Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 41: April 21, 2014

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

See previous samples:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

Sample 15 January 31, 1997

Sample 16 January 5, 2012

Sample 17 January 1, 1992

Sample 18 June 14, 2000

Sample 19 November 29,2000

Sample 20 October 22, 1994

Sample 21 February 15, 2002

Samples 22-37

Sample 38 February 21, 1999

Sample 39 July 15, 1997

Sample 40 August 26, 1997

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Today: Journal start date April 21, 2014

Cover

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 21: February 15, 2002

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection. Today’s sample journal starts about a month and a half after J_____ and I decided we were going to divorce. He is living in Vancouver and I am on the Sunshine Coast with the kids.

 See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

Sample 15 January 31, 1997

Sample 16 January 5, 2012

Sample 17 January 1, 1992

Sample 18 June 14, 2000

Sample 19 November 29,2000

Sample 20 October 22, 1994

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Today: Journal Start Date February 15, 2002

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

February 20, 2002

It’s early and I’ve been reading in bed. Anna is doing her makeup and Julian is still asleep. I have a tired cup of coffee beside me. My life seems to be a waiting game of sorts. I want to shed that feeling. I’m about to turn 40. I wonder how long I am destined to live? I am alone, that’s OK. But I want to travel and fuck and share and laugh. I want to be mind blasted by love. Magic. I want to see the world with Anna and Julian. I feel full of direction. In my parenting, my studies, my art. But my spirit is tired or asleep or something. At this moment I could easily shed my clothes and go into the ocean and just drift away. But it’s too cold, and I’d just get a bladder infection. No- this house BEATS with LIFE and I am glad to be a mother. Sometimes, though, I have the overwhelming feeling of: “What is it that is happening?” “What is coming?” “When?” 

February 26, 2002

Trying and loving –> then trying not to love. But this didn’t work. So don’t try and let love simply exist. 

Too tired to go to North Vancouver today. My kidneys cry to stay home…

What is my destiny?

February 28, 2002

I have to let J____ go – OUT of my being. Out of my heart and my soul. I don’t trust myself to survive another heartache. With him. With anyone. Why does my heart remain committed to him? How do I turn off the light? Do I even know how to live anymore? Where’s the innocence? 

March 3, 2002

I am profoundly sad for losing him, but also profoundly sad for not letting him go after the affair with M____. I want to undo myself from our history. Our love. I need to stop thinking. I can’t offer him friendship now.

March 7, 2002

I wish there was a way to have total silence. So that J____ and I can experience life without each other. But we are connected through blood… We are engulfed in each other. But there is unlocking occurring. A disillusionment. The disappointment has passed. Discarded hearts thrown against cement walls. Trampled on by each other. But I have shoved my heart back into my chest, bruised but not defeated. Chewed up, but not beyond recognition. Beating, despite. That’s what I don’t understand? How can it continue to beat? 

March 8, 2002

There were two distinct times that J____ expressed to me that he felt a COMPLETE CONNECTION to me: 

  1. When he was in the tub and talked about his deep love for his lover C____ to me while I sat on the bathroom floor and listened…
  2. When he complained about her and their problems while I listened to him on the phone…

But I had removed myself in those moments in order to listen to him speak of his lover- the woman he had been with for more than a year without my knowledge. I split from my soul… and yet he claims to have felt completely connected to me.  Who was he connecting to then?

Psychologically, this is when I broke.

And I realize it was not me he sought– he sought a friend who would just listen. But as a wife, listening to his confusion about his lover, I asked too much of myself.

He didn’t see ME. I could have been anyone. So…

I accept that what I longed for was to be SEEN by him. That I have longed for a life that doesn’t exist. He needs a friend. But I am not the right person. What I need is to be MYSELF when I interact with another person. The alternative is suicide of self.

It is OK to have made mistakes and choices that make me wince. 

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Accepting the unacceptable needs no special skills. It only needs awareness.” – SARK

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 16: Jan 5, 2012

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work.

It is important to note that I had extraordinary relationships with my parents. We had many adventures and they were integral in making me who I am, helping me raise my children and being enthusiastic collaborators in many of my projects.

In the last years of both their lives, I was caregiver but also a loved and celebrated daughter and we were very, very close. They died (Mom Nov 2008 and Dad Oct 2012) with my heart feeling full of love and being loved and with no unfinished business.

HOWEVER, throughout the journals there is a lot of pain. Many moments I have completely forgotten – so it is astounding to find them in my journals. And how remarkable to find that the latest two, Sample 15 and 16, random selections from the shelf, are very connected.

This process is becoming more important than I initially expected. I am exploring the past. Wrapping it up. I know I am about to launch into something very special as a result.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

Sample 12 October 23, 2001

Sample 13 October 22, 1993

Sample 14 April 20, 2013

Sample 15 January 31, 1997

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Today: Journal Start Date January 5, 2012

Cover

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Sample Writing

January 10, 2012

Sitting at the airport Starbucks. Julian made it through customs, on his way to Durango. Anna on her way to Mexico. The kids’ lives are expanding and it is truly incredible. 

January 14, 2012

My thoughts are leaning towards creating a journal series around mothers and daughters and processing my relationship with Mamma. It’s time to dig into the boxes and face the emotions that come up around that. I want to focus on the legacy of being fiercely loved, being the child of an alcoholic. Feeling the pressures around witnessing her emotional issues and not being able to protect her, not being able to fulfill the needs she had. Bearing witness to her loss. We were so close/ so happy, yet I was so entrenched and intertwined in her needs that is was hard for me to pursue my own goals without considering her reaction and embracing her dreams. By pursuing medicine/university, I was pursuing her dreams and giving her bragging rights. That strive for perfection is deeply ingrained. 

My first big “rebellion” was falling in love with J____. This spiralled her out of control. It was obvious that alcohol helped her cope with the stress that I caused. 

