Thursday, October 16, 2014

NOT SERIOUSLY!


The nature of creativity is so fascinating.  I, for example, love to create – just about anything.  When I’m in a meeting with a piece of paper, I doodle.  If one of my nieces or nephews is playing with Playdoh or Legos I happily join in.  I like to paint – well, anything, really.   I love origami and have made hundreds of paper airplanes with my son (and students) over the years.  I love to cook and bake fancy food for my friends…Then there are the things I’ve thought over the years I would like to learn – to weld, for example (so I can make metal sculptures), how to cut and style hair, woodworking….they all seem interesting and full of possibility.  Oh – and I love to write, too. 

But I’m not serious about any of it.

Right now I’m mostly focused on my textile art and writing, because the reality is, one can only do so much, and I would rather be excellent at a couple of things than be constantly flitting from one thing to another even though they are all so tempting.  And excellence is elusive.  It takes lots and lots of practice.  I want my art to be as good as I can make it, and I’m willing to spend a great deal of time and energy to make it so.

But I’m not serious about it.

So why is it, if the theme of my life seems to be that I’m driven to create, that I don’t consider myself to be a serious creator?  Mostly fear, I suppose.  I don't want to be serious about it because I want it to continue to be completely joy-filled and endlessly amusing, the way it is now. I’m scared that if I take it too seriously all this incredible exhuberance and enthusiasm will go away.   

Too, I’ve rarely been able to force creativity to hit me with an idea on demand.  Instead I just let it happen when it happens, and so far, it’s been working.  I'm a seat-of-the-pants creator; I never know when inspiration is going to hit. Sometimes I’m struck by a bunch of (seemingly unrelated) ideas at once, and I have a marathon “creation” session where I wear all my colored pencils to a nub and use reams and reams of paper and sketch till my fingers ache.  Other times everything I see seems to have the kernel of an idea in it, and I walk around with a sketchbook jotting down sketches and talking to myself like a nutter.  It always seems to just occur. Except when I try to make it happen.  Then, it seems I'm completely pant-less. 

But I admit I’m a little leery of my kind of creating – what if the well runs dry?    I know there are infinite ideas out there, but what if I suddenly lose my ability to channel them?  Is it even possible to dial up an idea on demand?  

Often I’ve read about or heard writers talking about how they force themselves to write every day – whether they feel particularly inspired or not.  It’s the disciplined, serious part of the equation – they aren’t necessarily going to use everything they write, some days the river flows, some days it doesn’t.  But it forces them to at least open up to the creative muse on a daily basis and I’m guessing that just the action of sitting down to the pencil and paper (or whatever tool) can trigger a creative response often enough to keep them pretty rigorous about it.   But can it work with other types of creativity? 

It would seem so.

Recently I discovered a really cool Facebook page developed by brilliant creator Anne Sullivan called “Quilt Design a Day.”  Each day there’s a photo with all its colors separated out - a seed of inspiration.  I love it because it provides regular opportunities to create.   Naturally, not all pictures or colors are going to speak to everyone, and some days you might be too tired or distracted or busy or crabby, and nothing comes or you hate what does, but that’s okay, of course.  The goal isn’t necessarily to actually design something you want to or will make necessarily – it’s just to flex (or develop) your creative muscles.  Another really excellent benefit of this type of forum is that you get to see other people’s creative takes on the design seed, too, which of course can provide further inspiration – a creative Lallapalooza – LOVE it! It seems creativity actually feeds on itself  - the more opportunities it has to express itself, the more it creates!

What this does for me is help me realize now that one doesn’t have to sit (or wander around) waiting to be lit up by a bolt of inspiration; ideas can (and do) come in a more routine, disciplined way, too.  Yeah, they most likely will continue to come at strange and sometimes inopportune moments, too, but I don't have to be afraid to be a little more disciplined in my approach to creating - it's okay to be serious about it - it won't go away or suddenly become UN-fun if I work at it, it actually can and will develop even more - hooray!

That’s what I mean about creativity being so fascinating – not only are its possibilities endless, it can occur in literally infinite ways!  How very wonderful, exciting, lovely and of course, seriously creative.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Does It Really Matter THAT Much?

Just realized I haven't written in a couple of weeks - been too busy working on projects and doing other stuff - you know, life.  I've also been struggling a little with a dilemma; it's rather a good problem to have, but still, there's a decision required at some point soon... and I just haven't been able to make a choice.

