Monday, August 30, 2010
I love love love my bike. Well my adolescent girl-self loves my bike. I love nothing more then to feel the wind push against my body as I race down a root and rock covered trail in the woods, trying not to be thrown off. I love the freedom that I feel because of the places that my bike can take me. I love how strong I feel when I finally mount that hill that I swear I will get up without getting off my bike to walk. I love to feel the moist forest air sinking deeply into my lungs. I imagine the oxygen rich woods filling me with health and vitality. At first I feel apprehensive at being alone but I soon become enveloped by my surroundings and feel safe in its care. The woods feel like home. And when I am finished releasing my pent up energy I allow myself to dismount and just be in the woods.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
These are all very mindful acts. And mindfulness is essential to creating. We have to pay attention to what we are doing. We have to be in the moment of the creation. We can ponder while we work which serves to feed our creativity. It also provides an opportunity to process. We might only be processing our day or we might be processing our lifetime. Regardless the one thing that we don't do enough is process. We continue to take in new information in the information age without editing much of what comes at us. So processing is more important then ever these days. Processing simply means that we have some reflective time. We reflect on what is important to know or remember or attend to and what is junk that needs to be filtered out. We need to do this in order to maintain our mental health.
The most essential thing for good mental health is to get to know ourselves. We can do this through art. When we take the time to create we get to hear our inner chatter. This chatter can tell us a lot about ourselves. Normally our lives are so noisy that we don't hear this chatter but it is always there. So being mindful, processing and reflecting while we are creating are ways to keep us in touch with this inner monologue. Knowing what we say to ourselves on a daily basis is important to being able to add or delete what we want. Like in our art project we might want to add a bit more of this or get rid of that, in order to create the art we want. We can do the same with our inner voice. We can learn to add praise and stop negative self talk if we provide ourselves with the opportunity to hear it.
Friday, August 13, 2010
When I am in the woods I make a conscious effort to try to look carefully to find what is hidden, a frog just poking it's eyes above the water, a deer slipping past, a humming bird trying to see if our bright red water container holds sweet nector. I like to slip into nature and that is why I love our tandum kayak. We can almost silently sneek up on the turtles sunning themselves on the rocks close to shore. Of course they always hear us and slide into the water before we get to close. But we keep trying. Once in a while when we are paddling we catch a turtle unaware just under the surface of the water. We watch as they quickly dart away from our big yellow boat.
One of my other favorite activities is to ride my bike in the woods. I love feeling enveloped by the trees and moist air. When I ride I feel like a kid. No hill is too big to climb, no roots or rocks are too threatening to race over, no decent is too fast. I fly through the air on my bike as if infused with a mission. I feel happy and giddy with the freedom. So off I go...
Thursday, August 12, 2010
After much thought it became clear to me that these women weren't having any fun. I wondered why. Then it hit me that these women did not have access to the fun part of themselves, their early adolescent girl. I knew that this part of the self knew how to have fun. She knew how to play and not let anything stop her from laughing too loud or feeling too passionatly. This self was unapologetically herself.
I knew that I needed to figure out how to help women reintegrate her adolescent self. But I didn't know what kind of forum to do this in. I had toyed with the idea of running a group but wasn't convinced that that would work for practical reasons, i.e., we would need to gather one evening a week, find a suitable space... So as I explained myself to my photographer friend she said, "what about running an ecourse?" And I replied, "what is an ecourse?" She patiently explained it to me and slowly I realized that that was exactly the forum that I was looking for. It would provide the structure, accessibility and artistic freedom that I wanted to provide. So in March I sat down and wrote the course. It took me about three weeks to put 6 assignments together to get at the ideas that I had been sitting on for probably years. Today marks week six of the course. It will soon be over and I have learned so much.