So in moments of stress now, I go back to those moments of feeling like a failure and unable to fulfill the desires and hopes that mom had for me.

Sample Pages

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“I am an old tree with withered leaves which keep hanging and can’t fall to the ground. And a breeze from the sea makes all the receipts rustle.” – Tomas Tranströmer

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Unnecessary Violence and Ramblings- archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 12: October 23, 2001

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness. There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain.

The process is getting to me. I feel strange, dumb, self-obsessed as I thumb through pages. I pull out a random journal and in disgust shove it back in the shelf as I don’t want to address its contents right now.

There is something keeping me going though. Processing the journals through these trivial posts helps me gain perspective. After all, this blog is my journal as well. Posting gives me the overview and structure that I need; it is my personal therapy. It keeps me in writing process, making other projects flow easier. I also think the process of revisiting –and then wrapping up the journal after posting sample pages and then archiving it – means I am done that chapter at last. Maybe that journal won’t be opened again in my lifetime.

And today’s journal is difficult. It starts about 6 months after my (then) life partner divulged a year-plus long relationship with another woman. 

And in this journal, I see myself spending too much energy doing CPR on a dead marriage. 

This post-it though (that I found inside) is pretty cool, as I am actually that future self now.

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See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

Sample 9 September 1, 2004

Sample 10 September 6, 1999

Sample 11 November 6, 1989

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Today: Journal Start Date November 6, 1989

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

September 22, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“I am yours. Fully, I am coming home forever with a heart fully in love with you – no doubts…”

October 22, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“I want again to say sorry for making this weekend a difficult one. I do not want to ever entertain the thought of leaving you again…”

October 26, 2001

My body remembers and awakens. Old aches and pains will surface and intensify while they are being dealt with and discarded. A new biography. 

November 1, 2001

When we have compassion, pain dissolves into love.

November 19, 2001

I don’t know about J____ but I am so acutely aware of all we’ve been through… and I feel so much bigger as a result. Sometimes shaky, but steeped in love. I can say I am in love with him. Deeply in love with new feelings and gorgeous old familiar love.

November 21, 2001

Go back to this bitter event in my past and keep it alive for me, and then bring me the harvest from it.

November 22, 2001

Do I need reassurance or do I just need to let go(d)?

December 2, 2001

Don’t try so hard. I can’t give my heart or trust my life to J_____. That is realization and acceptance. My heart is my own. My life is my own. He had another life/love unbeknownst to me. Which made me less. To not know. And I have no idea how that other life exists now. But I can trust that I am not less anymore. 

December 10, 2001

I am so glad our family is together at Christmas.  And I wish for peace, balance, love and glowing growing open hearts…

December 17, 2001

Email from J_____ :

“It is you I wish to be with. Thank you for letting me stay with you.”

December 22, 2001

[I recall getting up in the middle of the night with a panic attack to write this note in my journal.]

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December 26, 2001

“My trust”

Just two words written on a little card.

I am glad I tried to give this little card to J_____ for Xmas. But it was too hard and I couldn’t. And it opened us to more truths as a result. If our marriage ends here, I accept, I understand, I am ready. If our marriage endures, I accept, I understand, I am ready.

J______ if you are reading this, am I dead?

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Finishing business is opening unconditionally into love.” – Stephen Levine

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 8: Oct 23, 1995

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness. There is much joy in the pages, as well, and certainly in the daily life “behind the scenes.” The blood and guts of family life.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

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Today: Journal Start Date October 23, 1995

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

October 28, 1995

Here I start – writing down the meat, the stream – cleansing words will come pouring out – some lost before my physical hand has a chance to catch them… I advocate all day for my children’s needs, maintain the household, deliver and pickup and in the midst maintain my art. My mind is full with images that want to be created. Fin-de-siecle, medieval alleys, dark castles, dripping blood and velvet. Women lay chaste and exhausted, yet wide awake eyes… 

October 29, 1995

It is now Sunday evening and I have not had 2 seconds free today to read, sew, draw, sit, let alone write down “the map of my interior.” We are about to watch the Simpsons Hallowe’en special.

October 30, 1995

Monday morning. Kids at school. Cleaning and laundry to be done. Carbella behind me on the couch watching the sunny cold world outside the living room window.

I always think these thoughts should be deep and profound. Gems of insight that make the reader applaud in recognition, despair, hatred, love, understanding. But fuck all that. These journal entries are simply my own. For me. As pen moves on paper, I enjoy watching the ink come out of the tip… these simple lines put together in simple patterns can convey emotion, life! The human mind is truly a miracle in it ability to communicate such complex, abstract concepts. Today, I would like my shoulders to be free of tension, free of migraines neuralgia, free of thinking, free of worry. I do not need to worry! It doesn’t accomplish a goddamn thing!

The sun is streaming through the window casting light and shadow onto this page. It is also peaceful. I pick cat hair from my black shirt. Feel my toes – always cold. My bowels gurgling. My intestines aren’t up to par these days. I feel the innards reflect a state of mind, and their gurgling is desperately trying to tell me something.

How grateful I am that mom and I have a new bond that is positive and happy and seems unbreakable, that IS unbreakable… the sourness in my stomach is simply that. A sour stomach that need no have reasons to exist. Need only be acknowledged and dealt with. To detour.

November 1, 1995

My mind needs a break, to slough off the influences of the day. A mind free of all the women in my “out there” life – teachers, mothers, peers, principals, etc etc women, women, women… No wonder I want to draw sleeping women, dead women, collapsed women – – quiet women.

November 2, 1995

Boy, this is really quite a dull, unpublishable journal. Will Anna and Julian or their kids open this 20 plus years from now and think – “Good Lord! What a bland person!”?

