Winning At Life & Blogging, A Celebration

Over the weekend I zoomed past 4000 followers on Facebook which along with a further unique 2000 follower's approx (email subscribers and other social media platforms) brings me to a cool 6000 unique followers of the blog. I'm amazed Read more

Editing A Novel While Mothering - It's Not for Sissies But It Is For Me

As you know I'm editing my first novel. This is my fourth draft...or fifth draft? I've lost count, all I know is this is the most detailed painstaking one yet. It's difficult to say exactly how long I can Read more

We Planted Our Garden With Trees

The dream is for the house to disappear, more overgrown with every passing year.  On a foggy St Patrick's morning we planted 50, mostly native Irish trees. Oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Willow & Hornbeam. Lawn, begone... Even before our house Read more

Dublin (Part 1)

I have returned from my trip. Darling Dublin, it was wonderful, for I am bored with life here now, there is no colour, no nourishment in it. And it's not the few people who are very good and worth staying Read more

A New Painting

Good morning friends, Friday again, thank goodness. I was just saying on fb last night how even though I'm a stay at home mother I still look forward to weekends. I get so tired of routine and the sameness of Read more

How to Live on One Modest Income or Less

Do you dream of quitting your job or of working part-time? Do you wonder if you could cope mentally, financially? Or maybe you are unemployed, job hunting and feeling the strain. Work is so tied up with our feelings Read more

Spilling on to a Page

I woke to rain. Gusts of wind lifted the curtain to show slices of grey sky dripping. I shivered, turned my pillow to the cold side, heaven. I reached for my glasses and phone before remembering, I’m on a phone/social media break-ish for the long weekend, though someone please explain how to do that when you’ve a daughter and a sister in Dublin plus parents and three other siblings?

Well you can’t.

I keep it on the floor, to protect my head from radiation, but that’s the best I can do. I mean lets face it, I can’t protect my head from anything.

There’s a small girl by the bed, she’s enquiring if one of us will get up now, and across the room an even smaller girl sighing on Jimmy’s couch. She’s been there since two am or was it four? Hello mammy, can I sleep on Jimmy’s couch? she asked. Yes, yes.

jams

Sadhbh was sure Saoirse would never find her…

Even at that hour I smiled to hear her say the words I’ve always said. Jimmy, an uncle of my Dad, years dead, he bought it for my mother. Like Belinda’s legs, a high complement from nanny, they live.

Now I agree to get up, but only long enough to do food, socks, dressing gowns, tv, colours and coffee, then I’m back to bed with Daddy, the rain, notebooks and other books, plans and thoughts and possibility. It’s 6.40am

If there’s not possibility then, when?

I’m a high functioning morning person because of the promise, time. Every day is the same, every morning I’m ecstatic, and every day I’m sad come three o’clock.

“Sleep, those little slices of death — how I loathe them.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

Someone said the best thing is to pour out of bed and straight on to a page. I agree. I do find my best days are those I start writing, drawing, painting, even…cleaning, instantly. The reason this works is once you start, you can’t stop, I can’t stop. I’m thankful for the fact.

If I don’t do this then I think and if I think too much, disaster. I think I will get to editing/writing just as soon as I’ve…and suddenly it’s hours later.

But when I pour straight into action I’m invincible, I can clear a swathe through everything, all the demands, desires, even domestic grind. It doesn’t always work, it’s not always possible to clear a path…I have a thing about paths. Throughout the house all paths must be clear, I like to move, unobstructed and fast. ‘Girls, who blocked this path? You know the paths must be clear.’

DON’T THINK, DON’T THINK, that’s the key. When it comes to creative pursuits, control is your enemy.

fade

Another painting from this week, original watercolour composition

So today we stayed in bed til 10 o’clock! This is the sure sign we no longer have babies, don’t get me wrong, there were protests BUT there was no one in NEED!!! I will never have another baby, this makes me happy indeed.

A terrible day weather wise, terrible and lovely. No gardening, that would have been the thing to be at this weekend, instead, Adrian decided to put up some shelves.

Adrian put up the shelves, we painted the boxes. I was meant to be editing, I’m meant to be editing now, but the box was calling me and now it’s the blog, clearly, I need a dice. Roll the dice, tell me what to do.

When it comes to painting I’m still afraid of canvas, a box is less scary. SO, breakfast, clean up, shelves going up, our girls and I painting the boxes. At first I was angsty, my internal bitch editor was saying, ‘What are you AT?’ ‘You’re just throwing paint on this box and you’ve no clue, no idea what your’re doing.’ She was right of course only it doesn’t matter.

