Monday, July 28, 2008

Roads Not Travelled

A meme to try your hand at.  Marc asked us to think about roads not travelled.  What 5 things would you have wanted to do-be?

Here's my list-finally!

1. As I have never passed up books for sale-from stores full of them, to a small pile at a yard sale, I'd have the premier book store that carries everything from the latest thriller to the dustiest tomes. Complete with a fireplace nook to peruse your potential purchase, and have a little snack and cup of specially blended coffee(of course).

2. I would spend my days plucking weeds and picking flowers and sprigs from my herb and flower beds at my organic farm, "Demeter's Gifts".  From homemade soaps, sachets and bouquets, to tea blends, candles, and crystals, the gift shop carries everything for the natural witch in all of us. 

3. My art quilts grace the walls of my shop "A Stitchin' Time".  The workroom in back is busy with chatter, the sound of scissors and sewing machines, as students and masters alike come to share ideas, skills, patterns and the latest gossip.  And (of course) a cup of specially blended coffee!

4. Having won the lottery and invested wisely(maybe in Specially-blended coffees!), my days are spent living in a motor home, cruising the back highways of the NorthEastern U.S. looking for the perfect scene to capture in watercolors and photos, for my small arts and crafts gallery in Northern Michigan. (Where I also sell those Specially-blended coffees)

5. While my 9 year old self dug a hole in the yard to plant flowers for my ill  mother to see out her window, I discovered a pottery shard.(this part is actually true)   It turns out to be a piece of a bowl from a long-lost ancient tribe, the yard becomes an archeological dig and my love for anthropology is born.  I travel the world from dig to dig, but my book writing and down time is spent in my lakefront home on Higgins Lake.  The true part- the pottery shard was just that.  The original owner of the farm grew an experimental apple orchard to test southern varieties in our northern climate, and gardened.

  Well, this is interesting.  Once the wheels started turning, I had no trouble at all picturing myself in any of these scenarios.  It was alot of fun, too, to do a bit of daydreaming.

  I don't know if anyone noticed, but in this and the last entry, I did the hyper-link thing!  It took  me awhile to figure it out this morning.  I kept trying to do it backwards.  I've had my laptop for a couple months now, but have managed to put off learning how to do different things that I need to learn.  So this morning, knowing I needed to do it, I gritted my teeth and gave it a shot-or 5 actually!  I am SO proud of myself. 

                                                          <3  Leigh

That's an Order!

   I started this as a private journal while I debated whether I had my own best interests at heart.  I wroted, deleted, changed the colors and quote, and wrote some more.  Finally ready for a preview, I asked Marc to read my first entry and the following is the comment he left for me.  As it would automatically be deleted when I made this public, I copied it down so that I could share it.  This is what he wrote: 

   What a great chapter 1 to the rest of your journal!  Let me tell you a little secret:  People love authenticity.  They sense when you're trying to represent a version of yourself, and they will usually respond with their corresponding public persona.  So you got alot of suportive but generic responses that made you feel like "gee, these people don't know me or care about me, because if they did they'd see the truth about me is much darker."  Well, you can't really resent them for believeing the facade especially on the internet, when it's hard to tell what's true and what's representation.

   The only thing that's different about me is that I have a partuclar talent for reading between the lines, and I know that people in pain desperately want someone to break past their defenses.  I also don't worry about being liked, I worry about being authentic.  Sometimes it gets me in trouble, the people think I've trod on their boundaries, but in your case, I'm very happy indeed.

   Remember feelings are not facts, and the truth will not kill you.  And anytime you need to share a secret, I promise I can top you in the badness department.  And you don't see me walking around with my head hung low!  My mistakes do not define me.  As for you, I know for sure that you are incredibly kind, and that is the most important thing that anyone can be.  Now be kind to yourself.  That's an order.

   So, here I am, I'm just following orders.  :)   I have a lot of thinking, reading and writing ahead of me.  This means changing some of my longest held beliefs.  Marc's recommended a book for me to read, and I've found a few others that look very promising.  I'm spending time thinking about and making notes on what I'm reading.  I'm spending time on my "self".  Maybe that's why my schedule is down right now-to give me that time.  I'll close with this quote, which really resonated with the way I'm feeling right now.  Although, I'm not sure of the exact wording on this or the author, as I got it from someone else.

   Life is too short to wake up with regrets.  So love the people who treat you right.  Forget about those who don't.  Believe everything happens for a reason.  If you get a chance, take it.  If it changes your life, let it.  Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

                                                           by Michael Gartner(I think) 


Monday, July 21, 2008

The First Step

    Would you take a walk with me?  It's a beautiful day and I've just discovered a path that I'd like to explore.  Of course, I could go alone, but I've walked alone for so long, and I'd like to share my discoveries with you.  Along this path there will be potholes that need filled and dark alleys to be explored.  There may even be some slippery hills where I'll slide back down and want to just give up trying to climb.  This may be one of the most important journeys of my life, and by sharing it with you, I won't have to walk it alone.

    This journal is about honesty.  About who I "really" am.  Things in my life haven't been going the way I had planned at all.  My hours at work are down to a little more than half.   The plans I had made, have been canceled.  My reactions to these problems echoed strongly of the way I felt when I thought the future was fairly hopeless, when I lived with a fairly dim view of a future of caring for a disabled husband with little hope of finding any enjoyment in life.  Emotions that I learned to hide, build walls around and pretend they weren't there. They are not how I want to live and who I want to be.

    I haven't written in a while, and a journal friend e-mailed, asking if I was okay.  No, not really.  That and the ensuing e-mails are what prompted me to truly think about myself, the deeper self and the person that I present to the world.  There are things about myself, that I've never revealed in my journal, things that I was(am) embarrassed to discuss.  Emotions that I've kept locked deep down.  It's become difficult to write about some of the things I want to, because I have to hide my true "self".  I couldn't express myself without saying "too much". 

    I know that other journalers struggle with similar issues about expressing themselves and I've commented many times, "It's your journal, write what you want/need to."  It's time for me to take my own advice.  Writing in a journal has always been freeing for me-except in mypublic journal, where I rephrased, omitted and edited, in an effort to present myself as someone who has got it together a whole lot more than I really do.  Time to be more open and honest about myself than I have been, using my writing here as a sort of clearinghouse of self-defeating emotions.  Wise advice from my friend was that I could talk with them, it was safe.  But that wouldn't put the public face to rest in favor of the real person inside.  Safe is what I've always sought, safety in hiding behind a partial picture of me.  I need to tear down the walls that I've built around my insecurities and low self-esteem, face myself honestly.  And in the process, express who I really am, because then I can write about whatever I'm feeling without editing out the true emotions.  Maybe by sharing these feelings, I'll realize that I can grow past them, heal myself by being who I am. 

   I've got a first honest confession to make here.  I am so nervous about doing this.  So afraid that others won't like the real me, will turn away and leave me where I've felt myself for a long time, alone with my sad thoughts.  Regardless of other's opinions, I am going to start examining my feelings here.  I have to find the respect for myself by not hiding behind a mask, as I learn to accept the imperfections for what they are, and not the worthlessness that I view them.  I have to LIKE myself as an evolving, changing, spiritual, human being.

    I promise that it'll be an interesting walk, as I don't even know what lies past the next curve.  Or for that matter, which turns and detours I may decide to take.  I do know that I'll be walking with my eyes, heart, and mind, open.