Vein of Gold: Check-in

Xiane’s had a lot going on, as have my other cluster members. I only hope they can join me here soon – I’m feeling a bit awkward about monopolizing our blog space!

I’m still working through the Vein of Gold. Because of its intense and triggering nature, it takes longer. I have overcome the block of taping myself, but as I expected after my father’s death, there has been some backsliding into behaviors rooted in childhood – and the artist’s way work can be used to heal that, and was working, but now I need to bring it back again somehow. What I’m thinking of specifically is eating-disordered behavior. I have a habit of eating at night while watching television (TV is my vice) and while doing work at night on various projects inspired by the artist’s way, I managed to get myself to stop. Now I seem to have stopped doing the artwork at night while I watch TV – usually just goofs and scribblings – and I’ve gone back to the eating. This is triggered by family stress (no one else in the world can push my buttons like they do, and it is my sincerest hope that Eros will someday gift me with the “off” switch specific to when I’m dealing with family stress.) It’s basically me showing my inner child I care about it and have its attention by feeding it fairly constantly, not realizing that what my inner child needs isn’t actually food – and that my child really enjoys the exercise, and that “I don’t feel like it!” scream isn’t actually true, it’s just an attempt to reject something the way I’ve felt rejected, something that can’t reject me back.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty of projects for myself. I do. But the feed me fallback is pretty deeply entrenched. Since affection was considered a required payment (I was occasionally forced to hug people), I didn’t see it as much of a gift, but food showed me someone cared.

I have gotten myself back to my schedule that I was on in May, with new variations. I try to work out before I do my morning pages, and then write them while I have a breakfast smoothie and coffee. I write a daily minimum which is turning out to be effective – there are writers I know who spend all day crafting 500 words, so I can do this! Next, one post apiece to my blogs, with occasional “lost weekends” working on them. Then I work on my Etsy shop. I try to stop working at 5 (as recommended) though of course sometimes it’s not that easy. Getting up early is hard, as is going to bed at a reasonable time. And my life is more social than it was when I started this program last year – I am grateful for that social activity, because my friends are truly fantastic people. I just need to balance my inner needs with my social needs.

Other problems are coming up as I do my morning pages, but the food one is one that I can start the process of solving now. (Read: not SOLVE now. These steps won’t fix everything all at once, it’ll take some work and some backslides.) First, I have lots of fresh veggies that need attention from my friend Joel’s garden. I also like to plan meals ahead, and prepare some food a few days ahead. I’m going to declare Sunday nights “cook ahead” night, thus when I DO get the munchies, what I grab is at least a relatively healthy option, and there will be something to grab. I can cook brown rice ahead, prepare smoothies with frozen fruit for a few days ahead, and I have some huge squashes to puree and freeze for squash soup. If the path of least resistance is a healthy choice made easy, it’s a good one.

The next step will be working it into my schedule so that workouts and walks are preferable and easy. It’s way too difficult to put in the two hours a day all at once, and Mike’s workout schedule is just too late for me – I need more sleep than he does. I’m looking at working in three workouts a day, the morning body sculpt, the afternoon walk and finishing the day with yoga. It might also be helpful to get the Wii fit in that case – if the workout is linked to my brain as “game” I’m more likely to do it because my inner child will think I’m just playing, and not doing Serious Boring Grownup Crap that’s Meaningless. (You should have heard my four year old diatribes on the evening news. One started with “If people get killed in Chicago every day, how is this news?” I was FOUR.)

But – the book is progressing nicely. Thanks to Finding Water, I found a writer’s group, and while I haven’t taken full advantage of it because of my own “you don’t get it!” syndrome, I’m getting there. We’re all different genres so it’s not the horrendous competition I dealt with in graduate school. I’m still showing up, every day – and that’s the most important part of every process.