an invincible SUMMER

IMG_2810editMy well-meaning intent to post every Wednesday has already passed me by this week.  Life and work (good work) just got in the way.  I’m definitely on a learning curve with this blogging thing, and I thank you for your patience.  But guess what, this is DAY ONE, and I’m PINCHING myself because I GET TO do this!!!!!  I hope you feel the same way when you face a little – or BIG – setback.  Onward…….

The quote this week, by Albert Camus, is one of my all-time favorites because it completely describes me.  I can quite quickly get deeply mired in the hopeless feelings of depression when something goes terribly and unexpectedly wrong.

WINTER = things seem dead, depressing, hopeless, cold, isolated.

I’m guessing you can strongly relate to this.  We all have had difficult setbacks, and probably have endured great tragedies, perhaps many times over.  How we cope and react to these events varies greatly, and has a lot to do with where we are in life at that point.  And you learn.  And the more you live, the more you realize that somehow things will get better, even if you can’t possibly see or feel how, at the moment.

I have had, and continue to have, many “winters”.  We have a family member with deep problems that cause chaos and disorienting disruption within our family on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.  It feels like WINTER when friends and family turn their backs on us, because the situation seems hopeless and helpless and they don’t know what to do, and I understand that.  And the these problems are chronic, with no “cure” to look forward to.  In fact, most people don’t want to hear about it at all, because there is no fix, no solution.  Everyone has their own stuff to deal with, and I’m not expecting anything from anyone.  I’m just describing how I feel. For us, all we can do is to keep going and endure.  And yet, in the depths of those helpless hopeless feelings, I am amazed that still my soul reaches out toward HOPE.Given to Michelle for her birthdayThat little pinpoint of light that sneaks into the corner of my mind’s eye.  Like a wink and a giggle that whispers, everything’s going to be OK.

SUMMER = things are alive, vibrant, happy, bright, the world is peaceful and connected

IMG_2821editIn the past, before this family situation existed, I thought I was pretty happy.  No, very happy.  I took an awful lot for granted.  I had worked hard to create the life I wanted, and felt I had succeeded.  I had suffered many tragedies, but of the more “expected” kinds (deaths of loved ones, endings of relationships, professional disappointments, etc.)  Nothing, however, absolutely nothing had prepared me for the type of problems I described above: chronic, cureless, endless, hopeless, depressing.

FINALLY I had to dig deep in a way I never had before.  I really really had to face who I was, what real commitment means to me, and how to manage ongoing stress.  And I like what I found.  Imperfect as I am, I am doing this.  Walking the walk.  Stumbling quite often, but moving, if only a millimeter at a time.  I GET TO do this, and I feel blessed and privileged to do so.  A little sunrise beating in my heart, always.  I don’t know why, but I’m not questioning it.  Within me lies and INVINCIBLE SUMMER that will not, can not, be extinguished, no matter how often I find myself in WINTER.

A big part of my emotional self-care is creating art.  I have always loved combining words and art, but was not comfortable or confident doing so.  Until I discovered the work of Melody Ross and the Brave Girls Club (http://bravegirlsclub.com/wing-sessions).  I know many of you are part of this club too and love Melody and her work as much as I do.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, I can’t urge you strongly enough to check it out!  Not just for art techniques (which are phenomenal) but for the soul work behind it.

Years ago, one of my summer hippie jobs in college was tooling leather belts for a French artist, to sell at craft fairs.  It was fun, but not wildly creative.  Fast forward a few decades, I went to Brave Girls Camp and learned Melody’s “chip art” techniques.  With lots of help on finishing techniques from the queen herself, Camille, Wonder Cam, the Leather Whisperer (http://shesonehotmama.blogspot.com/).  And now I’m addicted to making tooled leather jewelry.  This is a cuff bracelet I made for my dear friend Michelle, who always has HOPE beating in her heart:Given to Michelle for her birthday

The an invincible SUMMER collage/sign was a fun experiment with gels and pastes and powders and paint and mediums and metallics and stencils in making the background.  In other words, JUST PLAYING.  No outcome in sight.  Experimenting.  And you know what, it always seems to amazingly come together!  There is no secret, I have no special gift.  I’m just doing it.  For those of you who say “I wish I could do that”, I say, “YOU CAN” and you deserve to take the exquisite time for yourself to do it.IMG_2821edit2I know you have an invincible summer beating within you.  Even if you haven’t recognized it in a very long while.  Tell us about it, please!  How do you find it?  What is it?  Make sure and check back because I respond to all your comments.  I love you so much, dear reader.  Thank you.

