healing haven

May 6, 2014

The Documented Life Project

Less than a month ago I came across “The Documented Life Project”  which combines, if you follow their pattern, using a planner plus adding art journaling with one weekly challenge.  There are some free video tutorials as well as fee-based workshops which are excellent.  Roben-Marie Roberts Smith, Lorraine Conte Bell, Rae Missigman, Barbara Copeland Moore and Sandi Keene are the five ladies who have organized this into a year long project complete with a closed facebook page for sharing one’s finished projects.

DLP

One could use collage, painting (either water coloring or acrylic), doodling, scrapbooking, anything that you enjoy in which to organize your planner and art and journaling facets of yourself.   There are no do’s or don’ts.  This gave me the information tutorials to know what to do and the freedom to play on my own.  I also take pictures of the album/planner pages so as to incorporate it all into my Project Life album pages.   Project Life will focus on people and events with a sprinkling of thoughts whereas DLP will focus on the thoughts of the interconnected week’s events and people therein related to the prompt.

Since I started so late in the year, I worked on Week 17 Challenge: utilize a food box into your journal.  I looked around and saw this cereal box from the health food store and saw how it related to what I had just started: clearing out my old Hospice papers from when I retired 3 years ago.  It also related in other ways which became visible as the week progressed.  I foresee SoulCollage cards arising from this collage, as well as others, of this tip-in cereal box with box parts re-placed and a collaged on statement relating to Passion (for hospice), Peace (as someone is dying), Giving Back (to others), Natural (die a natural death):

DLP - Mango Peach tip in

Then I worked on my calendar side with coordinating colors for the daily dividers, etc.  I also included a To Do List and a top tip-in on my calendar page honoring my start of the DLP.

4-24 DLP food 3 pages w-white-out

Finally I played with gesso combined with pink, cream and gold acrylics to form the foundation on the back of the tip-in to provide a base for more journaling carried over from the middle page within.

4-24 DLP pink-gold page w-calendar no words

I took pictures of the various layouts and added to the Documented Life Project facebook page as well as into my Project Life album for this year.  I keep both journals/albums open and move from one to the other, getting inspiration and enjoyment from each.

 

 

 

 

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May 2, 2013

Link Party Lists combined with Project Life

I came across the Shabby Blogs site (http://shabbyblogsblog.blogspot.com) where she is conducting a Link Party List that comes out each Tuesday.   Check it out if you are interested in either participating or checking out the links: 

ShabbyBlogs Tuesday Ten

ShabbyBlogs Tuesday Ten

I thought this would be  great way to combine her project with my Project life album I have been keeping, so I made my list of 10 random facts about myself in the form of 4×6 cards I made that I can print out and insert  in my page protectors:

5-1-13 List- random things self-front-cr

and the next 5 items on page 2:

5-1-13 List- random things self-2nd pf-cr

This was a very interesting way of combining the two different projects.  I am looking forward to continuing creatively incorporating blogging and Project Life.

August 6, 2009

The Hestia Spiral

Filed under: healing,Hestia,hospice,memoir — by thalia @ 4:54 am
Tags: ,

 

Hestia has spiraled throughout my life

                First, having a mother who was a model Hestia

                there to listen to us when we came home from school every day

                there to cook and bake for everyday and for holidays

                there to sew my dance costumes and make peach jelly

                there, always there for us, my siblings and myself and my father.

 

My life spiraled on to marriage and children and Hestia was there

                She was part of me as I created a home using little money

                She was there as I cooked creatively fixing hamburger 89 ways

                She manifested as I sewed clothing and quilts and made crafts

                all because there was no money to do otherwise

                But in the process it all created a close, warm, loving family 

 

Even when we lived in a tent for 3 months Hestia was a part of my life

                As she displayed that same warm loving atmosphere camping

                in a 12 x 12 tent – 2 kids, husband and wife, German Shepherd

                All centered around the glowing fire in the evening

                telling stories and roasting marshmallows

 

