Sunday, January 20, 2008

manic depression...
enabling...boundaries...

this has been a very difficult week for me...i am a creature of habit...change can be disruptive...the majority of us do not change until we are very uncomfortable or in much pain...in Twelve Step programs they call it the bottom...and reaching the bottom is the start of change....

Logo of The Bipolar-Manic Depression WebRing

someone very close to me had to be hospitalized for what we now know is manic depression...we reached a collective bottom this week...he to the crazies and me to the end of my rope... it came as desperation with much pain and discomfort for us both...i am not an expert on this disease, but i can relay from my experience the chaos and heartbreak that an undiagnosed and untreated soul brings with them...

nothing is peaceful in a life with them...it is either fast and furious or the end of the world...there is no middle ground and no calm relaxing time...to love them is to be swept up in the chaos that is their life...and, eventually if you do not get help, you are so focused on them that you can lose yourself...

the normal that becomes your life together is not normal to anyone watching...a friend related a recent incident at a restaurant where he was singing puff the magic dragon one minute and ten minutes later cursing the entire state because he could not find a job...she was convinced that he was on drugs...and that i as in denial...

Photo from ecademy.com

for me, i tried to create a normal life for us...make a home and a safe haven...but days, months and years of this roller coaster existence eventually became my normal also...you begin to think that singing one minute and cursing the next and laying in bed for months is normal...so it took his doctor to tell me that i was enabling him...to shake me out of my stupor...

enabling...it became crystal clear to me at that moment...almost...

but how do i un-enable...when providing and care taking and loving until it is better is such a part of who i am...i am a fixer by nature...a real idea person...let's try this or this...i come from a place where this negative behaviour would never have been tolerated, even a little...my mother was a "pick yourself up and dust yourself off" and a "dry your eyes and put on some lipstick" fake it till you make it kind of person...you could not wallow in the depths for too long...self-pity was unheard of in my mother's world...which was such a pain for my drama queen self...

consummate researcher that i am, i took to google to find out what enabling is exactly...defined as giving someone the means, resources or authority to make something possible....well, this sounds positive to me...except when applied to a manic depressive because it means giving them the resources or authority to stay sick...it also is doing for someone what they can and should be doing for themselves....this gets trickier in a relationship because things like buying food and paying the bills keeps me well fed and comfortably sheltered, but it also keeps him from getting the help he needs...i thought i was helping...

so what is the difference between helping and enabling?

-enabling is providing an atmosphere within which another person does not have to take personal responsibility...it is parenting someone who is old enough to parent themselves and who is not a child of yours anyway...it is an over-stepping of what would be considered healthy boundaries...instead it is a lack of boundaries...thus, enabling is doing anything for someone else that they 'should' be able to do (and need to do) for themselves....

-helping someone consists of giving assistance or lending an ear, after having been asked...and doing so without giving direction or advice...and without having any stakes in the outcome of the choices a person makes....thus, helping someone is rendering assistance after having been asked...

the difference is what the outcome is for the person receiving the help...is it a one time help or is it something that teaches them to rely on me....enabling prevents them from hitting the bottom or getting the help they need...

my copy of van gogh self-portrait...article on van gogh md is here...

These may be the most productive questions i ever asked myself:
  1. Can my loved one do this for himself?
  2. Are my actions effectively shielding him from the (full) consequences of his behaviors
If the answer is “yes,” you are enabling...and i am enabling!!!

here is the tricky part...i found this very interesting article that slammed my face right into the mirror of looking at myself..."The core root of the problem of enabling rests with one's own inability and or refusal to help him/herself....what many are seeking to do in the 'helping' of someone else is to avoid their own problems, issues and or avoid meeting their own needs." the article continues, "So firstly, it is important to make sure that you are meeting your own needs and taking personal responsibility for yourself. In order to meet your own needs and to be responsible for yourself you will need to develop boundaries. As one begins to develop boundaries and a healthy sense of the difference between self and others then and only then can one begin to truly learn the difference between helping and enabling".

photo from here...

that boundary thing again...it has come up in my life before...i have never been good at making them or maintaining them...when we enable, we put other people's needs before our own....this was a very meaningful statement for me...checking in with my myself and my motives is helping me discover why i am enabling...is it my need to feel in control and is there some part of me that likes the chaos...i am still working on this one...

enabling gives us a false sense of control...we do what society tells us a 'good' father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter or friend should do...but when we are not getting the results we desire...we feel frustrated and resentful...when the persons' behavior does not change, we think we have failed...our actions, done with the best of intentions, have created or contributed to exactly what we don't want...

