It is complicated

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My head is officially in lala land. The flu started it I think and now a crisis in my greater family. Teeth grinding. Crazy sleepy. Random unhelpful thoughts taking hold. A desperate feeling that I need a new project to pour myself into in a manic way. Dizziness. Moodiness. Shame blame and more shame blame.
The trick is to relax into the calm the meds are trying to give me, journal the crap as it rises to the surface, try to remember I am the one who decides what I do and when I do it and who I do it with.
I’ve closed my Facebook down for a while. Logged out for the foreseeable future. That has helped a bit already. I’m spending time with my dog and trying to stay active. Playing happy music. Watching happy dvds. Gardening,  which is like a magic health balm for my soul. Eating fresh mandarins from my tree. Keeping away from junk foods almost entirely.
Most importantly I’m trying to remember it’s okay to tell friends and family that I need help. Even if that help is to accept my silence without judgement. Yeah. It’s complicated.
rk

It Is Now Halfway Through 2015

This year I have really given myself to visual art. I always promised myself that in my 50’s I would do some art and learn as much as I want to about art techniques. I’ve done a lot of canvases with acrylic paints and found mixed media bits like a disassembled printer and offcuts from the local fabric store. My favourite ones are abstract mechanical pieces on square canvases.
My art area is in the corner of our little lounge room. We plan to pull up the carpet soon, so I don’t have to worry if I get some little splashes of colour on it. My space is small, but that forces me to cull the crap, the bits and colours I don’t use soon after I acquire them. Some things I don’t get rid of, even though I haven’t used them. These are mostly found, small metal objects. I love to collect lids and the pull bits off cans of drink.
I’ve made some great discoveries. Like ordinary cotton string can be coloured easily and used so many different ways because it can make any shape I want. Also, sticky fibre mesh rolls from the paint section of the hardware shop. Those things are great to colour or to use, either as a stamp or as a texture layer.
My walls are getting a bit crowded with canvases. This is okay except that I am trying so many different styles and techniques, it looks like a crazy random bad art gallery. I think once I find my style, my preferred style, I might paint over the randoms. Redo them, use them to make my real kind of art.
This month, and next month, I’m doing #ICAD2015 and having fun with index cards. Limiting myself to index card sized art is fun and challenging. Two months, 61 days, of mini art. So far I have used my favourite colours. Next month I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and see what I can produce. This might mean some imitation of other artists, especially some of the big names. Unless I chicken out and go back to the safety of my preferences. I’m 50 and yeah, I’ll do whatever I damn well want.

It’s Christmas

luigi christmasIt’s Christmas time and here’s what I’m thinking; being an empty nester can be fun, but not so much at Christmas time. My sons are living happy lives, and I love that. I’m enjoying doing things I haven’t made time for in years, I’ve even started back at creating art, I’m writing a great book I’d love to read, I’m cooking up a storm when it suits me, eating cereal when it doesn’t. But in these weeks leading up to Christmas, I haven’t even put up a tree.

I’ll probably create something resembling a tree before the day itself, when one of my boys and my brother and his wife will come for feasting, gift giving and our traditional darts tournament. I’m hoping we can all Skype with my son and his girlfriend in Beijing. It’ll be a fun day. But I’m an anticipation girl. I like the lead-up to an event almost as much as the event itself, and with no kids at home, I just don’t get to share that with them now. That part of Christmas was always so much fun in the past.

I think I’m not finished creating new traditions around Christmas. It seems I need a new way to enjoy the prelude to the day. Maybe with my husband, or maybe on my own. I’m a creative person, I’m good at thinking up fun ways to enjoy my small, happy life.

Merry Christmas, Happy Saturnalia, Seasons Greetings. I hope you have a good one. I also hope that you enjoy December for what it is; the lead-up to a special day we make your own as we share it with friends and family.

xx Rachel

Moving OUT Day

moving out

Well, we did it. Thanks to my good friends Angela and John Chaperon, we moved all of my stuff out of the out-of-home office. I hadn’t been back there much at all since I had my breakdown and I was pretty stressed, thinking I was going to meltdown. But no, we unscrewed desks with Allen keys, carted load after load down those shocking stairs to my car and Angela’s van. It is done. I am ever grateful to Angela and John for their help and support, I love you guys heaps.

