New journal necessary today

February 10, 2021

New journal necessary today – it was a big day of BIG communication and BIG advocacy for my youth.

February 11, 2021

Another big day of honest communication. I am tired, but light.

February 13, 2021

Gift of a long weekend and snow. The week ended well and I had a personal breakthrough.

February 15, 2021

What if the thing I am trying to figure out doesn’t need to be figured out at all? What if I release it all fully? There is no need to reach out to… to talk it out with… No need to feel embarrassed about… Not need to figure out my relationship with… No need to worry about work. No need to change how I approach it. No need to apologize. No need to reach out to anyone.

Just be.

Take a pause.

Take all the time I need.

LET IT ALL GO.

What if it all ended right now? What would any of the above accomplish? People have their own lives. Me, just being me, in all my clumsy ways trying to figure out things, is just about wanting to control so that I don’t make anyone feel bad. Why not LET GO OF IT ALL?

No need today to produce, draw, write, craft, prep, or even focus. No need to ignore. No need to pay attention.

What if the way I am being in this world – as I am now – is actually fine?

Can I recede?

Can I not?

Can I stop trying to question whether I should or not?

Instead of looking for absolute answers to feel comfortable, we can embrace the mysterious. When we think about what the embodiments of others must be like, feel like, look like from their perspectives, we can never know… Feeling one’s isolation and separation despite networks of agency can be a beautiful thing: profound. – Sabrina Scott witchbody, 2019

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

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

I am not depressed today.

 

May 18, 2019

Saturdays I tend to have– a type of Saturday Migraine what I call- spiritual migraines- as the time to myself hits after sleeping in an extra hour after a full week of so much output– I can either be in euphoric creative mode, or despair/exhaustion.  Of course, I enjoy the euphoria.  I get a lot done!  The despair tends to look like this:

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Today I did have plans.  Several of them were canceled.  And instead of filling up the space with other get together requests– I took a walk alone, checked in on the herons, and settled myself here on a rock at Second Beach.

What do I hear?

Seagulls, small birds, bike bells, this paper, crows, planes, squeaky  bike wheels, waves, boats, jet skis, children by the water, people on the seawall.

The tide is out and I am surrounded by tide pools.

I am not depressed today.  I am not euphoric.  I don’t owe anybody my time today.  I don’t need to hear anyone’s despair, or help organize their thoughts.  Even my own.

 

Homework- writer’s group: close your eyes…

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Journal entry:

If I close my eyes, what age do I go back to?

Usually I go back to age six.

But today as I close my eyes, I am 22, alone, crying, New Year’s Eve, 1984.  Though— not quite alone.  I am pregnant with Anna.  I am scared, crying, in a fetal position on the mattress on the floor.  It is midnight and I hear fireworks.  By making a choice to keep my child, I have created chaos in my family. And I am alone, in a weird room in a weird house with roommates I don’t know.

Though not quite alone.

The color yellow is prominent.

The color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build confidence, and stimulate the nervous system. [source]

I believed then that by being myself, I hurt people.

What I say to that 22 year old, alone but not quite alone, on the mattress in that dark room now is—

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You made the right choice.  By yourself.  You don’t need to thank anyone.  You don’t need to be indebted to anyone.  YOU made the decision.  A decision that made your mother stagger…

Trust yourself.  Somehow you survive.  The impossible is not impossible.  I’M POSSIBLE.  Inside you is the greatest gift.  A child that grows to a young woman who is deserving to live a life untethered.  

Anxiety, fear– all is survivable.  And those times you have felt done with life- you were not done but simply evolving.   You were so young, with no tools.  The child inside you will grow up to be celebrated for her decisions…  

[I want my children to be free FREE FREE FREE of guilt for living their chosen lives.]

Her grief became your guilt.  Your grief can be her release.  

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Being ace, full of peACE

In October 2016, I wrote: 

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On October 3, 2016 I wrote:

Opening up to defining myself as ace and what that means to me feels relieving right now.

• I have found my identity that really explains to me who I am now.

• Life is fluid and so am I.

• Every stage of my life has been magical, deep, rich.

Touch me life, not softly. – Maya Angelou

• I have experienced joy, lust, juice, frenzy, quiet, cozy, lovely, scary, gutsy, sensual heterosexual love.

• I have witnessed and been astounded by the earthy, gorgeous beauty of my body carrying and birthing two children.

• I have had crushes on men and women, madness, deep love, incredulous love, frustrating love, zany love.

• I have been happily married.

• I have been heartbroken.

• Though I have experienced heartache and trauma, I am not ace because of those experiences.

• I experienced intense freedom and a feeling of coming home when the pain of divorce finally subsided.

• I have been single since 2001.  No- scratch that, I’ve been me since 1962.

• I have zero interest in sexual relationships.

• I still love me though and my ever shifting body.

• I have zero interest in getting to know someone romantically.

• I do have crushes on minds.

• And I admit, I have romantic types- the whole gamut from Louis CK to Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, to Tilda Swinton, Janna Levin and Twyla Tharp, to Stephen Fry to Lynda Barry— you see what’s happening here- it’s about characters they portray or who they are in their lives or how they talk when they are being interviewed.  It’s not real life.

• The overarching crush though, I suppose, is Lol in This is England.  

