Be a Lighthouse: How I Protest Every Day

Want to make a difference in this crazy ass world?  Stand your ground.  Speak your truth. Shine a light of strength & hope for those who haven't found theirs yet.

Since my rant last week, I’ve been thinking… I was at my wits end, throwing my hands up in the air and waving them like…well…like I care.  I have a ton of care in my heart, as I think many of us do.  We are not ok with watching our country’s shit show from the side lines but maybe we’re not quite sure what we can do, what difference we can actually make, and exactly how to go about making it. 

I’ve been working overtime this past week, getting ready for my art show in Bend (which is this Friday!), and also getting a June pop up shop opened on my website.  It’s been a lot but I have some vacation time planned for the next few weeks and I wanted to get all the things done so relaxation can commence!

My pop up shop was a bit different this month.  What started as a joke, ended up being a product that I actually created.  A satirical product of sorts.  It’s called the Love Club, and no, it’s not a group of loving folks that meet regularly for orgies.  It’s an actually club.  A little wooden bat made as a visual deterrent for women to carry when they find themselves in situations when they don’t feel safe, or are getting unwanted attention from men.  So…it’s appropriate for 90% of a woman’s waking life.

It all started when a girlfriend of mine was lamenting on Facebook about how she feels threatened by toxic men when she walks her dog around the park that is next to her house.  She has a Pitbull, y’all, and she still doesn’t feel safe.  She was asking for advice from her Facebook community as to how to combat these men.

She got many suggestions such as, don’t make eye contact, steel yourself, carry pepper spray or a taser, and while the advice was well intended, she got a bit frustrated.  She likes being friendly.  She enjoys talking to people.  She wants to smile and say hello.  She named her Pitbull “Flower” for Pete’s sake.

I told her that when I lived in the French Quarter, I had a bright red aluminum bat that I slept with by my bed.  If I had to walk to my car by myself late at night or early in the morning, I took the bat with me.  “So, you just walk around wielding a bat?” she asked.  I explained that I didn’t carry it like I was about to swing it at everyone I passed.  It was more of a statement: “Hey.  I have a bat.  Maybe don’t fuck with me.”

About a week later, I went to visit a friend over at his wood shop gallery, and he had these little bats, about a foot long, made from solid maple.  I told him that would be perfect for an idea I had and he gave me the bat, which I brought home, and covered in hearts and bright, pretty colors.  On the top of it, I wrote “Back Off” within one of the hearts and named it the Love Club. “Bludgeon them with kindness,” I said followed by, “When Owning a Pitbull Isn’t Enough, THE LOVE CLUB”.

I received a text from her: “I love this so much.  I want to use it SO bad.” Then she commissioned another one for a girlfriend of hers who is about to embark on a solo van journey this Summer.  That got me thinking…  I would have totally bought one of these when I lived in the French Quarter.  I mean, if you’ve got to walk with a weapon, it might as well look good. 

Apparently, I’m not the only person who thinks so.  I have sold 12 of the 17 that I made for the pop up shop.  One person bought four of them.  Another snagged two.  Another woman who bought one lives just around the corner from the last New Orleans home I lived in.  8TH Ward represent!

What does this have to do with our country’s shit show?  Well, this is how I am protesting.  I am an artist.  I make things.  I create from my heart and soul.  What is stirring in my soul right now are thoughts of the hate that seems to be growing towards minorities and members of the LBGTQ community, the control that predominantly white men seem to think they should have over women, and the intolerance towards people who just want to give a better life to their children. 

I’m not ok.  It’s not ok.  This is not the world I thought I lived in.  And that’s a big part of my soul stirring…that I thought the world was a different place.  Yes, I was naïve and living my life within my own bubble that is safe, warm, and clean.  I’m rolling my own eyes at myself while I’m typing this.  I was in Never Never Land.  I think many of us were.  Some still are.

I cannot ditch my life and hit the streets.  Well not yet anyway. But I realized that what I have been doing, ever since the Kavanaugh hearings spun me into an emotionally charged break down, is protesting.  I protested by outing myself as a promiscuous teen and discussing the complex grey area of consent within our culture.  I have talked openly about how my troubled teen years created a decades long struggle with alcoholism, anxiety, and depression.  I created a series of paintings that represents the healing of my heart, and another about the beauty that I try with all my might to see when everything around me seems to be heading into the dark.  

And I created a love weapon; to be carried by women who are sick of being fucked with but also enjoy being friendly.  I mean, many of us ladies have been told all our lives that because we are girls, we have to be “ladylike”.  Well here you go.  I offer you my ladylike accessory that could also give you a concussion. 

