Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stefek Zaba

Yesterday I heard that an old and dear friend had died. By old friend I mean that I'd known him since 1985, but he wasn't yet 50. He died on Monday evening at Hewlett Packard in Bristol.

As I've not been at HP for almost 11 years Stefek was no longer part of my work life, nor had I been able to keep up with him socially. But once he, his wife and children were a big part of my life; and my heart goes out to those he has left behind - I weep with you Christina, Helena and Paul.

I'll remember Stefek as the Polish boyscout who never grew up; someone who smiled readily and was easy to work with, always ready to lend a hand. He was also very good at his work, a joy to be in the same team with. In 1987 we put together a proposal for a group, KEG, that meant we got to work together for a couple of years - probably the two best years of my working life. Certainly the funniest - his sense of humour was infectious.

I've been unable to excavate any of my own photos of Stefek to add to this post - I'll add one in if / when I find one. Meanwhile there is a great recent photo of him on: Goodbye, Stefek Zaba and the one I've borrowed here is from his home page which is also on his HP Labs Inventor Profile.

Update: His funeral service will be held at Clifton Cathedral on Pembroke Road a week Thursday, 5 April. Time yet to be confirmed. Everyone who knew him is welcome.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Iko Uko

Drawing of "product" on shelves at the hairdressers in sketch book... I just don't stick to realistic at the moment even when that's how I start...


My plans to attend Imedla the greenishlady's SoulCollage® workshop are getting more concrete.

(Update: I've booked my tickets!)

I had another couple of synchronicities with Ireland today.

I go to the hairdressers once every 3-4 months - I like my hairdresser but don't see her any more often - too expensive! - when I went in today it was with great interest to discover that she'd just come back from spending a long weekend in Ireland - to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a friend. She was on Achill which is an island off the West coast of Ireland. Its the first time she'd ever been to Ireland.

On the way home I had the car radio on. Radio 4's afternoon play (this link will only work for the next 7 days) was on, it was set in Ireland:

Tuesday 20 March

The Comedian

By Joseph O'Connor, dramatised by Shane Connaughton

Paddy Plunkett thinks he's Dublin's finest comedian. if only his ten-year-old son would agree.

Also today I bought a pair of clogs - I'd got a pair of Iko clogs at the beginning of December last year - I've loved them so much I got another pair.

Then I had a hot chocolate in The Guild's cafe. I was sitting savouring it when I noticed the sugar said Uko on it.

So Iko, Uko:
  • I'm a knock out, You're a knock out
  • I'm okay but backwards and so are you
  • I knock out, You knock out
  • Something else?
  • Any ideas?

Sunday, March 18, 2007


A dream is just a dream... by Caroline with a Creative Commons License that allows non-commercial use and further remixing provided all attributions are given and a similar license is given on new images. Images used in this remix are all from flickr with appropriate CC licenses:
translated by estherase
untitled by josef.stuefer
A Rosa e o Cimento by Fábio Pinheiro

I am inspired by dreams and by synchroncities. The last two days have been full of these. I turn my inspirations into either pictures or words (and sometimes blog postings) and life.

Yesterday I had a dream which I wrote up (before going back to sleep early in the morning) - I called the first part of it Shaman's Cabinet, the second part Charlatan and the third, seemingly unrelated part, Scissors - I mentioned the scissors part yesterday.

Shaman's Cabinet

In Shaman's Cabinet there was something like a sedan chair into which a single person fitted. Someone I know was inside it. There were all sorts of weird things happening - objects flying around strangely. The Shaman whose cabinet it was said that at first this used to worry him but now he knew it just did this with some people. Showed they had some sort of power... not one he had. I wondered what would happen if I went in... but the dream moved on instead to...


I was talking to a traveling shaman, he was sitting on a stool and had his pack at his feet. He was casting aspersions at the other shamans. I tell him about the cabinet and how all these objects were flying around whilst there was someone inside. He scoffed at it. He made out that we had been taken in by a charlatan. I accuse him of being one himself.

