Books

Book Recommendation: Day One

My dear Facebook friend, Kerry Scherer, suggested that I do 7 days of book recommendations. I had every intention of starting this on Monday, but my son came home from school on Monday with a migraine, and well, Tuesday was Tuesday, and then Wednesday flew by in a blur, and here we are on Thursday and finally my first book recommendation.

I can be an incredibly anxious person. I believe a lot of that anxiety stems from the belief that I have to do everything on my own. And, maybe some of it stems from wanting to do everything on my own, too. Another part of it stems from wanting to control things that are completely out of my control. I developed a very warped sense of myself and the world as a child due to severe mental and physical abuse and all in the name of an invisible man in the sky. So, I tried to be good. Tried to be very, very good. Developed the belief that if I could just do things perfectly, everything would be okay. The belief instilled in me was that everything bad that happened to me was because I did something wrong, and even if that wasn’t the case, it didn’t matter because there was something inside me that was inherently wrong, and as such, I deserved what I got. I have carried that with me since childhood, and judging from the emotions I feel right now typing it, I am still carrying it with me now. Why do I mention all of this? Because I’ve come to realize, as I look over my favorite books, that they almost all have something to do with finding an alternate way to believe in a power greater than my human self. I have come to realize that, despite all the difficulties I have experienced in my life, I am still a seeker, and this revelation brought back one of very few memories from childhood.

I remember standing on the half-moon drive that ran in front of our house and two others. I was surrounded by pine trees that seemed to pierce right through the sky. There was a moment while standing there, at maybe age seven or eight, when I just knew I was more than the circumstances I was living in. I knew that I was destined for more than what was happening around me. To adult me, it feels like a moment when an angel came down and whispered in my ear and said:

“This moment you are in is not you. You are so much more than this. Look beyond your circumstances.”

There have been more instances since then when I have heard the little whisper, and other times when I’ve been in such despair and there was nothing but silence. But, in 2011, I had a near death experience during surgery that shifted everything for me. The need to understand that experience (which I’m still trying to do) has definitely influenced what books I choose to read, and what books have the most impact on my life.

As I think more about the books I have read, I am fascinated by how they carry our memories with them. I can see a certain book on my shelf, and the memory of what I was going through at the time I was reading it comes into clear focus in my mind. Books are little storage units for our emotional and physical experiences. How powerful is that?

downloadMy first book recommendation is Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver. It is a book I turn to again and again when I am afraid, when my life circumstances feel out of control, or when I am fighting the need to try to control every little aspect along with the outcome of every situation in my life. This book is my cure for anxiety. It is a reminder that we can surrender everything, and let that mysterious power greater than ourselves do what it needs to do to bring us through whatever it is we are experiencing. What I love about this book is Tosha Silver doesn’t just say, “Let it all go,” she says, “Look for the signs of the Divine. They are everywhere.” And when you start to look for them, you realize she is right, there are little messages everywhere. It is a reminder of the magic of this Universe that none of us truly understand. All we can do is look for the little breadcrumbs that have been dropped along the way that say to us:

“This moment you are in is not you. You are so much more than this. Look beyond your current circumstances and you will see there is magic everywhere.”

Check out Tosha’s website, Facebook, and Instagram account. She is always posting amazing change me prayers along with insights and proof from her own life that you can let the Divine take the lead, let go of control, and things will work out better than you could have ever imagined. I believe all of us need to hear that message again and again and again.

 

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Day 10

I am not feeling well today, and in addition to that, I’ve got the beginnings of a migraine. It seems fitting then that the focus of this page for day 10 of #DailyArtDevotions is on my fear of creativity monster.

I sketched and colored my monster, and then decided I wanted a colorful background to symbolize the creativity he is standing guard over. It really does feel sometimes that I have to go to battle with him in order to gain access to my creativity.

And…after looking at him for quite some time, I realize he has a striking resemblance to one my exes…hmmm…interesting 😜

art journal, Daily Art Devotion

Daily Art Devotions: Day 9

For Day 9 of the #DailyArtDevotions 40-day #artjournal journey with Elizabeth Foley, I turned my fears into flowers.

It is no wonder that I struggled mightily while creating this page. Layer after layer, it looked like a total mess. Parts of the paper even started to come up and peel off, and I had no idea how to fix it. But…I just kept going.

Maybe this experience was the Universe showing me exactly how to handle all these fears I have about creating: Just keep going in spite of the fear and something beautiful will eventually emerge.

Maybe that is the reward for not giving up.

Art

Emoji Me: Disgust and Fear

I’ve been struggling with anxiety all day because I signed up to read a scene from my novel-in-progress at the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA Alumni Reading event tomorrow afternoon. I’m not a fan of reading my work in front of people, but I know how important it is to do it anyway despite my fear and anxiety. Wish me luck!

As my sketchbook practice for today, I finished Nina Rycroft’s #EmojiMe Skillshare class. I drew one character with a disgusted facial expression and one with a fearful expression. It was surprisingly difficult for me to draw those facial expressions. It doesn’t help that I’m still struggling with sketching with graphite instead of my beloved blue pencil. However, it feels great to have completed another illustrating class.