Author: janetranew1

Upcoming Events in 2023!

Studio Spa, St Lucie Cultural alliance, Ft Pierce Art, Artmaking and Soul“Utilizing Artmaking to open deeper conversations with ourselves, so that we can access our own wisdom to guide us forward in our lives.”

So Excited!


And a little nervous… to be publicly offering both online an in person events at THE NEW STUDIO!!!

The St Lucie Cultural Alliance has graciously allowed us to have a space that can be used for live events, as well as my own art projects – I am in HEAVEN! After multiple years in very small spaces (or other peoples homes) I finally have a place that I can spend concentrated time doing my own art explorations. In addition it’s a wonderfully intimate space for either individual coaching and consulting, but small group explorations as well. I am announcing a full slate of events – most of which have a hybrid or online component for those who are either out of the area, or desiring the ease of working from home. Please check them out, and if you have any suggestions or ideas for me feel free to reach out as well.

Hope you can join me/us on our explorations! 

Coming up May 7th:  Purpose Passion and Soul, a collaboration with Suzanne Oliwa, Certified SoulCollage(R) facilitator

SoulCollage(R) and Exploration event

Next steps after achieving a goal or MORE BABY STEPS

Baby Steps!

You set a goal, taken the steps to get there. You were vigilant at maintaining your focus and attitude with the tools in your toolbox: reviewing your goal, taking action,  doing affirmations, using EFT tapping when you had anxiety, etc.

The journey of accomplishment stretches and develops us like nothing else. Challenging our old paradigms and beliefs, then coming out successful builds your self confidence and makes it that much more possible to tackle that next vision, dream, and go after those desires. Well what if it isn’t perfect, you fell short?

I was working with a goal last year to “Achieve and maintain my goal weight of 134# (or less) by Dec 31st, 2022” and guess what, I didn’t make it. I could have beaten myself up, decided since I didn’t get there I should just give up, etc. Instead I chose my focus. I focused on what I had accomplished.

I went from 185# to 137# a total of 48#’s, wow, I am amazed just typing this!  I developed much better eating habits, gave up alcohol (still working with sugar issues some), and I exercise almost every day. Am I still moving forward – absolutely!

You’ve Done it!

It’s so easy for us to discount what we have accomplished and therefore robbing ourselves of that all important boost of energy and self esteem needed to take on new challenges. Remembering the the journey of working towards a goal is so much more than just getting to the goal. We develop discipline, awareness, and yes self confidence. Let’s celebrate those achievements at each step of the way. You achieved your goal!

Whoo Hoo! It worked!


SO, Now What?

What’s next after the celebration? Well perhaps you have other goals in your life already, in which case go for it! Take the time to break it down into milestones, baby steps, and create your affirmations and visual touchstones. You know the drill now, review them daily, feel inside how it will be when you have accomplished the goal.

But what if you don’t know what’s next, what if you are caught up in the letdown that can follow an achievement?

Taking the time to  reconnect to you purpose, passion, and wheel of Life (the different areas that make up a balanced life), and even just asking, “What do I want,” can get you started.

tend your garden, watch the self talkRemember, as far as we KNOW – we only have this one life so using your time and focus to move you in the directions you WANT to go seems like a very good way to spend you time and effort. I always like to say, “No one lives in here besides you.”



Monday Mastermind Invitation

Certified Canfield trainer, Monday Mastermind , Success Principles, Core Pinciples

For my next trick…

Limited to 10 people this will give you the support to take those leaps you have been hoping for as we round into the second half of 2022. Hope you can join us.

To apply to sign up for $100 ($10 ea session) or $90 paid in full click here This celebration of my final Canfield Certification, normally a $1000 value, is a way for me to give back to those who might not otherwise be able to access this type of learning and support.

