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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Six Word Saturday


a good weekend to stay inside



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).




Saturday, June 23, 2012

Six Word Saturday


Who turned on the heat outside?



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).




Friday, June 22, 2012

On Self-Help Books and Advice and My Dad

I also said in that post last week that I'd address how I tackle self-help books/instructional guides/how-tos.

The short version is that I treat them as speed limits - they're just suggestions and you have to figure out what works for you. Ha! But, really, in most cases, the material you're reading or listening to is describing a method that works for someone. Maybe for many someones. You've got to adapt that to your situation. If a program says you have to journal every morning but you find you do better at night? Do it at night. If a recipe calls for pecans but you prefer walnuts? Use the walnuts. There are times when it's appropriate to follow a method exactly (brain surgery or working with electricity maybe) but that's not what we're talking about here.

My dad has shared with me two really great bits of wisdom. First, it's a good idea to ask many people for their advice - and then you think about it all and do what you want. Second, just because a decision seems wrong to you doesn't mean it's wrong for someone else. Pretty good stuff, huh? My dad's a good guy. He also told me to never travel without TUMS but that's not as relevant here.

I don't take every bit of advice I'm given. But it's great to seek answers and new ideas and other viewpoints. So many times, someone has pointed out an issue or possible solution that hadn't occurred to me. Then we assimilate that information into our own little world and do with it what we may.

So really this post is mostly about nothing but since I said I'd write about it and then I took the trouble to draft it, I figured I'd go ahead and publish it. And since it's my blog, that's what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spirituality in The Artist's Way

In my review for the "My Artist's Way Toolkit," I mentioned that the book and accompanying site had a spiritual aspect to them that I would address at a later time. That post was already far too long.

Before beginning The Artist's Way book, I noticed the subtitle, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Wanting to know what that meant, I did a little digging. The book has multiple references to God. The author of The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron, is most likely a Christian. I'm not sure if she ever states that outright. 

However, on the first pages of the book, she addresses the way in which she is using God and suggests ways for others to think about it. If a religious God isn't your thing, she recommends thinking of God instead as the Universe or whatever higher power you do believe in or even as an acronym for "good orderly direction."

This worked for me. I was raised in a strict, conservative, Christian home. As an adult, I'm not sure how I would define my beliefs exactly. I believe in something. I believe in treating others with kindness. I believe in a certain moral code. I believe in allowing others to live within theirs. So substituting the Universe whenever she referenced God was okay for me. The Universe provides me with creative ideas. That kind of thing.

So to my friends who asked for a report regarding the spirituality aspect of the book, I can say that for me, it was okay. I think she actually managed to present the ideas in a manner that could work for most people, which I'd imagine was tricky. If that concession of substituting your own idea for God isn't something you're comfortable with, or if you don't believe in any kind of higher power or general order, it might be more difficult.

I also said in that other post that I'd address how I tackle self-help books/instructional guides/how-tos. I'll do that tomorrow or Friday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Resolution

Saturday's six words (Finally, a resolution! I'm so excited!) came with a promise to share a few more details.

My husband has been interviewing for a new job for what feels like forever. Especially to him. And after almost an entire month of negotiating, he finally accepted a new position! He gave his notice last Monday and starts a week from today.

The new job will mean quite a bit of travel for him. We don't know exactly how much but depending on projects, it could be up to 90%. I'd rather he not travel that much but here's the good part - we don't have to relocate from our undisclosed location. Some positions he interviewed for would've required moving to a new city and THEN he'd have to travel all the time. No thanks! You want to send my man all over, that's one thing. But at least leave me where I know my way around!

So really the news only kinda qualifies as news. For me, it's not much of a change. But I don't do well when life is in such a state of flux. Remember Destination Resignation for me? Joe said - don't get another job because we may be moving soon if I find something out of the area. That was in November of 2010, 18 months ago. Yeah, this has been a long time coming. It was a long time of not being able to commit to things too far in the future, which really screwed with my anxiety.

My blogging has really fallen off lately, mostly because the closer we got to a decision, the more I couldn't concentrate on much of anything. But it's all decided now. New job for Joe. A bit of a new start for me. A time of being able to make commitments and get involved in things without worrying we'll be moving at a moment's notice. And hopefully great things (and more blog posts) to come!

