Seasons and Happiness

Let’s ease back into this with a little music…a baby boy was born to us a week and a day ago, so we’re all in the middle of that transition. Happily, mostly, but not without its moments of crushing stress and debilitating anxiety. Anxiety, man, what strange waste of energy and time on things that don’t exist.

Music: Future Islands :: Seasons (Waiting on You)

I saw Future Islands live in Madison a few months ago and I was struck by how totally in the moment the lead singer, Samuel Herring was. His performance felt very real and spontaneous and like nothing else in the world existed. For him. While he was singing and dancing and growling. 

I happened to be in the car a couple weeks ago and caught some of the TED Radio Hour in which they were talking about a study regarding happiness. It turns out people are least happy when their minds wander, regardless of where they are or what they are doing. People are at their happiest when they are in the moment, completely immersed in a task or experience. Check it out:

hi.

busy
I haven’t been here in a while.
busy
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything.
busy
I’ve been busy.
busy
Moving to La Crosse.
busy
And putting sparkly stuff into jars.
busy
You?

Sick–Shel Silverstein

Sick
by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.

“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.

My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox

And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?

My leg is cut–my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–

My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,

My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.

My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.

My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.

My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.

My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.

My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.

I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Dirty Job

pony

Awww. Such a pretty cat. So…majestic.
Almost as majestic as the litter box that is hidden somewhere in the bowels of the house.

I’m pregnant, as you do or do not know. I have two cats. They crap in litter boxes. Cat poo, turns out, is dangerous for pregnant women :: toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis doesn’t really do much to the non-pregnant population, but can cause still-birth or structural and neurological damage, among other crappy crap, to unborn babies. You can read more here, if you’re curious.

So you get what this means for me. No litter box cleaning! Yay!

Or this means really full gross litter boxes that I have to bother other people (ahem) into cleaning. This is a really bothersome and annoying thing for me. I hate it. I would much rather clean the stupid boxes than nag someone else into cleaning them, but it’s too risky. Hence, my situation.

Yesterday came. I’m pregnant (did I mention that?) and emotional. Also interesting, because pregnant emotions are so confusing…it’s not like they remind you, like, “hey, don’t forget you’re pregnant and a little crazy!” Anyway. Yesterday morning. The litter boxes are FULL. The cats are, well, cats, so one of ‘em lets me know she’s not happy about the boxes by urinating on a blanket: Awesome. Great. I’m so happy about this.

Okay. Why am I sharing this? Because this situation was totally controlling my life. I was fuming, stupid angry. I was trying to figure out if I could walk my three-year-old through cleaning the boxes (seriously, can you imagine how awesome that would be?). Not an option. The person that I would normally nag into cleaning them was physically not present. Also not an option. And I’m feeling like my life is ruined by cat crap. For real. My head space was consumed by cat crap.

Then I decided, screw it. I’m not going to let this completely own me. I will hire someone to clean the crappy litter boxes and I will pay them to do it. So that’s what I did. I posted on craigslist:

Dirty Job: Looking for an individual to clean a couple of super gross litter boxes. $20

I almost immediately got a response from John. John said (and this is a quote), “hello there , are you really serious , you can’t get of your ass and clean them yourself , wow really”

I mentioned that I was emotional. I was furious. So angry. Tears in my eyes. I gave him ALL of my power. I responded explaining that I was pregnant…unsafe…blah, blah, blah.

John says (again, this is cut and pasted from my email), “thats funny , my wife had kids and cleaned out litter boxes and never endangered our two kids and they turned out perfectly normal , so that is false info that you have been precieved with”

I’m in the middle of my living room attempting to do breathing exercises, looking at my kids and saying, in what I’m sure was a shrill version of my voice, “Come on, let’s do some yoga!” But I cannot recover. I have allowed John to push me over whatever edge I’m next to. I delete the ad. But not before Bill* responds to me saying, “I can help you out this afternoon.”

I am immediately slammed back into a more grounded state.

Our brains can hand out some mean thoughts. I was able to snap back from being a completely lazy, stupid, dumb, useless pregnant woman to a position where I was taking care of business, taking care of cat crap, and taking care of myself. Instead of allowing myself to feel powerless about a seemingly ridiculous situation, I was able to empower myself by finding a solution.

It’s interesting because I find that people, myself included, are often black and white thinkers. As if there is only one solution to a given problem. When in reality there are many, many, many–dare I say hundreds–of options.

Bill, a nice young gentleman, came over and cleaned the litter boxes in a matter of minutes. I paid him what it was worth to me. I’m still basking in the warmth of the solution that I found. I told John to eat it. That’s a joke. I stopped responding to John. I realized right away that I was giving him all of my power by simply responding to him at all and by allowing myself to become emotionally responsive to his opinion. By stopping the communication (super hard to do, by the way) I effectively stopped that emotional drain. It worked too.

And yes, I called a friend, two of them in fact, to let them know that a craigslister was coming over (in the name of safety). But I felt safe. If I had gotten a bad vibe about it I would’ve bowed out, no questions. Trust your gut, not your brain.

