Wow. I probably seem lazy, although I have continued to be pretty chatty on Facebook and have become more visible on Twitter (@erigal80).

There are reasons/excuses. I must say that working steadily and full-time has been a major distraction. I have a bad habit of putting my current work ahead of most other things extracurricular, which means there just has not been as much energy put towards things like, oh, my passions as there could have been.

Furthermore, as of the last two weeks, I have been full throttle within a thus-far fantastic publishing intensive program at Ryerson University. It simply requires more focus and there is less room for procrastination.

That being said . . . this is exactly why I am making more room in my life for blogging and creating my own work. Being back in school, in a program which is directly up my alley, is the perfect incentive to do exactly those things that I love (eg. writing, books, writing about books, sharing information) and to make this work front and centre. I feel like I have a new compass now.

Over the long weekend, I will be dusting things off (clearing cobwebs, changing the curtains, that sort of thing) and getting back into a more regular pattern of posting, linking and writing. Thank you for joining me on my new journey . . .

I can picture someone sitting on the subway, quietly colouring in the white spaces of their dress . . . full link here.

My intent in sharing this particular commentary on the whole Facebook “post your bra colour out of awareness for breast cancer” meme is simply to pass along the poke in perspective. Susan Niebur experienced the personal reality of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and who must undergo mastectomies to have a shot at life but who must deal also with the loss. Just another way of looking at it.

“In The Name of Awareness” — from http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/ by Susan Niebur

Friends engaged me on FB and twitter too, talking about it, asking why I felt left out, and letting me know that the whole meme was staged by some women in the midwest urging awareness of breast cancer.

Really?

Awareness?

Aren’t we aware by now, people? Don’t we know that we need to understand our own bodies, take notice of changes in one breast but not the other, and call the doctor when we see that something’s changed? Don’t we know that we need to talk to our doctor about thermography or mammograms? Don’t we know?

As I talked to friends on twitter about it last night, a single message came through from my friend and fellow survivor @stales. She said something that struck me to the core. She wrote to all: “Time for a little less “awareness” and a whole lot of “action”: the time to act is now: address the causes!” She’s smart, that @stales.

Other cancer survivors joined in, telling me that they felt left out too. After all, this was ostensibly an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer — but one in which breast cancer survivors themselves could not participate, and were reminded (as if we needed a reminder) that we didn’t need bras anymore, that most basic undergarment of women everywhere, that symbol of sexuality, for the simple reason that we had already sacrificed our breasts in a hail mary attempt to keep the rest of our bodies from dying of cancer.

My intent in sharing this particular commentary on the whole Facebook “post your bra colour out of awareness for breast cancer” meme is simply to pass along the poke in perspective. Her response is from the realistic standpoint of someone who has been personally impacted and I agree with her opinion on relatively cutesy “awareness” activities vs. genuine action/empathy.

I have been playing with lots of ideas, but I’ve been lazy about taking pictures and blogging! I used a photograph in a magazine of a modern dancer, and made it into a stencil — using the silhouette, I tried to use pencil crayons to being the image of movement to life. I’ve been playing at this all week, with some very decidedly mixed results, but this one turned out okay. My husband has finally informed me that he has graphite paper which will make for a much better tracing! I actually can’t draw, so this was the closest I could get to recreating a proportional image of a body in movement. I also want to try using old pictures of my cats in action to make some silhouette images like this, over the weekend.

What do you wish for 2010?

Wow, big huge question — trying to not over think it! 2009 was a doozie — so many big things (getting married being the big one), and so many growing pains/moments of humility. If nothing else, this was the year I had to step back (way back) and gain clarity.

From here: I wish for a blend of balance and boldness. I wish to incorporate a little more personal, goal-directed discipline into my life (with far less excess worry-warting and self-induced stress), but I especially want to be braver and more proactive. This means a mix of stretching and strength-training (for actual muscles and spiritual ones too).

I have a growing project for the year: Outside The Lines, a group blog co-authored by friends about “painting outside the lines” of our lives and taking on commitments, personal “dares” and all the scary things that we have avoided but which have potential to be empowering. It is easier to be honest and committed to my resolutions and “dares” with cohorts! For example, I am doing a polar bear swim on New Year’s, vowing to write for non-work reasons every week, gradually exploring and taking up a more regular exercise or meditation practice, and trying some relatively scary social experiences (the “networking” word) to help reduce knee-jerk shyness.

A big part of the blog project itself, as a whole, is to “make things happen” and create a space to write, to edit and organize and to possibly open doors which I did not know were out there for me to open. Until I have a chance to go back to school and study communications or the like, I remain enrolled in the school of life and I can just try doing it as much as I can, like this or as a volunteer.

Psst — I am open to having more people join us on the journey, and I think this group of women would be amazing. People can start at any time . . . the more the merrier, I say! What scares you? What appeals to you, but which has never felt “safe” or comfortable or sensible to take up?

(I still feel weird marketing myself, like I am being solipsistic. Working on it — I’ve been told that I am the worst bragger they’ve ever heard more than once)!

I dare you to dare yourself

“What do you wish to give?”

At this point, I am happy to give the smallest and yet the biggest of
things — a little lightness and maybe a bonus smile or laugh in the day for someone. In spite of Christmas build up of lights and festiveness, I usually find December dark, rushed and heavy in feel (me and winter have issues), so if I can keep myself shining my own little light outwardly as much as I can then maybe it can be passed along in spirit. As a side wishlet, I wish to give my whole heart and love to my husband, the family and to my very dear friends.

I love this new practice.

(Oh God, is is it the 16th already? Seriously?! Oy).

Big Ginormous Present, waiting to be unwrapped . . .

The December wind woke me up. Or, maybe, my brain was not really buying into sleep to begin with. In either case, here I am writing away. Sometimes writing can be a form of meditation for me — getting anything swirling around up there out and into black and white is an act which, sometimes, brings me some breathing room.

Sometimes I experience myself in the act of discovering, or rediscovering, something in a way that resonates with me at just the right moment. While beginning to worrywart over job applications, career aspirations, Christmas countdowns and similar, I came across something written this week which has given me a good poke:

A lot of my work these days has really been about unwrapping myself. The idea of “unwrapping” is found on a post I happened upon this evening at Cheerio Road (a blog I visit off and on). I am so glad that I found this writing tonight, just when I really needed to see this all in a different way. I’ll cut-and-paste a selection of it so that you may follow:

We dare not yet pick up our own instrument for fear of, well, everything. We are cautious, guarded, unprepared. Getting closer, we tell ourselves. Getting ready. Awaiting the moment of fulfillment, when our mastery will be revealed. In the meantime, our virtuosity is unchallenged, shielded beneath layers of tissue, inert, immobile, a precious empty ideal. Held in reserve for one day.

Sometimes, when I am afraid of acting, I will feel my whole self holding in the breath, waiting. And waiting. But there are no perfect moments for anything. There is only taking the step, or the leap, or whatever the action is. Life is not waiting for anyone to be “ready” — it has always been “ready or not, here it comes”! So no more holding in, and no more hiding beneath lots of layers of “shoulds” and “could haves” and many, many “buts”. Not far beneath all that is my spirit, beyond ready to bust out.

I will redirect you to the full post, which contains intuitive thoughts to propel the act of unwrapping: “How To Unwrap Your Life”.

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