I found two images that others had made to illustrate my dream diary - I didn't know I'd be blogging them or I might have been more inventive! One was just a sedan chair - for the other I found this image which seemed to express all the energy of the charlatan without putting in the pack at his feet:

This photo was uploaded to flickr by Fearless Tall Dude Killer and has a creative commons license requiring non-commercial use and the giving of an attribution.

Today I was at a lunch at a friend's - I'd taken the trifle I'd made yesterday as our contribution. The first new person I met there was an engaging chap and we got talking. Then he started going on, out of nowhere, about all these people who call themselves shamans in the West who aren't really. I noticed that he was sitting on a stool with a bag at his feet (the one I'd brought the trifle in). So of course I then told him about my dream... he accused me of making up the whole story... but then he confessed that he does love to play the charlatan...

The next new person I met was a charming Irish woman - there seems to be an Irish thread running through some of the rest of this...

Usually my dreams do inspire me to make my own art and not just borrow someone else's intact - so I suspect there is something going on here about how far collage needs to change an image before it becomes mine. This was clearly an extreme where it was not collage but pure borrowing. The question in my mind is how much difference is needed to make it into a remix... all the one's I've called remixes have had at least 3 pictures as part of them.

So here my dream inspired the borrowing of an image, a strange lunchtime conversation and then the musing over when a collage is a collage.


Yesterday's big synchronicity led to discovering one that I had not been aware of at the time, I'd have known if only I'd followed my intuition at the time.

In February I e-mailed the inventor of Soul Collage - mostly because I'd been unable to see a particular image on her website. A couple of days later, Feb 13th 2007, I did the first of my remix cards. I only posted it on flickr, neither here nor my card blog, because it was called "Birthday Card" and I thought it would be fun to use it to celebrate someone's birthday.

Birthday Card

Birthday Card by Caroline with a Creative Commons License that allows non-commercial use and further remixing provided all attributions are given and a similar license is given on new images. Images used in this remix are all from flickr with appropriate CC licenses:
Spitzgogo_CHEN (Nokia 6230i) for the Cake
Miss Loisy
for the Bike
Jeff Kubina for the Balls
brokenchopstick for the Bubble

This card was made on that particular day because I'd just found out that it was the birthday of one of Jim's work colleagues whom I'd met at Christmas and liked. I'd been intending to make such a card sometime for my set but when I realised if I did it immediately and with creative commons images I'd be able to send it to her straight away. So this was the occasion which inspired me to try making images using those findable through flickr's creative commons search. It was really easy to find the images - they just turned up - it was easy - in fact a piece of cake!

By the way the woman for whom I made this card happens to be Irish.

I also thought I'd send this card to Seena for her gallery, but before I did on Feb 14th I got a request for a card to go in a newsletter, a card from an "other suit" and as this one was the only "other suit" card I felt happy about sending to a newsletter I sent it there instead. (Its in my celebrations suit)

Yesterday was St Patrick's Day and I connected up with greenishlady (who lives in Northern Ireland) through her posting of her card for Seena (which I blogged about yesterday). She mentioned that it was done for Seena's 75th birthday which was in February. Today I found out from her that Seena's birthday was on Feb 15th. If only I had followed my intuition at the time!

Greenishlady has also mentioned that if I can get there I could attend one of her Soul Collage days and experiment with real scissors. Its a wonderful suggestion and I'm hoping I'll be able to go.

I just popped over to using the link from my card blog which brings up a reading. I was looking for a link to the gallery. The reading came up with one of greenishlady's cards. And guess what - its the only card from her on the site and the first time I've seen it! Oh all these synchronicities - I love it!

The image that I made for this posting at the top was inspired by hearing Radio 4's "The Write Stuff" where author of the week and subject for pastiche is William Shakespeare.

So back to the topic of inspiration... I get inspired by all these nudges... they don't just impact my art work but my whole life.

Sunday Scribblings prompt today is Inspiration.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Next Step Time

Next Step Time by Caroline with a Creative Commons License that allows non-commercial use and further remixing provided all attributions are given and a similar license is given on new images.
Images used in this remix are all from flickr with appropriate CC licenses:

sufi dancer in cairo by romsrini
Magen by Aeioux
old big clock by Alex Balan

So having left Finding Water I need to find my own next step.

