Last Friday, my older sister, Diana, challenged me to draw from memory the layout of the house we grew up in. She wants to compare our recollections. I believe she is writing an account of her life. Recreating a blueprint from memory was an interesting exercise. There are rooms whose details I remember quite well but others I’m totally vague on.
When she saw my version, she provided more specific details. As I concentrated on the spaces, I started to remember things that happened in them.
I shared one of my stories with my sister and she insisted that I write down my memories of childhood. Then came the idea that we all recreate the layout of the house we grew up in as we remember it. Then I suggested we all write down our recollections. Perhaps this will be a powerful means to make a solid family connection.
My family is separated in different states. The house we grew up in together unites us in deep ways. My sister plans to offer this idea to the rest of my brothers and sister soon.
In the meanwhile, I believe this idea has many merits for others to consider implementing.
As a means to connect with your family during this epidemic, I challenge you, as my sister challenged me, to recreate the floor plan of the place y’all grew up in. Compare notes and swap memories and be respectful. Who knows where that may lead?
It’s an idea.
Admittedly, I don’t know much about ways to be sociable … but I know all about being alone.
Those for whom being alone is novel, I have some tried and true methods for coping. I work from home and have for many years. Often, it takes a lot of discipline to keep working, especially when I don’t feel like it. Those times I don’t want to force my creativity, I fall back on some activities that I will now share with you.
When you’ve exhausted everything you can think of, but are still feeling antsy, depressed, or generally out of sorts, think about doing some of the stuff on the list below. Here are 10 things you can accomplish now that you have the time.
- Organize your Photographs. Whether physical or digital, sort through your shots and place them in folders. Delete duplicates or mistakes. Keep it’s nice to be able to locate photos when you want to without going through a ton of them to find the one you are looking for. Besides, this has the added benefit of reliving memories you are fond of.
- Tend your Indoor Plants. You may have known for a while that this needs to be done, but didn’t quite have the time. Pick off the dried leaves. Add some new soil. Repot plants that have grown beyond the capacity of their container. (If you shop at Walmart for groceries, visit the garden section). Work on your outside garden plants too!
- File your Papers. Now you have the time to go through your piles of papers. Widdle down that pile by going through them, consolidating them by subject. Papers could include the recipes you’ve collected, useful advice about health, how-to articles about other subjects, or letters you don’t want to throw away. After sorting, consolidate and find a nice place for them.
- Clean out your Refrigerator (stove, range, microwave, or toaster oven). The necessary job of cleaning is always time-consuming, especially when it concerns large appliances. But guess what? You’ve now got the time for this chore. Thoroughly clean underneath the surfaces and where foodstuffs often fall.
- Dust off your Books and Bookcases. This means taking them off each shelf to vacuum or swiffer the shelf as well as the tops of the books. Take this time to determine if you really need to keep the book(s) or pass them on.
- Make some Bread by Scratch. Nothing is better than freshly baked bread. It’s especially great if you’ve never before done anything remotely like this. Now is a great time to experiment. There are plenty of how-tos on the internet. Who knows, you just might have a knack for this type of thing. And if it doesn’t quite work out, no one will know … plus, you can always eat the evidence.
- Dust-Off that Project. Yikes, your project has been sitting around for a while, waiting for you to get back to it. When you started the project, you really liked how it made you feel, but somehow life got in the way. Now is your time to finally finish it.
- Begin the First Chapter of Your Life Story. Come on, you’ve thought about writing one. Now’s your chance. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about writing. Just start. Get some words down on paper (or word processor) and see how far it goes. If you start to lag, think about having to clean the grout from the shower tiles. That should be incentive enough to continue.
- Go through Your Closet. Look, you have clothes you haven’t worn for years just sitting there, taking up gobs of space. Sort through them. And what’s that thing at the back of the closet in the corner? Weren’t you looking for that a while back? And are you saving those shoes that are too tight for when your feet get smaller?
- Work on Your Personal Growth. There’s no time like the present to comb out the emotional snarls in your life, those things that keep you from fully living the life you want. This doesn’t have to be hard. I have created a simple and easy means to help you work out. Check it out.
