Sharing is caring, and I totally care about you, so I MUST share my latest obsessions...
I've been IN LOVE with Will Smith lately. He's grown way beyond the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and he's a super dream boat when it comes to inspiration. I've been watching these super short videos for a few weeks and it's been helping me to get my head in the game. Not just with the art gig, but with many of my personal goals. Goals like managing my stress, reaching out to friends, exercise, and food control.
I feel like a boss.
Will Smith Video One
Will Smith Video Two
The OTHER thing I'm totally gaga over is this Essentrics exercise. I had sent out an email to our little CMA Community (you should totally sign up if you haven't already, it's free and easy and at the top of this page...), and it was great, but JUST THIS MORNING I dug a little deeper into the Essentrics world and struck GOLD.
This is way more suited for a wider range of fitness levels, and is delicious. I'm not telling you to do it (because I'm not your doctor), but you should at least go gaze upon it's loveliness.
That's it for now my friend. I'm off in a bit to meet up with my art rep lady, Sarah, to see what the future holds for my critters on cards.
...several hours later...
I just got back from my meeting with Sarah at Sherman's. We went over the cards and journals. O. M. G. I'm so excited. She'll be wheeling and dealing these items around to brick and mortar shops around New England. I'm super jazzed about having these little guys out in the world. We've been using Hallowell Printing Company, and I love the quality! Yay!!!
And, of course, as well as business, we also talked a lot about authenticity, and doing the stuff that makes us juice up. It's hard, you guys, to find that YOU you once were. That YOU that used to make time for the learning, painting, planting, whatever. It's so easy to fall into roles that seem more important (usually as a care taker or as an employee). I get it. But man-oh-man, when you take even just a little bit of time to do the stuff that makes you sparkle? Damn, that's when life comes together. It makes you whole. It makes you better at playing those other roles.
So do me a favor, and entertain the idea of tapping into that stuff that makes you happy. We'll ALL benefit from it. xo
While I totally feel like this:
I also feel like this:
I've been taking myself (and this art gig) super seriously...well, within reason of course. I am a major goofball after all. But I've been treating myself and the gig with some wicked respect.
We both deserve it.
And wouldn't you know, like anything that's been given respect, I/it/we have been flourishing. I'm exhausted, but proud.
I want to discuss this further, but for now my eyes are about to bleed and I hear my bed calling.
So I leave you with this:
Go look up the word 'respect' and go treat yourself that way.
I met up with super nice lady, who's also pretty like a super model (we're actally kind of friends, but I've only met her a few times and hadn't seen her in years). She bought three of my books and hit me up on Instagram, looking for me to sign them.
Um, of course?
So we yakked it up good, recapping years past, and formed - dare I say it - an actual friendship. It was lovely.
But, what's even more magical than this new budding friendship, is what happened in the rest of this establishment.
Someone sneezed, and everyone said, 'bless you.'
A couple of folks were talking about needhams (a down-homey coconut/potato/chocolate confection), and everyone joined in the conversation.
Someone else ordered pizza and asked if anyone else wanted in on sharing it. I joined in.
It. Was. Awesome.
So simple, so lovely. Today I love everybody.
I'm gonna get out of my walls more often.
*DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS A BIT LONG
So. Many. Things.
I can't possibly tell you everything. It's too wide, too complex, too freaking bizarre.
But I can tell you, I saw a shamanic healer roughly two weeks ago, and it freaked me the f*** out. And in its insaneness, it may have just saved my sanity.
Before I get into the shortest version of this story I could possibly tell, let me preface by saying, I'm totally a science geek. I like facts. I like research. I like data. I like explanaitions that make sense. And as I may have mentioned before, despite being a massage therapist named Crystal, I'm not especially new-agey. I'm also not especially spiritual.
But I AM open.
Who the hell am I to declare what is real or not?
Back to the shaman.
I brought an egg (as directed by said shaman) that would be the new keeper of my woes. The shaman would read it much like a mystic would read tea leaves, and then clean away said woes with a feather. And wouldn't you know, the very second the shaman cracked the egg, I, myself, cracked...big time.
Actually, l didn't just crack, I crumbled. I sobbed like a baby.
Ok, so the shaman did their shamany work. My sobbing waned to weeping, and waned again to a place of stillness. A place that felt, dare I say it(?), peaceful.
Woof. I exhausted.
After drinking some water and giving my nose a good blow, it was time to find me a power animal.
Yup. For real.
This is a process that involves something called a journey. My role in this process is very passive. In fact, I got to just lie down on the couch (thank goodness, because I was wiped out) and listen to what the shaman experienced in their travels through realms I'll never understand.
I'm telling you, this stuff is crazy.
To make a long story short, I was appointed a mountian goat.
At first I kinda giggled, but then quickly got a little nervous.
My very first Thanksgiving meal after bravely making a solo move to Alaska at the ripe age of twenty-one, included the sinewy proteins from, you guessed it, a mountain goat.
Shit. Did it come back to haunt me?
I expressed my fear to the shaman, and they assured me that the mountain goat had my best intentions at heart.
Cool. Let's proceed.
The mountain goat came to me because I needed to be sure of myself, of my proverbial footing through life, sure of my voice (somewhere along the way my bravery has turned into doubt). It also arrived because I needed to be more playful (I appear to be very playful on social media, but the truth is, I'd actually become quite serious, anxious, and depressed while I was forcing myself to 'figure it all out'.).
