WANTED: Distractions

“Distractions” get a bad rap. They are usually associated with things people try to avoid.

The most common distractions are the unwanted rabbit holes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, television (binge watching), blogs, the internet in general and my personal guilty pleasure- the app Clash of Clans (don’t judge). Why are these distractions? Are we trying to numb our minds or procrastinate from the day to day hustle and bustle of being a mom, wife, daughter, worker/employee and friend? And to that I say “Guilty, guilty, guilty”.

But sometimes distractions are welcomed.

When my daughter was 12, she wanted to go to a sleep-a-way camp in Maine for 7 weeks. She really wanted to go, but I wasn’t ready for her to go. Because I am divorced, her dad and I have shared custody of her. I felt that my time with her was already limited, and I didn’t want that to include a 7 week chunk of the summer. But, she was persistent ( I know this persistence will payoff for her in the future)!

I acquiesced the next year when she was 13. I knew it was the right decision for her to go, and I just needed to get over it. I felt that it was selfish of me not to let her go.

That first summer she went to camp, I knew I needed distractions. In addition to my day job, I joined two books clubs, took tennis lessons, had many dinners with many friends, made lots of hand knits and mailed A LOT of letters to Maine. Needless to say, she had an amazing, life changing experience and continued to go away for several summers after that. The subsequent summers were much, much easier for me. I knew she was safe and she was so very happy. It was also nice to be free for seven weeks and have wine with crackers and cheese for dinner with my husband on the beach!

So many letters to Camp!

So many letters to Camp!

No campers were harmed! :)

No campers were harmed! :)

This year my need for distraction is different.

As I mentioned in my introduction post, I am working through grief. This loss has been so profound it is effecting every aspect of my life; my job, my lifestyle, my relationships with my husband, my family and my making. I continue to work thru, trudge thru, plow thru and sometimes laugh thru this grief. Four months after Betsy's passing I can see how grief shifts and changes. Sometimes I embrace it, sometimes I cast it aside, but mostly, I look for distractions from it.

I continue to make, I continue to see my therapist, and I talk about it with my husband and friends. I let time pass.

Some of my distractions this past week have been thoughts about gun culture in the USA (when will we make real, profound changes to our gun laws?), watching the Olympics (that Team Spirit- I love it), planning for my mom to visit for a few days, and embroidering on the cyanotypes I made last month.

Cyanotype with indigo dyed thread

Cyanotype with indigo dyed thread

Then there’s always the distraction of the new project.

This week I started dyeing cotton yarn with Indigo so I can knit a sweater (or two) for samples for a workshop I am teaching this summer (follow my Facebook page or Website for exciting details to come).

Inky indigo bliss.

Inky indigo bliss.

There will always be distractions, wanted or unwanted. There’s a (un)healthy dose of distraction to being productive, brainstorming, relaxing and just plain procrastination. I am looking to find balance in my distractions so I can stay centered, focused and mindful...not an easy task. Like grief, distractions take on different forms and different shapes. They both ebb and flow with us as we navigate a path forward.

I hope your next week is filled with things that will propel you forward. Thanks for reading. See you next Tuesday where the theme will be Evaluation. Peace, Cathy

Self-Discipline the Anecdote to Distraction


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Week 6 – The Future is Female – Theme – Distractions          

YIKES Where to begin???

This post was really hard for me, and having written three conflicting versions I came to realize that my life is a long string of distractions.  We can blame social media for the brunt of them – that’s easy and Social Media are actually only a small segment of my personal issue.  I mean knitting is a distraction, making cookies another, answering the door at my studio, incoming emails, the list is long and mostly full of super fun and satisfying projects.  Rather than name, criticize, rant and fist wave, it seems more productive for me to use this space to clearly identify where my attention needs to be to actualize my goal of financial independence in a simpler life.  

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Not exactly clear on what keeps me from getting these posts scheduled in plenty of time to make my weekends smoother.  Not sure why I work so hard all week (and weekend) and still seem to have so many tasks unfinished, or really unstarted in most cases.  What is that about?  Is it about being female?  Is it about always feeling like I’m not accomplishing enough? Each week since this pilot started I have assured myself that the next week will be different, my post will be written and uploaded and scheduled before the end of Friday allowing me that elusive great weekend exhale.  I have attributed my lack of ability to acheive this so far, to my adult life characteristic of having too many irons in the fire, too many ongoing projects. too much fun to be had.  These last 12 months I have been actively removing large responsibilities from my self-demand yet the frenzied pace and disjointed lack of flow persists. 