Regulars here will know that I'm somewhat addicted to synchronicities. Today there was an amazing one.

I became aware of SoulCollage® in the first place because Tinker mentioned that she was interested in what greenishlady and Tammy Vitale were doing with SoulCollage® cards - since then I've not seen any SoulCollage® cards from either of them, whilst I, still in my first flush of enthusiasm have been busy making them daily - and posting a few occasionally. I've become a regular reader of Tammy's but today is the first time that I've seen a new posting from greenishlady on her card blog. It's a card celebrating the creator of the SoulCollage® process - Seena B. Frost - if you visit that link you'll see that it features Seena looking like she is talking to the viewer.

I'd just opened the page when my computer spoke to me - in an unknown American female's voice - as I looked at the picture of Seena - it said

"Hello Caroline, shouldn't you be going to the shops?"

Of course this was no mystic emanation but my husband having just discovered how to surprise me like this, whilst sitting innocently with his back to me. He'd just worked out how to do this from his laptop... he'd no idea what I was looking at...

I then read on and was bowled over by the rest of the post. In it greenishlady mentions how she had a dream with a voice saying "Come!". When she eventually heard Seena's voice on tape she recognised it as the voice from her dream.

At this point, still unaware of what I was reading, my husband sent me the same message again, this time anticipating that I'd ask "what for?" after it.

The voice then said

"To get ingredients for a trifle."

I read on and discovered that greenishlady's dream had led her after 3 years to take the SoulCollage® facilitators training.

I have since been to the shops, got the ingredients and made the trifle we need for tomorrow's lunch party.

Before that though I ordered the recordings of Seena as they are a prerequisite for going on the facilitators training. I also sent an e-mail to discover if there were any places left on the next course.

What's more last night I dreamt that I was making cards using scissors which is how most people do make theirs but I've not made any like that yet - I started out cutting a few images out before scanning but discovered I got better results scanning and then deleting the bits I didn't want. Using scissors is how I'd have to make some if I was on the course. And I'd need to practice making some like that before going...

And as for the trifle?

Well at first I didn't get what that was about until I remembered that I'd woken up this morning thinking that just because I'm good at something is no reason to consider what I do as not worthwhile and maybe I should take it as a sign that its a talent to use.

I have a history of doing things because they are difficult... like embroidery - I was the worst in the class at primary school so I practiced and practiced until I was actually selling my embroideries to my class mates in secondary school... this took about seven years from the age of 7 to 14.

My biggest problem with collage, apart from the copyright issue, is that I find it so EASY. I've always felt it was cheating to use other people's lovely pictures to make my own lovely pictures. I know my mother certainly felt this and passed on the message that it is not what "real" artists do. But I love doing collage and I think I am quite good at it too... so

Maybe its time to stop pushing against the flow and embrace and really value what does come easily!

Is there something that you find easy that you aren't valuing because, for you, its simple?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Check-In: Balance. Check-Out: FW

Gracious Communicator by Caroline with a Creative Commons License that allows non-commercial use and further remixing provided all attributions are given and a similar license is given on new images.
Images used in this remix are all from flickr with appropriate CC licenses:

I like the fact that by using images available with remix licenses I can blog my collages without breaking any copyrights.

I've done several new images in this way this week and they are on my card blog:
I chose to show this one here because to me the orchid looks a bit like a balance.


Morning Pages

I was introduced to morning writing, not by the Artist Way, but by Dorothea Brande in Becoming a Writer. It was first published in the 1930s and explains why early morning writing is useful; she also gives a very different way of analyzing what you've done when you come to re-read your scribblings. I noticed that in one of the chapters Julia Cameron mentioned this book and having seen all the reviews of it on amazon I can see why.

I worked through Becoming a Writer in my mid-20s (over 20 years ago - gulp!) and it was very useful to me then. You might even prefer to write in the way suggested there - which is as timed writing; writing as much as you can for 20 minutes and then stopping.

For me that's the same as 3 pages, for you it might not be. Knowing how long the writing will take is a great help in making the time available in the first place.


