Thursday, March 31, 2011

welcome to the world...

Grace Elizabeth Percival ...

 arrived 6:01 PM...7 lbs, 14 oz.  20 inches.

"The best days are the days that babies come."
                                                    Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pretty Things

I have a lot of pretty things.  I collect them - when I worked I wore a lot of them.  But since I've been mostly working from home, I got out of the habit of wearing my pretty things. 

Why don't you try wearing some of your pretty things, my friend Doreen suggested.  Just for make you feel pretty. 

And so I've been doing just that.  Today I didn't have to be anywhere special, but I made a point of putting on a necklace and earrings to go with my hot pink sweater and turtleneck. 

My, you look pretty, two random people said. 

I can't wait for tomorrow to play with more of my pretty things. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tired of my clothes

I'm tired of my clothes, or more specifically, I'm tired of wearing jeans.  It seems that but for the brief respite in Hawaii, when I didn't even look at the jeans I'd worn to San Francisco, I've worn jeans in some form or fashion just about every day since last October.  And if that's not true, it still feels like it. 

I was bemoaning this fact to my friend Doreen who specializes in motivating people to change.  She suggested I go into some of the local stores and just try some things on. 

The very next day in the mail I received a catalogue from a store with just the kind of clothes I'm looking for - soft, comfortable and not jeans.  It also has a shop close enough to get to, and far enough away to be an outing - or, in Artists' Way terms... an "artist's date."

What about you, Gentle Reader?  Do you ever get tired of your clothes? What else do you wear, besides jeans (and sweats) that are just as comfy? 

Morning Pages

One of the key elements of an "Artists' Way" practice as created by Julia Cameron is a daily dose of writing she calls "Morning Pages."  For me, this has always been a source of resistance.  It's hard to make myself sit and just write.  It took me a few years to figure out why that was so and once I did, I realized I was finally ready to begin the practice, because, if you're not ready to committ to doing Morning Pages, in some ways you're not ready to do the Artists' Way.   

Morning Pages insist you pay attention to yourself.  Eating...the Angel Way encourages you to pay attention to yourself; Morning Pages require it.  That is not so easy.  I have come to find there's lots of places I'd really rather not go.  And what's interesting is that these are not necessarily negative aspects - these are as much unrealized positive aspects that are lying like lumps of gold in deep places I just don't give myself much time to go digging around in. 

But Morning Pages do. 

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mantra for change

It's been difficult to get myself moving these days.  Faced with large-scale, monumental Change as I am right now, my tendency is to retreat, cocoon, hunker down, keep my head low and hope the storm passes quickly. 

That strategy, alas, like other survivor strategies I developed along the way, isn't so effective, but since it's the one I've relied on for so long, I'm finding it especially hard to change it.  Most days, I find myself feeling as if I'm moving through a thick sludge of all the possibilities and details.  It would be very easy to come to a complete stop, crawl under my pillow and pull the covers over my head some days. 

But that's not going to help, I've realized.  And so, when I find myself feeling like that, I've started to ask myself this question:  Do you want to continue to feel like sludge? Or do you want to feel as if you are making some small step toward positive change? 

I can't tell you, Gentle Reader, how often I ask myself those questions these days.  But it seems to do the trick - no matter how sludgy I might feeling, so far it's done the trick to keep me forging ever so slowly down my to-do list into the future. 

What about you, Gentle Readers?  What keeps you motivated when faced with inescapable change? 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting the "juice"

People sometimes ask me what exactly an "intuitive" writing coach is, and what makes me different from any other writing coach.  And sometimes (frequently) I find it difficult to put into words exactly what it is that makes me different.  But a perfect example of what makes me different is the reading-session I did with a friend this morning, who is in the process of finishing a very personal memoir.  She's already someone who inspires many people to do great things; I hope she finishes her memoir soon because I'm sure it will inspire many more. 

However, my friend is experiencing some creative block - not necessarily in her writing, per se. 

