Monthly Archives: April 2009

Good enough*

Self-portrait, Seattle, WA, Canon Rebel Xti

If you are reading this you are probably overwhelmed. Right? (If you aren’t overwhelmed I would love to know your secret!) But for the rest of us, we live in a world where we are juggling so many things. Whether it’s juggling kids and work, a day job with your creative life, or all the other commitments and responsibilities we take on, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed a lot of the time. But something got clear for me today.

I have been reading the super inspiring Chris Guillebeau’s site recently, and something in his 279 days manifesto really hit home. It was a small thing, directed toward bloggers like myself, a simple recommendation to schedule the days that you publish. It doesn’t matter if you choose 2, 3 or 7 days,
just choose what days you want to publish and follow through on that promise.

I had been thinking about doing this already, but what I realized is what creating a schedule actually gives you- Enoughness. Really, truly. In the world of overwhelm there is never enough. There is not enough time, money, resources, to keep you going. Your heart is racing, you are always behind, you are not doing enough. It is a rough way to live. I know this from personal experience.

What I considered today was this: What if I decided what was enough? What if I decided that posting three essays a week was really, really enough? Or maybe two essays is enough. When I think about simplifying my life, I need to consider the question: How much is enough for me to feel satisfied? How much will get the job done? It occurred to me that it’s possible that I already average about 2 or 3 posts a week, but I never feel the satisfaction of a job well done, or a sense of completion because I never declared what I was committed to. I never decided what was enough.

I can also see that I suffer from the same problem in the realm of finances. I don’t create sales goals or budgets, I don’t know for sure how much money I make or how much money I need to earn to keep my finances healthy and abundant. I simply bust my butt to make as much as I can, spend as little as possible, treat myself to cute clothes occasionally and pray that everything works out. This does not make me a bad person, and so far it has worked out okay, but I also rob myself of the satisfaction of knowing I am earning what I set out to. My default is to assume that I’m not earning enough, or not doing enough to earn that money, but a lot of the time I actually am.

Does anyone out there relate to this?

Where in our lives have we not distinguished what enough looks like? Without this, we are constantly disappointed in ourselves, constantly afraid and thoroughly overwhelmed. And if we are creating realistic goals and still feeling overwhelmed, perhaps it’s time to simplify again. Saying no is powerful.
And if you are a perfectionist like me, and wonder if good enough is well, good enough, I am here to say that it is. Good enough is really effin good.

blinded by the cuteness*

Compassion Ben, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Ben in red, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

So glad you guys love the heart pendant so much! I will only have 50 ready for Mother’s Day, so if you are wanting one for that special day you might want to order soon. They are going fast.

heart pendant*

self portrait with heart pendant, Canon Rebel Xti

A brand new pendant to add to the superhero collection! Just in time for Mother’s Day… this heart has the word “loved” engraved on the back. Perfect gift for yourself or someone who is loved by you this Mother’s day.

heart pendant, back side, Canon Rebel Xti

Dreams do come true*

Picture Hope (the project by Shutter Sisters Jen Lemen and Stephanie Roberts) won the Name Your Dream Assignment!!! I’m so excited I can’t stand it!

i love books*

Chris Cobb’s installation of books arranged by color, Adobe Books, San Francisco, Canon Rebel Xti

Books that are making me very happy while I am hunkered down with day 21 of sore throat:

A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart: I remember seeing this web site years ago and was struck by the photography and simplicity of their idea: a daily photo conversation between two friends that live 3,191 miles apart. It is now a book, and has a mysterious, elemental beauty that is striking and resonant.

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity My pal, Mike Robbins (author of Focus on the Good Stuff) just came out with his newest book. I like how authenticity is making a comeback, how we are connecting again to what it means to be our true selves and the power we can find in that one promise to ourself.

The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel Just started Katherine Center’s debut book on the airplane and she had me hooked immediately. Very fun and easy to enjoy.

Love Walked In I know nothing about this book and haven’t opened it yet, but the cover appeals to me so much I will happily just put it by my nightstand to look pretty.

Because I Love Her This collection of essays is such a powerful, funny and moving look at having a daughter and being a daughter. It’s a great gift for mother’s day.