I've just noticed Finding Water doesn't stress these - maybe that's another reason I've not warmed to it.

This week there have been plenty. The most fun one involved dachshunds - a friend I was having lunch with mentioned one she knew as a child that was called amusingly Tum-low and then after leaving her I happened on a book by PJ Wodehouse - I bought it as it was one I'd not read and when I got home I discovered it had a picture of a dachshund on the back.

Artist Dates and Walks

I had a great Artist Date this week - in fact I had two. Both involved trusting my intuition... and then checking that what I'd first got was in fact correct... very confirming... and out of it I also got a great book in one charity shop and a dinky new-to-me shoulder bag from another.

The first one involved letting my inner artist take me where she wanted to go, without telling me - she took me to the sixth or seventh charity shop up the street and straight to what she wanted - we then went back via all the charity shops to see that there really was nothing else appealing!

The second one built on this. She just took me straight in to one in particular and to the bag she wanted. I didn't argue - it was only £2.50 and I've been using it ever since.

I also had some excellent walks. I took one on Monday to cool off after a morning spent with the plasterers playing VERY LOUD music and of course writing my post about how I really wasn't getting on with Julia Cameron.

Since then I've seen a review (and another I can't remember where sorry) and had quite a lot of people mention her autobiography - Floor Sample: A Creative Memoir. You might want to check it out.


Someone e-mailed me yesterday telling me to "to take Julia Cameron off that pedestal" which I still find incredible as advice to me - did any of the rest of you think that? Am I missing something here? Just in case anyone is in any doubt - for me she is not on any pedestal.

I acknowledge that I gained a great deal from doing the Artist Way 11 years ago but that was despite her - at that time I was involved in an on-line newsgroup and she set her lawyers on to us for publishing some of the exercises on a website - despite her saying how useful it is to work in a group she tried to stop ours from operating - we finished the rest of the AW knowing that our group was being monitored by her lawyers.

Despite the lawyer thing the Artist Way was hugely transformative for me. Maybe even because of it. I took the message that something as great as the Artist Way could come to someone with feet of clay.

However, I do feel that Finding Water, as a book, doesn't have anything to offer me. It's focus is about persevering with one's work. But I'm not having any problems persevering with either my art work or my energy work - just this book.

In the last 11 years I've gained lots of different ways of communicating with my "muses" - I may start blogging some of them - whereas Julia Cameron doesn't seem to have got any new tools.

As a finisher of the Artist Way and other programmes I know I'm capable of completing appropriate courses. And now I know that I'm also capable of bowing out when its not appropriate.

Earlier in the week I thought I'd stay just because of the group but now, I realise that its not appropriate to stay when my intuition says I shouldn't. Why else were this week's artist dates all about confirming my intuition?

So thank you all very much - for all your support and all your comments - I go, not from any lack, but because that is the right next step for me. (And I will still be here blogging so its just the book group I'm leaving.)

To all of you who are still Finding Water I wish you all luck along the trail!

Monday, March 12, 2007

FW: Balance

I've noticed that I'm not putting my check-ins up on my blog... and I wondered why and then I realised that its because I don't want to grumble too much about it all. And about the book in particular - my feelings that Julia Cameron had one really good idea - the Artist's Way - and has since squeezed loads more books out of it, none of which has spoken to me with the same vibrancy as the first.

In the AW she gives both exercises in the chapter and then ten afterwards, and her writing is full of encouragement.

In FW I'm feeling tainted by her negativity - she says we all need to be careful whom we let into our lives and that she, aware of her own negativity, tries to avoid others with the same trait - well I want to avoid her!

And yet....

I feel part of this group. I have no intention of stopping being part of this group.

And to be part of this group does require that I at least read the book and have a go at the exercises, whilst keeping up with MPs, ADs and walks as much as possible.

One thing which I've found very useful in the past is called

Acknowledge and Let Go

Strangely, I blogged about this almost exactly a year ago in Unpeeling Emotions.

The basic directions are simple:

Out loud you say:

“I acknowledge feeling . . . . . . about ....... (doing) ....... and I choose to let go of this feeling RIGHT NOW!”

