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Posts Tagged journal prompts

Walking on Sunshine: Life Beyond Cancer

I am Light India ArieLast year, I created a music playlist on my Kindle called Walking on Sunshine.  I was playing with a bit of music therapy as a creative solution for bringing light into my life during a difficult time.  I had uterine cancer, and an ongoing, nasty story running in my head had been telling me I was going to die.

Rachel Payne in shadow and light.
Dramatic, I know.  But heads do that to us sometimes.

Mine had been spinning the tale for a few decades.  My mother had died at 45, and her father before her also died at 45.  Somehow, the script got stuck playing on a loop in my head too.  I tried time and again to make it stop altogether, but as 45 drew closer, it began to manifest itself.  So when I found out at 44 that I had cancer, I began planting seeds of sunshine in my life more rigorously.

womb doodle(This image is from my Cancer Journey journal.  
Look for today’s journal prompt at the end of this blog entry.)

The stress management playlist had a great collection of sunny songs.  I would listen to it several times a day and run creative visualizations around in my imagination…..

… What life beyond cancer would look like.
… What life beyond cancer would feel like.
… What life beyond cancer would….you name it!

My imagination took me there!

Paths to healing include will, belief, forgive, love, and have faith.
What’s Today?!

Exactly a year ago today, I grabbed my playlist, cranked it up and dressed myself for the ride to MD Anderson Cancer Hospital.

MD Anderson Cancer Hospital

MD Anderson Cancer Hospital

I was due for surgery early in the day.  I felt myself walking into a shadowy path, but I felt filled with light. The songs were alive with all the stories I had layered into them with my imagination, and I relished them like a castaway imagining the succulent meals at the end of their lonely journey.  I was feasting on the sun!

eating the light

The sunshine stories told of the life of my deepest desires…..

….Told of art shows, fabulous paintings that would bless those whose walls they graced, and connections with people who wanted to work with me on making their dreams come true.

…. Told of retreats I would teach, workshops for inspiring personal growth and cultivating connections with something within that was both sacred and creative.

….Told of a deepened relationship with friends, family, community, and that something Greater than us.

CT Blog Line Page Separator

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

I walked into the hospital feeling like those new stories out-shone the old story.  So many lovely things clicked into place to make the new stories feel like they were taking form in the present moment.

post hysterectomy

The surgery went well.
The staff was excellent.
I recovered easily and quickly.
My tests came back with GLOWING results. 

 All was well…..and still is.

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Life a Year Later:  Shadow or Light?

When I sat down to write this post, none of that was in the plans.  None of the cancer stuff anyway.

I was excite (am excited) because this is my 200th post on this site.  It coincides with a stream of awesomeness that has taken shape over the last month or so.

Rachel Payne art show

Walking On Sunshine: Life Beyond Cancer

I wanted to write about everything that was going right in my life.   When I went to type the title, “Walking On Sunshine”, it made me think about the playlist….and then the cancer….and “Wait a minute!  What is today?”

A quick look at the calendar confirmed the surgery was exactly a year ago.

My subconscious mind must have been toying with it.  Love all those sychronicities.

As it happens, I realized I have created many of my “life beyond cancer” imaginings.  That is exactly what I set out to write about.  My dreams are coming true….and sometimes more quickly than I know what to do with!  Great problems to have, huh?!

Red Tent of Houston at Women's Retreat

I am celebrating!

Last week I taught at a Women’s Retreat, then came home, hung a one woman show of paintings that I am so in love with, sold over half them, have been booked for more art classes, more workshops, more art shows, …… one thing after another is going SO right.  Did I mention, 200 posts?!

I feel like I am…..Walking On Sunshine.

Walking on Sunshine

And don’t it feel good!

Celebrating….one year, all clear!

Journal Prompt:  
What would life be like for you
if you were Walking On Sunshine?

Continue the Walking on Sunshine conversation in the Creativity Tribe Facebook Group.  I would love to support your shiny, glowing life! 

Rachel Payne life creativity coach

This Sense-ational Life {overwhelm}

sensational

This Sense-ational Life is a blogging series that explores the senses as a way of cultivating a more mindful, connected life.  This week’s post features guest blogger Jessica Brogen of In Search of Dessert ~ A Metaphor for a Transformed Life.  

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Sense of Overwhelm

Greetings fellow creative spirits! I’m so happy to be blogging to you today from my friend Rachél Payne’s fantastic site. Of course, if you’ve been following along, you already know that Rachél has chosen 2013 to be the year of discovering, encouraging and exploring our senses. When I first heard Rachél’s call for blog posts around the “Senses” and a “Sensational Life,” I have to admit, my left brain immediately piped up: “Well then she’ll only be able to run this for 6 weeks!” My left brain was thinking only of the five main senses + the fabled “sixth sense.”