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• But it shifts from having a crush to wanting to look like her.  Yeah, I want to look like her, wear Fred Perry clothes, maybe hang out as twins.  Kick some people in the ass or on the chin with shit covered boots.

• Not a single cell, molecule, atom in my body is interested in dating.

• There’s no interest in spending the time or making the room.

• I admit I have zero interest in small talk and getting to know new people at parties unless its about some kind of creative endeavour or really interesting stuff.

• Observing the game makes me tired and all I can think about is wanting to make a sock monkey or draw something and wish I was wearing PJs.

• I love my friends.

• I love my family.

• I love my kids and we are so damn close.

• I love my kids’ friends.  I sometimes steal them.

• I love having freedom to laugh and be myself.

 

February 14, 2018

I wrote it to state THIS IS ME.

So what happened after this declaration?

I received so many messages of camaraderie and the article was shared on Rebelle Society.  But what happened to me?

Upon reflection, I know that the declaration was an important statement to myself that I can and should express myself and my art fully.  And though the year that followed contained a roller coaster of emotions and strange adventures, what unfolded inside me– slowly over the year– was an inner peace.

By openly declaring THIS IS ME– I allowed my creative process to be mine– very important state of being as I spent the year vomiting out the third draft Molly.

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By declaring THIS IS ME– I was able to navigate an extremely deep depression and pull myself out.

By declaring THIS IS ME– I am able to choose my well-being over people pleasing, I am able to put up healthy boundaries while maintaining authentic connections, I am able to meet anxiety with self-compassion (and just let it be what it is instead of finding solutions).

I am able to sit at my kitchen table in a peACEful house, celebrate myself– and my life, my role as daughter and mother– celebrate myself for a job done as well as I am able, knowing everything from here on in is gravy as my children have reached their 30’s and I, me myself and I, rejoice in the joy of solitude.

On this Valentine’s Day– I am proud of being me- saggy, ugly, creative, lovely, too-loudly-laughing me.

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Something has come to pass, you think, something more important than a mere flight over the ravine – Gwendolyn MacEwen

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

My ugliness, my solitude, my experiences have built a protective wall

Diary entry April 17, 2017

Once I have reached my energy limit- my body/mind/spirit experiences a type of fatigue migraine– it comes on when I finally relax and have a day to stop- and seemingly ALL threatens to stop.  My eyes can’t stay open in the tub, my heart feels tender, my to-do list seems unfriendly.  But I know this is my pattern, my rollercoaster of creative process.

Remedy: on with the sweatpants, old tee, old cardigan, thick socks, clogs, rain coat, tote bag full of books and head out to the lagoon.

That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies.

I walk around the lagoon in absolute solitude- despite the crowds.  I may smile at someone if they smile, but generally I only care about nature and the birds, the raccoons, squirrels.  I have no interest in people on days like this; I have no interest in speaking.

My mind does not churn with angst but processes and there is a strange sensation of an impending cry.  A cry never comes.  I know this is the rubber band pulling back during creative process.  The entire body fatigues.

Once around the lagoon, I stumble my way to the grocery store and more shyness takes over.  I sweat.  My hair is greasy.  I really don’t care because I am protected by my age.  My ugliness, my solitude, my experiences have built a protective wall and inside I am content.  On the outside not so much- but inside.

And in that strange bubble of clumsy solitude and shyness and recoil and disdain for crowds, I feel strangely FREE.

Now I am sitting at a coffee shop, head down, writing- blissful in my ugliness- that same girl who spat at herself in the mirror in Grade 8 but who at the same time had a secret place deep in her heart that was free and loved and powerful.

I had my family.  I had my art.

I have my family.  I have my art.

There are days I have countless hours of energy for output.  Then it dips when I rest and I get that fatigue migraine again.  I am safe here at this table.  Surrounded by others in their solitude bubble.  The muse sits with me.  She reaches out to touch my hand and inaudibly whispers- time to write.  She guides.

The energy comes back.  The body lightens.  And the comfort of ugliness in old shitty clothes envelop me.  I am safe in here.

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What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. – Henri Matisse

Routine? No, ROOTine.

The word ROOTine came up for me the other day when I was texting with my daughter who is on a life-changing journey, travelling in SE Asia:

Looking back on your life from a mom’s perspective as to when you have felt the most happiest is during developing an idea and planning transitions.  When you have gotten “grey” is when things settle into routine.  Your core competencies are definitely on experiencing and facilitating those transitions… what’s beautiful is that by identifying that this trip is about making space for change, that you yourself have the power to facilitate change, has opened you to also embrace DEVELOPING ROOTS.  

As long as where you land, where you you work, who you love, fosters that change power in you–  you will be happy.  Some people need routine and no change.  Predictability.  You- no.  That’s why you will love being a mom as it’s all about facilitating growth and change in your children.  The routine or ROOT-ine in that and in loving a partner is not at all suffocating- as long as you continue to develop yourself

 

The word ROOTine made sense to me as it came up in my text to her.  When I personally feel the angst of being disconnected from the predictability and routine of home (like this past Friday when I headed over to the island for 5 nights to work and and spend time with friends), I know that is the time for self-reflection and mindfulness.  In the way that works for me.

