It was like time stood still Thursday night at The Victorian in Whitinsville. My dear friend Elisa and I co-taught a Zentangle inspired ornament class. The home is decorated up in full victorian regalia, a fire warms the library where we gathered for class and as we began class with a few moments of silence to get In The Moment, we pledged to leave the stress of this busy time of year at the door and let go of expectations for the next few hours. We were blessed with an eclectic mix of students from many different walks of life but as always our fascination with all that Zentangle brings provided an instant bond between us. The beautiful ornaments we ended up with were but the icing on the cake of a night filled with celebration of milestones, ah-HA moments and laughter! Enjoy the pictures!
So this is a little bit of a cathartic vent for me. Not looking for sympathy just need to get these thoughts out of my head. Not sure I'll even post this as it's WAY tmi for the collective you out there.
I have been struggling with a kidney stone since June. Emergency room, drugs, follow ups, holistic Dr and loads of weird home remedies, LOTS of water, apparently not enough but still, LOTS. Flash forward to three two weeks ago when I end up back at the hospital having the less desirable of the two surgeries available to you when you need to have a stone removed. I tried the holistic route, lots of supplements, water and a mixture of lemon oil, lemon juice and olive oil. That was fun... So back to the hospital... Thankfully they knock you out and take the stone out. Not so great is the stint they leave in for 10 to 14 days. This causes pain that is new and different than the previous pain. AWESOME! One 6.78 mm stone made of presumably calcium oxalate presumably the cause of all this... life experience. How lucky I am. No really, for all the whining in this rant I am very lucky. I live in a place where I can go and get help. Insurance...(sort of... HSA) to pay for some of it, educated people to provide opinions, family and friends to support me and a warm bed to writhe in each night. It could be a whole lot worse.
These months since June, I ran a few races, vacationed, worked out, started a new diet, started teaching Zentangle, blessed by friends, family and a husband that just keeps showing up when I need him. It's hard listening to someone constantly in pain and not start to get sick of it. No pun intended... But he's there, rubbing my back, and feet, cooking, shopping, driving, cleaning, being here. But I digress...
I have never been one of those jump out of bed and tackle ten things before breakfast people but lately I'm just in bed not sleeping. Usually I kind of ease into the day. Lots of snooze hitting and covers pulled up over my head. Followed by coffee and breakfast. I'm okay with this, I used to feel guilty about it but I've learned to recognize (eh-hemmm justify) that I should catch those extra z's! Sleep is apparently very important to our well being. Our body does all kinds of cool stuff when we sleep. I was sleeping pretty well for a while, sleep and I were friends but recently we have had a falling out. Sleep is on vacation or something because I sure can't find it. Something else for the to do list.... and again I digress. Basically I feel guilty for laying around but need to find peace in letting my body heal.
Trying to get better, doing my best to apply the lessons learned in my 44 (I have 4 days left that I can say 44 so shoosh) years to think positive, love my body to heal it, take care to follow instructions given and overall just suck it up. But really I feel like I'm losing. I have never missed this much work, lain in bed this many hours, taken this much medicine, looked forward to sleep so I can turn off the constant throbbing, stabbing, waves of ouch and general discomfort and over all not participate in my role as a fellow person in the world. I have had some good moments, hours, even days here and there, but the black cloud of this thing is always just a few feet away, waiting to share a big drop of water right between my glasses and my eye. Huh... kind of like it's forcing me to cry, putting rain in my eyes for me. Bastard... Uh I mean... Lovely reminder that I am human and there must be something more I can do to think more positively, breathe more deeply, eat better, meditate more meditate-y, ugh.
I keep trying to watch romantic comedies to cheer myself up but I think they are just giving me excuses to cry. To give in to the black cloud. This is NOT ME!
