This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Motivation on Mondays: The Artist Way check-in for week 7

I know. I know. It's Tuesday. Why did I still title the post "Motivation on Mondays"?

I did that because I want to keep the column consistent, so you can find back posts should you care to review them in the future.

Of course, now you'll want to know why I failed to post yesterday, right? Easy answer. Yesterday, Monday, I spent six hours in the Emergency Room with my BF. He'd been sent there because he'd been having a back pain that had escalated and a very high blood pressure reading, and was thought to be having heart attack.

Yes, it was another stressful day, and I wasn't anywhere near a computer nor was I thinking about being anywhere near a computer once I took the call just before the lunch hour. Of course, he told me I didn't need to go. But what do you do? Sit around and wait? I'm not good at waiting. So I went over to meet him and stay with him--to make sure he was going to be okay. The words "heart" and "attack" are not words that roll lightly off the tongue, as you can imagine. So I wanted to be there with him, in case this was that serious.

After having every kind of test imaginable--EKG, Cat Scan, X-rays (but no MRI)--the ER doc determined it wasn't a heart attack, but he does have a heart issue he needs to see a cardiologist about later, which I don't see as unusual after 55 years of organ operation. But, was a scare until we knew. It seems he's somehow pulled a muscle in the top mid-section of his back, and he can't figure out where or when. They gave him some meds for that and follow up instructions. But it's good to know that if you ever have such a pain in the back that doesn't go away and, in fact, escalates, it could be a heart problem. You should see your doctor or visit the ER.

So that was my day yesterday. No work to speak of. All stress. And finally relief.

Now, to the actual check-in...

These chapters are really sending a lot of serendipity my way. With Chapter 7 being all about connection, and my losing my dog that same week, there was a lot of that going on. It began with the eulogy, and then moved on to the assignment I had that was due last week. It involved connecting with an historic event. Even after a really short trip there, I was able to feel very connected to this place and time--the Civil Rights Movement.

In fact, I was able to use an actual event that I discovered occurred on my 1-year-old birthday in the story itself. I was able to connect with the gospel music of the times. I was able to put myself in the place of the protesters because of the interactive elements involved in the tour I was on. It was all very experiential. And that really helped me write a story my editor had little to edit away.

Later in the week, I was able to find more connection to my dog, after I picked up her ashes. I went back to that pile of pictures I'd been sorting through on the day I had to take her to the vet hospital (and where she subsequently died), and I found several pictures of her. Pictures I hadn't seen since we'd first gotten her. So I gathered them all and shared them with friends. I miss her. Last week was all about finding some kind of connection with her. I didn't have to work too hard at it. I am still finding this in every room of my house. I very much feel her presence in my office, as this is where we both spent the bulk of our lives together. I haven't yet picked up her toys or removed her bed from the floor. It's all very comforting to me.

And this week, the connections are extending to the human beings in my life. My BF, for example, and the visit to the ER. There was nothing else I could have done but be with him during that scary moment in his life. It was good for him. It was good for me. It was good for us to feel a connected during such a scare. It's what helps bring two people together, when you know you can count on each other. That's the point of connection, I believe, and that's not always easy to do when trying to protect your own time and space and your Artist Self (which is mentioned in this week's chapter).

Further understanding of "connection" occurred this past week when I wrote a short story that involved lost connections. Though it wasn't an animal-based story, I'm sure it was a cathartic release, and also a sign that I am definitely giving my Artist Self the time it needs to explore and grow. I like that. Are you seeing any similar events/experiences unfold in your own TAW work?

Of course, the chapter is further realized in the way I'm reading my daughter's phone calls. Every time I hear her ring on my cell phone, my first question before "hello" is: "Is it time yet?" She's about to give birth any day now, and I'm so in tune with that and preparing for the big moment that I can't help myself but jump at her every call. It could be the one. Ah, yes, connections. I'm glad so many exist in my life, and truly, I've been touched by this chapter.