Here's the issue: I decided to enter a fabric challenge for Quiltcon 2015, and I have too many ideas!  What I mean is, (and it's a little difficult to admit to this) I'm sort of caught up in the "Which one is most likely to be chosen for the show?" thing.  I've already made one piece and am working on a second, and I even have a third idea I like, but that seems like overkill, doesn't it?   

I don't think it is so good to be fussing over this decision - it's giving it too much importance and focusing too much on the outcome rather than the doing.  In fact, as I write I'm getting the little niggling reminder in my head that nothing matters that much, and I should just make whatever comes to mind and whatever I have time for, and go with my gut and definitely not create with those thoughts in my mind.  In fact, I should be thrilled to have such a boatload of inspiration - it shouldn't be turned into a problem!    (Thanks for that little insight, universe - dilemma dissolved!  Another reason I love writing this blog, I almost always end up with some little kernel of wisdom that has been eluding me.)

This is, apparently, an eternal lesson for me - I definitely enjoy the entire process of creating but near the end of a project I tend to make more stupid mistakes (which makes me irritable) because I'm so anxious to see the finished product.  For example, yesterday I was sewing the binding on a piece and I was so excited to see what it looked like I did a terrible job and ended up having to resew practically the entire thing!   With that in mind I've recently made a little rule for myself that if I am getting crabby I have to walk away because I don't want negative energy to flow into my work - only positive, happy me can work in the studio. It might seem a little woo woo (to quote Carrie Bloomston), but I have seen how one person's negative energy can affect an entire room full of people, and I really want my art to bring joy and pleasure to people.  I think that anger, frustration, and anxiety can literally be transferred to the finished product if the creator is in a bad space.  And I know I don't want anything with that kind of bad juju hanging on the walls of my house or covering my bed - sounds a bit ominous, doesn't it?  

So when I feel this annoyance coming on I start with the self talk: "Okay, Carrie, if you can't enjoy this, just stop right now and go do something else," or "Is it really important to finish this right now?"  or "STOP! NOW."  If that doesn't work, I leave and come back later.  That's what I did yesterday with the binding - I made myself stop even though I really didn't want to, and I came back later and did it calmly and with joy and it was fun and I am really pleased with the outcome.  

Here's what I am thinking: Since creativity is basically a gift, it shouldn't be forced or have too much stress associated with it. That's not to say there are deadlines or other people to please, but they shouldn't cause anxiety and negativity.  Challenges are a part of life, period. They are never going to go away, no matter how good we have it.   It's the attitude with which we approach them - acceptance, calm, even the joy of being alive and having the problem - that's what matters.  I guess I just needed a little reminder of that. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Improv Fun!

Just finished a piece that's been inside my head for a while.  This one I never even sketched, but have seen in in my mind's eye for a while and decided to go for it!   I'm super pleased with how it turned out.   What I like about this piece is that although it is simple, it's also versatile.  I think it would be really fun to make in lots of different ways with different colors and even some prints.  I also like the graphic nature of it - it has sort of a cartoon quality with the skinny black strips that I really like.    

Original design by the zen quilter


Also I love the blue fabrics (from Cherrywood, of course) - they are so rich in color! 

 Now for the hard part - I have no idea how I'm going to quilt it!   It's kind of stark, I think, so I don't want to add to much of anything.  Oh well, kind of a fun dilemma to have!  I'm calling it "Blue Modern" for now.  It took about three days to make the top, which is also fun.  The only difficult part was figuring out how to cut the angles, but I overcame that, too, math genius that I am not!  Will share how I did it later, no time today, just excited and wanted to share...I might try to enter this one in Quiltcon, I like it so much. 

TTFN  and enjoy your weekend!   


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From EPIC FAIL to Can This Be Saved?

Two or three months ago I bought some really gorgeous, earthy toned fabrics that I loved at first sight. I didn't need them, but couldn't resist and bought them anyway.  I loved them so much I pinned them up on the wall so I could stare at them.  They hung for weeks, and I loved looking at them, but I was working on other things and couldn't get to them. 

One day as I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, The Quilting Edge, I saw a place for tutorials.  Wondering why I hadn't looked there before I, I saw one in particular that caught my eye.  One she calls, Wonky Circles. That was it - the "design" for the earth fabrics.  The instructions were clear and there were excellent pictures.  I knew the basic idea and was certain I could do it. I was so excited I dropped everything else and began pulling fabrics to coordinate.  

