Whoa! I should have worn a sweatshirt!

This was one of the really windy spots on this afternoon's walk.

This was one of the really windy spots on this afternoon’s walk.

 

Sometimes things in my life don’t turn out as I hoped and I’m left feeling confused, disappointed, lost, and all sorts of less-than-positive emotions. The most effective way of dealing with such times in my life is to go for a nice, long walk! Honestly, any type of exercise can help create a more positive perspective because the endorphins start flowing and energy begins surging, but for me, walks work best!

As I took a rather short walk yesterday due to the cooler, more turbulent weather, I decided that today Jazzmin and I would take a nice loooong walk! Our long walk is a total of four miles and involves traveling all the way down to the local farmer’s huge storage barns, but I had a lot on my mind and I knew I had to work it all out with a properly exhausting walk. Sweet, lovable, loyal Jazzerboo would walk forever if I let her, but she’s limited to what her pack leader (me) can handle, so four miles is our longest walk (so far).

On this lovely autumn day, the sun was shining brightly, the sky was bright blue, and the wind was once again whipping across the hills. Even so, I thought I’d be warm enough in just shorts and a tank top. By the time we reached the end of my driveway I thought, “Hmm, I might want to put on a sweatshirt.” I then talked myself out of that by deciding the long walk would warm me up and I’d just end up tying the sweatshirt around my waste. I was wrong!

While I usually break a sweat on longer walks, it wasn’t even possible today because the wind cooled off my body before it could get hot. After we crested the tallest hill, I was tired but not hot, my arms and legs had goosebumps, and I was feeling rather numb.

Scolding myself for not wearing a sweatshirt, I continued on the walk and looked forward to the areas where trees bordered the road. Usually I like those spots because the tree shade cools me from the sun, but today I loved them because the trees blocked the wind! Wherever the road was open to farmer’s fields and treeless hills, the breeze blew so strong that I’d see tumbleweeds roll across in front of us. The wind was so strong that butterflies were struggling to stay on course, turkey vultures were having a ball kiting through the air, and leaves were flying off the trees!

One of the upsides of being so chilly was that I was walking rather briskly because I was eager to return home and swim in some hot coffee! While on the walk, I rescued five wooly bear caterpillars and a praying mantis from certain death beneath car wheels. I also saw a merlin, a hawk, and three monarch butterflies. The monarch sightings were a pleasant surprise because I thought it was too cold and windy for any of the lovely orange and black butterflies to be up north still.

When Jazzmin and I returned home over an hour after leaving, we were both quite pleased with ourselves. Jazzmin was pleased because she’d sniffed out every squirrel, deer, raccoon, and chipmunk that had ever crossed the road and I was happy because I’d worked off my negative feelings and replaced them with positivity and hope. There’s no denying the benefits of walking because I experience them first hand whenever I take Jazz out. Even on days when I just want to crawl back into bed and nap because I’m feeling down, I’ve discovered that going for a walk helps my attitude do a complete 180 spin into happier, more upbeat and perfectly positive feelings. I’m also positively feeling that I really need to wear a coat next time it’s as cool and windy as it was today!

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An Artist’s Emotions (re-post)

It’s been a long, busy day and I’m too tired to properly utilize my creative writing abilities, so it’s time for another re-post from my Writer & Artists blog on Corbin Creations. I wasn’t sure which one I was going to re-post so I read through a few until one struck my fancy. It’s about how my emotions affect my creativity or lack thereof. This one seems relevant because in rearranging my living room today, I had to move my huge plastic tote filled with my overflow of artwork.

I recently changed out some artwork that was hanging over my desk because it reminded me of emotions and feelings that no longer serve a purpose in my life. I should know by now not to create paintings based on feelings for another person, but I’m a hopelessly optimistic romantic so I continue to do so. One of the paintings is entitled Morning Path and it’s some of my best work. I was amazed with myself when it was finished. I based it off a photo and for once was able to do justice to the beauty of an amazing post-storm sky. I imagine someday I’ll be able to look at it again, but for now it’s best if I leave it tucked away and move forward with my life.

I haven’t painted anything new in a while and it’s probably past time. I just have to summon the right emotions, find the proper colors, and let my brushstrokes tell the story.

Morning Path Painting

Morning Path painting

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An Artist’s Emotions – 2/4/2012

My work, whether it be painting or writing, has always been driven by my emotions. I have to feel passionately about something, or even someone, in order to find my creative muse. Alas there have been far too many times in my life when my experiences have left me so numb and empty that I couldn’t put brush to canvas or fingers to keyboard. I have done some paintings when I was angry and it was therapeutic because anger is a passionate emotion, full of fire and easy to feed off of. The blah of discontent and depression holds no fire, only cold emptiness and I am not someone who can create anything from that.

