Work does NOT define you…

…these were the words that stayed with me as I left my doctor’s office a few weeks ago.

I had to keep repeating it in my head since it was so profound, so mind blowing, so true. I did not want to lose the sense of wonder of this eureka moment.

Of course, I always knew that work is supposed to be just that, WORK….. but the fact that it was uttered out loud made it so earth shattering.

“People underestimate the power of having a hobby.  Find something you enjoy. But don’t overthink it.”

A hobby.

Don’t overthink.

Well, I like running…but somehow, I would not consider it as a hobby.

Don’t overthink.

Well, I like painting…again, I did not feel as it qualified.

Overthinking!!??

I thought that it should be something I can sink my teeth into and actually enjoy learning something new.

Definitely.

To make a long story short…I did discover that I like doing little home craft projects. Peter had some cedar planks and some travertine tiles left over from when he built a sauna for me in the basement.  I thought I could make something out of them.

First, I had plans for the cedar planks to make it into cedar planters.  Would be a nice addition to my garden in the spring.  However, Peter did not trust me around power tools.  He did say that I should just give him the dimensions so he can cut it down to size for me.  I did not like the sound of that since he will likely end up doing all of it.  It’s supposed to be my hobby .

So I until I know how to maneuver around with a jigsaw, I had to revert my focus on the tiles.

After a bit of research, I found out I had travertine tiles.  I also found out that the Romans used travertine to build the Colosseum. Cool, huh?!  Last but not least, I found that I really liked how heavy, how solid these tiles felt in my hand, and that each tile is different with its own unique holes, textures and colours.

I also realized that it would be a good way to practice mindfulness. Especially for a recovering perfectionist, I had to get used to the idea that “it is what it is”. I cannot change the holes in the tiles that I felt were too big, too small, or in the “wrong” place.

So, these past few weeks, I have been dabbling with these tiles with different techniques of transferring ink to stone, experimenting how one type of ink responds to heat, to moisture, to everyday use ( I’m trying them out as coasters).

Here are some of my favorite pieces.

This vintage bike was inspired by a good friend who rode her bike to work each day.  I once confessed that I fear for her life all the time since she had to share the road with people whose main concern was to somehow trick the “traffic gods” and not hit a red light!  At least with this type of bike, no one could ever say…”I did not see her!”

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This next piece was inspired by another good friend who I thought played the violin.  So when I told her I had her in mind when I was making this tile, she looked at me curiously and said “Debbie, I don’t play the violin…I play the flute!” I got a hearty chuckle out of her. I’m sure she will never let me live that down. Maybe the next time, I will make a coaster with a flute!

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I love owls.  Perhaps because my middle name is Minerva.  She is the Roman version of the Greek goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, trade, art, and strategy/war.  She is always associated with her sacred animal, the owl.  Someday, I hope to visit Greece and check out the Parthenon, Athena’s temple.  I think I would have to wait until the economic crisis in Greece gets better….
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So, I have been busy these past few weeks in a creative mood.  Working with these tiles have been partly frustrating due to the fact that sometimes the combination of ink, acrylic, gel and stone does not turn out to be what I expected.  Although, I am getting better at not being too judgmental and critical…

I am getting better at saying “Meh…..no biggie.”

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Debbie.

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Going back to basics…

I think I got lost along the way….

It was recently pointed out to me that what I thought was slowing down was really just checking things off of my mental list.

  1. meditate everyday–check!
  2. exercise everyday–check!
  3. pause–yep, done that
  4. breathe–yep, that too.

Check, check, check!

I realize that once I have checked it off the list, I move on…not really realizing that I was really focusing on the result…not the “journey”.

It’s like another saying goes…quality versus quantity.

Mindfulness was supposed to be a huge part of that journey.  Made me rethink whether I was practicing mindfulness correctly or not…or was I merely checking it off my mental list?

Perhaps.

….but it shouldn’t matter, should it? My practice is what it is.  I once complained to my first mindfulness teacher that I was trying to find the “perfect” posture when I meditate and I spent most of my time thinking about my posture instead of my breath.

He had told me that we are on a “Path of Non-Striving”…. at that moment, there is nothing to fix, nothing is broken…it is what it is.  Of course, at that time, the “perfectionist” part of me was rebelling at the thought of not doing anything! However, I remember thinking…”Okay, I’ll play along…let’s see what happens.”

Somehow, over time, I realized that he was right.  The critical part was to be in the “moment”.  Noticing this moment, and the moment after that, and after that, IS the journey.

For instance, at this moment, as I am sitting in my kitchen and typing these words…I hear the clinking of the keys as I type, I notice smoothness of my computer keys and the breaks and the pauses when I stop.  The birds are singing and sunshine is trying to break though the blinds. I can still smell a whiff of the cinnamon that I used last night when I baked Peter a paleo apple pie.  At this moment, it is what it is.

There is nothing to change–I will not change my computer even though it struggles to keep up when I type too fast, or fix the blinds as the air conditioner has to work a little harder, or clean the kitchen. Nor will I focus on the result of finishing this post so I can move on to do other errands of the day….

At any rate, this is my “journey” as I finish writing on this sunny Wednesday morning….

As for that mental list, yeah, I still have it in my head, being updated each new day…sometimes is it short, sometimes it is long …but always there. However, this time, I know that noticing the “journey ” in getting the list done is just as important as getting to the finish line.

Maybe I was not lost after all…..just taking a little detour.

Now, I just have to make sure that I don’t end up putting “#5 Notice the Journey” on my mental list….

Debbie.