At the end of the first day I noticed the thing was a mess! I wasn't sure whether the fabric combinations were working out, I had not planned any placement of the squares at all and didn't really know where I was going, I couldn't seem to get the right rhythm for sewing the concentric circles. I was feeding the fabric in wrong ( I guess!) and my squares were anything but square!  They poofed out in the middle, they had lots of other pooches - frankly, they were crap! That day I was undaunted - if the squares were wonky that was fine, I was going to press them with steam and starch, and trim them down quite a bit anyway. Besides, I would get better by the second day, I was certain.   So I just forged ahead and did a lot of seam ripping, and re-sewing, but with joy, with excitement. It would come together, I was certain.  I had faith.  

However, by the end of the second day I told my husband I was considering throwing all that beautiful fabric in the trash - it stunk.  Late in the evening, I began to trim the squares (perhaps I should have waited until the next day?) and they still sucked.  I had to trim the things three times to be able to have a uniform size.  Then, even though I they looked more like water pouches than quilt squares and despite utter exhaustion, I insisted on pressing, pulling and starching the buggers; after that I still could not stop and I kept trying to arrange the voluminous squares to a pleasing state. And no, I was not zen - there was a lot of banging, pulling and cursing, although I did bring myself back to presence again and again....and again and again. And again.

Finally I forced myself to go to bed at 12:30.  As I did, I noticed all the squares being blown off the design wall by my ceiling fan.  I did not care, because I had decided to trash the entire thing.  I was just accepting what was.  And what was was that it was not.  Working out, that is.

Otherwise occupied so I couldn't work the next day, and having decided to chuck it all anyway, I was serene.  Oh well, it has to happen sometime - not everything works out, I figured. I was sad about the waste of those delicious fabrics but "OH WELL,"  I was letting go.   Still, I could not resist checking one last time on The Quilting Edge just to see if there was something I had missed.  As I sighed and stared at the perfection of Marianne's work, I noticed she had put sashing on her piece.  I am normally not a fan of sashing, but the thought crept into my brain that sashing might be a way to save the quilt.  Just MIGHT be, no guarantee.  

So I decided to try it - give it one more chance - what the heck - I really adored the colors and fabrics.  I had even (surprisingly) cleverly taken a photo of the arrangement I sort of liked with my iphone.  With the promise to myself of remaining calm and present no matter what, I  began to add sashing, cutting the sashing exactly to the correct lengths and making it fit.  And to my surprise - it began to come together!  By the end of the day, I had most of it done and OMG!  It looked good.  And even, dare I say - SQUARE!

So the thing worked after all.  I won't say it is perfect, because it ain't.  But it is - well, I'll let you judge for yourself:

I deliberately put in a large photo so as not to hide the imperfections - they exist, but I think they actually go well with the overall feel of the thing!


For me, the answer is YES!  It could be saved.  And I am so very


GRATEFUL. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

If It Ain't Broke, Take Care of It...So it Don't

Kind of scattered today; have a bad tooth that needs fixing and I think it is making me a little tired. (I have a dentist appointment on Monday, but I think I waited a little too long to address it - may end up losing the tooth - glad it is a back one!)  This morning I was thinking about how expensive it is to go to the dentist - I mean,  I've already spent a thousand dollars on this tooth, and now I have to spend more. I was quite annoyed about it, really, when I made a realization.  I have no trouble spending money on art supplies, face creams, clothes, entertainment - things I enjoy, but I don't like to spend money on my health.  Why is that?

I realized there are two reasons -one of them is because of the obscene cost of any kind of  health care, no matter how simple, even with insurance (which I  don't consider even remotely useful - it's a just-in-case thing - we have yet to meet our deductible, ever).  The other reason is because I take my good health for granted.  I expect to be healthy. I mean, the main reason we never meet our deductible is because we don't need to go to the doctor very often.  So maybe I shouldn't complain when I do. In fact, I think I should be downright grateful about it.  And - I shouldn't take good health for granted.  I mean, I do try to eat pretty healthfully most of the time and traditionally I have exercised regularly (I do sometimes go through sporadic bouts of laziness, but I always come back to exercising because frankly, I feel better and am happier when I do) but I'm going to add my good health to my gratitude list more often.

Speaking of good health, since I "retired," I realize that it is more important than ever to exercise every day, especially since I now spend so much time at my sewing machine.  Being a teacher, I walked and was on my feet at least eight hours every day, and now I spend a lot more time sitting, and as I've mentioned before, sewing can be hazardous to one's health.  I have packed on a few very unwelcome pounds in the last eight months, so in my dorkiness, I have come up with ways to counteract the perils of sitting.  (Huh! Those office people with their walking machines and standing desks have nothing on me.)   Here are a few of the sitting-related issues I've noticed and the stuff I am doing to counteract them.