Hopefully, you’ve already found something out of the 10 activities listed above to help you with your alone-time during your quarantine. Not only will they focus your attention, but you will also feel a great sense of accomplishment.
PS- I want to add to the list: “Take care of a little kitten or puppy who needs your help” because that would be awesome.
Note: I do not have children, so I cannot easily advise those who do.
As a spiritual being, I have always wanted to make a positive difference in the world, as an artist. For my art to speak meaningfully to those that behold it would be a pretty good legacy.
I started out my career doing fantasy art, design, and calligraphy for RPG (Role-Playing Games) in the 1980s. Thirty-five years later, when I started attending RPG conventions, I was shocked to learn how many people have been deeply touched by my work. At first, I thought it was nostalgia, my art symbolic of a time remembered fondly. But I’ve come to accept and embrace the fact that my art also speaks to some people in a deeper, heartfelt way.
Encouraged by the positive reactions I’ve received at gaming conventions, I decided to “give back” to fans within the RPG community by creating something for their progeny—coloring books! My first coloring book provides positive, empowered images of fantasy maidens for my fans’ daughters and sons.
Then, in 2017, at a Feminine Wisdom Intensive, I discovered that women on the empowerment path were equally attracted to my fantasy art coloring books. My next coloring book became broader in scope to appeal to “girls of all ages.” I included a Mindfulness Coloring Meditation where it’s possible to awaken the archetypes within you by focusing on the chosen image and claiming its power through the act of coloring it. Each successive year, I’ve done more and more to make the coloring experience a transformative one.
The next advancement of the coloring book concept is its appearance in “Dancing The Enneagram” PlayBook by Kate Finlayson and myself, recently published in June. Kate’s innovative idea was to apply different movement modalities to each of the nine enneagram types.
In addition to applying the power of dance to the template of the Enneagram, I was inspired to make the illustrations into coloring book pages. I also included written information about colors and their meanings and created a meditation for “Conscious Coloring.”
“Dancing The Enneagram” is a useful tool for people already familiar with The Enneagram to use for focusing. It’s a visual meditation. To be the best you, as long as you know the direction you need to move, you can color in the appropriate aspects of the images.
Now, I’m still receiving inspirational thoughts about more specific ways the physical act of coloring can heal. And I’m in the process of exploring those possibilities.
I’m hoping that what I’m inspired to create will make a real difference in the lives of people.
I’m thinking of calling it: Color Me Healed!
I’m very excited to announce our PlayBook,* Dancing the Enneagram, by Kate Finlayson and yours truly is now being printed for a June 1st launch.
Last August (2018), I was at my friend, Kate Finlayson’s “Dancing The Enneagram’s” PlayShop in Charlotte. The experience with Kate’s effervescent energy was inspiring. I was so stunned and impressed with its power, on my drive back home, a vision to have her material developed in written form appeared to me.
That night, I furiously wrote. Within a short time, I created an outline for her book. I telephoned Kate and relayed to her my excitement. She asked me to present her with a sample chapter, which I did in short order. It seemed to me the book REALLY wanted to be birthed. And here it is: nine months later our baby is born.
The premise for “Dancing the Enneagram” is unique and ground-breaking. Kate, who is Nia-trained and certified, moves through each of the nine personality types. Her idea is to add a somatic component to an intellectual process, grounding one’s knowing into embodiment. Kate’s work is powerful and integrative.
Originally, I intended to present only Kate’s material, but an idea popped into my head to include the component of “coloring” into the mix because each of the nine personality types is also associated with a color. I’ve been working for a couple of years creating coloring books with positive images of maidens in their power to inspire “girls of all ages.” It seemed only natural to include what I know about coloring as a further means of integration, especially for those who have not experienced Kate’s energy in person.
Thus, in “Dancing The Enneagram,” I present the symbology of color, explain the difference between Light (RGB) and Pigment-based (CYMK) color models, and also offer a “Conscious Coloring” technique.
So the nine full-page illustrations I created for our PlayBook can be colored in or enjoyed as is. I’m also really happy to use one of my own font designs in the PlayBook. The design of the book exemplifies Beauty as is one of my best efforts. It’s epic!