herein lies the circle of enmeshment...if you are in this situation with someone else..and you do not have healthy boundaries...nor does the other person...it is a recipe for a lot of pain...as two people try to live through each other instead of living their own lives....wow!

there is a saying that we change not when we see the light, but when we feel the heat...having to face the consequences of our behaviors is 'the heat', the motivator to make a change...so when i enable, i effectively turn down the heat and deny him and myself the learning associated with the consequences... hummmmmmmmmmm...

tomorrow i begin the process of learning to distinguish between helping someone and enabling them with the help of a therapist...realizing and admitting that i have a problem is not easy for me, but it is a step toward my own healing...and i am willing to step out on the path to where i will no longer feel the need to enable or to be enabled....

when taking responsibility for our own behavior...each one of us must find our own path...so my path may not be your path...experience teaches us that it is useless to lay out a path for someone else to follow...and i am not doing that...i am just trying to help enable share my journey with you....

Don't forget to visit my other blog,The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer here...

my research led me here...
www.jewishaddictionservices.org
http://www.co-anon.org/enable.html
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/borderline_personality/57270
http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2007/11/van_gogh_manic_depression.php
http://t.webring.com/hub?ring=bipolarmanicdep1

http://www.ecademy.com/node.php?id=78656

Sunday, January 13, 2008

How Do You Fit the Snowflake Model

I give you the following to think about this week...

Six-trait Snowflake Model of Creativity

6-sided snowflake from here...

This model of creativity was developed by Harvard Professor David Perkins:


  1. A strong commitment to a personal aesthetic. Creators have a high tolerance for complexity, disorganization, and asymmetry. They enjoy the challenge of struggling through chaos and struggling toward a resolution and synthesis.

  2. The ability to excel in finding problems. Scientists value good questions because they lead to discoveries and creative solutions, to good answers.

  3. Mental mobility allows creative people to find new perspectives on and approaches to problems. Creative people have a strong tendency to think in opposites or contraries. They often think in metaphors and analogies and challenge assumptions as a matter of course.

  4. A willingness to take risks and the ability to accept failure as part of the creative quest. These people also exhibit the ability to learn from their failures. By working at the edge of their competence, where the possibility of failure lurks, mental risk-takers are more likely to produce creative results.

  5. Creative people not only scrutinize and judge their ideas or projects, they also seek criticism. Objectivity involves more than luck or talent; it means putting aside your ego, seeking advice from trusted colleagues, and testing your ideas.

  6. The last trait is that of inner motivation. Creators are involved in an enterprise for its own sake, not for school grades or paychecks. Their catalysts are the enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself.
David Perkins is a professor at Harvard and one of the co-founders of Project Zero in Harvard's Graduate Degree in Education programs. He is the author of numerous books on education, schools, thinking, and creativity.

Don't forget to visit my other blog here...about Art...Inspiration...Spirit...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fear Less...Hope More

Fear less, hope more;
Eat less, chew more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Love more, and all good things will be yours

Albert Einstein



photo from http://thebuckstopshere.blogspot.com/

This is the fear less, hope more week for me alright...my happy cow laptop took a turn for the worse last weekend...and i realized that i am overly attached to this piece of metal...i was actually annoyed to have to use my beautiful, expensive Mac and be chained to a desk...so after many hours with my new bff, Norton...the laptop seems to be feeling better...i hope...


On Tuesday, for some reason i believed was right at the time...i had both of my dogs operated on...Sir Chancelot lost his manhood ( i am still crying over this one)...and Miss Maggie Mae had a tooth removed...Miss Mags has behaved herself and stayed quiet...but Chance, the Parson Jack Russel he is, does not want to rest quietly until he heals...still i hope...

Wednesday i got a new do...very short for me...but me thinks i like it...i hope...

I should have been forewarned...
photo from http://foxdendesigns.com/FOXDEN-WhatsNew.htm

but yesterday, I had my first job interview in over 15 years...yes my 'circumstances' (a genteel way of saying i am afraid of being a bag lady and my art has not made me the next van gogh...) have led me to the workplace...the interview was in a coffee shop...with this young entrepreneur...

TEE HEE...photo from http://foxdendesigns.com/FOXDEN-WhatsNew.htm

a 28 year-old (mind you my baby is 28)...in the midst of me trying to convince this young gentleman that i could work circles around the other 20-somethings he was interviewing because: 1) i am an award winning graphic designer; 2) i have designed for some of the world's biggest companies; 3) i have done graphic design for some 30 years now; 4) i will do the grunt work that 85% of graphic design is with a smile because i already know this; 5) he needs a mentor who has been where he is...yadda yadda yadda...i caught a case of giggles...about this whole situation...me, who has been so successful but for the $100,000 mistake/life lesson moving to Georgia in 2006 and back to Florida in 2007 created...me, who is actually employed by artists to help them start and grow their business...me, sitting across the tiny bistro table trying not to mother this man or mentor him or call him kiddo as a so would do in any other situation...if you read this future boss, i forgot to tell you i have a wicked sense of humor...the humor of it all struck me...now i am very thankful that i was able to find any graphic design job to apply for on this tiny island...actually there are 4 printers in my county who i also dropped resumes off to for any overflow work...hope i must...