Today, I ran across a quote from Anne Lamott that says, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save.  They just stand there shining.”  She’s absolutely right.  So, when you’re trying to think about how you can make a difference, how you can aid in the shit show disaster relief, know that you can do so by simply standing your ground and shining a light on what is wrong and what is right. 

Use the talents that you already have.  If you have kids in your life, explain to them what is going on and how they can do better than we have.  In daily life, when you hear sexist, racist, xenophobic or anti-gay comments and slurs (OMG they happen all the time…people don’t even realize what they’re saying) let them know what it means to you.  Bring awareness to yourself and all those around you.  

We’re in a little bit of trouble right now and I see people who think that because they can’t quit they’re job, and go protest in D.C., that they can’t do anything.  I’m here to tell you that you can, and most likely, you already have been.  You can be the reason that others stop to think about what they are saying.  You can influence those who also feel they want to make a change but don’t think that they can. 

Just like Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am the change. You are the change.  We are the lighthouses. Shine strong.  The world needs our light.

 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Not to Turn Crazy This Holiday Season

The holidays can turn me into a stark raving mad stress machine!  Making self-care a priority enables me to enjoy the holidays, while lowering my stress.   

Maybe it’s the need to fit in all the events.  Or maybe there’s pressure to decorate the house so that it looks as good as the neighbors’.  Quite possibly there is financial stress in finding extra cash for presents.  Maybe you just don’t want to see your in-laws... 

Whatever the case may be, I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!  “Like what?” you may ask.  The stress. The pressure.  The overwhelm. The Christmas carols.  All of it.  All the things that come with the holidays.

This time of year, I am particularly prone to “hamster wheel brain” and “chicken with my head cut off syndrome”.  I mean, let’s be honest here, I’m prone to it all year long.  So, add in multiple deadlines, revenue goals, holiday cards (both personal and professional), Christmas gift shopping, all the events and parties, and the one enjoyable task on my holiday to do list, pie baking, and I am ripe for anxiety overload. 

Not to mention that as the holidays approach, people seem to have an increased level of road rage…or is it just me?

Yesterday, an hour before my weekly Yoga class, I thought to myself, “I definitely don’t have time for Yoga this week!”  So that meant that I DEFINITELY had to go.  I’m glad I did.  Self-care is important this time of year and I mustn’t let that go slack, that’s for damn sure. 

So, there I was getting my Om on, and I announced to my Yoga community that I was having my locals’ holiday art sale.  I was explaining that this year, my holiday art is focused on positivity and the things that bring me love, laughter, and joy, and immediately I felt a shift in my stress level.

Just talking about the art that I’m creating for the holidays (both my local in person sale and my online holiday pop up), created a sense of ease.  It was as if I reminded myself what I was proactively doing in order to take care of myself and keep overwhelm at bay. 

 

What we focus on is what we create more of.

 

With that reminder, I was able to let go and completely drop in to my Yoga practice and man, what an amazing class it was.  (Props to Melissa Cooley here in Talent, Oregon at Om Sweet Om Yoga Studio.  If you are looking for a Yoga teacher in the Talent, OR area, go to her.  She’s one of the best.)  I came back home feeling totally refreshed and I dove into the studio, where I am completely behind, but I no longer felt as stressed about it as I did when I left to go to class.

I’ve talked about this before, but saying things out loud is powerful.  By just announcing my intention of my holiday art to a group of 10 people, I reminded myself of what I am attempting to create for the holidays.  Art that brings love, laughter, and joy.  I mean, if I’m focusing on that, I won’t give my brain much time to starting looking around for things to stress about.

 

Last week I talked about being pro-active in our self-care heading into the holiday season, and here I am, one week later, already needing a reminder myself.

 

Last week I talked about being pro-active in our self-care heading into the holiday season, and here I am, one week later, already needing a reminder myself.  What we focus on is what we create more of.  I could focus on the stress and tap into a never-ending stress Mobius within myself, or, I can focus on this art.  This beautiful art that makes me smile and reminds me of how I want to live: In love, with lots of laughter and infinite joy.

So, with that, I’m back into the studio this morning.  I have art to make for you and for myself.  I want to head into the holidays with a stream of positive cosmic dust in my wake. I am a pie baking, positivity seeking, optimism comet!  I can do this.  So can you.  Let’s continue into this holiday season with happiness and bring that into the new year.

I'd like to know where, in the busiest of times, you go for solace.  Tell me in the comments below.  

