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Archive for January, 2014

Image from affirmyourlife.blogspot.com

It’s something a little different from me today mainly because I have been struggling with cravings that I haven’t had in many years. I’ve been looking online, thinking and trying to remind myself of the reasons I don’t want to revisit them permanently again and decided that it would be a good post for today.

Just over nine years ago I discovered I was pregnant with my eldest, I had been smoking for five years or so quite heavily but finding out I was pregnant gave me the urge and motivation to stop. I had no real battle with it at the time, the health and safety of my child becoming my reason to give up something that I enjoyed. It wasn’t just the nicotine that drew me in I enjoyed the act of smoking and herein lies my problem today.

For years I have been able to work around my cravings, I haven’t had that many but those I’ve had haven’t lasted me long as I believe I had no desire to smoke for more than getting the nicotine hit. Lately, however, I have been spending time with someone who smokes cigars and enjoys the act of smoking them, it has on a very basic level made me remember what I enjoyed about smoking and letting myself think such things has become a struggle for me.

I don’t want to smoke again, not like I used to, huddling out in the wind and rain for a fix but I do miss the social aspects and the enjoyment I derived from holding a cigarette in my fingers and playing with the smoke as I exhaled. I know this will eventually pass, in truth, after so long since I have smoked it took me by surprise today. I didn’t realise that, not only so long after giving up I would have these cravings but the real root cause for them. Obviously after nine years I’m not having nicotine cravings, put simply I’m having pleasure cravings, specifically for the pleasure I derived from smoking rather than for the drug itself.

Perhaps on a deeper level it is more that I’m craving the social aspects that I had during that time in my life than smoking itself? It’s possible I suppose, the fact that my mind is attempting to talk myself out of that option making it more likely. So for now I will remind myself of the reasons I quit, the reasons my I am improved without it and the reasons I don’t need it in my life.

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It’s that time again… time for a Journal Fodder update. I’ve been slacking with posting about the pages once more, I do apologise. I’m going to see how many I can squeeze into this post before it becomes too full. First was a look at moods and emotions from the snippet picture above, I’m not adding in a full spread of this one as what I wrote is kinda personal though the page is covered with lines akin to cracks since most of the time I feel in a delicate emotional state. Patches of doodles over lay areas where my strengths are, where the healing is occurring.

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My personal symbols tend to be shoots, leaves, circles and spirals along with a strong preference for the colours purple and green. To me they show growth and the willingness to evolve, continuation and the never ending spiral of life, thought, emotion and creativity.

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These shapes and images and the flow of the lines in them have always been a part of my personal imagery, I shy away from harsh lines and angles where possible, even preferring curved corners to my pages and ripping the edges of my paper to soften them.

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Forgetting to breathe… I mean really breathe… is easily done. I had plans for this page but really in breath this was all that was required…

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… It became an exercise in breath itself, simple, relaxed and unobtrusive.

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Brain drain… In this section Julia Cameron’s morning pages are referenced, something which I have in the past stuck with while doing The Artist’s Way and beyond. I found, however, that not being a morning person made this difficult for me. Instead I discovered that writing out was better for me as things arose during the day. I would grab a pen and write, draining my brain until I was sick of the issue at hand.

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Underneath the paint are layers of one of my emotional brain drains. What’s there is unimportant, the thing that matters is that I wrote and faced what was bothering me as I needed to.

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This final page is a little bit of pondering on stillness and motion. Above and below the writing are sweeping lines and natural motion, the words being written on varying lines  that have a less exuberant energy. Stillness is not, for me, an absence of motion or energy, more like a balance where motion doesn’t seem to occur even though it never truly stops.

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If you’re a long term visitor to my blog then you may well remember my admission back in July last year that I have a slight addiction to filofaxes, specifically of the purple Malden variety.

Back when I purchased my personal sized Malden I had really wanted an A5 one however they were no longer available to purchase or, from what I could tell, being made anymore. In a way it was a blessing because it stopped me from the internal debate of which size to purchase, in the end I knew I wanted a purple Malden and so the personal one it was.

