Saturday, March 21, 2015

Renewing And Unfurling

It feels good to awaken Paper And Ponder from its "Winter slumber!"  Over the past (unintentional) 4-month blogging hiatus, I never stopped "writing" posts, but the words weren't making it out of my mind and taking concrete shape.  Ideas were flowing in the shower, behind the steering wheel or as my head was hitting the pillow before I drifted off to sleep, not exactly opportune times to start typing, but then, it seemed as though opportune times halted altogether.  In November and December, I was immersed in my other identities as artist/maker and instructor/facilitator, but intended to get my writer/blogger identity rolling again when the New Year arrived.  Then, almost three months later...

I've been wondering why I allowed my blog to "sleep" for such a long stretch.  There's the immediate explanation of increasing challenges with my schedule.  I'm so grateful my small business is expanding, and I am very passionate about my work, designing and handcrafting notecards and other paper art and goods, instructing elementary students in collage art as part of an after-school enrichment program and facilitating SoulCollage(R) workshops.  I should, however, also feel grateful for and take advantage of the more flexible schedule self-employment can offer, but instead, I have a tendency to fill every nook and cranny with other business work, volunteer work, commitments, errands and chores.  As my business picks up, I haven't pulled back to create any space in those nooks and crannies, and as a result, I frequently find myself caught in a frenzy of "to do's."

I now question why there's been little to no breathing room in my schedule.  How about room for the project that takes longer than planned or room for the unexpected challenge, room for creative endeavors beyond business (like blogging here on Paper And Ponder), room to simply relax and refuel?  My husband, our daughter and I enjoy family time together, our outings and vacations, hiking, beachcombing or hanging out with a game or movie.  The space I deny myself, however, is "me time," quiet solo time for peace, reflection and inspiration.  A random hour or two on any given weekday should be achievable, but happens only on rare occasions.  Why?

Some habits apparently die hard!  As a former A student, corporate workaholic and (recovering!) perfectionist, my sense of worth was often connected to being "responsible" and "productive" at a breakneck, results driven pace.  I still struggle at times with letting go of these expectations.  Of course, there's reality...there are responsibilities to earn income, pay bills, be the best parent I can be and so on, but I must also remember that we have a responsibility to ourselves for self-care, for maintaining peace of mind, health and happiness.  By granting ourselves a respite, we refresh our spirit, recharge our energy and end up becoming more productive in the process.  Our red bud and almond trees reminded me of this truth as they've been awakening from their own Winter slumbers, renewing, blooming and unfurling their leaves.

As for how this all relates to my conclusion of why Paper And Ponder's silence lasted so long, it was indeed due to an extremely full work and holiday schedule initially, but then, I think it became due to me subconsciously shifting this blog lower on my priority list.  I write purely for the love of doing so and the hope that perhaps what I share will resonate with, inspire or encourage others.  The old voices surfaced with their admonishments of "Not responsible or productive!  Frivolous and self-indulgent!" and overshadowed this passion.  As I now refocus on my belief that out of all our responsibilities, living from our heart is most important, those admonishments are receding, and like our red bud and almond trees, my writing (yes, I'm counting this as "me time!") is renewing and unfurling...  

How are you renewing and unfurling now that Spring is here?    

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Awakening

Happy Spring wishes to all and a Spring awakening here on Paper And Ponder!  After an unplanned "hibernation" over the past four months, I'm finally ready to wake up the snoozing blogger in me and resume sharing inspiration, contemplation, experiences and observations on living a creative, grateful, mindful life.  I hope this post finds each of you enjoying Spring's arrival!  I'm enjoying signs of Spring around our garden and welcoming an abundance of self-seeding blooms -  calendula, borage, feverfew, nasturtium, poppy, erigeron and thrift.  They are a welcome sight, enhancing our otherwise unkempt garden in its post-winter state and reminding me of renewal and an opportunity to begin again...

How is Spring saying hello to you?