A Room of One’s Own Day

Today is A Room of One’s Own Day…aka Virginia Woolf’s birthday. If you’ve been reading my writing around here for a while, you already know that the phrase “A room of my own” is something that I say a lot. It’s not that I have a one track mind but it is a phrase that sums up my feelings about my life, my world, my goals, and needs for growth. I need a room of my own.

Do I mean an actual physical room? Well, yes and no. Since we moved into this house, my “studio” has been half of an 8 by 10 foot room, the other half being occupied by my boyfriend’s office area. It doesn’t work for me. The only thing I have ever used the studio for so far is storage and even in that regard, it fails miserably. I felt guilty about wanting to have it all to myself for quite some time. And then, one day, I realized that I had nothing to feel guilty about. My boyfriend has an entire double car garage that has been converted into a workshop at his disposal. There is nothing out there that belongs to me and I never use that space for anything. He has it filled to the brim with tools, hardware, and computer parts and supplies.

I have realized that my wanting to have that small room all to myself was not selfish. It is to function as my studio and office. I need space for my art supplies, space to work on my art projects and to do my writing, space to store my art and writing books, and space for all of my teaching materials. I need space to hang things that inspire me – and those things are rarely something my boyfriend finds inspirational too. (Can I help that most of them are pink?) I need a space where I can nest, where I can completely embrace my own personality, where I can feel completely at home, completely in control, and completely at peace.

As I reflected on my need and desire, and yes even my right to a room of my own, I realized something important. While I do need a physical space in this home that I can call my own and only mine, I also realized that it is a metaphor for even more. It isn’t just a room of my own that I want in the physical sense…it’s a room of my own in my heart and in my soul. I need a room of my own in the form of a journal, where I can keep my innermost, honest thoughts, where I can record my journey through life. It’s a room of my own within my heart where I can feel free to look inward with pride and joy. It’s a room of my own in my soul where I can feel free to express myself, with my authentic self, without the censors who exist in order to try to present the picture of me that is meant solely to please others and to address their desires for me, instead of my desires for myself.

I found this blog post on the subject and thought the questions she raises were pretty interesting:

http://brocante-home.blogspot.com/2010/01/room-of-ones-own.html

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 2:52 am  Comments (7)  

Doors

This began with the following prompt:  http://www.dailywriting.net/Doors.htm  Clarissa Pinkola Estes said that “Women will draw doors where there are none, and open them and pass through into new ways and new lives.”

I awaken in my room at Riversleigh Manor. It’s early. So early that it’s still dark outside but sleep eludes me now. I pad quietly over to the small table and cozy wingback chair in front of the fireplace. Funny…Matron seems to have read my mind once again as there is a tray of freshly made scones still warm from the oven and a pot of hot tea. How did she know I would awaken so early today? No sense spending too much time pondering that – in Lemuria anything can happen! I stoke the fire and wrap a quilt around my shoulders, sinking into the chair. There’s fresh honey from the apiary behind the manor and I add some to my tea, along with a little squeeze of fresh lemon. For my scones, freshly churned butter. There’s even a bowl of the plumpest, juiciest, most delectable strawberries I have ever seen! I love how in Lemuria my allergy to strawberries is null and void. I enjoy a leisurely breakfast, content if still a little bleary-eyed from the early hour.

Just as I am finishing up my morning repast, I hear a sound. The noise is coming from the wall behind me. A mechanical sound that sort of whirs and hums and then stops with a loud “ding”! I turn around and am shocked to see, where there used to be a beautiful window overlooking the glorious gardens and ponds outside the manor, that there is now a set of elevator doors. The doors are nearly open by the time I look and as they slide apart, I see a white gloved hand pulling apart the inner doors – you know the kind I mean? The old fashioned metal ones that resemble a cage? The hand is attached to an equally old fashioned elevator operator – the type who looks like a hotel bellboy out of some old story like Madeline or Eloise in the red jacket and black pants with gold trim and brass buttons and that little black cap with the chin strap that reminds me of those monkeys that accompany organ grinders in the movies. “Going down!” he calls out to me. I blink. I blink again this time keeping my eyes closed just a little longer. The elevator and its operator were still there. “Going down,” he calls out again. I glance down, taking note of the dressing gown I am still wearing, the big fuzzy bunny slippers on my feet. “Uhhh,” I begin. “’Tis no problem,” he says brightly, wide knowing grin on his face. “It’s Lemuria. We take you as you are.” I step into the elevator and as I watch him pull the gate closed, followed by the solid elevator doors, I find myself wondering what I (or perhaps E) has gotten me into this time.

