Coming Around Again

It has been just over a year since I started this blog. My original intent was to hold myself to a commitment to personal art making every single day. How to measure my success or lack thereof? I confess that I have not made art every single day. However, I feel that I met my overarching goal of living a more artful and art-filled life.

I am supremely fortunate to have an arts based job. Just today, I spent over an hour at work on the internet searching for new ideas for my vocational arts program. I marvel at the fact that I get paid for this. Much of my day-to-day work life is spent dealing with staff issues, scheduling and running programming, helping patients, working with interns and just keeping all the plates spinning at our program. But then I get to go to the studio……..happy sigh.

The studio is my breath, my respite, my sanctuary. I am sitting in my home studio right now in all its glorious mess and am so thankful for this space that I have created for myself. Just glancing around I see: an altered book in progress, my Bag O’ Supplies, display cases of jewelry I have made, a design project for my church, shrines, diplomas, beeswax collages, tons of materials organized by type, and the last three pairs of shoes I have worn that are tossed on the floor. Just being in this space reminds me of all that I am doing and could do. I can tell you a story about every single thing in this room.  This room connects me to my larger life. It gives me space to contemplate, ruminate, concentrate and dream. It says “I have plans, I have goals, I continue to accomplish what I set out to do, I give myself permission to have a landing place when I need to rest.”

I hope that you have or can create or find a creative space for  yourself this coming year. It is integral to our identity as artists and therapists and art therapists that we have some creative breathing room for ourselves. We cannot give endlessly without finding a well where we can fill up. I am constantly reminded that I must rejuvenate in order to rise up to life’s daily challenges. I cannot allow myself to get burned out or drained. I must constantly attend to my energy levels, my focus, my numerous passions in order to be present for my clients, friends and family.

May many blessings rain down upon you in this new year and may creativity flow in and through you.


Getting it all done

It’s Crunch Time in Beantown. Every project and job I am involved in is coming to a head at the same time and I am trying to get ready for the holidays as well. I think of myself as a little bit of a procrastinator, but I am working hard to overcome this tendency. The current set of circumstances leaves me with little wiggle room so I have to make the most of every moment. 30 minutes between meetings? There’s time to run to the library or the drugstore. Insomnia causing me to wake up at 3 a.m. when the alarm is set for 6? There’s the time to start writing those reports (or a blog post).

All of this makes me think about how I use my time. Am I using it wisely? Am I over-committing and having trouble with that little word “no”? Is this extreme busy-ness a chronic condition or a time-limited situation? Am I carving out time for self-care in the midst of all this? The stress of this time is alleviated by remembering that I CHOSE to do all of these things, none of them were forced on me. I don’t feel obligated to do these things, I WANT to do these things. These are all either short-term projects or just a busy time in usually manageable jobs. I take breaks when I can, try to remember to breathe, check in with friends, go to bed at a reasonable hour and stop to eat once in a while. I constantly say to myself “You LIKE this! You THRIVE on this!”

My biggest tool in managing all that needs to be done is making lists. Lots of lists. I have jumped from Post-It notes to a legal pad. There is a page for every project with deadlines and specific tasks. It’s not enough to put vague items on your to-do list. The tasks have to be broken down into every step and then you map out when you are going to do the steps. There is a heading for each day and every single thing I need to do that day is listed. Every single task I have banging around in my head makes it on the list, even something as mundane as looking up something on the internet. If it is going to help me make progress, it goes on the list. This has the added benefit of giving you more things to cross off the list as you go along! Once something is down on paper, I give myself permission not to worry anymore about getting it done. It is on The List. It Will Happen.

So is there light at the end of this tunnel? Why, yes there is. I am going on a trip for the holidays and will be visiting my darling niece. I have a truckload of presents for her and can’t wait to sing and dance and paint and play the day away with her. My calendar is jam-packed for the rest of this week and then wide open for 7 whole days. Once I get back, it will be time to prep for the spring semester, work on a project for church, start my manuscript………………I think you see where I am going with this!!!!!

Happy Holidays!


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