Check out this video about the class


Another Milestone, or One Step, Then Another Step, and Another Step…

This is what has be reverberating in my psyche these past months, “Begin again, again, & again.” It seems to me that the dance I’ve been assigned to in this life is that when I get to a certain level of achievement, I am challenged to risk it all. I see this in businesses, relationships, and levels of mastery of all kinds – in order to constantly move to and towards my/our greater becoming ( which is a part of my purpose statement). One must be willing to let go of the wooden structure to gain a stone one, to let go of the lovely iron structure to gain a silver and then a gold one.

Jack Canfield, Train the Trainer, TTT Advanced, TTT Live San Diego 2022
Photo Credit Jason Leitner

As I have heard many, including my mentor Jack Canfield say, “We must let go of the good to make room for the great.”

Connecting here within my sixth decade to a new/old desire to teach the tools of practical transformation I notice my desire to do it this time smarter, with more support instead of reinventing the wheel as I have done so many times in my life as a serial entrepreneur.

I was reminded today in a LinkedIn post, just how long it has been since I was involved with TreebranchDESIGN. a ’boutique marketing company I helped build and ‘left’ in the Fall of 2018, I believe. WOW! has my life changed & had all that disruption not occurred it is unlikely I would be here. The wheels continue to turn and now a new iteration of myself is emerging. With the sale of our home in MD my mind and heart have begun to seek new roots. The long hibernation from caregiving (which is ongoing, and much more manageable), and maintaining far away connections and duties, has moved enough to both complete and begin again -again 😉

First after joining the Canfield, Train the Trainer community a year or so ago I immersed myself in the online program and was thoroughly inspired by the content and working with the materials in such an in depth way. I did realize upon completion. that though I have led multiple trainings and workshops in many of my entrepreneurial experiences,

Train the Trainer San Diego, TTT Advanced Training
Photo Credit Jason Leitner

I felt the need for additional support and guidance teaching these tools.  I signed up for the second and third levels of the training. I felt very blessed to have the COVID window open just long enough for an in person training to be announced in January, a calculated risk as the attendance was sure to be less than at past live experiences. So off to San Diego I went. I am so very glad that I did! The intimacy of 30-40 people vs 1-200 or more, was an amazing opportunity!


We each had a training that we presented and were critiqued on by Jack Canfield, Patty Aubrey, and Kathleen Seely.One in a million, certified Canfield Trainer, TTT advanced, Jack Canfield, Canfield Training There were also numerous breakout session trainings on a multiplicity of Canfield Methodology subjects directly applicable to running a live (or online) training. It was very well organized, and they made every effort to be as safe as possible. I came away inspired, encouraged, and connected to a wonderful community of all levels of experience. Each person there having the motivation to make a difference in the world.

As with every high energy, immersive experience, the reentry to the “Real” world can be a bit of a bumpy ride. The high I felt was a bit battered by my own mild case of COVID (triple vaxed likely helped out there) upon arriving home. I choose to believe that after all that incredible input I needed some integration time, which my body obliged me with. This experience is one I likely would never have had without all of the changes involved in our exit from MD and I am so very grateful that I was able to have it.

Circling around and back to the theme of beginning again, what I notice is because this is something I care deeply for, in fact have always cared deeply for and been pulled toward, the commensurate fears are of course making themselves known; “Who would listen to you,” “What do you know about teaching success and transformation,” “There are too many others that do this so much better than you,” and on and on. Sound familiar?

What I have determined. as I did when I started my Bodywork career, is that there is only one me, and there are folks out there who need to hear my stories, my voice, in order to take their own steps forward. If I had received this information earlier in my wanderings, who might I be now? What might I have accomplished and given to this world? If just one (well hopefully more than one) has this open a window into their purpose and vision it will be worth it. Even more, the old adage,” You teach what you need to learn,” reverberates.

So, here I go, palms sweaty, holding tight to the talismans of my vision and journey. One step, another step…hands reaching for support and embracing this new future, beginning again, again.