*PlayBook and Playshop are Kate’s preferred terms over Workbook and Workshop. Learning shouldn’t be work.
I’m an artist. When I was younger and more adventurous, it was exciting to be dancing on the lip of poverty. The uncertainty of being able to stay alive by making ends meet was like a game; literally, it was “The Game of Life.” Now that I’m getting older, I realize I have to change. I no longer have the same resiliency and health I once enjoyed.
So I’ve been thinking. Being a “poor” artist does not have to be an automatic given. About 2 years ago, I realized that I sorely needed to supplement my meager income. Although it’s exciting to be teetering on the knife’s edge, I’m now longing for some stability. I wonder if you can relate?
So, instead of finding a soul-crushing part-time job (which would take me away from my art studio), I decided to invest my time in marketing myself on the internet, but it’s hard for an introvert like me. It means I have to reach out to people and be engaging.
Why doesn’t my art speak for itself unaided by my persistence in getting my name out there?
It’s a new game.
I created an art store to show off my wares. I call it my “Quantum Transformational Art Store,” and I invite you to take a look.
THANX for your interest, Darlene
PS – I hope to see you with me on the sunny side of success.
The Story of Jasmine snippets continue:
“Yes, it is I,” the reeds rustled a wispy reply, “my spirit waited an age for you to be born. Find my staff in the Ruins and use it with the knowledge I will teach you. This land has so little time—you must learn quickly…”
The wind died and with it, the voice of Enel Rad. The magic had gone.
Jasmine only heard the crackling of dried leaves. Making her way to the Ruins, she no0ticed a stone which had been recently moved. Beyond that stone, in a small alcove lay the powerful staff of the Wizard Enel Rad. As she grasped the magical wand, she felt the strength of an age rush through her. In that moment, she was baptized Jasmine, The White Flower of Deliverance.
And then too, she knew what she must do.
© 2018 DARLENE
I’m very happy my Ten Dragons t-shirt design is very popular, at least with the parents. A hardy THANK YOU to all my Texas fans who bought a t-shirt!
I’m really happy it has turned out so well. I remember working out the details as being very tedious and laborius, but the result is well worth it.
This year, at my NTRPGConX Convention booth, I’m planning to sell some color reproductions of this design, just in case anyone attending wants a signed copy.
See you there in a couple of weeks.
The typed “Story of Jasmine” notes continue:
Ermengarde felt a powerful sensation in her belly. The energy shift warned her they were nearing their destination: the dark prince and his magic. Ermengarde started her maneuver by slouching on her horse and wailing loudly. She called to the princess who had rode ahead, “Oh m’ lady, please have pity on an old woman whose bones is aching. Please slow down, miss. I cannot keep up with you…”
Her pleas managed to slow Arlet a pace. As they proceeded, Ermengarde noticed some men watching them from the shadows and branches of the surrounding trees. “Please m’ lady,” she cried, knowing their destination was almost upon them, “can’t we stop now?”
Just then, several men appeared from the shadows and some dropped from the treetops. They were quick in subduing the startled horses. “Oh, oh,” Ermengarde called pitifully, “what’s this?” he men laughed as they lead the horses off the main road onto a small path. They had only travelled a short ways before Ermengarde saw the telltale signs of a military encampment.
When they stopped, Arlet was helped from her horse. Ermengarde was still on her mount when the dark prince approached. He was dressed handsomely in black. When she saw his features, Ermengarde gasped. She knew this man instantly. The years had not changed the glisten in Bardulf’s black eyes and time only enhanced his cruel smile. It was a mistake to have completely dismissed him from her mind.
She slowly dismounted, hoping to be inconspicuous. But all eyes were on Arlet, who walked slowly, but purposefully, towards the prince. Bardulf’s lips curled in a horrid, arrogant smile. When he opened his arms, Ermengarde shuddered. His black cloak reminded her of a bat extending its wings.
Still in a daze, Arlet walked into his outstretched arms and was swallowed by the blackness of his cloak closing tightly around her. Ermengarde counted the moments. She could act if the spell was broken by the embrace. But she knew her hope was foolish when Bardulf drew Arlet into a deep, sustained kiss.
© 2018 DARLENE