I’ll be going to Yoga, taking my walks, and keeping up with my daily breathing and meditation practices.  After all, this is the time of year when pie and cookies are a food group, and family and friends make time for each other. Why choose stress?

 

The image at top is one of my little surfboard relief paintings.  It’s a little shiny as it’s awaiting it’s finishing coat, but it makes me smile never-the-less and reminds me of the joy and creativity that surfing sparks within.  This one is called "Three Dollar Board", 8”x10”, Acrylic on Canvas.  

CLICK HERE to get on the waitlist, get early access to my online holiday pop up sale and give a one-of-a-kind gift of love, laughter and joy and receive a free gift from me when you order.

  

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.

Warding Off Holiday Stress by Creating Joyful Art

When holiday stress threatens my sanity, I search for inspiration in what brings me joy. 

And with a strike of lightening and a crash of thunder, the holidays arrived. 

Ok ok…it’s not THAT dramatic.  But does anyone else feel like the anxiety tornado triples in size this time of year?  I suppose I could talk about all the things I usually talk about starting around Thanksgiving…gratitude, self-care, being of service, and yes, all of those things are important.

But I also talk about those things all year long and frankly, I’m a little tired of listening to myself.  Sometimes I feel like all I do is bitch, forgive myself for bitching, come up with strategies so there is less to bitch about, repeat.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some fun!  The holidays are here.  My local’s only holiday sale, and my online holiday pop up sale are both in 3 weeks, and I have a lot to do.  I was going to make a shit ton of Love Clubs for the sale, but to be honest, I’m kind of tired about thinking about how women don’t feel safe in the world.  Yes, they’re funny, but also not at all (plus I have enough of them pre-made already to offer, and I’m going to have a “build your own” custom Love Club option at the local’s sale). 

 

Love, laughs, and joy is all I want to surround myself with right now. 

 

Instead, I’m focusing on joy.  What brings me joy without question every single time?  Surfing.  So, for my holiday sale, I’m making a series of (I hope) fifteen surfboard relief paintings based on my old sketches of surfboard art that I did years ago in the mornings between dropping my kiddo off at school, and heading into work.

For months, I sat and drew surfboard art.  It was (and still is) a dream job of mine.  By the time I stopped, I probably had something like 40 different designs, from abstract, to ocean life inspired.  I knew that I would do something with them one day and it seems that now is the time. I went way back into my Instagram feed and chose the 15 most “liked” designs to use for the project. 

These relief paintings are a new style for me.  As you know, I love changing things up and keeping myself interested.  I didn’t think that just painting the surfboards on a canvas would make the impact that I wanted them to make.  I want them to POP off the canvas, literally. 

So, I am using a light acrylic molding paste to actually build the surfboard on the canvas so that they are three dimensional.  Each surf board is given a few layers of the paste so that they are noticeably built up off the canvas.  I sand and shape them by hand.  No molds are used.  Each is unique. 

Then I paint my design on the board. I was adding complex backgrounds but quickly realized that the surfboard itself was the star of the show, and was more powerful of an image with solid color backgrounds.  So, solid colors backgrounds it is, with a few subtle additions here and there.

They are charming and they make me smile. The art that I will offer at the beginning of December, both at my local’s only holiday sale and my online holiday pop up sale, are focusing on the bright side of life.  Heart Flower paintings for love, Love Clubs for laughs, and Surfboards for joy. 

 

Love, laughs, and joy is all I want to surround myself with right now.  I want reminders of the light.  I need to be nurtured by positivity.  My art for the holidays is all about that nurturing, especially heading into the new year.

 

And with that, I have to go and do stuff.  I know it’s a short blog today, but time is of the essence and I have SO MUCH to do. 

Are you starting to feel that “holiday dread”?  In the comments, tell me one thing that you could do for yourself during this season that would help you sustain your energy and positive attitude.  It ain’t all poinsettias and gingerbread men, no matter what the Costco display says. 

Love and light to you,

Marigny

 

The image at top is a grouping of the surfboard designs that I would sketch, sitting in a cafe early in the morning, before heading into my jobby-job.  

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

 

 

Four Reasons to Speak Your Truth, No Matter What Others Think

We fear speaking our truths because of rejection, judgement, and being misunderstood, but in fact, hiding our truths is far more damaging than speaking them.

 

Last week I sent out a questionnaire to you, My Fellow Artventurer.  I asked about fears and/or challenges that you have surrounding speaking your truth, finding peace within your life, and living with an anxious mind. 