I am working on it!

I am working on staying clear on my full-tilt, hell bent, path to financial freedom.  I hear and read advice that my path forward should involve change, change in outlook, method, and mindset.  I hear and read that the universe will show me the way - but I am impatient! I bet that I am flailing around, doing things to feel forward motion when maybe what I need to be doing is sitting in stillness, listening, allowing.  This week I will check that out - I will sit in silence every day for 10 minutes.  I will make a schedule for my week and stick to it.  It will take all the self-discipline I can muster but I am committed and now accountable to you, here, to DO THIS!

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This week I will continue on my morning commitment to 10 minutes of meditation to bring me into now and focus my day.  I will continue on my brand new daily home yoga practice with help from www.YogaWithAdrienne.com.  I will build self-discipline to keep me on my path.  Seems so easy from here.  Oh and those awesome, tasty, fun-filled, creative distractions?  Those will be allowed and encouraged once my commitments toward my goal have been completed.

This is a change.  Let’s see how the outcome looks as time ticks into the next weeks.

Thanks for being a part of this journey into my power.  Hope my path helps you along yours. 


Who will help? And how?

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. 4H card making at Joann Fabrics... for our troops! 

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. 4H card making at Joann Fabrics... for our troops! 

My heart is broken...

Yet another school shooting...

Today...  this day... (2/14/18)... this day of love, romance...

This day of yet another horrific story of public tragedy, broken minds, broken bodies, and broken hearts.

The word HELP screams out in my head...

Who will help us?

How can we help others?

Who will help those who remain, after so much grief cuts into their day suddenly... unexpectedly?

Who will help those who stepped out to help, and now that the immediate craziness has passed; are left with flashing images that keep them up all night... for many nights?

 After such senseless pain... “help” stomps around in frantic circles, with its arms held up in the air, like a desperate, unanswered question.

 However, this post won’t be morose or negative...

quite the opposite.

 Hope... Hope continues on... in the face of so much hurt...

Just plain, hurt.

There’s no imagining hurt away; no living in denial. There’s also no ability to hide under a rock, and allow the world to spin without us... we’re here, on this planet together.

 Our children need us to teach them how to love, and forgive, and keep trying; and how to not let fear stop them ... even when it seems as if they should.

 Parents... parents just like us, need other parents to support, and comfort, and befriend, and cook for them when they are in so much pain they can’t move... because that is a real thing... pain that’s so deep we can’t move.

 

Teachers need help, just to go back into their place of work... that’s become a war zone.

 

Photo: Chris singing at UNO outdoor Pizza Oven. The Porches in background. 

Photo: Chris singing at UNO outdoor Pizza Oven. The Porches in background. 

My son is a teacher... He’s also a student in grad school. Im sure he sees these devastating school massacres from all sides:

 

As a teacher he must be aware; must be alert; must support, yet not befriend; must remain neutral, yet passionate.

 

As a student he must be aware; must be alert; must be supportive, while yet needing so much support; must befriend, yet remain professionally distant; and must be passionate with a level of realism.

 As a parent of a teacher/student... I must offer the help I can:

 

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. Dealing with pain through art therapy!

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. Dealing with pain through art therapy!

  • A genuine listening ear; hearing not just things said, but actively listening in all areas of conversation.
  • A prayerful heart... a heart that extends itself in the midst of a chaotic schedule... without frustration.
  • Plenty of hugs and encouragement.

 My son joyfully still finds the ability to help others, in spite of his hectic workload. I believe my son has learned the key to life... the more we give of ourselves, the more we are filled.

 Teaching is, by definition, giving to receive back. Bestowing knowledge, to facilitate change, because learning is change... this propagates the help cycle. Once learning is received, and change has occurred... the give back process begins. Thankfully, as a society, I feel we are learning... ARE changing.

 Help has a wonderful way of self renewing. Though I think, like any other “thing”, I can fall into the pit of “if a little is good, then more is better.”. I have to use care to help others, while focusing on self nurturing balance... if I don’t first help myself... I am of no use to anyone else!

 2018 is filled with: self help books and seminars; meditational apps; DIY channels; support groups and chat rooms; advocacy groups; missions; community coalitions; even Google AssistTM (which, by the way, is fantastic!), yet, we have one of the highest societal rates of anxiety/depression ever recorded in history.

 

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. Williamstown, Ma. 

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. Williamstown, Ma. 

So... from whence then comes  our true help? I have to seek a deeper filling than satisfying relationships, accruing goods and services, or pouring out philanthropy.