Graduation, Train the Trainer, Advanced Train the Trainer, TTT Live, TTT advanced, One in a Million, Canfield Methodology, Jack Canfield, Kathleen Seeley, Patty Aubrey
Photo Credit: Jason Leitner


Letting Go, Again

Pasadena Waterfront, Waterview, Living on the waterfrontAn ode to the place we once called home as we make ready to “Let go and let G_d(dess)” take us into our new life and adventure.

We moved into this lovely cottage in the Winter of 2002, Jan 1st actually. It was sleeting and of course very messy and cold. As soon as we walked in a peace and quiet settled over us as we gazed out to the water.

It always amazes me just how quiet it is here considering the proximity of BWI (20 min) Baltimore (20 min), and Severna Park/Annapolis (20 min). It’s one of the first thing visitors often comment on (once they get past oohing and awing at the view).cozy waterfront cottage, waterfront in Pasadena MD

Sunset Rock Creek, Sunset on the water, Sunset Pasadena MD, Waterfront Living



We added the rock garden off the front door. It has rocks, some shells and sand from all over the world gifted from various traveling friends. Israel, India, Egypt, Africa, Peru, Brazil, Hawaii, Arizona, are just a few places represented.


Rock Garden, waterfront living, pasadena MD waterfront, Chesapeake bay waterfront
A little pea gravel and a lot of love. pebbles and shells from all over the world

We also built the two raised beds which are all sitting upon the original cement slab that the builders of the house had installed. WE think that it works much better, looks better and acts as a buffer to the flow of water towards the creek.




In the Spring these beds are ablaze with color. First the daffodils and crocus emerge even as the world is all grey and snowy, next come the tulips in various shades of fuchsia and pink.  The innocuous green ground cover is actually pink Phlox that bursts into pink abundance here, and in several other of the outdoor pots. The Wisteria on the archways of the privacy fencing, blooms next luscious globes of lavender and purple with a lovely smell. Other garden beds hold Forsythia, Tulip, Crocus, and Iris bulbs. There is even a heritage (it has an aroma) rose bush.


The tree above the gazebo is a fruiting Mulberry tree which attracts the deer who daintily nibble in the early morning and around dusk. The weeping cherry blooms after the forsythia and close to the wisteria. . The Hydrangea may bloom or not, and they are quite happily taking over the block wall to the road.

The raised beds in the yard we planted with vegetables and herbs, especially Tomatoes, Peppers, Beans, and squash. We occasionally planted a bed between the parking area and terraced wall. The bed closest to the water has an asparagus patch that while isn’t very large, is quite prolific. It also hosts an oregano patch that we let go to flower this year because the bees love it so much. FYI always leave one stalk of asparagus from each bunch growing when you harvest them so they will keep producing, or so I’ve read.


Later in the Summer the Magnolia tree bursts into aromatic flowers. The air is completely perfumed by them. As the summer wears on, the perennials need to be supplemented with annuals if you want color all year. Mums come up until August so adding a few small annuals to the pots adds a lot of beauty.


We have a lot of wildlife visitors, ducks nesting in one neighbor’s yard, the annual turtle visitation for egg laying at another’s. We have squirrels that examine us from the deck rail peering in through the large windows. A small herd of deer come by for the mulberries.

There are several pairs of Osprey, a nesting pair of Bald Eagles up the cove, and many geese (while cute, we shoo them off). We sometimes have a cute roly-poly groundhog, bunnies, and occasionally a fox. Always fun to watch from a distance.

We usually have participated with Restore Rock Creek, a local organization dedicated to protecting, maintaining, and restoring the creek who run an annual “Oysters Rock” program that partners with Spat (baby oysters) producers and enrolls the waterfront neighbors to maintain the ‘baby oysters’ in cages at the docks throughout the Fall and Winter. They teach you all that you need to know. They gather and release the ‘babies’ around Memorial Day each year.