My friend has told me that I’m someone who loves too hard, and she knows because she is one too. I believe all my female friends are like this and that’s why we understand each other so well. We put so much of ourselves out there, whether it be through painting, writing, speaking or just living and we think everyone who knows us and cares about us should understand that part of us and not abandon us because of it. It’s hard for us to accept that there really are people out there who don’t need other people, who are content alone and who don’t want to share the deepest parts of themselves, including their hearts, with anyone else. I will never be that kind of person. How I love makes me vulnerable and gets me hurt but it can also create beautiful pieces of artwork and writing that capture the most important essence of myself.

Keep looking up!

Hawk I saw soaring over the back field today.

Hawk I saw soaring over the back field today.

 

I knew it was going to be tricky balancing taking care of the girls, writing freelance and doing my college work but I wasn’t quite prepared for all that and the other unexpected challenges I’ve faced over the past week. Things that had been constants in my life became unpredictable and I dealt with the pain of loss in familiar, heart wrenching ways. The most important thing though is that I’m still here, still kicking, still fighting the good fight. I attribute that to my ability to keep looking up even when I’m on the ground.

Trying to read online text books and complete college assignments while I had the girls proved a mostly futile endeavor but I got everything done once they were back with their father. Then I was faced with the challenge of defining a thesis and writing an essay about it. I thought that would be relatively easy but I was wrong and I was left frustrated and doubting my abilities as a writer. I may never be great at thesis and essays but I know I’m a good writer. I was born to be a writer and I’m certain the challenge of college English will help me grow and strengthen my abilities.

I floundered a bit when contact with friends faltered and vanished but I knew they were facing their own challenges so I mustered my courage and marched onward. I know my mom and my girls are always there to cheer me on and support me but I still long for the social circle aspect of my life that has been missing since my divorce. I knew there would be a transition/adjustment period when my marriage ended but I didn’t expect to still be in it three years later.

I’ve definitely made progress in my different and better life but sometimes it’s tough to go it alone. Well, I’m not totally alone, my pup Jazzmin will be my shadow to the ends of the earth and beyond. I’m so lucky to have her in my life because she’ll never judge me or question my choices. She always sees the best in me and through her eyes I see what a kind-hearted human I am.

Jazzmin is great at making me smile and laugh!

Jazzmin is great at making me smile and laugh!

I’ve also started keeping a journal of all the positives things in my life and the positive omens and signs I see every day. Taking the time to write it all down every single day really put it all in perspective for me. I receive numerous positive messages every day and have more blessings than I can count. Focusing on the positive aspects of my life completely outshines any negativity I encounter and it gives me the strength to continue on my journey.

hawk3

As I said in the beginning of this, I keep looking up and I mean this literally. I’m always looking up toward the sky for signs and spirit guardians. Every day I see numerous little butterflies around my yard and at least a couple of monarchs. For several days in a row I’ve seen hawks soaring in the sky and they’ve gone out of their way to make sure I see them. The hawks have circled in front of my living room window, cast shadows in front trees so I’ll go outside and see them in the back field and flown directly over me during walks with Jazzmin.

A quick online search reveals various meanings behind seeing a hawk but I believe that they’re guardians and guides from the spirit world sent to remind me to see the world with a wider vision. I tend to become too focused on small issues without having patience and faith in the bigger picture. When I see a hawk, I’m filled with a sense of calm and of knowing that everything will be okay. Whether the hawk is soaring or sitting atop a tree or pole, I’m aware of their watchful eye and I’m filled with reassurance that I’ll always be on the right path as long I keep looking where I want to go: up!

hawk2

Having Faith is a History Worth Repeating (re-post)

purple flowers

Sometimes I feel a keen sense of deja vu in my life, as in I’ve been in this particular loop of events or emotions before. I scold myself because I’m supposed to learn from my experiences and not repeat the same mistakes but I’m human and I slip up. Luckily, I have my past self to go back and seek advice from and remind myself that there are things in life that are actually worth repeating.

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Having Faith is a History Worth Repeating 1/8/2013

History tends to repeat itself. Not just in big world events but in our lives and personal relationships. Sometimes it is a positive and beneficial thing and sometimes it is a negative and detrimental thing. Preventing history from repeating itself is definitely possible in certain circumstances. If we keep making the same mistakes and not learning the life lesson intended from the first time we made those mistakes, then we’re allowing history to repeat itself. There are however many times when there’s nothing we can do to stop history from cycling through again in an all too familiar way and that can prove rather frustrating.

As much as many of us might wish it were otherwise, we can’t control the universe. There are some who can quite possibly see the future but that doesn’t mean they can really do anything to change it. What if the very thing they do to change the future creates that unwanted future? It is a conundrum often repeated in science fiction stories and movies and for good reason. Humans don’t like feeling helpless. Uncertainty causes worry and fear and those are emotions no one truly enjoys. But accepting that certain things are beyond our control isn’t easy to swallow either. This is where faith comes in…

Faith is the belief that somehow things will all work out regardless of what we do or do not do. This is not a force that will somehow pay your bills if you don’t send the money, that sort of thing is wholly within our control and should not be left up to the universe. Faith is a force for much bigger things. It and hope are what we cling to in our darkest hours when things look bleak and full of despair. If we do not hold on to that small sliver of belief that things will be okay somehow then we have given up and that accomplishes nothing. 