Filling in the gaps as appropriate.

And out loud means loud, shouting if necessary - you really need to be convincing about the letting go!

Say it over and over, with feeling and convincingly, until you have convinced yourself that this particular feeling has gone.

For instance:

I acknowledge feeling upset about Julia Cameron expressing her own negativity and I choose to LET GO of this FEELING RIGHT NOW!

then you wait and feel what comes next...

I acknowledge feeling annoyed with Julia Cameron for selling the artist way thinned down and repackaged over and over and I choose to LET GO of this FEELING - RIGHT NOW!

I acknowledge feeling annoyed with myself for being annoyed with Julia Cameron and I choose to LET GO of this FEELING - RIGHT NOW!

I acknowledge feeling upset with myself for not being perfect and and I choose to LET GO of this FEELING RIGHT NOW!

Going this far down has cleared me considerably... but what do you do when

You can't tell how you feel!

Sometimes it is really hard to come up with a word that encapsulates your feelings - it may be that one reason is because you don't actually let yourself feel the feeling - and feelings can be rather slower to form fully than words.

Sit and put your attention into your belly - this is often the seat of emotions - even those that have risen to block your throat can be found here.

If your attention is pulled to some other part of your body let that speak first.

My throat:
I am blocked - I'm really not going to put this stuff into words - its too dangerous and I don't want to say it or see it or hear it!
Okay... well how about finding a picture that expresses that.... lets search on flickr, under the creative commons license, for a something about not seeing or hearing...

See, Speak, Hear. No Evil.

An image uploaded to flickr by Miss Linds

I acknowledge feeling wary of expressing evil in any form and I choose to let go this feeling RIGHT NOW.

Ah, but I still feel wary - less tense about it but not happy.

Maybe there is a good reason for this.

Looking back at last year in my blog I find this:

The Curser

The Curser

I blogged it in February 2006. At that time I wrote:
This card represents inappropriate stillness. Stillness used to send out (and therefore attract back) bad thoughts: moans, groans and whines. The hypochondriac, the bad mouther, the cynic - all these attract in just the things they think about so proving themselves right. Bad luck dogs their days. The little helping spirits are all ears so they attend well to their instructions!
But look a key word here was STILLNESS - I didn't see that at the time but emotions that are blocked and stuck become stagnant and still - this is not the stillness of a beautiful lake, nor the life-giving water of a deep, clear well - its more like that of a sludgy, dark, dank and polluted ditch clogged up with stifled emotions.

And the best way to clear blocked emotions is to LET THEM GO!
I acknowledge feeling blocked emotions about all sorts of things and I choose to let this feeling go - RIGHT NOW!
Stand by for the deluge!

What kind of water have you been finding?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dream Journey

Sunday Scribblings is up to 50 this week and I've not responded to one in ages. I was delighted to see such a great prompt and will celebrate their fiftieth by writing a story... some of which is true... but I'll leave it up to you to decide which parts those might be.

Lost on Everest

Once upon a time there was a little girl who at the age of four years 10 months, 3 weeks and 6 days was sent to school for the first time. They told her to sit still. They told her to do as she was told. They told her and told her...

It didn't take much of this before the part of her that was used to being outdoors and free all the time decided she'd had enough. This part, who called herself, Ariadna, said "Knickers to this" - and up and left, leaving Henna behind.

Henna who didn't even know that "knickers", or indeed any other word, could be used like this, plodded on with her school work; she grew strong but rather placid. She went to college, doing well academically - probably far better than she would if she'd still had Ariadna with her.

Her life was quite normal, she worked until she met a man called Valentine; they married and settled down. And that could have been that.

Meanwhile Ariadna was off as fast as the wind could carry her. She played and frolicked in the breeze - laughing with the trees and tickling the birds. She was soon completely lost and unable to find her way home. She sat on mountain tops and sighed with the breeze - oh what a joy it was to be alive and free!

At first being lost did not worry her - she knew Henna would be going to school and doing exactly what she was told - not something Ariadna had any intention of ever doing. Time passed and after over forty years of this disembodied life Ariadna was longing to feel what it was like to actually have a body again. Ariadna longed for Henna.