Nearby we have some very good restaurants. Mike’s North is at the end of Colony Rd: Crabs, Bands, Large outdoor seating area to sip something cold and watch the sun go down. Primo Pasta, on Ft Smallwood Rd towards Baltimore, has spectacularly good Italian food. A fun, quirky little place also on Ft Smallwood Rd is the Stoney Creek Inn. It was purchased by a young couple a few years back and it is quite good. Sushi – our pick is the Szechuan Café, off Mountain Rd in the same shopping Center as Giant Food (one of four nearby grocery stores). For steaks and other seafood Two Rivers, a bit more elegant, might be your choice. There is a Starbucks in the local Safeway store, but breakfast spots include Cookies Kitchen (mobbed on the weekends), and Johnny’s also on Mountain Rd.

For such a tucked away location all the amenities you might need are quite close by. We have a local Ace Hardware (where the Safeway is), and Home Depot is just 10 minutes away. The Post Office is on Mt Road in between the two closest grocery stores. Zips Cleaners, 3 health clinics, and of course the YMCA (used to be known as Big Vanilla). There is also a sprawling Flea Market outdoors on the weekends on Mountain rd.

At the end of Ft Smallwood Rd we have Ft Smallwood Park with a kayak launch, swimming beach, boat launch (though if you join the Rock Creek Park Association you are eligible to buy a key to use the neighborhood boat launch), and lots of great walking trails. The views are spectacular of the Patapsco River, Key Bridge, and the Chesapeake Bay. Also nearby are Weinberg Park (a less developed park with many trails), and Downs Park with it’s own dog park and beach.

You can even watch the Wednesday night sailboat races from here, or sometimes see a tall ship go by.





Most of these pictures show the glories of the warmer weather, and it’s really cozy here in the Winter as well. We have heated with our wood stove insert quite a bit.







With the blown in insulation in the attic, we are quite snug and comfortable. The views can sometimes be even more dramatic with the silhouettes of boats and trees.


There is certainly a lot to love about our little retreat, and had life gone a bit differently we may have been here still. We hope that whoever takes over the stewardship of our lovely cottage will love it as much as we have. There is an old saying, “We never truly OWN anything, it’s all just rented.” That sentiment rings evermore true as I navigate the changes of my life. There is a well of deep gratitude for all that I have had the privilege to experience, hold, and “rent,” in this  life of mine.Kayaking on the creek, rock creek, pasadena MDSunset on the water





Onward to the next new adventure!

Tiny New Shoots of Green

AffirmationArt, AffirmationsArt, Art & Spirit, Affirmations, Art as Spiritual PracticeSeptember and October have always felt most appropriate to me as a NEW Year. Perhaps because of all the years of “Back To School,” indoctrination, perhaps because my entry to this existence was in the Fall, and perhaps there is some cell deep connection to Judaism whose New Year celebration of Rosh Hashanah taking place in this vicinity. In any case it has always been true for me. I have been feeling the faint glimmerings, the tiny disturbances in the Earth that portend new growth. I can almost feel/see the new, tiny shoots of green of a new iteration of my life beginning to sprout and reach up towards the light.

I welcome it, am tenderly protective, and somewhat in trepidation. Who knows where this turn of the wheel will lead me (& mine).

I’ve been reaching back, digging in again to the Jack Canfield book & process, “The Success Principles.” I have been reviewing the art I have been producing for the past two years through new eyes, and I have been doing quite a bit of culling & sorting our possessions from our “Old Life,” in MD. Sixty officially as of midnight, I am truly beginning to let go of some of the old baggage of the past 10 years while allowing myself to connect to the various learning that I have been assimilating.

To those ends I have set before myself several tasks (to be worked into a rather tight caretaking schedule). One is to complete, appreciate, assimilate, and share the Train The Trainer program skills (through the Jack Canfield folks). Two, to expose myself and my art to the public marketplace in a local craft show. Three, is to start the practice of Public Speaking again through my Toastmasters Club, and Four, to start practicing, out loud, the French language with like minded individuals.