The answer is so very simple, really; yet offensive to so many. For me, prayer to, and meditation on a Being much more complete than I could ever hope to be; (yet brings me to a place of full completion in Him) is my true source of hope... For me... Jesus. For others, I’m sure, someone or something else.

 This is a reality so strong for me, that if I attempt to write about Hope without mention of this truth, it falls into a flat, impotent pile. Placing hope in man, or a system, or things, or even myself will always fall short!

 

I need to take walks, or some days, even just sit outside. I need music, and art. I need to create! I need to give myself permission to sit quietly, and simply refill. I need to plan a vision board, or journal... to see where I want to go next... and then allow myself to physically/spiritually see me there! I need to laugh! Sometimes, I need to cry. I need to give myself time to heal, and recover on days I am not strong.

 

These are hard days... Yes, we need each other; we must walk in love, and concern, and mutual respect for each other! Isolation is so damaging; help is so crucial!

 

Photo Credit: Hope Motta. Just broke her guitar strings... became a photo art op. 

Photo Credit: Hope Motta. Just broke her guitar strings... became a photo art op. 

But, to receive help, we must first admit we need it. To admit need, sometimes feels like a fail... But is it? We must bear one another’s burdens! In order to do that, we must first make ourselves vulnerable... to quote a wise friend who recently said “ We must show our underbelly first.” (Thanks Matt!) We are unable to bear burdens, if burdens are not made known. No one will make their burdens clear to us if they feel we are so completely put together, we can’t identify... no one wants to be judged.

 Cycle continues...

 Unless we choose to willfully break that cycle... starting within ourselves!

 What joy to turn to someone, and ask “will you please help me?”  This releases a purpose in their life! This releases connection in my life! This allows me to know, I do not have to do it all alone!

In addition to turning to someone else... let me also turn inward, and celebrate the beauty, potential, and ability already placed there for me, by God, as well.

 Let me examine what I uniquely have to offer... that no one else can give!

 I have a friend who is an RN, and worked as an ER nurse. She was working as the recording nurse during the code of a 21 year old young man who was rapidly losing his life to a stab wound he received during a drug related assault. She had no physical or visual contact with this patient as the code team worked on his body. Her job was to record code details, and gather information. While searching through his wallet for Identification during the code, which was simultaneously being called as unsuccessful, she found his license... only to discover it was her own son lying on the stretcher... now lifeless... broken beyond repair.

Pain unimaginable... forgiveness, on her own, humanly impossible.

 She later became a pastor’s wife, and uses her incredibly painful story as a testimony to forgiveness and healing. She has written a book about  her journey through this nightmare... I highly recommend it!  Her’s is a life changing story of hope in the midst of great darkness. TheGreater Weight of Glory... Amazon!

 I mention this woman because I deeply love her! She has walked and prayed with me through several of my life’s more painful moments.

I have learned from her life’s testimony. She has made right choices, that have, in turn, helped me make right choices... and impacted my children , and theirs... and so on...

 She chose to help.

 She has helped me. She has been painfully equipped to help me. Without God’s help, she could never have even gotten out of bed... much less offered help to me.

I also choose to help... I choose to be a fierce female archetype: not afraid to love gently, and carry a big stick when it comes to teaching others to self nurture, self protect, self advocate... or to do all these same things to and towards those who are not in their own place of strength to do so for them self.

 

Back to our beautiful Youngs...who, in these days, have so much more to grieve, or fear than I ever did in my teens.

Photo Credit: Donna Motta.  Stop and Shop food drive for MLK Day of Service 2018... nbCC

Photo Credit: Donna Motta.  Stop and Shop food drive for MLK Day of Service 2018... nbCC

 

How can I help? How can I extend hope to precious people who may feel hopeless?

 By simply being...

 By not turning a blind eye, or jaded deaf ear. By being present...

 By not comparing their issues to “back in my day”; because nothing like this ever happened “back in my day”.

 By hugging, understanding, acknowledging, offering ideas for solution...

 By admitting we’re all not sure what to do, but something must be done... and we will do it.

 By taking action... not simply talking about action.

 By turning these painful situations to the the only hope we have... the Power so much greater than we... for me, God.

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. The Salt Den, New York

Photo Credit: Donna Motta. The Salt Den, New York

 By ensuring my own heart is pure, and filled with earnest care and compassion. By doing this, I can assure youth that all the world is not a hateful place... I can assure myself of this as well.