To be entirely alone with just my own thoughts is very difficult. I find it very hard to just stand and wait, sit and wait somewhere without a book in my hands. The panic of letting valuable minutes disappear.

November 3, 1995

It’s 8:22 PM. I am so tired that I’d like to head to sleep right now. But then again, part of me would like to leap out of bed, whip the kids out of theirs, turn on all the lights and party down on Friday night. It is very quiet in their rooms. Should I really break their silence and chance for a good night’s sleep? 

… The voice that flows through me comes from something far greater than this little event pattern called Katarina Thorsen.

November 6, 1995

A very exciting evening last night at the Grizzly game. Surreal atmosphere with 1 minute and 30 seconds left. 20,000 people were screaming. Anna and J____ with them dancing and cheering. The game was very close and exciting, and Julian was in the middle of it all with a migraine attack. I was catching his vomit in a plastic bag – then we escaped to the bathroom, then watched the rest of the game on the monitor. Julian lay asleep in my arms. Fireworks, cheerleaders, bear coming down from the sky, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Jackson Five music, basketball players, seats on the floor, Tom Arnold, Arthur Griffiths, etc. Through J_____’s talent and music, we were in the midst of it all! Anna was in love with all that is America and now dreams of being a cheerleader.

November 7, 1995

Sitting at VPL Main Library. Gerbil babies were dropped off this morning. What a vicious thing to have to do. To purposefully separate children from their parents. But hopefully they will find good homes. Next step is to separate the parents. What a tragic cataclysmic day for all of us! But it is also with a sense of relief. More gerbils in the world will not be fair to anyone – especially gerbil children who would have to go to the pet store. 

Painful UBC days were brought up at lunch

The greatest gift we can give Anna and Julian: the instinct, desire and courage to follow their hearts. And hopefully, we will make it easy on them when they do? To accept their decisions with respect and acceptance and gentleness. 

November 12, 1995

I am not pleased with my relationship with this book. It reeks of conservative approach and seriousness. My personal creativity is inhibited. But perhaps that is what these pages are pulling out of me. The inhibition. It demands to be heard and dealt with. I am tempted to put this monstrosity away into the shelves downstairs…

Artist’s Way

I tried it… but didn’t get very far.

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… no, didn’t get very far.

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Dissatisfied with everything, dissatisfied with Myself, I long to redeem myself and to restore my pride in the silence and solitude of the night. Souls of those whom I have loved, souls of those whom I have sung, strengthen me, sustain me, keep me from the vanities of the world and its contaminating fumes; and You, dear God! grant me grace to prudence a few beautiful verses to prove to myself that I am not inferior to those whom I despise.” – Charles Baudelaire

Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 7: Dec 17, 1995

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

There is much joy in the pages, as well, and certainly in the daily life “behind the scenes.” The blood and guts of family life.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

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Today: Journal Start Date December 17, 1995

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Sample Pages

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My son, just before 7th birthday

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My daughter, age 10

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Sample Writing

December 19 1995

The times when my son is down with a migraine, I have to really focus on his health and creating a dark soothing environment around him. It is at these times I see how old his soul is. He has lived many times and carries so much pain and the weight of knowledge and understanding with him.  Sometimes I feel that school is killing him. His omnidirectional thinking needs an omnidirectional environment, but a classroom needs linearity… I feel like I’m letting my son down by doing too much. And in the process, I am losing sight of him and his needs. I must find a way to obtain simplicity. 

December 27 1995

Christmas finis. Just finished the house. J____ out with the kids. A relaxing, piddling morning. Looking forward to getting on the computer to explore Painter. Also some quiet time to writing my thoughts. “The Artist’s Way” scared the hell out of me, do I dare get back to that journal? Jesus Christ Superstar on in the background. My favourite movie since Grade 6. I am exhausted beyond exhaustions yet cannot go to bed. The head races with so many thoughts that weigh me down. Why is it always these times when I write more? Probably because the words spilled out on paper give me that relief I am searching for. On paper, the thoughts need no longer weigh down my mind.

December 29 1995

We were so distant in the last 2 days, a distance that has been hammered down in me due to over-thinking. But I came back and gave myself to J____ and we fell in love all over again. [won’t bother writing X-rated details here]. God, how I love this man. Our souls will live together forever. While we have our earthly bodies, I want to feel them against each other, loving each and every precious moment.

December 30, 1995

Now sitting at the Sushi bar at Library Square, feeling very cosmopolitan and back on track. Why do I need to write these details as life whirls around me? Perhaps because I am so overwhelmed with the gift called LIFE that in order to DEAL with it, I have to record just minuscule detail.

January 1, 1996

We stayed up until 12:30 AM and we had a family blast. Julian was healthy(!) and Anna was a party animal!

January 3, 1996

I know it is trivialities that I write, but it is exactly these trivialities that evoke the atmosphere of this particular present. This peaceful beautiful existence will evolve into another peaceful beautiful existence, but I do want to retain memories of the particular parameters in which we love right now.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“I wish I could do whatever I liked – behind the curtain of “madness.” Then I’d arrange flowers, all day long. I’d paint pain, love and tenderness. I’d laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others, and they would all say, “Poor thing! She’s crazy!” Above all, I’d laugh at my own stupidity. – Frida Kahlo

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 6: August 23, 2019

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

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Today: Journal Start Date August 23, 2019 

[this journal was gifted to a couple of dear friends in San Francisco] (drawing style inspired by Maria Hesse and Tove Jansson]

Sample Pages

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 5: June 13, 1990

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

It is as difficult as I anticipated. But I am laying aside self-judgment. It is also more joyous than I expected as I revisit being a young mom trying to figure life out. I am grateful these visits. And grateful to leave the pain, of who I was then, in the past.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

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Today: Journal Start Date June 13, 1990

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

June 13 1990

Haven’t called any friends lately. On one hand, I don’t want to go on and on about my art which I have been tending to do. I don’t have the poop to have anyone over (at any time of day). Well, it’s a two-way street and they haven’t been calling me either. So fuck me!

