Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘change’

How to turn your life on its head in 12 months or fewer

selfieSome of you have noticed that our sweet little blog has been neglected this summer. In retrospect, I should have scheduled and declared a short blog break, but I didn’t have the foresight to know how busy the last few months would become.

Now that I’m back, let’s have a little catch up.

In July 2014, my husband and I moved from Massachusetts to Washington State, relocating to a beautiful island due west of Seattle with our two sons (now 10 and 7). I immediately felt at home here, but it was disorienting to leave loved ones behind. I have three children from my first marriage; my two oldest sons (24 and 21) are in Boston and my daughter (19) is heading back to CU Boulder for her sophomore year. My mother lives in New Hampshire.

Life unfolded, as it does, and with the settling in came the understanding that a relocation and the passage of time would not heal the pain from years of conflict between my husband and my three oldest children. In January, after 14 rocky years together, I reached the end of my marital rope. The accumulation of hurt and resentment forced me to look in the mirror and own the many ways in which I’d failed my children — and myself. Of course, there were ways in which I’d failed my husband, too. I’m not an easy person to live with — I know that — and ultimately, I don’t think I’m capable of the compromises that marriage requires. But if I had to stamp a single label on our situation, I would have to go with “blended family fail.”

While we’d had a few dress rehearsals, it was — is — at times searingly painful to leave someone who you still love and are attracted to. The pain comes in waves, which is something I’d heard before but never quite understood. Over time, one learns to keep breathing when the waves hit. And they start to lose some of their crushing weight.

I no longer believe that love conquers all. But I do know that my priority of existence is this:

  1. Myself, because if I’m not taking care of my own needs, I’m of no use to anyone else.
  2. My five children, regardless of how old they are.

And that’s it. Everyone else — family, friends, acquaintances — are part of my life because they have a net positive impact on #1 and/or #2 above. It’s that simple.

Today, I am living in a lovely little rental cottage. I share my two youngest boys 50/50 with their dad. Our relationship is surprisingly friendly and cooperative. (I give my ex a lot of credit for that.) We’re both committed to staying here on the island and raising our boys as co-parents.

I am repairing my relationships with my older children. Every day, I am profoundly grateful that they didn’t give up on me. My daughter came for a visit last month, and it was an enormous gift to be able to spend time with her without the burden of ever-mounting guilt that I used to carry. The guilt from past mistakes doesn’t go away, of course — and there are some things I will never forgive myself for  — but at least I’m no longer adding to the inventory.

Moving twice in a year — including a cross-country relocation — and getting divorced adds up to rather a lot of recovery. But amidst this period of intense change I am finding myself. I am more “me” than I’ve ever been before. My life is full of new friends, new experiences, new places, new tattoos, and new men. (Don’t be alarmed — I’m not using new relationships to bury my emotional pain, but rather connecting with other people to rediscover and redefine myself.) There’s also the usual challenge of making enough time for my client work. That’s been a struggle given all of the other things I’m focused on.

As I find my feet, I am awash in creative energy. I fought for some time to maintain my creative practice before allowing myself to just do what I’m doing. As summer comes to a close, and I near turning 46, I’m preparing to reconnect with a structured practice — but until then, I have put down the whip of self-flagellation.

So, that’s where things are at on my end. I look forward to sharing on a more regular basis and supporting you in your creative work.

Much love.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ May 18, 2015

Keri Smith quote

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ May 11, 2015

Twyla Tharp quote creativity

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Meme of the Week

choices

Happy Friday.

:::::

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ October 14, 2013

Thomas Vasquez quote

Commit to a regular creativity practice. Regularity — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning.

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ October 7, 2013

Eric Maisel quote

Commit to a regular creativity practice. Regularity — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning.

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Brittany: The Anatomy of Change

Sam has decided he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. His latest bedtime book of choice? The Human Body. Tonight we read about the skull and the skeleton. Non-scientific Mommy got to explain that the skull is like a bike helmet that protects your ball-of-Jello brain. I also demonstrated the structural usefulness of bones with a spare sock and the pen on Sam’s Magnadoodle. I don’t know if I’m confusing him more or not, but his desire to know all about the body is insatiable. He’s already made a standing appointment with me for another anatomy lesson tomorrow night (when we’ll read about digestion and pelvic bones).

It’s funny, because when I was little, I said I wanted to be a doctor, too. The difference was, I just wanted to take care of sick people and make them feel better. I didn’t care a whit about how the human body worked. That was of no interest to me whatsoever.

I can see myself in Sam, but at the same time, I’m well aware of the ways he diverges from me, too. In a lot of ways I feel like he is the turbo-charged version of me — the one whose detail-orientation and persistence will propel him toward success I could never even dream of. And that makes me happy. I hope he’s able to harness all his potential into something amazing.

It’s hard for me to believe that his preschool days are now over. I don’t think I have anything new to say on the subject without descending into cliches. Where has the time gone? My baby’s all grown up. I can’t believe he’s so big. I feel so old.

I’ll admit I’m feeling anxious for him. Every time he starts worrying about kindergarten, I can’t help but worry along with him, even as I’m telling him it will be all be a wonderful adventure. He seems to already understand that expectations are about to be piled on him — make-it-or-break-it expectations — and that he’s going to have to grow up fast.

I want to cry with him as he realizes that he’s no longer small enough for Mommy’s arms to shut the world out. And even though he still wants the comfort of a snuggle, he’s getting too big to fit in my lap. I knew this day was going to come, but that doesn’t make now any easier.

My friend Kira stopped by today with a friend and her friend’s three-month-old baby. He was so tiny and helpless. So new. So easy.

His mother sat feeding him in the quiet of the living room, her arms enveloping him, in one of those peaceful, protective moments of newborn motherhood that I still vaguely remember. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Sam and John were underfoot, loudly racing garbage trucks with Tyler and Zachary, while Kira and I threw their lunches together. The metaphor was not lost on me. Those quiet me-alone-with-my-baby moments are over. I live in a completely different world now. Seeing Sam and John in one room, the newborn in the other, it was hard to believe how much the boys had grown, and how far removed all of us were from those sweet, drowsy baby days.

I think Sam understands this. He’s wondering how we got from there to here, too. And his newfound interest in the human body? Like me, he’s trying to wrap his brain around that vast world that envelopes the heart.

[Crossposted from Re-Writing Motherhood]

%d bloggers like this: