Saturday, October 6, 2012

IndieGoGo Update

So, I've spent the past three mornings before work attempting to make another video and failing miserably.  I wanted to talk a little bit about the quote I shared - what it means to me and how it's relevant to becoming a yoga teacher.  So if you missed it, here's the quote again - it comes from Valerie Claff, a art professor at Clark University who became a mentor to me and has been a huge source of support and inspiration since I graduated:

"Don't limit the definition of yourself by saying, "I'm an artist". You are, of course, but that puts the pressure on. I think its more helpful to keep all your options open, even if what you tell others is that you're an artist. Let your vocation find you by doing everything in your power to move TOWARDS what inspires you. Labeling ourselves can be limiting as it can potentially keep us from moving towards something that will be useful for our growth. If you've ever listened to a person who is doing something really interesting in life, they usually say that the path they took to get there was not straight, that they just kept moving from one thing to another until eventually, and usually quite surprisingly, they found themselves doing this thing they never could have imagined. One mysterious step at a time got them there."

I could really just copy and paste the whole message - there is so much wisdom in it.  But this particular passage resonates deeply with everything going on for me right now.  I have spent the years since graduation struggling to figure out what I want to do and who I want to be.  It wasn't until I embarked on this journey to become a yoga teacher that I realized that for years I've been beating myself up for not living up to my own expectations - I kept telling myself I wanted to make a living off of art, but putting that pressure on myself made it almost impossible to make art.  And because I locked myself into the idea that I'm an artist, I resisted diving into all of the other things that I was interested in - neuroscience, anatomy, kinesiology, nutrition.  Somehow I convinced myself that an artist can't be interested in science.  And I also convinced myself that I had to choose one thing, one path, and stick with it.

It's taken a lot of internal work to understand that so many of those beliefs and expectations don't have to be true, that I've been the one limiting myself.  Many people talk about the transformational aspects of yoga and I can definitely say that returning to a regular yoga practice has changed my life and changed the way I think about who I am, who I want to be, and how I want to contribute to my community and the world.

Becoming a yoga teacher isn't just about a career change - it's about changing my whole life, sharing the benefits of yoga, and hopefully helping other people change their lives.

I know watching a video is easier and maybe more compelling than reading, so if you've made it this far, thank you.  I feel a huge, deep sense of gratitude for all the support I've received so far - I come back to read your comments whenever I start to feel discouraged and it makes me feel better every time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Before the Snow

It's been a kind of overwhelming week - I started a new job last Tuesday, and worked my last day at Olga's last Friday.  Adjusting to a new schedule has left little time to walk and photograph.  Here are a few from last week, before this weekend's snow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A year ago today...

I've been up and down the stairs more times than I can count this morning, splitting my time between uploading photos and attempting to get the oh-so-fickle coal stove going.  It's warmer today than it has been, but the wind has picked up and it blows right through this house.  Plus the coal stove does a great job of heating the second floor, where I'm sitting to write this.  Anyway, in the process of uploading photos, I stumbled upon this image taken a year ago today:

Not a spectacular image by any means, but I thought a little comparison shot would be interesting.

(both images were shot from the sunroom, facing south-southeast)

I've realized recently that life is a whole lot different a year later.  Everything last winter was a struggle - I had just started working at Olga's, after three months of post-Star Island unemployment.  I was working totally inhuman hours (starting between 3 and 5am) and constantly fighting sleep deprivation.  Cleaning, cooking, shopping, accomplishing any task or chore was a challenge, one I couldn't usually overcome.  Winter came early and it was constantly cold in the house - lighting the coal stove was a steep, frustrating, and sometimes painful learning curve (have you ever been burned by a coal stove?  Ouch!).  Money was always a cause for worry: even with judicious use of the oil burning furnace, we must have spent at least $2000 to heat the house, and it wasn't ever actually warm.  Basically there didn't seem to be much to feel good about, and even though I knew I was depressed, and despite all of Dano's encouragement to seek help, I just couldn't bring myself to do it for way too long.

Things aren't perfect now by any means, but I don't feel anything like I did a year ago.  I finally reached out to a friend, who pointed me in the direction of ontological coaching.  I'm not working with a coach at the moment, but I think it gave me some good tools and a new perspective.  It especially helped me to compare myself less to others, which becomes a downward spiral, and is something that is still challenging.  I've taken lots of smaller steps too - I started practicing Shiva Nata again (also, not really practicing it at the moment, but the beauty is that you learn through Shiva Nata that not practicing is OK), I try to get some kind of exercise everyday, at least a short walk to get some air, to move, to get out of my own head.  I started drawing and journaling, which is a really great way to become conscious of details, to appreciate little things, to become more present.  I take pictures more often, another way to become more aware and present.

I'm still working those ridiculous hours (but not for much longer!)  I still have no idea what I really want to do with myself, at least not specifically.  I still feel a little directionless, and sometimes get discouraged.  Money is still tight, and it still seems like there's never enough time, and sometimes I still feel overwhelmed, by the unknown, by all the possibilities, by the huge distance it seems I still need to travel to get where I want to go.  But it's so, so much better than it was and I'm so grateful to know that's it's possible to change, that things do get better.

There's more (isn't there always?) but I want to get this up and be able to devote my attention to other things, so this will have to do for now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's been a long time, I know...I've been wanting to post but the past couple weeks have been filled with lots of driving and visiting friends and family and there just hasn't been much time.  I'm not really sure where to start right now, I'm feeling a bit restless and don't really want to be sitting at the computer but wanted to share a few images taken with my newest photo gadget, Holga lenses made to fit an SLR.

Still getting the hang of using them - I didn't realize just how much light they would require.  It's hard, especially inside or in low light, to even see through the viewfinder.  So getting images in focus is a challenge.  Lots to learn.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Here's what I'm working on, photographically anyway....

Scanning old black and white negatives, mostly from the island.  These are quick and dirty, low resolution scans, basically just to see if there's anything worth pursuing.  I'm not entirely sure what the goal is, or what the end result might be...Initially I had an idea to gather all the photos I've taken on the island and edit them down into a book, but I'm wavering on that.  Would it appeal to anyone else?  Does it matter?

For now I guess I'll just press on and see what comes of it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just a few images from today - I seem to be incapable of focusing on writing right now.

Making apple butter.

What month is it again?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Titles are always one of the hardest parts for me - for blog posts, for pieces of art, for my Etsy shop (I really want to change that one, but to what?) ...I'm not really sure why, maybe the official-ness of it? The labeling/defining/categorizing?

Anyway, I've been thinking about getting back to the blog for a while now and reading this series by Havi over at Fluent Self which has finally given me the motivation to just sit down and give it a try. Havi is pretty fantastic in a lot of ways, I'm sure you'll be hearing more about her around here.

There are a lot of things I want to cover, but I don't think I can really squeeze them all into one post so for now I'll just talk about what's most immediate in my mind. I've been trying to take a walk around the neighborhood everyday, to get outside and get moving, to soak up whatever sunshine I can, to get a change of scenery when I start to feel anxious and unfocused. It doesn't actually happen every day, sometimes I'm too tired, or it's raining, or there's just not enough time, but I go as often as I can. For a while I was trying to get back into drawing but I've slipped into my old ways and started to bring a camera along (usually a Canon G10, lighter and more convenient than the 40D). Here are a few images from today:

Our neighbor's boat, in his backyard...Both of our yards get pretty soggy when it rains, how much to you think it will sink by springtime?

Most of the leaves are off the trees but there are still little bits of color if you look for them.