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

My word is…

So, apparently one of the “trends” making the rounds for 2010 is for people to pick one word that sums up what they want to manifest for themselves.  I first heard about it on Twitter but since then have seen many bloggers and crafters sharing their words as well.  Some people are even taking their words and incorporating them into a piece of art as a visual reminder of what they have chosen for themselves.  I am not a big fan of resolutions – I don’t get the whole waiting until January 1st to set goals.  What about the rest of the year?  Plus, I find that because people tend to only make resolutions once a year, they then try to make them so all-encompassing and so extensive that they are broken by the end of January.  I prefer to set goals all year long and I try to make them something reasonable and to break them down into achievable steps.  I did, however, like this idea of choosing a word for the year.  It would give me some focus for what I want to do and I could base any goals I set throughout the year around this word.  When someone on Twitter asked me to choose a word, there was no hesitation, no thinking needed.  It popped into my head instantly.  Serenity.  Now, what’s YOUR word?

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 12:12 am  Comments (4)  

Defying Gravity

Ok, I admit it.  I’ve never seen Wicked (although I would really like to) and I am a GLEEk (for those not in the know, that’s a fan of the TV show Glee).  This song is from Wicked but was covered (in a slightly different version) by two cast members on Glee.  I adore this song – it’s my current favourite.  It’s beautiful but more than that I think the lyrics sum up my current state of mind. 

Here are part of the lyrics:

Defying Gravity

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t bring me down!

I think that to truly create a room of your own, you have to start by “defying gravity”.  What do you think?

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 11:27 pm  Comments (2)  

Plough Monday

For some, particularly in years gone by in England, Plough Monday was the official end to the Christmas Season. It was somewhat of an extension of the 12 Days of Christmas and Epiphany. Plough Monday is the Monday immediately following Epiphany. Historically this is the day to put away the remains of the Yule log, storing it in a dry place to use as kindling for the following year’s log. The ashes that are left from the Yule log being burnt over the 12 days of Xmas are gathered up and sprinkled on the fields to bless them and make them more fertile in preparation for ploughing to begin again. This is the time when the priest blesses the plough as well. It is considered the traditional beginning of the farming season but this day was not considered a day for work. Instead, the ploughs were decorated for the celebration and then they were dragged through the streets and the owners would "beg" for money. Anyone who refused to participate was in danger of having their garden ploughed up. Money that was collected was used to pay for a large candle that was placed on the altar at church which was then blessed by the priest to ensure good weather for ploughing and an abundant harvest.

What is it about Plough Monday that got me to thinking about this room of my own? The two topics don’t really seem to go together do they? And yet, as I recalled the fact that this coming Monday was Plough Monday, it triggered something inside and got me reflecting on having a room of my own once again. Or perhaps I should say still. I think maybe it was the ashes and the blessings that struck me. I began to reflect on the idea of the ashes – burnt remains from the Yule log, something reflective of the joy of the season but now past being then used to provide fertility for what’s yet to come. And, what’s yet to come is new life, change for the better, growth. This all, then, sent my thoughts turning to something very familiar to me – something I have long identified with. The Phoenix. Several years ago I chose the Phoenix as sort of a personal symbol for myself. In a spiritual group I belong to, we are encouraged to pick new, symbolic names for ourselves and I have always known that mine would be based on and partly comprised of Phoenix. I even have a tattoo design that I created incorporating the Phoenix as the major component.