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I don’t seek sameness in my life- that is certainly why I immerse myself in the creative process- it is about CHANGE.

My psychological or even physiological makeup is not one that suits the routine of a 9 to 5 predictable schedule.

I find a rich sense of freedom in the uniqueness of my personal routine.  In what makes me relax IN MY WAY.

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Qualicum Beach, April 2, 2017

So, I guess the angst that arises is when the flow is disrupted?  I’ve been thinking about this a lot.  Is it ROUTINE or ROOTS?  I am fully rooted in my purpose- blessed to have found it.

My niece Emma just sent me this poem and it seems fitting:

What to Remember When Waking by David Whyte

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake, coming back to this life from the other more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world where everything began, there is a small opening into the new day which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.

What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.

To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth, you are not an accident amidst other accidents you were invited from another and greater night than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window toward the mountain presence of everything that can be what urgency calls you to your one love?

What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?

In the trees beyond the house?

In the life you can imagine for yourself?

In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

The ROOTine is where I find my flow.  And when the flow is disrupted, I feel uneasy.  And that’s OK.

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Release attachment to the outcome…

To feel the anguish of waiting for the next moment and of taking part in the complex current (of affairs) not knowing that we are headed toward ourselves, through millions of stone beings – of bird beings – of star beings – of microbe beings – of fountain beings toward ourselves.

– Frida Kahlo

I had a real awakening in 1986 when I took the CREATIVE PROCESS class at (what was then called) Emily Carr College of Art and Design with Kitty Mykka.  It was a LIFE CHANGING CLASS that introduced me to the theory, practicality and universality of the creative process.

Beware! I now know a language so beautiful and lethal
My mouth bleeds when I speak it.
– Gwendolyn MacEwen

Kitty also took my journaling work deeper than I had ever gone before, opening for me a safe personal space in which to process my work and my life.

And as three decades have gone by since that Fall of 1986, I continue to embody the creative process.  I often tell my students that process for me is much more important than the end product.  That is why I love street art- I put it out there- it will (de)volve as it will.  The ongoing process is what intrigues me.

As I approach age 55 in a few weeks, I feel a renewed sense of peace at my core.  Not only is my creative process not attached to the outcome- my life is not attached to the outcome.  These days, if I feel a sense of angst rise up as I try to juggle all my projects, or look at my bank account, or worry about family and the future, or fall into saudade, or feel guilt for deciding not to pursue certain projects so that I can commit fully to certain partnerships, as I worry I am not prepared for a session, or as I plan the road ahead and feel overwhelmed looking at the to-do list, or as I think think and over-think, or as I work on my graphic novel worrying if I am on the right track, or if I feel helpless to help someone in need- my heart releases and my mind is reMINDed to not be attached to the outcome.

And it is a lesson I try to instill in my art students.  It is a way to quiet the inner critic without stifling it.  To not be attached to the outcome sets us free to create.

I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but START WRITING. There is NO SUCH THING as “too late” in the arts. Trust me. START. – Patton Oswalt

Is that Self Compassion?  Is it maturity?  It is PROCESS.  TO STAY and LIVE IN THE MOMENT- to (try to) ride it, no matter how difficult that moment might be.

Let your indulgence set me free. – Shakespeare, The Tempest

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There is no doubt that art has saved my life.  And I am not attached to its outcome.

Related:

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Is this where they’ll find me?

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Is this where they’ll find me?  In the tub, laying back, my neck resting on the edge, my face covered with a book?

Is this where they’ll find me? Seemingly asleep, one hand holding tight the book that covers my face, hiding the cheap reading glasses that have slipped a little, eyes closed, the mouth slightly open?  The other hand, dangling over the edge?

Will they find me in a tub of cold water, a cold cup of coffee on the edge beside a large bottle of bubble bath with its $2.99 sales sticker, the tap drip dripping that one drop every twenty seconds.

Will they find the parrot, seemingly asleep, but oh so still, eyes closed, head resting against my fingertips that hangs over the ledge, his claws clutching tight the edge of the laundry basket that has been placed next to the tub?

Will they stand, gloved hands on hips, furrowed brows, scanning the small bathroom, the dollar store shower curtain, the child’s plastic tea set strewn on the floor under the parrot, the PineSol in the toilet, three rolls of toilet paper at various sizes, the quiet stillness of the body in the bath, the silent little bird on the ledge, the dripping tap.

Is she dead?

Looks like it.

Call it in.

The curious, mindful, insightful one will pry the book from her stiff fingers.  And he’ll see the indent from her nose, and read out loud…

At last I’m with you again.

And he replied: 

“Keep a good hold round my neck, my flower.”

“Yes,” she whispered.  “Always– as long as I live.  Your one flower.  The flower of your life.  And I shan’t die awhile yet; no, not for a long while yet.”

Then they went on their way. *

Is this where they’ll find me?  In the tub, laying back, my neck resting on the edge, my nose literally buried a book?  Content to die from the artistry of words.  Breathless.

*

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Recalling a declaration from “my future self” on July 25, 2015

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Working on my graphic novel, I pull out research and reference materials from my files and come across a journal entry from July 25, 2015 created during Peter Breeze’s Be a Star workshop.  This is truly why I keep everything for what an incredible reminder to myself that I am fulfilling my dream by whatever means necessary.