It is not just unseen forces that one need have faith in. Having faith in those who love us and believing that they will help us through our struggles is just as important.  A tangible strength and support is a different level of comfort and reassurance than blind faith. If we start to doubt that those who love us will be there for us, then it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as we push them away for fear that they’ll abandon us eventually anyway. Not all of our loved ones will be there for us but those who are loyal without falter are the ones that truly matter in the bigger scheme of things.  Having this sort of history with people makes for an enduring repetitive experience and creates the ties that truly bind us all together.

Promises on monarch wings

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Took this picture with my phone and zoomed in. Trust me, there's a monarch in it.

The weather finally cooled off and became less humid enough to mow today. As I mowed this afternoon I was treated to the sight of monarch butterflies. I’m always so happy when the monarchs start appearing! They’re symbolic of transformation for me and carry messages from my father and other family spirits.

I love all types of butterflies and smile whenever one flies by me. I even bring my mower to a complete stop if there’s one perched on a flower in front of me. The roar of the mower is enough to make them fly away and I continue on my course. Seeing two butterflies flying together is a powerfully positive sign and never to be ignored.

When I was done mowing, I took Jazzmin for a walk in the lovely evening air. Shortly after we set out, a monarch butterfly appeared flying in the direction we were walking. He paused on a plant by the side of the road and I snapped the picture at the top of this post before an oncoming car scared him away.

Jazz and I had a great walk in the sunshine with the pleasant breeze and she was all happy, panting smiles on our way home. As we neared my driveway, another monarch fluttered by us and I paused to watch him as he disappeared further up the road. Wearing a wide,  happy smile, I continued toward home and started looking forward to the many wonderful promises awaiting me on monarch wings.

Interpreting signs

Blue dragonfly near where I sat at today's Pow-Wow

Blue dragonfly near where I sat at today’s Pow-Wow

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know that I’m a big believer in signs. If you’re new to reading my blog…well now you know that I believe in signs 😉 I always look and ask for positive signs and I do my best to not believe in bad omens. I honestly feel that when you put positive energy out there, positive energy returns! The same applies to negative energy which is why I try so hard to see the bright side of situations.

I consider myself fortunate that the powers that be quite often send me exactly the sign I ask for. Sometimes I’m quite specific in my sign requests and when those are answered on-point I’m sure that’s my dad’s spirit flexing his afterlife muscle to help and reassure his little girl. There have been times when I don’t receive a specific sign and while I like to believe that it hasn’t happened yet or that I missed it, it’s entirely possible that I wasn’t meant to receive that sign because what I was looking for just can’t be accomplished. That can be rather hard for me to accept, especially when I wanted with all my heart to see that sign and be given hope for a particular outcome.

I think there have also been times when I interpret signs incorrectly. Translating signs isn’t an exact science after all and it wouldn’t be any fun if it was. But I do the best I can and continue to believe in positive outcomes. For me personally, it’s important to have faith in something. To be able to hold onto hope for a brighter future even at life’s lowest moments.

Today I saw several positive signs in the forms of dragonflies near where I sat, butterflies along my path and a hawk circling in the sky above the park.

Another dragonfly in the center of the circle.

Another dragonfly in the center of the circle.

Hawk circling above the park.

Hawk circling above the park.

I believe the hawk is one of my most powerful spirit guardians and animal totems as I see one almost every day. I even saw one circling in the sky of Boston! Seeing a hawk reminds me that I’m never alone and tells me that I’m on the right path. Watching a hawk means looking up and as I believe in always looking where you want to go, things will continue to soar upward!

The hawk I saw circling the skies in Boston.

The hawk I saw circling the skies in Boston.

Spring on Wings

American Robin. Photo courtesy of National Audubon Society

The local forecast for the next 10 days is calling for snow, highs in the 20’s and lows in the teens and single digits. An unwelcome change from the past few days of bright sunshine and mild temperatures in the high 40’s. For a brief moment everyone thought that spring had arrived early, but alas winter isn’t over yet.

Driving home yesterday I did see some signs of hope though and they came on bird wings. Namely the wings of the American Robin. On my drive through Massachusetts I saw numerous robins flying about and several of them nearly dive bombed my car. It’s entirely possible they’re year-round residents of MA, but I prefer to believe that they’re coming back because they sense the arrival of spring. I certainly don’t remember seeing them on any of my previous winter drives and I definitely don’t see them in NY until spring is near.

So as I hunker down, dress in layers and snuggle under multiple blankets for the next several days, weeks, whatever, I’ll take heart in my memories of seeing those lively, red-breasted thrushes flying in little flocks and swooping at my car. Spring comes in on the wings of returning birds and I welcome it with open arms and full bird feeders!