Tiny shoots, and, rich, juicy, potential blooms for sure. So here is to SIXTY years on this planet and hopefully many more, exploring, dreaming, growing, and of course having a great time too!AffirmationArt, AffirmationsArt, Art & Spirit, Affirmations, Art as Spiritual Practice


Some Quiet Musings on Gratitude

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” anonymous


Not sure how I feel about using typing on here to do my journaling, and, giving it a shot because it’s easier to transfer the info to a later digital iteration like a blog, so here goes…

pasadena, waterfront home, happy place, misty morning, cozy cottage, home?, going homeMercury is still in retrograde and much to be done while I debate in my head about our upcoming future plans, like our upcoming trip to MD and trying to determine what we can get do, where we can stay, and how long we will be gone from here.

colonnades, Florida condos, rainbows over the water, rainbow in FL, Waterfront living, Ft Pierce, FloridaOur new neighbor, Nancy(?), has moved in downstairs. Last night at about 2 am I crashed a bunch of pots and pans while putting them away and as a result cringed thinking of how I was disturbing everyone. She has offered to water my plants for which I am grateful. I am noticing the awareness of the energies of the others that I share this building with, the insulation for sound is sparse, and my sensitivities as always are quite acute.

Morning peace and writing about what I am grateful for, this technology for making it possible for me to communicate to people and organizations Miles away. The ability to practice my typing, practice a language, practice the discerning listening of focusing on the birds singing, the surge of sensuality rising like sap in my body, the satisfied fullness from this morning’s breakfast. I am grateful for this home, a second floor condo overlooking a small bay of the Indian River Lagoon.

I am so grateful for the closeness to the ocean from here I am grateful for this quiet AM as RB does his own thing as I get ready to do mine. I am grateful for Steve D for being there in my brother’s place keeping an eye on him. I am grateful that RB is doing so well, getting more independent every day, and doing his thing of connecting to people reaching out, and making win/win situations for us. I am so grateful every night when I climb in bed to be able to reach out and stroke his soft skin, hear him breathing, and his purr for half a second of awareness before diving back in to sleep. I am grateful for the resources given to us by his parents from their lifetime of saving, working, and investing that have made our unconventional life possible. I am so grateful for both the resources, and the lessons they passed on to both RB and myself. I am grateful for the grandchildren and the joys they bring to our lives. I am grateful for the comforts of this place, all that was provided to us in completeness from furniture to curtains, hurricane shutters and dishes. I am grateful to “Chad” and Winnie, and the garden for a new/old adventure in relationship to my “New Home” and this place on the earth, and All Our Relations.

I am grateful for All Our Relations for the many gifts that are given and provided, from the very air I breathe to the would of the table and frame of the sofa I am on. I am grateful for the minerals and plants, and animals, flora and fauna, cousins all in this great web of life. Bugs to birds to water, ahhh water, soothes, quenches, births, home to fishes and whales, dolphins and manatee, turtles and an entire unseen world within our world. Provider of life, o2 and food for us, I give my heartfelt thanks!

Les oiseaux; songs, inspiration, flight, feathers, omens, a near constant in my life, thank you. The minerals, metals, and ancient plants that our modern world is made up of, I give my heartfelt awestruck thanks for all you do and allow to be done. To the vast bowl of atmosphere surrounding our planet, holding in the air and keeping out the worst parts of the suns blessing to this planet, thank you, we wouldn’t be able to be here if not for you. The animals all, domesticated and wild – lending stories, and flesh to our stories, clothing and shelter entertaining us and keeping us alive, thank you!

To the bug nations, cleanup crews, pollinators, messengers, food for so many. lady bug, desi van, good bugs, bug nationsThey are colorful, brave resourceful, powerful and so different from us in the way you organize and do stuff.

