Wednesday, May 27, 2009


breathe - because sometimes we need a reminder

I am feeling raw tonight. I feel emotionally tender, drained and impatient. I feel stuck in a space between the life I dream of living and tomorrow's reality. I yearn for a peaceful, quiet space to be. Just be. And breathe.

Monday, May 25, 2009

From the Journal Archives: Approval, Expectations, and Creating the Life I Want

The excerpt below refers to an article on Simple Living in Stanford Magazine that described how some people went about simplifying their lives. The article was gleaned from Cecile Andrew's Web site back in 2003.

I found the entry when flipping through the pages of an old journal; funny how the words still speak to me today. The good news is, I also see definite progress.


January 14th, 2003

... this part [of the article] really caught my attention:
"For the first 20 years of my life, I was an approval junkie. I got the teacher's attention, the awards, the accolades. But when I stepped outside of the mainstream path, I had to let go of that. It was really hard."
Maybe I'm holding myself back because I want and need the accolades so much. I am an approval junkie. Only when I am confident enough in my own abilities and accept myself fully will I be able to choose my path. Only then will I be able to live my life the way I want to, as opposed to how I'm expected to.

Again from the article, Andrews talks about expectations related to graduating from Stanford:
"On the one hand, you learn to think critically, to examine the unintended consequences of your actions and policies. You learn the immense pleasure of the life of the mind. And yet, there is an expectation, sometimes not so implicit, that you graduate, secure an important, influential job with an enviable income and acquire the accoutrements of material success. Which necessarily means less time for self-reflection, community involvement and relationships."

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I feel like I haven't written anything substantial here in a while. I've a few posts drafted, but haven't taken the time to develop them further and post them here.

Truth be told, I've been busy.

I've been busy planning a wedding, playing with photo shoots, painting, learning, sleeping, lying awake, crying, giggling, cheering on folks who are working towards their goals, cooking meals, cleaning house, connecting, counting dollars and cents, dreaming, feeling afraid and frustrated, craving meaningful work, pushing through, writing in my journal, practicing patience and letting go, reading, more sleeping, exploring, praying, reflecting on the past, pondering the future, planning a summer vacation, traveling vicariously through others, smelling the lilacs, the apple blossoms and the Lily of the Valley, feeling grateful, all the while trying to be as I move along.

I am tired tonight. But I wanted to write. It feels good.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

PSA Ottawa: Wallack's Art Supply Warehouse Sale

A Public Service Announcement for those living in Ottawa or the surrounding area: Wallack's Art Supply is opening their warehouse to the public this weekend for a sale including everything from paints to brushes to picture frames. Click on the link below for a full list of items.

What: Wallack's Art Supply Warehouse Sale

When: Saturday, May 23rd (9-5) and Sunday, May 24th (10-5)

Where: 250 City Centre Ave, bay #222

Happy shopping!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spring at the Experimental Farm

A few favourite shots from a brief stint at the Ottawa Experimental Farm on a Monday afternoon...

canopy in waiting

canopy in bloom

cascading blush

tulip centered

tulip softly

Friday, May 15, 2009

On Comfort Zones...

A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.
- Denis Waitley
This past week turned out to be a series of sometimes exhilarating, sometimes exhausting, always emotional steps that led me out of my comfort zone in one way or another. Cracked open more than once, I think I shed more tears in the past seven days than I did in the past seven months. I feel tired - but I feel good.

Here's to building our creative visions. Here's to leaving our comfort zones. And here's to believing that the more we do it, the easier it becomes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pushing Through to the Unexpected

a work in progress

I created this work in progress a few weeks after Squam, in October 2008. It's been on my shelf unfinished ever since. I liked what I had, was nervous about losing it and didn't know what to do next.

Last night I decided to bring it to my abstract painting class to see if I could glean any insights from my teacher. She was confident I could go somewhere with it, but instead of giving me specific insights she gently reminded me that I can't let a piece become too precious, that although it's not always easy, if I feel a piece isn't finished I should push forward despite my fears of ruining what's already there. In other words, trust in the process.

I knew that. I'd done it before. I even made it my mantra last year.

Inspired by my teacher's gentle reminder and the seven other women in the room pushing through their own fears, I allowed myself to play with my post-Squam painting and transformed it into something I never could have planned or imagined:

a work completed?

I love how this class is pushing my boundaries.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Long Term Service, a Plea and a Pledge

Two weeks ago I chose my Long Term Service Award gift for 15 years with my current employer. Yesterday I burst into tears at the thought of staying there any longer.

