Saturday, April 11, 2015

Oprah, Lego, and a Smidge of Art

I've been having a lot of roller-coaster weeks. Maybe you know what I mean? Where the very thing you have been dreading, can end up being a relief or a positive step forward. Then, what seems like a simple kindness from an unexpected source, turns into an unexplainable, soul-crushing blow. And then when you feel like you are constantly looking over your shoulder, waiting for the next blow... nothing happens.

I am certainly learning that I am a lot stronger than I have given myself credit for - but I am also re-evaluating my motivations (and those of people I come in contact with).  I get so mad or discouraged and want to yell and stamp my feet!!! But - STOP, girl! That's giving in. That's letting "them" win - whoever (or whatever) they may be. That's not me. That's a distraction.

One of the odd side effects of having trouble sleeping - is that, when I do, I have some very intense, exhausting dreams. In one, I was in a place like the Grand Canyon, walking along the rim. I was in awe at the beauty and unreality of the scene. I was walking towards a very tall, green, majestic mountain covered with trees. I wanted to climb that mountain even though I knew it would be a lot of work. I kept getting distracted by the view of the canyon until I realized there was an uncomfortable pull coming from it. Like a vacuum suction, it started pulling things down and swirling away into a black hole. I was trying to move toward the mountain when I heard yelling and saw that I had one of my kids dangling off each of my arms. They were being pulled toward the edge. I knew that if I let go... I could make it to the mountain and safety...
I was digging my bare feet into the rocks to try and get better control and I felt like all my oxygen was being pulled out of my lungs from the strain...

Yep. That's when I woke up.

I admit it. I am tired. Physically, emotionally and mentally.

Today - I put on exercise clothes - with no intention of exercising - but as an excuse to not leave the house. I felt pulled toward the studio to do more cleaning (a different blog post to come, it's on the To-Do List) and lots of other "Shoulds."  I procrastinated a bit by folding laundry and grabbed my iPhone to listen to a story while I worked. I had recently downloaded Oprah's book, What I Know for Sure, and that is what started playing.

I finished all the laundry and as I walked through the dining room, I saw three partially built Lego sets...

I spent the afternoon building and listening to Oprah's voice.

That woman is amazing. Her own story is inspiring and heartbreaking. We listen to other women talk about their pasts, their mistakes and their dreams - and we can't believe they can be so cruel to themselves. And yet - what do we do to ourselves? We are always "too fat", "not good enough", a "bad mother"... stupid, insecure, scared... mean mean MEAN!

If I can forgive Oprah, why can't I forgive myself?

So I followed her lead and asked myself - what do I know for sure?

A few weeks back, that was the theme for a journal group I am in. It is actually a very hard question - but the one thing I know for sure, is that you get what you expect.

In other words, if you expect unhappiness, you get it. If you expect to suffer through the "terrible twos" with your toddler - you most certainly will. Expect bratty kids? You get them.

But if you expect miracles, kindness, happy children, an adventurous life... you get that too.

A weird example... I'm listening to Oprah and pressing little blocks together. I have no idea what the pieces are creating - I'm just following the steps in the directions. I hit a snag when the pieces are being assembled... sideways...? It makes no sense. It's not fitting easily... ugh... my fingertips are feeling bruised.... but I adore building with Legos. I love the challenge and the puzzles. I trust that this has a purpose and it will be worth it, so I just keep going.

About ten minutes later, I pop the annoying bit into place and put a few pieces over it to hold it together - and OMG! I suddenly understand WHAT I was making!? The Legos spell "1932" (just under the clock tower). That's why the pieces were sideways and wonky!
Well then.
I was expecting something cool to come from the crazy - and sure enough.

I am very proud of my fire station.

(I also built this fairy treehouse!)

What I learned today...
* Listen to Oprah, she knows her stuff.
* Give yourself permission to take a break. Recharge.
* You can't help anyone else if you are sick, tired or sad.
* It's perfectly OK to want what you want.
* Create something. It feels good.


  1. Sandy I follow your blog, own all your books and apps and feel a real kinship with your struggles. Do you know Ann Lamott and her books? She wrote about what she knows for sure on April 8 on her FB page. PLEEZE go and read it.

    1. Hi Ginny! That is such a great essay on FB - my favorite is "2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you."
      Very true.

      And I think Anne Lamott is amazing, like Oprah. ;-D I used a quote by her for a journal page, last year: ("You own everything that happened to you....")

      And thank you for the kinship!

    2. The Anne Lamott page is a keeper, too, Ginny. Thanks!

  2. I've been on that coaster for some time now. I sighed several times thru this post - commiserating. Preparing for life changes at my age (63) gets harder and harder. . .I'm thankful that we're all here, together. I went to Ann Lamott's page, too, (thank you, Ginny). I think I sighed several times there, too. once when she said, "Earth is Forgiveness School." Not just for others but for ourselves, too!

    Now I'm going to ponder Ann's quote and your March 3, 2014, page. : "You own everything that happened to you. . ."

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Carol - another book I am listening to is by Christianne Northrup, called "Goddesses Never Age". She is a women's doctor and talks about the myths of aging, the health and science and the fact that the largest population group will be people over 100 (by 2050, I think). I just started it, but it is very interesting.

  3. You can control your dreams. There is a lot of information about this on the web - some societies used this as a technique. But the easiest is to tell the dream to get the hell out of there immediately. There is nothing magic or spiritual about it. Also, be careful about what you watch or read in the media. Load yourself up with the things you want to dream about. But mainly, don't regard dreams as magic or spiritual. Just like with anything else, if you don't like them, get rid of them.

    There is a school of "prosperity thinking" that Oprah subscribes to. I became aware of it in the 1980s through the book "The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity" by Catherine Ponder. Now I am not remotely Christian, but I found her ideas well founded, so carried out many of them and gave the book to many people. The book is out of date but still available. I used to slip a card or bookmark into it whenever I needed to come up with good ideas and it worked every time. Today there are numerous organizations and churches that subscribe to it, Christian and non-Christian. The bottom line is that you walk your self-talk. This doesn't mean you, through your own will, can grow back a finger that was cut off, but you can, through self-talk direct yourself how to respond in the case of adversity to propel you forward in a rewarding, happy direction.

    1. Another good book is "E(squared)" by Pam Grout. I love all that quantum physics, possibilities stuff - and this book has actual experiments and explanations to test some of the theories. I manifested a UPS truck! ;-)

  4. Thank you for sharing those deeply personal parts of yourself with us, your public. You have been generous with your creative side and this post is another where you are generous with your personal side. It does help bolster our sagging spirits to know we are not "the only one" things happen to and that we can survive the thousands of tiny cuts we endure each day. Stand tall, you are a good person and deserve all the good you receive. Again, thank you for, well, being You.

  5. Thank you for sharing your very personal exploration, struggle and revelations. It is so good to hear that other artists (and regular people too) have these moments. Mean people suck. I agree not to give in to the constant tantrum or blue funk. But release is good. Have occasional mini-tantrums in a safe way and allow yourself to let go of that bad energy. The difficult people and experiences can affect you in whatever way you decide to let them. Lessons. Resentment. Forgiveness. Self-protection. Choose what you need from them. Keep it or change it as frequently as you feel the need. Build lots of legos! What a great procrastination/therapy! Hugs to you.

    1. A lesson I learned from my daughter when she was little (little-er) - don't just say "no." Stamp your foot when you say it, and people will believe you mean it.
      Good advice.

  6. Great post Sandy. I'll check out Oprah's book. Keep strong. Excellent Lego creations!!!


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