First I noticed  that I am losing muscle in my stomach from hunching forward which also, by the way, leads to a sore back and rounded shoulders, which I do not like at all.  Besides doing some heinous pilates, I am trying to address this issue while I work as well.  I make a conscious effort to sit up straight and hold my stomach in when I am sewing. I constantly roll my shoulders back, too.  I even switch feet on the presser pedal because I figure that it works the lower abs just a little if I am holding them tightly and pressing on the pedal at the same time.   Sometimes I crack myself up just a little, thinking I'm so EFFICIENT and PRESENT and all, doing these silly little things, but hey, it can't hurt, can it?

Second, I stand up whenever I can. There are a lot of opportunities to stand when quilting - one can spend hours cutting, for example.  Or pulling fabrics for the next project, arranging pieces on the design wall, ironing...so that's great, but I try to find other ways to get off my duff, even for a few moments - if I need to pull stitches out, I stand up.  If I cut something, I stand.  If I need to look at a sketch, I stand.  If the phone rings, or I need to check something on the internet, I stand.  I don't know if it makes any difference, really, but I still do it

Third, I make sure that I get up every hour and do something active for at least 15 minutes, too.   Everything counts, from doing laundry to watering the yard to getting dinner started.  This has the added benefit of my actually getting some household chores done, too - I can still spend lots of time sewing and can eliminate any guilt I might possibly feel for ignoring what I admit I consider to be my responsibilities...killing two birds, you know.

I keep water by my side all day, too.  Because water is important for so many reasons.  I stretch and sometimes I even take a break and do some stupid little isometric exercises, just whenever I think about it.
These are the things I am trying to do to countermand my suddenly much more sedentary life, which I really am enjoying enormously (except for the poochy stomach, which I really believe I CAN conquer; I don't care if I am middle-aged - stomach fat is not a given, just a tendency).

In short, understanding how important it is to be active, I'm trying to fit activity in while still doing the things I really love and want to do.  As nerdy as it may sound, I think it is making a difference.   If anyone else has any ideas or tricks they do, please share - if it's not too insane, I'll probably be willing to try it.   And I'll let you know when the pooch is gone.

WIP Report

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I  finished my ode to Andy Goldsworthy triptych.  I really love them, too.  Right now they are hanging over my bed.  I've been trying to come up with something for years!  They are perfect for the spot, and Paul (hubby) loves them, too.



I also finished a summer project for my brother and his family - also three pieces, but very large (seven feet by twenty-four inches each) and designed specifically for their house.  I am super pleased with them and luckily so is Katherine (sis-in-law). I will take a photo as soon as she gets them installed.

I started a project yesterday that I am so into, I only have eight more pieces to make (out of twenty) that's how motivated I am.  It's not my original design idea,  I got it from The Quilting Edge, my favorite blog.  It kind of reminds me of Chagall's circle painting but I have these gorgeous earthy fabrics and I thought the design would work well. Not an easy sew, however; much cursing and bringing myself back to presence throughout the day occured. It's going to be worth it though, I think...Next time, however, I am going to use a different technique - this one was not fun enough to repeat.  Still,  I can see many different iterations on the theme - I just want to find a less annoying (to me, anyway) way to do it!










Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It Could Be

I’ve been meditating daily for a while now and boy, do I see a difference  - in well, everything.  It helps me be so much more present and aware of things, which in turns seems to lead to more and more (and more) inspiration.  It’s such a lovely gift to have all these ideas waiting in the background - as soon as I finish one project, I’m super excited to begin the next.  I sometimes feel as though I’m in a constant state of excitement and anticipation because I love what I’m doing so much.  I can’t wait to get to it every day, and sometimes I even neglect other (some might say, more important) things because I just want to get to my studio and CREATE. 

For example, until yesterday I had been fighting crabbiness because I hadn’t been able to work on anything in over eleven days – I was having creation withdrawal!  There was a sort of discontent in the background that I kept having to dispel by forcing myself into the present moment.  It worked though. and I was able to fulfill the other obligations I had and with joy and gratitude.  But boy oh boy was I happy to be back in my studio yesterday! 

