My journey in a new direction

Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Emerging thoughts, creativity and discoveries

Posted by BarbaraZ on September 2, 2013

Emerging from within

Emerging from within

Life goes on. It often does not turn out the way we plan, but how we adapt to the surprises and the detours that are put in our path, makes all the difference.  We will succeed or overcome these events if we are able to react positively. For some reason, I pulled this board of redwood out of hiding and started to finish a project I had started over 10 years ago. Not quite sure what I had in mind for the finished carving back then and even now… I am ‘playing it by ear,’ deciding on the next move only after seeing how it progresses.  Ah, a mystery is emerging!

It has been so long since I last added a post, I have had to relearn the steps!  Not good. This blog has been on my mind quite a bit. It too, has been altered its journey. I moved away from the original “restoring your inner self” to basically a sharing format of blog. This will be changing. I have work to do, learning to take place and I am looking forward to each step as it happens.

blogmutt logo

Right now I am on a self-imposed hiatus from another emerging journey that I have enjoyed so much. I discovered a wonderful site to write for, BlogMutt. There is no stress such as deadlines, except those that are self-imposed. Sure the edits can rub the wrong way, but if you have a positive attitude, that is not a problem. Questions? Just ask… The camaraderie that is found on the forum is super. You move up within BlogMutt by earning points for each post you write and also the rating given each post. For an incentive, writers are able to set as a goal, the number of posts that they say they will write each month. This is totally voluntary. Considering the number of writers they have onboard, it is hard to believe that BlogMutt is also an emerging force in the world of freelance content writing.

I just made Level 6 and I am so excited about that accomplishment. I was not even aware that I would enjoy writing! When all is lined up again, I will start writing once more. It is a great place. Maybe you cannot make a living income from it, but it is one way stay-at-home moms can add to the household income. Freelance writers who write full-time, find BlogMutt to be great for filling in the cracks of their often uncertain income. Here is a link to their blog. They also have a Facebook Page. Explore the links and who knows, it may become an emerging journey for you too!


I came across an app called Catch My Pain. It has given me a tool for dealing with my neuropathy. It is an app that is also emerging as the team develops new features. More are going to be added on a regular basis. Below is a synopsis from their site.

Pain can be very complex: Over time, it can move or expand to different locations of your body, the intensity may vary, or there might be various influences which increase or ease your pain. Keeping a diary helps you to get to know your pain and you might notice a pattern which will help you to adapt your lifestyle accordingly. Keeping a pain diary also helps you to explain and describe your pain to any care provider or a family member: By using CatchMyPain you can finally make your pain visible to others and you won’t forget the course of your pain or any other important information.

In a small way, I have been able to be apart of this, by writing some articles for use with the app. Two have been #1.published and #2.published. The individuals involved, out of Switzerland, are a super group with some major emerging ideas. Eventually it will be possible to be linked up with others and able to share experiences and survival tips. The information gathered through the responses by those using the app, will be studied by experts in the field of pain management. This app is not only for those with intense debilitating pain, but it helps anyone who has to deal with chronic pain that interrupts their daily life, their goals and dreams.

I use the app before and after certain activities, at the end of my work day, and it helps me to become aware of what brings on the severe pain that knocks my feet out from under me. It is my awareness tool. I use it to become more aware of my actions and how they affect my body. This practice of review helps me to have a sense of control over what is happening with my body and what I feel. I believe that now a more positive outlook is emerging in this area of my life.

Blue Heron

Another form of help that I have discovered is John F. Barnes Myofascial Release. I was getting all tied up in knots as the result of various habits and injuries from the past and was always needing therapy. I found therapists who used Barnes’ form of treatment and decided to splurge on the DVD as it would end up being cheaper than having to go for therapy on a regular basis. By constantly exploring new ways, listening to my body, new methods of survival are emerging and allowing me to move into a better way of life.

By following the stretching routines that are on the second DVD, I am now able to undo that unbelievable neck spasm that activates when I am not careful. Do not ever, under any circumstances, get in the habit of holding the phone, cell phone between your neck and shoulder, on a regular basis. I did that for 10 years when I worked as a unit secretary in the ER and I have paid for it over and over. This tender spot can be activated by poor posture, stress, and the list goes on. I can control this!  That is what is so great about all I have learned.

