Joy & Ease in the Midst of Chaos

The last few weeks have been NUTS! When I last wrote, I’d arrived in Phoenix and started my new job. Since then, there’s barely been a moment to breathe. Until now. Until today. Which is why I’m back with an essay to share the joy and ease I found in the chaos.

Cross country relocation sometimes involves air travel, even in a pandemic

With gratitude…

Moving is always a crazy and hectic experience. When it’s a cross country relocation, there’s an added layer of stress. When we moved a year ago, from Chicago to Florida, I didn’t notice the madness because I was working for myself and, because it was the early days of the pandemic, my business was slow.

This time, the move included going back to work so time to settle in was limited to evenings. For the first few weeks, I stayed with cousins who were generous enough to open their home to a relative they hadn’t seen in at least 20 years.

I am so grateful to them both for making me feel welcome and cared for. I think, if I’d gone straight into a hotel, I might have felt a little lost in the new locale. Instead, I was greeted with open arms and lots of love. They were overjoyed to have me stay with them and I was filled with joy to get re-acquainted.

With trust…

During that same time, as I began settling into the routine of a “regular” job again, I also began the search for our new home. While the Big Guy and I have very similar tastes in houses, there was an underlying anxiety that followed me around as I toured homes he could only see via photos in the MLS listings or via FaceTime videos as I walked through a house. What if I fell in love with a house he hated?

Fortunately, he agreed with me when I found a house that felt ideal. We put in our offer, went through a round or two of countering, and finally entered into a contract. House #6 was the winner. We’ll close in early May and are looking forward to sleeping in our own bed in about a month.

With faith…

The day after our contract was accepted, I flew back to Florida to oversee the movers who were packing up our house. It was the first time on a plane since early March of 2020 and I was grateful for all the protocols the airlines and airports have put in place to protect the passengers.

The movers were awesome. Over the course of three days, they packed all our belongings and loaded the truck. They were personable, friendly, and we all had fun during the process. The truck arrived in Phoenix a few days ago and our stuff was transferred into storage until we can take possession of our house.

Packed and ready to load, the place looked like a bomb went off

The Big Guy joined me here about a week ago. He too has started work and is settling in well. We’re living in an extended stay type hotel and are looking forward to exploring Phoenix and the surrounding area now that the stressors of finding a home are behind us.

With joy and ease…

Moving is a crazy time, yet when you’re open to it, there’s so much joy and ease to be found in the process. Yes, I’ve been stressed. Yes, I’ve been anxious. Yes, I haven’t always slept as well as I’d like. But I haven’t allowed any of that to get in the way of enjoying the adventure that is moving across country, starting a new job, meeting new people, renewing old relationships, and living life to its fullest.

Joy and ease are our birthright. They are present even when our world feels chaotic and overwhelming. In fact, I’d say joy and ease are MORE present when the world feels chaotic and overwhelming. Those are the times when we need joy and ease the most.

All you need to do is stay open to the beauty, fun, and little things that make you happy and grateful when life feels nuttier than usual.

What is currently stressing you out? How could you find your own joy and ease in the midst of your chaos? If you’re willing to share, drop a note in the comments.

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

Drinking from a fire hose

I’ve made it to Phoenix. Yay! And I’m swamped. I’d forgotten how much a cross country relocation resembles drinking from a fire hose. I’ve managed to eke out a few moments to write this weekly missive. Let me fill you in.

Photo by Greg Leaman on Unsplash

I’ve enjoyed one full week at my new job. The project may have barely begun but it’s moving at the speed of sound. Lots of moving parts as we mobilize and pull the necessary contracts and permits in place. It’s exciting, the work and the people. I’d almost forgotten how much I appreciate being surrounded by positive co-worker energy. Each day brings with it a little zing.

In addition to full work days, I’m also on the search for a house for the Big Guy and I to purchase. My cousin’s girlfriend is a Realtor and she’s doing a bang up job of finding listings for me to look at that meet our budget and our parameters. Phoenix is in the midst of a seller’s market so homes are moving at the speed of light. I don’t really expect to find our ideal home until early April, after the Big Guy joins me here in the southwest, however, I’m open to whatever the Universe chooses to deliver. I trust the powers greater than I to handle the timing for our dream house.

Between work and house hunting, there’s not much time for anything else. My art making is on hold pending purchase of a home and delivery of our belongings. I’m going to continue to try to squeeze out a bit of time to write a short essay each week, but if you don’t hear from me on a random Monday in the near future, know it’s not because I had nothing to share but rather because I was water logged from that fire hose.