Molds and bacteria, Lichen and… Stones and sand, seas and rivers and streams, This vast and generous Earth/Home/Mother  I give my heartfelt thanks so much to be grateful for G_d(dess)/ Divine creator, Thank you for the spark of my life that animates me and makes me want to be more, to explore, discover and create. Thank you for this miracle of existence for this one tiny, endless moment, Thank you

Of Love & Loss, & Moving On, again…

“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”

– Unknown

Good Friends, Peninsula Yacht Services, Annapolis Dean Benham

This Trip Has Afforded Many Opportunities To Let Go

The loss of my brother two, almost three years ago started the process that culminated in leaving my business and taking this trip over a year ago. Through the many adventures down the waterway, and after the stroke my husband suffered, the adoption of Ft Pierce as a home (a least for now), there have been challenges overcome. Over the past year though the loss has escalated to the loss of two dear friends, and my mother. There is no easy way to navigate, chores and to do lists only carry one so far. Eventually you are left with the empty spaces, the holes in your own soul where a smiling face used to be.

Just a moment to pause with love and contemplation of what the world, and our lives will be like after these key players have gone. No more funny check ins to share our adventures with, no more sunset drinks on the deck, no more late night driving calls just because I knew she was awake.

Sadness, disappointment, and yet…

Waking to First Light and the wonder of sea and wind and All Our Relations, to the gentle breathing of Robert beside me in the dark, I/We go on appreciating that WE are still here with these moments & beauty before us. With these endings the hope of whatever comes next while on the other side they sit together raising a glass with their old loves relaxing, happy and content, I hope.

Sunset, Intercoastal Waterway, ICW, Heading South, Adventures of Emerald Dragon

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

– Kahlil Gibran



“Elles Sont Blondes” & Other Stories Of A Year Travelling

sunrise, new beginnings, adventures of Emerald Dragon

So much time has past since my last writing here, it’s overwhelming just reviewing all that has happened. Even traveling backwards in time via the photo editor while multitasking my Duolingo French, so many feelings. Sadness, hope, joy, and bittersweet memories of this journey, so far. So far because I/we are still on it. We are still camped out in other’s homes (Thank you D&D & Charlie) while the therapizing of RB continues. We are still traveling back and forth to Emerald Dragon every month, “On the hard,” in St. Augustine at the Oasis Marina (a great place BTW, family owned, friendly, ethical & above all kind!).

Life has brought me on quite a journey this year. The previous year had me summarily expulsed from a marketing company I had helped build up and as a result decided that my almost 60 something year life was due for some overhaul, or at least review. The bounce hurt & I work to forgive for the betrayal that cheated me from the relationships, and the financial gains that I feel/felt I deserved. I mostly focus now on the positives I gained from the experience, I learned much  including how to build and maintain a simple website like this,& get everything in writing. 😉

My desire to travel via our sailboat Emerald Dragon was the both the start of and the culmination of my split with the ex business partner. Her “meltdown into melodrama” was precipitated by the suggestion to her that I (&my husband) wanted to take the boat south again as we had twenty years prior. He -approaching seventy, and I -approaching sixty, wanted to be able to do this while we were still healthy. He had developed a heart arrhythmia that seemed mostly under control. After several months worth of fruitless negotiation, and legal action after my expulsion, and winter approaching, the timing seemed right.

Prior to our leaving my husband and I experimented with various ways to generate income from a relatively successful house flip, to AirBnB-ing our waterfront home. I continued to maintain (& still do) several of the social media accounts with folks who chose to maintain a relationship with me. I also began working through several “Self Help” oriented books from Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles , to The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, and most recently The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  As we traveled I connected with and maintained connections with a Master Mind group started by Bonnie, a realtor at the Severna Park Chamber of Commerce, the Annapolis Toastmasters group, as well as a support group of friends who are all therapists and coaches by trade.

I’m blending past and present here a bit.

Through an amazing set of circumstances I connected with Tracey, the woman who would become our tenant, renting our house, fully furnished (somewhat cleaned out already due to the AirBnB thing). She loved the place and needed a home that came furnished and ready to go. I love Win/Win outcomes. With most of our mortgage covered we were able to budget a 6-8 month trip returning to MD in the spring of 2019. We began our journey south in the Fall of 2018 traveling with our friend Dave on his boat Island Queen, another CSY similar to ours. He was a beloved connection and backdrop to much of our journey dropping everything to help move the boat after Robert’s stroke.

