Sunday, February 11, 2018

Where You'll Find Me




As I continue to pare down my time spent on the computer, the bulk of my writing and art making can be found in The Walkabout. I could not do this deep creative exploration without this beautiful community of souls who are dedicated to doing the same. 

Unraveling to my core with art, is my absolute passion....and I won't lie, it can be hard sometimes. But way more interesting and fulfilling than living someone else's version of me.

A unique and important part of The Walkabout, is the ongoing correspondence Sarah Oblinger and I have with one other. We commit to being real, vulnerable and open using art, movement and words to meet our daily lives as they naturally unfold. 

Until now, it's been exclusively for Walkabout participants. However, because of the profound shifts we've been feeling in our own lives while working this program, we’ve decided to publicly share our correspondence on Creative Nectar's blog

Our letters are for any of you on your own self discovery journey. I hope you will follow along – with a knowing, that you are not alone. Please meet us online HERE every 1st and 10th of the month, I'd love you to be a part of this unfolding!

Deep Exploration - What is Right and Real For ME


 I've been cutting way down on my computer time - it's painful to my body and I am all about self care lately. However, I wanted to put down a few words here, maybe as a "mile marker" to reference later, in case I need it.

My curiosity is still fed by exploring the cracks and crevices housed within, as I slowly uncover  glints of my true nature. Who am I without some of my stories - especially the deeply rooted negative ones? What am I without the masks I wear to fit in and stay protected in the world. What happens when I begin to examine my beliefs?



What I've discovered so far has been surprising as I glimpse a new way of moving and living. Steering myself away from the main stream has helped me to discover what is right and real, for me. I listen to my body for clues about what is working and not working. I check in with my feelings to learn more about each moment.


Art is helping. Community is crucial. There is a complete overhaul happening, slowly and at my own  pace.Trusting myself, allowing my heart to crack open, loving deeply, re-imagining my stories, examining my beliefs, feeling into what's next.....WOW. 


Buckle Up Buttercup! Here we go...............................


Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Summer Sabbatical, Fibromyalgia and Stillness




This Spring I decided to take a  Summer sabbatical from - writing, over-efforting, convincing, pushing - doing anything that zapped the precious bits of energy I had remaining in my body.

My intuition to shut down a lot of things not working for me and focus on self care was spot on. Just a few weeks later I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

For those of you who don’t know or maybe have been misinformed, Fibromyalgia is a complex central nervous system disorder, causing chronic pain and fatigue (among many other things) that affects an estimated 5 million Americans. While it occurs most often in women, it strikes men and children, and all ethnic backgrounds.

It has been a relief to FINALLY know what is going on with my body as I have been struggling with pain and massive fatigue as well as misdiagnosis, for over 6 years now. 

For many of those years, I pushed myself to make things happen. I facilitated workshops, traveled and did what felt like pushing a massive boulder up a hill, trying to maintain my “normal” life as much as possible. Now that I know what’s going on, I see how the pushing - so intricately ingrained in our culture - only made things worse.

I am not writing this for sympathy or attention, only to raise awareness and to share how I am choosing to work with this in the studio and in the unfolding of my own creative self-discovery.

I hope by sharing, others will do the same and by doing so, some of the shame we’ve cultivated as a society, around this and other invisible diseases, will begin to lessen.

My life has changed dramatically… but it doesn’t have to end. I am working on living much differently now, and that includes how I will be facilitating.

I will be letting go of process painting classes indefinitely. However, that doesn’t mean I have stopped creating or facilitating - things are just shifting.
I will be offering HeART Journaling from my home studio on Friday mornings with an option to join online.

I will continue to be part of The Walkabout and Rise and Shine  (online options) as these things are HELPING me to stay grounded and connected to my center as well as giving me a sense of community, even when I can’t leave the house.

I probably won’t be writing as much because it definitely takes its toll on my body, so I may be sharing more images and less words.

I will be cultivating more stillness in my life and look forward to seeing where it takes me. And I welcome the chance to work with others wanting to creatively connect to their own stillness.

Sending Much Love and Endless Gratitude,
Steph

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Falling In Love With My Inner Fat Girl


Almost as long as I can remember I have fought with my body and how she looks. As a child, I was pudgy and had buck teeth. By third grade, I had glasses. OH and let's not forget the curly red hair.

Even now certain memories still stick out in my mind:

 In grade school - at my first concert - the girls I was with all got to take turns riding the shoulders of the mom who chaperoned us. When it got to be my turn, she tried lifting me and couldn't and then let me know I was too heavy - this was the first time I really felt shame about my body.

Then there was the time in high school, with my first real boyfriend. He broke up with me because "I was too big for him." He actually told me he wanted someone with a better body (I was a size 7). I have to give him kudos for his honesty.

 I can still recall the reactive diet that followed. I remember going to a convenience store for lunch and eating a single sized bag of chips and a diet soda. I can remember how good it felt to deprive my body of things. She was getting me into this trouble....and she would pay. I would show her who was boss.....I WAS IN CONTROL.

This cycle of excessive dieting allowed me relief and was my constant companion for decades. I'd lose some weight, feel in control and then start eating whatever I wanted again - until I was triggered in some way.

Throughout the years, I've also had my teeth fixed, started wearing contacts and learned to straighten my hair.- adopting even more ways to fit in, be pretty and keep the possibility of shame and embarrassment to a minimum .

Thankfully, things have slowly been changing. I've been on a mission to figure out what foods are best for my body and will help me to manage my arthritis and pain. I've started to see food as something with healing properties, not as a vehicle for punishment or reward. I am learning to listen to my body, and ask her what she wants. And I am learning to be okay with my body size. I've also realized how much energy I have spent trying to keep an image of myself together that isn't real.

Right now, I am dealing with chronic pain, a slowing metabolism and the inability to exercise as I would like. ALL I care about it feeling as good as possible and living as much of my life as fully as I can. I know I have gained weight and I know I am doing the best that I can. This is why, when I received an automated email from my last doctor's visit letting me know that my BMI was now in the overweight status, I didn't totally freak out.

Don't get me wrong, I tried.... for a few minutes. I started thinking about drastic diets and how to lose some weight fast. I started to think about what a bad deal this all was.....and then I stopped. I just STOPPED. I had painting class that morning, and I focused on that. I started painting my body, as realistically as I could. I painted my fat folds, my uneven teeth, my thick black glasses and my curly hair up in a bun on top of my head.

As I painted, I fell totally in love and adorned the plump little creature with flowering vines. Her face revealed a relieved and enlightened grin and that widened my heart even more.When I had negative thoughts in my head, I allowed them to show up on the page as well. And when the painting was finished, I felt a little sad. The experience I had with her, was deeply personal and transforming and it was hard to say good-bye.

I knew when I was finished I would have to share this story. She is beautiful. I am beautiful. I see that now. This painting process is a powerful agent of change and is allowing me to become more of myself every day. It feels less scary to get real. I don't find myself needing quite as many layers of protection around me...and I feel like I am living my truth, from the inside out.