Friday, June 29, 2012

Detour

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”  – Margaret Drabble
When we encounter a detour, we encounter uncertainty.  We can’t see what’s ahead or where the detour will lead us, but despite that uncertainty, there are always opportunities along the way – learning a new route to our destination, new scenery, new perspectives.
As I was navigating my career detour, I suddenly found myself confronting a second unexpected detour.  My health had decided to head down a path of its own, a very unfamiliar and unsettling path along which I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a blood cancer.  I am grateful beyond words to be able to share with you that I am currently in remission and receiving maintenance treatments as a safeguard.  My diagnosis and subsequent fight admittedly stunned, scared and challenged me, but as I found my footing, I gained strength as well as some of those new perspectives that uncertainty reveals.  Love, gratitude and positivity proved to be tremendously powerful in helping me traverse through this rough terrain.
I’ve always considered myself a grateful person, but my gratitude is bursting now!  Gratitude for family, friends and acquaintances, even strangers, who bolstered me with their love, compassion and support, for living within driving distance of Stanford Medical Center and having access to the expertise there, for the medical professionals locally and at Stanford who have provided guidance and care, for rewarding new connections I have made along this journey as well as older relationships that have stood the tests of time and hardship…gratitude for becoming a survivor and continuing to experience and enjoy life’s wonders and blessings.  I am humbled every time I’m at Stanford or in our local hospital’s cancer center, seeing others fighting battles far greater than mine and silently sending them love and healing wishes. 

My "inner little girl" was so very grateful to be in good hands.  You'll be getting better acquainted with her soon...

I was hesitant to divulge this part of myself as it feels very private at times, yet it’s an essential element to fully understanding the impetus of my healing arts journey, so here I am, taking a deep breath and sharing.  In doing so, my intent is to provide a backdrop for my healing arts and art journaling stories.  Please know that these stories will focus on my creative journey and its “vistas” rather than health matters.
Up until I encountered my career and health detours, I wasn’t a pessimist, but I wasn’t a true optimist, either.  I suppose, most often, I was more of a realist.  What could be perceived as negative experiences have actually resulted in many positive moments and outcomes including prompting me to approach personal goals with more optimism.  I’m learning how to become a better dreamer and explorer of possibilities, and my hope with Paper and Ponder is to encourage the dreams and explorations of others!
So, what are you dreaming about...what possibilities are you exploring?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Once Upon A Time

“Once upon a time, in the forest of Someplace Else…” 
– from The Three Bears


So begins the story in my tattered childhood copy of the classic tale, and that phrase pops into my mind when reflecting on where I’ve found myself in the past year and a half, wandering and finding direction through my own “forest of Someplace Else.”  A turning point in my career and a health detour both unexpectedly rerouted my life on to a different path, one which, despite its obstacles and challenges, has also revealed opportunities for growth, enlightenment and fulfillment.  Now l am traveling through this “forest of Someplace Else” and finding my way. 
We love the coastal area where we live like you love a person, and our friends here are our extended family, so when my employer relocated my job, we chose without hesitation to remain here rather than move.  I became unemployed for the first time in my career and grappled with adjusting to my jobless status.  As I updated my resume and job searched, the prospect of jumping back on the “hamster wheel,” spinning constantly with the stress of work demands and business travel, filled me with dread.  In recent years, the stress had been intensifying as I tried my best to balance work, frequent business travel and motherhood.  My heart sunk heavily into the pit of my stomach every time I had to pack a bag, step on a plane and leave home!  My creativity was drained, and my spirit was weakened.  As mentioned in my first post, I wasn’t much of a risk taker, so as weary and depressed as I had become while working in the corporate world, I continued to spin diligently on that “hamster wheel” because maintaining a consistent salary seemed safe and responsible.  Of course, that so-called safety is lost along with a job loss!  When my layoff forced me to consider all options, I allowed myself to contemplate the possibility of no longer spinning out of control, of finally taking that leap of faith and pursuing my dream of owning a creative small business and embarking on an adventurous new career path.  Now, the dream I never believed would become a reality is indeed becoming a fledgling reality!  I awake each day with enthusiasm and hope replacing exhaustion and dread.
Plumeria Papercraft, a blending of a reference to our daughter’s name and the art form in which I work most often, is my dream in the process of becoming a reality.  If you aren’t already familiar with my Plumeria Papercraft story, you can read details in my Etsy shop or on my Facebook page.  I’ve been journeying along my new career path one step after another, and although each has been a baby step, these steps are giving me momentum to move forward in a positive direction, and I’m feeling optimism and a sense of modest accomplishment as I do so.  Little did I know I would encounter a health detour which threatened to derail my progress, but thank goodness I’m still moving forward!  I’ll share a little bit about this detour in my next post.
How about your version of the “forest of Someplace Else?”  Would you like to share something about your own journey?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Leap Of Faith

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”
– Margaret Shepherd



Hi, I’m Lisa – artist, mom, small business entrepreneur, Etsian, avid beachcomber, hiker, nature and animal lover, cancer survivor, seeker of a simpler, more mindful life and traveler on a healing arts journey.  I’m in pursuit of many creative aspirations and learning to leap more often! 
As you read this post, I’m taking my latest leap of faith, launching this blog with fingers crossed that the ideas, insights and inspirations I share here will resonate with you and with others.  I’ve been evolving into more of a risk taker lately, albeit a cautious risk taker (is that too much of an oxymoron?!) who ponders and prepares before leaping.  I’ve had a tendency throughout life to avoid big leaps and have instead been inclined to choose “safer,” more predictable paths.  This approach shifted for me when life took some unexpected twists and turns in the past year and a half with my career and my health.  I’m now learning to navigate through unchartered territory with newfound courage and strength and taking more leaps in the process!  Perhaps launching a blog isn’t so risky, but what feels risky to me is being out here in the open, revealing my creative exploration and expression on a personal level and facing the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll connect with what I share.  I hope you will! 
What is my mission for Paper and Ponder?  It mirrors the mission for my creative small business, Plumeria Papercraft – “To inspire and uplift.  To motivate others to live mindfully and enjoy life’s simple blessings.  To spread creative energy and widen the circle of heartfelt connections.”  I’ll be sharing an assortment of topics and images I hope you’ll find interesting and inspiring, sometimes contemplative, other times lighthearted, but always within the creative realm. 
I’ll also be sharing a new journey on which I’ve embarked within the past year, exploring a different side of art and discovering its healing powers.  This experience has been tremendously helpful in soothing raw emotions, calming my soul and laying new groundwork for personal growth.  I’m admittedly feeling some trepidation about sharing my own healing arts journey, but my humble hope is that by doing so, I can help and encourage others who may benefit from this soulful, reflective, therapeutic approach to art. 
So, as I take this latest leap, I invite you to join me and hope you’ll find some inspiration here to generate and spread some creative energy of your own! 
In my next post, I’ll share a little bit more about myself, but in the meantime, I welcome you to say hello and tell me a little bit about yourself…