Which brings me to the last best newses...my art has been accepted in another gallery in west palm beach...yippee...except i need to find time to paint some pieces...i have been asked to give a business seminar at an industry event and perhaps, be a speaker...i have been accepted to teach at The Creative Palette convention...and i have a design for my exhibit panel for Salon 2008 (the meeting of world class decorative painters)....

Fly Forth O Gentle Dove

On January 1st, i set my Guardian Angel(s) on a task to bring job opportunities to me...so far it looks like they are working, doesn't it...now you may think this odd, asking your Guardian Angel for things like this...but most Guardian Angels are underused and bored...they can do anything except interfere with your appointed time of death...of course they are protecting us from harm...but they can do so many other things for us...if we only ask...my most frequent request is asking for a parking place...this has worked so often that others who have seen this happen for me, now believe...my second is asking for them to speak with the Guardian Angel of people who are offensive while driving or cutting in line...i can't tell you the number of times these people have stopped behaving badly after i asked...so i recommend that you give your GA something to do...let them spread their wings...hope on....

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer continued...

I am fully aware that this was serendipity now...this was the first glimpse at my life's calling...The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer... we can fly...we can soar... -Rebecca E. Parsons


How have I been led to this place...The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer...I have been on a journey for several years, with no idea of exactly where I was heading. When I began all I knew was, once I was called to go, I had no choice but to move out in the direction I was led.

The Readers Digest version of how my life's journey has led me to today- I have been creative all of my life. As a dancer, writer, journalist, and visual artist I have explored many pathways. I danced until I broke my neck at age 23. Having to find another outlet for my creativity, I began to paint and design. This led to a long career in graphic design. In the mid-80s, I rediscovered my love for painting and began a long lucrative career in decorative arts as a muralist. Graphic design led me to become a magazine editor for the past 10 years and to freelance jobs with some of the world's largest corporations (i.e. Kimberly-Clark, Prudential, IBM, GTE, BellSouth, Scientific Atlanta, Ernst & Young) and the US Olympic Committee. Murals and faux finishing led me to teaching, speaking engagements and writing as a regular columnist for several magazines. Another spinal break and subsequent surgeries brought me off of the ladder and into my own artwork.

Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road. -Dag Hammerskjold

But there is another side of me that requires nurturing as much as my creative side - my spiritual side. I was always a Sunday church-goer and volunteer. After the death of my mother in 2000, I began a journey into deeper prayer, consciously setting aside time each morning and evening for prayer. That led me to praying the hours as monks and nuns do. What I discovered was the more you pray, the more you want to pray. And you begin a journey into a relationship so vast and fulfilling that you desire to have that always present in your life.

This led me to seek a Spiritual Director in 2002. I was torn because I believed that in order to follow my spiritual self, I would need to abandon my creative self. With my director's help, I have been able to come to the understanding that my art does not conflict with my spiritual life, it enhances and enriches it. Two years ago, I entered a 4-year formation program to become a Spiritual Director myself.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

My heart has been called to move my art explorations out into the world. I even bought Art as Prayer.com in 2007. Last week, after breaking my foot and slowing down, both worlds came together. During a contemplative/meditative session while asking for Divine guidance, I was given the outline of my future...my ministry...my calling...

The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer...

I have great clarity about all my past pathways, the fulfilling as well as the missteps. Each has had a part that has prepared me for this new path. The years of struggle with my art, the years of writing and teaching, the education process of becoming a Spiritual Director...all have led to this new doorway...the threshold of the rest of my life. It was opened to me and I have walked through it...filled with anticipation and excitement....

I consider myself a contemplative artist. My work is a combination of meditation and exploration...I cannot deny that part of myself that is so deeply rooted in faith and belief or the part of me that brings forth my visual voice from the work of my hands. I sometimes long for the peace of mind of the Buddhist monks, who have reached the place where nothing of this world can affect them...negatively or positively. They exist on a level where they are one with the Divine...I have glimpses of this place, but am still striving for it.

