I have been working through Effy Wild’s May FB Wilderhood challenge which includes creating my own personal symbol dictionary, but also exploring what symbols mean to me personally. As part of that process, I signed up for Tangie Baxter’s Symbology Project Workshops and have been doing one page a day. I’ve always wanted to learn more about symbology, but always felt too stupid to “get” it and had a lot of trouble trying to keep what all those symbols were supposed to mean in my head.
So, I’m really loving exploring my own personal meaning through the course instead of researching what something means through researching it in someone else’s book or on the internet. I’ve found that these symbols hold very deep personal meaning to me, which I had not been aware of before, and it makes me feel like I “get” it now on a personal level. It feels good to know there is no need right now to research what others think about a symbol in order to get it “right.” The process has added an entirely new layer to my life and my work.
Below is my take on the symbol dictionary Effy created in her class. I LOVE how it turned out. It has my favorite colors and textures and includes a lot of the symbols that show up in my creative work again and again. I’m planning on adding it to the front of my Moonshine art journal soon, but I love looking at it every day on my art desk. For the amazing texture on the folders, I used two of my favorite Sarah Trumpp stencils along with acrylic paint. The folders are made out of torn sheets of watercolor that are stitched together. The cards are made out of watercolor paper that I painted with acrylic on one side and watercolor on the other, and then cut out with decorative scissors. Then I used stamps or hand drew the symbols that show up most often in my work. The total size of the dictionary is 8″ x 8″.
BULLET JOURNAL – Two weeks ago, I was feeling INCREDIBLY stressed out heading into my third revision of the novel I’m working on. I was constantly asking myself where the day had gone, and consistently felt like I had done nothing all day. Time just seemed to get away from me, and I couldn’t figure out why. So, I sat down on a Sunday and spent the entire day refreshing my bullet journal. I had previously had a lot of success tracking habits and to dos in it, but I had allowed someone else’s opinion about it to usurp my own needs and had stopped using it. But, I had reached a critical point where I could choose to continue to wing it every day and let this person’s critical voice silence my own, or I could choose to do what I knew would help me get more organized. I decided what I needed was more important than what they thought.
I created a page with my editing/revising schedule for the novel as well as some tracking pages for other daily projects I was working on. On my daily page, I added circles for each 8oz water I drank, a time tracker, a mood tracker, and a space for a daily tarot/oracle card where I could put a brief description of what resonated with me from the message so I could look for patterns. Then I listed all my to dos. One column for daily items and one column for things that needed to get done but not necessarily that day. I also added a vitamin/medication/food log, and moved my gratitude/proud/preferences list that I’ve been writing out every night for 268 days now. For that list, I write three things I’m grateful for, three things about myself I’m proud of, and three preferences I would like to manifest in my life such as how I would like the next day to go, something I might want for someone else, a physical item I would like to bring into my life, or a resolution to an issue going on in my life (a practice from Mary Shores that I modified slightly).
Because of the changes I’ve made, my life has turned around dramatically in less than two weeks. I know exactly where my time goes now. I have a list of what I’ve accomplished each day. I remember what needs to be done because it’s all right there in front of me instead of whirling around in my head. Restarting the bullet journal is one of the best things I have done for myself this year, and BONUS: it silenced that critical voice of the person who kept telling me tracking everything was stupid and obsessive. BOOM!
MIRACLE MORNING– I used to do the Miracle Morning routine, and it was so beneficial for my mental health and my daily productivity. I would get up somewhere between 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM and fit in ten to fifteen minutes on each of the following: meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and writing. It really filled me up. Well, the person who didn’t care for my bullet journal tracking also didn’t care for my early morning routine, so I had stopped that, too. (Side Note: that person is no longer in my life!)
When I was feeling so stressed out that Sunday, and trying to figure out how to get my life back in order, I remembered that a Facebook friend of mine had been posting in the Miracle Morning group, and it really inspired me to start practicing again. So, I made a plan, got my resources together, and started the next day, and I have been doing it ever since. AND, I absolutely LOVE it!