I am also able to loosen up from head to toe by using the unwinding routine found at the end of the second DVD. I have a sensitive lumbar area (thanks to an L1 compression fracture). My posture during sleep is an ongoing project of various pillow placements!  The first DVD is aimed at practitioners. The price may seem a bit high, but after looking at my co-pay for therapy, I have paid it off several times already.

Side by Side We Can Change the World

One thing I discovered yesterday, is that standing does not have to be a major pain source. My carving set-up requires that I stand next to my home-made bench and carving vise. I thought, as I was getting ready, “What can I try to prevent what I know usually happens when I stand without walking?” I mentally reviewed stretches that have been given to me by podiatrists, physical therapists and more. First, I did bilateral heel stretches several times while carving. Another stretch was to put one foot up on a brick and drop from the waist downward between my legs. With each breath my torso dropped further, keeping my lumbar area flexible. I did this bilaterally. Then I did another stretch, known in yoga as Uttanasana I. Now, I am not in any way able to do it as it shows it done in my yoga book, but I can almost touch my toes and that is quite a bit better than it was a number of years ago.

Life is definitely a journey of constant emerging. If you let your life become stagnant, there is no room for growth, for adventure. Find your own form for emerging at what ever stage of life you find yourself now. Explore new skills, seek out new knowledge. With the technology of today, the options are amazing!

Posted in Challenges, Health, Mindfulness, New Directions | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Ray Bradbury and His Joy of writing

Posted by BarbaraZ on January 20, 2013

I had the opportunity to hear him speak many years ago as a part of a class I was taking. His message to us was to ‘believe’, to never lose sight of the child that exists in all of us. His joy of writing came through his words, expression and manner of speaking. He spoke of taking flight within one’s life, exploring new ‘worlds’, not letting your life to become stagnant. He left a strong impression on me, not just about writing, but about living life.

His main points during the talk included:

  • Keeping Joy of life alive.
  • Never losing sight of the child within you.
  • Believing in yourself
  • Look always to the future
  •  Be free, not bound by others beliefs and thoughts

I did two drawings. One was the quick non-stop pen drawing below. It was done at the end of the lecture, as we were in line to go up and meet him. Along the side of the drawing I wrote the words he spoke that touched me the most.  I couldn’t afford to purchase a book for him to autograph, so when I reached him, I nervously handed him the quick sketch. He looked up at me… he looked at the sketch… then proceeded to give me an A+ as well as his autograph.

My sketch that was done as I was waiting in line to meet him.

My sketch that was done in line while waiting to meet him.

My art, drawing and photography, has been of the visual mode. I have done woodcarving, clay sculpture, and photography. The method of expression is different. With the carving and clay sculpture, it took many steps to reach an expression presented through a single form. With photography, one click creates a single image. Of course, with digital software of today, more manipulation can be done, but it is still a single image that speaks for the artist.

With writing, it is the combining of many words in a unique manner that becomes a special expression. A mood, personalities, plot, environment and circumstances are combined to take the reader on a journey.

“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation. So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”

For Bradbury, writing was something he had to do daily. For him, an hour of writing was like a tonic. “Not to write, for many of us, is to die.” “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me.” “After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. Now it’s your turn. Jump!” He said he wrote at least a thousand words a day ‘from the age of 12 on.’

He started to make lists. He first made lists of his loves and hates. Later he began to make lists of titles and nouns. He called these lists the provocations that make it possible for his better work to surface. Down the road came lists that dealt with the night, nightmares, darkness and objects in attics. He states:

Where am I leading you? Well, if you are a writer, or would hope to be one, similar lists, dredged out of the lopside of your brain, might well help you discover you, even as I flopped around and finally found me.

He would choose a noun and start a prosy poem and it would eventually turn into a story! Characters would appear and he would let them finish the rest of the tale for him. He explored the attics of his grandparents as well as their basements. Death, fear, fantasy, graveyards all attracted him. Nouns relating to these subjects started him rapidly writing. Carnivals and his experiences with them were another source of great inspiration for him.

There is so much that I read in the Zen in the Art of Writing that I could go on and on. If you have a chance, pick it up. His vocabulary is so full of description, his thoughts run from one subject to another… showing the relation of thought and feelings. Most of all is the excitement he felt when putting words together to create his vision from within.

I believe one thing holds it all together. Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it.

Afterwards we all had to write a report on his lecture, using any format we wished. I did mine through a colored pencil drawing on plain newsprint, the image shown here. Again you can see the words that reached out to me.