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Dear me,

You now stand fully naked, fully present, fully you.  Gone are the shackles that pulled you downwards into self-doubting, crippling anxiety.  No longer do you hesitate before expressing.  But most importantly, no longer do you collapse in shame and doubt after you expressed yourself.  

Speaking your truth used to cause you to feel like you were choking on amniotic fluid.  Felt like it came at a price.  

Now you can breathe in and breathe out with open mouth, open nostrils, open sinuses, open throat, open heart, open eyes, open mind without fear.  

You release your truth, your art, your work onto and into the world and receive back the conversations/communications with an open and fearless heart- a heart that is ready to dialogue.  

Your work used to require boundaries.  Your life used to comprise of self-imposed boundaries to protect your heart from rejection and loss.  But now you are boundless.  And so the work you have built on awakening creative expression in others- a gift you truly were born with and have worked so tirelessly to deliver- takes on a new level on a global scale.  You are not in need of accolades.  You are simply expressing, thereby allowing others to feel the same freedom.  It need no longer be frontline work (in person), it is a new principle and way of living.  

Full presence.  

You have taken all the heartache, all the joy, all the blood and guts of life and built a mission and vision that has created true abundance.  

You will never be anxiety-free and you will never not have heart-shattering challenges, but you now have a giant delicious toolbox with which to meet those challenges and easily process, die into them and rebirth from them.  You are truly living with ease.  

All is as it should be.  

Congratulations.  

Love, me 

Thank you, Peter.

Check out my daughter’s message to her future self:

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What being ace means to me. #asexual musings

October 3, 2016:

Being age 54 and “single” I am often asked (by people my own age),

Are you dating anyone now?  

When my response is one of raised eyebrows and a cynical laugh, and an adamant, I have no interest, I often get the NEVER SAY NEVER statement.

Oh my God.  I know I know— who knows what lies ahead.  But, seriously, at age 54 and with lots of LIFE under my belt- I have the right to plead:

 Please never say never say never to me.

There is an implication that by not being with a partner, I am not whole.

Also, please don’t say:

You’ll find someone eventually.

You shouldn’t put yourself down!

You aren’t ugly.

You just don’t know what you want.

I don’t need to defend myself, but I feel I need to advocate for us asexual middle agers, who despite who we were before, whatever the hell came before,  who we fucked, loved, identified as, whatever- we are WHOLE now.

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WHAT BEING ACE MEANS TO ME:

Opening up to defining myself as ace and what that means to me feels relieving right now.

• I have found my identity that really explains to me who I am now.

• Life is fluid and so am I.

• Every stage of my life has been magical, deep, rich.

Touch me life, not softly. – Maya Angelou

• I have experienced joy, lust, juice, frenzy, quiet, cozy, lovely, scary, gutsy, sensual heterosexual love.

• I have witnessed and been astounded by the earthy, gorgeous beauty of my body carrying and birthing two children.

• I have had crushes on men and women, madness, deep love, incredulous love, frustrating love, zany love.

• I have been happily married.

• I have been heartbroken.

• Though I have experienced heartache and trauma, I am not ace because of those experiences.

• I experienced intense freedom and a feeling of coming home when the pain of divorce finally subsided.

• I have been single since 2001.  No- scratch that, I’ve been me since 1962.

• I have zero interest in sexual relationships.

• I still love me though and my ever shifting body.

• I have zero interest in getting to know someone romantically.

• I do have crushes on minds.

• And I admit, I have romantic types

• The overarching crush is Lol in This is England.  

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• But it shifts from having a crush to wanting to look like her.  Yeah, I want to look like her, wear Fred Perry clothes, maybe hang out as twins.  Kick some people in the ass or on the chin with shit covered boots.

• Not a single cell, molecule, atom in my body is interested in dating.

• There’s no interest in spending the time or making the room.

• I admit I have zero interest in small talk and getting to know new people at parties unless its about some kind of creative endeavour or really interesting stuff.

• Observing the game makes me tired and all I can think about is wanting to make a sock monkey or draw something and wish I was wearing PJs.

• I love my friends.

• I love my family.

• I love my kids and we are so damn close.

• I love my kids’ friends.  I sometimes steal them.

• I love having freedom to laugh and be myself.

YUP, THIS IS ME:

ace

My friend Matt wrote me the day the other day- 

Asexuality is fucking hard to breach because people of all sexualities can’t comprehend it. It will be the next big “coming out” I think for many people. Apparently there was a study done that millennials are having less sex than any other generation. Perhaps there’s a correlation. Not that asexuals can’t create and enjoy pleasure. They’re just more self sufficient about it.  

So next time you see me in the corner with my head buried in a book and not at the bar scanning the room or reviewing potentials on Tinder- know that I’m good. I’m good! 

Much love everyone! Be yourself!  

Check out:

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Related:

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You had the opportunity last month to end up not recognizing yourself.

This past weekend I have had a bit of that existential-post-trip-out-of-body-kind-of-weirdness-needing-to-contract feeling.