NOT PULLING THE WEEDS – I usually spend a lot of time planting a small garden in my backyard. I’ve been really busy with the novel, but I’ve also been very frustrated by neighbors allowing their dogs to poop in my garden and tear it up and never clean up after them or even attempt to redirect them away from my garden. There has also been a groundhog each year that sneaks down and eats many of the plants destroying them, so it’s been a real struggle maintaining a garden even though it’s important to me. I’ve often thought there is a message in my experience with this garden and the fact that my boundaries keep being crossed no matter what I try to do to protect them. This year, I just let the garden go. I was tired of doing all that work only to watch it get destroyed. I had plans to pull out what I thought were weeds, and at least keeping the area clear. But, I got distracted with the novel revisions, and have not had the chance to get out to do it, and it’s a good thing I didn’t because it is now filled with beautiful flowers! Somehow, seeds I had planted three years ago, that I had completely forgotten about, just decided to bloom all over the garden. And I love it! It’s so beautiful. I love opening the blinds to my back door and looking at all of them standing tall among the weeds I didn’t pull. They bring me so much joy.
EFFY WILD – Another really good decision I made this year was to join Effy Wild’s Moonshine 2019 course. I loved the class so much, I joined her Effy 365 which includes all of her class offerings this year. I love her authenticity so much. I love that she does not sugarcoat anything. I also love that I can see so much of myself in her, and that makes me feel less alone, less alien, especially since she is so confident in who she is. She gives me hope that one day I will be able to just be me as I am without the constant need to intuit others needs and transform into who they need me to be. The reason I am loving on her so hard this week is because I was having a really bad day the other day, and I found solace and healing in one of her Wilderhood FB videos, and the rest of my day shifted into a wonderful, productive day. I love that I have access to the healing space and energy that she holds so that I can seek solace, and grow, and evolve at the pace I need.
ONE SMALL STEP CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE– As part of my Miracle Morning routine, I started reading this book that I had bought over a year ago and hadn’t had time to read. I love it so much. I am someone who has always believed that I had to make huge life changes all at once in order to see any results. I am also a person who has felt like a failure for most of my life because I’ve been unable to implement those changes long-term. I love the Kaizen Method author Robert Maurer discusses in this book. It is the idea that even teeny tiny steps can add up to big changes. For example, he suggested starting out an exercise routine by just doing something like standing or walking in place for one minute. Then you can add a minute the next week and the next week, and the next week. Doing this helps you bypass your fears and beliefs that keep you from moving forward. Basically, if you do something small enough, it will not trigger your fight or flight response, and eventually your brain will be conditioned that what you are doing is normal and will no longer trigger a fear response. I love this idea so much, I can’t wait to start implementing it into my life.
As the novel writing, revising, and editing has taken my over my life, I’ve had to rethink the way I use my time. One way that used to help me be more efficient was incorporating the Miracle Morning routine and a bullet journal into my daily life. Unfortunately, I stopped using the routine and bullet journal because I allowed someone else’s opinion about using them usurp my own needs. However, something I have been working on lately is listening to my inner voice until I can hear it louder than any of the other voices/opinions vying for attention in my head. This led me back to restarting my Miracle Morning routine and tracking in my bullet journal last week, and it has helped me immeasurably in managing my time and my stress. It’s helped me so much that it’s left me wondering why I ever let someone else’s opinion convince me to stop.
Part of the Miracle Morning routine is “Scribing” (journaling). I decided it would be cool to write all my thoughts for the week on the same page. Each morning, I chose a different colored pen, and wrote over my thoughts from the days before. The first photo is the result. I love looking at it. It’s mesmerizing. I find it fascinating to see a visual representation of my thoughts, but also a visual representation of the chaos that’s been running around in my head.
Then I decided it would be cool to create a piece of art over top of the writing. So, I covered the writing with white acrylic paint and then chose Ady Almanza’s Abstract Dreams technique to create art out of my thoughts (second photo). I loved it so much, I have decided to incorporate this art over journaling process each week.
Below is my new moon spread for Effy Wild’s Moonshine 2019 course. I had a vision of a goddess pregnant with the earth, infusing it with magick. I’m not sure if I exactly captured that here, but I definitely tried my best.
For this spread, I used Daniel Smith watercolors, tombow dual-brush markers, Faber-Castell PITT artist pens, and white and gold acrylic and gel pens. The willow leaves were inspired by Effy Wild’s full moon lesson, and I used a crystal sticker from Sarah Trumpp.
I have a wide range of interests and things that I love, so I thought I would start posting each week about what I’m loving at the moment. (Please note: These do not include affiliate links these are just the things that are bringing joy to my life this week.)
Yo Soy Candle – These are by far my favorite candles. This company is a one-woman-owned, small business, and the candles are made from earth conscious materials. My favorite part besides the luscious scents? You can reuse the jars to store items (even art supplies!) and have encouraging “I AM” statements throughout your home. My favorite right now is the new coffee bean scent and the equally inspiring jar of “I AM” matches. Check out Leslie’sMother’s Day gift sets and her subscription club.