I received many different answers to the “finding peace” and “living with an anxious mind questions”, but the question, “when it comes to speaking your truth, what is your greatest fear or challenge,” resulted in one common answer: you’re afraid to speak your truth because of the reaction you’ll receive from others.

This answer came in a few different forms:

“I worry what people will think of me.”

“The truth can hurt others.”

“Being misunderstood by the listener.”

“Judgement and rejection.”

“No one listens.”

“That the other person will get mad/yell at me.”

“Being rejected or not understood." 

“The truth—and I—will be received poorly.”

“Being rejected or told I’m not worth it.” 

“Rejection and misunderstanding.”

Holy Moly.  Quite the common thread.  I TOTALLY 100% resonate with these answers as I lived the majority of my life scared to death of what others thought of me.  So much so, that I didn’t show my true self, I didn’t state my true needs, and I made decisions based on what I thought “you” wanted me to do (without asking you, of course). 

Never-the-less, once again this questionnaire has shown me how alike we are, and that my fears are not unique.  It has really made me ponder why is it, exactly, that we fear the reaction of others as much as we do. 

I remember when I was a teenager, I was at a restaurant and really wanted to order meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but ordered a burger instead because I was scared of what the other kids at the table would think of my comfort food craving.  If I didn’t even order the food I wanted based on fear of judgement, you can imagine what the other decisions in my life were like.

When I was in my late 30s, I decided to start writing this blog about being an artist.  If you go back to the beginning, my blogs were about my process in the studio and the projects I was currently working on.  Then I began to speak freely about the challenges of living with anxiety, loneliness, insecurities, all of the emotions that I had felt all through my life and squirreled away into a great big hole within, too afraid of what it would mean if I expressed how I really felt inside.

Then I dropped my truth bomb about being an alcoholic and promiscuous teen and what that had done to my emotional and mental health as I grew into a woman.  It was that essay that unlocked the power of speaking my truth. 

First off, I found out I was not alone.  Talk about a shocker.  Women from all over the world reached out to me, not only to say that they too felt what I felt, but also to thank me for having the courage to speak up about an uncomfortable topic.  They called me strong.  They thanked me for offering a way to talk to our children and stop the cycle of girls growing into women who feel that they have nothing to offer men beyond their sex.  I now realize that none of us are alone.

Number two, I discovered that speaking my truth gives me confidence, and that makes me want to do it more.  My life changed that day I began hearing from my readers.  I felt seen, maybe for the first time.  And that was not the fault of my loved ones who support me no matter what.  They were always there.  But I learned that my silence was me hiding, and that’s why I had not been seen before.

Thirdly, I discovered that I had been living dishonestly.  You know what the opposite of truth is, right?  Yup…a lie.  I had to admit that me not speaking my truths was just as damaging as me telling lies.  I was scared of the outcome of telling others how I felt, and so I created my truth based on what I thought “you” wanted me to say.  The damage that was created within my life by not speaking my truths was hard for me to look at, but existed none-the-less.

Fourth, I realized that what others think and say about me is NONE OF MY DAMN BUSINESS.  I mean that.  You might be saying, “Of course it’s my business!  It’s about me!” and I suppose if others are slandering me to a point that it’s effecting my home life or career, then yes, that is my business.  But otherwise, everyone has an opinion and the opinions of others are not here to serve me.  My mental health is too important to be stifled by worry about what others think about me.

 

The fact is the damage that I inflicted upon myself by not speaking my truths, was FAR WORSE than the damage that anyone else’s opinion ever inflicted upon me.

 

Damn…I wish I had learned that lesson when I was in my teens, or twenties, or earlier in my thirties for that matter.  The fact is the damage that I inflicted upon myself by not speaking my truths, was FAR WORSE than the damage that anyone else’s opinion ever inflicted upon me.  I was my own bully.  I allowed the infinite “what if” scenarios to be the decision makers. 

And far worse, I made my decisions based on what I thought you wanted me to do without even asking you, therefore, I decided that I knew what you were thinking! If I think about it, that’s pretty fucking arrogant. I mean, who am I to know what anyone is thinking.  What…I’m some omnipotent being who can read minds?  No...I thought everyone thought like I did, and I was extremely judgmental. 

Funny, huh?  I was terrified of the judgements of others, but really it was me that thought I knew everything.  And worse, when it blew back in my face, I blamed you for not acting how I thought you would.

*Deep sigh.  I’m still learning.  Apparently, a lot of us are.  I would like to continue talking about the importance of speaking our truths as I can see that many of us live in self-imposed prisons that we have judged and sentenced ourselves to. 