While my schedule (and occasionally my brain) are a bit overwhelmed during this transitional time, I’m still finding the joy and ease within it all. Life is an adventure and I’m grateful to be living it.

With joy and ease…

These are exciting times for my art, my writing, my work, my family, and me. I hope you’ll appreciate the little updates I’ll share on our progress and the joy and ease we’re finding in this remarkable life. In the meantime, keep finding your own joy and ease. It’s what makes life fun.

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

New Adventures!

Last week, I wrote about patience as an exercise in BEING. That essay paid off. The thing I was anxiously awaiting, and diligently practicing patience for, came to be. And it’s an adventure!!

Me, excited for our new adventure. 🙂

New adventure? Tell me more…

First, about the whole practicing patience thing…writing that essay last week allowed me to release the outcome for the thing I was waiting for. As often happens when I let shit go, the Universe pretty immediately stepped in and hand delivered exactly what I was seeking. In fact, as I’m writing this week’s essay, I’m in Dallas, on my way to start my new adventure.

By the time you’re reading this, the new adventure will have begun.

So what is it, you ask?

Let me tell you!

We are moving! Again. After only a year. This will make two pandemic moves. The Big Guy and I are nothing if not willing to upend our lives in the middle of unprecedented conditions.

We are headed to Phoenix, Arizona from our most recent home in South Florida. I am returning to corporate work in construction as part of a team building a $2B project in North Phoenix. It’s a fast-paced project and I’m super excited to be a part of it. The Big Guy has also landed a position on the same project, which certainly simplifies this relocation. No one needs to find a job. Hallelujah.

Things I’ve learned…

For the past two years, I’ve worked full time to build a business as a coach, an artist, a writer. I did not achieve any financial success and yet, I don’t consider any of that time or effort to be a failure. I learned SO MUCH about myself. About what I want, about what I’m willing to do, about what I need.

Most importantly, I learned to find joy and ease in everything, including my work.

This single lesson is the one I’d been looking for this entire lifetime. There is joy in serving one’s co-workers and one’s clients. Being of service and making a meaningful contribution to society doesn’t always mean being your own boss. I couldn’t see that before I stepped away from corporate.

I see it so clearly now.

But what about art and writing and…?

I’m still going to write. I’m still going to make my amazing, bright, bold, abstract fiber art. I have to. These things are intrinsic parts of who I am. (Although I will admit I’m on an art making hiatus until we find a house and get ourselves moved in. I’m hoping to be back in the studio by May.)

I’m also going to go to work to help bring this Phoenix project into reality and be of service in that way. This too is an intrinsic part of who I am.

With joy and ease…

Throughout my corporate career, my motto was “give great customer service”. I considered my co-workers, my clients, the community, the contractors, the various agencies, and more to be my customers. I trained my staff to lead with service. Embracing service is what I do. Giving great customer service brings me joy and I’m thrilled to be returning to that work.

How do you find the joy in the work you do?

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

Want More Joy & Ease? Go Exercise

If you feel like you’re drowning under the isolation and pressures inherent in this pandemic that keeps. lingering. on, might I suggest you get some exercise? Moving your body is a great way to reconnect to joy and ease.

Detail view of Serene, one of my fiber feelings.

Into the deep end…

I used to be a swimmer, part of my high school team. I wasn’t Olympic caliber by any stretch of the imagination, but I could win sprints in butterfly and freestyle. Which is saying something because I was always the shortest competitor so I had to be extra fast to beat a longer reach. A powerful kick helped.

The feeling when my hand touched the wall at the end of a race and I stood to discover I’d out-swum all the other girls in the pool was AH-MAZING. Pure energy rush.

However, the most impactful thing I carry with me from that time in my life isn’t satisfaction from winning a few races, but rather the feeling of weightlessness that comes from being in the water. To me, that weightlessness feels like ease.

There’s no struggle. There’s only flow.

Into nature…

These days, I rarely swim and it’s not from lack of access to a pool. My exercise interests have changed as I’ve aged. However, on those occasions when I do get in the water, the joy and ease always returns.

Instead, I’ve found more satisfaction from exercising in nature. I’ve discovered long walks or bicycle rides produce that same sense of weightlessness in my heart. It’s not unusual for me to go into a sort of trance during a walk as I connect to the natural world around me. When this happens, I feel I’m floating along the path. I always giggle a little when I “come to” as I realize I’m almost back home. Time disappeared; there was only ease and flow.

The same holds true with my Pilates practice, even though it requires concentration and focus as I flow from position to position. My body feels powerful and that too produces the weightless sensation of ease.