We built a house – literally built it – putting in plumbing and electricity,

                wall boards and kitchen cabinets, bathtubs and toilets,

                painting and sanding, building a fireplace, climbing scaffolding carrying

                cement blocks up so my husband could erect the chimney

                All creating an environment of love and coziness as we gathered

                 around the fireplace and enjoyed the food feasts

                 even as we became vegetarians and I baked all my own bread,

                 it was all done with love

                as I listened to my children as they came home from school

                canned tomatoes and black raspberry jelly, froze green beans and corn

                 all from our garden and stored like money in the bank

 

Children grow and leave – and we decide to move and become self-sufficient

                growing more of our food, cutting all of our wood for the woodstove

                Sitting close to the woodstove since it was our only source of heat

                Digging through rock and clay in the Arkansas Ozarks to create gardens

                with overflowing abundance until the grasshoppers ate much

                Outhouse until well and running water available, shovel and woods before

Perhaps a bit too much Hestia

 

Divorce leads to a soulmate, a house with Bermuda grass to chop back, 

                to turn into a garden and now tomatoes, peppers, herbs and flowers

                needing to work to afford the house

               so it seems Hestia has gone for a bit

                even though I still cook but don’t bake all my bread,

                eat tofu and gluten but don’t make them anymore

 

But then I realize that my work in hospice

                   allows others to be Hestia and stay at home while we help

                   support their loved ones process – at home

                   Everyone wants to be at home

                  whether they are enjoying life and need a refuge

                 or are dying and want to be amongst familiar surroundings

                 with their loved ones and pets, where their comfort has been created.

 

So I not only have Hestia spiraling in my life,

                through listening, and supportive caring

                but my work allows others to have that same refuge

                and provides support to others so they can have the healing haven

As we all need Hestia in a world gone difficult and crazy.

November 16, 2008

Ride the Night Wind

Filed under: Baba Yaga journey — by thalia @ 12:04 pm
Tags: ,

 She quickly found that even the bouncy ride on this black mare was putting her to sleep.  How was that possible?  Maybe because of the darkness?  Maybe the events of this last week were more exhausting than I realized.  My back and legs already ache from moving all the tables and chairs, and then unloading the car for Hospice Volunteer Recognition.    I’m glad I loaded the car over the previous two days.  Spread out the achiness a bit. 

 But it was worth it.  The volunteers felt very appreciated by the buffet, the speaker and, of course, the skit performed by the hospice staff, with even three doctors performing in it.  The awards, certificates and gifts are tokens of appreciation, but they know how much I care and appreciate all of what they do. 

 Wesssss… wesssss….. The fast night riding was making the wind rustle by.  I wonder what her name is?  Or does she even have a name?  Black Beauty?  Way too obvious. And would anyone here in Lemuria even now of that book?  Probably not.   She put her hand on the mare’s neck and felt the blood pumping through engorged veins and the powerful muscles tensing and releasing as her head moved up and down with exertion.  There also seemed to be a slight vibration underneath the muscle.  Almost like the purr of a cat.  She leaned forward to place her head on the mare’s neck, breathing in the smell of horse and stables even as the silky mane tickled her nose.  Now she could place both hands on and around the mare’s neck.  Wesssss… Perrrr… Perrrr…  Whisper?  Could that be her name?  Whisperer?  Like horse whisperer?     

 Wesssss… Perrrr… Ah!  Like air forced out of lungs.  Was that part of the sound or a reaction to running?  She felt like she was careening through the world in this darkness, unable to distinguish any landmarks, only hearing the wind rushing by.  More accurately, as she and the horse rushed by.  Maybe that’s how the phrase, “runs like the night wind,” came into being. 

 Wesssss… Perrrr… Ah!  Again, the same sounds.  She snuggled closer into the black mare’s neck, becoming one in the ride.  Hearing someone saying: “I think we should name this mare Wespera.  It’s an ancient European name for night wind.  She rides like the wind and is blacker than the night itself.”  A nod and flick of the tail accepted the name.  Wespera-that’s who she was… rider in the night wind…  rival to the night wind… free in the night wind… Wespera!

