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How I keep from feeling overwhelmed – The Morning Pages

11 Apr


“Be willing to be a beginner.  Good things will happen.” – Julia Cameron

New Project 1

People often say to me, “You’re so laid back,  you’re so easy-going,” to which I nod my head and smile. But the truth is – I’m not.  Well let me rephrase that.  I am those things. But the real truth is, I have to work at it.  I have had days and weeks where I become overwhelmed with the things I have to do or think about, have trouble sleeping and become irritable and grumpy and I shut down. Projects I want to do, things I HAVE to do and all of the steps that go in hand with those projects can make me anxious.  The mind is a crazy thing that will just run rampant with anything you feed it!  I usually try to organize myself very well so I don’t get overwhelmed and that’s been a huge help.  But last year, I discovered a tool from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way to really work with anxious thoughts.  That tool is the Morning pages which I talk about in the video below.  The morning pages is a daily exercise that allows you to get all of those thoughts out of your head and into paper so they no longer bog down your brain and you are free to STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM.  I found for myself that doing this exercise daily (for weeks!) lent me relief and I actually had better days because of it.

How do you begin doing the morning pages yourself?  The steps are:

1 – Get a notebook or looseleaf paper.

2 – Write 3 pages every day, in long hand (print is fine).  3 pages = front of a page, back of the same page and front of one other page.

3 – Don’t think.  Just write.  Anything that comes to mind.  No really.  Anything.

This is not Shakespeare, this is not a writing sample for your job search, this isn’t even Dear Diary.  It’s a literal brain dump.  Complain.  Curse.  Be disgruntled and ugly and as mean as you want to be.  If you can’t think of anything write, “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write” until something comes to mind.  You may be surprised at what you want to gripe about!

This is a tool that I am so glad to have in my bag because when I use it, my day literally has more time in it and I feel clear-headed.  Watch the video to learn more about how it helped me learn how to deal with – well, myself!  Maybe it will be a help to you too.

Thanks for watching and talk to you soon!

-Patricia

“There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.” – Julia Cameron

New Project 2

Me laughing at while looking back at an illegible, manic-looking entry.

Ahhhhh!

14 Jun

That is not the scream of despration, it is the scream of something I saw that I LOVE!  Drawings on pages of old books is perfect project for me since a) I like to read and b) I actually BUY books – still.  In fact, I have a ton of books that don’t even fit on my current puny bookcase.  The only problem may be that since I love all of my books so much, choosing one to deface may prove difficult….

Anyway, I officially know what my next project is.  It may have been done before but it hasn’t been done by ME!  Stay tuned to see what I come up with and how I handle the book dilemma.

To see more of these check out Etsy shop, nommon.  In fact, just click here.

I AM a writer!

1 Apr

I love to write.  I’m not one to write a grand epic novel, that’s not quite in me.  But I like to write so much that I started this blog so I could simultaneously put up any artwork I do and write a little somethin’ down for people to read now and then and enjoy myself while doing so.

But recently, I have been thinking to myself, meh, I’m not really a writer.  I don’t say to people when I introduce myself, “I’m Patricia, I write!” I started to get a little down thinking how while I like to do this it’s never been anything that takes off or has been any kind of important.  And then I remembered that time that it had.

When I worked in New York, I was given the task from my boss to write a “blurb/editorial” about our company ILevel.  He told me it was for an article about things that are unique to New York and cannot be found anywhere else.  “It’s going to be in Avenue magazine,” he said.  “Can you do that?”

Uhhh, can I?  “Sure!” I said cheerfully, feeling doubtful.  Eek, can I really do it?  What if he doesn’t like it?  What am I going to write?  What if he hates it so much he fires me (this was an actual conversation in my head).  So I stepped away from the phones, went down to Two Boots pizza to take a load off and sat and thought.  And below, right beneath the section that says “ILEVEL” is what I came up with:

p.s.  My boss loved it!  It says his name for the byline but that’s okay because it was written word for word  by me.  Patricia Mendizabal, writer.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

14 Feb

An Object of Beauty

Steve Martin is an author?  Keep reading.

I had a two year stint in the very very outside perimeters of the New York art scene.  By perimeter I mean I answered the phone at an art installation company in New York City for 2.5 years.  Every now and then I got to speak to someone very interesting on the phone who would throw around names such as de Kooning and Damien Hirst.  I hadn’t heard of either of them.  I got to go into homes exactly 3 times and see the types of art that hung on the Upper East Side.  My Bachelor’s in Studio Art was a joke here, a hiccup in this world.  My studying slides of Carravagio in 1998 left me with nothing to contribute to this world, a point which this book sort of helps to drive home.

“I am tired, so very tired of thinking about Lacey Yeager, yet I worry that unless I wrote her story down, and see it bound and tidy on my bookshelf, I will be unable to ever write about anything else.”  So begins Daniel Frank’s story  about his college friend Lacey Yeager, a ferociously ambitious up and comer in New York’s art scene.  She has landed the dream job/money-pit job at Sotheby’, cataloguing and measuring 19th century works, learning important skills that will teach her how to link value to art.  Lacey has learned her power years earlier and knows that she is of course meant for bigger and much grander things than staying below ground.  Her ascent to the executive floors begins not accidentally, as nothing she does is ever an accident.  Every word she says is planned out in advance, no detail is overlooked.  Her clothes, where she lives, where she spends her free time and the people she decides to charm out of their wits to pull them to her side have all been thought out carefully to give a specific boost to her career.  Emotions are never wasted.  Sound stereotypical?  A little, yes.  But it’s this non-attachment that allows her to stay loyal to the art she truly loves and makes her more talented than the typical art employee

Daniel has learned to keep a necessary distance from Lacey to avoid her tentacles, as he puts it.  He prefers to watch her from a distance and enjoy the seeming attention she pays him during their lunch dates and night-time outings, observing her “like a science project”.  But it’s hard to keep that safe space between them when Lacey approaches him for a favor.  This favor catapults Lacey into the center of the art world, giving her the money to start collecting the beautiful things that she discovered early on she needs.  As time marches on, Lacey marches with it, never tiring and never losing complete belief in the fact that she knows she is doing everything right.  Even when it seems things are about to crumble all around her she saves herself.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Are you annoyed yet?  Keep reading.

In the reviews I’ve read no on likes Lacey.  “Shallow, cold-hearted, one-dimensional.”  It’s easy to brush her off as the typical heartless villain – if you don’t look closer.  I like Lacey.  What?  WHY!?  She’s in a word, efficient.  She knows the job that needs to get done.  She asks for no help (except the mysterious favor which i’ll keep to myself) and figures out the rules for herself.  She’s not weak, she doesn’t collapse at the surprises but continues with plan slightly shifted and focus intact.  As an admin, I find that kind of efficiency hard to resist.  As a human, I know that that could never be me which might be part of why I admire her.  If Lacey’s seemingly puddle-like depth is lost on other readers, it works on me.  Her inevitable fall (as is to be expected by even the most seemingly unshakable institutions) reads more like a tumble as Lacey is “one of those people who will always be okay.”  Everyone has lost something including Daniel who’s favor years earlier comes back to find him in a most unexpected way.

Martin is famous for his art collection and the book is peppered throughout with 22 reproductions cleverly worked into the story line. The last 20 years of New York’s art scene are passed through to give us an inside look on the types of characters that populate the scene and the personalities that are needed to survive and succeed.  Guest appearances are made, art history is doled out and at the end the reader can put down the book and take comfort in the fact that at the very least they  have finally learned who de Kooning is.