Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The upstairs neighbors went on vacation and left a weed-filled garden for us to care for. 

Yesterday I toiled in the 90 degree heat for two hours to achieve a weed-free, fully-mulched garden.

Weeding was challenging for me emotionally. 
"Please release your life-energy back into the earth."
I kept inwardly praying to and for these little plants who grew against the odds.
O.K. I am officially a freak, but I still love myself..

It truly bothered me, though.
I really identify with weeds.
Weeds are actually quite beautiful if you take a moment to appreciate them.

I was also reminded of a poem I read in high school that really resonated with me, and still does:

by Julio Noboa Polanco

Let them be as flowers,
always watered, fed, guarded, admired,
but harnessed to a pot of dirt.

I'd rather be a tall, ugly weed,
clinging on cliffs, like an eagle
wind-wavering above high, jagged rocks.

To have broken through the surface of stone,
to live, to feel exposed to the madness
of the vast, eternal sky.
To be swayed by the breezes of an ancient sea,
carrying my soul, my seed,
beyond the mountains of time or into the abyss of the bizarre.

I'd rather be unseen, and if
then shunned by everyone,
than to be a pleasant-smelling flower,
growing in clusters in the fertile valley,
where they're praised, handled, and plucked
by greedy, human hands.

I'd rather smell of musty, green stench
than of sweet, fragrant lilac.
If I could stand alone, strong and free,
I'd rather be a tall, ugly weed.

weed-free garden top view, funny how some of the plants could be mistaken for weeds


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

No T.V. Experiment

About a month/month and a half ago I gave up t.v.*

For me, t.v. has always been an easy escape.  I could turn it on and zone out.  Suddenly, though, I realized that I was missing my life.  It was just flying by day after day and I was ignoring it, I was a bit numb to it.

Why watch other people do things when I could actually be doing things myself?

So, I started doing more.  Painting.  Writing. Reading (Ava Gardner: "Love Is Nothing"). Running.  Taking photos (Kodak EasyShare MX1063).  Riding my bike.  More... Just everything I love.

It has made a huge difference.

Then I found another distraction.

The internet. 

I love checking in on blogs, flickr, taking my e-course, jotting  messages on Facebook...  I need to use the internet for research while I am writing.

How do I balance my fun use and my work? 

I think I need a timer, a little alarm that goes off after an hour of being sucked in link after link.  A little alert back to the world around me. "Hey, Alex, wake up to your life!"

It is really wonderful that in eliminating one distraction, one way of disengaging from what is really important, I am becoming more aware of other ways that I do that.

I am determined to eliminate them or at least monitor my use of them, one by one.

P.S. *full disclosure: my husband does watch t.v.  So, we watch sports or whatever other programs he has on in the evening.  More and more, I find myself picking up a book or my journal or a sketchpad while he has the t.v. on instead of mindlessly following the t.v.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Excerpts from a letter

to my 11 year old self:

" have the weight of the world on your little being.  ...  You are going to struggle for some semblance of somehow hold everything steady in the precarious balance. ... Making it up as you go along and your ability to adapt easily to change and new environments, dynamics, and situations will serve you well always."

" are holding back lots of  feelings and questions that you are desperate to'll do this for many years to come...when you finally release it pain will come, but the release will be beautiful and healing for you...It is not your fault, you know, any of it."

"You think that you have to do things in order to EARN LOVE.  ... You are born of love, created of God's love, deserving of love because you ARE LOVE.  YOU ARE LOVE.  Love is not a commodity to be bought and traded.  LOVE IS and It is all around you."

"When things are difficult.  When you are out in the world on your own flailing around trying to find the right place to land,
Remember the strength and fortitude you have inside after all you've endured.
Remember the good things that have come from the bad.  Some of your best traits were developed and strengthened through the struggle.
Remember all of the things that you wanted to do but were unable to due to responsibilities, circumstances and lack of money.  Make a list.  Make time. Do them.
Remember who you were from birth to 10.5.  Love her.  Hold on to the 5 year old inside you.. She holds the truth, the key to your purpose here on earth."

"Remember to forgive yourself.  It's not your fault."

Monday, June 21, 2010

21 or 22 on island from Make Way for Ducklings

Found this photo today.  My husband took it of me and I had forgotten all about it and about this day.  On our way to our Valentines lunch at Pho Pasteur on Newbury Street (no longer there), we were walking through the Public Garden.  It was February and the pond where the Swanboats float in the summer, was frozen.  In an act of spontaneity, we "ice skated" in our shoes and slipped and slid to the island in the middle where it is said Mr. and Mrs. Mallard nested with their babies.  It was just beautiful and fun and freeing.  I look so easy and breezy.  Even in my hat, I look pretty and peaceful.  Just love this photo and had to share.