October 18, 2008

A Day of Remembering: Making Descansos

Years ago, a hospice volunteer mentioned each patient and caregiver she spent time with was like a pearl in a necklace—over time, the necklace grew and grew.  I decided to use that idea as a theme for the Annual All Day Volunteer Retreat I facilitated for my hospice volunteers this year.  I had also come across Heather’s Soul Food Site “Descansos” which familiarized me with the term.  I then thought about how this theme could apply to hospice and to our Retreat.  Combining the two ideas, I planned a “Day of Remembering,” with the creation of a pearl necklace becoming the descansos made by each attendee.

 

Starting with a visualization to activate each participant’s memory about their loved ones, whether personal or hospice patients, we all thought of eight people we wanted to remember, and a few words about each that reminded them about what they received as a legacy from the person.  The legacy might manifest as an idea, a trait, or an actual item; such as, a recipe, a love of cooking, or a well-used rolling pin. 

 

I previously drew eight circles of varying sizes, on a piece of paper, with each circle touching the next, forming a completed chain.  This would become our necklace.  The largest circle in the necklace was generally reserved for a personal loved one, with the others filling in for hospice patients. 

 

The grief of hospice workers, and other nurses, doctors, and aides, etc., is considered disenfranchised grief—not acknowledged as real grief since the health care worker only knew the patient for a relatively short time compared to if the person was a beloved parent, spouse, child, grandparent.  However, one can become quite close to someone and still need to deal with their loss when it occurs.  When the losses are ongoing, as with health care workers, and one is then on to the next patient, those losses aren’t acknowledged and dealt with, and so accumulate, leading to eventual burnout.   So I try to allow the volunteers an avenue to know it is all right to grieve for patients, to provide an avenue in which to grieve and express that grief in a different way each year.  We’ve done “Legacy Writing,” “Ethical Wills,” “Rekindling,” “Inner Child” and many others in the six years of having Volunteer Retreats.

 

We each wrote the name of the remembered person in one of the circles.  Then we perused magazines to find pictures or words describing the person and their legacy to us, or used colored pencils or crayons to draw pictures or words.  There is something so therapeutic in using scissors and colored pencils, in smelling glue and crayons that takes us back to childhood.  The volunteers know by now every creation made at our Retreats is considered a work of art, and so have resolved any lingering critical voices in their heads from childhood.  Even the men get involved with creating and sharing.

 

Snip, snip, snip go all the scissors.  Sniff, inhale deeply beloved smells of childhood.  Oh! Look at this! Wow! intersperse the proceedings as people move about seeking the perfect picture or accessory like ribbons or beads, small flowers or feathers, yarn or thread, crayon or colored markers.  Anyone see a lilac bush in bloom?  How about a man fishing?  Here’s a woman baking.  Who was looking for that?  Looking for oneself as well as looking to help others.  Sharing as part of the process of creating, usually considered a solitary activity.  And sometimes it got quiet as each was busy getting it “just right.” 

 

Finally finished, or as finished as it can be in the allotted hours.  I asked each to bring in a fairly recent picture of themselves.  Now those pictures were glued into the middle of the picture, and we each truly had a pearl necklace going around our necks: a descansos of our legacy from losses of loved ones.

 

Then the verbal sharing started.  Each, in describing their necklace, gave a eulogy for the pearl-people (in their necklace), telling of the legacies they received from each, telling stories and activities, sharing the love they felt with others in a setting where they were really listened to.  And what stories!  Fortunately, I brought many boxes of kleenex, which were needed during the three hours of sharing.  Powerful legacies from patients one was with only a short time but where a real connection was built, showing we might never realize the influence we can have on others.  Three hours later, we all felt as if each of us had honored our loved ones in a eulogy sometimes more pertinent to the person than that done by the “professionals”—ministers and funeral directors.  Our hearts filled with inspiration and the goodness of so many people, including the volunteers telling their stories.  Truly “A Day of Remembering”, by making a pearl necklace, a descansos of our loved ones.

 

This was so therapeutic I went on and made a pearl necklace honoring my personal loved ones and using their pictures as part of each pearl, as well as individual collage cards honoring my memories of each person and their legacy.