 I hear you students... I hear you parents... I hear you teachers/paramedics/Law Enforcement/Doctors/Nurses...I hear you parents of Assailants... your pain is real, and deep too.

 I hear all others... community members, Clergy, support counselors.

My heart of love goes out to each precious one of you. While I do not know the depth of your pain... I cry with you. I am sorry this happened to all of you... that it happens for all of us, in a much larger sense.

 Pain is so very real... Yet Hope does not; cannot; will not die in the face of it.

 We must take another breath, and again reach out in help, and offer hope to one another.

 Much love...

Much Peace...

 Warm energies of healing,

Hope, and forgiveness

Offered out to any and all in pain.

 Donna

HELP!

Help, its a funny word. A word that growing up, I was not familiar with. Actually in most cases it often scared me. I spent my childhood being independent. My life consisted of trying to figure out everything on my own. I don't know exactly what led me to be this way, but it was something I had to let go of as I became a young adult. 

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A few months ago, I realized that its okay to ask for help. I had never put much thought into the word as a kid. I knew that I liked to help others but when it came to me...well I didn't know what getting help was. Being 18 is HARD...it is one of those things that when growing up you think that it will be a prime time, everything will come easy, natural. With a month left of being 18 I can say that there was no part that was easy. There were parts that were filled with fun, love, and adventure, but getting through the rest was HARD. Thats were the help had to come in. 

Asking for help was something I needed to learn through this past year. I had to reach out to my friends and family when my daily activities were becoming a struggle. Things that became to overwhelming, school, work, and preparing to move across the country in 7 months, all of this I need help. My friends and family are there. They are there to help me when
I need it most. Being a child I didn't think I would need help, I carried the mindset that I could do everything myself. I could conquer the world by myself. At the end of the day that is just not the reality of it. We may be brought into this earth alone and we may die alone, but alone the way we need help. We need help from others to become what we strive for. Throughout our lives it is important to ask for help. Its okay to ask for help. Its okay to receive help. 

This is not a sign of weakness this is a sign of power. People who have your best interest in mind can help you more than you will ever know. They can help you become exactly the person that you want to be. This is what I have learned. I have learned so much from receiving help from others. I still have much to learn about help but in the meantime I am going to keep asking for it. I am going to keep striving for my goals and being the best person that I can possibly be through HELP. 

Our greatness has always come from people who expect nothing and take nothing for granted- folks who work hard for what they have, then reach back and help others after them
— Michele Obama
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I don't exactly know what I want to do with my future as I have mentioned before, but I know I want to help the world. I want to change our society so it can be better. Our world is polluted with hatred and evil, as it seems. I want to help where help is needed. I want to help our society grow as much as I can in my life. I am going to school to learn how to do that. I am learning more about the world I live in and how exactly I can help it. 

Along my journey, I am not only going to ask for help when it is needed, but I am going help when I see others in need. I believe we live in a society where people don't always reach out to others. It easier for people to turn a blind eye and carry on with our busy lives. After realizing how important help is, why wouldn't I reach out to anyone that needs it. People need help! so why aren't we helping them. Thats why I am asking all of you who are reading this for help. I am asking you to reach out to anyone that needs it. Reach out to help the world. From this we can achieve anything as a society. 

I would love to hear all of your ideas to help the world. What can you do to make a difference. Leave comments below to share

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed this weeks post to learn more follow my social media 

 for my journey through pictures follow my instagram: siobhan_13

For my thoughts and views follow my twitter: siobhannrodgers

 

Community Support

Connections are threads within the fabric of life - The individual structural elements that support the whole, and bring strength to the entity

Continuing with the motif from my previous posts - clearly a current curiosity in my life

The word Support is important to me. I use this term often, as it is a a beautiful parallel to this week's theme; Help

cousins, sister and me

cousins, sister and me

Support, like Help, comes in many forms. It is kind gestures of encouragement that boost motivation; assistance in times of need; knowing someone has your back when challenge arises; companionship along a journey into the unknown. Support is the bond between people that gives room for growth, while acknowledging that not everything will be perfect; that we aren't responsible for others, but we most definitely can have an influence on their progression, which in turn has an affect on our self. 

There is no "going it alone" in life. Everything we do, everything we observe, consider and create - Everything - Every 'whole' exists through other components coming together.

This phenomenon is what constitutes Emergence

In the micro, each individual is constantly supported by billions of other individual units. Correspondingly, this is how life functions as we expand from the body outward into the macro.