As we walked this morning, she shared with me that part of her block extends to her sexuality as well.  "How can I get past this, Annie?" she asked. 

The guidance I got for my friend was that writing - like any creative process - is inherently sexual.  Sexual acivity is generative by its very nature...people who are highly creative are highly sexual, even if they choose not to express that sexuality overtly.  The blocks she was experiencing were related to theraputic work she was doing with other practitioners.  To deny herself sexual expression, she was cutting off the primal source of her own creative energy. 

The guidance I was able to give my friend included the suggestion to write the most highly charged erotica she was capable of for twenty minutes every day.   This was to be for her eyes only ....however, I wouldn't be surprised if my friend became the next A.N. Rocqueclare.

Sexuality is one of our most fundamental birthrights as human beings, and - like food - one of the most highly fraught arenas in society, religion and family.  But artists thrive on creative energy, artists require a certain amount of it in order to produce, in order to create. 

The next time you're feeling blocked, Gentle Reader, ask yourself when the last time you connected to that most primal source of your creativity? 


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Granny Annie's Irish Coffee

or, communing with spirits of another sort...

This is what I'll be drinking on Dead-Celtic-Pagans Day:

1 shot Middleton's whiskey (or any whiskey, preferably Irish)
3 Tbs Sweet Cream ice cream (vanilla will do in a pinch)
1 cup hot coffee

Pour whiskey into bottom of coffee mug.  Add ice cream.  Pour hot coffee on top.  If you have a brewing machine, use the smallest cup setting and allow the hot coffee to brew directly into the mug.  The top gets a creamy foamy head. 


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eating for One

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the grocery store.  What made this trip so memorable among all the trips I've made to the grocery store, and all the time I've spent shopping over the last 31+ years is that this was the first time SINCE COLLEGE I was there to shop only for myself. 

Since I consider coffee one of the four main food groups, it was easy to remember I needed milk.  Other than that, I hadn't bothered to make a list because, after all, I figured, I know what I like to eat.  Right?

Was I wrong. 

After fifteen minutes of marching through the store at what felt like triple my normal speed, I had exactly two items in my cart besides the milk: two pints of strawberries.  Then I stopped in front of the yogurt display.  This, at least, I reasoned, would be easy... I love yogurt.  Right?

Was I wrong.  What I realized after perhaps five full minutes of staring at the flavors (and suddenly there seemed twice the number of flavors I'd ever seen before) was that I don't know what flavors I REALLY like.  I know what Meg likes.  I know what Libby likes.  I even know what Don likes. 

But me....the one who can live on yogurt? I had to think hard about what flavors I REALLY like. 

I had a revelation standing in front of the yogurt that day.  I realized just how much of the food I'd been buying, preparing and eating over the last thirty years had been bought, prepared and cooked for other the point where it was hard for me to remember what it was *I* really prefer. 

I made another trip around the grocery store that day.  I went back to the front, to the produce aisle and I took my time the second time around. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

sic transit gloria mundi

That's one of my favorite quotes in Latin.  Basically it means "thus passes the world's glory," implying that all things pass away and all things change. 

And when things stop changing, you're dead.

But understanding that change is not just a part of life, but the essence and the substance of life itself is something else entirely, and living it... well, that's the difficult part. 

All things change, but that doesn't mean all change is easy. 

On the other hand, perennial optimist that I am, I know there's a lot of good in means you get to wipe the slate clean... you get to start over.  As one of the snowiest winters on records melts into spring, the enormity of the changes I'm facing slam into me sometimes like a sledgehammer to the solar plexus. 

One of my other favorite sayings is "that which doesn't kill you makes you strong."  That was my mantra the last time I went through the last round of radical change.  After this one, I should be able to lead the resistance when the aliens land ...well, in at least whatever place I happen to land in next.   

So welcome to my new blog, and to some degree, my new life.  I hope you'll stop now and then to read about it, because I really don't have any idea what's going to happen next.