Where the fuck did I go? (Sorry sisters, I know you hate swearing). I just am tired of being rushed through the meat factory that is our modern 'health care' system. This whole wellness thing, preventative care, be fit, drink water, eat right, participate in the greater good....ya... I've been living this! Eating right, organic this, no fast food that, water, exercise, juicing, quitting sugar. Well, mostly... So when you go to the doctor after living a pretty clean life for a pretty long time and get the news that you are 'just lucky' that you have a kidney stone, followed by cancelled appointments, rushed through the ones you do get into, have half the attention of our overworked health care providers (they can't all be assholes right?). What do you get? Not wellness suggestions, you get drugs and surgery and a crooked copy of food you can no longer eat, ever,...EVER! (chocolate, coffee, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, brussell sprouts, hummus!) shoved at you in a pile of hippa forms that looks like my old librarian copied it on the mimeograph when she was having a liquid lunch. I felt like a fool. What was the point of all that healthy living? ugh.
My impression out of this experience which is subject to change with more experience... is that wellness shoved in my face in heart warming murals and glossy mailers from my health plan by the 'health care' industry is a farce, a crummy tee shirt at best. It is a marketing scheme dreamed up by advertising exec's trying to keep big pharma happy so they can make money. Industrializing hospitals to the point that patients are treated like cars on an assembly line. I could not get over how little eye contact was made, how I felt like I was alone in a hospital with thousands of people in it. Nurses were kind but rushed, during post op I was made to sit on a bed pan in the middle of a room with about 50 people in. Really? I know I am uptight with that stuff but that's ridiculous. My two week follow up consisted of my Dr. barging into the room where I had been waiting in the most comfortable (NOT) feet in stirrups position for 45 minutes after being told it would be 5. A nice nurse came in at the half hour mark and introduced herself as the new caretaker only to be replaced by another without notice once the Dr. wandered in. Then to make things even more fun, they fucked with the computer monitor for the scope for about 5 minutes, three college degrees and they could not figure out what fucking channel to put the 'VCR' on.....*(wait a minute.... VCR? I don't recall getting paid as an extra in some Urology today reality show.) The Dr. then says "Okay lets get this thing yanked out!".... this was not comforting.... Followed by ok you'll be fine, pain free in 24 hours.
5:05pm. 24 hours to the minute later, still in pain. More pain than I was before the stint came out. Sitting on my couch in a purple blanket wrapped around me like a cocoon.
Phew, that was depressing and yet I feel a little better having gotten it out. How do I find the old me. Do I want to find the old me? Yes! I liked me! I shall make the big purple blanket into my chrysalis! I shall emerge on the other side Julie 2.0 (or maybe 45.0 by the time I'm better.)Healthy, happy, hard working, ever searching for something new to be passionate about. I have newer friends that might think this current me is who I am. I want them to know the old me but I know that I can't go back. The past is the past, I am forever changed by this experience. A better vintage I hope? Today I heard a wonderful concept... In stead of saying oh I'm 44...(shoosh) I can't do 'that' anymore, say I have 44 years of experience to apply IN THIS MOMENT! What a great concept! Respect and love the lessons life has taught you and be proud of them! Touch life and each moment with confidence that you can figure it out! What a concept! Ha! and that phrase again! In this Moment. Close to the name of my blog, my business, my mantra I guess. Okay so I am here, still working through this crappy experience but not losing sight that it will end and I will be in a new moment with new layers of flavor, more robust bouquet and better legs I hope, (why am I suddenly craving Apothic Dark?) to move forward and embrace the next lesson.
Well,... There I am! Phew! I was wondering where I was...
All is not lost. I was able to create this Zentangle on one of my better days.
Well here it is November 16th and it's bitter cold out there in our leaf covered yard. Reminders of our first snow still hanging on in the shadier corners. I'm bundled up by the fire in my favorite spot for writing and tangling. In my quest to be 'In the Moment' I am embracing what mother nature is showing me today. I have much to do and many places to go but for now, I'm just breathing, feeling and looking at what the world and my inner voice has to show me today. Warm tea steams next to me and the smell of onions caramelizing tickle my nose. The hubs is making a tasty breakfast for us this morning.
As I wait breakfast I want to share a tangle I created a few weeks ago that was inspired by yoga. Well really, yoga pants, but still without yoga there would be no yoga pants so.... ; )
I named the tangle Asana which means (loosely) posture or pose in the language of yoga (aka Sanskrit). Yoga has been playing a big part in my life this year. Fun with challenges on Instagram, my practice at home on Yogaglo.com, classes at local studios, a few Acro workshops with my bestie Emily and watching my dear friend change her life while going through Yoga teacher training. Yoga has proven time and time again that I can be in pain and if I trust in the practice the pain, mental or physical, is calmed and sometimes even goes away.