And that's where community support comes into play

Right now I am on a mission to Connect and Create - to spread Love and Joy, Curiosity and Creativity - All these things go together, and might even mean close to the same thing...

To me, this is Connecting to Source, to the Oneness of Existence, to whatever God may Be - it is Following my Bliss, and knowing I am not 'the only one' doing these sorts of things, but that I am the only one of my self - the only one who can create and share this entity's energy through the experiences, connections and creations I bring forth.

With that intention - I seek to support others in their similar missions, such as this Future is Female project. Similarly, there is recognition that what we do individually can combine with the forces of others to create something even bigger. That the energies combined can support both contributors, as well as a third entity, the whole made from multiple parts.

Now, I am looking for people who are interested in further supporting this mission

Through projects I've initiated, I am hoping to build up a global community of creatives, connectors, and supporters. I am putting my energy into projects that are in their baby years, but can still have influence in individual lives, and hopefully spread their intentions further. 

I am looking for financial support to allow this project to continue after I graduate in May.

          By purchasing a Pocket Object or Connection Capsule, giving a Donation, or becoming a Sponsor,           you can help keep these projects Going and Growing!

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So far, a handful of amazing individuals have Donated to the Project through purchasing Pocket Objects. This has made it possible for me to most recently upgrade and purchase my website to include a product page - but also to continue sharing these objects with people around the world who otherwise wouldn't be able to get involved. I have been shipping pieces on my own expense, giving away pieces as gifts to those in need of a kind gesture, or to those who have supported me through other means, and purchased the necessary materials and equipment that so far has allowed this project to grow.

I am so excited to see the amazing chronology since this project started 9 months ago, and I hope to see it continue for much time to come!

If you are interested in supporting the Projects, but have an idea outside of what I've mentioned, feel free to get in touch! Maybe you have a friend or group that would love to get involved with the creative side of the projects, or a family member who is trying to get their artwork into a gallery - maybe you have a platform to spread the word...whatever it is, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you to this wonderful FIF community for Supporting each of our weekly progressions - I look forward to hearing more, and seeing each of our growth! <3

With Love,

Madeline Stewart


Help! It's Valentines Day!

Bear with me. It is Valentines Day.
It also the middle of February in New England and I'm about done with the sludge of winter. Valentines Day is saccharin and annoying even when we have reached all the society driven milestones of successful love.

There is one thing about Valentines Day that I desperately love... making cards. I love the dumb, lacy doilies, glitter, metallic pompoms and the googlie eyes. I’m at my wits end in February all of my goodness is worn out from the New Year. I have no problem allowing the dining room table to be covered in the chaos of making. We play Otis Redding love songs. We stay up late with our glue sticks and our metallic pipe cleaners. We wake up early and add finishing touches. I don't even care what they look like at the end as long as they make someone smile. Each kid makes a special one for each of their friends depending on what animal or sport they love. We poop glitter the weeks before Valentines Day. It gets me through. Who needs roses and chocolate? Okay fine, I want that too…. and diamonds.

This weeks theme is “help”.... not my strong point. I'm terrible at asking for help. I'm learning how to help others when I can and say no when I can't, how to manage my internal resources to sustain the long slow burn of being a giver and care taker.

I'm not sure if its my ego, my rural New England nature or my arrogance but I am hollowed by the act of reaching out, humbling myself, revealing weakness or asking for favors. I feel safer birthing alone where I can focus on MY truth, MY body, without eyes watching me. I won't be owned. I just get on with it.

My husband is my warrior, my best friend. But today, I’m going to zoom in on my girlfriends. I have a vast arsenal of friends. Yes, Arsenal. They are powerful. They are a tribe of remarkable, irreverent, bold, all wrong and all right women. There is nothing they can’t accomplish. They are bad ass bitches, they are soft and wise and vulnerable. I have cultivated these friendships throughout my life and I have many friends that will be life long.

These women carry me when I can’t crawl. These are the women that remind me who I am when I forget. Who make me piss myself laughing. Who tile a floor with me fueled by whiskey and hip hop until 5am. When I lose perspective they redirect me back to truth. When I can’t stand my kids, my friends love them and give me new tools of connection with them. When we speed walk we solve all the problems of the world. When I want to run away from myself, they drive me to the ocean (or HomeGoods ;)).

 

Female friendship is one of the greatest treasures of being a woman. How lovely that we can choose each other. There is no contract that binds us together, just a daily choice.

I hope you find connection this Valentines Day with a lover, a friend, a child, a puppy or in your solitude.

xo Beth-Marie

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