Where's the joy, Crystal?
My homework was to do things like, dance with my mountain goat, thank it for walking with me through the day, trust that my mountain goat will come to me in my times of need. I was also assigned the task of doodling hearts. My heart needed a little extra TLC, too.
*thanks for haning in there, this blog post is a long one.
So, I decide to get to it. I tucked myself up in my little studio and started painting a picture of a heart.
And I labored over it.
I found myself hunched over my heart, clenching my pen, critiquing every line I made. ...guess who showed up.
I'm not even kidding.
In the middle of my first heart exercise, absorbed in my rigid, judgey, mind, came an image of a mountain goat.
It jumped around and shook its ass at me, then spun around and looked me square in my mind's eye.
At first I felt like a crazy person. But then I said, fuck it, and blurted out in laughter.
Lighten up, Crystal.
So, this is where Mountain Goat came from, but what about Big Mama?
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not especially spiritual, and I'm certainly not religious (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my jam). There are, however, times in life when exexplained greatness has happened. Moments in which one might (dare I say) divine intervention was at work. For these episodes I've appointed a conductor called, Big Mama.
Big Mama feels loving, and strong. She also feels like she's not going to let you get away with any shit. You know, tough love.
God terrifies me. I mean, people are literally killing eachother over the definition of God, so I tend to stay away from it/him/her. The God concept seems too messy for me. If you're into the the God thing, however, kudos! You know, if you're in it for the 'love thy neighbor' stuff and not all the passing judgement crap. Well done. But for me? I've got Big Mama.
Anyway, the times I've tapped into my tiny, minuscule fiber of Big-Mama-ness, she's provided. But for whatever reason, I falter in my devotion.
But this goat...
I've made huge strides in just two weeks with letting go of some stuff that no longer serves me. I'm finding ways to allow joy back into life. I'm practicing being sure in myself and exercising my voice. And I swear, it's mostly because of this goat.
AND THIS BRINGS ME TO THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS BLOG....
For SOME reason I'm having an easier time latching on to this power animal thing than I am to God. Maybe it's because in my vulneralbe state (post egg-cracking-sob-session), I was with a person who I trust, and was told that I can have this creature that only wants the best for me, that believes in me. Maybe the mountain goat doesn't represent anything threatening or judgemental. Maybe it's because the mountain goat is all my own. Maybe it's really truly there. I don't know.
What I do know is that when I'm vulnerable, when I let go of control, when I surrender to the unknown, when I allow joy and love into my life, I'm all the better for it. Life seems a great deal easier and desireable, and I'm totally willing to dance with a mountain goat for that.
frantic. Completely, and utterly frantic. And as I wandered through this uncertain frenzy, I found myself in the murky waters of depression.
I know what you're thinking. Crystal, you seem so cheery and focused.
That's the magic of editing, friend. It's also the magic of denial...
The reality is, when I'm cruising through my work day, I'm totally on, I'm 100%. I'm grounded, focused, and do great work. I'm crushing it. But once I've punched out for the day, I'm the one who's getting crushed. My brain is a shit storm and I was feeling paralyzed by it. Totally normal, but not exactly how I want to be feeling.
I've been putting a LOT of pressure on myself lately. I don't need to get into the details with you, for the same reason I'm not going to show you my underwear. It's personal, and frankly, you don't need to know.
But, I can tell you this; it feels good to put my denial down and to finally accept that I was depressed.
It feels even better to DO something about it.
This week I started doing something about it. Total win.
I wish I'd done this sooner.
I'm not writing this to gain attention. Nor am I writing it to get sympathy. I'm sharing this with you because maybe you're walking around in murky waters, too. Maybe you're in a bit of denial yourself, or are scared to admit that maybe you need a little TLC. Maybe you just need a little nudge.
And if that's the case, consider this your nudge.
It's ok to be depressed.
It's ok to be afraid.
It's ok to ask for help.
Here are some links if you need a little TLC:
Also, doodling and listening to music helps.
I'm an ideas person. I'm stitched together with thoughts of grandeur, business plans, artistic visions, prose, verse, recipes, events. But when the time comes to get down to the gritty, I become vacant like the desert. A couple of dry bones and the iconic tumbleweed. That's what I've got.
So when you see that I've produced ANYTHING, I want you to know, it took every ounce of focus, energy, and chutzpah I could conjure to git'er done.
Why is it so hard?
Perhaps it's A) I've spent all of my reserves engaging in the cerebral parts, that when I do have a chunk of time for my body to get on board with the creating bit, I've run out of steam. [enter Netflix here]
Or, maybe it's B) because I'm awash with so many ideas all the time that I don't know where to start, thus, going into shutdown mode 'cause my brain can't handle it.
Or, maybe C) the stuff I keep thinking I want to get my hands on isn't really what I want to get my hands on?
Or, maybe, D) I have ADHD?
Or, maybe, E) I'm afraid my efforts will prove that I'm no good at/didn't really enjoy what I've set out to do, and now I've just wasted my time.
Or, maybe, F) All the above.
"Eff" all the above. Maybe that's the approach I need to take.... Just eff it.
Maybe I should sit with my crickets, watch the tumbleweed roll by, and just start. Pick up my pen, fire up my laptop, throw down some ink. Get all Nike on myself and just do it.
What about you? Do you struggle with this, too? I'd love to know? ...and more so, I want to know your tricks for combating this!