Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Balancing Act

I am constantly feeling behind.

Maybe it is winter. Maybe it is the holiday season. Maybe it is the abundance of patients requiring exams before the end of the year. Maybe it is the pressure to clean my house before our annual holiday party this Friday. Maybe (surely) it is a combination of all of the above...

Whatever it is, the result has been one very flustered Jenn.

Until today.

Today, I just decided that I was going to put all that nonsense to rest. Life is a balancing act. I know that I am I am getting it all done...even if I don't feel like I'm getting it all done. Now I just have to keep telling myself that! Here's a little chart I found online to help me as I go forward... (sorry but I didn't make note of the creator so if you know it, please let me know so I can give proper credit!)

On another, note - I have been really enjoying the daily prompts from Reverb 10. As I was going along, I realized that the majority of these prompts dealt with subjects that were a bit more personal than I wanted to share on my blog. I've actually been doing these prompts as pages in my art journal which has worked out really well. I like the comprehensive nature of combining all the topics into one month of journaling.

I've also been working a little bit every day on my December Daily album. I am following a similar layout to Ali this year, using her pre-designed daily overlays with enlarged photos and transparencies as the main components. I have completed days 1through 5 (although I haven't gotten any photos taken)and the album covers. I am also taking photos everyday and making little notes of the stories that I want to tell. I am taking this project in a very relaxed manner. And I am looking forward to some devoted crafting time this weekend.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Art of Letting Go - Reverb Prompt 5

Prompt 5 - Let Go

 Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

This is a compelling topic. I often feel that knowing when to let go and when  to hang on is truly an art form. Some people are born with an abundance of this talent. And some people (moi?) are blessed with other gifts. However, I believe that everyone can learn this. I am getting better at recognizing the appropriate choice as I move into new stages of my life.

This year I worked on letting go of anxiety, freeing myself from panic and fear. This is something I struggle with on a near daily basis. I started having panic attacks shortly after I finished chemotherapy in 2003. For about a year, fear ruled my life. Over time, I've learned different kinds of coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques to help stop the panic. As a direct result, my anxiety has gotten increasingly better over the years. This year, was the best year yet. I accept that I may never be free from anxiety but I can learn to let it go when it creeps into my life.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Catching Up On Reverb 10

I've really been enjoying the daily prompts from Reverb 10. The past couple of days have been very busy on the work side and I haven't been able to capture my thoughts here on the blog. But I have been ruminating on each prompt, formulating my mental response. I'm excited to share.

Prompt 2 - Writing

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

This one was simple and easy to identify - television. Watching tv is the single biggest time suck in my life. I know that I need to find better balance in my life between work, creativity, family and personal. I used to be very adept at setting priorities in each of these areas and sticking to them. And let me tell you, parking myself in front of the idiot box wasn't a big part of that scene. But little by little over the past several years, I've given up on many of these areas and allowed "relaxing" to move unchecked  into the forefront of my life. That something I am hoping to change in the coming year.

Prompt 3 - Moment

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I loved this prompt. The past year was intense, filled with change, growth and renewed love in all. I identified several momentous events that occurred over the past year and then honed in the perfect one. I chose to address this prompt within my art journal so I could better illustrate the colors, textures and feelings. Since this event is deeply personal to my family, I am choosing not to share the completed page on my blog. But I encourage you to do something creative with this prompt as well.

Prompt 4 - Wonder

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

As time moves forward, I admit that I find it more and more difficult to maintain my sense of wonder, particularly in the face of the increasingly negative tone the seems so prevalent in today's society. I have also noticed that the greater the personal challenge in my own life, the less I am able to muster up any feelings of wonder whatsoever. But I have also learned that the best way to regain positivity and hope during these times is to find the wonder.

I personally believe the key to cultivating a sense of wonder is through imagination and curiosity. Keep an open mind. Developing a keen eye toward the new and different. Practice tolerance. Appreciate the little things. Notice your surroundings. And don't forget to ask questions. 





Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hello December Daily and Reverb 10

Ok, don't hate me. I know, I big return was supposed to be in September (ahem) but in my defense, I've had a whole lot of crazy going on in this life. However, let's not live in the past...

I am so excited to welcome December! This is always an amazing time for our family. Jim absolutely adores the Christmas season and not so long ago I felt, um, decidedly different. For  many years, the challenges of meeting the needs of parents, step-parents, extended family and my own little family to celebrate the holidays became overwhelming. Really, it just seemed like so much work.

Enter Jim. 

His enthusiasm  for Christmas is absolutely infections. And, he single-handedly turned this Scrooge into a holiday elf. So much so, that last year I instituted my very own tradition - creating a December Daily album, documenting each day of this magical season from the 1st through the 25th. The concept of this project was started by Ali Edwards, an amazing artist and one of my personal heroes. I was amazed by how much this album reinforced the joy of Christmas for me. It is truly one of my most favorite creations. I will be photographing last year's album and posting to my Flickr photostream this weekend. And I also plan on sharing my pages from this year's album as well. Right now, I am still constructing my base pages. But I started taking pictures and making notes about today's story. Look for a post this weekend sharing my base concept and my first few creations.

I am also adding a new twist on my blog this year. I am playing along with Reverb 10. Creator Gwen Bell has this to say about Reverb 10:

"It’s an open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead. We’re connected by the belief that sharing our stories has the power to change us."

I. Love. This. 

So today's prompt was to encapsulate 2010 in one word. This year my one little word was hope.