Had a nice day with the kidlets. Cleaning the apartment all morning, doing laundry, hanging it – smells so fresh, house dust free, garbage free. Went to Granville Island for shopping at Opus and Kids Only Market, lunch (pizza pretzels), and some play time at the long slide.

Pappa is home safely, He feels good about F_____’s interception with mom’s drinking, but he’s getting the blames and blows.

June 14 1990

Anna is growing up so fast. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it’s fantastic. But it is always wonderful. The main thing is that we raise happy children that love themselves and the world and that have the confidence to make good choices. I have to face the fact that they won’t always be smaller than me and always there for cuddling.

June 18 1990

Don’t forget to work with J____. Not against or for him. Lighten up and move onward together. He’s coming home for the evening.

Kids on the balcony having a wonderful time being naked with sunshine and water, surrounded by geraniums and other healthy flowers.

June 28 1990

“Except by remembering the beautiful little familiar who was so cheerful and loyal to me, and who I so thoughtlessly, out of pride and distraction I betrayed…” [Alice Walker] <– This is what I worry about all the time with the kids and the family – especially the children. Wanting to give them the nurturing and comfort and attention they need. Because I so desperately what them to love me and feel open and comfortable with me. With J____ I don’t worry about betraying him or disregarding his needs, etc. 

July 9 1990

Gallery Alpha screwed up – my name wasn’t on the invite. Then they promised me press releases. But my name wasn’t in the North Shore News either. So Mom called them, extremely angry. So J____ and I  drove to the gallery for a confrontation. I was dying.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

“Even if the music wasn’t about fucking – and because he loved fucking, a lot of it was – it was about the fucking the universe does through us as it joyfully fucks itself.” – Alice Walker

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 4: August 14, 2002

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

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Today: Journal Start Date August 14, 2002

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

August 16, 2002

I need to divorce. I am disappearing physically. And I feel in limbo. I actually feel like I am dying from it. I need to be free. I need to clean all relationships in my life and I am trying to start fresh with all of them. I want the possibility of going out for dinner with someone I trust- to look in someone’s eyes and feel like the person reflected back is free. And I want that freedom for him.

September 7, 2002

I guess I am just not made of the necessary stuff. I will never be the the wonderful friend and woman he says C_____ is in his life. I feel demoted and pushed away. I do not hold a place in his life that I like. I do not want to be a friend in the multitudes of women in his life. I can’t place myself in that vulnerable position anymore. I do not trust- that is the most tragic thing. 

October 1, 2002

I committed a great sin yesterday when I told him I don’t know what love is anymore. Love is the simplest thing to understand and I live it everyday. It is a relief to leave that ludicrous thought in the past. I have questioned love because I was hurt. I have given power to women who I don’t respect. It is not love I don’t understand. It’s him. I married him for better or for worse. I divorce him for better. The disentanglement will take awhile and every day is a new beginning. I sometimes lose patience and that is OK too. 

November 2, 2002

I don’t know if C____ was on the ferry tonight- I saw a blond dome of curls and big lips… I didn’t want to attempt any more contact. I didn’t feel sadness or fear or nothing. Not even loss. I just wonder if all those blond curls were worth it. 

November 3, 2002

I am excited and gratified. My eyes are open as I plunge into a world where death is not to be feared. Where the dead and the scene speaks truths that need no words. Where the ultimate goal is justice, protection, integrity, bravery, truth and caring. The kids showed me last night when I came home how much I mean to them. As they grow into brilliant adults so quickly and I am free, I know there is a place in the world where I may make a difference. And if I should die tonight, I feel at peace. For I am not pursuing a goal. I am LIVING. 

Sample Quote

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The Blonde, 2003. My personal art therapy. China Marker on Masonite Board.

Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 3: May 16, 2000

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

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Today: Journal Start Date May 16, 2000

Cover

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Pencil, coffee, ink, April 11, 2000

Sample Page

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Writing

May 16, 2000

To recapture the connection to the creative process, I must begin from the beginning- and that is to “come back” to the IMAGE/IDEA FILE, to “come back” to my journal- only this way can I begin to explore the central theme to the next body of work- only this way can I begin to UNDERSTAND why I was driven to study the IMMIGRANT, the PIONEER- the woman at the centre entering the new world, with the ancients on her back. In order for this theme to work, I cannot remove myself from it. I have to place myself within the play, as its central character. I have to become the people that I study. Only this way will the work be done, filled with my meaning, have any kind of importance. And it’s only through the journal that I have privacy and space enough to have a world of my own. A place just mine so that I can create SOME THING.

Does the central motherless child/woman recur in my work because of the awe of independence?

June 1, 2000

Struggling, haggard, the forgotten, the overlooked, the lost, misplaced… As Vilhelm Moberg did, I too want to awaken the dead. I too want to conquer fate and oppression. I too want to recall what was past and what has been lost. I want to return this homestead and its souls to life. This little world shall be restored. I want to recreate it.

June 4, 2000

I was going through some journals, while reorganizing my studio and came across the following, told to me by [my son] January 30,1996 [the day before his 8th birthday], on the way home from his after-school science class: “Hurry home. I need to watch the sunset. The sun is giving me my birthday present. When the sun sets and the colours change, the chemicals change. The sun shows me my past. The sun celebrates my birthday’s yesterday.”

July 14 2000

Drenched in memories. Surrounded by photographs. On an island in a sea of memories, emotions, moments, nostalgia, and personal history. Overwhelmed with almost a sadness – as if those moments are lost forever and the sense that I didn’t savour them enough. But the moments are there- in the photos and in the memories conjured and in the experiences that have created my children’s present selves. Their cuteness, their smallness, innocence tugs at the heart. And I feel proud that we could give them such a great life. And hopefully continue to.