And Henna, though she didn't remember Ariadna at all, responded to this longing and began to miss her too.

Why was her life so staid, so placid, so normal? Had she really been born for this? Everyone said she was going through a mid-life crisis but then they didn't know about Ariadna.

Henna started to experiment with alternative healing. She saw all manner of therapists and counselors - anyone who promised increased wholeness. She longed to feel complete. She met much sympathy and many lovely people yet nothing helped.

Valentine watched and began to worry. He loved Henna but could tell something was wrong. Then he began to have strange dreams.

He spent all night searching. He didn't know what or who he was looking for, yet he searched. He trudged through snow fields, he walked up and down mountains and explored all the lonely places he had ever heard of.

Meanwhile Henna had at last found someone who could tell her what was wrong. A wise woman explained that she had lost part of her soul but all her attempts to bring it back failed.

A diagnosis but no cure.

Now Henna also began to have dreams. She was always on a high mountain - on top of the world, above everything else and happy to be there. She told Valentine she thought maybe her lost soul fragment was on Everest.

He told her that he kept on dreaming that he was climbing mountains and silently he vowed to search Everest itself.

In order to incubate dreams of Everest he read all he could on it and about all the expeditions that had succeeded or failed, he knew the routes well. On his holidays he walked in Scotland, but in his dreams he was in Nepal.

One night he was sure he'd almost got to the summit of Everest but they had to turn back because of the poor visibility. He and his friends descended and debated on whether to stay at the Youth Hostel that was now conveniently placed for final ascents. They decided it was too dangerous stay - every minute at that altitude you are dying much faster than normal.

Next day Henna asked if he'd been to Everest recently and he related his dream.

He mentioned both the mist and the youth hostel.

Later in the day whilst sorting out his photographs he pointed out Ben Nevis.

He called it the whale-backed mountain.

"It usually has its own little cloud above it but here you can see it out of the mist."

"It's the highest mountain in Scotland isn't it?" asked Henna.

"In the whole of Britain - you could call it the Everest of the UK."

"Is there a youth hostel on Ben Nevis?"

"Yes - and its probably about as far from the top as the one in my dream had been from Everest's"

They looked at each other sure that at last the problem had been solved. How would someone who had only spent one hour in school know the difference between Everest and Ben Nevis?

That night he visited Ben Nevis. He found Ariadna and brought her back safely to Bristol. When he woke up he saw that his wife was changed. So subtle that no-one else would be able to tell but in his mind he re-named her "Whole Woman" and thought he'd better make sure he was ready for her to start joining him on his mountain climbs.

All the photographs used here come from my husband, Jim's, walks in Scotland. This year he is hoping to finish "bagging the Munros" which means he will have climbed all the mountains in Scotland over 3000 ft. There are 279 Munros and he has 10 left to go.

More Sunday Scribblings - Dream Journeys.

Friday, March 09, 2007


This is a posting without the option of comments just to test whether my feed it back to normal yet!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Please let me know if you can read this!

There seems to have been a problem with my blogfeed - its getting mixed up with another. On bloglines this is a sample of what is coming through:

The other blog is called Monokel and on the feed its got their name but my old description:

Do you normally read my blog through its feed?

If so please let me know if you can see this!

I've sent an email to blogger support to see if they can sort it out.

Monday, March 05, 2007

FW: Support

Spirals in Painter IX

This week on Finding Water is called Support.

So the very first thing I'd like to say here is a truly heartfelt thank you to all of you for all your comments and good thoughts. They help and are a true support to me. Thank you.

I've got an afternoon meeting today with one of my local friends too. And I'll no doubt be talking to / emailing some of my other friends as usual throughout this week, with maybe a touch more awareness of the support I get from these contacts.

What I wanted to address though were things one can do to feel supported when there is no-one there.

I had a year when every time I reached out for support there was none. I'd ring and get no answer; leave messages and get no reply; I'd email and get no responses. That was a year when I was having to learn about self-support. Here are some of the things that I did that helped.