As you can imagine, however, I only wrote Morning Pages two times last week and am counting my picture sorting as my Artist Date. If I took another one, I can no longer recall it, as I spent the bulk of the week too busy stressing about finishing my story for an editor when all I really wanted to do was grieve my dog. I managed to do both. I suppose writing a short story could count...

I did highlight a few things in the chapter and was surprised to see so much that still matters to me, as it did in previous readings, things such as this (paraphrased):

_Listen to your intuitive voice (This came out in my short story, and I needed it in order to manage the health of my dog).

_Letting go is a normal part of creativity.

_I have been that person who wouldn't do something unless I was sure I could do it perfectly. I have learned over the years to take the risk and do it anyway. Some of the things I've taken the risk to try: improvisation classes, reading my poetry in public, a spontaneous vacation. Things I'd like to try that were on her list: whitewater river rafting, figure drawing or watercolor painting and trapeze classes.

_I come up with book ideas and write them in the margins of my TAW book. It's fun to see what I've written in the past. I added two more to the margins in this chapter this year. One I'm working on already, but I like the title I came up with this past week better than the one I already had.

_I liked what the chapter says about jealousy, that it's a mask behind the fear of doing something you're not yet brave enough to try. That's a good point and something to be reminded of when that green monster rears his ugly head.

As far as exercises, I didn't take much time to do them this week and only did one or two.

I'm really glad to be in "Chapter 8 -- Recovering a Sense of Strength." Perfect timing, if I do say so myself.

Be sure to post your progress here, and tell us how you're relating to the last few chapters. Are you seeing the growth you might expect? Are you surprised at what you're experiencing all because of this one little book and the time you are choosing to give your Artist Self? Share your thoughts here.

Motivation for Mondays is a part of a weekly Twitter party called #MotivatedMondays initiated by Lorrie Shaw, a professional pet sitter, a regular pets contributor at, and pet blogger in Dexter Township, MI. Together, we post a combination of inspirational notes, links to motivational blog posts, and tips to help kickstart your week ahead. Look for us online every Monday morning--and throughout the day--if you need to kick start your week or want to share your own motivational thoughts.


Kim said...

Sorry to hear you had a stressful week on top of a stressful sad week. Hope the BF is doing better. Here's my Week 7 check-in:

NoPotCooking said...

I'm interested to read your way through this book. I read it many years ago but did not actually follow through on any of it. Sorry it has been a hard week for you and I hope things are looking up soon!

Diane Faulkner said...

First off, I'm so sorry for what you and your BF went through, but am glad the prognosis wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. He's lucky to have you, someone he can count on to not only be there for him in his time of need, but also to be there for him for general support. It's amazing how we glom onto people so much that we don't realize how important they are to our everyday boring parts of our lives. The connection is essential for our emotional well-being, our balance.

As for keeping up with AW, I didn't so much flake out on W7 as I focused on what I needed to take care of in my life. My dad's troubles, the people who've been using/abusing him needed my attention. I needed to follow up with his PO to try to make her understand that the person presented in front of her is not the real Roger, but one he conjures up when he wants to get his way. He's a very, very good manipulator, and the only way people see through that, unfortunately, is when I am right beside him. Since I cannot be there, my ability to get him on the right path is hampered. Not that that's a bad thing; he needs to take responsibility for his own life. That particular assignment, though, is difficult for him, because he's not medicated for his mental illness. He needs to be instructed through the steps he needs to take to make things right in his life. I'm a mentor instead of a fixer, and I think that's healthier for us both - but I can write more about that in my new blog, @ (Shameless promotion).

Diane Faulkner said...

I know C7 is supposed to be about connection, but that's not what I got out of it at all, unless the connection is supposed to be with ourselves.

The archeology section showed me that I didn't have the opportunity to learn how to make friends and have fun. I craved attention and learned that the way I looked could garner that for me, so I dreamed of being a star - but what kid doesn't, eh? I craved being cared about. I think it's significant I craved that more than being loved, but aren't they the same thing? I don't know, really. I doubt I ever will. Initially, I wrote that the people I miss are my grandparents and my dog; but that's not quite true. I miss one grandmother in particular. I do miss my dog. I have wondered about no one in my past, most likely because my connections to everyone I've known have been so slight. Not superficial, because when I befriend someone, I completely invest myself. Unfortunately, those people have been attached to jobs or boyfriends, and when I've moved on, my access is gone, so I go back to being alone, waiting to put myself in the position of meeting new people I can take an interest in, in hopes they will take an interest in me.