Sample Quote

“Through the eyes of the woman we begin to see history as the stuff of daily struggle… Wherever there was a woman, there was a nucleus of a home.” – Lillian Schlissel

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Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 2: Dec 15, 1994

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

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See first post:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Today: Journal Start Date Dec 15 1994

Cover

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Sample Page

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Sample Drawing

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Sample Writing

Pages and pages in my journals are strangely filled with apology notes to J___

E.g. Dec 20, 1994… apologize for being so rough… You and your interests are sacred to me… Sorry for not thanking you right away… Sorry for asking you about Safeway… 

December 29, 1994

Kids stayed overnight at Mom’s [I always called my parents’ house “Mom’s house” or “Mormor’s House,”  not Mom and Dad’s…] and the house was so quiet after a hectic Xmas week. I’m looking forward to their voices filling the rooms in about an hour! J____ is low due to much and we had a good talk this morning. I hope positiveness and personal well-being come back too, Thank God we have Hawaii coming up!

January 4, 1995

Listen… listen… I resonate from the pulsating hill of not-yet dry oil- alizarin crimson, painted with the hysteria of a hand not willed by human but by God.  Was it God? I thought it was God… that bastard that tormented me down to my aching bowels. Listen… listen… I speak from the depths of the crimson to tell you what happened, to warn you of what I’ve become. I reside in the two-dimension; I craved the flatness, the finiteness. But I tell you, it swells and cascades with the dance of Evil! Delicious evil that promises art eternal. 

Let my memory gently lift us back in time… we see the ferry, the ferry that took me to the dock of a tired old man. My baggage was cumbersome, filled with the naive dreams of the artist-on-holiday. 

Sample quote

“Did I fear that once I found that buried treasure which I had hidden away I would never again know peace?” – Henry Miller

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Covidian Dream Play

I had MANY strange dreams last night but one really strange one had me entering a suburban house in the midwest and walking upstairs and seeing my mom desperately vacuuming rugs and wall to wall carpeting. She lived there alone. She had all new decor- very Americana- none of our old stuff. Nothing recognizable at all. She kept vacuuming, looked up with angst on her face. Then Tobey, our old dog, walked up and vomited a cat-like hairball on the rug that she was vacuuming. She just kept vacuuming around it. We didn’t do our usual belly laughs. It just felt hopeless.

“Everything can happen. Everything is possible and probable. Time and space do not exist. On a flimsy framework of reality, the imagination spins, weaving new patterns.” – August Strindberg, A Dream Play

I don’t bleed anymore. Finding solace in journal pages.

“These are the days of tweeting, blogging, posting, instagraming, snapchatting, you name it. Everyone seems to be doing it. Some people seem very comfortable expressing every morsel of their living and breathing and eating into the world. Not that this isn’t totally fascinating to the one sharing, but most people (including me) don’t care about what you ate for breakfast, who you ate it with, and what you were wearing. However, when someone writes with a raw vulnerability, expressing with exquisite clarity a thought or feeling that I recognize in myself, I tend to sit up and take notice. Truth has a way of getting my attention.

In my work with grieving clients, I find that one of the most helpful activities I can encourage them to do is to write. “Write about what?” they say. Write about what is on your mind. Tell your story. Share your experiences, the secrets that need to be let out. Open your heart, feel the love, anger, pain, joy, sorrow, gratitude, regrets – whatever is present in the moment – and put it on the paper. Write letters, notes, poems, rants. Anything. Just express.”

– Carrie Doubts, Finding Solace Through Writing

So what is the relationship with the blog? It begs to show more of your life in it…

Journal entry July 20, 2019 

Sometimes I feel overwhelming sadness that has a type of mystery and release.  Perhaps it’s [binging] Queer Eye S4 that hits me in my most vulnerable low self-esteem spots, maybe it’s seeing Squeak lose weight and anticipating losing her…

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… maybe it’s the awe of knowing I am… have overcome incredible hurdles and life markers and I am at the last 20-30 years of my life [if I am lucky] and I am struck by both the relief and the unknown AND the temptation to retreat further into my cave.

I try to share creative collaboration ideas and afterwards I feel embarrassed and want to cut myself off even further.  I feel ashamed by my enthusiasm and in my heart I know it is all just a process and probably won’t result in anything anyway- so why try.  Plus I want [an] autonomy that [seemingly] clashes with my manic oversharing.

I am still “detoxing” from IG and FB.  I was feeling like I had no authentic place [there] plus was [honestly] sick of [the me] in it.

So what is the relationship with the blog? I need to make it mine again.  Ask not for whom the blog tolls, for it tolls for me.

Then I remember that I can do WHATEVER I want in my ART.  WHATEVER WHATEVER WHATEVER I want.  I can FAIL, I can SUCCEED, I can DO, I can WRITE, DRAW, CREATE whatever I… I… I want.  I can SHARE whatever I want [about me].  I can feel dumb and ashamed and excited and inspired.  And just FLOW with it.

I AM STILL HERE BREATHING, BEING

ACCEPT IT ALL

But please please please [Nina] hold your head HIGH.

And TRAVEL

And SEE

GO

LEAVE

COME BACK

Be yourself.  Be that little 2-year old finding her voice and raging and laughing with/at the world and finding your place.

You are allowed to rage, laugh, feel.

AND EXPAND.

Keep stealing and interpreting

 

Reina

See also:


 

Stream of consciousness #writing and #drawing as #anxietytool

I am diving into a therapeutic and academic exploration into anxiety disorder to wrangle and understand the beast and to build a creative curriculum of tools.  Besides lots of reading, my daily routine includes stream of consciousness writing and drawing, with no attachment to outcome.  