You know how it is when you give a three year old paint, paper and brush? Well they don’t think, they just paint, they just throw it on there. Well I’ll tell you a secret now, this is the first time I’ve done this in the pure sense. It was liberating.

‘It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.’

Pablo Picasso

Just when I was feeling lost I saw something…a horizon, a ship…and that was that. From this point I was in a meditative, zen like, thrilling, all consuming, lovely place…

ships

I think as adults we think we need to have a plan, to know what we’re doing, but what I’ve found, today through painting, and long before this through writing my novel, is that we can trust our subconscious, surrender control with good result. There is no wrong.

We are so afraid of ‘wrong’, of not being ‘good‘ but just think of all that’s inside you. If you could let that spill onto a page, in words, in paint, all that is in your soul.

Lunch, clean up, groceries, snacks, chats, clean up, rows, shelves up, can’t wait to decorate, jammies, more snacks, more clean up, Shrek on tv, time up.

Now I’m having a glass of wine, can you drink wine you’ve frozen by accident? I am. It’s raining still, the fire is crackling, night is dropping slow. Soon my friend Caoilfhionn will pick me up so we can spill on to a page, without thought, without edits, and night will fall almost unnoticed, almost. Later in bed I will think, tomorrow, tomorrow I have such plans, tomorrow, we try again.

Posted on by Jane in Creative Living, FAMILY, I WAS JUST THINKING 1 Comment

Practicing Self Care

This week I took a break from editing my book to take care of myself. I felt the need for a brain break. Because I’m not a great sleeper, or one for relaxing, I’ve had to find other ways to trick myself into rest, meditation and good health, namely food, art, conversation, nature and grooming. Let me explain…ish

It’s been hard for me to accept that rest is important but I’ve made peace with the fact because I hate to be tired. Something had to give, I, had to give.

I can’t seem to make friends with the night. Beautiful quotes like ‘I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night,’ leave me cold. This time of year when the nights are approaching their shortest is the closest to happiest days for me and yet I’m not fooled. When I started painting I used to say with vigour, ‘I love to paint by night,‘ ya right, it dried on the air that lie. Mornings, are what I live for and there is nothing I can do at night I wouldn’t rather do in the morning, and if possible, outside.

Anyway, here is how I practise self-care when the need arises which it does from time to time, and as my mother always says,’You have to take yourself by the hand…’

Food

I got all my favourite cookbooks out in search of inspiration, comfort and ideas. Reading about good food, even handling the books, and just to see them feels good. That’s a self care thing in itself, doing something I enjoy but don’t often take time for.

The crux of my plan was simple, it was porridge or eggs for first breakfast plus increase my overall vegetable intake and make it organic where possible. The challenge? To just buy more vegetables than usual and to use them all. The aims? 1. To Feel Good 2. No Vegetable Gets Left Behind

Needless to say all week I’ve been a peeling, chopping fool, but I do feel good.

parma

Art

My granny started painting in her 70’s and it’s really a shame she didn’t live to see me take it up. In fact I’m not sure which she’d have enjoyed more, my painting or the fact I now have a cat, Ernest Hemingway, he even has his own chair. The cat part is more surprising, Yes, I can hear her laughing.

I would find meditation in its purest sense hard so for me writing and painting are brilliant as they’re naturally meditative activities. The difference for me is I find writing more cerebral and painting more relaxing. Luckily (I think) I feel intensely propelled to do both but this week it’s been more about painting and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

golden girl

Grooming

I’m at home ALL the time and  time is so precious. I’m with May Sarton who bemoaned the afternoon appointment for stealing the day. I’m not miserly, only with time. I am ever astonished by how long everything takes.

Having said that I know it makes me feel better and more energetic when I make some effort with getting dressed, make up, hair etc. I may resent the time it takes but I can’t deny the benefits for how it makes me feel.

Conversation

While I enjoy solitude and am never bored, chance would be a fine thing! I know I get energy from good conversation and even the shortest time spent in good company always gives me a lift and makes me feel better about everything so when I’m in this self-care mode I tend to seek out (good) company more.