mythical-creatures-5 from Karen's Whimsy

Phoenix Image from http://karenswhimsy.com/public-domain-images/

Why do I identify so strongly with the Phoenix? A Phoenix is a mythical firebird. They are said to live 500-1000 years and when they come close to the end of their lives, they build a nest that ignites. The nest and the Phoenix are consumed by the fire but from the ashes, rises a new young Phoenix, reborn to live again. I first latched onto this symbol shortly after the car accident I was in. Although my injuries weren’t life-threatening, I knew that I was going to be living with their effects permanently. I also knew that this was a situation where I could either wallow in what used to be or I could choose to move forward as a person who was somewhat different, yet the same. In other words, I could choose to wallow in the ashes or I could move forward and become reborn – still a Phoenix, yet not the Phoenix I once was. Certainly, some of what was left in the ashes were things I would like back – more energy and stamina, pain-free days, better freedom of movement, but much of what was reborn in me was so much for the better. When we are given the opportunity for a new beginning, so many of us focus on what we are leaving behind, forgetting about the possibilities that lie before us.

We don’t have to wait for a traumatic event to consume us in fire in order to rise up again from the ashes. Each and every day there are opportunities for rebirth standing right before us. We can choose our Plough Monday, our first day of Spring, our New Year’s Day…we can choose to rise out of the ashes like a Phoenix, to break out of a cocoon like a butterfly at any time. That’s what I want from having a room of my own.

"Out of the ashes the phoenix rises, reborn in boundless grace to fly again." (quote from the TV show, Joan of Arcadia)

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm  Comments (5)  

A Room of my Own

http://www.dailywriting.net/WritingRoom.htm

A Room of My Own

It’s funny. Today is the first time I have noticed the post at the Soul Food Cafe entitled A Room of Your Own. Yet, when I embarked on the voyage on the SS Vulcania, it was the first thing that popped into my mind…the need for a room of my own. I began a journey into finding one…then shortly thereafter abandoned it. At the time, I felt it was unintentional. I got too busy, I was too ill, I had more pressing things on my mind but when I reflect back on it, I realize something very important. I gave up. The journey became hitting on some sensitive areas in my heart and soul and I decided to run in the opposite direction. Since that time, however, I have come to another realization. This journey may have frightened me a bit..ok more than a bit, but still, it is a journey I desperately need to make.

In 1998, I, along with my mother and daughter, was in a car accident. According to our rescuers, the police, and those at the auto shop, we were lucky to be alive. They listed off to us the many, many ways we "should" have died that day. If the vehicle that hit us had been one inch more to the passenger side, my daughter would have been crushed. If our vehicle had been one model year younger than the one we had, our gas tank would have blown up on impact. If traffic coming towards hadn’t cleared at the EXACT second that we were hit, we would have been involved in a 5 car pileup. If my seat hadn’t broken and fallen backwards (which ironically caused the majority of my injuries), my chest would have been crushed between the seat and the steering wheel which I hit with full force. When we went to take photographs and try to salvage our remains from our car at the auto shop, even given what DID happen, they were shocked to see us still walking. They felt that if anyone who had been in that car had lived, they surely must have ended up in intensive care. And they were even more shocked to find out anyone (my daughter) had been in the back seat and had survived at all. The list goes on and on. Our lives changed in that instant.

Although the accident didn’t cause broken bones or life-threatening injuries, it did cause many life-changing injuries – some for the worse, but some were actually gifts that changed our lives for the better. My life, my priorities took a turn after that day. I began to reassess what was truly important. I can’t say that I changed overnight. I can’t say that I still don’t have changes that I would like to make. In fact, I think that life should be a lifelong journey of growth so I suppose I wouldn’t even want to become “my ideal self” all at once. What would I strive for then? No, I want to savour the journey. And I don’t want to completely decide right now just what it is that I want to be “when I grow up”. I want to be open to change and growth, to new opportunities, to new learning opportunities.

How does this all relate to having a room of my own? Since the time of the accident some other traumatic events have happened in my life. I have survived. But for a time, it took its toll. I lost myself a little bit. I shut myself away from the outside world to an extent and I started sinking into a bit of a depression. And then, one day, I made a decision. I decided to be happy. It sounds simple doesn’t it? In some ways it is…just as simple as saying “I’m going to be happy.” In some ways, it can be oh so difficult. In the process of heading towards happiness, I have come to realize more and more the need for a room of my own…a safe haven where I can be me, where I can hold onto what’s dear to me and learn to let go of what isn’t, where I can keep my heart and soul safe, a place where I can embrace serenity.

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 5:07 am  Comments (3)