I've been away. A little bit physically, a lot mentally. I'm wont go into the messy details. They really aren't important right now. But I did come back with a few things to share, so I'll just get down to that.
First, I am now a certified Muse Group Leader! I will be leading in person workshops and retreats based on Jill Badonsky's book The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard). I'm so excited about this! I love this book, and I love Jill's work, so this is really a big thrill for me. I'll keep you posted as I get workshops up and running.
The second thing that happened was an unplanned and unnerving trip to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. My mother was having surgery, and things were really scary and stressful for a while both leading up to the trip and for a bit after. Things are better now, so that's a relief. But one thing I did during the travel portion of this crisis was really helpful, so I want to share that.
Going in to a crisis situation, we often think of only the necessities. Underwear, toothbrush, medicine, contact numbers. And you do need those things (and don't forget your deodorant and dental floss!). But more important than any of that is packing things that will care for your heart and soul. Whenever possible during a stressful situation, give yourself a soul break, a refresher of sorts.
I took some art journaling supplies with me (I wrote about that in my March newsletter), although I didn't end up using them. But putting together my travel kit and stitching up a quick little journal were very calming activities all by themselves, so it was worth carrying the stuff with me.
I took my written journal. Didn't write in that, either, although I did flip through it a bit and look at some pictures and quotes I have in there. Just having it near me was comforting, so again it was worth carrying.
I took my camera. I was going by train to a place I'd never been before, so I consciously decided that I would try to be a little touristy. I didn't get any photos from the train--it moved too much for my little point-and-shoot. But I did look around the places I was in and try to see them through creative, visitor eyes, and I ended up getting some good pictures that I am happy to have even if most of the memories around the trip are all about stress and worry.
A glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly in the Gonda Building at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
And one more...
I am completely in love with these glass sculptures, so expect to see more photos of them in other posts.
While my mother was in the hospital, I stayed with my aunt in a hotel on the Mayo campus. We did make some excursions into the town, but I only got one fun picture of a very odd corn cob water tower:
I wish I'd had the presence of mind to get some photos of Red Wing, Minnesota, the charming little town where the train stops, but I didn't. And that's okay. And it you think you should have done something while you were dealing with an emotional situation but didn't actually get to it, that's okay, too. Do what you can, arrange things so you can give yourself a little "me time" if you get time and feel like doing it. Don't worry if you carry things with you that you don't use. Security blankets (and books and paintbrushes and journals) are highly underrated.
That's everything for now. I hope you'll excuse me if I was a little scattered in this post. I was trying to condense a lot of thoughts and feelings into something that would come out shorter than the dictionary.