Morning Pages

When writing morning pages, or journaling, I found ways to pour out the negatives that did not then have them coming back to me - this is a real problem for some people - and I'm one of them - negatives when expressed can seem to double, and invite even more in. Yet its necessary to be able to acknowledge them, let them go and move on.

What I've found works for me is that I write out the upset, the grumbles etc. just as they come.

Then having done this I write what I'd like instead:

I write the positive opposites, or alternatives and these I put little check boxes next to and tick to show that these are the ones I am asking for, the ones I intend, the ones I want to put energy into. Sometimes these might be affirmations or wishes; often they are requests to the universe.

Past Successes

Much of what I do is energy work and there have been times, working on myself, when I've had to take two-steps backward to move forward. It really helps at such times to be able to recall those things that really, incontrovertibly worked!

For instance I no longer have migraines from eating chocolate. When anyone doubts that its possible to remove a severe allergic reaction to a substance I remind myself that I can now eat chocolate without migraines, something that I had difficulty with for about 20 years - for 17 of them I avoided chocolate as much as possible but always reacted if some had been snuck in by someone who thought "a little wouldn't hurt" - amazing how many people thought this! Now, amazingly, I'm grateful to them as they effectively conducted experiments on me that proved I was still allergic when given the substance without my knowledge.

These were life crippling migraines, each episode tended to last around a week when I could do nothing but lie in a darkened room - no medicines helped. The pain was excruciating. Bright lights and noises were awful. When I doubt that energy work can do any good (and there are bleak times when that comes to me) I remind myself of the chocolate. I've plenty of other examples but none so straight-forward. And if necessary I can eat some or drink a hot chocolate to really help me absorb the truth - that I am cured of this. Cured without drugs and using only energy work.

Phew - I clearly needed that as a pep talk to myself right now! I hadn't intended to go into it quite so deeply... but maybe it helps... it shows what I mean.

Of course chocolate allergies are not what I'm currently working on. But it still helps as reassurance.

Project, Monthly, Annual, 11 year reviews

Something else that really helps is to review what I've got, where I am now and how I got here. After all, if I'm feeling the need for support, it may be because I'm going down a blind alley and my intuition is trying to alert me - if so I'd like to spot this as soon as possible. Or I may simply be making slow progress and need a longish time scale over which to see that I am making progress. I may even have come to a stopping point and need to accept that - these are the hardest of all for me. To accept that what I've been working on heart and soul for the last x months is now finished, or at least needs to be left alone for a while.

I used to really dislike reviews at work - they always seemed to be synonymous with criticism - but for my own work its different and I've learned to love them. I get a huge sense of satisfaction just from doing them, something I never got from one I was paid to do! It doesn't even matter if I start out feeling that I'm getting nowhere - reviewing shows me what I've made, the ground I've covered, the actions I've taken - it will also highlight all the stuff I've forgotten, and some of the flakier ideas I've thankfully left behind! If I've not made progress at all it shows me why... other things have been happening and they have been taking their share of my time.

If you are still mid-project then there really is nothing like just doing the work, whatever it is you are doing, getting on with the next do-able small step.

But what if you can't see where to go next?

You've looked back and seen how you got here, you've got whatever you've been working on and it seems as done now as it can be. There are times when work does just need putting aside and waiting for you to get a fresh perspective before you make any alterations to it or build directly on it. Maybe its one of those times.

That's when you need the next project. Maybe something a little different, something to stretch a new aspect of you. Maybe something fun!

I'm at this point now with my SoulCollage® cards. Its not that I will ever have completely finished these - they are a reflection of me and I hope that as I continue to change they will too. Over the last few days away from blogging I've been doing a thorough review of my cards. I've chucked out quite a few and updated many others. And whilst I've been doing this its been at the back of my mind that I need to start, in some small way, whatever my next project will be.

I've ideas about what this might involve - I love having hard copy of my pictures and I love making those pictures digitally. I think it would be fun now to work larger than 5x7. I need some sort of purpose for my pictures - they are my current way of doing energy work - I'm fairly confident that what needs to be done will come, provided I'm there to do it.

On the other hand, I like the idea of doing something in 3D.

What means of self-support do you use?