13 thoughts on “an invincible SUMMER

  1. Wonderful post. Isn’t it awesome that it’s always Day One? I’m so grateful just for that. It is my hope that you can find peace in the huge challenges that have been tossed in your road of life and that you continue to take care of yourself emotionally through you artisitic self care. You are indeed, an artist Lisa 🙂

  2. Lisa!

    Brave sister telling it like it is! Boy, I had a winter that lasted 2 years, where I was just looking forward to an end – any kind of end – to it. I so get that. Beautifully written and so full of your beautiful spirit. Thank you for sharing yourself here. I just love you to bits!

    • I think having “winters” is something many of us share as women. With relationships, kids, careers, its almost a guarantee that some major something will go terribly wrong and throw us completely off track. I’d like to know more about your 2 year winter, and how you made it end. Your kind words make me blush, Laurie!

  3. Day Ones!!! Grateful for them as well! I used to think there were “good times” and then there were “bad times” but what I’ve come to learn is that if we really stop, look and listen with our entire being- good and bad, challenge and bliss- well they are happening at the same time thru the course of a day or even an hour. Yes there are some things that are not curable and are very challenging in every way but somewhere if we just look for it, there is always hope and the warmth of something good going on. I echo Laurie’s sentiments above, thank you for sharing yourself here Lisa. Love you and looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful artistry, in form and thoughtful heartfelt words.

    • I love everything you say, and couldn’t agree with you more!!!! Everything IS happening all at the same time. I just think life would have been a whole lot less confusing if I’d learned this earlier. Well, we know there’s a reason I didn’t, because I wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to learn about myself. Getting there!!!!! And I look forward to seeing more of YOUR happy art also!

  4. I love all your postings and this Is particularly compelling. They say everything will be ok in the end and if it is not ok then it is not the end.
    I have ways admired your resiliency to weather pretty bad storms, fueled by your great capacity for love.
    Until now travel does for mecwhst art does for you. Not quite practical though! So now that I hace more time (silvernlining of an unplannedboutcome) I get to figure out other invincibles.
    In bad circumstances it has helped me find what is in it that could be a plus I would not have otherwise and see how it can be maximized.
    Love A

    • You are so wise, Alicia!! And I have always admired your gusto for exploration and discovering new places and experiences. That is definitely another form of finding one’s “summer” and connecting with others, and then in turn understanding yourself. I’m glad you have more time to do this, unplanned though it was. I guess this is an unexpected gift!!! Love you!!!

  5. Lisa,

    What a fantastic post. I totally relate to the endless winter. A few years back my “winter” truely started. I had a few events that triggered it. When the weather started to get cold, and the days shorter, I would get awful anxiety. I still do, but it’s getting better. This could have something to do with my fear of dying– starving and freezing, in an alley behind a chinese restaurant. It’s freezing, and I.just.cant.hold…on….any….longer……. And then a chinese lady comes out and thrown warm fried rice on me.. but it’s just too little, too late.

    Ah… winter sucks.

    • Oh, visions of Les Miserables, my dear Fantine!!! Perhaps its not the dying but the suffering you describe that hurts so badly? All I know is that you have the most beautiful of radiant sunshine smiles and a vibrant presence that ignites creativity in so many others, that you can’t help but have a summer percolating within you. I know this to be positively true ❤

  6. Oh Lisa, what a powerful post! It really spoke to me as you always seem to do. What amazes and inspires me most is knowing a little about your personal struggles and that in the midst of all that you can still shine, sparkle, and even glow. Winter has been loooong for me too and yet I know I have the power to bring a little sunlight in whenever I choose. I know that it takes conscious effort to choose to see the sunlight but I know it is a choice. It is still so hard though. My little craft room is my place to bask in the sunshine. I never pretended to be an “artist” but I sure love playing with my art supplies and have learned sooo much since Brave Girl Camp. It is just awesome that I get to continue to see and learn from you, Melody, Kathy and so many other inspiring women. You keep things fresh in my mind and in my heart reminding me that I get to choose and I am beginning to do just that! 🙂

    • You are summer and sunshine to me, Kam!!!! And you are an Artist — this I can attest because I happen to have a beautiful charm chain attached to my purse that you made for me, and I cherish it every day. I learn from YOU and how YOU keep going even when horrible things keep being thrown in your path. You mean SO MUCH to so many people. Thank you ❤

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