 

July 18, 2008

Tholos Forgiveness

 

The sounds of bubbling water enhanced her awareness.  She felt serene in all aspects of herself.  This is a good space in which to live, where one is totally at peace.  And what a wonderful place in which to die—in a hammock in water—not drowning, but just floating in water in the ocean or a lake or, even a pool such as this.  She lay still, attempting to remember her dream, or was it an experience?  So wonderful, but what was wonderful?  Oh, yes.  I was told to prepare to leave at any moment.  Made total sense at the time, but what did it really mean?  That I’ll die so I need to be unattached to the world and centered, or a crisis is coming and so I’ll need to be prepared to leave the house?  The water sounds so happy…bubbling and frolicking in the pool.  Does the water carry the fumes of the oracle to me?

 

I remember reading in the American Book of Dying: Lesson in Healing Spiritual Pain where the authors Gross and Klauser talked of a medieval l’Hotel-Dieu–God’s Hotel–in Burgundy, France.  In the 15th century A.D., this hospice served the social outcasts and was built over a river with a glass floor underneath the beds of the patients.  This way they could hear the soothing sounds of the moving water, as I am now.   I can tell this must be a special place, because I’m not aching from lying on the mossy ground.  This hospice had clean linens, also, almost unheard of in that time, even for the wealthy. 

 

Now I remember, another dream or experience, where someone in high authority asked if I wanted to go back and redo or eliminate some difficult times in my past. My parents were there, too, even though both are deceased for many years.  No, I said to all of them.  I wouldn’t change anything, as difficult as some things were at the time.  For then I wouldn’t be who I am today.  I wouldn’t have grown into the life I have, but still be stuck in the mundane, never having to be forced to have the opportunity to forgive both myself and another I deeply trusted, never having understood the great gift it is to be placed in a situation where one had to learn to forgive a deep wound.

 

The deeper the bond of trust with the person,

 the deeper the hurt and wounding,

the harder it is  to forgive,

 the more precious the gift of forgiveness

for oneself and for the other.

 

 May all  people who have been so hurt

 come to this gift of forgiveness

in the time that is right for them.

 

 

 

 (see also http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/tholos-forgiveness/#comments)

 

June 24, 2008

The Hall of Remembrances (9)

 

Come, m’lady.  The child took a step, pulling on Thalia’s hand as the others started moving further within the catacombs.  Thalia stood up, grasped the torch and followed, being led by the child who pulled ahead yet glanced back at her shyly.

 

She sent out her thought to the child.  What is your name?  A mumbled something touched her awareness.  The woman’s thought was clearer:  Later.  Just come.  We’ve waited a long time.

 

They walked in physical and mental silence, turning down one tunnel after another.  After a while, as the darkness deepened, she couldn’t help but wonder how she would return to the entrance, but figured it would happen naturally.  She thought of the stories she encouraged from hospice patients, volunteers and staff.  Of how patient memoirs were so treasured by their loved ones after the patient died, sometimes even revealing stories the loved ones didn’t know about.  She thought of how her own memoir process unearthed the web of patterns that helped clear misconceptions and resentments she had carried. 

 

Yes, we saw that in you, that which Is what we need done for us.  The man’s thought broke through her own.  Some of us have been waiting a long time to understand what happened in our lives and sometimes even in our dying.

 

Thalia felt momentarily confused.  But I record their stories before they die, not after. 

 

The woman stopped and turned around.  But you told the stories of your ancestors after they were dead.  And you’ve written poems and stories about when your loved ones appeared in a so-called “dream” and shared with you.  What is so different? 

 

Nothing, I guess.  I just never thought of this aspect until now that you mentioned it.  And never thought a walking tour in the City of Ladies would lead to this deep part of the catacombs.   I remember being intrigued by Orson Scott Card’s book Speaker for the Dead.  What a great book.

 

The woman resumed walking forward.  Just come.  You’ll see.

 

After a few more twists and turns they entered a large cavern with many, mostly marble, sarcophagus’ and statues along the walls and throughout the room.  Marble benches were scattered around.  No one else was in the place.  The trio escorted her to a bench in front of a large, ornate statue of a weeping angel. 