I have to admit, though, that I’m starting to wonder whether I’m spending too much energy on the wrong thing.   With all this bliss and inspiration comes a dilemma – how can I be so driven to create, so full of ideas and enthusiasm and joy and energy, with no practical outcome to it?  There is a goal, yes - to sell my art, to have it bring as much joy to other people as creating it brings to me.  (At the risk of sounding arrogant, self-indulgent, or maybe deluded(?) I really, really LOVE my creations .  All of them!  They give me so much delight and wonder, I want them to do the same for others.  I mean, it could be.

I know there are lots of ideas and lots of really gifted creators in the world – I’m  quite grateful for and inspired by them.  If I ask why I would expect to be successful in the face of all this amazing creativity,  my husband often says “Why not you?” Yes, why not me?  If my spiritual teachers are to be believed  - and I think they are - there is enough to go around. Hey - it could be.

I follow a lot of bloggers who seem to have "success" with their art – they are teaching, they are doing pieces on commission, they are getting their art put in galleries and shows, they have sponsors for their blogs, they have thousands of followers…and after two years of blogging I am, well, let’s just say, less followed.  Am doing something wrong here?  Am I too focused on the creating and not focused enough on the marketing?  I suppose it could be

In my defense,  I am trying to develop a web page but find it so tedious and frustrating that I have gotten exactly nowhere with it.   I realize I need some help, because computer stuff just ain’t my thing.  (Computers are great, I love them.  But I don’t like to figure out how to do things on them - not even a little.  I only like for someone else to show me how to do what I want. )  But if I really want to have some of that kind of success, I will have to make this a priority, I think, not just be so focused on creating.

What is success, anyway?  Perhaps I'm looking for something outside myself when I need to go inside and find it.  I know I am certain blissed out (well, most of the time) when I am creating - can't ask for much more that, can I?

The thought sometimes occurs to me that I should just stop all this nonsense and go get a “real” job, sell my sewing machines and give away all my fabric and throw out those Styrofoam heads, paints, and all my other art supplies and let go of this dream of creating art.  But will that stop the flow of ideas and enthusiasm and almost physical need to create that pervades my being?  This cannot be!

Instead, I think it will just direct the creative part of me to other endeavors – I know when I was teaching I had the same experience with ideas and inspiration – it was constant and I loved it and I KNOW my students benefitted and learned from it.
You see, the amazing thing about creativity is that we can be creative with ANYTHING!  Yes, even accountants can be creative (and I don’t mean in unlawful ways) with what they do, if they love it enough and are open to the creative force of the universe.

For me, it comes down to this:  I like – no, I LOVE to create.  It’s so much a part of my being that it pervades everything I do, from cooking to exercising, to organizing, and to yes, art.  I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy “success” with my art, and I suppose it doesn’t matter.   I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet – I don’t feel like I’ve given it enough time – after all, anything worth having is worth working for, right?  That said, it’s still a considerable comfort to know that creativity abounds and that it can be expressed in countless ways, and that even if I do have to let go of this particular dream, if I remain open to the universe, I can still feel the incredible, miraculous bliss of creating, just in a different way. 

But one thing is certain.  Life is about balance.  And maybe the message I’m supposed to be getting is that I need to balance my life more – not spend so much time on this one thing, but find a better balance between creating art and creating and doing in other parts of my life.  It could just very well be.


WIP UPDATE:

Amazingly,  I’m nearly finished with my pieces inspired by Andy Goldsworthy’s art - the ones that were the subject of my blog a couple of times ago that took so long in the planning.  Although it took a full day of decision making to get them planned out, as I suspected, the actual creating didn’t take nearly as long.  In fact, at this point, they are sandwiched and ready to be quilted. 





It may take another day to figure out how I’m going to quilt them, though.  I want the quilting to really enhance the design, and there’s a lot going on, so I think it has to be pretty minimal, or at least not prominent, and I’m a little stuck.  I’m going to throw them up on the wall and just stare at them for a while.  I’m sure something will come.  In the meantime, I have plenty of other projects to work on.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Gift From a Friend

This week I am in Kansas City visiting my cousin Hoddy.  It's been a great trip for many reasons, one being that my best friend since kindergarten also happens to live here, so I've been able to have fun with both of them although I admitted to them that I felt a little torn between two lovers, wanting to see both of them as much as possible - what a nice dilemma to have!   But the main reason I came at this time was to visit Hoddy and her family.