[Thanks to my soul sister, Patti Henderson], I check in with the Power Path regularly (especially when I feel like this) as a tool/guide.  I am reminded of the July 2016 forecast:

“Radical personal transformation is possible. Start with taking care of yourself, loving yourself, giving yourself the time and space for emotional assimilation, clearing, healing, and allowing yourself to prioritize your life according to what matters the most to you. Give yourself permission to be irritated and cranky as long as it does not affect others. Be careful of impatience and judgment and always move yourself to a place of compassion and forgiveness.  You have the opportunity this month to end up not recognizing yourself…  This is a higher centered time of emotional revolution, of seeing things differently, of having a new unique experience of your life, of access to more power, bliss and inspiration and to really feel like you are setting your life on a satisfying path.  If you are not there yet, have patience. Perhaps there is something that needs to be completed first in order to free you up for transformation or perhaps there is still fear. Just keep working at it, chipping away at the armor of attachment and falling more deeply in love with yourself and others.” – The Power Path July 2016 Forecast

I am working at it.  If you are not there yet, have patience…  When I am tired and need to rest, I tend to resist.  This resistance then creates an unease I liken to fear.  So instead of saying YES- not only to possibility and life- but to rest and stillness, I resist.  I am learning, however, that this seems to be a new (or at least more obvious) pattern to my creative process:  

observe, listen, inspiration, research, plan, prepare, create, OUTPUT!, experiment, collect, document, reflect, clean up, put away, stop, anxiety, fear, existential crisis, contract, fatigue, retreat, solitude, ponder, more fatigue, reflect, journal, rise up, abuzz, observe, listen, inspiration, research, plan, prepare, create, OUTPUT!, experiment, collect, document, reflect, clean up, put away, stop, anxiety, fear, existential crisis, contract, fatigue, retreat, solitude, ponder, more fatigue, reflect, journal, rise up, abuzz, inspiration…

So each part of the pattern is essentially essential- without one, there would not be the other.  The PROCESS has a PATTERN.

“The creative process is not just iterative; it’s also recursive. It plays out “in the large” and “in the small”—in defining the broadest goals and concepts and refining the smallest details. It branches like a tree, and each choice has ramifications, which may not be known in advance… The creative process involves many conversations—about goals and actions to achieve them—conversations with co-creators and colleagues, conversations with oneself.Source: A model of the Creative Process

And so back to the Power Path: You have the opportunity this month to end up not recognizing yourself…  This is a higher centered time of emotional revolution, of seeing things differently, of having a new unique experience of your life, of access to more power, bliss and inspiration…

Certainly this recognition of pattern and process and allowing the process to unfold, even the fear- is NEW and TRANSFORMATIVE for me.  Being in the journal portion of my creative process yesterday, I took some paper and a pen to a bench in the park and just wrote, knowing I am carrying some many insights and personal lessons with me from last week’s trip.  But I knew i just had to write.  To keep the pen moving, writing nonsensically, without thought, without curiosity, without censor… just move the pen and let the verbosity out.

July 31, 2016 Stanley Park [unedited]

Sometimes you require, crave, demand solitude.  I am spreading.  Folds of flesh start to fall.  No longer am I fetus, infant, toddler, child, pubescent juvenile, young adult, adult, daughter.  My skin has slipped from its hinges and is askew.  Existential downtime when home from a trip.  The glow stick is snapped and the heat spreads upward from the heart- the peritoneal lining feels acidic- the heat spreads onto the face  and the sweat creates a hovering layer not quite touching the skin.  The hands cool, clammy, wet, wrung, wringing.  The brain turns 360 degrees in its cavity before settling back.  It is requesting something and I am not sure what.  I want to debrief and talk deep but dialogue feels futile.  The birds will have it.  Sitting in the park, the putter of Sunday life the soundtrack.  I request and require solitude, I write in my mind, observe the human, like on the bus this morning, and I feel so disconnected.  The birds will have it.  Three robins sprang up in front of me as I walked towards the bus stop.  The meeting?  The meaning?  Are they guardians?  Souls?  

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As the flesh comes off its hinges and becomes papery and fragile, it peels away, revealing the skeleton underneath.  The flesh no longer the nurturer.  The bones though still provide structure, framework.  There is a child playing with his little sibling and he keeps repeating “Stop in the name of love!”   Meet it all with love.  I must gather myself, my thoughts and my to-do’s and remind myself to trust the permanent change.  To celebrate every breath, to make sure I make the right agreements.

A gentle journal vomit session tends to cleanse the nooks and crannies of the mind and heart and spirit.

“In the world of YES, Fear = Contraction.  When we contract, we become closed or restricted.  This can cause us to retreat or give up.  Take a look at what causes you to contract or expand with regard to your creative dreams.  Creative dreams themselves are natural expansion devices.  They contain energy, motion, and desire.  We can learn to respond to change creatively by studying our habitual responses and making adjustments.  It can feel natural to respond to change by contracting or saying no.  Contraction is not bad, It just slows expansion.  What makes you feel expansive, open to change, and like saying YES?” – SARK

Source: Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day by Sark, Simon & Schuster 2005

So did I end up not recognizing myself after this month?  Hell, yes!  

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Dear my body… a love letter.

 

Dear my body,
We shy away from the camera; we always have.
We are like the Sasquatch– rare sightings on FB.
I am not interested in what you look like.  I don’t want to see.  I don’t need to see.