Diane Faulkner said...

The positive part of the archeological exercise showed me how much a part of myself writing still is: my loyal friend is a writer. 4 - 9 all involved writing. Since I'm not a fan of where I live, the only thing I could come up with that I like, really like, about Jacksonville is the baseball grounds. We have a fabulous facility, and I always look forward to Spring when I can watch Florida State play a game or two and attend the ACC Championships. The first thing that came to my mind about my creativity is that it's misguided. I think I invest too much time being creative for other people and not enough time being creative for myself. My assignment to myself is to change that little truth.

Diane Faulkner said...

Interesting how, even though I didn't read C7 during W7, I wound up doing most of the exercises without even knowing them. I went out of my way to treat myself better. I didn't listen to music and doodle, but I did listen to my favorite sports show ( and play on the laptop. Time flew, and I enjoyed the show. I spent time in my sacred space just listening to the quiet of the night, which means I was in bed and had the windows up. I love night sounds. I love the smell of cilantro, and I made myself a cilantro-lime salad dressing and ate salads with pineapple, mandarin oranges, dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and pomegranate, lettuce with freshly chopped cilantro. I dressed much better, not every day, but for when I went into the studio for my show. It's radio, so I have no reason to look particularly good. My self-comforting purchase was Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia.

I didn't do the collage.

My favorite movie list's common theme was strong people finding their strengths and finally using them to their full potential.

Since I didn't do the collage, I couldn't draw similarities to my book list. My book list, though, I think reflects my life. Murder mysteries are puzzles, and I like solving things. Religion/philosophical topics are exercises in understanding what drives people to make particular choices and the potential effects of those choices on themselves and others. Pets, well, that topic speaks for itself. I love animals and like to know everything I can about their behavior and how to help them live comfortable, fulfilling lives. And labor law, well, fair treatment in the workplace, to me, is the way to help people fulfill their promise in order to continually better provide for themselves and their families as well as grow in their self-confidence and self-worth.

Diane Faulkner said...

The check-in portion:

I did no pages. I couldn't. I focused on dad. Oh, I just remembered that I also focused on a client I needed to clear off my plate. A frustrating client. I gave him strict, but polite, instructions on what he needs to do before he submits his work to me if he wants to continue to use my services. How's that for setting boundaries?

My artist's date? I'd say that would have to be listening to that show. It's what I needed. The host makes me laugh, and I needed to laugh.

Synchronicity? I didn't think I had one, until I read the chapter. I think the fact that I did the exercises, or most of them, without having cracked the book is quite the synchronous act.

BIKE LADY said...

Kim and Brette, thanks for your kind words and show of support. Some days or weeks or months just stink, don't they?

This week's been 100 percent better!

Diane, good for you for starting a new blog. It might be a good release, something that sprung out of your TAW work, I suspect??? I think you're taking the work seriously, which is wonderful. That means you're going to get a lot out of it. Like anything else, the more you put in...I love that you did the archeological exercise. Your thoughts have made me want to take a second look at that one. I agree with your understanding of what constitutes synchronicity. You did, indeed, experience that this week. Did the boundary-setting work for you with this client? I'd say I hope things are getting better with your dad experience, but I see in next week's post (which I read first) that this is not the case.

Sorry for posting so late. I had to take a break for a while. There was too much going on in my own life.

But I'll see you all tomorrow when I post the next check-in.

Diane Faulkner said...

Thanks so much for commenting. Perfectly understand the need for a break. You've been though entirely too much in too short a time. Happy, though, that life's lightening up for you. Hope that continues this week.

Regarding the boundary setting, yes, this has worked for me. Heard from the former client this past week. He's fairly begging me to take him back. I don't plan to answer the request. He's toxic. I was clear when I make the break that it would be for good. He just needs to respect that now.