Into your body…

Exercise drops you out of your head and into your body.

When you’re in your head, your thoughts spin and whirl, a speeding carousel of pressure, anxiety, to do lists, and shoulds.

When you drop into your body, thoughts quiet as you intentionally move your limbs to walk, to run, to swim, to flow.

Answers come through as you move. You can hear them, sense them, feel them because you’re not focused on your head. Instead, you’re focused on the beauty of your body in motion which opens you to joy and ease.

If you’re struggling with any sort of overwhelm, go exercise. I’m certain you’ll reconnect to your joy and ease quickly and effortlessly.

I’m certain of something else too. When you’re done moving your body, that overwhelm or struggle will have loosened its grip and I’ll bet you’ll see a solution where before you only saw problem.

With joy and ease…

What are your thoughts on exercising to reconnect to your joy and ease? Please share in the comments.

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

How Social Media Impacts Joy

I have a Meh / Hate relationship with social media. Lately, that relationship has been impacting my joy.

Detail shot of (Feeling) Joy, one of my textured fiber paintings

The Meh side…

At least once a day, I consider deleting my Facebook and my Instagram, often my LinkedIn, and occasionally my Pinterest. This isn’t actually a new thing – I’ve had this debate with myself since the day I first joined Facebook back in late 2008 (my gateway platform).

But I never do.

Part of the reason is the Meh side of the relationship. This side is a stew of Like and Love because social media helps me stay connected and in the know on the lives of extended family and friends. I’m a horrible correspondent so social media is how I stay connected and engaged. If the only resources I had were text, phone calls, or email, odds are high I’d disappear off all radar.

I enjoy seeing what others are up to. I am grateful for the opportunity to express my sympathy when something goes awry. I find humor and inspiration in the memes others share. I learn about new places and have vicarious adventures.

In addition…

As an artist, social media is a handy tool to share my creations. It allows me to broadcast these essays further afield than my subscription list.

When I create a new textured fiber painting, I can share photos in my feed to brighten the feed of my friends.

I can publish tiny excerpts of the novel I’m writing to entertain and build interest in reading the completed book.

I can “advertise” work for sale and reach a broader audience, if the algorithms are in my favor that day.

Through social media, I can participate in groups that educate and support my artistry and my business side. This is useful.

The Hate side…

But then there’s the Hate side. This is where social media impacts my joy, and maybe it impacts yours as well. I frequently feel obligated to scroll Facebook and Instagram, like if I don’t open the app and start swiping up, I’ll miss something.

It feels like something I HAVE to do or SHOULD do, rather than something I WANT to do. I grab my phone and glue my nose to the screen, even when I’m meant to be doing something else.

Having a computer in my hand doesn’t make me more productive. It makes me more distracted. And joy is found in being present.

It’s an addiction…

Social media is an addiction and all addictions prevent us from feeling true joy. In the moment, immersed in the addiction, we believe we’re experiencing joy, but we’re not. What we’re really experiencing is a simulated, flat, false imagining of what joy feels like. What we’re really doing when we scroll and scroll and scroll is escaping from reality, from connection, from ourselves.

And that’s not how I choose to live. I want the reality, connection, myself, which means I need to break the addiction.

I used to smoke, for over 20 years. Breaking that addiction was WORK but it finally happened for good and all when I was ready to quit. The same applies here.

While it may not be practical to completely dump my social media accounts – I do appreciate the Meh side after all – it can be possible to distance myself from my device so I’m no longer reliant on scrolling to escape.

And that’s what I’m choosing to do. I’m going to study when I’m glued to my phone and then take the necessary actions to break the pattern. I’m going to start putting my phone out of reach when I’m working, reading, cooking dinner, making art, watching Netflix. I’m going to take a breath before leaping up to grab the phone to scroll so I can be more intentional about my reasons for doing so.

And through it all, eventually, I’ll reduce the impact social media has on my joy. Through it all, I’ll break the addiction.

With joy and ease…

There are plenty of resources out there that talk about social media as an addiction and how it’s altering our brains (if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch the Social Dilemma on Netflix as a place to start learning).

We’ve become ridiculously dependent on our devices and that dependency is impacting our joy. That breaks my heart. Joy is our birthright, the whole purpose of our human existence. Navigating the social media hurdle is just one of the many lessons to learn as we find our way back to joy.

I’m curious…would you consider yourself addicted to social media? How do your social media habits impact your joy? Let me know in the comments.

xo


Interested specifically in my art? Want a piece in your home? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!