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RARE sighting.  You, my flesh bag, as captured by Merv Glip, May 13, 2016.

I prefer the role of the observer, not the observed.
I love REALITY and being in the world,
SEEING the world,
and being myself, totally, completely,
not pretending,
not wearing a mask- yet,
I don’t want to capture you in photographs.

Humans come in categories.  And you know, my dear body, I define us as ugly.  That is MY TRUTH- maybe not yours, and I don’t mind that.   I have always identified you as such.  That is my category for us.  I embrace it.  It is not about self-deprecation.  It just is.  I know you get it.  I can hear you giggle.  And that is where our beauty lies.  Aging.  Ugly.  Funny.  We are who we are.  We are unfashionable.

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Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow
did to you;

I am old when it is fashionable to be
young;

I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage
to love.

– Charles Bukowski

And here we are, at age 54, reaching the end stage of menopause- without doctors, without hormone replacements, without tranquilizers, without raging against the dying of the light.  I am blessed to have you carry me around.  I love that I am aging you naturally.  We watched our mother struggle and medicate and we chose another route.  A quieter, simpler one.   She wore an elegant mask.  And I loved her.  I hurt for her.  I learned from her.  I chose not to put one on you.
Oh, my body- I will not fret about your sags, and swells and the wrinkles.  All your scars and moles.  Your ugly face and thin hair.  I look at you in the mirror and I shrug.
You are my best friend and I let you be who you are.  And you are MINE.  And we continue to create and explore and LAUGH together.  I am blessed to still be here to experience your changes.  To see mom and dad in your features.  Our aging is simply— beautiful.  And simple.  In this flesh bag.  Come what may!
I know you’re not comfortable in certain clothing and that you really don’t give a shit. You are going to do what you need to do and I will just have to go along!
You have danced and loved and gestated and birthed and nursed and nurtured and grieved.  You have been muscular, at the top of your form, and you have been ravaged by radiation.  You have been cared for and bathed.  You have been violated and criticized.  You have been told by a lover that you looked good- you should get sick more often- when inside we felt sick, shaky and emaciated.  You have been celebrated and you have strutted.  You shrank when our heart was broken.  Together we have contemplated the end; yet simultaneously, we have felt the delirium of being truly alive.
You, my dear sweet body, have kept on going.
You eat, shit, piss, sleep, laugh, cry, sigh, hold, hug, care and continue to walk me through the world with innocence and overriding joy.  I sometimes, often, want to hide, but you continue to lead me forward.  And one day you will need to stop, and I accept that.
Until then, my fading eyes look out through your sagging, expanding, aged, wise flesh and take in the world.  Your muscles move your hands that create as my mind interprets.  My mind is carried on your strong legs and spreading ass.
Biology leads.
 WE, you and I, are free and single and our own and no one can criticize us anymore (not even I can).  WE ARE FREE.
As mentioned, I don’t want to capture you in photographs because I don’t want to be captured.
You are MY BODY.  I, personally, in this moment, feel lucky.  Oh, so lucky!  I hope you do too.
I love you.  <3
– Katarina

… it goes deep, deep down into its burrow…

I was organizing my notebooks and loose papers and to-do lists at a coffee shop this morning.  I love to organize, but I am strangely disorganized.  Creative chaos is my middle name, but so are organizational skills.

My mind runs a 1000 miles per hour, and so I write bits of quotes, make lists, tiny mind maps, big mind maps, on ripped pieces of paper, a bit of here and there, including doodling and collecting artifacts, while walking, while sitting on a park bench, in a coffee shop, in the tub.

Then every once in a while, I take some focused time to examine each note, each doodle, each object and write a fresh to-do list and/or start a new journal.

Here are some random remnants (seemingly important when I wrote them) that I found today in my pile [no dates]:

Quote: The writer takes the reader’s hand and guides him through the valley of sorrow and joy without ever having to mention those words. – Natalie Goldberg

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Sightings at the lagoon: raccoon digging close to me, crows, goose, ducks, robins, gulls, magnolias, camellias,  hyacinths, daffodils, rhododendrons, lagoon, ducks on branches, sunset, dark clouds northwest, ducks in reeds, seagull with a duck egg, swallow flying eating bugs, cherry blossoms, people walking, golfing, running, riding, skating, driving, lone heron in a tree, another flying right by me with a stick, dandelions, dogs, pigeon, robin singing, Beaver Lake, ducks, geese, herons dancing in the air, squirrels, chipmunks, chickadees, nuthatches…

Forensic taphonomy: typical coyote activity in Stanley Park?  October?  Cold weather?  Skin damage (tissue) –> sternum/clavicle/ribs –> disarticulation upper extremities –> thorax, pelvic region, thighs (muscle tissue) –> detachment of limbs.  If weather is below freezing?  Clothes keep bodies intact?  Mandible intact?  If buried slightly beneath fur coat plus cold weather?  P. 372 Protective circumstance, partial burial- Typical scavenging sequence subject to modification when portions of the body are in sheltered circumstances or positions which protect the body from scavengers.  Heavily clothed, partial burial, wrapped, frozen.

