something that can’t be seen, touched, smelled or tasted. It begins in the soul.
That wispy barely there seed of something starts in our souls, turns into an idea and our purpose is to practice bringing our ideas and our ideals into the world, into the physical.
Or as my friend Cindy said to me so beautifully and astutely a few days ago regarding why we artists feel so compelled to make things, it’s about the “challenge of working through an idea and having it turn in to a real, dimensional object.”
But even if you are not an artist in the traditional sense of the word, you do create daily.
Your ideas about your life show up in your physical environment. What you choose to surround yourself with, what you choose to watch on television, listen to on your radio or iPod…you are constantly creating your reality based on other people’s ideas, as well as your own.
This was another big, fat Aha! moment for me. I have the power to choose the ideas that I want to live with…all the way down to something as simple as the type of toothpaste I decide to brush my teeth with each day.
This seemingly simple realization changed my outlook on just about everything in regard to how Shayne and I want to live the rest of our lives. Shayne has had a dream about building a small house whereby everything about it and in it has a specific purpose. He wants to build it with his own hands. He wants to infuse his ideas about simple living into a physical structure for us to live in when we are not traveling around so much.
(Update: We bought a house instead! But we are ‘re-working it’ with our own hands!)
We are both moving down the pathway of being mindful about what comes into our home in the way of products that we use, art that we purchase, furniture that we sit or sleep on…we want and are in the process of clearing out any ‘things’ that we feel were made or manufactured with the idea of subtracting from the quality of the moments we have left on earth.
I have two favorite pairs of pants that I wear all of the time. I bought them at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon 10 years ago. They are handmade. I met the woman that makes them, and she was at the time a single woman, raising the sweetest, chubbiest child I have had the pleasure of meeting.
Her child was always with her, and as I talked to this maker of pants, she told me that she made her own clothes using hemp because it would last forever, getting softer with time and washings; it was very durable and easy to work with and she wanted some pants that had an elastic waistband to grow and shrink with time as our bodies naturally do. Every pair was infused with love for her child, as this was the means that she was able to house and feed them both.
When I wear them, I briefly think about her intentions for making them, and it makes me feel good knowing that I choose to clothe myself with the energy and essence of this amazingly earthy and industrious mother. And the pants have lasted through hiking and fishing trips, infused with memories of being with friends and family doing some of the things that I love spending my time doing. And she was right about the elastic waistband…I can continue to wear them whatever size my belly is at whatever time in life I happen to be in, as I happen to have a stomach that really does expand an inch when I eat ANYTHING.
That is what Soul to Substance is about for me.
I want to live from my Soul and see what Substance comes from that. This is what my jewelry is about as well. I still don’t have words to try and explain why I am compelled to put so much texture on my work, or why I feel such a strong urge to make my jewelry the way I do. I am still figuring that out, working out what it all means for me. I have understood my jewelry on a soul level…but I am gradually getting to where I can talk about the feelings that emerge as I bring it out of my Soul into Substance.
It is ever evolving, but I do feel like I am getting closer. I dream of an art retreat someday called Soul to Substance where those of us that are interested in exploring this idea more can gather and see what ideas we can birth into this world. I see Soul to Substance as a big umbrella idea…many things can fit under it!
“When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.” ― Dean Jackson
I planted a Butterfly bush last year and this year the yield of brightly colored winged-ones has been a true joy. I try and seed my environment with symbols of change, to continually reinforce my belief that metamorphous is always possible, and that transition is the nature of life itself.
My father moved in with us in late March, and he is moving into his new apartment in a couple of weeks. He is in the middle of great change, and this morning we had a conversation about trying to go back to the actual environments where we have experienced a sense of peace and tranquility. For me, it was in Cabot, Arkansas, where I lived as a kid.
Up until I was 15 years old, I thought that I would live in Cabot for the rest of my life, my parents would grow old there and that often wished for sense of safety (which is always accompanied with mundaneness) would be my future.
Life had different plans….
In one week, I learned that my parents were divorcing, my brother and I were moving to Little Rock and attending a private school, AND we found my dog dead near a creek that ran between us and our neighbor’s house. It was a pivotable time for me. Mundaneness went out the window, along with my belief in the possibility of life not changing.
I discovered that my suffering was tied to this idea that change was bad after a few months of shock. And I believe my body decided to take me on a ride where change would be front and center for the rest of my life.
What to do? Resist the lesson and continue to suffer? Or embrace the change and learn to navigate with wings instead?