 

 

The little girl’s hand started trembling.  Thalia looked from the statue to the child still clinging to her hand.  Looking back at the engraving, she read: 

                                       MARIA ESTAL…   (part was missing) 

                                            9 YEARS OLD  

                                 MUCH BELOVED DAUGHTER

 

Is this your tombstone?

 

The child bobbed her head.  She seemed small for her age.  Thalia sat down on the bench and drew Maria close.  What would you like to share with me?

 

With tears running down her face, Maria’s thoughts gushed forth.  It says my papa loved me but how could that be?  When he did those things to me?  The priest said it was wrong and papa was bad.  He couldn’t have loved me.  Her weeping escalated into sobbing, so holding her and waiting was appropriate.  Finally the sobs subsided.  Then the sickness came for mamma and me.  They all said it was because papa was bad but he cried when we were sick on the bed.  Then mamma died of fever and I got worse.  Papa said he loved me but the priest said he was bad and didn’t love me.  Was I bad?  Is that why papa did bad things to me?  Is that why I died?

 

No, you were good.  Your papa did things he shouldn’t have but you were good.  It wasn’t your fault he did those things to you or that you and your mama died.  Tell me more about your papa.

 

Maria wiped her sleeve across her nose and continued.  Mama said papa had been in a war, fighting far away.  When he came home he was different.  Then there was another baby coming and papa started touching me.  Mama was busy with the baby and didn’t see.  They argued about things that happened during the war, but I didn’t understand.  There was a long pause.  Are you sure I am good and not bad?

 

Yes, I am sure.  And even though your father did some bad things doesn’t make him all bad.  His actions were bad but he could have also loved you.  And sometimes war changes people and makes them act bad.  After being away in a war you might have looked so clean and fresh that he just was glad to be home, and he wanted to be part of your innocence and freshness.  What he did was very bad, but he could still love you.  Maybe he was sorry about what he did.  Look at the weeping angel—maybe he picked it out because  it represents him weeping for what he had done.  Can you understand that?  Thalia thought of all the adults who could only see the world in black or white, and couldn’t understand shades of gray in people or allow for forgiveness.  Their anger festered for years, or even for their whole lifetime, and made their lives bitter and the lives of the people around them miserable.  They couldn’t separate the action from the person.  If adults couldn’t understand, how could a child?

 

I think so… maybe.  I’ll try.  I always thought the angel was weeping because I was so bad. 

 

No, that’s not why the angel is weeping.  We grow when we can learn to forgive.  It’s hard, but important.  Forgiveness heals us and is more important for us than for the person we forgive, but both are important.

 

Maria moved to gently touch the weeping angel and the engraving of her name and where it said she was the beloved daughter.  As she sighed, she smiled.  Thank you, m’lady.

 

No, I am not a “m’lady.”  I am just a woman on a walking tour of the City of Ladies.  Now I am not sure where I am.

 

A new-energy thought chimed in.  We will call this place the Hall of Remembrances.  Will you come back and help us tell our stories?  There are many stories here needing to be told.

 

She looked up to see many other pale figures emerging from the walls and statues, clustering around this latest thought-speaker.   He appeared to be the one with authority.  In his outstretched hand was a coin that seemed to have real substance.   Remember us! 

 

The coin was suddenly in her hand, solid and heavy.   A male head on one side and a woman standing on the other side. 

 

 

She looked at him, as he stood there with more physical essence than the others.  That’s Apollo on the one side; the muse Thaleia, as I know her, on the other.  Take this coin and remember us.  We await your return.  Others like yourself are welcome, also.       

 

I will return now and again, and perhaps others will also come to help you.  Thank you all for sharing with me and inviting me.  For now I need to return and continue the tour.  But I will be back to the Hall of Remembrances for more of your stories. 

 

And suddenly she was back at the entrance to the catacombs, coin in hand, ready for the next adventure, even as she wondered why Apollo and Thalia were on the same coin.

 

 

 

(see also http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/the-hall-of-remembrances/#comments)

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