At least that was until a little while before Christmas where the helpful people at filofax pricked at my Achilles heel in an email that advertised the return of the A5 purple Malden. I’m sure you see where this is going…

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…yes, I am weak. Yes, I spent so long trying to talk myself out of the purchase that I missed the sale as well but as you can see, I caved. I felt very guilty for this purchase but finally managed to justify it  as a ‘for my business’ purchase. It’s been a good buy too, I’ve been using it in conjunction with my personal one quite successfully for the last few months despite telling myself that using two may be a little bit of an overkill for me as I do like to have everything in one place rather than spread out.

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My system is that I use the personal sized one is for my general day to day and family organisation. Things relating to the kids, chores, household tasks and my planned work hours/days off all go in there as well as personal addresses and contact details for various things. It is a colourful array of post it notes and tags relating to clubs and activities but I’ve found a system that works really well for me without being too complicated using the standard week on two pages diary that came with the filofax.

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The A5 Malden has become my business planner, specifically to keep track of my work, writing, blogs and more specific things for it all. I really didn’t like the diary that came with the A5 however, so after a lot of searching I finally settled on this downloadable one by Philofaxy and it’s been working perfectly for my needs. As with my personal filofax I use a color system of three different pens for the main three areas that need attending too plus ‘post it’ notes for other tasks that I need highlighted or that can and do roll over into the next weeks.

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Here’s the front, jammed with goodies much as my personal one is as I use the same pens and accessories with it. I kept the A-Z index in this one and use it for business related information and research which has been working really well for me.

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I was also really happy to find this set of mini-magnetic Little Miss Bad bookmarks to brighten up the pages of both of my filofaxes. I found them in WH Smiths while I was looking for something else entirely and snapped them up for around £3.

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This Journal Fodder prompt was a bit different, meditational almost, and brought up the image of a shoot, straining and reaching for the sun. This is where I’ve been for the last year, each month growing another tiny bit, my stem uncurling a tiny bit more, the odd leaf opening out to mark my progress.

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There’s more work to do, more confidence I need to grow, more I need to learn and accomplish in all areas of my life but there has been progress, the leaves show me that.

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This Journal Fodder 365 prompt was about living the dream. I realised while writing and working on this page that I’ve actually already begun living my dream. 2013 was a big part of getting there and while there is still a ways to go before it’s complete I am much closer to that completion than I first thought.

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The next prompt was about attributes, the things that make me…well, me. Wanting to fill the page really made me think deeper about what I consider to be the important things that make up my character.

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This was one of the easiest questions I’ve answered in a long time, I’ve always known the fear that traps me and interferes with everything I am doing. It’s the fear of:

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Failure at school, failure socially, failure at work, failure as a mother, failure as a spiritual being, failure as an artist, failure in relationships, failure in every sense of the word. It scares me rigid and often into non-action. I know deep down I’m not a failure or doomed to fail but tell that to the rest of me that believes it and hides and refuses to let people and opportunities in.

This post was brought to you by a Journal Fodder prompt and the word failure.

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First and foremost, before I get to the point of this post I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year now that it has finally arrived. For me 2013 was a very positive year despite the culminating health issues. My depression has been better than previously and I’ve been taking slow and steady steps forward towards my goals and dreams, surpassing, at points, even my own expectations. I can only hope that this positivity continues over the coming twelve months propelling me into further success, gods know I have a long list of things I would dearly love to achieve during 2014.

Last year, with my Smashbook I had a word a month to focus on and work with, I intend to do it a little differently this year picking either a word as my focus for the year or for a few months. I’m not decided yet as to whether I’m going to change through the year or stick with it for the whole year, I will see how I feel as I go though I have known what my starting word would be for quite some time.

ACT.

Over recent times I have become a bit of a procrastinator. It’s oddly off character for me as I have always been very driven and ambitious, determined and frankly a person that does what needs to be done. With everything that has been going on over the last few years I think I gave up a little and this last twelve months has been much more about me getting back on my feet and learning how to walk again, yet I still found myself procrastinating at times, putting things off, the better they seemed for me the more I pushed them aside.

So my constant reminder needs to be to ACT, to do those things I try to put off because not only will doing them move me towards where I want to go but it will also lighten the load on my shoulders and remove the stress and guilt I end up feeling for not doing what needs to be done.

I don’t want to reach the end of 2014 with my list of goals in tact and the knowledge that I didn’t ACT.

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