The Aqua Notebook – This is the newest poetry collection from one of my favorite authors, Tasha Cotter. I love the way this collection is structured by specific moments in time, and how the language of each poem denotes the passing of time in subtle but beautiful ways.
Here are a few of my favorite lines so far (shared with permission from the author):
“…she wrote extensively; in her diaries, sorting her soul away; from the experience of living.”
“The past branches off, ends in green; bud – as if that end was what was meant to happen all along.”
“I do my job and get rinsed free; of feeling. The messiness that is in me; still hides underneath. Sitting at my desk; I know something’s missing.”
“We sat there, in silence, sensing; a disaster, both not wanting to admit it; and give the moment that kind of power.”
“And when I tell others I don’t; care, there’s a part of me; that breaks off from the whole; damaged.”
“There is fury to this love, a good madness; in the strong will of a woman.”
A Discovery of Witches – the book and the show – I binge-watched the new show on Sundance Now and loved it. The book had been on my reading list for quite some time, and I loved the show so much, I decided to buy it. I’m about 100 pages in, and I love the book as much as I love the show. The descriptions are incredible, and I really like to have the images of the characters and place in my mind as I read.
Sketchbook Revival – I took part in this last year, and it was incredible. I learned that a creative practice can be made up of just about anything, and that it didn’t have to result in a pristine, finished product. I love learning all the different ways to bring more creativity into my life through these sessions. Though I’ve been very busy with novel revisions, I’ve been dipping into the sessions to free up my mind and bring some joy into my day. Sketchbook Revival is the creative genius of artist Karen Abend and is free and still going on for the next few days. You can sign up here.
I hope you liked these suggestions. I’m looking forward to sharing more things that I love with you each week.
And now for a novel update. Right now, I’m working through a third revision of the novel, and my goal is to have it completed by the end of next week. Then, I will be sending it off to the beta readers. Yikes!
Writing a novel is hard. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Through this process, I have learned that it is so much easier to talk and dream about writing a novel than it is to actually write one. I’ve also got a newfound respect for those who have written a novel.
I just finished the second draft of the novel I wrote at the end of last year. I wrote the first draft in six weeks and it was 88,825 words. The second draft has taken me nearly four months to complete. It is 80,242 words, but I cut out 44,312 words from the first draft. So, in this second revision, I rewrote half the novel. And it has been really, really difficult. The writing itself has been hard, but the coming up against myself again and again has been especially harsh.
There was a moment earlier this week, when I thought I was just going to quit. I only had one chapter left, and I just could not write anymore. There is something deeply emotional happening in me. This novel is more than just a novel. I don’t quite know how to language it yet, but I have come up against some very persistent internal demons throughout this process. They are loud, obnoxious, and yell horrible things at me constantly even in my sleep. The past two days, instead of writing, I made art to try to shut them up, but they persisted. Today, I woke up, I made art, and they finally were quiet enough for me to finish the last chapter.
I know round three is coming, but for this moment, I am celebrating making it through round two and surviving. This writing, it is hard, it is brutal, but I have made it through yet another round, and I am still standing.
Last year, I decided I was done with writing. I was tired of always talking about writing a book, and then never following through. So, I decided to just give up. It was right about that time that I came across Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival. There are not words to express what an impact taking part in Sketchbook Revival had on my life. Since participating, I have created something every day for a year. In fact, taking part in Sketchbook Revival is what eventually brought me back to my writing. If you’re interested in participating, the 2019 session has just started, and it is free! You can sign up here. If you’re worried that you are not artistic enough, just know that I could not even draw when I participated, and somehow, the exercises awakened a creative part of myself that I didn’t know even existed. So, if you have ever wanted to develop a daily creative habit, I highly recommend participating. I am eternally grateful to Karen Abend for creating such a wonderful, safe environment to allow everyone to spread their creative wings.
The first sketchbook page below is continuous line portrait drawings from Koosje Koene‘s session Portrait Party. One thing that I love about the Sketchbook Revival sessions is that they are so much fun. This was no exception.
The second page (second/third photos) are sidewalk crack animals. Yep! That’s right. In Carla Sonheim‘s session we made animals out of sidewalk cracks. So. Much. Fun! I imagine my son and I will have a lot of fun doing this creative exercise over the summer.
The third page is filled with magical mindfulness houses from Tamara Laporte‘s session which really did help me relieve some overwhelming stress I was experiencing this morning.
I’m hoping to keep up with all the sessions this year, and to share my progress here.