The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections Another book that had me at the cover! I’m looking forward to soaking in Amanda Soule’s philosophy on parenting and creative living.

back + Twitter

pretty buds, Silver Spring, MD, Canon Rebel Xti

I’m back from my time in DC with Jen Lemen. We are collaborating on a fabulous, semi-secret project that we will be divulging soon and it was great to be together and create. I thought that given four days without a 2 year old I would be on fire, writing up a storm, even completing the project. But alas, give me four days on my own and I will sleep, and sleep, and sleep. I had no idea how tired I was. Luckily there was still time to make good progress.

While I was there, Jen broke me down and gave me the Twitter download. I am very resistant to technology but the micro-blogging bite-sizeness of twitter sold me. Sometimes 140 characters is all I can cough up.

Follow me over there if you like! I can see doing special giveaways and discounts for the twitterati.

Be Present Retreat registration*

Registration is up for the Be Present Retreat! It will fill up quickly with only 22 spots… I hope to see many of you there!

be back next week*

be back, Canon Beach, Oregon, Canon Rebel Xti

I’m off for several days to DC… have a fabulous weekend everybody!

and if you are in Seattle tomorrow evening, April 16th, check out the art opening at my parent’s gallery, Medici Gallery in Pioneer Square. They have a gorgeous exhibition featuring contemporary italian painters. There will be art, wine and good peeps. Wish I could be there!

Medici Gallery
125 S. Jackson
Seattle, WA

Be Present Retreat*

Kelly Rae and me in Seattle, Canon Rebel Xti

Just wanted to send out a little announcement that I will be teaching again this fall! It will be a cozy Be Present Retreat on the Oregon coast with my dear one Kelly Rae and the talented Liz Elayne. More details to come, but I wanted to give you a heads up since there are only 22 spots available for this retreat. It will be held October 14th-17th and registration will open up mid-April.

We will be painting, taking photos, sharing meals and just generally having a soulful time together. The above photo is of the painting I did with Kelly Rae. If she can teach me to do something so pretty, she can teach you too!

Finding resilience*

cookie sheet carpet burn, Canon Rebel Xti

A little light bulb went off for me recently. A sign of progress, an aha of growth, a rare moment of seeing that all this inner work we do can pay off.

Several months ago, I read Brene Brown’s incredible book, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power. One of the pieces that struck me the most was the distinction between guilt and shame. Said simply, the self-talk for guilt is “I did something bad.” The self-talk for shame is, “I am bad.”

If you tend toward the I am bad, you are probably shame-prone. I definitely fall into that category and after reading her book I started to notice the small ways that this would show up for me. For example, when I would make a mistake like spilling something on the floor, my inner dialogue could go something like this, “You’re so stupid! What were you thinking? Idiot!!”

The other night I was cooking with a friend and as I went to put the heavy dish of lasagne into the oven I noticed a cookie sheet that had been stored inside. Drat! I thought, picked it up with my free hand and searched for a place to put this now blazing hot cookie pan down. Since there was no counter space left in the kitchen, I set it down on the living room floor and finished putting the lasagne in. Then I promptly forgot about it.

An hour later I went to retrieve it and noticed something alarming. The pan had melted the carpet into a perfect, cookie sheet size burn mark. I touched it. It was hard, like plastic is hard. I frowned realizing what I had done, but I didn’t go to all of the places where I would normally go. In my mind was a calmer sense of, ah well, that sure is a bummer, isn’t it? Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but what are you gonna do?

Where normally I would have crafted a better story for my husband, my landlord, my friends who have been gasping at the sight of it, I have been telling the truth in a really uncomplicated way. “Yeah, I put a hot cookie sheet on the floor. Who knew carpet was made of plastic?” 

I’m noticing that the truth is not so bad. What’s hard are the untruths we tell ourselves every day. You are stupid, you are incompetent, you are not enough…. That is the painful stuff.

I’m so glad I am working with these lessons now, so that Ben might not have to witness me berate myself over and over and might have more compassion for himself and his own foibles. It really is possible to become more shame resilient, and for me it began with simply having the language for shame. This is one of the many gifts of Brene’s work.

If you haven’t read this book already, or even if you have, I urge you to go to her site and do the read-along with her. (It started on Monday) She even has a podcast to go along with it. Give a listen.. this stuff will change you in the most profound ways.