Zentangle gives me that same benefit in that a period of time spent enjoying some tangles focuses my mind away from the current days stresses, pains, creaks or cranks my body is currently exhibiting. Zentangle is in fact a practice much like yoga. It welcomes you in and surprises you with gifts each time to you explore it. Breath is important in both as is letting go of expectations. In yoga you see some people with their feet literally behind their head or they are in a headstand or twisted into some crazy pose with a big smile on their face. They seem to say 'Hey! wow I'm on my head! How did this happen?'. In Zentangle I have seen pieces that are so creative and unique and often when asked the artist says 'Ya it just kinda happened.' The truth is more often than not, both poses and tangles take care, time and practice to accomplish. The beauty of both is whatever YOU do is your perfect asana. There is no reason to beat ourselves up with comparison when the whole point of both is to FEEL better at the end.
So go forth my yogi's, yogini's and tangler's and get deep into your practice. Accepting what your best is today is the biggest challenge and the greatest reward!
Sending love and light in this moment,
So with that all said, here it is! Asana!
As I play with this tangle I am thrilled with its versatility. Although the original design has two rows pointing up and two rows pointing down it is quickly proving that it can be done in any direction and filled with many different versions of shading, other tangles and coloring in.
I was searching a lot with many fast cars. Many beautiful cars. All with their keys hanging invitingly. Which car? Which path? A bird flew overhead and showed me through her eyes that all the cars and all the paths were mine. The paths were lines with trees which I knew were my friends to keep me on track. She flew higher and showed me all the paths lead to peace and the service of love.
Many fast cars
Many beautiful fast cars
Cars take me on paths
Which beautiful path?
Why not many paths?
I can take them all but carefully and one at an time.
They are all connected and allow me to move from one to the next and back again.
So here I am. All I want is to tangle my brains out but no, to make a business work you have to ... WORK. Make a business card, finish business school, create a blog and keep it up, market myself so I can share my art and that's just the basics! So I have created this blog to report on progress, share ideas and art and to let you share your thoughts with me. The trick, the goal, is to find joy in what I have to do so the moments I get to chill and do what I want are that much sweeter.
Have you ever wanted something so badly and it seems the moments you have to reach out for that goal get bogged down with 'have to's' like.... setting up a blog. Well I'm going to make it happen anyway. Between my J.O.B., paying the bills, feeding my family and trying to be healthy I am going to get out from under the thumb of what I have created for myself in the last 20 years. I take full responsibility for where I am today and really to be honest it's not a bad place. I currently work with great people in a large company that does pay the bills but I am not doing what I want to do. I want to help people feel happy. No great drama to it. I just want to help add a little calm and focus to this million mile an hour life that we race through. To help friends I make find beauty in each moment because one thing we all know, but I personally lose sight of, is that each moment is precious and fleeting. That sunrise you can pause for ten seconds to appreciate, that silly song a child is singing while you are trying to remember what you needed at the store you don't remember driving to, even the heartbreaking moments that we wish we could skip. Sometimes those moments bring the clarity of what is really important like nothing else. Losing someone, missing something or someone, forces us to stop the race and reflect on what is happening around us. These powerful moments don't need to be the only ones that our hearts feel like they are bursting out of our chest. I want to help friends find a way to have a heart bursting with beautiful emotion through this practice of Zentangle.
Today my joy is creating business cards.... To make business cards I need my blog set up... I could be cranky and feel overwhelmed but I'm going to focus on the fact that I can do these things. I'm able to spend an afternoon snuggled into my couch with my love nearby and nothing but sun shining in my home.
My business name
In the Moment
My mission statement
To bring joy and calm while teaching and sharing the Zentangle method while focusing on living in the moment. I want to help people recognize the beauty of the moment they are in, to love who they are and how they feel right now.
What is the Zentangle Method
Zentangle was created by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts in Whitinsville Massachusetts. It is a method of drawing in repetitive patterns that allows the artist to explore beauty and discover a meditative state.