I believe with all my heart that just understanding the metapurpose of the anxious struggle helps to make it beautiful.  Purposeful, creative, bold, rich, deep things are always beautiful. – Sarah Wilson (2018), first, we make the beast beautiful- a new journey through anxiety

The importance of doodling…

Thank you’s to Tove Jansson for her “Lilla My” character that I can’t seem to stop doodling

Spontaneous drawings may relieve psychological distress, making it easier to attend to things. We like to make sense of our lives by making up coherent stories, but sometimes there are gaps that cannot be filled, no matter how hard we try. Doodles fill these gaps, possibly by activating the brain’s time travel machine,” allowing it to find lost puzzle pieces of memories, bringing them to the present, and making the picture of our lives more whole again. With this greater sense of self and meaning, we may be able to feel more relaxed and concentrate more.

Srini Pillay, MD

Die into life.

I haven’t posted for awhile.  That’s not to say I haven’t been writing, drawing, planning, thinking, working.

A new job started January 15 and somehow 5 months have sped by.  Work has given me a place to land.  During that time there have been some exciting new developments…

Ah, blah blah blah.  Fuck that.  I don’t need to write that.

Start again.

I have been thinking a lot lately about death.  

Oh my God.  That is nothing new.  Ugh, start again.

I am sitting in the kitchen at my favorite spot, by my windowsill garden.  There are fragrant buds on the jasmine plant.  The rosemary and mint are sprouting new branches where I snipped off leaves for cooking and for my water.  I do not take this seat, this spot, for granted.  My role has changed.  And I celebrate that I have been given the gift of …

Ugh. I am just regurgitating the same old musings.  That’s OK.  That’s what this journal process is all about.  But I have been away from it for awhile.  And if I haven’t been writing in this online journal, what have I been doing creatively, that is?

I have been stitching.

Thought after thought after thought.

Stitch, stitch, stitch

Obsessed with stitching.  And what have I been stitching about, quite obsessively in fact, is that I want to be OK with dying tonight.  Not specifically tonight- but “tonight.”

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What do I mean by that?

What I mean is that I know I will never complete all that I want to do… and that is OK.  If I die tonight, not having completed all I want to do– that has to be OK.

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Stitch, stitch, stitch…

What I do know is that I want to relax into life (and death)- relax into its unfolding.

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Stitch, stitch, stitch…

Depression has had me by the throat many times.  I have desperately tried to find a way to ease my pain.  And the fear of the effect of my pain on my family.  There have been times I admit, I have forced myself to look forward and walk with an even pace.  Simply to get off that proverbial bridge.   Death, or thinking about it, has been a way to cope.  The option has been a way to get through the day.

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Stitch, stitch, stitch…

I have been lucky not to have tried to hide from it- to numb it.  My mom needed to numb it.  And that is a sadness I will always carry.  

Last summer, I made a pact with myself to live life as a second chance.  To die into life.  To be a ghost.  To walk in peace amongst the noise, haste, stress, pain, joy.  To understand all the ups, downs.  I was so tired of resorting to perseverating thoughts. I made a pact.  Life as a second chance.

I realize that dark journeys help me understand the characters I research, and feed my quest of understanding of human nature.  The understanding of ghosts I walk among.  How else could I walk the path of those I write about?

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Stitch, stitch, stitch…

So much happening.  With so much to come.  What makes me feel this peace?  What makes it different now?

I am older.  I am old.  I am approaching the other side of the staircase.

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A Swedish Dala painting with kurbits ornamentation, by Winter Carl Hansson from 1799

I am truly blessed to enter this new chapter of my life- I call the chapter putting on the crown.  

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I am so blessed to have been given the gift of art to use in every aspect of my life.  It heals me, it unmasks me, it opens me wide open, it hides me.  It allows me to live. And to die into life.

And if I die tonight, I am ok with all the unfinished projects, knowing my life is mine, and my children’s lives are theirs.  They are grown.  And how incredible is that?

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Stitch, stitch, stitch…

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Practicing neutrality.

I know anxiety.

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I know depression.

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And now it seems these days like I am practicing neutrality.

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Allowing things to be.  Just be.  Letting fear crumble through my fingers.  Sighing it out.  Letting the little bird free.

… keep some middle ground of neutrality amidst the chaos to stay out of other people’s drama.– Lena Stevens

I am practicing.  Every minute of every day until it becomes a habit.

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Gnight! Lay out your worries. Some you’ll pay down a bit every day, some evaporate upon being named. Don’t bring them into bed, they cast grotesque shadows and leave crumbs like a muhf***ker. Sleep easy. – Lin Manuel Miranda

What if today, I just NOT worry?

Today I am giving myself the permission to be just in the moment.  

When fear and worry arise, I will try to let it dissipate without trying to figure out solutions.  I give myself permission to just do what I have committed to today.  TODAY.

I give myself permission to not worry about what is next, what needs to happen, what I need to hustle, what I need to survive.

Today, I have enough bus fare to get to the session, enough supplies for the students, enough coffee in the cupboard.

Today is a gift.

Much love to you all.

You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today…. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. – Brother David Steindl-Rast

Recommended reading:


(This book a gift from my sweet friend, Pamela Post)

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 11: Fear of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

1. Journal exercise:

WRITE FOR 10 MINUTES ON LETTING GO AND STARTING FRESH.  YOU OWE NO ONE ANYTHING.  YOU CAN START TOTALLY FRESH TODAY.  

Allowing myself to start fresh.  To go into the cave.  To be in solitude.

Loving less interaction.  Loving not trying.  Happy to be doing less.

Healing the sick body and the exhausted mind.

Let it go.

Let it all go. 

Hey! Not feeling valued these days?  Let it go.

Need to feel  more assured?  Let it go.

Figure out next steps?  Let it go.

Should be should be— let it go.

Simplify? Yes.


