Planning for Change

The weather is changing again…there are signs of spring that seem to come earlier every year. The snow falls are very springlike with heavy wet snow and the roads have melted out by 11am. The changes remind me that soon the work will be gone and I must be prepared for the six week interval between tourist seasons.

There is so much to do, and while this time is stressful financially, it is rich in time for getting things done. Now is the time to double check the financial resources and make sure all is in place so that I am not behind when the work starts back up again and to figure out if there is enough excess to execute the projects I have planned. I am still moving steadily toward freedom from debt but the extra payments make the time off tricky as there is no such thing as paid vacations for seasonal workers. I will continue to pick up the occasional piece of work from time to time and to keep my status as an active employee so that I qualify for job attached unemployment, but my income will be cut by 60% and there is some traveling that I have to do this spring to take care of some much needed legal stuff that has long been shuffled to the back burner.

Careful planning and shifting through the numbers and a fortuitous sale on airline tickets mean that I will be able to make the travel work and set myself up to finally get this one to-do off the list. However, it means that anything else I get done this spring must be things that do not require any type of financial outlay.

I have enough wool and other supplies to be able to finish at least two art pieces. The hardest part is going through the sketch book and selecting which two will get to come to life. That decision has to be made so that I can purchase my dyes and stretchers while the money still flows.

Then there is the spring cleaning project that will consume the rest of the time. There is still so much that I must let go – I must complete the downsizing this spring as changes in my living situation could happen as early as October when the lease expires. There is no need to keep dragging things for which I have no room from one place to another. Even if I end up staying in the same apartment I desperately need more workable space. Fortunately, I can shed myself of excess possessions without laying out any money.

I will have to research storage options for all the stuff that has been accumulated by the pack rat I share this space with. I know he wants to go separate ways as much as I, but he sees no need to plan or lay foundations to make it happen.  It’s probably a good thing I don’t have access to unlimited money to just hire storage space as I am sure he would fill up any space I could clear in the apartment before we get to the point that we can just go our separate ways. Lately he has been talking about rescuing a dog for which he has no time, is not permitted by our current lease, and would have a negative impact on him being able to find another place to live. The fact that we don’t have the space for a pet is a powerful tool for keeping change that might complicate the eventual split at bay. Time to map out the options so that they can be presented when decisions have to be made.

So now is the time to start the planning and make sure that this spring is productive. It is time to look closely at what is possible, what is desirable and what is realistic.

Note to Self……

I used to say that sarcastically, in jest, “note to self….” followed by some blatantly obvious statement…..

I was soooo young. Now I find that I use “notes to self.”

They free me to be so much more creative. I find it is so liberating to be able to immediately write that note down, somewhere I cannot ignore it. I don’t have to remember it more than once….whatever it is, only just long enough to make a note to self and leave it somewhere that I will see it at the appropriate time.

I am not sure if this is maturing or finally realizing the value of time and limited resources…to wit, my not so reliable memory!

‘Tis the Season

I love the holidays. That has not always been the case, and I’m not entirely certain when things changed, perhaps once money and the pursuit of it was no longer such an important part of my life. This warm fuzzy feeling has nothing to do with presents or gifts or any of the superfluous holiday craziness. It is about a closer connection with family and friends, and as an extension of that, a closer connection with the human race as a whole.

All in all it’s a simple recipe:

1/2 C. of special holiday memories (cull carefully, those that do not inspire will result in a bitter aftertaste)

1/2 C. of hope inspired by the Solstice and the promise of a new season, of the world continuing to turn in her graceful dance amidst the stars.

A generous dose of your favorite music playing softly in the background, not enough to annoy or overwhelm, just enough to inspire humming along.

A dash of Sunshine.

A sprinkling of children’s laughter.

Combine in your heart then let sit quietly for 15 minutes, allow to rise until double in bulk and beginning to sparkle.

Stir briskly and toss into the air. Spread your arms and look up letting the sparkly fall out dust your face into a smile. Share that smile generously, let it warm your heart and spread the glow to friends and strangers alike. Act on any generous impulse to prolong the warmth and sparkle!

Repeat often.

Happy Holidays!

A Black and White World

It has been snowing, finally.

Two storms have turned the world into a canvas of greys and whites over deep greens and blues and purples. The colors of winter storms sing in minor keys. Muted and unobtrusive the landscape bows to the inevitable.

I know that these days are not forever, that behind the layers of clouds and winds and storms the sun is shining as she always does. I know the bluebird days of winter will be here, maybe even tomorrow, but for now it feels quiet and peaceful, a land at rest.

It is no wonder that Holiday Cards often depict these days. The lovely little vignette of the cabin in the snow tucked into towering pines takes on a peaceful sense of quiet serenity without the sharp shadows and contrast of full sun. The soft skies of greys and slate blues hovering just above me create a smaller, less expansive, almost cozy world. The harsh realities of school shootings, fiscal cliffs, and atrocities inflicted by rebels and governments alike temporarily recede and I am overwhelmed by a strong desire to focus on my immediate surroundings. The world news on radio and TV fades into the distance and this space I live in begs for my attention.

This “nesting” urge is badly needed. My home is awash in the final remnants from two storage units as I continue to work on downsizing to what I truly need. It is time to focus all my creative urges on the space I live in, the only space I have for my own renewal. I am focusing my decisions and energy on enhancing my spirit rather than draining my power. The core spaces need my love and attention and creativity. Meditation for my spiritual core, functional exercise for my physical core, and creative energy for my core surroundings.

This focus will, by no means be perfect. As always there are things that are beyond my ability to change right now. These will need creative solutions to minimize the negative impact they have on my life. First and foremost among them is the other soul that occupies this space with me. I must learn to dampen my caretaker impulses and take back my time for myself. Too long have I succumbed to the needs of a high maintenance personality. It has been, whether I want to admit it or not, my choice to shift my focus away from the things that I need, focusing my energies on  catering to the whims of someone else. In doing so I have created the expectation of constant availability and encouraged the demands. It is, therefore my responsibility to reclaim my space and time. Learning how to this in a loving and respectful way will be my challenge. Although the arrangements are temporary, it will not do to just ignore a bad situation or to create tension or an intolerable situation for the remaining months of the lease. I must expand my creativity….must take it into my relationship with this person and learn to do it gracefully and graciously.

This, then, is my Holiday wish list.