After spending weeks reflecting on what I want my life to look and feel like, I finally realized - and maybe even accepted - that my current employer might not be the best fit.

I want a life that allows me to nurture friendships and family ties, cook healthy meals from scratch, exercise, build new connections, write, paint, contribute, collaborate, and spend quality time with D and Cassie. I want work that supports or contributes to the spirit of simplicity, connection & community, creativity, beauty, authenticity, nature, family, fun and learning.

I'm not convinced I can satisfy these wants where I am now.

I have many ideas and I'm ready to work on a transition; I just don't know where to start. So today I put a plea out to the Universe for help - help in allowing this path to unfold, help in finding the clarity and confidence to take appropriate action, and help in dealing with fear, rationalization and self-doubt.

In return, one day at a time, I will practice:
  • outreach and reflection, connecting with others and my Higher Power for guidance,
  • action and perseverance, taking risks and following through, and
  • patience and trust, pacing myself and letting go of the outcome.
As for my 15-year contribution to my current employer, I will celebrate it and appreciate what it contributed to my life. I will appreciate what it continues to contribute today.

And maybe, just maybe, five years from now I'll be buying my own milestone award - something appropriate for a successful, self-employed woman who took action to create the life she wanted. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Today I Am...

  • looking forward to delving into a new book called Writing Begins with the Breath
  • anxious to learn more about Harlan Hubbard (thanks to Jen Gray for the introduction) and a little surprised that after nearly 10 years of exploring Voluntary Simplicity I've never come across his name nor his writings
  • nursing a scratched cornea, grateful to D. for spending the day with me, carting me back & forth to doctor appointments and waiting with me for nearly five hours at ER
  • toying with the idea of playing with a big canvas at next week's Abstract Painting class
  • grateful for the fresh asparagus, fiddleheads and zucchinis included in our veggie basket this week
  • wondering how I'll come up with pricing for next week's submission to the Squam Art Show
  • enjoying my home and its inhabitants (except maybe the ants)
  • intrigued by a movie I picked up at the library called Gypsy Caravan
  • appreciating the connection to my body and life's energy that's emerging through Nia
  • a little restless and overwhelmed by the creative projects simmering in my mind and soul
  • craving order, rest and surrender to life's flow
  • delighting in the sounds of woodpeckers outside my window and rain softly falling
  • intoxicated by the sweet, sweet smell of spring.
And sometimes today, I just am.

What are you today?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Photography Month on TV Ontario

For those who get TV Ontario (one of the few channels we get with the rabbit ears), May is TVO Photography Month. In conjunction with the CONTACT Toronto Photography Festival during the next four weeks, TVO will air documentaries (I counted 18 on the schedule) related to photographers or photography.

Last night kicked it off with Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens. I caught the last hour and was amazed at this woman's creative process and determination. Tonight continues with Fixing the Shadows, the first in a series called Genius of Photography.

If you don't have TVO, the schedule offers good descriptions of each documentary - maybe enough to see if it's worth a trip to the library or the price of a rental.

Happy viewing!

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Digs, New Focus

Welcome to my new space - #22 on my list!

This site has been percolating in my mind and soul since January 2007. I played with names (Renaissance Rambles, Simple Living Experiment, Authentic Living Experiment), but the Universe has a way of working its magic and the past six months have led me to embark on a Creative Living Experiment as in creating-the-life-I-want, a life true to me.

There will be tweaking and playing with the layout in weeks to come, adding my blogroll and other tidbits. Content will be similar to that of my Urban Living Experiment with maybe an added focus on my journey in creating meaningful work, writing and the visual arts.

Being the renaissance soul that I am (a poetic way of saying that I’m focus-challenged) I suspect you’ll also find pieces about simple and frugal living, nature, books, financial independence and productivity. Add to that the odd pondering, grateful, wedding update, photo recap, movie review, local event, hiking or outdoor expedition, Life’s Big Questions (LBQs) and whatever tickles my fancy, and you’ll have well-rounded entertainment at your fingertips!

My original blogging goals of observing life in and around me, writing regularly and documenting my experiment remain.

I’ve added a fourth goal to use Creative Living Experiment as a vehicle to learn more about my interests and share what I’ve learned with others – a partially selfish goal with the hopes that it will prod me to expand my mind and life experience. I encourage you to take what you like and leave the rest.

Creative Living Experiment is a continued journey, a switch in focus from healing past hurts to creating new love and life. It’s a sequel to my Urban Living Experiment and the few years that came before it. I look forward to seeing where it leads me.

Thank you for being here. I do hope you’ll join me and see where it may lead you.

Love & hugs,