2. Capture chapter highlights:

Our fear of death is our fear of the uncontrollable unknown.  It is the same old fear.  It lies in wait behind our eyelids as we awake each morning.  It is the fear of fears.  It needs space to breathe.

When attempts at control become a prison only letting go of control will result in freedom.

– Stephen Levine 

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

What is that hair ball of old energy you have been choking on?
… Let go of the need to heal old emotional wounds.The Power Path

4. Today’s angel card(s):

From the Heart- a 15 day journal exercise: Part 10 Fear of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

1. Journal exercise:

Dying to me implies process.

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What is it that process we fear today?  What did we fear yesterday?  How did we move forward despite?  What made us move forward a year ago?

If you keep a journal/ diary /image-idea file, go back a year and revisit an entry:

June 10, 2016

Autopsy

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

[How fascinating that my brother told me yesterday he just finished The Bell Jar]

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What am I trying to convey in my work?  Is it of value?  Does it matter?

I remind myself that it doesn’t, that it CANNOT MATTER how I “fit in” to current zeitgeist or if my work has “value.”  I just do it.

It is a biological function.

PROCESS is my art form, obsessive ongoing process, either when teaching it, facilitating it, doing it.

So there in lies what MATTERS.  The PROCESS.

Process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art, is not the principal focus. The ‘process’ in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, patterning, and moreover the initiation of actions and proceedings.

Process art is concerned with the actual doing and how actions can be defined as an actual work of art; seeing the art as pure human expression. Process art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product. – Wiki

I have come to terms with the fact that my particular imagery is a stream of consciousness process.  I suppose I am interpreting text in my illustration projects, but it seems more that I land on a particular word or phrase and play from there.  So the resulting image becomes a type of riff or image play.

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I have tried other ways to work, but only my personal stream of consciousness expression makes me feel authentic. I am thoroughly enjoying Caroline Spurgeon’s book, Shakespeare’s Imagery- and what it tells us (1935) as she contemplates the evidence of Shakespeare’s thoughts in his imagery.

The bare fact that germinating seeds of falling leaves are actually another expression of the processes we see at work in human life and death, thrills me, as it must others, with a sense of being here in presences of a great mystery, which could we only understand it, would explain life and death itself.

For me, drawing and embroidering the drawings is to lie down into life and take time to look at the PROCESS as it slowly unfolds.  It is about TRUTH.

I would actually argue that the current art period is PROCESS.

Y-STR

the permanent analogy of things by images which participate in the life of truth… – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Check out:

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And which is what I think the thing that we call the Arts contains something that’s kind of alive. And I, I think image is the right word for it, and what the biological function of this thing we call the images or the arts might be. Because my argument is we wouldn’t of dragged it through all our evolutionary stages unless it had a biological function. So, that’s kind of what I’m going to be talking about. And then, work that I’ve been doing with students and scientists about this very thing. Weinman so I think, you know, when we’re little all of us are really connected to our inner artist and then the majority of us, as we get older, cut that off. – Lynda Barry

2. Capture chapter highlights:

We have enormous capacity to work with discomfort through inner means.

We get down to what Buddha said was the job we born for, knowing that letting go of our suffering is the hardest work we will ever do.

Let it come and let it go.  There is nothing to fear in fear.

The sincere exploration of fear results in a fearlessness which does not even fear to go away but to come open and free.

– Stephen Levine A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

You are the artist of this short, achingly beautiful life. Whether you answer your call to create or choose to let your chances slip you by, your life is the greatest work of art you’ll ever be commissioned.  

You are creatively responsible for dreaming up a life more aligned with your truth instead of endlessly complaining about what is. 

We rely too much on feelings.

Yet living a creative life is not a matter of “feeling” but of action, of will, of loyalty, of purpose and of duty to your soul. In fact, feelings often change or increase AFTER taking action. Rarely before. 

True Love, Real Freedom, Abundant Creativity, Unshakable Self-Trust — and all the things that you’ve been chasing your entire life — THESE ARE NOT FEELINGS, THEY ARE ACTIONS. 

Feelings are elusive, contradictory, unstable, fleeting. I didn’t quite “feel” like getting up this morning or sharing this with you. I’m still picking my remains from under that train.

But hey, coffee can change my feelings in a heartbeat. 

The question you should ask yourself every time you hear the fuck-this-shit bells is not “How can I create when this or that gets in the way?” but the exact opposite:

“How can I NOT create when this reality is too banal or beautiful or meaningless or painful, not to be alchemized into more life?” 

#howcanyoufuckingnot 

You don’t create because it’s easy, you do it because it’s worth it.

Not shaping reality with the brush of your unique imagination, not sharing your truth with the world for fear of loss, of rejection, or even of greatness — is a selfish, cowardly and limited way to live.

Not creating yourself and your life every day is just NOT an option. Not a truthful one anyway. 

You owe our smaller self to the service of your higher self, you owe us all your story, you owe your greatness to the world.

Please give it back. Somebody needs your truth today.

 – Andrea Balt

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 7: Fear of Fear

It’s been a while.  It’s been a lot lately.  But let’s see how this chapter unfolds.  What it reveals.

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

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I have been struggling between staying in curiosity/trust and floundering in fear.  And lo and behold, I open the book to the next chapter and it is titled:

Part 7: Fear of Fear

1. Journal exercise:

Get out a big piece of paper.  Write out the shit.  I mean really acknowledge what is making you fearful right now.  Really acknowledge what you are sick of.  Fuck affirmations for a bit.  Fuck gratitude. Fuck getting out of the way.  Fuck not allowing negative speak.  Stand up to it.  Face it.   It’s actually OK to acknowledge the pain that stirs within.