We had several memorable stops along the way; Solomon’s Island,The Dismal Swamp, Thanksgiving in St Mary’s, Thunderbolt Marine (Savannah,GA), Pompano Beach , Key West, Suntex Hollywood Marina, St Augustine, and of course Melbourne Yacht club & Ft.Pierce. Unfortunately these locations were often the site of some of the more dramatic events of our trip beginning with my brother’s hospitalization just before Christmas (Pompano), the death of our dear friend and neighbor Bill Flohr (Suntex Hollywood Marina, and culminating in my husband’s stroke while underway in Melbourne Florida.


Fast forward some to July of 2019, the joys and challenges of circumstance have us here at Charlie’s place overlooking the Inland waterway in Ft Pierce. My husband’s stroke while underway, brother’s fall and subsequent realizations about his (& my mom’s) living situation, my mother’s hospitalization, and all of the small moments of both terror and small (& great) beauty along the way.


New friends, and the support and love of old friends, the online family, many of whom I will never meet, my french studies, self studies, dreams, and art, and newfound communities of cruisers, stroke victims, yoga students, marina owners, all caring, helpful, generous folk are who & what have made each of these journeys a blessing.

Next, new doors are ready to be opened, life without (or at least much restricted) alcohol use, Jimmy Buffet songs about the sailing life to be challenged. Healthful new ways of being together, mentally, emotionally, and physically are developing. Moving back on to Emerald Dragon for further adventures of some sort, whether cruising or getting her ready for the next generation of adventurers. More land based and mental/spiritual journeying (anyone toured the Navy Seal Museum yet?). Learning about coaching, both myself and others as a potential career & area for growth, reclaiming my artist self as a painter, photographer, writer, publisher, and healer.

There’s hope in this future, & appreciation of the now, such is the journey as it continues.

Shoveling Out

On dispersing your art to the world,

{I like knowing that pieces of each installation are residing in different parts of the world, spreading the energies of that idea like seeds sown into the wind.} Lauren McAloon, Installation Sculptor, Artist & Facilities manager at The Studios of Key West

Shoveling Out

I really like the idea from the artist/ curator, and chief paperhanger above answered when I asked if it were difficult to let go of her art after an installation piece was finished. “I have art I made when I was 10-11 years old,” I said, “I think often that the only way to release it would be with a bonfire.” I explained that at one point when I started painting, I would do a painting every day, Ms. McAloon smiled and deadpanned that it would be have to be a really big bonfire.

I am often struck when making art, that each choice to add or subtract an element negates multiple other options or directions. On bad days that knowledge becomes paralyzing, on good days I can notice and move on, or keep track somehow of some of the other ideas to revisit them. That is one of the reasons I loved printmaking as a basis for a series of art pieces. All these ideas and creations have a life cycle of their own from idea to conception, creation, refinement, potentially display, and then…

As a semi-professional artist (i.e. thus far I haven’t sold much, or tried very hard to do so), the creating is what I enjoy. The need to store, and even display the creations stops my process sometimes in that there is no room, or more need for what I want to make. I wonder, with reference to the hoarding tendencies of my family, how much this can stifle both my and my sibling’s creativity in general.

There is a bit more to this as well. I’ve never had children. I am blessed that I have had an ongoing relationship with my husband’s children; I was able to watch them grow from a very young age, and even now I get to “play at” being a grand-mother (or Grammy) with their children. While I enjoy them all very much, there is not a sense that they will be interested in what I would “hand down.” The next generation of Benson’s and Ginn’s will likely be uninterested in any of my wisdoms (unless of course it is found to have monetary value). It is one of the challenges of deciding to become a Step, instead of a blood parent (a subject for another day).