Final 7

Go out to do every day errands dressed to the nines, gown & all

Learn how to do a cartwheel, even if you only do one

Row a canoe on the Charles River

Participate in a health study

Apply for writer's retreat/conference/residency

Take an Adult Intermediate Swim Class

Learn more about being a messenger of light

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More of the List

Go to Sedona, Arizona ( a spiritual center, vortexes)

Become a parent

Play piano again (even just a little electronic piano)

Have piece of my art displayed somewhere

Make pasta from scratch

Speak in front of a sizable crowd of people

Learn bookbinding

Get Pierce trained as a therapy dog and start volunteering with him

8 more added to the list... 7 more to be added later...  I never thought making the list would take such time for me.


I turned 29 on the 15th,  Another year gone by.  A year filled with so much growth.  For the first year in a very long time, maybe ever, I truly look back and see and feel a wonderful change, a transformation that is still in the process of occurring...we're all works in progress.

The past year was all about inner, emotional growth and overcoming the past.

Feeling more self aware and more stable in myself, I feel prepared to take action this year, to come outside of myself and show the world what I have to offer.

Lists help me to stay on the right track. So,...

30 Things to Do Before I am 30:
See one book length writing project through to completion

Get Relay Mail out of my mind and into the world  (DONE! 7/8/10)

Plant seeds in edging around backyard parking

Begin a paper journal again

Do one painting a month

Rent a table at a craft fair and sell some of the beautiful things I have made

Run a road race of any length (DONE! 10K on 7/4/10)

Volunteer at local food pantry or get involved with St. Ann Society

Take road trip (maybe to the Outer Banks?)

Contact Mrs. DeLorenzo and/or Ms. Pepin and/or Miss. Sullivan.  Teachers who changed me.

Watch AFI's Top 10 titles (just need to see Citizen Kane and Casablanca)

Audition for local play

Be an extra in a movie or commercial

Weekend Getaway by myself

Send short piece of writing to magazines to be considered for publication

Well, that is 15 of 30.... a start.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Piling Up

Lately, I have been putting a lot of energy into making sure everyone else gets what they need.  If I am available, I do whatever people have asked for. 

Sitting amidst the mess of my house on Monday, I surveyed the damage.  Piles of laundry.  Piles of art supplies.  Piles of dishes.  Piles of puppy toys.  Piles of boxes of husband's stuff.  Piles of journals and books.

While I was out and about taking care of everyone else because I was "available", my life had begun to pile up around me threatening to topple over and bury me. 

I began to think about the feelings that have been piling up inside me as well and all of the things that I would like to do that I am "too busy" to do.

I realized that when people ask something of me, I don't want to lie and say I have plans when I don't.  If the "only" thing I have to do is hang around cleaning the house and painting or writing, why not help someone out?  Because, it piles up.  My feelings and my possessions and the list of things that need doing in my life, pile up.

Next time someone asks something of me I am going to think more deeply before saying yes.  If the image that comes into my brain is a paintbrush in my hand, a book and a cup of lemonade and my rocking chair, a full sink of dishes... my answer will be:

"I'm sorry.  I can't because I have plans." 

Even if my plans are cleaning the house or a date with a good book, they are still plans.  Though caring for others is important, I need to remember to extend that to myself more often, engage in more self care.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gaining Confidence

I have been away for so long!!!!  I have been sucked into my new Unravelling E-Course with Susannah Conway (yippee! :-D) and I have worked every day since my last post (Ack!!!).

The e-course has me facing lots of fears and acting more boldly which is already boosting my confidence as Week Two begins.  I can only imagine where I will be by the time Week 8, our final week, concludes!  Boggling!  I highly recommend this course to EVERYONE!

Running is a real outlet for me and I have talked about it many times here.  Last week, I realized that I only go running with the dog.  I never go alone.  Why?  Well,  I was afraid.  What might happen to me if I went alone?  What if I am only able to run because the dog is a motivator, keeps me moving forward?  What if I went running and found that I gave up on myself and just started walking?  Could I really do it alone?

Turns out that I can do it alone and be motivated, strong, and safe.

Do something that scares you this week.  You might just surprise yourself.

Take it from me, the confidence boost you will give yourself will be amazing, intoxicating!

<3 xoxo <3