The words I wrote at the bottom say:

In order to motivate your listeners, you the teacher must renew yourself. You must stay in touch with that inner you– the child.  Believe in yourself and enjoy what you do.  Be Free, open to change. Be Joyous!

This was my final report after attending the lecture by Ray Bradbury

This was my final report after attending the lecture by Ray Bradbury

Posted in Joy of Life, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

New Technology in My Life

Posted by BarbaraZ on November 18, 2012

Here it is… with many new skills to learn

This is the new tool I have in my life. It is a joint birthday/Christmas present from both myself and my partner, Elliot. I had been interested in the iPad mini, till the price ended up higher than first anticipated  When the new iPad mini was introduced, I learned that there were some bargains to be found within the ranks of the older models. I found on CNet, a good review about the iPad, 3rd generation (refurbished). The price was right and I was ready. Since I have not experienced the technology of the iPhone, iPod or any other iPad, I am most happy with what I have ended up with.

I am learning about Instagram. Lost one and discovered it ended up on Facebook!  I was trying to enhance it and sent it instead. Tried a few apps in different categories, mainly art and photography. The ones I liked, I have kept. A few I got rid of. Luckily an app is not the price of computer software.  So many are free!  I downloaded Art Studio for iPad. It is a keeper. It reminds me of Corel Painter which I have always enjoyed working in. I also downloaded Camera+. It lets me do some enhancing before sending and or saving for later use.

While I was not going to use it for reading, I found that it works very well for that, especially when it comes to more serious reading. I can highlight multiple ways and most importantly… create a comment. While I often highlight hardback books I have never written comments in the margins. The reader program for Sony, now has an app for the iPad. I can re-read all the books I have purchased (no-thinking books) for my Sony reader on the iPad. When I read a no-thinking book, I do not read them word for word and therefore do not remember the whole plot etc. Going back and reading them again several months later is fine with me!  I keep hardback favorites for the same reasons.

What this marvel of technology is supposed to be for me, is a roving digital sketch pad. I cannot say that it was reached that level of use, but it will. I can draw from nature directly or take a photo and open it within Art Studio and work on it from there.

The effect of technology on our lives is being observed and studied in detail. Many negative and some positive aspects are being pointed out. A very humorous yet sad outlook can be found on Our Lighter Side. One of the serious books I am reading on my iPad is Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil. He writes about the nature deficit disorder: the loss of nature in our daily lives and its affect on us, especially in the lives of children. Dr. Weil states:

 We simply are not meant to live as many of us do today: sedentary, alone, staring at glowing screens that keep us on perpetual information overload, eating processed food, and sleep-deprived as artificial light extends the natural day well into the night. Living this way undermines physical and mental health in profound ways.

He does not believe we have to withdraw from the modern world, but we do have to be aware of what is happening and take the means needed to counteract the negative aspects of this overwhelming use of modern technology. One of the strongest medical problems that has developed is depression. People are no longer interactive individuals, but are becoming isolated within their world of technology.

No. For most of us, that’s unrealistic. Instead, we need to realize that we must consciously follow behaviors in the modern world that reflect what our bodies and minds are meant to be doing. We need to move our bodies more; be truly (as opposed to electronically) social; eat whole, unprocessed food; and align our sleep more closely with the sun’s cycles. I also think that ancient spiritual traditions – particularly those that advocate various forms of meditation – can offer valuable opportunities for achieving emotional well-being. So can newer schools of psychotherapy such as “positive psychology,” which provides a wealth of specific techniques to boost emotional health.

As I have become absorbed in the use of my iPad, I can see how this might happen and I only have this one form of modern technology. It is enough for me. My cell phone is for basic communication and emergencies. It is not my main source for communicating. I have never been a big phone talker, ask my children. I prefer to talk face to face. Now that they are not close, I have had to learn to talk longer via the phone, any form of phone.

I have a long way to go before I really know all the iPad can do and will continue do pursue it. I am going to learn chess and play tennis with Roger Federer’s tennis app! No other games. I do play Mahjong on my laptop. That is enough!

Posted in Challenges, Health, New Directions, New Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

I Love Dr. Suess

Posted by BarbaraZ on August 20, 2012

On Facebook, the Goodwill Librarian posted this along with the image. I am sharing it with you.