I’d like to investigate what allowed me to change this behavior.  What was it that made me feel safe to do so?  Is there a way for us to learn how before we create damage within our lives that can’t be undone (AKA hitting rock bottom…)?

Let’s try this…for one week, so until my next blog post, let’s all commit to speaking at least one small truth a day.  This could be when your partner says, “what do you want to watch tonight?” and you say, “I don’t care,” when in reality you want to watch Legally Blond for the one hundredth time. It could be asking for someone else to make dinner on Wednesday, instead of slogging into the kitchen to make dinner, all the while hiding resentment towards the bottomless mouth holes that are your family.  (Come on…we’ve all felt it…)

In the comments below, I want to hear one baby truth bomb that you’ll drop this week. 

These examples may seem small, but in my past, I would harbor an incredible amount of anger around these types of daily scenarios.  If we can’t learn to communicate our truths in these simple ways, what’s the likelihood we’ll do it when big stuff comes up? 

We must start by starting, and so, let’s begin.

  

My Reclaimed Hearts series is now available on my website.  These paintings are all about the healing and strength that I gained by speaking my truth.  I have learned that my feelings count, and that I owe it to myself and my loved ones to express it, even when it seems hard.  Learn more about these paintings and give yourself a reminder of the importance of speaking our truths by Clicking Here. 

 

The painting at top is from the Reclaimed Hearts series. Diving Heart 8, 6”x6”, acrylic & paper on canvas with a 1.5” gallery wrap profile.  $120

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

Thank God for This Particular Anxiety Symptom

In times of crisis, I have discovered that my anxiety can actually be quite helpful.

 

Today my heart is bursting at the seams with love.  In a time of crisis, I have witnessed my community come together in an incredible way.  As one who has always been a bit wary of “the kindness of strangers”, I have met people as recently as this morning who have shown me such an amazing outpouring of generosity and kindness, that I was holding back tears while walking to my car.

Ok, maybe I'm not holding them back anymore.  It’s been a week of keeping it all together, and yesterday, I finally broke down, releasing all of my emotions surrounding a very sensitive situation.  Now, the flood gates are opening and the smallest kindness is enough to make me straight up ugly cry. 

I usually like to talk about my anxiety and the situations that exacerbate it as specifically as possible.  I don’t have that luxury in this particular situation, due to other people being involved, but I will say that I have learned some important things about my community and about my anxiety, especially when applied to times of crisis.  

 

In a time where “community” has become difficult to cultivate, this past week I learned that I have one that will stand up and be there for each other, no matter how difficult the situation. 

 

Community wise, the short of it is that in a time where “community” has become difficult to cultivate, this past week I learned that I have one that will stand up and be there for each other, no matter how difficult the situation.   We have all come together in a rare and powerful way and I am grateful beyond words to know that exists.  It has been witnessed and commented on by many and I am blown away by the help that we have given to each other.  OMG what a blessing.

Anxiety wise, I have a few observations.  One is that my anxiety can help me be a strong mother fucker when I need to be.  I spend much of my time thinking about how to deal with what I assume to be weakness when it comes to living with anxiety. 

 

Anxiety often tells me that I don’t do enough and I don’t do good enough. 

 

Anxiety often tells me that I don’t do enough and I don’t do good enough. In turn, I am extremely detail oriented and so paranoid about doing right by myself and others, that I will work myself to the bone to make sure that I am giving one million percent of myself, at all times. It’s an excellent way to burn out, and something that I have become aware of overtime, and that I am careful to check myself on when practicing self-care.

This month, I’ve been discussing how my series of paintings, Reclaimed Hearts, and sub series, A Lovely Mess, address finding the light in the darkest of situations.  This mindset is allowing me to find a benefit within this particular anxiety symptom:  I am a rock star in a crisis.

Over the past week, I have held myself, and others, together.  I have organized a tremendous amount of information, moved my office, and re-organized my home.  I have implemented a way of streamlining all of the new moving parts within my household.  I have still managed to grocery shop, cook for my family, keep up with my business, and most importantly, I have made time to practice self-care during it all. 

I have stayed calm and collected during all of this.  Yesterday, I finally cried, but it was a good cry.  It was a “oh everything is going to be ok” cry. 

I recalled when my best friend had her first baby, extremely prematurely.  She had to go to the NICU every day for weeks to care for her little one.  She put one foot in front of the other and got what needed to get done, done.  When she finally got her daughter home, she called me and said, “Well…that was REALLY hard,” and finally was able to exhale.

