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?


steve said...

This is great and so inspiring to read Caroline. It's amazing how much your own mind is capable of when truly utilized to it's potential. Much of this (what you wrote here) also reminds me very much of Buddhist philosophy (The Dalai Llama mentions many similar methods of self support in his "Art of Happiness" book). I think we go for so many quick fix methods of support only to find ourselves running around in circles and bouncing off of brick walls. It's refreshing to see words like these. As for my own self-support, I've been turning to making art and working in the sketchbook more and more, also trying to incorporate more thoughts in writing as well. Anyhow, great post and art. I can see your cards on a much larger scale even, images rearanged and abstracted perhaps. So many possibilities.

Johnnynorms said...

Mr Ebb here - you just Flo'd on Elbowroom...just as I'd pulled up an armchair to have a good read of Caro's Lines.

Thanks for the interesting thoughts on self-support. Reviews and past successes can be good, but I find I overindulge as a way of procrastinating. It's good to see you embracing the next project - maybe like you're planting a mystery seed? How do you know when a project is finished, or is it that you can always go back to it?

Caroline said...

Steve - thank you - I think the Dalai Llama and I knew each other in past lives so I probably got them all from him then...

Your sketchbook work is great, it really shows the value of looking with an artist's eye - I love that shift into artist perception that comes from drawing, especially when drawing from life.

I've wondered about tiling the images... that would be an interesting next step.. yes there are lots of possibilities... what fun!

Johnnynorms - Hi there Mr Ebb! A little synchronicity? That's often the effect of being in the flow... or in this case being Flo.... I'm very for crastinating. I find that to crastinate is very beneficial for the brain cells... gives them a rest and lets those seeds germinate.... stops me roughly hauling them out of the ground and looking for roots that haven't yet had time to form... Its all part of the ebb and flow...

Knowing when a project is really finished? That is a tough one. For me its whether the next project's call is strong enough... and as you say... one can return. I do like the face that my SC cards won't ever be really finished... there will always be new ones to add in and old ones to update... but I do see them going on the backburner now... maybe that's where old projects go... on the backburner for a while and then they are either really finished or come back renewed.

Johnnynorms said...

Is pro-crastinating when you're so good at crastinating you can do it for a living!

Maybe all projects are potentially unfinished, but the trick is to decide when to move on anyway. I don't think I can differentiate myself between projects - is it all one big vague unending this why I never really finish anything?

Anonymous said...

Caroline, I want to thank you tremendously for being alongside me on this Finding Water journey. I just found your comment, and now this marvellous post.
What you've written is exactly what I needed to read. I'd just been working on a post saying how annoyed I was getting with old JC. All this talk of her huge circle of famous friends...I have 'issues' to deal with in this chapter, as I have very few friends that I trust. I was getting irate, and your post has reminded me to slow down again. You covered every angle - all my arguments! ;) Brilliantly.

Thank You!

(and I'm the world's bestest 'crastinor! Gold medal winner! ;))

Caroline said...

Johnnynorms - is there something that you would like to call finished? Why not call it finished and see if it objects? If it doesn't then it is.

Suzie Q - that is a wonderful compliment thank you! I was a little worried that I was rewriting the whole chapter, my own way... I'm glad that it has helped you.

Anonymous said...

Caroline - I enjoy reading your comments almost as much as I enjoy reading your posts!

That backburner does have a way of cooking things a little more...even when I've put something there, thinking it's fully cooked - a lot of times, I'll catch a scent of it, and lift the lid to find I could add another ingredient or two...

Self-support - I talk myself in and out of things a dozen times in my journal; painting, collaging, blogging - I consider all of that my "self-support" group.
Chocolate helps, too :-) so glad you can eat it again - migraines are no fun, I know from experience (mine are due to injury and triggered by light changes/eyestrain kind of things - thankfully not chocolate). Though they've gotten better - hmm, where's some wood to knock on (I've been thinking about superstitions a little too much this weekend, thanks to Sunday Scribblings :)
Thanks for another insightful post!

Andrew Glazebrook said...

I like you spiral piccy !!!!

Caroline said...

Tinker - thank you! You must be like me in enjoying stews...

Journals are great things aren't they. And yes worth a mention separately from the morning pages.

I hope your migraines vanish!

Andrew Glazebrook - thank you!

Ian russell said...

those chocolate things look like shotgun cartridges, no wonder they give you a headache! (I went clay pidgeon shooting once and I didn't enjoy it, bang, bang, bang and all that wanton destruction!)

yeah, self-support - self-reliance. the big thumbs up to that. I have it, I'm sure, but I don't know how it works exactly. be your own best-friend and your own worst critic!

I think with negativity - or any unfinished business - the key, though I don't always follow it myself, is to move on and away. the moment you're into something else, the success or failure of that new project diminishes the importance of the other. it's like they say; you're only as good as your last [whatever]. I think it's best to avoid too much evaluation; worth is so subjective and largely meaningless.

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

People who sneak things into food, thinking a little won't hurt, knowing that someone can't eat it...I always think it's inconsiderate of them to do it.

When I have friends over for dinner / lunch, whatever, I always ask, is there anything you can't, won't eat?

Caroline said...

Ian - I'm lucky I can eat chocolate now - it was Mars bars that were the main offenders in the days when they hurt me...

And I agree that letting go is a good idea.

GG - You are very considerate - much more so than many!

June said...

I used to suffer with migraines as well, they stopped after I had my first baby. I like the way you deal with your negatives. Many of mine find their way to my morning pages as well...but you take it a step further by writing the positive opposites! How clever, I am going to try this too. Thank-you for your great suggestion!

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea about balancing the siphoning of negative with your intentions. I want to start this. Thank you. K