DSC_0354Image by Jessica Brogen

I appreciate my left brain, I really do, but I have a creative right-brain just like you, and I knew this was one of those situations in which I needed to call upon my creativity. Actually, I asked it to intercede and help me think “outside the box.”

For the next 4 weeks I diligently went about reminding my right-brain to come up with a thought-provoking and entertaining sense-related subject for this blog series. I reminded it…and reminded it…and reminded it.  Meanwhile, the holidays showed up, in all their hustle and bustle. There was a 3,000 mile roadtrip taken, boyfriend’s family met, and not a day spent without numerous people and pets. Upon entering the New Year, we acquired the recent flu bug, which lingered just around a week. Just as it was tapering off, my boyfriend and I walked into an apartment complex and nervously, but of course excitedly, applied for a bigger apartment – one that we would live in together…with both of our children. Since then, there have been boxes to pack, items to purge, a home to scour and oh, a six week old puppy to train.

Just this morning, in between carting oversized Tupperware bins of belongings out into the garage, answering emails about my coaching services and attempting to keep the dog from biting my small boy square on the you-know-what, I happened to ask myself: “Come up with anything for Rachél’s Blog Series yet?”

DSC_0389Image by Jessica Brogen

I laughed out loud.

So  I answered myself (You do this too, right?): “Uhh, no. Who has time to write blog posts? And just what do you think I’m feeling that I could write about?!”

My inner voice replied: “I feel OVERWHELMED, how ‘bout you?”

And my other voice went to snap back something witty about how Overwhelm was no type of sense, and how I wasn’t in the mood for feeling guilty that I still hadn’t written this blog post, when suddenly I stopped in my tracks.

“Hmm”, I thought, “maybe overwhelm is a sense!”

DSC_0924Image by Jessica Brogen

The more I mused on it, the more convinced I became that we actually have a sensory perception geared towards Overwhelm. At least we should. If we didn’t, there’d be nothing to stop us from piling on one thing after another into our lives! Unfortunately, much like how we acclimate to antibiotics, or the taste of salt in our food, we as a culture have also acclimated to our own sense of overwhelm, to the point that some of us are able to continue piling it on, ignoring the warning signs, until we crack (either physically, mentally, or both). We are often carrying out our daily lives dangerously unaware of how overwhelmed we are, while behind the scenes, realized or not, that stress is wreaking havoc on our health.

So if we’re inured to our body’s natural sensory alarms that should tell us we’re overwhelmed, how can we determine if we are in fact seriously overwhelmed?

Aren’t sure how Overwhelmed you really are? Okay, ask the Big Five:

  • Are you tasting the food that you put in your mouth or are you shoveling food in, while simultaneously doing some other activity.
  • Are you hearing what people are really saying to you or are you anticipating their needs, possibly unaware of what they’re really trying to say, and not genuinely communicating?
  • Are you aware of the smells in your environment (or that you may smell like you haven’t taken the time to shower in the last three days!)? What’s the last smell you purposely introduced into your life?
  • Are you being touched by other human beings?
  • Are you seeing the Big Picture, or just trying to jump from one to-do to the next?
  • Bonus Question 1: Are you sleeping well? 
  • Bonus Question 2: Do you know what really matters in life? Are the things on your to-do list that you’re aggressively trying to check off the same things on your “what really matters” list?

DSC_0935Image by Jessica Brogen

Okay, did you answer these questions? Truthfully? Doing so may sting a little. We may discover that we are not even engaging our natural main senses in our daily life anymore. If that is the case, what else are we losing? It’s a scary thought. If you’re like me, the last question really got you! I know that when I’ve been blessed with a moment of serenity (it’s usually unplanned), the happiness rush I feel when I am calm + engaging my senses gives me a wake-up call, and I immediately want to re-evaluate my daily life activities.

The under-use or down-right absence of our main senses is significant and immediately tells us that our life has become overwhelmed, and potentially focused on things that do not necessarily matter nor nourish our souls. It may be scary to realize, but at least we become aware. And of course, awareness is the first step in undoing any problem. In this case, awareness is the first step in reengaging your senses, slowing down and enjoying your daily life. Anytime you begin to feel you might be doing too much, take a quick evaluation of your senses, and they’ll tell you exactly what you need to know!

To your peace,
Jessica Brogan

Jessica_Brogen

 

Jessica is a writer, painter, and coach to women with creative drive who are seeking help with overwhelm. She is currently running the third round of the Inspirational Card Deck Swap – a popular International Artist’s Swap.  Click here to get your card deck of 52 unique pieces of art from women artists around the world.

And would love to connect with you at: http://www.facebook.com/jessicaleighbrogan
Feeling inspired by Jessica’s post about a Sense of Overwhelm?  Join the conversation!  Write your own post in response to this one, include a link to this post in it, and drop the link in the linky widget below. Let’s connect!

 

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