There were so many requests for this poster that I decided to upload the high resolution file so it could be downloaded. The image is 10 x 8 inches and is 300 dpi which is optimal for printing. To save it, just right click anywhere on the photo and choose ‘Save picture as…’ from the menu. Enjoy!

Life Lessons From Dr Seuss

Yes, we are who we are… that is special. We all have unique talents to share, to grow with. It is our attitude, our way of accepting ourselves. That saying… your attitude can make or break you is so very true. Take your gifts, learn how to use them for your own betterment and for the good of others. Don’t be afraid to step forward, to lead if need be.

Be true to yourself and you will find much to discover in life. If you are always trying to be ‘like another’ you will miss out. It is not always possible to undo past actions. Reality is for the day, each day of your life… it is the now that will take you forward to the future. Fantasy is an only as illusion that will not take you any where. Living in a fantasy world will just be time lost, opportunities lost.

Gain all you can in knowledge and you can use this to move forward in a positive way. Listen to others who have made good choices. See the steps they have taken and the work they have had to put out. It may not be the easiest to stay in reality, but it is the best place to be.

Posted in Challenges, Enjoyable | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Oft Used quote from Shakespeare: To Thine Own Self be True.

Posted by BarbaraZ on March 21, 2012

We Must Walk Side by Side With our Youth

Today’s world bombards us from all sides, showing us the way to dress—to do our hair—what music we should listen to. If you do not go along with what is considered appropriate for your age group, you appear to be an outsider, a misfit.

It starts right out of the crib with parents being aware of specific expectations for their child. They read of methods to improve their child’s intellect, their learning ability. Some start to groom their child to be the person they wished they had become instead of who they ended up being. When any individual is forced, whether with good intentions or not, to be someone other than whom they really are, that child misses out learning what their own special skills and abilities are.

This pressure continues through elementary school, on up to high school and beyond.  There seems to be a need in the world today, to become an overachiever. To be the best athlete, have the top grades are expectations and goals that bring a feeling of being over-whelmed. It does not matter if these goals are self-imposed or through another.

When the individual falls short, even if they had given their all, it damages their self-esteem. Their image in the eyes of the one who had the expectations is tarnished… this is even if it was their own. It is seen as a ‘failure.’  What is forgotten here, is the effort and what difficulties might have needed to be overcome. Effort must count, it must be included in the final judgment.

A personal experience will be added here. I went to a school with high standards. I tried my best, but there were certain subjects that I found difficult, one was Latin.  When grades were given out, we were all assembled in the cafeteria and one or two individuals were called to stand and their grades were read aloud. One fateful time, I was chosen. Thankfully we were graded not only by the subject, but also for our effort. I did quite poorly in Latin, but it was noted that I got a high grade for my effort. That helped me somewhat, but it was still a most unnerving experience to have ones grades read out loud in front of the whole assembly.

This is harder on the pre-teen and teenagers than for others. What is happening is that these youngsters are looking for ways to deal with this pressure. They start to turn to alcohol or drugs. If they are an athlete, they try enhancements to help them achieve more. It does not stop here, it follows individuals into college and beyond. Those top students, when they enter the workforce, they often find circumstances that are totally different from what they expected. The competition is fierce. Again, they seek to block it out, one way or another.

How to change this? Our whole society would have to get a complete makeover. It can be done, though parents and teachers, accepting each child for who they are. To help them discover their talents and find their own direction. This is easy to say, but not very easy to make happen. Schools and teachers are now graded themselves, by the grades of the students on tests. Their jobs depend on the success of the students and the students are being taught to pass these tests.

Now what?  I wish I knew. I would love to hear from teachers and even those who were made to follow a path that did not fit them as individuals. We have to guide our youth, walk with them, side by side. We must help them learn who they really are as individuals, so they can be true to themselves.

Article first published as An Oft Used quote from Shakespeare: “To Thine Own Self be True” on Technorati.

Posted in Challenges, Helping our youth, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

A new step in my new direction

Posted by BarbaraZ on August 14, 2011

Beauty in detail... used a similar version of this photo

I completed my first How-to for Helium. This is a whole new experience for me.  Putting it together is like a jigsaw puzzle, but the wizard takes you step by step.  What I like is that I can use my own photos, and even create some to demonstrate steps when doing a craft etc.

You can follow this link:

You see… learning is a life long experience. I am enjoying every minute!!

Posted in Helium, New Directions | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »


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