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I am tired of trying. I am sick of being broke, struggling through each month. I am sick of trusting the universe. I am so sad I had to cancel New York. No, I am mad. I am sick of churning stomach, applying for jobs, fearful of what is next. I am sick of PRAISE. For I am sick of counting coins while planning projects. I am sick of the word OPPORTUNITY. I can’t plan ahead if I can’t buy groceries or pay my bills today. It is never enough. I am wanting to land, but do I? I want to not have to take a giant student loan to get credentials I already have. I am sick of loving my home so much yet always being in fear that I can’t afford it. I am sick of not being rewarded for living frugally so I can afford to live in a place I deserve. I am sick of guilt. I am sick of fear that I do not know how to do this. Fear of failure is a failure, isn’t it? I want a clear calendar so I can start again.

Once you have vomited it all out, see if you dare to share it with someone- or read it out loud to yourself- or post it.  I learn from you.  You learn from me and we hold each other up.

Now alter it.  Any way you like.  You are in charge.

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Now throw it out!

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And hug yourself with humour and gratitude for YOU.  TODAY  it is ok to be in your own way.  TODAY it is OK not to flip all this vomit into a positive.  Cause we shouldn’t eat our own vomit.  Ideally.

TODAY IS TODAY and THIS MOMENT IS AWESOME.

2. Capture chapter highlights:

All fear has an element of resistance and a leaning away from the moment.  Its dynamic is not unlike that of strong desire except that fear leans backward into the last safe moment while desire leans forward toward the next possibility of satisfaction.  Each lacks presence.

Our unwillingness to enter each moment fully, without judgment or the need to control it, simply produces more fear and resistance to that fear.

“If I have only a year in which to soften my belly where do I begin?”

“In your heart.”

SOFT BELLY MEDITATION

Soft-belly is a trigger for our letting go. Softening melts the armoring over the heart, experienced as hardness in the belly. Each time we remember to be present, to be mindful, we soften into the moment. Softening becomes a call to the heart that it is safe to be alive in the body once again. Soft-belly brings an end to our fear of fear.

Taking a few deep breaths, feel the body you breathe in.
Feel the body expanding and contracting with each breath.
Focus on the rising and falling of the abdomen.
Let awareness receive the beginning, middle, and end
of each inbreath, of each outbreath
expanding and contracting the belly.
Note the constantly changing flow of sensation
in each inhalation, in each exhalation.
And begin to soften all around these sensations.
Let the breath breathe itself in a softening belly.
Soften the belly to receive the breath,
to receive sensation, to experience life in the body.
Soften the muscles that have held the fear for so long.
Soften the tissue, the blood vessels, the flesh.
Letting go of the holding of a lifetime.
Letting go into soft-belly, merciful belly.
Soften the grief, the distrust, the anger
held so hard in the belly.
Levels and levels of softening, levels and levels of letting go.
Moment to moment allow each breath its full expression
in soft-belly.
Let go of the hardness. Let if float
in something softer and kinder.
Let thoughts come and let them go,
floating like bubbles in the spaciousness of soft-belly.
Holding to nothing, softening, softening.
Let the healing in.
Let the pain go.
Have mercy on yourself, soften the belly,
open passageway to the heart.
In soft-belly there is room to be born at last,
and room to die when the moment comes.
In soft-belly the vast spaciousness in which to heal,
in which to discover our unbounded nature.
Letting go into the softness,
fear floats in the gentle vastness we call the heart.
Soft-belly is the practice that accompanies us throughout the day
and finds us at day’s end still alive and well.

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

If you are older, trust that the world has been educating you all along.  You already know so much more than you think you know.  You are not finished; you are merely ready.  After a certain age, no matter how you’ve been spending your time, you have very likely earned a doctorate in living.  If you’re still here– if you have survived this long– it is because you know things.  We need you to reveal to us what you know, what you have learned, what you have seen and felt.  If you are older, chances are strong that you may already possess absolutely everything  you need to possess in order to live a more creative life– except the confidence to actually do your work.  But we need you to do your work.  – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic- Creative Living Beyond Fear

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 4

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

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Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

1. Draw the pain:

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.
– German Proverb

I recall an exercise I made up in August 2012 as I journaled:

“Waking up with the cannonball weight of anxiety and fear in your chest?  Racing thoughts about all the usual?  Worried that you won’t be able to deliver all you have promised?  That you don’t have enough resources?  Financially, physically, spiritually?  Forgetting to live in the moment and over-thinking the future?  Scattered and feeling disorganized?  You know…  All that typical familiar stuff that builds a wall of fear around you. Well, that’s me this AM.  So I tried this.  I drew an outline.”

Drew in where the fear sits the strongest.

Then gently erased.

Easy.  Breathed through.  Decreased the tension.  Softened.

2. Capture chapter highlights:

Watch the shadows gather in the aching body.  Hear them mutter in complaint and self-pity.

Pity arises from meeting pain with fear.  Compassion comes when you meet it with love…

When we begin to respond to discomfort instead of reacting to it, an enormous change occurs.  We begin to experience it not as just “our” pain but as “the” pain… When it’s “my” unworthiness I feel unworthy to explore it.  But when it’s “the” unworthiness– the pain so many struggle with– compassion flows naturally towards it…

When it’s “the” pain, it has the whole universe to float in, when it’s “my” pain, I’m standing alone in it.

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3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

From:

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By learning about anxiety, spending time with it and finally holding in your hand, you can enjoy the next step: You can relax your grip, and let it fall away. It will have served its purpose. You will have loved that part of yourself and it won’t need to get your attention with such a difficult message again.

You will be connected. That’s the first gift.

The second gift is that feeling connected and with realizing that you’re enough can lead you to a cycle of inner fullness. It can give you an easy-to-remember awareness that you’re up for this, whatever the next exciting challenge or painful event may be.

The third gift of anxiety is that it gets you to recognize your own power with, instead of power over, yourself and your life.

All you had to do was listen… – Ariella Baston

4. Today’s angel card:

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Robin’s egg bowl by Alison Donnelly