Now I find this entire situation quite comical. I mean, why would litter boxes EVER bother me THAT much? But who cares. It’s taken care of. This just popped into my head:

Enjoy!!

*name changed to protect the innocent

One More Move

Moving moving moving moving again.

Moving with the family from Madison to La Crosse this very month. What does that mean for clients, present and future? Well, I will be keeping my office in Madison and seeing clients every Tuesday. For all of y’all in the Driftless Region, I’ll be securing an office there and setting up shop in the near future. Details soon to come.

Talisman |part 2|

talisman

Here it is, my talisman necklace.

talisman

I created a couple of little pomegranates to place in the back of the necklace, close to the clasp, kind of a little secret just for me.

talisman

I had this interesting thought process over the weekend, like I really wanted to do a lot of embellishments (ie: add a lot more time to creating the piece), but I also felt this urgency to get it done and around my neck. I decided to go with the urgency and finish it today.

talisman

This is what it all means:

Iron (horseshoe)– life-force/life-force of the Earth

Coal (horseshoe)– good luck, energy, possibility of warmth and fire

Pomegranate– fertility, prosperity, abundance

Sterling silver– reflects away negativity and evil intentions; calming and balancing

talisman

To be clear, I’m not creating this talisman and giving it all of my power. I will not forget to wear it one day and fear for my safety. I will not lose it and assume the worst is about to happen. It’s not a superstitious kind of a thing. It’s a reminder. A reminder that I am in charge of my luck and my safety, my prosperity and my balance. It’s something I might see in the mirror and then, remarkably, feel better.

Does that make sense?
You can see where this process started here.

Talisman

It’s time to make a talisman. What the heck is a talisman? What’s this Talisman Project all about? A talisman is an object that is believed to have special powers or magical abilities. Ever since I fell down the stairs (I’m healing splendidly, by the way), I’ve been thinking about what to do next (how to process the emotions, what to do with some of the symbolism, etc). Today I remembered: talisman! Boom. Let’s go:

DSCF6139

This is my process. I like to write down whatever comes to mind; I pulled the imagery from the piece I made the other day, the one I created as a direct response to my fall. Then I like to look at the symbolic meaning behind the imagery with one of my favorite tools, the internet. I googled coal, iron (found out I am a bit anemic the other day), pomegranate, and donkey, to name a few.

DSCF6141

I also consider what I want a talisman for. In this case, for a healthy and safe pregnancy, a healthy baby, and overall a feeling of safety. Learning I was a bit iron deficient made big difference in my life in just a couple days. Adding more of the mineral to my diet has given me more energy and taken away the shaky, breathless feeling that I was just attributing to pregnancy. Here’s a list of the things I looked up and their meanings:

Iron: life-force/life-force of the Earth

Coal: good luck, energy, possibility of warmth and fire

Donkey: intelligence, dedication, stubbornness, creative force

Pomegranate: fertility, prosperity, abundance

talisman

So check it out: Iron is often represented by a horseshoe, being that they are made of iron. Horseshoes commonly represent good luck. Coal also represents good luck. Donkeys do not commonly wear horseshoes–I’m still working that one into the piece, but I really connect with the stubbornness and creative force. As for the pomegranate, that one just makes me feel warm inside. All of the meanings resonate with me on some level and I feel like that’s what kind of energizes a talisman. We all have pieces of jewelry or other tokens that are meaningful to us. It’s this meaning that gives them their power. Know what I mean?

talsiman

I’ve begun this piece in sterling silver. Silver because it is what I work with most often and because it’s warm against my skin. Sterling silver is also known for reflecting away negativity and evil intentions as well as being calming and balancing.

talisman

And that’s as far as I got today. I’ll allow for the weekend to help bring inspiration to the rest of the piece. Thoughts? Ideas? Want to make your own talisman? Want me to make a talisman for you? These are all possibilities. Please contact me or leave a comment.

Milkweed

milkweed

On this morning’s dog walk (my third one this year and this week) I came across a new playground. I’m still getting familiar with our neighborhood and it’s fun to find new places; like I’ve discovered something that no one else knows about. With the suggestion of spring around us, everything feels different. Better. Exciting.

milkweed

I went home, packed up the kids and returned to said playground. The park cozies up next to a golf course. Sitting with my back to the neighborhood, the combination left me feeling like I was in the country. But that’s not the point. The point is my little girl found a golf ball. Neon yellow. Super duper exciting find. We looked for more in the long grass trap that separates the playground from the golf course. And found four more neon golf balls. It was like Easter, but less frantic and in more comfortable clothes.

milkweed

And then I spied the milkweed. Milkweed! Direct from my childhood. I was struck (I think I gasped) by nostalgia. I just looked up the definition of nostalgia to make sure I was using it appropriately. Listen here: pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again. The difference for me being that I felt I was experiencing it again. Pulling out the sweet, soft, feathery seeds and letting them go in the wind. Summer memories of monarch caterpillars and butterflies. Such good stuff!

milkweed

What is it about memories that can make a person feel warm? Likewise they can do the opposite. Today I am happy to be colored by this one.