QuoteLove . . . is like nature, but in reverse; first it fruits, then it flowers, then it seems to wither, then it goes deep, deep down into its burrow, where no one sees it, where it is lost from sight, and ultimately people die with that secret buried inside their souls.
― Edna O’Brien

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Question to self: How to you want to bring in revenue?  Visual facilitation until or along with Molly.  How do you want to serve the community?  Monkeys.

QuoteLearn to write about the ordinary.  Give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches.  Make a list of everything ordinary you can think of.  Keep adding to it.  -Natalie Goldberg

Quote: Extend your boundaries.  Live on the edge for a while.  We act as though we were immortal, and are comfortable in that illusion.  We don’t actually know when we will die and we hope it will be in old age, but it can be this next minute.  This thought of mortality  is not droll; it can make our lives very vital, present and alert right now. –Natalie Goldberg

Poem exercisePushed by the breeze, Orange! Yellow! Indigo! Sheltered by unfurling ferns.

Notes re Molly: It is a fascinating female story/history.  It tells the story of a society that created tragedies.  It was moralistic and there was no place for single women (unwed mothers with children).  (foster services, Astrid Lindgren’s personal story)

The wasp: observe the wasp that just landed on my book and waited patiently, just lone enough for me to draw it.

QuoteNo matter how large a thing is, how fantastic, it is also ordinary.  We think of details as daily and mundane.  Even miracles are mundane happenings that an awakened mind can see in a fantastic way. – Natalie Goldberg

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Thoughts at the park bench at Bidwell and Burnaby: Observing human/animal/bird/insect/nature/weather activity in the West End is very much like reading a book of little short stories and one big one at the same time.  Sounds are OBSERVED.  Visually.

Don’t tell me.  SHOW ME.

Quote: In order to write about it, we have to go to the heart of it and know it, so the ordinary and extraordinary flash before our very eyes simultaneously.  Go so deep into something that you understand its interpenetration with all things.  Then automatically the detail is imbued with the cosmic; they are interchangeable. – Natalie Goldberg

 

 

Getting out of my own way.

I was down and dark in January- been down and dark before- but this time I was dipping down a little too low.  I am blessed that I was able to communicate that to my nearest and dearest and have the difficult conversations and be met with love and support.

I want to be here.  To LIVE- fully.  To be fully PRESENT.  To be gentle, detached, full of love.  To bear witness to LIFE/DEATH and all in between.  To enjoy being part of the evolution and unfolding of my children’s and extended family’s lives.

But, hey, certain struggles continue- tempt me to dip down.

I found out yesterday morning that my three grant applications for arts based programming were denied.

So what do I do with that?

I acknowledge that my own fears and internal voices come up around the NOW.  Tap, tap, tap.  Let’s take that dip.  How do I make this work?  What is wrong with me?  Spin spin spin.  Block, block, block.  Resist, resist, resist.

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Well- I refuse this time to let that be a reason to attack myself.  It has been my pattern all my life.  And I am sick of it!

So instead- I celebrate the heart of those three grant applications and the process spent writing them.  And I celebrate the incredible programs that did receive the grants and the life-changing programming they deliver.

And I honor that Universe, spirit, magic, life, whatever, is continuing to steer me in a new more powerful smoother path.

And I can no longer allow myself to block the path with old habits of self-criticizing.  So I am getting out of my own way.

How?

Through surrender.

IF I RESIST THE “OBSTACLES” THAT WE HUMANS CALL IN, THEN THEY PERSIST. BUT WHEN I EMBRACE THEM, WHEN I SURRENDER TO THEM AND LET THEM BE, THEN EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY CAUSE MORE SUFFERING, THEY WILL INEVITABLY ALSO BRING WITH THEM THE MEDICINE.- Terry Tsipouras

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I am allowed to dream, think, plan BIG!  Allowed to not just hope I can do this; I am allowed to state I CAN DO THIS.  I DESERVE THIS.  I AM DOING THIS.

 

I am on a path- MY PATH.  And I am walking it now, surrendering to it, not blocking it.

With the help of some tools of course.

Like the Power Path monthly check in (introduced to me quite awhile back by Patti Henderson, my sweet soul sister).  It is a beautiful tool that empowers you, gives some nice simple advice and just helps gather your thoughts.

On March 23, my daughter and I checked in on the Power Path March forecast again and mind mapped it out while we dialogued.

And lo and behold there was the reminder: get out of your own way:

 

 

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POWER IT UP! FIRE IT UP!

Love Katarina

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Rather than being consumed by worry, I chose to be curious instead. – Gail Brenner

 

The heart of it.

Practicing being heart-fully present and health-fully detached.  And checking in regularly with my own heart journey.

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Getting up a bit earlier.  Gentle time before facing each day.  Then practicing stepping into the day with

OPEN

boundless

bountiful

boundary-full

HEART.

And always reminding myself to nurture the heart of my passions and gifts.

“I’m filled with burning passion to experience life as fully and as madly as I can and I’ll always, always follow my heart. I am constantly evolving, learning, growing — life is a series of adventures tied together with the thread of friendship, experiences, lessons and love.  I am listening to my heart, I am noticing the subtle ebb and flow of my life as it unfolds before my eyes. I am open to change, I am vulnerable to the call of my soul but above all I have absolute faith in where I am going.  I am a firm believer in noticing synchronicities and letting them guide you on your path — noticing ‘signs’ directing you in a certain way can be magical in transforming your life. I also believe people come into your life for a reason, and that chance encounters can change your world.”