That’s where I feel I am today.  Exhaling.  Hard. 

 

Today, I am thankful for my anxiety. 

 

Today, I am thankful for my anxiety.  I am thankful that the sometimes-manic perfectionism helped me stay organized so I could walk clearly through the unbelievable chaos.  I am grateful that, for every negative thought I have about myself and my anxiety, that I am able to see how those same characteristics make me solid in times of crisis, when others are having trouble seeing the road ahead.

And I am crying right at this very moment thinking about my community.  I know now that I am not and will never be 100% alone.  There will always be others looking out for me and my family.  That we are a village who will sacrifice and make what needs to happen, happen, despite inconveniences and situations that are beyond our control.  We came together.  We are creating order within the chaos. And we are doing that because we have love in our hearts for each other.

My to do list over the past week has not yet stopped growing, unfortunately, and I still have art to make for the holidays.  Life doesn’t stop for crisis, but I am part of a team of people who are all propping each other up until the storm passes, and the seas are calm again.  We have each other’s backs, and that is a light brightly outshining the darkness.  The darkness is no match for the outpouring of love that I have witnessed, and for that, oh man, I am thankful.  Onward.

In the comments below, I’d love to know one thing that is helpful for you, in the midst of a crisis.  Much love and peace to you.

 

The painting at top is from my Reclaimed Hearts, series and is titled, Night Rainbow, (24x24, Acrylic & Paper on Canvas, $1200). This is a nod to one of my favorite children's books by Cooper Edens called, If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow. Edens also suggests, "If there is no happy ending, make one out of cookie dough." This week, I am grateful for the Night Rainbow that is my community. 

 

To learn more about Reclaimed Hearts, and to get on the waitlist and receive a discount code for the November original art sale, CLICK HERE

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Steps to Move Through Overwhelm and Gain Clarity and Strength

When anxiety and overwhelm create confusion, these three steps help me gain clarity, and the strength to move forward.

 

This past week, life did that thing where it decided to take a sharp right turn while I was contently going straight down my every day routine.  I’ve taken the attitude that sometimes life does that and I can only control what I can control.  A portion of this unplanned right turn is definitely out of my control, and yet, a portion of it I can handle. So, I’m choosing to focus on that. 

Am I overwhelmed?  Yes.  Am I losing my fucking mind?  No.  The reason I am not losing my mind right now is because A. I know I’m on the path that I should be on and I’m right where I need to be, and B. I really don’t feel like losing my fucking mind and frankly, I don’t have the time.

 

There is only one way forward, and that is to keep moving, one foot in front of the other, baby steps if necessary, but forward never-the-less.

 

For me, there is only one way forward, and that is to keep moving, one foot in front of the other, baby steps if necessary, but forward never-the-less.  I realize that stopping for too long gives my brain a chance to run wild, and that cannot happen right now.  So, lots of list making and mucho organizing.  I realize that productivity is a sure way to calm down my brain. If I am “doing”, I cannot be overwhelmed with the thoughts of everything that “should be done”. 

Simple, right?  Well, it occurred to me that it has taken me a very long time to get to this point, and I have actually figured out three steps that I take when anxiety and overwhelm strike, that help me break everything down into manageable actions. 

Oddly, these steps have nothing to do with organizing or making lists.  Those are procedures that come out of clarity and the three steps that I am referring to help me gain that clarity and in turn, strength and confidence to deal with the various shit shows that arrive unexpectedly.

 

Three Steps to Gaining Clarity and Strength in Any Situation:

 

  1. Dive Deep and Ask for the Truth

When I find myself confused and unsure as to how to proceed, I stop, sit, close my eyes, breathe, and search for the pure truth of the situation.  Most of the time, it’s simple.  It’s my brain that makes it complicated.  That doesn’t mean that the situation isn’t important.  It just means that it’s my emotional state that creates over thinking and impedes progress.

It can be scary at first to ask.  I’m never sure what the truth will be and one thing that panics me is a state of “not knowing”. However, when I search for the truth and ask for guidance, I receive it.  Yup…it’s that simple.  This has never failed me.  It may take a few times of asking and listening, but the answer ALWAYS comes.

 

  1. Accept the Truth When It Comes

Finding it is one thing.  Accepting it is quite another. This has taken some practice, but has gotten significantly easier for me, over time.  I have also accepted that sometimes what I want, is not necessarily what I need.  When I see the truth, I cannot convolute it or try to change it to adapt to what I want.  The truth is the truth just as two plus two equals four.  I didn’t ever argue with my math teachers and in fact, I was a straight A math student, because math is straight forward.  There is no wiggle room.  It is concrete.  This is how I choose to look at the truth.