2007 was a year of deep lessons for me...moving, reflection, renewal, creativity, upheaval, unease...all brought with them major growth. I find growing edges of myself everyday and I am learning to embrace the me that I am today...at this moment. Those times that I was able to live in the present brought the biggest rewards...peace of mind and heart...and creativity beyond my wildest dreams. I am living proof that God had bigger plans for your life, than you could ever imagine...


When I am fully in this thing I call intuitivity (the confluence of intuition and creativity) I am most alive and in complete sync with that part of me that always has the answers and always knows where I should go...I want to spend an abundance of my time there from this point forward...and I invite you to accompany me...

My life will be about helping others become artist/explorers. I am led to discover how to let my divine intuition create without editing...I will let go of preconceived notions...I will play...I will find my unique, individual visual voice...and I will begin to use it powerfully.... and I will teach you how to do the same. I am so excited about the future...

I have started a new blog called...The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer...here...it will be the place where I can teach and reach others on the same path...an atelier of sorts...a place of intuitivity....

And the winner is...

bright and early this morning...when the sun was just peeking through the trees...i took all the names of the artistic souls who shared their journey with me...put them in a wooden vessel...

and held it above my head...sorry i could not mange a photo of that...and choose this name...
kai
...the lovely, peaceful soul found here...

please e-mail me your address my sweet and I will slip it in the mail...

I will be back later today, I hope, to continue
THE ARTIST AS A SPIRITUAL EXPLORER story...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer...

My dear ones...May the spirit of a new year fill your home with an abundance of love, laughter, and joy! May the magic of the moment bring peace to your heart all year long! May your creativity take you to amazing places and may you experience the resulting bliss! Much love to all of you and your families....

I have been truly blessed since beginning this magazine a mere 12 months ago...I have deep connections with some of you and am developing new ones almost daily...I have people all over the world that I truly care about and I look forward to our daily contact. I thank each of you who come here to visit my little corner of the universe...my prayers and love are lifted for you every day...

I promised some big news today...I have a major life Announcement and a very special GiVEaway...the following came to me during a meditative period a few weeks ago...afterward I began to journal and the following flowed from my pen...


"Doorway for a Spiritual Explorer"
As I head through the doorway of a new year, I find myself invited/guided/led/called to take a new path...one called

The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer

...I am led to discover how to let my divine intuition create without editing...I will let go of preconceived notions...I will play...I will find my unique, individual visual voice...and I will begin to use it powerfully....

I believe that we are born into this world with our own special message...if we never find a way to voice it, the world stays incomplete...as we stay incomplete...so we must ask ourselves today...what is it that only I have to say...and do I have the courage to speak it?

What I know for sure is that I do not want to die with my artwork still inside me...be it my song, my dance, my book or my painting...I am compelled to bring it forth into the world...give birth to that voice only I can speak with, and make the art only I can create.

I have to stop being totally invested in the outcome...what I want or hope the result to be...and instead become invested in the journey itself...that gift of time when all external things dissolve away...when time seems to stand still or fly by...that spiritual experience known as creative flow...

We come into this world with a special piece of the universal puzzle...and if you don't find that piece of you that belongs outside yourself...that belongs to the whole of the universe...and if you never bring it forth, the universe is missing a piece...and you are missing that piece also...the whole will never be finished or complete without that special piece that is you...

I could not stop writing...it must have been three or four hours later when I became sensory aware enough to review my writings...contained within I had the foundation of a retreat, the scripts for a series of videos, and the outline of a book...

So I have walked through this doorway and we are off on this new path this year...one that promises many discoveries as we explore our intuitivity (intuition and creativity)...I invite you to come with me...

In honor of this very special day for me, I am gifting one reader with a print: "Doorway for a Spiritual Explorer" ...see the creation of this piece here... I have held this painting close to my heart since the day it was painted October 2, 2007, the second day of my Reinvent-tage Retreat...It will never be sold...and prints will be limited to 10...

My statement about the painting, "The figure is looking back into the darkness of what she is leaving behind...as she heads toward the light...she will never look back again...she is growing into herself an her destiny...becoming stronger and more brave with each step...her steps are sure...her path is glowing brightly for her to follow...she remains open to possibility..."

At the time this was painted, I asked if this painting was the result of "skill or serendipity"...I wrote about the process,"This painting just took shape...I allowed it to happen...remaining open to possibility...many possibilities presented themselves while I was painting...I stayed with them until they led me where this painting was supposed to go."

I am fully aware that this was serendipity now...this was the first glimpse at my life's calling...The Artist as a Spiritual Explorer...read more about how I have been led to this place in my next post...

The GiVEaway process... between now and 12 midnight Sunday...leave a comment on this post describing your creative journey...so far, present, or future...and I will choose one name from a drawing to be announced Monday morning...

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