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged or distracted or listened or searched or commiserated during this time - I'm currently breathing a huge sigh of relief and feeling a bit of peace.

Ahh, resolution...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Six Word Saturday


Finally, a resolution! I'm so excited!

More details next week.


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).





Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: My Artist's Way Toolkit

More than any other campaign BlogHer has contacted me about, I was excited about reviewing "My Artist's Way Toolkit". Due to that high level of excitement, I experienced a corresponding high level of disappointment. But this is NOT a diss on the toolkit at all. In fact, read on and you'll see a lot of praise in my post.

"The Artist's Way" - the book

A few months ago, I decided to check out "The Artist's Way," Julia Cameron's original book and method that became almost a religion for many creatives, primarily for writers, looking to "heal" their creativity and boost themselves into awesomeness. Since I wanted to get serious again about my writing after a bit of a stall, this seemed like a great approach. You can't take a writing course without "The Artist's Way" being mentioned as recommended reading.

I got the book and started out through the 12-week course with a friend. Each week consists of a reading and some small tasks. In addition, you are supposed to write Morning Pages each morning - just brain-dumping for three pages each morning by hand to get the gunk out - and go on a weekly Artist Date to ignite some creativity.

I managed to get behind because of other things going on but in general, I found a lot of value in each chapter. For awhile, I was very good about my morning pages. And then I stalled out big-time about a month ago. I still feel like I learned a lot and plan to go back to it very soon.

"My Artist's Way Toolkit" - the online site

I'm still not sure what role the online My Artist's Way Toolkit is supposed to play in the creative healing process. Is it instead of the book? In addition to the book? A community of people using these techniques? The site guides you through many of the same tasks that are in the book - Morning Pages, creative affirmations/soundbites, a contract with yourself and exercises.

What I had really hoped to gain from the online site was a community of other creatives to share with and learn from. Unfortunately, the "community" link inside the Toolkit site goes to a public site that has free forums (you don't have to be a Toolkit member) - and those forums are not very active at all.

I feel like, having already established a routine with the book, I didn't find much of value on the Toolkit site. It was a lot of the book things put online in a slightly more prescribed manner (ex. the site suggests specific activities for Artist Dates). And yet, without the very valuable weekly readings, the site doesn't really stand on its own. The real meat of the Way here is contained in those chapters.

My Recommendation

I really like "The Artist's Way" book and methods - I do recommend the book. For agreeing to do this review, I received a 3-month membership to "My Artist's Toolkit" - it costs $4.99/month otherwise. I personally didn't see any benefit to the website since I already had the book and an established routine.
I'm actually hoping that I missed something major (I'll be reading some of the other BlogHer participants' reports as well as following the discussions on BlogHer) so I can write a retraction.

P.S. There is a spiritual aspect to the book and I plan to write about that soon - look for it either tomorrow or Monday. I'll also address the way I study most instruction guides/self-help books/how-to blogs/etc.

P.P.S. I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Six Word Saturday


sometimes six words are a challenge



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).




Friday, June 08, 2012

How To Tell Cate Is Out Of Sorts

Today, a top ten list (because I promised you and more importantly I promised myself that I would blog this week so here goes).

Top Ten Reasons To Tell That Cate Is Out Of Sorts

  1. One tweet is uber-happy, the next involves punching people or things in the face.
  2. She doesn't return emails.
  3. She doesn't comment on your blog.
  4. She doesn't make the rounds for 6ws.
  5. She doesn't post on her own blog.
  6. She has a lot of headaches.
  7. She takes a lot of naps.
  8. She resurrects the Walrussian. Because she can. 
  9. She doesn't care if this list makes it to 10.
I'm working on it. Resolution is coming. I think. I hope. But mostly, I'm ok. Even if I'm not dealing well with life right now, I'm dealing with it. I'm getting out of bed each morning and finding joy here and there, even if my actions and words are all over the place. Yeah, "stable" isn't a word I would apply to myself at the moment. 

Thanks for standing by me. And special thanks to awesome friends who encourage me, listen to me, distract me, and call me out on my negative actions (or, rather lack of action).

P.S. Confused? Try here. And here.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Six Word Saturday


moving forward despite having no answers

Aka: Nothing that has been stressing me for the last few weeks has been resolved but I'm learning to function in the state of not-knowing. This week, I intend to blog.



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).