Actually, accepting the truth in this way has uncomplicated my life.  If truth plus truth equals solutions, in the same way that two plus two equals four, then who am I to argue with it.  Just accept it and move forward.

 

  1. Speak the Truth Out Loud

And I don’t mean start a blog and shout it to the world as I have…unless you want to, then that’s totally cool.  Say it, to your partner, to your best friend, or to a mirror.  I believe that when I speak my truths out loud, that I release them into their own beings; that when my truths exit my head, they are born, in a sense.

They become their own entities and I am able to see them from outside myself, separate my emotional reactions, and find compassion for them.  I have trouble finding compassion for myself, but never for the beings that are around me. So separating them from myself, creates a strength that I feel deep down in my bones. By speaking my truths, they are released from my body, and room is created for strength to move in and occupy that space.

 

We must first put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we can help those around us. 

 

Once I have that new-found courage, I am able to break down overwhelming situations into manageable lists. Then I start easily checking off the to dos as I get them done, also accepting that it might take time to get through them all, and that’s ok. 

From here, the most important thing is to keep moving, following that deep gut direction that I’ve found by searching, accepting, and speaking my truth.  If I stop for too long, my head will try to hijack the process.  Gut direction is solid.  Head direction messes my shit all up.

And to be clear, I stop for healthy breaks; to eat, drink, meditate, go for walks, do a bit of Yoga, and sleep for 7-8 hours.  It is important that I take care of myself, especially in times of crisis and overwhelm.  It is the days that I say, “I don’t have time to meditate today,” that I need to make time to meditate.  What they say about the oxygen mask is true.  We must first put it on ourselves before we can help those around us. 

 

Does this sound familiar to you?  In the comments, I’d love for you to share which one of these steps you can commit to practicing in the coming week. It can be for the simplest of situations, or huge life changes.  This process applies to it all.

  

My Reclaimed Hearts series is a visual representation of these 3 steps.  Once we release the confusion and allow strength to fill the empty space, we heal ourselves and gain clarity.  

The painting at top is Soaring Heart 8, 8”x8”, acrylic & paper on canvas, $160.  Each painting in my Reclaimed Hearts series have torn paper hearts, reassembled back onto the canvas.  Even though my heart has been broken, and lived in a broken state for many years, by speaking my truth, I have the ability to put it back together and claim it for my own.  It may have scars, but it is stronger and more beautiful than ever.   

CLICK HERE to get on the Reclaimed Hearts waiting list and get early access and discount codes for the November original art sale.  It is never too late to take your power back, grow, and love yourself. In fact, it’s as easy as two plus two equals four.

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.

How Speaking My Truth Reduced My Anxiety Level by Half

By diving deep, searching for and speaking my truth, I reduced my anxiety baseline and created a strength that I never knew I had.  Why should I think that can't continue to happen?

 

A few days ago, I looked at the calendar and realized that the anxiety attack that led me into the doctor’s office was only a bit more than a month ago.  It feels like soooooooooooooooo much longer than that.  That means that it has only been a few weeks since I’ve been feeling better. 

This realization has bummed me out a little bit and I’m trying to process why, exactly.  I mean, I feel better…that’s a good thing…so why is the amount of time I’ve been feeling better waking me up at night? 

I was talking about this with a dear friend yesterday. I described being woke up in the middle of the night, both of the two nights prior, by travel anxiety dreams (airport…lost luggage…wrong terminal…etc…).  After waking up, my head went to “charting” my brain health.  How long has it been since I’ve been feeling better compared to the amount of time I felt crappy?  What’s that ratio? Does that mean I’ll feel crappy again soon? How long can this “feeling better” possible last. 

Queue the anxious brain loop here.  I finally did manage to go back to sleep both times, but it took a little while and then I was up again at 5:00am both mornings, lying there, waiting for the 6:30 alarm to go off. 

Anyway…I was talking to my friend, and I told her about how feeling better is great and my temptation during these high times is to announce, “ALL FIXED!” to the world and move on with my life in a permanent state of bliss and peace.  But in the back of my head, I know it’s a cycle.  I know there will be another down swing at some point. 

Then I thought…does there have to be? 

When I wrote my essay, I Was a Promiscuous Teen: A Letter to All the Men from My Past, I was telling a truth that I had never told before, I had never connected to my anxiety before, and that I had a level of shame around that I thought was unique to me.  After I wrote and published the letter, which was one of the scariest things I have ever done, an enormous weight was lifted. 