Nature

Any time I feel drained Adrian always asks if I’ve been outside and he’s right, it always makes me feel better. The beautiful weather this week made it easier than ever so I made sure to make the best of it. The biggest thing here is you have to forget the demands of the house and just go while you have the chance. The other biggest thing is you have to really open your eyes and take in everything around you, including the air, deep breaths…

shears

Results

I can report that from half way into my week of self care I was bursting with energy and I feel great. How about you? How do you fill the well? How do you practice self-care? How do you recognise when you need to stop and take care?

row of houses

This drawing was inspired by a streetscape in the town plus a smattering of trees that looked to me like dandelion clocks. I found the houses tricky to draw, to get the lines of the rooftops and chimney pots especially.

I decided to try oils, my second time using them. It felt a bit awkward at first but I love the rich jewel tones and trying something new. Wasn’t sure what to do with the top of the painting at this stage.

row of houses 3

In the end I went for a dramatic sky scene using acrylic paints. I really enjoyed this part. I like free flow messy painting. I especially like the faint tree silhouettes giving a forest effect towards the bottom because it was unplanned and just emerged through doing.

sky of mine

This concludes my week of self care. I’m back editing today with a new head, refreshed and ready to do good work, I hope! Have a great weekend out there. Talk to you soon :)

row of houses2

By the way thank you for the lovely comments on my last post, I’ll be back to respond to those later today :)

Posted on by Jane in Creative Living, I WAS JUST THINKING Leave a comment
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    • Spilling on to a Page May 2, 2015
      I woke to rain. Gusts of wind lifted the curtain to show slices of grey sky dripping. I shivered, turned my pillow to the cold side, heaven. I reached for my glasses and phone before remembering, I’m on a phone/social media break-ish for the long weekend, though someone please explain how to do that when […]
      Jane
    • Practicing Self Care April 24, 2015
      This week I took a break from editing my book to take care of myself. I felt the need for a brain break. Because I’m not a great sleeper, or one for relaxing, I’ve had to find other ways to trick myself into rest, meditation and good health, namely food, art, conversation, nature and grooming. […]
      Jane
    • Winning At Life & Blogging, A Celebration April 21, 2015
      Over the weekend I zoomed past 4000 followers on Facebook which along with a further unique 2000 follower’s approx (email subscribers and other social media platforms) brings me to a cool 6000 unique followers of the blog. I’m amazed and delighted and feel sure that I couldn’t deserve it. I want to say a massive […]
      Jane
    • New Adventures April 16, 2015
      It gives me great pleasure to say that I drove to Carrick on Shannon for the first time today since learning to drive in the autumn. Carrick is a beautiful town, you guys would absolutely love it, it’s about 30 minutes from here with a farmers market every Thursday from 10 to 2. I’ve never […]
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    • Easter Holidays April 9, 2015
      Please forgive my blogging absence I have been staycationing, recharging at home. As discussed in my last post Easter Holidays came, are still going on, editing is at a standstill, life goes on. It has not been bad, it has not been bad at all. For one thing I love the lack of routine, I […]
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    • Editing A Novel While Mothering – It’s Not for Sissies But It Is For Me March 27, 2015
      As you know I’m editing my first novel. This is my fourth draft…or fifth draft? I’ve lost count, all I know is this is the most detailed painstaking one yet. It’s difficult to say exactly how long I can spend on just one paragraph or one sentence but; hours, hours, hours. Projections for finishing this […]
      Jane
    • We Planted Our Garden With Trees March 24, 2015
      The dream is for the house to disappear, more overgrown with every passing year.  On a foggy St Patrick’s morning we planted 50, mostly native Irish trees. Oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Willow & Hornbeam. Lawn, begone… Even before our house was built we knew we didn’t want a standard garden with ordered beds […]
      Jane
    • Vincent Browne March 12, 2015
      Watching Vincent Browne from Sligo last night would do little to inspire. The first thing that struck me was how the ‘creep’ of deprivation in this region could go almost unnoticed and I mean by we who live here. Hard to expect others to notice, that we don’t notice ourselves. Erosion of services, interesting word […]
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    • Writing (Inching Forward) March 5, 2015
      Hello from my kitchen to wherever you are… I had such a good day of editing yesterday, I felt limitless after it. I thought, I have to keep this going but it’s been a struggle this morning. Even with my smallest girl taking a nap, it just seemed impossibly hard, as it does sometimes, as it […]
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    • Next Day Delivery Launch March 3, 2015
      Morning all. You may remember last year I attended the summer season launch for NEXT at the gorgeous Cliff Townhouse in Dublin. You can read about that and see all the beautiful photographs HERE. Well a few weeks ago I was invited to attend the launch of NEXT’s next day delivery service in Ireland. Unfortunately […]
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