I swear I think I grow a new set of wings every year…metamorphous isn’t a one time deal. Changes allow us to continue strengthening our wings, but eventually, your wings give out and it’s time to grow another pair.
Life has a way of handing out experiences where you can choose to fly or stay grounded.
A few years ago, Shayne and I moved back to Arkansas, thinking we could capture what we left behind us years ago…childhood friendships and that sense of safety and peace. I mean, we were of a certain age, right? No children…maybe it would be good to be around those that have known us for years and years, and we could settle in for this last half of our lives in a place where we had rooted before we learned how to fly.
Not surprisingly, we came back as Butterfly’s surrounded by lots and lots of caterpillars. We were seen as weird…we were not the same people dressed in older bodies. Drinking hot tea instead of Lipton’s sun tea in the middle of the afternoon was commented upon as…peculiar. Our tea moment around those that had never left, never leapt from their place of birth was a pivotable experience for us, and we started laying the groundwork to take flight again.
The previous longing I felt for rootedness where I had rooted before started to feel more like having my feet tied up with invisible fishing line…a tangled mess with no hope of untangling. I started to realize I was going to have to cut the line to be really free.
One thing that I observed during a weekend reunion of sorts was the part that alcohol seemed to play in the lives of those that never left. Have you ever seen a bucket filled with sea crustaceans? The ones that try and climb out of the bucket are always pulled back in by the others too afraid to make a break for it.
That image of crabs grabbing for the legs of those trying to rise up nagged at me while I was there.
I watched them as they greeted each other with, “You haven’t changed at all!” like that was a good thing. The stench of staleness was palpable in their words and actions. Many seemed to be in a rush to don beer goggles to soften and distort the reality that we were not in the bloom of our youth.
Do I believe it is possible to grow and change if rooted to the same spot year after year?
You bet…but you have to cut off of the dead wood to do it. I’m not advocating against staying rooted in the same spot…I’m advocating for growing where you happen to be regardless of how long you have been there.
Who are you right now? What if you couldn’t remember who you were or how you were perceived by others before you had your eyes opened to the gift of change and transition?
My Butterfly bush will be cut down to the ground this fall and next year will grow into an entirely new bush. I think we can do that too…drop what you were and learn how to experience yourself as all new growth instead of trying to bloom on dead wood year after year.
I’m constantly tending to my inner garden, trying to determine where the dead wood is and eliminating it. It’s very difficult to cut off a branch that I’ve become accustomed to having attached…but the new growth that is sure to arrive quickly erases my unease about cutting it off.
Our environment has the answers if we are willing to stop and listen to what it is trying to teach us.
Have a nice flight, butterfly!
Below are some new earrings available in my shop for $85. These are one of a kind…I don’t have this design in any of my accounts! They measure 2 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide. I usually make the triple disc earrings without the spears of kyanite, but a few days ago, I had the idea to combine these two elements of my work.
I had a rough month…it looks like I have to have a hysterectomy in April. I am still in the investigative stage of this experience as well as just getting used to the idea. I will be home convalescing for about 6 weeks, and most likely won’t be doing much in the way of making jewelry.
I think for the next few weeks I will be making just what I want to make, all one of a kind pieces as I process through my upcoming surgery. As I make stuff, I will post it here and on my Instagram account too…
As far as everything else…I love my part-time job and the progress I am making in a completely different area of my life as it pertains to becoming a Human Design Analyst. I finished up my second series of pre-requisites for certification last week and will be taking my last pre-req class in September. Next year, I start my professional classes and am so excited about this new direction in my professional life.
I am curious to see what emerges creatively in the next few weeks as I drill down and explore emotionally what it means to have my womb removed. Today, I found a bird’s nest that had been abandoned due to the cold weather snap we have experienced here, and I put it over on my oak tree stump that I have converted into an outdoor fairy house. It occurred to me that birds must build their womb…and when the conditions are not right, they abandon it.
I guess the conditions are no longer right for me to retain my own womb. I am not sure how I feel about this on many levels. But I trust that it is all a part of the journey I am to take in this lifetime and that the deeper realizations and learnings will come in their own time.
Kyanite is considered by some to be a healing stone, and a stone that helps those that wear it find their voice. Seems like this pair of earrings is a good start to this next leg in my journey. I am hoping via my creative energy to discover my voice regarding this monumental change for my body.
Blessing to you…and thank you for reading.