Moving everything out of that office is like the final layer of completion for me. It’s like the last thing I had to do to end the stage of my life where I was in business for myself. Sitting here writing about it, it feels good, but I’m sure the meds have something to do with that.

I loved my clients, with very few exceptions. I loved helping them in their businesses, and that was the most rewarding thing about the work I did, seeing other people succeed and grow and move closer to the person they wanted to be, running the kind of business they wanted to run. Every consultation I did mixed personal wants and needs with business dreams and goals. It always seemed to make sense to me that what a person most wanted for themselves should have been evident in the way they ran their business.

I’m still tempted to write a book about that, giving anonymous examples of business people realising that the way they were doing business had almost no relationship to the goals they’d set out to achieve by being a business owner. Maybe I could call it What I Taught About Business Before My Breakdown.

I’m happy to be sitting here eating a peanut butter sandwich, ready to write another chapter in my book. I’m glad that I was wrong about today, that it feels more like moving forward than grieving for a past I couldn’t handle. I’m at peace with myself in this moment.  I hope there are many more moments as clear and level as this one. I know I’ll enjoy being me a lot more if I can accept the present, the way I am today.

be you xx Rachel

Brutal, nasty, hard, shame…

Last week, one of my friends had a go at me for being on government assistance. It cut like a knife.

Of course I am deeply unhappy about being so in need of assistance. I have paid taxes for decades, and never begrudged others who have health reasons for being on assistance, but of course I feel terrible for needing anything from anyone. I’m supposed to be the good girl. the one who gives. The one who helps. The one who supports. It’s taken me a week to be able to write about this because the suicidal thoughts and feelings gripped me with the ferocity of a feral cat, shredding me from the inside out.

I’m sorry if this post is badly constructed. If I try to edit it, I will water down the feelings. Brutal, nasty, hard, shame.

I’m Manic and I Know It But I’m Not Tearing Down The Lounge Room Wall

OMG, I am trying to put up a simple wire fence in the garden today, but the manic head is just pinging me in all directions like a pinball.

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You know that feeling when you just can’t settle? So far I’ve come up with ten new schemes for how to make this fence, wasted hours arguing with the voices in my head, gone back to wanting to do it the way I originally sketched it in my gardening journal, yelled at my husband, yelled at the dog, yelled at the chooks, yelled at the fence.

So now I’m in self imposed exile, at the computer, trying to write my way through this moment when I feel like I’m a blowfly banging into the window buzz, buzz, buzz trying to get out of my own head.

How do you escape from your own head? I want to scream, cry, lash out, tear down a wall. I did that once, in a manic space; I tore down a lounge room wall because it just really seemed like I had to do it, no ifs or buts. My family stood around watching me wield a sledgehammer, tearing at the plaster, leaving it all on the floor in a heap. Fortunately, under all that mess it turned out that there had previously been a doorway and so after the manic mood subsided, I was able to clean up after myself fairly easily. It’s not always that easy to cope after a manic ep, though.

I want out of this headspace. Now, please.

be you xx Rachel

3 Simple Ways to Use Facebook to Promote Your Business

  1. Sign in as your business page and then search Facebook for businesses in your local area. Like them all, not only the ones you deal with, or the ones who are in alignment with your products or services. This is one fantastic way for a business to be social on Facebook. After you’ve clicked on their Like button, write a short message on their wall to let them know you’ve been there.
  2. Ask each of your new customers if they’re on Facebook, rather than telling them you’re on Facebook. Ask them to Like your Business Page. If they have a smart phone, they might do it there and then. This is a nice, customer focussed way to introduce the fact you’re on Facebook. It generally works much better than telling the customer that you are on Facebook. It gives new contacts the opportunity to talk about themselves, which will win them every time. Just ask Dale Carnegie!
  3. ‘Like’ businesses in other countries that are very much like yours. For example, if you sell lingerie, find five shops in the US or the UK who also sell lingerie. Watch your Wall Feed for posts by these companies, and Share their content if it aligns with your business. This achieves two things: Firstly, you’re able to share a whole lot of useful information and images with your clients and other Likers, and you will become known as a great, regular content provider. Secondly, you will only be promoting your own business and not another local company who is in direct competition with you.

Let me know if you need help using Facebook for your business!

Happy writing,

x Rachel