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Easing Into Change

I’m back! I hope you all had a wonderful week. I had a great time at Lake Powell! I got plenty of swimming, paddle boarding, and hiking done. I even got some sun color. I don’t actually tan, I just get slightly less ghostly. We got caught in some crazy storms, I ate way too much, I caught a giant catfish, and I slept under the stars on the top deck of the houseboat.

Though I had a great week, I always hate that flat, disappointing feeling of coming home after a great vacation. This time is particularly nasty for some reason. Maybe it’s all the chocolate ice cream I ate, but I feel a bit low. When we left, I felt excited to take some time away from responsibility and just play in the turquoise waters of Lake Powell, and I figured I’d come back all refreshed and feel ready to hit the ground running.

Unsurprisingly, I don’t.

I’ve noticed that I tend to expect a lot of myself sometimes, especially if I ever allow myself to “slack off”. I figure, “well, I’ve been on vacation, so now I should be able to go double time”. It’s as if I feel like I have to pay for resting. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I need a break, no strings attached.

So, instead of diving headfirst into a massive to-do list that I could compile for the week, instead of plunging into a new workout routine I’d promise myself I’d start when I got back, I’ll ease back into my daily life. No boot camp, no cleaning marathons or major lifestyle overhauls right out of the gate. I can take a vacation without paying penance later.

I think we all struggle with this sometimes. It’s like eating dessert and telling ourselves we have to run it off on the treadmill tomorrow. That’s no way to live.

So, though I have plenty to do this week, I am refusing to fill up each slot in my planner with activities I should feel up to now that I’ve had a week off. Sometimes it’s the white space on the calendar that really feeds us and moves us forward. We need time to think, dream, process, and take mini-vacations periodically to avoid burnout and stoke our creative fires.

I do have some new paintings in the works, so I hope to reveal those soon! Have a wonderful week!

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Allowing Inspiration

Most of my blog post start out as journal entries. Unfortunately, this means a lot of them end up sitting on paper for awhile until I get around to typing them up and polishing them to show you. 

I just found this entry, and even though it’s a little out of season, I really wanted to share it with you. I wrote this on my trip to Lake Powell this last summer. 

One of my greatest struggles in life is allowing things; letting things happen naturally instead of forcing them, being taught instead of plowing through experiences with a machete as if they were tangled jungles.

I’m an artist and a writer, and I used to think that everything should inspire me to write or create art. Too often I wouldn’t even do that because I was too busy waiting for the urge to strike instead of accepting what the situation gifted to me.

This trip to Lake Powell for instance. Most of the time I sit on the deck and read. I expected to write here, to be moved to sketch the beauty of the landscape or capture its grace in a poem. Instead, I’ve been hiking and swimming and kayaking, paddle surfing and wave running and cliff jumping. Neglecting my body’s hunger and fullness cues a little but sleeping like the dead at night. I feel alive. Amazing. Despite the sore shoulders and arms floppy with exhaustion, I’m invigorated.

This landscape inspires me to connect with my body, to physically explore the space around me and my own body and mind. I’m connected to my child-self, to uncover the long-buried imagination like an ancient artifact from a place I lived in another life. Were I here as a child I would have climbed rocks pretending I was a Native American, swam like a mermaid in my magical realm, that this houseboat is a ship taking us to a magical place to search for an unknown treasure, something I’d recognize once I found it. I build on this story each day I’m here.

I know this will inspire me to write or make art later, but now, in the moment of being here it inspires me to be and explore, and that’s just as beautiful and creative as art and poetry. I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of artist who’s inspired to draw every beautiful thing I see, or to write an essay about every sunset as it happens, but I’d rather watch them, be there with them and store those feelings and images in my treasure box, the well deep inside my soul that I dip into each time I create. The feelings will come out eventually in some form. They’re never lost.

I promise I’ll try to be more prompt with turning my journal entries into posts. The summery post is kind of nice while it’s cold outside though.