 

It surprised the hell out of me and I realized that I had been anxiously hiding from that particular truth my whole life, and that by outing myself, I was no longer in hiding. 

 

I didn’t expect it.  It surprised the hell out of me and I realized that I had been anxiously hiding from that particular truth my whole life, and that by outing myself, I was no longer in hiding.  From that moment on, when I would feel fear and shame creep in, all I had to do was remind myself that I wasn’t hiding anymore, my truth is out in the open, and it would dissipate at once.

That change happened the minute I heard back from others who resonated with my story and I realized that not only was I not alone, but that my story and my feelings were sadly, not unique.  And that feeling hasn’t gone away.  Speaking my truth created a permanent shift within my thinking patterns.  I became stronger, braver, more self-assured.  Merely being honest with myself and others did that.

Back to me worrying about when the next anxiety shoe is going to drop after these last couple of weeks of feeling pretty darn great…  As I was speaking to my friend about the inevitable down swing that I should expect, it occurred to me that permanent change has been made in my thought cycles due to speaking my truth.  My letter proves that.  Why should I think that more permanent changes can’t happen?

 

Speaking my truth created a permanent shift within my thinking patterns.  I became stronger, braver, more self-assured.  

 

I have been practicing my anxiety management strategies in an effort to change my brain pathways when anxiety hits.  I will say that it took me a little while to remember to do them after being woke up in the middle of the night, but when I remembered, and began to breathe and call myself out on past fixating and future tripping, I fell back asleep.

Why should I not believe that in continuing to practice this, I am cutting the anxiety off before it gets out of control, and the longer I practice, the faster that will happen until one day when I don’t have any more anxiety paralyzing down swings that last weeks at best, months at worst?

Also, by believing that the next down swing is inevitable, do I make it so?  Is that a self-fulfilling prophecy?  This is where my “I Will” statements come in handy: “I Will make permanent change within my anxiety cycles…it just might take some time.”

 

I KNOW that by diving deep, finding my truth, and saying it out loud, I have the power to change myself.  I have experienced it.  I am my own proof.

 

So why am I talking about this?  Or maybe the bigger question is, why do I share any of this stuff with you?  Because based on my experiences, I KNOW that by diving deep, finding my truth, and saying it out loud, I have the power to change myself.  I have experienced it.  I am my own proof.

If I think about it, my anxiety over the past year has been half of what it was pre-letter, so who’s to say it won’t continue to lessen?  All I can do is believe that by continuing to pour my heart out to you, I will continue to discover more about myself, and knowledge is power, right? 

My letter was a big doozy of a truth bomb, but there are also less life shattering examples of this. I once told my ex-boss that I had been taking advantage of our herbal supplements drawer at work, and that I wanted to pay for what I had taken.  She looked at me, smiled, got up from her chair and hugged me. 

She said she it was no big deal and was glad the supps made me feel better. Weight gone.  Forgiveness easily given and received, and it changed me in that I stopped taking advantage, and I didn’t feel stress or guilt surrounding it any longer. 

It can be that small but the benefits can be life changing.  The moment stress and guilt were alleviated, I realized how big of a presence it had been.  

Is there something that you hold deep inside yourself because of fear and shame?  Maybe you’re scared you’ll be rejected if it comes out.  Maybe you’re terrified that your loved ones won’t support you.  Whatever it is, I urge you to speak. 

In fact, in the comments below, tell me one thing you have spoken your truth about that made you feel better afterwards.  It can be a big or a small thing.  It can even be something that you haven’t spoken about before that’s been eating away at your insides…

I’m grateful that through writing, I can process these hard emotions and by painting, I can bring visual examples to life.  Through these two creative outlets I make essays, paintings, and personal life changes. 

 

It's never too late to take your power back, grow, and love yourself. 

 

The painting at top is Diving Heart 23, 6”x6”, acrylic & paper on canvas, $120.  Each painting in my Reclaimed Hearts series have torn paper hearts, reassembled back onto the canvas.  Even though my heart has been broken, and lived in a broken state for many years, by speaking my truth, I have the ability to put it back together and claim it for my own.  It may have scars, but it is stronger and more beautiful than ever.   

CLICK HERE to get on the Reclaimed Hearts waiting list and get early access and discount codes for the November original art sale.  It's never too late to take your power back, grow, and love yourself. 

 

I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes.  To hear from me more regularly, join me on this crazy, beautiful Artventure.