Angry at the Grass

green-grass-1493898873qXe public domain photo

The grass waves at me
but I don’t feel like
greeting it back.
Must be so simple
to just sway in the wind,
no worries
no cares,
everything you have
the sun painted on your back.
It almost makes me glad
you’ll soon be mown down.

~ Maranda Russell

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Tumbleweed

tumble-weed public domain photo

Like a tumbleweed rolls,
I careen
end over end
through life.
Never stopping,
never knowing
what I’ll collide with next.

~Maranda Russell

Adult Coloring is Art

In my opinion, adult coloring is art, and it does take at least some artistic talent to create a visually appealing adult coloring book picture. Of course, I’m probably biased since lately adult coloring has been a hobby I’ve been into, but since several people have bought pieces I colored from my Ebay store, I guess I’m not completely crazy for thinking it is artistic. Here are a few of my favorite pictures I’ve colored recently:

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Greedy By Nature

Bird nest watercolors

Bird nest watercolors, Public Domain Photo

One night as I sat watching a nature documentary about some ugly species of bird (from God knows where), I grasped an interesting insight into animal nature. Between the expected images of birds diligently working to provide for themselves and their families, they suddenly cut to footage of a few immoral, yet cunning birds sneaking around, stealing materials from the nests the other birds had spent all day building.

A few small twigs, bits of dried brush, even the edge of a candy bar wrapper – all stolen and used to build their own homes by the sweat of their neighbors’ backs. Soon, these crafty avians sat by their new shelters smugly satisfied to have saved themselves a lot of hard work.

As the clueless working class birds continued to run to and fro, never suspecting the treason occurring every time they turned their back, I suddenly realized that greed isn’t exclusively a human vice…and that some birds can be real jerks.

Therapy that works

"Perfection is a Myth", abstract acrylic on art board 8" x 10"

“Perfection is a Myth”, abstract acrylic on art board 8″ x 10″

To be honest, I’m not big on conventional therapy. Now, that does not mean that I don’t think some people benefit from it or even need it, but I don’t believe it works for everyone. For myself, perhaps it doesn’t work as well because I have already read so many psychology and self help books that I know what is likely to be said anyhow. When I was a foster parent, therapy never seemed to do much for any of the kids who were forced to go. In their cases, I think it didn’t work that well because they didn’t want to be there so they didn’t cooperate or act on the advice given them. If you do go the traditional therapy route, I think it is important to find a therapist who will give you tangible strategies to apply to real life situations and (even more importantly) you have to be willing to put in the work and do those things.

Personally, I have been to therapy a couple times in my life. The first time was when I was 12 and my dad died. That was forced therapy that didn’t go very far because I didn’t want to talk about it and no one could make me. The second time I went to therapy was after my sister committed suicide. I do feel that talking through my feelings with a professional helped some in that case, but it wasn’t what healed me. Looking back on the rough patches in my life, I have found that some of the most effective forms of therapy aren’t those you find in a therapist’s office. Here are a few of the “therapeutic” activities I feel have had the greatest impact on my life:

  • Spending time with family and friends, even when I thought I would rather be alone. Sometimes when you don’t feel like seeing anyone is when you need their support the most.
  • Spending time with animals. For me this starts with my pets but extends to living creatures everywhere. Animals speak to my soul on a level I can’t even explain and bring great comfort and joy.
  • Spending time in nature – this kind of goes along with the animal one. Being around bodies of water works best for me personally, but everyone has their own favorite spots, even if it is just your own backyard or a neighborhood park.
  • Music – all types of music can be therapeutic depending on what you are feeling. I have my “sad”, “angry”, “happy”, “relaxing” and “inspirational” songs to help me through whatever I am dealing with.
  • Creating – whether it be writing, painting, drawing, baking, etc., it is a great way to release feelings.
  • Getting lost in fantasy – leaving this real world mentally for a short period of time (through a book, movie, etc.) can be incredibly helpful during awful times.
  • Exercise. The key to this for me is doing things that I enjoy and find relaxing, such as walking, hiking, yoga, etc.
  • Meditation/prayer – connecting to my spiritual self helps me to rise above my earthly troubles and find inner peace even in the midst of chaos.

So what about you? What kinds of “therapy” do you find most healing?

Those magical little moments that make life worthwhile

my-one-line-a-day

For the last few days, my husband and I have been out of town, attempting to squeeze in a little vacation before summer ends. We didn’t go too far away from home, just enough to see some new sights and break up the monotony of our normal routine. While away, I bought a new book entitled “My One Line A Day”. The book is similar to a journal or diary but is set up a little differently. Each day for the next three years, I am supposed to write one line about my day in the appointed spaces in the book, leaving an interesting record to keep and reflect on after the three years are over. Honestly, I’m not sure if I will remember to write every single day, but I figured since I only had to write one line every day, that I could hopefully handle that.

I am currently on my third day writing in the book and I have noticed something interesting. First of all, it can be hard to sum up an entire day in one or two sentences! For this reason, I have decided to focus on the “highlight” or “happiest” thing I remember from each day. Interestingly, I have found that the highlights I remember are not the big things. What made me happiest the last few days wasn’t the tourist attractions, the big events or acquiring new “stuff”. Instead, I wrote about spotting a snapping turtle in a tiny runoff from a nearby creek and feeding sparrows bits of my bagel at an outdoor café. I haven’t written my line for today yet, but again I think it will probably be one of the smaller things, such as seeing my cats again after being away for several days or the delicious decadence of enjoying a chocolate covered strawberry.

I am definitely interested to see how this little project keeps going over time. It is amazing when you truly pause to think about what made you happiest on a particular day. I would encourage everyone to try something similar and see what you come up with. You may be surprised to find out what brings you the most joy and what doesn’t seem to matter that much at all by the end of the day. If you want to get one of these books for yourself to chronicle your next three years, you may be able to pick one up at your local bookstore or you can order one from Amazon or another online retailer.

Lions and Tigers and Bears – Oh My!

Ok, so I didn’t see an African lion today, but I did see a mountain lion, a couple different kinds of bears and some Bengal tigers.  Where did all this take place?  At Heaven’s Corner, a little animal rescue sanctuary not far from where we live.  This isn’t our first time visiting, in fact, we have been somewhat regulars there.

We have listened to the workers there explain how most of their wild animals are pets that people obtain illegally, and then when the wild animal gets too big or tries to kill their owner, the animals get dumped.  We have also talked to the guy who feeds the mountain lions and saw his half-eaten Nike sneaker.  Apparently he went into the lions den one night dressed differently and wearing cologne, so that the lion didn’t recognize him and almost mauled the guy to death.  The people who work there are brave and caring, but most importantly, they are doing what they love – rescuing animals that otherwise might be put down for good.

So here is my plea…I know illegal pets can be tempting.  Perhaps like me, you have always dreamed of owning a leopard, wolf, penguin or baby bear for a pet…but if you really care about the animals, think it through.  Are you really qualified and able to care for a truly wild animal?  Wouldn’t these animals be better off and happier left in the wild, rather than caught and sold as novelties?  It’s sad to see animals caged up that might have been free.  While you watch the bears or the tigers pace in their small jail cells, think about what that life must really be like.  Although I am thankful to animal sanctuaries for taking in these animals, I wish that it wasn’t necessary to do so.

By the way, while I’m thinking about it, make sure you support any local wildlife sanctuaries or conservation efforts near you.  Whether you donate money, time or your natural talents, the earth and all of its creatures will be better off for your efforts.