Hoddy is fifteen years younger than I, and grew up in San Francisco, CA.  I moved to the Bay area when she was eight, and she and her family are very special to me as they were very much supportive and loving during a time when I literally had no friends or money or idea of what the heck I was doing out in the world.  Over six feet tall, smart, fun and beautiful, Hoddy is a powerhouse of positive energy.  When I first moved to California, she spend a lot of time turning cartwheels in the living room of her flat and perfecting her considerable dance moves.  She then went on to play volleyball at William and Mary, attend law school, marry her college sweetheart, land a job at a top law firm in SF, have three children, and then move to Kansas and start two businesses (the BAR Method exercise studios - look it up, it's fabulous) here in Kansas.  In the space of three years, her businesses are not only successful, they are a lovely gathering place with an upbeat, energetic and caring atmosphere where (I can tell) true friendships and bonds are being formed.  That's because the Bar Method is her bliss - and it shows!  Not only does she give it her love, attention, and energy, she gets so much out of it as well.

And at the moment, Hoddy really needs every ounce of energy she can get, because she is using up a lot of her enormous well of it to battle cancer.  She was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma in February.   I came to Kansas to visit, give moral support, and help Hoddy, but I feel I've come away with far more than I have given and I want to share some of the things I've learned from my fabulous cousin.  She is attacking the evil disease on every possible front and I for one, really believe there is no possible chance it has against her aggressive and really, quite creative methods of fighting it.

First of all, she is taking the conventional approach.  She has just finished her sixth (and I believe her last) round of chemo.   I look at her and I am frankly, amazed at that fact.  I mean,  I know she has been through chemo because I sat with her through her last appointment, but she sure doesn't look or act like anyone I've ever seen on chemo.  Her color is great, her energy (while it is lower than she likes and is frustrating to her) is far higher than plenty of people who have never even taken chemo, and yes, she may be bald, but she's still lovely.

And I think I know why.  You see, when Hoddy found out she had serious cancer, she began to research.  The first area she looked into was food  She doesn't eat any inflammatory foods (such as dairy).  She does eat a lot of alkaline foods like kim chee and sauerkraut and she takes a spoonful of apple cider vinegar a couple of days a week.  She also eats no, absolutely no sugar (because cancer likes sugar).  She drinks green tea, she takes oil of cannabis, she eats a ton of antioxidant rich foods, and she is 100 percent organic (although she was already mostly organic for the last few years before the diagnosis, I must admit).  She also takes herbs that really help her with her blood counts, and drinks a ton of water (some of it infused with chlorophyll and lemon for their alkalizing properties).  She also fasts for 24 hours before and the entire day of her chemos, because the rate of absorption of the medicines is much higher when the cancer cells are hungry.  (When people ask her how she can do that, she says "I'm highly motivated.")

The next thing she does is acupuncture.  Not just for the effects of the chemo, but also to help her body be strong and fight the disease.  She does an infrared sauna a few days a week.   She works out and takes walks, even when she is tired, because it makes her feel better.  She spends time with her children - yesterday she took them swimming after school and she gets up early every morning so she and her husband get them a good healthy breakfast and a good start to their day.  In other words, she lives her daily life as much as she possibly can.

Hoddy does rest of course; she has to let the chemo do the work. But let's face it, chemotherapy is hardly therapeutic - it's entire purpose is to poison a person within a hairsbreadth of their life - she has to rest whether she wants to or not.  So sometimes she rests.

Another front she does battle on is addressing the emotional issues associated with being diagnosed with cancer at age thirty-three.  She sees a therapist, she meditates, she's just started going to an energy worker (similar to acupuncture but a little more spiritual).  When she's feeling down, she'll get a facial or a massage or pedicure - something that makes her feel relaxed.  She spends time with her friends when she can, and she lets them help her - something that is not easy for her to do, but she knows she would want to do the same for them and she knows she needs them right now.  She's scared, no doubt, but she is trying really hard to live in the moment, to do what she can do and let go of the rest.  It's possibly the hardest of all the battles, accepting that this is real and dealing with the unknowns, but Hoddy is valiantly staying the course, communicating, asking and receiving.

As I've said, I'd be hard-pressed to imagine anyone who is fighting harder or doing more to beat cancer than Hoddy.  And her energy and moxie and her creative, eclectic approach to this disease is inspiring to me in countless ways.  She is the epitome of giving life one's all.  I hope with all my being that I have been able to give her some comfort and love and joy on this trip but this I know: I will go home forever changed and inspired by what my brave and beautiful cousin has given me.

  So -  thanks from every part of my being for being, Hoddy Potter.  And Namaste, baby.  Namaste.