My art, my writing, sculptures, paintings, jewelry, photos; are in the greatest sense, my children. When I have completed a piece, I want to live with it a while, and it while it would be nice to hand them off to another, have them be adopted, set them free, that doesn’t often happen without effort. So, what happens to my misfit children? They languish in my basement & studio primarily. My question to myself is, is this hoarding too?

Part of the purpose for me in this trip South was to be able to spend time both reconnecting with family and helping to prepare my disabled brother for his future. My 88-year-old mother, and all of us as a family have to consider how to best deal with an aging, stubborn, (some read fiercely independent) physically & mentally challenged individual both now, and when my mother, his primary caretaker, is unable to care for him.Disabled siblings, caring for the disabled, caring for aging siblings
Unexpectedly my brother Allan had a fall that necessitated a hospital, then rehab stay just as we were approaching the area by boat. The fall highlighted several things, that my mother was not able to assist him when he fell (he out weighs her by 100lbs.) and that the apartment was unsafe for him to return to. I/we decided that to facilitate Allan’s eventual return home that I would undertake another massive cleanout.

Hoarding, holding on too long, Too much Stuff, Marie Kondo
I’ve written about their hoarding issues before, and frankly if they were both content, I’ve been inclined to let them alone with their lifestyle. It’s another family tenant (along with Murphy’s Law) to ‘Live & Let Live,’ Perhaps we (my 2, now one brother(’s)) have been negligent in addressing this earlier.

Whenever I do this massive dig out, and this is number 5, It strikes me how cleaning out our home would be to Robert &/or my step children. What a headache this entails. How many truckloads of detritus to heap onto yet another landfill, not to mention the stagnant energy that all these past musings, both visual and written, are of interest only to me. If I outlive my siblings or mother there may be some interest, and why would any, save some future historian or archaeologist be interested?

In the case of my brother I think his are more a collection of items to stem the tide of going without. A #10 can of safety pins, 27 containers of disposable underwear, 13 spare air fresheners, 25 nail clippers, close to 500 colored pencils, old newspapers in stacks, multiple garbage bag sized snacks, 75 unopened puzzles, hundreds of never opened or viewed, CD’s, DVD’s, VHS tapes, and books & this is but a small part of the “nest” as we call it he feels he must surround himself with. He has a compulsion to wear and use the same clothing items, torn and stained though they are, and to always carry a small holographic collection of this nest with him.

It has taken me 3 weeks of 6-8-hour days with help from my brother and sister in law to clear out and organize most of Allan’s “stuff.” We filled multiple dumpster loads, had quite a few trips to Goodwill, and transferred many items to a storage unit as well. We were all proud of the accomplishment and my brother was able to come home in relative safety, unfortunately in the month since we finished, I suspect the “nest” is growing again.

With the Marie Kondo book” Spark Joy” a rapidly growing conversation in the world I find myself revisiting the need, the desire for the false sense of safety, continuity, and of history that carrying our “stuff” with us provides. I too have been having an internal conversation about what (& how) to let go of.

I love the Shinto concepts underlying much of her de-cluttering philosophy. The belief that kami, or the sacred, exists in everything, no matter how outwardly mundane it appears. (How Shinto Influenced Marie Kondo, The divine spark as a soul or spirit in all things, places, natural forces, Animism it is sometimes called, is a spiritual understanding of many older religions. Science too has begun to recognize that energy is what all matter is made of, and energy itself can form and reform into any physical (& perhaps non-physical) forms.

Ms. Kondo states that when she enters a home to be de-cluttered, she greets it as sacred space. With each item reviewed she taps it to wake, & when releasing it says Thank you for all that item has represented. Perhaps the re-cluttering is an unconscious gathering of these energies to protect, insulate, or otherwise fill an empty interior space within. Perhaps also if I were to have approached both my brother’s nest, as well as my own sacred art space, with that respect and honor the de-cluttering would hold.

It’s certainly an interesting thought.