Zoe Quiney

Sunday morning coffee shop musings.

Journal entry January 24, 2016

Write out goals –> no, write out PLANS.

What is the difference between goals and plans and by writing goals as opposed to plans, am I not being BADASS enough?

(Thank you, Cat Webb, for defining me as a badass and being a constant source of empowerment.  Check out Cat’s extraordinary work.)

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(Thank you, Wendy Rée, for introducing me to Cat!)

So I wrote out a list early this morning while in the tub (with my parrot staring at me from his perch on the laundry basket)

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… and I feel it’s pretty encompassing for addressing/manifesting/stating short term and long term goals plans.

Then packed my bag and headed to this local coffee shop to work on the Molly presentation.

So, uhm, yeah- working on a presentation to submit to interested parties tomorrow…  That is badass.

Come on, self- lift your head up and admit that.

Badass!

Can a change in attitude change a goal to a plan?

A hope into action?

Change fear into empowerment?

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“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” — Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens

A letter to my father, 3 years later, at our favorite table.

Dear Pappa,

Sitting at our table at Lions Gate Hospital Cafeteria.

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Three years later now… you died on October 25.  How can this be real?  You and Mamma seemingly immortal.  Yet-

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I would love to break down- my heart feels too big for my chest cavity.  I want to curl inward.

There was so much life- and there still is.

There were so many laughs, tears, visits, conversations, coffee cups and just being.  So many Swedish videos-

And those salami and cheese plates and those hazelnut milk chocolate bars and all that gum.  So much Tobey-

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So much life!

How can your heart, Pappa, be so present and beating and then stop?  And end?  Is your life over?

Oh, this table—

Plugging in and setting up.  Our note taking and reviewing, our planning, your dictation.  Actually getting the book done.  Somehow.  Somehow.  How?  How?

I hear the familiar hospital staff behind me on their 5 PM break.  Remember how they yelled “Lucky guy” to you every time?  You yelling back with a thumbs up?

I watch the Fall leaves outside- gently moving in the breeze.  This view.  How could we be so happy within these walls?

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Is it because it was SIMPLE?

We were free (so very free), within the limits.  Those delicious undisturbed hours just the two of us, with Tobey asleep under the table.

Taking a walk around the block first with all our bags, then setting up at our table- ELATED when it was free.  Hurry!  Hurry!

That northwest corner.  The perfect spot. The view of Grouse Mountain.  Get the coffee and the food.  Plug in the laptop.  A good long visit.  Then the packing up and heading back through the north doors and letting Tobey pee.  In through the side entrance to Evergreen and back upstairs in time for bedtime prep.

And you- so heroically enthusiastic about it all.

How can this be 3 years later?  You passing on the 25th?  How can this be?  Seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Though SO MUCH has happened since.  What I take away from our times at this table is the SIMPLICITY of being.  So much has fallen away.  And I carry the corner table with me.

As I write this, my pen is clutched tightly in my hand,  Overwhelmingly tight.  And my other hand clutched the paper of this journal.  It is one of your old notebooks that you had only just started.  In the front flap you had written in pencil:

E M E T A R Y

What were you starting?

My head is down.  Not looking right or left.  I do not want to meet a familiar eye.  I want this moment to be my time.  Our time.  But as I look towards the sun setting- so many sunsets with you- but now our view is blocked by new buildings.  Still the same chairs.  The same tables.  The same trees, bushes, smells and sounds.  Two tables down sits that woman who transported you through the underground hallways to the multitudes of procedures.  She slowed down so you could give the finger to the morgue sign.

Sigh sigh.  BIG SIGH.  I wouldn’t trade this grief though.  I worked hard.  I was so tired.  So tireless.   So very, very blessed.  We knew we were doing important work.  Work for US.  Whatever that meant.  Not just for legacy but for the process.  We really really enjoyed THE PROCESS.  Savouring the sacred moments at this sacred table.

The past is never dead. It’s not even past. – William Faulkner

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Roar Thorsen with grandson, Henrik Roar Thorsen, October 23, 2011.

Art journaling e-workshop 12-part course

I have created an in-depths arts journaling program and am offering it to you as an email course!

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I have been developing a little project for awhile now, inspired by my desires to combine my learned lessons from years of facilitating art sessions.  You will receive instructions and imagery to print out and color.  Fun, easy, in-depths!  

The course covers:

  1. Esteem heart
  2. Past/present/future
  3. Root
  4. Weaving support systems
  5. Inner critic
  6. Drawing tutorial
  7. Chakra chart
  8. Difficult conversations
  9. Critical thinking
  10. Vision boards
  11. Mission and vision
  12. Manifesto

You can choose 1 part for $12 USD or pay for all parts for only $100 USD (parts emailed one at a time every three days).

To purchase 1 part at a time (please indicate title you are purchasing):

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or email transfer $12 USD ($16 CAD) to britakatarina@gmail.com

To purchase all 12 parts:

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or email transfer $100 USD ($133 CAD) to britakatarina@gmail.com

You will need a journal (composition books are great!), pens, pencils, felts, scissors, glue, embroidery thread, needle.

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